Manafort gets off easy — of course
CBS News

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 47 months in federal prison for tax and bank fraud, a significantly shorter sentence than prosecutors had sought.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the sentence in federal court in Virginia Thursday afternoon. Ellis said Manafort committed “undeniably serious” crimes and expressed surprise that he did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct.”

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of between 19.5 to 24 years behind bars, with an attorney from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office telling the court Manafort “failed to accept responsibility and is not remorseful.”


“For context on Manafort’s 47 months in prison, my client yesterday was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room.”
— Scott Hechinger, Brooklyn public defender


Judge has been anti-Mueller for a while now…

During a hearing today (May 4, 2018), Judge Ellis suggested that Mueller’s team lied about the scope of the investigation, and seek “unfettered power” as part of a play to unseat the President.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” said Judge Ellis. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”

How to prevent the ‘robot apocalypse’ from ending labor as we know it
By Thomas Kochan, Elisabeth Reynolds, MIT
In The Conversation

… Just ask General Motors what it got for its nearly US$50 billion in robots in the 1980s in its futile effort to catch up with Toyota’s more efficient production and labor relations systems. The answer is not much.

Instead, GM eventually learned from Toyota via a joint venture that the highest return on investments came by integrating new technology with new work practices, which allowed workers to help “give wisdom to the machines.”

Many Republicans Want Climate Change Erased From Curriculum
Courthouse News Service/AP

A Connecticut lawmaker wants to strike climate change from state science standards. A Virginia legislator worries teachers are indoctrinating students with their personal views on global warming. And an Oklahoma state senator wants teachers to be able to introduce alternative viewpoints without fear of losing their jobs.

Commerce Asshole Ross broke law, violated Constitution in census decision, judge rules
Wa Post

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

In finding a breach of the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires a census every 10 years to determine each state’s representation in Congress, the 126-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco went further than a similar decision on Jan. 15 by Judge Jesse Furman in New York.

More people under 40 having heart attacks
Market Watch

Heart-attack rates are rising for adults under age 40, researchers found after comparing data of heart attack survivors ages 41 to 50 with those survivors who were 40 and younger.

In fact, the proportion of heart-attack patients under age 40 has been climbing 2% every year for the last 10 years, according to findings slated for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session later this month.

The researchers tried to unearth the risk factors explaining the rise and said substance abuse might share part of the blame. The youngest patients were more likely to use marijuana and cocaine compared to slightly older counterparts, even if they drank less alcohol.

Woman reads fine print on insurance policy, wins $10,000 in hidden contest
CBS News

Hidden deep within the text of her Squaremouth insurance policy was a contest to win $10,000. The company buried instructions for claiming the grand prize in the fine print of every Tin Leg Travel Insurance contract.

UN Human Rights Council discovers that Saudi government sucks

The United Nations Human Rights Council rebuked Saudi Arabia on Thursday, with 36 countries, including all 28 European Union member states, signing onto the rebuke — the first the kingdom has faced from the panel since its establishment in 2006.

“We are particularly concerned about the use of the counterterrorism law and other national security provisions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights and freedoms.

Trump’s tweets criticize Facebook and Google, but the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department is making life easier for potential monopolists in Silicon Valley.
NY Times Opinion

…. the administration’s chief antitrust enforcer is their champion. On top of granting tech platforms huge windfalls in his tax reform law, Trump appointed a friend of big tech, Makan Delrahim, to lead the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.  Delrahim has consistently promoted the interests of the biggest tech companies.

US households see biggest decline in net worth since the financial crisis

Disney heiress slams CEO pay:
‘Jesus Christ himself isn’t worth 500 times” a worker’s salary


Abigail Disney’s net worth has been estimated at $500 million.

Abigail Disney along with around 200 other millionaires living in New York asked lawmakers to introduce a “millionaires tax” on households earning more than $5 million to help fund affordable housing, infrastructure and other initiatives.

“The problem is that there’s a systematic favoring of people who have accumulated an enormous amount of wealth,” she said.

‘Re-Imagining Paradise’ — Making Plans To Rebuild A Town Destroyed By Wildfire

Residents of Paradise, Calif., are being given reassurances that their town — completely destroyed by last fall’s Camp Fire — will be rebuilt. But will the new town be too expensive for many?

Paradise was a haven for retirees and others who couldn’t afford the city or just wanted to live in the country. Like a lot of western towns, it grew too quickly — without a lot of planning and scant zoning. Mobile home parks, tract houses, fast food restaurants were packed into overgrown forests.

Researchers claim libs, cons, mostly get their news from the same sources
Pacific Standard

The researchers also found “asymmetries in individuals’ willingness to venture into cross-cutting spaces, with conservatives more likely to follow media and political accounts classified as left-leaning than the reverse.”

That is somewhat surprising, given that conservatives are widely characterized as craving certainty. The researchers suspect this crossover is driven in part by the fact that right-wing news outlets tend to be heavy on opinion and light on original news reporting.

“Conservatives with a taste for both traditionally reported news and congenial opinion may need to sample more widely than liberals with analogous tastes,” the authors write.

Kentucky teachers go on sick call

PBS News Hour discovers the West Coast
L.A. Times

Wisconsin might not get a Foxconn plant of any size, analysts say
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Foxconn and the state’s economic development agency still pledge that the Gen-6 facility will create “up to 13,000 new full-time jobs,” as enshrined in the contract. But a blur of mixed signals and shifting pronouncements over the past year has turned Wisconsin’s signature job-creation project into a nonstop guessing game — one that involves the most expensive package of corporate subsidies from a U.S. state and the largest-ever in Wisconsin by a factor of 50.

Tben-Gov. Walker signs away billions … a fool and the taxpayers’ money are soon parted….

Sen. Bill Cassidy, an actual physician, schools Rand Paul over anti-vaxxer claims

$15 federal min. wage passes House

Source: Leaked Documents Show the U.S.Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database
NBC San Diego

…. As the migrant caravan reached the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego County, so did journalists, attorneys, and advocates who were there to work and witness the events unfolding.

But in the months that followed, journalists who covered the caravan, as well as those who offered assistance to caravan members, said they felt they had become targets of intense inspections and scrutiny by border officials.

One photojournalist said she was pulled into secondary inspections three times and asked questions about who she saw and photographed in Tijuana shelters. Another photojournalist said she spent 13 hours detained by Mexican authorities when she tried to cross the border into Mexico City. Eventually, she was denied entry into Mexico and sent back to the U.S.

NJ town: Yer dog won’t quit barking?
Maybe you go to jail

Court inclined to expose more sordid details
in Epstein-Dershowitz-Acosta sex case

A federal appeals court panel signaled Wednesday that it is strongly inclined to set in motion a process likely to expose more sordid details in the politically charged scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier and philanthropist whose relatively cushy plea deal on underage-sex charges a decade ago has become a political liability for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.

Sparks flew during arguments before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan as a lawyer for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an Epstein accuser, repeatedly reiterated his client’s claim leveled several years ago that the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz not only defended Epstein but also had sex with some of the women Epstein victimized.




US plans to end wolf protections
Yahoo News/AP

U.S. wildlife officials plan to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, re-igniting the legal battle over a predator that’s run into conflicts with farmers and ranchers after rebounding in some regions, an official told The Associated Press.

Wildlife advocates reacted with outrage and promised to challenge in court any attempt to lift protections. Agriculture groups and lawmakers from Western states are likely to support the administration’s proposal.

Nearly 3 million dropped pay-TV in 2018, Double 2017 Total 

— There are some stories that you just can’t resist posting…
Billionaire diamond trader, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery
The Daily Mail

Feinstein, Grassley call for investigation into sex abuse of kids at HHS facilities
The Hill
… “into the alleged widespread and long-term pattern of sexual abuse against unaccompanied children in HHS facilities and reports that these cases of sexual assault are not being appropriately investigated…”

… more than 4,500 allegations of sexual abuse committed against unaccompanied minors, including more than 1,000 that were reported to the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, Trump lackey Nielsen blathers on about the “emergency” at the border. Hey, Nielsen, you empty suit, the sexual abuse of children on your watch is the real emergency.

Chained dog hears Iditarod race go by, breaks free, joins in the fun
Anchorage Daily News

Skagway musher Ryan Redington spotted Dillon running on the trail between his team and the team of Bethel musher Pete Kaiser.

Dog-walking can be hazardous for seniors, study suggests

Six people were convicted of a murder they didn’t even remember. Now a county owes them $28 million.

In this February 2009 photo, Joseph White, left, one of six people wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of Helen Wilson in 1985, is hugged by Rachel Morgan, daughter of Ada Joann Taylor, right, another member of the “Beatrice Six,” following his testimony before the Judiciary Committee in Lincoln, Neb.

For years, a group of outcasts in Beatrice, Neb., were convinced they had brutally raped and murdered an elderly woman named Helen Wilson one night in February 1985, even though they couldn’t remember any of it.

That was only what they had been told by the detectives and the police psychologist at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office. At first, it was befuddling: Why couldn’t they recall any details about something so terrible? None of the six suspects could even remember being in the woman’s apartment that night. But that was okay, the police assured the group: They had simply repressed the traumatizing memories.

The police psychologist, Wayne Price, assured them the memories of the murder would probably come back in dreams or in deep thought, but that it may take awhile. For some it didn’t take long. “I block bad things out. I always have,” Ada JoAnn Taylor told police in one of her first interviews in 1989, parroting the psychologist.

By the end of the investigation, three of the six suspects — Taylor, Debra Shelden and James Dean — wholeheartedly believed in their guilt.

But for at least one of them, Joseph White, it was a different story. Convicted on nothing more than his friends’ false memories and dreams, he would spend the next 20 years seeking to prove his innocence — a pursuit that finally came to an end this week.

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld $28.1 million in damages to the wrongfully convicted, now known as the Beatrice Six. The judgment comes as a result of a civil rights lawsuit that White filed in 2009, the same year the group was pardoned and declared innocent beyond all doubt after DNA evidence exonerated them. They had collectively served more than 70 years in prison.

Amazon/Whole Foods raises pay, as promised, but then cuts hours
The Guardian

In response to public pressure and increasing scrutiny over the pay of its warehouse workers, Amazon enacted a $15 minimum wage for all its employees on 1 November, including workers at grocery chain Whole Foods which it purchased in 2017.

All Whole Foods employees paid less than $15 an hour saw their wages increase to at least that, while all other team members received a $1-an-hour wage increase and team leaders received a $2-an-hour increase.

But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees.

German gardener keeps blowing people up, even after he’s dead
AP/Courthouse News Service

Net neutrality is back in play as Democratic lawmakers announce a bill. Here’s what to expect

Democrats control the House. But with Republicans in control of the Senate, the legislation could be dead-on-arrival there unless the two parties agree to negotiate a compromise. Even then, it’s unclear whether the resulting bill could pass both chambers — or be signed by Trump.

“Sneak-and-peak” warrants questioned in Florida “Happy Ending” arrests 

Arkansas teen saves for 2 years to buy his friend an electric wheelchair

“He’s just been a really good friend and I wanted to do him a favor,” Tanner Wilson said. “I just felt like I needed to do it. … Brandon, he’s just always been there for me.”


US explosives have killed hundreds, including kids, in illegal Yemen bombings

A report published by the U.S.-based University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) and Yemeni monitoring group Mwatana identified 27 air strikes launched by the Gulf alliance—led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—between April 2015 and April 2018, which they said were unlawful.

The organizations said U.S.-made weapons were likely used in 25 of the attacks. In total, the 27 unlawful strikes killed at least 203 people and wounded close to 750. More than 120 children and at least 56 women were among the casualties, the report said.

‘Sconsin dude arrested after going to gym, breaking measles quarantine
NBC News

Dollar Tree is losing it; 390 Family Dollar stores to close

—–> But what are they going to do with all those attractive buildings?

Scranton cannabis festival expected to attract 10,000.
But Pa. bans dispensaries from being there.
Marijuana legalization is winning the 2020 Democratic primaries

North Korea rebuilding long-range rocket site, photos show
NBC News

Photos taken just 2 days after the Trump-Kim Hanoi summit show rebuilding at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s operational space launch facility.


4-year-old begged for her life before monster father killed her
NY Post

“There was a struggle,” said attorney Steven Lambert. “Of the things that have been hard for the [family] to comprehend and to accept in this reality, what happened to Bella in those last moments has been the hardest.”

Chef Mario Batali Sells Stake in All His Restaurants One Year After Sexual Harassment Accusations

Teen who defied anti-vax mom says she got false information from one source: Facebook

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Ethan Lindenberger said Facebook, or websites that were linked on Facebook, is really the only source his mother ever relied on for her anti-vaccine information.

Most importantly, Lindenberger said, was the impact Facebook’s anti-vax communities had on his family.

“I feel like if my mom didn’t interact with that information, and she wasn’t swayed by those arguments and stories, it could’ve potentially changed everything,” he said. “My entire family could’ve been vaccinated.”
State lawmakers pushing for weaker vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks

In biggest advance for depression in years,
FDA approves novel treatment for hardest cases

The nasal spray works in a new way and is based on an old anesthetic, ketamine, that has been used as a party drug.

Police Arrest 84 After Stephon Clark Protest In Sacramento

The march comes two days after Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not file criminal charges against the two police officers who killed Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot after police chased him into his grandmother’s backyard.

U.S. Credit Card Debt hit Record $870 Billion

Brits to require ID to surf porn sites
The Sun

Dr Victoria Nash of the Oxford Internet Institute says “it may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers.”

Experts have also raised concerns that people’s privacy will be threatened by the new system.


How badly are we being ripped off for eyewear?
Former industry exec: “It’s ridiculous” 
L.A. Times

E. Dean Butler, founder of Lens Crafters, said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices lower.
“You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8,” Butler said. “For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you’d get from Prada.”
And lenses? “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.
Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.
Butler laughed. “I know,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a complete rip-off.”

The real powerhouses that drive the world economy
City Lab


… the obsession with nation-states does not fit the reality of today’s highly-clustered knowledge economy, centered in and around global cities. And, it’s not just individual cities and metropolitan areas that power the world economy. Increasingly, the real driving force is larger combinations of cities and metro areas called mega-regions.

  • Bos-Wash, which extends from Boston through New York and Philadelphia down to Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest mega-region of nearly 50 million people, generating almost $4 trillion in economic output.  If this mega-region were its own country, the economy would be equivalent to the world’s seventh largest, bigger than the United Kingdom’s or Brazil’s.


Federal Judge Upholds Challenge to Money Bail
Courthouse News Service
A federal judge said she could find no justification for San Francisco’s bail schedule Monday in a ruling that could affect the outcome of constitutional challenges to money bail throughout the country.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the two lead plaintiffs in the case, who languished in jail for more than 24 hours before their families could secure bail, had shown that their poverty significantly deprived them of their right to freedom.

Wisconsin kid thought it was “funny” to spike
stepdad’s drink with cattle tranquilizer
The Smoking Gun

kidInvestigators allege that Tyler Rabenhorst-Malone, 17, adulterated his kin’s drinks last year. The teen, cops say, used a sedative often administered to cows giving birth. The victim, a dairy farmer, had stored the drug in a barn.

According to a criminal complaint, after Rabenhorst-Malone first spiked his stepfather’s drink, the victim was left stumbling and suffering slurred speech, a droopy face, and heavy breathing. Doctors at a Madison hospital concluded that the symptoms were a result of stress, lack of sleep, and the victim’s consumption of energy drinks.


Deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control data. The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase.


France Plans 5% Digital Tax as Governments Chase Internet Giants

Teen gets 22 years for school massacre plot foiled by grandmother

… Joshua O’ Connor, 19, a former student at ACES Alternative High School, Everett, WA. …. pleaded guilty in December to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery with a firearm and possession of explosive device …. investigation began when his grandmother, Catherine Katsel O’Connor, called 911 in February 2018 to report what she believed were credible threats by her grandson to shoot other students at his high school… In a written statement to the court, O’Connor apologized, saying he’d been suicidal and abusing drugs and alcohol.
<> Video shows O’Connor robbing a gas station at gunpoint the night before his arrest.

Scotsman may have faked drowning to avoid 24 rape charges
Cal Coast News

Authorities conducted a three-day search by land and water and found no signs of Kim Gordon. Sheriff’s investigators questioned Gordon’s son about the story and determined his answers were not adding up.

These Cameras Can Spot Shoplifters Even Before They Steal




Can America’s new weed cafes make pot social?
The Guardian

Denver’s first legal consumption lounge, The Coffee Joint, opened last year. Its co-owner Rita Tsalyuk described it as a “Starbucks on steroids”. It costs $5 to enter if you plan to consume – though entrance is otherwise free – and while the shop itself can’t sell cannabis, it’s attached to a licensed dispensary. The space hosts video game and movie nights, singles mixers, yoga and industry events.

McConnell: Senate will spike Trump’s fake emergency
The Hill

NBA chief: Loneliness, melancholy pervasive in the league
Boston Globe

“When I meet with them, what surprises me is that they’re truly unhappy,’’ Silver told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons during an hour-long panel discussion at the 13th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday afternoon. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.’’

“If you’re around a team in this day and age, there are always headphones on,’’ Silver said. “[The players] are isolated, and they have their heads down.’

Russia Suspends Nuclear Missile Treaty With U.S.
Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir Putin formally ordered a suspension of Russia’s obligations under a Cold War-era nuclear treaty with the U.S., his office said Monday, a death knell for the pact that heightens the threat of a new arms race.

The Kremlin said the decision to suspend the agreement was made after the U.S. said it would stop abiding by the pact, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibited the possession, production and flight testing of certain short and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

The statement didn’t acknowledge Washington’s accusations that Russia had broken its obligations under the INF treaty with the testing of its nuclear-capable 9M729 missile. Those accusations have been met by sabre-rattling from Moscow, with Mr. Putin warning that the unraveling of the agreement would lead to a new arms race.

Russia wants to be able to pull the plug on its Internet
L.A. Times

Russian lawmakers want to tighten the screws on Russia’s internet access by creating an “sovereign” network that the Kremlin could shut off from the greater World Wide Web.
Proponents of a bill now working its way through the Russian parliament say passing the measure will protect the country’s internet from foreign cyberattacks or other threats.
But international human rights groups and opponents say the law is an attempt to create a firewall around Russia’s internet and restrict information flow.
Buyer Beware: Hollywood Special Effects Now Permeate Property Listings
Wall Street Journal

Real-estate listing photos have always accentuated the positive, but computer-generated imagery of the sort Hollywood uses has now become so cheap and prolific that home sellers are taking out walls, removing ugly paneling and even adding digital swimming pools.

At the same time, photos are more important than ever: Nearly every home search begins online and deals are often struck without in-person showings, particularly amonginvestors who are putting photos through their own algorithms to price homes as they make an unprecedented move into the U.S. housing market.
The technology allows sellers to green browned lawns, stage rooms with virtual furniture like digital dollhouses and even perform full-blown HGTV-style makeovers with clicks of a mouse.

The hazards to buyers range from disappointment when they arrive for in-person showings to blown renovation budgets. That could prove an especially thorny issue for investors, who may need to retrain computer models they use to comb through listings for houses that are good candidates to turn into rentals or flips.

So, Bonnie Prince Charley, too, was playing
financial footsie with the Russkies
The Guardian

“This is the pipe through which the proceeds of kleptocracy flow from Russia to the west.”

House Dems open sweeping corruption probe of Trump & Co.

Google Moves to Address Wage Equity, and Finds It’s Underpaying Many Men
NY Times

When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found that more men than women were receiving less money for doing similar work.

The surprising conclusion to the latest version of the annual study contrasted sharply with the experience of women working in Silicon Valley and in many other industries.

In response to the finding, Google gave $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees for this year. Men account for about 69 percent of the company’s work force, but they received a disproportionately higher percentage of the money. The exact number of men who got raises is unclear.

But the study did not tell the whole story of women at Google or in the technology industry more broadly, something that company officials acknowledged.
Most significantly, it did not address ingrained issues that, according to workplace experts, cannot be overcome simply by considering how much different people are paid for doing the same job: Women and racial minorities often do not get the same opportunities and they must overcome certain biases when they are hired or compete for promotions.

5 ways life would be better with permanent Daylight Savings Time
The Conversation

It’s not a bust, ‘it’s a rescue’:
Florida sting shows shift on sex trafficking

Christian Science Monitor

After using hidden cameras to film hundreds of men receiving illicit sex inside a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies decided to make their move.

But instead of a bust, Sheriff William Snyder had a different take: He called it a “rescue operation.”

An eight-month investigation had uncovered a clandestine operation that trafficked Asian women, most of whom had come to the United States legally in search of work. The investigation spanned four counties, two states, and involved more than 200 alleged johns. Eleven alleged owners and hundreds of men have been charged with crimes ranging from trafficking to solicitation.

Thanks to Decades of Government Meddling,
U.S. Dairy Is Going Through a Crisis

… Indeed, the USDA regularly buys up surplus dairy products that are overproduced due to the agency’s own policies. Just this month, for example, the USDA announced the agency was buying up surplus cheese “to encourage the continued domestic consumption of these products by diverting them from the normal channels of trade and commerce.”

What’s the Worst Trash Humans Produce?
The experts weigh in.

Calif. Supremes mulling big cut in gov’t pensions
L.A. Times

Slaying of one of their own rattles gangland video reporters

Shawn Cotton no longer drives his $55,000, bright pink Corvette to work because he’s afraid it could get him killed like his friend. But there are two things he won’t leave home without: his bulletproof vest and the 9 mm pistol he slips into his pocket.

Cotton, 28, quit his $7-an-hour job cleaning refrigerators at a big-box store six years ago to enter a new and uniquely dangerous field of newsgathering in which video journalists interview street gangs and rappers in high-crime areas, then post the videos on YouTube channels.

Dozens of gangland videographers like him nationwide risk their lives to provide a voice for communities routinely ignored by mainstream media, creating an alternative news genre that Cotton’s friend Zack Stoner liked to call “hood CNN” before he was killed in a drive-by shooting last year in Chicago.

‘Pug of war’ over eBay sale of impounded dog in Germany

eddaA decision by German local authorities to impound a pug from an indebted family and hawk it on eBay was spiralling on Monday into a possible case for the courts.

The buyer, Michaela Jordan, told national news agency DPA she had filed a case against Ahlen city authorities for “fraud”.

The Geography of Partisan Prejudice

A guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America
The Atlantic


In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.

This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity.

They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents. (In fact, people who went to graduate school have the least amount of political disagreement in their lives, as Mutz describes in her book Hearing the Other Side.)

By contrast, many nonwhite Americans routinely encounter political disagreement. They have more diverse social networks, politically speaking, and therefore tend to have more complicated views of the other side, whatever side that may be.

And this map shows how much you need to earn to “get by” in every state


Depending on where you live in the United States, the amount you need to make to get by can vary by a lot. While a family of three can manage on just over $48,000 a year in Mississippi, for example, it takes at least $60,000 a year to make ends meet in New Jersey, and even more in California.

States making it harder for the rich to avoid taxes with “fake move”

Based on an audit, New York notified high-flying exec Gregory Blatt that he owed the state $430,065, plus interest and penalties.

NRA gun nuts running out of allies in S. Florida

The National Rifle Association is running out of friends in South Florida.

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who received campaign cash from the NRA four months after the Parkland shooting, distanced himself from the nation’s largest pro-gun lobby and sided with Democrats to expand background checks last week. Diaz-Balart’s new stance blunts a potential 2020 campaign talking point for Democrats, who hammered him on his gun record last year but still came up 21 percentage points short of unseating one of the most well-known figures in Miami politics.

Alligators, Drugs, And Theft, Oh My! New List Shows Top 10 ‘Florida Man’ Stories

The Miami Herald‘s Howard Cohen started listing a few hallmarks of a typical “Florida Man” story to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

“A Florida man tends to generally have to have firearms, locations help — bodies of water, theme parks, Wal-Mart’s, Taco Bell’s fast food places like that — alligators for sure, reasons for arrest, injuries,” Cohen said, “Drugs and alcohol could be part of it, and like we said, animals, and those would include reptiles in particular.”

Prime example of the genre: “Florida Man Steals $33,000 Worth of Rare Coins, Cashes Them in CoinStar Machine for $29.30”

Yup, this Memphis boy, 12, built fusion reactor in his bedroom

fusion kid


Deadly Alabama tornadoes
The Weather Channel

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office told local media that no fewer than 23 people were killed when at least two tornadoes hit the southern Alabama county. The sheriff later said some of the victims were children; the National Weather Service said the first twister was at least EF3 in strength and was a half-mile wide or more.

Schiff: There’s direct evidence of Trump/Russia collusion
The Hill

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that he believes a Russian lawyer’s 2016 offer of damaging information on Hillary Clinton to members of the Trump campaign and their subsequent meeting amounts to “direct evidence” of collusion.

“I think there is direct evidence in the emails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump,” Schiff said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” in response to a question about collusion.

“They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts and furtherance of that,” he added, citing a summer 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between the Russian lawyer and members of the president’s team.

“That to me is direct evidence,” Schiff continued. “But there’s also abundant circumstantial evidence.”

He pointed to charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony as examples.

<> House opens obstruction probe

Idaho lawmakers okay with child marriage

<> Rejected bill would have restricted marriage to those under 16.
<> Idaho has recorded 4,000 child marriages in decade.

“I do not think courts should be involved in marriage at all,” Republican representative Bryan Zollinger said. “I don’t believe there should be a license required to get married. I think two willing people should be able to go and get married.”

Facebook sues over sales of fake accounts, likes and followers

Australia to bar visitors with domestic violence convictions

India, Pakistan resume their mini-war

70-year-old Texan executed for killing in-laws
but first incites melee with cryptic last words
Dallas News

Asked Thursday for his final words, Billy Wayn Coble told his family he loved them and replied with the cryptic remark, possibly a reference to his nickname, “$5 Bill.”

Just as he finished speaking, a melee erupted in the death chamber’s witness room, with Coble’s son and other family members yelling obscenities, banging on the glass and lashing out at other witnesses. They were moved to a courtyard, and two men were handcuffed.

“Why are you doing this?” a woman asked. “They just killed his daddy.”

Oakland Teachers Reach Tentative Deal to End Strike

How a HUD official turned the Michael Cohen hearing into a reality TV audition
WaPost (with video)

Her cameo appearance at the Michael Cohen hearing — a bit of stagecraft intended to dispel accusations of racism against President Trump — provoked an instant backlash from black politicians and the public.

But Lynne Patton, a longtime Trump family aide turned federal housing bureaucrat, has long reveled in the limelight and has asked permission to star in a reality-TV show while serving as a HUD official.

Girl, 11, charged with child abuse after infant she was watching died
 Buzz Feed

When the girl’s family members returned to home from an errand, they found the little boy unresponsive and suffering from “several,” “severe injuries,” and called 911.

Comic relief
Grandma poses on an iceberg, floats away, is rescued

Guide to Iceland Now

… rescued by a fellow countryman. His name is Randy Lacount and is a licensed boat captain from Florida who … waded into the water and pulled the grandmother off the iceberg before it took her out to sea.

Like the proverbial frog in heated water,
Americans may not perceive climate change
The Atlantic

Americans’ sense of “normal” weather seems to reset about every five years, they found. People sent more weather tweets when it was unusually hot or cold outside, but their sense of what made for “unusual” weather was fairly shortsighted. Generally, if people had experienced an extreme temperature in the same month over the previous two to eight years, they were much less likely to tweet about it.

Arizona lawmaker calls mandatory vaccinations “communist”
“It seems we are prepared to give up our liberty, the very sovereignty of our body, because of measles,” Republican State Representative Kelly Townsend wrote on Facebook.

Townsend says her opposition is rooted in her experience. The legislator’s 22-year-old daughter has significant medical problems that she blames on a vaccine she received when she was 10 months old. She says no scientific evidence will convince her otherwise.

Scientists find first evidence of huge Mars underground water system

Previous modeling has demonstrated the planet was once overflowing with water that eventually retreated under the surface. But new research details the first direct geological evidence for a “planet-wide groundwater system” explaining Mars’s watery history and providing new sites for future missions to hunt for signs of life.

Lyft files for IPO, beating Uber
Still losing money like crazy, though.
<> L.A. Inches Closer to Tax on Uber, Lyft to Solve Traffic Woes
— Los Angeles County transit officials voted unanimously Thursday to explore a tax on ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft, and advanced plans to study the impact of charging drivers a congestion fee to access certain roadways.

Rumors of Amazon grocery chain rise, and stocks of supermarkets sink

Amazon is reportedly getting ready to expand even further in early 2020 with two more leases already signed for other grocery locations. It’s unclear whether the new stores will be branded as Amazon markets, though the Journal reported the chain will be separate from the Whole Foods brand. Amazon is reportedly in talks about opening grocery stores in shopping centers based in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Warmbier family slams Trump after he takes Kim’s side in the murder of their son
Raw Story

‘Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son, Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.’”

Victoria’s Secret closing more than 50 stores

Oregon governor signs statewide rent control law
Wall Street Journal
—–> But do the math, and you’ll find that it’s a compounding formula that allows absurd rent increases, so …

Wisconsin governor’s proposal would give ID’s to undocumented immigrants

The Hill

US offers $1 million for “info” on Osama Bin Laden’s son

Coal booster to lead EPA
The Senate on Thursday approved former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 52 to 47, elevating a veteran of Washington political and industry circles who has advanced President Trump’s push to rollback Obama-era environmental regulations.

Tesla to close showrooms, sell its cars online
The Verge


Art of the Deal
Kim-Trump Dog and Pony show folds


kim trump

The nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un collapsed Thursday after the two sides failed to reach a deal due to a standoff over U.S. sanctions on the reclusive nation, a dispiriting end to high-stakes meetings meant to disarm a global threat.

Trump, in a news conference after the summit abruptly shut down early, blamed the breakdown on North Korea’s insistence that all punishing sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Pyongyang be lifted without the country committing to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

Flooding cuts off entire towns along Russian River 
Santa Rosa Press Democrat


The Russian River rose to its highest level in a generation, flooding storm-battered neighborhoods up and down the main stem and turning several lower river towns into islands disconnected from the rest of Sonoma County because floodwater and mudslides closed major roads.

Thousands of people were displaced as the roiling river escaped its banks and flattened into a broad expanse of brown plasma that swept through vineyards, riverside neighborhoods and other low-lying areas, swamping cars and picking up all kinds of debris, including a dumpster and port-a-potties seen carried away in the swift current.

The river crested at 45.5 feet at 10 p.m. after three days of staggering rainfall that in the wettest areas west of Healdsburg surpassed 20 inches.

FAA Bans Cargo Shipment of Lithium Ion Batteries on Passenger Flights

Toledo’s legal maneuver seeks to give Lake Erie status to sue polluters
The Guardian

This week, more than four years after the devastating algae bloom in 2014 that cut off drinking water for 500,000 people, Toledo voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, a unique charter amendment that establishes the huge lake as a person and grants it the legal rights that a human being or corporation would have.

The final results weren’t even close, as it passed by a 61% to 39% margin.

Flights disrupted worldwide as Pakistan closes its airspace
<>Pakistan: Indian pilot to be released as peace gesture

8 Goppers side with Dems on gun background checks
The Hill
——> But only a crack in the NRA wall, as bill is doomed in Senate, White House.

Newly published research debunks the notion that listening to music can increase creativity. Its three studies suggest precisely the opposite, indicating that background music, with or without lyrics, “consistently disrupts creative performance in insight problems.”
Pacific Standard

Majority White School Districts Are Way, Way Richer Than Majority Nonwhite School Districts
But the analysis does not include federal dollars, which go to the poorest districts.

Former Gov. of Maine: Eliminating Electoral College would make whites “a forgotten people”
Talking Points Memo

Former Gov. Paul LePage (R) tore apart a bill currently in the Maine state legislature that proposes essentially eliminating the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote because it would only “be minorities that elect” the President.

According to a Thursday Maine Beacon report, LePage told local radio station WVOM that the legislation would render him and other whites “a forgotten people.”

“Actually what would happen if they do what they say they’re gonna do is white people will not have anything to say,” LePage said. “It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida.”


Patient in wheelchair shoots doctor, turns gun on other patients at VA hospital in Florida

The FBI says a 59-year-old U.S. Army veteran has shot and wounded a doctor just before a mental health evaluation at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Riviera Beach, Florida.

The FBI told news outlets Wednesday night that Larry Ray Bon, of Michigan, arrived at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center that morning and was combative for hours. Bon is a double amputee who uses a wheelchair. They say he was about to undergo the evaluation that evening when he pulled out the gun and shot the doctor in the neck.

Special Agent Justin Fleck says the doctor subdued Bon, who’s also accused of shooting at other patients and staff. Another employee was grazed by a bullet. VA spokeswoman Mary Kay Rutan says the doctor was treated and released. Authorities didn’t immediately release his identity.

Judge won’t kill lawsuit filed by prisoners who want porn
Courthouse News Service

The inmates, who participated in the January hearing by phone from the prison, argued their case is not about pornography but about their constitutional right to have access to literature and art that may include nudity …

Kids app TikTok to pay $5.7 million over alleged violation of child privacy law
NBC News

“These practices reflected the company’s willingness to pursue growth even at the expense of endangering children,” an FTC commissioner said.

U sues professor, saying he stole student’s research on valuable drug

The University of Missouri system is suing a pharmacy professor at its Kansas City campus over allegations he stole and sold a student’s research, claiming that the school is the rightful owner of the work it believes could be used to make a billion-dollar drug.

Dude who shut George Washington Bridge says did it to please Christie

One of the conspirators behind the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal blamed the “cult and culture” of Chris Christie before being sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison.

The bizarre political stunt, which became known as Bridgegate, was designed to help the Republican governor’s career, but ended up halting his march toward the White House.

Bill Baroni, a former Republican state senator who served as Christie’s top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was convicted in November 2016 after a dramatic, six-week trial in federal court.

Federal Judge Orders Texas To End ‘Flawed’ Effort To ID Noncitizen Voters

The sharply written ruling by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio ordered Texas officials to halt the removal of any registered voter from state voter rolls.

“The evidence has shown in a hearing before this Court that there is no widespread voter fraud,” Biery wrote.


100 House Dems sponsor Medicare for all.
Here are the broad outlines of the bill
— House Democrats introduced a plan Wednesday to insure all Americans through Medicare, as the push for a sweeping shift to universal health coverage gains more traction ahead of pivotal elections next year.
— The “Medicare-for-all” proposal, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will face backlash from critics who have warned about its potentially enormous cost — and Republicans who aim to cast Democrats as radicals drifting toward socialism.
— Here’s what Jayapal’s legislation would do:

  • It would create a single-payer, government-funded health-care program within two years, eliminating the age 65 threshold for Medicare eligibility.
  • It would not charge beneficiaries copays, premiums or deductibles.
  • The plan would cover prescription drugs, vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse and maternal care. It would also provide universal coverage for long-term care for people with disabilities.
  • The proposal notably does not include methods to pay for the health-care overhaul. Jayapal mentioned higher taxes on the wealthy or contributions from employers as potential ways to fund it.

Pakistani leader calls for talks
after 2 Indian warplanes shot down,
pilot captured

CBS News

— A Switzerland-based startup called CRISPR Therapeutics just used gene-editing name to treat someone with the blood disease beta thalassemia.
— That’s a big deal, because it marks the first time CRISPR gene editing has been used in a Western clinic — Chinese doctors have already tried using it to treat cancer — according to the MIT Technology Review.

“Tax cuts” screwing over 11 million in US
The Hill

“Robo umps” to make pro baseball debut
in Atlantic League games
Baseball America

Police in Canada Are Tracking People’s ‘Negative’ Behavior In a ‘Risk’ Database
The database includes detailed, but “de-identified,” information about people’s lives culled from conversations between police, social services, health workers, and more.

Tennessee cops may face charges for Turning Off Body Cams
Local News/Memphis

California Reports Appalling Conditions in Immigration Detention Centers
Courthouse News Service
— Disturbing conditions – including women forced to go to the bathroom in biohazard bags and detainees confined to cells for up to 22 hours – prevail at immigration detention centers throughout California, though some facilities have begun to improve, a report released by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra found.

FTC takes on fake Amazon reviews
… diet pill scammers hired the upbeat folks at
Reporters prove anyone can cheaply buy fake reviews
NBC News
— To see how businesses may be purchasing fake reviews, NBC News created a gardening business on Facebook and paid $168 to websites that promised to post positive reviews. Within 24 hours, the business had 999 likes and a few days after that, more than 600 five-star reviews. The reviews came from apparently fake Facebook accounts –- the profiles spread out across the globe. The reviews even include generic descriptions of the work such as “really efficient and a pleasure to deal with” and “very polite, did a wonderful job.”

Phone polling keeps becoming less reliable
Pew Research
— Among the factors depressing participation in telephone polling may be the recent surge in automated telemarketing calls, particularly to cellphones. The volume of robocalls has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion per month. Since public opinion polls typically appear as an unknown or unfamiliar number, they are easily mistaken for telemarketing appeals.
— In addition, new technologies sometimes erroneously flag survey calls – even those conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – as “spam.” Numerous cellphone operating systems, cellular carriers and third-party apps block incoming phone numbers or warn users that incoming numbers are from potential scammers, fraudsters or spammers.

N. Carolina dufus indicted in election fraud
dowless.jpg— Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative at the center of a Republican congressional campaign in North Carolina tainted by evidence of ballot fraud, was indicted by a grand jury on seven counts, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.
— Dowless, who worked for Mark Harris, the Republican nominee in the state’s 9th Congressional District, was arrested and charged with three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two counts of possession of absentee ballot, the Wake County district attorney’s office said.


from HuffPo/NYT

— Michael Cohen testifies before Congress on Wednesday, but his opening statement was published by The New York Times late Tuesday.

— In it, the disgraced former attorney to President Donald Trump painted a picture of a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat” sitting in the Oval Office. Then, in scathing detail, Cohen listed examples of each in action.

— Here are some of the most stunning excerpts from the statement:

  • “Mr. Trump is a racist”
    “He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States. “While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. “And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”
  • Trump has a very low opinion of his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
    “Mr. Trump had frequently told me and others that his son Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. And also, that Don Jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone – and certainly not without checking with his father.”
  • How Trump dodged service in Vietnam
    “Mr. Trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when I asked for medical records, he gave me none and said there was no surgery. He told me not to answer the specific questions by reporters but rather offer simply the fact that he received a medical deferment. He finished the conversation with the following comment. ‘You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.’”
  • Trump is not a patriot
    “The sad fact is that I never heard Mr. Trump say anything in private that led
    me to believe he loved our nation or wanted to make it better. In fact, he did the opposite.“When telling me in 2008 that he was cutting employees’ salaries in half ― including mine ― he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million IRS tax refund, and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving ‘someone like him’ that much money back.”
  • Trump ‘reveled’ in refusing to pay his bills
    “One of my more common responsibilities was that Mr. Trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses, that were owed money for their services and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. When I advised Mr. Trump of my success, he actually reveled in it.”
  • Trump knew about Roger Stone and Wikileaks
    “In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.’”
  • One of Cohen’s biggest regrets: Lying to Melania Trump
    “He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly – and she did not deserve that.”
  • Trump repaid Stormy Daniels hush money with personal checks
    “I am providing a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump personally signed from his personal bank 14 account on August 1, 2017 – when he was President of the United States – pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me – the word used by Mr. Trump’s TV lawyer ― for the illegal hush money I paid on his behalf. This $35,000 check was one of 11 check installments that was paid throughout the year – while he was President.“The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws.”
  • Cohen warns Trump: I’m not your ‘fixer’ anymore
    “For those who question my motives for being here today, I understand. I have lied, but I am not a liar. I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your ‘fixer,’ Mr. Trump.”
  • The identity of Individual #1
    “For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump.”This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

via Politico


House votes to dump Trump “emergency”
— 13 in GOP join in. But 245-182 margin is not veto-proof.

Thousands of migrant kids suffered sexual abuse in U.S. custody
…  according to Department of Health and Human Services documents given to Axios by Rep. Ted Deutch’s office.
… From October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints. This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff.

Meet the archeologist who’s decoding the Mueller investigation
Vice News
— Adrienne Cobb’s an unlikely candidate for legal sleuthing. She’s a recovering heroin addict with no experience in journalism, and a preference for “Ghost Adventures” over “Reliable Sources” (“I hate cable news,” she says.) She has dyed red hair, rocks Daria-esque glasses, and tends to look at the floor when she isn’t absorbed by a screen.
— She spends her free time — and some of her office time, too — tracking every update in Mueller’s probe, big or small. She’s part of an online community of digital sleuths, amateur journalists, and statisticians, who commit hours upon hours of their lives to all things Mueller. Some have launched careers out of obsessively tracking the investigation’s twists and turns.

For Cobb, keeping track of Mueller’s work is about helping others feel less “helpless” in a wilderness of fast-paced, complex news that doesn’t always add up.

Up to his eyeballs in voter fraud, Mark Harris declines
to run again in North Carolina re-match
—-> “Health concerns.” He’s gonna spend more time with his … doctors.

Stunner: Supreme Court rules against Big Tobacco
USA Today/Yahoo
— The Supreme Court refused Monday to block Florida smokers’ lawsuits against two major tobacco companies.
— The justices denied petitions from Altria Group and British American Tobacco seeking a way out of eight challenges filed by smokers and relatives of deceased smokers that could cost them billions of dollars.
— The cases name Philip Morris, since acquired by Altria, and R.J. Reynolds, since taken over by British American, as defendants.

Lawsuit seeks to end legal prostitution in Nevada
Las Vegas Review-Journal
— A woman who says she was trafficked in Nevada brothels filed a federal lawsuit Monday to try to end legal prostitution in the state.
— Rebekah Charleston, an anti-trafficking activist who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, alleges in the 28-page complaint that Nevada violates federal law by allowing brothels to operate in its rural counties.

Pakistan vows retaliation after Indian airstrikes,
as hostilities rise between nuclear powers

— Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to retaliate against India after it conducted airstrikes on an alleged terrorist training camp across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, in a significant escalation of hostilities between the two nuclear armed powers.
— “India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” Khan’s office said in a statement.
The apparent strike took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and came in response to what India said was “credible intelligence” about potential terrorist attacks, Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters in New Delhi.

Cohen to testify Trump committed crimes while in office
Wall Street Journal

— Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, will for the first time publicly accuse the president of criminal conduct while in office related to a hush-money payment to a porn star, a person familiar with his planned testimony before Congress said.
— Appearing on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Cohen also will make public some of Mr. Trump’s private financial statements and allege that Mr. Trump at times inflated or deflated his net worth for business and personal purposes, including avoiding paying property taxes, the person said. The financial statements were developed by Mr. Trump’s accountant, the person said. The Wall Street Journal hasn’t seen those statements.
— Mr. Cohen’s testimony is expected to focus on his “behind-the-scenes” accounts of working for Mr. Trump for over a decade, a period during which Mr. Cohen will say he witnessed “lies, racism and cheating” by Mr. Trump, the person said.
— Mr. Cohen is expected to recount racist remarks Mr. Trump allegedly made to him, including instances in which Mr. Trump allegedly questioned the intelligence of African-Americans and criticized their lifestyle choices, the person said.
— Mr. Cohen’s planned testimony comes 13 months after The Wall Street Journal first reported that Mr. Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to former adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence after she alleged having a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

Michigan May Stop cops From Seizing Property whenever they feel like it
— In 2017, Michigan police seized property from nearly 1,000 people who were never convicted of a crime. Some of them were never even arrested.
— Those numbers—the result of new reporting requirements passed by the state in 2015—have spurred a bipartisan push among Michigan lawmakers to further restrict the practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to seize cash and property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is never convicted, or sometimes never charged, with a crime.

‘A Terrible Tragedy’: Mom, Teen Daughter Allegedly Killed 5 Family Members in Pennsylvania Home
A 45-year-old mother and her teenage daughter are behind bars in Pennsylvania, where authorities allege they killed five relatives — including 9-year-old twin sisters — inside a Morrisville apartment as part of an alleged murder-suicide pact.
— Both Shana Decree and her 19-year-old daughter Dominique Decree face five counts of criminal homicide along with a single count of conspiracy, according to court records
— An affidavit released Tuesday morning alleges Shana told investigators the killings were carried out as part of a murder-suicide pact entered into by everyone living in the apartment.
— She allegedly told police even the children were suicidal, and had said they “wanted to die.”

Manafort lawyers: Don’t let poor little Paulie die in prison
“Mr. Manafort has been personally and financially devestated [sic] as a result of his conduct and the forfeiture he has agreed to.”
——> $500 an hour and his lawyers can’t use spellcheck?

The U.S. military blocked Internet access to an infamous Russian entity seeking to sow discord among Americans during the 2018 midterms, several U.S. officials said, a warning that the group’s operations against the United States are not cost-free.
…. WaPost

The ‘Hidden Mechanisms’ That Help Those Born Rich to Excel in Elite Jobs
The Atlantic
— The authors describe a series of “hidden mechanisms”—such as unwritten codes of office behavior and informal systems of professional advancement—that benefit the already affluent while disadvantaging those with working-class background.

Parliament to vote: Delay Brexit crash by 3 months?
— Prime Minister Theresa May promised on Tuesday to allow parliament to delay Brexit by up to three months so that Britain would not crash out of the European Union without a deal on March 29.
— The dramatic reversal in May’s steadfast strategy came after threats of mass resignations from her own ministers and calls for a second referendum on Britain’s EU membership from the main opposition Labour Party.

San Francisco To Expunge Thousands Of Marijuana Convictions

Appeals court upholds decision allowing AT&T to buy Time Warner
——-> What corporate wants, corporate gets

Payday lenders preying on borrowers escape crackdown as rules rolled back
The Guardian
— Interest rates reach nearly 700% in some states as debate over how to regulate payday loans continues.

“Citizen of the Year” and LGBT leader, accused of torching own home
Detroit News
joly.jpeg— When the home of Nikki Joly burned down in 2017, killing five pets, the FBI investigated it as a hate crime.
— After all, the transgender man and gay rights activist had received threats after having a banner year in this conservative town.
— In the prior six months, he helped open the city’s first gay community center, organized the first gay festival and, after 18 years of failed attempts, helped lead a bruising battle for an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays.
For his efforts, a local paper named him the Citizen of the Year.
— Authorities later determined the fire was intentionally set, but the person they arrested came as a shock. It was the citizen of the year — Nikki Joly.

Today’s Dog & Pony Show
Trump-Kim so-called summit in Hanoi
(No Link)
Sound & fury, signifying nothing.

Bone spurs healing nicely, PFC Trump marches toward the mess hall in Vietnam.


Despite the headlines, world becoming more peaceful, researchers say
The Daily Mail
— The world has become a more peaceful place with fewer people dying in armed conflicts, scientists have claimed.
— Experts from Norway’s Peace Research Institute Oslo examined statistics from ‘all possible’ wars, the countries involved, and how many people were killed.
–Research director Håvard Mokleiv Nygård suggested the Korean War in the early 1950s may have been a ‘breaking point’ signaling a change in the number of people killed in battle.



Monitoring Facebook content is driving workers nuts
… They’re coping with sex, drugs, guns in the workplace
— Facebook content moderators in the U.S. have resorted to extreme measures to cope with the stress of viewing graphic and offensive material on repeat, according to a new report from The Verge.
— In a wide-ranging exploration of working conditions at Facebook’s content moderation facility in Arizona, which is operated by a vendor called Cognizant, The Verge described an office where employees cope with intense stress by using drugs and having sex at work. One employee told The Verge that he even brought a gun to work because he feared retaliation from other former employees.
— The moderators are reportedly paid $15 per hour to work through a queue of content that could range from offensive jokes to potential threats to videos depicting murder.

No such thing as a dangerous neighborhood
City Lab
Serious violence is extremely concentrated in very particular places and, most importantly, among very particular people. Dispelling the notion of “dangerous neighborhoods,” extensive research on geographic concentration has consistently found that around half of all crime complaints or incidents of gun violence concentrated at about 5 percent of street segments or blocks in a given city. Moving past “violent communities,” sophisticated analysis of social networks have demonstrated that homicides and shootings are strongly concentrated within small social networks within cities—and that there is even further concentration of violence within these social networks.
… less than 1 percent of a city’s population—the share involved in what we call “street groups” (gangs, sets, and crews)—is generally connected to over 50 percent of the city’s shootings and homicides.

Measles returns to Costa Rica, courtesy of French wing-nut family
The Independent
— An unvaccinated French boy is suspected of having reintroduced measles to Costa Rica after the Central American country had been free of the disease for five years.
— It is unclear why the five-year-old French tourist had never received a measles jab, but the arrival of the highly contagious, potentially deadly disease in a country that has been measles-free since 2014 is likely to increase anxiety about the effects of the worldwide anti-vaccine movement.
— The reintroduction of measles to Costa Rica comes a month after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that “vaccine hesitancy” is in the top 10 of the worst health threats facing humanity in 2019.

Duh. Wisconsin dean who attacked 11-year-old won’t be back at school
The Capital Times
— The student’s mother, Mikiea Price, who is also a substitute teacher told Madison365 she saw security video where Rob Mueller-Owens, the school’s dean of students, threw her 11-year-old daughter to the ground. 

Another bystander shooting in New Orleans
Nurse, 36, killed on Bourbon Street
… Since Friday, seven guns have been confiscated during arrests on Bourbon Street. The police chief urged people to leave their weapons at home as celebrations rev up as part of Mardi Gras season.

Medical marijuana is legal. Can Florida cops still search your car if they smell pot?
Miami Herald
— If the pungent aroma of weed is wafting from your ride, South Florida cops usually have a green light to search your car.
— But with medical marijuana now allowed in Florida, along with some production of the similar-smelling hemp plant, a Miami man is challenging whether cops had the legal right to search his truck based on odor alone.
— The novel defense is being employed by Victor Chavez, who was found with a stash of marijuana hidden his truck in Southwest Miami-Dade last year. His lawyer says cops violated his constitutional right against an unlawful search and seizure.
— “The legalization of marijuana for a rapidly growing number of Floridians and businesses means that marijuana odor, in and of itself, is no longer an indication of criminality in Florida,” Assistant Miami-Dade Public Defender Fan Li wrote in his motion.

Dude arrested after shooting down drone that was tracking missing dog
NY Daily News
022419_coppa_drone_shooter012— An angry Long Island man pulled a Clint Eastwood on a drone that was hovering over his St. James property, allegedly using his shotgun to blast the high-flying gadget out of the sky, police said Sunday.
— Gerard Chasteen, 26, allegedly fired off three shells at the Mavic 2 Zoom drone, which was soaring around looking for a missing dog named Dezie at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, cops said.
— Not far away, the drone operators, Lynn Fodale and Teddy Henn, who volunteer with the pet-finding group Missing Angels Long Island, were puzzled when the gizmo suddenly went dead.
— When they met the sharpshooter, he immediately copped to downing the $2,000 drone — simply because he didn’t like it passing through his air space, according to Fodale.
— “Did you shoot down our drone?” Fodale asked.
— “Yeah, you can’t fly over my house,” Chasteen fired back, according to Fodale.

In prison almost 4 decades, wrongfully convicted man gets $21 million
SF Chronicle
coley— The city of Simi Valley, California, has reached a $21 million settlement with a man wrongly imprisoned for nearly 40 years in the killing of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son.
— Craig Coley was released in 2017 after he was pardoned by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who said DNA evidence and re-investigation proved Coley’s innocence.
— Coley’s DNA was not on the victim’s bedsheet, which contained DNA from an unknown man. Coley had an alibi for the time of the slayings and investigators later disproved testimony from an eyewitness who placed him at the scene.
— His parents died while he was in prison after mortgaging their home to pay his legal bills.
— Soon after Coley was pardoned, a judge declared him factually innocent. Simi Valley police have not arrested anyone else in the killings.

Democrats have thrown their weight behind a measure that would extend and expand Social Security — largely by asking high earners to pony up, along with a gradual increase in the Social Security tax rate that applies to workers’ income.

Britain’s Labour party will back call for 2nd Brexit vote

Rising housing costs distorting US job market
Pacific Standard
— In US urban centers, between 1960 and 2016, inflation-adjusted rents increased by 61 percent, and home values by 112 percent, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period, median renter incomes increased by only 5 percent, while homeowner incomes increased by only 50 percent.
… When rising rents drive workers to live too far from available jobs to apply for them, businesses and the economy suffer as well. It’s not hard, after all, to imagine a coffee shop or restaurant that forgoes business, and economic growth, because it isn’t able to hire the workers it needs to provide adequate customer service.

US tax refunds plunge 17%
—  Treasury claims it’s “abberational”
<> A call to restore deductions 
The Hill
… lawmakers from both parties in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey arguing that the deduction cap unfairly punishes their voters.  (as it was designed to.)

A civilization on the road to collapse?
A Cambridge historian weighs the factors … wealth inequality and climate change among them.

You Tube’s Suicide tips for children: A peditrician’s expose’
— Free Hess, a pediatrician and mother, had learned about the chilling videos over the summer when another mom spotted one on YouTube Kids.
— She said that minutes into the clip from a children’s video game, a man appeared on the screen — offering instructions on how to commit suicide.
— “I was shocked,” Hess said, noting that since then, the scene has been spliced into several more videos from the popular Nintendo game Splatoon on YouTube and YouTube Kids, a video app for children. Hess, from Ocala, Fla., has been blogging about the altered videos and working to get them taken down amid an outcry from parents and child health experts, who say such visuals can be damaging to children.


Men-only draft is unconstitutional …
3 airlines that could watch you at your seat …
Senate would love to take student loans direct from paycheck …
Apps sending your secrets to F-Book …
Botswana to cull elephant herd …


Judge: Draft registration for men only is “unconstitutional and must end.”
Times of San Diego
— U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller in Houston agreed with the San Diego-based National Coalition for Men and granted its request for summary judgment in a class action suit.
— “While historical restrictions on women in the military may have justified past discrimination, men and women are now ‘similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft.’ … If there ever was a time to discuss ‘the place of women in the Armed Services,’ that time has passed.”
… the ruling came in the form of a declaratory judgment and not an injunction, meaning that the court didn’t specifically order the government how to change Selective Service to make it constitutional.

Three of the world’s biggest airlines have admitted some of their planes have cameras installed on the backs of passenger seats. American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have new seat-back entertainment systems that include cameras. They swear their purpose not to spy on passengers….

Kraft’s challenge now: to keep up the facade
Boston Globe
— Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft faces one of his greatest personal challenges as he tries to protect his image as one of the most prominent business leaders in Boston, and a civic philanthropist with a long record of supporting causes to help downtrodden and disenfranchised even as he has amassed great wealth and fame.
— In the years before he was identified by the Jupiter police as one of 25 men they had allegedly videotaped receiving sex from the exploited spa workers, Kraft contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars through his charitable foundations to projects aimed at curbing the sexual exploitation of children and supporting immigrants, low-income women, and needy children from Asia.

Jihadi Jack wants to come back to Britain,
misses mum, pasties and Doctor Who
Business Insider

After converting to Islam while living in Jordan, Jack Letts says he “spent two years researching” the religion and “came to a sort of ridiculous” conclusion “that the right thing to do was to come to Syria.”

Pope calls for ‘all-out battle’ against sexual abuse …
but is short on specifics about next steps
dog-pony-juggle— VAt a Mass marking the end of an unprecedented Vatican summit, Pope Francis on Sunday called for an “all-out battle” against clerical sexual abuse, saying the church needed to take “every necessary measure” to end the scourge.
— But his remarks were short on specifics and roundly criticized by victims of abuse, who said the four-day summit amounted to a training seminar that concluded with few concrete steps and raised points that should have been obvious years ago.
….. But larger questions, including how the church will handle the investigation and discipline of bishops accused of misconduct, remain unresolved.
….. “I don’t think we can rely on the institution to clean up its act,” said Peter Saunders, a sex abuse survivor and former member of the pope’s commission on the protection of minors. He said the pontiff’s speech was “lukewarm” and made points “he has been talking about for years.”
“There hasn’t been any firm commitment to eject from the church the perpetrators of this crime,” Saunders said.

Colorado, N. Mexico move to give Electoral College votes to whoever wins popular vote
— The plan only goes into effect if the law passes in states representing an electoral majority. That threshold is 270 votes, which is the same number needed to win the presidency.
— So far, 11 states — including New York, California and New Jersey — have joined the effort along with the District of Columbia, putting the effort 98 votes short of its goal.

Klan-loving newspaper owner
hires black editor after pushback

GOP plan: Deduct student loan payments from paychecks
<> Senate bill clearly written by the thieving student loan industry.

You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook.
Wall Street Journal
<> Wall Street Journal testing reveals how the social-media giant collects a wide range of private data from developers; ‘This is a big mess’<>
— Millions of smartphone users confess their most intimate secrets to apps, including when they want to work on their belly fat or the price of the house they checked out last weekend. Other apps know users’ body weight, blood pressure, menstrual cycles or pregnancy status.
— Unbeknown to most people, in many cases that data is being shared with Facebook.
— The social-media giant collects intensely personal information from many popular smartphone apps just seconds after users enter it, even if the user has no connection to Facebook, according to testing done by The Wall Street Journal. The apps often send the data without any prominent or specific disclosure, the testing showed.
— At least 11 popular apps, totaling tens of millions of downloads, have been sharing sensitive data entered by users. The findings alarmed some privacy experts who reviewed the Journal’s testing.
— In the Journal’s testing, Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, the most popular heart-rate app on Apple’s iOS, made by California-based Azumio Inc., sent a user’s heart rate to Facebook immediately after it was recorded.
— Flo Health Inc.’s Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, which claims 25 million active users, told Facebook when a user was having her period or informed the app of an intention to get pregnant, the tests showed.
— Real-estate app, owned by Move Inc., a subsidiary of Wall Street Journal parent News Corp , sent the social network the location and price of listings that a user viewed, noting which ones were marked as favorites, the tests showed.
— None of those apps provided users any apparent way to stop that information from being sent to Facebook.

Charges against Patriot owner reveal sleazy world of Florid sex slavery
— “These women are being treated like cattle,” Sheriff Snyder said. He said of the arrested men: “Any thoughts that they didn’t know they were trafficked women were hogwash.”

There goes another one…
Pillar of the community tumbles into sex slave muck
TC Palm
— The president of the John’s Island Foundation and a former board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County is one of 173 people arrested or wanted in Indian River County on prostitution charges connected to a human trafficking sting.
— Kenneth Wessel, 75, of Indian River Shores, was charged with soliciting prostitution. He was arrested Wednesday and has since been released on $1,000 bail.
— Wessel resigned Thursday, said a representative of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County.

R. Kelly is “doing down hard” criminal defense attorney predicts
— When R. Kelly was arrested on child-pornography charges in 2002, after a videotape emerged that purported to show him having sex with an underage girl, he managed to have the case dismissed through a combination of skillful lawyering, repeated delays (the verdict did not come down for six years), and the fact that the girl chose not to testify against him.
— The end result was that he had at least 11 more years to record, tour, and according to charges leveled against the singer by a Cook County judge today, sexually abuse more underage girls.
— He will not get away so easily this time, according to criminal defense attorney Anthony Salerno, who has handled numerous sex-crime cases over the past 25 years: “He may end up in prison for 15-to-20-plus years.”
… “we can assume that multiple victims testified already at the grand jury [this week], and it’s been reported there is at least one video. It’s going to be tough to pay his way out of this.”

An Arizona cop threatened to arrest a 12-year-old journalist.
She wasn’t backing down.
— When a small-town Arizona cop stopped a 12-year-old reporter who was chasing down a story tip on Monday, he probably had no idea what he was getting himself into.
— Hilde Kate Lysiak, the preteen journalist whose exploits have inspired a Scholastic book series and an upcoming TV show, made a name for herself in 2016 by being the first to report on a grisly murder in her hometown, then firing back at the haters who suggested that a 9-year-old girl shouldn’t be hanging around crime scenes. Since then, she has continued to break news about bank robberies, alleged rapes and other lurid crimes in the Orange Street News, the paper that she publishes out of her parents’ home in Selinsgrove, Pa.
Hilde Lysiak, on the job 3 years ago, at age 9.

Booze sellers officially worried about legal pot
“Consumers will continue to look to cannabis products over alcohol for occasions when they are feeling creative, need to get motivated, or seeking health, medical or wellness benefits.”

NJ Senate passes bill:
No tax returns, no run for White House here

The Hill

The well-armed militia keeps mowing ’em down
14 shooting victims in one day in Baltimore
Baltimore Sun

NY ready with charges against Manafort if he gets Trump pardon
— New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is ready to file an array of tax and other charges against Paul Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter, something seen as an insurance policy should the president exercise his power to free the former aide. Skirting laws that protect defendants from being charged twice for the same offense has been one of Vance’s challenges.

Super Bowl of prostitution…
Patriots owner arrested in sex sting
Yahoo Sports

Unhappy Ending? Jupiter police say they have video evidence of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft engaged in illegal sexual acts.

— Robert Kraft’s arrest occurred during a sweeping and expansive sting launched by multiple departments, aimed at breaking up a prostitution and sex-trafficking ring in several counties in central Florida. The sting centered on multiple massage parlors and at least two women identified as co-conspirators in the operation.
— It also involved the execution of at least eight search warrants and the seizure of cash and property assets valued in the millions. Kraft’s arrest in Jupiter, Florida, according to authorities, was centered on simple solicitation.

Tax cuts hand banks a $28 billion windfall
<> Says who? Lefty think tank? Nope. FDIC

Your Google searches can be used to predict when you’re about to go to the emergency room, researchers find
— That’s according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open from researchers at Penn Medicine, which found that in the week before an emergency room visit, patients conduct nearly three times as many health-related searches, or 16 percent of their total. Google has previously disclosed that about 1 in 20 searches, or 5 percent, are for health information.

Court error revealed witness’s identity
then mom-son robbery team executed him
USA Today
tblack— Local court officials mistakenly released secret court documents identifying David Henderson’s occupation and other important clues to a mother-and-son robbery team that he had informed on to police detectives, according to an Arapahoe County, Colorado criminal affidavit released Thursday.tinablack
— On Oct. 12, 2016, Henderson, a car mechanic, was shot 10 times and killed in front of the Denver home where he lived with his mother. Prosecutors say the motive for the killing was Henderson’s cooperation with detectives in describing details surrounding a marijuana shop robbery two months earlier.
— The robbers who court documents say orchestrated the execution-style hit, Terance Black, 26, and his mother, Tina Black, 51, were both sentenced to life without parole Thursday.

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors
— As OxyContin addiction spurred a national nightmare, a member of the family that has reaped billions of dollars from the painkiller boasted that sales exceeded his “fondest dreams,” according to a secret court document.

Cohen’s appearance at House hearing …
The ultimate Dog & Pony show?
By Stanley M. Baird, Penn. State U.
In The Conversation
dog-pony-juggle— Convicted perjurer Michael Cohen’s testimony next week at a congressional hearing promises to be a political spectacle.
— But Cohen’s appearance may not actually be legitimate under congressional rules.
— In Cohen’s case, the Government Oversight and Reform Committee’s description of the issues it will explore in his hearing include “the President’s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election … the President’s compliance with campaign finance laws…the President’s business practices …” even the “accuracy of the President’s public statements.”
— These subjects have nothing to do with the committee’s jurisdiction.
* Baird is a former counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives

Charge: Husband, wife stole >$1 million from church in 17-year scam
NBC News

College hoop star’s shoe explosion knocks $1 billion off Nike value
The Independent

Botswana mulls hunting elephants for pet food
— After months of public meetings and consultations, the report by ministers also recommends the “establishment of elephant meat canning” for pet food.
— The number of elephants in Botswana is estimated to be about 130,000, which some argue is too many for the ecosystem – there is increasing conflict between wildlife and people.
— But others say the country’s tourism has grown dramatically since the ban came into place and that lifting it would affect the country’s international reputation for conservation.

YouTube axes comments on tens of millions of videos in crackdown on child sexual exploitation
— A video blogger this week published a report on YouTube documenting how comments and recommendations on the platform direct users to potentially sexual videos of children, allowing them to participate in a “soft-core pedophile ring,” according to the report. YouTube also terminated more than 400 channels on Thursday that posted the comments on videos featuring children.

Net-connected cell phones come to Cuba
— In the 2 1/2 months since Cuba allowed its citizens internet access via cellphones, fast-moving changes are subtle but palpable as Cubans challenge government officials online, post photos of filthy school bathrooms and drag what was one of the world’s least-connected countries into the digital age. Communist authorities, in turn, are having to learn how to deal with more visible pressure coming from outside of party-controlled popular and neighborhood committees.

Half-million saw her post saying she was being sex-trafficked by Uber driver … but it wasn’t true
— “The person that posted it got into the wrong car and there was a language barrier,” police told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s as simple as that. This had nothing to do with sex trafficking.”

Florida mayor, accused of medical malpractice, gets in shootout with cops
Fox News local
— It started early Thursday morning when Pasco County Sheriff’s Office SWAT officers showed up at the home. They were there to serve a warrant related to allegations Dale Massad was still practicing medicine despite having his medical license revoked in 1992.
<> Sheriff: “He’s lucky he’s not dead”
<> Cops were called dozens of times to gun-nut mayor’s home
—  “I shot one of my smoke detectors because I couldn’t get up there to get it and it wouldn’t go off and it was 3 a.m.,” Massad said. “I have a gun all the time,” he said. “I have three guns.”

Hizzoner, Dale Massad, Port Richey’s First Citizen.


North Carolina to try again after stolen election

Prosecutors in trouble for handling of Epstein pervert case
The Hill
— Jeffrey Epstein was offered a plea deal sentencing him to 13 months in jail after he was accused of sex trafficking. The deal also gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution.

“One of the ugly facts laid bare in the Epstein plea deal is that many powerful people feel zero shame helping a billionaire who has molested girls as young as 14. Zero consequences. Crimes against kids happen not only because of the criminals but their support networks.”
— Jake Tapper, CNN

China banning millions of “untrustworthy” people from taking flights, trains
South China Morning Post
— Millions of Chinese individuals and businesses have been labelled as untrustworthy on an official blacklist banning them from any number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air or train, as the use of the government’s social credit system accelerates.
… authorities collected over 14.21 million pieces of information on the “untrustworthy conduct” of individuals and businesses, including charges of swindling customers, failing to repay loans, illegal fund collection, false and misleading advertising, as well as uncivilised behaviour such as taking reserved seats on trains or causing trouble in hospitals.

America’s professional elite: Affluent and miserable
NY Times
— Based on my own conversations with classmates and the research I began reviewing, the answer comes down to oppressive hours, political infighting, increased competition sparked by globalization, an “always-on culture” bred by the internet — but also something that’s hard for these professionals to put their finger on, an underlying sense that their work isn’t worth the grueling effort they’re putting into it.

High-tech skimmer lets thieves steal credit card info at gas stations

School bus driver OD’s on heroin, crashes; kids okay
NY Daily News
— A Newark school bus driver shuttling a dozen special needs students overdosed on heroin and crashed into a tree Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Responding medics used Narcan to revive the driver, 57-year-old Lisa Byrd, after she hit a tree at 14th Ave. and Jones St., Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose told reporters Wednesday.
— Police found suspected drug paraphernalia in the bus and are seeking a search warrant to test Byrd’s blood, Ambrose said.
— The 12 children, whose ages ranged from 5 to 13, weren’t badly injured in the crash. 

Cities burning recyclables now that China won’t take ’em
The Guardian
— The conscientious citizens of Philadelphia continue to put their pizza boxes, plastic bottles, yoghurt containers and other items into recycling bins.
— But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government.
— It’s a situation being replicated across the US as cities struggle to adapt to a recent ban by China on the import of items intended for reuse.

Automakers Could Give Police Control Over Your Self-Driving Car
— Police might be able to reroute cars or force them to pull over.

Sneaky health insurers use cash, gifts to sway employers’ benefit choices
— The insurance industry gives lucrative commissions and bonuses — from six-figure payouts to a chance to bat against Mariano Rivera — to the independent brokers who advise employers. Critics call the payments a “classic conflict of interest” that drive up costs.

MLB pitcher’s 3 dating rules win him honors as “worst boyfriend”
The Independent

#1 — No feelings!
#2 — No social media!
#3 — He can “sleep around”

Trevor Bauer: One strike, and you’re out.


Documents detail multimillion-dollar ties involving EPA official, secretive industry group
— The nation’s biggest coal-burning power companies paid a top lobbying firm millions of dollars to fight a wide range of Obama-era environmental rules, documents obtained by POLITICO reveal — shortly before one of the firm’s partners became President Donald Trump’s top air pollution regulator.
— Now that ex-partner, Bill Wehrum, is aggressively working to undo many of those same regulations at the EPA, where he is an assistant administrator in charge of issues including climate change, smog and power plants’ mercury pollution.

ERA Activist Jailed Without Bond for Exposing Breast in Virginia
Richmond Times-Dispatch
— A Richmond judge ordered a New York activist who exposed her breast outside the Capitol during a protest in support of the Equal Rights Amendment to remain in jail without bond on a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure until her court date on March 21.
— Holding someone without bond on a nonviolent misdemeanor is unusual. Supporters of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment said Michelle Renay Sutherland, 45, is a political prisoner.

Brooklyn DA: Prosecution of low-level marijuana cases down 98 percent
Brooklyn Eagle

Santa Cruz student indicted over “drug app”
UC Santa Crust SFist

Who’d have believed it?
NY City scammed FEMA out of millions after Superstorm Sandy
— In the days after Superstorm Sandy soaked the East Coast, New York City Department of Transportation workers cataloged the damage to the agency’s fleet of vehicles. That information was handed over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would give the city enough money to replace the damaged vehicles with new ones.
— Only one problem: Many of those vehicles were damaged before Sandy hit. Some hadn’t been operational in years, and had been marked for salvage long before the storm.

Dad asks dude: Please don’t smoke near my kids
Dude hops in car, rams whole family, kills mom
NY Post

“Dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth”
Coast Guard officer arrested in terror plot
In September 2017, Christopher Paul Hasson sent himself a draft letter that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and “identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for ‘focused violence’ in order to establish a white homeland,” prosecutors wrote.
“Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism,” Hasson wrote.

‘Empire’ Producers Consider Suspending Jussie Smollett
— Fox is considering removing Jussie Smollett from production on “Empire.” Sources close to the production told Variety that producers are weighing whether to suspend the actor after he was charged Wednesday in Chicago with filing a false police report.
<>Chicago cops: Smollett staged attack to boost profile, salary

Scientists: Stonehenge boulders were dragged 180 miles from quarry
— A team of archaeologists in the United Kingdom says it has traced dozens of Stonehenge’s massive rocks to two quarries in western Wales. The rocks, called bluestones after their bluish-gray hue, were transported 180 miles — dragged on wooden sleds by teams of men, the scientists believe — to form the inner circle of the monument that towers over the Salisbury Plain.

EU countries back copyright reforms aimed at Google, Facebook
… would force Google and Facebook Inc to pay publishers for news snippets and filter out copyright-protected content on YouTube or Instagram.
<> ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION: “A dim future for every made-in-the-EU platform, service and online community.”



‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates
— A POLITICO review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hints at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary.
>>>> Meanwhile, as the Russkies are focused on hacking America, in their own nation…
Toxic black snow blankets huge region of Siberia
The Guardian




Taiwan president: China’s getting more aggressive every day

More walking, more biking, and more danger on US streets
The Conversation
— Across the nation, cyclist fatalities have increased by 25 percent since 2010 and pedestrian deaths have risen by a staggering 45 percent. More people are being killed because cities are encouraging residents to walk and bike, but their roads are still dominated by fast-moving vehicular traffic. As my research has shown, this shifting mix can be deadly.

——–> Why has Trump declared the NYT the “enemy of the people?”
Because they’ve finally nailed him. Here are:
7 main points of the NYT bombshell
Raw Story

Socialism a dirty word in America? Not anymore
Voice of America
— “There’s a nagging sense that we are being screwed here, that there are things that are not available to Americans that could be in a rich country like this,” Dr. Richard D. Wolff, an economics professor and author of “Understanding Marxism,” told VOA. “So that there are some people like (billionaire Amazon owner) Jeff Bezos … and the rest of us can’t figure out how to get our kids through their last semester of college.”

Fed asset seizure vs. 1st Amendment in Backpages case
— Since the defendants’ arrests in April 2018, prosecutors “have created constant interference with the Defendants’ ability to defend this case,” states a January 2019 status report filed by their lawyers. “Virtually all of the Defendants’ assets have been seized, virtually all of the money in their attorneys’ trust accounts designated to fund the defense has been been seized or is effectively frozen,” and defense lawyers “may expose themselves to criminal liability if they use those funds to pay fees” from the case.

Nurses accused of releasing cockroaches to discredit Italian hospital
The Independent
First clue something was amiss? They were Madagascar roaches.

Lunatic gets 45-year sentence, sucker punches his own lawyer
— A Warrensville Heights man shocked a courtroom full of spectators Tuesday when he sucker-punched his own defense attorney after a judge sentenced him to 45 years in prison, witnesses told
— Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies took down David Chislton after the 42-year-old struck lawyer Aaron Brockler in the face with both of his handcuffed fists, the witnesses said. Chislton spurred an hours-long police standoff in 2017 when he pistol-whipped his girlfriend and set his apartment complex on fire.
— Brockler was visibly shaken up but seemed to be in good spirits as deputies and Cleveland EMTs wheeled him out of Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo’s courtroom on a stretcher.

Thousands agree: Let’s sell Montana to the Canadians
— The United States passed the $22 trillion mark in national debt last week, and one person thinks they have a clever idea to shave a sliver of that debt. The concept is simple — sell the state of Montana to the nation of Canada for a cool trillion dollars. Sales from snow in the Rocky Mountains is not included.
— The petition on says the U.S. debt is too exorbitant and that the great state of Montana is, well, useless. Many of the people from Montana who signed the petition and wrote comments agree with moving to Canada.
[-] Maybe a good idea because…
Huge torrents of bad water flowing from mines
RIMINI, Mont. (AP) — Every day many millions of gallons of water loaded with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals flow from some of the most contaminated mining sites in the U.S. and into surrounding streams and ponds without being treated, The Associated Press has found.
— That torrent is poisoning aquatic life and tainting drinking water sources in Montana, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and at least five other states.

Oregon lawmakers: Lower voting age to 16
The Hill

New therapeutic molecules developed at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health  show promise in reversing the memory loss linked to depression and aging.

ISIS wife dilemma: US-born citizens, even terrorists, can’t be barred from re-entry, experts say
Fox News
— She married into one of the most brutal terrorist outfits in history, but now Alabama native Hoda Muthana, 24, wants to come home along with the 18-month-son she had with an ISIS husband.
— The question is weighing heavily among American legislators, law enforcement and intelligence analysts. What to do with the wives of the ISIS fighters and what threat do they pose to the homeland?

Orlando to put self-driving buses on its streets
Orlando Sentinel
— Officials Tuesday revealed a glimpse of what could one day be the future of transit in Orlando by unveiling a small driverless bus that soon will maneuver around Lake Nona.
— The battery-powered vehicle, run by Beep software, is one of two that are expected to begin operating in southeast Orlando this spring. The shuttles are said to be quiet and smooth riding and can carry a maximum of 15 passengers, reaching speeds of 16 mph.

Clarence Thomas: Make it easier for politicians to sue for libel
— Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark 1964 ruling that made it harder for public figures to sue for defamation, a precedent that has served as powerful protection for the news media.
— Thomas took aim at the unanimous ruling in the libel case known as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in an opinion he wrote concurring with the court’s decision to end a defamation suit against Bill Cosby filed by a woman who said the comedian raped her in 1974.
— Thomas, one of the high court’s most conservative justices, said the 55-year-old decision was not rooted in the U.S. Constitution. That ruling and subsequent ones extending it “were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law,” Thomas wrote, expressing views in harmony with President Donald Trump, who often attacks the media and has advocated making it easier to sue news organizations and publishers for defamation.
<> Supreme Court puts limits on states’ fines and seizures
— The court ruled in favor of Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $42,000 Land Rover seized after he was arrested for selling a couple hundred dollars’ worth of heroin.

Philadelphia detective committed sex assaults
during interrogations, grand jury says

Philadelphia Inquirer

Arizona to begin demanding DNA from citizens
Arizona Republic

— No other state has anything this expansive in place, according to David Kaye, an associate dean for research at Penn State University who studies genetics and its application in law.
— Kaye said the proposed bill is one step away from requiring DNA from anyone who wants a driver’s license.
— Currently in Arizona, DNA is collected from anyone convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor sex crime. If passed, the bill would expand the current database exponentially.

Cuba says US preparing to invade Venezuela
— Cuba denied on Tuesday it has security forces in Venezuela and charged the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign of lies paving the way for military intervention in the South American country.
— U.S. President Donald Trump and members of the administration have charged that Cuba’s security forces and military control Venezuela’s and that troops are also on the ground there.



New football league was going under — until $250 million rescue
— Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon made a $250 million investment in the upstart Alliance of American Football and will become the league’s new chairman.
— The Athletic reported that the league was in danger of not making payroll on Friday, before Dundon’s investment. AAF co-founder Charlie Ebersol dismissed reports that the league was getting a financial bailout from Dundon.

Dairy famers under siege as new “milks” keep appearing
NBC News
— Perfect Day Foods is one company creating a synthetic milk alternative. It’s similar to milk in that it consists of casein and whey, the proteins found in milk. However, a cow was never used to produce their product. Instead, the animal-free dairy product is made in a lab using genetically engineered yeast programmed with DNA to produce the same proteins found in cow’s milk.

Trump aides ignored legal peril in pushing Saudi reactor plan
— Top White House aides ignored repeated warnings they could be breaking the law as they worked with former U.S. officials and a close friend of President Donald Trump to advance a multi-billion-dollar plan to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, Democratic lawmakers alleged in a report released Tuesday.
The House of Representatives Oversight Committee report said former national security adviser Michael Flynn and two aides promoted the plan with Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, and a consortium of U.S. firms led by retired military commanders and former White House officials.
— The effort, the report said, began before Trump took office and continued after his inauguration in January 2017 despite National Security Council staff warnings that a proposed transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia was being fast-tracked around a mandatory approval process in possible breach of the Atomic Energy Act.

Honda’s the latest to jump off HMS Brexit
Bye bye to at leat 3,500 jobs.

Inside the push to replace farm workers with robots
— Both human and machine have 10 seconds per plant. They must find the ripe strawberries in the leaves, gently twist them off the stems and tuck them into a plastic clamshell. Repeat, repeat, repeat, before the fruit spoils.
— One February afternoon, they work about an acre apart on a farm the size of 454 football fields: dozens of pickers collecting produce the way people have for centuries — and a robot that engineers say could replace most of them as soon as next year.
— The future of agricultural work has arrived here in Florida, promising to ease labor shortages and reduce the cost of food, or so says the team behind Harv, a nickname for the latest model from automation company Harvest CROO Robotics.

A flurry of robotic arms work tireless below the chassis of the Berry-4 automated strawberry harvesting robot as it picks through rows of strawberry plant.

Houston cops, after botched raid and under public pressure, vow no more no-knock warrants
Houston Chronicle

W. Virginia teachers on strike again
— West Virginia public school teachers are striking over a new bill that paves the way for charter schools and private school vouchers in a state that relies primarily on public education.
— In anticipation of the strike, almost all of the state’s 55 public school systems have canceled classes for Tuesday.
— The state’s House of Delegates and Senate have been going back and forth on different versions of a bill that would overhaul West Virginia’s educational system. According to the Charleston Gazette Mail, the education bill raises pay for teachers and increases funding for public schools, but also permits the creation of charter schools in the state, which currently has none.

Senator calls out newspaper editor who proposed using the KKK to “clean out” DC
Fox News
— Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., called on the editor of a small Alabama newspaper to resign Monday after publishing an editorial last week that called for the Ku Klux Klan to “night ride again” and “clean out D.C.”
— Goodloe Sutton, the editor and publisher at the 3,000-circulation Democrat-Reporter, toldThe Montgomery Advertiser that he penned the Feb. 14 column. The report said that he doubled down on the piece, and said, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

“Time for the Ku Klux Klan tonight ride again.
Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.
They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. This socialist communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simpleminded people.
People who do not understand the constitution do not like to be responsible.
Slaves, just freed after the Civil War, were not stupid. At times, they borrowed their former masters’ robes and horses and rode through the night to frighten some evil doer. Sometimes they had to kill one or two of them, but so what.
This is the same so what used when Democrats got us into World War I and World War II. Then they got us fighting in Korea. Next when the industrial northeast wanted more money, they got us in the Vietnam war, and now in the Middle East war.
If you haven’t noticed, they did away with the draft so their sons would not have to go into battle.
Seems like the Klan would be a welcome to raid the gated communities up there they called him compounds now.
Truly, they are the ruling class.”

Gunshot nation:
Former NFL player killed in dispute over parking space
Yahoo News
— Police have arrested 31-year-old Marcus Johnson on a first-degree murder charge, according to the Denver Post. Johnson reportedly told investigators that his neighbor, T.J. Cunningham, had attacked him earlier in the day, and the two men met near the high school to settle their dispute over a parking spot. According to ABC 7 in Denver, the feud between Cunningham and Johnson had been ongoing.
— Cunningham played at Colorado from 1992-1995, and recorded 239 yards on 21 receptions as a wide receiver. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the 1996 NFL draft. He only played in nine games, however, before injuries ended his career. He was working as an assistant principal at Hinkley High School in Aurora.
>>> Michigan shooting leaves 3 children, 1 adult dead (UPI)
>>>Illinois State Police wrongly issued gun license to Aurora shooter (Chicago Tribune)
>>> Father spinning gun on finger shoots self at daughter’s birthday party

Another take on why Amazon abandoned NY plan:
Fear of unions
The American Prospect
“Everyone knows the history of Amazon across the world, their labor relations and how they treat their workers—it’s notorious,” said George Miranda, the top Teamsters official in New York. “Now that they were coming into New York, the most progressive, union-heavy state, we were looking for neutrality where they would not fight unionization.”

North Carolina
A “coordinated” and “unlawful” election fraud put GOP candidate in
— The executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections revealed Monday that state officials had uncovered a “coordinated” and “unlawful” effort to collect absentee ballots on behalf of a Republican congressional candidate in the November election.
— Kim Strach made the comments at a closely watched public evidentiary hearing in Raleigh on Monday following a monthslong investigation into election irregularities in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The state board declined to certify the race last November and could order a new election after the hearing. Republican Mark Harris currently leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the race.

Roger Stone posts pix of judge in his case, along with crosshairs
— Roger Stone shared a since deleted conspiratorial post to Instagram on Monday including a photo of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will preside over his case, with what appeared to be a crosshairs above her head.


Dude tossed a napkin at a hockey game–
— cops ran DNA test, arrested him for 1993 murder
CBS News
— A businessman has been charged with fatally stabbing a Minneapolis woman in 1993 after investigators ran DNA evidence from the murder scene through a genealogy website and obtained his DNA from a discarded napkin. Jerry Westrom, 52, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Jeanne Ann “Jeanie” Childs.

Gene therapy scores first win in halting blindness
amd— A woman from Oxford has become the first person in the world to have gene therapy to try to halt the most common form of blindness in the Western world.
— Surgeons injected a synthetic gene into the back of Janet Osborne’s eye in a bid to prevent more cells from dying.
–It is the first treatment to target the underlying genetic cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Inmates break into a car — to save a baby
— According to the girl’s mother, it was her husband who absent-mindedly left the keys inside their Chevy Tahoe as their 1-year-old daughter, Dallas, quietly sat buckled in the backseat.



The town where retirees can’t retire
City Lab
— Like so many older Americans who find themselves still clocking into jobs past traditional retirement ages, some among Alcona County’s graying workforce are working because of economic necessity. But they’re also working because the town needs them to stay on the job.

Momentum for hyperloop is building
— “The more we see, the more we find the technology to be compelling,” said William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, a nonprofit governmental transportation agency. Virgin Hyperloop One is working on a proposed system to connect Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Market hustlers undermining N. Korea’s “socialist utopia”
… as private markets boom and more people cherish financial stability above political standing, the regime has been struggling to recruit young laborers.

Syrian gov’t launched 300 chemical attacks, study finds
— A study released on Sunday tallies the chemical weapons attacks over the course of the Syrian civil war, which has left hundreds of thousands dead. At least 336 have occurred, according to authors Tobias Schneider and Theresa Lütkefend of the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute.
— That’s a number higher than previously known — and “we suspect that the real number may still be significantly higher,” they write.

W. Virginia woman who called Michelle Obama an ‘ape in heels’ stole $18,000 from FEMA
NY Daily News
— A former non-profit director who lost her job in 2016 after she called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — all of which was meant for flood victims.
— Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted last week to falsely registering for benefits after the deadly June 2016 flooding hit West Virginia, where she resides, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. The Clay County woman claimed her home was damaged and she was forced to stay in a rental unit. However, those claims were not true, the office said.



8 years ago, Supremes did WalMart a favor, blocking sex bias lawsuits, but now…
Another group of female workers suing WalMart
The Guardian
… Jenny Hicks worked at a Walmart in the same county from 1997 to 2000. “I trained a lot of managers, and I missed out on a lot of raises,” said Hicks. “I trained men who made more than me, told I couldn’t get a raise and told I couldn’t get promoted yet I was training them for the job I wanted to do.”

Whack-job Maine governor spent $20,000 tax dollars at Trump hotel
Portland Press Herald
— Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and his staff racked up more than $20,000 in costs in 2017 and 2018 staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
— Receipts that showed taxpayers covered roughly $170,000 in out-of-state travel for the governor and his staff during those two years. Of those costs, $22,000 went toward stays at the Trump family’s hotel in Washington, D.C.
— The state was reimbursed for $124 of that amount.

Suspect killed, 5 bystanders shot in downtown New Orelans
…. Ferguson said uniformed NOPD officers “attempted to engage for questioning” a person of interest in an armed robbery that happened in the 6th District last week. Officers approached the person at an RTA bus stop at Canal Street and Elk Place around 6:45 p.m.
— The person pulled a weapon and began firing at two officers, Ferguson said. NOPD officers returned fire, he said.
— Five innocent bystanders at the bus stop were struck, Ferguson said. One of them is in critical condition and is in surgery, he said, and the others are in stable condition.
— Ferguson said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether the bystanders were struck by bullets from the officers’ guns or from the gunman’s weapon.
… “It was a pretty tumultuous weekend,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said, referencing the multiple shootings reported throughout the city over the last few days.

NY cops: Let us shoot down drones
Wall Street Journal

UK lawmakers fuming, threaten to regulate Facebook
The Guardian
“Digital gangsters.”

Pro weightlifter moves SUV after crash, saves victim
— “He was talking about his legs, how he couldn’t feel his legs,” Belcher said.
— The man was lying halfway out of the smashed driver’s side window. He couldn’t move and was blocked in by a sign pole.
— “From there, I just kind of got tunnel vision,” Belcher said. “And then I grabbed the back, where the window was smashed out and lifted up and started pushing.”




“Ancestry-technique” helps Alaska cops identify
suspect in dorm murder 25 years ago
Fox News
A relatively new type of genetic testing was credited Friday with helping authorities in Alaska solve a case in which a 20-year-old woman was found brutally murdered in the bathroom of a university dorm room more than 25 years ago.
— On Friday, a 44-year-old man working as a nurse across the country in Auburn, Maine, was arrested in connection with the 1993 cold case killing of Sophie Sergie, who was found to have been sexually assaulted, stabbed multiple times and shot in her head, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Oakland teachers gonna walk Thursday unless…
ABC News

Cop’s lies led to deadly Houston shootout
The police say Gerald Goines, a narcotics officer who has been with the police department for more than 30 years, said on the search warrant affidavit that he had seen a confidential informant go to the house and leave with what appeared to be heroin. Police now believe that story was false.

Four dead after Mississippi hostage standoff
CBS News

Dep’t of Interior is kind of tired of answering your questions
——> They’d much prefer you look away while they’re plundering public lands

“Nanny issues” caused to Fox blabber
to quit seeking UN envoy post
— Former Fox News host and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew Saturday from consideration as UN ambassador in the wake of information that she had employed an immigrant nanny who wasn’t legally allowed to work in the U.S., sources told Bloomberg.

Huge “Remain” march, and maybe public vote, 
planned for as Brexit crash-out nears
The Guardian
— Campaigners against Theresa May’s “my deal or no deal” Brexit strategy are planning to mobilise the public and politicians for a showdown over the UK’s future in Europe in the final six days before Britain is due to leave the EU.

Beginning to look like Jussie Smollett attack was fake
Yahoo News
— The two brothers who were interrogated by police investigating the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett purchased the rope that was found around the “Empire” actor’s neck, sources told ABC News Saturday.
— Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope — allegedly used in an attack that Smollett described to police as laced with racial and homophobic slurs — at an ACE Hardware store, sources said.
— Detectives have now shifted the investigation to determining whether Smollett made up the entire story.
>>> Arrested Nigerian Brothers in Jussie Smollett Case Both Filed for Bankruptcy After Mounting Debt

Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislative leaders have reached a deal in principle on how to tax and regulate marijuana in New Jersey after months of negotiations, paving the way to bringing legal weed to the Garden State.

First of many legal challenges filed over fake National Emergency
— Public Citizen, a consumer rights think tank, filed the complaint Friday evening on behalf of a nature preserve and three landowners in southern Texas who’ve been told the government will seek to build sections of the wall on their property once funding becomes available.

Police: Gunman who killed 5 civilians, wounded 5 cops was being fired
Daily Herald
— An Aurora, Illinois man who was in the process of being fired from his job started a shooting spree in his workplace Friday afternoon that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with his own death.
— The shooting occurred in the 29,000-square-foot Henry Pratt manufacturing warehouse at 641 Archer Ave.
— Authorities said the shooter began firing a Smith & Wesson handgun either during or shortly after an afternoon meeting in which he was being terminated from a job he held for 15 years.
— Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the shooter as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora. She said he acted alone.

20-year sentence looms for Manafort
— Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller said in a new court filing that President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort should serve between 19.5 and 24.5 years in prison for the financial crimes for which he was convicted in a Virginia court last August.

Kaepernick’s collusion settlement with NFL: $60 million?
The Week
— The NFL and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced Friday that they have reached a settlement over Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit, The Washington Post reports. Kaepernick had sued the league after he was apparently blacklisted from playing football due to his protests during the national anthem; he has been out of the sport for the past two seasons.
— While the terms of the settlement were not revealed, and the resolution is subject to a confidentiality agreement, NFL columnist Mike Freeman reported that “team officials are speculating to me [that] the NFL paid Kaepernick in the $60 million to $80 million range.”



Chicago White Sox staffers, at spring training in Florida, bravely decide to carry on despite the dangers of the NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Thank God for our National Pastime!

Now here’s a real emergency:
Don’t travel to Haiti, US advises

… one week after anti-corruption protests intensified, reflecting fury over a court report that alleges billions of dollars in development money from Venezuela’s Petrocaribe fund were diverted or misused. The accusations include Moise and a company he headed before he took office in 2017.

And so it begins, the push to get Clarence Thomas to retire
The New Yorker
… The more complex drama involves Clarence Thomas, who is seventy years old and the longest-tenured Associate Justice on the Court. With fifty-three Republicans now in the Senate (and no filibusters allowed on Supreme Court nominations), Trump would have a free hand in choosing a dream candidate for his conservative base if Thomas were to retire this year.

How a no-deal Brexit could lead to One Ireland
NY Times
… the increasing possibility that Britain will leave the European Union on March 29 without an agreement has rallied both moderates and extremists in the united-Ireland camp behind renewed talk of a single Irish state.
… And lurking in the background of the debate is the possibility that the imposition of a hard border between north and south, with physical checkpoints, could reignite the violence that largely ended in 1998 — fears that were underscored by a recent car bombing in Londonderry and several hoaxes.
… But the idea of Northern Ireland breaking from the United Kingdom in order to stay in the European Union is spurring fresh debates across the city. Taxi drivers joke that they will soon be taking payments in euros. Pro-Irish unity campaigners are discussing how to persuade opponents of the virtues of an all-island Irish state.
… A significant demographic shift also looms. Protestants held a narrow edge on Catholics in population when the last census was taken, in 2011. But Protestants dominate among the oldest age group, while younger people are more likely to be Catholic, heralding what experts say will soon be a Catholic majority.


Colorado dude describes his bare-handed fight with mountain lion
Vice News
As a cat owner, he realized that if he pinned the mountain lion’s back legs, the animal would be a bit more vulnerable. So he did that. Then he tried to stab the cat with some sticks, hit it on the head with a “big rock,” and then stepped on the animal’s neck to suffocate it. That did the trick, although Kauffman said it was “unfortunately” killed. Other trail-goers then took him to the hospital and went and fetched his car.
— “My face was just kind of a bloody mess,” Kauffman said. He received 17 stitches across his cheek, 6 stitches on his nose, 2 stitches on his other cheek, and three stitches on his wrist. “I’m about a week out, and I feel great.”


Book: Sessions said drunken Micks fit in well with FBI
— In one particularly shocking exchange, Sessions reportedly told McCabe the FBI was a better organization when “you all only hired Irishmen.” Drawing on archaic and offensive stereotypes, he clarified, “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos—who knows what they’re doing?”
— McCabe also noted that electronic tablets used to deliver the daily presidential brief to Sessions came back with no sign that he had even entered the passcode to view the important document. He not only failed to read other intelligence reports but also got confused between classified material and information he read in newspaper clippings.

Secret deals and empty promises
A study of Texas business incentives
Casts doubt on the whole process
The Conversation
… after politicians stage photo ops of company announcements, little is done to make sure companies are complying with these agreements.

Texts Show Portland Cops, right-wingers were cozy
Portland Mercury

Majority of Californians want to move away, poll finds
SF Gate
— According to a new survey by Edelman Intelligence, 53 percent of Californians are considering moving out of state due to the high cost of living. Millennials are even more likely to flee the Golden State — 63 percent.
— Bay Area residents surveyed were especially sensitive to affordability issues, and it’s no surprise. The median home value in San Francisco is $1.37 million, according to Zillow, and $1.09 million in San Jose. In Edelman’s survey, 76 percent of Bay Area residents say they consider cost and availability of housing to be a serious issue.
—-> So … nearly a quarter of the people in the Bay Area DON’T think it’s a problem having fixer-uppers priced over $1 million?

Amazon’s federal tax rate: Less than zero
The Week
— Amazon, which doubled its profits and made more than $11 billion in 2018, won’t pay any federal income taxes for the second year in a row, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported on Wednesday.
— The company will not be required to pay the standard 21 percent income tax rate on its 2018 profits, and is claiming a tax rebate of $129 million, which ITEP describes as a “a tax rate of negative 1 percent.”

Facebook, Facing Lawmaker Questions, May kill anti-vaxxer posts

This Website Uses AI to Generate the Faces of People Who Don’t Exist
not-exist— Doing this requires some super-expensive and powerful hardware, but now there’s a website that bypasses that requirement: generating a fancy new face is as easy as refreshing your browser with the aptly-named Every time you load the page, an algorithm generates a new human face from scratch.
— The website uses an implementation of machine learning known as Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs. These programs “learn” from a large number of training inputs—say, real human faces—in order to produce new examples. uses code previously released by Nvidia researchers on GitHub.

Illinois joining march toward $15 min. wage

NFL begs NBA czar: Come run our league
> He says forget about it.
— NBA revenues have increased from $4.8 billion to a projected $9.1 billion in Silver’s five years. Team valuations have increased by 267 percent, from an average of $509 million in 2013 to $1.9 billion in the latest Forbes Magazine valuations.
— The NBA has been a vanguard in embracing esports, legalized sports betting, allowing patch advertisements on jerseys, reform of the draft lottery and rules changes to improve game flow and referee accountability.

Trump to declare himself a national emergency
The Hill
> Coward McConnel
l caves, and so-called Senate will bow and scrape.
> An attempt to go around Congress in funding the so-called Wall.
— “It’s a bad idea because it’s a bad precedent,” said a Senate Republican on the Armed Services Committee. “The most likely or maybe only fund he can allocate from is the [military construction] fund and that hits readiness and a lot of the military installations.”

Some suspect “Empire” actor of staging attack
ABC Chicago
— Chicago police confirmed Thursday that detectives are talking to two persons of interest in connection with the alleged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
— Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of “Empire.”


Ford warns “hard Brexit” may cause it to leave UK
“We will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business.”
–> 13,000 jobs at stake.

New EU rules could force Facebook, Google to pay “content creators”

Senate confirms Trump’s attorney general pick William Barr, who will now oversee Mueller probe
— Barr, 68, was confirmed in a 54-45 vote that largely fell along party lines.

Andrew McCabe says officials discussed removing Trump after Comey firing
The Guardian
— Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has said top Trump administration officials talked seriously about removing Donald Trump from office just months after he become president.
— McCabe, who briefly ran the FBI after Trump fired James Comey as the bureau’s director, told 60 Minutes that there were meetings at the justice department in the days following the firing to discuss whether Trump could be removed under the 25th amendment.
… “They were counting noses. They were not asking cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating this person would be with us, that person would not, and they were counting noses in that effort.”

Denver strike ends with teacher pay raises

New study confirms link between Roundup, cancer
The Guardian
— A broad new scientific analysis of the cancer-causing potential of glyphosate herbicides, the most widely used weedkilling products in the world, has found that people with high exposures to the popular pesticides have a 41% increased risk of developing a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
— The evidence “supports a compelling link” between exposures to glyphosate-based herbicides and increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the authors concluded, though they said the specific numerical risk estimates should be interpreted with caution.

Rockefeller University Hospital knew doctor was sexually abusing thousands of patients, bombshell lawsuit says
NY Daily News
A prominent doctor molested and sexually abused potentially thousands of his young patients while his research institute employer knew and did nothing, a bombshell lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday charges.
The civil suit, brought by a victim of the late doctor was filed against the Rockefeller University Hospital, which is described in the papers as a “world-renowned research institute.”
— The lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Poppel, a former patient, alleges that during his four decades as a pediatric endocrinologist at Rockefeller, Dr. Reginald Archibald had more than 9,000 patients, many of whom were boys who were unable to grow normally.
— The filing claims Archibald also took nude and pornographic film and Poloroid photos of his victims that were kept at the facility and that Rockefeller staff members “were aware of the photographs and his conduct for many years, and remained silent regarding same.”

Amazon to NY: Drop Dead
The Hill
— “While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” the statement from Amazon said.

Deadly blue ‘Mexican oxy’ pills take toll on US Southwest
— Aaron Francisco Chavez swallowed at least one of the sky blue pills at a Halloween party before falling asleep forever. He became yet another victim killed by a flood of illicit fentanyl smuggled from Mexico into the Southwest — a profitable new business for drug gangs that has pushed the synthetic opioid to the top spot for fatal U.S. overdoses.

Texas Man With 3D-Printed Gun And ‘Hit List’ Of Lawmakers Sentenced To 8 Years
Eric Gerard McGinnis was not supposed to have a gun. After a violent altercation with his girlfriend, a Texas judge barred him in 2015 from possessing a firearm. A year later, McGinnis tried to buy a gun anyway, but the purchase wouldn’t go through after a background check revealed the court order.
— So, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, McGinnis obtained a barrel, stock, upper receiver and grip — and then used a 3D printer to create the gun’s firing mechanism. He assembled the parts into a short-barrel AR-15 style rifle, and headed out into the woods with what federal attorneys called a “hit list” of Democrat and Republican lawmakers, including their office and home addresses. The list was titled, “9/11/2001 list of American Terrorists.”

Oh, now that most are dead, Catholic Church reveals names of pervert priests
NY Post

Departing Mich. gov. pardoned “career drunk driver”
“The average Joe out there is not going to get a pardon” for the same crime, prosecutor Jessica Cooper told the AP. “Nor should they.”

Not really a surprise, eh?
Who done it? KKK Imperial Wizard shot dead
Kansas City Star
Frank-Ancona11-1— Frank Ancona, the outspoken imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was found shot to death Saturday near Belgrade, Mo.
— The body of the 51-year-old Leadwood, Mo., resident was discovered near the Big River by a family fishing in the area, according to Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen in southeast Missouri.
— Washington County coroner Brian DeClue told The Kansas City Star that Ancona died of a gunshot wound to the head.
— “It was not self inflicted,” he said. “This is now a homicide investigation.”
…. The police chief also said that he questioned Malissa Ancona about a Facebook post she’d made the day he disappeared. In the post, she said she was seeking a new roommate. Dickey said Malissa Ancona told him that when her husband left, he said he was filing for divorce when he got home, so she figured she would need a new roommate to help pay the bills.
>>> UPDATE>>> KKK family values: Wife, Son charged in murder

Pacific Standard
— School districts and parents are investing in bulletproof backpacks and whiteboards, security consulting, and safe rooms. But will any of it work?