Price truthers unite!
July 8, 2014

Tim Cavanaugh has a post over at the National Review complaining that people are talking about how unaffordable the American Dream is these days, without mentioning inflation:

...at no point did anybody refer to the monetary phenomenon by which the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States incessantly expands the supply of money, and as a direct result you end up paying more for less of everything until the day you die — and beyond. [National Review]

Ironically, he doesn't include an actual measurement of inflation (which doesn't work by magic). Here's the last few years of the consumer price index:

Now, to be fair, later in the piece Cavanaugh suggests the CPI is a government conspiracy (a la Shadowstats, where they take the CPI and tack on a few points) and that "true" prices must be skyrocketing. The major problem with this is that growth itself has been fairly slow, so much inflation at all would mean that the United States economy has been shrinking, as increased prices overwhelm the value of increased nominal output. How would Cavanaugh square six years of job growth during a postulated secret recession with Okun's law? Or are the jobs numbers also faked?

I think it's safe to conclude that we can breathe easy; the United States is not going to turn into Zimbabwe.

pao pow
March 27, 2015
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gender was not the reason former partner Ellen Pao was passed over for a promotion at prominent venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, a California jury in Silicon Valley declared Friday. After the verdict was read, however, the jury was sent back to deliberate on one of the four claims, which did not have the necessary majority of at least nine jurors to constitute an official decision — the jurors had ruled eight to four in favor of Kleiner.

Pao's suit asked for $16 million in lost wages and future earnings, in addition to a potential $144 million in punitive damages.

This doesn't look good
March 27, 2015

Ecologist and GMO advocate Patrick Moore wants to set the record straight about a recent WHO report that classified glyphosate, which is found in Roundup and other weed-killers, as "probably carcinogenic" to humans.

Moore appeared on French news channel Canal+ to explain that Roundup isn't dangerous, telling the Canal+ reporter that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you."

Understandably, the reporter's response is, "You want to drink some?" Moore quickly declines the offer, saying that he won't drink it because "I'm not stupid," though he does add that he knows it is "not dangerous to humans." Check out the interview in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria

Correction: This article originally referred to Patrick Moore as a Monsanto lobbyist. In a statement written after this article was published, Monsanto said Moore "is not and has never been a paid lobbyist for Monsanto." This article has since been corrected. We regret the error.

space stuff
March 27, 2015
Nasa.gov

On Friday afternoon, NASA launched a two-man crew for a one-year space mission on the International Space Station. The pair includes Scott Kelly, an American astronaut, and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russain cosmonaut.

The journey will be especially notable because Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, is staying on Earth. Mark will undergo genetic studies while his brother is in space, and scientists will use data from both twins to further explore how the body changes while in space for longer periods of time.

The mission is also a test for future trips to Mars, where astronauts could stay in orbit for 500 days or more.

bathroom break
March 27, 2015
iStock

Physical attacks, drug deals, and bathroom sex are what Zephyrhills High School administrators are trying to put an end to, but students and parents aren't pleased with a new policy that requires students to be escorted to the bathroom.

"We're in high school; we shouldn't be babysat. We should be able to go to the bathroom," one student told WFTS.

But Zephyrhills High principal Andrew Frelick explained that students have also been spreading feces in the bathroom, fighting in the hallways, and stealing when left unchaperoned. In the face of backlash to the new rule, AOL reports that the policy has been changed slightly, and now only students with disciplinary or academic issues will require an escort.

Braaaaaaaaaiins
March 27, 2015
Facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC

AMC's long-discussed Walking Dead spin-off finally has an official title. The new TV show will be called Fear The Walking Dead — a title that provides a helpful contrast to all those non-scary zombies in the original series.

Few details about Fear the Walking Dead are known, but inside sources say the show is set in Los Angeles at the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Its story is not expected to overlap with the original The Walking Dead, which is set to air its season five finale on Sunday.

Fear The Walking Dead is expected to premiere late this summer. AMC has already ordered two seasons, because come on, this zombie craze is never going to fade, right?

Only in America
March 27, 2015
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A New York state high school celebrating National Foreign Language Week caused an uproar when a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. Student Andrew Zink said reciting the pledge in different languages was meant to show that "what makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in." But the district superintendent publicly apologized, saying the use of Arabic "divided the school in half."

Here's looking at you kid
March 27, 2015
iStock

Being hassled at the airport by TSA is a nuisance every traveler wants to avoid — and now a "secret behavior checklist" released by The Intercept may help passengers do just that.

Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is the program used by TSA officers to spot suspicious-looking characters. Individuals who exhibit certain characteristics such as "excessive throat clearing" and "exaggerated yawning" earn a point or two toward their ranking of likely-terrorist. Conversely, points are deducted if you're a member of a family or if you're of a more advanced age.

Other factors on the 92-point checklist that might cause TSA to pay special attention to you at the airport include "face pale from recent shaving of beard," "unusual items," and "fast eye blink rate."

The SPOT program has repeatedly come under fire by critics who question the effectiveness of behavior detection and those who say the program could lead to racial profiling. In 2013, a Government Accountability Office report found that evidence did not support whether the SPOT techniques were effective in identifying "persons who may pose a risk to aviation security."

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