American Diplomats Falling Ill in China after Hearing Noises

6 Jun 2018

Here we go with this again…

A Medical Mystery Grows as U.S. Consulate Workers in China Fall Ill – NY Times, 2018/06/06

A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening American diplomats and their families — which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China — widened on Wednesday. The State Department evacuated at least two more Americans who fell ill in China after hearing strange noises, officials said.

The new illnesses in China come just weeks after American officials reported finding their first case in Guangzhou, where a consulate employee got sick after reporting disturbing noises.

The illnesses in China have broadened a medical mystery that started in 2016, when American Embassy employees and their family members began falling ill in Havana. In all, 24 of them were stricken with headaches, nausea, hearing loss, cognitive issues and other symptoms after saying they heard odd sounds. The issue has roiled relations with Cuba, which immediately fell under suspicion, and led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats.

This seems to be a growing phenomenon in Communist countries.


The Perils of Student Debt

5 Jun 2018

Now is the time the high schoolers are graduating, and many are preparing for college. Part of the preparation is figuring out the finances – which includes student loans for many. Beware of the consequences…

A GENERATION BURIED IN STUDENT DEBT – Chicago Sun Times, 2018/06/02

The weight of the roughly $80,000 in debt that Judith Ruiz would leave school with didn’t hit her when she was applying for the student loans that would finance her education at Columbia College Chicago.

Or while she was sitting in lecture halls. Or even as she walked across the stage at graduation.

But six months later, still without a job, with lenders hounding her to pay, her student loans caught up to her, and Ruiz defaulted — for the first time.

Ruiz, now 30 and living with her mother in Oak Park, is working. But she remains in default on her student loans. And that’s eating away at her.

“You think, ‘Oh, hey, I’m just going to take out a loan, and it’ll cover everything, and I’ll just worry about it later,’ like a credit card. But this is so much bigger than that. That may work for a few thousand dollars, but it’s not going to work for $80,000.”

All of this debt delays what in the past was to be expected – you graduate, get a job to support yourself, move out on your own, maybe even get married and start a family.

But with the huge load of debt, it’s too much too overcome and graduates end up back home.

The article details several different accounts of hardship resulting from the load of student debt.

Miss America Contest Removes Swimsuit Competition #2

5 Jun 2018

Wish I had read this earlier, I would have added it to the original post on this…

Miss America scraps SWIMSUIT competition and says women no longer have to wear evening gowns as chairwoman Gretchen Carlson promises contestants won’t be judged on their physical appearance – UK Daily Mail, 2018/06/05

The decision comes months after internal emails revealed former CEO Sam Haskell and board members frequently demeaned the physical appearance, intellect, and personal lives of former pageant winners, including Carlson.

Carlson, 51, was named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization just days after Haskell resigned in January.

Haskell was initially suspended from his role. At the time he denounced the Huffington Post expose and called the internal emails ‘unkind and untrue.’

‘Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable,’ he said in a statement in December.

‘The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this nonprofit. Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen.’


The Miss America Emails: How The Pageant’s CEO Really Talks About The Winners – Huffington Post, 2017/12/22

Kate Brosnahan of Kate Spade Found Dead

5 Jun 2018

Designer Kate Spade Found Dead In Manhattan Apartment In Apparent Suicide – CBS News, 2018/06/05

Designer Kate Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday following an apparent suicide, sources tell CBS2.

The body of Kate Brosnahan, 55, was found hanging by her housekeeper at 10:20 a.m. at her home at Park Avenue and 77th Street. Brosnahan achieved fame in the fashion world under the name Kate Spade.

Just last year, Coach bought the Kate Spade company in a $2.4 billion deal.

Money does not mean happiness.

Miss USA Contest Removes Swimsuit Competition

5 Jun 2018

Miss America is scrapping its swimsuit competition, will no longer judge based on physical appearance – ABC News, 2018/06/05

“We are no longer a pageant,” Gretchen Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, said on “GMA.” “We are a competition.”

In place of the swimsuit portion of the competition, Miss America contestants will now take part in a live interactive session with the judges, according to the organization.

“We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore,” Carlson said. “Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul.”

She continued, “That’s what we’re judging them on now.”

Based on where American culture is right now, this is not surprising.

And the interactive session will be a contest to see who can best articulate elite liberal talking points. I know that’s not specified, but I thought I would fill that in as well.

Google Versus Environmentalists on Issue of Stray Cats

29 May 2018

As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul – NY Times, 2018/05/26

Google never set out to threaten biodiversity in its front yard, of course. Like so many stories these days about Big Tech, this is a tale about how attempts to do good often produce unexpected consequences, and how even smart people (especially, perhaps, smart people) can be reluctant to rethink their convictions.

At Google, it is not so much that workers do not like birds as it is that they really love cats. There is an employee group called GCat Rescue that traps the cats around the so-called Googleplex. Kittens and friendly adults are put up for adoption. Less-friendly adult cats are neutered and released.

This is about how Google loves and feeds stray cats. However, the cats have been feasting on owls in the area.

“We lose the owls, we lose something else next, and then something else,” Ms. McLaughlin said. “We need biodiversity.”

Janet Alexander, a spokeswoman for the animal control group, said, “Google understands the cats are not supposed to cross the line into the park.”

The cats seem to have a different understanding.

I love the last part… the cats did not get the memo.

Boston Police Captain’s Son Arrested for Terror Plot

22 May 2018

Boston police captain’s son pleads guilty to terrorist bomb plot – Boston Globe, 2018/05/21

The son of a Boston police captain pleaded guilty Monday to plotting to use guns and homemade bombs to attack a college campus to support the Islamic State group, three years after his arrest after his father alerted the FBI.

Ciccolo was arrested in July 2015 after he received four guns he ordered from a person who was cooperating with the FBI. Boston police Capt. Robert Ciccolo tipped off authorities after his son said he wanted to join the Islamic State group.

Ciccolo, 25, was initially charged only with being a felon in possession of a firearm and stabbing a nurse in the head with a pen after he was brought to jail. But he was later indicted on attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

Ciccolo, who went by the name Ali Al Amriki, pleaded guilty to all charges. His lawyer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

I don’t think he went to the Middle East.

We need to curb their online footprint.

The FBI is not going to get everybody ahead of time.

Thank goodness the dad turned him in. Mom assumed her son was an angel.