IRS distributing refunds during shutdown is illegal, from Hoyer

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) claimed Tuesday that the Trump administration does not have the authority to disseminate tax refunds during the government shutdown, as the White House says it intends to do.

“Literally, there are $140 billion, approximately, in tax refunds that won’t be able to be sent,” Hoyer said during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol.

Hoyer made these comments on Day 18 of the partial government shutdown that has resulted from a partisan impasse over the funding of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. One of the agencies affected by the stand-off is the Treasury Department, which will oversee the issuing of tax refunds as the 2018 filing season advances.

On Monday, the administration vowed that the shutdown will not delay the IRS’s distribution of tax payments.

“Tax refunds will go out,” Russell Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters on Monday.

“The president now is going to order them to do what we think is illegal to do because he wants to act like a dictator,” Hoyer said.

The voting will continue this week. On Wednesday, January 16th, they will vote on a financial services bill to reopen the Treasury Department; on Thursday, January 17th, they’ll bring two bills to the floor, one funding the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, and another financing the Interior Department, including the National Park Service. And on Friday January 18th, they will vote to reopen the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments.

“These are not our bills, but we want to open up the government and therefore we are compromising by only offering Republican bills,” Hoyer said.

Get out the popcorn… its getting good. Trumpis really playing with our lives.


Justice Department Plans To Sue Universities Over Affirmative Action

Alex Brandon | AP Photo

The Justice Department's new planned project is to research and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies they determine discriminate against white applicants according to a certain US government official. The project was first reported Tuesday night by the NY Times. 

The Justice Department's civil rights division said this plan resulted from career staffers who specialize in education issues refused to work on a project out of concerns it was conflicting with the office's long running approach to civil rights in education opportunities. Anurima Bhargava, an Obama Justice Department official, called the move a "scare tactic". 

-Chloe Aquil 

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO has a Reached a Net Worth to Surpass Bill Gates

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has overtaken Bill Gates and is now the richest person in the world, with a fortune topping $90 billion for the first time in history. 

When markets opened on Thursday, Bezos had a net worth of $90.6 billion, putting him $500 million ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Amazon stock opened up 1.6% on Thursday, adding $1.4 billion to Bezos’ net worth. 

Forbes started tracking billionaires around the globe in 1987 and has become a go-to source for net-worth statistics. Jeff Bezos is now the seventh person in history to hold the title of the world’s richest person and the third American to top the global ranks besides Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.Damn, now that's chedder. 

-- Chloe Aquil 

CTE Found in 99% of NFL Players' Brains Postmortem

Out of 111 brains tested, 110 tested positive for CTE. 

American Football by Joshua Allwood

A study was released on July 25th about Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Players of American Football. In 2008, several universities participated in a collaboration to gather data; VA Boston Healthcare System, Bedford VA, Boston University (BU) School of Medicine, and Sports Legacy Institute (now the Concussion Legacy Foundation [CLF]), a brain bank was created to better understand the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma experienced through contact sport participation and military-related exposure. 

Here are some of the details from the Study below: 

Key Points
Question  What are the neuropathological and clinical features of a case series of deceased players of American football neuropathologically diagnosed as having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)?
Findings  In a convenience sample of 202 deceased players of American football from a brain donation program, CTE was neuropathologically diagnosed in 177 players across all levels of play (87%), including 110 of 111 former National Football League players (99%).
Meaning  In a convenience sample of deceased players of American football, a high proportion showed pathological evidence of CTE, suggesting that CTE may be related to prior participation in football.
Importance  Players of American football may be at increased risk of long-term neurological conditions, particularly chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Objective  To determine the neuropathological and clinical features of deceased football players with CTE.
Design, Setting, and Participants  Case series of 202 football players whose brains were donated for research. Neuropathological evaluations and retrospective telephone clinical assessments (including head trauma history) with informants were performed blinded. Online questionnaires ascertained athletic and military history.
Exposures  Participation in American football at any level of play.
Main Outcomes and Measures  Neuropathological diagnoses of neurodegenerative diseases, including CTE, based on defined diagnostic criteria; CTE neuropathological severity (stages I to IV or dichotomized into mild [stages I and II] and severe [stages III and IV]); informant-reported athletic history and, for players who died in 2014 or later, clinical presentation, including behavior, mood, and cognitive symptoms and dementia.
Results  Among 202 deceased former football players (median age at death, 66 years [interquartile range, 47-76 years]), CTE was neuropathologically diagnosed in 177 players (87%; median age at death, 67 years [interquartile range, 52-77 years]; mean years of football participation, 15.1 [SD, 5.2]), including 0 of 2 pre–high school, 3 of 14 high school (21%), 48 of 53 college (91%), 9 of 14 semiprofessional (64%), 7 of 8 Canadian Football League (88%), and 110 of 111 National Football League (99%) players. Neuropathological severity of CTE was distributed across the highest level of play, with all 3 former high school players having mild pathology and the majority of former college (27 [56%]), semiprofessional (5 [56%]), and professional (101 [86%]) players having severe pathology. Among 27 participants with mild CTE pathology, 26 (96%) had behavioral or mood symptoms or both, 23 (85%) had cognitive symptoms, and 9 (33%) had signs of dementia. Among 84 participants with severe CTE pathology, 75 (89%) had behavioral or mood symptoms or both, 80 (95%) had cognitive symptoms, and 71 (85%) had signs of dementia.
Conclusions and Relevance  In a convenience sample of deceased football players who donated their brains for research, a high proportion had neuropathological evidence of CTE, suggesting that CTE may be related to prior participation in football. For more information you can find their original release HERE. 
-- Chloe Aquil

DC Goes Doctor Kevorkian

Just when you didn't think it would ever happen, doctors in the city may now begin the process of prescribing life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. 

The new law is called "assisted suicide". The assisted-suicide law, passed 11 to 2 last year by the D.C. Council after more than a year of debate.

2016 Election Reflection: What Are We Supposed To Do Now?

By Whitney Hamer

As we enter a new political season in America I am overcome with feelings of bitterness on this election day. I feel bitter about how I have been ignored and forgotten. How the injustice system is still broken. How poor DC residents are taxed without any representation. All of the lies members of my generation bought into regarding education as a path to freedom and stability.  Those of us lucky enough to secure a position after school now face the reality of underemployment and inequality in our workplaces.

After coming so far in the 60's, 70's and 80's I feel that we now find ourselves in a particularly bad place. My political voice and many similar to mine have been stifled. None of the candidates running represent my interests or my family’s, period. In addition, the democratic and republican parties have not earned my loyalty and I’m forced to remain independent, treated as an “outsider” in the political process. It’s almost as though being independent means I must be less interested than my democratic and republican counterparts. The most relevant issues in my life have not been discussed and further to that I feel that no one fought for my vote during this 2016 election. Politicians, who continue to uphold the systematic oppression of community, in some cases intentionally, were not even questioned about their contributions to such oppression during this election process. Debates lack substance and we see more and more personal attacks, “bad hombres” and “nasty” women.

The political system and the leaders I have experienced in my lifetime have failed my generation – straight up. I did not have the privilege of growing up with the intelligent bold leaders that my parents and grandparents got to experience such as the JFK's or MLK's. I am not at all impressed with these crumbs we are given today. One of the candidates running for presidency has no prior political experience to qualify him for one of the most important jobs that exists in the free world.

I am 30 years old with a college education and no kids, despite how badly and desperately I would like to have family. I’m under employed and I cannot afford to live in the city where I work. There are no marriage or family prospects for me because the black men in my generation are virtually locked out of opportunities available to other races -- locked down in prisons for minor offenses, unemployed, under employed and mentally beaten down so badly they have no confidence and meek futures. Don’t believe me? Ask them!  I also don’t know how I will care for my aging parents who are nearing what used to be the “retirement age”; with no plans to retire due to financial hardship and overwhelming debt. Far from the "American dream" I was sold at a young age...

Those of us who are “doing well” are strapped with thousands and thousands of dollars of debt for student loans and subject to a sub-par health care system with no political representation to address these injustices.  As I continue to write, I think that maybe I am not bitter; maybe I am simply being honest. There is no more love I can give to America. These presidential “candidates” I'm forced to select from are simply rich, white, thieves – according to my tired brown eyes. I know better than to trust their empty promises, which are not even directed to me, any longer.  There is zero hope directed to me of a better life and a better America. Only talks of more hate, racism and wasteful spending. Please understand that I am not disillusioned; rather, I am beyond desperate for new leadership to believe in.

This 2016 election and the antics surrounding are not something I will EVER be able to take seriously. Who will step up for us?

10 Shot-worthy Trump Quotes From 2016's First presidential Debate

 "I think my strongest asset by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament," Trump said.

By: Chloe Aquil

From the wall he desires Mexico to pay for between the United States and Mexico to all of comments about Rosie O’Donnell and Africa Americans, Donald Trump has made his fair share of insulting comments.  And as insulting as Donald Trump is, we are all always entertained.  I have overheard many conversations in my day- to-day commute from other professionals ranting in disgust or laughing in disbelief about the most recent offensive or ignorant profound statement Trump has made. Trump has been exceptionally quiet and less offensive lately but as most expected he would not be able to remain calm under the pressure of an actual presidential debate. 

On Monday September 27, 2016 Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had their first official debate and I am pleased to say it doesn’t get much better than this. Trump was definitely the colorful character I expected him to be. There is a lot of evidence that points to Hillary as the winner of this first debate, as Trump remained defensive.

We got some real zingers from a back and forth segment during the debate in a discussion about NAFTA and he even called climate change a “Chinese hoax”.

Take a look at these shot-worthy Trump Quotes and reactions from the 1st great debate:

1. “We Should Have Taken the Oil”

2. “No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life”

3. “I did not. I did not. I did not say that.” – He definitely did.

4. “It’s all words, it’s all sound bites” In an attempt to discredit Hillary. Isn’t everything we say all words? I am confused

5. “We’re in a big, fat, ugly bubble and we better be awfully careful. When they raise interest rates, you’re going to see    some very bad things happen.”

And what does this actually mean? That is the real question. What are these bad things Trumps? Please… elaborate

6. “It’s about time we had someone running this country that knows something about money

 Yes, because Trump has never filed for bankruptcy, nor has ever refused to pay hard workers.

7. “I get audited every year. In a way, I should be complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s a way of life.”

8. “I got him to give his birth certificate” – Yes Trump, yes you did get Obama to give his birth certificate, and what have you learned?

9. “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was, it could also be China. It could be lots of other people; it could        also be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

  He has officially offended every fat person in America, and he will be fat people’s president too.

10. “Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her and I think everyone would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

WHAT?! – Did anyone else catch this. Is this really happening

BONUS:  “That makes me smart” (On NOT paying taxes ) lol, sho’you right…