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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,823

Journal Archives

Utahs attorney general was a rising GOP star. Now hes facing corruption charges

As John Swallow stood before family and colleagues at a swearing-in ceremony inside the marble rotunda of the Utah Capitol in 2013, many viewed him as a rising star in the Republican Party.

Charismatic and ambitious, Swallow had served three terms in the state House and now would become Utah’s 20th attorney general.

“He had what seemed to be everything going for him,” recalled state Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican from Clearfield, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. “Little did I or anyone know it was about to end.”

Indeed, 10 months after his swearing-in, Swallow resigned his position amid a flurry of corruption allegations. Now, nearly four years after becoming the state’s top attorney, Swallow is at the center of what experts say is unprecedented in Utah — a high-ranking state official facing multiple felony charges.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-utah-ag-corruption-20170208-story.html

Californians are keeping their lawmakers' phones ringing: 'They really hate Donald Trump'

The phone in Rep. Tom McClintock’s office rang seven times in 10 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

“This is Congressman McClintock’s office, how may I help you?” the receptionist said again and again, scribbling down each caller’s name, address and comment. “This call means a lot to us. I’ll express that to the congressman.”

Members of Congress have been inundated with phone calls and emails in the scant weeks since President Trump took office, with staff answering two to three times as many calls and emails as normal.

Some are organic outpourings from constituents concerned about the new administration. Others are inspired by the progressive groups that have formed as an outlet for angst about what the Republican-led Congress will do with a Republican White House.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-call-your-congressman-20170209-story.html

TRUMP SAYS HE HAS BEEN TREATED VERY UNFAIRLY BY PEOPLE WHO WROTE CONSTITUTION

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Hinting darkly that “there’s something going on,” Donald J. Trump complained on Friday that he has been treated “very unfairly” by the people who wrote the United States Constitution.

“If the Constitution prevented me from doing one or two things, I’d chalk that up to bad luck,” he said. “But when literally everything I want to do is magically a violation of the Constitution, that’s very unfair and bad treatment.”

Lashing out at the document’s authors, Trump said that “America is a great country, but we have maybe the worst constitution writers in the world.”

“Russia has much better constitution writers than we do,” he said. “I talked to Putin, and he said their constitution never gives him problems.”

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-says-he-has-been-treated-very-unfairly-by-people-who-wrote-constitution

With billions at stake, a federal judge just nullified the GOP's most cynical attack on Obamacare

Moda Health, a small Oregon health insurer, just won a $214-million judgment against the federal government. Normally that wouldn’t be worth reporting, except that in awarding Moda the money, the federal judge in the case dismantled the most cynical attack on the Affordable Care Act that congressional Republicans had devised.

The issue was the Affordable Care Act’s risk corridor program, which was devised to shelter insurers from unexpected losses in covering Affordable Care Act customers from 2014 through 2016. To encourage insurers to enter an entirely novel market, the program aimed to balance risks by taking funds from insurers that turned out to be unexpectedly profitable and use the money to cushion others’ losses. The model was provisionally written into Medicare’s prescription drug program, Part D, which went into effect in 2006 and worked well to attract insurers.

Initially, economists expected the Affordable Care Act version to be in the black overall — the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the government would collect $16 billion from successful insurers and pay out only $8 billion to struggling companies over the program’s three years. But if it turned out that there wasn’t enough, the Department of Health and Human Services was authorized to pay out funds from general government revenues.

Although Medicare Part D had been a Republican program, this time around the GOP railed against the same risk corridor arrangement as a “bailout” of insurers. They inserted a provision in a 2014 spending bill forbidding Health and Human Services from using any money other than what came from profitable insurers. As it happened, the program ran deeply in the red. The accumulated losses for 2014 and 2015 alone are up to $8.3 billion; some estimates place the total owed over the three years at nearly $15 billion.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-risk-corridor-moda-20170210-story.html

Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to Curry Favor With Trump: Official

Source: NBC News

U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a "gift" to President Donald Trump — who has called the NSA leaker a "spy" and a "traitor" who deserves to be executed.

That's according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to "curry favor" with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.

Snowden's ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told NBC News they are unaware of any plans that would send him back to the United States.

"Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern," Wizner said.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/russia-eyes-sending-snowden-u-s-gift-trump-official-n718921



Uh oh, Comrade...

California's second largest reservoir is damaged. These water releases just made it worse

As storm runoff poured into fast rising Lake Oroville Thursday, the state resumed releases down the reservoir’s damaged spillway, creating dramatic scenes of muddy torrents gushing over the concrete chute.

The releases tore a larger hole in the spillway and jumped over the structure, creating an instant waterfall.

“These pictures are dramatic and they will continue to change and be dramatic,” William Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources, said at an evening news briefing.

“As we upped the flows … that’s further eroding around the lower part of the spillway and the spillway itself. That’s not a surprise to us,” he added.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-oroville-spillway-damage-20170209-story.html

Hunter spends campaign cash at cigar bar, poses with Cubans

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign continued in the last quarter of 2016 to spend money on “food/beverages” at a cigar lounge in his district, where he was photographed apparently smoking a Cuban cigar on election night.

Hunter’s financial disclosure report, filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, shows his campaign spent $404 at Alpine Tobacco Company Cigar and Wine Bar in Alpine in November. The spending is in addition to the $3,018 Hunter’s campaign has reported spending on “food/beverages” at that smoking lounge and two others since April 2015.

Hunter’s campaign spending has come under scrutiny by the Office of Congressional Ethics since the FEC and The San Diego Union-Tribune first raised questions last April. He has reimbursed his campaign for more than $60,000 his office identified as personal, mistaken or insufficiently documented. None of the tobacco expenses have been reimbursed.

Hunter’s office has declined to say the campaign purpose of the spending at the tobacco lounge.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-hunter-smoking-20170208-story.html

This lout needs to go.

'I know they are going to die.' This foster father takes in only terminally ill children

The children were going to die.

Mohamed Bzeek knew that. But in his more than two decades as a foster father, he took them in anyway — the sickest of the sick in Los Angeles County’s sprawling foster care system.

He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms.

Now, Bzeek spends long days and sleepless nights caring for a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect. She’s blind and deaf. She has daily seizures. Her arms and legs are paralyzed.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/california/la-me-ln-foster-father-sick-children-2017-story.html

Tesla sets record: Model S is fastest street-legal car from zero to 60

The results are in and Elon Musk’s flagship is faster than even he predicted. In Motor Trend’s acceleration test, the 2017 Tesla Model S P100D in Ludicrous+ mode set a new world record for zero to 60 acceleration at less than 2.3 seconds, a barrier crossed by no previously tested street legal car.

When you consider the tested Model S seats seven and weighs almost 5,000 pounds, a sub-2.3-second zero to 60 time is even more impressive. The Tesla hit 60 faster than any other car of any price Motor Trend ever tested, including the $1.4 million Ferrari LaFerrari, $1.15 million McLaren P1, and the $845,000 Porsche 918. The Tesla’s as-tested price is $148,000.

Elon Musk predicted that when the Ludicrous mode Easter egg (aka Ludicrous+) was unlocked, the extra 33 horsepower would scoot the P100D to 60 in 2.34 seconds, beating the regular Ludicrous mode’s 2.5 second time. The official time in the test run was 2.275507139 seconds. We doubt Musk feels bad about that.

So here’s how you can try to replicate Motor Trends’ test results with your own 2017 Model S P100D. First off, locate a safe, closed-road test track. Making sure your car has firmware v8.0 release 2.52.22, go to the Settings menu, select Acceleration, and press and hold the Ludicrous button for five seconds. You will be asked if you want to “push the limits” and warned about extra wear on the motor, gearbox, and battery. If you’re still in the game, ignore the “No, I want my Mommy” button and press the “Yes, bring it on!” button.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/tesla-sets-record-model-fastest-180120307.html

The other car manufacturers aren't going to like reading about this.

U.S. court blocks Anthem-Cigna $54 billion deal

Source: Reuters

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc's (ANTM.N) proposed $54 billion merger with smaller rival Cigna Corp (CI.N), derailing an unprecedented effort to consolidate the country’s health insurance industry.

The U.S. Justice Department sued in July to stop Anthem's purchase of Cigna, a deal that would have created the largest U.S. health insurer by membership, and Aetna Inc's (AET.N) planned $33 billion acquisition of Humana (HUM.N).

On Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling against Anthem's deal under seal. Last month, a different U.S. judge ruled against Aetna's proposed deal for Humana.

Berman had separated the Justice Department's case into two trials. In one, she weighed arguments over whether the tie-up would hurt the ability of large national employers to get competitive rates for the health coverage they provide workers.



Read more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-court-blocks-anthem-cigna-005207831.html
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