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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 34,647

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

'Explosion' heard near missing Argentine submarine's last known location

Source: CNN

By Laura Smith-Spark and Stefano Pozzebon, CNN
Updated 2227 GMT (0627 HKT) November 23, 2017

(CNN)A noise detected near the last known location of a missing Argentine submarine on the day it vanished was consistent with an explosion, the Argentine navy said Thursday.

"An anomalous, singular, short, violent and non-nuclear event, consistent with an explosion, was registered," navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference in Buenos Aires. Teams from a dozen nations have been searching by air and sea for the ARA San Juan, which has 44 crew aboard and was last contacted off the coast of Argentina on November 15.

The latest update comes as the clock runs down on the chances of finding the vessel before its air supply runs out.

The San Juan has enough air to last seven to 10 days if it has remained fully immersed since that time, experts say. If the submarine has surfaced or "snorkeled" -- that is, raised a tube to the surface to refresh the vessel's air -- since then, the crew may have bought more time.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/23/americas/argentina-submarine/index.html

Trump vows to repeal and replace ObamaCare 'disaster'

Source: The Hill


President Trump attacked ObamaCare on Thursday night, calling the healthcare law a “disaster” and vowing to repeal and replace the law after the GOP passes tax reform.


ObamaCare premiums have risen after Trump ended key subsidies to insurers that helped to cover costs for low-income Americans.

Trump’s promise to repeal ObamaCare comes as enrollment in the healthcare law has unexpectedly surged since the start of the open enrollment period.

Nearly 2.3 million people signed up for coverage through ObamaCare exchanges during the first 18 days of the open enrollment period — outpacing the rate of enrollment that took place during the same time period under former President Obama.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/361693-trump-vows-to-repeal-and-replace-obamacare-disaster

Facebook Thinks You're Gay Based on Three 'Likes'

Source: Newsweek Magazine



Facebook advertisements take one swift look at a few of your “likes,” and make a decision about your sexual orientation, drug use history and more—whether you purposefully post it on your profile or not, according to a new study out of Big Data.

This is a really bad way to tell if someone is queer. For instance, if a person on Facebook “likes” Lady Gaga, Glee and the Human Rights Campaign, Facebook is likely to assume that person’s sexuality is gay.

They make these assumptions to exploit information about someone’s personal characteristics that they haven’t made public on the internet—such as being gullible, introverted, female, a drug user or gay. But the problem with Facebook’s assumptions runs deep. This is particularly worrying for LGBT people who aren’t yet publicly out. LGBT people are more likely to be targets of a hate crime than any other minority group, and outing people who are closeted could lead to dangerous implications.

"While some online users may benefit from being targeted based on inferences of their personal characteristics, others may find such inferences unsettling,” the study's authors, Daizhuo Chen, Samuel Fraiberger and Robert Moakler wrote.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/facebook-thinks-youre-gay-or-drug-user-based-three-likes-study-says-721006

U.S. Abortion Rates Fall To Historic Low

Source: Newsweek Magazine



Abortion rates in the United States have dropped to historic lows, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, which analyzes data from all 50 states, found that between 2013 and 2014 the national abortion rate dropped by 2 percent. In 2014, a total of 652,639 abortions occurred at a rate of 12.1 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, or at a rate of 186 abortions per 1,000 live births.

The vast majority of women receiving abortions were in their 20s, according to the CDC, and nearly all abortions are performed before 13 weeks gestation.

While rates were down overall, there was a 4 percent increase in women over the age of 40 terminating pregnancies. “Given the small proportion of abortions that are performed later in gestation among women aged over 40 years, which potentially might be completed for maternal medical indications or fetal anomalies, the continuing high abortion ratio among these older women suggests that unintended pregnancy is a problem that women encounter throughout their reproductive years,” wrote the CDC.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/abortion-rates-us-low-721205

GOP Hopes For Quick End To Russia Probes Begin to Dim

Source: Associated Press

By Drew Harwell November 23 at 3:24 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Republicans are hoping lawmakers will soon wrap up investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that have dragged on for most of the year. But with new details in the probe emerging almost daily, that seems unlikely.

Three congressional committees are investigating Russian interference and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was in any way involved. The panels have obtained thousands of pages of documents from Trump’s campaign and other officials, and have done dozens of interviews.

The probes are separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller can prosecute for criminal activity, while Congress can only lay out findings, publicize any perceived wrongdoing and pass legislation to try to keep problems from happening again. If any committee finds evidence of criminal activity, it must refer the matter to Mueller.

All three committees have focused on a June 2016 meeting that Trump campaign officials held in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and others. They are also looking into outreach by several other Russians to the campaign, including involvement of George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty this month to lying to the FBI as part of Mueller’s probe. New threads continue to emerge, such as a recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. was messaging with WikiLeaks, the website that leaked emails from top Democratic officials during the campaign.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-hopes-dim-for-quick-end-to-russia-probes

An Arrest in France Freaks Out the Kremlin Kleptocracy

Source: The Daily Beast

Oligarchs close to Putin thought they were beyond the reach of law in the south of France. But the arrest of one of Russia’s untouchables may bring an end to that thinking.

11.23.17 2:17 PM ET

MOSCOW—He was one of Russia’s untouchables: the country’s 21st richest man, a senator in the upper chamber of parliament. He is part of the circle of businessmen known for their loyalty to President Vladimir Putin and the benefits they’ve reaped as a result, a billionaire member of Putin’s United Russia party who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in important state projects to curry favor.

Such “pocket oligarchs” earn official status, even diplomatic immunity when they travel. And Suleiman Karimov, 51, reportedly has a Russian diplomatic passport. But according to the Russian press, when he landed in France earlier this week he was on a private trip, and didn’t bring it.

Then, almost as soon he got off the plane in Nice, he got arrested for alleged tax evasion and money laundering. And the vision of Karimov behind bars splashed in the Russian press shocked the country’s elite. Many of them, like Karimov, have gotten used to keeping their fortunes, their luxury properties, their yachts, and indeed their families abroad.

Before this week they thought of the French Riviera, especially, as a safe haven where resorts like Cap d’Antibes, St. Jean-Cap Ferrat, and Beaulieu-sur-Mer are home to whole colonies of ultra-rich Russians.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/an-arrest-in-france-freaks-out-the-kremlin-kleptocracy

Exclusive: Manafort flight records show deeper Kremlin ties than previously known

Source: McClatchy DC Bureau


NOVEMBER 27, 2017 05:00 AM

WASHINGTON- Political guru Paul Manafort took at least 18 trips to Moscow and was in frequent contact with Vladimir Putin’s allies for nearly a decade as a consultant in Russia and Ukraine for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin parties.

Even after the February 2014 fall of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, who won office with the help of a Manafort-engineered image makeover, the American consultant flew to Kiev another 19 times over the next 20 months while working for the smaller, pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party. Manafort went so far as to suggest the party take an anti-NATO stance, an Oppo Bloc architect has said. A key ally of that party leader, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was identified by an earlier Ukrainian president as a former Russian intelligence agent, “100 percent.”

It was this background that Manafort brought to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which he joined in early 2016 and soon led. His web of connections to Russia-loyal potentates is now a focus of federal investigators.

Manafort’s flight records in and out of Ukraine, which McClatchy obtained from a government source in Kiev, and interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with his activities, including current and former government officials, suggest the links between Trump’s former campaign manager and Russia sympathizers run deeper than previously thought.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/article186102003.html

Russia likely to reduce troops in Syria before year-end: military chief

Source: Reuters


SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The size of Russia’s military force in Syria is likely to be significantly reduced and a drawdown could start before the end of the year, the chief of the Russian military general staff said on Thursday.

Russia’s military support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, notably through air strikes, has been crucial in defeating Islamic State and Syrian opposition forces.

“There is very little left to do before the completion of military objectives. Of course, a decision will be made by the supreme commander-in-chief and the deployment will be reduced,” Valery Gerasimov told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and military top brass in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Gerasimov said forces would likely be “substantially” reduced but leave Russia with two military bases, a ceasefire-monitoring center and “a number of necessary structures to support the situation which has developed” in Syria.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-military/russia-likely-to-reduce-troops-in-syria-before-year-end-military-chief-idUSKBN1DN1IS?il=0

Whitefish Resumes Restoring Power to Puerto Rico After Payment

Source: Bloomberg

By Ari Natter
November 23, 2017, 2:27 PM EST

Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC said it resumed repairing Puerto Rico’s storm-ravaged electric grid after receiving a payment from the territory’s bankrupt utility.

The company, which saw its no-bid $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority canceled last month amid criticism, said Monday it was suspending work because it was owed $83 million. Under the terms of the canceled deal, Whitefish was supposed to continue work until Nov. 30.

The tiny Montana-based company is under investigation after securing a sole-source contract with the PREPA to restore power on the island, which lost 80 percent of its electric grid after a pair of hurricanes in September.

“PREPA released a payment to Whitefish Energy that was enough to show PREPA’s good faith intent to pay Whitefish Energy and its subcontractors for services rendered," the company said in a statement on Thursday. Chris Chiames, a Whitefish spokesman, declined to answer a question about the size of the payment. A spokesman for PREPA didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-23/whitefish-resumes-restoring-power-to-puerto-rico-after-payment

Ret. Lt General hammers Trump's 'off-kilter' and 'insulting' Thanksgiving address to the troops

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