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marble falls

marble falls's Journal
marble falls's Journal
January 29, 2014

Texas woman in Grimm fundraising case set to be arraigned


Texas woman in Grimm fundraising case set to be arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on Jan. 30

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) on Tuesday declined to answer questions about arrest of Texas friend Diana Durand. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)

By Tom Wrobleski/Staten Island Advance
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on January 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM, updated January 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - The Texas woman arrested by the FBI for allegedly making more than $10,000 in illegal contributions to the 2010 campaign of Rep. Michael Grimm is set to be arraigned on the charges in Brooklyn federal court.


And on Monday, Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) shot down a report that he and Ms. Durand engaged in "donor swapping" during the 2010 campaign, and new details emerged about Grimm's relationship with the celebrity rabbi at the heart of the FBI investigation of Grimm's own 2010 campaign fundraising.

FEC records show that Barbara Durand Clem gave Grimm $1,000 on Nov. 13, 2009, and Montgomery Durand gave Grimm's campaign $1,000 on Nov. 19, 2009.

Like Ms. Clem and Ms. Durand, Montgomery Durand lists Monmouth, Ill., roots on his Facebook page, but it is not known for certain if the three are related.

The FBI complaint against Ms. Durand said an unnamed relative of hers, called "Straw Donor #3," donated $1,000 to Grimm on Nov. 19, 2009.

Ms. Clem was listed as president of the Houston-based MCG Transportation company, where Ms. Durand was CEO, and the two also have an address in common, public records show.

Ms. Clem was also an owner of Austin Refuel Transport. Grimm is the former owner and CEO of the firm's parent company, Austin Refuel.

Ms. Durand was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 10 and accused of using straw donors to donate illegally to Grimm's campaign.

On Monday, Grimm declined to discuss Ms. Durand's arrest.

"I'm not going to comment on anything else," he told reporters after an event with borough Cub Scouts in his New Dorp district office.

Stuart Kaplan, the former FBI agent representing Ms. Durand, did not respond to a request for comment.

Grimm on Monday also slammed a published report that said he and Ms. Durand may have engaged in "donor swapping" in order to get around campaign contribution limits.

In a donor swap, a contributor who gave the maximum donation to Candidate 1 then donates to Candidate 2. In return, a donor of Candidate 2 gives that same amount to Candidate 1.

The Daily News highlighted a $4,800 donation to Grimm from a Washington, D.C., attorney who had already given the maximum amount to GOP Virginia congressional candidate Bert Mizusawa. On the same day, Ms. Durand and another Grimm donor each gave $4,800 to Mizusawa.

Grimm and Ms. Durand also each gave $2,400 to Republican Michael Curb, running in South Dakota, the same day that an accountant in a South Dakota firm headed by Curb donated $4,800 to Grimm, the paper said.

A Houston couple who had given the maximum to Grimm then gave $4,800 to Illinois GOP Rep. Aaron Schock on the same day that an Illinois couple who had maxed out to Schock gave $4,800 to Grimm, the paper said.

Ms. Durand also gave $2,400 to Schock, records showed.

The News said that 20 transactions suggested that Grimm supporters, including Ms. Durand, and candidates swapped donations totaling more than $75,000.

In a statement to the Advance, Grimm called the story a "one-sided hit piece."

He said the transactions cited "are completely legal and common, and would be frequently seen in the vast majority of [congressional] Members' filings."

Separately, in a 2010 interview that aired on Israeli television, Grimm said he met Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto after doing a "mitzvah," or good deed, for a member of New York's Jewish community at the end of an undercover case Grimm worked while with the FBI.

The FBI is investigating allegations that Grimm, working with Pinto aide Ofer Biton, illegally raised money from the rabbi's Upper East Side congregation in 2010. Grimm has denied the charges and has been accused of no wrongdoing.

Grimm said in the interview that when the Jewish community learned he was running for Congress, they invited him to get a "very special blessing" from Pinto. The two then began to meet regularly, he continued. Grimm said Pinto appreciated Grimm's strong support of Israel, and that his House campaign was going well "due to the inspiration of the rabbi."

"It's amazing," Grimm said in the interview. "I'm not Jewish, I'm Catholic. But the very first time that I met Rabbi Pinto, I can't really explain it, it's hard to articulate, but it was a very special meeting. You could almost feel the positive energy when he holds your hand."

Also part of the interview was Ben Zion Suky, a real estate developer and top Pinto aide. Suky has been identified as a witness in an Israeli case where Pinto is alleged to have bribed top police officials. Suky has also been tied to the porn industry.
January 28, 2014

Bendy Chinese paper art stuns New Yorkers

Bendy Chinese paper art stuns New Yorkers

27/01 14:39 CET
smaller_text larger_text

Amazing video at the website http://www.euronews.com/2014/01/27/bendy-chinese-paper-art-stuns-new-yorkers/

Just stretch your imagination for a moment – Li Hongbo’s surprising sculptures go to show that in the world of art, what you see is not always what you get.

His surprising accordeon-like works are inspired by Chinese paper-based folk art and the traditional paper toys he grew up with.

“In the beginning, I discovered the flexible nature of paper through Chinese paper toys and paper lanterns. Later, I used this to make a gun. A gun is solid, used for killing, but I turned it into a toy or for decoration. In this way, it lost both the shape of a gun, and the inherent meaning of a gun. It was turned into a game,” says Li Hongbo.

To make his sculptures the artist uses a stencil to paste glue in narrow strips across large pieces of paper which he then sticks together to form a block. He stacks up the blocks, before cutting, chiselling and sanding them down to the desired shape.

“‘Strange’ and ‘unsettling’ are just words used by some people to describe my work. In fact, people have a fixed idea of what a human should look like, so when you transform a human shape, people will reconsider the nature of objects and the motivation behind the creation. This is what I care about,” says the artist.

‘Tools of Study’, Li Hongbo’s first solo exhibition in the United States, is on at the Klein Sun Gallery in New York until early March.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

January 27, 2014

Is there a pot bubble?


When stocks in marijuana-related businesses soared as much as 1,700 percent one week after Colorado’s legalized shops opened, the exuberance reminded some observers of the heady days of the dot-com boom. And, indeed, industry insiders seem swept up in a sky's-the-limit optimism that's reminscient of the late 1990s, with ArcView Market Research—"the definitive source for cannabis industry analysis, trends, and statistics"—forecasting that legal marijuana could expand into a $10.2 billion market by 2018, with 64 percent growth expected just this calendar year, a rate higher than the global smartphone market.


At the same time, entirely new businesses have emerged, hawking insurance, advertising support, software, even pot vending machines. And with Colorado’s legal cannabis shops hitting $1 million in revenue on the first day of legal use, the stampede of capitalists into this new market should only accelerate. “There’s no desk of analysts at Goldman Sachs vetting this industry,” Kenndy says, “but there will be.”

Yet if this is a gold rush, it’s one where the gold has, for 80 years, been either dismissed as fodder for hippies or demonized as actively harmful—a legacy that creates growing pains no other business sector has to tolerate, as marijuana entrepreneurs struggle to be taken seriously and get around a host of roadblocks arising from the fact that the federal Controlled Substances Act still lists marijuana as a prohibited Schedule I drug.

Lawmakers from the states where pot just became legal have stepped in to push for regulatory relief. Reps. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have introduced legislation that would give legal clearance for financial transactions with marijuana-related businesses—you could call it a form of constituent service to the small business community. And when Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the Obama administration would soon roll out guidance to allow banks to work with pot sellers, Heck and Perlmutter's efforts got a notable boost. But “Congress doesn’t lead on this stuff,” Heck says. “It’s going to take Colorado and Washington having a successful regulatory environment to make everyone comfortable.”


But this need to convince skeptics, along with the residue of selling what the federal government still considers an illegal drug, has led to barriers that can appear almost insurmountable. “Some check-the-box items that should take a couple of hours take a month,” Kennedy says. Lining up payroll services or security or lawyers or even a bank can be arduous, as many of those companies fear legal ramifications. The Colorado Bar Association recently prohibited attorneys from working with marijuana-related businesses for just this reason—which means that, for now at least, pot businesses can’t hire a lawyer to draw up a contract or close a deal. And even Privateer, with its multimillion-dollar investment deals, was turned down by 16 different banks for a simple checking account.

So far, Privateer has used the money it’s raised to invest in or set up ancillary businesses on the edges of the marijuana supply chain that do not handle the leaf, reducing the firm’s legal risk and regulatory requirements. The company established a Canadian subsidiary called Lafitte Ventures to build a 1.8-acre cultivation site in British Columbia, for example, and a similar American firm called Arbormain, planning 24 warehouses across Washington State for growing, testing and processing a range of products. Privateer also recently acquired Leafly, which is a kind of Yelp for pot, with user reviews of businesses and the products they sell.

Meanwhile, an astonishing amount of this fast-growing industry is still conducted in cash—a situation that can leave businesspeople a little jittery. “I’ve been in rooms with a million dollars,” Kennedy says. “It’s not a good feeling.” Companies have to pay for security to prevent robberies, and getting loans is a headache. “We wanted to build a farm on a piece of property where anyone with a credit score over 700 could get it,” Cooley says. “Mine is over 800, but I couldn’t get a loan. Last year, when we were jumping through hoops becoming permitted, instead of a line of credit, we stopped taking salary.”

David Dayen is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and a contributor to Salon.
January 26, 2014

Arizona sheriff puts inmates on bread and water

(Reuters) - Dozens of inmates in Arizona jails run by a sheriff who has been a controversial figure in the national immigration debate have been put on a diet of bread and water for desecrating U.S. flags that hang in each cell, authorities said on Friday.

Maricopa County lawman Joe Arpaio, who has been called "America's toughest sheriff," said 38 inmates were currently getting these meals twice a day as punishment for destroying government property while in custody at six jails.

"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells. Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel," Arpaio said in a statement. "It's a disgrace to those who have fought for our country."

The punishment will last for seven days, he said, and a second offense would bring 10 more days of the sparse diet.

A sheriff's spokesman said the bread provides the daily requirement of calories and nutrients that is necessary. There are about 8,300 inmates in the jail system.


Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona, called the move a "publicity stunt."

"It's certainly not illegal, but what he is doing is bad policy," Pochoda said. "It's just another vindictive policy that has nothing to do with running a good jail system."



January 13, 2014

West Virginia Officials Say Water Ban to be Lifted Soon

Source: Time Magazine

West Virginia Officials Say Water Ban to be Lifted Soon

But authorities unable to provide clear timetable
By David Stout Jan. 13, 2014Add a Comment


Residents line up for water at a water filling station at West Virginia State University, in Institute, West Virginia, January 10, 2014.

Follow @TIME

After an estimated 300,000 West Virginians spent the weekend without tap water, following a massive chemical spill in the Elk River, officials say tests show life may return to normal soon — without specifying exactly when. “I believe that we’re at a point where we can say that we see light at the end of the tunnel,” West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin told a group of reporters on Sunday.


Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water, said he was optimistic that the ban would be lifted soon. “I don’t believe we’re several days from starting to lift, but I’m not saying today,” told McIntyre.

On Thursday, state officials announced that approximately 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used to process coal, had leaked from a storage tank into the Elk River, just one mile from the West Virginia American Water plant.

Environmentalists have long chided West Virginia’s lax industrial regulations, which activists claim are a result of the enormous sway companies working in coal-related industries have in the state.

Read more: http://nation.time.com/2014/01/13/west-virginia-officials-say-water-ban-to-be-lifted-soon/

January 13, 2014

Trump to New York GOP: I'll Run for Governor if We Skip Primary

Source: Newsmax (yeah, I know - Newsmax)

Trump to New York GOP: I'll Run for Governor if We Skip Primary
Image: Trump to New York GOP: I'll Run for Governor if We Skip Primary

Saturday, 11 Jan 2014 01:08 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Donald Trump is ready to run for governor of New York if the state's Republicans will unify behind him, but state GOP Chairman Ed Cox says Trump should officially declare his candidacy if he's serious about seeking the state's top spot.

Trump told the New York Daily News, after a two-hour meeting with 50 Republicans in his office on Friday, that he is seeking full support of the party and wants no primary elections.

"You can’t have primaries," said Trump. "You can’t have all the wasted time and effort in doing that. You have to pick somebody and go to win. If that couldn’t happen, I wouldn’t do it."


Trump is already gathering some support among Republicans who think he is the only person who and defeat Cuomo. The billionaire is also expected to report that his campaign coffers already have more than $30 million available.


Read more: http://www.newsmax.com/newswidget/new-york-governor-donald-trump-rob-astorino/2014/01/11/id/546561?promo_code=142BF-1&utm_source=142BFSun_sentinel_and_Orlando_Sentinel_generi&utm_medium=nmwidget&utm_campaign=widgetphase1

They'll never do it, but we can hope.

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Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 04:49 AM
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About marble falls

Hand dyer mainly to the quilters market, doll maker, oil painter and teacher, anti-fas, cat owner, anti nuke, ex navy, reasonably good cook, father of three happy successful kids and three happy grand kids. Life is good.
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