St. Pat’s weekend 3.17 & 3.18


Voters who choose Putin exit through palmy door at the right. Those who choose his opponents go through door at left, never to be seen again.

Don’t believe the fake outrage from the UK
— they sold out to Russian oligarchs long ago
The Guardian
— Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, welcomed them in their language: Dobro pozhalovat!
— And they stayed, establishing property price records year after year, being chauffeured in customised Mercedes-Maybachs, shopping in Harrods and dining in restaurants where only they could afford to eat. They have been around for almost 20 years, a super-rich colony in the heart of the capital. Many maintain ties with Russia and most remain “non-doms” – a dazzling loophole in the British tax system.
The annual Russian Debutante Ball at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.
Photograph: Alamy

N.Carolina cops demand sweeping
Google/cellphone info in crime probes

— In at least four investigations last year – cases of murder, sexual battery and arson – Raleigh police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime, according to a WRAL News review of court records. These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search.

 Court upholds warrantless search of cell phones
Courthouse News Service
ATLANTA – A divided 11th Circuit on Thursday upheld the conviction of a Florida man stemming from a warrantless search of his cellphone, holding that such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment.
— The appellant in the case, Hernando Javier Vergara, was returning home to Tampa, Florida following a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, when he was subjected to a search of luggage by a Customs and Border Protection officer.
— “The Supreme Court has consistently held that border searches are not subject to the probable cause and warrant requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” said US Circuit Judge William Pryor.

California sheriff deputies accused
of ripping off woman with dementia,
sending her to the Philippines,
and listing her house for sale

Raw Story
“a frail military wife who loved to play cards and was fluent in several languages but seemed lost and afraid since her husband died more than a year ago.” 

Massachusetts to probe Cambridge Analytica’s
theft of Facebook data

— It was used to help Trump win election.
— “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on.”

Trump lawyer: Shut Mueller probe
The Hill
Typical of this sloppy and inept administration, John Dowd first said he was speaking for the president. But he’s a Trumper, which means he speaks first and thinks later. So now, oh, he wasn’t actually speaking for Trump, but merely spouting his opinion. 
— Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) tweeted Saturday in response to the statement from Trump’s lawyer calling to shut down the probe that “every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now.”

Plunging Bitcoin nears its “Death Cross” 
One strategist studied the virtual currency’s 2013 tumble for clues on how it may act this time round. His conclusion? Gear up for a 76 percent tumble from late February highs, which would take Bitcoin to a paltry $2,800, if the downtrend is repeated. Bitcoin fell 2.2 percent to $8,120 at 11:17 a.m. in London.

Feds open probe of NRA-Russia
— The preliminary investigation focuses on issues similar to those raised recently by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, as part of his investigation into possible collusion between the NRA, the Trump campaign and Russia.
— Wyden is particularly interested in whether Russian-backed entities helped the Trump campaign by funneling contributions to the gun-rights group that “inappropriately and illegally influenced our election,” according to a Feb. 2 letter Wyden sent to the NRA.

Sessions under pressure to launch
special probe of FBI, Hillary etc. ad nauseum

The Hill
— The crux of the allegations leveled by conservatives is that Justice Department and FBI personnel made decisions during the 2016 election that were improperly influenced by bias against then-candidate Trump — in both the investigation into Clinton’s email server and the Russia probe.
— Critics say the allegations of bias and abuse are a transparent effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
>>> McCabe: My firing is part of effort to undermine Mueller probe
The Hill

“Gone Girl” kidnapping
California city to pay couple $2.5 million
after cops accused them of kidnap hoax

San Francisco Chronicle
huskinsA couple accused by Vallejo police of fabricating a kidnapping — even though the woman was in fact abducted in the dead of night, held for ransom and sexually assaulted — have announced a $2.5 million settlement with the city.
See how the TV media and the cops conflated this case with a popular movie, and twisted the story until it seemed the kidnapping was a hoax. 
On YouTube

Jets fan, feeling suckered by $8000 seat license, sues team
Courthouse News Service
After he paid a ridiculous amount of money for the “privilege” of watching the Jets lose, he’s pissed that the team will sell similar seats to any old rube.

Dude who once won millions in lottery reduced to robbing banks
LA Daily News
hayes— A man who once won millions of dollars in the California Lottery pleaded guilty Thursday in downtown Los Angeles to four counts of bank robbery.
— James Allen Hayes faces up to 80 years behind bars, with sentencing set for June 7.
— Hayes was working as a security guard supervisor on the graveyard shift in January 1998 when he learned he had won the SuperLotto jackpot — a one-in-18 million chance. According to media reports, his ex-wife got half of the money and Hayes ended up with a $6 million lump sum and a $1,000-a-week heroin habit.
— When tracked down and arrested by the FBI in October, Hayes was living in a garage.

How the National Institutes of Health and booze execs
ginned up a study to say that alcohol’s OK
NY Times
happy-hour-20160205-13— Documents and interviews show that the NIH waged a vigorous campaign to court the alcohol industry, paying for scientists to travel to meetings with executives, where they gave talks strongly suggesting that the study’s results would endorse moderate drinking as healthy.
— Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and now the lead investigator of the study, and Dr. John Krystal, a Yale University neuroscientist, argued that a long-term randomized controlled trial could dispel lingering doubts about the benefits of moderate daily drinking.
— The presentations gave the alcohol industry an opportunity to preview the trial design and vet the investigators. Indeed, the scientist leading the meetings was eventually chosen to head the huge clinical trial.
— They also made the industry privy to pertinent details, including a list of clinical sites and investigators who were “already on board,” the size and length of the trial, approximate number of participants, and the fact that they could choose any beverage. By design, no form of alcohol — wine, liquor or beer — would be called out as better than another in the trial.
— Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health who was shown slides from the scientists’ presentation by The Times, said the study “is not public health research — it’s marketing.”

In the future, a distillery, brewery or winery on every corner?
— Over the past seven years, the breweries, wineries and distilleries sector has been adding jobs at an 11.1 percent annual rate, compared with 1.7 percent for nonfarm payroll employment as whole. The contrast with the other half of the beverage manufacturing industry, soft drinks, is quite something …

It’s time to make these fat, lazy US airlines earn their money
Opinion by Glenn Harlan Reynolds
USA Today
Why not allow SwissAir, Lufthansa etc to compete on US routes?
“If American consumers wish to enjoy improved service quality in air travel, they should demand that Congress repeal 90 years of anti-competitive federal law. Less regulation of air travel, not more, is the solution.”

When teachers’ salaries are adjusted for cost of living…
— Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, NJ are top five.
— Bottom five: Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Maine, and finally, Hawaii.
(However, that’s the cost-of-living figure for the whole state. In some of states, the cost of living in urban areas is significantly higher, so…)

Study finds self-employed most satisfied with their jobs
The Independent
— “They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.
— “They really get to use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling.”

blmFederal land managers get new ID cards, featuring oil rigs
Vice News
— The Bureau of Land Management gave out new identification cards for all its employees to wear out in the field — complete with illustrations of oil rigs and cowboys. Under the heading “our vision,” the card also outlines the agency’s current vision: “to enhance the quality of life for all citizens through the balanced stewardship of America’s public lands and resources.”


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