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Trump Is Taking Advice On The Future Of The Environment From A Man Who Denies Basic Science

President-elect Donald Trump has said that he does not believe the planet is warming as a result of human activity despite the research-backed consensus reached long ago by researchers across the globe.

He tweeted in 2012 that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” More recently, Trump has pledged to roll back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan a set of rules that requires states to substantially reduce their emissions over the next few decades.

Right now, his transition website says, “America’s environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas.”

The implication seems to be that researchers who accept climate science will have no place in his Environmental Protection Agency, or perhaps his government.

So what will Trump’s actual environmental policies look like? Here’s what we know.


Myron Ebell Competitive Enterprise Institute

Trump has picked a man named Myron Ebell to oversee the EPA transition.

Ebell is not a scientist and has no degrees or qualifications in climate science. But he serves as director of global warming and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian advocacy group in Washington, DC.

In practice, that means he spends his time rejecting and trying to discredit scientists who work to understand the global climate.

Ebell believes climate scientists are part of a coordinated ‘global warming movement’

In an interview with Business Insider in August, Ebell repeatedly referred to climate scientists as “global warming alarmists” and suggested that climate research is in fact an arm of a coordinated political movement.

“I think that the global warming movement has three parts,” he said. “One is to exaggerate the rate of warming, one is to exaggerate the potential impacts of warming and how soon they may occur, and the third is to underestimate wildly the costs of reducing our emissions by the magical amount that they have picked.”

Business Insider spoke with several climate scientists who described Ebell as a kind of gadfly someone’s whose views they must occasionally stoop to address in forums and debates where he’s brought in to represent a discredited anti-climate-change perspective, but not a particularly serious person.

“He doesn’t really know anything about science,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top Earth scientist at NASA who has faced off with Ebell in the past. “He uses science like a talisman.”

Ebell’s technique, Schmidt said, is to point toward “some little fact” and use it to extrapolate some larger irrelevant and scientifically incorrect point.

Even if Ebell’s scientific claims may not sit well with actual scientists, there are those who have found his perspective valuable.

CEI used to rely significantly on funding from ExxonMobil. As The Washington Post reports, it now receives funding from Donors Trust.

You know, [Trump] said he was going to drain the swamp in Washington, and instead he’s put Myron Ebell a swamp rat, a DC insider lobbyist in charge of the transition at the EPA.

“The Virginia-based organization,” Post reporter Brady Dennis wrote of Donors Trust, “which is not required by law to disclose its contributors, is staffed largely by people who have worked for Koch Industries or nonprofit groups supported by the conservative Koch brothers.”

Good news for deniers, terrible news for environmentalists

Speaking with Business Insider in August before his selection, Ebell outlined his views on the appropriate direction for the EPA.

“When economies get richer, they not only make people wealthier, they generally provide immense environmental benefits,” he said. “And so if you actually believe, if someone actually believes that global warming is a crisis that must be addressed … I think it would be much better to free up the economy and get rid of the EPA rules and a lot of the Department of Energy programs and let the economy boom forward.”

Ebell’s fellow professional climate science skeptics seem cheered by his selection.

“Ebell is an old friend of mine who works on climate and energy issues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute,” wrote Breitbart’s James Delingpole, who regularly publishes posts trying to discredit climate science, in a November 9 article declaring that “the left just lost the war on climate change.”

“The fact that he’s an old friend of mine probably tells you all you need to know about where he stands on global warming,” Delingpole wrote.

He concluded: “Yup, greenies. That climate change gravy train you’ve been riding these last four decades looks like it’s headed for a major, Atlas-Shrugged-style tunnel incident.”

Dan Lashof, COO of the environmental group NextGen Climate America, was as concerned as Delingpole was thrilled.

“Myron Ebell is a libertarian ideologue,” he told Business Insider. “Having him lead the transition team at the EPA is literally putting a tobacco lobbyist in charge of America’s lung protection agency. It’s not normal.”

Lashof said he expects a Trump administration with a Ebell-staffed EPA to work hard to roll back environmental regulations just as the president-elect’s website promises.


A woman holds a sign at an anti-Trump rally of American immigrants and Germans in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/AP Images

“You know, [Trump] said he was going to drain the swamp in Washington, and instead he’s put Myron Ebell a swamp rat, a DC insider lobbyist in charge of the transition at the EPA,” Lashof said.

Death to ‘politically correct technologies’

You won’t hear any disagreement from the right that Ebell will push for killing environmental regulations to benefit fossil fuel businesses.

Patrick Michaels, who works for the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, DC and, like Ebell, has made a reputation for rejecting the consensus on climate science told Business Insider that Ebell’s selection represents a victory for the idea that removing air pollution rules would in fact lead to cleaner air.

“Rich societies are cleaner,” he said. “If you want efficient technologies to come online, the best way to do that is to have a vibrant economy, because that capital will be directed toward producing things with less energy and producing things that use less energy to appeal to consumers.”

This position is intolerable to Lashof.

“This is putting somebody who just denies basic scientific facts in charge of a federal agency,” Lashof said. “We will lead a resistance against the federal government. We will work with state governments to push back and keep progress going based on state policy.”

He said he’s confident there will be economic limits on Ebell’s and Trump’s ability to fight clean energy.

Solar and wind power “are actually cheaper than continuing to run existing coal in a lot of locations,” Lashof said. “That depends to some extent on a federal tax credit, which early indications suggest that Congress and the Trump administration are not likely to try to roll back.”

Both Ebell and Michaels scoff at the idea that either solar or wind power will play a significant role in the energy future of the country. (Michaels calls them “politically correct technologies.”)

“I think in particular I would say the emphasis that the global warming movement or alarmist community or whatever you want to call them on renewables, namely solar and wind, is really short-sighted,” Ebell said. “I think that those two technologies, particularly wind, are dead ends.”

It’s worth noting though that Ebell may have tweaked his public position on this issue in the last couple of months. He told National Geographic after the election that “we love wind and solar.” But he clarified that he doesn’t think the government should get involved in supporting either.

Ebell argued that any reduction in US emissions in the Obama era is the result of a “stagnant economy,” not policies designed to push renewable energies.

“We would like to get rid of all of this stuff,” he said. “And we think that the use of energy will become more efficient just through the innovations that will occur in free markets when people are allowed to invest their money in things that can make money.”

How does climate denial even work?

Asked to explain why someone would reject the scientific consensus that humans are dangerously warming the planet, Michaels simply denied that any such consensus exists.

For evidence that climate change has been largely falsified, he pointed to an October 28 article by the reporter Paul Voosen in the journal Science.

The argument he drew from the Voosen article is a good example of the approach professional climate deniers like himself and Ebell use to undermine science, so it’s worth taking a minute to think about.

“Take a look at the Voosen piece and read between the lines,” Michaels said.

Michaels argued that it shows the many models researchers use to understand the climate have been rigged with “fudge factors” to produce incorrect results, and that “scientists are deciding a priori what the answer is.”

Here’s what Voosen actually reported:

“For years, climate scientists had been mum in public about their ‘secret sauce’; What happened in the models stayed in the models. The taboo reflected fears that climate contrarians would use the practice of tuning [models to real world results] to seed doubt about models and, by extension, the reality of human driven warming. ‘The community became defensive,’ [scientist Bjorn] Stevens says. ‘It was afraid of talking about things that they thought could be unfairly used against them.’ …

“But modelers have come to realize that disclosure could reveal that some tunings [of models] are more deft or realistic than others. It’s also vital for scientists who use the models in specific ways.”

Voosen’s article does not state or suggest any evidence of rigging to falsify warming. Rather, he reports that there has been an effort to bring models in line with observed reality, and that a transparency movement is enabling scientists to more rigorously audit each others’ models for quality.

But Michaels finds a nearly opposite interpretation.

With Ebell on the rise, the question than becomes: Are these sorts of denials valid?

“It’s complete bollocks. You can quote me on that. It’s just rubbish,” Schmidt said of Michaels’ argument.

“So it’s basically a shoot the messenger strategy that they’ve been pursuing for decades, but most actually scientists have been ignoring them for about the same amount of time.”

Schmidt said there is “enormous consensus” among scientists about three points: Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will warm the planet, human activity is increasing their presence in the atmosphere, and that activity is responsible for almost all or all of the warming the planet has seen since the 19th century. This is true.

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said there’s no longer a serious question to ask about the validity of climate change.

“We understand the physics of what’s happening pretty well now,” he said. “If you load the atmosphere with a greenhouse gas, it will induce a warming. It’s all based on an understanding of how electromagnetic radiation and matter interact. It’s a very mature science. If you are going to deny that somehow, you’d have to deny that your microwave oven works.”

He added that he invites people to come to the NSIDC to download snow and ice data and do their own analysis if they want, though deniers rarely take him up on it.

“People like Michaels and Ebell have been saying that climate modeling isn’t science for decades,” Schmidt said. “And what they really mean is, ‘We don’t like the outputs from those climate models, and so therefore instead of trying to demonstrate why they’re wrong, we’re just going to try to dismiss them out of hand.’

“So it’s basically a shoot-the-messenger strategy that they’ve been pursuing for decades, but most actual scientists have been ignoring them for about the same amount of time.”

‘Nothing he does affects the science’

Schmidt works for NASA, and Serreze works for the NSIDC. That means they rely on federal funds for their research. Trump has made it clear that scientists who accept the consensus position that human activity is causing climate change will not be welcome in his government, or at least his EPA. And his selection of Ebell only reinforces that point. But neither researcher said he expects to lose his ability to pursue science.

“I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t some level of concern,” Schmidt said. “But the federal government is a very, very large place. And the number of appointees is very small.”

“During the [George W.] Bush administration, we had climate skeptics rewriting reports and trying to control what’s said to the media,” he added. “But the planet kept warning. We kept reporting on it. We kept improving the science that underlies our understanding of why it’s changing. And we will work to continue to do so.”

Serreze said: “I think we remain optimistic that wise heads are going to prevail here. There were concerns in the previous Republican administration under George W. Bush. We got through that. I’m confident we’ll get through this.”

As for Ebell’s newfound power to push his views onto scientists, Schmidt said he’s not overly concerned in part because the EPA has never done much research on its own, but also because Ebell lacks the wherewithal to do so.

“He’s not a serious person when it comes to the science,” Schmidt said. “Nothing he does affects the science.”

This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.

Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2016.

NOW WATCH: Scientists may have discovered what caused these mysterious giant holes in Siberia

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6 Insane Ways Adults Have Tried To Ruin Children’s Stuff

Over the past decade or so, it’s become acceptable for adults to like kid’s stuff again. Which is great, because now we can watch great shows like Steven Universe and Gravity Falls without getting the stink eye from the rest of civilization. Occasionally, though, adults will forget that kids too enjoy kid stuff, leading to situations that range from “slightly annoying” to “absolutely terrifying.”

#6. Adult Collectors Buy All The Star Wars Toys, Leave None For Kids

According to recent estimates, approximately 90 percent of all toys are Star Wars toys, and this percentage doubled upon the recent release of The Force Awakens. Stores across the nation stocked up on toys for “Force Friday,” in hopes that they could cram enough bodies into their stores to generate a small black hole. And it nearly worked — retailers watched as their new Star Wars toys sold out in massive numbers … to fans who will probably never touch them again, save for the occasional dusting.

Massive excitement, followed by absolutely nothing: It’s not just for Boba Fett toys anymore!

Obviously, The Force Awakens has wide-ranging appeal, with 34 percent of moviegoers being between the ages of 18 and 34, but nobody anticipated the degree to which adult male collectors would wait out all night to completely clear the shelves. Plenty of fans on social media complained that, despite waiting in line for hours at their local Toys ‘R’ Us or Target, there was almost nothing for them to buy, because the first ten or so people in line had descended on the toy aisles like a group of piranhas skeletonizing a cow. How piranhas and a cow ended up in the same room is a mystery, but so are scenes like this:

“That’s adorable, but I’m still coming any day now.” — Death

But all these megafans buying the toys as collector’s items were only shooting themselves in the foot. Vintage toys from the 1970s and 1980s can go for thousands of dollars these days, but that’s only because so few people bothered to keep them around. When the prequel trilogy came out, along with hundreds of Alderaans’ worth of toys, they were snapped up by collectors by the thousands, which caused their value to drop to that of a lightly-used Tootsie Pop. So instead of securing a financial future crafted from the tears of children, these adults dropped hundreds of dollars on what will eventually become the backdrop for an episode of Hoarders.

Guys, if you really want to make money off these toys, tear them out of the packages and take pictures of all the figures making out with all the other figures. The demand for that will be substantially higher. And seeing as how A) we’ll be getting Star Wars movies until the heat death of the universe; and B) male adults fucking stampeded to The Force Awakens, a few more decades of this bullshit will make the franchise as hip to the kids as C-SPAN.

#5. The Wiggles Have Become Sex Symbols For Adult Women

Though you may not have heard of them, children’s pop group The Wiggles is one of Australia’s most successful musical groups, having released a whopping 44 albums and received critical acclaim for the last 25 years. If you aren’t familiar with their music, here’s one of their most popular tunes on YouTube, “Hot Potato.”

Obviously, their biggest group of fans are children, but it turns out the Wiggles are beloved by another group — a much older, lonelier, hornier group. For at least ten years, members of the band have been receiving letters from older women and single mothers who want to wiggle with them, so to speak. Some of the comments made were so suggestive that we don’t even know what they are, because they couldn’t be reprinted in an Australian newspaper (one of the few known cases of Australia giving a fuck).

A 2009 interview with Anthony, the Blue Wiggle (which is also the worst superhero name we’ve ever heard), revealed that the group has dedicated groupies bearing Krispy Kremes, and has received at least one erotic jigsaw puzzle. The interview also included photos of Anthony which, honestly, explain an awful lot.

The episode where The Wiggles visited a tattoo parlor received critical acclaim.

After years and years of this mommy panty-dropping, The Wiggles have given up on fighting their adult fanbase, and they’ve started doing some adult-only shows. Recently, The Wiggles held a benefit “reunion” show that could only be attended by people aged 18 or over, partly due to the sale of alcohol at the show — something we don’t think Sesame Street would be able to pull off.

Fruit daiquiri
yummy, yummy

As you would expect from a bunch of grownups watching an act they enjoyed as toddlers, most people in attendance were completely fucking blasted. But if you thought this would be the show where The Wiggles let their hair down, you’d be wrong: They played it exactly as they would play it for children. Which makes sense, since that was probably the average brain function at the time for these alcohol-doused adults.

#4. Bronies Are Getting Out Of Control

Do we really need to explain bronies? We’re 95 percent sure you know what they are. Hell, we’re sure a solid chunk of you are bronies, reading this article because someone on social media said that we were talking about you. Thanks for that, by the way.

Well, for the three of you who don’t know: “Bronies” are the group of adult, mostly male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. They arrived at the same time the show did, at first ironically, then legitimately after they realized that it’s quite well-made for a kid’s show. Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever on the internet, and things started getting weird, even when you try to ignore the veritable mountains of MLP pornography (and no, we are not providing any links here).

Two in the Pinkie Pie, one in the Stinkie Pie.

A couple years ago, Tumblr removed a pornographic MLP fan blog called “Ask Princess Molestia,” which in a normal universe would have been the most uncontroversial sentence in history. But because everything is awful, a large number of bronies got outraged, and proceeded to do what the internet always does when it’s outraged: blame a woman and try to ruin her life.

Seventeen-year-old Tumblr user pinkiepony, who reported the blog to Hasbro after her 12-year-old sister came across “Molestia” by accident, was inundated with cryptic threats and allegations of white supremacy, and even tracked down via GPS coordinates, because Hell hath no fury like a man online who isn’t able to see sex literally everywhere he looks.

Shouldn’t enjoying a show called Friendship Is Magic require you to be friendly?

Recently, though, it seems that Hasbro has realized that they are fighting a losing battle. While trademark and copyright law forces them to do things such as send cease-and-desist letters to the creators of a My Little Pony MMO, they’ve decided they could get their hands on that sweet adult collector money, rather than try to curtail the rising tide of bronies. A new high-quality line of figures called <3 My Little Pony is being designed to sell for hundreds of dollars apiece, also known as “a significant fraction of an iPhone.”

That 12-inch human Rainbow Dash will be great emotional support during the buyer’s bankruptcy proceedings.

There’s no word on when Hasbro will start spray-painting and selling real ponies, but we’re reasonably sure they wouldn’t be able to keep them in stock.

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From Nagpur to Northern Ireland: pill pipeline helping women get round abortion ban

Dutch activists provide link between Indian entrepreneur providing cost-price tablets and desperate people in places where terminations are illegal

Delicious smells permeate a small office in Nagpur as an elderly woman cooks lunch for the 40-odd staff: roti, steamed rice, moong bean dal, spicy potato hash and mutter paneer curry.

Its all a long way, geographically and culturally, from the streets of Belfast nearly 5,000 away. But the two cities are joined by a hidden thread, a pharma pipeline that is helping many hundreds of women in Northern Ireland to get around the provinces stringent anti-abortion law.

From the Orange City, as Nagpur is known, a company called Kale Impex sources abortion pills that are freely available across India, and sends them to women in places where terminating a pregnancy is illegal. Places such as Northern Ireland.

The man at the centre of the operation is Mohan Kale, a 45-year-old bespectacled entrepreneur with an easygoing nature.

Once this was a business for Kale, but influenced by his wife, Maitreyi, a social worker involved in sex education, he began supplying the tablets at cost (around 72 rupees 72p per set of nine pills compared with the retail price of around 900 rupees) to countries where it is illegal. Kales other companies make money by exporting treatments for chronic conditions such as diabetes.

To me it is very clear that the choice of whether a pregnancy is desired or undesired and whether she wants it or not has to rest with a woman because it is her body, he says, and she has to have access to resources required to make an effective choice, no matter what the law of the land says.

In India, Kale Impexs operation is entirely legal. The company has five full-time employees who process the prescriptions for abortion pills, sourced from across India. For each script, nine pills are packaged up, sent to the state capital, Mumbai, for clearance by the additional drugs commissioner and customs, and dispatched.


Mohan Kale, left, whose company sends out abortion pills. Photograph: Aparna Pallavi

In some countries, even a small delay can be the difference between life and death for pregnant woman, says Kale.

Many times, in the absence of proper means, desperate women consume toxic chemicals like caustic soda to pull off an abortion, he says. As a supplier, I am always running against time, and have to use every trick in the bag to [get] the drug where it is needed and when.

Like most modern-day, sophisticated global supply chains, this one needs intermediaries, in this case a handful of charities that link the desperate with Kale Impex.

Rebecca Gomperts is the founder of charity called Women on Web, which works with the company in India. It is to Gomperts, working from a bare white office in Amsterdam, that many women and their partners in Northern Ireland turn when they want an abortion.

Gomperts scrolls through some of the online messages from Northern Irish women her operation has helped. None of their real names will be used, because they would face life in prison if identified.

Being in an abusive relationship, I believed there was no one whod help me, read one message from Aishling. He would kill me, literally kill me, if he found out I tried to get an abortion.

Each year more than 2,000 women travel from Northern Ireland to England to have pregnancies terminated, but Aishling was too frightened of being discovered by her boyfriend. She Googled medical abortion and found Women on Web.

You cant just say because its in another country it doesnt affect you, says Gomperts. Human rights affect all of us.

The single item decorating the Amsterdam office is a map by the Center for Reproductive Rights colour-coding countries by the legal status of abortion. Northern Ireland is orange, category II: one of 59 countries where abortion is only allowed to protect a womans life or health. Others in this group include New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

Each week Women on Web gets more than 2,000 inquiries from around the world. In the first seven days of December, 49 of those were from Ireland. They include women who live in the Republic of Ireland where the pills are confiscated by customs, forcing people to use addresses in the north.

Each woman answers 25 questions: how many weeks pregnant are they; do they have diabetes, epilepsy, or other listed diseases; is somebody forcing them to have an abortion against their will; do they live within an hour of medical help in case of complications?

Two answers determine whether Women on Web can help. Women must live in a country where safe abortion is not available and medicines can get through the post. And they must be at most nine weeks pregnant to allow time to get the pills before they are 11-12 weeks. After that, the World Health Organisation recommends women who take abortion pills must be in a healthcare facility.

Pill pipeline

Women on Web employs 17 women on a helpdesk to answer inquiries, reply to messages and provide more detailed information about what an abortion with pills will involve. Some occasionally work in the Amsterdam office but most work from home, spread across seven countries in Europe, north Africa, Asia, and north and south America.

Each week the team get together on Skype to discuss any problems. The biggest stress for staff is when the charity cannot help women, who can become deeply distressed, says Gomperts. This can really, really affect people who work on the helpdesk. We want to make sure everybody has a place they can talk about it.

After the initial consultation, about one in 10 women pull out. The remainder have their details checked by doctors, web-based volunteers whose locations are also protected and who write prescriptions for the pills.

Women are then asked to donate 80-90 (£58-£65) to help cover the charitys administration costs. Those who cant afford so much can contribute less, as part of a chain of solidarity with other women in need.

Four out of five women donate the full amount, with the remainder paying less or sometimes nothing. One of these was Celia. Im all alone, away from my family and cant tell anyone about it, she wrote. I dont know what to do: I cant get an abortion on the NHS and I cant afford to pay for anything.

The prescription is then sent to India, and in cites, towns and villages across Northern Ireland the waiting begins.

Gomperts reads out messages from Celia: she was 55 days pregnant when she contacted Women on Web, close to the nine-week cut-off.

Im just wondering if the pills been posted or do I need to make a donation to get the pills, she wrote while doctors were assessing her case. After they were posted (free of charge) she wrote again: I still cant get on your tracking site to know when the package will arrive. Im getting a bit worried now.

That problem solved, she was still in the grip of anxiety: Im just getting worried I will be too far on, that it wont work, and Im just really depressed.

The parcel arrived two weeks after she put in the request. Inside the package were nine pills: a single mifepristone and eight misoprostol. First women take the mifepristone to block the effects of the progesterone hormone, which keeps the pregnancy viable.

In countries where abortion is illegal, the moment women swallow that small round pill is usually the instant they commit the criminal act.

At least 24 hours later they take two misoprostol, which brings on contractions to expel the pregnancy. These can be taken vaginally, but Women on Web recommend under the tongue: that way doctors cannot trace the drug if they get help for complications, the abortion in every other sense being a miscarriage. Four hours later they take another dose. If the pills do not work, there are two more doses in the package.

Most women have cramps, some vomit and get a fever, typically they bleed for a week or so. A few will have complications and need to go to hospital for the remaining placenta to be removed, and in very rare cases for a blood transfusion or antibiotics for infection.

More typical is Sarahs undramatic experience. The package arrived Friday and I took the first tablet, the next one on Saturday, she wrote to Women on Web. [It] felt like early labour for three and a half hours before bleeding started a few minutes later I pushed out the pregnancy, and the cramps subsided.

A few weeks later women are asked to go for a scan: only one in 100 will still be pregnant.

Later they are asked to fill out an evaluation. One question asks how they feel about the experience. One percent or so say, in retrospect, a medical abortion was not for them, though it is not clear if these women regret the abortion or just the method. The remainder report mostly mixed emotions.

Grateful and relieved almost always feature. Many also feel guilty or low, or report feelings of loss.

Aishlings feedback told a little more of her story. Guilty, empowered, relieved, confident, satisfied, she wrote of her reaction, then hinting she might now end her abusive relationship.

Im now on the way to getting out and making a fresh start, she added. Thank you doesnt express my gratitude enough.

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Dallas Cowboys Draft 2017: Jerry Jones Not Interested In Taking “Redshirt” Talents? – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Dallas Cowboys Draft 2017: Jerry Jones Not Interested In Taking “Redshirt” Talents?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
In fact, that's exactly what Jerry Jones did in order to earn enough money to purchase the Dallas Cowboys some 28 years ago. Everyone knows that you have to take risks in life at some point to get to an ultimate goal. Jerry Jones has certainly taken

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ESPN Draft Gurus Concur: Cowboys' 2016 Draft Was Superb – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

ESPN Draft Gurus Concur: Cowboys' 2016 Draft Was Superb
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Two stellar picks led the way, and there may be even more to come from this crop. by Tom Ryle@TomRyleBTB Mar 30, 2017, 4:00pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. It is the season of mock drafts and prospect rankings …

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Jay Leno: $12M McLaren F1 car is crown in Hollywood star’s collection

(CNN)It would be a getaway driver’s worst nightmare: A car that doesn’t start with a simple turn of the key. This one needs a bit of patience and — I daresay — an awful lot of practice.

We all take for granted how easy cars are to drive in the 21st century, but in the years following World War I, you pretty much had to be an engineer just to get moving on the road.
    I’m sitting in the passenger seat of a 1920 Stutz Bearcat, an icon of the roaring ’20s. It’s an open-top beast of an automobile and my chauffeur is priming us for departure. He’s using a lever to manually pump air into the engine, carefully monitoring a gauge so that when the pressure hits one pound he flicks a switch and we’re good to go.
    He’s not just any old driver by the way, he’s Jay Leno. He’s one of the most famous comedians and television talk show hosts in the US, but he’s arguably more comfortable with an oily rag and a bunch of engine parts scattered across a workshop floor.

    Life’s passion

    Since he began fooling around with a 1934 Ford pickup truck at the age of 14, Leno has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with cars. He’s collected and restored hundreds from every era in the industry’s history and is a walking encyclopedia on all of them.
    Showbiz made him wealthy, but it’s the cars that truly enrich his life.



      Touring Jay Leno’s car collection


    Anyway, back to our little jaunt in the Bearcat.
    I’m mildly concerned to discover that there is a dearth of seat belts to restrain us in the event of any mishap, but Leno is unperturbed.
    Firstly, he’s not legally obliged to have any because the car rolled off the production line decades before the advent of road safety laws in the US, but perhaps more likely because it never bothered anyone at the time the car was made.
    “Back in the day,” he chuckled, gesticulating a high, angled trajectory, “they preferred to be thrown clear.”
    As we pulled out of his vast collector’s garage and onto a distinctly 21st-century California road, I fancied that my chances of a successful launch from the passenger’s side were infinitely better than his, since he was wedged in behind an enormous steering wheel. It wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Titanic.
    We gathered speed quickly, or at least the feel of speed. With the wind whistling through our hair, 30 miles per hour seemed like 60. It seemed a good time to inquire about the state of the brakes.
    As Leno tooted and waved to the pedestrians on the sidewalk, he informed me that the best way to drive the car is to pretend it doesn’t have any brakes at all: “I prefer to employ accident avoidance technology.”

    Hefty insurance?

    My curiosity was piqued — behind us at the garage was a collection worth an absolute fortune.
    Leno says he doesn’t have a favorite — if he did then he wouldn’t have “all these cars” — but he will concede that his McLaren F1 is the first he’d save in a fire.
    He bought it for $800,000; it’s now worth $12 million.
    The topic of insurance inevitably came up. “They’re not as expensive to insure as you’d think,” he explained.
    “Most accidents are caused by distractions. When you see one of these coming down the road, there’s no way that you’re not paying attention.”
    Observing the respectable distance afforded us at every junction, I concurred. “Secondly, owners of cars like these are very careful,” Leno continued. “When I take my wife out to dinner, if we can’t park right outside then we’re not eating there. Case closed!”
    One factor certainly resonated: “Most people wouldn’t even know how to start these cars, so if you can get it going then you can take it.”

    Each car, a story

    Many of his cars have intriguing ownership histories and Leno is often tempted to make an investment based simply on the lives that have been associated with them.
    He once bought a 1967 Chrysler Imperial from an old Hollywood producer and his eccentric actress wife. He wasn’t too bothered about buying it until they opened another garage with “extra bumpers, replacement windshield, everything you’d need in case of an accident. So now I have to buy the car, it’s a great story.”
    Then there was the 1951 Hudson Hornet. “I already had one, but this 94-year-old lady called me and said it was the only family car they’d ever owned. They drove it across country from New Jersey to California to start a new life, but since her husband had died it had been sitting in the driveway for 20 years.”
    Leno bought it for $5,000 and spent two years restoring it. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was still alive and so he took her for a spin.
    “The two kids came along, who by now were 70 and 72, and before long they were mock fighting in the back. She was turning around and pretending to slap the crap out of them, saying ‘I told you to settle down!’ They were having so much fun, they got to recreate a piece of their childhood.”
    Nobody gets to own just one family car for decades without taking good care of it, but I doubt that any of the previous owners have been anywhere near as careful as Leno.
    The restored Bearcat, for example, has never even got wet. He doesn’t take it out in the rain and so it doesn’t ever need washing. “I just wipe it down with a cloth,” he explained “and in this dry California climate, it’ll never rust.”

    ‘Better than the stock market’

    As we return to the garage with a triumphant toot of the klaxon, it’s clear that Leno is in his element.
    He doesn’t consider himself to be a collector, simply a car enthusiast who never sells any of his possessions.
    “What would be the point of selling them?” he asked rhetorically. “I’d then have a big bag of green but what would I do with that?”
    Overall, the collection is worth tens of millions, but he certainly isn’t in it for the money — many of his projects make a loss.
    “The way this works,” he chuckled, ” is that you buy the car for $5,000, spend $60,000 doing it up and then it’s worth $12,500. At least it’s better than the stock market!”
    I expected to be wowed by the cars, and I was. I expected to be entertained by one of the most iconic personalities in American television history, and I certainly was. However I wasn’t necessarily expecting my Hollywood host to be so humble.
    Leno has spent much of his professional life in a world of air kisses and false platitudes. His love of cars is what keeps him grounded.
    “When you work with your hands, you appreciate how easy it is to make money in show business. I’m in a business which is really subjective — some people think you’re funny because you’re a comedian, others think you’re terrible.
    “They’re both right because it’s a matter of taste. But when something’s broken and you fix it, nobody can say it’s not running.”

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    I'm NOT Going to Stop Selling You Things on Facebook and Here's Why – Money Magazine

    Money Magazine

    I'm NOT Going to Stop Selling You Things on Facebook and Here's Why
    Money Magazine
    Editor's Note: Earlier this month, MONEY published a first-person essay about moms using Facebook to sell products. The story sparked a debate and inspired one seller – Cheurice … Uber? Blogging? I turned to something I love: makeup. When I realized

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    Jason Witten's Commitment Through Contract Extension Speaks Well For Cowboys Future – Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Jason Witten's Commitment Through Contract Extension Speaks Well For Cowboys Future
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    What does the fact that Jason Witten committed for four more years says about the Cowboys and the future? by DawnMacelli@BTB_Macelli Mar 29, 2017, 7:00pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Jason Witten is the …
    Method to the madness: Why Stephen Jones isn't fretting over Cowboys' free-agent lossesDallas News

    all 180 news articles »

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    Seattle votes unanimously to give Uber, Lyft drivers the right to unionize

    A recent survey, paid for by Uber, showed that the vast majority of its drivers are happy working for the company, though some contractors said that the survey might not quite be as sunny as Uber portrays. Some drivers even talked about a culture of fear when responding to Uber’s questions on the survey.

    But if Uber drivers are not pleased with their working conditionsand seriously, read this story, because there might be quite a few reasonsthose who live in Seattle have the beginnings of a solution.

    That’s because, as the Associated Press reports, the city of Seattle has given drivers for Uber, Lyft, and cab drivers the right to unionize, becoming the first city in the country that allows drivers to collectively bargain. Now those for-hire vehicle drivers can team up with others to negotiate their salaries and working conditions, even though, as Gizmodo points out, the drivers will continue to be considered independent contractors and not employees.

    Its clear the nature of work has shifted in part because of technology and in part because there are corporations that dont like labor protections, Mike O’Brien, the Seattle City Council member who introduced the legislation, told the New York Times. What is that reality going to look like? I believe there should be some solutions.

    Not surprisingly, neither Lyft nor Uber seemed thrilled with the City Council’s unanimous decision.

    “Lyft provides consumers with convenient and affordable transportation, and drivers with the ability to make money in their free time,” Lyft told Gizmodo via email. “Lyft drivers are entirely in control of where or when they work, and this flexibility is exactly why the service is so popular with people looking to make extra income. Unfortunately, the ordinance passed today threatens the privacy of drivers, imposes substantial costs on passengers and the City, and conflicts with longstanding federal law. We urge the Mayor and full Council to reconsider this legislation and listen to the voices of their constituents who choose to drive with Lyft because of the flexible economic opportunity it offers.”

    Said Uber in a statement: Uber is creating new opportunities for many people to earn a better living on their own time and their own terms.”

    This is only the latest in a series of potential uprisings by Uber drivers. In September, three drivers who said they should be considered full-time employees were granted class-action lawsuit status, and in June, one Uber driver actually was considered by the state of California to be an employee. (Uber has since appealed the decision.)

    This bill was only introduced out of necessity after witnessing how little power drivers themselves had in working for a living wage, O’Brien said, via the Seattle Times. I am proud Seattle is continuing to lead the nation in advancing labor standards for our workers.

    H/T Gizmodo |Photo viaAlexander Torrenegra/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

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    5 Reasons Stealing Is One Of The Worst Addictions Possible

    The idea of being “addicted” to stealing automatically makes you want to call bullshit. “Hey, I like free stuff too, but I still pay for it. You know, because I’m not an asshole.” But there are lots of people out there who compulsively steal stuff they can’t even use, and even they don’t know why. Like our source today, “Zack,” who spent years stealing everything around him that wasn’t nailed down (and then probably stole a claw hammer so he could pry up the rest of it). He says …


    The Urge Can Come Out Of Nowhere

    victorass88/iStock/Getty Images

    Zack’s first fall to temptation came many years ago and involved a church, Boy Scout uniforms, and an unsupervised kid. “My Boy Scouts troop was at some fundraiser festival, held in the parking lot of a church,” says Zack, providing some desperately needed context. “I was left to attend the cash and stole one single dollar bill. A crisp George Washington. It was downhill ever since.”

    Hemera Technologies/ Images
    He never did get that Honesty merit badge.

    After his grand theft dollar, Zack would mainly steal on a whim rather than out of necessity. “I stole everything: computers, cameras, digital projectors, even cars (two cars specifically; it was hard and not worth my time). This was in high school, mind you. I wasn’t drinking or smoking (pot or otherwise); I wasn’t even dating. … A lot of what I stole ended up in the woods near the high school, off the path, because I sure as fuck wasn’t taking my loot home, and I was a kid who didn’t know how to pawn anything off. Yes, I was stealing just for the shit of it.”

    In conclusion, there’s probably a very rich bear living it up somewhere in Zack’s hometown.

    AlanJeffery/iStock/Getty Images
    “Do I shit in the woods? No, not since he stole that porta-potty.”

    Once Zack graduated from college, though, everything changed. Oh, he was still going through life like it was an abandoned mall during a zombie apocalypse, but by then he was ready to take his criminal activities to a whole new level.


    Like With Any Addiction, You Have To Keep Upping The Dose

    TuTheLens/iStock/Getty Images

    After graduation, Zack got a job at a clothing store run by, hands down, the worst judge of character in history. We’re saying that not because they hired one career criminal but because they hired two. The other one was Zack’s supervisor, who pretty much drafted him into the Major Leagues of theft.

    “He was a confessed bank robber who spent some years in prison. We traded stories and that was it. … Occasionally, we’d steal a shirt or a suit or help our friends out by giving away the merchandise. Our site had a pretty bad theft issue, so a missing Calvin Klein or two was expected. But our math was off; by the time we realized it, we were missing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise.”

    kostsov/iStock/Getty Images
    “Darn it, I think I misplaced the jeans department again.” -World’s Most Clueless Manager

    This was the first time that Zack’s crimes actually threatened to put him away in prison, so he and his supervisor did the only logical thing. They staged a burglary, making it look like someone broke into the store and stole a few hundred grand in pants and the like. The police bought it. To celebrate, Zack went right back to crime, because it’s important to get a sense of normalcy after a scary experience like that.

    “One day I scanned in a gift card for $100 when the power went out and came back on. The register had no record of the gift card’s activation, so I went to scan it again. The register said it was already activated with a $100 balance.” Basically, Zack discovered that by disconnecting the cash register at the right time, he could activate gift cards without any record that it ever happened. He found a way to literally make money appear out of thin air.

    TuTheLens/iStock/Getty Images
    The gift (card) that keeps on giving.

    “I giddily told my supervisor about the issue [and] we did this dozens of times per week. We sold the gift cards at first. Then we realized we could take cash from customers in exchange for our goods, put the gift cards through the register to collect the sales and pocket the cash! By my count, we amassed over $100,000 cash in a matter of eight months.”

    Just so we are clear: Even though Zack wasn’t exactly sprinkling caviar and saffron on his cornflakes, he wasn’t strapped for cash either. So why did he steal all that money? Well …


    When You Try To Stop, You Go Through A Weird Kind Of Withdrawal


    If anyone ever asks you for a spot-on yet depressing snapshot of addiction, feel free to send them the following quote:

    “When I don’t steal, which I promise I’m doing my best not to,” Zack explains, “it’s a lingering thought. If I pass up an opportunity, I’ll think about it for days. I’ll write about it on my Facebook, but I make sure that the privacy is set so only I can see it. Then, a year later, Facebook Memories will pop up reminding me of the loss, and I feel regret over not taking advantage of the situation.”

    Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images
    Even sadder? He likes all his own posts.

    Most people may regret things like loves lost or assholes un-punched, but Zack can relive the memory of not swiping loose grapes at the supermarket with roughly the same intensity. That doesn’t excuse his crimes, obviously. Addiction or not, Zack does realize that it was wrong to steal all that money from his employers. It’s just that his brain convinced him that not stealing it would have been … wrong. Like “not wiping up after taking a shit” level wrong.

    “It’s hard to say what’s going through my mind when I have the urge to steal. It’s not as if I’m making cognitive decisions; these are knee-jerk, almost involuntary actions. This is something my therapist is trying to figure out with me. He asked if it felt like an out-of-body experience, if I’m watching myself do it, but I’m not. I’m doing it, these are my hands, my actions, and it’s as automatic as sneezing.”

    Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
    “Gesundheit. Can I have my wallet back now?”


    When You Get In Too Deep, The Cops Can Be Your Friend

    moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

    One day, in a moment of clarity and/or paranoia, Zack decided to stop the gift card scam. When he told his partner about his change of heart, the guy took Zack aside and calmly talked him out of it by calmly sticking a gun into his stomach and explaining to him that he’ll calmly murder him if he backed out. “He was my supervisor. That meant he had access to my employee records (address where I kept my family, my social security number, etc.). He explained the unfortunate events that would unfurl should I decline his offer. It was at that moment I knew I had to get the police involved.”

    “911? I’d like to commit … sorry, force of habit. I would like to report a crime.”

    Zack’s report to the cops was a sprawling masterpiece of bullshit. He painted himself as an innocent patsy at the mercy of a ruthless criminal mastermind and actually gained some respect for the police when they didn’t buy a word of it. Still, due to a lack of evidence, the cops had no choice but to work with Zack to bring down his supervisor.

    “The police sent an undercover cop in to pay cash for some pants. My boss, being my boss, took the cash, rushed the customer out, and proceeded to check out the transaction with a gift card. … With some cash register data and my testimony, he was sent to jail for 18 months. I was sentenced to three years’ probation.” Yes, sometimes the system fails in just such a way as to be considered a partial win for justice! Hooray!

    Now, did Zack regret having to turn in his ex-partner for a scheme that he came up with? Do you remember the part where the guy threatened to kill Zack? Well, there’s your answer. So Zack learned his lesson, right? Isn’t that how these cautionary tales always end?

    WichitS/iStock/Getty Images
    There’s a reason “ONE. LAST. JOB.” is a movie cliche.


    Like Any Addiction, It Never Fully Goes Away

    SchuminWeb/Wiki Commons

    What do you feel when you see mugshots of petty thieves? Is it pity? Contempt? A sudden realization that bad facial hair and crime might be connected somehow?

    In Zack’s case, he mainly feels, well, compassion. “You may call it survivor’s guilt? I tend to watch a lot of crime dramas, and I’m always rooting for the bad guys. … I obviously don’t relate to rapists and murderers, but when I see mugshots of people that hold up 7-Elevens, I think, ‘Those poor idiots. … If I had been there, we wouldn’t have our mugshots on TV.'”

    hansenn/iStock/Getty Images
    Twenty bucks and a 99 cent hot dog is not worth five to 10.

    See, deep down, Zack just has this strong desire to reach out to other criminals … and help them steal without getting caught. “When I was a hiring manager for my current employer, my sympathy for these criminals extended to job applicants. I hired no less than five convicted criminals to work at my store. … Each time it’s bitten me in the ass. Being a thief makes it incredibly easy to catch thieves, which in turn makes me look good for catching them while stealing.”

    You probably noticed Zack referenced being a thief in the present tense there. Managing his theft urges is kind of like a recovering alcoholic trying to stay dry — it’s a continuing effort that involves things like keeping himself out of situations where temptation might occur. For example, he was recently promoted to a management position at his new job, far away from the cash. “Now I work on the corporate side of things. Truth be told, it’s an honest struggle not stealing.”

    karammiri/iStock/Getty Images
    What would you even do with all those logo pens and cubicle walls?

    You might think the higher salary would also make it unnecessary, but again, it was never about the money. It’s about whatever weird little dopamine high his brain gets from the act. These days, he just has to satisfy it in small, less risky ways. “I try really hard not to let this compulsion complicate other aspects of my life, but it’s there all the time. … I recently bought a lot of food for a barbecue and went through self-checkout. Obviously I’m doing my best not to steal, but when I have a choice between a really cheap produce item and the expensive ones that I purchased, I may select the button on the screen that gives me the better price (I absolutely do this).”

    Zack is a recovering thief who loves his fiancee enough to try harder. Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at

    Have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.

    Which Sci-Fi Trope Would You Bring To The Real World And Why?: Every summer we’re treated to the same buffet of three or four science-fiction movies with the same basic conceits. There’s man vs. aliens, man vs. robots; man vs. army of clones; and man vs. complicated time travel rules. With virtual reality and self-driving cars fast approaching, it’s time to consider what type of sci-fi movie we want to be living in for the rest of our lives. Co-hosts Jack O’Brien and Adam Tod Brown are joined by Cracked’s Tom Reimann and Josh Sargent and comedians David Huntsberger, Adam Newman and Caitlin Gill to figure out which sci-fi trope would be the best to make a reality. Get your tickets to this live podcast here!

    For more insider perspectives, check out 6 Realities Of My Job Addicting Kids To Online Games and 5 Ways My Movie Collection Became An Actual Addiction.

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out If Cereal Mascots Got Serious About Stealing Cereal, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

    Also, follow us on Facebook, and let’s go steal some peanut butter, Fluff, and bread, and have some killer Fluffer Nutters.

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