Wednesday, December 21, 2016


The Trump family is selling access to the presidency—again

Getty Images
A Texas nonprofit headed up by Donald Trump’s eldest sons is selling access to the president-elect and a multi-day hunting trip with Eric and Don Jr. themselves. The private post-Inauguration Day reception with the newly-minted president and the tickets to Westworld will set you back $1 million. (You know, the cost of a small loan.)

The Opening Day Foundation was established less than a week ago, and, in addition to being led by the Trump sons, is run by friends of the family. According to a brochure first leaked by TMZ on Monday, all proceeds from the January 21 event will be donated to unnamed conservation charities.
The Center for Public Integrity did some additional digging into the organization and found that, as a nonprofit registered in Texas, the Opening Day Foundation isn’t required to reveal its donors, which allows “sponsors to write seven-figure checks for access to the president while staying anonymous, if they choose.”

This news, which comes less than a week after the Eric Trump Foundation tried to auction off coffee with de facto First Lady Ivanka Trump, has again raised alarms about the Trump family using the presidency to move money and peddle influence.

“This is problematic on so many levels,” Larry Noble, the general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told the Center for Public Integrity. “This is Donald Trump and the Trump family using a brand new organization to raise $1 million contributions for a vague goal of giving money to conservation charities, which seems a way of basically just selling influence and selling the ability to meet with the president.”

Speaking to The New York Times about the Eric Trump Foundation’s now-canceled auction, Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer who served under George W. Bush, said the foundation shouldn’t have used special access to a prominent transition team member and adviser to raise money, even though Ivanka does not yet have an official role in the incoming administration.

“If she is going to be in the government and a power behind the throne she should observe the same ethics restrictions that other White House employees face,” Painter said.

In a comment to the Center for Public Integrity, Walter Kinzie, CEO of the event management company organizing the Opening Day events, said the participation of one or both Trump sons in the hunting trip has not been confirmed.

If that’s the case, they might want to update the leaked brochure, which entices deep-pocketed donors with a “multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team.”

UPDATED at 10:41 a.m. EST on 12/21/16:
Trump’s transition team has issued a statement—contradicting the foundation’s spokesperson and its Texas registration documents—insisting that Don Jr.and Eric Trump are not, in fact, affiliated with the organization.

“The Opening Day event and details that have been reported are merely initial concepts that have not been approved or pursued by the Trump family,” transition spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid outdoors men and supporters of conservation efforts, which align with the goals of this event, however they are not involved in any capacity.”

Paperwork indicating the the eldest Trump sons are directors of the organization would suggest otherwise, but, according to another transition spokesperson in a comment to The New York Times, it will be updated to remove them and correct the alleged mistake.



It has been reported but not substantiated that the Professional Soccer Team, Hebei Fortune in China  has offered Leo Messi 100 million euros per year for five years to sign with them.
Ezequiel Lavezzi a fellow Argentinian and his best friend in the National Team, already plays there and has a contract that surpasses 30 million euros per year.

Is Messi worth that much?
If Lavezzi is worth 30, Messi is worth 100.
He is the best player in the history of the sport in the prime of his career.

Does it make sense?
No one walks away  from money.  On the other hand will he pick up his family and deal with the isolation of playing in not only a foreign country but a strange culture and language to him.

I don't believe he will accept the offer.
Realistically in 3 to 5 years he  will still decide where and for who he wants to play.
When he begins to slow down, he will be able to play anywhere in the field, eventually dropping back to mid-field and walking the ball.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Despite the crushing enormity of scientific research all pointing to the fact that the Earth is rapidly heating and human beings are largely responsible, some people still refuse to believe that climate change is real.
Those people (let’s call them “idiots”) probably loved it when Breitbart News published a story on a recent temperature drop as definitive proof that global warming is a hoax. The article featured a video of Weather Channel atmospheric researcher Kait Parker talking about the La Niña weather pattern—the implication being: “See! Real meteorologists are on our side!”—and was even shared on Twitter by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (who have a blue check mark, so you know they’re, like, super legit).
Wow! Case closed!
Only, this week, the Weather Channel—typically known for Doppler radar green screens, and videos of people shoveling out their driveways—took the unusual step of rolling up its sleeves to slap the absolute bejeezus out of the climate change deniers at Breitbart—with science!
“Last week, published an article claiming that global warming is nothing but a scare and global temperatures are actually falling,” explained Parker in a video posted to on Tuesday. “The problem is they used a completely unrelated video about La Niña, with my face in it, to attempt to back their point.”
With that, Parker specifically hits Breitbart on three of their assertions:
  1. “Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record.”
  2. “It can be argued that without the El Niño (and the so-called “Pacific Blob”) 2014-2016 would not have been record warm years.”
  3. Many think that 2017 will be cooler than previous years.”
Each conclusion, Parker explains, is drawn from misinterpreted, incomplete, or out-of-context data—which she then corrects, contextualizes, and uses actual scientific reasoning to back up.
Or, as she put it succinctly on Twitter:
While notes that Breitbart was allowed to use their video clip “as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company,” the station leaves little to the imagination when it comes to where they stand on the issue:
“Thousands of researchers and scientific societies are in agreement that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are warming the planet’s climate,” an article accompanying Parker’s message said. “And will keep doing so.”
Or, as Parker herself says, in the closing moments of her video dunk-a-thon: “Next time you’re thinking about publishing a cherry-picked article, try consulting a scientist first.”