Frontier Airlines, reluctant to pay good wages, urges tips for flight attendants
CBS News Denver

Trump storms out of “waste of time” meeting on shutdown
The Hill
— “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
— Republicans said Trump posed a direct question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: If he opened the government would she fund the wall? She said no.
— Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump slammed his hand on the table and walked out.
…. Buoyed by polls showing Trump shouldering the brunt of the blame, Democrats moved ahead with votes on spending bills to reopen individual government agencies even though White House has threatened to veto them.
— The House voted to 240-188 to pass a legislation that would fund the Treasury Department, IRS and certain other agencies.
— Eight Republicans voted with Democrats, just one more than who voted for last week’s package to open most of the government.

Hunter boasted on dating app about poaching deer —
not realizing her potential suitor was a game warden
Fox News

Iowa’s “Ag Gag” law, in force 6 years, ruled unconstitutional

NYC Mayor Guarantees Comprehensive Health Care for All 
— New York City will begin guaranteeing comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of someone’s ability to pay or immigration status, an unprecedented plan that will protect the more than half-a-million New Yorkers currently using the ER as a primary provider, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
— It’s not health insurance, his spokesman clarified after the surprise announcement on MSNBC Tuesday morning.
— “This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid — including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers,” spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted.
— At a press conference Tuesday, de Blasio said the plan will provide primary and specialty care, from pediatrics to OBGYN, geriatric, mental health and other services, to the city’s roughly 600,000 uninsured.
>>> House Democratic chairman begins prep work for ‘single payer’ healthcare

Manafort accused of sharing 2016 election data with Russians
— Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with a business associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence, and prosecutors say he lied to them about it.
— The allegation marks the first time prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office have accused Trump’s chief campaign aide of sharing election-related information with his Russian contacts. Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russia might have used inside information from the campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on Trump’s behalf.

Twitter user asks followers whether there’s a national emergency in their home towns, and 5,500 say NO.
— People in N. Carolina, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Hawaii, Texas, California, New Mexico, Kentucky, Utah, Delaware, Arizona, New York, Connecticut and more all report no signs of national emergency.

Second Suspect Charged With Murder
In Shooting Of 7-Year-Old Jazmine Barnes

— The Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday that homicide investigators had filed a capital murder charge against Larry Woodruffe, who has been in custody for several days.
— According to officials, the 24-year-old was arrested after they received a tip connecting him to the Dec. 30 shooting. He was picked up along with Eric Black Jr. on Jan. 5. But while the latter quickly admitted to his involvement in the drive-by attack, Woodruffe was initially booked into the Harris County Jail on felony drug possession pending further investigation, officials said.
>>> Family of man wrongfully accused in Jazmine Barnes’ shooting still getting threats

US cancer death rate hits milestone: 25 years of decline

Won the lottery? Maybe you shouldn’t tell your roommate
SF Gate
— Police say Adul Saosongyang, 35, had purchased the same type of lotto scratcher and altered it, before swapping it for the winning ticket. Saosongyang returned to the California Lottery offices Monday in Sacramento to — as he believed — collect his prize, but was instead arrested by police and charged with grand theft.

Florida man says syringes found in his rectum aren’t his
News10 Tampa
… he doesn’t know how they got there.

White House caves, will fund food stamps after all

Inside the cult: Facebook’s workplace
… “the pressure for us to act as though everything is fine and that we love working here is so great that it hurts …”
>>>Samsung Phone Users Can’t Delete Facebook
“Can they still track your information, your location, or whatever else they do?”

Paris nudist restaurant closes after 15 months
The Daily Mail

Owners Mike and Stephane Saada, who are not nudists themselves, thanked their customers and said they were ‘delighted to share exceptional moments’

Brit Parliament blocks “no deal” Brexit
— “This vote is an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit. It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement,” opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party said.
— The government downplayed the significance of its defeat.
— “This amendment does not change the fact that the UK is leaving the EU on the 29 March, and it will not stop the government from collecting tax,” a spokesman said.

Chinese scientist who created “edited babies”
is under arrest and may be, uh, deleted

Genetic Frontiers Gene Edited Babies
The embattled scientist He Jiankui is reportedly living under armed guard at a state-owned apartment in Shenzhen, China, according to geneticist Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London, who now worries that he could face the death penalty.

Sears asks judge’s permission to commit suicide

Germany’s huge data leak was the work of a 20-year-old student living with his parents
Vice News
— The hacker, who was arrested Sunday, published private information on almost 1,000 high-profile German public figures, including some 900 politicians.

Seattle councilors warn NYC: Get hold of Amazon before it’s too late
The Guardian
— Two lawmakers from Amazon’s hometown in Seattle traveled to New York on Monday to warn the city of potential unintended consequences of the tech company’s planned new headquarters.
— Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, members of Seattle’s city council, addressed a summit of activist groups fighting Amazon’s plan for a new campus in Long Island City, Queens. They told the New Yorkers that Amazon’s presence in the west coast city had driven up housing costs, that the company had ducked efforts to make them help pay to address the crisis, and that they should resist it.
— At the event at the offices of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is attempting to organize workers at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse, the council members urged their New York counterparts to learn from Seattle’s mistakes and demand concessions like labor standards before the company gains a foothold in the city.

China, India to surpass US in economic power by 2030
… and …The middle-class is at a tipping point, with a majority of the world’s population entering that income group by 2020.

Magic mushroom decriminalization 8,000 signatures closer to Denver ballot
Denver Post

Opus Dei paid $1 million to settle pervert lawsuit against popular priest
— Global Catholic organization Opus Dei revealed this week that it had paid almost $1 million to settle a sexual misconduct suit against the Rev. C. John McCloskey, a once-prominent cleric in the Washington area who helped convert several well-known conservative figures, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback and Larry Kudlow.
>>> All about the secretive Opus Dei (Wikipedia)

“Sonic attack” on Cuba embassy caused by crickets, scientist claims
The Scientist
— A recording of a high-pitched sound thought to be connected to a possible “sonic attack” on diplomats in Cuba is actually the calls of a cricket, scientists who analyzed the tape reported at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Tampa, Florida.
— “There’s plenty of debate in the medical community over what, if any, physical damage there is to these individuals,” Alexander Stubbs of the University of California, Berkeley, tells The New York Times. “All I can say fairly definitively is that the A.P.-released recording is of a cricket, and we think we know what species it is.”
——–> Uh huh. Special crickets that have evolved to live only at embassies in Cuba and in China? The chirping of these special crickets damaged the brains of a few people at embassies, but effected nobody else anywhere in the world? WOW! Ain’t science amazing!

Four NY cops stripped of weapons in sex quadrangle
NY Post

China has launched a campaign of cultural extermination against the Uighurs
— IN AN attempt to defend the gulag in which it has imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslims in the Xinjiang region, China has tried to rebrand concentration camps as centers for “vocational training.” The goal, as a state television broadcast put it, is to “rescue ignorant, backward and poor rural minorities.” That description encapsulates the gross bigotry with which Chinese authorities view the Uighurs, against whom they have launched a massive campaign of cultural extermination.

Stripper with a “vision” of mass murder arrested
basarich— A woman in Florida, who admired serial killers and mass murders, was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly making threats on social media to commit a mass shooting.
— Brien Basarich, 31, was arrested on Wednesday without incident and booked into Polk County Jail, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office records. Lakeland Police Officer Thompson visited Basarich at her home, during which time she confirmed her Tumblr username was“taking-lives.”
— She told Thompson she used the online blogging website to make a number of posts that expressed homicidal urges and the desire to kill or harm others. Among the posts that were published on the site were that she would purchase an AR-15 “soonish” and that she was “pretty excited” to get her first gun. She added that she had plans to get other firearms as well. She also wrote about a “vision” she had of a venue that only had one way in and one way out.
— Basarich reportedly told police that she liked true crime and was an admirer of serial killers and mass murderers. A screenshot of one of her posts referenced Dylann Roof who was sentenced to death after killing nine African-American people while they were at church services.
— “Trust me, I am well aware of what he has done and where these quotes came from,” Basarich responded to a user who commented on her page criticizing her posts about Roof. “I adore and support him and have since day one.”
— Basarich works as an exotic dancer at Showgirls Men’s Club in Plant City, Florida, according to WFTS, and was charged with making a written threat to kill or injure. She was given a $5,000 bond and was released on Thursday after posting bail.


Disneyland raises cheapest ticket price >$100
— The galactic entertainment empire has struck again, raising ticket prices at its Disneyland resort (and other parks) yet again. It will now cost more than $100 for an adult ticket on the least busy days at the park. And the deals get worse from there.

Uber driver admits to murdering six people between fares
NY Post
— After Jason Dalton’s arrest, police quoted him as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the day of the shootings. He was found competent to stand trial and last week dropped an insanity defense.
— Defense attorney Eusebio Solis said he advised Dalton not to plead guilty. But he said his client wanted to spare families more grief during a trial.
>>>> The details on Wikipedia

Appeals court: Politicians cannot block foes from their social media pages
— A federal appeals court said on Monday a Virginia politician violated the Constitution by temporarily blocking a critic from her Facebook page.
— In a 3-0 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, violated the First Amendment free speech rights of Brian Davison by banning him for 12 hours from her “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” page.

Brits modeling post-Brexit chaos
— It is widely expected that an abrupt departure would lead to the introduction of tariff and customs barriers that would slow fast-moving ferry and rail traffic that links Britain to continental Europe. There are concerns that major traffic jams leading in and out of ferry ports like Dover would greatly hamper trade and leave Britain without adequate food and medicine.

3D-printed guns may be more dangerous to their users than targets
The Conversation

The West has long militarized space. China plans to weaponize it. Not good.

— The Chang’e-3 bears an incredible resemblance to NASA’s Lunar Landing Module, complete with gold foil wrapping and a hopped-up surface four-wheeler Rover. Unlike the American version of Apollo 11, the Chang’e 3 softly touched down on the moon’s surface without a human or a round-trip return capsule. The People’s Republic of China showed that it has the payload, targeting and finesse to fly a lander to the moon.
— It is no small feat, but, by itself, also no big deal — except that the Communist-Party-led PRC has also been actively weaponizing what has otherwise evolved in both the United States and Russia as a globally collaborative civilian scientific program of space exploration and discovery.

California moves into the post-lawn future
City Lab
… But to see the Californian suburb of the future, you only have to travel a few miles north or southeast, where new developments are shooting up out of the farmland. These have closely-packed homes in coordinating sienna tones, each with only a little xeriscaped space out front and, often, pavement in the back.

Just so you know that the US isn’t the only religious-wing-nut nation…
— The head of a southern Indian university cited an old Hindu text as proof that stem cell research was discovered in India thousands of years ago.
— G Nageshwar Rao, vice chancellor of Andhra University, also said a demon king from the Hindu religious epic, Ramayana, had 24 types of aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern day Sri Lanka.
— Another scientist from a university in the southern state of Tamil Nadu told conference attendees that Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were both wrong and that gravitational waves should be renamed “Narendra Modi Waves”.
— Dr KJ Krishnan reportedly said Newton failed to “understand gravitational repulsive forces” and Einstein’s theories were “misleading”

Hard as it may be to believe…
Zuckerberg hospital’s ER: a nasty surprise for many

Zuckerberg San Francisco General is the largest public hospital in San Francisco and the city’s only top-tier trauma center. But it doesn’t participate in the networks of any private health insurers — a surprise patients like Nina Dang learn after assuming their coverage includes a trip to a large public ER.

Massive lines at New York City airport
amid government shutdown, TSA callouts

ABC News
— “Please, everyone, have patience with the officers who came to work,” a Delta Airlines employee pleaded with travelers surrounding her. “Please.”

I am writing to urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is adversely affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system.
— Captain Joe DePete, Airline Pilots Association

Spacey to be arraigned in Mass. on sex charge
Wall Street Journal
— Actor Kevin Spacey is due in court in Nantucket, Mass., Monday for an arraignment on allegations he sexually assaulted a young man.
— The felony charge stems from an incident in 2016, when the “House of Cards” actor allegedly stuck his hands down an 18-year-old’s pants, grabbing his genitals, after buying him drinks at a Nantucket restaurant. The young man’s mother, former Boston television news anchor Heather Unruh, levied the allegations against Mr. Spacey at a news conference in late 2017.
>>>> Special treatment by Massachusetts courts?
Boston Globe

Lawsuit against Grindr seeks to make media companies
responsible for what happens on their sites
NBC News
pursuing an unusual legal theory as he continues to push back against Grindr, arguing that tech companies should face greater accountability for what happens on their platforms. His lawsuit alleges that the software developers who write code for Grindr have been negligent, producing an app that’s defective in its design and that is “fundamentally unsafe” and “unreasonably dangerous” — echoing language that’s more typically used in lawsuits about, say, a faulty kitchen appliance or a defective car part.
— If successful, the lawsuit could bring about a significant legal change to the risks tech companies face for what happens on their platforms, adding to growing public and political pressure for change.

US Withdrawing from Syria? Just another Trump con job
Wall Street Journal
— The Trump administration won’t withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria unless Turkey offers a firm commitment not to target America’s Kurdish allies, White House national-security adviser John Bolton said, underscoring the challenges in executing the president’s wishes to put an end to the military campaign.
— Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday, Mr. Bolton said President Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. troops is a “cause and effect mission” that requires certain assurances from various players in the region before it can be executed.
— Mr. Bolton’s comments marked the first public acknowledgment from the White House that the safety of Kurdish allies is being considered as part of its pending withdrawal plan, but it also indicates that a quick withdrawal was unlikely given challenging regional dynamics.

China’s population to peak in 10 years, followed by “unstoppable decline”


Reporter jailed on murder charge after smartphone evidence
Oregon Live
A Jacksonville woman facing a murder charge in the shooting death of her uncle has been ordered held without bail after a smartphone recorded her shouting an expletive when told he was still alive a few minutes after the shooting.
— The Mail Tribune reports that Jackson County Circuit Judge Lisa Greif on Friday made the ruling during a hearing for Aisling “Tucker” Moore Reed. Reed, 29, blogged, wrote books and reported for the Grants Pass Daily Courier under the name Tucker Reed.

Capital murder charged in shooting of Texas girl, 7
Houston Chronicle
… Suspect said to have confessed … cops sought white man but he is black … related to gang violence, family innocent victims ….

Poll of 25,000 Brits shows most want to kill Brexit

Maine’s insane governor is gone, and 70,000 gain health care
— Maine approved Medicaid expansion by a ballot initiative more than a year ago, but former Governor Paul LePage had blocked it from taking effect.
— Newly-elected Gov. Janet Mills, in her first executive order on her first day in office, ordered Maine to move forward with Medicaid expansion.

dog-pony-juggleToday’s Dog & Pony Show
Cruz files constitutional amendment
to limit Senators to 2 terms

Business Insider
— Republican Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a constitutional amendment Friday that would restrict senators to two six-year terms. If it’s passed, it would limit Cruz’s Senate career to its current term.
——> Which has almost zero chances of becoming law but will allow him to further bullshit his lunatic base.

Babysitter from Hell?
She dressed boy in snowsuit, told mom he was only sleeping
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
tietsort— The Wausau baby sitter charged with killing a 2-month-old boy in her care tried to hide the infant’s death from his mother and then went swimming at a Wausau hotel with her boyfriend and son, police say.
— She dressed the baby in winter clothes and strapped him in a car seat, pretending he was alive during a trip to McDonald’s and continuing the ruse when she gave the boy back to his mom, court documents said.
— Marissa Tietsort, 28, was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide in the baby’s death.

Hundreds of TSA screeners,
working without pay,
calling out sick at major airports

CNN: Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials.
— The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure, especially as the shutdown enters its second week with no clear end to the political stalemate in sight.
“This will definitely affect the flying public who we (are) sworn to protect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN.
— TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said the agency is “closely monitoring the situation” and that “screening wait times remain well within TSA standards,” although that could change if the number of call outs increases.
>>>> Trump: Shutdown could last months or years

Netflix and chill no more–
— streaming’s about to get complicated
ABC News
— Streaming TV may never again be as simple, or as affordable, as it is now.
— Disney and WarnerMedia are each launching their own streaming services in 2019 in a challenge to Netflix‘s dominance. Netflix viewers will no longer be able to watch hit movies such as “Black Panther” or “Moana,” which will soon reside on Disney’s subscription service. WarnerMedia, a unit of AT&T, will also soon have its own service to showcase its library of blockbuster films and HBO series.
— Families will have to decide between paying more each month or losing access to some of their favorite dramas, comedies, musicals and action flicks.
— “There’s definitely a lot of change coming,” said Paul Verna at eMarketer, a digital research company. “People will have more choices of what to stream, but at the same time the market is already fragmented and intimidating and it is only going to get more so.”

Bluefin tuna sells for $3.1 million
–fisherman worry about scarcity
SF Gate

Woman bites jogger who pepper-sprayed her dog
SF Chronicle
— A woman told police she was jogging through Anthony Chabot Regional Park around 10:30 a.m. when a dog attacked her. She pepper sprayed the dog. The dog’s female owner then tackled and punched the jogger, officials said.
— And that’s when the dog’s owner bit the jogger on the forearm, leaving an angry, round wound, police said Friday.
— “A heated exchange and fairly violent confrontation occurred,” police said. “The suspect bit the victim. It was only human to human, no canine to human bite.”

Drug-testing coming to more music fests, with police approval

3 dead, four injured in shooting at Torrance, CA bowling alley
LA Daily News
Witnesses said a fight preceded the shooting, but details on what started the altercation were not immediately available.
— Wes Hamad, a 29-year-old Torrance resident, was at the bowling alley with his 13-year-old niece and cousin when he saw a “huge fight” break out.
— Hamad said the brawl, which lasted about five minutes, blocked the entrance and devolved into “complete chaos.”
— “I grabbed my niece and started running towards the far end of the bowling alley,” he said. “As we were running, we heard 15 shots.”
— As he was leaving, Hamad said he saw a woman weeping over a man who was riddled with multiple gunshot wounds in his head and neck.

Wildfire liabilities may cause PG&E to file bankruptcy

Bill to make D.C. a state has 151 sponsors in Congress
The Hill

Chinese cops demanding people delete their tweets
Skip WaPost paywall with LMT Online

First ‘Dreamer’ to get Rhodes scholarship fears he won’t be able to return to U.S.
NBC News
He became the first “Dreamer” to win the prestigious Rhodes scholarship, but for recent Harvard graduate Jin Park, the joy of that achievement has given way to uncertainty.
— Park, 22, who lives in New York City, risks not being allowed back in the country if he enrolls at the University of Oxford in England in the fall.

Los Angeles Sues the Weather Channel, said to sell user data
Courthouse News Service
— Los Angeles’ city attorney sued The Weather Channel on Thursday, claiming it fraudulently and deceptively uses its Weather Channel App “to amass its users’ private, personal geolocation data,” not, as advertised — “to provide them with ‘personalized local weather data’”— but to monetize the information by selling it to third parties.

Worry less about children’s screen use, parents told
— There is little evidence screen use for children is harmful in itself, guidance from leading paediatricians says.Parents should worry less as long as they have gone through a checklist on the effect of screen time on their child, it says.
— While the guidance avoids setting screen time limits, it recommends not using them in the hour before bedtime. Experts say it is important that the use of devices does not replace sleep, exercising and time with family.

Huge growth in ride-hailing in US
Pew Research
— The share of Americans who use ride-hailing services has increased dramatically. Today, 36% of U.S. adults say they have ever used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2018. By comparison, just 15% of Americans said they had used these services in late 2015, and one-third had never heard of ride-hailing before.

Womanhunt underway for suspect in nail salon ramming death
NY Daily News
— The parking lot footage shows Nguyen and her husband rush outside as Whipple begins to back out of her space, allegedly in a stolen rental car. Nguyen can be seen making her way in front of black Chevy Camaro convertible and appears to hold both of her hands up before the driver strikes her and then drags her for roughly 50 feet.
—–> Hmm. Meth?

Report on Parkland shooting highlights lies, incompetence — AND calls for arming some teachers
— … administrators and other staff can receive training to carry concealed weapons. But only teachers with a military or law enforcement background are allowed to participate in the program.
… According to the report, Deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s only dedicated armed security officer on the day of the shooting, opted not to enter the building where Cruz had begun firing on students and teachers. Instead, he took up what the report calls a “hiding place” at the base of a stairwell for 48 minutes and only emerged after Cruz had run off campus and into the surrounding neighborhood where he was eventually arrested.
The report also notes Peterson repeatedly lied about where he was from the moment he first heard the gunshots through the end of the massacre. In a statement given on Feb. 16, 2018, to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Peterson said that he was in his office at the time he heard what he believed to be firecrackers. But video indicates he was elsewhere on campus.

Boy, 11, saves man from drowning in pool

When Advaik Nandikotkur’s mother urged him to jump into the deep end of a swimming pool to save a man who was drowning, he had some hesitation. Advaik is 11 years old and weighs all of 80 pounds. “He’s probably too heavy for me,” Advaik told his mom. The 34-year-old man had sunk to the bottom of an indoor pool at their apartment complex in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. He was about eight feet down, floating with his hands stretched out and mouth and eyes wide open. Advaik’s mother, Lalitha Mareddy, said there were nine men around the pool. But when she yelled for help, no one responded. They didn’t know how to swim.

So-called college cancels $500 million in student debt
NBC News
— A company that owns two national for-profit college chains said Thursday that it will erase nearly $500 million in debt incurred by former students as part of a settlement with 48 states and the District of Columbia.
— The deal with Career Education Corporation will resolve allegations that it lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll. State attorneys general began investigating the company in 2014 following complaints from students and a damning report by the U.S. Senate.

Human rights? Nah, US doesn’t give a shit anymore
The Guardian
— The US has stopped cooperating with UN investigators over potential human rights violations occurring inside America, in a move that delivers a major blow to vulnerable US communities and sends a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.
— Quietly and unnoticed, the state department has ceased to respond to official complaints from UN special rapporteurs, the network of independent experts who act as global watchdogs on fundamental issues such as poverty, migration, freedom of expression and justice. There has been no response to any such formal query since 7 May 2018, with at least 13 requests going unanswered.

With new autonomous train, Australia is now home to the world’s largest robot
Digital Trends
— … A series of mine-to-port trains able to run completely free from human intervention. These AutoHaul trains travel an approximately 800-kilometer return journey, taking 40 hours to complete, including loading and dumping their cargo.

Smug asshole leaves Congress, 88% applaud

Former Speaker Paul Ryan has left Congress to spend more time with his lobbyists.

More First-Time Home Buyers Are Turning to the Bank of Mom and Dad
Wall Street Journal (paywall)
— 26% got help from a relative….

Chicago ward boss charged with extortion
Chicago Tribune
——>If you’ve ever wondered how deep Chicago corruption goes, take a dive into this pool. Yikes, it’s dirty.

… According to the charge, Burke tried to extort the owners of a company that operates dozens of fast-food restaurants in the Chicago area after they came to him in 2017 for help with permits for remodeling a restaurant in Burke’s 14th Ward on the Southwest Side.
The complaint does not identify the executives or their company, but details included in the charges show it is the Dhanani Group based in Sugar Land, Texas. The privately owned company is one of the country’s largest franchisees for Popeyes and Burger King restaurants, according to Forbes magazine.
…. After deciding to play “hard ball” with the executives, Burke had a stop-work order placed on the project and also sent a Chicago Department of Transportation inspector to the site to issue tickets for failure to procure a permit for a driveway at the restaurant that actually had been previously obtained, according to the charges.
… Burke, who recently marked a record 50th year in office, often decides whether Chicago’s most important legislation will move forward. He controls millions of dollars in campaign funds. He is the sole steward of the city’s $100 million workers’ compensation program. And he plays a crucial role in redrawing the city’s ward maps — a key in maintaining political power amid shifting demographics.
…. He’s also married to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who was quietly sworn in to a second 10-year term on Nov. 29, the same day her husband’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices were raided.
…. In his rise to political power, Burke also built a lucrative business as one of the city’s most prominent property tax appeals attorneys, routinely saving some of Chicago’s largest business interests millions of dollars on their tax bills. One of Burke’s most high-profile clients was Donald Trump, who used Burke’s firm to save millions of dollars on taxes for his Chicago tower before Burke cut ties last year.

Iphone era is over …. (NY Times)
But this NYT opinion piece misses the obvious …
The new gold rush: Voice-activated devices (Bloomberg)

House passes bill to re-open government
The Hill
— The House measures appear to be dead on arrival in the Senate and have been rejected by So-called President Trump, who is demanding that $5 billion in funding for his wall on the Mexican border, despite his promise that Mexico would pay for it. Democrats have rejected providing money for Trump’s wall.
— But the measures could shift the debate as Democrats seek to raise pressure on the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) to end a standoff.


US cautions travelers on China’s “exit bans”
US Dep’t of State

Shifty Google shifts $23 billion to Bermuda tax haven

Why Chinese shoppers don’t want to bite the Apple
— The first iPhones in China in 2009 brought Apple record profit. But the launch last year of its most expensive handset ever – priced 9,599 yuan ($1,397) – coincided with economic downturn and a slowing smartphone market, while deteriorating Sino-U.S. trade relations stoked support for local rivals.
— Poor iPhone sales in China prompted Apple on Wednesday to lower its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in over a decade, hammering its shares and those of its suppliers. Chief Executive Tim Cook blamed the trade war and the economy.
>>> The Bad Stuff That the Stock Market Worried About Is Starting to Happen

Dem lawmaker to introduce articles of impeachment
against Trump on first day of new Congress
The Hill

 Monarch butterflies are now wintering in Florida
Popular Science

170908-monarch-butterflies-extinction-feature.jpg— Using a technique called stable isotope analysis, researchers sampled the wings of a subset of a non-migratory population of monarchs located in south Florida. What they found was unexpected: Almost half of their sample—forty-eight percent—came from elsewhere. The monarchs had grown up as far away as the Midwest and Texas, parts of the monarch’s broad summer breeding range, which suggests that most of them made the trip deliberately, rather than just being blown off-course during their flight south. In southern Florida, unlike their overwintering in central Mexico, the monarchs just hang out and mix with the local population.

Yosemite visitors turn roads into toilets as shutdown crises mount at national parks
… In California, Yosemite National Park officials have closed the Wawona and Hodgson Meadows campgrounds, along with the Mariposa Grove of redwoods, after finding human feces and urinebeside Wawona Road, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It’s a free-for-all,” Dakota Snider, who lives in Yosemite Valley, told The Associated Press. “It’s so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here.”

Californians Can Now Get Earthquake Alerts On their phones
Millions of people in Southern California can now receive alerts on their smartphone seconds before shaking from an earthquake is about to strike, marking the first time large numbers of Americans will have access to such early warning technology.
— Launched this week, ShakeAlertLA will alert users when a magnitude 5.0 or greater earthquake has been detected in Los Angeles County.

“I am old enough to remember Ronald Reagan denouncing the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union and calling that nation an evil empire. And I’ve lived long enough to see a GOP president endorse that invasion. Now what?”
— Brian J. Karem on Twitter

Government Shutdown Halts Most Immigration Court Hearings
— Shutting down the country’s massive system of immigration courts will gum up an already congested judicial process, immigration judges and attorneys say.
— In federal immigration court, judges often hear cases in quick succession, a process some have compared to hearing “death penalty cases heard in traffic court settings.” A swift deportation may become a death sentence if a person is forced to return to a violent homeland.

China lands probe on dark side of the Moon
— BEIJING, Jan 3 – A Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon on Thursday, China’s space agency said, hailing the event as a historic first and a major achievement for the country’s space programme.
— The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the “soft landing” at 0226 GMT and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration said.
— The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side – or “dark side” – is never visible to us. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.

Chinese coffee startup, in business 1 year, surpasses Starbucks
Yahoo News
After only a year in business, startup Luckin Coffee said Thursday it will open 2,500 stores this year to dislodge Starbucks and become China’s largest coffee chain.

Lindsey Graham: Quitting on the Wall would end Trump presidency
The Hill
— “If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president. That’s probably the end of his presidency. Donald Trump has made a promise to the American people. He’s going to secure our border.”
——> Actually, a solid majority of the American people oppose The Wall. (Per Quinnipac, Rasmussen, The Hill and Pew Research.) So what Lyin Lindsey really meant was, Trump promised his Deplorables he’d build The Wall, and that Mexico would pay for it.

Three killed as police chase ends with car in frozen river
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Two robbery suspects and an innocent child
— A man and woman killed in a New Year’s Eve police chase that ended when the SUV they were in crashed into the Kinnickinnic River are believed to have been involved in two violent armed robberies earlier in the day, officials said.
— Charles L. Barefield, 29, and Shannon M. Nehmer, 19, were killed in the crash that also killed Nehmer’s 2-year-old daughter Annamelia Hernandez.


Nail Salon Worker Killed Over A $35 Manicure
— Las Vegas police are searching for a woman they say killed a nail salon worker with a stolen car after refusing to pay for her $35 manicure on Saturday.
— The victim, 51-year-old Nhu “Annie” Ngoc Q. Nguyen — a mother to three daughters — was trying to stop the customer from leaving after her credit card was declined, police said. The woman drove her vehicle into Nguyen and dragged her briefly behind the car before taking off.

Florida man arrested for attacking McDonald’s employee
over not getting a straw, police say
WFTS Tampa Bayfloridamcdonalds

‘He intentionally killed my child for no reason,’
says mother of 7-year-old killed in drive-by shooting
— When she heard the pop of gunfire, LaPorsha Washington threw her body over her eldest daughter in the front seat, shielding her during a Sunday morning coffee run with her children.
— “Get down,” she screamed to the three other daughters she couldn’t protect in the back seat. Gunfire from a pickup nearby shattered her driver’s side window.
— Authorities are still investigating a motive for the shooting, which happened in northeastern Harris County close to 7 a.m. Sunday. Washington and her daughters are black. The suspect is described as a bearded white male, possibly in his 40s.

How to lose big money selling on Amazon,
while losing sleep and working your ass off
The Atlantic
— Within six months, McDowell and Bjork had spent nearly $40,000, with almost nothing to show for it. So they auctioned off what inventory they could, paid Amazon to destroy the rest, and got out of the business. “It’s not a passive income; [it’s] a ton of work,” McDowell told me. “We lost all our savings—everything we had.”
——> Okay, people, have you not learned the First Rule of Trump University?  Anybody who promises to make you rich is scamming you. 

As home sellers lower prices, 2019 starts as a buyer’s market

— Asking prices for homes are finally coming down as rising interest rates and concerns about the economy rattle buyers.
— Home values in November were 5.1 percent higher compared with November 2017, according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic. But that is down from the 5.4 percent annual gain seen in October.
— CoreLogic is now projecting a smaller, 4.8 percent gain in November of 2019.

Why Millions Of Kids Can’t Read …
… And What Better Teaching Can Do About It

— Jack Silva didn’t know anything about how children learn to read. What he did know is that a lot of students in his district were struggling.
— Silva is the chief academic officer for Bethlehem, Pa., public schools. In 2015, only 56 percent of third graders were scoring proficient on the state reading test. That year, he set out to do something about that.
— “It was really looking yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘Which 4 in 10 students don’t deserve to learn to read?’ ” he recalls.
— Bethlehem is not an outlier. Across the country, millions of kids are struggling. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 32 percent of fourth-graders and 24 percent of eighth-graders aren’t reading at a basic level. Fewer than 40 percent are proficient or advanced.
— One excuse that educators have long offered to explain poor reading performance is poverty. In Bethlehem, a small city in eastern Pennsylvania that was once a booming steel town, there are plenty of poor families. But there are fancy homes in Bethlehem, too, and when Silva examined the reading scores he saw that many students at the wealthier schools weren’t reading very well either.

‘The drought is over’:
US copyright expiry brings flood of works into public domain
The Guardian
It’s not only books: copyright in the US is also expiring on a host of films, paintings and music.
the-murder-on-the-links-agatha-christie-2— “The public domain has been frozen in time for 20 years, and we’re reaching the 20-year thaw,” the center’s director Jennifer Jenkins told the Smithsonian. The magazine predicted that the release’s impact on culture and creativity could be huge, because “we have never seen such a mass entry into the public domain in the digital age”. Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, told the Smithsonian: “We have shortchanged a generation. The 20th century is largely missing from the internet.”
— The expiration means anyone can publish an edition, to take one example, of Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links. That novel, alongside thousands of other books, will become part of the repository of texts on sites such as the Internet Archive and Google Books. Writers will be able to use it as inspiration, creating new works or sequels based on it. Students will be able to quote freely from it; theatre producers will be able to adapt it.
— “We can’t predict what uses people are going to make of the work we make available,” Mike Furlough, executive director of HathiTrust, told the magazine. “And that’s what makes it so exciting.”
>>> How to download the latest copyright-free works

Ohio doctor fired after saying she would give Jews ‘the wrong meds’
The Hill
— Corporate spin: “She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization.”

Because this is America!
Dude doesn’t get his taco sauce, so naturally he shoots up the joint
Oklahoma News4

Now US cities fear becoming the “next Seattle”
Seattle Times
— “Seattle-ization” is a thing now, at least according to a New York Times article published last week. It’s described as “a particularly dire diagnosis,” and characterized by high housing costs and tech wealth, a combination that’s thoroughly transformed the city in an alarmingly short span of time.
— Even in New York City, apparently, some folks are terrified that the planned Amazon campus there could turn the place into “Seattle on steroids,” according to Vice Magazine.
— It’s a little unsettling to find out we’ve become other cities’ worst-case scenario. But it’s also understandable, when you consider not just how expensive Seattle has become, but how quickly it happened.

Court affirms: Google’s got a right to your face
Courthouse News Service
——–> Because Google’s a corporation, and you’re not.

China: We’ll take Taiwan by force if necessary
Toronto Globe & Mail
— Chinese leader Xi Jinping has issued a new threat to use military force in Taiwan as Beijing intensifies efforts to achieve unification with the self-governing democratic region, holding up Hong Kong as a model for Taipei.
— In a major address on Wednesday, Mr. Xi promised economic gifts to Taiwan if it places itself under Beijing’s rule, saying “with the great motherland’s support, Taiwan compatriots’ welfare will be even better, their development space will be even greater.”
— What China calls “reunification” should happen peacefully and Beijing would protect Taiwan’s freedoms, Mr. Xi said, specifically pointing to the Hong Kong model of “one country two systems” as a Taiwanese solution.
>>> Many Chinese think Americans won’t fight
Stars & Stripes

You trusted a Chinese weather app? OMG!
Wall Street Journal
— A popular weather app built by a Chinese tech conglomerate has been collecting an unusual amount of data from smartphones around the world and attempting to subscribe some users to paid services without permission, according to a London-based security firm’s research.
— The free app, one of the world’s most-downloaded weather apps in Google’s Play store, is from TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., of Shenzhen, China. TCL makes Alcatel- and BlackBerry -branded phones, while a sister company makes televisions.
— The app, called “Weather Forecast—World Weather Accurate Radar,” collects data including smartphone users’ geographic locations, email addresses and unique 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers on TCL servers in China, according to Upstream Systems, the mobile commerce and security firm that found the activity. Until last month, the app was known as “Weather—Simple weather forecast.”

The long New Year’s weekend

Strange, strange doings as US Chief Justice
intervenes on behalf of foreign country
in Muller probe
…. Reporters who uncovered this baffled…

Deep-fake videos keep getting easier to make,
and the victims are most often women

— The videos have also been weaponised disproportionately against women, representing a new and degrading means of humiliation, harassment and abuse. The fakes are explicitly detailed, posted on popular porn sites and increasingly challenging to detect. And although their legality hasn’t been tested in court, experts say they may be protected by the First Amendment (in the United States) – even though they might also qualify as defamation, identity theft or fraud.
— Disturbingly realistic fakes have been made with the faces of both celebrities and women who don’t live in the spotlight, and the actress Scarlett Johansson says she worries that “it’s just a matter of time before any one person is targeted” by a lurid forgery.

> Your tax dollars at work
> Kids directed in to battle by remote control

Saudis using child soldiers in Yemen
…. “five fighters who have returned from Yemen and another about to depart said that children made up at least 20 percent of their units. Two said children were more than 40 percent.”
“To keep a safe distance from the battle lines, their Saudi or Emirati overseers commanded the Sudanese fighters almost exclusively by remote control, directing them to attack or retreat through radio headsets and GPS systems provided to the Sudanese officers in charge of each unit ….”

More retailers refusing cash

cash ban
Chain restaurants Sweetgreen and Dig Inn have stopped accepting cash at nearly all of their locations, as have a Starbucks in Seattle and some pubs in the U.K. Massachusetts is currently the only state that requires retailers to take cash, but the inconvenient and sometimes awkward frustrations caused by cash bans have prompted lawmakers in New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia and D.C. to consider taking up similar legislation.

Kelly spins his time at the White House
The Guardian
“Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people,” Kelly said, describing many migrants as victims misled by traffickers. “I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids.”
…. “If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop US demand for drugs, and expand economic opportunity” in Central America.
…. “To be honest, it’s not a wall.”
>>>> And quoting the same interview, this from NBC News:
…. Seeking to deflect blame for the deaths if migrant children, Kelly says: “What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly said. “He surprised us.”

Trump golf course a crime scene, NJ prosecutors say
…. Illegal immigrants working there …
NY Daily News
— Anibal Romero, a Newark attorney who represents several undocumented immigrants who used to work at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, said Friday he recently met with investigators from the state attorney general’s office and handed over fraudulent green cards and Social Security numbers that management at the club allegedly procured and gave his clients, Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz.

Anibal Romero joinsclients who were Trump employees: Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz.

Trade Czar: No Parliament vote, maybe no Brexit

Cyber-bullying now a crime that could send you to jail in Michigan
Detroit Metro Times

Wing-Nut Republicans give up on “investigation” of Mueller, FBI

Computer virus hits L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune

Paycheck to paycheck: A way of life for much of America
Philadelphia Inquirer
— “It’s astronomical what people need just to make it month to month,” said Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor. “Given the high cost of transportation, housing, health care. … There is often no wriggle room.”

Kansas boy, 16, graduates from high school —
and from Harvard
moral.pngBraxton Moral was born in Kansas, the youngest of four children. In some ways, he is just like any other teenager. He loves video games and movies. He plays tennis and goes to church …

Triumph of the anti-vaxxers
Euro traveler brings another measles scare to NJ
CBS Local

FEMA flip flops. First they were going to quit selling flood insurance, but then, the backlash

When cops fall prey to pills, heroin
Stars & Stripes
copaddict— Every mile brought Lt. Dan Gosnell closer to relief. His body ached for the little white pills, though his mind shouted to turn back.
— “What the hell are you doing?” the young police commander asked himself out loud.
— His pickup cruised east through Harford County. The Aberdeen police station was 20 miles ahead. Inside of him, a fever burned. Days had passed since he swallowed the last of his pain pills.
— The police station lab held a cache of unwanted prescription medicine dropped off by Harford County families. Only two officers had a key; Gosnell was one. The promising 36-year-old lieutenant had decided to betray his oath, badge and best friends.
— In a twist of fate that would scar a proud department, the man in charge of the drug evidence had become an addict himself. He sometimes took 24 pills a day.

Tinder date goes horribly wrong: Woman stabbed, cops use stun gun on maniac, who dies at hospital
Fox Boston

Hedge fund makes last-minute bid for failing Sears
USA Today

Chaos Reigns in North Carolina as Elections Board Dissolves
Courthouse News Service

Celebrity chef Zimmern sent to the dark side
after calling Chinese food “horse shit”
NYDN Page 6
“I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horse shit restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest.”
Ruth Tam in WaPo:
“He has the noble cause of ‘saving’ white people from eating bad Chinese food. When Chinese people make Americanized Chinese food for white people, Zimmern calls it ‘horse shit.’ But when he does it, it’s ‘unique.’ ”

Record heat in parts of Australia — 120 degrees
Malay Mail

US gov’t advises 800,000 furloughed workers to “barter for rent”
CBS News
provided sample letters that furloughed workers can send to their landlords in case they can’t make their rent payments. One of the letters suggests the workers could barter handyman services in exchange for rent money.

US student debt levels set a new record in 2018—
here’s how much the typical borrower owes

Two children have died in US border custody this month.
Before that, none in a decade. Why now?
USA Today
Rep. Joaquin Castro, of Texas, said many questions remain unanswered regarding the deaths, but noted the “lack of adequate medical supplies, equipment and resources” at CBP detention facilities to treat migrants and the agents working there.
— Castro also suggested that many more migrants were taking more dangerous paths into the country because of the Trump administration’s policy of turning asylum-seekers away from legal ports of entry. This policy, he said, was “putting families and children in great danger.”


Trump threatens to close border entirely if no wall funding
The Hill
— Trump made the threat in a tweet on the seventh day of a partial government shutdown that entered its seventh day on Friday with no end in sight.
>>> FROM WIKIPEDIA: The US is Mexico’s largest trading partner, accounting for close to half of all exports in 2008 and more than half of all imports in 2009.  In 2017, two-way trade between both nations amounted to $521.5 billion USD.

Cuba adopts new austerity measures
— Foreign trade fell around 25 percent from 2013 through 2017, with annual imports dropping to $11.3 billion from $15.6 billion, according to the government.


Adults Under Scrutiny After HS Wrestler Told: Cut Dreadlocks or Forfeit

A video still shows Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson getting his hair cut on Dec. 19, in Buena, N.J., after referee Alan Maloney told Johnson he would forfeit the match if he did not have his dreadlocks cut. (Michael Frankel/ via AP)

EPA, out of funding, to shut out 14,000 workers Friday
The Hill

Russian plot to sway US election included boosting Jill Stein
NBC News

Yikes! 79% of parents helping their adult kids pay the bills
Voice of America
— “Parenting is a lifelong financial commitment,” Surya Kolluri, a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told VOA via email. “Parents spend twice as much on adult children as they contribute to their retirement accounts.”
— More than three-fourths — 79 percent — of parents with adult children provide financial assistance to their offspring, contributing to living expenses like rent, groceries and cellphone bills, according to a recent study from Merrill Lynch.

Boston Marathon bomber wants a new trial
— Judge shoulda moved the case outside Boston, his lawyers say.
— “The pre-trial publicity was damning: the more a prospective juror had seen, the more likely she was to believe that Tsarnaev was guilty and deserved the death penalty,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote in a 500-page brief.

No wonder Putin’s gotta do all that strong-man posturing
Russians’ income falls for 5th straight year
Moscow Times
—  Russian economic growth has been below the global average over the past few years, hampered by a weak and volatile currency, a drop in oil prices, and by sanctions first imposed by the European Union and the United States in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The promise: Student loans forgiven if you take a public sector job
The reality: Betsy Devos, bankers’ best friend, is the Don of Education.
USA Today
— Less than 1% who qualify have had their loans forgiven. Betsy Banker is lookin’ into it, you can be sure. It’s an, ahem, “complex program.”

At least 1/3 of FEMA workers “unqualified” for job
— As a result, FEMA “placed staff in positions beyond their experiences and, in some instance, beyond their capabilities,” according to the agency’s internal analysis of the 2017 hurricane season.

Hospitals, like fast food joints, will now have to post prices
Faux News
Mass confusion to follow, since insurance companies don’t pay the list price anyway.

This dentist dug up Big Sugar’s sour secrets
The group enlisted a few Harvard nutritionists to write an article summing up what existing scientific literature said about the dangers of table sugar, known technically as sucrose. …. paid them nearly $49,000 in today’s money, sent over papers to include, and looked at the final draft with approval: “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”

After tainting the water of thousands of people,
two Michigan dudes plead guilty
in return for a slap on the wrist

Courthouse News Service
… Stephen Busch had faced involuntary manslaughter and other felony charges …
… The plea from Michael Prysby, a water engineer, relates to the improper permitting of Flint’s water treatment plant.
… Both Prysby and Busch have been on paid leave. They were among the first officials to be charged in connection to the water crisis, along with a Flint water official who went on to take a deal. Prysby’s misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. The punishment for Busch’s charge is up to 93 days in jail.
——–> Paid leave! They’re white guys who wore suits to work so … let’s go easy on ’em, boys.

Gov’t Ice Queen makes PR move in response to kids’ deaths
dog-pony-juggleIn the wake of the death of a second migrant child in U.S. custody within the last two weeks, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced on Wednesday the government is calling on a several federal agencies to help Customs and Border Protection implement a host of new directives intended to improve how it cares for children and adults held in federal facilities.

In sneaky plea for donations, NRA claims it’s gonna be outta business soon 
———-> God No! What would we do without the NRA?
——-> Yeah, we knew Trump’s Vietnam War draft deferment was bogus.
——-> Another wild and wacky space scheme from Musk. Or is it a tunnel? Or a flamethrower? Or an overpriced car? Or a hat? What’s he selling today?


DRUDGE REPORT: Update: Putin setting up nuke bomber base on Caribbean island
This links to The Sun, Britain’s finest source for hysterical news.
HOWEVER when Snopes look into this it found that Russia sent TWO bombers to an island off Venezuela. Which falls well short of building an air base.
… According to the Associated Press, the reason for the transport of the bombers from Russia to Venezuela is unknown, but internal political factors in both countries that do not involve the United States could easily be playing a role. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not indicate how long the planes would be there, disclose whether they carried any weapons, or describe their purpose for being in the country.

He’s a monster who killed wife and children…
… and women send him love letters in prison
Washington Post
watts.jpg— “Greetings from New York, Chris!” a Brooklyn-based woman wrote to Christopher Watts on Aug. 23, days after he admitted to murdering his pregnant wife and young daughters, loading the bodies into his truck and dumping them at an oil work site.
— “I found myself thinking a lot about you,” Tatiana confessed to the now-convicted killer, “I figured life is too short to hold back … so here I am!”
— The 29-year-old enclosed a bikini-clad photo of herself on a beach. “So you can place a face to the words. I know what you look like so I thought I’d make it fair,” she flirted. “I hope I’ve put a smile on your face.”
…. In the past, true-crime narratives making national headlines were reserved mostly for mass murderers. Now, serial-killer groupies have open communication forums. They generate Facebook groups and Reddit posts, giving notice to men who otherwise would have been little-known….

Next states for legal pot…
Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont …