body~politic

Saturday, March 28, 2015

DADITO CALDERONE on Twitter: "When you meet at Temucula http://t.co/CVGdQrQ2An"

DADITO CALDERONE on Twitter: "When you meet at Temucula http://t.co/CVGdQrQ2An"

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn... - C. S. Lewis at BrainyQuote

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn... - C. S. Lewis at BrainyQuote



We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis132782.html

Articles: Chile -- A Rising Star

Articles: Chile -- A Rising Star



When I first started to seriously study South America -- from a mix of curiosity and an attempt to relearn the high school Spanish that I had forgotten lo those many decades ago -- I fixed on Argentina as the one South American country with the greatest historical potential. On paper, Argentina should be world power. In reality, it is turning out to be Chile.



Chile is remembered for the Pinochet dictatorship. What is forgotten is that dictatorship was not typical for Chile, which for most of its history was a flawed but working democracy. General Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende's government with its communist tendencies which ignored the constitution. One can argue whether Allende's policies wrecked Chile's economy or whether the right sabotaged the economy to force a coup -- amazingly, goods immediately appeared on store shelves after he was overthrown -- but what is clear is that both administrations were such an aberration to Chile's national temper that Pinochet had to resign from power after losing a referendum in 1988. The country is still split over the legacy.




Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/03/chile__a_rising_star.html#ixzz3VevElXoL
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

SEAN PARNELL: Obamacare flying machine begins a death spiral - Washington Times

SEAN PARNELL: Obamacare flying machine begins a death spiral - Washington Times



The Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell, the case challenging the Obama administration’s decision to award tax credits for health insurance sold through federally established exchanges, could turn on the question of whether a ruling that ends the tax credits on federal exchanges might cause something known as a “death spiral” in health insurance markets.
The good news is the answer is probably no, but the bad news is that’s only because the death spiral has probably already started.
A death spiral generally occurs when insurers are forced to raise premiums sharply to pay promised benefits. Higher premiums cause many of the healthiest policyholders, who already pay far more in premiums than they receive in benefits, to drop coverage.
When healthy policyholders drop coverage, it leaves the insurer with little choice but to raise premiums again because they now have a risk pool that is less healthy than before. But another premium increase means many of the healthy people who remained now drop their policies, too, and this continues until the only people willing to pay the now-very-high premiums are those with serious medical conditions.
The death spiral isn’t just a theory. Eight states learned this the hard way in the 1990s when they enacted two policies known as “community rating” and “guaranteed issue,” requiring health insurers to sell coverage to anyone who wanted it at the same price.
This quickly set off a death spiral because people knew they could wait until they were sick or injured to buy insurance, and premiums rose sky-high as healthy people exited the individual insurance market while the sick remained.
New Jersey enacted both community rating and guaranteed issue in 1992. By 2003, the lowest monthly premium for a family policy in the state was $3,810 and nearly 40 percent of the people in the individual market had dropped their coverage.
Obamacare includes both community rating and guaranteed issue. The hope of the politicians who passed Obamacare was the individual mandate would keep the relatively healthy from dropping insurance coverage, thereby avoiding a death spiral.
During oral arguments in King, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed concerns that not allowing subsidies in the 37 states using the federally established exchange would set off a death spiral in those states. Their fear was that while subsidies would no longer be available, and there would effectively be no individual mandate, community rating and guaranteed issue would remain.
Many commentators saw Justice Kennedy’s comments as a signal he isn’t willing to stop subsidies on federal exchanges, either because of the serious consequences of doing so or because surely Congress could not have intended to put states in the position of choosing between creating an Obamacare exchange or seeing health insurance markets destroyed.
What Justice Kennedy and many others may not understand, however, is the death spiral is probably already underway in all 50 states, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in this case.
According to the Manhattan Institute, premiums climbed by 41 percent on average from 2013 to 2014, and premiums are likely to rise sharply again after two insurance company bailout programs included in Obamacare expire in 2017.
The other sign health insurance markets are in the early stages of a death spiral is the age mix of those buying policies through Obamacare. Originally it was estimated that around 40 percent of enrollees had to be in the relatively healthy 18 to 34-year-old age segment, so their premiums could be used to pay for the health expenses of older, less-healthy enrollees. So far it appears only some 28 percent of enrollees are in that coveted age group, which also comprises around half of the uninsured.
All of this means insurers are getting a risk pool that is less healthy than expected, and more premium hikes are around the corner. While subsidies hide some from the full impact, others in the middle class will not be shielded.
It will undoubtedly take a few years to know for sure, but for anybody concerned about setting off a death spiral or thinking Congress surely didn’t intend to do so, don’t worry. It looks like it’s already here, whether Congress intended it or not.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/26/susan-parnell-the-obamacare-death-spiral-may-have-/#ixzz3Vem57nNw 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Did you know Obama just took new executive action on immigration? | WashingtonExaminer.com

Did you know Obama just took new executive action on immigration? | WashingtonExaminer.com



This week President Obama took unilateral executive action — again — to change the nation's immigration laws. Almost no one noticed.
Obama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay.
Companies who transfer workers to the U.S. through an L-1B visa have to show that those workers bring some sort of "specialized knowledge" to the job — that is, they have particular knowledge that would be hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere in the United States. Obama plans to broaden the definition of "specialized knowledge" so much that it could conceivably used to cover just about any foreign worker a company wants to bring here.


Friday, March 27, 2015

This Man Lives Alone In A Radioactive Town To Care For The Abandoned Animals

This Man Lives Alone In A Radioactive Town To Care For The Abandoned Animals

[A Pair of Paper Wings]

[A Pair of Paper Wings]



They call him Abu Azrael– it means “Angel of death” in Arabic.

Iraqi sniper with the body count of 233 takfiri terrorists.

The commander of the Shi’ite militant group: Kataib al-Imam Ali.

Killing ISIS one by one. 

The_Alchemy_Key

The_Alchemy_Key



Repeated use of the Atbash Cipher can demonstrate that 

Baphomet is the name of the intercessor between Jehovah and the 

Messiah. The Atbash Cipher produces BphOM from Jehovah (YHWH).1289 

Using the Cipher once more, Baphomet () leads to Yahushua 
BPhOMTh
1290 
(YHWShO), which means The Messiah.Thus, YHWH with the letter 

Shin means Yahushua. Baphomet is therefore the partner of Jehovah and 

route to the Messiah. Thus, Baphomet figuratively gives birth to the 

Messiah from Jehovah. Baphomet therefore fulfills the age-old role of the 

Mother Goddess in the old sacrificial king rituals. She is Wisdom or 

Sophia, who brings forth the son of perfection. Thus, the repeated use of 

the Atbash Cipher through Baphomet, gives the same answer as the 

straightforward method, Sophia.


Baphomet is therefore equivalent to the Shema or understanding 

that unites the one with God. This is the Shekhinah or the Virgin with 

Child. The contemplator who has found this understanding, himself 

becomes the Messiah or the self who has found purity. Chapter 15 

demonstrated this with St George and the Dragon.

Through this construction, the Kabbalah shows that YHWH 

encompasses the sacred marriage and the sacred son. Although Holy, the 

Virgin and child are simply component parts that unite in the Father:1291


Shema Israel YHWH Elehenu YHWH EChad.

Hear, O Israel, YHWH, our God, YHWH is one.

A 1302 English seal of the Knights Templar of England shows

Baphomet as Sophia.1292 This seal depicts the star and crescent moon of 

Islam, together with a lion and two five-pointed stars. The star and 

crescent moon of Islam symbolize God, wisdom and love. Chapter 8 

showed that the lion is the Lion of the Sun and of Judah and represents 

Q're. The two stars are Ashima representing both the moon and wisdom, 


and Anatha representing fertility and love.

Investigators did not find Baphomet but they discovered a 

beautiful casket in the possession of the Knights Templar. Inquisition 

records describe it surmounted by:

. a great head of silver, most beautiful, and constituting the 

image of a woman.

There was more than one gilded head seized from the Knights

Templar. Marseilles held one. Vienna's Imperial Museum held others 

1293
until at least 1818.

There is little doubt that Baphomet represented Wisdom as the 

Moon Goddess Sophia. Yet, she is also God the Son because the Son, as


322


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Medicine Hat basketball player allowed to use f-word last name - Calgary - CBC News

Medicine Hat basketball player allowed to use f-word last name - Calgary - CBC News



For one college basketball player in Medicine Hat, Alta., the f-word is not a profanity — it's his last name.
But for the past two years, Guy Carbagiale Fuck has been asked by his coaches to, literally, drop the f-bomb and go by "Guy Carbagiale" on the roster.
"I played in a very small city," said Fuck. "To avoid community conflict, they asked me to go by my first and middle name."
The Brazilian-born forward says his surname is actually pronounced "Foo-key" and only became an issue when he moved to the United States to play basketball.
'It's my last name, I'm proud of it. Doesn't matter if it means something bad.'- Guy Carbagiale Fuck
Fuck says his name is of German origin and means "fox" — but he agreed not to be identified by it because he was new to the country and knew it had a different meaning in English. 
By the time he moved to Canada in August 2014 and started playing with the Medicine Hat Rattlers, he had enough.
"It's my last name, I'm proud of it. Doesn't matter if it means something bad," he said.
However, Fuck was only allowed to use his real name after his team made it to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball championships in March. The team finished seventh overall.
Before that, staff from Medicine Hat College asked the city's local newspaper to only use his first and middle name in news stories about the team.
When asked if he's ever thought about changing his last name, the answer is no.
"No, no, no. I want to have kids, I want to spread the Fuck last name," he said.


Venezuela Has Earned Her Stripes as a National Security Threat

Venezuela Has Earned Her Stripes as a National Security Threat



The US federal government has declared 53 “states of national emergency” since Congress passed the National Emergency Law in 1976 — hardly singling out Venezuela. The purpose of such a provocative declaration is to give the US officials powers to prosecute and issue sanctions. Essentially, it establishes a legal precedent for specific, targeted actions against individuals and entities of interest — much like what the White House did last year when sanctioning Russian officials vis-a-vis Ukraine.+
Sanctions serve first to protect the US financial system from being injected with funds from illicit sources. That could be cash from drugs, thugs, or terrorists who increasingly use the state-sponsored financial system of Venezuela as a way to wash their money.+
Yes, sanctions are often used for political purposes, and sanctions alone should never be mistaken for a strategy. But in this case, there is an argument to be made that US officials are being prudent by stopping illicit funds from harming the business or brand of major US banks that millions of Americans rely on for their day-to-day banking. That is particularly the case when some of this ill-gotten money finds its way back into the pockets of Chavistas who use their wealth to violate human rights and persecute the political opposition in Venezuela.


Vikings sign 6-9, 351-pound Polish tackle Babatunde Aiyegbusi - Vikings Now

Harry Reid Pressured DHS to Expedite $115 Million Foreign Investors EB-5 Visa Deal Critical to Son’s Casino Client - Breitbart

Harry Reid Pressured DHS to Expedite $115 Million Foreign Investors EB-5 Visa Deal Critical to Son’s Casino Client - Breitbart



Details in this week’s Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s report reveal only part of the story behind Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) abuse of his political office in 2012 and 2013. Through a brazen intervention, Reid ultimately forced the Department of Homeland Security to bend to his will in a way that benefited his political allies and family.
The report concluded that Reid pressured a compliant DHS official to override normal departmental procedures and rush through 230 EB-5 foreign visa applications, thereby freeing up $115 million the applicants invested in the SLS Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The report did not, however, reveal the now confirmed fact that the owner of that casino project had hired Reid’s son, Rory Reid, to provide legal representation for the project.
“At the request of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, [current DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas intervened to allow expedited review of investor petitions involved in funding a Las Vegas hotel and casino [SLS], notwithstanding the career staff’s original decision not to do so,” the report found.
“The career staff noted that the purported urgency was of the applicant’s [SLS’s] own making and that the decision to expedite fell outside EB-5 program guidelines,” the report stated.
“Nevertheless,” the report concluded, “Mr. Mayorkas pressured staff to expedite the review. He also took the extraordinary step of requiring staff to brief Senator Reid’s staff on a weekly basis for several months.”
In 2007 Stockbridge/SBE Holdings purchased the Sahara, the famous Las Vegas casino built in the 1950s at the beginning of the Frank Sinatra Rat Pack era (it was the location where Sinatra’s classic 1960 movie Ocean’s Eleven was filmed) for an estimated $300 million.
Stockbridge/SBE Holdings is a partnership between SBE Entertainment and Stockbridge Capital Partners, a San Francisco based real estate investment firm. SBE Entertainment’s CEO, Sam Nazarian, is the son of one of the co-founders of Qualcomm, the highly successful telecommunications firm.
The company closed the Sahara in 2011, and announced plans to launch a refurbished new hotel at the same location when it obtained sufficient financing.
In 2012 Stockbridge/SBE Holdings hired Harry Reid’s son. Rory Reid was, at the time, a partner in Nevada’s largest law firm, Lawson, Sawyer, and Collins. He represented the company as it prepared to convert the old Sahara it purchased in 2007 to the new SLS Hotel and Casino it planned to launch in 2014.
The law firm’s 2012 year end review described the younger Reid’s critically important role in providing legal advice to the owners of the casino project:
When Sam Nazarian, [CEO of Stockbridge/SBE Holdings and SBE Entertainment] one of the most creative entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry, turned his sights on Las Vegas, he recognized the opportunity to revitalize a former Strip iconic property into a new exciting resort and the benefit of working with Rory Reid of Lionel Sawyer & Collins. Mr. Reid’s previous experience as Chairman of the Clark County Commission is put to good use assisting with general legal advice for the project and helping navigate through the maze of regulations required to access economic incentives offered on the state and local levels.
Breitbart News phoned Rory Reid at his new Las Vegas law offices on Wednesday and spoke with him briefly.
We asked him to confirm or deny press reports that he represented Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment at the same time his father was pressuring DHS officials to expedite the processing of more than 230 EB-5 visas from foreign investors who had committed more than $115 million to finance SBE’s latest project, the SLS Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“I don’t have any comment for you at all,” Rory Reid told Breitbart News.
The timing of Rory Reid’s legal representation of SBE Entertainment in 2012 and into 2013, at least, coincides exactly with the dates of his father’s efforts to pressure the DHS to expedite the EB-5 visa processing so critical to the SLS’s project success.
In April 2012, Stockbridge/SBE Holdings announced the details of a $415 million financing plan that would fund the refurbishment of the Sahara and its relaunching under the SLS Hotel and Casino name in 2014. That financing was divided into two pieces: a $300 million “first lien” loan, and a low-cost $115 million junior debt instrument consisting entirely of investments made by what would turn out to be about 230 foreign investors who secured valued green cards so they could stay in America under the controversial EB-5 visa program.
It was a sweet deal for investors in the $300 million “first lien” loan. Not only were they protected in the case of default by being in “first lien” position, they also received an attractive interest rate. And their money would be held in escrow until the $115 million in junior debt was raised from foreign investors promised EB-5 visas.
Not a penny would be spent on building the new SLS Hotel and Casino unless the $115 million in EB-5 visa junior debt was raised. If that money wasn’t in by February, 2013, investors in the $300 million “first lien” loan could demand their money back.
On April 4, 2012, Moody’s Investor’s Services “assigned a B3 Corporate Family Rating rating to Stockbridge/SBE Holdings, LLC (SBE) and a (P)B2 rating to its proposed $300 million first lien term loan. Upon receipt and review of the final documents, the provisional designation will be removed and concurrently, a B2 rating will be assigned to the first lien term loan.”
Moody’s said the failure of the proposed low cost $115 million junior debt offering could create problems for the company:
The issuer is targeting to obtain low cost junior debt through a federal program sponsored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the U.S. EB-5 visa immigrant investor program. If SBE is unable to raise funds through this program, it can obtain other junior priority, unsecured, mezzanine financing, preferred or common equity with a blended cash rate of no more than 6% per annum. Moody’s notes per these terms, it is possible for SBE to raise junior capital at a total cost greater than 6%.
Stockbridge/SBE Holdings hired JP Morgan Securities to raise the first $300 million, and the company did so in only two weeks. But from April 2012 until the end of 2013, that money would sit in an escrow account, unavailable to the owners of the proposed SLS Casino and Hotel because the second part of their financing—that $115 million in low cost debt provided by foreign investors looking for EB-5 visas—was proving difficult to close.
The problem wasn’t lining up foreign investors. The problem was getting the Department of Homeland Security to approve their EB-5 visa applications so their investments, also placed in escrow until their visas were approved, could be released from escrow and distributed to Stockbridge/SBE Holdings.
In 2012, Stockbridge SBE/Holdings hired American Dream Fund, “which operates federally approved EB-5 Regional Centers throughout the nation,” to find foreign investors, and the group succeeded in that task.
“On October 2, 2012, the first investor petition related to a proposal for about 230 investors to partially fund SLS, an LVRC [Las Vegas Regional Center of the DHS] project, arrived at USCIS [United States Citizenship and Immigration Services]. Other investor petitions followed,” as the DHS IG report stated.
The USCIS is the agency within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for reviewing all EB-5 visa applications.
The USCIS approves private companies, like American Dream Fund, to serve as Regional Centers who are authorized to present EB-5 visa petition requests.  When Regional Centers have high profile political connections it raises red flags.
George W. Ekin, the CEO of American Dream Fund, is also an investment associate with The Harris Group, a unit of the highly successful Marcus & Millichap Real Estate company.
George M. Marcus, the CEO of Marcus & Millichap, is a prolific contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. He has contributed to Senator Harry Reid’s campaigns. He has also been a major contributor to the Senate Majority PAC, a Super PAC closely associated with Senator Reid.
On August 12, 2012, Marcus contributed $5,000 to the Senate Majority PAC, according to FEC records. One month later, On September 11, 2012, Marcus contributed an additional $200,000.
In 2013 and 2014, Marcus contributed an additional $1,250,000 to the Senate Majority PAC.
American Dream Fund appears to focus on Chinese EB-5 investors. CEO Ekins is fluent in Mandarin and worked in manufacturing in China for many years until 2003.
A phone call to American Dream Fund’s Los Angeles offices goes to a voice mail system that responds in both English and Mandarin.
But American Dream Fund’s success in finding foreign investors had not yet translated into getting EB-5 visa approvals for those investors.
In 2012, S & P warned that the EB-5 financing could be problematic for the SLS project.
If SLS can’t raise most, if not all, of the $115 million in junior-priority capital via EB-5 financing and uses an alternative source of junior-priority funding, we believe that these alternative investors would likely require an additional form of compensation, in addition to 6% cash interest, such as pay-in-kind (PIK) interest, based on the risk of the project and current market conditions. If the company needs to raise any meaningful amount of junior-priority debt at current market interest rates, we believe that, based on our performance expectations, the capital structure would be unsustainable, and we would downgrade the company to the ‘CCC’ category. (emphasis added).
In late 2012 those concerns seemed to be ringing alarm bells for Rory Reid’s client, Stockbridge/SBE Holdings, the owner of the proposed SLS Casino and Hotel. Rory Reid’s father, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, appeared to echo those alarm bells in his communications with DHS.
“About two months after individual SLS investors started filing petitions, USCIS began receiving congressional inquiries about the petitions. On December 5, 2012, a member of Senator Harry Reid’s staff emailed USCIS’ Office of Legislative Affairs asking whether USCIS could expedite processing of the SLS investor petitions. By granting expedited processing, SLS petitions would move ahead of previously filed petitions,” the DHS IG’s report found.
“Senator Reid’s staff member asserted that the SLS investor petitions needed expedited processing because the terms of the bank financing for SLS required that 10 percent of all visas for the project be approved by mid-January 2013. Failure to do so would result in losing the financing for the project. At that time, 25 investor petitions had been submitted, with an additional 205 to follow,” the report said.
But DHS staffers bristled at the Senator’s interventions and application of political pressure. Their process is supposed to ensure that the foreign investors who receive approval for the EB-5 visa program have the kind of background that makes them likely candidates to be solid American citizens eventually.
“The staff member indicated that the project had already received a number of local government permits for construction, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars, which would expire in January. The staff member forwarded correspondence to USCIS from LVRC claiming that submission of the SLS petitions had been delayed because of potential changes to USCIS’ policy on tenant occupancy,” the report noted.
But despite their protests, Harry Reid’s political pressure, applied to them through the then-director of the USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, continued.
“USCIS employees complained that, in January 2013, after speaking with U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Mr. Mayorkas personally directed that USCIS expedite processing of investor petitions related to the SLS Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (SLS) even though, in the staff’s view, there was no basis for expediting the petitions,” the Inspector General wrote.
Not only did Mayorkas hold DHS employees to account, Senator Reid held Mayorkas to account as well.
“We were told that, during a January 8, 2013, phone call with Senator Reid, Mr. Mayorkas agreed to provide ‘regular’ weekly updates on the status of the SLS petitions. Staff described providing updates to members of Congress as routine, but not ‘down to that level and degree’ as with the SLS case. According to one senior EB-5 official, from January through July 2013, they were asked to provide weekly updates on the status of the SLS petitions to the Office of Legislative Affairs; these updates purportedly went to Senator Reid’s office,” the authors of the report wrote.
The political pressure continued throughout 2013.
“On January 31, 2013, Mr. Mayorkas had a teleconference with Senator Reid’s staff. Afterward, Reid’s staff expressed appreciation to USCIS officials that Mr. Mayorkas ‘took the time to call us personally, even though it was to deliver bad news.’ The ‘bad news’ appeared to be that the substantive issues could not be resolved by February 4, 2013,” the report stated.
Apparently, a sufficient number of EB-5 visas were approved in time to satisfy the banks, the owners of SLS, and Senator Reid. But the pressure continued.
“Mr. Mayorkas stated in his interview that he did not recall agreeing to provide Senator Reid with weekly updates on the status of the SLS petitions. When told we had been informed that weekly updates had been provided for six months, Mr. Mayorkas said that sounded ‘ridiculous.’ More than three months after the decision to expedite the SLS petitions, Mr. Mayorkas’ calendar listed a meeting with Senator Reid on May 6, 2013, in which he was advised that the ‘SLS expedite’ was one of the topics,” the report found.
By February 2014, all the EB-5 visas had been approved, the $115 million of low cost junior debt had been raised and construction on the SLS Hotel and Casino began.
SLS Hotel and Casino opened its doors in August 2014.
Breitbart News asked SBE Entertainment, StockBridge Capital, and JP Morgan for comment but has not received a response.
They may not be eager to answer some of the questions Breitbart News posed to them:
(1) Who were the 230 EB-5 investors that invested $115 million in the low cost junior debt that financed the SLS Hotel and Casino?
(2) Were all of these foreign investors properly vetted or do some of them present security threats to the United States?
(3) Who were the investors in the $300 million “first lien” debt financing and did any of them contribute to Harry Reid?
One thing is clear from these recent revelations about the Senate Minority Leader’s application of brute political force upon the executive branch of the federal government: Harry Reid may represent as great a threat to the rule of law in the United States of America as does President Barack Obama.

Pro 99 March

Pro 99 March



View from L.A.: Actors' Equity Association members march to protect the area's intimate theaters from their own union

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blowfish (cipher) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blowfish (cipher) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Blowfish is a symmetric-key block cipher, designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier and included in a large number of cipher suites and encryption products. Blowfish provides a good encryption rate in software and no effective cryptanalysis of it has been found to date. However, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) now receives more attention.
Schneier designed Blowfish as a general-purpose algorithm, intended as an alternative to the aging DES and free of the problems and constraints associated with other algorithms. At the time Blowfish was released, many other designs were proprietary, encumbered by patents or were commercial or government secrets. Schneier has stated that, "Blowfish is unpatented, and will remain so in all countries. The algorithm is hereby placed in the public domain, and can be freely used by anyone."
Notable features of the design include key-dependent S-boxes and a highly complex key schedule.

Juan Forero on Twitter: "More about collapsing health care in #venezuela. Radiation therapy machines are down, so mastectomies are way up. http://t.co/XC4xYZH7hw"

Juan Forero on Twitter: "More about collapsing health care in #venezuela. Radiation therapy machines are down, so mastectomies are way up. http://t.co/XC4xYZH7hw"

How The Education System Destroys Social Networks | Zero Hedge

How The Education System Destroys Social Networks | Zero Hedge



I was at a restaurant for lunch and had time to visit with the waitress, who turns out to be a college graduate from a good institution. She has a degree in European languages. Here she is waiting tables with nondegreed people, some five years her junior, some 10 years her elder.
She is making good money, but so are her co-workers. You have to wonder: given her position, what was the professional advantage to her of those four hard years in school and the $100K spent on them? What were the opportunity costs?
This is not another article to disparage the value of a college degree. I would like to raise a more fundamental question. It concerns the strange way in which our education system has overly segmented our lives into a series of episodic upheavals, each of which has little to do with the other, the value of one accomplishment being oddly disconnected from the next stage, and none of them directly connecting to our professional goals except in the unusual case.
From the earliest age until adulthood, we’ve been hurled from institution to institution in a way that eventually sets young people back from developing continuity of plans and a social support system to realize their goals. At the end of it all, people find themselves back where they started: figuring out their market worth and trying to find a buyer for their services.
Instead of drawing down on accumulated capital, they end up starting fresh at age 22. Even after years of building social capital, they are drawing down on a nearly empty account.
There is something seriously wrong with this system. Shouldn’t our investments in our friendship networks extend across and beyond the stages of our development to make more of a difference in our lives?
The post-graduation diaspora
In a couple of months, for example, many millions of high school students will graduate. Celebration! Sort of. It’s great to finish school. But what’s next?
Many students find themselves devastated to lose the only social group and friendship network they’ve ever known. They worked for years to cultivate it, and in an instant, it is blown apart. They are left with a piece of paper, a yearbook of memories, a transcript, and, perhaps a few recommendation letters from teachers — recommendations that do them little good in the marketplace.
“Don’t ever change,” they write in each other’s yearbooks. The sentiment expresses a normal longing to hold on to the investment the students make in each other’s lives, even as everything about the system tries to take that investment from them.
Is this the way it should be?
Then, the same group, or at least many among them, look forward to college, where they are mostly, again, starting from scratch in a social sense. It can be very scary. College students begin their new experience isolated. They work for another four years to develop a network — a robust social group — to find their footing and to establish both a reputation and sense of self. This is the only world they’ve known for years, and they have invested their hearts and souls into the experience.
The social fabric ends up rich and wonderful, with intense friendships based on shared lives.
Finally, after four years, the graduation march plays, the tassel is moved from one side of the cap to the other, and the whole social apparatus goes up in smoke — again. Then, another diaspora.
Once again, students find themselves nearly alone, with few hooks into the world of commerce and employment. They have a degree but few opportunities to monetize it. Their social network is of limited use to them. All they have, yet again, is a piece of paper. Plus they have recommendation letters from professors that still do them little good in the marketplace.
This not always the case. There are workarounds, and digital networking is helping. People join fraternities and social clubs, and those can be useful going forward. But it might take years for these connections to yield results. The more immediate question is this: What do I do now? Lacking a broad sense of the way the world works, and missing any influential hooks into prevailing networks, a college grad can often find herself feeling isolated once again, starting over for the third time.
The failure of the central plan
This is the system that the civic culture has created for us. For the years from the ages of 14 through 22, students’ primary focus of personal investment and social capital building is centered on their peers. But their peers are just the same as they are: hoping for a good future but having few means to get from here to there.
Why does this keep happening? Looking at the big picture, you can start to see a serious problem with the educational system politicians have built for us. It is keeping people “on track” — but is it a track that prepares people for the future?
A core principle of the education system, as owned and controlled by government, is Stay in school and stay with your class. This is the emphasis from the earliest grades all the way through the end of college. The accidents of birth determine your peer group, your primary social influences, and the gang you rely on for social support.
To be “held back” is considered disgraceful, and to be pushed forward a grade is considered dangerous for personal development. Your class rank is your world, the definition of who you are — and it stays with you for decades. Everyone is on a track as defined by a ruling class: here is what you should and must know when. All your peers are with you.
Many factors entrench this reality. The public school system is organized on the assumption of homogeneity, a central plan imposed from the top down. It didn’t happen all at once. It came about slowly over the course of 100-plus years, from the universalization of compulsory schooling, to the prohibition of youth work, to the gradual nationalization of curricula.
In the end, we find the lives of young people strictly segmented by stages that are strangely discontinuous. Where are the professional contacts that result? Where are the friends who can smooth your way into the world of professional work? They aren’t among your former classmates. Your peers are all in the same position you are in.
Laws that lock people out
The workplace might help to mitigate this problem, but it’s incredibly difficult for young people to get a regular job thanks to “child labor” laws that exclude teens from the workforce. For this reason, only one in four high school kids has any real experience outside their peer group. They miss all the opportunities to learn and grow that come from the workplace — learning from examples of personal initiative, responsibility, independence, and accountability.
There are extremely narrow conditions under which a 14-year-old can find legal employment, but few businesses want to bother with the necessary documentation and restrictions. A 16-year-old has a few more opportunities, but, even here, these young people can’t work in kitchens or serve alcohol. The full freedom to engage a larger community outside the segmented class structure doesn’t come until after you graduate high school.
By the time the opportunity comes around to do authentic remunerative work, a student’s life is filled with other interests, mostly social, but also extracurricular. Instead of working a job, people are doing a thousand other things, and there seems to be no time left. It’s not uncommon for people to graduate with no professional experiences whatsoever to draw on. Their peers are their only asset, their only really valuable relationships, but these relationships have little commercial value.
How natural is any of this?
If you look at the social structure of homeschooling co-ops, for example, younger kids and older kids mix it up in integrated social environments, and they learn from each other. Parents of all ages are well integrated too, and it creates a complex social environment. The parents know all the kids and, together, they form a diverse microsociety of mutual interests. This is one reason that homeschooled kids can seem remarkably precocious and poised around people of all ages. They are not being artificially pegged into slots and held there against their will.
A better way
When you read about the experiences of successful people in the late 19th century, they talk of their exciting and broad experiences in life, working in odd jobs, meeting strange people of all ages and classes, performing tasks outside their comfort zone, encountering adult situations in business that taught them important lessons. They didn’t learn these things from sitting in a desk, listening to a teacher, repeating facts on tests, and staying with their class. They discovered the world through mixing it up, having fabulous and sometimes weird experiences, being with people who are not in their age cohort.They drew on these experiences for years following.
The system to which we have become accustomed is not of our choosing, and it certainly isn’t organic to the social order. It has been inflicted on us, one piece of legislation at a time. It is the result of an imposed, rather than evolved, order. Why wait until age 22 to get serious about your life?  Why stick with only one career choice in the course of your appointed 40 years in professional life? Why retire at the young age of 65, just because the government wants you to do so?
Think about this the next time you attend a graduation. Are the students shedding only tears of joy? Or, in the sudden mixture of emotions, is there also the dawning realization that they are witnessing the destruction of a social order they worked so hard to cultivate? Are they also overwhelmed with the knowledge that, in short order, they will have to recreate something entirely new again? Where is the continuity? Where is the evidence of an evolved and developing order of improved opportunities?
The most important question is this: What are the alternatives?
Bring back apprenticeships. Bring back remunerative work for the young. Look beyond the central plan, and don’t get trapped. Rethink the claim that staying in school is an unmitigated good. Find other ways to prevent your heavy investments in others from dissipating; ensure instead that they will pay more immediate returns. Our friends should remain in our lives — and yield a lifetime of returns.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean : Shots - Health News : NPR








Recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states, but that doesn't mean it's a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane, according to an analysis of marijuana in Colorado.



Last May, after people began getting sick from edible marijuana products, the state of Colorado began requiring all products to be tested. Washington has mandated testing too, with a detailed checklist of items to analyze, including potency, contaminants, moisture and microbiology.



Commonwealth Foundation - Five Years After Obamacare, Charity Care Demand Soars

Commonwealth Foundation - Five Years After Obamacare, Charity Care Demand Soars



Five years later, the promises of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ring hollow for too many Pennsylvanians. The law’s numerous mandates and regulations continue to drive up the cost of health insurance, pricing needy Pennsylvanians out of the market for insurance.

JohnCornyn on Twitter: "POTUS budget v. Senate GOP budget in one chart: #BalancedBudget http://t.co/9OMzYFpVqf"

JohnCornyn on Twitter: "POTUS budget v. Senate GOP budget in one chart: #BalancedBudget http://t.co/9OMzYFpVqf"





How to Install Cinnamon from a PPA on Ubuntu 14.04 - OMG! Ubuntu!

How to Install Cinnamon from a PPA on Ubuntu 14.04 - OMG! Ubuntu!



Switching away from Ubuntu solely to toy with another desktop environment is a drastic solution. Curiosity doesn’t have to kill the Tahr.




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Heluva Bottom Carter on Twitter: "Me trying to take control of my life http://t.co/RCXfapJJNe"

Heluva Bottom Carter on Twitter: "Me trying to take control of my life http://t.co/RCXfapJJNe"

UK.gov shovels £15m into training new quantum engineers • The Register

UK.gov shovels £15m into training new quantum engineers • The Register




Opossums could save you from that deadly snake bite - CNET

Opossums could save you from that deadly snake bite - CNET



Aside from giving us the phrase "to play possum," it could be argued opossums haven't really contributed all that much to human society. That might be set to change thanks to new research. It shows that the marsupials might be the key to developing an antivenom that could not only save people from snake bites but from attacks by scorpions and from plant and bacterial toxins as well.
According to a press release about the research, opossums are apparently immune to the venom from snake bites. This got researchers curious about why that was so and whether they could harness the opossum's antivenom properties for use on humans. The first bit of research on the topic was done in the 1940s and was followed up again the early 1990s, but current researcher Claire F. Komives from San Jose State University says no one followed up on the studies to create a working antivenom therapy since then.
She and her team picked up on the research from the '90s that showed that a peptide -- a small chain of amino acids -- could neutralize snake venom. The researchers had the peptide synthesized in the lab and then injected it into mice who had been given the venom from a US Western Diamondback rattlesnake and a Russell's Viper from Pakistan. The treatment worked and the mice were protected from any ill effects.
Interestingly enough, the scientists don't know exactly how the peptides work their antivenom magic. One theory is that they bind to a protein in the snake venom that is toxic to humans and render it ineffective.
Speaking of things that are toxic to humans, Komives and her team have found a novel way to produce the antivenom. They enlisted the help of bacteria E. coli, which they reprogrammed to produce the peptide. This unique production method would allow large quantities of the antivenom to be made easily and inexpensively, which could help people in poorer areas of the globe who typically have less access to antivenoms despite a preponderance of poisonous snakes.
According to the International Society on Toxicology, it's estimated that at least 421,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes every year, with 20,000 deaths resulting. The highest burden exists in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. But before the antivenom makes it way there, the team plans to test it on mice.
The research will be presented on March 23 at the 249th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the theme of which is "The Chemistry of Natural Resources."


Maliha Mansoori on Twitter: "For those who think women in #Pakistan can just not make it... I give you all this Brave Commando. #Proud http://t.co/N1kpNeR3Wm"

Maliha Mansoori on Twitter: "For those who think women in #Pakistan can just not make it... I give you all this Brave Commando. #Proud http://t.co/N1kpNeR3Wm"

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