Last week I tweeted that I thought the Minnesota Timberwolves had the best shot of dethroning the Golden State Warriors the soonest, and the Wolves seem to be thinking the same thing with their pursuit of Jimmy Butler. The Wolves’ core of young talent is undeniable, and the veteran presence of Ricky Rubio at point guard has been working wonders (ninth amongst PG in real +/-). Offensively, the Wolves are dangerous. On defense, they’re disastrous.
The Wolves have a big problem allowing open shots. Only the Los Angeles Lakers allowed a higher adjusted field-goal percentage than Minnesota’s 53.5 percent. They were tied with Sacremento at third to last in points per shot allowed. So a defender is what Minnesota needs, and Butler can defend every position on the court.
Butler was worth 3.8 defensive win-shares last year. That’s second-best to only his 2013-14 campaign. His value added over a replacement player (VORP) was a career-high 6.3. Best yet for Minnesota is that Butler was at odds with Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg all season and never seemed to complain while working under Tom Thibodeau.
Also, the Bulls were high on Kris Dunn last year, and the Wolves really have no place for him if Butler is added to the mix, moving Andrew Wiggins to the two. It would take more than Dunn to get Butler, so the Wolves could be floating Zach LaVine, who’s recovering from knee surgery, and Gorgui Dieng, who will make over $14 million next year. He made just $2.35 million this season.
“But what about the center position?” you might ask. True, the Wolves are lacking center depth after waiving the oft-injured Nikola Pekovic. Well, there are a trio of college centers right around the area where Chicago picks at 16. My favorite post player down there is probably power forward John Collins of Wake Forest, though. He nearly averaged a double-double last season playing against the powerhouse that is the ACC.
Kentucky power forward Adrice Adebayo is also enticing given his age (19) and size (six-foot-ten, 242 pounds). He averaged 13 points and eight boards playing 30 minutes per game in the SEC. Jarrett Allen was no slouch at Texas, either, going for 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He’s also six-foot-ten and weighs in at 233 pounds.
Then there’s seven-foot-two Anzejs Pasecniks of Latvia, about whom I know very little. He hit six of 13 threes in international play this year and averaged five blocks per game in very limited minutes. Size plays, though, and Pasecniks has it in spades. He’s not going to be the ideal guy to start at center on day one in the NBA, though. He’s going to take time and has taken time to develop and earn minutes in international play.
I doubt Adebayo, Allen or Pasecniks are NBA-ready, starting centers when the 2017-18 season begins, which means the Timberwolves likely lose Dieng as a trade chip. They’ll need someone to hold down the block while the rookie develops, and Cole Aldrich is not that someone. My cousin thinks Nemanja Bjelica could play the four, with Towns moving to the post if the Wolves trade Dieng and have no one else but a rookie and Aldrich as bigs. He predicted all this would happen yesterday and is a trade whiz on NBA 2K, so I generally trust his basketball logic. I doubt that’s the situation the Wolves desire, though. They’re looking to compete in the playoffs and put a halt to the Warriors’ dynasty.
The Wolves might not even be looking to pick in the first round at all, which would be very valuable to the Bulls, since trading Butler is officially announcing a rebuilding effort. I expect Butler to be a member of the Timberwolves before they use the seventh pick in the NBA Draft. It starts at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN and online using WatchESPN.
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Thirty-one years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan traveled to West Berlin, and at the Brandenburg Gate admonished: “Mr.Gorbachev take down that wall.” The Berlin Wall had been erected by the puppet soviet state of East Germany. Unless you are over sixty five or are a history buff, you may not understand the tensions that existed then had many observers feeling that we could be on the brink of war with the Soviet Union.
The wall was initially a 25-mile long barbed wire fence. In the months that followed, the “wire wall” became concrete with guards aloft who shot anyone trying to climb the wall, and make their way into West Berlin. For the next 26 years, German citizens were not allowed to cross the wall. Americans could enter into East Berlin at “Checkpoint Charlie,” only if they could establish some business purpose for crossing the border.
At the time, I was a politically naïve graduate student at Cambridge University in England. I had the privilege of being a member of the U.S. Track Team competing in track meets throughout Europe. A meet promoter approached me to compete at a major competition in East Berlin. Since I had never been to East Germany, I figured if the promoter was willing to cover the expenses of a struggling student runner, why not go for it.
I would have to cross the Berlin Wall and compete at the Olympic stadium in East Berlin. America did not recognize East Germany as a legitimate country at the time. It was considered a Russian puppet state, and the U.S. maintained no diplomatic relations with the East Germans. Once I crossed to the other side of the wall, I would be on my own.
On the afternoon of the meet, I entered East Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie. It was an evening event, and I was scheduled to compete in the high hurdles against an East German who was world ranked. The East Germans had built up the competition as a grudge match between our two countries, and had made it a point of honor for their national pride.
The 100-meter dash was about to begin when my agent brought over an American who wanted to talk to me. He said he was with the U.S. Embassy in West Germany, and told me in the strongest of terms that it would be completely unacceptable for me to run the high-hurdles race that was soon to start. As a member of the American team, he argued, I was a representative of my government. Since America did not recognize East Germany, I would be giving tacit acknowledgment to a country that the United States regarded as illegitimate. He implied that by competing I could start an international incident, and if I had any patriotism, I would get my gear and head back across the border to West Berlin immediately.
What a dilemma for a twenty-one-year-old who was simply enjoying the opportunity to travel, and who had no real understanding of the international consequences supposedly at stake. I wanted to compete, but I certainly wasn’t going to go against the wishes of my country.
As the announcement was being made that I would not race, I headed for the locker rooms, located at the other end of the stadium, diagonally across the infield. Thousands of people in the stadium stood up and whistled loudly, which was their way of booing. I learned later that the announcer had told the crowd the American was afraid to compete against the East German. I was angry and disappointed, but I had enough common sense to change my clothes and get back across the border.
Many years later I would look back on this controversy as my first political act. I guess the possibility of starting an international incident qualifies as a baptism in politics.
Thirty-four years have gone by since the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and we no longer fear one super power. Instead, there are brush fires worldwide that have overwhelmed America’s resources. Let’s hope in the future, we will continue to argue about tearing down walls and not about destroying countries.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show, Common Sense, each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Radio Network.
Fans will get to see if the Minnesota Twins truly can hang over their next nine games. Starting Thursday, the Twins will see starting pitchers Jose Quintana (8.7 K/9, 2.47 K/B), Trevor Bauer (7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K in last start against Twins), Corey Kluber (11 K/9, 4.71 K/BB), Josh Tomlin (9.33 K/BB), Chris Sale (12.2 K/9), Drew Pomeranz (10.4 K/9), Rick Porcello (4.72 K/BB), David Price (BOS 3-1 in his four June starts) and Jason Vargas (200 ERA+). All those games are on the road.
This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community of foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing commercial-free, uncensored play-by-play and color commentary during select games.
The premiere games will be when Jose Berrios takes on Chris Sale in Boston on Monday, and when veterans Ervin Santana and Jason Vargas do battle in Kansas City next Friday. The Twins have to be underdogs in just about all nine of those games, though.
The Twins better hope they get some pitching reinforcements. Right now the Twins are running Nik Turley out there, but they just signed Dillon Gee, so expect him to get a start over that nine-game stretch.
Hector Santiago is getting a rehab start on Wednesday for the Rochester Red Wings, and if all goes well, he could pitch as early as Tuesday against Pomeranz. That could end up being a big game for the Twins and Santiago, who has fallen and can’t get up.
The bullpen could also use reinforcements, and Alan Busenitz doesn’t seem to be the answer. Phil Hughes could also pitch out of the bullpen for Rochester on Wednesday. Expect Hughes to take longer to get back to MLB ready, but he’d be a welcomed addition to the worst bullpen in baseball. If Hughes can even get through a lineup once, he would leave fewer innings for guys like Matt Belisle (5.1 BB/9) and Craig Breslow (5 SO/9). Hughes will likely be forced back up during that brutal nine-game stretch for the Twins whether he’s pitching well at AAA or not.
This is the stretch of games that will turn contenders into sellers. Consider if the Twins go 2-7 over that nine-game stretch. They’d be two games under .500 at best, and with Cleveland’s offense finally taking off (and three more games coming against them) the Twins could be looking up from farther down in the AL Central than the 1.5 games they are entering Wednesday.
The Twins will have 10 more games after the nine-game stretch against playoff-caliber starting pitching to avoid becoming sellers at the deadline. Regardless, you can bet new chief of baseball operations Derek Falvey will be active over his first Trade Deadline. It won’t take much for him to be as active as Terry Ryan ever was.
So who do the Twins move? Santana’s value has plummeted lately, and given the Twins don’t have enough MLB-caliber pitchers to start every fifth day, it’s a safe bet anyone capable of eating innings will be sticking around.
Brian Dozier’s value has dried up a bit, too, which isn’t all bad. He’s still signed through 2018, and at a very reasonable rate next season ($6 million). This offseason or the deadline next season would be a good time to shop him, depending how Nick Gordon performs if he gets a cup of coffee when rosters expand this season. Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press said it’s a possibility. Gordon would likely push Jorge Polanco to second base.
The most valuable players on the team aren’t going anywhere. Zach Granite can bang on the door all he wants, but Byron Buxton is going nowhere. Neither is Max Kepler, and I doubt Eddie Rosario would be moved given he’s not even arbitration eligible until 2019.
Robbie Grossman is one of the most valuable trade chip the Twins have, and I expect him to be shopped. He’s not an everyday outfielder, but man, can he hit. I think Falvey really likes Grossman. But what’s not to like? His OPS+ is 112, and he’s absolutely wrecking right-handed pitching (6 HR, .435 SLG, .801 OPS). He’s not bad against lefties either (.441 OBP, .741 OPS). He still has the highest on-base percentage amongst designated hitters at .389 and should be an All-star. He has a higher OPS than Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran. Grossman will be arbitration eligible next year and would be a fantastic addition as a designated hitter for a playoff team, but I can’t expect any of the teams of the players mentioned to make a move for the position.
That leaves Eduardo Escobar, who is on fire to say the least. He has hits in seven straight games and is 22-for-45 in June. His .838 OPS is fourth amongst shortstops, and his OPS+ is a team- and career-high 121. While he’s a below-average defensive shortstop, there are plenty of playoff-bound teams who would love to have a utility bat with a 1.066 OPS against lefties. And the Twins don't need to be out of it to move Escobar. He's arbitration eligible for the final time next year and will make considerably more than the $2.6 million he’s being paid this season. He will also be a free agent after next season.
Escobar can play just about everywhere, which makes me think the Chicago Cubs would be a perfect fit. Escobar could give Addison Russell a breather against lefties (Russell is hitting .219/.349/.346 against them this season), and play the outfield for Kyle Schwarber against lefties (Schwarber has a .567 OPS against lefties this year).
What should the Twins ask in return? Well, lefty starter Jen-Ho Tseng with the AA Tennessee Smokies is intriguing. He’s just 22, and his K:BB ratio is 3.1 and he’s striking out 7.7 per nine innings. Future relievers could include righty Pedro Araujo, 23, who has a K:BB ratio of 7.0 through 31.2 innings with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of Advanced-A ball. His teammate and fellow righty Craig Brooks, 24, is actually striking out more batters than Araujo (13.3 K/9 over 20.1 IP).
If Falvey and the Twins want to take advantage of Escobar’s hot bat, now’s the time, especially with Gordon knocking on the door in AA. While Jorge Polanco has struggled in June, he is in the Twins' long-term plans. Nick Gordon is also in the Twins' long-term plans, and Escobar is not. That's why it won't matter where the Twins are in the standings come the Trade Deadline. Players will be shed to give playing time to youngsters. Escobar seems like the most obvious choice.
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You might be wondering how Republicans could be better off than owning a majority in both houses of Congress and occupying the White House. Well, they could do it longer. If Georgia’s 6th Congressional district, and even more surprisingly, South Carolina's fifth, are any indication, the Republicans are in for rude awakening in 2018 and 2020.
While Republican Karen Handel won the election, Democrat Jon Ossoff made us all pay attention to a district that’s been nothing but red since Apocalypse Now and Alien were in theaters.
While it’s highly unlikely the Democrats win three of the eight Republican Senate seats up for reelection in 2018 to win a majority, the House is a different story. It doesn’t matter whether Congress repeals and replaces Obamacare. House Republicans are under fire whether they do or don’t. Midterm elections have been historically bad for the party occupying the White House, as was epically the case for Barack Obama in 2014. The average loss of House seats by the party with a newly elected President is 23. There are already 23 House seats held by Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won, while just 12 that have Democratic representatives and voted Trump.
FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten compared a President’s approval rating to the results in the midterm elections, and despite a large margin for error, (+/- 33 Congressional seats) there was a correlation. And Trump’s residency of the White House has only just begun. After 149 days, Trump’s approval rating, as measured by Gallup, has dropped to 38 percent, and Trump started with the lowest approval rating for any first-term President ever rated (45 percent). Trump has that record by six points. Barack Obama and George W. Bush had approval ratings of 61 and 55 percent, respectively, over roughly the same number of days. At the time of their first midterms, they were at 45 percent and 63 percent, respectively.
Bush’s 63 percent approval rating is the reason why he’s one of the exceptions to the rule that the party residing in the White House loses Congressional seats in the midterms. It’s the highest approval rating ever during a midterm election. An unpopular war brought Bush and Republican Congressional candidates back down to Earth the second time around.
The only President who’s experienced a similar decline to Trump over a similar period is Gerald Ford. Over 157 days in office, Ford saw his approval rating fall from a very respectable 71 percent to 37 percent, He pardoned Nixon and still only had nearly the same approval rating as Trump does now! So what I’m saying is there’s plenty of time for Trump to hit rock bottom.
Going back to that FiveThirtyEight analysis, if Trump’s approval rating were to fall to say 31 percent, “Democrats would be projected to gain 53 seats” (again, +/- 33 margin of error). I’m not betting on Trump’s approval rating to be that high. He’s already got the record for the lowest approval rating to start a Presidency by six points. I’m betting he has the lowest approval rating of a first-term President going into a midterm election by the same margin.
That record also belongs to George W. Bush. He entered the 2008 midterms with an approval rating of 31 percent. The Republicans lost 36 Congressional seats in that election. Now consider if Trump were six points worse than that. He’d be hovering around 25 percent, and House Democrats would stand to gain considerably.
The job Trump is doing (or not doing considering all the rounds of golf he’s getting in) is already rubbing off on incumbent Congressional candidates, and the stink is legendary. Georgia’s 6th Congressional district has been a Republican stalwart since 1979. The fact that race was even close shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ve never had a President this disapproved of at the start of a Presidency, and we’ve never seen a White House like this, so I expect the worst.
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The United States Supreme Court will rule on partisan gerrymandering for the first time since 2004, deciding whether Wisconsin Republicans drew electoral district lines with the unfair intent of strengthening their political presence in the state. Gill v. Whitford will be heard by the Supreme Court in the fall and could result in a ruling that will set the boundaries for drawing electoral district boundaries.
The case at hand is pretty straightforward. While 51 percent of Wisconsin voters were Democrats in 2012, Republicans won 60 of the 99 seats in the state’s Congress. Republicans say that’s because Democrats have the disadvantage of living in metropolitan areas like Milwaukee and Madison, which is true. Metropolitans are generally underrepresented given the populations in their districts compared to the populations of rural districts, and that’s not Republicans’ fault.
But there’s more to the story. Thanks to the work of University of Chicago law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos, there’s a new way to measure whether district lines are fair representations of representation or partisan gerrymandering designed to be advantageous to the political party drawing the lines. The efficiency gap measures “wasted votes,” or the number of votes wasted in a district where one party wins an election easily.
For example, take those metropolitan voters in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin’s fourth Congressional district, which includes parts of Milwaukee, incumbent Democrat Gwen Moore won 77 percent of the vote in a race that didn’t feature Republican opposition. You could argue that Moore wouldn’t have required all those votes to win even if there was a Republican challenger. Those would be considered wasted votes, and voters living on the edges of Milwaukee should have instead voted in neighboring first, fifth and sixth districts to make races more competitive.
The same could be said for Wisconsin’s second district that contains Madison. Incumbent Democrat Mark Pocan wasted votes beating Republican challenger Peter Theron by almost 150,000. Move 100,000 of those wasted votes to the sixth district and Wisconsin would have one more Democratic Senator. And we haven’t even started looking at the state assembly.
If we look at the Milwaukee area again, there are two districts, the 14th and 21st, that had competitive races Republicans won in 2016. Each race was decided by about 5,000 votes. Wisconsin's 14th district is bordered on the east by the 12th, 17th and 18th districts. Those districts are closer to Milwaukee and all went Democratic. In fact, there was no Republican opposition in any of those races, so the Democrats needed just over 5,000 votes of the 58,000 wasted votes they got in those three races to take the 14th district. Had the east boundary of the 14th district been drawn closer to Milwaukee, the Democrats would have likely won that district.
Wisconsin’s 21st district is neighbored by the 20th district to the north, which went to the Democrats unopposed. Another 21,222 votes were wasted in the 20th district, and Democrats needed just 5,000 to take the 21st district.
It’s a similar story for Wisconsin’s 42nd district, which is neighbored by the 79th and 81st districts, which went Democrat by a combined 16,000 wasted votes. Democrat George Ferriter needed just 5,000 of those votes to swing the 42nd district blue.
The point is Wisconsin Republicans probably gained seats by drawing the district lines where they did, which is not supposed to happen. This is the Republicans’ fault because they were last to draw the districts, and the Supreme Court could rule that the districts must be redrawn to make races more competitive. That was the ruling in the lower court.
If the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, it would set the efficiency gap as legal precedent when determining whether partisan gerrymandering has taken place. It would also give the party disadvantaged by the gerrymandering a better chance of righting the wrong and achieving more accurate representation throughout states. That’s no small accomplishment, but it’s not a solution by any means, because gentrification is the old gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering has been around almost as long as America, but even older than America is gentrification, which will continue to weaken the power of the minority vote despite a ruling on gerrymandering. While gerrymandering is the drawing of lines around communities, gentrification is actively creating communities by displacing other communities.
There’s nothing stopping a city council our county commission from purchasing land to build whatever they want to “improve” their city or county. Cities, counties and states don’t need your permission to build “improvements.” They can just buy you or your landlord out. If you live in a metropolitan area, you’re likely familiar with these projects and might have been displaced because of them.
New research by the University of Minnesota found that “over a third of low-income census tracts in Minneapolis underwent gentrification...and about a quarter of low-income census tracts in St. Paul gentrified” from 2000 to 2014. Northeast Minneapolis is the best example of gentrification in the area, which tends to happen in downtown areas near public transit. So the people who actually need the bus and train to get to work no longer have access to it or have to walk/ride even farther to work.
But brown people moving to suburban or rural areas should even out the vote there, right? Wrong. Minorities had a voice in metropolitan areas because they had power in numbers. Those numbers being spread around suburban and rural areas dissipates the power of that collective vote. Those displaced people also lose local representation that’s been dedicated to their interests. They were a member of the majority when it came to their local community, and they are now a minority in a new community. Just like the local elected officials in the cities, the local elected officials of the suburbs and rural areas have the interests of the majority in mind.
Those same Wisconsin Republicans who allegedly committed partisan gerrymandering will simply resort to “improving” their communities and spreading the minority vote around into suburban and rural districts via gentrification in the future. Even if the Supreme Court rules the Wisconsin Republicans were in the wrong, gentrification makes gerrymandering unnecessary, because if you can move the people instead of the lines there’s no need to move the lines. Moving the lines is just cheaper and easier, for now. That’s why gentrification is the old gerrymandering.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Drop Your Energy Bill, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, Know Your Rights
The interview has finally aired. Last week I snarkily wrote about all the speculation of what was going to be said / unsaid in the interview. Alex Jones claimed that Kelly was going to edit the interview to make him look bad. Jones, going so far as to challenge NBC to release the unedited interview (they probably won’t) which led Alex to claim he has a recording of the entire interview and if NBC does not release the full thing -- he will!
To my knowledge, he hasn’t.
Well, anyway, we have now seen the interview.
Well, Jones was partially correct -- the interview does indeed make him look bad. But I certainly wouldn't blame it all on the editing. Mainly I would blame his words and the twenty plus years of Alex Jones footage that Kelly was able to draw upon to support her claims that Alex Jones is a lunatic. Now, she doesn’t come out and call him a lunatic, I’m reading between the lines. But she obviously went after him with every gotcha tactic journalists use these days.
And she didn’t even touch on the Joe Rogen / Alex Jones conversation. The one where Rogen gets Jones high and Alex talks about aliens, extra dimensions, psychic vampires and other random insanity.
Kelly spent the majority of the eighteen minute interview showing footage from Jones’s past rants and “greatest hits” and not much time showing the actual interview between the two of them. The short snippets we do get from the Kelly / Jones interview mainly involve her acting smug and Jones dodging questions.
Not exactly the stuff of interview legend. The interview apparently tanked in the ratings getting beat out by games shows and reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Jones viewers probably assumed the Kelly piece was going to be all lies and mainstream audiences just didn’t seem to care one way or another.
I guess I don’t know much that will change. Megyn Kelly came off as a dull interviewer and Jones came off as someone who says crazy shit, feigns innocence and seems barely able to control his explosive anger.
If Jones did indeed record the interview and releases the unedited footage I suspect we’ll just get more of the same.
The Alex Jones Show is on GCN.
The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the GCN Live newsroom. A guest editorial follows.
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful… to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind.” –George Orwell
This week, before jumping on the radio to now 80 affiliates in the United States alone as well as broadcasting into 53 other countries, I heard House Speaker Paul Ryan, playing off of Donald Trump, talking of his care of securing the American people from illegal immigrants and any other possible terror attacks from Muslim jihadists.
Friends, it is of interest to take note that what Paul Ryan says and what he does are a complete contradiction at every step. Matthew 23:3
Paul Ryan’s first major legislative achievement as Speaker of the House was a total and complete sell-out of the American people that masqueraded as an appropriations bill.
(1) Ryan’s Omnibus Fully Funds DACA
(2) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Sanctuary Cities
(3) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds All Refugee Programs
(4) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds All of the Mideast Immigration Programs That Have Been Exploited by Terrorists in Recent Years
(5) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Illegal Alien Resettlement
(6) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds the Release of Criminal Aliens
(7) Ryan’s Omnibus Quadruples H-2B Foreign Worker Visas
(8) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Tax Credits for Illegal Aliens
(9) Ryan’s Omnibus Locks-In Huge Spending Increases
(10) Ryan’s Omnibus Fails to Allocate Funds to Complete the 700-Mile Double-Layer Border Fence That Congress Promised the American People
It is also important for Americans that are taking this current administration for face value (Matthew 24:5, 2 Corinthians 11:14) that More than 1,400 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the united States, according to State Department figures, which is more than double the 625 Syrian refugees resettled under Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Sobarkah in during the same time in 2016.
If you like this you might like the GCN live talk radio show, Sons of Liberty.
Amazon is attempting to monopolize retailing with its acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. While Amazon started as a business unreliant upon brick-and-mortar locations, it is now realizing the products and services the company can offer is limited to the locations of its warehouses. The company even has actual bookstores now.
For instance, While Amazon’s Prime Pantry service allows customers to purchase non-perishables online and have them delivered to their front doors, Amazon does not have the ability to connect customers with fresh food, which is where the more than 400 Whole Foods stores comes in.
Amazon’s price war with Wal-mart just got a steroid injection. The only revenue Amazon was yielding to Wal-mart was on fresh food purchases. That’s no longer the case. Amazon will likely change little in Whole Foods stores to start, simply absorbing the revenue already created at those locations from the customers who would shop there regardless. But it won’t be long before Amazon updates its online catalogs with Whole Foods products that can be delivered to your door the same day you order.
Food delivery has to be the way Amazon intends to cut into Wal-mart’s grocery market share. A service that started as a way for the elderly to get their food and evolved into a means for donated food to find its way to people lacking transportation is going to make a comeback on a massive scale. Since the grocery business is such a low margin industry, Amazon can charge a premium to the customers who are already Whole Foods shoppers to not come to the store. All they’ll have to do is go online, pick their food products and wait for them to arrive at their door later that day or the next. Whether Amazon closes the Whole Foods stores entirely and turns them into order processing warehouses for their fresh food is unknown, but it’s a pretty safe bet Amazon is looking to beat Wal-mart into the food delivery market.
Wal-mart is currently the top provider of food in the nation, and by large margin because of all its locations, so there’s plenty of market share to be had by Amazon. It’s already shown an interest in catering to the low- and moderate-income American by lowering its Prime membership (which includes Prime Pantry access) to $5.99 monthly for those utilizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). That’s a pretty good indication of what Amazon intends to do.
Amazon has basically exhausted its retail market share for all demographics but one -- the poor. But when Amazon starts enticing the low-income Wal-mart shopper to forego the taxi or bus ride down to the closest store for an online order they can have delivered to their door, there will be little market share for Amazon to gain and no place for prices to move. Until that day, you can expect prices on food to fall. This includes packaged foods like General Mills and Kraft Heinz offerings that have been forced to interior shelves inside grocery stores as Americans have become more conscious and cautious of what they’re eating.
While it’s unlikely the growth of inflation will come to a dead stop due to Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, there will be a slight effect felt. Consider that Whole Foods private label, 365 brand, comes along with Whole Foods, and now that Amazon owns a private-label food brand, you can bet that label is going to be well-represented online. Amazon has been selling private-label perishables for about a year. Available food is cheaper food, and the 365 brand being available to consumers online could put Amazon in a position to compete with other private labels.
So while the effect on inflation might not be to the point that the Fed decides against acting to reach its two-percent growth target in 2018, cheaper food will certainly curtail inflation growth. Even considering real estate and rents increasing in cost, steady fuel prices that are relatively low given recent history help counteract living expenses. And with companies attempting to create an emissions-free semi-truck to change the way food is delivered to Wal-mart and Whole Foods, the cost of food could be falling ever further in the near future. You can do more than hope, though. Here are a few more ways you can save on food.
The biggest value the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods has for you, the consumer, is all the time you’ll save not standing in line at the store. We hear it all the time in America: “Time is money.” Well, companies are going to do their best to save you time like Amazon has done with its acquisition of Whole Foods because they can only cut prices so much, and making your purchase easier or more enjoyable is cheaper in the long run. If you don’t have to drive to the grocery store anymore, that’s likely an hour or so per week you have to do literally anything else. That’s four hours per week, and even if you make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, that’s almost $350 you’ll save annually. So if it costs you $6 per month for a Prime membership as a SNAP member, you’re still ahead $276.12, and you get streaming video at home. If you’re paying the full-price for Prime ($99 annually), you’re up almost $250 if you work for the country’s lowest wage. Also keep in mind that Amazon will now be able to accept SNAP and WIC benefits.
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods will have long-ranging impacts on the fresh food market and grocery market. It makes Wal-mart’s monopoly over low- and moderate-income Americans’ dollars vulnerable to the influence of Amazon. When my brother-in-law saw people getting out of cabs to go grocery shopping at Wal-mart he was stunned. “Why would you do that?’ he asked. “Well, people without transportation gotta eat, too,” I said. “And they’re not going to take a bus and haul groceries home everyday.” Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods will be good for the average American, but it could change the lives of low- and moderate-income Americans. There never seems to be access to fresh food in low-income areas. That’s why people eat so much fast food -- because it’s there. Well, now Amazon is there.
Editor's Note: An update follows.
Amazon’s next task is to apparently undermine Wal-mart's clothing sales by offering something called Wardrobe Prime, which allows online shoppers to have clothes delivered to their home to try on, and they can return what they don't like or what doesn't fit. You can sign up for when it goes live here. You'll get 10 percent off for keeping three or more items and 20 percent off for keeping five items or more.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: USA Prepares, Building America, Free Talk Live, American Survival Radio, Jim Brown’s Common Sense, Drop Your Energy Bill, The Tech Night Owl, What’s Cookin Today
This is the second of a series of articles about how the impoverished American can overcome proposed budget cuts by utilizing other services and methods.
Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut funding that provides low-income Americans with affordable housing. Specifically, the $3-billion Community Development Block grant program would be cut entirely. Of that $3 billion, 70 percent must be used to benefit low- or moderate-income persons. It prevents or eliminates “slums or blight” and addresses “community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.” I repeat, “for which other funding is not available.”
That’s not all, though. The entirety of the Section 4 Community Development and Affordable Housing Program funding -- the measly $35 million of it -- would be cut. That $35 million was distributed as grants in the following manner last year:
The HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households, would also be cut from Trump’s budget. The HOME program awarded nearly $1 billion in grants in 2016 that built affordable homes all over the country.
Also proposed to be cut is the Choice Neighborhoods program, which has funded affordable housing on blighted or empty lots all over the country. To get an idea of what they’ve built go here. (UPDATE: A cut to Section 8 billed at $300 million would actually be a cut of $2 billion given inflation and raising rents.)
The Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations that build affordable homes with volunteer labor (like Habitat for Humanity), would also cease to exist. So affordable home builders would have fewer funds to build fewer affordable homes, and fewer Americans would realize the American Dream.
You might say the government shouldn’t be in the business of providing affordable housing, but if you say that, you’ve likely never been near a project or witnessed people sleeping on the sidewalk or under bridges. And just because you don’t see it everyday doesn’t mean it’s not happening. This money is an investment in America. It provides (or if cut, provided) funding to decrease the number of homeless Americans -- 8.6 percent of which are veterans.
But now that affordable housing is on the chopping block (actually it’s always been) and there will be fewer affordable homes to go around, a lot of low- and moderate-income Americans will have to find a way to pay a higher percentage of their income in rent.
There is still hope, though. The proposed budget cuts have to get through the Senate after all, and those programs are still at work building affordable housing throughout the country. Here are three ways you can pay less in rent despite budget cuts to housing and urban development programs.
Bet you didn’t think that would be the first suggestion to save money on housing, but a mortgage on a single-family home is currently a cheaper monthly payment than a lease in most of America. I can see how much cheaper here. The Economist provided a review of America’s housing market in five interactive charts back in August of 2016, and the ratio of home prices to rents was below the long-run average.
In my area, even considering the low rent I pay because I share a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, buying a home is 23 percent cheaper than renting. I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have enough for a 10-percent down payment.” Well, you don’t need it necessarily. There state and local, down-payment assistance providers who will loan or grant you a portion of your down payment if you live in the home for a certain period. You could end up putting down the minimum three percent down by coming up with one percent yourself and getting the other two percent as a grant if you live in the home for three years.
A good rule is to never pay more than 25 percent of your monthly income to your mortgage, home insurance, and property taxes. Use a mortgage calculator to determine the maximum amount you can spend on a home, and don’t let a lender tell you different, because they will.
I attended a Home Stretch homebuyer education course to get a better understanding of the homebuying process, and you should too. Registration fees for many of the courses are waived during the month of June for National Homeownership Month, and you can even complete the course on nights or a Saturday.
These classes tend to be offered by your state’s housing finance agencies, which you can find with a Google search of “<your state> housing finance agency.” I just searched “Home Stretch homebuyer education course near me” and registered in minutes. The class was very helpful, explaining the importance of inspections, budgeting and saving for a down payment, shopping for mortgages, working with a realtor and closing the sale. You even get a manual to take home, but the best part is you’ll get the business cards of people who can help you with the homebuying process. And since these folks already take time out of their day to help first-time homebuyers, you can trust them to look out for your interests. Sure they leave their business cards for a reason, but most of them wouldn’t present at the class if they weren’t interested in helping homebuyers.
The first thing you can do before you even start shopping for a home is start saving for a down payment by putting together a budget. The more money you can put down the lower monthly mortgage you’ll pay. And you should shop for a mortgage. There are so many banks out there, which means there’s plenty of competition for your money. Don’t take the first mortgage you’re offered. You should take the best of three or four options.
People think they can handle the homebuying process without a realtor, but a realtor doesn’t cost the homebuyer anything. Their fee comes out of the seller’s fees, so there’s no reason not to employ a realtor. It’s important to have someone looking out for your interests, and just because that realtor is from the same agency as the seller’s realtor, that doesn’t mean they’re trying to screw you over. In fact, it could work in your favor.
The one thing that does cost you money is the home inspection, which is worth the $400 to $600 you’ll pay. If you waive an inspection and buy a house that’s on land being eroded and have to repour a foundation, you will have wished you paid $500 for an inspection. And always be there for the inspection. It’s probably some of the most important information you can get before buying a home.
Also your responsibility is to investigate the neighborhood where you’re buying a home. The first rule of real estate is location, location, location. Go to open houses (they’re good practice) and afterwards talk to the neighbors to get an idea what the neighborhood is like. Come back at night and check the crime statistics online. Most police departments publish a crime map on their websites. If not, call them and ask what crimes have been committed in the area lately and how often. Zillow has a 10-point rating system for the schools in the area, but it’s not a bad idea to drive by them and the parks to see what kind of shape they’re in.
Even with average home prices increasing due to a lack of supply and low interest rates, it’s not a bad time to buy considering the proposed cuts to housing and urban development budgets. Supply is expected to increase but still won’t satisfy demand, and while it’s a seller’s market, taking advantage of the relatively low interest rates before they climb could save new homeowners thousands. Homes are only going to get more expensive, albeit at a slower rate, so you might as well get in while the getting’s still good.
If you can afford to purchase a home outright, negotiating a contract for deed on a home is still better than paying rent. Paying rent doesn’t allow you to create equity in your home, but a contract for deed does. You’re going to own that place someday, but be careful to read your contract for deed carefully. Some are written so that just one missed payment can void the contract. Then all the work you put into the place that wasn’t yours yet is lost to holder of the deed. A lot of condos and townhomes can be found on a rent to own basis, and can still be cheaper than renting.
If you don’t qualify for a mortgage, you can still make renting more affordable if you rent a spare bedroom. Yes, renting more space than you need is more expensive and costs more to heat and cool, but you can make a whole lot of money in a whole lot of places renting that spare bedroom by the night using Airbnb. There are stories of Airbnb hosts making $1 million annually, but you’d need pretty nice digs to do that. But if you’re struggling to make rent (which is likely why you stumbled onto this piece), an Airbnb business can be a lifesaver.
If you’re a natural clean freak and don’t pay for water or laundry, an Airbnb business is perfect for you. All you have to do is figure out how much you can afford to pay in rent, because if the third month comes along and you don’t have half the rent because you couldn’t get enough people to reserve your spare bedroom, you won’t have a home for very long. Generally, if you're paying more than half of your income on rent, that's an unsafe place to be. But if you're going to rent your spare bedroom, you can stand to pay half of your income in rent. Whether the owner will accept your credit based on your income is another story, though.
The beauty is Airbnb does most of the work for you (for a small fee, of course, generally 3 percent of earnings). Take some pictures of your clean home and describe it, you and the location. Be honest. Don’t expect people from out of town to know what they’re getting into. You don’t want to host the people that give you bad ratings because of your location, even though they actually choose the location. If you’re in an urban area where gunshots are regularly heard, make sure people know that before they wake up to gunshots. Even community demographics can be helpful, because some people are racists, and you don’t want to host those people. Being thorough in the description of your home and location can save you from bad ratings down the road, and your rating will affect how many reservations you secure and what price you can charge.
Before you get ahead of yourself, though, call your city hall and ask them if there is an ordinance governing short-term renting or home sharing. Airbnb is not legal everywhere. Some cities have outlawed “transient lodging” or “short-term rentals,” with hefty fines accessed to those who are caught.
New York City started fining Airbnb hosts in February, but has issued only a few fines since. Basically, it’s a really hard law to enforce in large municipalities where city employees are already overwhelmed. But neither GCN Live nor I advocate illegal home sharing. I’m actually trying to change the ordinance in Bloomington, Minn. outlawing short-term rentals less than 30 days by forcing hosts to pay the same percentage in lodging taxes that hotels pay. It’s only fair, and it won’t cut too much into hosts’ profits. The city council doesn’t seem to be interested in taking me seriously, but if I get enough people to help me persuade them they’ll have to address the issue.
If home sharing is illegal in your city, move. If you can’t afford to move, you can use the following as a template to get the ball rolling on legalizing home sharing or short-term renting in your city. Of course, you’ll have to find the law governing transient lodging or short-term renting in your city code and alter it accordingly. Otherwise, you can use this to draft a letter or email to your city council:
To Whom It May Concern:
I think Bloomington’s ban on transient lodging is wrong, and I have a solution. First of all, what people do with the homes they own or rent is up to those people and their landlords, and the City of Bloomington, or any municipality, should not be allowed to limit a person’s ability to make a living.
Secondly, the current law is nearly impossible to enforce, because despite monitoring websites like Airbnb, there will still be transient lodging made available through Craigslist, WarmShowers, and other websites. People will find a way.
There’s no reason why the City of Bloomington shouldn’t profit from transient lodging, though. If every Airbnb or similar host paid the applicable lodging taxes for their location, hotels would have little reason to complain, as the people renting Airbnb rooms are more likely to camp than pay for a hotel, and the hosts would be paying the same taxes as the hotels.
I propose the following alteration to the City of Bloomington Code of Ordinances subsection 14.577.
14.577 ILLEGAL RENTALS, OCCUPANCY LIMITS AND NO SUBLETTING
An owner may adopt standards that reduce the maximum allowed occupancy of a dwelling unit from the standards set forth herein. The maximum permissible occupancy of any licensed rental dwelling unit is determined according to the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code and as follows.
(a) Not more than one family, except for temporary guests, will occupy a licensed rental dwelling unit.
(b) No one will lease, license or agree to allow the occupancy, possession or tenancy of a licensed rental dwelling unit to more than four unrelated persons.
(c) Tenants of a licensed rental dwelling unit must not lease or sublet the dwelling unit to another without the prior approval of the property owner.
(d) No one will lease, license or agree to allow the use of a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, for transient lodging, unless applicable lodging taxes are paid.
I believe that tax is seven percent for the City of Bloomington. You can find the applicable codes here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/lodgetax.pdf.
Since Airbnb hosts must pay taxes on their Airbnb income and fill out a W-9 or other appropriate tax form, collecting the tax would be as simple as applying that seven percent to the Airbnb income already reported each year. Let me know your questions or concerns.
If a member of your city council or an administrator from city hall doesn’t get back to you in a couple of weeks, contact them and ask when it will be addressed. If they say the council isn’t interested in addressing the issue, ask them when the next city council meeting is and attend. There’s always a time for public comment at those meetings, and it’s a good way to get media exposure for your cause and recruit other supporters. There really is strength in numbers, so if you show up to the next city council meeting with 20 people behind you, and every one of them takes the time to speak their mind on the issue, your city council members will have little choice but to refer your suggestion to the ordinance committee for review.
It takes months to accomplish anything in city government, so be prepared for a lot of waiting. Take solace in the fact you’re trying to improve your community by increasing tax revenue for street and sidewalk repair, etc.
So there are three ways to pay less in rent despite housing budget cuts. Next up in our series on how to navigate federal budget cuts, we’ll look at how to get around proposed cuts to energy and transportation.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Drop Your Energy Bill, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, The Tech Night Owl, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, USA Prepares, American Survival Radio, Jim Brown’s Common Sense, Home Talk
Hello friends! Today we gaze into the future and condemn and / or condone an interview that none of us has even seen (or heard). Everyone else is doing it. We might as well too! I promise I will try not to eye roll too hard at all the future gazing. (I failed to do that. I eye roll, a lot).
So what’s the deal? Who’s involved?
Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly.
Alex Jones is a controversial figure to say the least. Plenty has been written about him. He hated the Clintons and so lefty’s hated him. Then he hated Bush Jr. and suddenly lefty’s thought he was an okay dude. Then he really hated Obama and lefty’s hated him (again). Then he supported Trump and lefty’s really, really hated him. His daily radio program draws millions of listeners. His YouTube videos draw hundreds of thousands of viewers. His controversies are explosive. His daily life is over reported. He’s loved. He’s hated.
Megyn Kelly is a broadcast journalist. At first she worked for Fox and righties thought she was an okay lass. But then she dared to question then president elect Donald Trump’s sexist comments and righties started to hate her just a little bit. Then she claimed that (former) Fox chairman Roger Ailes sexually harassed her and righties hated her even more. Then she quit Fox news and joined NBC news and righties knew that she was the devil incarnate and en mass claimed, “We never liked her in the first place!”
So is set the interview of the ages. Megyn Kelly interviews Alex Jones. Sunday night, June 18th. Which -- is fine. Right? But I mean, who cares? Known broadcast journalist interviews known public figure, is not news. And it shouldn’t be news -- until the interview is actually broadcast!
I mean, why are all the major publishers (and many of the minor ones) airing piece after piece accusing one side (or the other) about, I don’t know, dumb things -- for an interview that won’t air until Sunday?
That seems a little absurd.
No, but Alex Jones is claiming Megyn Kelly is going to edit the footage. Also, he claims she’s a liar.
I hate to break it to you but, “journalist edits interview” is not exactly shocking Watergate level news. No one would read an unedited twenty page interview. No one would watch an unedited five hour interview.
Editing happens. Like, all the time. In every article or news story you’ve ever read or watched. Ever. (Except maybe for this one which goes on forever!).
Of course we live in the day and age where everyone seems to call everyone else a liar. Liberals put out news and conservatives scream, “fake news!” Conservative’s put out news and liberals scream, “Liars and the lying liars who lie about all the lies!”
Well, not everyone can be lying all the time. You know? Some of them must be telling the truth at least some of the time but that’s the problem these days. It doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Liberals only believe liberals and conservatives only believe conservatives. While libertarians, at least, think both sides are lying (and there’s something to be said about consistency).
No, you don’t understand. Alex Jones is pure as the white snow. And Megyn Kelly’s “fake news” edits make him look bad. So -- that obviously means -- she’s evil!
Okay. I can write a single answer for all current questions / comments that sound anything like this:
Alex Jones Claims Megyn Kelly Is Creating An Unfair Hit Piece / Megyn Kelly Re-Editing Interview To Be ‘Tougher’ On Alex Jones / How Alex Jones Outsmarted Megyn Kelly / Megyn Kelly Lied to Alex Jones In Pre-Interview / Megyn Kelly Exposed / Etc, and so forth, and so on.
Here is my answer to all of you:
Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the interview. Neither have you.
Alex Jones did indeed release a mashup (read, “edited”) version of the pre-interview phone call between Megyn Kelly and Alex Jones. Note the delicious irony that is about to occur! Mr. Jones is posting piece after piece, claiming Megyn Kelly is editing the NBC four hour interview -- to make him look bad. In essence, to show what a douchebag Megyn Kelly is (for, you know, editing the NBC interview to make him look bad!) Mr. Jones, in a pre-emptive strike, takes the pre-interview phone call with Kelly and -- (wait for it) -- edits it to make her look bad!
No, but seriously, Megyn Kelly is a liar! She told him in the pre-interview that the actual interview wasn’t going to be a hit piece and all the promos now make it look like a hit piece! She’s fake news!!!!!
Wait! What? What’s that you say! You have proof that a reporter -- manipulated someone in order to get them to speak on the record? I’m shocked! What new form of devilry is this? Call the FBI! This must be illegal! Right?
Except, that, no. Not so much. It might be that Kelly manipulates Alex Jones in the pre-interview, of course, we don’t know exactly if that statement is true since -- none of us have seen the NBC interview, yet. In fact, if you are just now, today, learning that reporters lure people into a false sense of security -- in order to get them on the record to expose their lies / hypocrisy / crimes -- then you, my friend, are sadly naïve.
And “fake news” does not mean, “I don’t like the sound of that news -- it must be fake!” Fake news is when a reporter manufactures or manipulates events to create a story that they know to be false or grossly misleading.
For example, Stephen Glass, a late 90’s writer for the New Republic, wrote several fake articles including, "Spring Breakdown", a lurid tale of drinking and debauchery at the 1997 Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Spring Breakdown” was a hilarious article about dumb Republican kids doing really dumb things. The problem, as you’ve no doubt surmised, is that the entire story was fabricated in Stephen’s word processor.
“In 1998, it was revealed that many of his (Stephen Glass’s) published articles were fabrications. Over a three-year period as a young rising star at The New Republic, Glass invented quotations, sources, and events in articles he wrote for that magazine and others. Most of Glass's articles were of the entertaining and humorous type; some were based entirely on fictional events. Several seemed to endorse negative stereotypes about ethnic and political groups.”
That, ladies and gentlemen -- is fake news! The horribly titled movie, Shattered Glass, is a fantastic dramatization of the events leading to the downfall of Stephen Glass. And if you Google the movie and say, “But Hayden Christensen is in it and he’s one of the worst actors to appear in the Star Wars prequels -- there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to watch it now!” I agree with you. Hayden is a terrible actor in every movie I’ve ever seen him in -- except Shattered Glass. And he’s so good in Shattered Glass (as Stephen Glass) that you’ll wonder, “He’s great! Why the F is he so bad in every other movie?”
Well, I have snotty theories about that but that’s another article entirely. And clearly, I digress.
Can you get back to the Jones / Kelly duel?
Sure. But I don’t really have much more to say. Alex Jones can claim all he wants that Kelly is going to hit piece him. We don’t know if it’s true -- because none of us have seen the interview!
Alex Jones can claim all he wants that he has the full four hour interview on tape and he’s going to broadcast it before NBC’s hit piece. Well, that’s fine. Go ahead. But we still don’t know what Kelly’s interview was going to be like. Because none of us have seen it!
But we all know the lame-stream media lies, so that means that Alex Jones is telling the truth about everything!
No we don’t. There are not two equal sides to every argument. Stop claiming that all news you don’t like is fake. Seriously, you sound silly. Megyn Kelly and NBC are going to edit the interview. In the same way that Alex Jones edits his interviews.
As for Kelly being more manipulative than Jones, or Jones being more of a liar than Kelly, or Kelly doing this, or Alex Jones doing that. Well, I don’t know! Maybe. I haven’t seen the interview.
Maybe Alex Jones is going to come off real bad. But, I posit, if he does -- it’s probably not because of the editing (but I will admit that it could be because of that). If he comes off bad it will probably be because we have hours and hours and hours and hours of recorded footage of Alex Jones saying crazy things. All of which are fair game to use for and against him. So if Jones dodges questions in an interview, it’s pretty fair for a news outlet to go to original sources of him saying crazy things.
You can also find hours and hours and hours of recorded footage of Alex Jones saying reasonable things. I know your paranoid lefty brain almost stroked out at the very thought of Alex Jones saying reasonable things. Until I mention to you that Alex Jones has been on the air for more than twenty five years, broadcasting three hours a day up to seven days a week.
That’s an enormous amount of information! So, again, I guarantee you, you can find Alex Jones saying reasonable things (especially during all those years he hated George Bush, Jr.).
As for this Kelly / Jones feud. I don’t know, man. I haven’t even seen the interview. I would write all about it if I had but I seemed to have misplaced my T.A.R.D.I.S..
I can only hope that the actual interview which airs on NBC on Sunday, June 18th is as exciting as the coverage in the last few days of what it might be about!
In a prior post I called Jose Berrios the ace of the Minnesota Twins pitching staff. Not because I think six starts proves anything, and not because I don't believe in Ervin Santana. I do. Santana gets by on pitching prowess like Greg Maddux. But Berrios can flat out miss bats, regardless of who's swinging them, and that's what makes an ace. We'll get a good indication of Berrios's development on Thursday at noon against a hot Mariners lineup that roughed up Ervin Santana, Wednesday.
This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community for foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing commercial-free play-by-play during select games.
Berrios is in a position to lift his team with a strong start. It's kind of a big spot, especially with the disarray that is the Twins pitching staff. The only thing we can honestly expect from the three other starters in the Twins rotation is that they will leave plenty of innings for baseball's worst bullpen. Even if Hector Santiago comes back and is serviceable, there's still at least three innings left in every game he starts! At least! The same goes for Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia (or anyone else). And while the Twins bullpen is terrible, all bullpens are less terrible the fewer innings they pitch.
Berrios pitched into at least the seventh inning in each of his first three starts this season. He hasn't done so since. While he allowed just four runs against the game's best Houston Astros (and that is an accomplishment), it took 105 pitches to get through five innings. He only went five and a third innings against San Francisco, the worst offense in baseball. And while he struck out eight, I think Paul Molitor would have preferred he pitch seven innings.
I know, I'm starting to sound like Terry Ryan. But Berrios must find that happy place between missing bats and kissing bats. "Strikeouts are boring. Besides, they're fascist. Throw some groundballs." Sure, it's from a movie, but it's 100 percent correct. When you have the game's best defense, you can kiss bats rather than miss them and get easy outs, especially if you work ahead in counts.
Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs raves that the Twins finally have a strikeout starter for the first time in nine years, but being a member of a team requires sacrifice. When the bulk of your bullpen arms can't miss bats nor prevent runs, the starter must do everything he can to extend his starts.
Santana has not been great his last six starts. He's allowed 18 earned runs during that span. But you know what he has done over those six starts? He's pitched 41 innings -- three more than Berrios over the same number of starts. If that trend continues, Santana will have pitched an entire game's worth of innings more than Berrios over 18 starts.
You know what else Santana does that Berrios must? He doesn't leave runners on base for the bullpen to clean up. In 14 starts, the Twins bullpen hasn't inherited one runner in a game Santana has started this season. That's huge for a bullpen that allows 29 percent of inherited runners to score.
Over Berrios's six starts, he's left three of them with runners on base, and the bullpen's inherited four runners total. That trend can't continue. The solution is to get outs with fewer pitches earlier in games to leave something in the tank for later.
When your pitches naturally move as much as Berrios's do, it's understandable that some days you just can't find the strike zone. That's when a hard fastball comes in handy. In the past, Berrios would appear visibly frustrated when he couldn't command his pitches, but this season he's acting more like Santana -- cool, calm, collected. He's getting out of jams by believing in his fastball and locating it for quality strikes. He's just not doing it late in games because it's hard to trust anything you throw when your "arm feels like Jell-O."
So while Santana struggled Wednesday, there's still plenty to be learned from his outing if you're Berrios. First, when you don't have command of your pitches early, trust your fastball. Santana got strikeouts of Nelson Cruz and Danny Valencia to get out of the first inning on Wednesday by elevating his fastball and enticing swings. Next, don't let an early mistake control your approach. There's a lot of game left and your team needs every inning you can give them. Finally, never leave a game with men on base. Santana didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning on Wednesday, but the closest he got was in his final inning. If Berrios can take these few pages from the Smell Baseball book of pitching, he will have earned the title of ace.
If you like this you might like these GCN Live talk radio shows: View from the Couch
Wednesday morning, Rep. Steve Scalise and 5 others were gunned down during a baseball practice at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, VA while they were prepping for a charity event that was to be held the next day.
Reports say Rep. Scalise was “shot in the hip” and “shot in the calf”, but had been stable upon initial treatment in the hospital. Currently we are told by MedStar Washington Hospital Center at approx. noon PT, that the House Majority Whip “was critically injured and remains in critical condition.”
Rep. Mo Brooks who was at the scene, removed his belt to apply tourniquet pressure to Rep. Scalise’s leg. This implies heavy bleeding was occurring and witnesses state Scalise, after he was shot, tried to drag his body away from the shooter, leaving a trail of blood behind.
Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Brad Wenstrup also administered first aid to the victims.
The victims, including Scalise, were:
Zachary Barth: Shot in the leg, expected to recover. Serves as Congressional staffer for Rep. Roger Williams.
Matt Mika: reportedly shot multiple times, currently having surgery and in critical condition. Serves as a lobbyist and Tyson Foods employee.
David Bailey and Krystal Griner – the US Capitol Police who exchanged gunfire with the gunman and were wounded in the process. It's been reported they are in stable condition.
The 66 year old gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, was shot, and taken into custody. He has since died of his injuries.
Many are relieved the heroic Bailey and Griner are both in “stable condition,” but deeply concerned about those in “critical condition.” Let’s break down what these descriptors mean:
“Conditions” are based on vital signs (heart rate/pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygenation) and a current medical “picture”. According to the American Hospital Association Guidelines these are divided into:
Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician and assessment.
Good: Vitals signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
Fair: Vital signs stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
However this causes confusion as many ask how one could be “critical AND stable?”
In medical settings, we say someone is “stable” when their condition is not worsening. It's a calming descriptor allowing families and friends to take a deep breath and know their loved one is not on the verge of death.
A stable patient, however could be critically injured and need intensive care. One could be stable coming out of surgery, but become unstable if an unfortunate medical incident occurs afterwards.
“Critical” specifications are given to those whose injury could have been life threatening and who needs to be monitored and tended to continuously. One may remain stable during this time.
This is a developing story:
June 14th is World Blood Donor Day. Established by the World Health Organization in 2004, World Blood Donor Day thanks donors and raises awareness for the global need of blood products. Blood banks throughout the country, including American Red Cross and United Blood Services, are holding drives to help keep their stores full for local hospitals and medical centers.
Blood products are used for trauma patients, those whose blood counts are low due to anemia, and many who suffer from blood disorders. One pint of blood could be used to save three lives. Whole blood donations can last “on the shelf” for 42 days, but platelets, which provide clotting factors, only last for 5 days.
Donors are therefore needed year round. One can donate blood every 60 days and platelets can be donated every week for up to 24 weeks a year. Although 38% of the US population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10% actually do.
World Blood Donor Day helps bring much needed blood during the summer months when less people donate. In 2016 a United States National Blood Donation Day was created along with a National Blood Donation Week, with multiple states creating state blood donation days during the first full week of September.
Doc. Daliah putting her blood money where her mouth is.
Campaigns such as these remind people that blood is needed year round.
The World Blood Donor Day slogan this year is “What can you do?”….
Give Blood, Give Now, Give Often…..
To find the nearest blood bank near you, visit:
LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.
Five people were injured when a gunman opened fire on lawmakers practicing for an annual congressional baseball game. The gunman was killed in a shootout with police.
The shooting took place at about 7:00am at a park in Arlington, VA, during practice for the annual event that pits Republicans against Democrats in a baseball game that raises money for local (Washington D.C.) nonprofits. The gunman has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a previous volunteer for Sen Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Hearing this news, Sen. Sanders immediately issued a statement: “Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”
A profile for Hodgman began to emerge -- a Facebook page believed to be Hodgkinson’s includes a lot of damning rhetoric against President Trump, including posts like, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Who was injured during the attack?
First of all, thankfully, Hodgkinson was a terrible shot and no one was fatally wounded in the shooting. Secondly, police were close enough to get to the event before Hodgkinson was able to get closer to the victims.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, shot in the hip, is in stable condition after undergoing surgery. Zachary Barth, a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) and two police officers were injured and are all in stable condition.
Mike Mika, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, was also shot -- the company released a statement saying, “Mr. Mika has been taken to a local hospital and we’re awaiting word on his condition.”
Sen. Rand Paul, who was at the practice, describes the scene as it unfolded, “After the gunman fired 50 or 60 shots, hitting Scalise and others … Everybody probably would’ve died except for the fact that the Capitol Hill Police were there, and the only reason they were there is because we had a member of leadership on our team … If Scalise wouldn’t have been on the team — unfortunately he was hit and I hope he does well — but also by him being there it probably saved everyone else’s life, because if you don’t have a leadership person there, it would’ve been no security there … (and) … if the shooter’s got several hundred bullets, and we had no weapons, and no place to hide ... he would’ve advanced on the rest of us, there would’ve been no chance. The only chance we had was that the shots were returned by the Capitol Hill Police.”