Happy Friday Dec. 1


Flynn pleads guilty
Washington Post

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and court records indicate he was acting under instructions from senior Trump transition officials in his dealings with the diplomat.
Flynn’s admission to the charge Friday in federal district court in the District could be an ominous sign for the White House, as Flynn is cooperating in the ongoing probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. His plea revealed that he was in touch with senior Trump transition officials before and after his communications with Kislyak — rebutting the idea that he was a rogue operator.

Flynn charged with “lying to the FBI” Sputnik
Beware: This account comes from a Russian propaganda site, but includes some interesting comments from Putin.
Flynn to plead guilty to lying to FBI Vice News
Charging document in PDF
Big question: Who will keep Trump off Twitter this morning?

>> “Whatever miserable tax bill emerges from Congress today will distract the country from focusing on the enormous significance of Flynn’s guilty plea — but it won’t undermine what that guilty plea in fact reveals about where the pending investigators are surely heading.”
— Laurence Tribe
>> “Given Flynn’s much more serious legal vulnerability, he must really be cooperating meaningfully with Mueller to be charged ‘only’ with lying to the FBI. The president and the Trump royal family are now one step away. “

— Evan McMullin
>> “Flynn charged only with low-level 1001 count may have to do (in part) with pardons– if Trump pardons him (or Flynn fails to follow through on the deal) there are lots of charges to come back with.”
— Mark Osler

Timeline: how the Russia probe closed in on Flynn Axios

Flynn’s probably going to rue this day.

Docs decide to “honor the tattoo” that said: “DO NOT RESUSCITATE”

emergEmergency medicine doctors in Florida struggled to figure out how to respectfully care for an unconscious 70-year-old man with a chest tattoo that read “Do Not Resuscitate” followed by what appeared to be his signature. In a case report published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors recounted: “This patient’s tattooed DNR request produced more confusion than clarity, given concerns about its legality and likely unfounded beliefs that tattoos might represent permanent reminders of regretted decisions made while the person was intoxicated.” Ethics consultants sided with honoring the tattoo. “They suggested that it was most reasonable to infer that the tattoo expressed an authentic preference.”

Variety unloads on Matt Lauer Variety Online
As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.
On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.
He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “f—, marry, or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.
These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

More heads will roll at NBC? NY Post
Based on multiple anonymous sources…
“Everybody at NBC knew about Matt Lauer’s sexually inappropriate behavior — and knew not to talk about it,” a current “Today” show staffer said. “Women did complain about his behavior, and there were a lot of closed-door meetings before it was all brushed under the carpet.”
Another source said, “Some women did report it and were scared at the repercussions it would have on their careers. They complained, and nothing was done.”
It wasn’t just the behind-the-scenes brass who were aware of Lauer’s alleged misdeeds, either, sources said.
At least some of Lauer’s “Today” co-hosts were putting on a show when they acted gobsmacked on-air Wednesday morning at reports of his sexually inappropriate behavior, sources said. “Matt’s sexual conquests were general office fodder,” a staffer said. “There was constant innuendo in the office about which woman had just had sex with Matt and which one would be next.”

Hunter charged with felony after shooting woman he mistook for deer. Syracuse.com
“Today, Mr. Jadlowski is being held accountable for his dangerous and reckless conduct when he fired a shot in the dark, causing this terrible tragedy.”

Facebook, Smartphones “an existential threat” to humans, ex-Googler says
The Independent
Companies like Facebook are “steering” our thoughts through smartphones, according to Tristan Harris, who spent three years working as a Google design ethicist, before leaving in 2016.
“We’ve hijacked what 100 million teenagers view as the currency of friendship,” he said.
“The … technology steering two billion people’s thoughts is enormous, such that even when you’re not looking at your phone, it’s implementing or creating the kind of thoughts you’re thinking about now,” he added.
“The challenge is that … these companies’ goals are fundamentally misaligned with our goals, and the goals of democracy. And that is why it’s an existential threat.”

Teenagers’ brains can tell what’s important New Scientist
One of those studies that’s interesting, but …

Guy trying History Channel stunt charged with setting a downtown afire
Albany Times Union
COHOES NY — A fire stoked by 20 to 30 mph winds destroyed or damaged nearly two dozen downtown buildings and was traced to a man who was trying to forge a blade over a burning barrel, according to authorities.
Thursday’s inferno destroyed three structures, damaged 18 other buildings and displaced at least 20 people. A firefighter was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries, but remarkably no other injuries were reported.
John A. Gomes, 51, of Cohoes was charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor arson, accused of starting a barrel fire in his backyard. The mayor said Gomes was trying to bend metal in an apparent attempt to mimic the History Channel television series “Forged in Fire” about bladesmithing.

Lyft gains from Uber scandals. Revenues triple TechCrunch/Yahoo

Homeless immigrant acquitted in infamous San Francisco slaying SF Gate
zarate_t800> A homeless man whose undocumented immigration status intensified a national debate over the ethics of sanctuary laws was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges Thursday in the shooting of Kate Steinle as she strolled with her father on Pier 14 to take in a view of San Francisco Bay.
> The San Francisco Superior Court jury also found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of assault with a firearm, apparently seeing credence in defense attorneys’ argument that the shot that ricocheted off the concrete ground was an accident, with the gun discharging after the defendant stumbled upon it on the waterfront on July 1, 2015.
> The panel convicted Garcia Zarate, 45, of a single lesser charge of being a felon in possession of a gun.

Rapper DMX pleads guilty in tax evasion, faces prison Courthouse News Service

No cheap beer if brewing giant can help it Courthouse News Service
The European Commission said Thursday that beer giant AB InBev has abused its market dominance by refusing to sell its Jupiler and Leffe brands to Belgian customers more cheaply due to increased competition there.
In a statement of objections, the commission said it believes AB InBev has been thwarting Belgian retailers’ efforts to import Jupiler and Leffe from the Netherlands and France, where both brands – the most popular beers in Belgium – are cheaper.

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