This article was passed along by one of our subscribers and relates back to our article: The Unemployed Should Be On To Houston: A New Diaspora?

In Houston, we have a problem. It’s a crisis that will impede the reconstruction of our nation’s fourth-largest city. The problem isn’t capital, though. It’s labor.

Here’s what federal lawmakers need to understand: If Congress gave the Gulf Coast every dollar it needs to rebuild tomorrow, the construction industry simply would not find enough workers to keep up with demand.

Even before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, 69 percent of Texas contractors had trouble filling jobs. Now, it’s estimated that 200,000 Houston homes will require work or complete reconstruction. Who will build these houses? What about the commercial infrastructure and public schools, highways and bridges that also sustained so much damage?

I guess I still wonder why along with monetary and material support for hurricane, why we can’t organize labor from areas with job shortages and get them to disaster areas like this that desperately needs labor help. Whoops…organize and labor in the same sentence probably scares the president. But check out the rest of the article: We won’t be rebuilding Houston any time soon

And then there’s this, also from the Washington Post, and it moves my take on Senator Dianne Feinstein’s announcement to run for a fifth term just a little bit farther down the road: Is it time for the Democratic Party’s old guard to step aside?

Senator Dianne Feinstein has announced that she’ll be running in 2018 for a fifth term, and since she’ll be 85 next year, that would mean if she wins she’d serve until the age of 91, putting her in a select club. Only four senators in history have served past the age of 90.

Meanwhile, the top Democratic leadership in the House is getting a bit long in the tooth as well: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is 77, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is 78, and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn is 77. Last week Rep. Linda Sánchez, herself a member of the leadership team, said: “I do think it’s time to pass a torch to a new generation of leaders, and I want to be a part of that transition.”

So do the Democrats have an age problem at the top that needs fixing?

Makes me feel better…I am not the only one who feels this way: Senator Dianne Feinstein To Run For Fifth Term…Please no!

Myth No. 2
Background checks save lives, research shows.

The concept of universal background checks enjoys rare broad support in the debate over gun violence: consistently at or near 90 percent . Large majorities of Republicans and Democrats favor the expansion of background checks to private sales and gun show sales, according to Pew. And there is solid research indicating that laws that keep guns out of the hands of high-risk individuals, such as domestic abusers and people convicted of violent crimes, reduce violence.

But there is no research indicating that background check laws as they currently exist save lives. Studies suggest that the federal Brady Law, which mandates background checks for firearm sales but exempts sales by private parties, has not been strong enough to reduce homicide rates. There is no compelling, peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of extending background check requirements to private sales — unless those requirements are paired with a permitting or licensing system for purchasers.

Still, state laws requiring checks via a permitting system do reduce the diversion of guns for criminal use, homicides and suicides, and they may lower the risk of police officers being shot in the line of duty. Only 10 states and the District of Columbia require permits for handgun purchasers; eight states require background checks for private sales but do not require permits.

Myth No. 1

Gun violence in the United States is at an all-time high.

Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 with a speech that described a country besieged by violence. He said that President Barack Obama “has made America a more dangerous environment than frankly I have ever seen.” Earlier this year, Trump declared the U.S. murder rate to be “the highest it’s been in, I guess, 45 to 47 years.” Half of Americans in a Pew Research Center poll said gun violence is “a very big problem” today, with 59 percent of non-gun-owners saying the same.

Indeed, data from the FBI indicates an alarming 32 percent increase in the number of homicides committed with firearms from 2014 to 2016. The number of robberies and aggravated assaults committed with firearms increased by 17 percent over that time. The number of people shot in mass shootings has also risen sharply in the past 12 years.

Yet the current rate of firearm violence is still far lower than in 1993, when the rate was 6.21 such deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 3.4 in 2016. The high rate in the early 1990s was linked to a variety of conditions, most notably the emergence of a large and violent market for crack cocaine. It’s too soon to determine the causes of recent increases in gun violence or whether the upward trend will continue.

Authors: Daniel Webster is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Jon Vernick is the center’s deputy, and Cassandra Crifasi and Beth McGinty are faculty members at the center.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) is 84 years old and today announced her intention to run for a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. Somebody please talk her out of it! She has accomplished much during her time in public office…but it really is time for new blood in Washington. Four terms is enough. Retirement at 84 is good. Really.

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Supposedly because the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the National Anthem. But question: look at this photo which I guess was taken during the National Anthem. Who’s the brass on the left who is just standing there. What exactly is ‘disrespecting’ the flag?

Editor’s Note: this is what I’ve been told by two people who have been in the military. When indoors and not wearing headgear, a member of the military is expected to stand at attention while the National Anthem is being played. If outdoors and wearing headgear, they are supposed to salute. So this photo is accurate and makes sense given those rules. But it has got to be awkward for military personnel when standing with civilians.


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What’s on your mind? Puerto Rico? Las Vegas? Birth Control? Twitter moving to 280 characters?


Trump is failing, and the White House is covering it up with lies : President Trump cannot fail. President Trump can only be failed. Trump and his allies tell us so. He can only be failed — by the filibuster (never mind that no GOP repeal bill got 50 Senate votes); by the “Fake News” media, which fails to honestly report on his smashing successes; and even by Republican congressional leaders, who have let the Russia probes get out of hand and secretly oppose his agenda.

Why Trump is scaling back the contraception mandate and trying to destroy Obamacare : One of the enduring mysteries of the Trump era so far is how the president maintains the steadfast loyalty of many of the Republican Party’s key constituent groups despite the fact that his presidency has been a long series of blunders, bumbles, pratfalls and screw-ups, all against a backdrop of White House chaos and naked corruption. I have a theory to explain it, one that can be seen in today’s big news that the Trump administration has issued a rule to dramatically cut back the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate and in the administration’s ongoing sabotage of the ACA in general.

The Strange Politics of ‘Classified’ Information : Is it easier to keep secrets when you have fewer of them? Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan seemed to think so. Twenty years ago, he was chairman of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, insisting that the ‘‘protecting’’ and the ‘‘reducing’’ parts went hand in hand — that in order to safeguard the secrets that really mattered, those secrets would have to be few and far between. The commission combed through a long history of protected information, concerning everything from bomb tests to Communist infiltration, before calling for a vast reduction in the amount of federal information deemed ‘‘classified.’’ Moynihan hoped that the end of the Cold War had made Washington’s pernicious ‘‘culture of secrecy’’ obsolete. But history did not go his way.

How to Win a War on Drugs : Decades ago, the United States and Portugal both struggled with illicit drugs and took decisive action — in diametrically opposite directions. The U.S. cracked down vigorously, spending billions of dollars incarcerating drug users. In contrast, Portugal undertook a monumental experiment: It decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, even heroin and cocaine, and unleashed a major public health campaign to tackle addiction. Ever since in Portugal, drug addiction has been treated more as a medical challenge than as a criminal justice issue. After more than 15 years, it’s clear which approach worked better. The United States drug policy failed spectacularly… . In contrast, Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it.

Want Geniuses? Welcome Immigrants : Maybe “some are rapists,” in Donald Trump’s nasty words. But many are geniuses. Just ask the MacArthur Foundation, which responded to our president’s frequent demonization of immigrants, including that infamous phrase, by doing a little math. Of the 965 geniuses (or, more properly, MacArthur fellows) to date, 209 were born outside the United States, according to Cecilia Conrad, who leads the fellowship program. That’s 21.7 percent. The 2010 census determined that less than 13 percent of the American population is foreign-born. She found that immigrants were overrepresented among the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for music, of the National Humanities Medal and especially of the John Bates Clark Medal, which recognizes brilliant American economists under the age of 40. Thirty-five percent of these economists were foreign-born, including people from India, Turkey and Ukraine.

Cities are doing wacky things to host Amazon’s second headquarters : Cities across North America are pulling out the stops to become the home of Amazon’s second headquarters. The efforts to lure the tech giant to town have been both big and creative, from sending a giant cactus to CEO Jeff Bezos to offering big tax breaks. A Georgia town even said it would de-annex some of its land and name it the city of Amazon. Last month, Amazon announced plans to open another headquarters in North America. Called “HQ2,” the facility will cost at least $5 billion to construct and operate, and will employ as many as 50,000 workers.

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In a recent interview with the Washington Post, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is still a hard core conservative proponent of the 2nd Amendment. Neither his recovery from gun shot wounds suffered last June nor the mass shooting this past Sunday has dissuaded him from that position.

“I think it’s a shame that the day somebody hears about a shooting, the first thing they think about is, how can I go promote my gun-control agenda, as opposed to saying, how do I go pray and help the families that are suffering?”

Let’s just take him at his word for a moment…his last few words from this quote…help the families that are suffering. How about passing a comprehensive gun bill so we never have to confront this again! And how about passing a robust and universal health care bill so anyone who ever suffers injury again can get first rate affordable medical care!

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