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FakeNoose

Profile Information

Name: Kathy Hinsman
Gender: Female
Hometown: Pittsburgh PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Pittsburgh
Member since: Sat Feb 18, 2017, 02:16 PM
Number of posts: 23,705

Journal Archives

With shadowy money, Ukraine oligarch became Cleveland's biggest landlord



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette special report (link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2021/12/26/ukraine-oligarch-ihor-kolomoisky-cleveland-property-optima-investigation/stories/202112220147

For Ukraine oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, the Westin hotel in Cleveland that he owns with partners became the center of the most powerful Republican gathering in the nation during the 2016 convention.

Then-candidate Donald Trump set up his headquarters in the downtown luxury hotel. His family members and top advisers stayed in the penthouse presidential suite. In the lobby that showcases modern, eclectic art, the future president met with a crush of reporters the morning after he delivered his acceptance speech at the convention, gushing over the local hospitality.

“The lobby of the Westin Hotel is a palace for insiders,” wrote the Washington Post.

- snip -

But Mr. Kolomoisky’s venture into Cleveland, under a web of companies known as Optima, remains one of the most troubling examples of what’s gone wrong with financial transparency laws in the U.S. and how an oligarch and his partners dominated the real estate of a major American city without ever disclosing his ownership.

The 58-year-old billionaire and others bought the towers through companies set up in Delaware — one of the nation’s foremost havens for corporate secrecy — through a litany of offshore shell companies in amounts that forced taxpayers in Ukraine to turn over billions to save the bank.

Far from the usual havens for shadowy money, Cleveland has become the center of an international money laundering probe that has attracted the attention of Congress and led agents several times to the Ukraine capital of Kyiv to meet with the country’s law enforcement leaders.

“It’s happening in Middle America. That’s what’s moving the needle. It’s a new front in how money laundering is used,” said Scott Greytak, advocacy director for Transparency International in Washington, D.C., a non-profit that tracks global corruption.


- more at link -

What's happening to Cleveland? What's happening to our Rustbelt Midwestern cities? This is a troubling trend and I'm afraid it's going to continue if we don't do something quickly.

Isn't the Magnitsky Act (that created sanctions on Russian dirty money) supposed to STOP this?


The real reason Santa will never be chosen for jury duty



It's time for Rudolph to join the 21st Century



Ever wonder how we get those ugly Christmas sweaters?




I'm seeing these "Let's Texas" spot ads all over the internet







There are 10 spots in all. What's the one thing they all have in common?

They're all aimed at young active, outdoorsy women, perhaps single women or young mothers. The pitch is to get women to come to Texas for vacation adventures.

What do you think? Is this going to work?

I think it's a message to the single men in TX, saying "Hold on, the ladies are coming."

Prototype: This mask glows if you have Covid



(link) https://www.fastcompany.com/90705673/this-mask-glows-if-you-have-covid

BY ADELE PETERS

Many early Omicron variant cases are asymptomatic, and as with earlier coronavirus variants, that means there’s a risk that people who are infected won’t realize it, and could unwittingly infect someone else who might get much sicker or even die. It still isn’t clear how dangerous the new variant will be. But more testing could help slow down the spread, and right now, people typically only get tested when they start to notice symptoms.

While more testing centers and access to free or cheap rapid tests would certainly help, in Japan, scientists are working on a COVID-detecting mask that works as someone wears it—finding infections that might otherwise have been missed. An early prototype of the mask uses a special filter that can be removed and sprayed with COVID antibodies extracted from ostrich eggs. (Ostriches, which have super-charged immune systems, can help make low-cost antibodies without harming the birds.) When someone shines a black light on the filter, it will glow if the person who has been wearing the mask is infected.

The researchers are now working on a version of the mask that can glow without the help of a black light. It’s not the only mask in development that aims to double as a test kit; researchers from MIT and Harvard also designed sensors that can be embedded in masks and detect COVID. In a study, they found that the design worked as well as the gold standard tests used in labs.

By avoiding the perceived discomfort of a basic COVID tests—some people may be reluctant to stick a swab in their nose, though current at-home tests aren’t painful—it might make people more likely to test themselves. And if you’re wearing a mask everyday, an everyday test could become a habit. The lead researcher in the Japanese team, Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, discovered that he was infected himself after wearing one of the experimental masks, and later confirmed the result with a PCR test.

The MIT and Harvard team wants to bring its mask to market, as do the researchers in Japan. “We can mass-produce antibodies from ostriches at a low cost,” Tsukamoto told Kyodo News. “In the future, I want to make this into an easy testing kit that anyone can use.”


- short article no more at link -

I'm really enjoying "The Boys" by Ron and Clint Howard



So Ron Howard and his brother Clint grew up in Hollywood as child actors in the 1960's and 70's. Ron is of course a successful movie director now, but as a 5-year-old he melted American hearts as little Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. Then as a teenager in the 70's he became a household name as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. His brother Clint had similar success as the child star of another hit series called Gentle Ben, and later as a frequent supporting actor on various movies and TV series.

Their childhood and relationship with their parents is actually a heart-warming American story, as I've learned through this joint-project memoir. A lot of Hollywood names are dropped throughout the book, as you might expect, but it's way more than name-dropping. The autobiography is actually telling the story of how their Oklahoma-born parents found their way into the show business scene of Burbank and Hollywood, CA and how their young sons were raised in a warm and protective family bubble despite their success as child actors.

I love reading autobiographies, however I rarely have an interest in show-business memoirs because they're often shallow and self-serving. But this one is different. "The Boys" is heart-warming and evocative of an earlier time when television reached its adolescence, you might say. "The Boys" would make a great gift for anyone who enjoys stories about television stars and show business personalities of the Baby-Boom era.

Name an awesome movie that has a surprise twist ending (no spoilers!)

Hi guys - I love movies with surprise twists, and especially when it's a surprise ending. It's the payoff we get for giving the movie our close attention for up to 2 hours. The problem is, once you see the movie and get blown away by the surprise twist, you can't talk about it, because then you'll ruin it for everybody else.

Without telling us what the surprise is, name a great movie so we can watch it and enjoy it.

My entry is an oldie but goodie ... "The Usual Suspects"

End of an era: Brian Williams' last show on MSNBC is tonight at 11 p.m.

(link) https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2021/12/09/brian-williams-last-show-msnbc-11-th-hour-host-leaving/6445387001/

Brian Williams to sign off on MSNBC for the last time before departing from NBC

After 28 years at NBC, Brian Williams is signing off from the network for the last time.

The anchor, 62, is scheduled to host his final episode of "The 11th Hour With Brian Williams" Thursday evening, an MSNBC spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY.

MSNBC's schedule for Friday includes the premiere of MSNBC Films documentary "Paper & Glue" in Williams' spot. Beginning Monday, "The 11th Hour" will welcome a rotating cast of guest hosts.

William shared the news of his departure from the network exactly a month prior in a memo to NBC staffers obtained by USA TODAY, revealing that "following much reflection," he has decided to leave the network when his contract ends at the end of December.

"I have been truly blessed," Williams wrote. "I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be."After 28 years at NBC, Brian Williams is signing off from the network for the last time.

The anchor, 62, is scheduled to host his final episode of "The 11th Hour With Brian Williams" Thursday evening, an MSNBC spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY.

MSNBC's schedule for Friday includes the premiere of MSNBC Films documentary "Paper & Glue" in Williams' spot. Beginning Monday, "The 11th Hour" will welcome a rotating cast of guest hosts.

William shared the news of his departure from the network exactly a month prior in a memo to NBC staffers obtained by USA TODAY, revealing that "following much reflection," he has decided to leave the network when his contract ends at the end of December.

"I have been truly blessed," Williams wrote. "I have been allowed to spend almost half of my life with one company. NBC is a part of me and always will be."




Renters in parts of Pa. shut out of rent relief as counties elsewhere sit on millions in unused aid

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/social-services/2021/12/08/pennsylvania-rent-relief-renters-shut-out-by-county-berks-cumberland-forest-state-legislature/stories/202112070127

HARRISBURG — Outrage. Disappointment. Disbelief.

That’s how housing advocates in Berks County reacted when they found out, in late September, that the county’s federally funded pandemic rental assistance program — a lifeline for keeping low-income families in their homes — would soon stop taking new applications.

Berks County is the first in Pennsylvania forced to turn renters away — even though officials there once worried they would never spend all of the money. It’s particularly notable given that Reading, the county seat, has long had one of the highest eviction rates in the state.

Now, tenant advocates worry that renters still struggling with pandemic debts and a persistent shortage of safe and affordable housing have lost a crucial source of aid — even as millions of rent relief dollars sit unspent in other parts of the state.

“Every single day, I get more and more people in here, and they’re desperate,” said Lawrence Berringer, executive director of Berks Community Action Program, a local nonprofit that serves low-income families. “I’ve got people crying in the lobby that can’t get help.”

When Congress approved almost $47 billion for rent relief across two stimulus packages, the move was hailed as a historic investment in struggling tenants, cash-strapped landlords and the rental market as a whole. The aid covers late and ongoing rent, as well as utilities, for as long as 18 months in some cases.

But in Pennsylvania, where each county runs its own assistance program, most of the federal dollars were not targeted to areas with the most renters. That has left some rural counties with more money than they can spend, while urban counties with more renters don’t have enough to meet the demand, putting them at a significant disadvantage.

The largest city, Philadelphia, will run out of money in about a month, prompting officials to request another $485 million to keep up with the overwhelming demand. About 125 miles to the west, officials in Cumberland County told the state they have almost $9 million they can’t spend. And sparsely populated Forest County, in northwestern Pennsylvania, only expects to use one-fifth of the money it has received.


- more at link -

I hadn't heard of this until recently. Is this another Repuke Party stunt?


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