Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
This is a broad effort, supported by Pres. Trump and led by the office of the US Trade Representative
Corporate leaders will fear a trade war, understandably. They would prefer a bad-but-stable arrangement with Beijing, providing access to the Chinese market. Trump undoubtedly thinks he can get a better deal, with a focus on US jobs, and he understands how vulnerable China is. Its entire economy is based on open access to world markets without letting those market participants have equal access to China.
This adds Rhodes to the growing list of top Obama government officials who may have improperly unmasked Americans in communications intercepted overseas by the NSA, Circa has confirmed.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan have all been named in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the unmasking of Americans. A letter sent last week from Nunes to Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, suggested that top Obama aides made hundreds of unmasking requests during the 2016 presidential elections. –Sara Carter at Circa
Comment: This investigation deserves a lot more media attention–and some serious investigative reporting. If the unmasking was unnecessary, that would be a problem but merely another example of power corrupting. If, however, the unmasking had partisan political aims, that would be a much more serious issue since it would be illegally transforming our foreign intelligence operations into a political instrument for one US administration to use against domestic opponents. If that is proven, it would be a fundamental blow to our constitutional governance.
An internal announcement to the [DOJ’s] civil rights division seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” –New York Times
Comment: The latest Supreme Court decision narrowly approved the continued use of race as one factor in admissions, but there are several other cases pending, so the weighting of the racial factor is still being litigated. Indeed, as the composition of the Court changes, the overall status of race-based admissions may change.
◆ Can this marriage be saved? Bride arrested after pulling gun from wedding dress and pointing it at the groom (New York Post)
Comment: In a shocker, police report alcohol may have been involved.
◆ Today in Irony: Palestinian Authority chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who has opposed Israel at every turn, has asked to be put on Jewish State’s list for a lung transplant–and will, of course, be put on the list. (Jerusalem Post)
Comment: Meanwhile, the PA continues to pay terrorists for killing Israelis.
Thanks to Clarice Feldman and Eduardo Vidal for the story on Affirmative Action
Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Comment: What the Scaramucci ouster shows:
⇒ More at a separate ZipDialog post here.
If anybody can run this circus, it’s Kelly. The biggest question is whether he can get the Ringmaster to restrain himself. Conway did it for several months as campaign manager. Perhaps Conway and Kelly can do it again. But they are facing an impulsive, temperamental, thin-skinned boss.
Comment: Blame China. They’ve played the US for years. Trump, James Mattis, Nikki Haley, and Mike Pence have all declared that the time for talk–and waiting for China’s voluntary assistance–is over. Easier to say than to do.
The question is whether any pressure on North Korea, either directly or via China, will stop them? China will only act if they fear a dreadful alternative. The only possible alternative short of war that they might fear is a nuclear-armed Japan. Moving in that direction is obviously fraught with dangers. Before that, expect more anti-missile batteries, possible shoot-downs of North Korean launches, and economic sanctions against Chinese banks and trading companies.
Comment: It’s hard to be stunned by this White House–or the leaks–but this qualifies. It is almost certainly not obstruction of justice in its own right, but it will undoubtedly attract the interest of Special Council Robert Mueller, who will look for a pattern.
◆ Venezuela sinking into a chaotic dictatorship, with economy in free fall (Washington Post)
Comment: The US is imposing more sanctions and could impose even more stringent ones. If so, expect the Iranians, Russians, and Chinese to step up and offer support in bids for more influence. The Iranians already have big-time connections there, forged under Chavez.
◆ Alabama inmates escaped using peanut butter. In jam after capture. (Washington Post)
They used peanut butter to renumber the jail cells and fool an inexperienced guard.
They have a “skunk works” operation that tries to develop these long-shot projects. The idea here is to send energy to a heat pump, some of which will supercool antifreeze (or some alternative liquid), some of which will heat molten salt. When air from the separate hot and cold tanks are combined, they produce wind vortexes that spin turbines and generate electricity.
Alphabet is working with prototype plants now and could be ready to work with a manufacturer soon to build a real-world version. The plants could range in size from as small as a garage to as large as a conventional electric plant.
Besides scaling up, the researchers are looking for ways to build the plan with cheaper materials.
Storage like this is crucial if renewable energy sources are to play a larger role since most renewables only produce power intermittently (when the sun is shining, the winds are blowing, etc.).
My kind of story. This one is from White Cloud, Michigan (story here)
A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman [Glenna Duram] of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently. . . .
Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the pet parrot, Bud, repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in Martin Duram’s voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram’s death. –AP via CBS News
There is an old Perry Mason episode, “The Case of the Perjured Parrot,” in which the bird’s testimony also figures. (Synopsis of the show here)
But, as the title suggests, the parrot wasn’t talking straight.
Tip of the hat to my brother, Bob, for this gem.
It did. The police listened, arrived, and prevented even worse mayhem.
New Mexico police report that a smart home device intervened in a domestic violence incident by calling 911. When Eduardo Barros asked “did you call the sheriffs?” as he threatened his girlfriend with a gun during a fight, the device interpreted it as a request to call emergency services. They overheard the altercation and called both negotiators and a SWAT team, who arrested Barros over assault, battery and firearms charges after a stand-off.
Barros’ girlfriend was hurt in the altercation. However, police contend that the situation could have been much worse. County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales believes that the command “possibly helped save a life,” including that of the girlfriend’s daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) –Engadget
Comment: I think the device was really hoping for a robo-cop.
Doesn’t faze the idiot.
But he was irritated by $5 charge for the beverage.
SEATTLE (AP) — A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the head of a man who lunged for an exit door and fought with other passengers during a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, but it didn’t faze him, an FBI agent wrote in charging papers filed Friday.
Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, Florida, appeared in U.S. District Court, wearing a beige jail uniform and sporting a scrape or bruise below his right eye. . . .
According to one flight attendant, “Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or something to that extent,” the complaint said. —AP story here
It was inevitable.
The athletic fame.
After a while, the fast living gets to you.
Comment: Of course, these dogs have fame and fortune and high-priced lawyers, so they’ll get off easy.
But your average street dog, caught with a few grams, gets hard time.