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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
January 25, 2019

After a lifetime of dirty tricks, Roger Stone finally takes a fall

On Friday around noon, Roger Stone preened in vain for a crowd in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

President Trump’s close friend and advisor, freshly sprung from shackles on a $250,000 bond, had been indicted in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s Russia ties.

Stone tried to hide his panic with bravado, a boy whistling in the dark. But his shtick seemed moth-eaten and creepy. He struck the moribund Nixon two-V-hands victory/corruption pose. He smiled nervously. He broke out an old chestnut: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!”

Sure, bud. He sounded like private-sector cons Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos) and Billy McFarland (of the Fyre Festival), who are sunny and delusional even as they’ve been revealed as stone-cold frauds.


January 25, 2019

Trump Furious that F.B.I. Not Stopped By Shutdown

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A furious Donald Trump told reporters on Friday morning that it was “a total disgrace” that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had apparently not been affected by the government shutdown.

Trump, who appeared agitated and was gripping his television remote as he spoke on the White House lawn, said that he had been under the impression that F.B.I. agents had been furloughed and were not going to work.

“You have people across the country, in national parks and places like that, who are not at work, and somehow the F.B.I. is working around the clock?” Trump said. “I think it’s a total disgrace. It’s a sick situation.”

Trump said that he would call an emergency meeting of his Cabinet to “get some answers” about why the F.B.I. was working during the shutdown.

“Let’s say you were trying to leave the country in a hurry with your family—would the F.B.I. be at the airport to stop you?” he asked. “What good is this shutdown, anyway?”


January 24, 2019

Gun show operators file lawsuit against board that oversees state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds

The family-owned company that operates the Crossroads of the West gun show filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Del Mar Fairgrounds, challenging its suspension of the weekend event that has been held there for more than 30 years.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, which oversees activities at the state-owned fairgrounds, voted to stop the shows after December until staff members develop a policy that could ban the sale and possession of firearms on the property.

Any decision in the case is likely to take years and have far-reaching effects.

Gun-show owners Russell and Ann Sallie Nordyke filed suit against Alameda County after it banned weapons from the public fairgrounds there in 1999. That case went on for more than 12 years and cost millions of dollars in legal fees before a settlement reached through mediation allowed guns if they were secured to exhibit tables with wire cables.


January 23, 2019

LAUSD teachers' strike ends. Teachers to return to classrooms Wednesday

Source: LA Times

The Los Angeles teachers union ended its strike Tuesday night, based on overwhelming support for a contract agreement with the school district, union leaders said.

Teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians will be back in their classrooms Wednesday, said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

“A vast supermajority are voting yes for the agreement that we made,” said Caputo-Pearl, who also acknowledged that many votes still were being tallied.

“We know what the results are going to be,” he said, at a news conference at union headquarters in Koreatown on Tuesday night.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-lausd-teachers-strike-negotiations-20190122-story.html

January 23, 2019

Government shutdown exposes a harsh truth: Most Americans are unprepared for the next recession

The government shutdown, the longest in history, comes with a hidden revelation: Millions of Americans are financially unprepared for the next economic downturn. Worse, they are highly vulnerable, with few protections available to them.

Ten years after the financial crisis, the economic recovery has left millions behind with little to no savings, and the government shutdown serves as a preview for what will happen once unemployment rises from 50-year lows.

Within just a few weeks into the government shutdown, people are struggling to cope. We hear stories about people turning to food banks to feed their families. We hear stories about people who are in dire straits because they can’t get loans. We hear stories about people who can’t pay their mortgages. That’s not even one month into the shutdown.

Why do a few weeks without pay turn into a crisis for many families? Simple: Nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That’s a problem when you have little to no savings. In fact, it’s akin to playing financial Russian roulette.


January 23, 2019

L.A. may charge drivers by the mile, adding freeway tolls to cut congestion

For years, Southern California lawmakers have tried to steer clear of decisions that make driving more expensive or miserable, afraid of angering one of their largest groups of constituents.

But now, transportation officials say, congestion has grown so bad in Los Angeles County that politicians have no choice but to contemplate charging motorists more to drive — a strategy that has stirred controversy but helped cities in other parts of the world tame their own traffic.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing to study how what’s commonly referred to as congestion pricing could work in L.A., including converting carpool lanes to toll lanes, taxing drivers based on the number of miles they travel, or charging a fee to enter certain neighborhoods and business districts.

Imposing more tolls would offer a smoother drive for those who choose to pay. Getting more drivers off the road could free up space to speed up bus service, while the billions of dollars in revenue could fund a vast expansion of the transit network, Metro said.


January 22, 2019

'Bikini Hiker' Who Posed on Top of Mountains in Swimwear Freezes to Death Following Fall

A climber who became famous for taking photos of herself on top of mountains wearing just a bikini has died after falling into a ravine in Taiwan.

Gigi Wu, 36, also known as the “Bikini Hiker” was found dead by rescue services after falling more than 65 feet into a valley near Mabolasi Mountain in Nantou County.

According to Taiwan News, Wu used a satellite phone on January 19 to call for help after she suffered injuries during her fall. The National Airborne Service Corps said they were unable to locate her using Black Hawk rescue helicopters on three separate occasions due to poor weather.

Wu’s body was eventually found close to where her distress beacon was sent from by the Nantou County Fire Department after they resumed the search on foot.


I think there's a lesson here.

January 21, 2019

Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria - military

Source: BBC

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says its operation is against the Quds Force - elite units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

It provided no details. But there are reports of strikes around the Syrian capital Damascus early on Monday.

Syrian media say air defences have repelled "an Israeli aerial attack". On Sunday the IDF said it had intercepted a rocket over the Golan Heights.

Syria's state-run Sana news agency quoted a military source as saying that the country's air defences shot down most of "hostile missiles".

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46941717

January 17, 2019

U.S. investigating whether China's Huawei stole trade secrets, report says

Source: AP

U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei stole trade secrets from U.S. companies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The newspaper says investigators are looking into whether the company stole technology behind a robotic device that T-Mobile used to test smartphones.

The Journal report Wednesday cites several people familiar with the matter who are not identified by name.

They told the newspaper the investigation was prompted in part by lawsuits against Huawei. In one of those cases, a Seattle jury ruled that Huawei misappropriated the robotic technology from T-Mobile’s lab in Washington state.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Read more: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/nation-world/la-na-huawei-trade-secrets-20190117-story.html

January 17, 2019

Huawei founder denies his company helps China spy, and he praises Trump

Ren Zhengfei, the billionaire founder of China’s Huawei Technologies Co., broke a years-long silence to dismiss U.S. accusations that the telecommunications giant helps Beijing spy on Western governments.

Ren denied suggestions that Huawei aids the Chinese government in espionage, saying it has no regular contact with the government as his technology empire faces its biggest crisis in its three decades of existence.

He also called Donald Trump “a great president” and said he’ll take a wait-and-see approach as to whether the U.S. leader will intervene on behalf of Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou. Meng — Ren’s eldest daughter — is in Canada facing extradition to the United States on allegations of helping defraud banks to avoid sanctions on Iran.

The emergence of the reclusive Ren, who last spoke with foreign media in 2015, underscores the depth of the attacks on Huawei, the largest symbol of China’s growing technological might. Meng’s arrest helped crystallize fears about Huawei’s growing clout in areas that include cutting-edge wireless infrastructure, semiconductors and consumer gadgets. The U.S. government has since persuaded a growing list of allies to blacklist Huawei networking equipment.


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