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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,727

Journal Archives

Air India Plane With 180 Passengers Skids Off Runway and Cracks in Half

Source: New York Times

The plane had been returning from Dubai when it skidded off a rain-soaked airport runway in the state of Kerala in southern India. Images from Indian media showed the fuselage had split.

An Indian airliner with more than 180 passengers skidded off a wet runway in southern India Friday night and split in half, causing many injuries, Indian media reported.

The Air India Express flight was returning from Dubai to Kozhikode, a city in India’s Kerala state.

Indian media showed injured passengers lying in the hallways of a hospital and, according to news reports, one of the pilots died and another was injured. It has been raining heavily in that area for the past week and aviation experts said it appeared that the plane slid off the runway after having landed.

Indian media showed images of the jetliner’s fuselage cracked in half but there appeared to be no fire. Rescue crews were dousing the plane with water as rain continued to pelt down.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/world/asia/air-india-plane-crash.html

Coming Next: The Greater Recession

The suspension of federal benefits would create damage almost as terrifying as the economic effects of the coronavirus.

One pretty good forecasting rule for the coronavirus era has been to take whatever Trump administration officials are saying and assume that the opposite will happen. When President Trump declared in February that the number of cases would soon go close to zero, you knew that a huge pandemic was coming. When Vice President Mike Pence insisted in mid-June that “there isn’t a coronavirus ‘second wave,’” a giant surge in new cases and deaths was clearly imminent.

And when Larry Kudlow, the administration’s chief economist, declared just last week that a “V-shaped recovery” was still on track, it was predictable that the economy would stall.

On Friday, we’ll get an official employment report for July. But a variety of private indicators, like the monthly report from the data-processing firm ADP, already suggest that the rapid employment gains of May and June were a dead-cat bounce and that job growth has at best slowed to a crawl.

ADP’s number was at least positive — some other indicators suggest that employment is actually falling. But even if the small reported job gains were right, at this rate we won’t be back to precoronavirus employment until … 2027.


When it comes to the Internet, Trump prefers the Chinese model

This week, the Trump administration explicitly announced its intention to work toward a new bipolar world of technology, carved up between the United States and China. The administration had already made clear that it would either ban the Chinese video app TikTok or force its sale to a U.S. company. Then it announced a sweeping “Clean Network” program, which seeks to ban virtually all Chinese information technology products — phone carriers, apps, cloud servers, even undersea cables.

Taken together, these efforts suggest a reversal of decades of U.S. policy. Instead of favoring a global Internet of open systems, open architecture and open communications, the United States now envisions a restricted Internet that is cordoned off by governments, with political considerations dominating economic or technological ones.

Let’s be clear. There are legitimate concerns about China’s technology strategy. The country has walled off its cyberspace like no other. The government can force any Chinese company to hand over data. And it routinely engages in international espionage to steal intellectual property, technology and data from other countries. (To be fair, the U.S. government is also in the cyberespionage business in a big way.)

In 2018, ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, was forced to shutter its “Neihan Duanzi” (“inside jokes”) app. The young, tech-savvy chief executive, Zhang Yiming, published a letter of self-criticism that read like a confession at a Stalinist show trial. “I profoundly reflect on the fact that a deep-level cause of the recent problems in my company is: a weak [understanding and implementation of] the ‘four consciousnesses’ [of Xi Jinping]. . . . All along, we have placed excessive emphasis on the role of technology, and we have not acknowledged that technology must be led by the socialist core value system,” he wrote.

The Trump administration’s decision on TikTok, however — like so many of its decisions — looks like an arbitrary, impulsive one, made in the heat of the moment, prompted by the timing around the presidential election more than anything else. It does not follow from any clear description of policy that will animate future decisions. In an interview that airs Sunday on my CNN show, Bill Gates reacted to it, saying, “We need principles that are applied broadly and in a predictable way.”


The Trump administration imposes yet another arbitrary,absurd modification to the immigration system

What do you do if immigrants learn how to navigate the latest booby trap you’ve set for them?

If you’re the Trump administration, you set that trap for someone else those immigrants must rely on — such as law enforcement or medical personnel, who submit evidence for certain visa applications.

Last fall, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services introduced perhaps its most arbitrary, absurd modification yet to the immigration system: It began rejecting applications unless every single field was filled in, even those that obviously did not pertain to the applicant.

“Middle name” field left blank because the applicant does not have a middle name? Sorry, your application gets rejected. No apartment number because you live in a house? You’re rejected, too.


This maladministration and its Republican enablers are systematically destroying what once made this country great.

2020 could be one of the most active hurricane seasons ever, forecasters say

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the chance of an above-normal Atlantic season is now 85 percent. We could even run out of storm names.

Meteorologists are using phrases like “extremely active” and “above-normal” and “historical” to describe the latest forecasts for the Atlantic storm season.

What they’re really saying is: this hurricane season could be very bad.

Two of the leading hurricane forecasters — Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center — released updated forecasts this week that predict a hyperactive and potentially dangerous storm season for the rest of this pandemic-stricken year.

“We do expect this to be one of the stronger seasons in the historical record,” said Gerry Bell, the center’s lead hurricane forecaster, on Thursday.


DC Sues NRA and Its Foundation as NY Seeks to Dissolve the Group

Washington, D.C.'s attorney general is suing the NRA Foundation, accusing the charity of diverting funds to the powerful gun advocacy group to help pay for improper spending by top NRA executives.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed the lawsuit, which also names the NRA as a defendant, Thursday, the same day that New York’s attorney general sued the NRA, seeking to dissolve it over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

The NRA Foundation, which supports charitable programs involving gun safety and education, is registered in the District, according to a press release from Racine's office. The foundation is affiliated with the NRA but is an independent nonprofit, according to the release.

Racine's office has been investigating the NRA Foundation for more than a year. It said its investigation determined that low membership and lavish spending left the NRA with financial problems and so it exploited the foundation to remain afloat. It offered as an example two $5 million loans that the NRA Foundation board approved in 2017 and 2018 despite the NRA’s financial problems, and then repeatedly granted requests to extend and modify the loan.


Wham! Pow!

Ukrainian who made appearance in Trump impeachment saga accused of stealing, laundering billions

Source: Washington Post

The Justice Department on Thursday accused a Ukrainian oligarch who has been considered an ally of Ukraine’s president of stealing billions of dollars from a bank he once owned, then using a vast array of companies to launder that money in the United States and all over the world.

In a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to seize commercial properties in Kentucky and Texas, the Justice Department alleged that Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov, stole so much from PrivatBank that Ukraine’s national bank had to give the institution a $5.5 billion bailout “to stave off economic crisis for the whole country.”

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, has ties to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he played a role in the events that led to President Trump’s impeachment last year. He made a fortune in the rough-and-tumble capitalism that swept Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s collapse, amassing assets including airlines and financial institutions, and created a larger-than-life image for himself, going by the nickname “Benya,” and keeping a shark aquarium in his office.

Kolomoisky and Boholiubov were the two major owners of PrivatBank before it was nationalized in response to the fraud, the Justice Department said, and the men basically used it as a personal account to build a business empire in the United States. They requested money from PrivatBank — which they always received because they were owners — then moved the funds through a network of companies to “thoroughly disguise their nature, source, ownership, and control,” the Justice Department alleged.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/justice-department-accuses-ukrainian-oligarch-of-stealing-billions-from-bank-he-once-owned-and-laundering-it-in-the-us/2020/08/06/b88924b8-d7f4-11ea-aff6-220dd3a14741_story.html

Georgia teens shared photos of maskless students in crowded hallways. Now they're suspended.

At least two North Paulding High School students have been suspended after sharing images of a school hallway jammed with their mostly maskless peers, and the principal has warned other students against doing the same.

North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., about an hour’s drive from Atlanta, was thrust into the national spotlight this week when pictures and videos surfaced of its crowded interior on the first and second days of its first week back in session. The images, which showed a sea of teens clustered together with no face coverings, raised concerns over how the district is handling reopening schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Facing a fierce online backlash, Paulding County Schools Superintendent Brian Otott told parents and guardians in a letter that the images “didn’t look good.” But he argued that they lacked context about the 2,000-plus student school, where masks are a “personal choice.”

Hannah Watters, 15, wore a mask as she captured the inside of her school. On Wednesday, she ended up with a five-day suspension for violating the district’s student code of conduct, BuzzFeed News reported. The rules bar students from using social media during the day or using recording devices without the permission of an administrator.


Democrats try new tack in blocking Trump from corrupting our election

As you know, President Trump has telegraphed his plans to corrupt this fall’s election with unabashed candor. Based on his own words, it appears Trump is looking to declare victory on election night, whereupon he’ll claim the untold number of mail-in ballots that remain uncounted are illegitimate. If they tip the election against him, he’ll say the election is being stolen.

One big question right now is this: Will Louis DeJoy, the GOP fundraiser who was recently installed as postmaster general, help contribute to this evolving scheme, whether wittingly or not?

Democrats have now sent a letter to DeJoy that reveals some details about a meeting they held with him on Wednesday that may help determine the answer to that question.

Specifically, Democrats say in the letter that DeJoy privately committed to presenting documentation of a plan to ensure that mail balloting runs smoothly, and challenge the postmaster general to make good on that.


Trump Reinstates Tariff on Canadian Aluminum

Source: Washington Post

The tariff, which could prompt retaliation from Canada, was imposed just one month after a new trade deal between the two countries went into effect.

President Trump announced Thursday that he was reimposing a 10 percent tariff on Canadian aluminum to help struggling American producers, a step that is likely to incite retaliation and worsen ties with Canada just one month after the countries’ new trade deal went into effect.

Speaking at a Whirlpool factory in Clyde, Ohio, Mr. Trump said that he had signed a proclamation earlier on Thursday that would reimpose the levy on Canada, accusing the country of “taking advantage of us as usual.”

“To be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation and not be led by a bunch of fools,” the president said. “That means protecting our national industrial base.”

Mr. Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union in early 2018, prompting those countries to respond with their own tariffs on American goods. The levies on imports from Canada and Mexico were not lifted until the following year, when the countries reached an agreement as part of the negotiations toward a new North American trade deal.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/business/economy/trump-canadian-aluminum-tariffs.html

Starting a trade war with Canada. What a great idea from this bunch of fools.
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