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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,982

Journal Archives

The Cretan Runner

Just finished this book, which is a remarkable first-person account of resistance activities on the island of Crete during WWII. The book's author was a Cretan messenger for British SOE commando cells hiding out in mountain caves, who sometimes had to travel dozens of miles overnight over rough terrain while avoiding German patrols.

The Germans were quite ruthless in repressing the population, destroying entire villages and murdering everyone around, but the irrepressible spirit of the Cretan people in the face of such cruelty comes through in this book.

One of the most audacious yet little-known events of WWII was the SOE kidnapping of the German general in command of Crete; although the author did not participate in that particular action, he does write about how the general was shuffled around from cave to cave before being smuggled off the island.

This book provides a detailed, in-depth account and insight into the challenges and adventures of resistance fighters in an almost-unknown theater of operations. I found it well worth the read.

Trump will decide if auto imports are a national security threat, as EU retaliation looms

Source: LA Times

President Trump received the findings of a probe into whether imported vehicles pose a national security threat, as the European Union threatened retaliation for any tariffs the Trump administration might impose.

Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act on the findings, which were delivered by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Sunday with no hint of the findings. Commerce started the investigation in May under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act — the same provision the administration used last year to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Trump has threatened levies of as much as 25% on foreign-made vehicles. American and foreign-based auto manufacturers and dealers have lobbied against it. Companies and governments from Europe to Asia have warned Trump that tariffs on car imports would hurt the U.S. economy and disrupt the global auto industry, which is already mired in a slump.

An auto trade war would deal a blow to carmakers including General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., which have built their supply chains to take advantage of countries with low duties. The Commerce probe covers auto parts as well as assembled vehicles.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-trump-auto-tariffs-20190218-story.html

Will he or won't he? I suspect Trump will declare imported vehicles and parts to be a national security threat and impose tariffs. He loves tariffs.

Gene Littler, San Diego golf great, dies at 88

His well-earned nickname was “The Machine,” because few players had a more efficient and consistent golf swing than Gene Littler.

The moniker could have applied to Littler as a person, too: Quiet, unassuming, unflappable. He was not one to call attention to himself in any manner despite Hall of Fame accomplishments in the game.

“His swing was metronome-like. No question,” said Chuck Courtney, the pro emeritus at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club who caddied for and then played alongside Littler on the PGA Tour.

“He had this beautiful rhythm … tick, tock, tick, tock. God, it was beautiful. And that could pretty much describe his personality, too.”


At least 40 newspapers cancel 'Non Sequitur' comic strip over profane message

One week after artist Wiley Miller slipped in a profane message to Donald A. Trump in “Non Sequitur,” many newspapers around the country have canceled the comic strip and others are still weighing what action to take.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is one of more than 700 media outlets carrying the strip, which runs daily as a single-panel and on Sundays in multiple panels. Because the Post-Gazette prints the Sunday comics two weeks in advance at its production facility in Clinton, “Non Sequitur” was distributed in Sunday’s editions. A decision will be forthcoming from editors on whether the newspaper will keep it.

In Mr. Miller’s strip published Feb. 10, a coloring book parody featuring a character named Leonardo BearVinci included tiny scribbles of text throughout the drawings.

In one corner of the middle panel was the almost illegible “We fondly say … go [expletive] yourself.”


I like Non Sequitur, but this was probably not a wise move by the cartoonist, even though I sympathize with his message.

How President Trump came to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall

President Trump knew that lawmakers were unlikely to ever give him the billions of dollars he wanted to build a wall on the southern border, so in early 2018, he gave aides a directive: Find a way to do it without Congress.

It was hardly an easy assignment. The White House had some flexibility to spend money the way it wanted, but could not move the necessary billions at will. Trump could declare a national emergency, but White House attorneys repeatedly warned him the risk of failure in court was high.

On Friday, Trump did it anyway. Stepping to a microphone in the Rose Garden, the president told reporters he was invoking his powers to declare a national emergency, then acknowledged what his lawyers had been warning him: He will get sued and, at least initially, will probably lose.

The remarkable moment, people familiar with the matter say, marked the culmination of months of heated internal deliberations between the White House Counsel’s Office, the Justice Department, the Office of Management and Budget, lawmakers and the president over how to fund the wall.


I like this excerpt from the article:

An ACLU lawyer responded on Twitter: “keep talking mr president.”

Trump Base Celebrates President For Standing Up To Constitution

WASHINGTON—Enthusiastically praising the commander-in-chief for holding firm in the face of opposition, Donald Trump’s political base cheered on the president Friday for standing up to the U.S. Constitution.

“He stayed strong and really showed the Constitution who’s boss,” said 48-year-old Trump supporter Ross Heddens, applauding the president’s bravery and determination in taking on the document that represents the social contract through which all authority vested in the U.S. government is ultimately derived.

“No fundamental system of laws is going to get in his way. Trump has shown that he won’t allow mere constitutional articles—not even the ones that explicitly delineate which powers are granted to which branches of government—to stop him from doing what he has pledged to do. That’s how tough he is.”

Members of Trump’s base went on to urge the president to continue standing his ground by ignoring any future rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court that may seek to prevent him from fulfilling his campaign promises.


El Chapo Says He Is Victim of Phony Witch Hunt

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In his first interview since being found guilty on all counts in his U.S. trial, the Mexican drug lord Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán called himself the victim of a “phony witch hunt.”

The former cartel leader made his blistering comments in a phone call to the television program “Fox & Friends,” whose hosts appeared surprised that he had somehow gained access to a phone and was able to get through to them.

“It was a phony witch hunt,” El Chapo said, of his trial. “It was a phony, rigged witch hunt, and the charges against me were fake news and a disgrace.”

Questioned whether he had worked in concert with other drug lords to bring narcotics into the United States, El Chapo said, “There was no collusion. And there was no evidence of collusion, because there was no collusion.”

But the former drug kingpin reserved his harshest words for the F.B.I. and its former director James Comey. “Lying and leaking Jim Comey is a showboat and a disaster,” he said.

Asked to give his impression of the American justice system, El Chapo said, “I think it’s very bad when someone like me, who is running a business and creating jobs and helping the economy, is harassed and treated unfairly. I think it’s a disgrace and, frankly, very sad.”


San Diego neuroscientist says brain-buzzing device causes weight loss

San Diego entrepreneur just took first place in a big startup competition put on by all the University of California schools, winning judges over with its brain-manipulating wearable device used for weight loss.

Neurovalens makes a headset (worn like headphones) that stimulates a region of the brain tied to appetite. Wearing the device for an hour per day is resulting in a 5 percent reduction in body fat for its users over three to four months, said the company’s founder Jason McKeown, a visiting scholar at UC San Diego.

It sounds like science fiction — or at least a late-night infomercial — right? Well, the device actually has some interesting science behind it, and the company’s founder is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat obesity.

Neurovalens competed alongside 150 entrepreneurs across 10 campuses in the annual UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. McKeown was the winner of the later-stage category, earning $15,000.


It's a brave new world that's emerging.

Renault denounces Nissan over Ghosn investigation: report

Lawyers for French carmaker Renault have criticised their Japanese alliance partner Nissan for its handling of an internal probe into the Carlos Ghosn scandal, a Sunday newspaper has reported.

In a letter to Nissan dated January 19, the lawyers said they had "serious concerns about the methods used" by the company and its legal team, including the way they treated some Renault employees, according to France's Le Journal du Dimanche.

Former head of the alliance Ghosn is being held in Japan on charges he under-reported millions of dollars in pay as head of Nissan.

"Renault has gathered sufficient evidence to understand and regret the methods used by Nissan and its lawyers to seek interviews with Renault employees through the Japanese public prosecutor's office," they said.


US refiner Citgo emerges as key to Venezuela's power battle

The U.S. and dozens of other countries may have declared that Nicolas Maduro is no longer the legitimate president of Venezuela, but that has not loosened his grip on power. Maduro still controls the military, despite scattered defections. He has the loyalty of the Supreme Court. And he has rendered the opposition-controlled National Assembly powerless by setting up a rival constitutional assembly.

But Maduro stands to lose one crucial lever of power: Houston-based refining company Citgo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, known by its acronym PDVSA.

Americans know Citgo for its familiar red triangle logo at its more than 5,000 branded gas stations and the iconic sign visible from Fenway Park in Boston. Venezuelans know it as one of their collapsing economy’s last lifelines.

The Trump administration is moving to help transfer its control to Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader recognized by the U.S. and other countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

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