LeBron James isn’t fazed about playing Celtics in regular season, says he’s been to 6 straight Finals

“I’m the last person to ask about a regular season game.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will face off Wednesday night in a battle for first place in the Eastern conference. Both teams have identical records at 50-27 and Wednesday night couldbe one of the biggest games of the entire season. But LeBron? LeBron James is just too good to get worked up over regular season games, no matter what is at stake.

When asked how he felt about the matchup on Wednesday he responded, “I’ve been to six straight finals. I’m the last person to ask about a regular season game.”

And there you have it. LeBron James is one of the best players of all time and he’s earned the right to say this. But whether LeBron cares or not, I won’t miss a Cavaliers-Celtics battle for first place.

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Flashback – ‘We are confident in the outcome’: Obama officials say hacks did not affect vote count

Sometimes a look into the past reveals a comment that was overlooked at the time. Here in December 2016 is White House Special Assistant Lisa Monaco in an interview done for PBS NewsHour: Watch @hari’s interview with Lisa Monaco here: https://t.co/R13Exag0Zn https://t.co/lJh5T0afi9 — PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) December 29, 2016 Quote: HARI SREENIVASAN: Now, since you have laid […]

The post Flashback – ‘We are confident in the outcome’: Obama officials say hacks did not affect vote count appeared first on twitchy.com.

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Open thread for night owls: ‘New Brandeis’ movement eager to smash monopolies

David Dayen at The Nation writes—This Budding Movement Wants to Smash Monopolies:

In a conference room overlooking the Chicago River last week, 35 years of thinking about the economy came under direct challenge. It won’t get as much attention as a Sean Spicer press conference or a Bernie Sanders town hall, but decades from now it may prove much more important to how our economy is organized.

The University of Chicago Stigler Center’s three-day conference asked, “Does America Have a Concentration Problem?” A sufficient response to this could be “go outside.” Virtually every major sector in our economy has been whittled down to a few major players. Two companies produce nearly all of America’s toothpaste. One, Luxottica, produces nearly all the sunglasses. There are four cable and Internet providers, who have divvied up the country and rarely compete. There are four major airlines. There are four major commercial banks. There are four major Internet platforms — Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google — controlling your information flow, your data, and your virtual life.

These markets are shrinking further, thanks to a continuing wave of mergers. Bayer is buying Monsanto to control a significant section of the agricultural seed market. AT&T and Time Warner’s combination would tie a content distributor to a content provider. The Walgreens-Rite Aid deal would narrow major chain pharmacies down to two (three if you’re generous and include Walmart). Platform monopolies like Google are buying a firm a week; it’s become a large part of their research and development strategy to acquire ideas and market share simultaneously.

This market consolidation has wide-reaching effects beyond the higher prices monopolies can charge due to lack of competition. Quality suffers when consumers have nowhere else to turn. Supply chains become fragile – an outage from Amazon Web Services, the leader in cloud computing, took out half the Internet in February. Economic power begets political power and democratic institutions suffer. Personal liberty to use talents and skills gets stymied when there’s only one game in town. Barriers to entry have led to a decline in business startups and a retrenching of economic dynamism. Inequality grows when a few at the top gather all the rewards in a market.

Our growing monopolization didn’t happen by accident. Starting in the 1970s, a group of academics led by failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork changed the view of antitrust law, which was originally intended to break up concentrated power. Without altering a word in the Sherman Antitrust Act, Bork and his colleagues – known as the “Chicago school” because of their devotion to University of Chicago neoclassical economic theories – rewrote history, determining that antitrust merely concerned “consumer welfare,” an economic study of prices, rather than effects on competition. Starting in the Reagan administration, the Chicago school’s capture of antitrust theory has brought us to a period of market concentration unrivaled since the Gilded Age.

A new group of scholars and activists has rebelled against Chicago school dictates. You can call them the “New Brandeis movement.” Louis Brandeis, before reaching the Supreme Court, advised President Woodrow Wilson in the election of 1912, condemning “the curse of bigness” and favoring breakups of those trusts that the Sherman Act had yet to dismantle. Under Wilson, Congress closed Sherman Act loopholes with the Clayton Antitrust Act, and created the Federal Trade Commission to combat monopoly power. As Brandeis wrote, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” […]

An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events

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QUOTATION

“To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.”
                    ~Theodore Roosevelt, “The Higher Life of American Cities,” December 1895

TWEET OF THE DAY

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President’s cuts to Interior: $1.5 billionPresident’s check to Park Service: $77KPark Ranger’s face: Priceless pic.twitter.com/5aOpOy5oMb

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) April 4, 2017

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2005—Cornyn: Violence against judges understandable:

Remarks by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on the Senate floor today:

I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that’s been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in—engage in violence.

Violence against judges is nothing short of domestic terrorism. And Cornyn (along with DeLay and their ilk) are nothing more than apologists for such violence.

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Agents Of SHIELD: 6 Shocking Developments From Season 4, Episode 16

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returned after a six-week break. In the last episode, Aida, a Life Model Decoy succeeded in replacing the top agents within SHIELD. They were replaced by LMDs and are trapped inside the Framework–a super-advanced virtual reality world. A small group of agents–including Daisy, Simmons, and Yo Yo–managed to escape. Daisy and Simmons entered the Framework in order to locate their teammates. The episode ended with a glimpse into a shocking upside-down world with Hydra in power.

Warning: Spoilers for Season 4, Episode 16 of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, “What If…,” will be discussed below.

Ward and Skye Are Back Together

When Daisy awoke inside the Framework, she received a text telling her to wake up her boyfriend and head into the office. She assumed it was Lincoln, who died last season. It turned out to be Grant Ward. This was a shock, and she immediately attempted to use her Quake powers on him with no success. (Daisy developed feelings for Ward in the first season before finding out he was really a part of Hydra).

In this world, Daisy is still going by “Skye” and they are both agents of Hydra. She and Ward have been together for several years, and her Framework version just asked him to move in the night before. Apparently he told her the time wasn’t right and he needed some space. He also said, “There are things about me you wouldn’t like if you knew.” These are the exact words he said in Season 1, Episode 19.

May Is The Third In Command Of Hydra

When they arrive at the Triskelion (last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), it is now Hydra’s main headquarters. Daisy managed to get onto her computer at her work station to look up some friends. Lincoln died during testing, and Simmons died at the SHIELD Academy from a contamination. Before she can diver further into the file, May demanded she get into the briefing. Daisy is relieved to see her, but May had no idea the entire world is wrong.

In the briefing, May put Skye and Ward on the task to get answers from an Inhuman they’ve detained. It turned out to be Vijay Nadeer using a false name. In the real world, Vijay was killed by his sister–the senator–because she despised anything alien and was working with The Superior. In the Framework, Vijay managed to get a false Hydra-issued ID–which meant there’s a mole inside Hydra.

Simmons Is “Dead”

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Since Simmons is dead in the Framework, that meant the real Jemma awoke buried out in the woods. The dead Simmons’ body was supposed to have been taken back to England, but Simmons realized she was murdered and buried by the SHIELD Academy. Her sweater had a couple bullet holes, and there were other bodies beneath her. Simmons is questioned by a couple Hydra agents in a coffee shop, but she managed to overpower them. Using the computer in their car, she found there is no record of Daisy Johnson and Fitz’s file was restricted. Looking up Coulson, she learned he’s a high school teacher and sought him out.

Coulson Lost The Urge To Fight

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Coulson lectures his class about the evil of Inhumans. He mentioned the “Cambridge Incident” in which an Inhuman girl from Bahrain was rescued and taken there. This was the same child May was forced to kill in the real world. The child killed an untold number of people which allowed Hydra to use this and declare a war against Inhumans.

When Simmons arrived, Coulson didn’t recognize her. He freaked out when she showed him the SHIELD ID card in her pocket. When Simmons saw Coulson’s hula girl bobble and mentioned “Tahiti is a wonderful place,” he forced her to leave. Coulson then reported her to the authorities as a possible “subversive.”

Later in his office, he pulled out an old file with newspaper clippings related to key moments in the real world. He also had several sheets of paper with “It’s a wonderful place” written over and over.

Fitz Is Pretty Evil Now

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Fitz is referred to as The Doctor here. He’s the second in command of Hydra and developed a way to painfully test potential Inhumans without them going through the Terrigenesis process. After barking orders at May, he visited Madame Hydra, who turned out to be Aida. Aida is naturally in charge of the world in the Framework. She became aware there were some subversives and disabled their escape. Fitz wanted to deal with them himself, passionately stating he wanted to protect everything they’ve built as well as Aida. If the world wasn’t freaky enough, Fitz and Aida kiss.

Who Is Part Of The Resistance?

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Daisy found Simmons at their meeting point. The extraction device they programmed into the Framework won’t allow them to leave (because Aida disabled it). Ward popped out at them with his gun drawn. Confused when Simmons called him by name, he asked Daisy if this was her contact in the resistance. They both adamantly proclaimed they were not in the resistance. A Hydra agent came upon them and Ward shot him, admitting he was working against Hydra. He saw Skye’s test results that revealed she was an Inhuman so he hid them. He was the one that gave Vijay a false ID and is the mole in Hydra.

At the end, Daisy visited Coulson in the hopes he’d remember her. When he doesn’t, she apologized saying because she always goes to him when she needs help. He was like family, and she thought that connection would be inside him as well. Hearing this, Coulson recalled her name was Daisy.

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Our Thoughts

The show is loosely following the idea behind the What If? comics. The characters are all leading different lives from the result of one event happening differently. A lot of detail was put into fleshing out the world including the changes to the Triskelion and all the propaganda posters seen throughout. Seeing alternate versions of characters may not be a new concept, but it’s fascinating to see the actors take on the changes. With most of the Framework characters pretty much all taking opposite allegiances, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this version of Grant Ward only has good intentions. It’s a way to redeem the character and provide awkward and confusing moments for Daisy and Simmons. Because they’re trapped in the Framework now, they’ll need all the help they can get.

What is Aida’s overall plan? Is she hoping to replace all of humanity with their counterparts in the Framework? We still haven’t seen who the leader of the resistance is. It was mentioned at WonderCon this past weekend and is also in our interviews with the cast and showrunners. The interviews will be posted soon.

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