Wednesday Oct. 17

The deficit is rising, so Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare

— The federal deficit grew by nearly $800 billion over the first fiscal year of Trump’s presidency, during which the Republican Congress passed a tax cut targeted mostly to corporations and the wealthy, which is projected to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.
— The White House and GOP leaders promised that despite all projections to the contrary, the tax cuts would pay for themselves. That hasn’t materialized so far.

Report: Khashoggi was cut up while still alive
Middle East Eye
— It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist’s last moments told Middle East Eye.
— Khashoggi was dragged from the consul-general’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door, the Turkish source said.
— Horrendous screams were then heard by a witness downstairs, the source said.
— “The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,” the source told MEE.
— The screaming stopped when Khashoggi – who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October – was injected with an as yet unknown substance.
— Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.
— Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.

One Khashoggi assassin was pal of the crown prince
MSN News
— One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations.
— Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.

Tuesday’s DOG & PONY SHOW:


Pompeo later met the county’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and is on Wednesday due to visit Istanbul, where a joint Turkish-Saudi (ahem) “investigation” is under way.
The Guardian

More than 1,000 missing a week after Florida hurricane
>>> Armed looters targeting homes and businesses in county ravaged by Hurricane Michael (CBS News)

Marijuana becomes officially legal in Canada
CBS News

A judge ruled on Tuesday that an Obama-era set of consumer protections for defrauded students will go into effect immediately, after repeated attempts by the Trump administration and the for-profit college sector to delay the regulation.
Read it at CNBC

Advertisers accuse Facebook of deception (No. Say it ain’t so!)
Wall Street Journal
— “Facebook’s internal efforts behind the scenes reflect a company mentality of reckless indifference toward the accuracy of its metrics,” the plaintiffs said in Tuesday’s filing.

Births outside marriage rise dramtically in US, Europe
— An increasing number of births happen outside of marriage, signaling cultural and economic shifts that are here to stay, according to a new report from the United Nations.
— Forty percent of all births in the U.S. now occur outside of wedlock, up from 10 percent in 1970, according to an annual report released on Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund, the largest international provider of sexual and reproductive health services. That number is even higher in the European Union.

Alaska Lt. Gov. quits after making mysterious “inappropriate comments”

Tornado Alley shifting east?
USA Today

No, LaCroix bubble water isn’t poisoning you
like you were a giant cockroach


Vast archive of tweets reveals work of trolls backed by Russia and Iran
The Guardian
— The database reveals the astonishing extent of two misinformation campaigns, which spent more than five years sowing discord in the US and had spillover effects in other national campaigns, including Britain’s EU referendum.
— Twitter announced on Wednesday that it was making the tweets available to researchers and the public to support broader analysis of how misinformation campaigns operate.

Scotland’s $2 Billion Salmon Industry Is Thriving — But At What Cost?
… the environmental issues — as well as responses to them — such as sea lice infestations, disease outbreaks, fish escapes, feed sustainability, and biological and medical waste. Because Scottish salmon farms consist of large, open metal cages that sit above the seabed, everything that goes in or comes out also affects the marine ecologies surrounding them.


Tuesday update




Pompeo later met the county’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and is on Wednesday due to visit Istanbul, where a joint Turkish-Saudi (ahem) “investigation” is under way.
The Guardian

— Graham put the blame directly on the crown prince, who is known by his initials, MbS, and said he planned to share his views with the president and advocate suspending arms sales.
— “Nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without MbS knowing it,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
Read it at Reuters

— President Trump has emboldened Saudi Arabia by relying on his personal diplomacy and focusing on jobs rather than broader American interests or ideals. If the Saudis are able to keep the United States out of the Khashoggi affair, then Trump has opened the door to further limits on U.S. influence in the Middle East.
> Analysis by Russell E. Luca, Director of Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University.
> Read it at The Conversation


Sloan-Kettering doctors confess to cozy $$$ relationships
undisclosed “omissions” (ahem), including payments totaling millions of dollars, were first reported last month by ProPublica and The New York Times.

Harvard’s admissions process is on trial and things are already getting heated
Vice News

MIT betting $1 billion on Artificial Intelligence school
The Download
Reddit comment:
Survivors? Those of us forced to run on treadmills to power the AI.

Had to happen sooner or later
Teen shoots video of sex with teacher
The State
sex-teacher— The video came from the 16-year-old student, who recorded the incident on his cellphone and was sharing it with other students …

Police looked at the contents of the teenager’s phone and found evidence that led to Constance Robertson’s arrest…

Constance is way behind the times. Sex videos are so boring! A new TV show in France will show strangers having sex with one another, and then chatting with the audience about how it went …
Story at France 24

Coffee Rust Threatens Latin American Crop;
150 Years Ago, It Wiped Out An Empire
— Five years ago, Finca El Valle, a small, family-run coffee farm south of Antigua, Guatemala, was producing 140,000 pounds of superior-quality Arabica for a select handful of America’s premier specialty-coffee roasters.
— An outbreak of coffee leaf rust, caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, hit the celebrated coffee-producing region in 2012, and by 2014 it had infected the entire farm. That year El Valle harvested a meager 28,000 pounds of coffee, an 80 percent drop. The next harvests were even smaller.

 Uber $$$ fantasy: $120 BILLION IPO
Wall Street Journal
√ Why just fleece drivers when investors have SO much more money?

Court: No, cops can’t just shoot unlicensed dogs
… in the case of Nikita Smith, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department after a narcotics raid left three of her dogs dead.


Defrauded students win class action status vs. DeVos
Courthouse News Service
— More than 100,000 students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges can team up to sue Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for rolling back Obama-era rules that provided full debt forgiveness, a federal judge ruled Monday.

KFC franchisee loses bid to market chicken as “Muslim-friendly”
Courthouse News Service

EU leaders “won’t even consider” Brexit deal as talks collapse
The Independent
“What we have found out in the process leading to this meeting on Wednesday is that it is not going to be so easy to find a deal between the EU and the UK.”

Bribe Contribute to  a politician with $116,000 … and it pays off in the millions.
How Lyin’ Ted Cruz lobbied the EPA to go easy on his buddies at Valero Energy.
Read it at The Intercept


√ Oh now it’s “rogue killers.” Which raises the possibility of a journalist being

murdered with the quiet pre-approval of the US government…
Trump throws bullshit as he caves to Saudi prince
NY Times
— So-called President Trump said on Monday that he spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia and that the ruler denied any knowledge of what happened to a missing Saudi dissident journalist. After the call, Mr. Trump said it was possible that “rogue killers” were behind the disappearance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.



“In Connecticut, utilities have reported days in which they detected and deterred more than a million probes to their operating systems, many from foreign actors.”
— Arthur House, chief cybersecurity risk officer, state of Connecticut.
WaPost via Raw Story


√ Yeah, that’ll work.
Nepal blacklists 25,000 web sites in attempt to block porn
Washington Times

Feds will require prices in drug ads
√ Court challenges all but certain. May make its way to the totally unbiased Supreme Court! We’ll believe it when we see the first commercial that says: “Fukupba will give you cancer, lymphoma, arthritis and scurvy, and costs only $2800 per dose.”

“Do Not Track,” the privacy setting used by millions, sucks real bad

Insects, and animals that depend on them, disappearing
LMT Online
— Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.
— In 2014, an international team of biologists estimated that, in the past 35 years, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees decreased by 45 percent. In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting. A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves.

Dunkirk, France, takes a chance on free buses —
and it seems to be working
The Guardian
— One month on, the Dunkirk mayor, Patrice Vergriete, who promised free public transport in his 2014 election campaign, says the project has been an overwhelming success, with a 50% increase in passenger numbers on some routes, and up to 85% on others.

Americans spend $70 billion on pets …
— could that money do more good?
The Conversation
…  which is more than the combined GDP of the 39 poorest countries in the world.

Will San Francisco tax businesses to help homeless?
— The situation has become so dire that a coalition of activists collected enough signatures to put a measure on the city’s Nov. 6 ballot that would tax hundreds of San Francisco’s wealthiest companies to help thousands of homeless and mentally ill residents, an effort that failed earlier this year in Seattle. Proposition C would raise $300 million a year, nearly doubling what the city already spends to combat

Amazon’s robots advance, humans recede
Wall Street Journal
— Amazon’s robots signal a sea change in how the things we buy will be aggregated, stored and delivered. The company requires one minute of human labor to get a package onto a truck, but that number is headed to zero. Autonomous warehouses will merge with autonomous manufacturing and delivery to form a fully automated supply chain.

Manhattan’s richest neighborhoods becoming retail ghost towns
The Atlantic
These days, walking through parts of Manhattan feels like occupying two worlds at the same time. In a theoretical universe, you are standing in the nation’s capital of business, commerce, and culture. In the physical universe, the stores are closed, the lights are off, and the windows are plastered with for-lease signs. Long stretches of famous thoroughfares—like Bleecker Street in the West Village and Fifth Avenue in the East 40s—are filled with vacant storefronts. Their dark windows serve as daytime mirrors for rich pedestrians. It’s like the actualization of a Yogi Berra joke: Nobody shops there anymore—it’s too desirable.

Warren says DNA tests prove she’s got American Indian ancestry
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test on Monday that “strongly support” her claims of Native American ancestry, hitting back at President Donald Trump for mocking her and showing her seriousness about a 2020 presidential run.
— The DNA test, conducted by Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamante, showed Warren’s likely Native American ancestry dates back six to 10 generations.

“I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.”
So-called candidate Trump 


Monday update

Hawking’s final fear:
The rich will use genetic engineering
to turn their children into “superhumans”

√ Return of the Master Race?
hawking-blackboard.jpg— In his final book In Brief Answers to the Big Questions, out on Tuesday, Professor Hawking states that he fears wealthy people will begin to edit their own and their children’s DNA to create ‘superhumans’ who will be more intelligent and live longer.
— “Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans. But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”

√ Imagine a world with millions and millions of Jared Kushners …

Speaking of His Excellency ….

Jared Kushner, Genius, Middle East Peacemaker, and Super-Patriot, ah, slithered out of paying for the last eight years or so. Nothing to see here, folks, move on and be sure to file your taxes on time. Thank you!
> Axios
… And the new tax law passed last year “provides even more opportunities for property investors to take larger deductions.”


Trump campaign will sell data on its idiot followers to anybody “not hostile to the president.”
Raw Story

Dude gets 22 years in pen for spiking girlfriend’s drink with abortion pill
Appleton (WIS.) Post-Crescent
— A man who was accused of putting an abortion-inducing drug in his girlfriend’s drink was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison.
— Manishkumar Patel, 45, was convicted in August of attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child. His girlfriend didn’t ingest the drink, but miscarried weeks later.
…….. On Sept. 17, 2007, the family went to a downtown Appleton restaurant, then to an ice cream shop for dessert. Patel brought her a smoothie while she waited outside in the car, but she saw him split the drink into two cups and “frantically” stir the cup, the complaint said. She took the drink when Patel returned to the car, but didn’t drink it.

Want to protest in DC? Maybe it’ll cost ya
CBS News
— The National Park Service is exploring whether to require protest organizers to pay for the cost of providing law enforcement and other support services for demonstrations held in the nation’s capital. The proposed rule also could shrink a significant portion of the sidewalk outside the White House that is accessible to pedestrians, leaving a five-foot wide sliver.
— The public has until the close of Monday to comment on the proposal.

Inside the tent city (aka jail) for migrant kids in Texas
The Independent
— The tent city that the federal government operates at the Tornillo border station about 35 miles south east of El Paso on the Mexico border was built in June as a temporary home for a few hundred migrant children. Four months later, it has rapidly expanded and has nearly quadrupled in size.
√ And wouldn’t you know it, somebody’s making a fortune on this.
… The contractor, a global network of nonprofit groups known as BCFS, has received at least $179m in federal contracts in recent years as part of the so-called unaccompanied alien children program. The network ran similar emergency shelters during the Obama administration, including those at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio in 2012 and 2014.

In Germany, at least, some folks are starting to wake up 
— When German organizers pulled together a demonstration in Berlin to support “an open and free society,” they had some ambitious goals. They expected roughly 40,000 people to pack the span from Berlin’s city center, from Alexanderplatz to the Victory Column, where they were holding their final rally of the day.
— As it turns out, those expectations didn’t measure up to the real thing.
— More than 240,000 people showed up for the march and rallies Saturday, according to the organizers behind the #unteilbar event (#indivisible in English). Local police told the BBC that the demonstrators numbered “in the low hundreds of thousands.”

Saudis threaten pissing match if US goes sanction route
√ Oh, please. The US has been keeping this corrupt monarchy intact for decades now. Jeesh.

Bodies of 11 infants were hidden at Detroit funeral home
— Six months after a Detroit funeral home was shut down for its “deplorable conditions,” investigators made a gruesome discovery of 11 infant bodies hidden in the ceiling.
— Inspectors from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs found the remains at Cantrell Funeral Home after receiving an anonymous note on Friday afternoon that detailed their whereabouts.

Guy who shot at lost teen found guilty
Detroit News
— In a case that attracted national attention and local outrage, a white Rochester Hills homeowner was convicted Friday for shooting at a lost black teenager who showed up at his door seeking directions to his school.
— Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, was found guilty by a jury in Oakland County Circuit Court of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the April 12 incident at his home involving 14-year-old Brennan Walker.
√ Shooter lives in the, ahem, Christian Hills subdivision. Figures.

These two sites can help you spot fake Amazon reviews
Popular Science

Study: 40% of US middle class face impoverished retirement

China to take over world leadership?
No, it’s already going backward
By Gordon Chang, The National Interest
— China … is moving from authoritarianism back to totalitarianism, readopting a model that brought the People’s Republic to the brink of economic failure twice, once during the Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s and early 1960s and again during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. China’s economy cannot be expected to do well in an increasingly intolerant political atmosphere, as the country’s own history suggests.
— And there is one more reason to doubt Chinese economic dominance: demography. China will soon join the ranks of shrinking nations. The population will peak somewhere around 1.44 billion people at the end of next decade according to the U.N.’s World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. By the end of the century, China will have a population of 1.02 billion.
>>> Google CEO: Censored China search engine offers “broad benefits.”
The Intercept
√ Not to mention $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for Google.

The real value of a $15 minimum wage depends on where you live
Pew Research

— The movement for a $15-an-hour minimum wage got a boost earlier this month when Amazon – which has drawn criticism for its pay practices and working conditions – announced it would raise its base pay for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour. The new minimum wage takes effect Nov. 1 and will affect some 250,000 full- and part-time employees, as well as the 100,000 or so seasonal workers Amazon expects to hire in the next few months, according to the company. (The raises will be offset, at least in part, by the phasing out of bonuses and stock awards for hourly workers.)
— How much of a real improvement those workers will see in their daily lives, however, depends very much on where they live. Local living costs vary widely in the United States, and Amazon has more than 150 warehouses, sorting centers, distribution centers and other facilities scattered across the country. A $15 hourly wage yields $17.10 worth of purchasing power for a worker at Amazon’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, warehouse, for example, but only $13.57 for a worker at the warehouse in Kent, Washington, a Seattle suburb about 20 miles south of the company’s headquarters.



Stable Genius’s China tariffs backfire as deficit with China balloons
Raw Story

Young Americans embracing socialism
Christian Science Monitor
“I don’t think we’ve done a good job at all of sharing the dividends from growth in a way that’s … good for society.”

Bernardo Vigil Rendon works at a bicycle shop in Baltimore owned by its employees. The pay isn’t huge, he says, but the job comes with perks that are unusual for such a small shop: a retirement savings plan, no staff cuts in the off-season, and a familial atmosphere. [ Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor] 

No wonder it works so well 
there may be Viagra in that herbal supplement

Is the FDA doing anything about it? Nope.

— The Food and Drug Administration has identified hundreds of supplements tainted with pharmaceuticals — from antidepressants and erectile dysfunction remedies to weight-loss drugs — since 2007, a study published Friday shows. Even after FDA tests proved the supplements contained unapproved or recalled medications, many of the products continued to be marketed and sold, the analysis finds.

Arkansas now among the enlightened states to require photo ID because… ah because…
Courthouse News Service

Ho-hum, another big Facebook data leak– 29 million, this time
Don’t be surprised if you make some new “friends.”

After Soyuz Failure, Space Is Now Weirdly Inaccessible to Astronauts
US has pretty much mothballed its rocket program, relying on our great friends, the Russkies

— All crewed launches have been suspended by Russia’s space agency following yesterday’s Soyuz rocket failure. That’s a problem, because much of the world relies on Russian rockets to get both cargo and people into space. Consequently, we’re now facing the very real possibility of having an uncrewed International Space Station—something that hasn’t happened in nearly two decades.

Finally, some get wise to Saudis
The Guardian
— A high-profile investment summit in Riyadh later this month is rapidly becoming a fiasco as prominent businesses and media groups have pulled out over Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
— The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said he would not be attending, and the Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC have withdrawn as media sponsors.
— The world’s business elite were due to attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII), which begins in the Saudi capital on 23 October. However, some of the companies involved say they are withdrawing pending the outcome of investigations into Khashoggi’s disappearance, while others have pulled out unconditionally.

> More than 60 percent of Americans who have some European ancestry can be identified using DNA databases — even if they have not submitted their own DNA, researchers reported Thursday.
> Enough people have done some kind of DNA test to make it possible to match much of the population, the researchers said. So even if you don’t submit your own DNA, if a cousin does, it could lead people to you.
> They said their findings, published in the journal Science, raise concerns about privacy. Not only could police use this information, but so could other people seeking personal information about someone.
— NBC News

√ What has the nation come to? Why on earth would we spend UNTOLD MILLIONS of dollars on TV and Internet advertising to support/oppose a Supreme Court candidate? See the story on Vice News… 

Right-wing dark money backing Kavanaugh outspent the left-wing “smear campaign” by millions

Writer sues creator of Shitty Media Men list for defamation
Buzz Feed
— New Orleans writer Stephen Elliott is suing feminist activist Moira Donegan for defamation over his inclusion in the “Shitty Media Men” spreadsheet that was quietly distributed among women last year, sparking intrigue until it was made publicly available online.
— Donegan has admitted that she was the creator of the spreadsheet that included allegations against men in media that ranged from flirting and weird lunch dates to accusations of rape, assault, stalking, harassment, and physical violence. Donegan circulated the link without any password protection to allow other women to add their own allegations to the list, which was widely circulated in the media industry.

Casino boss drops tens of millions more to $lime GOP
√Adelson gives out of the goodness of his heart, and because he truly believes in Republican principles of small govern… oops.

World using more oil than ever —
100 million barrels a day
Wall Street 24/7

Federal judge threatens ICE with contempt
if it deports man he released in criminal case
— U.S. District Judge James Gwin said during a bond hearing Wednesday for Cesar Veloz-Alonso that he didn’t think the 39-year-old construction worker, who was deported four previous times in the past two decades, was a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Bitcoin miner imprisoned after stealing electricity from trains
The Independent
Xu Xinghua from Shanxi province pleaded guilty to stealing 104,000 yuan (£11,300), which was used to mine 3.2 bitcoins. At the current price of bitcoin, Mr Xinghua’s bounty would be worth around £15,000, however at bitcoin’s peak, it would have been worth close to £48,000.

dog-pony-juggleAmong the Dog & Pony stories we’re not covering:
Kanye West, Banksy, Michelle Obama, First Lady Trump, any and all royal weddings, Conor McGregor…

You’re welcome!


Rewriting reproduction:
With stem cells and CRISPR,
scientists breed mice with same-sex parents
— For the first time, scientists said Thursday that they had bred mice with two genetic fathers, steering around biological hurdles that would otherwise prevent same-sex parents from having offspring.
— The researchers also bred mouse pups with two genetic mothers. Those pups matured into adults and had pups of their own, outpacing previous efforts to create so-called bimaternal mice.
— “This research shows us what’s possible,” Wei Li, a senior author of the study, said in a statement. Li conducted the work with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Sans Forgetica — the wacky typeface that helps you
remember what you’ve read
Popular Science
— It was unusual, then, when researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia approached typography professor Stephen Banham about crafting a font that was harder to read. “[It] was unlike any other typeface I have designed,” he wrote in an email. He broke each letter; the S looks like someone dragged an eraser down its midline, the G like a roughed-up zebra, the W like a broken dinner plate. And he tilted each letter—and with it, therefore each word or line or paragraph—on an axis, setting the misfit runes deliberately askew.

Wall Street lays another egg

Entire fleet of F-35s grounded 
Stars & Stripes
— The U.S. military has grounded its fleet of F-35s following a recent crash in South Carolina to inspect the fighter jets’ engine fuel tubes, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
… The F-35 program, the most expensive weapon in U.S. military history, has been marred by delays and cost overruns and other mechanical issues. The F-35 program is expected to cost the Pentagon about $406 billion for 2,456 fighter jets.

Judge may cancel $250 million Roundup award
Courthouse News Service

NY case against Weinstein weakens
The Guardian

FBI: Wacko planned to bomb National Mall on Election Day

Astronauts escape malfunctioning Soyuz rocket
[ Maybe them Rooskies could pay more attention to their engineering, and less to their hacking?]

“I think with every coastal road in California, you’re going have to think about relocating it,” said Gary Griggs, an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The Guardian

 So this is what Saudi “reformers” are like?
Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show
— The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say that a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist and killed him.
>>> Trump reluctant to cut off arms sales to Saudis in response to Khashoggi’s disappearance

Michael cleanup begins

The third-most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in recorded history left a wide path of destruction across Florida and Georgia, destroying homes and shopping centers and felling trees that killed at least two people. And it’s not done yet.

Mexico Beach “is gone”

mexico beach
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin is flying over Mexico Beach, Florida, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael. “It’s gone. It’s gone,” Baldwin said, reacting to the damage. “It’s obliterated and it’s awful. It’s awful to look at,” she said, noting the damage is as far as the eye can see.


Oilers, Greenies join to oppose fed giveaway to corn farmers
The Hill
– Oil companies and green groups say Trump’s proposal is a politically motivated move designed to shore up support for Republicans ahead of the November midterm elections. Farmers are hurting as a result of Trump’s trade policies, which have prompted foreign tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. becomes Web resource for victims of sex assault
The Independent
— Newly appointed US Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh has learnt the hard way about the importance of owning the web domain of your own name.
— Following his controversial nomination to the highest court in the US, the website was transformed into a resource for survivors of sexual assault in support of his alleged victims.

Catastrophic damage predicted as stronger Michael makes Fla. landfall
Weather Underground
>>> “I’m so scared”: These Florida trailer park residents couldn’t afford to evacuate
Vice News
In Bay County, where Panama City is located, about 13,600 residences — 13.5 percent of all housing units — are mobile homes, according to government data.

Pervy Pol Weiner to get out of prison for ‘good conduct’
Washington Times

This Mexico drug tunnel’s different — it’s solar-powered
The Guardian
— The US border patrol said on Tuesday that the clandestine passage measured 627 feet (191 meters), including 336ft inside US territory, in California. The tunnel builders had started working on an exit shaft north of the border, but had not broken the surface before it was discovered.

Dep’t of Justice moves to halt Chicago police reform
— The Trump administration will attempt to block an agreement between the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois to reform the long-troubled Chicago Police Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday.
— The Justice Department has backed away from police reform in various contexts, but this will be the first time it’s actively attempted to intervene to prevent reform from moving forward. The unusual federal intervention on a negotiated agreement between state and city officials will likely draw a strong rebuke from both parties.

Cops arrest son of limo company owner after horror crash
USA Today
— Nauman Hussain ran the Saratoga County limousine company owned by his father, Shahed Hussain, who was in Pakistan at the time of the crash.

Amazon, tech lead Wall Street crash

As feds focused on jailing migrant kids, border drug busts plummeted
USA Today
— Federal drug-trafficking prosecutions along the southwestern border plunged to their lowest level in nearly two decades this summer as the Trump administration launched a “zero tolerance” crackdown on illegal immigration that separated thousands of children from their parents.

Bound to happen sooner or later…
Medieval re-enactor fatally impales self with a lance
CBS News

US knew of Saudi plan to silence journalist
— U.S. intelligence services intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose disappearance in Turkey last week threatens to damage the warm ties between the kingdom and Washington.
— The Saudis were discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to the kingdom, The Washington Post reported, citing a person familiar with the communications, which were intercepted before he vanished. Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and is feared to be detained or dead.
>>> Photos of Saudi assassin squad leaked

Things go nuts when woman brings “emotional support squirrel” on plane
USA Today

In Pakistan, Learning Chinese Is Cool — And A Path To Prosperity

If he masters Mandarin, he can apply for a scholarship to study in China. And with a Chinese degree, he thinks he’ll have a chance of getting a good job back in Pakistan as a fluent Mandarin speaker. Then he can pay for his younger brothers and sisters to get advanced educations.

Snapchat? Mom, was that once a thing?

Sears & Roebuck … what was that, grandpa? Was that once a thing?
Wall Street Journal

What did people use coal for, grandma?

The week’s top Dog & Pony show
Has message for the world: Always hold I-phone in both hands while taking photos of endangered wildlife.

Tuesday Oct. 9

In the news, but dead to us:
Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump, Kanye West

“We all have paid residential tax rates in this neighborhood. They come in with corporations, give them huge tax benefits, and screw everyone else who lives here and the water supply,” said Marci Brunner, a leader of the Birchwood Association with her husband Adam. “We are trying to protect the environment and the quality of life, not just for us but everyone in Schodack and the local areas that will be impacted by this.”

Cops find sucker to blame for murder of TV journalist
— The brutal killing of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova — who presented a current affairs talk programme called “Detector” for the small TVN television channel — has shocked the country and drawn international condemnation.

Sotomayor pens stinging rebuke of solitary confinement
even as Supreme Republican Court shrugs it off
Courthouse News Service
— After the Supreme Court shot down a challenge to the use of solitary confinement in prison, Justice Sonia Sotomayor voiced alarm Tuesday about depriving inmates of daylight for months and years.
— “It should be clear by now that our Constitution does not permit such a total deprivation in the absence of a particularly compelling interest.”

Treasure hunters challenge the FBI over a dig for Civil War gold
… the latest chapter in a mystery that has persisted for more than a century and a half. As the story goes, around the time of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army sent a shipment of gold from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Philadelphia. The wagon train took a circuitous route through the wilds of northern Pennsylvania so as to avoid Confederate troops. Along the way, the gold was either lost or stolen.

UK union calls for strike of Uber drivers
√ It’s only a matter of time… Uber’s medieval labor practices will foment driver activism. Unless Uber wises up. But people in power rarely wise up.

Nikki Haley dumps UN post
haley.jpgRunning for president? Little old me? Why gracious no.

Google drops out of race to screw Pentagon
— Google has abandoned efforts to win a $10bn Pentagon cloud computing contract. The firm said the work might have transgressed principles it published in June limiting its artificial-intelligence-related activities.
— Thousands of its staff had previously protested against its involvement in a separate Department of Defense project.

Nuns launch bus tour to oppose GOP tax scam
Courthouse News Service
— The aim is to highlight economic inequality from the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which critics say benefits the highest-income households while ignoring middle and lower-income Americans.
— In an interview, the group’s lead organization Sister Simone Campbell said, “We’re not against people benefitting. We’re all for everyone benefiting. But that’s everyone – not just a few.”Nuns-Bus-Pelosi-Campbell.jpg

Cop who killed 12-year-old finds a police dep’t that will hire him
— If you’re feeling like a new era of police accountability is coming after Friday’s murder conviction of Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke, a police chief in Ohio is here to set you straight.

Berkeley Whole Foods store gets restraining order vs. vegan protesters
SF Gate

Yellowstone geyser barfs up garbage of the 1930s
USA Today

Flea-bitten L.A. plagued by typhus epidemic
The Independent

UN climate report suggests big gas tax
Somewhere north of $19 per gallon?
Daily Caller
>>> Nobel award shows how economics can fight climate change
The Conversation
… A premise of his research was that the environment is a public good, shared by all and yet not paid for in any adequate or appropriate way.
… Nordhaus argued a tax on carbon – say US$25 a ton – or a cap and tradescheme that allows companies to exchange pollution credits – offers the best and most economically efficient way of putting a value on that public good and thus doing something about the problem.
… he was able to show, with great clarity, that the most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by lifting the price of fossil fuels with a carbon tax. This in turn would provide the appropriate incentives for consumers and businesses to use less of those fuels.

Hurricane Michael Intensifies to Category 2;
May Be Florida Panhandle’s Strongest Landfall in 12 Years

The Weather Channel