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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: 9,831

Journal Archives

Cannabis restaurants are coming to California, with 'budtenders' and 'flower' service

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Like any good chef about to open a restaurant, Andrea Drummer wants to get her pairings just right. But her lamb chops with plantain-mango salsa won’t be matched with wine or beer.

Instead, a “budtender” — some in the industry call them ganjiers, as in ganja sommeliers — will help guests at the soon-to-open Lowell Farms cannabis cafe pair their farm-to-table meal with the perfect strain of farm-to-table marijuana.

“A kush is a little more pungent, so it pairs better with a stew, or something like a beef or a meat product. A lighter lemon profile goes nicely with a fish,” said Drummer. One of her favorite strains, Blue Dream, “pairs well with both savory and sweet. I’ve done it with ice cream, and with bread puddings, but I’ve also done it with octopus.”

When the rustic, plant-filled 220-seat space opens, it will be the first of its kind in America: a place for locals and tourists to have a high-quality meal and smoke a joint in public. Other restaurants are soon to follow. But if they want weed on the menu, restaurateurs in the famously progressive city — which in 2017 approved an ordinance allowing business licenses for this purpose — will still have to navigate a complicated patchwork of regulations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2019/08/15/cannabis-restaurants-are-coming-to-california-with-budtenders-and-flower-service/

'This will be catastrophic': Maine faces elder boom, worker shortage in preview of nation's future

Janet Flaherty got an alarming call last October from the agency tasked with coordinating in-home care for her 82-year-old mother. It could no longer send her mom’s home caretaker. It knew of no other aides who could care for her mother, either.

Flaherty’s mother, Caroline, has for two years qualified for in-home care paid for by the state’s Medicaid program. But the agency could not find someone to hire amid a severe shortage of workers that has crippled facilities for seniors across the state.

With private help now bid up to $50 an hour, Janet and her two sisters have been forced to do what millions of families in a rapidly aging America have done: take up second, unpaid jobs caring full time for their mother.

“We do not know what to do. We do not know where to go. We are in such dire need of help,” said Flaherty, an insurance saleswoman.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/this-will-be-catastrophic-maine-families-face-elder-boom-worker-shortage-in-preview-of-nations-future/2019/08/14/7cecafc6-bec1-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html

The steep price of Trump's incoherent nihilism

A concern for human rights and democracy has often been seen as an add-on to our country’s foreign policy, an attractive veneer over the usual realpolitik. But President Trump is demonstrating that a supposedly “America First” policy focused entirely on trade and divorced from a commitment to our values is incoherent.

Trump is embarrassing our country — and weakening it, too — by refusing to stand with the people of Hong Kong as they struggle against China’s dictatorship.

We have long wondered when the thoughtless chaos of Trump’s presidency would finally catch up with him and endanger our country. How long could an administration that replaces policy with impulse and thinking with tweeting stay out of crisis? The disarray around Trump’s China policy and the economic turmoil it has unleashed tell us that moment is now.

Somehow, Trump seemed to think he could be tough on China and still express his admiration for President Xi Jinping’s brutally authoritarian rule.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-steep-price-of-trumps-incoherent-nihilism/2019/08/14/ce83664a-bed0-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

Janet Yellen says yield curve inversion may be false recession signal this time

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen said the markets may be wrong this time in trusting the yield curve inversion as a recession indicator.

“Historically, it has been a pretty good signal of recession, and it think that’s when markets pay attention to it, but I would really urge that on this occasion it may be a less good signal,” Yellen said on Fox Business Network. “The reason for that is there are a number of factors other than market expectations about the future path of interest rates that are pushing down long-term yields.”

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was at 1.623% on Wednesday, below the 2-year yield at 1.634%, causing the bond market’s main yield curve to invert and send markets plummeting. The bond market phenomenon is historically a trusty signal of an eventual recession; however, Yellen said this time may be different.

When asked if the United States is headed into a recession, Yellen said “I think the answer is most likely no. I think the U.S. economy has enough strength to avoid that, but the odds have clearly risen and they’re higher than I’m frankly comfortable with,” she said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/14/janet-yellen-say-yield-curve-inversion-may-be-false-recession-signal-this-time.html

Trump's administration defended a pesticide linked to developmental disorders.California will ban it

California regulators on Wednesday announced that they will ban a widely used pesticide that had been rescued from elimination by the Trump administration despite links to developmental disorders.

The move by the state Environmental Protection Agency is all but certain to draw legal challenges from Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences), which has pushed back at attempts by environmentalists to ban the chemical, chlorpyrifos, on a federal level.

The state is the largest user of chlorpyrifos — more than 900,000 pounds of it was applied in 2017 to almonds, grapes, citrus, alfalfa, stone fruit, cotton and other crops, according to state data.

Exposure to the organophosphate nerve agent has been linked to developmental disorders and neurological damage in animals and humans.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-14/california-bans-pesticide-defying-trump-epa

Duncan Hunter's trial pushed back, pending appeal of ruling

Rep. Duncan Hunter won’t go on trial until next year on corruption charges that involve the spending of campaign cash on vacations, extramarital affairs and other items, a U.S. judge decided Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan changed the trial date from Sept. 10 to Jan. 14 after defense attorneys raised questions about whether an appeals court must first consider their motion to dismiss the case against the California Republican.

Whelan considered the motion last month and refused the request.

Hunter attended the Tuesday hearing but did not speak.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/13/duncan-hunters-trial-pushed-back-1461344

Waning of American Power? Trump Struggles With an Asia in Crisis

For two and a half years, President Trump has said he is finally doing in Asia what he asserts his predecessor, Barack Obama, failed to achieve with a strategic pivot: strengthen American influence and rally partners to push back against China.

But as violence escalates and old animosities are rekindled across Asia, Washington has chosen inaction, and governments are ignoring the Trump administration’s mild admonitions and calls for calm. Whether it is the internal battles in India and Hong Kong or the rivalry between two American allies, Japan and South Korea, Mr. Trump and his advisers are staying on the sidelines.

The inability or unwillingness of Washington to help defuse the flash points is one of the clearest signs yet of the erosion of American power and global influence under Mr. Trump, who has stuck to his “America First” idea of disengagement, analysts say.

“Without the steady centripetal force of American diplomacy, disorder in Asia is spinning in all sorts of dangerous directions,” said William J. Burns, a deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration and the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The net result is not only increased risk of regional turbulence, but also long-term corrosion of American influence.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/world/asia/trump-asia.html

Venezuela's Maduro Cracks Down on His Own Military in Bid to Retain Power

A week after Venezuela’s intelligence forces detained a retired navy captain, he appeared in a military tribunal a broken man, in a wheelchair and showing signs of torture.

“Help me,” he mouthed to his lawyer.

The captain, Rafael Acosta, died that day. He was buried three weeks later, on July 10, against his wife’s wishes, surrounded by security guards, in a plot assigned by the government. The five family members allowed to attend could not see him: The body was wrapped in brown plastic.

Captain Acosta suffered blunt force trauma and electrocution, according to leaked portions of his autopsy report, and the government admits excessive force was used against him. His death is an indication of how President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled government has turned a brutal apparatus of repression against its own military, in a no-holds-barred effort to retain control of the armed forces — and through them, the state.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/world/americas/venezuela-military-maduro.html

Useful Idiots and Trumpist Billionaires

Whoever came up with the phrase “useful idiots” — it’s often credited to Lenin, but there’s no evidence he ever said it — was on to something. There are times when dangerous political movements derive important support from people who will, if these movements achieve and hold power, be among their biggest victims.

Certainly I found myself thinking of the phrase when I read about the Trump fund-raiser held at the Hamptons home of Stephen Ross, chairman of a company that holds controlling stakes in Equinox and SoulCycle.

Most reporting on the Ross event has focused on the possible adverse effects on his business empire: The young, educated, urban fitness fanatics who go to his gyms don’t like the idea that their money is supporting Donald Trump. But the foolishness of Ross’s Trump support goes well beyond the potential damage to his bottom line.

I mean, if you’re a billionaire who also happens to be a racist, supporting Trump makes perfect sense: You know what you’re buying. But if you’re supporting Trump not because of his racism but despite it, because you expect him to keep your taxes low, you’re being, well, an idiot.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/opinion/trump-billionaires.html

Banks are paying people to borrow money. That's alarming news for the global economy.

For Americans accustomed to paying 4 or 5 percent mortgage rates, let alone the double-digit figures consumers endured in the early 1980s, the new loan from Denmark’s Jyske Bank might seem inconceivable.

The Danish lender last week started offering home buyers 10-year mortgages at an interest rate of -0.5 percent. That means borrowers over a decade will pay back a little less than the amount borrowed, not including one-time fees.

This highly unusual condition may be good for Danish home buyers, but economists say it’s an alarming sign for the global economy. Several major governments and more than 1,000 big companies in Europe are now able to effectively borrow from global financial markets at a negative interest rate. For Jyske Bank, that means it can then turn around and lend money at a subzero interest rate, too.

The amount of this type of debt, issued as government or corporate bonds, has doubled since December and now totals $15 trillion.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/banks-are-paying-people-to-borrow-money-thats-alarming-news-for-the-global-economy/2019/08/13/8eb7b9ca-bada-11e9-a091-6a96e67d9cce_story.html
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