Category Archives: “Higher Education”

Game of Federal Government Drones

2019 is scheduled to deliver more rough times for the uninvited purveyor of your junk mail. USPS‘ first quarter report reveals a $2.08 billion loss, which is even worse than fourth quarter 2018, which noted a net loss of “$1.5 billion, an increase […] of nearly $1.0 billion compared to the same quarter last year.”

In February’s report for October through December 2018, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General Extraordinaire (below), helms an already sinking ship whose Marketing Mail (which comprises the following tree-destroying garbage “non-first class” items: printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and small parcels) explosion of $553 million to the bank was more than negated by “increases in compensation and benefits of $657 million”…

CFO Joseph Corbett, oblivious to basic math, bemoaned the “increases in transportation costs due to these higher volumes.” Fortunately (?), quarter one of 2019 saw marketing mail revenue fall by 3.9%.

Trump’s “Task Force on the United States Postal System,” chaired by entitled Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin, reported last year that “ USPS has been losing money for more than a decade and is on an unsustainable financial path.” The recommendations knocked Brennan for her apparent micromanagement deficiency, noting “USPS suffers from a lack of institutional governance. […] Between December 2016 and August 2018, the USPS Board of Governors (the Board) had no Governors [;] […] the Postmaster General managed the USPS’s financial and operational challenges without strategic direction and guidance, exacerbating management’s limited power to effect needed organizational change[.]”

Interestingly, according to CBS News, the report, which we did not read in its entirety, suggests a “new pricing model that [TRIGGER WARNING: CAPITALIST IDEAS AHEAD] would remove current price caps and charge market-based prices for mail and packages that were not deemed to be ‘essential postal services[,]’ [which] could raise costs for Amazon […]”

The evil e-commerce empire itself, incidentally, contributed to the report.

For the Bernie Sanders enthusiasts, the report also warned against any misguided foray into banking by the ailing office: “[G]iven the USPS’s narrow expertise and capital limitations, USPS should not pursue expanding into new sectors, such as postal banking, where the USPS does not have a demonstrated competency or comparative advantage [.]” [our emphasis]

The USPS website fancies the organization as “at the core of the $1.4 trillion U.S. mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.” Their self-reported $70.6 billion in revenue (which, again, fails to cover USPS’ expenses) comes out to about 5% of that $1.4 trillion.

Citizens Against Government Waste reports USPS has lost $70 billion in since 2007.

In January, the price of a “forever” stamp for first class mail was hiked by 10%, to $0.55.

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A pulmonary function lab at Duke University admitted to violating the False Claims Act by defrauding the federal government and is paying heavily. After canning a lab technician, Erin Potts-Kant, for embezzlement from Duke (that they’ll be sure to notice; gotta maintain the bottom line. for the children), the institution “discovered possible research misconduct in 2013[.]” The “misconduct” consisted of Potts-Kant’s lab bagging millions in NIH and EPA grants based on falsified data.

Erin Potts-Kant was supposed to certify the validity of the unit’s work and ensure that it fulfilled government requirements. But instead, the suit state[s], “Potts-Kant engaged in systematic and near-universal research fraud,” including, in some cases, making up data outright “in lieu of actually performing experiments.”

NPR reported in March that 17 scientific papers building on the bogus findings were forced to be retracted. The ruse also helped Potts-Kant co-author and publish 38 articles in scholarly journals with her fellow Duke researchers — which were, in turn, cited in 417 other articles when the suit was filed in 2013.

The university must pay the federal government
$112.5 million to settle the suit, but apparently not on the Feds’ initiative. They declined to tangle with the $8.5 billion endowed non-profit, a grateful participant in the federally subsidized higher education empire.

Former Duke lab analyst Joseph Thomas (above), who first reported the fraud in 2013, took it upon himself to sue the university where the government wouldn’t; he will pocket an additional $33.75 million under False Claim Act whistleblower stipulations–a cool 30%.

Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.

Duke released a statement reassuring everyone that Potts-Kant
eventually pled [sic] guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to Duke .

The ordeal has allowed Duke to give Geeta Swamy the new role of
“vice dean and associate vice provost for scientific integrity.” And hers is not the only new role!

Duke’s new Advisory Panel on Research Integrity and Excellence, to be chaired by pediatric microbiologist and former research dean of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Ann Arvin, will examine ways of “improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity[.]” 

Job creation!

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To give San Francisco credit where due, the city’s 11-member Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 with two absences to usurp the police state’s facial recognition capabilities. It is the first American city to respect this invasion of privacy.

The board’s rules committee unanimously advanced the law last week, noting it would also require city departments to get approval from the Board of Supervisors before purchasing other surveillance technology ― including license plate readers, body cameras and biometrics technology, among other items.

None of the 53 city departments may use the technology beginning next month. According to CNN, the police department dabbled with the faulty, Orwellian techniques between 2013 and 2017. It’s anyone’s guess how many stills they have stockpiled.

Related:

The airport and seaport are exempted, however, so check your makeup before getting groped by their TSA.

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Vanessa and Keana Rodel, Filipino refugees lost in the legal limbo of Hong Kong and threatened with deportation for temporarily housing Edward Snowden, achieved Canadian asylum at the end of March.

But five others remain stateless in Hong Kong after that government rejected their asylum claims in 2017. You can donate to support them here:

fortherefugees.com, the legal charity that is navigating asylum options for Snowden’s 2013 protectors

Related:


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The already flimsy legal proceedings into Robert Kraft‘s alleged postseason porking (see our previous post) continue to crumble. NFL.com reports Florida Judge Leonard Hanser has blocked prosecutors from screening hidden camera footage of Kraft honing his craft in the courtroom.

When taping the New England Patriots owner’s January jaunts at
Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the authorities“did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who did not commit crimes.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0208-usps-reports-first-quarter-fiscal-2019-results.htm

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/USPS_A_Sustainable_Path_Forward_report_12-04-2018.pdf

https://www.cagw.org/thewastewatcher/usps-losses-deepening-bold-postal-reform-wallows

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/09/forever-stamp-price-increase-among-us-postal-service-2019-changes/2510932002/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-task-force-proposes-major-postal-service-overhaul/

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/25/706604033/duke-whistleblower-gets-more-than-33-million-in-research-fraud-settlement

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2018/11/in-wake-of-prior-misconduct-allegations-duke-creates-new-research-integrity-position

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/910922

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/duke-university-settles-research-misconduct-lawsuit-1125-million

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/san-francisco-ban-facial-recognition_n_5cd1d01ce4b0e4d757395587?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGWc9Rug7mgmzTrivqESDIDht56BzY9AdzzdYmiilhNfeF_wUuqJc5wtBqJJPsgXMYPs0AiHYnqHWIfpfgiAz3xh3UiBzubrX0p75KdX2rbHrYsVqYHY10AZw4toYYcRbE31FzH6Ql3DS-uZwoAp_1W8PuDtsSDcaUZktjD_pRdd

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/tech/san-francisco-facial-recognition-ban/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/25/asia/edward-snowden-refugees-canada-intl/index.html

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001030680/article/judge-prosecutors-cannot-use-video-in-robert-kraft-case

Pop Fizz Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is back to harassing the majority to pander at interest groups.

Related:

Starting in July, the mayor has decreed that cash, consisting of cotton with no intrinsic value and subject to the whims of an unconstitutional, unaudited Federal Reserve that is appointed to manipulate the money supply, must be accepted at all* city businesses or they will be fined as “discriminatory.”

Perhaps because they gave more money to his campaign, certain industries are exempted, of course:

[P]arking lots, garages, and businesses who sell goods through a membership model – such as gyms – [are] able to continue operations as normal.

And guess who’s back under the microscope by daring create jobs from the efficiency of cashless transactions??

Councilman Allan Domb said Amazon issued a warning that they would re-consider implementing an Amazon Go store in the city if the bill passed.

[…] Amazon Go stores have no cashiers and only accept digital forms of payment.

Admittedly, the jobs will be for filthy, NSA-style behavior monitors leering at you through surveillance cameras as you negate your cashless Planet Fitness workout with a cheesecake cupcake. WE SAW YOU BRENDA GET BACK ON THE TREADMILL.

According to Tech Crunch, the store’s 100ish cameras track your body movements, but employ no facial recognition. Yet.

How is Philly’s recent push for “universal pre-K built by soda drinkers” shaping up, anyway? Likely, with generous curves.

MarketWatch reported in January on a four-year Stanford University study of Philadelphia beverage sales (including two years prior to the start of the shake down). Scanning the paper turns up some good nuggets, from the mayor’s spokesperson admitting the main objective was to raise cash, not improve health (justifying the taxation of diet drinks, but not sugar-laden juices), to the mayor’s initial demand of $0.03/ounce that was trimmed to $0.015.

While the tax successfully moved some sales to just beyond the city limits, [t]he 46% reduction in quantity sold of taxed beverages [in city limits] leads to an equivalent percentage reduction in tax revenue relative to the case where consumers continue to consume at pre-tax levels.

Also, there was no increase in the city’s sale of untaxed beverages (like water), and the artificial drop in consumption (since people just stepped outside the city to buy soda or Gatorade merely hit by sales tax, not an additional sweetened beverage tax) was decrease[d] less in low income (and high obesity) neighborhoods.

[…]

After taking into account cross-shopping, the total demand reduction is equal to only 22%. We do not detect a significant reduction in calorie and sugar intake.

Read more here:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/residents-of-philadelphia-found-a-novel-way-around-the-citys-unpopular-soda-tax-2019-01-11

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3302335

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The California Bullet Train has been delayed again by governor Gavin Newsom (below, left). Perhaps to preempt bad publicity that his family was too good for the historic California governor’s mansion in Sacramento (which Newsom reportedly ditched after holing up there for three weeks so $4.1 million in renovations could wrap on his new crib in Fair Oaks), the newly-minted Democrat, via a “State of the State” publicity appearance, bemoaned that completing the $100 billion disaster, begun during the George W. Bush administration under outgoing governor Jerry Brown, “would cost too much and take too long.”

Newsom and ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle

California will complete just the leg between Merced and Bakersfield (for now?). The original plan to link San Francisco and Los Angeles with a “bullet” speed locomotive was sabotaged from the beginning by pressure to slow down and stop in politicians’ backyards, as even far-left Vox pointed out:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/15/18224717/california-high-speed-rail-canceled

Also,

[California] set about to construct the segment connecting Bakersfield and Merced, two smaller cities in the middle of the state, as the initial segment. The idea was basically that a Bakersfield-Merced high-speed rail was so obviously ridiculous that nobody would be content to build just that and end the project, so future governments would go find billions of extra dollars somehow.

Did Newsom intend to cut his losses?

“Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it […] And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”

Guess what. The evil orange man has attempted to cut off massive federal funds ($929,000,000, which is actually a fraction of the tens of billions the completed slog would consume) towards finishing the train.

Trump tweeted that California owed the federal government about $3.5 billion for the canceled project. “We want that money back now,” he wrote. “Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!”

The Department of Transportation indeed announced they seek to recoup $2.5 billion granted for fiscal year 2010. (The 3.5 billion figure comes from 929 million + 2.5 billion = way too much to spend on a vanity project.)

“I can’t recall of any precedent,” [sic] said Art Bauer, a longtime state Senate Transportation Committee staffer who was deeply involved in the early planning on the high-speed rail. “They never claw back money. They are saying you are not getting money we committed to you.”

[our emphasis]

Incidentally, CNN argues Trump cannot repossess the funds appropriated to California High-Speed Rail Authority by Obama’s
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They need only
complete a 120-mile high-speed train track for the “initial central valley section” by the end of December 2022.

No actual trains required! Not unreasonable expectations for thirteen years of heavily-subsidized “reinvestment” in a failing industry.

Newsom bitched that Trump pulling the project plug after the Governor indicated he, himself was mostly pulling the plug constituted retaliation.

“It’s no coincidence that the Administration’s threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the President’s farcical ‘national emergency,’” Newsom said in a statement, referring to Trump’s emergency declaration to secure funding for his wall on the Mexican border. “The President even tied the two issues together in a tweet this morning. This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by. This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had declared on Twitter, “The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!”

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The Governor continues to lay down some statist policies. According to Inside Higher Ed,

Newsom is calling for a $10 million investment into a data collection system that will track Californians from kindergarten all the way into the work force.

[our emphasis]

According to Ed Source reporter Mikhail Zinshteyn, the governor’s January budget proposal publicly proposed a new layer to the state choke hold on young citizens’ prospects:

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6788865/Philadelphia-city-ban-discriminatory-cashless-stores.html

https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/21/inside-amazons-surveillance-powered-no-checkout-convenience-store/

https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Gavin-Newsom-Sacramento-Fair-Oaks-home-13556456.php#photo-16816028

https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickgleason/2018/12/14/jerry-brown-leaves-california-with-100b-train-debt-as-texas-pursues-its-own-rail-boondoggle/#7bbfc012b65d

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-gavin-newsom-high-speed-rail-train-scale-back_us_5c632372e4b0a8731aeae3d0

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/politics/california-high-speed-rail-cancel-grant/index.html

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-high-speed-rail-20190219-story.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/dont-do-it-gavin-newsom

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 12: Kansas Lawsuit Settled

The University of Kansas paid out a combined $395,000 to Daisy Tackett, whose alleged rape we reported (below) and another KU rower, Sarah McClure.

Tackett got $95,000 more.

Campus Sexual Assault–UPDATED

$165,000 (over 40%) was pocketed by Brown and Curry Law Firm of Kansas City, who represented the women in separate suits.

McClure alleged the same football longsnapper who raped Tackett in his room in 2014 groped McClure in her apartment in 2015. Both assaults reportedly occurred in the Jayhawker Towers dorm. Tackett’s lawsuit sued KU for false advertising in claiming its dorms were safe.

The longsnapper, Jordan Goldenberg Jr. (below), left KU in 2016. In an interesting twist, his KU coach, Gary Hyman, was hired by Indiana State University in February of that year. Goldenberg transferred onto the ISU team, but was removed before the season started.

Tackett and McClure alleged in their lawsuit that as members of KU rowing, they were required by the university to attend football games and encouraged to “party” with football recruits.

Douglas County District Attorney’s office found insufficient evidence in McClure’s complaint to charge Goldenberg. Tackett reported her assault after hearing McClure’s story.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article188879754.html

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article98208707.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 5: Rhodes’ House Attempts to Rewrite History; John Brennan’s New Gig; Chik-fil-A Denied Fordham University Location; Hillary’s Hack Humiliated

The National Holocaust Museum (recent landing pad for smug press-manipulator and American-sponsored Fidel Castro funeral attendee Ben Rhodes, national security adviser in the waning days of the Obama administration) withdrew a study that reportedly softened the blame on Obama for America’s complacency in the face of Bashar al-Assad‘s Syrian genocide.

Obama Pays Respects to Anti-American Communist Killer Fidel Castro

 

The study, originally slated for release on September 11, argued that “a variety of factors, which were more or less fixed, made it very difficult from the beginning for the US government to take effective action to prevent atrocities in Syria, even compared with other [STUPID PHRASE ALERT] challenging policy contexts:

Using computational modeling and game theory methods, as well as interviews with experts and policymakers, the report asserted that greater support for the anti-Assad rebels and US strikes on the Assad regime after the August 2013 Ghouta chemical weapons attack would not have reduced atrocities in the country, and might conceivably have contributed to them.

[…]

“The first thing I have to say is: Shame on the Holocaust Museum,” said Leon Wieseltier, the literary critic and fellow at the Brookings Institution, who slammed the Museum for “releasing an allegedly scientific study that justifies bystanderism.”

The Museum’s exercise in counter-factual history, he suggested, was inherently absurd. “If I had the time I would gin up a parody version of this that will give us the computational-modeling algorithmic counterfactual analysis of John J McCloy’s decision not to bomb the Auschwitz ovens in 1944. I’m sure we could concoct the fucking algorithms for that, too.”

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! Fighting Death with Destruction–April 6

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 26: Speaking of Syria…

America started “surveillance” missions against ISIS in Syria three years ago. It is unclear how many troops are deployed there now (Politico reported 500 in August), but Trump’s attack of the Shayrat air fields in April (in response to Assad’s Khan Shaykhun chemical attack) was apparently our first “direct military action” amidst the genocide. This does not include the thousands of bombs we lay on Syria annually to create more refugees help.

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Another Obama-era hack, Constitution-trampling former CIA Director John Brennan (below) became a “Distinguished Fellow for Global Security” at Fordham University’s Law School.

Image result

National Security

The private New York City institution recently backed off a proposal to bring Chik-fil-A to campus after several student groups, including the Rainbow Alliance and the United Student Government, objected.

Fordham Observer:

Representatives from Chik-Fil-A offered to collaboratively run unspecified programming with the Rainbow Alliance in conjunction with the rollout of a venue on campus. Due to continued concerns regarding this issue, however, the Rainbow Alliance unanimously voted against the proposal. Several students independently reached out to USG to voice their concerns, according to then-USG president Leighton Magoon, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17.

“If they want to bring in Chick-Fil-A, they can bring in Chick-Fil-A,” Renata Francesco, FCLC ’19 and Rainbow Alliance Co-President, said. “But we’re not going to partner with an institution, a corporation that has so strongly supported other institutions that work to destabilize and demolish movements for queer equity.”

[our emphasis]

The university apparently considered student group feedback before rejecting the proposal of food service giant Aramark to open a Fordham location.

Aramark logo.png

Late Chik-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy‘s widely-publicized defense of “traditional” marriage (between one man and one woman) in 2012 and the chain’s donations to pro-family groups aside, the Roman Catholic university also noted “the hot entree Cloverleaf station” at Ram Cafe would have to be remodeled if Chik-fil-A were allowed on campus. Additionally:

“Certainly, there were some menu concerns as it related to special diets that Chick-Fil-A did not have a lot to offer for,” [Dining Services Contract Liaison Deming] Yaun said. “They didn’t have a lot to address special diets.”

April 12–Chik-fil-A Under Assault Again at Duquesne; Wellesley Defends First Amendment Disregard and Outlines Which Genders May Apply

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And Hillary‘s “spiritual adviser,” the Rev. Bill Shillady (Shillady)(below), was caught plagiarizing. Oops.

Not-so-slim-Shady’s collection of sermons, whose forward was written by Hillary (when she wasn’t poring over What Happened, also out in September–post-presidential campaign speaking fees just don’t bank like they used to, apparently), is titled Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. It features a non-leap year’s haul of daily scripture reflections, as well “notes,” “selected responses,” “portions of [Hillary’s] speeches,” shit like that.

Abingdon Press pulled the book from stores immediately. By September 8, the hardcover was going for just under $500 on Amazon, with an average review of 2.2 stars. At the time of this posting, however, new hardcover copies cost just under $40 and the rating was up to 3 stars.

Thanks to our sources:

Holocaust Museum Pulls Study Absolving Obama Administration for Inaction in Face of Syrian Genocide

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/30/afghanistan-troop-levels-trump-242186

John Brennan Named Distinguished Fellow for Global Security

Student Groups Shut Down Chick-Fil-A Proposal

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/09/05/book-by-hillary-clintons-pastor-will-be-pulled-from-shelves-due-to-extensive-plagiarism/?utm_term=.8c45a94639b8

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/14/hillary-clintons-spiritual-adviser-apologizes-for-plagiarism-day-before-release-of-his-book-of-emails-to-clinton/?utm_term=.4b35d58b9437

https://www.amazon.com/Strong-Moment-Like-This-Devotions/dp/1501854038

Bill Nye Sues Disney

HuffPost reported everyone’s favorite politically-correct prick, Bill Nye, has leveled a lawsuit at Disney. The entertainment giant produced Nye’s publicly-propped PBS production “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the 1990s.

A Nye-ordered audit of the Walt Disney Company from last year reportedly found the fake scientist was stiffed $9.3 million since 1993 under the distribution deal.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 21–Bill Nye the Gender Guy/Girl/Continuum Plugs for Eugenics, Orgies and Monsanto

HuffPost also found another $28 million is apparently due to “Nye and his partners” from Disney, offenses unspecified.

Disney started it: according to TMZ, they asked [Nye] to return $496,000 of a $585,000 check it issued him in 2008 for “back-end profits” because of an accounting error.

Nye proceeded to audit Disney to contest the claim. And here we are.

Thanks to our source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-nye-the-science-guy-is-suing-disney-for-big-bucks_us_59a0008ce4b05710aa5b97ca?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313

Comey to Convocate and Cash In

Former FBI Director James Comey (below) has scored a lucrative part-time lecture position at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Former FBI Director James Comey has accepted a part-time position at Howard University this year, where he'll be delivering a series of lectures 

Comey will refund his $100,000 haul from the “Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy” position to offer scholarships to students from foster homes entering the historically black university.

The first appearance for the much-maligned 2016 Trump victory architect will be the September convocation for students.

The ensuing five lecture topics “will be decided after the ex-FBI chief converses with student leaders and other campus stakeholders.”

FBI Rapes More Phones (Continued)

Meanwhile, in the longstanding tradition of Washington beneficiaries, Time reports:

Comey’s tenure at Howard University will coincide with the release of his widely anticipated book, which is expected to be published in the Spring of 2018.

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According to Washington Examiner, Comey commanded the trust and approval of colleagues, as documented on score sheets from three years’ worth of FBI “internal memos” released to news organizations for fulfillment of FOIA requests (which the FBI, unlike the State Department, apparently honors).

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 3.81 or higher indicating success, Comey’s subordinates reportedly gave him at least a 3.81 on “nearly every item.” Grade inflation!

Comey received a score of 4.47 from employees when asked to grade the former director on the “trust and confidence” they have in him as a leader. The former FBI director received a 4.48 from subordinates on whether they would work for Comey again, and a 4.22 when asked if he is humble.

[???]

Employees gave Comey a score of 4.38 for being someone more interested in leading than being liked.

[our emphasis]

The scores reportedly dipped slightly this year compared to 2016.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

Christopher A Wray DOJ portrait.jpg

Comey was replaced by Christopher Wray (above) at the FBI on August 2. Five Democratic Senators voted against Wray’s confirmation, including Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

Al Franken (MN) missed the vote.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4817250/Comey-takes-position-Howard-University.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

http://time.com/4912861/james-comey-howard-university-new-position/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/internal-surveys-show-former-fbi-director-james-comey-enjoyed-broad-support/article/2631748

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00181#position

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 13: Rahm Jahm and Tax Turmoil

Sam Fullwood III over at ThinkProgress condemned Chicago thug mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s ill-advised withholding of public high school graduates’ diplomas.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 28, 31 and April 5–“Higher Education”

Mr. Fullwood’s article can be read here.

Additionally, back on July 7, the Illinois House and Senate voted to override a Governor Bruce Rauner (R) (below) veto of the financially-strapped state’s first budget in just over two years.

Bruce Rauner 2016 cropped.jpg

[According to Chicago Tribune, Rauner had planned to milk the financial crisis from the moment in early 2015 the nation’s least-solvent state descended into “budget impasse”:

“Crisis creates opportunity,” Rauner told the Chicago Tribune editorial board. “Crisis creates leverage to change … and we’ve got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change.”]

House Speaker Michael Madigan

House Speaker Michael Madigan, Democrat of Chicago, rammed through the income tax hike to dent the massive financial hole that is Springfield’s future.

A “bare minimum” 71 state House members voted to override Rauner, including just 10 of the governor’s party. Four Democrats opposed to the budget fix had to change their minds and vote with Madigan.

Similar to the 2016 plan of the state’s preeminent failure, Chicago, the band-aid on Illinois’ busted budget will involve some tax increases.

Taxing Times in Chicago

Some details:

[T]he plan includes $2.5 billion in spending cuts, including 5 percent across-the-board reductions to most state agencies and a 10 percent cut to higher education.

The personal income tax rate goes from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, which is expected to generate roughly $4.3 billion. A rise in the corporate income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent would bring in another $460 million. 

State priorities resumed:

[T]he Illinois Department of Transportation announced that road contractors can resume working on projects that were suspended days earlier. And the Illinois Lottery announced Mega Millions ticket sales had resumed and the agency has requested that it be allowed to resume sales of Powerball tickets.

[our emphasis]

And,

Also buried in the budget plan is a measure pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to shore up two [Chicago] worker pension funds, which the governor had vetoed when lawmakers passed it as a stand alone bill earlier this year.

Interestingly, Illinois will spend $36,100,000,000 in the upcoming year, down from $39,000,000,000 currently.

*

Of note, Rauner quietly vetoed some bills on August 18 that would reportedly “provide transparency” of state-run agencies, as well as let Lake County voters decide if the county board chairman should be elected at-large, establish a state-run workers’ compensation insurance company, and allow those who care for the disabled to work overtime. 

Disallowing the final point, Rauner, whose health care experience includes funding the Chicago Red Cross headquarters, noted, safeguards individual providers from being unnecessarily overworked and ensures that residents requiring long hours of care will have more than one person who understands their needs and who is capable of caring for them.”

[our emphasis]

Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D), who passed the bill, was allegedly attempting to “micromanage executive agencies,” per Rauner.

Mendoza assumed office in December following a special election victory.

The micromanaging would have required agencies to report monthly on their non-submitted bills and estimate the resulting interest payments with which they would drag down the state.

Rauner approved a bill that reportedly requires free feminine hygiene products in public school bathrooms.

*

Chicago Tribune reports the city has a net loss of residents in both 2015 and 2016–nearly 20,000 last year alone–the only top-ten U.S. metropolitan statistical area to actually decline in population over that period.

The murder rate probably isn’t helping. Chicago registered the year’s 400th homicide on July 31, for a rate of about two murders per day.

For example, during 12 hours over August 19 and 20, thirty-three Chicago residents were shot, according to Chicago Tribune. Six died.

Over the Independence Day weekend, over 100 were shot, and 15 died.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-madigan-rauner-illinois-house-tax-increase-override-met-0707-20170706-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-vetoes-met-0819-20170818-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-census-population-loss-met-20170322-story.html

http://www.newsweek.com/chicago-homicide-shooting-crime-rate-644460

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-shootings-violence-20170819-story.html

http://abc7chicago.com/news/102-shot-15-fatally-in-chicago-over-july-4-holiday-weekend/2184156/

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: March 17 and June 22: UFlorida Fans the Flames of Division; Mandates Trigger Warnings for Rational Adults

University of Florida recently started accepting applications for its “Living Learning Communities” (LLCs), not to be confused with limited liability corporations (LLCs). (The $1.46 billion-endowed Swamp is exempt from government taxes, so it can accept unlimited amounts of money from anyone anxious to lessen their own tax burden with a cool write-off.)

Apparently, these are special dorm situations at UF for students to rack up debt with an exclusive group of roommates who think more like them. College is for limiting your world view, after all.

In a Buzzfeed propaganda piece, UF lauded the LLCs’ Exclusive Networking Opportunities (“an ‘in’ to special seminars and programs hosted throughout the year”), Unreal Amenities (“3D printing”), and support of Wellness and Self-Care. Because Americans are now children until their 26th birthday, that final brochure bullet includes: “Walk and Talks” with UF faculty and staff, yoga classes, mindfulness workshops, and healthy cooking demos, as well as community amenities like dedicated lounges and study spaces, and coloring books and pencils in each LLC, UF LLCs recognize that taking care of YOU is wildly important!

Daniel Weldon, a Gator linebacker and Young America’s Foundation campus chapter founder, took exception.

We were unable to obtain the annual rent figures from the university site for the various LLCs and how they compare to the price of dorms for the commoners.

*

The university, like so many former strongholds of free speech across our self-castrated country of coddled adult-children, additionally regulated student group events by requiring an assessment of “emotional risk” for all activities.

Young America’s Foundation again gave us the dirty details. We ripped the following images from their site, reportedly reproduced from the UF office of Student Activities and Involvement:

Would anyone wager that a speaker like Charles Murray or Ann Coulter will necessitate SAI “staff presence,” and confiscatory fees from minority-opinion groups in the Gainesville gaggle?

Go Gators!!!

Thanks to our sources:

University of Florida Encourages Self-Segregation With New ‘Living Learning Community’

https://www.buzzfeed.com/ufllcs/10-reasons-its-great-to-be-a-ufllc-gator-2euof?utm_term=.al600VoaJ#.ndwEEj1lB

University of Florida Makes Students Assess ‘Emotional Risk’ When Planning Events

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 15: School Stifles Speech

Washington Post first picked up on a graduating high school senior in North Carolina who was denied his diploma for refusing to read the school’s prepared commencement address instead of his own composition.

Marvin Wright, 18, was senior class president and slated to deliver the graduation address for Southwest Edgecombe High last June.

After reportedly working for weeks on his speech, Wright was told the morning of graduation he would read the following instead:

I would like to thank all of our friends and family for being here tonight. I would also like to address my fellow graduates one last time before we leave this gym. Although we may all never be in the same room at the same time again, we will always share the memories that we created within these walls. And no matter what we all do after graduation, never forget that this is one place that we all have in common, this place is home. Congratulations graduates, we did it!

Inspiring!

“I felt robbed of a chance to say my own words.” –Marvin Wright

[I]nstead of delivering [the school speech], [Wright] took out his cellphone and read a copy of his original speech, with his friends in the audience nodding to him in encouragement.

Sitting behind Marvin, the principal, Craig Harris, immediately turned to another staff member, whispering with a look of disapproval, video footage shows.

After the applause and final procession, all of the students lined up to receive their official diplomas. But one folder in the stack was missing: Marvin’s. His senior adviser informed him the principal had removed the diploma because Marvin had read the wrong speech.

“All my friends were outside with their big yellow folders taking pictures and I was still inside, trying to get my diploma,” Marvin said. “I was really hurt and embarrassed, basically humiliated.”

The teenager and his mother, Jokita Wright, accused the school of not only censoring a student’s words but then retaliating against him by withholding his diploma. The mother complained to the principal, who explained to her that her son had missed a deadline to submit the speech to the school. Marvin says he never knew about it.

What is this, UC Irvine???

Wright apparently had left his speech on his principal’s desk that morning, and was obliged to seek out teachers for advice on writing the speech, as no guidance was provided.

Marvin did not receive his diploma for another two days, when the principal dropped it off at his home at the request of the superintendent. The principal handed him the diploma, saying only, “If your mom has any questions just give me a call.” Then he left.

Superintendent John Farrelly noted:

“There is an expectation that is communicated to all graduation speakers that the prepared and practiced speech is the speech to be delivered during the ceremony. That was made extremely clear to the speakers. The student did not follow those expectations.”

This is interesting, because according to our sources, the “prepared and practiced” speech was in fact the one Mr. Wright read from his phone.

The school might have picked a more controversial or underachieving student to publicly castigate. Mr. Wright begins his service in the U.S. Navy in October. Miami Herald notes he eventually plans to be a pediatric surgeon.

*

The school seems fine with flaunting the graduates they collectively silenced, featuring them parading the halls of local elementary schools, in costume, on the Southwest Edgecombe website.

Congratulations

At least SEHS didn’t follow the Chicago way, in which thug mayor Rahm Emanuel requires documentation of a young adult’s post-graduation plans before surrendering a high school diploma.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 28, 31 and April 5–“Higher Education”

Thanks to our source:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article156324494.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 5, 25 and June 5: Harvard Holds Hands of Highest-Achieving Millenials, Separates Student Graduations and Penalizes Online Platitudes

Harvard University announced its draconian late fees ($0.50/day!!) for library books would be eliminated beginning April 1, 2017.

Fox News caught the story in May from The Harvard Crimson.

We have witnessed first-hand the stress that overdue fines can cause for students,” Harvard administrator Steven Beardsley explained, even going so far as to declare that “Eliminating standard overdue fines…should help students focus on their scholarship, rather than worrying about renewing library books every 28 days in order to avoid fines.”

[our emphasis]

Harvard exceptionalism, ladies and gentlemen.

Related:

Harvard “Final Clubs” Finally Ruined

Additionally, Harvard performed some specialized graduation ceremonies this year. The inclusiveness of their progressive programs reportedly offers young adults the opportunity to graduate grouped by race.

Kendall Jenner Pepsi advert causes outrage and amusement on Twitter

International Business Times chose to decorate this story with a picture of Kylie Jenner handing a police officer a can of Pepsi.

For example, the Black Commencement event boasted hundreds of students and their guests:

The organisers [sic] say that the event is a celebration of “fellowship” rather than “segregation” and highlights the unique achievements of black students at an institution that has grappled with its historic ties to slavery.

Michael Huggins, a student who will receive a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts at the end of this month, told The Root that the ceremony is “an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s black excellence and black brilliance.”

He stressed that the event is not about segregation but about “building a community.”

“This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners,” he said.

[…]

All graduates will receive a shawl made of kente cloth, a representation of their African heritage, which they will wear over their graduation robes.

[our emphasis]

 

The third annual ceremony specifically for students of Latin American descent is slated for the same day.

It is unclear if these measures aimed to address recent accusations of Harvard discriminating against Asian Americans in its admissions process.

*

Harvard’s commencement speaker this year was everyone’s favorite billionaire hypocrite, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of the leading social media platform Facebook. It was not apparent from the IBTarticle whether Zucks was scheduled to address the black-students-only graduation, the Latino-students-only graduation, or the other people ceremony.

In any case, he recently filmed himself conferring with fellow disdainful billionaire progressive and Harvard dropout Bill Gates to build hype for the commencement appearance:

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg jokes with Microsoft co-founder and fellow famous Harvard dropout Bill Gates discussing his upcoming speech at the Ivy-League institution and asking him for “advice”.

 

“They know we didn’t actually graduate, right?” Zuckerberg tells Gates in the video.

*

Social media was not the best outlet for several incoming Harvard freshman, who will no longer have the privilege of joining Malia Obama as she wraps her ambitious “gap year.”

[Obama, 19, recently “lost her iPhone” at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, which directly led to her seemingly incoherent body literally being carted from the dance area.]

Motherboard reported that at least ten Cambridge-bound high school graduates had their acceptance letters yanked for spreading “R-rated memes” on the Harvard College Class of ’21 Facebook group page.

The Crimson reports that the memes in the splinter group made fun of “sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children.” One joked about lynching a Mexican child, calling it “pinata time.”

harvard memes

From The Tab.

Searching for the actual memes, we stumbled upon The Tab, which reports these images got the students booted:

harvard memes

harvard memes

We have not searched for the actual Facebook group, presuming it was deactivated and unwilling to have that on our file in Zuckerberg’s database.

This article’s title has been changed. The graduations were “separated,” not “segregated.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/05/library-fines-too-stressful-for-harvard-students-whats-next-for-our-kids.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/harvard-hold-graduation-ceremony-black-124111044.html

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/famous-dropout-mark-zuckerberg-will-finally-get-harvard-degree-this-years-commencement-speaker-1610339?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=rss-related&utm_content=/rss/yahoous/news

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/newbkw/students-lose-acceptance-to-harvard-over-racist-memes

These are the memes that caused Harvard to rescind offers to 10 incoming freshmen