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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,134

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Venezuela's Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say



Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s.

The crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all.

Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.

“It’s really hard to think of a human tragedy of this scale outside civil war,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “This will be a touchstone of disastrous policies for decades to come.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/world/americas/venezuela-economy.html

A ransomware attack took The Weather Channel off the air

Source: The Verge

The Weather Channel was hit by a ransomware attack on Thursday, briefly taking a live TV program off the air, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The attack came amid severe weather in the southeastern United States and knocked out the cable channel for more than an hour. The FBI told the Journal a ransomware attack was the source of the problem and that the agency is investigating.

“We experienced issues with this morning’s live broadcast following a malicious software attack on the network,” the channel confirmed in a tweet about the incident, adding that “backup mechanisms” had allowed the channel to restore service. “We apologize for any inconvenience to viewers as we work to resolve the matter,” the tweet said.

Earlier in the day, the channel said it was “experiencing technical difficulties” with its live broadcast. In another tweet posted soon after, the channel said it was “back live on the air to bring you the latest on today’s severe weather threats.”

Read more: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/19/18507869/weather-channel-ransomware-attack-tv-program-cable-off-the-air

The latest lost satellite is now space junk that could put other spacecraft at risk

On Thursday, satellite service provider Intelsat announced that one of its communications satellites is now completely lost in orbit above Earth, rendering the vehicle an unmovable piece of space debris. Intelsat says that something damaged the satellite, causing its onboard propellant to leak out into space. Now, without the ability to maneuver and communicate, the satellite could pose a potential threat to other vehicles in the same orbit.

For Intelsat, the most obvious consequence of the loss is a financial one. Built by Boeing, the satellite, called Intelsat 29e, cost between $400 and $450 million and was supposed to operate up to 15 years in space. But now its lifetime has been cut short after just three years in orbit, preventing Intelsat from receiving any planned revenue from the spacecraft’s communications coverage over North and South America.

But the now-dead satellite is also a liability for other satellites that are on a similar trajectory. The spacecraft’s orbit is a high one above Earth known as geostationary orbit, or GEO — a path above the equator where satellites match the eastward rotation of the planet. That means they essentially “hover” over the same patch of the Earth at all times. It’s a popular spot to deposit communications and surveillance satellites because they just sit in one location of the sky for years.

The problem with this orbit, though, is it’s incredibly high up — around 22,000 miles above the planet’s surface. Satellites in this orbit are less affected by the Earth’s atmosphere and aren’t dragged down as easily as satellites in lower orbits. So if a satellite fails in this orbit, like Intelsat 29e did, it’s basically stuck up there for hundreds of years and won’t be coming down. Because of the damage Intelsat 29e sustained, the satellite is now slightly off track on this orbit, which means it could cross paths with other GEO satellites in the years to come. That means there’s a chance of future collisions that could cause even more debris.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/19/18507439/intelsat-29e-geostationary-orbit-satellite-failure-space-debris

The mysterious life of James McCord, Watergate burglar whose death went unnoticed for 2 years

In the mid-1990s, the Discovery Channel aired a five-part series on Watergate, calling it a “refresher course” on the audacious White House scandal that drove President Nixon from office.

It might be time for a sequel.

There was a time when the shadowy cast of characters behind the break-in of the Democratic national headquarters were household names, as familiar to Americans as those on a lineup card — G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, John Ehrlichman — on they went.

But the years have not been particularly kind to Watergate.

https://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-james-mccord-watergate-breakin-dead-20190419-story.html

Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is denied new appeal and is likely headed to prison

An appeals court will not reconsider its decision to uphold the conviction of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, all but extinguishing the chances the once-towering law enforcement figure had to avoid prison.

Baca, 76, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, was sentenced in 2017 to three years behind bars after a jury found he oversaw a plan to interfere with an FBI investigation into abuses in county jails and later lied to prosecutors about his role.

This year, a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the conviction was fair and legally sound, rejecting claims by Baca’s lawyers that decisions by the judge in the case had prejudiced the jury against the former sheriff.

On Friday, the panel issued an order denying Baca’s requests for another hearing or a new hearing in front of the entire 9th Circuit.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-sheriff-lee-baca-appeal-denied-20190419-story.html

Florida knew Hurricane Michael was bad. Now, scientists reveal just how strong it was.

With just a little over a month to the start of hurricane season, scientists have upgraded last year’s beast — Hurricane Michael — from a Category 4 to a rare Category 5.

Michael, which devastated Florida’s Mexico Beach when it made landfall on Oct. 10, becomes the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a Cat 5 since Hurricane Andrew brought “destruction at dawn” to South Miami-Dade in August 1992.

Michael’s winds were so strong the hurricane blew over a train in Panama City Beach.

Scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center performed a detailed post-storm analysis on Hurricane Michael’s data and determined that the storm’s estimated intensity at landfall near Mexico Beach and the Tyndall Air Force Base was 160 mph, which puts its winds in the top category over a small number of storms at and near the Florida coast.

https://www.bradenton.com/news/state/florida/article229458004.html

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Accuses Media of Anti-Liar Bias

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Reacting to the journalist April Ryan’s call for her to be fired, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, on Friday, that she has been the victim of the media’s “widespread anti-liar bias.”

“From their obsession with fact-checking to their relentless attacks on falsehoods, the media have made no secret of their bias,” Sanders said. “It’s open season on liars in America.”

“This is media hypocrisy at its very worst,” she added. “The same journalists who advocate freedom of speech want to take that freedom away from anyone whose speech consists entirely of lies. This is nothing more or less than a direct attack on the lying life style,” she said. “You take away my right to lie and you take away my ability to earn a living.”

Kellyanne Conway, the White House senior counsellor, spoke out in support of Sanders, telling reporters, “An attack on one liar is an attack on all liars. Our country has seen some dark days, from the Bowling Green Massacre to the bugging of the White House microwave,” she said. “But this might be the darkest.”

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/sarah-huckabee-sanders-accuses-media-of-anti-liar-bias

Saving for retirement is hard. Knowing how to spend it down is harder.

One of the biggest things on my mind these days — right up there with the Washington Nationals’ woeful bullpen — is retirement.

I am a few months from turning 64, so I’m not putting in my notice anytime soon. But 25 million or so Americans, ages 55 to 64, are, like me, wondering what they will live on during their “golden years.”

I have to be honest: I thought the hard part was living within your means and saving for retirement. It’s not. Trying to figure out how to cash out your nest egg — your tax-deferred retirement account, your taxable investments or both — so it will last the rest of your life can be even harder. It has me gnawing at my fingernails.

There are many variables when figuring out retirement finances. How well do you want to live? Do you want to leave anything? Do you want to help the kids or others? Charity?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/saving-for-retirement-is-hard-knowing-how-to-spend-it-down-is-harder/2019/04/19/14fa43d4-6083-11e9-9412-daf3d2e67c6d_story.html

Mueller's biggest bombshell? Trump told the White House counsel to lie.

President Trump ordered the top White House lawyer to lie to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That is one difficult-to-escape conclusion of Mueller’s 448-page report, released to the public in redacted form Thursday. Telling another person to lie to investigators is obstruction of justice. So why isn’t the obstruction case against Trump open and shut?

The wrinkle is that the president did not order White House counsel Donald McGahn to lie merely to Mueller. Rather, Trump told McGahn to lie to the entire country — including Mueller. The only thing that distinguishes Trump’s order from a textbook case of obstruction is that Trump sought to include 330 million additional listeners in the lie.

Trump’s order to McGahn to carry out a coverup is the biggest bombshell in a report full of damning disclosures. Mueller’s analysis of that episode is the closest that the special counsel comes to concluding that the president committed obstruction of justice. It’s certainly one of the lowest points of a presidency that has stooped to many lows. And it should be the focal point of media coverage and congressional investigations in the coming days, weeks and months.

Obstruction of justice requires three elements: an obstructive act, a nexus to an official proceeding and a corrupt motive. Mueller’s report recounts the allegedly obstructive act in detail. In late January 2018, the New York Times revealed that Trump had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller the previous June. The Times report, according to the special counsel’s report released Thursday, is supported by “substantial evidence.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/04/19/muellers-biggest-bombshell-trump-told-white-house-counsel-lie/
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