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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,628

Journal Archives

A look behind the Hollister Ranch gates. Will the public ever access these exclusive beaches?

Tucked off a turn on Highway 101, down an unmarked fork in the road, the elusive gates of Hollister Ranch swung open to a 14,500-acre oasis — described by many as the last vestige of the old California coast.

Andy Mills waved to the guard and, familiar with every bump and turn, navigated his truck around the ranch’s first narrow curve. He braked for a cow that ambled across the pavement. Three more grazed nearby.

“These fellas have the right of way around here,” said Mills, who lives and works on the ranch. “This place is really quite something.”

Here along the rolling hills west of Santa Barbara, where willows line the creek and cattle roam free, the verdant land unfurls to reveal a rugged coastline largely unspoiled by man. Few have stepped their toes in this sand, but those who have say it evokes a feeling so vast — even spiritual — that it must be experienced to be understood.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-hollister-ranch-20190412-htmlstory.html

Amazon's entry into the satellite internet market sets up another faceoff between Bezos and Musk

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos already compete on satellite launch contracts for their respective rocket companies, SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Soon they will also face off in the potentially lucrative business of providing broadband internet via constellations of hundreds, or even thousands, of tiny satellites.

Last week, Bezos’ Amazon.com Inc. became the latest company to join the race already populated by SpaceX and OneWeb, both of which have launched their first satellites. And those two companies, as well as others, have received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to use spectrum for their constellations.

But while Amazon is the latest to join an already crowded field, analysts say the company’s deep pockets give it a good chance to edge out established competitors.

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-satellite-constellation-internet-20190412-story.html

Julian Assange, expelled from his embassy perch, will fight extradition from jail

The plush neighborhood of Knightsbridge, a high-rent hub of deluxe retail and discreet diplomats, awoke Friday with one international curiosity fewer in its midst.

Julian Assange, the Australian bad boy and founder of WikiLeaks, had been dragged Thursday from the Ecuadoran embassy, where he had entertained the likes of Lady Gaga and Pamela Anderson in the Victorian red-brick building a stone’s throw from Harrods, the luxury department store. He was arrested to face a hacking charge in the United States.

“We heard the helicopter overhead,” said James Smith, a local real estate agent. The scene outside the embassy was the dramatic climax of a seven-year diplomatic stalemate, as Ecuador revoked the anti-secrecy crusader’s asylum and turned him over to British authorities.

Gone now are the demonstrators with “Free Assange” banners. But life goes on in Knightsbridge, Smith said. It is not as if residents saw their notorious neighbor, holed up in the embassy since 2012. From his corner room, where he lived with his Internet-star cat and used a treadmill to stay in shape, Assange had become a fading fascination.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/julian-assange-expelled-from-his-embassy-perch-will-fight-extradition-from-jail/2019/04/12/d388584c-5cb2-11e9-98d4-844088d135f2_story.html

Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability.

AFTER SIX-PLUS years of asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was removed from that diplomatic facility Thursday by British police and jailed for up to 12 months for jumping bail back in August 2012. He may ultimately face courts in the United States or Sweden, as well. If these democracies handle it properly, Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.

Contrary to much pro-WikiLeaks propaganda, Mr. Assange had no legitimate fears for his life, either at the hands of CIA assassins or, via extradition, the U.S. death penalty, when he fled to the embassy of what was then an anti-American government. Rather, he was avoiding transfer to Sweden pursuant to a seemingly credible sexual assault charge lodged against him in that country. He then proceeded to abuse the hospitality of his South American hosts, most egregiously by presiding over what an indictment by U.S. special counsel Robert S. Mueller III described as Russian intelligence’s use of WikiLeaks as a front for its interference in the U.S. election. Democratic Party documents stolen by the Russians made their way into the public domain under the WikiLeaks label. Ecuador’s new, more pragmatic president, Lenín Moreno, cited Mr. Assange’s more recent alleged involvement in the release of confidential Vatican documents, along with threats against the government in Quito, as reasons to oust him.

Mr. Assange is not a free-press hero. Yes, WikiLeaks acquired and published secret government documents, many of them newsworthy, as shown by their subsequent use in newspaper articles (including in The Post). Contrary to the norms of journalism, however, Mr. Assange sometimes obtained such records unethically — including, according to a separate federal indictment unsealed Thursday, by trying to help now-former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning hack into a classified U.S. computer system.

Also unlike real journalists, WikiLeaks dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment. Nor, needless to say, would a real journalist have cooperated with a plot by an authoritarian regime’s intelligence service to harm one U.S. presidential candidate and benefit another.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/julian-assange-is-not-a-free-press-hero-and-he-is-long-overdue-for-personal-accountability/2019/04/11/90f901ba-5c86-11e9-842d-7d3ed7eb3957_story.html

In Ecuador, Assange's expulsion reflects desire for better relations with the U.S.

For almost seven years, Ecuador’s government weighed the risks and rewards of providing a haven to Julian Assange at the country’s embassy in London, a diplomatic high-wire act that put the small South American nation at odds with one of its most important partners.

By Thursday, Ecuadoran officials eager to improve trade and other relations with the United States and exasperated by what they described as the WikiLeaks founder’s overbearing presence had reached a decision.

A gambit that began as a show of anti-U. S. defiance by a leftist Ecuadoran president collapsed with Assange’s expulsion and arrest under that president’s more moderate successor.

“The patience of Ecuador has reached its limits,” President Lenín Moreno said after British police arrested a bearded Assange and escorted him to a vehicle.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-ecuador-assanges-expulsion-reflects-a-shifting-political-tide/2019/04/11/7b50e852-5c66-11e9-98d4-844088d135f2_story.html

Ecuadorian Embassy Runs Ad Seeking 'No Drama' Tenant For Newly Vacant Room



LONDON—In an effort to find an occupant who doesn’t “bring the party home,” officials at the Ecuadorian embassy in London ran an ad Thursday on several local flat-sharing websites seeking a “no drama” tenant for a newly vacant room.

“We’re looking for someone who can get along with a diverse group of foreign government dignitaries,” read the ad in part, noting that the ideal roommate to fill the vacancy in the spacious multi-story home located in the quiet Kensington neighborhood would keep regular hours and not spend all their time in the apartment.

“You must have a steady job and pay rent on time—this is non-negotiable due to past issues we’ve had. Guests are okay, but if you’re constantly having over girlfriends, boyfriends, journalists, or activists, this is not the place for you.”

The ad requested that all interested parties attend the embassy’s Saturday open house and be prepared with at least two past-roommate references and a security deposit of two months’ rent.

https://www.theonion.com/ecuadorian-embassy-runs-ad-seeking-no-drama-tenant-fo-1833979539

Majority Of Americans Voice Support For Bernie Sanders After Learning He's A Millionaire



WASHINGTON—Saying they are now convinced the candidate is overwhelmingly qualified to lead the country, a majority of Americans have shifted their support to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2020 presidential race since learning he is a millionaire, a Pew Research Center poll found Wednesday.

“I have my reservations about his policies, but if the guy’s a millionaire, he must know what he’s doing,” said Cleveland-area voter Glenn Mannix, 48, echoing the sentiments of 68% of the voting populace, who were reportedly impressed upon discovering the royalties Sanders has earned on sales of his books has pushed his net worth to seven figures.

“Anyone who’s smart enough to make a million dollars has got to have some pretty great ideas about how to move our country in the right direction. You don’t get to be that rich and successful without having a really good head on your shoulders. The man has my vote!”

According to the poll, the remaining 32% of voters agree with all of Sanders’ policies, but said they cannot bring themselves to cast their ballot for someone who owns three homes.

https://politics.theonion.com/majority-of-americans-voice-support-for-bernie-sanders-1833954045

New state GOP chair pushes party in different direction

Jessica Patterson wants the California Republican Party to become more ... California-centric.

That’s not as odd as it may seem at first blush. The new chair of the state GOP is trying to steer the party away from national issues and focus on matters that hit Californians where they live: housing, taxes, even water quality, among other things.

“We will definitely be focused on local issues here in California,” Patterson said Monday evening before addressing a meeting of the Republican Party of San Diego County at the Town and Country hotel in Mission Valley.

She added that “it’s an important time in our party’s history and we have the opportunity to talk about the failed policies of California Democrats. And we have the opportunity to give people an alternative so that we aren’t just the party of ‘no,’ but we’re actually out there talking to people, trying to figure out what their problems are and what’s the best solution to them.”

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/columnists/story/2019-04-10/column-new-state-gop-chair-pushes-party-in-different-direction

It is beyond me why a Latina or a gay or an Asian-American would ever become a Republican. "Mainstream" Republicans despise them.

Mulvaney's tax return stonewall is either misinformed -- or sinister

Congress will “never” see President Trump’s tax returns. That’s what acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared on Sunday.

How does he know?

Would the White House stop the Internal Revenue Service from turning over the files? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed Tuesday that Treasury Department attorneys discussed the issue with White House lawyers, despite laws meant to minimize White House interference in the IRS.

Or was Mr. Mulvaney saying that the executive branch would ignore a judicial ruling ordering disclosure? Mr. Trump last week reportedly told immigration authorities to ignore judicial orders.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-law-on-trumps-tax-returns-is-crystal-clear-will-he-flout-it/2019/04/09/fbbbd9ca-5a2c-11e9-842d-7d3ed7eb3957_story.html

Technology Tracking your pregnancy on an app may be more public than you think

Like millions of women, Diana Diller was a devoted user of the pregnancy-tracking app Ovia, logging in every night to record new details on a screen asking about her bodily functions, sex drive, medications and mood. When she gave birth last spring, she used the app to chart her baby’s first online medical data — including her name, her location and whether there had been any complications — before leaving the hospital’s recovery room.

But someone else was regularly checking in, too: her employer, which paid to gain access to the intimate details of its workers’ personal lives, from their trying-to-conceive months to early motherhood. Diller’s bosses could look up aggregate data on how many workers using Ovia’s fertility, pregnancy and parenting apps had faced high-risk pregnancies or gave birth prematurely; the top medical questions they had researched; and how soon the new moms planned to return to work.

“Maybe I’m naive, but I thought of it as positive reinforcement: They’re trying to help me take care of myself,” said Diller, 39, an event planner in Los Angeles for the video game company Activision Blizzard. The decision to track her pregnancy had been made easier by the $1 a day in gift cards the company paid her to use the app: That’s “diaper and formula money,” she said.

Period- and pregnancy-tracking apps such as Ovia have climbed in popularity as fun, friendly companions for the daunting uncertainties of childbirth, and many expectant women check in daily to see, for instance, how their unborn babies’ size compares to different fruits or Parisian desserts.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/10/tracking-your-pregnancy-an-app-may-be-more-public-than-you-think/
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