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From: Sam8/31/2017 9:56:39 PM
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The Future Of Work
By Laura Pellicer & Frank Stasio 9 hours ago

archived at

A conversation with Vincent Conitzer, professor of computer science, economics and philosophy at Duke University, and Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur about artificial intelligence and the future of work.

Computer kiosks have replaced positions humans once held at the grocery store and at fast food restaurants, and as the technology behind artificial intelligence advances, many wonder where that leaves the humble human being. Do humans have a job in the future economy, or will their role lie outside the workforce?

Host Frank Stasio speaks with technology and innovation experts about how workers will need to adapt to complement rather than combat machines. They also discuss how people should educate their kids in an AI-centric world. He is joined by Vincent Conitzer, professor of computer science, economics and philosophy at Duke University, and Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is also the co-founder of the education technology company Socos and the staffing industry technology ShiftGig.

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From: Sam9/9/2017 9:16:18 AM
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Apple iPhone toppled: Huawei takes second spot in global sales for first time
In July, Huawei became the world's second biggest smartphone vendor by marketshare.

By Liam Tung | September 7, 2017 -- 11:02 GMT (04:02 PDT) | Topic: Mobility

Huawei is not hugely popular in the US, but sales in China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East moved it into second spot behind Samsung in July. (Image: Counterpoint)

Seven years after entering the smartphone race, Huawei now sells more smartphones worldwide than Apple -- yet none of the Chinese company's models is in the world's top 10, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Wrenching the No. 2 slot from Apple is a notable achievement given that Huawei, which formerly only sold telecoms equipment, launched its first Ascend smartphone for Western markets in 2010.

Huawei is still not a hugely popular brand in the US, but sales in China, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East helped propel it into second spot behind Samsung in July, according to Counterpoint.

And it's not winning on price alone. Counterpoint puts Huawei's rapid growth down to investment in R&D and manufacturing, marketing and sales channel expansion.

The company's analysts reckon Huawei and other Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Oppo have stifled growth prospects for Apple and Samsung in China, Europe, and Latin America by "outsmarting and outspending" them in sales, marketing, backed by better hardware.

Despite Huawei's coup, the analyst firm highlights a number of weaknesses in Huawei's current state. The company has released high-end, big-screen flagships such as the P10 and Mate 9, but not a single Huawei phone is among the world's top 10 best-selling models. Or, as Counterpoint analyst Pavel Naiya put it, Huawei still lacks a "true hero device."

Apple on the other hand has three iPhone models in the top 10, which is led by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Following Apple's current flagships are the Oppo R11, Oppo A57, Samsung Galaxy S8, Xiaomi Red Note 4X, the Galaxy S8 Plus, iPhone 6, Galaxy J7 Prime, and Galaxy A5.

"While Huawei has trimmed its portfolio, it likely needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi have done -- putting more muscle behind fewer products," said Naiya.

Huawei is also over-reliant on China, where it leads with a fifth of all smartphone sales, and doesn't have a strong presence in South Asia, India, and North America. It may be able to address this shortcoming in the US next year, with the firm reportedly having locked in a deal with AT&T to launch the Mate 10.

Still, the firm's analysts believe Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are now as important to the global supply chain as Samsung and Apple, which has helped them to deliver more competitive features, including thin bezels, in-house chipsets, augmented reality, and better cameras than before.

That Huawei has overtaken Apple now was in the cards. According to IDC's second quarter shipment figures, Apple had a 12-percent share of worldwide smartphone shipments, with 1.5 percent year-on-year growth, compared with Huawei's 11.3-percent share on the back of 19.6-percent growth.

However, with the imminent arrival of the iPhone 8, Huawei's lead over Apple could be short-lived.

iPhone 8 could be bad news for Android handset makers

If Apple can use a high-priced iPhone 8 to offset a price cut for the rest of the iPhone line, makers like Samsung and LG could be in for a world of hurt.

Flagship launches from Samsung, Apple will propel smartphone sales: IDC

According to IDC, the upcoming iPhone 8 launch will drive iPhone shipments up by 9.1 percent in 2018.


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From: Sam9/12/2017 11:23:10 AM
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A podcast about the story of America

With the writing of the Constitution in 1787, the framers set out a young nation’s highest ideals. And ever since, we’ve been fighting over it — what is in it and what was left out. At the heart of these arguments is the story of America.

As a follow-up to the popular Washington Post podcast “ Presidential,” reporter Lillian Cunningham returns with this series exploring the Constitution and the people who framed and reframed it — revolutionaries, abolitionists, suffragists, teetotalers, protesters, justices, presidents – in the ongoing struggle to form a more perfect union across a vast and diverse land.

Episodes at the link

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From: Sam9/15/2017 11:29:44 PM
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Why Hillary Clinton's Book Is Actually Worth Reading
It’s the rare interesting work by a politician—and it offers an important critique of the press.

James Fallows 11:10 AM ET

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From: Sam9/26/2017 8:06:06 AM
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Even though Snopes says that this speech is false, it is nonetheless a great speech. It is Tolstoyan in spirit.

His final words, as reported by his sister, actually seem pretty funny to me.

Steve Jobs Deathbed Speech

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs did not leave behind a deathbed warning about how the "non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me."

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs left behind a deathbed essay about how the "non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me."



In November 2015, a rumor began circulating on social media that when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away at age 56 in 2011, he delivered a speech or left behind a deathbed essay about the meaning of life. One of the earliest iterations of this rumor we’ve found was published on under the title “DID YOU KNOW WHAT WERE THE LAST WORDS OF STEVE JOBS?”:

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.

However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.

At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of god of death drawing closer …

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth …

Should be something that is more important:

Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.

That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.

Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.

What is the most expensive bed in the world?

Sick bed …

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.

Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost — Life.

When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading — Book of Healthy Life.

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.

Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends.

Treat yourself well. Cherish others.”

Although Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, the above-quoted essay didn’t begin circulating online until November 2015, was not published anywhere outside of unofficial social media accounts and low-traffic blogs, and has not been confirmed by anyone close to the founder of Apple.

Furthermore, after Steve Jobs passed away on 5 October 2011, his sister Mona Simpson remarked on her brother’s final words while delivering his eulogy:

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.

While the above-quoted essay does not represent either Steve Jobs’ final words nor remarks he made (in either oral or written form) at any time during his life, his biographer Walter Isaacson did record Jobs’ expressing regret at the end of his life about how he raised his children:

“I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr Isaacson recalled Mr Jobs saying, in a posthumous tribute the biographer wrote for Time magazine. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

“He was very human. He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That’s what made him so great,” he added. “Steve made choices. I asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done’.”

It wasn’t always thus. In the early stages of his career, Jobs, who was adopted, denied being the father of Lisa and insisted in court documents that he was “sterile and infertile”. He acknowledged paternity when she was six, and they were later reconciled.

FACT CHECK: Was a Navy Reservist Discharged for Protesting the National Anthem?

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From: Sam9/30/2017 5:51:05 AM
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‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and Slavery
Is the legacy of black slavery enshrined in a lesser-known stanza of the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Some historians say yes.
By David Emery

An old controversy concerning the meaning of “The Star-Spangled Banner” re-erupted in August 2016 after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained his refusal to stand during pre-game renditions of the national anthem as a protest against racial oppression.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a statement posted on the National Football League web site. While the NFL stated in response that it recognizes “the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem,” Kaepernick was heavily criticized via social media, including by fellow players, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia among them:

What happened 2 being a leader for your team, your family & the young people looking up to U? Appreciating the 1000’s who have died for you?

— Jeff Garcia Football (@JeffGarciaJGFA) August 28, 2016

Others came to Kaepernick’s defense, citing what has been termed a “celebration” of slavery to be found in the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner:

The article cited by journalist Radley Balko in the above tweet quotes the rarely sung third stanza of the anthem (see below), noting that the phrase “hireling and slave” refers to black slaves hired to fight on the side of the British during the War of 1812:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

There are historians (notably Robin Blackburn, author of The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848, and Alan Taylor, author of “American Blacks in the War of 1812”), who have indeed read the stanza as glorying in the Americans’ defeat of the Corps of Colonial Marines, one of two units of black slaves recruited between 1808 and 1816 to fight for the British on the promise of gaining their freedom. Like so many of his compatriots, Francis Scott Key, the wealthy American lawyer who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” in the wake of the Battle of Fort McHenry on 14 September 1814, was a slaveholder who believed blacks to be “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.” It goes without saying that Key did not have the enslaved black population of America in mind when he penned the words “land of the free.” It would be logical to assume, as well, that he might have harbored a special resentment toward African Americans who fought against the United States on behalf of the King.

“With that in mind,” writes Jon Schwartz on the web site The Intercept, “think again about the next two lines: “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave'”:

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “ Merikins.”

In fairness, it has also been argued that Key may have intended the phrase as a reference to the British Navy’s practice of impressment (kidnapping sailors and forcing them to fight in defense of the crown), or as a semi-metaphorical slap at the British invading force as a whole (which included a large number of mercenaries), though the latter line of thinking suggests an even stronger alternative theory — namely, that the word “hirelings” refers literally to mercenaries, and “slaves” refers literally to slaves. It doesn’t appear that Francis Scott Key ever specified what he did mean by the phrase, nor does its context point to a single, definitive interpretation.

Key originally wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a patriotic poem first published in a Baltimore newspaper shortly after the event that inspired it. Set to the tune of the popular English song “To Anacreon in Heaven,” it became an unofficial national anthem during the 19th century, was officially adopted as such by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and confirmed by Congress as the national anthem of the United States in 1931.

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From: Sam10/3/2017 9:08:42 AM
   of 465
Obama’s Record on Toxic Cleanups
By Vanessa Schipani
Posted on September 29, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt criticized former President Barack Obama for leaving “us with more Superfund sites than when he came in.” This is misleading for multiple reasons:

  • While Pruitt is right, his agency doesn’t use this metric to assess its progress in cleaning up the country’s most contaminated sites. By the EPA’s own metrics, Obama did make progress.
  • There are advantages to being placed on the Superfund National Priorities List, which Pruitt was referring to when he made his claim. The EPA’s website says being listed “is the most effective and comprehensive approach for investigating and cleaning up contamination.”
  • Funding for cleanups decreased significantly after 1995 when taxes on the industries that create the sites expired. Obama tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Congress to reinstate the taxes in all of his budget proposals. But he did provide an additional $639 million for the program in the 2009 stimulus package.
  • Every president has left office with more sites on the priorities list than when he came in, even before the taxes expired.
Pruitt made his claim on Sept. 11 during an interview with the Washington Examiner:

Pruitt. Sept. 11: Everybody looks at the Obama administration as being the environmental savior. Really? He was the environmental savior? He’s the gold standard, right? He left us with more Superfund sites than when he came in. Air quality standards, 40 percent of the country, nonattainment.

Pruitt also isn’t telling the whole story when it comes to Obama’s actions on clean air quality. Obama did leave 38.9 percent of Americans with air quality that doesn’t meet the EPA’s standards, or “nonattainment.” But that’s down from nearly 58 percent when he took office. We went into the details on this issue earlier this month.

This isn’t the first time Pruitt has criticized Obama’s record on toxic cleanups. In May, he said, “Superfund sites, we have more today than when President Obama came into office,” adding, “what exactly did [the Obama administration] accomplish for the environment that folks are so excited about?”

Pruitt has a right to his opinion that the Obama administration shouldn’t be considered an “environmental savior.” But his claim that Obama “left us with more Superfund sites than when he came in” lacks context.

more analysis/context at

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From: Sam10/3/2017 9:11:53 AM
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Democrats Overstate Trump Tax Plan Effects
By Eugene Kiely, Lori Robertson and Robert Farley
Posted on October 2, 2017

Democrats have used outdated or inflated figures to attack the GOP tax plan, when sticking to the facts would have served them just as well.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted an image of a chart that exaggerates how much President Donald Trump and other wealthy people would benefit from the repeal of the estate tax.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used an estimate from a liberal group in saying the tax plan “will add anywhere from 5 to 7 trillion dollars to our deficit.” The figures were actually $3 trillion to $5 trillion over 10 years; his office says he misspoke. But it’s worth noting Senate Republicans announced a budget framework that would allow $1.5 trillion in deficit spending over a decade.
  • Sen. Ron Wyden said a reduction in the corporate tax rate “will result in $1.8 trillion in tax cuts for the multinationals and the powerful CEOs.” But 20 percent of the corporate tax burden falls on labor, according to the Tax Policy Center.
  • Rep. Tim Ryan used an outdated and inflated figure when he said: “Since the recession ended, about 85 percent of income growth went to the top 1 percent.” The latest estimate is 52 percent.
To be sure, there are many details missing from the outline of a tax plan that the White House and GOP leaders released on Sept. 27, and there are several measures in that outline that would benefit the wealthy.

The tax plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent; abolish the alternative minimum tax; collapse the seven income tax brackets, which range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent, to three (12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent); increase the standard deduction but eliminate exemptions; eliminate most itemized deductions except for mortgage interest and charitable giving; increase the child tax credit; and abolish the estate tax.

In a Sept. 29 analysis of the GOP plan, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that the average tax bill would decline in 2018 for “all income groups,” but “[t]hose with the very highest incomes would receive the biggest tax cuts.” Half of the “total tax benefit” would go to the top 1 percent of taxpayers who have incomes of more than $730,000.

The Democrats, of course, have the right to criticize the tax plan for favoring the wealthy. But we found several instances where they went too far.

Estate Tax Exaggeration
Sanders tweeted an image of a chart that exaggerates how much Trump, some members of his cabinet and other wealthy people would benefit from the repeal of the estate tax.

As indicated in the chart, the Democratic staff of the Senate Budget Committee produced the scratched-out figures. Sanders, an independent from Vermont who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, is the ranking member on the committee.

Notice that the first column says “max estate tax under current law.” The maximum statutory estate tax rate is 40 percent (see Table A of IRS instructions for the estate tax). But the actual rate that estates pay — known as the effective rate — is much less.

The Tax Policy Center estimates the highest average effective rate is 18.8 percent — less than half the 40 percent applied by the Democratic staff.

Sanders’ spokesman Josh Miller-Lewis, who provided us with a copy of the analysis, confirmed for us that the committee staff did “a straight 40% tax on assets (minus the current law exemption for the first $11 million)” when calculating the tax break for Trump and others on the chart. (The first $5.49 million in an estate’s assets, or nearly $11 million for a couple, are exempt from the tax.)

The Democratic analysis also assumes, in Trump’s case, that the president is worth $10 billion. That is based on Trump’s own estimate of his net worth. But, as we have written, independent estimates use a much lower figure.

During the transition in December, Bloomberg did its own calculations on how much Trump (then the president-elect) and some candidates for his cabinet would benefit if the estate tax was repealed. In its calculations, the news service estimated that Trump is worth about $3 billion, not $10 billion.

If the estate tax is repealed, “Trump’s estate would save $564 million, based on his estimated net worth of $3 billion” and an effective tax rate of 18.8 percent, Bloomberg writes. Even if Trump is worth $10 billion, as he says, the tax windfall for Trump’s estate would be $1.9 billion — less than half the $4 billion figure used in the chart that Sanders posted on Twitter.

Asked about the Bloomberg estimate, Miller-Lewis said: “Bloomberg probably assumed that most people with this wealth will take advantage of all the ways to shield assets from the estate tax and not pay the top rate. We accounted for this in the graphic by saying ‘maximum.'”

Bloomberg’s calculations also showed less of a tax break for two of Trump’s cabinet officers.

The news service estimated that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “might save about $545 million, based on estimated net worth of $2.9 billion,” and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and her husband, Vince, “might save more than $250 million based on their shared net worth of at least $1.35 billion,” Bloomberg said. Both of those figures are about half of the tax breaks that the Democratic staff projects.

Impact on the Deficit

Schumer said in a press conference on Sept. 27: “The plan will add anywhere from 5 to 7 trillion dollars to our deficit.” But on Twitter the same day, he phrased it slightly differently: “On top of that, this would cost anywhere from 5 to 7 TRILLION dollars and they have no credible plan to pay for it.”

The figures come from Americans for Tax Fairness, a group that advocates “progressive tax reform” that “requires big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share,” but Schumer doesn’t quite get them right. ATF said the cost of the plan could be $7 trillion to $8 trillion over 10 years, while the portion added to the deficit could be $3 trillion to $5 trillion over 10 years. The headline on the analysis said: “Trump’s Unpaid-For Tax Cuts May Total $5 Trillion In New Tax Plan.”

Schumer’s office told us that in the press conference, the senator meant to say he was referring to the total cost.

The ATF calculations rely heavily on several past reports from the Tax Policy Center, but ATF’s high-end estimate on deficit spending — $5 trillion over a decade — surpasses what TPC has found. For instance, TPC’s July 12 report on what the administration had outlined then estimated a loss in revenue of $3.5 trillion over the first 10 years. It then estimated a revenue loss of $5.7 trillion over the second decade.

More recently — but two days after Schumer made his comments — TPC estimated that the latest tax framework from the president and Republican congressional leaders “would reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over ten years and $3.2 trillion over the second decade.”

As we said, there are many details missing from the tax plan that has been released so far. But Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have drafted a 2018 budget that would allow the tax plan to contribute up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years to the deficit — far less than the figures Schumer cited. Republicans announced that framework before the tax plan was revealed, though the full Senate would still need to pass the budget and reconcile it with the House version.

Under budget reconciliation rules, the Senate could pass the tax cuts with a simple majority, and Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate.

Benefits to Corporate Tax Cuts

Wyden criticized the Republicans’ plan to reduce the corporate tax rate, saying at the Sept. 27 press conference: “Back-of-the-napkin estimates show that the Trump plan on the corporate side will result in $1.8 trillion in tax cuts for the multinationals and the powerful CEOs.”

But not all of the benefits from a corporate tax cut would go to the rich and powerful. Many economists — including those with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center — say workers bear some of the burden of corporate taxes.

The Americans for Tax Fairness analysis of the GOP plan says the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and the repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax, would cost $1.8 trillion over 10 years. It cites the Tax Policy Center, which indeed included that figure in an analysis of a 2016 House Republican plan. But the TPC assigns 20 percent of the corporate tax burden to labor, with the rest falling on capital and shareholders.

That would mean that $1.44 trillion — not the full $1.8 trillion estimate — of the corporate tax cut would benefit those who control the corporations, “multinationals and the powerful CEOs,” as Wyden put it.

We recently wrote about this issue when fact-checking the near opposite claim from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said, “most economists believe that over 70 percent of corporate taxes are paid for by the workers.” We found there were economists who agreed with Mnuchin, but many others who didn’t. In fact, the three nonpartisan organizations we mentioned — JCT, CBO and TPC — say most, but not all, of the corporate tax burden falls on shareholders. The Treasury Department reached the same conclusion in 2008 and 2012 analyses. (Treasury has now removed the 2012 analysis from its website, the Wall Street Journal reports.)

We found that the pro-business Tax Foundation also estimated that reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent would cost $1.8 trillion over a decade. But the foundation goes on to say that 30 percent of that would be passed on to labor.

Wyden’s claim is another case of Democrats overstating the impact of the tax plan on the wealthy, and an example of how both sides are spinning the facts on Trump’s tax plan.

Outdated Evidence

Ryan used an outdated and inflated figure when he said, “Since the recession ended, about 85 percent of income growth went to the top 1 percent.” The latest estimate is 52 percent.

Ryan’s comment came during an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News on Sept. 28. The Ohio Democrat said he would “absolutely not” support the tax plan proposed by Trump. Ryan argued the plan would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Ryan, Sept. 28: Let’s … take a step back and look at this whole thing. Since the recession ended, about 85 percent of income growth went to the top 1 percent, OK?

So, this is just another supply-side economic plan, where you’re getting rid of the alternative minimum tax, you’re getting rid of the estate tax, which doesn’t start until 10 million bucks. So, this is going clearly to the top 1 percent. They’ve seen all of the income growth in the last seven to 10 years.

Ryan’s office referred us to a Time magazine story about a study released on June 16, 2016, by the Economic Policy Institute that did, in fact, report: “For the United States overall, the top 1 percent captured 85.1 percent of total income growth between 2009 and 2013.”

But that study is now outdated.

The EPI study mirrors the work of economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, who wrote in January 2015 that after the Great Recession, “the top 1% captured 91% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery.” At the time, that was an update with 2013 preliminary estimates. The report has been updated twice since then, once on June 25, 2015, (updated with 2014 preliminary estimates) and again on June 30, 2016 (updated with 2015 preliminary estimates).

According to the most recent update, the “[t]op 1% families still capture 52% of total real income growth per family from 2009-2015 but the recovery from the Great Recession now looks much less lopsided than in previous years.”

Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center and one of the co-authors of the EPI study, told us the updated Saez figure of 52 percent is the “most accurate” figure to use now.

As Price explained, early in an economic recovery, most of the income growth goes to the very wealthiest. But as the recovery continues and the unemployment rate comes down, he said, income and wage gains tend to spread out to lower income levels.

The current 52 percent level is about where the historical average has been for the last 36 years, he said, and the top income groups overall capture a disproportionately large share of income growth.

“The overall point is that a disproportionate share of income growth is captured by the Top 1 percent,” Price said.

Nonetheless, Ryan should use the more updated, and accurate, figure.

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From: Sam10/4/2017 9:32:18 AM
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Using the autolyse method: unleashing the power of the pause
If artisan bread baking is a passion of yours, you’ve no doubt come across the autolyse method (a short rest after combining flour and water) in recipes or baking books. Have you wondered how using the autolyse method might transform your bread baking? Are you uncertain how best to incorporate this powerful pause?

What is an autolyse? An autolyse is the gentle mixing of the flour and water in a bread recipe, followed by a 20 to 60 minute rest period. After the rest, the remaining ingredients are added and kneading begins. This simple pause allows for some rather magical changes to occur in your bread dough. Let’s explore exactly what’s going on during the autolyse, and how it can improve your bread baking.

A brief history of the autolyse method French scientist and bread expert Prof. Raymond Calvel developed this technique in 1974, in response to what he saw as a deterioration in French bread production.

In the 1950s and ’60s two-speed electric mixers came into use in France, and bakers adopted more aggressive mixing practices. According to Calvel, this resulted in “very white and high in volume” bread — which to his dismay began to gain popularity in France.

This intensive mixing caused the dough to mature more quickly, which meant less fermentation time was required. Unfortunately, reducing fermentation resulted in bread with less flavor and keeping quality.

Excessive mixing also damaged the carotenoid pigments in the flour through over-oxidation. This caused a loss of crumb color (whiter bread) and a reduction in aroma and flavor.

Calvel saw this as a grave degradation of traditional French bread, and sought to bring back the wonderful breads he’d known in his youth.

Why use an autolyse? Calvel demonstrated that using the autolyse method affects dough development in many positive ways:

  • The flour fully hydrates. This is particularly useful when working with whole-grain flour because the bran softens as it hydrates, reducing its negative effect on gluten development.
  • Gluten bonds begin developing with no effort on the part of the baker, and kneading time is consequently reduced.
  • Carotenoid pigments remain intact, leading to better color, aroma, and flavor.
  • Fermentation proceeds at a slower pace, allowing for full flavor development and better keeping quality.
  • The dough becomes more extensible (stretchy), which allows it to expand easily. This leads to easier shaping, greater loaf volume, a more open crumb structure, and cuts that open more fully.
Using the autolyse method requires no effort and can transform your bread baking. Click To Tweet What’s not to love?

The science behind the autolyse method I was trying to explain the autolyse method to my sister, who’s a pathologist, and her eyes lit up: “Autolysis!” In her world this process describes the self-digestion or destruction of tissue by its own enzymes.

As it turns out, this is exactly what’s going on during an autolyse.

Two enzymes that are present in flour — protease and amylase — begin their work during the autolyse:

  • The protease enzymes degrade the protein in the flour, which encourages extensibility.
  • The amylase enzymes turn the flour’s starch into sugars that the yeast can consume.
Proper dough development requires a balance of both extensibility and elasticity. By delaying the addition of yeast, sourdough starter and salt (all of which can have a tightening effect on gluten), the extensibility of the dough has a better chance to develop. Once kneading begins, the dough develops elasticity, which is the quality that allows the dough to retain its shape.

Testing the autolyse method When I began this project I was convinced it would be easy; how hard could it be to demonstrate the well-documented positive results of using the autolyse method?

Then things got a little messy.

My test loaves didn’t always illustrate the promised dramatic results, and using the autolyse method wasn’t always as easy as I expected.

While I certainly don’t dispute Calvel’s findings, sometimes production baking practices need a little tweaking when it comes to utilizing them in your home baking.

Let’s see what my tests reveal about the best way to add the autolyse method to your bread-baking routine.

Choosing autolyse-friendly recipes Strictly speaking, an autolyse includes just the flour and water in a bread recipe. Salt tends to tighten gluten, as does the fermentation brought about by the addition of yeast or sourdough starter. Since these ingredients work against the development of extensibility, they are omitted from the autolyse.

However, when a recipe includes a liquid sourdough starter or a preferment, it’s added to the autolyse as well. Without the significant percentage of liquid contained in these starters it would be impossible to properly hydrate the flour during the autolyse.

For testing purposes, I chose recipes that either didn’t include a liquid preferment, or called for a stiff sourdough starter that could be added after the autolyse.

While an autolyse can be added to almost any bread recipe, my rationale is that these recipes will show the purest results when it comes to the effects of adding an autolyse.

Test #1: Artisan Sourdough Bread with a Stiff Starter This recipe makes one large boule, but I’ll cut it in half and make sourdough demi-baguettes; baguettes make for an easy side-by-side comparison.

For consistency’s sake I’ll use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook, and try to keep the mixing and kneading times the same for each dough. My standard mix time will be 3 minutes on the lowest speed (stir). Kneading time will be 2 minutes on speed 2.

The dough is always covered during a rest period.

Here’s what I’ll test with this recipe:

Dough #1, no autolyse or pause: All the ingredients are added at once and immediately mixed and kneaded. Mix/kneading time is 3 minutes on “stir” and 2 minutes on speed 2.

Dough #2, mix and 30-minute pause: A gentle mix of all the ingredients, followed by a 30-minute pause.The dough is then kneaded.

Dough #3, 30-minute autolyse: The flour and water are gently mixed and the dough is allowed to rest for 30 minutes. After the autolyse the salt and sourdough starter are added and the dough is kneaded.

Dough #4, 60-minute autolyse: The same process as the 30-minute autolyse, but with a 60-minute rest.

Dough #1 and dough #2 come together easily, and dough #3 starts out nicely as well. For the autolyse, I simply mix the flour and water together until the flour is fully moistened. I then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

It’s truly miraculous to observe how the dough transforms in 30 short minutes from a rough blob to a smooth and stretchy dough.

Difficulties with incorporation after the autolyse However, when it comes time to add the stiff starter and salt to dough #3, I run into a small hitch: the starter and dough don’t want to come together.

I first try ripping the starter into small pieces and sprinkling the salt on top of the dough, but little bits of starter remain intact, even after kneading for 2 minutes on speed 2.

When I mix the 60-minute autolyse for dough #4, I try a different tactic.

I decide to reserve a small amount of the recipe’s water (20g) to soften the stiff starter prior to adding it (along with the salt) to the dough and kneading. This also proves challenging to mix because the water causes the dough to slide around in the mixer, preventing the hook from engaging.

It’s necessary to gently mix on the lowest speed, pausing frequently to fold the dough and help it engage with the hook.

While these added precautions work, they definitely take more time. If less required kneading is a positive result of using the autolyse method, struggling to incorporate the starter before you can begin kneading is definitely a drawback.

Test #1 results With all that extra effort to incorporate the starter properly after the autolyse, I’m a bit disappointed to see so little bang for my buck. The loaves that include an autolyse (#3 and #4) do show greater expansion, but there’s not a dramatic difference.

Dough #1: The mix that received no autolyse or pause produces a slightly smaller baguette, with a more erratic crumb structure than the other test loaves.

Dough #2: The mix and pause method produces the best color, crumb, and scoring.

Dough #3: The 30-minute autolyse yields a robust loaf with a decent crumb, but nothing to write home about.

Dough #4: The 60-minute autolyse produces the largest baguette, but the crumb isn’t as open as #1, #2 or #3.

The winner of this round is dough #2.

Test #2: French-Style Baguettes For this recipe I’ll use the same mixing/kneading process as I did in the first test: 3 minutes on “stir” to blend the ingredients, and 2 minutes on speed 2 to knead the dough. The only exception to this will be the intensive mix (Dough #1).

Here’s what I’ll test with this recipe:

Dough #1, intensive mix: Replicating the intensive mixing practices that drove Calvel to develop the autolyse method risks destroying my mixer — don’t try this at home! I mix all the ingredients and then knead for a full 15 minutes on speed 2 in my KitchenAid mixer.

Dough #2, mix and pause: All of the dough ingredients are mixed together and then allowed to rest for 30 minutes. While not quite an autolyse, this is certainly autolyse-inspired. After the pause, the dough is kneaded.

Dough #3, 60-minute autolyse: The flour and water are gently mixed and allowed to rest for 60 minutes. After the rest, the salt and instant yeast are added and the dough is kneaded.

Dough #4, 30-minute autolyse with yeast: The flour, water, and instant yeast are mixed together in the autolyse. After the 30-minute rest, the salt is added and the dough is kneaded.

Dough #5, 30-minute autolyse: No salt or instant yeast are added to the autolyse. After the 30-minute rest, the salt and instant yeast are added and kneading commences.

An unexpected snag Doughs #1 and #2 come together without incident (my mixer doesn’t die)! But when I get to dough #3, I discover an issue that I hadn’t anticipated.

I mix the flour and water and allow the dough to rest for 60 minutes.

After the autolyse, the yeast and salt are added and I knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes.


The instant yeast doesn’t dissolve properly when added to the fully hydrated flour. The dough is riddled with undissolved yeast granules at the end of the first rise.

Back to the drawing board.

Test #2-A This time when I come to dough #3 and dough #5 I reserve a small amount of the water (1 ounce) from the autolyse, to add in along with the instant yeast and salt after the autolyse is complete.

This method has its own issues. The yeast dissolves nicely; unfortunately, the dough has difficulty accepting the water/yeast/salt mixture: it’s necessary to stop and start the mixer repeatedly to make it happen.

Another option is to add the yeast with the autolyse, as I did with dough #4. This is what bakeries using instant yeast normally do; but how do the resulting baguettes compare?

Let’s bake them and see.

Test #2-A results Dough #1: The intensive mix actually turns out better than expected, with a decent crumb structure. However, it’s much more difficult to roll out, and the resulting baguette is small and pale: definite proof that more isn’t better when it comes to kneading bread dough.

Dough #2: The mix and pause method also yields fairly positive results. Good crumb, decent volume, and cuts that open reasonably well.

Dough #3: Wow! The 60-minute autolyse really shines in this test (though the loaf may have been a little over-proofed). Great color, volume, and crumb, along with decent cuts.

Dough #4: The 30-minute autolyse with yeast yields another beautiful baguette. While not quite as big as #3 and #5, it’s next in line for size, and has a very open crumb.

Dough #5: The 30-minute autolyse without salt or yeast is the winner of this round. Beautiful crumb, color, and volume. I even get some ears!

The winner!

One final test Baking 5 rounds of baguettes is just about my limit for one day, so I decide to refrigerate some of the extra baguette dough from test #2-A and shape and bake it the next day.

Dough #1: After refrigeration, the intensive mix once again produces a small, pale baguette. None of the baguettes have as open a crumb structure as the baguettes that were baked the day before, but the interior of this baguette looks particularly tough and ropey.

Dough #2: The mix and pause method yields a reasonably nice baguette, but it’s also paler and smaller than dough #3.

Dough #3: The 60-minute autolyse is the clear winner of this round. It yields the largest baguette, with a great crust color and cuts that open beautifully.

To autolyse or not to autolyse? One advantage of using an autolyse that I haven’t been able to capture in these photos is the tremendous difference it makes in the feel and workability of the dough. Calvel called French bread made using the autolyse method “more seductive.” I think he was referring to the baked loaves, but dough that’s undergone an autolyse feels more seductive. It has a soft and yielding strength that makes rolling out baguettes a true pleasure. It’s worth giving the autolyse method a try for this reason alone.

Takeaways for using the autolyse method:
  1. When mixing the autolyse be sure that all the flour is fully moistened; dry flour won’t incorporate well later in the process.
  2. Don’t use an autolyse with sourdough rye bread. Because rye flour doesn’t develop gluten the way wheat flour does, and also ferments more quickly, adding an autolyse can cause the dough to deteriorate.
  3. Liquid preferments and starters are always included in the autolyse.
  4. To add instant yeast and/or a stiff sourdough starter after the autolyse is complete, dissolve them in a small amount of water (1 ounce) reserved from the autolyse. Mix gently until the ingredients are fully incorporated before beginning to knead.
  5. Salt is fairly easy to incorporate after the autolyse, so delaying this ingredient isn’t difficult and can have a big impact. Just don’t forget to add it after the autolyse! Sprinkle the salt on top of the autolyse if you’re afraid you’ll forget to add it later.
  6. If you plan to delay adding any ingredients — salt, yeast, and/or starter — measure them out and place them next to the autolyse. This will help prevent a potential disaster!
  7. I wasn’t able to discern a significant difference in crumb color, aroma or flavor in the baguettes that included an autolyse. I suspect those with more sensitive noses and tongues may notice these differences better than I can.
  8. Is a longer autolyse more beneficial than a short one? More experimentation is necessary, but this may well vary from one recipe to the next.
  9. If you find a true autolyse inconvenient, you’ll still see benefits by adding a 30-minute rest between mixing all of the dough ingredients and kneading.
I hope you’ll feel inspired to start using an autolyse in your bread baking.

And let us know how using the autolyse method works for you!

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From: Sam10/4/2017 3:08:45 PM
   of 465
Kevin Mitnick, a legal hacker, warns of 'the new normal'

Oct. 04--Hacker-turned-security-consultant Kevin Mitnick used an arsenal of everyday items -- laptops, a Bluetooth speaker and Wi-Fi -- to demonstrate the ease with which one bad actor can wreak havoc on a business or consumer.

His Houston presentation came the same week that Equifax(EFX) and Yahoo expanded the number of people affected by their data breaches. In an era of cyberwarfare, he said, the attacks aren't going to ebb anytime soon.

"I believe it's the new normal," Mitnick told the Chronicle. "And that's because of the limited budgets companies spend on security."

He addressed the BBVA Compass Bright Perspectives forum Tuesday at downtown's JW Marriott.

"It's only fitting to have Kevin speak here today because at BBVA Compass we're focused on bringing the forefront knowledge to our clients about the world's rapid digital transformation," Houston CEO Mark Montgomery told 150 banking clients and prospects.

Equifax (EFX) disclosed Monday that an additional 2.5 million U.S. consumers could have been affected by its data breach, bringing the total to 145.5 million people. Yahoo on Tuesday announced that an August 2013 breach affected all 3 billion user accounts. That is three times the size of the impact it previously reported.

According to Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout, the number of U.S. data breaches tracked through June 30 hit a half-year record of 791, up 29 percent over 2016. At this pace, the number of breaches could reach 1,500 in 2017, a 37 percent increase over the record-breaking 1,093 breaches in 2016.

All data breaches are damaging to companies and consumers, but Mitnick said the Equifax(EFX) heist could have longer-term implications. Criminals may have gained access to Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

"Because all the information in your credit profile is used to verify your identity, it's now going to be super easy for the bad guys to impersonate you for any purpose whatsoever," Mitnick said. "So it's really, really significant."

He hopes the recent string of attacks will encourage companies to invest more in cybersecurity efforts and to be proactive rather than reactive.

Mitnick is a security consultant hired by governments and Fortune 500 companies to identify and fix cybersecurity weaknesses. But he didn't always hack into companies with their permission.

In high school, Mitnick was involved with phone phreaking, a predecessor of sorts to computer hacking that used phone systems. If he called one number, it would read back the number he was calling from. Another number enabled him to use a five-digit code to call anywhere in the world for free.

Mitnick could even change his friend's home phone to a payphone. Whenever his friend's family tried to make a call, it would ask them to deposit 25 cents.

This interest in phone phreaking led Mitnick to computers, where the first program he wrote was designed to steal his teacher's password.

"It was all about the seduction of adventure, the pursuit of knowledge and the challenge," he told the audience. He wasn't in it for the money or to cause damage, he said.

Mitnick ultimately hacked into 40 major corporations and landed on the FBI's Most Wanted list. He spent time in federal prison, some of that in solitary confinement. When he returned to his old habits, he was on the side of those trying to keep their information secure.

As CEO of Mitnick Security Consulting, Mitnick and his team have a 100 percent success rate at being able to penetrate the security of any system they're paid to hack using technical exploits and social engineering. Their work exposes weaknesses that the companies can then address.

Data breaches are harmful to company's image and bottom line. The average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million, according to the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Overview released by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute.

That's down from $4 million reported in fiscal 2016. Despite the decline, the 419 companies that participated in this year's study reported larger data breaches. The average size increased 1.8 percent.

"At the end of the day, a breach costs you money," Mitnick said.

He also spoke to the Chronicle about the Russians using Facebook(FB) ads to meddle with the U.S. election, an attack he described as a psychological operation. He said he doesn't think there are laws that criminalize creating false advertisements, though Mitnick acknowledged he is not an expert in the area.

"Of course it's very concerning and it should be illegal," he said, "but I don't think there's any law that has been broken."

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