Clinton Reacts To Sanders’ Views On University Tuition And Healthcare

Secular Talk

During the most recent Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton reacted to Bernie Sanders’ views on free college tuition and universal healthcare.

(Updated )



Suicide On Capitol Steps

This is not new, but there was a largely-overlooked suicide on the steps of the Capitol building earlier this year.

The incident occurred on April 11th of this year, during Washington’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Congress had been out of session for the two weeks on spring break.

A man with a sign and a suitcase shot himself on the lower west terrace of the Capitol building. The building was put on lockdown. It was a Saturday.

The man had a sign about “social justice,” according to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine. The exact language of that sign is unclear. Some twitter users stated the sign read “Tax the 1%,” according to ABC news.

In 2012, a Greek man named Dimitris Christoulas – a 77-year-old retired pharmacist – shot himself in the Greek capital’s Constitution Square. Witnesses said he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger after yelling: “I have debts, I can’t stand this anymore.”

That got a lot of media attention and caused an outpouring of anger and grief in Greece and around the world.

However, somehow, when the same thing happened in the U.S. – as it did on April 11th – the story got little to no notice in the U.S. media.

Good Stephanopoulos Interview With Trump

On December 20th, former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos interviewed Donald Trump on ABC’s show This Week.

Stephanopoulos did a good job of pointing out the hypocrisy of Trump’s “bromance” with Vladimir Putin, but taking an adversarial tone towards Iran. Putin and Iran are, of course, allies.

Of the main-stream-media reporters, it seems like Anderson Cooper and Stephanopoulos have done the best job of calling out Trump on his half-truths.

At any rate, Stephanopoulos did not seem to get on Trump’s good side.

New VW Bus Coming Out?

Volkswagen Microbus concept

According to Digital Trends, a new VW microbus may be in the works.

Like the 2001 concept pictured above, the updated model will share three important styling cues with the original “hippy” Bus.

Hans-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen’s development chief, explains:

“First the wide, solid, D-pillar, second the boxy design of the center section and, thirdly, the front end must have a very short overhang. The distance from the A-pillar to the front end must be very short,” he said.

In an interesting twist, the new vans may be powered by electric motors. According to Digital Trends:

The concept will usher in a new all-electric drivetrain that will power Volkswagen’s upcoming battery-powered models. Technical details are still few and far between, but it will allegedly be built using components borrowed from the Audi R8 e-tron and the Audi e-tron quattro concept that will be shown shortly at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The van will offer a maximum driving range of anywhere between 250 and 310 miles thanks to recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology.

If the rumors are true, the vehicle will make its entrance as a close-to-production concept car next January at next year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Volkswagen says the vehicle “marks the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility,”  according to USA Today.

The show car will be toned down slightly and added to the Volkswagen lineup as a regular production model in time for the 2018 model year, coming out in 2017, according to  It will reportedly be built alongside the Beetle and the Golf in Puebla, Mexico, a factory that previously churned out the original Bus and the original Beetle.

According to Digital Trends, an electric version might be offered at launch, but buyers will also be able to choose from turbocharged gasoline- and diesel-burning engines sourced from the Volkswagen parts bin.

Holiday Scams

There are a few holiday scams to be aware of.

According to the AARP, there is a scam going around with holiday gift cards. According to AARP Alabama’s Jamie Harding, the number on the back of holiday gift cards bought in a store could have already been scanned or copied by a scammer just waiting for the card to be activated.

As soon as it is activated, the money could be gone before you even spend it. Harding recommends not buying gift cards off the rack during the holidays.  Instead, you can order cards from the internet.

“Fraud is something that is a multi-billion dollar problem in America. Unfortunately in many cases, older adults are the target, even more so than younger folks,” Harding said.

Also, be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc., because these types of payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone. recommends that you use a credit card on a secure website; look for “https” in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and the lock symbol.

Giving to charity

During the holiday season, you may get calls from charities looking for donations. However, before you donate, there are some safety measures to consider.

First, Harding encourages everybody to look up a charity on Charity Navigator prior to donating. Second, if a charity contacts you, but you have doubts about where or how they are asking you to send the money, contact them yourself through a known website or known phone number.

Scammers can create fake charities that are little more than fundraisers, and real charities may not be donating as much to a cause as you would like.

A study by Wallet Hub recommends verifying that a charity is registered with the Secretary of State and asking how much money is actually being put towards a charitable purpose.

The study said some telemarketing “charities” keep 85 to 90 percent of all donations. states that you should check out charities at before donating.

Cyber security

Whether shopping or making a donation, Harding recommends using private wireless Internet for any online transaction.

Of those who said they use free public Wi-Fi, 43 percent use it to make online purchase, 28 percent check bank accounts, and 20 percent check credit card accounts.

Harding said public internet should never be used for anything involving your bank or credit card accounts due to the lack of security.

Phone scams

An IRS and power company scam preys on citizens using fear tactics, and the scams are especially prevalent during the holidays. A phone operator will call, tell the listener a bill hasn’t been paid, and give them a time limit within which to pay them, usually by wire transfer. In fact, Harding said the IRS scam is one of the most popular scams in Alabama.

“It’s going around the state really hard right now,” Harding said. “People get phone calls from somebody claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment immediately, and usually they demand payment in the form of a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. They can be very threatening.”

In Alabama, an electric company scam is the same ruse, but with a “representative” from the power company threatening to shut off the listener’s power if they don’t pay within a certain time period.

Hamburger King was targeted by the latter scam earlier this year. If you receive a call from a company claiming you owe them money, contacting them through a known phone number is the best way to verify.

Harding said the IRS will never call about a debt.

“A lot of people, if you get a call from the IRS, it freaks them out. (But) the IRS never calls you,” Harding said. “Even if you think you owe back taxes, they’re going to send you a letter in the mail and they’re not going to demand payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.”

Vehicle Rollovers

A quick check of the term “rollover” showed an enormous amount of vehicle rollovers just in the last few days.  One in California killed a family of four with two children.  In another rollover, a car hit a power transformer and knocked out power to the area.

This raises the question: is it possible to engineer vehicles (i.e., make them lower, wider, or with better suspension) so that they don’t rollover as easily?  What about self-driving technology?  Can it be used to slow down a car automatically before a curve?