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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,637

Journal Archives

Ex-GOP chair for North Carolina to plead guilty to lying to FBI

A former North Carolina GOP chairman will admit in court that he lied to federal agents conducting a bribery investigation of a major political donor, according to court documents filed Friday.

The federal court docket shows that Robin Hayes is scheduled to enter a guilty plea next Wednesday. Hayes has agreed to plead guilty to making a false statement to the FBI, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lia Bantavani.

A factual basis document prepared as part of the plea agreement and signed by Hayes' attorney said Hayes knew he was making false statements to FBI agents conducting the bribery probe in 2018. He was initially also charged with conspiracy and bribery.

Prosecutors have accused Hayes, a former congressman, of involvement in an insurance executive's plan to funnel campaign contributions to the state's top insurance regulator in exchange for special treatment. The executive, Greg Lindberg, and two of his associates have been charged with attempting to bribe state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article235544517.html

Drought exposes long-submerged 'Spanish Stonehenge' monument

A 7,000-year-old monument dubbed “Spanish Stonehenge” has been exposed for the first time in 50 years, after drought conditions in western Spain dropped water levels in a manmade lake and revealed the ancient standing stones.

The circle of more than 100 large rocks, known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, was submerged in 1963 after the Spanish government constructed the Valdecañas Reservoir to feed a hydroelectric dam that still generates power in the region. Occasionally, the tips of the tallest standing stones have been visible as the reservoir’s water levels have changed, but according to NASA, this is the first time that the entire monument has been out of water since the area was flooded to create the lake.

Water levels in the reservoir dropped significantly this summer after two intense heatwaves baked much of Europe. In Spain, June’s hot spell saw seven weather stations record their highest temperatures ever, according to the country’s meteorological agency, with several cities exceeding 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Higher-than-average temperatures and dry conditions were also recorded across Spain in July and August.

NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite snapped pictures of the area on July 25. In a comparison of satellite views taken of the same area in 2013, it’s possible to see the changing coastlines around the Valdecañas Reservoir and more pronounced vein-like features in the water that represent the exposed lake bottom.

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/drought-exposes-long-submerged-spanish-stonehenge-monument-ncna1059691

Staring down impeachment, Trump sees himself as a victim of historic proportions

Donald Trump is not the first American president staring down impeachment to nurse a deep sense of persecution and self-pity. But he is the first to broadcast that mentality to the world.

In the five days since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opened an impeachment inquiry following revelations about President Trump’s conduct with his Ukrainian counterpart, Trump has been determined to cast himself as a singular victim in a warped reality — a portrayal that seems part political survival strategy, part virtual therapy session.

As Trump tells it, he is a hard-working and honorable president whose conduct has been “perfect” but who is being harassed and tormented by “Do Nothing Democrat Savages” and a corrupt intelligence community resolved to perpetuate a hoax, defraud the public and, ultimately, undo the 2016 election.

“There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have,” Trump tweeted Wednesday, some 13 hours after Pelosi’s announcement.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/staring-down-impeachment-trump-sees-himself-as-a-victim-of-historic-proportions/2019/09/28/815fbbea-e14c-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html

These tea bags release billions of plastic particles into your brew, study shows

A couple of years ago, Nathalie Tufenkji stopped by a Montreal cafe on her way to work and ordered a cup of tea. She sat down with her mug, enjoying its warmth, before she noticed something strange: Her tea bag appeared to be made of plastic.

“I thought, ‘That’s not a very good idea, putting plastic into boiling water,’ ” she told The Washington Post.

Tufenkji was worried that the plastic bags could leach particles into the beverage that she and her fellow customers were consuming, and as a professor of chemical engineering at McGill University, she was well positioned to investigate. She dispatched her student Laura Hernandez to purchase tea bags from stores in the area and bring them back to the lab.

It turns out Tufenkji’s hunch was right. The bags were releasing plastic particles into the brewed tea. Billions and billions of them.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/09/27/these-tea-bags-release-billions-plastic-particles-into-your-brew-study-shows/

How a conservative columnist helped push a flawed Ukraine narrative

Back in March, the Hill newspaper published a series of stories and interviews that seemed, at the time, to be mainly of interest to foreign-policy wonks.

John Solomon, the paper’s executive vice president, interviewed Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, who alleged a startling conspiracy: that law enforcement officials within his country had leaked damaging information in 2016 against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, to help Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Lutsenko also floated suggestions that Marie Yovanovitch, who was then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, was cooperating with the scheme to help Clinton and undermine Trump’s campaign. The ambassador, Lutsenko alleged, was “interfering in his ability to prosecute corruption cases” and had even given him a list of defendants that he would not be allowed to prosecute, Solomon wrote.

Solomon’s piece urged “a serious, thorough investigation” of Lutsenko’s claims.
The story touched off a brushfire within the conservative media, in which Solomon is a prominent figure, but stayed largely out of mainstream view.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-a-conservative-columnist-helped-push-a-flawed-ukraine-narrative/2019/09/26/1654026e-dee7-11e9-8dc8-498eabc129a0_story.html

Chief accused of slamming black teen's head into door: Trump is 'last hope for white people'

A former New Jersey police chief standing trial for allegedly slamming a black teenager’s head into a door jamb reportedly called President Trump “the last hope for white people” before the 2016 election.

“I’m telling you, you know what, Donald Trump is the last hope for white people, cause Hillary (Clinton) will give it to all the minorities to get a vote,” said Frank Nucera Jr., former chief of Bordentown Township, according to NJ.com’s reporting of a transcript displayed at trial this week. “That’s the truth! I’m telling you.”

Nucera, 62, is charged with a hate crime, deprivation of the suspect’s rights and making false statements to the FBI in connection with the September 2016 arrest of an 18-year-old black man.

Two officers were escorting the handcuffed teenager from a hotel into a police car when Nucera approached the teen from behind and slammed his head into a metal door jamb, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in New Jersey.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/09/28/chief-accused-slamming-black-teens-head-into-door-trump-is-last-hope-white-people/

Trump's fate is in the hands of Fox News

With impeachment gathering steam, the fate of President Trump is in the hands of a single institution. Not the Senate, though that’s the body established by the Constitution to make the ultimate decision to remove a president. I’m thinking of Fox News.

Ordinarily, I’m skeptical of the power of media organizations — even Fox News. Though it is the most-watched cable (shall we say) “news” channel in the United States, its average primetime viewership of about 2.5 million people is less than 1 percent of the nation. The audiences for MSNBC and CNN are typically even smaller. Most Americans have better things to do with their evenings than to be harangued about politics.

However, those Fox News viewers punch far above their weight in one regard: They are the core of any hard-right primary challenge that might be waged against an incumbent Republican senator. I believe based on conversations with knowledgeable Republicans that Trump is neither popular nor admired among the Senate majority, but he is feared, therefore tolerated. The fear stems from his firm grip on that Fox News-viewing core and the belief that he could turn the core into an incumbent-crushing machine.

To the extent that Trump’s grip begins to loosen, the fear will begin to lift and the president’s Senate firewall will begin to crumble. That’s how I figure it, and I think Trump might be making a similar calculation, because his Twitter feed has been peppered lately with his annoyance at Fox News over various perceived acts of hostility. He might believe that he can maintain his standing solely through his unmediated tweets, regardless of Fox News. But I don’t think he really wants to find out.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-fate-is-in-the-hands-of-fox-news/2019/09/27/05587756-e144-11e9-8dc8-498eabc129a0_story.html

Florida's governor starts Presidential Protection Fund

If you get emails from The Republican Party of Florida, you may have received a personal email with a message from Florida's governor Ron DeSantis.

The email reads: "When I served in Congress, I fought back against the Democrats' witch hunts every single day. I refused to let them overturn the 2016 election and erase your vote from history. Now that Democrats are officially moving to impeach our duly elected president, my duty to protect him isn't over.

"As Governor of Florida, I want the president to know that we have his back in this fight 100 percent, so today I'm issuing the Presidential Protection Fund to fight back against this disgusting attempt to overturn a legitimate U.S. elections."

The email requested donations.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/floridas-governor-starts-presidential-protection-fund

Trump is on track for a level of defeat in California not seen since the Civil War

Source: LA Times

President Trump lost overwhelmingly in California in 2016, and 2020 could be even worse, putting him on track for the poorest showing by a Republican presidential candidate in the state since the Civil War, a new poll finds.

Just 29% of likely California voters say they plan to vote for Trump, compared with 67% who say they do not, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times.

Trump lost the state to Hillary Clinton by 30 points in 2016, and the state’s voters have moved further from his party since then. The administration has fought California officials on a host of issues involving immigration, healthcare and the environment, among other things — all topics on which Trump’s positions are unpopular in the state.

In the 2018 midterm election, Republicans lost seven contested congressional seats in the state, including in onetime GOP strongholds in Orange County.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-09-25/trump-california-unpopular-poll-2020-election



This is very bad news for California Republicans, even if Trump isn't on the ticket next year.

House Intel Committee meeting now starting on C-SPAN

Adam Schiff now speaking. He said the chair reserves the right to terminate the hearing at any time -- probably as a warning to the Republicans he's not going to let them turn the meeting into a circus.
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