THE PUBLIC EYE:Ranking the Democratic Candidates

Bob Burnett
Friday November 15, 2019 - 08:32:00 AM

While the impeachment inquiry continues to command most of the attention of the mainstream media, in the background the Democratic presidential candidates continue their slog towards the February 3rd Iowa caucuses. Here's the BB perspective on how these candidates are doing. And a prediction as to what the race will look like coming out of "Super Tuesday," March 3rd. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Political Campaign Finance Law After Citizens United

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:29:00 AM

According to campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets, the final cost for the 2016 election was $6.5 billion for the presidential and congressional elections combined. The cost of the presidential race, including campaign committee and outside spending, was $2.4 billion. Congressional races totaling more than $4 billion.

President Donald Trump’s campaign cost almost $398 million, whereas candidate Hillary Clinton’s’s was more than $768 million. But as Trump was a constant focus of media attention, from July 2015 through October 2016, Trump received free media worth more than $5.9 billion. Clinton received less than half that figure, a little under $2.8 billion.

To curb these obscene campaign costs, in 2002, the bipartisan Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“McCain-Feingold Act”) was passed to regulate the financing of political campaigns by prohibiting soft money contributions to national political parties, and limited campaign financing to hard money. Soft money is unlimited funding collected by political parties intended for party strengthening, while hard money is donations directly made to a candidate’s campaign. In addition, political parties could no longer directly fund election campaign advertisements with soft money contributions; they had to be paid for with hard money. The law also called for candidates to “stand by their ad.” This means a candidate, at the end of a campaign ad, must approve the message. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Damage from Environments

Jack Bragen
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:38:00 AM

In the past twenty years, I've had numerous setbacks. Yet, these have been less severe than the setbacks of the preceding twenty years. The more recent ones did not include the need to be an inpatient at a psychiatric ward. My most recent inpatient stay (which was due to going off medication and becoming acutely psychotic) was in April of 1996. Additionally, most of the more recent setbacks have been caused by the actions and speech of other people. I haven't sabotaged myself very much in a very long time. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday November 16, 2019 - 10:16:00 AM

Can Smogburgers Save the Planet?

Sometimes (especially in wildfire season) the air pollution is so bad you can almost choke on it. But science is about to make this a good thing.

A new generation of food physicists has unveiled a novel process—call it a seeming near-miracle—that literally pulls food out of thin air.

Well, perhaps it's more correct to say "thick air" because we're talking about air that's stuffed with an excess of CO2.

The breakthrough relies on hydrogenotrophs that can be coaxed (or withdrawn) from smog banks and transformed into a protean powder that be used to create a smorgasbord of protein-based foods.

Plant-based burgers already have led the way in the transition to eco-friendly meat-free foods but turning our smoky air into a food source seems almost too good to be true. Perhaps we can start cooling the planet by scarfing coal-plant-based burgers and munching cow-burp enchiladas. -more-