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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: 14,371

Journal Archives

Dissident Republicans must leave the GOP unless they want to enable it

News reports suggest that House Republicans might strip 13 Republicans who voted for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill of their committee assignments. Shocking? Not so much.

Meanwhile, in criticizing the legislative redistricting plan from Illinois Democrats that leaves him out in the cold, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told Rolling Stone: “I blame Democrats for drawing that map. And I think that what it says to people is that you want Republican allies in the defense of democracy until it’s politically advantageous to not.”

There appears to be widespread confusion about what it means to be a Republican these days. Remaining in a party dominated by anti-democratic demagogues that seeks to rationalize a violent overthrow of the government, spread vaccine disinformation and incite white resentment comes with a price. Those who do not realize this are falling for a fantasy that the GOP is a normal political party, not a cult of personality complete with anti-truth hymnal.

No one should be the least bit surprised that the party that stripped Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) of her leadership post wants to bring 13 members to heel for voting for a wildly popular infrastructure bill. The 13, who all opposed the American Rescue Plan, seem to have forgotten that the one thing Republicans must not do is improve America if Democrats get the credit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/09/dissident-republicans-must-leave-gop-unless-they-want-enable-it/

Kyle Rittenhouse's story is a tragedy. The right thinks it's a triumph.

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wis., should make any person with an ounce of sense feel little but grief, even despair. But unfortunately, if Rittenhouse gets acquitted, what happens afterward will be absolutely sickening.

Here’s a quick review of the undisputed facts in the case. As protests gripped Kenosha in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake last August, Rittenhouse, then 17, took his illegally obtained AR-15 and traveled to the city from his home in Illinois. In the midst of the chaotic events, he shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz. Rosenbaum and Huber died, while Grosskreutz survived.

Rittenhouse took the stand on Tuesday in his trial to argue that he feared for his life all three times and killed only in self-defense. There’s a good chance that he will prevail; there’s no question that the confrontations were angry (especially after a crowd saw him kill Rosenbaum and pursued him), and while “I was afraid” may not be quite the get-out-of-jail-free card for civilians that it is for police officers, it carries a lot of weight in both the law and the minds of juries.

I’m not a conservative, but if I was, I would hope my thoughts about Kyle Rittenhouse would run something like this: “The violence that occurred in Kenosha was unacceptable, but that doesn’t justify vigilantism. Rittenhouse was a dumb kid pumped up by the fantasy of saving the day with his gun, but he didn’t go there intending to murder anyone. He should be acquitted because he acted in self-defense, but we shouldn’t forget that two people are dead, which is a terrible tragedy.”

That’s not my opinion, but I do think it’s about the most generous gloss you can honestly put on those events.

Unfortunately, it’s not how conservatives approached this story. From the moment Rittenhouse killed Rosenbaum and Huber, he has been embraced by the right as a hero.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/10/kyle-rittenhouse-trial-tragedy-triumph/

The Hatch Act report is damning -- of more than Trump's White House

A federal investigation has now confirmed what the whole country saw for itself: President Donald Trump’s tenure was a parade of violations of the Hatch Act, the law that prohibits mixing governing with campaigning. The report is damning, not only of the previous administration but also of today’s toothless enforcement regime.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recounts over the course of 60 pages events that many already read about when they occurred. At least 13 senior officials exploited their roles and resources to boost their boss’s chances in the 2020 election, including in the days before the contest — creating “the conditions for what appeared to be a taxpayer-funded campaign apparatus within the upper echelons of the executive branch.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech praising the president’s foreign policy from the roof of a hotel in Jerusalem during the Republican National Convention; acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf conducted a naturalization ceremony from the White House grounds, also as part of the convention; Kellyanne Conway repeatedly appeared on television in her capacity as a White House counselor to disparage candidates from the opposing party.

These are only a few abuses and a few abusers among many. The law in question may seem esoteric, or even confusing: Where exactly is the line between the personal and the professional, or the professional and the political, for prominent public figures? Yet little about this case is in the eye of the beholder. These violations were flagrant and willful, occurring even after warnings from ethics attorneys. Ms. Conway, when asked about her transgressions in 2019, said, “Blah, blah blah.” These offenses persisted without punishment for four years, permitting those in power to manipulate the business of the state in an effort to maintain that power. The problem is, there is only one avenue for punishment of political appointees under the Hatch Act: The president of the United States must impose it. And, in this case, the president of the United States was condoning, and possibly directing, the misconduct.

This week’s report is blistering, yet its material effect on the previous administration will be next to nil. An employee who has already left the job can’t be fired or demoted and, in any case, the OSC can only recommend such discipline. Whether to impose it is at the president’s discretion. This renders the Hatch Act practically useless for restraining those most in need of restraint. Congress can change that. The Protecting Our Democracy Act in the House of Representatives would empower the OSC to seek fines on political appointees whom presidents decline to discipline, much as it does regularly for rank-and-file civil servants. The bill would also ramp up the maximum penalty to $50,000. Members of the Senate rankled by the blatant undermining of nonpartisan government could independently draw up reforms, too. No White House should be able to “blah, blah, blah” away the consequences of breaking the law.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/10/hatch-act-report-is-damning-more-than-trumps-white-house/

Anyone remember the Republican outrage when Al Gore used his White House telephone to call Democratic donors?

Swift Ruling Tests Trump's Tactic of Running Out the Clock

The former president has leveraged the slow judicial process in the past to thwart congressional oversight, but the Jan. 6 case may be different.

WASHINGTON — On the surface, a judge’s ruling on Tuesday night that Congress can obtain Trump White House files related to the Jan. 6 riot seemed to echo another high-profile ruling in November 2019. In the earlier matter, a judge said a former White House counsel must testify about then-President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

In both cases, Democratic-controlled House oversight committees issued subpoenas, Mr. Trump sought to stonewall those efforts by invoking constitutional secrecy powers, and Obama-appointed Federal District Court judges — to liberal cheers — ruled against him. Each ruling even made the same catchy declaration: “presidents are not kings.”

But there was a big difference: The White House counsel case two years ago had chewed up three and a half months by the time Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson issued a 120-page opinion to end its first stage. Just 23 days elapsed between Mr. Trump’s filing of the Jan. 6 papers lawsuit and Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling against him.

The case, which raises novel issues about the scope of executive privilege when asserted by a former president, is not over: Mr. Trump is asking an appeals court to overturn Judge Chutkan’s ruling and, in the interim, to block the National Archives from giving Congress the first set of files on Friday. The litigation appears destined to reach the Supreme Court, which Mr. Trump reshaped with three appointments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/10/us/politics/swift-ruling-tests-trump-delay-tactic.html

Electric automaker Rivian valuation pops above GM, Ford in biggest IPO of 2021

Source: Yahoo News

The euphoria around Rivian kicked into overdrive Wednesday as it debuted as a publicly traded company, with an opening share price of $106.75.

If that sticks, it would give Rivian an implied valuation of $90 billion. The opening trade was nearly 37% higher than its listed IPO price of $78. That absolute eye-popping number makes Rivian one of the largest IPOs in U.S. history and puts its market cap above GM as well as one of its backers, Ford (GM's market cap is $86.31 billion; Ford's is $78.2 billion).

That share price continued to rise after it began trading around 1 pm ET, hitting as high as $119 a share before falling to about $112.

The historic size of the Rivian IPO is not lost on founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. However, and perhaps as expected, he is bullish on the future of EVs, noting in a recent interview that the 90 to 100 million vehicles sold each year will transition to electric in the next 10 to 20 years.

Read more: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/electric-automaker-rivian-valuation-pops-181400598.html



Pretty crazy valuation. Methinks people are looking at Rivian stock to be the next Tesla.

Most Expensive U.S. Zip Codes in 2021: 10 Areas Surpass $4 Million Median Sale Price

Key Takeaways:

- At nearly $7.5 million, Atherton, Calif.’s 94027 remains #1 most expensive zip code for fifth consecutive year
- Record $5.5 million median sale price gives Boston’s 02199 #2 spot
- Top 10 most expensive zip codes in 2021 all surpass $4 million mark — a historic first
- 33109 in Miami jumps 66% Y-o-Y, becomes #5 priciest in U.S.
- Nationally, 30 zips feature median sale prices higher than $3 million, more than double the number of areas in 2020
- Country’s 100 most expensive zip codes located in 10 states, with 70% from California
- Bay Area claims 47 of nation’s most exclusive zip codes
- Los Angeles County remains priciest county with 21 entries
- Once again, San Francisco boasts highest concentration of pricey zip codes, while NYC drops out of top 20
- Gibson Island’s 97% Y-o-Y price surge claims Maryland’s highest position yet at #23
- Exclusive Lake Tahoe enclaves rule Nevada real estate, Paradise Valley returns Arizona for 3rd consecutive year

Ranking the Priciest U.S. Zip Codes by Closed Home Sales

Even as another uniquely challenging year — marked by the efforts of tackling the pandemic and boosting the economy — is coming to an end, the U.S. residential market continues to experience vertical price trends. And, that picture is clearly visible in our 2021 edition of the 100 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. — which, for the first time ever, includes 127 zip codes due to multiple ties.

Compiled by calculating median home sale prices as opposed to listing prices to ensure an accurate picture of market conditions as opposed to selling prices that reflect sellers’ wishes, this year’s edition highlights the ever-increasingly competitive residential markets of economically vital urban centers.

The Bay Area, Los Angeles County, and New York City yet again have a heavy presence, joined by exclusive pockets of affluence scattered across the country, like Arizona’s Paradise Valley, Washington state’s Medina and Connecticut’s Fairfield County. What’s more, 2021’s competitive residential landscape is further evidenced by the country’s 10 most expensive zip codes — all of which surpassed the $4 million threshold, marking a new record.

https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-us

Top GOP congressional candidate in Texas accused of abusing teenage daughter of estranged husband

Source: Washington Post

A star Republican congressional candidate in Texas was accused last month by her estranged husband in court documents of “cruel and aggressive conduct” toward his 14-year-old daughter, including verbal abuse and pinching the child to stop her from crying.

Monica De La Cruz, a candidate for the 15th Congressional District in Texas, was picked this week by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a “young gun,” a designation given by the party to candidates that “have met a series of rigorous goals and surpassed program benchmarks to establish a clear path to victory.”

She announced last week on Twitter that she was going through a divorce from her husband Johnny Hernandez.

“This is not what anyone wants or expects when getting married but we believe this is the best decision. We are dealing with some mental health issues in our family & would appreciate your prayers and support,” De La Cruz wrote. “I remain committed to being a devoted, loving mother to my children and humbly ask for privacy for our family during this difficult time.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-gop-congressional-candidate-abuse-allegations/2021/11/09/0cbdcdb6-4191-11ec-9ea7-3eb2406a2e24_story.html



McCarthy sure knows how to pick 'em.

Guess she has what he's lookin' for in a star Republican candidate.

GE is splitting into three companies

Source: CNN

General Electric, the industrial conglomerate founded by Thomas Edison in 1892, is breaking up. GE announced plans Tuesday to split into three separate companies.

GE will become separate, publicly traded companies for its aviation, healthcare and energy businesses. The company said it hopes to spin off the healthcare business to shareholders in early 2023 and that the separation of its renewable energy and power business will occur in early 2024.

Shares of GE (GE) surged as much as 17% in premarket trading on the news before retreating to about a 6% gain in early trading after the open. The stock was already up more than 25% in 2021 before the spin-off announcement.

"By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors and employees," said CEO Larry Culp in a press release.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/09/investing/ge-split/index.html

Tucker Proves He's Completely Ignorant of History With Buttigieg Attack

Carlson gleefully took aim at Buttigieg for referencing a famous example of racism being designed into New York roadways, proving his own ignorance of America’s past.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson joined in on the right-wing mockery of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday night, gleefully calling Buttigieg one of the “dumbest people in the world” for saying “racism” was reflected in the design decisions of New York roads.

In the process, Carlson proved his own apparent ignorance of the historical example Buttigieg was citing.

During a Monday press conference touting the recently passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the transportation secretary said the package would allow his department to address racial inequities in America’s highway design and transportation system. The Grio reporter April Ryan then asked Buttigieg to “give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into the roadways,” likely aware that he had mentioned the issue before.

“I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a Black neighborhood, or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach—or it would have been—in New York, was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” Buttigieg responded. “I don’t think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality.”

While Republican politicians and conservative pundits wasted no time making fun of Buttigieg over his comments, he was actually referencing Robert Caro’s seminal biography The Power Broker, about former state and municipal officer Robert Moses and his efforts to reshape New York City.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tucker-carlson-mocks-pete-buttigieg-over-racism-proves-hes-completely-ignorant-of-history

I read The Power Broker many years ago (and still have it on my bookshelf), and at that time was quite disturbed reading how Robert Moses was so instrumental in configuring NYC roadways to isolate or wreck the ethnic communities that existed in the city; the deliberately designed low underpasses to prevent bus transportation was a particularly egregious example that stood out when reading Caro's meticulous biography (subtitled "Robert Moses and the Fall of New York" ). Moses was a tremendously powerful -- yet unelected -- figure in city politics for decades, and the effects of his unchallenged authority linger with us today.

DeSantis holds call with In-N-Out Burger president

TAMPA (WFLA) – Gov. DeSantis held a call with the president of In-N-Out Burger Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson on Monday with talks of the burger chain coming to the Sunshine State as a result of the state’s COVID policies.

The news of the call was made public following the release of the governor’s schedule on Monday.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis has pushed forward the idea of the restaurant to make a move to Florida after fighting back against San Francisco’s vaccine passport policy.

“Why wouldn’t In-N-Out want to come to the bastion of freedom that we call the State of Florida?” Patronis said in October.

On Oct. 14, the only In-N-Out in San Francisco was closed for several days after repeatedly refusing to follow that city’s public health mandate which required customers who wanted to dine indoors show their vaccination cards or proof they had tested negative for the virus in the past 72 hours.

https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/desantis-holds-call-with-in-n-out-burger-president/

Just more gratuitous shit-stirring by DeSantis and Florida Republicans.
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