Rand Paul zings Obama: PowerPoint presentations are not due process


The world turned fully upside down today when Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin heckled President Obama during a national security speech, completing the 360-degree turn begun when Code Pink presented Republican Sen. Rand Paul with a hand-made thank-you valentine. Paul had won appreciation from both sides of the political aisle for his filibuster demanding Attorney General Eric Holder clarify the Obama administration’s policy on targeting American citizens with drones. As much as the president likes to stay above the dirty business of the war on terror, Paul and others insist he display leadership on the issue of targeting American citizens.

Paul posted a brief press release in response to the president’s speech:


Paul’s stance on due process continues to flabbergast liberals who find themselves defending a rather “hawkish” President Obama and, by extension, George W. Bush. Much as MSNBC host Touré did, Media Matters’ Oliver Willis has come out of the closet as a drone program supporter, even under Bush.


Whatever it might have accomplished aside from allowing him to spike the Osama bin Laden football one more time, the president’s speech failed to settle the issue.


Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/05/23/sen-rand-paul-zings-president-obama-powerpoint-presentations-are-not-due-process/

Deep thought of the day from Obama: ‘I think you grow an economy from the middle out, not the top down.’


President Barack Obama, a community organizer who denigrated small-business owners and presided over 43 months of 8+ percent unemployment, is telling America how to increase economic growth. Some, however, are taking Obama’s trite slogan with a heavy grain of salt:

@guerilla_monkey Says guy who blew $500M on #Solyndra scam @BarackObama “I think you grow an economy from the middle out, not the top down.”

— shimauma (@shimauma2) September 25, 2012

Says guy who's never even ran a lemonade stand: MT @BarackObama: “I think you grow an economy from the middle out, not the top down.” #tcot

— Dr. Milton Wolf (@miltonwolfmd) September 25, 2012

Like hearing sobriety advice from @lindsaylohan: MT @BarackObama: “I think you grow an economy from the middle out, not the top down.” #tcot

— Dr. Milton Wolf (@miltonwolfmd) September 25, 2012

You're thinking of beer bellies. RT @BarackObama: "I think you grow an economy from the middle out, not the top down.”

— Michael Deppisch (@deppisch) September 25, 2012

How is Obama going to grow the economy with 40,000 new regulations on business Jan 1, he's not its just another lie!

— Christopher Hand (@Handcd) September 25, 2012

What exactly does this blather about “growing the economy from the middle out” mean anyway? Does President Obama really expect Americans to believe that successful innovators like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos didn’t create American jobs or improve the U.S. economy? Who knows? The media aren’t exactly pressing him for details:


By the way, Obama sort of threw the 47% under the bus:

"from the middle out, not the top down" https://t.co/9RinCyrX gee, what's NOT getting mentioned there?

— Scott Madin (@ScottMadin) September 25, 2012

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/09/24/deep-thought-of-the-day-from-obama-i-think-you-grow-an-economy-from-the-middle-out-not-the-top-down/

Not so fast: Bette Midler thrilled Calif. ‘JUST BANNED PLASTIC BAGS!!’


California has banned plastic bags? Count singer, actress and climate change alarmist Bette Midler among the giddy.

Not to remove any of the wind from beneath Midler’s wings, but her celebration is, for now, premature:


It’s not quite there:


The bill could sit on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for a while:

The measure could be politically difficult for Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes but a relatively moderate Democrat, especially on issues of concern to business.
The plastic bag ban is one of hundreds of bills the governor will act on in coming weeks. His office typically does not comment on pending legislation, and it declined to comment Friday on the bag bill.

In other words, the science is not yet settled on Midler’s tweet.



‘I know how to fill a bustier': Bette Midler asks if she should give Congress a go

Bette Midler offers definitive proof of global warming; Deniers suffer ‘extreme stupidity’

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/08/30/bette-midler-thrilled-calif-just-banned-plastic-bags-one-detail-overlooked/

But Thats None Of My Business

But Thats None Of My Business

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‘Land of the free': Michigan Gov signs ‘anti-Tesla’ bill


Sure, there are a lot of reasons to be dubious about whether electric cars are a technology that needs to be fast tracked to save the planet. That doesn’t mean the companies who make them shouldn’t have a chance to compete. Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder just signed a bill preventing Tesla Motors from using a different retail model for selling cars in Michigan. Seems like a pretty transparent political payoff to Detroit’s big automakers.

The Detroit Free Press reports: Gov. Snyder signs bill banning direct Tesla sales

Dealers have tolerated and learned to cooperate with online car shopping services such as Edmunds.com and TrueCar.com. But a manufacturer who bypasses the traditional franchise system to sell directly, either in physical stores or online, is a threat, even a low-volume automaker like Tesla.

So if someone out-innovates your business, rather than adapting to compete, just get your government cronies to make the innovation illegal.

Earlier this week Tesla CEO Elon Musk called it “anti-consumer” legislation.

Crony “capitalism.”

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/10/21/land-of-the-free-michigan-gov-signs-bill-outlawing-teslas-retail-model/

9 Ways America’s Biggest Banks Are Shrinking

Three of America’s largest banks are getting smaller. And that pattern is not likely to change anytime soon.

Three of America’s biggest megabanks — JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and Bank of America — have all been shrinking in recent years.

And disappointing fourth quarter results are a reminder that they could keep getting smaller for some time to come.

Banks have spent the last few years in a cost-cutting frenzy, thanks to new regulations that limit their ability to fund their businesses with borrowed money. The industry still isn’t as profitable as it was before the financial crisis, and the banks have paid out tens of billions of dollars in penalties and settlements since the 2008 meltdown. It’s a recipe for cost cutting, in a big way.

Here’s a few of the symptoms, as outlined in the latest round of quarterly results.

1. JPMorgan Chase got rid of almost 2,500 ATMs in the last three months of 2014.

wirednerd/Flickr / Via flic.kr

The bank’s ATM count fell 12% in the fourth quarter, partially thanks to removing some machines from CVS, Hess, and Speedway, Bloomberg News reported. The bank now has 18,056 ATMs, down from 20,513 at the end of the previous quarter.

Why get rid of ATMs? With banks looking to cut costs, cutting ATMs outside of the bank’s own branches are a natural place to start, as they have to pay rent and maintenance costs.

2. Bank of America is cutting branches.

Ryan01/flickr / Via flic.kr

Bank of America chief financial officer Bruce Thompson said that the bank’s cost-cutting efforts were “arguably the industry’s largest ever cost savings program.” A big part of that was reducing the bank’s footprint across the country. At the end of 2014, Bank of America had 4,855 locations, compared to 5,151 at the end of 2013. Not counting the bank’s legal and interest costs, the bank saved $4.4 billion from 2013 to 2014.

3. Bank of America is ending some relationships with hedge funds.

Getty Images Mario Tama

The bank’s chairman and chief executive officer Brian Moynihan responded to press reports that it was ending business relationships with 150 hedge funds by saying on a call with analysts that it was a “customer profitability exercise.” BofA had to to “constrain the prime brokerage a bit due to size because of its lower balance sheet return,” he said, adding that it wasn’t as profitable as it needs to be to justify the use of the bank’s resources.

4. And it’s also reducing its headcount.

Bank of America

5. Citi is pulling out of several countries.

Peter Baron / Via flic.kr

Citi said it reached agreements to exit its consumer banking businesses in Japan and Peru, and has plans to exit 9 other international markets.

6. Citi is also cutting branches.

Michael Daddino / Flickr / Via flic.kr

Citi said it has cut its number of branches to 3,280, down from 4,008 at the end of 2012.

7. And Citi is slashing headcount in its consumer banking business

tales of a wandering youkai/flickr / Via flic.kr

Citi said that it had 140,000 consumer banking employees at the end of 2014, down from 151,000 in 2013 and 158,000 in 2012

8. Remaining Citi branches in the U.S. and Canda will be concentrated in large cities. CFO John Gerspach said that 90% of branches were in or around New York, Boston, Washington, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Citi closed or sold 130 branches.

9. Citi is also cutting some services it provides to big investors, including hedge fund administration, prepaid cards, some transfer businesses, and adminstration for wealth managers.

Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters

Citibikes are parked in a base station during a morning snow storm in New York’s financial district February 13, 2014. A deadly winter storm moved north along the East Coast of the United States on Thursday, bringing heavy snow, sleet and rain across the Washington, D.C., and New York areas, grounding flights and shutting government offices.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/americas-biggest-banks-are-shrinking

Snort! TWC names snowstorm ‘Saturn'; Major Garrett: Oh, yeah? Uranus


Oh, my! As Twitchy readers know, CBS’ Major Garrett has quite the sense of humor.

Yes, the latest snowstorm is being called “Saturn.”

National Weather Service has upgraded Washington, #DC from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning; begins at midnight. #Saturn

— TWC Breaking (@TWCBreaking) March 5, 2013

Some aren’t fans of that storm name.

Seriously? Winter storm Saturn? We are tracking a planet now? #headdesk

— Andrew Staroska (@OHCONSERVATISM) March 5, 2013

#Snowquester > Saturn. Who names these storms?

— Adrienne (@AdrienneRoyer) March 5, 2013

I know right? It’s #snowquester. RT @seanagnew: Winter Storm Saturn?

— Daniel Wanke (@danielwanke) March 5, 2013

Heh. But, there is no dismay over Major Garrett’s option and the giggles came swiftly.

TWEET of the DAY. RT @majorcbs So… The Weather Channel has dubbed the big snow storm Saturn. My reaction #Uranus

— Nina L. Diamond (@ninatypewriter) March 5, 2013

@majorcbs That’s for making me snort with laughter randomly in the newsroom

— Leslie Bentz (@lbentzterp) March 5, 2013

@majorcbs that’s really shirty of you

— sam henry (@gubanok) March 5, 2013

There’s no business like shirty business, right, Major?

This —> RT @majorcbs: So….The Weather Channel has dubbed the big snow storm Saturn. My reaction #Uranus

— Ryan Sloane (@RyanSloaneCNN) March 5, 2013

Your winner of all Twitter today: RT @majorcbs: So….The Weather Channel has dubbed the big snow storm Saturn. My reaction #Uranus

— Doug Winship (@dawinship) March 5, 2013

BAHAHAHAHA!!! “@majorcbs: So….The Weather Channel has dubbed the big snow storm Saturn. My reaction #Uranus

— Marissa Bailey (@MarissaCBS2) March 5, 2013

Win. RT @huffpostmedia: RT @majorcbs: So….The Weather Channel has dubbed the big snow storm Saturn. My reaction #Uranus

— Laurie Beth (@TheGrottoTweets) March 5, 2013

Never change, Major.


Snort! Major Garrett: ‘The White House warned me not to write shirty’

Not f*cking kidding: Major Garrett promises his 10,000th tweet will be ‘SHIRTTASTIC’

Shirt happens: Twitterers try to make sense of Major Garrett’s shirty business

Oh dear: Major Garrett is ‘not f*cking kidding’; Updated

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/03/05/snort-the-weather-channel-names-snowstorm-saturn-major-garrett-oh-yeah-uranus/

But Thats None Of My Business

But Thats None Of My Business

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Jobs, Not Doctors, Are The Biggest Demand After Ebola

At a high-level meeting on Ebola recovery, the economy was the unexpected priority. Jina Moore reports for BuzzFeed News from Brussels.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, second from left, following a meeting on Ebola in Brussels Thierry Charlier / AFP / Getty Images

BRUSSELS — When Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prioritized West Africa’s long-term post-Ebola needs at a high-level meeting convened by the European Union, health care unexpectedly took a back seat.

“The most important long-term response to Ebola,” Sirleaf told the meeting’s 800 delegates, “rests in plans and strategies for economic recovery.”

Sirleaf outlined a regional plan first floated last month by the three countries most affected by the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak. The plan includes a hoped-for regional center for disease control and regional “emergency response capabilities.”

Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have pledged to eliminate Ebola transmission by April 15; the Brussels meeting is the first in a series of three devoted to national and international priorities for post-Ebola reconstruction. Sirleaf said the specifics of the regional plan will be presented to donors at the next meeting, to be held at the World Bank in April.

On Tuesday Sirleaf focused most specifically on the economic demands of recovery from Ebola, in remarks that broadened the focus far beyond the health sector.

“There is no doubt that this will require significant resources, perhaps even a Marshall Plan, as suggested by World Bank President [Jim] Kim,” Sirleaf told the delegates. She did not specify the cost.

Liberia’s finance minister, Amara Konneh, listed Liberia’s priorities at the meeting — covering, it would seem, every need the country faced before the disease. “We want to focus on health, the private sector, the security sector, the rule of law, education, agriculture and social services,” Konneh said.

Sirleaf later told BuzzFeed News that health care was the most important part of the future planning, with an emphasis on improving primary health care in rural areas.

“We never had the resources to bring properly trained people, or the equipment” to community level, Sirleaf said. “We want to see health care at that community level, not just at referral hospitals.

But in her public remarks, Sirleaf called for a “focus on private-sector led growth, expanding and attracting investment with the highest potential to create a large number of sustainable jobs.”

She also called on private investors to behave more responsibly.

“Our investing partners must give back more in fair taxes, fair pricing, and fair high-level job opportunities,” she said. “In turn we must do more to create a conducive environment by making it easier to do business and by better control of corruption.”

More than 800 delegates joined the day-long meeting, including: the presidents of Guinea and Sierra Leone, the other two countries still battling the epidemic, and of the Republic of Congo, which fought off four outbreaks, at a much smaller scale, between 2000 and 2005; representatives from the United States, Australia, China, and Cuba, which sent more than 150 doctors to Sierra Leone at the height of the crisis; and representatives of the philanthropic and private sectors, including the Gates Foundation and Johnson and Johnson, which is working on an Ebola vaccine.

Much of the day-long meeting focused instead on “taking stock” of the current situation, including an overview of what worked well to drive the outbreak down, from more than 300 new cases a week at its highest point last fall, to roughly 30 new cases a week in the region now.

Sirleaf told BuzzFeed News that the case drop was due primarily to “the ownership in the communities, of the community workers. We empowered them.” Sirleaf referenced in particular the incident management teams that help identify and respond to new Ebola cases. “We gave them proper training, and we put them in control,” she told BuzzFeed News.

But international efforts didn’t follow suit, according to David Milliband, president of the International Rescue Committee. Milliband told BuzzFeed News that international funding has focused disproportionately on facilities and equipment and “inverted the cart and the horse” by prioritizing international interventions for treatment, rather than local efforts at prevention.

“In the west we love to think there is a medical solution to every illness but actually in the case of an epidemic, you cannot treat your way out of an epidemic,” he said.

Millband told delegates that Ebola was “a stunning wake up call for all of us who had spent the previous decade working to build up health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia.” He said plans to rebuild national health sectors include not just training health workers but paying them “a living wage, every month, on time.”

Disputes over hazard pay, late paychecks and concerns about overly restrictive contracts led to health worker strikes in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but Sirleaf acknowledged in a press conference that health worker grievances in Liberia predate — and likely will post-date — Ebola.

“There were problems with health workers before Ebola,” Sirleaf said. “The issue will still face us even when Ebola goes.”

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jinamoore/jobs-not-doctors-are-the-biggest-demand-after-ebola

She’s A Badass CEO Now, But Wait Until You See Where She Was Just A Few Years Ago

For someone who doesn’t know her story, 32-year-old Kylie Travers likely appears as if she’s always led a life full of success.

After all, she’s a writer, speaker, mom, the founder of a successful company, and an award-winning CEO. But some would never guess that the Melbourne, Australia, resident and her two daughters, Mele and Halia, were living in a garage around eight years ago. How she was able to turn her life around is simply inspiring.

After leaving her husband over the Christmas and New Year holidays in 2009, Travers and her little girls became homeless. “Almost a year later I ended up back with my ex partner,” she said. “I became homeless for the second time in 2012 after we split a final time.”

After spending some time couch-surfing and then moving home to Canberra to save money, she decided to focus all of her energy on the blog she had started before becoming homeless. “While I was in a period of huge disbelief as to what had happened to me, I knew that the only person who could get me out of this was me,” she said.

And that she did! When she wasn’t writing and developing her blog, she was buying and selling items on eBay. She taught herself how to make money from blogging, and in 2014, she founded her own company, Occasio Enterprises, which she says “buys websites and monetizes them. It also connects influencers with people and shares blogging and finance tips.”

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Now she has won awards for her business, she speaks at events about finance, blogging, and domestic violence, and has written extremely popular blog posts about making money from home, monetizing websites, and paying off debt. “My most popular post ever was how to get the money to leave an abusive relationship,” she said.

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She credits all of it to working hard and remaining grateful despite all of her difficulties, including being homeless, being diagnosed with a rare bladder condition, and her daughters being diagnosed with learning difficulties. “You can’t change a situation,” she said. “But you can change how you feel about it.” Wise words, indeed.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/homeless-to-ceo/