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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
January 31, 2020

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow really doesn't want to talk about who's paying Rudy Giuliani

For all of the focus on corruption and foreign influence that lingers around the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump, there’s a significant potentially overlapping question that remains unanswered: Who’s paying Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney?

In October, Giuliani told The Washington Post that he wasn’t being paid by the president.

“My other clients are paying me for the work I do for them,” Giuliani said. “Nobody is paying me for a single thing I’m doing for Donald J. Trump.”

Since Giuliani isn’t an administration official, he doesn’t need to reveal that information publicly — so he doesn’t. After his associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas were arrested that same month, Giuliani admitted that he’d received $500,000 from the pair for his work representing them, money that originally came from a personal injury attorney on Long Island. (After his arrest, Parnas was accused by federal prosecutors of failing to report a separate $1 million payment he’d received from a lawyer working for an oligarch named Dmitry Firtash.)


January 30, 2020

Got snakes? Six-foot boa invades Kansas couch

You’ve got snakes on a plane. And you’ve got loose change in the sofa. But rarely do the two combine.

However this is exactly what happened to a Kansas family Tuesday in Rose Hill — about 18 miles southeast of Wichita — who found a snake in their living-room couch.

It’s not something one sees every day, for sure.

“This morning, we were asked by Rose Hill PD for assistance with an unusual call in Rose Hill,” the Butler County Fire District #3 said in a statement on Facebook. “A citizen called 911 and reported finding a six foot boa constrictor in their living room couch! Yikes!”


Yikes! Indeed.

January 30, 2020

F-35's List of Flaws Includes a Gun That Can't Shoot Straight

Add a gun that can’t shoot straight to the problems that dog Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $428 billion F-35 program, including more than 800 software flaws.

The 25mm gun on Air Force models of the Joint Strike Fighter has “unacceptable” accuracy in hitting ground targets and is mounted in housing that’s cracking, the Pentagon’s test office said in its latest assessment of the costliest U.S. weapons system.

The annual assessment by Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, doesn’t disclose any major new failings in the plane’s flying capabilities. But it flags a long list of issues that his office said should be resolved -- including 13 described as Category 1 “must-fix” items that affect safety or combat capability -- before the F-35’s upcoming $22 billion Block 4 phase.

The number of software deficiencies totaled 873 as of November, according to the report obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its release as soon as Friday. That’s down from 917 in September 2018, when the jet entered the intense combat testing required before full production, including 15 Category 1 items. What was to be a year of testing has now been extended another year until at least October.


January 30, 2020

Tesla Model Y is coming to customers ahead of schedule and with extra range

While Tesla's Model Y launch didn't necessarily have the kind of impact that the company was able to achieve with its later Cybertruck launch, it's still going to be an incredibly important car for the brand, especially given the popularity of SUVs and crossovers with American buyers.

We've known that the Model Y would share a large portion of its components with Model 3, but we were disappointed when Tesla initially announced that its top-tier range would be under 300 miles -- range is arguably one of Tesla's biggest selling points after all -- but now it would seem that the Big T found a way to stretch that out a bit.

The company announced the range boost in its Q4 2019 earnings report, stating that, "Due to continued engineering progress of the Model Y all-wheel drive (AWD), we have been able to increase its maximum EPA range to 315 miles, compared to our previous estimate of 280 miles."

We asked Tesla for more details on what exactly was changed to increase the vehicle's efficiency, but representatives from the company declined to comment further. If we were going to bet on it, we'd guess that the boost comes from changes to the software that powers the car, rather than on a physical change to hardware. We've seen software-based range increases before, so it wouldn't be a surprise if this was another case of that.


January 30, 2020

Unpaid bills and legal discipline: Devin Nunes' lawyer questioned over ethics in complaints

The attorney representing Rep. Devin Nunes in five high-profile defamation lawsuits has a history of using questionable tactics in litigation, including claiming to represent people who did not know him.

“You file a suit on behalf of somebody you never talked to? I mean that’s astounding. That’s astounding,” Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois scolded Steven S. Biss in court, according to a transcript. “I mean, I’ve never heard of that happening in my life. Have you?”

A transcript shows that Biss replied that he had not.

That 2004 lawsuit is one of several in which Biss, Nunes’ attorney, demonstrated an unconventional litigation strategy.

Read more here: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article239698653.html

Nunes wants to criminalize criticism of his policies, behavior, and incompetence. The entire Republican Party seems to believe the public works for them, and not the other way around.

January 29, 2020

Amazon's Ring security shares your personal data with Facebook and Google, report says

Ring users may have more than secure passwords and hackers to think about.

A report surfaced Monday suggesting that the Amazon-owned company shares tons of users' personal information with lots of different sources including Facebook, even if you don't have a Facebook account.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation published its findings after closely examining the Android version of the Ring app.

The non-profit determined that the app is "packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers' personally identifiable information." And this is done "without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done," the EFF said.


January 29, 2020

As Other Democrats Feud, Bloomberg Hammers Trump on Health Care

It powered Democrats to recapture the House in the 2018 midterms: the fear that President Trump and Republicans would kill the Affordable Care Act and with it, protections for more than 50 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.

Yet even as Mr. Trump and other Republicans continue to try to overturn the law in court, Democratic presidential candidates have not made the issue central to their campaigns. Instead they have spent much of their time on the debate stage arguing among themselves over “Medicare for all” and other proposals to expand health coverage.

“I do think it’s a missed opportunity to educate voters about what’s really at stake in the fall,’’ said Leslie Dach, chairman of Protect Our Care, a group that ran a campaign-style war room in 2017 to defeat House Republicans seeking to repeal Obamacare, “and that’s having to stop Donald Trump’s relentless war on health care.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who entered the Democratic presidential primary late and has not qualified to participate in the debates, has moved to exploit his rivals’ failure to mount a more frontal attack on Mr. Trump’s record on health care. Driven by extensive polling, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign has released a torrent of television and digital ads accusing Mr. Trump of trying to “undermine coverage” for Americans with pre-existing conditions.


January 29, 2020

The Trump administration's cruelty knows no limits. Here's the latest.

When President Trump and Republicans in Congress failed in their 2017 attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it was in no small part because repeal would have wiped away the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. They probably believed that it wouldn’t be such a big deal. After all, it’s a program for poor people, right? Who cares about them?

What they found out, through an outpouring of protests and angry responses from constituents, was that Americans care quite a bit about Medicaid. There are now more than 71 million people on Medicaid and its subsidiary, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid is overwhelmingly popular, and nearly all of its recipients like it.

Repealing the ACA would have kicked 15.4 million Americans off their Medicaid and CHIP coverage, according to one analysis. And when they couldn’t do it through legislation, the administration supported a preposterous lawsuit filed by Republican-led states in hopes that the Supreme Court would do it for them (it’s still pending).

But failures and delays have not quenched the Republican thirst to kick people off Medicaid. So Wednesday, the administration announced that it is allowing any states that want — i.e., states run by Republicans — to take a sledgehammer to Medicaid.


January 29, 2020

Trump Lashes Out At Bolton In Wake Of Bombshell Manuscript: 'Nasty & Untrue Book'

President Donald Trump blew up at former National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday morning after Bolton’s damning accounts in his unpublished manuscript threw a wrench in Republican senators’ plan to block witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.

“For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, ‘begged’ me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying ‘Don’t do it, sir,’ takes the job, mistakenly says ‘Libyan Model’ on T.V., and many more mistakes of judgement,” Trump ranted via Twitter. “Gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book.”

The President also fired off at midnight a shorter complaint about Bolton, who departed from the White House on sour terms with Trump in September.

“Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this ‘nonsense’ a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated,” Trump tweeted. “He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!”


So John Bolton is a "nasty" boy...and I think he may just get nastier...

January 29, 2020

'Antiques Roadshow' guest collapsed when he learned the real value of his $345 watch

The “Antiques Roadshow” guest kept his cool as an appraiser said his watch, snagged decades ago in the Air Force, was no ordinary Rolex. Informed that it was a lot like a model once worn by Paul Newman that auctions for $200,000, the camouflage-bandanna-clad owner just nodded.

Then the appraiser noted the tiny word Oyster inscribed on the face. That made the trinket “extremely, extremely rare,” the kind of watch that sells for $400,000.

The man toppled backward to the ground with enough force that his feet flew up into the air.

There was laughter and a mildly concerned “You okay?” — but also more good news to come. The Rolex was also in near-perfect condition, the grinning watch owner heard next. The discount purchase that set him back $345.97 in 1974 — in the range of a month’s military salary — was now worth between $500,000 and $700,000.


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