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Hometown: America's Finest City
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Member since: 2001
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SpaceX lands Falcon 9 rocket after launching Japanese satellite

Source: AFP

SpaceX successfully landed a reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a floating drone ship at sea early Sunday after the vehicle had sent a Japanese communications satellite into orbit.

The California-based company's eighth launch this year was part of its ongoing effort to re-use costly rocket parts instead of jettisoning them into the ocean.

It was also the fourth time SpaceX has vertically landed a used Falcon 9 rocket aboard a floating platform at sea.

The white rocket launched under a dark night sky from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:26 am (0526 GMT).

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/spacex-lands-falcon-9-rocket-launch-073220596.html

This is now getting routine. Gotta give Elon credit where credit is due.

On the national stage, the Trump train stalls

Donald Trump hasn't quite asked the dead to vote for him, but he's nearly there.

"I joke a lot as I say if you're sick, if you just got the worse prognosis that a doctor can give you, if you're lying in bed and you just know you're not going to make it -- you have to get up on November 8th and you have to vote," he said Thursday.

At least nine times in the speech to evangelical leaders in key swing state Florida, the brash 70-year-old billionaire -- sometimes speaking in an uncharacteristically low voice -- called on them to ensure their parishioners cast their ballots for him.

The Republican presidential candidate is a bit worried about his chances in November against Hillary Clinton, and he's not exactly hiding it.


Court upholds Venezuela opposition leader's 14-year sentence

A Venezuelan court upheld the 14-year sentence of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on Friday, in a move likely to increase tension in the crisis-hit South American country.

Lopez has repeatedly declared himself innocent of the charge of inciting violence at anti-government protests in 2014, calling himself a political prisoner.

"This is certainly a political trial. Unfortunately, the government's interest takes priority over the justice system," Lopez's lawyer Juan Carlos Gutierrez told AFP.

"They upheld his sentence under the same terms," Gutierrez said, referring to the 14-year sentence.


What a farce.

Pieces of Silver

By now, it’s obvious to everyone with open eyes that Donald Trump is an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac. On the other hand, he’s a terrible person. But despite some high-profile defections, most senior figures in the Republican Party — very much including Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader — are still supporting him, threats of violence and all. Why?

One answer is that these were never men and women of principle. I know that many in the news media are still determined to portray Mr. Ryan, in particular, as an honest man serious about policy, but his actual policy proposals have always been transparent con jobs.

Another answer is that in an era of intense partisanship, the greatest risk facing many Republican politicians isn’t that of losing in the general election, it’s that of losing to an extremist primary challenger. This makes them afraid to cross Mr. Trump, whose ugliness channels the true feelings of the party’s base.

But there’s a third answer, which can be summarized in one number: 34.


“Moment of truth” for Venezuela's standing in Mercosur

The Venezuela government of president Nicolas Maduro whose democratic credentials are questioned internationally, self proclaimed itself pro tempore president of Mercosur for the second half of the year, but still has yet to incorporate 400 rules and regulations plus 50 accords to be considered a full member of Mercosur and the deadline is Friday, 12 August.

The raft of pending regulations and accords includes the group's Common External Tariff; the Montevideo protocol on Services Trade and the Cooperation and Assistance protocol on Civil, Commercial, Labor and Administrative Law. Likewise the Asunción Protocol on promotion and protection of Human Rights.

The three countries consider that if Venezuela does not comply with those requirements it does not enjoy full membership of Mercosur and thus is not entitled to hold the group's pro tempore rotating chair.

However the Maduro administration argues it is entitled to the rotating chair since it complies with statutory rules and the alphabetical order, after Uruguay turned in the presidency at the end of its six month mandate on 29 July.


As Venezuela's farms and factories falter, the country struggles to feed its people

Just a decade ago, Venezuela was producing nearly all of the sugar it needed.

But this week, 30,000 tons of imported Guatemalan sugar is being offloaded at the port city of Puerto Cabello for delivery to government-run supermarkets across the country, where desperate shoppers typically line up for hours to buy basic foodstuffs.

In some ways, the sacks of sugar being lowered on pallets to waiting trucks at Dock 10 symbolize the plight of a country that has seen the production of sugar and other products plummet. Venezuela now imports 80% of all the sugar it consumes, and many economists say 17 years of socialist policies are to blame.

Last year, the country produced 242,306 tons of refined sugar, less than one-third of the 740,000 tons produced in 2006 when the country came close to meeting annual consumer demand of 900,000 tons, according to figures from Fesoca, the Venezuelan sugar trade association.


It was once the richest country in Latin America. Now it’s falling apart

In Venezuela the food lines are only the most visible evidence of a nation in free fall. Known as las colas, the lines form before dawn and last until nightfall, several bodies thick and zigzagging for miles in leafy middle-class neighborhoods and ragged slums alike. In a country that sits atop the world’s largest known petroleum reserves, hungry citizens wait on their assigned day for whatever the stores might stock: with luck, corn flour to make arepas, and on a really good day, shampoo.

“I never dreamed it would come to this,” says Yajaira Gutierrez, a 41-year-old accountant, waiting her turn in downtown Caracas. “That in Venezuela, with all our petroleum, we would be struggling to get corn cakes.”

In the capital’s Dr. José María Vargas hospital, a doctor watched a 73-year-old woman die of kidney failure because the hospital lacked the medicine to perform a routine dialysis. In a Caracas police station, more than 150 prisoners crowded into a cell made for 36, standing shirtless (there was no room to sit) in the stench of sweat and feces. In arid Lara state, an elementary-school teacher told of children fainting in class from hunger. The economy contracted by almost 6% last year, and is expected to shrink by as much as 10% this year.

Venezuela was once Latin America’s exemplar: home to Simón Bolívar, who freed much of the continent from Spanish rule. Now, after years of political mismanagement and months in economic free fall, it is the region’s cautionary tale. The bolivar, the currency named for the Liberator himself, is now carried in backpacks instead of wallets; one unit is worth less than a penny. While production plummets, crime soars. Fights frequently break out in food lines. The number of murders last year ranged between 17,000 and 28,000. No one knows the exact tally, but regardless it would put the nation’s murder rate—driven by a lethal mix of street gangs, drug cartels, leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries jostling for power—among the world’s highest. Even animals are dying: some 50 zoo animals have starved to death over the past six months because there’s not enough food.


Just another example of the media making something out of nothing.

Cuba subdued ahead of Fidel Castro's 90th birthday

Fidel Castro greeted his 80th birthday from his sickbed, gripping a newspaper to show he was alive two weeks after stepping down as president.

For the next 10 years the leader of the Cuban revolution watched from home as his brother Raul granted Cubans new economic freedoms and declared detente with the United States after a half-century of hostility.

When Fidel Castro turns 90 on Saturday, the man who nationalized the Cuban economy and controlled virtually every aspect of life on the island will celebrate his birthday in a far different country than the one he ruled.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans are running private businesses, buying and selling their homes and cars, and checking the internet on imported cellphones. Castro's greatest ally, Venezuela, is in economic free-fall, cutting the flow of subsidized oil that Cuba has depended on. Tens of thousands of Cubans are emigrating to the United States, hollowing out the ranks of highly educated professionals.


1966 could be rock 'n' roll's most revolutionary year, thanks to the Beatles, Dylan and Beach Boys

What’s the most innovative year ever for rock ’n’ roll? Fans, critics and academics have any number of watershed years they can point to in the more than six decades of post-World War II popular music broadly defined as rock.

There’s 1954, the year Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” signaled the flashpoint of rock ’n’ roll, and Elvis Presley first stepped up to a microphone at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn.

Or 1964, the year Beatlemania exploded around the world and the launch of the British Invasion.

Don’t discredit 1967, with the Summer of Love, the blossoming of flower power and psychedelic music.



NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—The Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, tore into the media on Thursday for what he called its “extremely unfair practice” of reporting the things he says.

“I’ll say something at a rally and I look out and see all these TV cameras taking every word down,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “No one in politics has ever been subjected to this kind of treatment.”

“It’s unbelievable and, frankly, very unethical,” he added.

At a rally in Florida, the candidate lashed out at a TV cameraman whom he caught in the act of recording his words for broadcasting purposes. “Look at him over there, picking up everything I’m saying, folks,” Trump shouted. “Get him out of here.”

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