Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The ninth weekend of the gilet jaune protest movement was a mixed result for Emmanuel Macron. The nationwide demonstrations were relatively peaceful with only minor skirmishes between protestors and police, but numbers were up, with a total of 84,000 taking to the streets, 34,000 more than the previous Saturday.
The Trump administration is considering recognizing Venezuelan opposition party leader Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate president, CNN reported Tuesday.
Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro's began his second term last week. But the Trump administration slammed his inauguration as the "illegitimate result of a stolen election." The State Department has also called for a new government.
Flash-flood watches are in place for parts of Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, with more than an inch of rain expected. Even higher amounts are expected on the south-facing mountain slopes.
Good day to hunker down at home and put on the kettle.
Trump doubles down on border wall, as polls show voters turning against his shutdown strategy | Fox News
But as the partial shutdown enters its fourth week and hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paychecks, fresh polling suggests the president is losing the battle of public opinion.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 63 percent of voters agree with the Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security, with 30 percent opposed. The same poll found 63 percent also oppose using the shutdown to force wall funding, with just 32 percent supporting.
The requirement to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is in fact inescapable. Middle-aged academics and local officials alike have resorted to posting praise of the Party in their private WeChat and other messaging groups. As ridiculous as they think these rants are, they are impelled to go “on the record” with their loyalty, even when communicating with their colleagues, in the hopes of staving off accusations of insufficient fervor for the party line of the day. There is even a “Clap for Xi Jinping” app.
We have similar things, but China is worse.
Excavation and construction of a bunker some 700 meters underground for a state-of-the-art observatory of neutrinos has been completed in southern China.
So they say. Or it could have to do with Chinese interest in AI-guided squid spies.
The FBI’s Investigation of Trump as a “National Security Threat” is Itself a Serious Danger. But J. Edgar Hoover Pioneered the Tactic
Last week, the New York Times reported that the FBI, in 2017, launched an investigation of President Trump “to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security” and specifically “whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” The story was predictably treated as the latest in an endless line of Beginning-of-the-End disasters for the Trump presidency, though – as usual – this melodrama was accomplished by steadfastly ignoring the now-standard, always-buried paragraph pointing out the boring fact that no actual evidence of guilt has yet emerged:
Waiting to make a killing are the “Dogs of War” – men who fight not for flags, but for cash. As pullouts leave geopolitical vacuums that invite or intensify conflict, the business forecast looks upbeat for “private military contractors,” or PMCs – the polite corporate term for “mercenaries.”
Furman's decision marks a significant milestone in a legal battle that began shortly after the Trump administration announced last year that the 2020 census would include a controversial question about U.S. citizenship status. The added question was: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" All U.S. households have not been asked such a question on the census since 1950.
My untutored opinion is that this opinion is insane. The federal government is not allowed to ask, in its constitutionally mandated census, whether particular persons are in fact citizens. Nope. Can't do it. Might violate their rights as . . . humans, I guess. Yeah, that's it. Human rights.
The shutdown is giving some Trump advisers what they’ve long wanted: A smaller government - The Washington Post
President Trump has cast the shuttering of federal agencies as a standoff over his plan to build a wall on the southern border. But for many White House aides and allies, the partial shutdown is advancing another long-standing priority: constraining the government.
If you look at the “yellow jacket” protests in France, the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and events in places like Italy and Hungary — or, for that matter, the Brexit movement in Britain — you find a similar unhappiness with institutional arrangements and the sleek and self-satisfied elites who benefit from them. People who, in President Bill Clinton’s famous phrase, worked hard and played by the rules now suspect that the rules were rigged, and that they were treated as chumps.
Monday, January 14, 2019
For months now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) quietly has been working on a revision to its guidelines governing how, when and why prosecutors can obtain the records of journalists, particularly in leak cases.
The work has been supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinExclusive: Trump team should be allowed to ‘correct’ final Mueller report, says Giuliani GOP lawmakers rip Dems for calling Cohen to testify Jordan renews call for Rosenstein to testify MORE’s office, especially since former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDem demands 'ironclad assurances' from Barr on Mueller investigation ahead of confirmation hearings Marijuana industry boosts DC lobbying team Jones asks federal officials to investigate misinformation campaign tactics in Alabama Senate race MORE departed, but is not wrapped up.ADVERTISEMENT
The effort has the potential to touch off a First Amendment debate with a press corps that already has high degrees of distrust of and disfunction with the Trump administration.
A test of virtue for the Prez.
Saying that it will continue to protect environmentally sensitive waterways such as wetlands in California, even if federal protections on waters of the U.S. are limited, the State Water Resources Control Board has unveiled a final draft on how it plans to regulate dredge-and-fill activities in the state.
The draft, released last week, provides a definition of what the state considers a wetland. It also lays out permitting procedures for discharges of dredged or fill material to waters of the state.
Yup, that's the last thing you want, a bunch of dredge-and-fill activity in the wetlands of the Sacramento River and the like. It's beautiful just as it is; wouldn't want a bunch of industry moving in there, no siree. Not enough little bait fish in the water, poor critters.
Reacting to Donald Trump’s fury over a New York Times report that said the FBI investigated whether the president was working for Russia after he fired James Comey, Comey himself tweeted a quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
For some reason it just rather hit me that we live in strange times. On one side is Trump and his supporters who think that institutional elites have and are colluding to smear the President and force him out of office, in defiance of the democratic will of the people. But, retort the critics of the President, we do this only because Trump really is merely the dupe of the evil Putin, whose influence stretches far beyond the now much diminished resources of his country. And then add to this the baleful fact that what these people are saying is not even what they, in all their diverse experience of the world, think in their heart of hearts to be true. Their public positions are calculated to push or nudge public opinion this way or that, depending on what they calculate, as best they can, which is often far from good enough, would do them the most good. As I grow older, I begin to understand all those Roman demi-semi-hemi-aristocrats, determinedly out in the country, with their few acres and slaves, who lived out their lives, married off their sons and daughters, and wondered what the world meant.
"So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post," Trump tweeted. "Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!"
Not sure of the wisdom of provoking a person who buys electrons by the whatever-you-call-it.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has urged Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to publicly repent of his alleged “crimes against minors and abuses against seminarians,” saying “time is running out” and that his “eternal salvation is at stake.”
Nobel laureate Richard Feynman once asked his Caltech students to calculate the probability that, if he walked outside the classroom, the first car in the parking lot would have a specific license plate, say 6ZNA74. Assuming every number and letter are equally likely and determined independently, the students estimated the probability to be less than 1 in 17 million. When the students finished their calculations, Feynman revealed that the correct probability was 1: He had seen this license plate on his way into class. Something extremely unlikely is not unlikely at all if it has already happened.
A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's loosened birth control rules from going into effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia on Monday as scheduled.
The Department of Health and Human Services created rules allowing employers to opt out of birth control coverage due to religious or moral objections. Employers otherwise have to offer health insurance that covers a range of birth control options, from the pill to intrauterine devices to emergency contraception, at no cost to patients.
The decision to block the rules from taking effect was issued Sunday by Judge Haywood Gilliam, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama and previously blocked an interim version of the exemptions.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged Thursday to address problems at The Pacific Gas & Electric Company. To honor that pledge, he must hold the behemoth utility – and convicted felon – to account for its continued negligence, corruption and bad faith.
It won’t be easy. The monopolistic utility, with its big public relations budget and prowess with the levers of power, has evaded real accountability for years. The corporation was convicted of six felonies in 2016 for negligence that contributed to a gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno in 2010. It came out PG&E had attempted to mislead the National Transportation Safety Board during its investigation of the explosion. And in December, the Public Utility Commission revealed the company had been falsifying pipeline safety records for years.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
The verdict caps an unusual decade-long quest by prosecutors to dismantle the gang responsible for drug dealing and murder by seizing control of the trademark they said was core to the gang’s identity.
Gang members were “empowered by these symbols that they wear like armor,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Welk said.
The forfeiture still needs to be approved by a federal judge and the practical effect of such an order was not immediately clear. When prosecutors announced the charges in 2008 they said a forfeiture order would allow any law enforcement officer to stop a gang member and “literally take the jacket right off his back,” according to court papers.
Sounds like a poor idea and it would seem to create a First Amendment issue, as well as a good episode for a Sons of Anarchy reboot.
"The real [explanation] of the underperformance of state-firms vis-a-vis their private counterparts [is] insufficient profit-maximizing behavior, including corruption, on the part of the senior management of state firms and a large misallocation of capital [investment funds] by Chinese financial institutions, especially banks."
The irony is inescapable. If Lardy is right -- and his conclusion will likely be challenged -- the decision to favor state capitalism will weaken China's future economic growth. But growth may not be the main reason that Xi has acted as he has.
Compromise. It’s a word President Trump used several times yesterday. He is open to compromise. In this case, that means something short of the $5 billion he wants for a border wall. He’s open to taking less, perhaps in exchange for not applying the law to younger illegal immigrants. This is clearly the easiest way out of the current debacle. But it is something the Democrats, led by “No Wall” Nancy Pelosi, have said they will never support.
This is a problem. Democrats have backed themselves up against a, well, a wall. They have created a situation in which if they give even one dollar to Trump to build a wall, or fence, steel barrier, or whatever, they have lost the political fight. Pelosi, the great speaker of the House who gets things done, has left herself no leverage to get anything done. She could ask for almost anything in exchange for wall funding, but instead, she won’t budge.
Friday, January 11, 2019
CNN requests KUSI for local view on the border, declines our reporter after finding out wall works -
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Thursday morning, CNN called the KUSI Newsroom asking if one of our reporters could give them a local view of the debate surrounding the border wall and government shutdown.
KUSI offered our own Dan Plante, who has reported dozens of times on the border, including one story from 2016 that was retweeted by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and posted on DrudgeReport.com. The Border Fence Tour is below.
I believe this is the sort of thing about which a callous lout would opine ROFL or perhaps LMFAO.
Kamala Harris is set to announce her candidacy for president sometime around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What sort of chief executive would she be? Well, here’s your first clue: On December 5, Harris posed a series of written questions to Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee for District Court in Nebraska. The third question reads as follows:
“Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as ‘a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.’ Mr. Anderson went on to say that ‘abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.’ Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”
The forthcoming Elizabeth Warren administration would no doubt enjoy the power to re-write corporate charters, create a government-run pharmaceuticals industry, and spend a half-trillion dollars on public housing. But the Constitution requires that those who agree with such proposals convince enough legislators to get them passed, while not running afoul of the Bill of Rights. That is how the system was designed.
It's a fair point. But it looks like Trump does have the lawful power to start building his wally fence and golly, it's fun to watch him try. There are lots and lots of emergency powers under which he can lawfully act. And while there may not be a National Emergency, such as say an impending asteroid collision, happening on our southern border, it's probably as much of an emergency as many other things over which national emergencies have been declared. But here's the point -- Trump's action is symbolic. He proposes to show that We the People, acting through one hopes an atypical example, can act to prevent the tipping of our electorate toward the Democrats by importing a bunch of new voters. Because, c'mon, that's what this is really all about. As somebody said, if the unauthorized persons of migration were likely to vote Republican, there'd already be a wall on the border you could see from space. If it's unpopular, the voters can vote Trump out in 2020 and the USA can begin its long decline, or if you prefer, its transformation into a very different country, one in which property and the rule of law count for even less than they do now. That seems inevitable to me, but I'd like to delay it as long as possible, and a fency wall is as good a place as any to start.
San Diego station: CNN declined to use our reporter after we told them Border Patrol agents say the wall works
San Diego’s KUSI News reported Thursday that CNN asked them for a local news view on the border wall. When KUSI informed CNN that border patrol agents have uniformly told the station that the wall works, CNN lost interest.
Due south of us there's a wall, or fence, whatever you want to call it. A bunch of big, steel slats that looks like a 1970s version of modern. Once it went up, the long lines of illegal undocumented illegal-type persons snaking through the mountains around our house disappeared. They had presumably moved east to areas not yet bisected by the big fence.
In the holographic view of cosmology, early inflation is driven by interactions of the quantum field, which would slightly change the appearance of the cosmic microwave background. This is particularly true for low multipole moments, and this difference makes it possible, at least in principle, to prove that the holographic principle is true. In their paper, published last month in Physical Review Letters, the team report the holographic model fitting the Planck satellite data slightly better than the standard model. The results don’t prove the universe is holographic, but they are consistent with a holographic model.
For the last couple of days I've been obsessing over Leonard Susskind's popular writing. He is a very smart guy, it turns out.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Keeping that premise in mind, if Ms. Cavazos doesn’t want to negotiate a deal to have the wall on her property, let’s pull the line back until we reach a piece of land that can be made available and build it there. In other words, all of the property owners along the border who don’t wish to support protecting our border can be put on the other side of the wall. This doesn’t need to be a cruel or inhumane solution. We’ll be sure to provide a port of entry every so often along the fence and have roads running along the outside so property owners can reach them. Assuming the landowners are all legal U.S. citizens, they will have no trouble getting through customs at the port of entry for any business they need to conduct in the interior of the country. (It just might take a bit longer if there are a lot of people waiting to get through.)
A humane and heeelarious solution.
She's the subject of a Hollywood biopic and is very much alive, but the White House has been in contact with Senate Republicans about possible replacements for the ailing 85-year old Supreme Court justice.
Possibly fake, but the Daily Mail often gets stories right and before the US press does.
Trump administration lays groundwork to declare national emergency to build wall - The Washington Post
The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall, a move certain to set off a firestorm of opposition in Congress and the courts but one that could pave the way for an end to the three-week government shutdown.
PDT is almost Obama-like in his audacity. I'm not sure I approve.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
The Fox News host Tucker Carlson delivered a monologue on the market and the family last week. It quickly found a large audience, becoming a viral sensation online. It also attracted a host of critics from across the political spectrum. Some of the fiercest criticism came from conservatives, including writers such as Ben Shapiro and David French, who attacked the very argument that we believe Carlson largely got right: Contemporary capitalism, small government conservatism, and elite negligence have all played a role in the fall of the working-class family.
Fast forward to 2001, when two Australian scientists, David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile, with two assistants, decided to take a closer look. From the water, they'd seen a few patches of vegetation that just might support walking sticks. So, they boated over. ("Swimming would have been much easier," Carlile said, "but there are too many sharks.") They crawled up the vertical rock face to about 500 feet, where they found a few crickets, nothing special. But on their way down, on a precarious, unstable rock surface, they saw a single melaleuca bush peeping out of a crack and, underneath, what looked like fresh droppings of some large insect.
Where, they wondered, did that poop come from?
President Trump on Wednesday walked out of a White House meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., after the Democrats said they wouldn't agree to fund a border wall, suggesting talks to end the government shutdown may have blown up catastrophically.
Tijuana set a new record for homicides in a single year in 2018 with 2,508 thanks to an alarming number of cartel-related murders–most tied to the street-level distribution of drugs. This violence continues despite numerous measures taken by Mexico City to intervene, including military surges and use of additional federal and state police personnel.
The federal government has started surveying land along the border in Texas and announced plans to start construction next month. Rather than surrender their land, some property owners are digging in, vowing to reject buyout offers and preparing to fight the administration in court.
One Free Bite? Jogger Fights Off Dog With Pepper Spray . . . Dog Owner Bites Jogger – JONATHAN TURLEY
In torts, we learn about animal liability rules governing dogs. While domesticated animals are generally not subject to strict liability, a dog with a vicious character (or one that has previously attacked) does fall under the strict liability standard. However, what about a vicious owner. Police are looking for a woman who attacked a jogger who used pepper spray to fight off her dog. The woman, not the dog, bit the jogger.
The concern is well founded even if the conclusion is not. Congress has refused the funds needed for the wall, so Trump is openly claiming the right to unilaterally order construction by declaring a national emergency. On its face, that order would undermine the core role of Congress in our system of checks and balances. I happen to agree that an emergency declaration to build the wall is unwise and unnecessary. However, the declaration is not unconstitutional. Schiff, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, insists that Trump “does not have the power to execute” this order because “if Harry Truman could not nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president does not have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border.”ADVERTISEMENT
The problem is Trump does have that power because Congress gave it to him. Schiff is referring to the historic case of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company versus Charles Sawyer, in which the Supreme Court rejected the use of inherent executive powers by President Truman to seize steel mills during a labor dispute. He wanted to claim a national security emergency if steel production halted during the Korean War. In a powerful check on executive authority, the Supreme Court rejected his rationale for unilateral action. The Supreme Court was correct. But that was in 1952.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
There is a leisure gap in America: The average man has about five and a half hours of free time a day, according to government data. The average woman has a minute shy of five.
What are men doing with that extra half hour? Some of it is spent socializing, exercising, and simply relaxing, among other things. But “about half of the gap is from TV,” says Liana Sayer, a sociologist at the University of Maryland and the director of the school’s Time Use Laboratory.
Presented without commercials, Jazz Tonight delivers a rich and elegant tapestry of jazz spanning seven decades. From icons like Ellington, Ella, Monk and Miles to today’s luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau and Diana Krall, you’ll feel calmed by Jazz Tonight's lush and artful audio environment. We’re here to take you on a laid-back journey fueled by the greatest jazz recordings the world has to offer.
Best. Music. Evah.
All of their programming is great.
Given the distant similarities between the two species and the development of gene editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9, Zsögön and colleagues argue, it should be possible to add capsaicinoid-producing genes into tomatoes.
This, in turn, would enable a massive increase in global production – and, not entirely coincidentally, a rather fun new ingredient for the world’s cooks.
Yeah, baby. Edit those genes.
Wood was just in high school when he enrolled in a mythology class that he says “opened my eyes to the Nordic Gods."
From there, he examined the famous Eddas, like Sturluson’s, to learn more, eventually coming to the realization that he identified with the polytheistic faith in a way he never had with Catholicism.
Aviation Electrician 2nd Class Wood hails from San Diego.
Police said Arroyo could face misdemeanor charges of petty theft and prowling.
This fellow clearly has psychological problems. It reminds me that LWJ once had a patient who had a problem with eating feces as he walked down the halls of his institution. When I asked her about it, she said something like, "Well, he has strong impulses and very poor impulse control." Gandalf the Lionhearted also does this, but he's a dog. And he knows exactly what he's doing.
A rare 1943 copper Lincoln cent — found by a Massachusetts teenager in his change after he paid for lunch at a school cafeteria — is expected to fetch up to $1.7 million when it is auctioned off.
The coin, produced accidentally by the U.S. Mint, has been described as the “most famous” coin made in error, according to Heritage Auctions.
In what could be a first for the nation, an Alabama Emergency Management Agency issued a public service warning this week telling people not to eat hundreds of chicken tenders spilled across a state highway.
Even if they're battered and fried?
As for that smart toilet, Kohler’s Numi will respond to voice commands to raise or lower the lid — or to flush. You can do it from an app, too. The company says it’s all about offering hands-free options in a setting that’s very personal for people. The toilet is also heated and can play music and the news through its speakers.
“I prefer younger women’s bodies, that’s all. End of. The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all,” he said, adding that he preferred to date Asian women, particularly Koreans, Chinese and Japanese.
“It’s perhaps sad and reductive for the women I go out with but the Asian type is sufficiently rich, large and infinite for me not to be ashamed.”
Hours after assuming office, Mr. Newsom released sweeping health care proposals to raise the age limit for illegal aliens covered by Medi-Cal from 19 to 26, which would make California “the first state in the nation to cover young undocumented adults through a state Medicaid program,” according to a Monday release from the governor’s office.