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Tue, 18 Jun 2019
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Fed Ex will no longer provide express shipping for Amazon

Fed Ex truck
FedEx has elected not to renew one of its contracts with Amazon for their Express overnight and two-day service.

"FedEx has made the strategic decision to not renew the FedEx Express US domestic contract with Amazon.com, Inc. as we focus on serving the broader e-commerce market," the company said in a Friday statement.

Of note, the decision "does not impact any existing contracts between Amazon.com and other FedEx business units or relating to international services," according to the release.

Comment: See also:


US Department of Veterans Affairs bans smoking at all healthcare facilities

VA hospitals ban smoking
© U.S. Air Force/William Tracy
All Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities will be completely smoke-free by October, with all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes and vaping, banned from facility grounds, officials announced in a news release Monday.

The policy change, first published by the Veterans Health Administration in early March, ends the use of designated smoking areas or shelters at VA hospitals.

"Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care, that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations," officials said in the release. "Accordingly, VA's Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has collaborated with key stakeholders to update and recertify the policy to be consistent with the department's commitment to Veterans and the community."

Comment: Where's the evidence that second and third-hand smoke poses significant medical risks?

Lies, Damned Lies & 400,000 Smoking-related Deaths: Cooking the Data in the Fascists' Anti-Smoking Crusade

The change applies to everyone at VA facilities, including patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and staff, officials said.

Comment: A November 2008 study conducted by major universities in Texas showed that smoking was high in people with PTSD - a condition that veterans are highly susceptible to.

Smokers were approximately twice more likely to have PTSD than nonsmokers in the general population, and individuals with PTSD were approximately twice as likely to be current smokers. Smokers with PTSD evidenced more negative affect, trauma history, and comorbid psychiatric history, as well as quit attempts and higher relapse rates. PTSD symptoms were associated with expectations that smoking would reduce negative affect, which, in turn, was associated with increased smoking rate and nicotine dependence. Male sex was associated with nicotine dependence and PTSD avoidance, while the relationship between PTSD and smoking relapse due to withdrawal was stronger in females. Specialized, integrated PTSD and smoking cessation treatments showed promise in increasing quit success relative to standard care in randomized trials.
Some people should smoke, some people shouldn't.


India: Three men accused of the rape, torture and murder of little girl given life sentences

Indian students light candles and hold placards and a poster of Asifa Bano as they take part in a march in Kashmir in April last year.
Three men who raped and murdered an eight-year-old girl in a case which sparked outrage across India have been spared the death penalty.

The Muslim girl, Asifa Bano, was drugged, held captive in a Hindu temple and sexually assaulted for a week before being strangled and battered to death with a stone in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Prosecutors had asked for the three attackers to be executed but they were today sentenced to prison for life instead.

One of them, Sanji Ram, was a retired public servant and a custodian of the temple where the girl was attacked.

Another three men were found guilty of taking bribes and destroying evidence and were jailed for five years.

A seventh man was acquitted, while an eighth person, who was underage, faces a separate trial.

According to the charge sheet, the girl was abducted from her Muslim nomadic tribe in January 2018.

Comment: More details from The Times of India:
A court on Monday sentenced the three prime accused to life imprisonment and sent the other three convicts to 5 years in the Kathua rape and murder case.

District and session judge Pathankot Tejwinder Singh awarded life sentence to Sanjhi Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar after holding them guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 376D (gang rape) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). The three have also been sentenced to 25 years in jail over charges of gang rape and fined Rs 1 lakh each.

Mr. Potato

Facebook says using the word "honk" violates its community standards

FB honk

Clown world strikes again.

Facebook removed a post which consisted simply of the word "honk," asserting that it was a violation of their community standards.

Yes, really.

The use of the word stems from the 'clown world' meme - a nihilistic position many on the right are taking in light of a society in the grip of 'progressive' degeneracy run amok.

Apparently, it's now verboten to even allude to the meme on Facebook.

Comment: Facebook is fighting a losing battle on this front. Given the speed with which 4chan can come up with memes and trolling campaigns, the idea that Facebook could actually stay on top of it and ban them as they come out seems overly ambitious. Also, considering how they seem to have mastered the ability of taking completely inane things (the word 'honk' for one, but also past triumphs like the 'OK' hand gesture and hashtags) and elevate them to politically charged symbols, Facebook will end up banning every second word in the English language before long. Welcome to Clown World. Honk honk.

See also:

Life Preserver

Seattle, Washington gridlocked over chronic homelessness

Tents encampment under Seattle freeway
© Chona Kasinger
Tent encampments under a highway
The wine was flowing as a group of Seattle's business elite gathered at Bar Cotto, an Italian restaurant in the city's trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, where the menu features an expansive selection of salami and pizzas topped with truffle oil or Calabrian chili. The topic up for discussion: how to solve the region's intractable homelessness crisis.

The usual ideas came up. Donations to charities. Tax-code tweaks.

Then Dilip Wagle started talking. The senior partner at McKinsey & Co. had written a report saying the city needed to double its spending to provide the roughly 14,000 additional homes needed for people who couldn't keep a roof over their heads. Philanthropy wasn't enough, he said, according to attendees of the November function. A lot more money was needed.

The exchange underscored an impasse that's persisted in Seattle a year after Amazon.com Inc. and other companies beat back a city effort to raise money for homeless services through a tax on large employers. The lobbying win has left the campaign to help one of the country's biggest homeless populations in limbo, with a patchwork of philanthropic offerings rather than a comprehensive effort to address the issue.


Why should we care about Kim Dotcom's possible extradition to the US?

kim dotcom

Kim Dotcom
The founder of file-sharing service Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, has entered the final appeal battle to try and challenge his extradition to the US, where he faces decades behind bars for copyright infringement charges.

The appeal hearings kicked off in New Zealand's Supreme Court on Monday. If the appeal fails, it will be up to the country's interior minister to decide whether to actually greenlight the extradition.

Dotcom has resided in New Zealand since 2010 and the US case against the Megaupload founder has resulted in a lengthy extradition battle. While it was greenlighted in 2015, it has been repeatedly appealed in various courts since then, ultimately getting to the top judiciary.

Comment: One might wonder if the war against Kim Dotcom has more to do with his political views, especially in support of Julian Assange, as any purported copyright infringement or wire fraud. As the one tweeter expressed it, if Megaupload loses its case, Google and Youtube should be up for much the same charges.


Helicopter crashes into New York City's Hudson River - pilot survives

Helicopter crashes into Hudson River
A helicopter has crashed into the Hudson River in New York City, the New York City Fire Department confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the FDNY confirmed the crash and said the pilot, the only person on board, was safely removed from the water with no injuries. The department's verified Twitter account said there were two other non-life-threatening injuries.

Video taken by an onlooker shows the helicopter spinning and flying erratically before crashing into the river.

New York Waterway, a company that operates ferries between Manhattan and New Jersey, said in a press release that one of its boats rescued the pilot of the helicopter. The company also assisted with rescue efforts when a US Airways plane famously landed in the Hudson River in 2009.

Comment: Additional footage was recorded by another bystander and reported by ABC News:

Stock Down

The great American economic growth myth is the ground for socialism's rise

economic growth cartoon
© polyp.org.uk
There is little denying the rise of "socialistic" ideas in the U.S. today. You can try and cover the stench by calling it "social democracy" but in the end, it's still socialism.

Since 1775, millions of Americans have given their lives in defense of the American "idea." The tyranny and oppression which arise from communism, socialism, and dictatorships have been a threat worthy of such sacrifice. I am sure those patriots who died to ensure the "American way of life" would be disheartened by the willingness of the up and coming generations adopt such ideals.

But such shouldn't be a surprise. It is the cycle of all economic civilizations over time as we "forget our history" and become doomed to repeat. it.


Yeah nah, mate! New Zealanders ignore nationwide gun confiscation program

New Zealand guns
New Zealand politicians who rushed to enact nationwide gun confiscation following the Christchurch mosque massacres are befuddled by the lack of enthusiasm from citizens who have yet to comply with the new law. The so-called "gun reform" was expected to rid the vast New Zealand countryside of most semi-automatic firearms, magazines over a specified limit, and shotguns.

Two months ago, Reuters breathlessly reported, "New Zealand police expect tens of thousands of firearms to be surrendered by a guns buy-back scheme." Law enforcement authorities averred that "it could be more." Pregnant with the expectation that gun owners would trade their firearms for cash, the political class is nonplussed by the results.

Only 530 guns have thus far been turned in to the authorities.

Bad Guys

The campaign to let kids, inmates vote just another sign the Left has completely lost it

© Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse
What happens when Democrats lose an election they were sure they were going to win? Time to rearrange the entirety of the American electoral system! Democrats are seeking to expand voting rights to, well, just about everyone - until they get their desired result.

The new hotness is lowering the voting age to 16 years old - as proposed in the House bill HR 1, the For the People Act of 2019.

I've written in these pages about the arbitrary points of adulthood in America: 18 to join the military, 21 to drink, but if you get accused of a crime, you can be tried as an adult at 13. We shouldn't add another layer of arbitrariness by giving 16-year-olds the right to vote.