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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,811

Journal Archives

A worried nation wonders: How can we keep Wayne LaPierre safe?

After two horrific mass shootings, we come together as a nation to confront an urgent question: How are we going to keep Wayne LaPierre safe?

The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, it turns out, is worried sick about his personal safety in this gun culture.

After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, he and his wife bravely waited out the uproar on the pink-sand beaches of the Bahamas, part of $542,000 in private jet trips and personal items the NRA bought for him. And now, thanks to some delightful reporting by my Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Beth Reinhard, we know that last year’s Parkland massacre left LaPierre so fearful for his personal safety that he tried to have the NRA buy him a $6 million French-chateau-style mansion with nine bathrooms in a gated Dallas-area golf course community.

He told associates he was worried about his safety and thought his Virginia home was too easy for potential attackers to find.


'They're afraid': Suburban voters in red states threaten GOP's grip on power

Republicans face a reckoning in the red-state suburbs that have long been a bedrock for the party, propelled by the stormy confluence of President Trump’s searing racial attacks, economic turbulence and frustration with government inaction after last weekend’s deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

The GOP lost its House majority in 2018 after it fared poorly with suburban voters, particularly women. Party leaders are increasingly alarmed that they have made little progress winning them back. Instead, Trump’s incessant feuds, his hard-line position on immigration — including federal raids that left children without their parents — and the stock market’s tumult amid his trade standoff with China threaten to further alienate suburban voters ahead of the 2020 campaign, even in states that have traditionally elected Republicans.

Republican leaders also worry that Trump’s dramatic policy moves and Twitter outbursts — such as last month’s racist remarks about four minority women in Congress — could prod more suburban GOP lawmakers to head for the exits rather than mount a defense, following in the footsteps of several Texas Republicans and others who have decided not to seek reelection.

“There is so much angst with these retirements and there is so much hope that President Trump would just talk about the economy for three days straight,” said Scott W. Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior political strategist. And he warned that the Republican-controlled Senate could be at risk if the GOP does not make an “aggressive effort” to win the suburbs.


Trump again appears to take North Korea's side against his own military, allies

Source: Washington Post

President Trump offered further warm words for Kim Jong Un on Saturday, appearing to accept the North Korean leader’s justification for a series of missile tests and offering no defense of U.S. military exercises with key Asian ally South Korea.

Just hours after Trump declared Friday that he has received another “very beautiful letter” from Kim, North Korea conducted its fifth test of short-range missiles in a little over two weeks.

Pyongyang has repeatedly insisted the tests are a reaction to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, as well as Seoul’s import of F-35A stealth fighters from the United States.

Trump appeared to accept that explanation.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/trump-again-appears-to-take-north-koreas-side-against-his-own-military-allies/2019/08/10/e5e50620-bb6c-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html

He made headlines as an activist for 3-D printed guns. Now he's pleaded guilty in child sex case.

Self-described anarchist Cody Wilson tap-danced on the limits of the Second Amendment and criminal conduct when his downloadable gun designs for 3-D printers triggered fear that his on-demand firearms would give criminals untraceable killing tools.

But that is not what landed Wilson in court this time.

The 31-year-old accused of paying for sex with an underage girl last summer pleaded guilty Friday in a Travis County, Tex., courthouse to a reduced charge of injury to a child, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Wilson originally faced a charge of felony sexual assault.

The reduced sentence keeps Wilson out of prison but will require him to register as a sex offender for seven years of deferred adjudication probation.


Yet another terrible Republican tax proposal

President Trump, who famously likes to supersize his accomplishments, must not be satisfied with pushing the federal budget deficit above $1 trillion for the rest of his term. As staggering as that amount of red ink may be, he’s considering a tax cut that would widen the shortfall even further. What’s more, it would deliver little or nothing in return for the cost to the Treasury.

At issue is a Republican proposal to reduce the bite of capital gains taxes by making gains appear smaller for tax purposes. Today, the calculation is straightforward: the gain from the sale of an investment (shares of stock, for example, or a piece of real estate) is equal to how much more the item sold for than it cost to buy. Under the alternative being pushed by some Senate Republicans and anti-tax groups, the calculation wouldn’t be based on the original cost but on a higher number that takes into account all the inflation that has occurred since the item was purchased, lowering the gain.

In a sense, this is just another effort by the all-taxes-are-evil crowd to pay less for the services the federal government provides and shift the costs onto future generations. What makes this proposal unusual is that proponents aren’t calling for Congress to make the change; they want the president to do it unilaterally, through an executive order directing the Treasury Department to redefine the cost of a capital good as the price paid plus inflation.

Coming on the heels of a major GOP tax cut that’s spurring trillion-dollar deficits, the proposal is beyond fiscally irresponsible. It also represents the worst of trickle-down economics, given that the tax break would benefit the wealthy almost exclusively. According to the Tax Policy Center, households in the top 20% of U.S. earners, whose average incomes were $347,000, collected 90% of the taxable gains in 2018; more than half of the gains went to households in the top 0.1%, whose average incomes were $10.8 million.


Nearly 84,000 duplicate voter records found in audit of California's 'motor voter' system

Source: LA Times

California’s ambitious effort to automate voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicle offices produced almost 84,000 duplicate records and more than twice that number with political party mistakes, according to an audit released Friday by state officials.

The analysis covered just the first five months of the new “motor voter” program, which was launched in April 2018. It found a wide array of problems with the rollout of the DMV system, including a limited amount of testing as well as inconsistent and confusing lines of communication between the state agencies involved in its creation. Many of the findings align with documents reported by the Los Angeles Times in an investigation earlier this year of the motor voter program.

Auditors reviewed more than 3 million voter registration files, comparing the records from both DMV and California’s secretary of state. They found 83,684 duplicate voter registration records, a mistake attributed to inconsistencies in what was listed for voters’ political party preferences.

“This action resulted in no impact to voter eligibility,” Keely Martin Bosler, director of the state Department of Finance, wrote in a letter on Friday to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Cabinet secretary.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-09/duplicate-voter-records-audit-california-motor-voter-system

Betcha the Republicans are going to latch on to this report.

Trump Boys Counter Chinese Currency Manipulation By Adding Extra Zeros To $20 Bills

WASHINGTON—Struggling to use their best penmanship as they wielded the king-size Sharpie permanent markers, the Trump boys attempted to counter Chinese currency manipulation Friday by adding extra zeros to $20 bills.

“Our dad is doing a big money war with China, so we took our allowance and turned it into two kajillion [sic] dollars!” said Eric Trump, decorating each bill with several shiny gold-foil star stickers meant to create additional value as Donald Jr. worked diligently to squeeze in as many zeroes as he could across both the front and back of the bill.

“Plus, we’re gonna use this lighter we found to melt our coins down into a gold bar. Then America will have so much money that it won’t matter what China does. I glued a picture of President Daddy over that cheap-looking drawing of George Washington D.C. Now it looks way more expensiver [sic]. I can’t believe no one ever thought of this. We’re gonna be rich!”

White House sources later confirmed that both Trump boys left a trail of blood on the carpet after cutting their hands on the sharp edges of the ceramic piggy bank they had shattered earlier.


Scandal-tainted NRA head Wayne LaPierre digs in under heavy fire

In the aftermath of the back-to-back shooting massacres in Texas and Ohio, the debate over gun control has returned to the National Rifle Assn. and its immense power to stymie any significant legislation on the issue.

The man largely responsible for the NRA’s uncompromising stance is its decades-long chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, who has been engulfed in turmoil and legal issues as he orchestrates the group’s latest efforts to push back against gun control measures.

Authorities are investigating the NRA’s finances, and the gun group has ousted top officials and traded lawsuits with the longtime marketing firm credited with helping to shape LaPierre’s and the NRA’s images.

LaPierre’s seven-figure salary, penchant for luxury clothing shopping sprees and reports that he sought to have the NRA buy him a $6-million mansion at an exclusive golf community have drawn considerable scrutiny amid allegations of rampant misspending.


If life seems warped lately, it's not you. It's our Milky Way galaxy

A new map of the Milky Way confirms something researchers have long suspected: this galaxy is warped.

That’s right. The abiding sense of cosmic disarray you’re feeling is not just a sign of the times — it’s also a feature of our home in the stars.

The map, the first 3-D representation of the Milky Way, appeared last week in the journal Science. It shows that the vast collection of stellar bodies forms a distinct wavy S-shape.

Researchers at the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw tracked thousands of young stars, known as Cepheids, to precisely chart the galaxy from edge to edge, a span of about 120,000 light-years.


A clean energy breakthrough could be buried deep beneath rural Utah

If you know anything about solar and wind farms, you know they’re good at generating electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and not so good at other times.

Batteries can pick up the slack for a few hours. But they’re less useful when the sun and wind disappear for days at a time — a problem the Germans call “dunkelflaute,” meaning “dark doldrums.”

Those long stretches of still, cloudy days are one of the main obstacles standing in the way of renewable energy fully replacing fossil fuels.

For Los Angeles, salt may be a solution.

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