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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,239

Journal Archives

Trump says insulin is now so cheap, it's 'like water.' It isn't

There was much to dislike in this week’s presidential debate — the lies, the rudeness, the inability of the White House incumbent to rise above the level of a cranky kindergartner.

For me, the low point came not when President Trump refused to condemn white supremacy, and not when he tore into the sons of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, but when he once again sought to convince the American people that he had single-handedly lowered the cost of prescription drugs.

Trump claimed that drug prices “will be coming down 80% or 90%” thanks to him.

He claimed that a series of executive orders have forced pharmaceutical companies to slash prices.

And the one that floored me: Trump claimed that the cost of insulin is now so low, it’s practically free.

“I’m getting it for so cheap, it’s like water,” he said. “You want to know the truth? So cheap.”

Like water.


Will California have enough electricity for all its EVs? Yes -- but it will take work

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order banning the sale of new gasoline vehicles in California by 2035 marked an audacious attempt to hasten the state’s transition toward climate-friendlier policies.

But the state’s likely shift toward millions more electric cars and trucks underscored a question that energy planners have been grappling with for several years: Will California have enough electricity to power all those vehicles?

The short answer is yes.

“There’s no technical or economic reason why the grid can’t support the full electrification of vehicles,” Chris Nelder, head of the EV-Grid Integration initiative at the Rocky Mountain Institute, told me.

The long answer is more complicated. California’s electrical capacity today wouldn’t be sufficient to provide power for 26 million EV cars and light trucks if all the vehicles in the state transitioned away from gasoline by 2035. “You’ll need to beef up the grid,” Nelder says.


4.9 earthquake near Salton Sea produces light shaking in San Diego County

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake erupted near the Salton Sea, not far from the southern San Andreas fault, at 5:31 p.m. on Wednesday, producing a swarm of smaller temblors, according to the US Geological Survey.

The mainshock began about 2 miles north-northwest of Brawley, at a depth of 7.2 miles, which is common in Southern California.

Some of the seismic energy was felt in San Diego County, including in Oceanside, Fallbrook, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Chula Vista and San Diego, the USGS said. The epicenter was about 95 miles east-northeast of San Diego.

“This was in the Brawley seismic zone which has produced a lot of swarms over the years,” said Tom Rockwell, a seismologist at San Diego State University. “The question always is: Will it set off the southern San Andreas? No one knows.”

The Brawley zone links the southern San Andreas and the Imperial fault systems. It’s located in one of the most seismically active regions of California and has long been a concern because it could help set off a catastrophic quake on the southern San Andreas fault, seismologists say.


A Debate That Can't Be Ignored

Americans need to face the man who is their president.

All Americans, whatever their political inclinations, should make time to watch Tuesday night’s presidential debate, and every minute of the two forthcoming debates.

President Trump’s performance on the debate stage was a national disgrace. His refusal to condemn white supremacists, or to pledge that he will accept the results of the election, betrayed the people who entrusted him with the highest office in the land. Every American has a responsibility to look and listen and take the full measure of the man. Ignorance can no longer be a tenable excuse. Conservatives in pursuit of long-cherished policy goals can no longer avoid the reality that Mr. Trump is vandalizing the principles and integrity of our democracy.

It’s a tired frame, but consider how Americans would judge a foreign election where the incumbent president scorned the democratic process as a fraud and called on an armed, violent, white supremacist group to “stand by” to engage with his political rivals.

The debate was excruciating to watch for anyone who loves this country, because of the mirror it held up to the United States in 2020: a nation unmoored from whatever was left of its civil political traditions, awash in conspiratorial disinformation, incapable of agreeing on what is true and what are lies, paralyzed by the horror of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and beholden to a political system that doesn’t reflect the majority of the country.


Trump Somehow Not Likable Even After Being Coached by Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani

CLEVELAND, OHIO (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump somehow seemed unlikeable and obnoxious in his first 2020 debate performance, despite extensive pre-debate coaching from Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, campaign staffers have confirmed.

After the debate, staffers were baffled that Trump could appear so off-putting and odious after being prepped by two of the nation’s most beloved and appealing public figures.

“Call it an aura, if you will, or a kind of magic, but Chris and Rudy have that special sauce that makes people want to hug them,” one aide said. “We all thought that, by putting Trump in the same room with them, some of their fairy dust would rub off on him.”

“It didn’t happen,” the aide said. “Chalk it up to the mysteries of politics.”

In the wake of Trump’s abysmal performance, the campaign is replacing Christie and Giuliani as coaches for the second debate. “It’s more important than ever to make Trump likable, and that’s why we’re bringing in Mitch McConnell and Devin Nunes,” the aide said.


Man charged in shooting attack on two L.A. County deputies in Compton

Source: LA Times

L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced charges Wednesday morning against a man in the shooting attack on two deputies at the Compton Metro station earlier this month.

Attempted murder charges were filed against Deonte Lee Murray, 36, who was taken into custody after a lengthy standoff in Lynwood on Sept. 15, Lacey said. At the time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Murray was suspected in an armed carjacking and was not involved in the shooting.

The deputies — a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man who have not been identified by the Sheriff’s Department — were shot in the face and head while sitting in their patrol car near the Compton Metro station on Sept. 12. They underwent surgery, and both have since been released from the hospital.

Murray, who was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, was charged at the time with one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The charges include allegations of association with a criminal street gang, discharging a rifle inflicting great bodily injury and personal use of an AR-15.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-30/suspect-charged-shooting-attack-los-angeles-sheriffs-deputies-compton

Louisiana man who hid in Hernando teen's closet for weeks arrested on child sex charges

Hernando deputies arrested a man on child sex charges after parents found him hiding in their teenager's bedroom.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a Spring Hill home around 4 p.m. Sunday after parents said they found an adult hiding in their 15-year-old's closet.

Investigators said 36-year-old Johnathan Rossmoine was still hiding in the teen's room when deputies arrived.

The suspect said he met the victim two years ago on an online chatting app, and had driven from Louisiana to Spring Hill on several occasions to have sex with the teen.


Early Works by Edward Hopper Found to Be Copies of Other Artists

A grad student’s discovery “cuts straight through the widely held perception of Hopper as an American original,” without a debt to others, a Whitney curator said.

Most grad students in art history dream of discovering an unknown work by whatever great artist they are studying. Louis Shadwick has achieved just the opposite: In researching his doctorate on Edward Hopper, for the storied Courtauld Institute in London, Mr. Shadwick has discovered that three of the great American’s earliest oil paintings, from the 1890s, can only barely count as his original images. Two are copies of paintings Mr. Shadwick found reproduced in a magazine for amateur artists published in the years before Hopper’s paintings. The reproductions even came with detailed instructions for making the copies.

Mr. Shadwick spells out his discovery in the October issue of The Burlington Magazine, a venerable art historical journal.“It was real detective work,” Mr. Shadwick explained, Zooming from his sunny apartment in London. At 30, he’s older than most of his graduate-school peers because of a longish spell fronting an alt-rock trio (White Kite), a past not revealed in the blue button-down he wore when we talked and his close-cropped dark hair. Mr. Shadwick was working out the earliest influences on Hopper’s art — one aspect of his Ph.D., half-finished so far — when he figured out that an American Tonalist painter named Bruce Crane (1857-1937) might have played some kind of role.

Louis Shadwick found that Bruce Crane’s “A Winter Sunset,” circa 1880s, in The Art Interchange magazine, was an almost perfect match for Hopper’s later teenage work, right down to the horizontal streak of light.Credit...Bruce Crane
Then, early this summer, in what Mr. Shadwick called a “eureka moment” of pandemic Googling, he landed on “A Winter Sunset,” a painting by Crane from an 1890 issue of The Art Interchange that was an almost perfect match for one of Hopper’s teenage works, long known as “Old Ice Pond at Nyack,” circa 1897, depicting a winter landscape with a streak of waning light. (A gallery is selling it now, with a price estimate of $375,000; the change in its status might affect buyers’ offers.) Mr. Shadwick went on to discover similar sources for all but one of Hopper’s first oils.

Scholars have talked about those early Hoppers as showing us his childhood home in Nyack, N.Y., and as examples of his preternatural talent as a self-trained young painter, “and actually, both these things are not true — none of the oils are of Nyack, and Hopper had a middling talent for oil painting, until he went to art school,” said Mr. Shadwick, adding, “Even the handling of the paint is pretty far from the accomplished works he was making even five years after that.” Those weak brush-skills are now the only thing in those earliest oils that anyone can lay claim to as Hopper’s.


Nevertheless Hopper's later works do demonstrate his own unique originality.

The Picture of a Broken Tax System

Donald Trump’s tax returns illustrate the profound inequities of the tax code and the shambolic state of federal enforcement.

In the years before he became president, Donald Trump lived lavishly while paying little in federal income taxes. The Times reported on Sunday that Mr. Trump paid no taxes in 10 of the 15 years immediately preceding his run for the White House. In each of the following two years, 2016 and 2017, he paid the token sum of $750.

Remove Mr. Trump’s current job from the picture, and what remains is a story that still demands attention. The portrait of a man who earned hundreds of millions of dollars, lived a life of comic excess and yet, in many years, paid nothing in federal income taxes is an indictment of the federal income tax system. It illustrates the profound inequities of the tax code and the shambolic state of enforcement.

The government has sharply reduced the share of income that it collects in taxes from the wealthiest Americans. One recent study found that the 400 wealthiest households paid 70 percent of their total income in federal, state and local taxes in 1950, 47 percent in 1980 and 23 percent in 2018. The cuts in tax rates have come mostly at the federal level.

The government allows income to be sheltered from taxation for hundreds of different reasons, but real estate investors have long enjoyed a particularly sweet set of loopholes. A homeowner can write off the interest payments on a mortgage loan, but the owners of commercial buildings get a host of other benefits, too. It’s relatively easy for real estate investors to use past losses to offset income, to defer income and to avoid reporting some kinds of income. Best of all, the law lets investors claim a building is depreciating in value — a theoretical loss of money — even as the actual value increases.


Report on Trump's $750 Income Tax Payments Reverberates on Eve of Debate

Republican lawmakers reacted with nearly complete silence on Monday to a New York Times investigation that revealed President Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and that he oversees a network of businesses that are riddled with debt and losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Spokesmen for Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the top two Republicans in the Senate, declined to comment on the article Monday.

A Republican involved in writing tax law, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Monday afternoon that he had read the Times article, but declined to comment on how little Mr. Trump paid in taxes.

“The thought that comes to my mind is how come it’s taking the I.R.S. so long to get the audits done,” he told reporters. Asked about the $750 tax payments, Mr. Grassley said: “I want to wait until the I.R.S. gets done so I know how much he owes.”

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