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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,515

Journal Archives

The bizarre story of the L.A. dad who exposed the college admissions scandal

Morrie Tobin was in Boston to cut the deal of his life.

It was early April last year. A few weeks before, federal agents had descended on the multimillion-dollar home Tobin shares with his wife and some of their six children in Hancock Park, a moneyed Los Angeles enclave.

Warrant in hand, the agents searched the French chateau-style mansion for financial records and other evidence to nail Tobin, the suspected ringleader of a stock scam that defrauded investors of millions of dollars.

The raid imploded Tobin’s very comfortable life. Faced with the prospect of years in prison and a seven-figure fine, the businessman flew to Boston to meet with the federal prosecutors handling the case. He was looking for mercy.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-morrie-tobin-college-admissions-scandal-20190331-story.html

Obamacare didn't implode, so now Trump is trying to blow it up

“I like chaos,” President Trump once said. He appeared to be joking — but he sometimes governs as if he meant it.

The latest case in point is Obamacare, the federal program that extended medical insurance to about 20 million previously uninsured people.

Last week, Trump blindsided his own allies in Congress by renewing his demand for complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as the 2010 healthcare law is more formally known, and promising that his party would soon offer “a plan that is far better.”

The president ordered the Justice Department to tell a federal court that his administration wants the law struck down as unconstitutional — every bit of it, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions and its guarantee that children can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-healthcare-chaos-20190331-story.html

One of my new favorite photos



Go Granny Go!

From https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/3/28/1845992/-Court-of-Appeals-upholds-citizen-s-right-to-flip-law-enforcement-the-bird

Man wearing a MAGA cap slashes another man with a sword after a bloody confrontation



A man wearing a MAGA cap attacked another man with a sword outside a San Francisco roller-skating rink Friday night, police say.

The victim is said to have grabbed the assailant's red 'Make America Great Again' hat during the bloody confrontation before being stabbed in his hand.

He is said to have been approached by the suspect in the MAGA hat and a row broke out.

In shocking images posted online the red hat - a symbol of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign - can be seen laying on the sidewalk surrounded by blood.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6869383/Man-wearing-MAGA-cap-slashes-man-SWORD-outside-San-Francisco-roller-skating-rink.html

George Clooney calls for boycott of Brunei-owned luxury hotels in protest of anti-gay death penalty

Actor George Clooney called for the boycott of nine hotels owned by the sultan of Brunei in an op-ed published Thursday by the industry website Deadline. The Asian nation will implement a law next week making gay sex and adultery punishable by death.

“Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery,” Clooney wrote. “Brunei is a monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human-rights violations?"

Though its population totals under a half-million, Brunei ranks among the wealthiest nations in the world due to its oil and natural gas production. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced the new strict laws in 2014, when Brunei became the first country in its region to adopt sharia law. Homosexuality has been illegal in Brunei since it was a British colony, but the new laws specify the death penalty as a punishment.

The Brunei Investment Agency owns several luxury hotels that make up the Dorchester Collection: The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane and Coworth Park in the United Kingdom; the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in the United States; Le Meurice and Hotel Plaza Athenee in France; Hotel Eden and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Italy. Clooney noted that many people in Hollywood previously boycotted the Los Angeles-area hotels in 2014 because of Brunei’s mistreatment of the LGBTQ community, going so far as to cancel a fundraiser for the Motion Picture Retirement Home that had been held at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/03/29/george-clooney-calls-boycott-brunei-owned-luxury-hotels-protest-anti-gay-death-penalty/

Fossils show worldwide catastrophe on the day the dinosaurs died

Sixty-six million years ago, a massive asteroid crashed into a shallow sea near Mexico. The impact carved out a 90-mile-wide crater and flung mountains of earth into space. Earthbound debris fell to the planet in droplets of molten rock and glass.

Ancient fish caught glass blobs in their gills as they swam, gape-mouthed, beneath the strange rain. Large, sloshing waves threw animals onto dry land, then more waves buried them in silt. Scientists working in North Dakota recently dug up fossils of these fish: They died within the first minutes or hours after the asteroid hit, according to a paper published Friday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a discovery that has sparked tremendous excitement among paleontologists.

“You’re going back to the day that the dinosaurs died,” said Timothy Bralower, a Pennsylvania State University paleoceanographer who is studying the impact crater and was not involved with this work. “That’s what this is. This is the day the dinosaurs died.”

About 3 in 4 species perished in what is called the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, also known as the K-Pg event or K-T extinction. The killer asteroid most famously claimed the dinosaurs. But the T. rex and the triceratops were joined by hordes of other living things. Freshwater and marine creatures were victims, as were plants and microorganisms, including 93 percent of plankton. (A lone branch of dinosaurs, the birds, lives on.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/03/29/fossils-show-world-wide-catastrophe-day-dinosaurs-died/

The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. California isn't doing anything to stop it

California’s largest internal body of water is steadily drying up, exposing a lake bed that threatens to trigger toxic dust storms and exacerbate already high levels of asthma and other respiratory diseases in Southern California.

Yet there is something about the Salton Sea that leads many lawmakers to ignore the urgency and put off remediation programs. It’s just so far south — off the mental map of officials who represent more densely populated urban areas to the north, like Los Angeles. It is hydrologically unconnected to the Bay Area and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which supplies water for so much of the state’s agricultural and residential use. It is a disaster in the making, yet it is an afterthought.

That attitude is understandably galling to residents of the adjacent Imperial Valley, who are (for now) the ones most affected by the increasing dust and who have witnessed firsthand the degrading ecological conditions. They have heard officials promise repeatedly to fix this catastrophe by creating wetlands that moisten the exposed bed and sustain an ecosystem that continues to support migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. They have repeatedly seen those promises broken.

The dimensions of the failure were for many years merely theoretical, but they became real in the winter just past. As the rain and snow washed away drought and at least temporarily diminished environmental problems in the rest of the state, the contraction of the Salton Sea accelerated. Increasing salinity kept the lake from sustaining even the salt-hardy tilapia. The birds failed to appear.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-salton-sea-failure-20190329-story.html

GM squeezed $118 million from its workers, then shut their factory

The union hall in Lordstown, Ohio, is a hive of confusion, anxiety and anger. Mostly anger.

Three weeks after employees at the town’s General Motors Co. compact car plant assembled their last Chevrolet Cruze, employees are filing into the United Auto Workers Local 1112 hall to sign up for unemployment benefits and try to figure out if they should take a transfer to another GM plant or wait it out in the one factory most have ever worked and see if it survives.

Union workers are livid that they agreed to make $118 million a year in annual concessions to save the plant in mid-2017, only to have GM effectively threaten to close it down a year and a half later. Unless GM reverses its course, Lordstown will fall victim to the harsh reality that fewer consumers are buying small cars and that Chief Executive Mary Barra is hyper-focused on doing business only where GM can earn big returns.

“Everything they asked us to do, we did,” said Dan Morgan, the shop chairman of Local 1112 and chief negotiator of the agreement, the details of which haven’t previously been reported. “And still, we don’t have a product to build.”

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-general-motors-lordstown-ohio-union-20190329-story.html

Prisoner in Las Vegas tried to escape custody, police say, but gamble didn't pay off

The white pickup truck had just pulled in to the parking lot when Gregory Ganci was walking out of the medical center in shackles and chains.

Not that the prisoner knew it at the time, but the truck had a handgun and $2,800 in it. The engine was idling, and there wasn’t anyone sitting in the driver’s seat. It was about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Ganci was scheduled to be sentenced for a series of violent felonies, including convictions for kidnapping, robbery and intimidating a witness. He would likely get heavy time. It was possible, even likely, he wouldn’t be eligible for parole.

Ganci had demonstrated he was not a fan of captivity; he’d had fugitive warrants out for him in California and Illinois in the past. He was being escorted by a lone Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer to an unmarked car that would head for the Clark County Detention Facility. Then he’d go to court and hear his fate.

https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-las-vegas-prisoner-failed-escape-20190329-story.html

He won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Trial of Florida health care executive $1B fraud nears end

Source: AP

The federal trial of a Florida health care executive wrapped up on Friday with closing statements from the prosecution calling the defendant a trickster who couldn’t help himself and his defense arguing he was an ambitious and caring businessman.

Philip Esformes, 50, faces decades in prison if convicted of defrauding Medicare of $1 billion in one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history.

Prosecutors said the Miami Beach businessman was the mastermind in a scheme that would pay bribes and kickbacks to doctors so they would refer patients to his network of nursing homes. They also say Esformes and his co-conspirators paid bribes to a health care regulator in return for tips about when inspectors planned surprise visits to his facilities and when patients made complaints.

Esformes’ attorney, Roy Black, told jurors his client never paid kickbacks to doctors so they would refer patients to his nursing and assisted living facilities. The defense also said Esformes’ management style was “obsessive,” saying he wanted his facilities to always be ready for a government inspection.

Read more: https://apnews.com/d15d6b5e155d4915a216d2e730da0858
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