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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
January 31, 2018

"We Must Restore Rule Of Law", Says Trump As Aides Pass Out Revolvers To Audience

WASHINGTON—Declaring during his first State of the Union address that the United States “must restore the rule of law,” President Trump took a hard line on domestic security issues Tuesday night as members of his staff handed out loaded revolvers to everyone in attendance.

“Our way of life is being threatened by violent criminals and all these people pouring into our country and doing these terrible things,” the president said as staffers carried in wicker baskets full of Colt .45s, .357 Magnums, and Ruger GP100s and distributed them to the 115th Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, and various guests, all of whom began inspecting and, in some cases cocking, the weapons.

“It’s long past time we did our jobs and liberated ourselves from the thugs overrunning our cities and towns. Let’s throw these animals out of America once and for all—starting right now.”

Though Trump’s words were met with thunderous applause and celebratory small-arms fire, sources confirmed plans to begin administering justice immediately were delayed after it was discovered Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had accidentally shot his entire face off.


January 30, 2018

SpaceX Launching Satellite Aboard Used Rocket Today: Watch Live

SpaceX is pressing another pre-flown rocket into service today (Jan. 30) for a satellite launch that you can watch live.

A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the GovSat-1 communications satellite at 4:25 p.m. EST (2125 GMT) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You can watch the liftoff live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via SpaceX's website.

This will be the second orbital mission for this rocket's first stage, which also helped launch a spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office in May 2017. The booster came down for a pinpoint touchdown after that liftoff, but there will be no landing attempt today; this Falcon 9 first stage is part of a crop of boosters that was designed to fly just twice, according to Florida Today. Future iterations of the Falcon 9 first stage will be able to fly at least 10 times, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said.

SpaceX has already launched five pre-flown Falcon 9 boosters to date, all of them successfully, and landed first stages on 21 separate occasions. These activities are part of the company's effort to develop fully reusable spaceflight systems, a key priority for Musk.


January 30, 2018

Fox & Friends Putting Finishing Touches on Trump's State of the Union Address

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—With just one day until Donald J. Trump’s first State of the Union address, the cast of “Fox and Friends” is working furiously on the final draft of the speech, members confirmed today. “We’ve really been burning the midnight oil,” Steve Doocy, the host of the Fox program, said. “We have so much to say tomorrow night, and we want to get it all in there.”

Doocy said that when he read the first draft of the State of the Union address last week, he “kind of flipped out” when he realized that there was “absolutely no mention of Hillary Clinton’s Hydra-like tentacles controlling the Deep State.” “The State of the Union address is the President’s chance to tell the American people where the country is and where it’s going,” Doocy said. “You can’t do that without talking about how Crooked Hillary is funnelling her Russian-uranium riches directly into Bob Mueller’s bank account in the Seychelles.”

While Trump reportedly has had input from other sources, including the Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and several neo-Nazi Twitter accounts, Doocy said that the cast of “Fox & Friends” has final approval of the version that Trump will read Tuesday night.

“Someone has to have the last word,” Doocy said. “There are a lot of voices in President Trump’s head, and that’s not including the actual voices that are always in his head.”


January 28, 2018

In Issa's GOP-leaning district, Democrats have a math problem that makes a win tougher

For the last year or more, Rep. Darrell Issa was the guy San Diego County Democrats could all agree on.

Each Tuesday morning they could assemble with like-minded folk outside his 49th District headquarters in Vista and make the nine-term Republican the punching bag for their problems with Washington. They taunted him with satirical retirement cakes and a giant inflatable chicken with a Donald Trump hairdo.

So when Issa announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t run for re-election, Democrats were left with nothing left to swing at.

“They’ve been doing a really good job of raking and dragging him through the coals,” said Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, a vice president at the state Young Democrats and the president of San Diego Democrats for Equality. “But his departure is not a good thing, if you look at it from a strategic point of view.”


There is this downside to California's jungle primary system -- too many Democratic candidates splitting the progressive vote.

January 28, 2018

SpaceX aiming for first Falcon Heavy launch on Feb. 6

SpaceX is aiming to launch its long-awaited Falcon Heavy rocket in less than two weeks.

Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted Saturday that the Hawthorne space company is targeting Feb. 6 for the demonstration launch of its heavy-lift rocket.

The Falcon Heavy will launch from the former Apollo launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Musk has said the rocket's payload will be his midnight cherry Tesla Roadster, which will be headed toward Mars.


This should be quite a sight to see.

January 27, 2018

Judge to rule Feb 6 on bid to scrap Assange arrest warrant

A British judge says she will rule next month on whether to scrap a U.K. arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a move that would free him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy after more than five years.

Assange's lawyers went to court Friday to argue that the warrant serves no purpose because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex offenses.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since he took refuge there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Swedish prosecutors were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women in 2010.

But prosecutors dropped the case last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future.


January 27, 2018

California will put 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030, Gov. Jerry Brown says

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put 5 million electric cars on the state’s roads by 2030.

Brown announced the new goal in his State of the State speech this week, and formalized the target in an executive order issued Friday.

“This executive order aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California,” Brown said in a statement.

Currently, the state’s goal is to have 1.5 million such cars on the road by 2025. Transportation is California’s largest source of greenhouse gases. Two years ago, lawmakers approved a target of reducing carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.


January 26, 2018

What destroyed Venezuela's economy could destroy ours too

Venezuela's government has managed to turn the country with the world's largest oil reserves into a pauper state where food is scarce, violence is abundant and money is worthless.

Despite that, however, its grip on power still seems strong. It has packed the courts, bullied the press and replaced the opposition-led legislature with a much more pliant one filled solely with regime apparatchiks. Not even mass protests have been able to stop this slide into authoritarianism. Why not? Because Nicolás Maduro's Venezuela has learned what Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe did a decade ago: that you can get people to stick with you no matter what if they think your opponents are their enemies.

It turns out, then, that revolutions do not live by bread alone. They need polarization, too.

That's the only way to explain the otherwise inexplicable fact that the two of the most economically destructive governments in recent memory have also been two of the longest-lasting. Indeed, Venezuela has the world's worst inflation rate, second-worst unemployment rate, third-worst murder rate and 10th-worst corruption score. To give you an idea of how dire things are, the International Monetary Fund estimates that inflation is more than 1,100 percent right now and will get up to more than 2,000 percent by year's end. (The government, of course, doesn't bother publishing its own figures anymore). This has meant death for the nation's currency. It lost 99.7 percent of its value, going by black market prices, from the start of 2012 to the end of 2016, and then another 98.3 percent since. Altogether that's a 99.99 percent drop over the past six years. Which, as my colleague Anthony Faiola reports, is how something as simple as a Transformers toy could end up being worth 10 months of someone's pay.


January 26, 2018

Corporate America's nightmare in Venezuela is getting worse

Venezuela has more crude oil than any other nation. But the crisis there is so bad that even oil companies are losing big money.

The world's largest oil service provider, Schlumberger, announced Friday that it wrote down $938 million of its holdings in Venezuela. It already took a $460 million loss last year because of unpaid bills from the Venezuelan government and its state-run oil company.

Schlumberger (SLB) makes equipment for oil companies and provides them expertise and technology. The company says it will stay in Venezuela and try to get its money back. But that could be difficult.

The country owes almost $60 billion to contractors and suppliers like Schlumberger, according to an analysis published by Harvard Law School, and it already defaulted on some of its bonds late last year.


January 26, 2018

Think running your small business is difficult? Try running it in Venezuela.

It is not easy doing business in Venezuela nowadays. The country is mired in a historic economic collapse and its citizens are finding it difficult to get food, medicines, supplies and spare parts. There is little cash around and whatever is available has lost most of its value due to skyrocketing inflation. With times as hard as they are there you would think that it would be very tough to run a business. It is. But these challenges certainly aren’t stopping some.

For example, Victoria Garcia’s business is still in operation. She’s the owner of a diving school in Chichiriviche de la Costa, a resort village about 43 miles from Caracas where many local entrepreneurs — like her — earn their livelihoods from the tourist trade.

Garcia is dealing with problems that would seem unimaginable to most western small business owners. According to this recent report, her village has no Internet (the signal disappeared from the region last August after cables and transmitters were stolen) and many of her customers have no bank accounts. When payday comes, Garcia must fork over a 15 percent commission to buy a bag full of cash to pay her employees.

In Chichiriviche de la Costa, trust is the number one currency. Merchants and restaurateurs sell products on the promise that customers will return with cash days later after bank transfers are received. Still, business still goes on: Garcia had about 100 customers over a recent weekend and says she’s just “trying to do our best.”


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