Category: Business

Business pledging to donate half of proceeds to Planned Parenthood selling “nasty woman” t-shirt

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is NOT receiving payment from Google Ghost or anyone else to write blog posts about their products.


Last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is male, called Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is female, “such a nasty woman”.

Trump’s “nasty woman” remark about Hillary has already prompted at least two businesses that I know of to start selling t-shirts with the words “nasty woman” on them. One of them is a business called Google Ghost (apparently not owned by Google or its parent company, Alphabet), which is selling this women’s T-shirt. The shirt, which includes the text “NASTY WOMAN” inside of a heart-shape, is available in sizes ranging from small to double extra-large, and Google Ghost has pledged to donate half of the proceeds from sales of the women’s shirt to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health services to women and men. There is also a men’s version of the shirt, with men’s sizes ranging from extra-small to triple extra-large, and Google Ghost has also pledged to donate half of the proceeds from sales of the men’s shirt to Planned Parenthood.

This sounds like a great idea to raise money for women’s health!

UNCONFIRMED REPORT: Marla Maples may have released Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post includes a description of a female individual as an “actor”. The word “actor” is used in a gender-neutral context on this website, although most people use the term “actress” to describe a female actor.


In 2016, the 1990’s have officially come full circle thanks to a recent New York Times report on Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns.

Trump declared a nearly $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns. In the mid-1990’s, Trump’s business record included the failure of Trump Airlines and the mismanagement of three Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos. The kind of loss that Trump declared was a net operating loss, and it could have legally allowed Trump to pay zero income taxes from three years prior to the declaration of the loss (1992) to 15 years after the declaration of the loss (2010). In that time frame, Trump earned tens of thousands of dollars per episode of The Apprentice that he hosted, and he also earned roughly $45 million for being the top executive of a publicly-traded company created by Trump to assume ownership of his Atlantic City properties. It’s also worth noting that ordinary investors in Trump’s publicly-traded company had the value of their shares decline to a measly 17¢ from $35.50, many contractors were not paid for work on Trump’s properties, and casino bondholders lost money.

However, as fellow progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal likes to say, there’s more…there’s always more!

Jon Lovett, who lists himself as a presidential speechwriter on his Twitter page, has claimed that actor and television personality Marla Maples, who was Trump’s wife at the time the tax return was filed (Trump and Maples divorced in 1999), released Trump’s tax returns:

While this is an unconfirmed report, what is an indisputable fact is that the tax return was a tax return jointly filed by Trump and Maples as a married couple, something that federal law and IRS rules have long permitted. It is possible, but not confirmed, that Maples may have released the tax return to the public.

Self-driving cars are a threat to the American way of life

President Obama recently pinned an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praising self-driving cars as “an emerging reality with the potential to transform the way we live”.

Personally, I believe that self-driving cars are a grave threat to the American way of life.

Thousands of Americans are employed as taxi drivers, pizza deliverers, and in other similar professions. If self-driving cars were to become the norm, you can kiss thousands of American jobs, many of which are among the few American jobs nowadays that do not require a college degree, goodbye. Their jobs would be effectively replaced by computers manufactured in China or other foreign countries.

Also, who would want to watch a NASCAR race in which actual race car drivers are replaced by computer-driven cars? NASCAR would no longer be an actual sport if computers replaced drivers; instead, it would become effectively as scripted as WWE, but without the soap opera-esque storylines to keep the audience engaged. There’s a lot more entertainment watching real race car drivers compete against each other than computers competing against each other.

Another instance where self-driving vehicles are a threat to the American way of life is the all-American family farm. If tractors, combines, and other motorized farm implements are replaced with computer-driven machines, then it would be a lot easier for large agribusiness corporations like Bayer (which recently acquired Monsanto) to sweep in and take over family farms across the country.

While Obama has cited elderly people and disabled people (although I’m not elderly (I’m 26 years of age), I have Asperger’s syndrome, and I don’t drive) as two groups of people that might benefit from self-driving cars, the sobering reality is that there’s a lot more people who would be negatively impacted than those who would be positively impacted by self-driving vehicles. In fact, many of those who could benefit from self-driving cars don’t have cell phones that would be needed for them to get a ride in a self-driving car, either for cost reasons (most elderly and disabled people are very poor), or the nature of their disability makes it virtually impossible for them to operate a cell phone.

Obama Administration bullying, and even bribing, businesses to stop criticizing TPP

The Obama Administration is doing everything possible to silence businesses and business leaders who oppose free-trade giveaways like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In at least one documented instance (sources here, herehere, and below), the Obama Administration offered serious consideration for a Defense Department contract to a company if the company would quit publicly criticizing the TPP:

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Email courtesy of Fight for the Future

New Balance, which manufacturers some of their sneakers in the United States, was offered serious consideration for a Defense Department contract to manufacture athletic shoes for members of the U.S. Armed Forces if New Balance executives shut up about how TPP would force companies like New Balance to compete with companies that manufacture in countries like Vietnam, whose minimum wage is the equivalent of 65¢/hour. Prior to being offered consideration for the contract, New Balance officials had been critical of TPP, but they backed off of their criticism of the TPP once the Defense Department considered them for a contract. Now, New Balance officials are renewing their fight against the TPP after they alleged that the Pentagon is intentionally delaying the purchase of shoes from New Balance.

If this is even remotely true, then this represents the kind of corrupt, Chicago-style machine politics that has no place anywhere in America.

John Oliver delivers strong rebuttal to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and business record

Yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sent out this tweet in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refusing to condemn former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Grand Wizard and failed 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Duke, who has publicly praised Trump:

Bernie’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, had absolutely nothing to add, so, in an extremely rare move, she retweeted Bernie’s tweet.

On the other hand, John Oliver, the host of the HBO comedy show Last Week Tonight and not a politician, had a lot to add. Oliver devoted nearly an entire episode of his show to Donald Trump’s record of bigotry, mocking people, failed business ventures, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and being a total jerk. I encourage everyone to watch the entire Oliver segment on Trump here:

I have absolutely nothing else to add.

The one person that Bernie Sanders wants criticizing him…criticizes him

If I were Bernie Sanders, there would be exactly one person I would want criticizing me. That person is Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs.

Since Goldman Sachs has become a political talking point to many, I’ll remind everyone who they are. They are a very large investment banking firm that was heavily involved in the subprime mortgage crisis that was one of many factors that contributed to the Great Recession of the later part of the previous decade. Additionally, Goldman Sachs has served as a revolving door between governments in multiple countries and Wall Street, with former U.S. cabinet members and current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull having also worked for Goldman Sachs.

Now, back to my original point…Blankfein thinks that Bernie criticizing the undue influence of Goldman Sachs on our political system is a “dangerous moment” for America:

The head of Goldman Sachs believes being singled out for criticism by Bernie Sanders represents a “dangerous moment” for the country.

Lloyd Blankfein, the Wall Street giant’s chief executive, said Wednesday that the Democratic presidential candidate might have gone too far in personally targeting him.

“To personalize it, it has potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street … but for anybody who is a little bit out of line,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

Bernie isn’t personally criticizing Lloyd Blankfein. Instead, he’s taking on both a financial industry where greed is rampant and a political establishment that is beholden to same financial industry. Lloyd Blankfein is, in many ways, the personification of a lot of what is wrong about this country, and we’re taking back our country from people like Lloyd Blankfein and the politicians who are beholden to people like him! Let’s rein in Wall Street and protect American consumers! Greed is dangerous to America, not people who want to save capitalism from its own greed.

Bruce Rauner’s education funding hypocrisy

In yesterday’s State of the State of Illinois address, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner publicly criticized funding cuts to education and called for fully funding public education in Illinois.

There’s one problem with that…the guy who cut funding to public education in Illinois is…you guessed it, Bruce Rauner. In fact, a few months ago, Rauner gave away corporate welfare to food producing conglomerate ConAgra Foods while public education was being starved of funding:

As fate would have it, Governor Bruce Rauner revealed his plan to fork over as much as $1.26 million a year in tax credits to ConAgra Foods at roughly the same time parents were packing a Board of Education hearing room to protest the latest CPS cuts in special education.

So our dead-broke state has millions for Fortune 500 corporations but not enough money to educate our poorest, most vulnerable children. 

It’s something to keep in mind the next time the governor tells you it’s all about the kids.

Not only is Bruce Rauner dropping g’s, he’s dropping the ball when it comes to funding public education here in Illinois.

Joe Biden goes to Switzerland to smear Bernie Sanders

Speaking before a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (basically an international meeting of the wealthy elite), Vice President Joe Biden slammed socialism in a speech:

Vice President Joe Biden disparaged socialism while addressing the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, as his own political party finds itself with a self-described “democratic socialist” leading in some state polls.

“We need — not just in my country, but in other countries — a more progressive tax code. Not confiscatory policy, not socialism, a tax code,” Biden said. “Everybody pays proportionally a fair share. This is not meant to penalize everybody.”

While the vice president has denied any kind of implicit attack on Bernie Sanders, that was clearly a tongue-in-cheek diss of Bernie, whether the vice president wants to admit it or not. Quite frankly, I welcome the absurd red-baiting attacks against Bernie, since they know that Bernie isn’t beholden to the failed Obama-Clinton establishment or big-money special interests, and that Bernie is a serious threat to win the presidency.

I’m not a socialist myself, but I strongly believe that Bernie has some great ideas to make America a better place to live, such as universal health care, guaranteed paid leave, and free public college, among many others.

Vice President Biden is so scared of Bernie, he has to go to Switzerland to attack him!

Failed USFL team owner Donald Trump complains about recent emphasis on player safety in the NFL

Donald Trump, who, decades prior to running for the Republican presidential nomination, was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the failed United States Football League (USFL), complained at a recent campaign rally that the National Football League (NFL) has become “too soft” because of the increased emphasis on player safety in recent years:

As Donald Trump watched Saturday night’s Steelers-Bengals game, with hard hits that caused concussions and drew penalty flags, he thought he saw a metaphor for the direction that our country is heading in.

“Football has become soft like our country has become soft,” Trump said at a campaign rally today, to cheers from the audience.

Trump said he’s frustrated to see the way the NFL has changed the rules to take many hits to the head out of the game, at the expense of what Trump views as the old-school style of play that made the game great decades ago.

Make no mistake about it, football is a big part of American culture, with the Super Bowl traditionally being the most-watched television program of the year and the NBC Sunday Night Football jingle being effectively America’s second national anthem. In fact, I’m a big fan of football myself, with football being my third-favorite sport behind curling (a winter sport that is almost never on American television) and stock car racing.

Back to the main point of the blog post…player safety is something that should be a major focus of football at all levels of the sport. Head injuries are very serious, and repetitive head injuries have caused many former football players to suffer long-term medical problems. Many deceased former football players, including Frank Gifford and Junior Seau (last name pronounced say-OW), were diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that causes, among other things, memory loss and suicidal mentality. I believe that any non-incidental contact above the shoulders should be banned in football at all levels.

Let’s not forget that Trump was largely responsible for the USFL, a professional football league that operated for three seasons in the 1980’s, folding:

Soon after Trump bought the Generals after the USFL’s inaugural season, which was played in the spring of 1983, he started pushing his fellow owners to move the league’s games to the fall and go head-to-head with the NFL. “If God wanted football in the spring,” Trump once said, “he wouldn’t have created baseball.” After the league’s third season, the owners agreed to move to a fall schedule in 1986.

“I think it was a big mistake,” said Dr. Ted Diethrich, one of the league’s original owners. “When that decision was made, the course for this was charted, and it was going to be a wreck.”

Several teams were having financial difficulties at the time, and the league lacked the fall TV contracts that supported the NFL. The USFL instead tried to take on the NFL in the courts by filing an antitrust lawsuit. The hope was that the USFL would either merge with the established league or win a sizable settlement. The merger never happened, and despite winning the lawsuit, the USFL was ultimately awarded only $3 for its troubles. The league soon folded, and Trump’s push for the fall schedule and a lawsuit against the NFL is generally cited as the main reason.

Remember, Donald Trump has derailed professional football once before, so he’s not credible when it comes to talking about the current state of professional football in America.

No, I don’t use a FitBit…I just develop an exercise routine

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Although I didn’t follow this advice myself, please consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen. Additionally, the exercise regimen I described in this blog post is my own exercise regimen, and others may find a different exercise regimen better suited to them than mine.


As someone who has battled with obesity since childhood and has been trying to get in shape in recent months, I’ve become well aware of the rise of activity trackers, such as FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin Vivofit, and so on. These are electronic devices, usually worn in a similar manner to a wrist watch, that are designed to monitor number of steps taken, heart rate, and so on.

However, there are two reasons why I don’t have or use these types of devices. First, they’re very expensive. Many models of these activity tracker devices are a few hundred dollars in price. I can find far better things to spend a few hundred dollars on. Second, In the case of FitBit, they’re facing a class-action suit over allegations that they give inaccurate heart rate information. FitBit users in California, Colorado, and Wisconsin have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that two FitBit models are giving out wildly inaccurate information about the user’s heart rate:

Fitbit customers from California, Colorado, and Wisconsin filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging that two 2015 Fitbit models—the Charge HR and the Surge—don’t offer accurate heart rate readings. As the Verge, which first reported the news, points out, Fitbit also dealt with a class-action suit in 2014. In that case, customers were getting rashes from the Fitbit Force.

In the current suit, Fitbit users assert that the LED “PurePulse” heart rate monitor in the Charge HR and Surge doesn’t offer accurate readings. “Plaintiffs and many consumers like them have experienced—and testing confirms—that the PurePulse Trackers consistently mis-record heart rates by a very significant margin, particularly during exercise.” Good thing no one uses their Fitbits while exercising. One plaintiff claims that her heartbeat was actually double what her Fitbit said during a personal training session.

You can read the class-action lawsuit here.

For someone with a medical condition that requires them to have their heart rate and/or other vital signs monitored during exercise, getting inaccurate information from an activity tracker could lead to health problems not being noticed until it’s too late.

I’ve spent several months trying to find an exercise regimen that I’m comfortable with, and, in the past week, I’ve stuck to the following exercise regimen:

  • 45 minutes of racewalking — Believe it or not, racewalking is actually an Olympic sport, although I’m not a competitive racewalker. Basically, racewalking is similar to running, but with the requirement that at least part of one foot be in contact with the ground at all times. I racewalk around my kitchen table, I time myself using the kitchen timer function on the microwave in my kitchen.
  • Several minutes of weightlifting using detergent bottles filled with water — Instead of using dumbbells, kettlebells, or other types of actual weights, I use a pair of 75 fl. oz. bottles of laundry detergent filled with water (roughly 4.9 lb. each) as weights. I can do many dumbbell and kettlebell exercises with these weights.
  • Several minutes of unweighted exercises — Types of exercises I do without weights include lunges, stretching, arm circles, leg circles, calf raises, leg raises, and standing crunches, and squats, among others. Sometimes, I’ll do punches and kicks as well.

Most importantly, I don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep that exercise regimen.