Gallup: No Vacation for One in Five Microbusiness Owners Last Year

One in five U.S. microbusiness owners report taking no vacation days in the past year, with another 21% saying they took a week or less. Half of those who took no vacation days say they don’t expect to take any in the next 12 months either.

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Have a Drone? Check This Map Before You Fly It

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.53.19 AM Bobby Sudekum / Amy Lee / Mapbox

The popularity of drones is climbing quickly among companies, governments and citizens alike. But the rules surrounding where, when and why you can fly an unmanned aerial vehicle aren’t very clear. The FAA has tried to assert control and insist on licensing for all drone operators, while drone pilots and some legal experts claim drones do not fall under the FAA’s purview. The uncertainty—and recent attempts by the FAA to fine a drone pilot and ground a search and rescue organization—has UAV operators nervous.

To help with the question of where it is legal to fly a drone, Mapbox has put together an interactive map of all the no-fly zones for UAVs they could find. Most of the red zones on the map are near airports, military sites and national parks. But as WIRED’s former Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson, now CEO of 3-D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones, discovered in 2007 when he crashed a drone bearing a camera into a tree on the grounds of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, there is plenty of trouble in all sorts of places for drone operators to get into.

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Americans more skeptical of climate change than others in global survey

sun-setting

A new international survey shows that Americans are more divided and doubtful about climate change than people in other leading countries, even as the scientific evidence supporting it keeps piling up.

Ipsos-MORI, one of the largest market research companies in Great Britain, released its new Global Trends 2014 survey covering data from 200 questions with over 16,000 interviewees in 20 countries. The survey asked about a variety of issues, including technology, the economy, privacy, government and the environment.

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Partisan debate rages in IRS email scandal – CNN.com

Washington (CNN) — Republican lawmakers want to know why the IRS didn’t know that it might have been able to recover missing emails from a former official’s computer — communication at the center of new questions about the agency’s targeting of conservative political groups.

via Partisan debate rages in IRS email scandal – CNN.com.

130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism | The Daily Caller

A group of 130 environmental groups thinks we should fight global warming by eliminating capitalism entirely. 

Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

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Taiwan’s TransAsia Flight GE222 crash kills 47 – World – CBC News

hi-taiwan-relatives.jpgAnother plane crashed in a storm in Tawian today while trying to make an emergency landing, and dozens are believed dead.

A plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, killing 47 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.

The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, authorities said. The plane was arriving from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

 

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40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil – Houston Chronicle

Bodies from the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 have started arriving in The Netherlands. The country lost the most citizens in the crash.

Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

The carefully choreographed, nearly silent ceremony contrasted sharply with the boom of shells and shattered glass in eastern Ukraine as pro-Russian rebels fought to hang onto territory and shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets. The bold new attack showed the separatists are not shying away from shooting at the skies despite international outrage and grief at the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

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Dangerous facts

The Heritage Foundation for years has published a useful Index of Economic Freedom, and this morning it introduced another helpful compendium, the 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity.

In it we can see that the violent crime rate dropped by 22 percent from 2002 to 2012 and the marriage rate dropped by 23 percent. Only about half of American adults are currently married, and about half of American children will spend some time outside an intact, married home. America’s total fertility rate declined by 0.14 births per woman between 2002 and 2012, and since 1972 has reached the replacement rate of 2.1 only twice. The U.S. abortion rate also dropped, and the 2011 rate was the lowest since 1973.

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The Good News gets the cold shoulder in Portland

When historic Christianity is labeled a danger to children. 

Liberal groups in Portland, Ore., are taking an evangelical children’s camp to task for talking to the city’s youngest residents about Jesus. The camps, which operate like a traveling Vacation Bible School, have endured protests, negative advertisements in local newspapers, and accusations of being a fundamentalist sect.

Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Camp Good News focuses for a week or two in different cities each year. During the school year, the group rents public school buildings to host weekly after-school activities. It recently won a Supreme Court case that allowed it equal access to public schools. 

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Average Duration of Unemployment

Another measure of long-term unemployment is the average duration of unemployment. Again, remember that only those who are actually looking for a job are counted as officially unemployed, not those who have become discouraged and stopped looking. In the last few recessions, the average length of unemployment peaked at around 20 weeks. In the Great Recession, it peaked at about 40 weeks, and is still at a discomfitingly high 35 weeks.

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Percent Unemployed 27 Weeks and Over

The CEA report focuses most heavily on how long-term unemployment has been different in the aftermath of the Great Recession. For example, here’s one figure showing the share of the total unemployed who have been out of work more than 27 weeks. In past recessions, this share peaked at about 20% of the total unemployed. In the Great Recession, the share of long-term unemployed peaked at above 40% of all unemployed, and even now remains at historically high levels. (Here’s a post from July 2013 on the legacy of long-term unemployment.)

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Undercover probe finds health law failings

Congressional investigators using fake identities were able to obtain taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law, according to testimony to be delivered Wednesday.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says its undercover investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation.

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The Militarization of American Police

These days the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security equip even the tiniest rural police departments with massive military vehicles, body armor, and grenade launchers. The equipment is surplus from the long wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were once used only in emergencies such as riots or robberies where hostages were taken. But today there are more than 50,000 “no-knock raids” a year.

It’s healthy for conservatives, libertarians, and liberals alike to worry about this militarization of police, John Stossel argues. Government always grows, and government is force. Force is always dangerous.

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Contraceptive Mandate Reset

The Obama Administration is willing to “compromise” when their policies have been found to be illegal. 

Obama administration officials said last night they were working on a new accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations that object to providing contraceptive and abortifacient drugs under their health insurance policies. The possible policy change comes after Wheaton College won an emergency injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court in its fight against filling out a form it says makes it complicit in providing the drugs. Officials promise to announce the new accommodation in a month.

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Separatists shoot down Ukrainian fighter jets

Ukrainian officials say two of the country’s fighter jets have been shot down as clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the east escalate. The government in Kiev claims its troops have retaken two cities in the Luhansk region, which declared independence earlier this year in what many observers say was a sham referendum. Russian has reportedly increased its troop presence along the border. Slightly to the north, in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv, a Dutch military plane carrying the bodies of some of the victims of the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 took off, headed for Amsterdam. Late yesterday, U.S. officials reiterated their belief that pro-Russian separatists fired the missile that felled the plane. So far, no one seems to have concrete evidence that Moscow was directly involved in the attack.

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Male and Female Labor Force Participation Rates

The Council of Economic Advisers has just published “The Labor Force Participation Rate Since 2007: Causes and Policy Implications.” The rise in the labor force participation rate from about 1960 up through the mid-1990s was driven both by the baby boom generation reaching working age, and the dramatic entry of women into the (paid) labor force. The decline since about 2000 is largely because the rising proportion of women in the labor force levelled off, and the aging of the baby boom generation is raising the number of retirees. Here’s a figure from the report showing the labor force participation rate for men and women separately.

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U.S. schools rank low in innovation

U.S. schools are below average in innovation, according to an international report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Denmark, Indonesia and high-scoring South Korea are the most innovative, according to the study. 

“Innovation led to improved math scores for eighth-graders, a narrowing of the achievement gap and happier teachers,” researchers concluded.

U.S. innovation centered around more use of test data, external evaluation of secondary school classrooms and parental involvement, the report found.

Teaching innovations included requiring secondary science students to explain and elaborate on their answers and to observe and describe natural phenomena.

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Obama’s Old Law Professor ‘Wouldn’t Bet the Family Farm’ on Obamacare Subsidies Surviving at SCOTUS

Harvard University law professor Lawrence Tribe is a veteran liberal scholar who counts both President Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts among his former students. In 2012 Tribe had the unique experience of watching one of those former students cast the deciding vote to secure the existence of the other’s signature legislative achievement. I refer of course to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, in which Roberts led the Supreme Court in upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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New York’s Taxi Commission Seems to Think Everybody Is Driving Illegal Cabs

SEIZE THEM! SEIZE THEM ALL!

So it appears that New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission can suspect just about anybody of picking up other people of operating an illegal cab. And based on just this suspicion, they are able seize people’s vehicles until they prove otherwise. Guess the obvious outcome of such authority. It’s about as bad as you can imagine (though at least they’re not getting arrested). 

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Executive orders and civil disobedience

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday that bars federal contractors from considering an employee’s sexual proclivities or gender identity when hiring. He granted no exemption for Christians or people of other faiths whose beliefs and teachings run counter to these behaviors. It seems the more such rights are granted, the fewer Christians have.

Faith-based organizations have a choice, though it might not be ideal. They can stop taking federal contracts if they don’t want to hire a man pretending to be a woman or if they hold any objections to other aspects of the LGBT agenda. As bad as it is, the policy isn’t the same as ordering a Christian to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or a Christian photographer to pay a fine for refusing to photograph a homosexual wedding. But prepare yourselves for the day when churches and faith-based non-profit groups lose tax-exempt status because they hold and dare to utter biblical views on sexuality. One day the government could order pastors to marry two men or else pay up.

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In Sweden, pro-life nurses need not apply

A Swedish nurse is suing after a women’s center rescinded its job offer to her because she said her faith prevented her from performing abortions.

In Spring 2013, Ellinor Grimmark completed a successful midwifery internship at Höglandssjukhuset women’s center, where she had already worked as a nurse. The center offered her a job upon graduation, but then rescinded it when she told them of her pro-life views. Grimmark received her midwifery degree in January 2014.

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Controversial disabilities treaty makes a comeback

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved a controversial disabilities treaty, renewing a battle with conservatives who say it could be used to expand abortion and strip parents of the right to homeschool their children.

The Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) passed on a 12-6 vote, almost identical to the 13-6 tally two years ago. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., joined 10 Democrats in voting to send the treaty to the full Senate.

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Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate

During the 1970s and 1980s, the labor force participation rate (that is, the share of adults who either had jobs or were unemployed and looking for jobs) was rising from 60% to about 67%. Since the start of the Great Recession, the labor force participation rate has fallen from 66% down to about 63%. An unemployment rate falling back below 6% was more comforting in the 1980s, with a rising share of adults working, than it would be in 2014, with a falling share of adults working. Here’s a figure showing the labor force participation rate in the post World War II period.

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NASA spacecraft just one year away from Pluto

new-horirzons-spacecraft-pluto

Less than a year from now, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make the first-ever visit to Pluto, potentially revolutionizing scientists’ understanding of the dwarf planet.

Because Pluto is so far away — it orbits the sun at an average distance of 3.65 billion miles — many questions about the dwarf planet’s composition and activity remain unanswered. Researchers hope New Horizons will lay some of those questions to rest when it flies by Pluto on July 15, 2015.

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Voters See A More Divided Nation; GOPers More Enthusiastic to Vote – Rasmussen Reports™

67% of voting respondents in a Rasmussen poll said Americans were more divided now than they were four years ago.

Voters strongly believe the United States is a more divided nation these days, and they think both sides are to blame. Most are also ready to do something about it at the ballot box in November.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just seven percent (7%) think the country is less divided now, while 21% rate the level of division as about the same.(To see survey question wording, click here.)

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NYPD to Retrain Every Officer on Use of Force After ‘Chokehold’ Death – ABC News

Chokehold

The New York Police Department will be retraining all of its officers after a man a group of officers tried to subdue with a chokehold died. The police commissioner also said he wouldn’t be surprise if the federal government brought civil rights charges against the cops involved.

Every member of the New York City police department will be required to undergo retraining on the use of violence following the death of a man in custody who appeared to have been subdued with a chokehold, the police commissioner said today.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said his investigators have spoken with the FBI “to discuss their monitoring of this investigation,” and said that he would “not be surprised” if federal prosecutors began their own civil rights violation case.

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Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff – Businessweek

Businessman David Purdue defeated longtime representative Jack Kingston.

Businessman David Perdue has defeated longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s U.S. Senate nomination, setting up a matchup against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.

Tuesday night’s primary runoff win validates Perdue’s campaign as an outsider. The former CEO of Reebok, Dollar General and the failed textile firm Pillowtex, Perdue offered his private sector record and tremendous wealth as proof that he can help solve the nation’s ills in a Congress largely devoid of experience business titans. He spent more than $3 million of his own money blasting Kingston and other primary rivals as career politicians, including one ad depicting his rivals as crying babies.

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Former congressman Bob Barr loses in Georgia runoff – The Washington Post

The Tea Party-backed Barry Loudermilk defeated 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate and former Republican representative Bob Barr in a Republican congressional primary run-off in Georgia

Former congressman Bob Barr won’t be making a congressional comeback this year. He lost by a wide margin Tuesday in the Republican runoff for the U.S. House in Georgia’s 11th district.

The Associated Press has called the race for tea party-backed state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R), who led Barr 70 percent to 30 percent, with 41 percent of precincts reporting. Loudermilk was backed by the anti-tax Club for Growth.

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House investigators: IRS tech experts say Lerner’s hard drive only ‘scratched,’ not destroyed | Fox News

The hard drive containing Lois Lerner e-mails of interest to House investigators may not have been destroyed after all—an Internal Revenue Service tech expert now says the drive was merely scratched. 

You would think that the NSA could recover the data, if the administration wanted them to. 

House investigators said Tuesday that the computer hard drive of ex-agency official Lois Lerner — a key figure in the IRS targeting scandal — was only “scratched,” not irreparably damaged, as Americans have been led to believe.

GOP-led Ways and Means Committee investigators, in their quest to recover missing Lerner emails, learned her hard drive was damaged but recoverable by talking to IRS information-technology experts, after the government originally refused to make them available, according to the committee.

 

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FAA tells US airlines that all flights to Tel Aviv airport prohibited for 24 hours | Fox News

International flights to and from Israel are being canceled, with the Federal Aviation Administration banning them for 24 hours,  after a rocket launched from Gaza landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airpor

The Federal Aviation Administration has told all U.S. airlines that flights to Israel’s Tel Aviv airport are prohibited for 24 hours after a rocket from Gaza landed in the area.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said earlier Tuesday they are suspending service between the U.S. and Israel indefinitely. US Airways scrapped its Tel Aviv service Tuesday and said it is monitoring the situation in regards to future flights.

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