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Who Doesn’t Like Pixar Animation?

Whether you like the story or not is one thing. But the Pixar Animation Studios took what was almost a dying art form and brought it back to life. The moment we say the bouncing desk lamp, we knew that something great could come forward.

And it did.

NOTE: The video above also has the trailer for Cars 3.



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No One Could See This Coming. (Except For Those On The Right.)

Yeah, no one saw this coming.

From the Fresno Bee:

Restaurant die-off is first course of California’s $15 minimum wage

In a pair of affluent coastal California counties, the canary in the mineshaft has gotten splayed, spatchcocked and plated over a bed of unintended consequences, garnished with sprigs of locally sourced economic distortion and non-GMO, “What the heck were they thinking?”

The result of one early experiment in a citywide $15 minimum wage is an ominous sign for the state’s poorer inland counties as the statewide wage floor creeps toward the mark.

Consider San Francisco, an early adopter of the $15 wage. It’s now experiencing a restaurant die-off, minting jobless hash-slingers, cashiers, busboys, scullery engineers and line cooks as they get pink-slipped in increasing numbers. And the wage there hasn’t yet hit $15.

As the East Bay Times reported in January, at least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September alone.

A recent study by Michael Luca at Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca at Mathematica Policy Research found that every $1 hike in the minimum wage brings a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of a 3.5-star restaurant on Yelp! closing.
(more…)

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A Short Primer On Speech – The Free Type.

Ken White of Popehat.com fame has an interesting and educational op-ed in the LA times on speech entitled: Actually, hate speech is protected speech

We’re going to cut, paste and cite some of his writing which is essentially a discussion and rebuttal of many of the cliches that one hears about speech today – especially from those who wish to silence others.

“Not all speech is protected. There are limits to free speech.”

This slogan is true, but rarely helpful. The Supreme Court has called the few exceptions to the 1st Amendment “well-defined and narrowly limited.” They include obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement, true threats and speech integral to already criminal conduct.
[….]
Merely observing that some exceptions exist does not help anyone determine whether particular speech falls into one of those exceptions. It’s a non sequitur.

Imagine you’re bitten by a snake on a hike, and you want to know rather urgently whether the snake is venomous. You describe the snake to your doctor. “Well, not all snakes are venomous,” your doctor responds. Not very helpful, it is?

“You can’t shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”

Almost 100 years ago, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. coined a version of this now-familiar metaphor. Holmes used it to explain why the Supreme Court was upholding the criminal conviction of Charles Shenck, who was jailed merely for distributing materials urging peaceful resistance to the draft in World War I. Fortunately, the Supreme Court — often led by Holmes himself — retreated from this terrible precedent, eventually ruling that speech can’t be punished as “incitement” unless it is intended and likely to provoke imminent lawless action. (more…)

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How To Make A PB&J….In Space.

Where in the world of space food preparation would we be without Velcro?

Astronauts on the International Space Station eat the same kinds of food as people on Earth—they just prepare them differently. Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough demonstrates on-orbit preparation of one of Earth’s most popular foods: the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But without bread. And without being a juggler.




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What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders?

Imagine if you will, a scenario where during the presidential debates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had switched genders. In other words, imagine Trump, with all his mannerisms and debating style was a woman, and Clinton, with all her mannerisms and debating style was a man.

Would the results have been different? Was there “gender bias?” Was Clinton’s message dismissed strictly because she was a woman?

A group of professors decided to conduct an experiment to show that gender bias. They hired two actors to play the parts of the male Clinton and the female Trump. They coached them on the candidates mannerisms and tactics. They hired another actor to be the moderator in the debates. The experiment was based on mimicking the debates with only the genders different.

What was the purpose?

Joe Salvatore, a Steinhardt clinical associate professor of educational

theatre who specializes in ethnodrama] says he and [Maria Guadalupe, an associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD,] began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.

So what happened?

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. (more…)

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Pearl Harbor Day.

wheeler_field_pearl_harbor-2Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which launched the United States into World War II. It is not that we like remembering the devastation, the death and injuries that this attack caused, but rather we remember the sacrifices of the men and women during that period of time to keep us a free nation.

Even more importantly, we remember that there are people and countries who seek to end the United States and the freedoms we enjoy. It can be argued that in many ways, the US was caught with its pants down on December 7, 1941, but it is never the getting knocked down that matters.

What matters is how you get back up.

Today there are enemies of the US who seek to kill our nation, our freedoms, and our people. We should meet them with the same resolve that came out of the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.
(more…)

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America’s Socialist Origins.

As we have just celebrated Thanksgiving which in part is founded on a feast of thanks held by the Pilgrims, it may be good to look back and see how those Pilgrims believed in a form of socialism, and how that economic system worked out in the end.

Was America once socialist? Surprisingly, yes. The early settlers who arrived at Plymouth and Jamestown in the early 1600s experimented with socialist communes. Did it work? History professor Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton shares the fascinating story.

(Courtesy Prager U.)



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Is Organic Food Worse For You?

An interesting, balanced discussion on whether “organic” food is worse or better for you than “inorganic” food.

Should you be eating organic food?




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