Saturday update

Sky News
The CIA reportedly found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government planes to Istanbul and carried out the killing at the Saudi consulate.


Thousands block Thames bridges in climate protest

The Guardian



NYPD ousts sex crimes chief who led Weinstein investigation

Yahoo News

The police commander who led the effort to arrest Harvey Weinstein has been removed as the chief of New York City’s special victims division, part of a shake-up that was months in the making after a city watchdog found the unit was stretched too thin to properly investigate sexual assault cases.


Abrams gives up

Atlanta Journal Constiution


Cost of keeping Precious Betsy safe? About $20 million
NBC News

Meanwhile, Devos proposes overhaul of campus sex misconduct rules
 adding protections for students accused of assault and harassment and narrowing which cases schools would be required to investigate.
— Under the plan, schools would have to investigate complaints only if the alleged incidents occurred on campus or other areas overseen by the school, and only if they were reported to certain campus officials with the authority to take action.

Abrams may argue for a new vote in Georgia
— Stacey Abrams’ campaign is preparing an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor’s race that could leave the state’s Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.
— The Democrat’s longshot strategy relies on a statute that’s never been used in such a high-stakes contest. It is being discussed as Georgia elections officials appear to be on the cusp of certifying Republican Brian Kemp as the winner of a bitterly fought campaign that’s been marred by charges of electoral malfeasance.
— Top Abrams advisers outlined her prospective case to The Associated Press, stressing that the Democratic candidate hasn’t finalized a decision about whether to proceed once state officials certify Kemp as the victor. That could happen as early as Friday evening.

Judge: White House must restore CNN reporter’s press pass

Judge did not rule on the underlying case on Friday. But he granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order.

Pentagon spending so crazy it can’t be audited
— The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.

As refugees are at historic lows, Trump presses forward as if we face a crisis
Dallas Morning News
— President Donald Trump’s Nov. 9 presidential proclamation forbids anyone crossing America’s southern border to seek asylum in the U.S. — no matter how legitimate the claim — unless they use a designated port of entry.
— Never mind that the law clearly states that “any alien” who arrives in the U.S. “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” may apply for asylum.

Florida orders first ever statewide hand-recounts as legal fights continue

80% CRAP

Blue √ = No bullshit news
Red = Bullshit news

1– Acosta press pass restored √

2– Trump’s crazy crafty strategy (Salon think piece, obvious by now.)

3– Was it a wave? (Yes, and we don’t need this shoddy analysis.)

4– Why don’t utility companies bury power lines? (That’s news?)

5– Abrams may seek new Georgia vote √

6– Michelle Obama dishes on Melania (Celeb crap)

7– Adelson to get Medal of Freedom (Trump payback to sleazy friends is no longer news)

8– Florida recount, Day 7 (Process story produced by idle reporters while waiting for news to develop)

9– California fires: How to measure smoke in your neighborhood. (Great, except this was presented as “US News” and 96% of the audience doesn’t live on the SF Peninsula)

10– Spec. piece on who’d replace Pelosi (Abject speculation)


Drudge bullshit headline: USA charges Assange
— Actual Wall Street Journal story: The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.
(Note the very squishy source attribution. Drudge readers been played again.)

Charge: Couple, homeless man conspired in $400,000 GoFundMe fraud

Well, it was a heart-rending tale…

Gruesome toll rises in Paradise:
56 dead, 8,800 homes destroyed, 130 missing

>>> From SF Chronicle: List of missing soars to 300
>>> CNN Update: 63 dead, 631 missing.

Facebook hired PR firm to slam, Apple, Google
— Facebook expanded its relationship with a Washington-based public relations firm last year that wrote dozens of articles critical of rivals Google and Apple and pushed the idea that liberal financier George Soros was behind a growing anti-Facebook movement, according to a scathing Wednesday report by the New York Times.
^ Note to Zuck: First rule of holes. Quit digging.
>>> Facebook will soon rely on Instagram for ad revenue growth

Avenatti says he didn’t hit her
As told by TMZ (Too Much SleaZe)
Abuse of women seems to help Republicans, but Avenatti had ambitions as a Democrat. And so ends the brief political career of a churlish opportunist. Perhaps he can develop an act for the casino circuit?

USA Today
— Avenatti’s first wife, Christine Avenatti Carlin, said on Twitter that Avenatti was always a kind and loving father and husband. “He has NEVER been abusive to me or anyone else,” she said. “He is a good man.”
— And his second wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, said she’d never been abused by Avenatti and never knew him to be violent.

West Coast crabbers sue Big Oil over water pollution
Courthouse News Service

QAnon nuts figure out cause of Calif. wildfires.
Raw Story
It’s ah, Jerry Brown, laser beams, UFOS, and high speed rail. Or something like that.

Federal judge: Election fumbling makes Florida “laughing stock of the world”

The young Texans helping turn refugees into Americans

It’s a tough time to be a new arrival in the U.S. But a program run by millennial women is accelerating the assimilation process for high school girls.

Startup CLAIMS they’d sequence your entire genome for free…
Yeah. Uh. Facebook is “free” too. And remember “don’t be evil?”
— Dude claims he’ll to give people complete control over who gets access to their data, and let individuals decide whether or not to sell the information, and to whom.

Bullshitting politicians may be real winners in “giveaways” to corporations
The Converstion
— … study demonstrates the electoral value to politicians of making a splashy bid for an investment, particularly when they have good reason to believe their locality has little chance of actually winning it. We suspect that this allows a politician to avoid the potential blame of losing a bid as well.

Google Daily News (Analyzed)

bullshit meter original copy 1115

This is what happens when you let an algorithm pick your stories.

Of their top ten stories, exactly one is genuine news. Five are Trump spew. That gives Google News a 90% bullshit rating.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder
— A whole nation putting on a dog and pony show. Wow. The Crown Prince had the dude squashed. All the rest is desperate PR. But an algorithm can’t know that. The latest news has the US issuing sanctions, which is just more misdirection.

Theresa May says she’s got Brexit deal, even as ministers flee
For some reason Google sends you to the WaPost (paywall). Our link goes to The Sun, which is local and free.

Camp fire toll
Google points readers to absurd sources like the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which is only 1800 miles from N. Calif.

Struggle for Dem House leadership
Oh please. It’s a non-story until something actually happens.

Southwest adds 10 new routes
Let them buy an ad, then.

No additional troops sent to border.
This was never much of a news story, more of a paranoid fantasy blown up by you know who. And, Google, it’s even less of a news story if NOTHING HAPPENS.

Trump says Mueller investigators “nuts”
POTUS saying weird shit is not news.

Trump pushes back on reports of WH chaos
PR vs. PR

Trump accuses voters of wearing disguises
POTUS saying weird shit is not news.

Trump’s Middle East plan dealt another blow with Israel turmoil
Trump? And plan? In the same sentence? Really?



‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting Sun’s nearest star
— A “super-Earth” has been discovered orbiting the closest single star to our Sun, scientists said Wednesday in a breakthrough that could shine a light on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbours.
— Astronomers studied Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf just six light years away — practically in our back garden, galactically speaking — and noticed the presence of a “frozen, dimly lit world” at least 3.2 times heavier than Earth.
— The planet, known for now as Barnard’s Star b, is the second nearest to Earth outside the solar system and orbits its host star once every 233 days.
— “It’s important because it’s really our nextdoor neighbour and we like to meet our neighbours in general,” Ignasi Ribas, from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and Spain’s Institute of Space Sciences, told AFP.
— Despite being relatively close to its parent star, the planet receives less than two percent of the energy Earth gets from the Sun, and the team estimates it has a surface temperature of -170 degrees Celsius (-274 Farenheit) — far too cold to support life as we know it.

Tulsa so goddamned awful they’ll pay you $10,000 to move there

Brit cabinet gins up “rotten deal” on Brexit

Don’t Be Evil!
Google ‘betrays patient trust’ with DeepMind Health move
The Guardian
— Google has been accused of breaking promises to patients, after the company announced it would be moving a healthcare-focused subsidiary, DeepMindHealth, into the main arm of the organisation.
— The restructure, critics argue, breaks a pledge DeepMind made when it started working with the NHS that “data will never be connected to Google accounts or services”

It took a while to wash up, but yes, it was a big blue wave
— Votes are still being counted in several House races. But the AP has called another race in California, projecting Democrat Josh Harder the winner in the Modesto-area 10thCongressional District over incumbent Republican Jeff Denham.
— That means, more than a week after Election Day, Democrats have increased their House gains to a net of 33 seats – and, when all the vote is counted, they may get to 39.
— Make no mistake: That is a very big wave.Yes, It’s Almost Decision Time For 2020 Democratic Presidential Hopefuls
— How big? It’s the most House seats gained by Democrats since the wave election following Watergate. Nixon resigned in August of 1974, leading to Democrats’ pick up of 48 seats that fall.

Despite all the headlines, Chicago is far from the nation’s “murder capital”
Pew Research
— No major American city has come close to Chicago’s soaring murder total in the past few years. The Windy City recorded nearly 1,900 homicides between 2015 and 2017, a period during which the next-closest city, Baltimore, registered around 1,000.
— However, when adjusting for its large population, Chicago is by no means the nation’s “murder capital.” For decades, in fact, it has had fewer murders per capita than many other U.S. cities with smaller populations, according to FBI data going back to 1985.
— St. Louis led the nation with 66.1 murders per 100,000 people in 2017, according to the FBI’s most recent yearly statistics, released in September. It was followed by Baltimore (55.8 per 100,000), Detroit (39.8 per 100,000), New Orleans (39.5 per 100,000) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (38.3 per 100,000).

Idiot who made fatal “swatting” call going bye bye for a while
swat— Tyler Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making a false report resulting in a death, after he placed a hoax call late last year that resulted in police fatally shooting an unarmed man in Wichita, Kan.
— Barriss pleaded guilty to a total of 51 charges as part of a plea deal. He will be sentenced in January, The Associated Press reports.
— Prosecuting U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told The Wichita Eagle he will recommend that Barriss be sentenced to 20 years in prison, providing he writes apology letters to police, dispatchers and the family of Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old father of two who was shot by police who responded to the hoax call in December.

Chinese-style social control under construction in Venezuela
May I see your Fatherland Card?
— The ID transmits data about cardholders to computer servers. The card is increasingly linked by the government to subsidized food, health and other social programs most Venezuelans rely on to survive.

Today’s Drudge Screamer:

878,000 millionaires added in year

It links to a credible Washington Examiner report that in turn is based on a Credit Suisse analysis. Drudge strongly implies that Trump deserves the ahem “credit” for shifting wealth away from the working class. However that may be, it strongly implies that the American sickness known as Trumpism is just fine as long as it shows a profit.
From the story:
“Our research indicates that the United States added 878,000 new millionaires – representing around 40 percent of the global increase – to its already sizable stock,” the bank said.
The report showed that U.S. wealth grew at 6.5 percent, higher than the world average of 4.6 percent, and has extended a pattern that started during former President Obama’s administration.

— New York City may be the nation’s capital of boasting, but perhaps it’s a city of rubes after all. The NY Post points out that the city and state had to bribe Amazon with $3 billion taxpayer dollars  in order to get half a loaf of the ballyhooed HQ2.
From the Post editorial:
“Most important, Amazon simply isn’t that big a “get.” As Nicole Gelinas notes, it’s offering to create 2,500 jobs a year — a drop in the bucket of the city’s employment growth since 2008. Meaning “the city, as a whole, will barely notice these new jobs.”
√ The courts and the Congress could end these taxpayer-financed giveaways, but they dare not betray their patrons in corporate America.


Let’s wander over to see what those underpaid wretches at Gannett are doing today. Hmmm.
* Worthwhile stories linked.
* Crap stories = no link.
Of their top 10 stories, 5 are not worth reading, including the big one…

Their big headline:
DOJ: Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker ‘unquestionably’ authorized to lead department
(No link, bullshit story)
√  Most people do not read beyond the headline. This one says there’s no question that Whitaker is legit. That’s FAR from established … But sometimes American news outfits seem to think their purpose is to re-write government press releases.


Nope, we don’t care whether the Pornographic First Lady is mad at somebody. Next!

Officials whine about cost of prosecuting hillbilly mega-killers

Feds find ‘blatant disregard’ for veteran safety at VA nursing home, already among the nation’s worst

Serena Williams’ GQ magazine cover draws controversy from her fans.

American woman on South Pacific cruise dies after fall from boat platform.

Wisconsin company to buy gun for every employee this Xmas
How long before the workplace shooting?

Pink’s husband Carey Hart threatens California wildfire looters ‘will be shot on site’
(Oh yeah, that guy. Who’s he again? Some guy posted a picture on Instagram…)

‘Blue wave’ very real in California: Democrat Katie Porter takes late lead over incumbent
(And this from Raw Story)
California GOP leader writes party’s obit
— “The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time,” she writes. “The Grand Old Party is dead – partly because it has failed to separate itself from today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics.”

Relocating Chiefs-Rams game from Mexico City creates big mess for NFL
√ Some enterprising young writer(s) must already be documenting the downfall of American football. Right?

Last night’s lame PBS News hour:

* After the flames, California recovery crews face grim search for victims

4 min

* News Wrap: Amazon to split headquarters between Virginia and New York
10 min (10 minutes on this PR splat? Really?)
* The science behind California’s surging wildfires
9 min (Nothing here to offend the Koch Bros.)
* ‘Virtually tied’ Florida races highlight challenges with voting technology
6 min (Alternate story, if PBS had guts: Florida a sinkhole of election corruption, we investigate)
* Nearly 1 in 5 teens seriously considers suicide. Can schools offer relief?
9 min
* Hurricane Florence flooded half this town. Two months later, it remains united.
8 min (Oh, a feel-gooder.)
* Why a library fire feels like an ‘attack on humanity’
7 min (The most important story they could possibly find?)

Tuesday update

iphone slump rumbling through tech
Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. may not want to talk about iPhone unit sales anymore. That leaves the company’s massive global supply chain to do the talking for them.
Lately, the word there has not been great. Two suppliers—Lumentum Holdings and Japan Display —scaled back their forecasts Monday. Both observed the strict code of silence that Apple imposes on its suppliers, in that neither explicitly blamed weak iPhone demand for their actions or even mentioned the company by name. But Apple is a big source of business for both; the iPhone maker accounted for half of Lumentum’s revenue in last year’s December quarter, according to the company’s regulatory filings.
And Morgan Stanley estimates the iPhone will drive about 50% of Japan Display’s revenue this year as well.
Those were just the latest data points pointing to a weak turnout for Apple’s newest crop of iPhones.

Amazon officially picks N.Y.C, D.C. metros for new offices
The Hill

Amazon on Tuesday confirmed what had been rumored and leaked to press in recent months by announcing it would split its “second headquarters” between New York City and Arlington, Va.


Protests against insulin prices … and the ashes of children
— Anger over insulin prices in the U.S. has swelled as the nation’s largest insulin makers have hiked the price of the drug. Those price increases are now the subject of a class-action lawsuit and have drawn the attention of lawmakers in Washington.
— But the price hikes are also fueling public outcry by patients, caregivers, and clinicians. Last month, patients and activists marched outside Lilly’s headquarters demanding “insulin for all.”
— When Alec Smith son had health insurance, he paid between $200 and $300 a month for the insulin and supplies he needed for his type 1 diabetes. He died on June 27, 2017 — less than a month after his 26th birthday, when he could no longer stay on his mother’s health insurance plan. Without insurance, the restaurant manager was facing about $1,300 a month in out-of-pocket costs, according to Smith-Holt.

Court laughs at voter fraud claims of Florida’s desperate wing-nut governor

US kinda gives up on helping screwed-over student borrowers
NY Times
— The students attended institutions with pragmatic names like the Minnesota School of Business and others whose branding evoked ivy-draped buildings and leafy quads, like Corinthian Colleges. Tens of thousands of them say they are alike in one respect: They were victims of fraud, left with useless degrees and crushing debts.
— Now the government program meant to forgive the federal loans of cheated students has all but stopped functioning.
√ Which was the whole idea behind appointing all-world scumbag Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Profiting From Education.

“I can’t afford to go back to school,” Meaghan Bauer, 27, said. “Will I ever be able to buy a house? Or get married? I spent so much time working on a useless degree, and it could ruin me financially for the rest of my life.”

Data brokers selling millions of dating profiles online
— If I’m signing up for a dating website, I usually just smash the “I agree” button on the site’s terms of service and jump right into uploading some of the most sensitive, private information about myself to the company’s servers: my location, appearance, occupation, hobbies, interests, sexual preferences, and photos. Tons more data is collected when I start filling out quizzes and surveys intended to find my match.
— Because I agreed to the legal jargon that gets me into the website, all of that data is up for sale—potentially through a sort of gray market for dating profiles.
These sales aren’t happening on the deep web, but right out in the open. Anyone can purchase a batch of profiles from a data broker and immediately have access to the names, contact information, identifying traits, and photos of millions of real

“Tiny Putin” photo causing stir in Russia
Moscow Times

“Heads will roll at [Russia’s state-run news agency] TASS,” journalist Pavel Pryanikov tweeted after the agency used the photograph in its coverage of the handshake.
* At least 31 dead
*228 missing
— As relatives desperately searched shelters for missing loved ones on Sunday, crews searching the smoking ruins of Paradise and outlying areas found six more bodies, raising the death toll to 29, matching the deadliest wildfire in California history.
— Wildfires continued to rage on both ends of the state, with gusty winds expected overnight which will challenge firefighters. The statewide death toll stood at 31. The Camp Fire that ravaged a swath of Northern California was the deadliest.

>>> Many Californians, some as many as a hundred miles from a fire, report thick, gray air in their neighborhoods. School was canceled in some areas because of the smoke, as the danger is worse in places where smoke is visible. (SOLANO DAILY REPUBLIC)

>> Wind gusts of as high as 35 mph are expected Monday for portions of Thousand Oaks and Malibu where the deadly Woosley fire has destroyed 177 structures and killed two people. (LA DAILY NEWS)

Camp Fire evacuee Anna Hempel covered with blankets Red Cross sits on a bench with her dog at aN evacuee center at the Neighborhood Church in Chico, Calif., …. MORE LOCAL NEWS ON THE CAMP FIRE AT THE CHICO ENTERPRISE RECORD

Postal Service e-mail program a huge security risk
Krebs on Security
— “Informed Delivery,” a new offering from the U.S. Postal Service  lets residents view scanned images of all incoming mail … likely to be abused by identity thieves and other fraudsters unless the USPS beefed up security around the program and made it easier for people to opt out. This week, the U.S. Secret Service issued an internal alert warning that many of its field offices have reported crooks are indeed using Informed Delivery to commit various identity theft and credit card fraud schemes.

NYC raid begins crackdown on AirBnB
Wall Street Journal
— A team of New York City law-enforcement officers swarmed a Manhattan condominium last month, issuing 27 notices of violations for illegal hotel use in one of the largest crackdowns on short-term rentals such as those listed on Airbnb.
— The raid at the Atelier, a 46-story Midtown luxury tower, may be a sign of what’s to come. New York and other cities are seeking to limit short-term rentals that can run afoul of local laws designed to limit hotel-style stays in residential buildings.
— The violations went to 20 different apartment owners who allegedly rented to guests from at least 15 countries including Argentina and Spain. Some guests paid $400 a night, and one group of six from Switzerland paid a total bill of $3,823 for a short-term stay, according to city records.
— Two members of the Atelier condo board were among those cited for making illegal short-term rentals. They also were accused of putting up illegal partitions in their units to create extra rooms.

Black security guard foils gunman, then shot by cops who thought he was the criminal
Raw Story
— A black security guard this weekend prevented a potential mass shooting at the bar where he worked — and was then gunned down by an Illinois police officer who mistook him for a criminal.
— WGN TV reports that 26-year-old armed security guard Jemel Roberson was working at Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois on Sunday morning when he was attacked by a gun-wielding man whom witnesses say had been kicked out of the bar earlier in the evening.

US Senate
Dem leads slow-count Arizona vote tally by nearly 30,000
AZ Central

China launches campaign against celebrity TV
UK Daily Mail

Florida wingnuts swear there’s voter fraud, call for police probe
Miami Herald
Based on zero evidence, of course.

GI Bill all screwed up now, with thousands waiting for payments
NBC News
… as of Nov. 8, more than 82,000 are still waiting for their housing payments with only weeks remaining in the school semester, according to the VA. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been affected.

Sears is dead to us, say creditors in court filing


Camp fire becomes most destructive in Calif. history
At least nine dead … some trapped in cars as they try to flee
Nearly 7,000 structures destroyed
“Not much left” of town of 27,000
52,000 people evacuated

CBS News
… Stay up to date with reports from the Chico Enterprise-Record
… A swing set and parking lot were part of what remained at Paradise Elementary School.
The Honey Run Covered Bridge in Butte Creek Canyon also burned. The iconic bridge was the site of weddings and pancake breakfasts, and the subject of countless plein air paintings and artsy photographs. It was building in the 1880s and was on the National Register of Historic Places.
— There were rays of good news — Paradise High School was still standing, along with Town Hall, Paradise Intermediate School, Holiday Quality Foods and an Ace Hardware store. There was damage to Feather River Hospital buildings but the main building appeared unscathed, including the emergency room and the maternity center.
— Reporters on the ground in Paradise said there were pockets of saved businesses and homes, but the scene was mostly devastation. Frequently, businesses across the street from spared businesses were gone.

As wildfires rage, so does Donnie Trump, President of the Electoral College. He went on another dry-drunk bender on Saturday to blame “gross mismanagement of the forest” for the catastrophe and threatened to withhold federal funds if the issue is not remedied.

Photos show uncounted ballots lying around Florida post office
Miami New Times
√ Forget about it, Jake, it’s Florida

Yelp Yelps as Wall Street rates it one-star
30% stock slide as advertisers leave site many users distrust.

FDA to impose severe restrictions on e-cigarette flavors

(The Independent) The ban will be placed in convenience stores and gas stations, an agency official said.

Jury awards cancer patient $25mil as an “example” to shitty insurance company
— The case revolved around the 2014 denial of coverage for Orrana Cunningham, who had stage 4 nasopharyngeal cancer near her brain stem. Her doctors wanted her to receive proton beam therapy, a targeted form of radiation that could pinpoint her tumor without the potential for blindness or other side effects of standard radiation.
Aetna denied her coverage, calling the therapy investigational and experimental.

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DEA, ICE hiding cameras in street lights
— The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal.
— According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time.
— It’s unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA’s most recent purchases were funded by the agency’s Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia.

New Top US lawman is a scam artist… and people are surprised?
Raw Story
— Customers defrauded by a company that falsely promised to patent and market their ideas in exchange for thousands of dollars say they’re shocked to see one of its board members serving as U.S. attorney general.
— A federal court shut down Miami-based World Patent Marketing as part of a $25 million settlement following an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which subpoenaed Matthew Whitaker as part of the probe.

Wall Street Journal: Trump directly involved in payoffs to hoes
Law & Crime
A massive report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday says that federal prosecutors have evidence of President Donald Trump‘s involvement in hush payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep them from discussing allegations that they had affairs with Trump in the past. The report describes Trump as being “central” to the payments, which resulted in Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen being convicted of campaign finance violations for his participation. More importantly, however, is the distance Trump maintained while it went on.
…. The evidence of Trump’s involvement in the payments is legally significant, as it backs up Cohen’s claim that Trump directed payments that were found to have been in violation of federal law. The most damning evidence of all, however, isn’t just regarding Trump’s involvement in the payments, but the details of discussions of a cover-up.
— Cohen reportedly told the feds that he talked to Trump and a Trump Organization executive about how to keep Trump’s fingerprints off the Daniels payment.

200,000 told to evacuate in S. Calif, including all in Malibu
LA Daily News
The Woolsey Fire jumped the 101 Freeway near Chesebro Road in Agoura Hills Friday morning and was burning on the south side of the freeway in area evacuated hours earlier.
— The California Highway Patrol has shut down a four-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway.

1000 homes burn in deadly N. California fire
Paradise Post
— The fast-moving Camp Fire burned up to 1,000 buildings and homes in the Paradise area Thursday and reportedly killed multiple people, then roared into Chico and forced evacuations there.
— Cal Fire-Butte County Chief Darren Read said in the afternoon that hundreds of structures in Paradise have burned, perhaps as many as 1,000. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said there are reports of multiple fatalities, and authorities are trying to verify how many.
(from CNN) … Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning. Her father, a lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was called in from another district to help shut down power, she said.
“This does not look good at all,” Mason said on Twitter. “Please keep Paradise and all the first responders in your prayers.”


“Remarkable” decline in world fertility rates
— In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year.

Judge orders work halt on Keystone XL pipeline

  • A federal judge in Montana …
  • … on the grounds that the U.S. government did not complete a full analysis of the environmental impact of the TransCanada project.
  • …. brings uncertainty to future of $8 billion, 1,180 mile pipeline.

Internet splitting in two as US, China squabble
…. West absent …. World Internet Conference in Wuzhen … presided over by the likes of Tencent Holdings Ltd. Chairman Ma Huateng. … pushed the concept of a rigidly policed medium that — nonetheless — is a wellspring of innovation to revolutionize businesses and modernize the Chinese economy.

“Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”
— Michelle Obama in memoir “Becoming “
Source story: CNN

“You’re so easily played”
NYT columnist tweaks reporters who fell for Trump’s border panic ruse
Raw Story
… … Krugman pointed out that coverage of the caravan had completely died ever since the election ended on Tuesday — a sure sign that it was a manufactured issue Republicans used to gin up their voters. rubes.

Notorious R.G.B. up and working after injury

Doctors rip NRA:
‘Where are you when I tell families their loved one has died’
Raw Story

Promise not to kill anyone? OK!
GOP judge loses election, frees all defendants
— After losing his bench in a Democratic sweep, Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin released nearly all of the youthful defendants that appeared in front him on Wednesday morning, simply asking the kids whether they planned to kill anyone before letting them go.
— “He was releasing everybody,” said public defender Steven Halpert, who watched the string of surprising releases. “Apparently he was saying that’s what the voters wanted.”
…… A Houston Chronicle investigation last month found that Devlin and Judge John Phillips accounted for more than one-fifth of all children sent to the state’s juvenile prisons last year. The two jurists not only sent more teens to juvenile prison, but they also sent them younger and for less-serious offenses than the county’s third juvenile court.

Maybe the Florida governor’s race isn’t over
NBC News
…. Gillum statement: “it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported. Our campaign, along with our attorney Barry Richard, is monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount.”
>>> Dem lawyers descend on Broward County, vote fraud suspected
Miami Herald
>>> Statewide recount likely in Senate, Gov. races
Sun Sentinel
… Meanwhile, questions continued about why more than 24,000 people voted for governor but not for Senate in Broward.

Yep, Scott Walker can’t seek a recount because of a law he signed
CBS News

North Carolina Dems won 50% of votes, 23% of seats. Hmmm.
Brennan Justice Center
Smells like Gerry’s been Mandering.

13 dead, including cop, in shooting at California tavern
LA Daily News
— Thirteen people are dead after a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a country dance bar holding a weekly “college night” Wednesday in Southern California, sending hundreds fleeing in terror including some who used barstools to break windows and escape, authorities said.
— The dead included 11 people inside the bar, the gunman and a sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
— “It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said at a news conference early Thursday in the parking lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill. “There’s blood everywhere.”

From Britain’s Daily Mail:

  • Ian Long, 28, opened fire at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11.20pm on Wednesday night
  • He was dressed in all-black and used a legally owned .45 caliber handgun which had an extended magazine
  • Witnesses said he also let off smoke grenades inside to confuse the terrified crowds as they ran for their lives
  • In April, police and mental health specialists were called to Long’s home after a disturbance but they cleared him instead of having him committed 
  • Long served in the Marines for five years between 2008 and 2013 during which time he was given 10 medals and toured Afghanistan 
  • Neighbors claim he was suffering from PTSD and say they had ‘no idea what he was doing’ with a gun
  • He killed himself on Wednesday in an office in the bar after killing 11 patrons and a sheriff’s sergeant who responded 

Mother of teen slain over loud music wins U.S. House seat on gun control platform
CBS News
…. Lucy McBath, a former flight attendant, told Elle Magazine she decided to run for office to make a difference on her son’s behalf. She said she wanted to work to strengthen gun control especially after the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Funeral mass held for Whitey Bulger in the city he terrorized
Boston Globe
— God alone knows how many Catholics have been denied a Church funeral for petty reasons … and now this vicious murderer  …. oh, don’t ask. The Church is way way beyond disgrace these days anyway. 

Notorious R.B.G.  hospitalized after a fall
— Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fractured three ribs after suffering a fall Wednesday night in her office and has been admitted to the hospital, according to the court.
— A report said Thursday morning that Ginsburg went home after the fall, and after experiencing discomfort overnight, she went to George Washington University Hospital, where tests showed she fractured three ribs on her left side. She was admitted for “observation and treatment.”

President of the United States of America afraid to answer TV reporter’s questions, bans him from White House
BBC (with real video)
— Sarah what’s-her-name claims it was because CNN’s Jim Acosta “put his hands on a young woman.” If that’s the reason, her pussy-grabbing Orange Boss should have been banned from the White House long ago.
>>> AND … White House circulates a doctored video to make it seem as if Acosta assaulted the woman. See Vice News

Cable companies lose a million customers …
— still can’t figure out why people hate them

USA Today
— Cable and satellite TV providers lost about 1.1 million subscribers during the July to September period, the largest quarterly loss ever – and the first time the industry lost more than 1 million subscribers in a quarter, according to media and telecommunications research firm Moffett Nathanson.

Thousands of dogs will need homes as Florida kills greyhound racing
NBC News
— Florida voters dealt a surprisingly decisive blow to greyhound racing, approving a measure that’ll ban the sport in their state by the end of 2020.
— Amendment 13, which needed 60-percent approval to become law, got more than 5.3 million votes on Tuesday, good for 69 percent.
— Passage of the sweeping measure means dog racing at 11 Florida tracks, with anywhere between 5,000 to 7,000 greyhounds, will be out of business by Dec. 31, 2020.
— The state is home to 11 of America’s 17 dog tracks, with greyhounds also running in West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Iowa.

Self-driving cars to become rolling ho-houses, researchers predict
The Telegraph

Senator: Constitutional crisis looming
The Hill
“I think it’s a big mistake to let Sessions go.”

Stacey Abrams refuses to concede in Georgia
Atlanta Journal Constitution
— Abrams’ hopes center on picking up enough votes from absentee and provisional ballots to deprive Kemp of an outright win. She also could ask for a recount. And she could file a lawsuit, seeking a judicial solution to a political problem.
— Citing “significant irregularities” in Tuesday’s voting, Abrams’ campaign vowed to make sure all ballots get counted.

The other 2018 midterm wave:
A historic 10-point jump in turnout among young people

The Conversation
— Young people showed decisive support for liberal candidates and ideas. About 67 percent of young people supported Democratic House candidates, compared to just 32 percent for Republican candidates. This 35-point gap is even larger than their preference toward Democrats in 2008, when President Barack Obama was first elected.

Probably time for Congress to wake up and smell the marijuana
…. Emblematic of this shift was the defeat of House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), an unreconstructed drug warrior whom Kampia calls “the sphincter who has constipated all marijuana bills and amendments in the House in recent years.” Sessions was defeated by Democrat Colin Allred, a medical marijuana supporter who has criticized Sessions’ anti-pot prejudices.

Tesla Names New Chair As Elon Musk Steps Down
Perhaps this is part of a deal with the SEC …. or does Musk just want to concentrate on his flamethrower business?

Cave paintings in Indonesia are world’s oldest

Former Texas congressman gets 10 years for campaign $$$$ fraud
Courthouse News Service
— A federal judge sentenced Steve Stockman to 10 years in federal prison Wednesday for defrauding two businessmen of $1.2 million to fund his campaigns, chiding him for abusing the public’s trust in elections.

Google googles sexual misconduct, and vows to do better
Uh huh. We’ll see.
“Google’s leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you’ve shared.”

Parents photograph their kids in bathtub … social workers remove said kids from their home … now face court hell
Courthouse News Service


Lunatic-fringe candidates won thousands of votes in Ill, Calif
Raw Story
And that’s not even counting Iowa’s openly racist Steve King…

They’ll leave the light on for you —
if you’re an ICE agent

Motel 6 to pay $7.6m to settle claims it gave guest lists to immigration agents

(The Guardian) — Motel 6 will pay up to $7.6m to Hispanic guests to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming it violated their privacy by regularly providing guest lists to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agents.
— Terms of the preliminary settlement with eight Hispanic plaintiffs – seven from Arizona and one from Washington state – were disclosed in a 2 November filing with the federal court in Phoenix.
— Motel 6 also agreed to a two-year consent decree barring it from sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm.

2 economic policies likely to change with a Dem House
The Conversation
— The NAFTA replacement crafted by the White House is likely to go down in flames.
— Democrats support infrastructure spending, but the stumbling block in the Trump plan was the provision that the private sector would effectively own the roads and bridges that it builds.
— While House Democrats may not support this plan, they would likely be willing to support something that mainly relies on just federal spending. And Republicans have a reason to go along as well: Infrastructure spending would boost economic growth, which is forecast to slow in 2019 – just before the 2020 elections.

100 years after a dumb Congress passed it, the madness of Daylight Savings endures
The Conversation
— It’s absurd – and fitting – that a century later, opponents and supporters of daylight saving are still not sure exactly what it does. Despite its name, daylight saving has never saved anyone anything. But it has proven to be a fantastically effective driver of retail spending.

Dead whore-master wins Nevada election
The Independent
Yep, that’s the guy who wrote The Art of the Pimp …

GoFundMe raises $100,000 for teacher who punched student
A racial thing. Student may have started it by throwing basketball at teacher and  using a racial slur.

Michigan gives the nod to legal pot
Marijuana Herald
— Voters this evening passed Proposal 18-1 into law, making Michigan the 10th state to legalize marijuana. The initiative allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or up to 10 ounces at a private residence, for those 21 and older. The measure also legalizes the personal cultivation of up to 12 marijuana plants.
— The initiative establishes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana retail outlets, which will be supplied by licensed cultivation centers. Marijuana will receive a 10% excise tax in addition to the standard 6% sales tax.
— Michigan now joins nine other states that have legalized marijuana for all uses: Washington, Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Vermont. The latter is the only state that does not authorize marijuana stores.

Invasive jumping worms altering midwest soil
— In contrast to their European earthworm cousins, which burrow inches deep in forest soil, Asian jumping worms like to stay close to the surface to feed on the “litter layer” composed of dead leaves and twigs. Previous studies suggested that the worms ravenously consume this leaf litter, removing nutrients and locking them up in their coffee ground aggregates where germinating plants can’t easily access them.

Dems = House
Reps = Senate
For election results, much much more at Politico


An info-gathering scam
Amazon’s site selection process a “ruse” says urban studies professor
…. But it kept hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free information from the cities to create the biggest corporate site location database in the world, according to Richard Florida, an urban studies professor at the University of Toronto.
— Amazon’s well-publicized hunt for HQ2 was a “ruse,” he said. “I always thought this wasn’t about one site and was part of a corporate location strategy looking for different sites and different talent,” Florida said. “Headquarters two and three are just the beginning.”

GOP dufus admits his California seat is gone while voting in progress
Raw Story

Dire warning on species loss
Will we wake up? Or will we document our own extinction?
The Guardian
— The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.
— Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.

Mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ floating in space might be alien, say Harvard researchers
USA Today
— Researchers focused on whether solar radiation pressure could explain the unusual acceleration of “Oumuamua,” the first object entering the Earth’s solar system from interstellar space.
— The paper said if solar radiation pressure is the reason “Oumuamua” is moving at high speeds, it represents “a new class of thin interstellar material” either made naturally or through artificial means.
— The paper’s authors, which include Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, suggest the object could be a “lightsail” used to propel spacecraft with solar energy.
— The other possibility? It comes from aliens. “A more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua’
may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” reads the paper.

Fisherman thought it was a doll, pulls drowning child from water
The Guardian
— Gus Hutt was casting a line off Matata Beach in the North Island last week when he spotted what he thought was a porcelain doll in the water.
— Curious, Hutt dragged the body in from the sea where it was being swept along by a rip and realised it was actually a drowning 18-month old boy.


The long slow sad decline of America, chapter 9999
Wisconsin giving away billions to Foxconn,
which is now importing Chinese workers
Raw Story
— Foxconn Technology is a key supplier to Apple, and is opening a large new plant in the Midwest. The plant has been heavily subsidized with $3 billion in American tax dollars, potentially up to one million dollars per job.
— But with a tight market for qualified American workers, Foxconn is “trying to tap Chinese engineers through internal transfers to supplement staffing.”
— “It’s very difficult to find skilled labor in our market,” said a staffing agency near the plant. “All the technical schools and local universities are gearing up their programs, but I still think Foxconn is going to fall short in terms of finding the people they need.”
— The company’s plan is to bring in Chinese workers.
— The big problem the company is facing? Chinese workers don’t want to move to Wisconsin.
— “One engineer who declined to give his name said he wouldn’t want to move to a place he worried could be as cold as Harbin, a northern Chinese city known as ‘Ice City,’” reports the Wall Street Journal.
1) The US finds it necessary to bribe companies to locate here.
2) But cannot even pump out enough mediocre engineering grads to fill the jobs.
3) Chinese engineers don’t want to move here.
4) It’s that damn immigrant caravan, I tell ya.

College students’ research frees man after 12 years in prison
Medill Justice Project
— Andre Gonzales, who spent 12 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit, was freed from prison Tuesday.
— Twenty Northwestern University students working investigated Gonzales’s murder conviction, researching and conducting extensive interviews with people involved in the case. The project, part of the Medill School of Journalism, has investigated potentially wrongful convictions since 1999.
— This week, Florida prosecutors dropped all charges against Gonzales a month after a Miami circuit court judge vacated his 2005 murder conviction and ordered a new trial.
andre gonzales

Curiously timed announcement on election eve…
dog-pony-juggleU.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday wrote the chief executives of major telephone service providers and other companies, demanding they launch a system no later than 2019 to combat billions of “robocalls” and other nuisance calls received monthly by American consumers.
Gee. Pai wrote letters? Really? Wow. That’ll stop the robocalls for sure. A commenter on Reddit pointed out the flaw in this act of gov’t propaganda: “… it turns out, some dude in India doesn’t really care about US laws.”

Berners-Lee calls for “Magna Carta for the web”
The Telegraph via Yahoo

berners— Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a “Magna Carta for the web”, warning that tech giants must change their ways to save the online world from the dangerous forces they have unleashed.
— Sir Tim, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, called for a “revolution” in how the internet is regulated and monetised in order to stem abuse, political polarisation and fake news.
— The 63-year-old was speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon to launch a new “contract for the web” which asks internet companies to uphold a set of principles such as protecting privacy and being transparent about their algorithms.
>>> Peak smartphone? Sales down again.
NY Post

Humans first footsteps on Mars could destroy any evidence of life
By David Weintraub, professor of astronomy, Vanderbilt
in The Conversation

— The closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist is Mars, and human beings are poised to attempt to colonize this planetary neighbor within the next decade. Before that happens, we need to recognize that a very real possibility exists that the first human steps on the Martian surface will lead to a collision between terrestrial life and biota native to Mars.
–If the red planet is sterile, a human presence there would create no moral or ethical dilemmas on this front. But if life does exist on Mars, human explorers could easily lead to the extinction of Martian life.

McDonald’s sent worker home for being late — so he robbed another McDonald’s, cops say
Miami Herald
— David Gomez-Beltran had arrived the McDonald’s, still in uniform, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by KSAT, and at first told the manager that he was sent to the McDonald’s from another location to help with the dinner crowd. When the manager took him to the office to fill out the necessary paperwork for doing so, he pulled out a handgun and told her to give him all the money in the restaurant’s safe, according to the affidavit obtained by KSAT.
— Managers of the McDonald’s at The Rim location recognized David Gomez-Beltran in security footage as the employee they sent home for being late the very same day, according to the sheriff’s office.


Hundreds of booksellers strike back against Amazon
NY Times
— More than 450 antiquarian book dealers in at least 26 countries pulled their books off an Amazon subsidiary on Monday, an impromptu protest after the site abruptly said it would drop all sellers from several nations.
— The flash strike against AbeBooks, which removed over 2.5 million books from the marketplace, is a rare concerted action by vendors against Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue.
— The protest got its start after AbeBooks sent emails last month to booksellers in countries including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia to say that it would no longer “support” them.
— As the news spread, even unaffected dealers were surprised and angered. AbeBooks, together with Amazon itself, is by far the biggest international marketplace for secondhand and rare books.
— AbeBooks lists millions of books and manages the payments. The booksellers mail the books directly from their shops. The platform was founded in 1995 and was bought by Amazon in 2008. It continues to operate independently, and many of its customers never even realize who the owner is. AbeBooks is based in Victoria, British Columbia, where it started.
>>> Amazon may split second headquarters between two cities
Most likely: Dallas and suburban DC.

Ozone layer is healing, UN reports

The so-called immigrant caravan is a fake problem
But the risk of a tidal wave of refugees heading for the US someday is high
The National Interest
…. Venezuela, of course, makes Brazil look like paradise. Over two million Venezuelan refugees have left their country since 2014, as its self-imposed economic and political crisis has deepened. America is lucky that most of them are trying to get to Medellin, not Miami.
— It is the long-term trajectory of Latin America that should really worry Americans. There is little reason for optimism about the future of most countries in the Western Hemisphere. While globalization and a winners-take-all economy are hollowing out America’s middle class, these dynamics are likely to have catastrophic effects on Latin America’s even more unequal societies.
— The ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution will stall and reverse many of the gains poorer countries have made through comparative advantage and globalization. A great deal of manufacturing will probably return to the United States and Europe, particularly if political or environmental events cause significant disruptions to global supply chains.
— American tariffs may accelerate this process, but it is technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and driverless cars that will lead to a hemorrhaging of low- and medium-skill jobs. This will happen long before Latin American countries can manage even a modest imitation of East Asia’s export-led growth.
>>> So-called caravan poses no risk to US, but troop deployment will cost $220 million

How Congress Stopped Working

Today’s legislative branch, far from the model envisioned by the founders, is dominated by party leaders and functions as a junior partner to the executive, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

— For more than 200 years, Congress operated largely as the country’s founders envisioned — forging compromises on the biggest issues of the day while asserting its authority to declare war, spend taxpayer money and keep the presidency in check.
— Today, on the eve of a closely fought election that will determine who runs Capitol Hill, that model is effectively dead.
It has been replaced by a weakened legislative branch in which debate is strictly curtailed, party leaders dictate the agenda, most elected representatives rarely get a say and government shutdowns are a regular threat due to chronic failures to agree on budgets, according to a new analysis of congressional data and documents by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

Lakes on Mars? No, but there used to be

Inside Tesla factory: A medical clinic designed to ignore worker injuries
— When a worker gets smashed by a car part on Tesla’s factory floor, medical staff are forbidden from calling 911 without permission.
— The electric carmaker’s contract doctors rarely grant it, instead often insisting that seriously injured workers – including one who severed the top a finger – be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft.
— Injured employees have been systematically sent back to the production line to work through their pain with no modifications, according to former clinic employees, Tesla factory workers and medical records. Some could barely walk.
— The on-site medical clinic serving some 10,000 employees at Tesla Inc.’s California assembly plant has failed to properly care for seriously hurt workers, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Non-stop ads and robocalls: welcome to America’s costliest election
Reuters via Yahoo
“The mailers go in the trash,” she said. “I can’t wait until this whole thing is over.”
The contest in her California district, a top Democratic target, has drawn more than $26 million in spending by candidates and outside groups since January 2017, according to a Reuters analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) data.
— It leads the 10 priciest House races, where a total of $238 million has been spent.

Older workers replacing teens at fast-food joints
— Fast-food chains are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the website of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.
— Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement often-meager retirement savings.


In the Deep South, residents of an upscale suburb fight to secede from “those people”
LA Times
— When Vikki Consiglio exits her subdivision next to the Eagle’s Landing Country Club, leaving behind a neighborhood of neatly manicured lawns, circular driveways and golf fairways, she cannot help feeling a wave of disappointment.
— “I see the Waffle Houses and the McDonald’s, the Walmart and the dollar stores,” she said. “I’m thinking, ‘Is this all I can have?’ There’s no fresh farm-to-table, no parks, no entertainment.”
— In what she says is a bid to attract more upscale amenities to this rapidly developing suburb about 20 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta, Consiglio has come up with a controversial plan: to form a new city, Eagle’s Landing, by combining unincorporated pockets of the county with the most affluent parts of the existing city of Stockbridge.
— The proposal to form a new city, up for a vote on Tuesday, has roiled Henry County, raising tense debate about racial and economic disparity and voting rights.

Drunk dude arrested after nabbing a horse at Churchill Downs, heading for the track.
Lexington Herald-Leader

Driver was “huffing” before killing 3 girl scouts
USA Today
— The driver of a pickup was “huffing” chemicals before slamming into a group of Girl Scouts collecting trash near a rural Wisconsin road, killing three children and a chaperone, authorities said Monday.
— Colten Treu, 21, was being held on four counts of homicide by negligent use of a motor vehicle, five counts of hit and run and four counts of homicide while intoxicated.
— Hallie Lake Police Chief Cal Smokowicz said the victims were wearing green “highly visible” safety vests and were working in a ditch beyond the road and its gravel shoulder at the time of Saturday’s crash. He said Treu’s black F-150 veered out of its lane, crossed the center line and the opposing lane before roaring across the shoulder and into the ditch.

Maine’s wonderful governor can’t wait to move to Florida so he can pay less tax
Press Herald
— Now in the final two months of his eight years in the governor’s mansion, LePage said he was “talking to a couple of universities” about teaching in Florida from September through April, but he would not identify the schools. LePage and his wife, Ann, already own a house in Florida and often vacation there. He said he would be in Maine from April to September.
— Asked where he would maintain his legal residency, LePage replied Florida.
— “I’ll tell you very, very simply: I have a house in Florida. I will pay no income tax and the house in Florida’s property taxes are $2,000 less than we were paying in Boothbay,” LePage said. “At my age, why wouldn’t you conserve your resources and spend it on family (rather) than spend it on taxes?”lepage



“This is the most dangerous idea in American politics that most people know nothing about.”
— Karen Hobert Flynn, president, Common Cause

Beyond the elections, some groups pushing to change the Constitution via a convention of states.
Sacramento Bee
 the next chapter of decades of work on the far right transforming the federal judiciary and supporting cases that go on to make broad constitutional points, all while suppressing votes and gerrymandering districts.
…. There are proponents of an Article V convention on the left who see it as a possible way to overturn the Citizens United campaign finance decision, pass the Equal Rights Amendment and otherwise address what they see as a stacked deck that has helped the GOP get an unfair advantage. But with more red states than blue ones, it seems an unlikely path to abolishing the Electoral College, reengineering apportionment of the Senate or otherwise devising a democracy they believe is more reflective of the American public’s views.
… It’s baffling to some observers that conservatives are the ones pushing a convention.
— “I don’t know what exactly they’re unhappy with. When I look at the current politics, it seems to me things for them are going really well,” said constitutional law professor Michael Klarman of Harvard University. “They’re already getting what they want from the Supreme Court. Gerrymandering is fine. Unlimited money in politics is fine. The Electoral College is OK. Voter purges, photo ID laws are OK. So I don’t know exactly what they’re looking for.”

Author of “Ph Miracle” books ordered to pay cancer patient $105 million
San Diego Union Tribune
jury sided against the author of the bestselling pH Miracle books this week, ordering him to pay $105 million to a cancer patient who said the author held himself out as a doctor and counseled her to forego traditional medical treatment.
— The large award — more than double what the woman had sought — comes roughly 16 months after a criminal case ended with the author, Robert Oldham Young, going to jail for a few months for practicing medicine without a license.
— Young’s work — and treatments provided at his Valley Center ranch — were based on the theory that acidity in the body is the cause of disease, and that an alkaline diet is the answer.
… … During the criminal trial, Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas painted Young as a charlatan who made money peddling pseudoscience to desperate, dying people.
— She argued that Young’s degrees came from a nonaccredited “diploma mill” where Young went from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate in about eight months in 1995.
— The criminal case highlighted his controversial theories and the pricey treatments he offered to seriously ill or dying patients, who in some cases were given intravenous fluids mixed with baking soda at $500 a pop.

Why the future of Social Security, Medicare is on Tuesday’s ballot
The Hill (Analysis)
— Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to use the exploding deficit as an excuse to drastically change these lifelines – programs that families pay into their entire lives – because of his own party’s irresponsible financial decisions.
— Republicans got us into this mess when they handed out more than $1 trillion in special tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations.
— At the time, they claimed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves. Now that they’re faced with the consequences – a ballooning deficit – they want to pay for it out of Americans’ health care and retirement security.

Shoddy construction?
Thunderstorm causes fatal Amazon building collapse
NY Post

The Well-Armed Militia strikes again
3 dead, including shooter, in Florida yoga studio rampage
Fox News

Supreme Court steps back from kids climate change lawsuit
— The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected for now a bid by the President Donald Trump’s administration to block a trial in a lawsuit filed by young activists who have accused the U.S. government of ignoring the perils of climate change.
— The loss for the administration means it now faces a high-profile examination of U.S. climate change policy during the trial that was due to begin on Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon but has since been postponed by the judge.
— Chief Justice John Roberts on Oct. 19 had temporarily put the case on hold while the court as a whole decided how to proceed.
— The Supreme Court’s three-page order noted that the administration may still have grounds to take its arguments to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
>>> Kavanaugh afraid to take traditional Supreme Court inaugural walk
The Hill

San Diego taxpayers to shell out million-plus $$$ after cops harass strippers

A city ordinance let officers harass women as part of a licensing inspection process. A judge ruled it unconstitutional.

In attempt to save Great Barrier Reef, robot sprays it with coral larvae
— “We aim to have two or three robots ready for the November spawn. One will carry about 200,000 larvae and the other about 1.2 million,” Matthew Dunbabin, a professor of science and engineering at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology, said.

As seen on Breaking Bad?
Khashoggi’s body dissolved in acid?
— A top Turkish official, presidential adviser Yasin Aktay, has said he believes Jamal Khashoggi’s body was dissolved in acid after being cut up.
— The “only logical conclusion”, he said, was that those who had killed the Saudi journalist in Istanbul had destroyed his body “to leave no trace behind”.
— Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi rulers, was killed inside the country’s consulate on 2 October.
–No forensic evidence has been provided to prove his body was dissolved.

TSA gives green light to test new technology that can screen passengers from 25 feet away
LA Times
— The Transportation Security Administration has given the go-ahead to test technology that is designed to screen multiple airport passengers at the same time from a distance of up to 25 feet away.
— The technology, described as “passive terahertz” screening, is one of several advances that the TSA and airlines hope will help U.S. airports handle the growing demand for air travel that is already creating bottlenecks and frustration at airports across the country.
— The TSA has purchased several terahertz screening devices from Britain-based Thruvision to test in a TSA facility near Arlington, Va. If the devices pass the initial tests, they may be used on a trial basis at U.S. airports, said Kevin Gramer, vice president of Thruvision Americas.
— The screening device, which is about the size of an old-fashioned PC computer tower and weighs about 50 pounds, reads the outline of people to reveal firearms and explosives hidden under their clothes.

Pentagon giving White House the finger on border troops order
… the Department of Defense felt that active duty troops do not have the authority to conduct that type of mission unless they are granted additional authorities by the President.
… Defense officials have repeatedly emphasized the troops at the border are there to support civil authorities and that they are not expected to come into any contact with migrants.

So-called EPA backs use of nasty weedkiller
— For months, farmers from Mississippi to Minnesota have been waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to make up its mind about a controversial weedkiller called dicamba. Some farmers love the chemical; other farmers, along with some environmentalists, consider it a menace, because it’s prone to drifting in the wind, damaging nearby crops and wild vegetation.
— This week, the EPA finally announced its decision. Calling dicamba “a valuable pest control tool,” it gave farmers a green light to keep spraying the chemical on new varieties of soybeans and cotton that have been genetically modified to tolerate dicamba.
NOTE: Farmers turned to dicamba because glyphosate, (Roundup) their previous favorite weedkiller, isn’t working so well anymore. Important weeds like Palmer amaranth have become immune to it.
(Anyone who knows biology must realize that the use of this shit not only poisons soil and water, but it actually makes weeds stronger.)

Strong rise in US payrolls

Slightly heavier than a toothpick, the first wireless insect-size robot takes flight
— … RoboFly, a robo-insect powered by an invisible laser beam that is pointed at a photovoltaic cell, which is attached above the robot and converts the laser light into enough electricity to operate its wings.


On hold for 45 minutes? It might be your secret customer score

Wall Street Journal (paywall, so we provide some here)
— Two people call customer service at the same time to complain about the same thing. One waits a few seconds before a representative gets on the line. The other stays on hold. Why the difference?
–There’s a good chance it has something to do with a rating known as a customer lifetime value, or CLV. That secret number is used by all manner of companies to measure the potential financial value of their customers.
— Your score can determine the prices you pay, the products and ads you see and the perks you receive.
— Credit-card companies use the scoring systems to decide what to offer customers who want to cancel their cards. Wireless carriers route high-value callers immediately to their most skilled agents. At some airlines, a high score increases the odds of a seat upgrade.
— “There’s no free lunch,” says Sunil Gupta, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School who has researched models for calculating lifetime value. “The more profitable you are, the better service you will get.”
— These days, companies are resorting to all sorts of data and scores to size up consumers and predict their behavior. Retailers use risk scores to try to limit merchandise returns and prevent e-commerce fraud. There are scores to measure the likelihood a person will become sick, cancel a subscription or bad-mouth a company.
— Everyone with a bank account, cellphone or online shopping habit has at least one CLV score, more likely several. And most people have no inkling they even exist, let alone how they are used, what goes into them or how accurate they are. Unlike credit scores, CLVs aren’t available to consumers and aren’t monitored by any government agency.
— “There needs to be a public conversation around the accuracy of the scores being used,” says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit digital-privacy research group. “You can essentially be accused of being cheap or a fraudster, and it may not even be true.”
— To determine how the scores are compiled and how they are used, The Wall Street Journal interviewed data scientists who develop the models and employees of the software and analytics firms that help companies put them to use.
— Most CLV score users contacted for this article declined to comment on how they score customers, citing competitive reasons. Many say the scores make them more comfortable offering costly services and products in the short term because they are confident they will pick up more business in the long term. Some say they aim to increase each customer’s lifetime value by encouraging repeat business.
— In some respects, the scores are just a high-tech version of what shopkeepers have done for generations—make judgments on a customer’s value based on how they look or behave. As far back as 20 years ago, academics were publishing models to calculate the future value of customers.
— Now there are hundreds of analytics firms that calculate customer lifetime value, each with its own approach. Some of them put a value on shoppers based simply on what they spend, while others use hundreds of data inputs, adding and deducting points for demographic information such as ZIP Codes or behavioral details such as the number of returns they make or when they shop.
— “Not all customers deserve a company’s best efforts,” says Peter Fader, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who helped popularize lifetime value scores. His scoring method is based on transaction history, which he says is all companies need to determine how customers will behave in the future. This year, he sold the firm he co-founded, Zodiac Inc., which performs such analysis, to Nike Inc.


«√ Doesn’t America have better things to do?
Pot Is Now Legal In Canada. But Admitting To Using It Can Get You Banned From U.S.
— It’s now legal for adults to smoke pot in Canada. But some Canadians have found themselves barred – possibly permanently – if they admit at the U.S. border that they have used marijuana.
— Estevan, Saskatchewan, is just 10 miles north of the border with North Dakota. The town’s mayor, Roy Ludwig, told the CBC that residents have been turned away at the border for admitting to marijuana use.
— “It is a fairly serious concern,” Ludwig said. “Even people that might have smoked it 20, 30 years ago, they’re being asked, ‘Have you ever smoked cannabis?’ when they get to the U.S. border. We understand some people have said yes, that they have, and have been turned back.”
— And the concern is not only that they won’t be able to enter the U.S. once – but that they can be banned permanently.

Federal court: Ohio’s gotta change its tune on purged voters
Cincinnati City Beat

Mexican Supreme Court boosts case for legal marijuana

“Failing” NYT signing up subscribers like mad
— The New York Times Co, assailed by a U.S. president who brands it as “failing,” signed up more than 200,000 paying online subscribers in the third quarter, helping it top Wall Street estimates for both profit and revenue.
— Shares in the publisher rose 8 percent after quarterly results on Thursday showed digital-only subscribers rose to 3.1 million at the end of September, the result of a combination of aggressive discounting and heavy spending on marketing.
— The company’s stock has now risen 54 percent in value this year.

Googlers walk out to protest treatment of women
Workers stand outside the Google offices after walking out as part of a global protest over workplace issues in Dublin

Numbers in the news? Make sure you’re aware of these 3 statistical tricks
The Conversation

Early voting by young people leaps 500% in Texas, Georgia
The Independent
(However, see story above.)

Groundskeeper accepts reduced Monsanto verdict, will settle for $78 million

>>> Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old model in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, making her the youngest of the mogul’s alleged victims to have come forward. (Vice News)

Train station dig unearths hundreds of long-buried skeletons
The (London) Evening Standard
pa-hs2-archaeological-dig-skeletons-2.jpg— Archaeologists are investigating 10,000 years of history on the rail line being built from London to the West Midlands, the company said.
— Neolithic tools, medieval pottery and Victorian time capsules have already been discovered.
— In total, more than a thousand archaeologists are set to explore more than 60 separate sites, from prehistoric and Roman settlements to those from the Industrial Revolution and the Second World War.

Missouri candidate’s children beg voters to reject him
— “If he gets elected, it would legitimize him. Then he would become a state official, and he’s saying that Jews shouldn’t even have civil rights.

Chinese-style web authoritarianism growing around the world
– “Democracies are struggling in the digital age, while China is exporting its model of censorship and surveillance to control information both inside and outside its borders,” said Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

The Well-Regulated Militia!
Dog shoots hunter
Las Cruces Sun News
— “Charlie (A Rottweiller) got his foot in the trigger of the gun and I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger — and it shot,” Tex Gilligan said. “It was a freak accident but it’s true, that’s what happened.”
— The shotgun — in the backseat of the pickup, along with Charlie — fired through Gilligan’s front driver’s seat. The bullet went through Gilligan’s back, breaking a few ribs and shattering his collar bone, and caused other, severe injuries.