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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,646

Journal Archives

Samantha Bee apologizes for vulgar remark about Ivanka Trump: 'I crossed a line'

Source: CNN

Samantha Bee has apologized for calling White House senior adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump a "feckless c***" on her TBS show Thursday.

"I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it," Bee said in a statement.


Bee's network added in a statement of its own that the host took "the right action in apologizing for the vile and inappropriate language."

"Those words should not have been aired," TBS said. "It was our mistake too, and we regret it."

The clip of Bee making the remark has since been pulled from YouTube and Twitter.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/31/media/samantha-bee-apologizes-ivanka-trump/index.html

U.S. to slap steel and aluminum tariffs on European Union

Source: Axios

Plans for the Trump administration to hit the European Union with steel and aluminum tariffs could be announced as early as Thursday, reports the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The EU has threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products such as "motorcycles, jeans and bourbon." The report follows Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' criticism that the European Union isn't negotiating on trade thanks to the United States' steel and aluminum tariffs, citing China as a counterexample.

What to expect: If the tariffs go through, you'll see domestic and imported steel and aluminum prices spike because the EU is a top supplier.

The EU will likely retaliate almost immediately. They’ve already filed what they plan to do — their list of retaliatory measures — at the World Trade Organization (WTO.) The EU’s big public threats are tariffs on Harley Davidsons and Kentucky whiskey (targeting Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell respectively.)

The snowball effect: The U.S. imposing tariffs would likely have knock on effects. Until now, the only country that has directly retaliated against the U.S. on these steel and aluminum tariffs is China. Add in to the mix other countries who have made threats but haven’t retaliated — yet.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/us-to-slap-steel-and-aluminum-tariffs-on-eu-4de37663-93dd-4f8c-b3f8-78ddcb3990cb.html

Marseille: at least one injured after hooded men open fire on young people

Source: The Guardian

At least one person has been injured after a group of hooded men armed with Kalshnikov rifles opened fire on young people near a cultural centre in Marseille, local media has reported.

The gunmen arrived in three vehicles and opened fired at the centre in the Busserine area, according to La Provence newspaper.

A local police official said the incident was not been investigated as terrorism. The paper says at least one injured person was taken to a hospital.

La Provence also reports there was an exchange of gunfire with police.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/21/marseille-france-masked-gunmen-la-busserine

Breaking news.

Thursday briefing: Who is destroying the ozone layer again?

Source: The Guardian

Scientists have detected a mysterious and “shocking” rise in the world’s atmospheric levels of CFCs, the gas banned since the 1980s because it attacks the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Chlorofluorocarbons were used in making foams for furniture and buildings, in aerosols and as refrigerants. But they were banned after the discovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica. Experts at the NOAA science agency in the US say they have ruled out the expected leaks of CFC-11 from those historical sources, or other atmospheric factors, in trying to explain the sudden sharp increase. “You are left with, boy, it really looks like somebody is making it new,” said Stephen Montzka at the NOAA.

Since 2007, there has been essentially zero reported production of CFC-11. The source of the new emissions has been tracked to east Asia, but finding a more precise location requires further investigation. Failing to do so could set back the ozone layer’s recovery by 10 years or more, say experts. Hopefully, says Montzka, “somebody who was maybe doing it purposefully will realise – oh, someone is paying attention – and stop doing it”.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/17/thursday-briefing-who-is-destroying-the-ozone-layer-again

'A demented social club': Poachers slaughtered hundreds of animals in Pacific Northwest for 'the thr

Source: Washington Post

A demented social club’: Poachers slaughtered hundreds of animals in Pacific Northwest for ‘the thrill,’ police say

It started when state officials wanted answers about the headless deer turning up in the Oregon wilderness east of Mount Hood.

“Nearly every year, it seems we have deer showing up minus their heads at the end of seasons,” Craig Gunderson, a senior trooper with the Oregon State Patrol, recently explained to the Seattle Times. Authorities believed the mutilated animals might be the work of poachers, so in November 2016 they fixed motion-triggered cameras in the national forest near The Dalles, Ore., smack on the Washington state line.

The footage troopers caught would prove to be the first clue to uncovering what officials now say was a loosely-linked poaching ring responsible for the illegal brutal slaughter of hundreds of animals in Washington and Oregon. The sheer size of the animal body count involved has shocked wildlife officials, in part because of the wantonness driving the rampant killing.

“It was kind of a demented social club,” an Oregon official told the Times.

“I consider it a killing spree,” a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife chief told Fox 12. “I’m completely disgusted.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/05/17/a-demented-social-club-poachers-slaughtered-hundreds-of-animals-in-pacific-northwest-for-the-thrill-police-say/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bdbc4a25c4c9

Prosecutors drop invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Source: CBS News

Prosecutors have dropped an invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, but said they will still pursue a case against him for allegedly taking a revealing picture of a woman with whom he has confirmed having an affair. Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Ronald Sullivan made the surprise announcement Monday in court after the third day of jury selection in Greitens' trial.


Sullivan cited the fact that Greitens' defense attorneys planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, Kim Gardner, as a witness and whose handling of the case has been under constant criticism by Greitens attorneys.

Greitens' defense team has particularly focused on the prosecutor's hiring of a private investigator, William Tisaby, whom Greitens' lawyers have accused of perjury.

"The court's order places the Circuit Attorney in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination," including by her own subordinates, Gardner spokeswoman Susan Ryan said in a statement.

It "leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial," Ryan said. "Therefore, the court has left the Circuit Attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter."

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/missouri-governor-eric-greitens-prosecutors-drop-invasion-of-privacy-charge-today-2018-05-14/

Russian company charged in Mueller probe seeks grand jury materials

Source: Reuters

A Russian company accused by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of funding a propaganda operation to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is asking a federal judge for access to secret information reviewed by a grand jury before it indicted the firm.

In a court filing on Monday, lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting LLC said Mueller had wrongfully accused the company of a “make-believe crime,” in a political effort by the special counsel to “justify his own existence” by indicting “a Russian-any Russian.”


Concord’s attorneys said Mueller’s claim that Concord conspired to defraud the United States was fatally flawed because it does not allege the company intended to do so. The lawyers also said a foreign company could not possibly have known the intricacies of U.S. federal election and foreign lobbying laws.

“A foreign corporation with no presence in the United States is indicted in an unprecedented case ... for conspiring to defraud the United States purportedly by not complying with certain regulatory requirements that are unknown even to most Americans,” the lawyers argued.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-concord/russian-company-charged-in-mueller-probe-seeks-grand-jury-materials-idUSKCN1IF2YW

'Melania' rockets up list of most popular baby names

Source: The Hill

“Melania” is one of the fastest-rising baby names in the country in terms of popularity.

The first lady’s given name came in fifth among the fastest-growing girls’ names from 2016 to 2017, according to a ranking released Friday by the Social Security Administration.

The name jumped a whopping 720 spots among the most popular girls’ names in the United States, from the 1,650 slot in 2016, to the 930th position last year.

“Melania” is of Spanish and Greek origin and means “black,” according to baby name site Nameberry.com.

The baby name news comes on the heels of a CNN/SSRS poll this week that showed Melania Trump's popularity with Americans was soaring. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the 48-year-old first lady, compared to 47 percent in January.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/387283-melania-rockets-up-list-of-most-popular-baby-names

Please just shoot me.

Mueller will not charge Trump

Having recently left a position as a federal fraud and corruption prosecutor in Washington, D.C., to return to private practice, I have marveled at the many legal experts who have spent significant time debating whether a sitting president can be indicted and even what charges special counsel Robert Mueller may bring against President Trump. While these might be interesting legal questions, they are purely hypothetical. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a longstanding policy stating that criminally prosecuting a sitting president is "unconstitutional."

That is a massively strong, mountainous statement, and the special counsel as a DOJ entity, subject to departmental policy and supervision, cannot overcome it.

But the experts like to posit: maybe that DOJ policy position is wrong (it has not been tested in court), and so what if the special counsel went rogue? The problem there is that visible federal prosecutors do not go rogue in violation of DOJ policy. It does not happen.


Any prosecutor knows that reaching the top of the chain in a significant conspiracy (i.e., "collusion" case is incredibly rare and that doing so requires the equivalent of a perfect game. A cooperator, or even a series of cooperators, is nothing more than a hitless first inning, given that humans are notoriously biased and unreliable. In the best of cases, a cooperating witness is a turncoat motivated to save his own skin. In the worst of cases - with which every prosecutor has dealt at some point - the witness takes the stand and is either too scared or confused to be believable, or denies critical facts or prior statements, leaving the government to impeach its own witness in a desperate attempt to save its case.

Given that flipped criminal cooperators are not enough, a prosecutor in a fraud or corruption case will, at a minimum, want strong and consistent documentary proof of both intent/knowledge and actions taken, and strong proof that the target individual is the one behind those documents. The difficult reality in significant organized conspiracy cases is that the boss at the top naturally does not leave a trail like this. If damning documentary evidence existed, the special counsel's office undoubtedly would have found it - and likely would have taken some significant action by this time.

I doubt the special counsel would sit on incredibly clear evidence of crimes, the kind sufficient to bring criminal charges, and not at least prepare a report to Congress on an expedited basis to seek to relieve us of an active provable international conspirator on the job.

While some folks might think that this president is the rare breed who could have recklessly left behind clear, uncontroverted evidence of corruption, prosecutors know that loose-cannon defendants present an even harder challenge. Intentions become very hard to establish when the mind of the actor is a demonstrably moving target.


But do not just take my word for it. I have privately asked many seasoned, trustworthy prosecutors and federal agents whether they think any charges could result from this investigation. The nearly universal answer? No chance.


A frustrating read on the Trump case, by someone more knowledgable than I am. And this guy was a district attorney for Obama.
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