ATF Swiftly Reverses Decision To Approve Powdered Alcohol Product

Powdered Alcohol Will Be Banned, Says ATF As It Reverses Decision Amid Fears Product Could Be Smuggled Into Sports Events And Concerts – Daily Mail

A new powdered alcohol product announced just days ago has had its approval promptly reversed following a barrage of negative publicity surrounding fears that it could encourage irresponsible – and even underage – drinking.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Palcohol’s powdered vodka, rum, and other cocktails ‘in error,’ Tom Hogue, the agency’s director of congressional and public affairs, told The Associated Press via email. The agency did not respond to further questions.

The company behind Palcohol, Tempe, Arizona-based Lipsmark, said that ‘there seemed to be a discrepancy [about] how much powder’ is in the packets, which are meant to be mixed with water.

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According to the website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, multiple varieties of Palcohol received ‘label approval’ on April 8.

Palcohol had previously announced six varieties of powdered alcohol, including vodka, rum and four cocktails – Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita and Lemon Drop.

The company agreed to surrender its approvals on Monday and has said that it will resubmit the product for approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

No sooner had Palcohol announced its initial products than critics where questioning the potential dangers of a powered form of alcohol which could fit into a pocket, making it more portable than a bottle or flask of liquor.

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The company initially did little to discourage these fears as the Palcohol website featured a lot of information on how the product could be used to consume alcohol in unusual ways and little about promoting ‘responsible drinking’.

‘Maybe you’re a college football fan. So many stadiums don’t even serve alcohol. What’s that about; watching football without drinking?! That’s almost criminal. Bring Palcohol in and enjoy the game,’ stated the website.

As well as adding the alcoholic power to water, the site also suggested that Palcohol could be poured over food.

‘Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favorites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right.’

There were even some rudimentary cooking instructions: ‘Remember, you have to add Palcohol AFTER a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it… and that defeats the whole purpose.’

The company also appeared to be encouraging users to try snorting their product: ‘You’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose.’

Those posts were quickly taken down and the company claims it was simply experimenting with ‘edgy marketing’ that wasn’t meant to be seen by the public.

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‘As Palcohol is a new product, we have yet to understand its potential of being added to food,’ the website now states, along with warning people that the powder shouldn’t be snorted.

According to the site, the product’s founder Mark Phillips came up with the idea because he is an ‘active guy’ and wanted a way to enjoy an adult beverage after long hours hiking, biking or camping without having to carry around heavy bottles.

‘What we can say now is that we hope the product will be used in a responsible and legal manner. Being in compliance with all Federal and State laws is very important to us. Palcohol will only be sold through establishments that are licensed to sell liquor.’

Powdered alcohol is not a new concept. Such products are already being sold in other countries including Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands.

According to some, alcohol laws would in general only apply to liquids.

This would mean that powder-based alcoholic beverages could be sold to minors and that the powder would be exempt from alcohol tax and laws, as is the case with certain products in the Netherlands.

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Philadelphia Brewery To Release ‘Walking Dead’-Inspired Beer Made With Real Brains

Brewery Creates ‘Walking Dead’-Inspired Beer Made With Real Brains – New York Daily News

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Would you like some brains in your beer?

Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Company will release a zombie-friendly brew in honor of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

The American Pale Stout, which has been dubbed Dock Street Walker, is made with malted wheat, oats, flaked barley, cranberry and an extra-special ingredient – smoked goat brains.

“The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes,” the brewery says in a press release. “In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.

The beverage, which Dock Street Brewing Company is calling “quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink,” will be released on Sunday before “The Walking Dead” season finale.

This isn’t the first time a brewery has crafted a beer in honor of an AMC drama.

Marble Brewery in Albuquerque, N.M., made two “Breaking Bad” brews in honor of the series’ finale in August. However, those didn’t contain any unusual show-related ingredients.

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Thanks Barack… U.S. Labor Participation Rate Falls Behind Great Britain For First Time In 36 Years

Obamanomics In Action: US Labor Participation Rate Falls Behind Great Britain For First Time In 36 Years – Gateway Pundit

Obamanomics in action -

One million fewer Americans are working today than before Barack came into office.

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The US labor participation rate has fallen behind Great Britain for the first time in 36 years thanks to Obama’s failed big government policies.

Liberty Unyielding reported:

The labor force participation rate – the proportion of adults who are either working or looking for work – started to decline in the US in 2000 and has plunged since 2008 from 66 to 63 per cent.

The equivalent of 7.4m people are no longer part of the labour force. Yet participation in the UK has held up remarkably well despite the country’s prolonged downturn and now stands at 63.6 per cent – the first time in 36 years that it has been higher than the US rate.

Economists have been surprised by the trends, not least because the US labour market has long been seen as one of the most resilient and flexible.

“America is even more flexible than us and yet there is this complete contrast,” said Paul Gregg, economics professor at the UK’s Bath university.

And, then there’s the long-term unemployment disaster:

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House Republicans
@HouseGOP

Fact of the Day: the # of long-term unemployed Americans has more than doubled since 2007, from 18.4% to 39.3%: http://j.mp/1m3XCCc
12:00 PM – 25 Mar 2014

22 Retweets – 6 favorites
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Private Aerospace Company SpaceX To Launch The World’s First Reusable Booster

SpaceX Set To Launch The World’s First Reusable Booster – MIT Technology Review

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Later this month, if all goes well, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, will achieve a spaceflight first.

After delivering cargo to the International Space Station, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket used for the flight will fire its engines for the second time. The burn will allow the rocket to reenter the atmosphere in controlled flight, without breaking up and disintegrating on the way down as most booster rockets do.

The launch was originally planned for March 16, but the company has delayed the launch until at least March 30 to allow for further preparation.

The machine will settle over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of its Cape Canaveral launchpad, engines roaring, and four landing legs will unfold from the rocket’s sides. Hovering over the ocean, the rocket will kick up a salt spray along with the flames and smoke. Finally, the engines will cut off and the rocket will drop the last few feet into the ocean for recovery by a waiting barge.

Future flights of the so-called F9R rocket will have it touching down on land. For now, a water landing ensures maximum safety in case the rocket goes off course.

The test of SpaceX’s renewable booster rocket technology will be the first of its kind and could pave the way to radically cheaper access to space. “Reusability has been the Holy Grail of the launch industry for decades,” says Jeff Foust, an analyst at Futron, a consultancy based in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s because the so-called expendable rockets that are the industry standard add enormously to launch costs – the equivalent of building a new aircraft for every transatlantic flight.

SpaceX began flying low-altitude tests of a Falcon 9 first stage with a single engine, a rocket known as Grasshopper, at its McGregor, Texas, proving grounds in 2012. The flights got progressively higher, until a final test in October, when the rocket reached an altitude of 744 meters. Then, following a flight to place a communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November, a Falcon 9 first stage successfully restarted three of its nine engines to make a controlled supersonic reentry from space.

The rocket survived reentry, but subsequently spun out of control and broke up on impact with the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a call with reporters after the flight that landing legs, which that rocket lacked, would most likely have stabilized the rocket enough to make a controlled landing on the water. The March 16 flight will be the first orbital test with landing legs.

After recovering the rocket from the water on Sunday, SpaceX engineers and technicians will study it to determine what it would take to refurbish such a rocket for reuse. SpaceX also has plans to recover and reuse the second stage rocket, but for now, it will recover only the first stage and its nine Merlin engines, which make up the bulk of the cost of the rocket.

Even without reusable rockets, SpaceX has already shaken up the $190-billion-a-year satellite launch market with radically lower launch costs than its competitors. The company advertises $55.6 million per Falcon 9 launch. Its competitors are less forthcoming about how much they charge, but French rocket company Arianespace has indicated that it may ask for an increase in government subsidies to remain competitive with SpaceX.

Closer to home, SpaceX is vying for so-called Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, contracts to launch satellites for the U.S. Air Force. Its only competitor for the contracts, United Launch Alliance, charges $380 million per launch.

Musk testified before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense meeting on March 5 that his company can cut that cost down to $90 million per launch. He said the higher cost for a government mission versus a commercial one was due to a lack of government-provided launch insurance. “So, in order to improve the probability of success, there is quite a substantial mission assurance overhead applied,” Musk said in the hearing. Still, SpaceX’s proposed charge for the Air Force missions is a mere 23 percent of ULA’s.

SpaceX is counting on lower launch costs to increase demand for launch services. But Foust cautions that this strategy comes with risk. “It’s worth noting,” he says, “that many current customers of launch services, including operators of commercial satellites, aren’t particularly price sensitive, so thus aren’t counting on reusability to lower costs.”

That means those additional launches, and thus revenue, may have to come from markets that don’t exist yet. “A reusable system with much lower launch costs might actually result in lower revenue for that company unless they can significantly increase demand,” says Foust. “That additional demand would likely have to come from new markets, with commercial human spaceflight perhaps the biggest and best-known example.”

Indeed, SpaceX was founded with human spaceflight as its ultimate mission. It is now one of three companies working with NASA funds to build ships capable of sending astronauts to the International Space Station. Musk plans to take SpaceX even further—all the way to Mars with settlers. And colonizing Mars will require lots of low-cost flights.

Michael Belfiore (michaelbelfiore.com) is the author of Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space.

Updated on March 14, at 3 p.m. EST, to include mention of the delay.

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Over 500 Economists Sign Open Letter To Obama Opposing Increase In Minimum Wage

500+ Economists Sign Open Letter To Obama Opposing Minimum Wage Increase – Independent Journal Review

More than 500 economists, including three Nobel laureates and several members of past administrations, have signed an open letter to the White House and Congress urging them to reject a federal minimum wage increase.

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They warned that hiking the minimum wage would cause economic damage:

“One of the serious consequences of raising the minimum wage is that business owners saddled with a higher cost of labor will need to cut costs, or pass the increase to their consumers in order to make ends meet. Many of the businesses that pay their workers minimum wage operate on extremely tight profit margins, with any increase in the cost of labor threatening this delicate balance.”

For some reason, this has always been a hard concept for liberals to grasp. Whether it’s an increase in taxes, cost of materials or cost of labor, businesses will always – always — pass those increased costs along to the consumer; they always have, they always will. It’s called capitalism.

The economists cited the recent bipartisan Congressional Budget Office report which found that increasing the minimum wage would lead to job loss.

“The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) most recent report underscores the damage that a federal minimum wage increase would have. According to CBO, raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cost the economy 500,000 jobs by 2016.

Many of these jobs are held by entry-level workers with limited experience or vocational skills, the very employees meant to be helped.”

And therein lies the irony; while Obama trotting around the country espousing the virtue of raising the minimum wage may sound good to some, not only will many of those minimum wage employees be laid off; many more won’t be hired in the first place.

Obama and the Democrats fully understand this concept: it doesn’t really matter as long as they win the PR battle because Democrat voters have shown time and time again they don’t keep score; they never do. Liberalism has not proven to be about results. Emotion and intent are all that seem matter to the left.

How else can one explain the fact that 50 years and trillions of dollars after Lyndon Johnson launched the “War on Poverty,” urban Americans are no better off today, yet continue to overwhelmingly vote Democrat?

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Major Bitcoin Exchange Shuts Down After $380 Million Virtual Currency Theft

$380 Million Virtual Currency Theft From MtGox Sparks Debate: Bitcoin Or ‘Sh*tcoin’? – Big Peace

The world’s largest bitcoin trading exchange shut down on Tuesday, sparking a massive sell-off that calls into question the long-term viability of the nascent virtual currency trade.

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“This is extremely destructive,” risk-management expert and former Federal Reserve Bank Examiner Mark Williams told the Los Angeles Times. “What we’re seeing is a lot of the flaws. It’s not only fragile, it’s fragile as eggshells.”

The halt in trading occurred when reports hit the Internet that the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange suffered the theft of 744,000 bitcoins worth an estimated $380 million.

Internet currency forums are now asking the question whether “bitcoin” has morphed into “shitcoin.”

Others expressed optimism that the crisis will spawn better measures.

“I think it’s a significant event, but I think there’s a decent chance that it is part of what we would call this sort of shaking out of the industry as it matures and slowly becomes a little more regulated,” New York state’s top financial regulator Benjamin M. Lawsky told the New York Times.

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More College-Educated Millineals Are Jobless & Living In Poverty Than Any 20th Century Generation At Same Age

Another Obama Record… More College-Educated Millineals Are Jobless & Living In Poverty Than Any 20th Century Generation At That Age – Gateway Pundit

Another record!

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Forbes reported:

It’s not all good news, though. The Pew found that both the share of college-educated 25 – 32 year-olds unemployed and those living in poverty is greater than any other generation of the 20th century at the same age. And while salaries for college grads have grown by $7K over the last 40 years, median earnings for those 25 – 32 have been stagnant for decades, even as the cost of education has soared. Other data from the University of Waterloo actually shows Millennials underearning their parents at the same age.

As well, there are important limits to the Pew’s research to consider. Their data only includes Millenials who were employed full-time during the previous year, regardless of education level. In essence, they’re only surveying those Millennials for whom education has actually paid off as to their views on education. It’s easy to say that education is a worthwhile investment if your degree has actually benefited you in the form of gainful, career-oriented work. Absent from the discussion and from the Pew’s somewhat heartening news are the attitudes of the millions of recent college grads who are unemployed or underemployed, like the 15% of 2013 grads who fall into one of those camps, or the 36% working jobs that don’t require their degrees.

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Survey: Obamacare Forcing 44% Of U.S. Firms To Consider Cutting Employees’ Health Care

Duke University: 44% Of U.S. Firms Consider Cutting Health Care To Current Workers – Washington Examiner

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Adding to a devastating CBO report of how Obamacare could damage the economy, a Duke University survey of top companies found that 44 percent are considering reducing health benefits to current employees due to Obamacare, confirming the fears of millions of American workers.

In its December survey of chief financial officers around the country, Duke also found that nearly half are “reluctant to hire full-time employers because of the Affordable Care Act.”

And 40 percent are considering shifting to part-time workers and others will hire fewer workers of fire some to avoid the costs of the program.

What’s more, they said in the study, “One in five firms indicates they are likely to hire fewer employees, and another one in 10 may lay off current employees in response to the law.”

Without the law, the CFOs told Duke that they would hire more full-time workers.

The survey adds to the Congressional Budget Office’s study in raising new questions about the economic impact of Obamacare. Both give Republicans ammunition to continue their efforts to repeal the program that has upset how millions of Americans get health insurance. The survey was initially released in December and re-released Wednesday to provide context to the CBO report.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Professor Campbell R. Harvey said that the school’s survey shows that the economic hit the CBO warned of will be worse.

“Our survey shows that the situation is much more serious because employers tell us that they will choose not to hire and may lay people off,” he said. “I doubt the advocates of this legislation anticipated the negative impact on employment. The impact on the real economy is astonishing. Nearly one-third of firms may either terminate employees or hire fewer people in the future as a direct result of ACA.”

His colleague John Graham said in a statement promoting the survey, “An unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act will be a reduction in full-time employment growth in the United States. Companies plan to increase full-time employment by 1.4 percent in 2014, a rate of growth which is down from last quarter and unlikely to put a dent in the unemployment rate, assuming that the labor force participation rate remains constant. CFOs indicate that full-time employment growth would be stronger in the absence of the ACA.”

See the full survey here.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Obamacare Costing AOL $7.1M, Forcing Benefits Cuts (Video)

AOL CEO: Obamacare Costing Us $7.1 Million, Forcing Us To Cut Other Benefits – Right Scoop

AOL CEO admitted yesterday that Obamacare is costing his company $7.1 million and thus it is forcing them to make touch choices when it comes to benefit packages. Do they pass along the cost of Obamacare to their employees or do they cut back on their matching program?

Watch:

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Beretta expands operations, gun control haven Maryland hardest hit

Liberals just do not grasp this basic economic truth-When you continue to kick businesses in the gut, they will leave! And while legendary gun maker Beretta has not let Maryland entirely, this might be a small first step that grows larger and larger

When anti-gun Democrats in the state of Maryland exploited the Sandy Hook massacre as an excuse for even more draconian gun control, Beretta warned them that if the bill became law, they’d go out of state to a more friendly political climate for their planned U.S. expansion.

They didn’t bluff:

“I want to thank the Beretta family for their substantial investment in Tennessee and the 300 jobs they’ll create in Sumner County,” Haslam said. “Beretta is one of the world’s great companies, and its commitment to excellence and Tennessee’s rich history in manufacturing make today’s announcement a great match as we continue toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.”

For much of the past year, Beretta has been scouting for locations for a manufacturing facility after the state of Maryland passed stricter gun legislation, company officials said. The family-owned, Italian company had expressed frustration about the new laws and said it might be looking for a new home for a factory currently located in Accokeek, Maryland.

While that factory will remain open, the company said it wanted to expand outside the state in the future.

Jeff Reh, general counsel for Beretta, said the company was looking a state that supported Second Amendment rights,and had other key attributes, including a competitive tax environment, good quality of life and was focused on corporate recruitment.

“From the moment when we started to consider a location outside of the state of Maryland for our manufacturing expansion, Governor Haslam and his economic development team did an excellent job demonstrating the benefits of doing business in Tennessee,” said Franco Gussalli Beretta, executive vice-president and a director of Beretta U.S.A. Corp. “We are convinced we could find no better place than Tennessee to establish our new manufacturing enterprise.”

Once more, big government fails.

Anti-Fracking Leftists Arrested For Gluing Themselves To Gas Pumps… At The Wrong Gas Station

Fracking Protesters Arrested For Gluing Themselves To The Wrong Petrol Pumps – Big Peace

On Monday, four members of an anti-fracking group wound up in jail for using bicycle locks and glue to fasten themselves to gas pumps at a petrol station in Great Lever, England. The group sacrificed themselves in order to protest the hydraulic fracking activities of Total, a French petroleum company.

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But, to their embarrassment, the group sacrificed themselves to the wrong petrol station, which was no longer owned by Total. The petrol station was owned by Certas Energy, who neglected to take down the signs after buying the station.

The petrol station’s manager, Reezwan Patel commented that some protesters were peaceful, but that those who shackled themselves to the pumps “were stupid and have cost us a lot of money.” He added that, “We had to close for six hours, so with the loss of customers and the damage to the pumps, it could be a couple of thousand pounds we have lost.”

The four activists were not only ridiculed by Reezwan but also were excoriated by the local environmental group, the Bolton Green Party. The party chairman, Alan Johnson exclaimed, “I was very annoyed, and I have to stress that these people have nothing to do with our protest. We were there to protest peacefully, and warn people about the dangers of fracking, and these people have put themselves, and others, in danger with what they did.”

Throughout Bolton, a borough of Greater Manchester, anti-fracking groups have been rallying to protest hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the UK. Fracking is controversial because of the potential risks the process may have on the environment and the water supply.

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Impeachable Offenses Update: Another Obamacare Provision Illegally Delayed

Will It EVER Stop? Another Obamacare Provision For Employers Delayed – Daily Caller

The Obama administration plans to delay enforcement of yet another Obamacare provision, according to a New York Times report.

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This line in the law would ban employers from discriminating “in favor of highly compensated individuals” when it comes to health insurance eligibility or benefits. Effectively, the provision prevents employers from providing their top executives cushy health benefits while low-level employees are given less optimal health insurance options.

The IRS will not enforce the provision in 2014 because they simply haven’t yet gotten around to actually writing the regulations that employers must follow, even though the Affordable Care Act was signed into law almost four years ago.

Obamacare originally required the IRS to enforce the health benefit “discrimination” ban just six months after the law was passed in March 2010. The Obama administration announced in 2010 that officials needed more time to write the rules, but assured Americans that the regulations would be finalized before Obamacare actually launched.

Years later, the IRS appears to still be grappling with the same questions about implementing the provision. IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge denied in a statement that the agency had approved any new delay.

“The IRS has not announced any new or additional information on this issue,” Eldridge said. “The New York Times story refers to IRS Notice 2011-1, which was released to the press on December 22, 2010. That Notice stated that under Public Health Service Act, Section 2716 will not apply until after generally applicable guidance is issued, because the statute requires regulatory detail in order to operate properly.”

IRS officials appear to be stymied by the “regulatory detail” of the provision. For the IRS to mandate non-discrimination in health plans for employees with different compensations, the agency must decide how to quantify the value of employer-provided health benefits, how to define “highly compensated officials” and issue a final determination on what constitutes discrimination.

The tax agency has a series of scenarios made complicated by Obamacare’s structure that it will have to take into consideration before issuing guidance. Some low-earning employees may opt out of employer-sponsored health insurance in favor of increased subsidies via an Obamacare exchange, for example, while higher executives that aren’t privy to taxpayer subsidies for coverage do not. The IRS has yet to determine whether that employer would be discriminating even if the employer health plan has the same value for all employees.

Obamacare’s prescription for violating the ban is a $100 daily excise tax for each individual that was “discriminated” against.

The ongoing delay is just the latest in an increasingly frequent series of administration decisions to put off parts of the health care law.

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Pimp Sues Nike For Failing To Provide Label Warning Him Not To Stomp People’s Faces With Jordans

Portland Pimp Sues Nike For $100 Million For Lack Of Warning Label After Beating Victim With Jordans – The Oregonian

A 26-year-old Portland pimp has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Nike, claiming the shoe manufacturer is partially responsible for a brutal beating that helped net him a 100-year prison sentence.

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Sirgiorgiro Clardy claims Nike should have placed a label in his Jordan shoes warning consumers that they could be used as a dangerous weapon. He was wearing a pair when he repeatedly stomped the face of a john who was trying to leave a Portland hotel without paying Clardy’s prostitute in June 2012.

Jurors early in 2013 found him guilty of second-degree assault for using his Jordans – a dangerous weapon – to beat the john’s face to a pulp. The man required stitches and plastic surgery on his nose.

The jury also found him guilty of robbing the john and beating the 18-year-old woman he forced to work as his prostitute. She was injured so badly that she bled from her ears.

In his three-page complaint handwritten from the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, Clardy claims that Nike, Chairman Phil Knight and other executives failed to warn consumers that the shoes could be used as a weapon to cause serious injury or death.

“Under product liability there is a certain standard of care that is required to be up-held by potentially dangerous product…” wrote Clardy, who is representing himself. “Do (sic) to the fact that these defendants named in this Tort claim failed to warn of risk or to provide an adequate warning or instruction it has caused personal injury in the likes of mental suffering.”

Clardy wrote that he’s tried to starve himself and kill himself multiple times.

He asks a Multnomah County judge to order Nike to affix warning labels to all their “potentially dangerous Nike and Jordan merchandise.”

In the past, Oregon defendants have been convicted of using a wide array of items or substances as dangerous weapons. The list includes boots, rope, a phone receiver, scalding hot water and HIV-infected blood. The “dangerous weapon” classification can spur longer prison sentences.

Clardy filed his suit this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

During his two-week trial and his two-day sentencing hearing, Clardy was known for his unusual courtroom antics. He shouted expletives at the judge, prosecutors and jurors.

A psychologist declared him an anti-social psychopath who was 100 percent likely to commit violent crimes again. And Clardy disagreed so loudly – making such a scene – that he was removed from the courtroom.

In the coming days, the suit will be served to Nike, which will then have an opportunity to respond.

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*VIDEOS* Bill Whittle IS Your Virtual President


VIRTUAL INAUGURAL ADDRESS

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GUNS

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HEALTH CARE

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LEGISLATION

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GAY MARRIAGE

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ENTITLEMENTS

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IMMIGRATION

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VOTER FRAUD

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Record 91.8 Million Americans No Longer In Labor Force… Fake Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.7 Percent

People Not In Labor Force Soar To Record 91.8 Million; Participation Rate Plunges To 1978 Levels – Zero Hedge

Curious why despite the huge miss in payrolls the unemployment rate tumbled from 7.0% to 6.7%? The reason is because in December the civilian labor force did what it usually does in the New Normal: it dropped from 155.3 million to 154.9 million, which means the labor participation rate just dropped to a fresh 35 year low, hitting levels not seen since 1978, at 62.8% down from 63.0%.

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And the piece de resistance: Americans not in the labor force exploded higher by 535,000 to a new all time high 91.8 million.

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The jobless, laborless recovery continues to steam on.

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Statist Control Freaks Update: Only 6 More Days Before Incandescent Bulbs Are Banned In U.S.

Time To Stock Up On Incandescent Bulbs Before They Go Out Permanently – The Foundry

If your New Year’s resolution is to change your light bulbs, don’t worry – the federal government’s here to help.

Beginning January 1, 2014, the federal government will ban the use of 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs. The light bulb has become a symbol in the fight for consumer freedom and against unnecessary governmental interference into the lives of the American people.

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In 2007, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law an energy bill that placed stringent efficiency requirements on ordinary incandescent bulbs in an attempt to have them completely eliminated by 2014. The law phased out 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs last year.

Proponents of government-imposed efficiency standards and regulations will say, “So what? There are still plenty of lighting options on the shelves at Home Depot; we’re saving families money; and we’re reducing harmful climate change emissions.”

The “so what” is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest.

Families understand how energy costs impact their lives and make decisions accordingly. Energy efficiency has improved dramatically over the past six decades – long before any national energy efficiency mandates.

If families and firms are not buying the most energy-efficient appliance or technology, it is not that they are acting irrationally; they simply have budget constraints or other preferences such as comfort, convenience, and product quality. A family may know that buying an energy-efficient product will save them money in the long term, but they have to prioritize their short-term expenses. Those families operating from paycheck to paycheck may want to opt for a cheaper light bulb and more food instead of a more expensive light bulb and less food.

Some may read this and think: Chill out – it’s just a light bulb. But it’s not just a light bulb. Take a look at the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. Basically anything that uses electricity or water in your home or business is subject to an efficiency regulation.

When the market drives energy efficiency, it saves consumers money. The more the federal government takes away decisions that are better left to businesses and families, the worse off we’re going to be.

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Volkswagen XL1 Diesel Gets 261 Miles To The Gallon (Videos)

The Volkswagen XL1 Is The Most Efficient Car Ever – Popular Science

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For years, automakers have worked to push fuel economy beyond 100 miles per gallon. Reaching that mark typically meant three things: cutting weight, maximizing aerodynamics, and improving powertrain efficiency. In 1999, Volkswagen engineers got close with the Lupo 3L, a three-cylinder coupe that could go 78.4 miles on one gallon of diesel. Not satisfied, VW tasked star engineer Ulrich Hackenberg, whose résumé includes work at Bentley and Bugatti, with breaking the 100mpg barrier. Hackenberg’s team crushed that goal – and then some. In tests, their new XL1 got a mind-bending 261 mpg.

The team designed nearly every part of the XL1 from scratch. To trim weight and add strength, they replaced some steel components, such as the chassis, with carbon-fiber ones. To reduce drag, they removed side-view mirrors and sculpted the body into a smooth, low-riding shape. With the car lighter and slipperier, the 830cc, two-cylinder diesel engine and the 20kW electric motor can propel the XL1 well over 500 miles on a single 2.6-gallon tank of fuel.


The XL1, Exploded View (Courtesy Volkswagen)

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VW is producing a limited run of 250 XL1s for sale in Europe. U.S. safety regulations make importing the car tricky, but Hackenberg says that Americans may see the XL1’s efficient engine in future VWs.

Volkswagen XL1

Fuel economy: 261 mpg

Weight: 1,753 pounds

Horsepower: 47 diesel, 27 electric

Top speed: 99 mph

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40 Million Target Store Card Accounts May Have Been Breached

Target: 40M Card Accounts May Be Breached – WTOP

Target says about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may be affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.

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The chain said customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

The data breach did not affect online purchases, the company said.

The stolen information included Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement Thursday.

The Minneapolis company said it immediately told authorities and financial institutions once it became aware of the breach and that it is teaming with a third-party forensics firm to investigate and prevent future breaches. The company said it is putting all “appropriate resources” toward the issue.

Target Corp. advised customers to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges on the cards should report it to their credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680. Cases of identity theft can also be reported to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.

Target hasn’t disclosed exactly how the data breach occurred, but said it has fixed the problem and credit card holders can continue shopping at its stores.

The company has 1,797 U.S. stores and 124 in Canada.

Every if Target shoppers haven’t noticed suspicious activity on their credit card accounts, a Target spokeswoman said, “we encourage everyone to be vigilant.”

In Wednesday morning’s trading, Target’s stock dipped $1.15, or 1.8 percent, to $62.40.

Target’s breach comes at the height of the holiday shopping season and threatens to scare away shoppers worried about the safety of their personal data. The November and December period accounts for 20 percent, on average, of total retail industry sales.

The incident is particularly troublesome for Target because it has used its branded credit and debit cards as a marketing tool to lure shoppers with a 5 percent discount.

The company said during its earnings call in November that as of October some 20 percent of store customers have the Target branded cards. This holiday season, Target added other incentives to use its cards. Two days before Thanksgiving, Target.com ran a special review sale with 25 exclusive offers, from electronics to housewares for those who used the branded card.

As a result of these incentives, households that activate a Target-branded card have increased their spending at the store by about 50 percent on average, the company said.

“This is how Target is getting more customers in the stores,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO and Chief Equities Strategist. “It’s telling people to use the card. It’s been a big win. If they lose that trust, that person goes to Wal-Mart.”

Target is just the latest retailer to be hit with a data breach. TJX Cos., which runs stores such as T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, had a breach that began in July 2005 that exposed at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards to possible fraud. The breach wasn’t detected until December 2006. In June 2009 TJX agreed to pay $9.75 million in a settlement with multiple states related to the massive data theft but stressed at the time that it firmly believed it did not violate any consumer protection or data security laws.

At TJX, for at least 17 months, one or more intruders had free rein inside TJX’s computers. Without anyone noticing, one or more intruders installed code on the discount retailer’s systems to methodically unearth, collect and transmit account data from the millions of credit card and debit cards.

An even larger hack hit Sony in 2011. It had to rebuild trust among PlayStation Network gamers after hackers compromised personal information including credit card data on more than 100 million user accounts.

Greg Melich, an analyst at ISI International Strategy & Investment Group, wrote in a note published Thursday that Target’s most important goal should be to maintain “customer trust and therefore longer-term loyalty.”

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Jobs Report Is Fraud, Greatest Ponzi Scheme In History Continues

Jobs Report Is Fraud, Greatest Ponzi Scheme In History Continues – The Blaze

I am a small businessman at “ground zero.” I don’t need Obama, the Fed, economists, or the media to tell me how the economy is doing. I live it. And I’m telling you, we’re all being lied to. The economy is not getting better, it’s getting worse.

Back in late 2007 and early 2008, I publicly predicted (numerous times) that we were entering the deepest recession since the 1929 Great Depression. At the exact moment I wrote about this, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was testifying in front of Congress that the economy was fine, we were not in recession, and there was little threat of a serious economic decline. It turned out he was dead wrong about everything. A small businessman always knows.

In my national bestselling book, ”The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide“ I predicted all of this: the decline of the economy, the death of jobs, the disaster of Obamacare, and the murder of the middle class. It’s all happening in front of our very eyes.

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In this Aug. 1, 2013, photo, a “Now Hiring” sign hangs in front of a new McDonald’s restaurant under construction in Tempe, Ariz. Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

Here’s what I know. We have a jobs disaster. The numbers are sobering. Yet the mainstream media is reporting the November jobs report as if “happy days are here again.” Every media headline reports a “fantastic jobs report.” And, establishment D.C. Republicans are so dumb they accept government manipulated numbers as “fact.”

The truth is…it’s all a lie. Obama propaganda. A massive cover up. A Ponzi scheme aided and abetted by the Obama-adoring, Kool-Aid drinking mainstream media.

First, are the numbers even real? We recently found out in that in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election, Census Bureau employees purposely reported hundreds of thousands of new jobs that did not exist. They created a false narrative that the economy was improving to fraudulently re-elect Obama. What makes you think that’s not still happening?

Why would you believe the jobs report from the same government that told you, “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it” “Obamacare will make your insurance rates go down”? and more recently, “the Obamacare web site is fixed.” All lies.

Why would you believe anything coming from an Obama administration so corrupt that it sent the IRS to intimidate a stage-4 cancer victim within days of his appearance on “Fox News” criticizing Obamacare.

But, let’s assume the 7 percent November unemployment number the national media has made its headline is accurate. Why isn’t the media also reporting the government’s own U6 figure of 13.2 percent? The U6 measures unemployment combined with underemployment, a stat that every expert agrees is the more accurate picture of true unemployment. If a Republican was President, the 13.2 percent figure would be trumpeted in every headline.

Why isn’t the media also reporting the government’s own U6 figure of 13.2 percent?

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But, this is only the start of the Ponzi scheme. Assuming that over 200,000 new jobs were created in November, why doesn’t the media report on what kind of jobs are being created? Are these jobs that pay enough to live a middle class lifestyle and feed your family, or crummy part-time jobs that don’t even allow employees to eat without receiving food stamps? The answer of course is the latter.

Once analyzed in detail, November’s jobs numbers will undoubtedly be exactly the same as the rest of 2013. Respected economist and author John Lott reported recently that 96 percent of the jobs created in this Obama economy since January are crummy part-time jobs.

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Bonnie Altwerger sits for a job interview with Jessica Cortes as she looks for part time work at Carter’s Children’s Wear during a job fair at Sawgrass Mills on October 11, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida. As the holiday season approaches many of the roughly 50 retailers at the job fair including Banana Republic, J.Crew Factory, Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein are starting to hire people for seasonal work as well as continuing to look for qualified full time employees. Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Respected billionaire businessman and publisher Mort Zuckerman disagrees. He says only 88 percent of the jobs created this year under Obama are crummy part-time jobs.

No matter which figure you believe, the Obama “recovery” is a mirage. This economy is only doing well if you want a job at McDonalds.

Even worse for taxpayers, of the few full-time jobs created, almost half are government jobs.

Folks, Obama is using your taxpayer money to create government jobs that actually hurt the economy and raise your taxes. Your typical government employee collects more money in retirement than they made while working. Every government job is a gigantic net loss for taxpayers. This is a disaster. This is one of the major factors for how America wound up $17 trillion in debt – with a massive unfunded liability for government employee pensions. We desperately need private sector jobs, not government jobs.

We desperately need private sector jobs, not government jobs.

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But this is no mistake. Obama is brilliant. He wants more and more government jobs – because government employees will always protect their jobs by doing Obama’s bidding (including reporting fraudulent jobs numbers at the Census Bureau, or persecuting Obama’s critics at the IRS). And, of course, they will always vote loyally Democrat and pay union dues (which turn into bribes that fund Democrat candidates).

How bad is the private sector economy? A new study shows 41 of 50 states have lost private sector jobs under Obama.

But even that doesn’t tell the full story. I’ll make an educated guess that 80 percent of the few private sector jobs actually created under Obama belong to Big Business. Obama’s policies have purposely rewarded his backers in big business, while gutting small business, the economic sector where Americans can achieve upward mobility. If you want people to be self sufficient, reward and encourage small business. If you want people to become dependent on government, create a “crony capitalist” system that puts government in bed with big business.

Small business drives the American Dream. Like my father, who went from butcher to butcher store owner, and then put his two children through Ivy League university. Jobs at McDonalds, Home Depot and WalMart are a place to get a start, but only a socialist like Obama (whose goal is to make everyone dependent on big government by wiping out the middle class), would consider creating low-paying jobs for big business a success. Next of course, Obama dreams of giving amnesty to 10 to 15 million illegal immigrants, guaranteeing (due to competition) nothing but low wage jobs for decades to come.

Lastly, the biggest media scam of all is allowing Obama to report unemployment as “improving,” when the major reason for an improved unemployment number is due to people dropping out of the labor force to go on welfare, food stamps and disability. In October, a record 932,000 people simply stopped looking for work.

That’s what causes each month’s “drop” in unemployment. It isn’t jobs, it’s lost souls giving up because it’s impossible to find a job in Obama’s America, or it pays more to sit at home collecting welfare.

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In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Jimmetta Smith, of Lithonia, Ga., right, the wife of a U.S. Marine veteran, holds her resume while talking with Rhonda Knight, a senior recruiter for Delta airlines, at a job fair for veterans and family members at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Facts don’t lie:

Along with the U6, the real unemployment number that matters is the Labor Force participation Rate. It is at the lowest level since the 1970’s.

The population of America has increased by 16 million in the past seven years, but there are 1.1 million less people working.

More Americans now receive entitlements than work full-time.

More Americans are on food stamps than population of Spain or Greece.

The 46 million Americans in poverty is twice as large as the population of Syria.

The truth is America is experiencing an “Obama Great Depression.” Obama is the greatest jobs killer in U.S. history. And things will only get worse from here. Or did you think a bad economy with no jobs would get better now that Obamacare has been unleashed on the nation?

Obama has attacked business with $1.8 trillion in new regulations for 2014, massive new Obamacare taxes, dramatic increases in the cost of health insurance, and to top it off- millions of individuals and small businesses are losing their insurance altogether. And in the midst of this, you thought the economy would improve? You believed the lies, fabrications, and manipulations coming from this administration? I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

Things are getting worse, not better. But Obama, the Fed, government economists, and the Obama-adoring mainstream media can’t tell you the truth. Or we’d have rioting, unrest, and perhaps even revolution in the streets. So they just keep lying and denying, while sending out government checks like candy to soothe the masses.

So the greatest Ponzi scheme in world history continues unabated.

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Socialist Catastrophe Update: Obamacare Plans Exclude Top Hospitals

New Affordable Care US Health Plans Will Exclude Top Hospitals – Financial Times

Americans who are buying insurance plans over online exchanges, under what is known as Obamacare, will have limited access to some of the nation’s leading hospitals, including two world-renowned cancer centres.

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Amid a drive by insurers to limit costs, the majority of insurance plans being sold on the new healthcare exchanges in New York, Texas, and California, for example, will not offer patients’ access to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, two top cancer centres, or Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, one of the top research and teaching hospitals in the country.

Experts say the move by insurers to limit consumers’ choices and steer them away from hospitals that are considered too expensive, or even “inefficient”, reflects the new competitive landscape in the insurance industry since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law.

It could become another source of political controversy for the Obama administration next year, when the plans take effect. Frustrated consumers could then begin to realise what is not always evident when buying a product as complicated as healthcare insurance: that their new plans do not cover many facilities or doctors “in network”. In other words, the facilities and doctors are not among the list of approved providers in a certain plan.

Under some US health insurance plans, consumers can elect to visit medical facilities that are “out of network”, but they would probably incur high out of pocket costs and may need referrals to prove that such care is medically necessary.

The development is worrying some hospital administrators who see the change as an unintended consequence of the ACA.

“We’re very concerned. [Insurers] know patients that are sick come to places like ours. What this is trying to do is redirect those patients elsewhere, but there is a reason why they come here. These patients need what it is that we are capable of providing,” says Thomas Priselac, president and chief executive officer of Cedars-Sinai Health System in California.

One of the biggest goals of “Obamacare” was to make subsidised healthcare plans that are being sold on the new exchanges as affordable as possible, while also mandating that certain benefits, like maternity care, were covered and that people with pre-existing medical conditions could not be denied access.

Amid these new regulatory restrictions, says Tim Jost, a health policy expert, insurance companies have had to come up with new ways to cut the cost of their products. In this new era, limiting the availability of certain facilities that are seen as too expensive – in part because they may attract the sickest patients or offer the most cutting edge medical care – is seen as the best way to control costs.

“It’s like buying a Mercedes-Benz or a Chevy. You have to decide whether you want to pay for the highest product out there, which is probably pretty good quality, or the less expensive product,” Mr Jost says. “Everyone is in favour of competition until they see what it looks like. Then they think, maybe it’s better for someone else just to pay for the whole thing.”

Kathleen Harrington, who heads government relations for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, says that access to the famous clinic was initially limited in the Rochester, Minnesota area until officials at the healthcare exchange board in the state encouraged insurers to expand their network options.

While the Mayo Clinic will now be available on seven different plans offered by two different insurance carriers in Rochester, Ms Harrington says the long-term concern for the hospital is that intense focus on bringing down costs will hurt “centres of excellence” like Mayo that attract the most complicated medical cases in the country.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that a significant portion of the Mayo base are very sick patients. You don’t come here for primary care. We do treat the sickest of the sick. We do experimental treatment. This is where you come for innovative treatments for life threatening illnesses,” she says.

“If healthcare, the full spectrum from primary to top speciality care, becomes commoditised, it becomes a concern for the American healthcare system,” she adds.

When the Obama administration was asked whether the new healthcare exchanges were offering adequate network options to new consumers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) emphasised that the new exchanges would “vastly increase” the access to medical providers to millions of uninsured Americans.

“Decisions about which private health insurance plans cover which doctors is a decision currently made by insurers and providers and will continue that way,” said an HHS spokeswoman.

The top lobby group for US health insurance plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the new healthcare law brought “new costs” to the industry and that selecting hospitals and physicians that meet “quality standards” was one way of making health plans more affordable for consumers.

But Mr Priselac at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles says the creation of ever more narrow provider networks by insurers is being driven by price alone, and not by quality. He says the hospitals that are being excluded are leaders in innovation, which saves billions of dollars for the healthcare system in the long run.

“There is confusion between price and efficiency,” he says. “The major teaching and research hospitals are more expensive not because they are inefficient but because of what they do.”

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