May 21, 2017


Q&A

Welcome To Life At The Beach
Updated 01/17
 

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 About These Blogs

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“Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small, and the important with the less important. Without it we are lost in a world where all ideas, news, and information look the same. We cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices. “ -John Sununu 

Today there are so many talking heads who daily bombard the airwaves, magazines and periodicals with their version of events and issues that affect our lives and the world. And with so many jabbers reporting what is taking place at home and abroad, often it becomes difficult to distinguish what’s accurate and what’s not. Thus, it’s up to each of us to dig below the headlines to distinguish fact from fiction in order to make a near clean conscience decision as to what the truth might be.

These Blogs are filled with articles and opinions that is not necessarily headlines or openly discussed. It's also filled with an accumulation of insightful information for a bit more clarity of the issues, including pictures and videos for your entertainment.

It's my hope that these blogs will be an open window for a better understanding of the world around us, and through this understanding try and make life better for all. There is no one perfect way, but hopefully with eyes open we can rise above the hype and find mutual awareness that will, hopefully, resolve our differences. It’s also a place where readers, like you, can contribute to the conversation.

Blogs

Life At The Beach is strictly about opinions and information seldom included into headline news. It attempts to point beyond the headlines to allow you the reader to understand what the issues might truly be, ugly or otherwise.

Faith is pretty much a mirror of Life At The Beach. The difference, Faith Blog is spiritual without the “religion”. It’s not about converting, but solely to enlighten, as well as challenge our faith. Since faith is a personal journey it’s important to be knowledgeable of the facts in order to avoid being manipulated by a system that is prtty much void of the truth.

Odeum is all about videos, entertainment news, reviews and more. You should be aware that some content posted may be to controversial for some.

Journal and My Dezigns are my own. My Journal is filled with post from my own journey through life, and, My Dezigns, is a display of my art and crafts which is available for purchase.

- Posting Schedule -

Bi-Weekly
Sunday or Monday Holidays - Will Post The Day After
Vacation - June

Always remember, Knowledge is Power. The more you search to understand, life can be a journey filled with enlightened confidence and positive choices.

Enjoy your visit.

Mansions Of The Lord - Remebering Our Brave Men and Women



WE REMEMBER, NEVER TO FORGET
THE MEN AND WOMEN
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
SO WE CAN BE FREE. 



 Happy Memorial Day

Apr 23, 2017

Melania Trump Wins Damages From Daily Mail

The UK's Daily Mail newspaper has agreed to pay damages and costs to the first lady of the United States over an article about her modelling career.

The newspaper had reported allegations that Melania Trump once worked as an escort, but later retracted the claims.

The story was published during the US election campaign last year.

Mrs Trump accepted damages and an apology from the newspaper at London's High Court.

The article was published by the Daily Mail newspaper, and subsequently the paper's digital operation Mail Online.

In a statement, Mrs Trump's lawyer said that she is "very pleased" and "will remain vigilant to protect her good name and reputation from those who make false and defamatory statements about her".

Mrs Trump filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail in the UK, and filed against Mail Online in the US.

The payout settles the case both in New York and the UK, despite London's High Court having no jurisdiction in the US.

The US suit, filed last year, sought damages of $150m (£120m). The amount accepted by Mrs Trump in London was not disclosed in court.

However, reports suggest the payout was closer to $3m, including legal costs and damages.

In its apology, the Daily Mail acknowledged it had published "allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling".

The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually did, and later "staged" their first meeting.

"We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true," the newspaper said.

A lawyer for Mrs Trump told the London court the allegations "strike at the heart of the claimant's personal integrity and dignity".

Her lawyer said the double-page spread in August last year, titled "Racy photos and troubling questions about his wife's past that could derail Trump", featured an old nude photo of Mrs Trump from her modelling career.

"Readers of the newspaper that day could not fail to miss the article," he said.

Analysis: Amol Rajan, BBC Media Editor

And so the mighty Mail titles have been Trumped.

Well, almost. There are people in the legal profession flabbergasted at the size of the damages that Melania Trump has received from Associated Newspapers.

But given some of the figures bandied about when this case first arose, that isn't as bad as some at the Mail group may have feared.

Moreover, the Mail are pointing out that they stick by some aspects of their original story, but accept error on the most salacious: that the First Lady was an escort.

It will be interesting to see if this settlement encourages others to be more aggressive toward UK papers, and also whether it helps to spread the trend for legal action across multiple jurisdictions.

Charles Harder, Mrs Trump's lawyer, also acted for Hulk Hogan when the wrestler brought his $140m (£112m) case against Gawker Media, forcing its sale.

Compared to that, this action is small fry.

Mrs Trump's lawsuit initially said that Mrs Trump had the "unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which [she] is one of the most photographed women in the world".

Critics used the phrasing to question whether Mrs Trump had plans to make financial gains from her position as first lady.

A second version of the suit, re-filed weeks later, dropped the controversial wording.

Mrs Trump was born Melanija Knavs, in Sevnica, a small town about an hour's drive from Slovenia's capital of Ljubljana.

She was signed to a modelling agency in her late teens, and began flying around Europe and the US, appearing in high-profile ad campaigns.

She met Donald Trump in 1998, when she was 28 years old, at a party during New York Fashion week.

They married seven years later.

Shep Smith Goes All In On Trump

Breaking Through To A Suicidal Mind

by Mark Goulston, MD

Pain is pain; suffering is feeling alone in pain.

When I first started my psychiatric practice many years ago I specialized in intervening with and treating suicidal patients. That’s largely because one of my first mentors, Dr. Edwin Shneidman, who was a pioneer in the study and treatment of suicidal individuals and their families, would do consultations to still-suicidal patients (but not acutely so) who couldn’t be discharged from the inpatient wards of UCLA unless an outside psychiatrist would agree to see them. For many of those patients that outside psychiatrist was me.

Because they were still suicidal, it enabled me to be innovative in dealing with them. After a while what became apparent to me regarding many of them was how their suicidal thinking was more often connected to des-pair than depression.

By that I mean they felt unpaired with hope, i.e. hopeless; with worth, i.e. worthless; help, i.e. helpless; meaningless, useless, pointless, etc. I think you get the point. And when they felt unpaired with all of these at the same time, they paired with death as a way to make the pain go away.

Upon discovering this I realized that if I could pair with them in their des-pair and cause them to feel felt by me and less alone, they might pair with me, instead of dead.  And they might give up their suicidality, which most of them did.

To pair with them I found the following questions very helpful which often generated the subsequent answers:
  1. “At the worst that you can feel, how bad does that get?” Answer: “Horrible.”
  2. “When you’ve felt how bad it could get, how often did you feel alone?” Answer: “Always.”
  3. “And when you were feeling that horrible and alone with it, what did it make you think, feel and want to do?” Answer: “I can’t take it anymore and I have to end the pain.”
  4. “And what did you do?” Answer: “I tried to kill myself” or “I just somehow stopped before I did something self-destructive.”
  5. “If that is the case, I don’t want you to be alone with those thoughts and feelings. So I’m asking you to call me when you are feeling that way and I will do my best to listen to, hear you and keep you company. I promise, I’m not going to give you advice or solutions unless you ask me for them. So would you be willing to call me when you’re feeling like that? And by the way, if you think you’re a burden, you’re not. You’re not a burden because inside you I can see and feel the good person that you are and also that you matter neither of which you can see or feel when you’re feeling so awful.” Answer: They often began to cry with relief and with that their suicidal thoughts and feelings often lessen.
Pain is pain; suffering is feeling alone in pain. When you eliminate the aloneness, suffering that people can't live with becomes pain they can. -Psychology Today

Bird Watching

The $50.00 Lesson

Author Unknown

One typical balmy and sunny California weekend, my next-door neighbor Ted and I talked while working on our respective front yard flower beds when the thirty-something couple and their 10-year-old son, who recently moved in a couple of houses down, were on their way home from walking their dog, stopped by to chat.

During the conversation, Ted asked the son what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said he wanted to be President someday.

His parents beamed with pride!

Then, Ted asked, "What would be the first thing you would do if you became President?"

He replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

"Wow, what a worthy goal!" Ted remarked.

His parents, who were apparently staunch, young California Democrats, beamed with pride even more!

"But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that," Ted continued.

"What do you mean?" the little guy asked.

So, Ted told him, "You can come over to my house, mow my lawn, pull the weeds, and trim my hedge, and I'll pay you $50. You can then go over to the nearby 7-11 store where a certain homeless guy often hangs out, and give him the $50 to buy some food and hopefully save for a house."

After a few seconds, the boy looked Ted straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't that homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

Ted remarked, "That's exactly what the Republicans would say."

-Contributed by Ralph

Sessions Wants To Bring Back The War On Drugs

by Sari Horwitz

When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.

But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.

“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year.

The Obama administration largely ignored Cook, who was then president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. But he won’t be overlooked anymore.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.

Sessions has yet to announce specific policy changes, but Cook’s new perch speaks volumes about where the Justice Department is headed.

Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.

Crime is near historic lows in the United States, but Sessions says that the spike in homicides in several cities, including Chicago, is a harbinger of a “dangerous new trend” in America that requires a tough response.

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad,” Sessions said to law enforcement officials in a speech in Richmond last month. “It will destroy your life.”

Advocates of criminal justice reform argue that Sessions and Cook are going in the wrong direction — back to a strategy that tore apart families and sent low-level drug offenders, disproportionately minority citizens, to prison for long sentences.

“They are throwing decades of improved techniques and technologies out the window in favor of a failed approach,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). –WP

Star Spangled Banner As You've Never Heard It

Oral and Anal Sex

by Matt Agorist

The Michigan Senate passed a bill that effectively bans all forms of sodomy, anal, oral, gay and non-gay — making the acts punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Surprisingly, Michigan is not alone in this archaic and oppressive legislation. Michigan, along with Idaho, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, all have laws on the books making consensual oral and anal sex, illegal, between all individuals. Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, have only outlawed these acts if those engaged in them are gay.

The passage of this Bill is in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas declaring sodomy bans unconstitutional.

In an attempt to skirt the legal boundaries of the SCOTUS ruling, Michigan encompasses these so-called ‘sex crimes’ into the legislation on bestiality — as if the two are related in any way whatsoever.

“A person who commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature either with mankind or with any animal is guilty of a felony,” reads SB 219. -Free Thought Project

Americans Are Embarrassed By President Trump

by Philip Bump

For those interested in seeking adulation and acclaim, it’s easy to see why running for president might hold appeal. For a year, two years, you get to be one of the most-talked about people in the most powerful country in the world; on the off-chance that your bid is successful, you then get to extend that attention streak for four more years. That’s six years, minimum, that the country — if not the world — is holding you at the forefront of its attention and consideration.

But there is a downside: The country may not like what it sees.

Two polls released this week offer that downside to President Trump. New surveys from Quinnipiac University and McClatchy-Marist reveal that Trump — never terribly popular nationally — continues to be seen as dishonest, a poor leader and unstable.

What’s more, the U.S. is embarrassed by him.


Note, as will be the case throughout these results, that there’s a wide partisan split on this question. Democrats almost uniformly describe themselves as embarrassed. Republicans describe themselves as proud. (According to the pollsters, those feelings are strong among those who describe themselves as stronger partisans, too.) Overall, though, thanks in part to a majority of independents saying that they’re embarrassed, 58 percent of the country uses that term to describe its feelings about Trump’s first month in office.

What’s more, Quinnipiac’s polling found that concerns about Trump’s personality that haunted him throughout the campaign have not been ameliorated much.

A majority of Americans still see Trump as not honest.


A majority of Americans see Trump as lacking leadership skills.


A majority of Americans still see Trump as not being level-headed.


A majority of Americans do see him as intelligent …


… but a majority also think that Trump doesn’t share their values.


Trump has continually insisted — despite not moderating his aggressive campaign rhetoric at any point and despite moving quickly and unilaterally to make his pledges reality — that he seeks to unify the United States. So far, Americans don’t think he’s being very successful.


Trump won the presidency by embracing a core group of conservative Republicans that has continued to stand staunchly by his side ever since — and doing little to lure anyone else to his side. He won by running against a flawed Democratic candidate who won more votes — as predicted by national polls like the ones cited above — but fumbled the electoral college. If Trump’s desired outcome was to advance to the presidency and then lead an adoring nation through four ecstatic years, polling suggests that he hasn’t yet figured out how to make that happen.

Given that Americans see him as divisive, hot-tempered, dishonest and adrift from their values, polling also suggests that the country is skeptical that he can. –WP

Canadian Pork Loin Chops

Recipe by: WestCoastMom

"I came up with this recipe as I love maple and mustard. We wanted to add more flavor and not dry out the boneless loin chops. Spice rub marinade, lightly breaded with a maple-mustard glaze, and cooked in garlic-flavored oil - a great Canadian recipe! This is also great on the BBQ. Perfect with roasted potatoes and a coleslaw."

Ingredients:

Spice Rub
:

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
6 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick

Glaze:

1/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably dark amber (Grade B)
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch paprika
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove clove garlic, crushed

Directions:
  • Whisk brown sugar, sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, dry mustard, and fennel seeds together in a small bowl.
  • Pat pork loin chops dry with a paper towel. Score the meat on both sides, 1/8-inch deep in cross-hatch lines spaced 1/2-inch apart, with a sharp knife; rub spice mixture onto all sides of pork chops and into scored lines. Cover chops; refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Whisk maple syrup, brown mustard, pinch of garlic powder, pinch of paprika, pinch of black pepper, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Coat pork chops on all sides with seasoned bread crumbs.Heat olive oil and canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir garlic into pan, and cook until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute; remove garlic from pan and discard.
  • Place pork chops into skillet in batches to avoid crowding; cook chops until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Return all pork chops to skillet; reduce heat to medium. Drizzle half the maple syrup mixture over pork chops. Turn chops and cook until glazed, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle remaining maple syrup mixture over pork chops; turn and cook until glazed, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low; cover pork chops and cook until slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).
Footnotes

Cook's Notes:

The breading is to be very light, just enough coating to keep the moisture and seasonings in. Just remember to not the crowd the pan so the coating crisps up evenly. This can be used for thicker chops or bone-in chops; adjust cooking times.

If grilling outdoors, lightly oil the rack and spray the outside of the chops with oil after coating with bread crumbs. Grill on both sides until crisp, then baste both sides with the maple mustard glaze, flipping frequently until cooked through.

Tip

Parchment can be used for easier cleanup/removal from the pan.

Allrecipes

Apr 9, 2017

Mar 26, 2017

Trump Cuts Funding To Heat Assistance

President Trump’s new budget is devastating to the weak and vulnerable. In his latest attack, Trump is cutting heat assistance to the poor because it’s a “lower impact program.”

The Trump budget cuts many social programs deeply. One of those programs is the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

This program helps millions of Americans around the country. 75% of the households that get assistance are elderly, disabled, or have a child.

Of course, Trump doesn’t care about helping the poor, elderly, or disabled. He wants to give tax gifts to his rich friends instead.

So Trump’s budget completely eliminates LIHEAP. This move literally leaves millions of low-income Americans out in the cold.

Trump gives a baffling reason for eliminating the program. He said, “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.”

I doubt that those that live in the northern states feel that it’s lower impact. Many low-income families in these states rely on LIHEAP to make it through the winter.

Just consider the statistics from 2013. In North Dakota, 13,036 families received assistance from LIHEAP.

In Michigan alone, 623,549 families were helped by the program. And in Maine, 44,556 relied on the heating assistance they needed from LIHEAP.

The Trump administration’s elimination of this program will hit cities like Buffalo and Chicago hard. It’s not clear how Trump expects these families to make it through the next winter.

Trump doesn’t seem to think that LIHEAP has any tangible economic benefit. Since it doesn’t make money or create jobs, it must be “low-impact.”

But Trump doesn’t seem to understand that there’s more to his job in government than just creating jobs or helping his rich friends. Many of these programs are meant to help people, especially poor Americans who have few options.

This is also a low-cost program for the government. LIHEAP cost the government $3.4 billion last year, which is just a few percentage points out of the huge federal budget.

Cutting LIHEAP won’t save the government much money. But it will hurt millions of Americans around the country.

Conversely, Trump’s budget increases military spending by billions of dollars. This is money the Pentagon didn’t even request!

Trump aims to turn our country into a military state, and he’ll fund it on the backs of the poor.

He also plans to cut taxes for the richest Americans. Meanwhile, millions of Americans will struggle to avoid freezing to death.

The only hope these people have is that Trump’s oil policy and cuts to the EPA will speed up global warming. Unfortunately, this will also cause many other problems in spite of Trump’s denials about climate change.

Trump is the reverse Robin Hood. He steals from the poor and gives to the rich, and himself.

Congress still needs to approve the elimination of LIHEAP, and that’s where the northern states will fight Trump. The states have fought against cuts to LIHEAP in Congress before, and have been very successful

The northern states are going to fight the elimination of LIHEAP again, and we need to stand with them. Please spread the word about Trump’s war on the poor and elderly by sharing this story on Facebook. –Learn Progress

‘Taking Back America’

by LaMonte M. Fowler

I feel the need to drop a little truth on y’all. So buckle up... I’m about to be politically incorrect.

We don’t need to take America back. No one stole it. It’s right here... you’re sitting in it. Chillax.

Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall, and we’re not going to deport millions of people and break up families. If you think either one is a good idea, you’re not smart and probably not a person I want to hang out with.

We don’t live in a democracy. Technically we are a Federal Republic. But in reality, we are ruled by an oligarchy. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Reading will do you good. You probably need to do more of it.

FoxNews, CNN and MSNBC have an agenda and are not “fair and balanced” or in any way unbiased. I’ll reiterate... read more. Read newspapers (even online ones). Read lots of opinions and sources and then (stay with me here), THINK! Form your own opinion based on as many facts as your can brain can tolerate.

Speaking of facts... there actually is a difference between facts, opinions and propaganda. You should learn the difference. (Another opportunity to show off your mad reading skills.)

Science is real. We know things because of science. Don’t be afraid of it. You have an iPhone and Facebook because of science. It’s your friend.

Global warming or “climate change” as the cool kids call it IS REAL. Anyone who tells you it’s not real is not a smart person and probably should not be dressing themselves or caring for children.

Racism exists. And you are probably a little racist and should work on that. Seriously.

    “American Christians are not under attack. ... No one is trying to take your bible away from you.”

American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families — we don’t need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.

Poor people need help. If you’re not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.

Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don’t send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.

You don’t know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don’t unless you’re a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can’t do the math anyway.

ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.

Guns do in fact kill people. That’s what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won’t need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.

If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously... get some training because you still don’t know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It’s a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God’s sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.

If you are even a little bit unhinged or pissed off... you shouldn’t have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.

Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. The guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim since he has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and all the rest are ENTERTAINERS! Stop getting your opinions from them. (Here’s where that reading thing can really be an advantage.)

Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won’t bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That’s not how prayer works. And I don’t want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!

We are the United States of America, and we can afford to... house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.

Unless you can trace your family line back to someone who made deerskin pants look stylish and could field dress a buffalo, you are a descendent of an immigrant. Please stop saying that immigrants are ruining our country. Such comments are like a giant verbal burrito stuffed with historical ignorance, latent racism and xenophobia, all wrapped in a fascist tortilla.

That’s all for now. I feel better.

-Huffington Post

Missing Wife

A man went to the police to report that his wife was missing. . .went shopping the day before and had not come home. So, the police sergeant started to ask the usual questions, such as, the person's distinguishing physical characteristics.

Sergeant : What is her height?
Husband : Gee, I really never noticed...about five feet?

Sergeant : Build?
Husband : Not really fat but not slim either.

Sergeant : Color of eyes?
Husband : Dunno.

Sergeant : Color of hair?
Husband : She dyes and changes her hair color several times in a year -- maybe red.

Sergeant : What was she wearing?
Husband : Could have been a skirt or shorts.

Sergeant : Did she go in a car?
Husband : No, she went in my truck.


Sergeant : What kind of truck?
Husband : A brand new Ford F150 with special ordered eco-boost V6 engine with manual transmission. It has custom matching white cover for the bed, special alloy wheels, and off-road Michelin tires. There is also a small scratch on the door on the driver's side.

Sergeant: All right, Sir, we’ll do our best to find your truck.

-Contributed by Ralph

Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store

While We Were Distracted

The Republican-led Congress is wasting no time forcing through the most horrendous bills seen in decades while America’s eyes are on Russia.

With both houses of Congress solidly under Republican control, there’s little in the way to stop House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) from sending bills to President Trump’s desk that embody the most dangerous aspects of radical right-wing ideology.

However unlikely these bills’ passage would have seemed in the 114th Congress, the possibility of these nine bills becoming law is much higher now, especially considering the flurry of headlines around Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal on the ongoing investigation into the president’s Russian connections, and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s multiple meetings with several of Trump’s top lieutenants.

Here are the nine worst bills to keep an eye on:

1. H.R. 861: To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

This bill — cosponsored by Republican members of Congress from fossil fuel-producing states — is just one sentence long, and says nothing about what would happen to the multiple environmental regulations the EPA has instituted since 1970, or its multibillion-dollar budget, or its thousands of staffers. H.R. 861 is currently awaiting action in the subcommittee on environment.

2. H.R. 610: Tax dollars for private schools

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced this bill in January, which would redistribute funding earmarked for public schools in the form of vouchers for parents to send children to private schools. Over the long term, this would eventually bankrupt public schools, and create a stratified education system in which cash-strapped public schools would be unable to meet the educational needs of low-income students. The bill is awaiting action in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

3. H.R. 899: To terminate the Department of Education

If this bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), becomes law, the U.S. Department of Education would terminate by the end of 2018. The bill’s brevity leaves many questions unanswered, like what would happen with Department of Education grants for public schools and universities, its budget, or its staff. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said she would personally be “fine” if the agency she heads were to be abolished.

4. H.J.R. 69: To repeal a rule protecting wildlife

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), whose constituents likely include hunters who kill wildlife for sport rather than for food, introduced this joint resolution voicing displeasure with a Department of Interior rule that prohibits “non-subsistence” hunting in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The resolution passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

5. H.R. 370: To repeal the Affordable Care Act

While President Obama was in office, House Republicans voted at least 60 times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — despite its futility. However, the Trump administration has made the repeal of Obamacare a top priority, meaning the repeal bill from Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) is likely to pass.

6. H.R. 354: To defund Planned Parenthood

Despite the widely publicized debunking of the video alleging the women’s health nonprofit was selling human organs, Republicans are still refusing to stop destroying Planned Parenthood. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill that would prevent any federal grants from going to Planned Parenthood for a full year unless they swore to not perform abortions. As the chart below from Planned Parenthood shows, only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood resources go toward abortions, while the vast majority of funding is used to help low-income women get STD tests, contraceptive care, and breast cancer screenings:

 
7. H.R. 785: National Right-to-Work legislation

Conservative ideologue Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is aiming to cripple unions at the nationwide level with a bill that would systematically deprive labor unions of the funding they need to operate. Unions often provide one of the crucial pillars of support for Democratic candidates and causes, and conservatives aim to destroy them once and for all by going after their funding. It’s important to note that right-to-work is bad for all workers, not just union members — in 2015, the Economic Policy Institute learned that wages in right-to-work states are roughly 3.2 percent lower than in non-right-to-work states.

8. H.R. 83: Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act

Multiple cities and states around the country have openly stated that they won’t abide by President Trump’s plan to aggressively round up and deport undocumented immigrants. A bill by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pennsylvania) would strip all federal funding of any city that doesn’t obey Trump’s immigration policies for up to a year.

9. H.R. 147: To criminalize abortion

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) wants to aggressively prosecute pregnant women seeking abortions, along with abortion providers, by making abortion a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

To fight back against these bills, call 202-224-3121, ask for your member of Congress, and tell them to vote no. –Resistance Report

Trump Openly THREATENS Any Lawmaker Who Opposes Him

Neither Democrats OR Republicans are safe because Donald Trump is THREATENING everyone on Capitol Hill. Now, Trump is warning Republicans to go along with Trumpcare … or else.

We’ve all heard by now of Trump’s benefits-gouging plan to replace Obamacare. And many of its proposals are so shocking that fierce bipartisan opposition has opened up against Trumpcare in recent days.

We expected the Democrats to rail against Trump’s healthcare plan. What we DIDN’T expect was for so many Republicans, even conservative ones, to rail against it too.

And there’s already rumors floating around that Trump’s going to unseat one or two Republicans in 2018 just to show that he is someone to be FEARED. That’s the behavior of a tyrant, not of a president.

North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows has been spearheading recent conservative attacks against Trumpcare. But now even he is obviously taking Trump’s threats to heart.

“The President has a very powerful bully pulpit and a very powerful tweet,” Meadows said. “I would never want to take on the President in either of those realms.”

Whatever happened to having principles and standing up for what is right? In Trump’s America, those days are long gone, seeing as how the Orange Tyrant will sink to any level in order to make sure that he has the total submission of the GOP.

Trump didn’t even win the popular vote in 2016 – he’s a minority president that has NO mandate to gut the American Dream with his nightmarish policies. We must hold Team Trump to account before they run our nation completely into the ground.

Help the Resistance by raising awareness. Do your part in the fight against Trump by sharing this story on Facebook NOW. –Learn Progress

Can’t Stop The Feeling!

Trump’s Supporters Believe A False Narrative

by Sean McElwee

Trump voters believe that whites and Christians face discrimination—but they call the left sensitive snowflakes.

The right sees its political opposition as #triggered snowflakes who need a “safe space.” In the words of Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, “They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator.”

While Donald Trump and his ilk claim that victimhood is exclusive to the coastal, “politically correct” elite, I find that feelings of victimhood are central to Trump’s appeal. Trump supporters believe that whites and Christians face discrimination while people of color reap the benefits of government largess. Far from being concerned about “facts, not feelings,” Trump supporters and the conservative movement have created a false narrative of victimhood that motivates their supporters.

I examined “feeling thermometer” scores in the 2016 American National Election Studies (ANES) pilot survey (which asks respondents to rank politicians and groups from 0, meaning coldest feelings, to 100, meaning warmest feelings) to explore how they measured feelings for Trump among white respondents, based on their views of discrimination against whites and Christians.

Among whites who believe that white people face no discrimination, the mean feeling thermometer score for Trump was 25 (cold), compared to 64 (warm) among those who believe whites face a “great deal” of discrimination. Among whites who believe Christians face no discrimination, the average feeling thermometer score for Trump was 24, compared with 67 among those who believe Christians face “a great deal” of discrimination (see chart).

Another question asked respondents whether the federal government treats white people or black people better. Among whites who believe the federal government treats whites “much better,” the mean feeling thermometer score for Trump was 19, compared to a mean score of 65 for those who believe the federal government treats black people “much better.”


Among independents and Republicans, those with strong feelings that whites and Christians faced discrimination were more supportive of Trump in the Republican primaries (the ANES survey was completed in January). Among white Republicans and independents who believe whites face no discrimination, 69 percent supported a Republican candidate other than Trump. Among those who believe whites face a “great deal” of discrimination, only 34 percent did. Among those who believe the government treats whites much better, 72 percent chose a candidate other than Trump, whereas among those who feel the government treats black people much better, 49 percent did.

Among Republicans, but particularly among Trump supporters, feelings of white discrimination and loss were profound. Among white Democrats, 74 percent said whites face “little or no” discrimination, compared to 51 percent of white Republicans. While 75 percent of white Democrats said Christians face “little or no” discrimination, only 30 percent of white Republicans did. As the chart below shows, there are deep partisan divides in perceptions on whether the federal government favors white people or black people (or treats both equally).


To paraphrase a popular idiom, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like discrimination. These data suggest that this feeling of loss and victimization, and the need for racial solidarity to protect what remains, is core to understanding Trump’s appeal. As I’ve noted before, beliefs in the importance of white racial solidarity are powerful predictors of Trump support. Whites who believe their race is “very important” to their identity had warmer feelings toward Trump. Trump’s rhetoric reflects this reality: He has described a world in which his white supporters are the victims of bad trade deals, elites and rampant crime. They feel they are living through rapid demographic change that will leave them as a minority of the population — and they know how minorities have been treated for so long in American populations.

As John Paul Brammer notes, Trump’s slogan, “‘Make America Great Again,’ speaks to that victimhood. We were great once. We aren’t anymore, because of those people.” In his book “The Reactionary Mind,” political theorist Corey Robin writes,

    Far from being an invention of the politically correct, victimhood has been a talking point of the right ever since Burke decried the mob’s treatment of Marie Antoinette. The conservative, to be sure, speaks for a special type of victim: one who has lost something of value, as opposed to the wretched of the earth, whose chief complaint is that they never had anything to lose.

Trumpism is a movement built around the loss of privilege and perceived social status and a desire to re-create social hierarchy. It is one that requires its adherents to live in a state of constant fear and victimization. This mythology requires extensive ideological work and media filtering to remain true. Conservatives must create an ideological bubble in which crime is out of control (instead of hovering near historic lows), the rate of abortion is rising (instead of falling), refugees are committing terrorist attacks en masse (they aren’t at all) and immigrants are taking jobs (it’s the capitalists), all while the government is funneling money to undeserving black people (black people receive government support in accordance with their share of the population, despite making up a disproportionately large share of the poor). Conservatives, and many in the general public, believe that Muslims and immigrants (both legal and unauthorized) make up a dramatically larger share of the population than they actually do.

At the same time, the right has created a caricature of their opponents on the left. In this imagined caricature, the left is sensitive to being “triggered” at every corner, but also capable of unspeakable political violence. The activist left are “snowflakes” on one hand, and brutal killers on the other. In reality, political violence has long been a tactic of the right, from the labor violence that left thousands of workers dead to lynchings to brutality against peaceful protesters inflicted by corporate security and police to the harassment of women seeking abortion, the destruction of abortion clinics and the assassination of doctors who provide abortions. The rhetoric of victimization has costs — white supremacists are committing unspeakable violenceto combat the perceived threat of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. For the next four years, we are likely to have a government driven by perceptions of white Christian victimhood. –Alternet

Donald Trump’s Presidency A Disaster For The White Working Class

by Dylan Matthews

The white working class turned out, and they struck back.

The morning after, that already appears to be the dominant media narrative coming out of the 2016 presidential election. Sure, the black and Latino voters that Hillary Clinton was counting on to deliver her to victory were there — but white turnout was up, and especially among white people without college degrees, there was a major swing to Trump.

There’s already furious debate about why this is, and how it jibes with data suggesting that Trump supporters are richer, not poorer, than average. But let’s not lose sight of something very important: Donald Trump’s presidency is going to be an absolute disaster for the white working class, the white poor, and every other economically struggling person in America. The people the media is crediting with Trump’s win have a tremendous amount to lose.

Lower-income whites are not going to suffer from Trump’s restrictions on Muslims traveling, or from his mass deportations, or from his cavalier attitude toward police brutality. But Trump has promised an economic agenda that will increase the ranks of the uninsured by tens of millions, that will eliminate crucial safety net programs for low- and moderate-income Americans, that could start a trade war that drives up prices and devastates the economy, and that will put in place a tax code that exacerbates inequality and leaves many families with children worse off.

That affects all Americans — and with Republicans retaining control over the House and Senate, it stands a very good chance of passing.

Trump’s budget cuts could send millions of children into extreme poverty

For the past decade, Paul Ryan has languished either in the House minority or under a Democratic president, putting together extreme proposals for completely overhauling the safety net. Medicare would be voucherized — either with or without the option for beneficiaries to keep the traditional program. He offered one of the most extreme Social Security privatization proposals of the 2005-’06 debate on the issue.

But the worst is saved for means-tested programs, in particular Medicaid and food stamps. He would move fast to “block-grant” food stamps and Medicaid, transforming them from guarantees of food and medical care for the nation’s poorest people into a slush fund for states. This approach was devastating during welfare reform, and it’s impossible to imagine a way this would happen that wouldn’t exacerbate extreme poverty and hunger. After the end of welfare, food stamps were the last cash-like benefit upon which people without earnings could rely. Ryan will put an end to that.

And then he’d cut all these programs for good measure. Sixty-nine percent of the cuts in his last budget came from programs for people with low or moderate incomes, including $137 billion over 10 years from food stamps (now the block grant), up to $125 billion from Pell Grants, and another $150 billion or more from other low-income programs like Supplemental Security Income and the earned income tax credit. Medicaid would be cut by more than a quarter through the block grant. Ryan has sometimes trolled journalists by claiming to support boosting the EITC, only to propose paying for it by cutting other programs for the poor.

These are changes that will dramatically decrease insurance coverage among the poor, increase hunger, and greatly exacerbate poverty in its most extreme form. And while Trump has expressed wariness of tampering with Medicare or Social Security, he has expressed no such hesitation about Ryan’s proposed cuts to programs for the poor.

The Ryan budget has become the key economic agenda of the Republican Party over the past six years. By now it wields substantial, likely majority, support in both houses of Congress, even if Ryan himself does not survive as speaker. And it’s hard to imagine Trump using a veto to prevent these kinds of reforms and cuts from becoming law.

As a result, Trump will likely oversee the most vicious cuts to programs for poor and medium-income people of any president since Reagan — and could very well go further than Reagan did. The result will almost certainly be a massive increase in uninsurance for the lower-income working people currently covered by Medicaid, an increase in poverty and hunger for the working poor on food stamps, and a large increase in extreme poverty.

This is a chart of extreme poverty — the share of people living on less than $2 a day in cash income — from 1996 to 2011. It was put together by the University of Michigan's Luke Shaefer and Johns Hopkins's Kathryn Edin, America's leading researchers on extreme poverty. The gap you see between the solid and the dotted black lines is the difference between the extreme poverty rate not counting food stamps and the rate counting food stamps. Roughly 2.1 percent of households with children in 2011 were kept afloat, barely out of the $2-a-day range, if you count food stamps. That's a little under 800,000 families, representing millions of children.

Paul Ryan’s plan will, with the signature of Donald Trump’s pen, deny them the one thing keeping them from completely unmitigated extreme poverty.

Trump will rob at least 20 million people of their health insurance


With Donald Trump in the presidency, Vox’s Sarah Kliff explains, there is now a governing majority capable of repealing Obamacare. All of it.

Republicans will almost certainly control the Senate, and definitely control the House, and while the law took a filibuster-proof majority to pass, House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price has designed a bill that would repeal it but work through the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority in the Senate. Price's bill would end the Medicaid expansion and repeal tax credits for low-income Americans. It would repeal the taxes used to finance the law and its mandate. This plan would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cost 22 million people health insurance.

There’s some reason to suspect the Republicans in Congress wouldn’t go full steam ahead. It’s hard to deny 22 million people health insurance without paying an electoral price for it. They could do the transition gradually, or phase out Medicaid expansion first, since Medicaid recipients are poor enough that they rarely vote for Republicans anyway. But after six years of Republican pledges to repeal and replace, it’s hard to imagine the first part of that equation not happening.

As for replace, Trump’s plan is to make health insurance costs tax-deductible. This proposal is well to the right of the kind of thing Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Mitt Romney have championed in the past. Generally the alternative has been to create a uniform tax credit, most likely a refundable one. That way, some benefit goes to poor people who don’t have a positive income tax burden. Trump doesn’t do that. Instead, he limits the benefit to people rich enough to pay taxes.

All this is before you take into account the block-granting of Medicaid Ryan has proposed. Medicaid covered about 60 million Americans before Obamacare passed. Even if states don’t entirely eliminate their guarantee of health care for the poor, we should expect that number to fall by millions, probably tens of millions, if the block grants pass, just as the block-granting of welfare effectively ended that program in most states. Ryan is also proposing to dramatically cut the scale of Medicaid spending by about a quarter. If giving states free rein to use the money as a slush fund doesn’t uninsure millions, the cuts definitely will.

Any way you slice it, Trump’s agenda, and that of congressional Republicans, will probably increase the ranks of the uninsured. At this point, everything else is likely a fight over the magnitude of the reversal.

Trump’s trade war will cost Americans jobs and raise prices substantially


One of Donald Trump’s most consistent promises is to impose massive tariffs on goods from other countries, including a tariff of up to 45 percent on goods from China and up to 35 percent on goods from Mexico. He might face some resistance from Republicans in Congress on this point, but luckily for him, the president has a surprising amount of authority to unilaterally impose duties, by bringing "safeguard" or "market disruption" cases against imports from China or Mexico. He could bring a trade war upon America, whether Congress wants him to or not.

The Peterson Institute, a pro-trade but widely respected think tank in Washington, tried to estimate the economic cost of Trump's plans in a report in September. Peterson, understandably, assumes that China and Mexico would retaliate with tariffs of their own. So would other countries if Trump withdraws from the WTO, NAFTA, the South Korea free trade pact, and other agreements.

Peterson concludes that this would very likely cause a full-on trade war, and with it a recession by the year 2019. The unemployment rate would reach 8.6 percent, and more than 4 million jobs could be lost:

    Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade—disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs—would be at risk.

    In a full trade war scenario, Washington State would be the worst affected, suffering a 5 percent private sector job loss relative to baseline. But employment would fall by more than 4 percent in a broad swath of states, including California, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Twenty-nine counties across America would experience employment declines of 7 percent or more. In absolute terms, Los Angeles county in California would be the worst affected (176,000 jobs), followed by Cook county, Illinois (Chicago) with 91,000 and Harris county, Texas (Houston) with 89,000.

Peterson also considers an “aborted trade war” scenario. That encompasses the chance that Trump will enact tariffs higher individual rates. Rather than pay a top rate of 39.6 percent, or even 33 percent after Trump’s cuts, it would pay a mere 15 percent. Ryan wants a new, lower 25 percent rate for this income.

This is not a good scenario for the white working class. States that went for Trump like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will see massive job losses.

And this is neglecting the fact that prices would rise substantially due to the new tariffs and the disruption to the global supply chain. That could dramatically increase the cost of a whole range of consumer goods, cost increases that would hit poor Americans the hardest.

He’ll dramatically cut taxes for the rich, raise them for many middle-class people, and increase inequality

We should also expect Trump to take cues from Ryan on tax policy. Over the course of his campaign, Trump has gradually adjusted his tax proposal to match "A Better Way," an economic agenda including a tax reform proposal that Ryan put out in June. Both Trump and Ryan propose replacing the current seven-bracket income tax structure with just three: 12 percent, 25 percent, and 33 percent.

Because the current top rate is 39.6 percent — plus a 2.9 percent Medicare surtax from Obamacare that Trump and Ryan promise to repeal — the plan would reduce the tax rate paid by the richest Americans by nearly 10 points. And while both Trump and Ryan propose increasing the standard deduction to offset the increase in the bottom rate from 10 to 12 points, at least some people would fall through the cracks all the same.

NYU Law’s Lily Batchelder conservatively estimates that 25 million individuals and 15 million children would see their taxes go up under Trump’s plan. That's about 20 percent of households with minor children at home, and includes more than half of all single parents. The combination of an increased bottom rate, Trump's total elimination of personal exemptions for taxpayers and dependents, and his abolishing of "head of household" filing status, often used by single parents or single caretakers, leaves many people in the middle class worse off.

Batchelder provides several examples of families that would see their taxes go up under Trump’s plan. The biggest hikes number in the thousands of dollars and are concentrated among single parents:
  • A single parent with $75,000 in earnings, two children in school, and no child care costs (because the kids are in school) would pay $2,440 more.
  • A single parent with $50,000 in earnings, three children in school, and child care costs of less than $6,000 would pay $1,188 more.
  • A married couple with $50,000 in earnings, two kids in school, and no child care costs would pay $150 more because of the bottom bracket's increase from 10 to 12 percent.
The Tax Policy Center still finds that Trump would on average cut taxes for every income segment, though a minority of the middle class would face hikes. Ryan’s plan offers very modest cuts across the board in 2017 but by 2025 would start increasing them for upper-middle-class people in the 80th to 95th percentile. Given that it also raises the bottom rate and repeals personal exemptions — just like Trump’s plan — it’s quite likely that many families lower down will see tax hikes as well.

Investors and corporations, by contrast, would do extremely well under both Ryan and Trump’s plans. Ryan's plan would effectively decrease the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 23.8 percent to 16.5 percent, and on interest income from 43.4 percent to 16.5 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump and Ryan both promise to dramatically slash the corporate tax rate from its current peak at 35 percent; Ryan wants a 20 percent top rate, and Trump wants 15 percent. Given that the corporate tax is, according to the Tax Policy Center, even more progressive than individual income taxes, that change will almost certainly increase income inequality.

What's more, Trump would apply the new 15 percent rate to pass-through income, which is currently taxed at  higher individual rates. Rather than pay a top rate of 39.6 percent, or even 33 percent after Trump’s cuts, it would pay a mere 15 percent. Ryan wants a new, lower 25 percent rate for this income.

It should probably be noted that most of Trump’s own business efforts are organized as pass-through entities. His losses from those companies were what let him evade taxes for several years. He and Ryan are essentially proposing a big tax cut for the Trump Organization. The other beneficiaries will be rich too; about 69 percent of pass-through income goes to the top 1 percent of earners.

These tax cuts will have to be paid for somehow — probably through cuts that hurt the working class

The extreme budget cuts contemplated by Ryan would go some of the way toward paying for Trump’s tax cuts. But his tax plan would cost $6.2 trillion over 10 years before interest. That’s likely more than Ryan’s cuts alone could pay for.

And when you try to start thinking about how to fill that hole, it becomes clear that genuinely massive and unprecedented cuts would be necessary, as my colleague Alvin Chang has argued. Cutting all funding for transportation only nets you $1 trillion. All criminal justice programs would only net $600 billion. You have to start essentially imagining a government that does nothing but run a military, send (maybe lowered) Social Security checks, and administer Medicare.

The distribution of those cuts is almost certain to be regressive. That’s why even if on paper Ryan and Trump’s tax cuts would leave most lower-income people no worse off, the overall effect of the cuts plus budget cuts to pay for them will be absolutely brutal for the poor and working class. –Vox

Rep. Denny Heck (D) Washington: He hit it the nail on the head!

The Trump administration is not only the swamp, but dirtier! And its ties to Russia undeniable. The finger points to the White House. And as much as I dislike Pence, this presidency needs to end before we regret not acting earlier than later.