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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

Proud Boy pleads guilty to felony charge in Capitol riot

Source: Washington Post

A New York man who was a member of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstructing Congress and conspiring to obstruct law enforcement during the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6, a felony.

The plea is significant because Matthew Greene, 34, admitted coordinating with other members of the extremist group at the front of the Capitol mob, although there is no evidence he actually entered the building.

He is cooperating with prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson said in federal court in the District, and will likely get credit at or after sentencing for that cooperation and for acceptance of responsibility. The government estimates non-binding sentencing guidelines of 41 to 51 months. Greene has also agreed to pay a $2,000 fine.

Greene is the first self-admitted member of the Proud Boys to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with law enforcement in the cases stemming from the riot. He is set to be sentenced on March 10.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/12/22/matthew-greene-proud-boy/

Republican Congresscritters: Ruh roh...

Discharged Navy sailor gets prison in scheme to export U.S. military equipment to China

Ivy Wang, based in Coronado, procured export-controlled equipment for her husband’s resale business

Ye San Wang was deployed to Iraq in 2018 when a package she had ordered online arrived at Naval Special Warfare Command base in Coronado, home to the Navy SEALs.

She told her command, where she worked in supply and logistics, that it was something she had ordered for her husband for a camping trip. Instead, the package contained military equipment for her husband to sell to China for profit.

The item — a device used to identify U.S. military personal in the field — was among several that Wang, who goes by the nickname Ivy, obtained for her husband’s resale business through her Navy credentials, according to prosecutors.

On Tuesday, Wang, 37, was sentenced in San Diego federal court to 2˝ years in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.


Tampa Bay's rent increased by a record 24% in 2021, the highest in nation

One apartment industry expert said it may become more common for local residents to spend half their income on rent.

It was clear by the summer that Tampa Bay’s rent increases were shattering records. But as 2021 comes to a close, the verdict is that the price changes were stratospheric.

Rent prices in Tampa Bay increased by a record 24 percent in 2021, according to an analysis by CoStar Group, a commercial real estate data firm, which included Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. Tampa Bay had the highest rent spike in the nation for markets with at least 100,000 apartments, CoStar found.

To understand how troublesome this is for renters: The second-highest annual rent growth in the past two decades was 2015, which saw a 6.2 percent increase.

“This is a once-in-a-generation market that we’re in,” said Casey Babb, executive managing director at the Tampa office of Colliers International, a commercial real estate services company. The momentum began in 2010 as the Great Recession receded, he said, and has ramped up.

The spike is driven by demand, which is soaring in Tampa Bay thanks to a surge of new residents from out of state seeking a cheaper cost of living, warmer climate and fewer pandemic restrictions. At the same time, the supply of rental units has not caught up as the nation experiences a housing shortage affecting both the rental and home-buying markets.


'LETS GO BRANDON' Christmas lights spark battle with Sarasota homeowner's association

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and goodwill to others.

Spelling out "LETS GO BRANDON" in lighted letters on a balcony of his house brought plenty of joy to Martin Hyde, a Sarasota Republican running for Congress. It didn't generate goodwill in his neighborhood, though.

Now Hyde is locked in a standoff with his homeowner's association, which sent him a "friendly reminder" that signs aren't permitted and then dangled the possibility of a $150-a-day fine if he doesn't comply.

Conservatives are using the phrase "Let's Go Brandon" as a substitute for "expletive) Joe Biden." Some might wonder if a light display implying a vulgarity is in keeping with the spirit of a religious holiday, but Hyde isn't worried about that.

“It’s fully in keeping with my personality and my campaign," Hyde said. "Anybody who doesn’t like it, it’s one street... don’t come.”


Webb Telescope Prepares to Ascend, With an Eye Toward Our Origins

The biggest space telescope in history aims to answer astronomy’s oldest question: How did we get from the Big Bang to here?

There are only a few times in the history of a species when it gains the know-how, the audacity and the tools to greatly advance the interrogation of its origins. Humanity is at such a moment, astronomers say.

According to the tale that they have been telling themselves (and the rest of us) for the last few decades, the first stars flickered on when the universe was about 100 million years old.

They burned hard and died fast in spectacular supernova explosions, dispelling the gloomy fog of gas left over from the primordial fireworks known as the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. From those sparks came all that we care about in the universe — the long, ongoing chain of cosmic evolution that has produced everything from galaxies and planets to microbes and us.

But is that story right?

The tools to address that question and more are at hand. Sitting in a spaceport in French Guiana, wrapped like a butterfly in a chrysalis of technology, ambition, metal and wires, is the biggest, most powerful and, at $10 billion, most expensive telescope ever to be launched into space: the James Webb Space Telescope. Its job is to look boldly back in time at the first stars and galaxies.


This is a truly remarkable telescope, and I'm hoping that the launch and deployment go smoothly.

I know the link may look ugly, but it shouldn't be behind the paywall.

The 'most serious' security breach ever is unfolding right now. Here's what you need to know.

Much of the Internet, from Amazon’s cloud to connected TVs, is riddled with the log4j vulnerability, and has been for years

On Dec. 9, word of a newly discovered computer bug in a hugely popular piece of computer code started rippling around the cybersecurity community. By the next day, nearly every major software company was in crisis mode, trying to figure out how their products were affected and how they could patch the hole.

The descriptions used by security experts to describe the new vulnerability in an extremely common section of code called log4j border on the apocalyptic.

“The log4j vulnerability is the most serious vulnerability I have seen in my decades-long career,” Jen Easterly, U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director, said in a Thursday interview on CNBC.

So why is this obscure piece of software causing so much panic, and should regular computer users be worried?


Jan. 6 Panel Asks Member Of Congress For Info For The First Time

The Jan. 6 Committee is asking Rep. Scott Perry for information about the insurrection.

The Jan. 6 Committee asked Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) for information about the attack on the Capitol and the Big Lie on Monday. It’s the first time that the committee has publicly turned its investigation of the insurrection towards a sitting member of Congress.

The request says that the panel wants to ask Perry about his Signal communications with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Perry’s alleged involvement in efforts to hijack the DOJ to keep Trump in office, and the congressman’s involvement in conspiracy theories around Dominion voting machines.

The request came from panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in the form of a letter, and not a subpoena. Perry, along with other far-right House Republicans like Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and others, publicly stoked rage at the myth that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump, and met with the former President and his attorneys in efforts to contest the electoral college certification on Jan. 6.

But, the request notes, Perry reported played a key role in the effort to manipulate the DOJ into helping keep Trump in power.

Perry, the letter says, purportedly communicated with Meadows about the effort. Jeffrey Clark, the DOJ official at the center of the reported scheme, has been subpoenaed by the committee but has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.


Trump Sues New York A.G. in Attempt to Stop Inquiry Into His Business

Source: New York Times

Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit on Monday against the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, seeking to halt her long-running civil investigation into his business practices.

The suit, filed in federal court in upstate New York by Mr. Trump and his family real estate business, argues that Ms. James’s inquiry, which has lasted more than two years, has violated Mr. Trump’s constitutional rights.

Mr. Trump and his lawyers have long argued that the investigation was politically motivated; the lawsuit asks a judge to agree, and to stop the investigation.

“Her mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent,” the suit reads.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/20/nyregion/trump-lawsuit-letitia-james.html

Florida's largest electric utility conspired against solar power, documents show

Rooftop solar, while critical to fighting climate change, is a threat to the traditional utility business model. So Florida Power & Light did something about it.

TALLAHASSEE — Rooftop solar power generation in Florida is still a nascent industry, but Florida Power & Light, the nation’s largest power company, is pushing to hamstring it — by writing and hand-delivering legislation the company asked state lawmakers to introduce, according to records obtained by the Miami Herald and Floodlight.

FPL, whose work with dark-money political committees helped to secure Republican control of the state Senate in the 2020 elections, asked state Sen. Jennifer Bradley to sponsor its top-priority bill: legislation that would hobble rooftop solar by preventing homeowners and businesses from offsetting their costs by selling excess power back to the company, an arrangement known as net metering.

Records from the Florida Senate show that FPL drafted the bill, and lobbyist John Holley delivered it to Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and FPL’s parent company followed up with a $10,000 contribution to her political committee. Bradley filed the bill in November. A week later, state Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Plant City, introduced an identical version in the House.

Only about 90,000 Florida customers, about 1 percent of the state’s more than 8.5 million customers, sell excess energy back to the electrical grid, but the arrangement has driven significant rooftop solar expansion in Florida. The proposed legislation could seriously curtail that growth. FPL is pushing for it as Florida’s biggest utility — it has 5.5 million customers, about 65 percent of the state. Duke has 2 million customers, followed by TECO with 800,000 and then many other smaller utilities.


DeSantis' new election crimes office: 52 positions and 'unprecedented' authority

The number of positions would be far more than Jacksonville police assign to investigate homicides.

TALLAHASSEE — Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed off on several contentious changes to Florida’s election laws, limiting the use of ballot drop boxes and mail-in ballots.

But after facing accusations from the GOP base that he still isn’t doing enough to support former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, DeSantis is proposing a new investigative unit to enforce election laws.

And he wants to hire a staff larger than most police departments have to solve murders.

The new Office of Election Crime and Security, likely the first of its kind in any state, would give DeSantis and future governors unprecedented authority over election-related investigations. It would employ 45 investigators and have a $5.7 million budget and a broad mandate to look into violations of state election law and election “irregularities.”

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