Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday's Faces of Evil

Today's feature is nothing but self-adulating, self aggrandizing superiority as "Mayor Martin J. Walsh declined to say if he agreed with the name change, saying “I know a lot of people are talking about ‘this is going to help us end racism.’ This is not the answer to that. The way we end racism is we deal with racism, we talk about racism, and we educate people about racism, and we have dialogues about racism. That’s the way we end racism.”

That is a very interesting quote given the article that is directly below it:

"There’s no separating Cosby’s legacy as a symbol of unity and the face of evil" by Ty Burr Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

Wow, he is now the face of evil, according to the Globe. A black man.

Please tell me the Globe didn't do that (they did). I mean, why would they? Is it racism in the editorial room, or just a deep tone deafness? The would-be healers of racial tension inflaming it? One can only wonder what is coming next (did you know 39-year-old former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis is married to Tom Brady’s sister?):

It is legal fact. A jury found Bill Cosby guilty on Thursday. 

A lot of black men have been found guilty and then later..... ah, I'm not saying that's the case here and if you keep reading I won't be defending Coz.

So what do we do with his legacy?

Well, he's let down all white people. He reflected the black side that was inside each and every white man, and look what he has done to us. We must now self-reflect.

Oh, btw, the guy who let Strauss-Kahn go is now in charge of prosecuting Weinstein (can you say case dismissed?!) Gonna put out the fire, so to speak.

Forget about watching episodes of “The Cosby Show,” or listening to the comedy albums, or watching reruns of the old “Fat Albert” cartoons as anything approaching entertainment. Even Jell-O is looking a little sketchy at the moment, and don’t think about Pudding Pops. You cannot be entertained by what has been so profoundly tainted (or if you can, many of us don’t want to know you). But there’s a resume of social and cultural accomplishment that somehow has to be squared with the most profound personal evil.

Wow. It's a metaphorical lynching if I've ever seen one. Now everything he has ever touched has been tainted. TVOne will have to take of the Cosby Show reruns now, and somehow he is now the personal embodiment of profound evil. Interesting.

Lat time I checked, Weinstein Co. productions were still all over the pay movie repeat channels, and Kevin Spacey movies were still scooping up royalties for him. I don't know how he squares that with this.

We’re a species that likes to divide people into heroes and villains and we get extremely uncomfortable when the lines are blurred. Unfortunately, that is where life often happens — somewhere in the middle. 

I assume he is speaking for himself and his profe$$ion, because I don't like division at all. 

Cui bono?

Or, in this case (and as we now know), pretty far over to one side but always in some relation to, some tension with, the other. What makes it difficult in the case of Cosby is that his career traded for so many decades on potent images of innocence and achievement. His stand-up comedy records in the 1960s celebrated childhood with goofy characters and funny noises; they sold like crazy because back then Cosby was pitched as a novelty — a nice, smart, unthreatening black guy — to a white audience made uneasy by the insistence and adamancy of the civil rights struggle.

As if all whites were monolithically opposed to the effort.

There are celebrities who are cultural disruptors, who force dissension and discussion — think Muhammad Ali in the 1960s — and there are those who are cultural resolvers, bringing disparate audiences into one big tent of comity and comfort. Cosby was the latter. Or so it seemed.

Think Kaepernick and Magic, kids.

He was the first African-American performer to star in a prime-time TV drama when “I Spy” debuted in 1965. His long-running cartoon series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” (1972-1985) was a hip updated “Our Gang” that slipped in educational meanings and messages; Cosby used the show as the basis for a dissertation that earned him a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1976. (The university cut ties with the comedian in 2014 as allegations mounted.)

And when “The Cosby Show” launched on NBC in 1984, the comedian ascended a larger stage as beloved father figure to the nation as a whole — a genuine breakthrough at the time. The UMass doctorate was occasionally on display in the credits just as Cosby played Dr. Cliff Huxtable onscreen, loving husband, cranky dad, and unimpeachable moral guide. The show was a situation comedy whose emphasis was on strength, character, and achievement — an exhortation to black audiences and a pointed object lesson to whites.

These were no small things then and the memory of their importance shouldn’t be thrown away now. But how do you separate them from the man who brought them about while behaving in the worst way humanly possible in private? Do you even try? Or do you just walk away from the entire complicated mess?

The Globe secret segregationists?

It staggers the imagination now to realize that Cosby was seen as such a pleasant personality that a routine like “Spanish Fly” from the “It’s True! It’s True!” comedy album — in which he jokes about looking for date-rape drugs in Spain with his “I Spy” costar Robert Culp — slid right past everyone’s alarm system in 1969. To listen to the live audience of men and women laugh in delight is to get chills at the chasm between what was comedy then and what is criminal today. Well, it was the Playboy years, right? Times were different then, right? Women were expected to keep quiet when they were doped into unconscious nonconsensual sex. When they were raped.

So what was the excuse in 2013?

And if they didn’t keep quiet, you had a choice of whom to believe, between the cherished star and his accusers. For most onlookers, it wasn’t much of a choice. Not when the accusations were coming piecemeal. Not even after they started to add up. The cultural wall of persona — hey, hey, hey — was too tall and too wide.

It bears repeating that many women had gone on the record about Cosby’s assaults, or tried to, without the allegations gaining traction in the public imagination. The assaults were reported, they were out there. Rumors circulated and stories were written and went unpublished from the 1960s through the 1990s, and by the 2000s there were criminal complaints and a civil case brought by Constand that was settled out of court. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on that case in 2005, and other stories surfaced in the press.

That reminds me that Pennsylvania is also the home of Penn State and Sandusky, and when the heroic AG Kathleen Kane tried to expose rampant pedophilia and statewide sex rings of children, she had her law license taken away and was jailed for allegedly leaking information to the pre$$. I know we are talking Temple here, but it's just another piece of a larger puzzle.

It took a mancomedian Hannibal Buress — to focus the spotlight during an October 2014 stand-up routine in which he responded to Cosby’s hypocritical scolding of young black males’ dress and behavior to unequivocally state “you raped women, Bill Cosby,” and urge audiences to go home and Google “Bill Cosby rape.” Suddenly, it stuck — the mainstream media, goosed by social media, finally gave the story sustained coverage. And because they did, the dam broke and dozens of women stepped forward.

Thus making me suspect a further agenda is also in play. The agenda-pushing pre$$ only promotes it if there are ulterior motives involved.

And still too many onlookers thought they must all be making it up. Only one woman, Constand, was able to take Cosby to trial, twice, and only five — “only” five — backed up her story during the second trial with their own grim recitations of being drugged and assaulted by the comedian. The guilty verdict now strengthens the untried accusations of more than 60 other women.

This is where I would like to point out that my questioning and pointing out of discrepancies in pre$$ coverage and commentary is not meant to defend Cosby. I find this stuff reprehensible. He's a despicable human being; however, it calls into question all of celebrity and the pre$$ that is infatuated with them.

We all agreed on Bill Cosby. We all pretty much agree on him now, for entirely different reasons. In disgrace, he has become a potent symbol of how the tables can turn, have turned, as cultures all too slowly evolve and victims start being heard. He will likely be the first of the #MeToo monsters to serve time in prison. It’s almost impossible to feel good about how good he once made us feel without also feeling complicit.

Again, the optics. It's a black man accused by white women.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance. Maybe, someday, we’ll be able to hold the two Bill Cosbys comfortably and simultaneously in our heads — the angel and the devil, and what they each wrought. But it won’t be for a long, long time. And it somehow feels just that the man himself won’t be around to see it....

My paper is full of cognitive dissonance, not only on a daily basis, but sometimes even within the same article. Lies and hypocrisies are tough to keep track of when you are pushing an agenda.

--more--"

Cosby (after appealing on grounds of dementia) is going to be sentenced to that ‘Old Kentucky Home’ that is just outside Chicago. Can travel to Arkansas via Tennessee for church services.

Also see:

"Cosby’s case was the first high-profile sexual assault trial to unfold in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and many considered the verdict a watershed moment, one that reflected that the accounts of female accusers may now be afforded greater weight and credibility by jurors....."

Really?

If I were black I would see same old, same old. White accusers, white courts, and and a black man convicted yet again. If only he were Chinese!

The other thing it does is make Stormy seem tame (maybe Tom Brokaw can do that interview), and for Democrats it is ‘‘not useful to the objective to tear down Crow’’ when there are bigots on the ballot (how that work out last time?). That's another fun fact, and I wonder where the teachers stand on the "need to focus on the prize: control of the House."

At least the face of evil is no longer that of the state trooper, who will unlikely face an audit or pay a penalty. That will be done, as in the past, using taxpayers’ money. Heck, they might even be considered protectors.

Related: 

"As the manhunt intensified Thursday in Central Maine for a suspect who allegedly killed a deputy sheriff, law enforcement offered a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to an arrest, according to the FBI. John Daniel Williams, who also has ties to Massachusetts and New Hampshire, is wanted for the fatal shooting of Somerset County Deputy Corporal Eugene Cole early Wednesday, according to an FBI statement. Cole, 62, was shot and killed between 1 and 2 a.m. Wednesday on Route 2 in Norridgewock, Maine, under circumstances that authorities have not disclosed. Williams, 29, of Madison, Maine, was due in a Massachusetts court to face gun charges Wednesday. Williams, according to the FBI statement released Thursday afternoon, remained at large and is considered armed and dangerous. Earlier, police were stationed outside schools in Central Maine......" 

The Globe is also going to stay vigilant.

"Trump’s agenda bogs down in swirl of scandals and misfires" by Liz Goodwin Globe Staff  April 27, 2018

WASHINGTON —A day that was supposed to revolve around celebrating the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as the president’s new secretary of state was instead bogged down by perceptions of mismanagement, endless controversies, and conflicting messages.

And I'm still on the front page.

This week’s success — the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron — already seemed like a distant memory in the high-velocity frenzy of Trump’s rule in Washington. If there was any positive talk about the GOP’s tax cuts or upcoming consideration of plans to rescue the country’s crumbling infrastructure, they were completely drowned out in the swirl of an administration in disarray.

Yes, but the memories are good.

Trump only added to his own troubles by raging to the media. He called in to “Fox & Friends” first thing Thursday morning to defend his pick to lead the VA, Dr. Ronny Jackson, even though Jackson’s fate was already sealed. Jackson bowed out after senators from both parties were alarmed by allegations that he led a “toxic” work environment and had improperly prescribed pills while serving as the president’s personal physician. Former co-workers also alleged that Jackson drank on the job and crashed a government vehicle, which he denies.

What is interesting about Jackson is the alleged improper behavior that was occurring during the apparently frat-house kind of party environment that was going on under Obama while he was being written letters of praise for promotions. Now that Jackson has dropped out, the Senate isn't calling for any type of investigation into the matter. The accusations were enough to kill his nomination. No reason to investigate further.

Besides, Trump has new partners at triple the cost. Won't be getting prescriptions filled by Amazon, though (as they announce an increase in the cost of a Prime membership). It's a gamble, but sometimes you just have to face facts.

“These are all false accusations,” the president fumed in the freewheeling interview that included his thoughts on Shania Twain and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He suggested to the hosts that Jackson was a victim of a corrupt and unfair capital: “By the way, I did say welcome to Washington. Welcome to the swamp.”

Shortly after the president railed against the swamp, Scott Pruitt, the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency, arrived for the first of two brutal back-to-back hearings in the House largely focusing on his alleged lavish spending and ethical violations in office.

More fake news.

The Pruitt and Jackson fracases have Republican lawmakers who are usually loath to criticize the president venting their displeasure.

Another potentially ugly confirmation fight awaits lawmakers in May. Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, is still meeting with senators on the Select Committee on Intelligence to attempt to overcome deep skepticism about her involvement with the CIA’s interrogation program after the Sept. 11 attacks. Haspel supervised a “black site” in Thailand where a terror suspect was waterboarded, according to media reports, and later destroyed tapes showing such interrogations on orders from her boss. Many Democrats and two Republicans appear to be leaning against her.

It's hard to defend her when a father says his son was ‘‘taken hostage, kept as a prisoner for political purposes, used as a pawn, and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal treatment.’’ 

The negative stories about Trump’s nominees add to the unease some Republican lawmakers feel about the expanding Russia investigation and the president’s undisciplined response to it as they head into tough midterm elections this November.

On “Fox & Friends,” Trump issued a cryptic threat to the Justice Department, saying he tries to stay away from the probe but “at some point I won’t.” The remark is just the latest in a string of vague hints that Trump would fire the special counsel to make the investigation into his campaign, which he calls a “witch hunt,” go away.

Republicans have moved slowly on legislation to protect Mueller from Trump despite his threats, saying they do not believe it’s necessary. But on Thursday, four Republican senators joined Democrats to pass a bill out of the Judiciary Committee that would allow Mueller to challenge his firing if it were not for “good cause.”

Senator majority leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t bring the bill to the floor. But the committee vote is a sign that some in the Republican conference are pushing for stronger action to prevent the president from provoking a constitutional crisis.

I'll get my popcorn.

Even a Republican senator who voted against the bill, Orrin Hatch, strongly warned the president in his remarks that he could face impeachment if he did fire Mueller.

“Firing Mueller would cause a firestorm and bring the administration’s agenda to a halt,” Hatch said.

Is that why he is retiring and bequeathing the seat to Mitt?

Every day a White House Cabinet ethics scandal or the Russia investigation is dominating headlines is a day Republican lawmakers can’t sell their agenda of tax cuts and deregulation.

“Sometimes he gets in the way of his own message,” said Representative Peter King of New York. “It would help if he could tone down some of the comments — it would make it easier for us to get our message out.”

Related:

"A Republican Congressman has let loose and expressed his true feelings about President Donald Trump to Erick Erickson, a far right wing pundit. Erickson is a former Fox News contributor and was the editor of RedState. He will not identify the GOP lawmaker who is from a "very Republican" district for obvious reasons, writing the Congressman "is happy to be quoted, so long as I don’t name him." "If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker," the unnamed Republican Congressman we’ll call "Rep. X," supposedly said to Erickson. Erickson says Rep. X continued his rant, saying, "dammit he’s taking us all down with him. We are well and truly f**ked in November. Kevin [McCarthy] is already circling like a green fly circling sh*t trying to take Paul’s [Ryan] job because nobody thinks he’s sticking around for Nancy [Pelosi]. She’s going to f**k up the cafeteria again too. [Lord’s name in vain], at least I’ll probably lose too and won’t have to put up with that sh*t." (Speaker Ryan announced today he is retiring at the end of his term.) "It’s like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really f*cking stupid Forrest Gump. He can’t help himself. He’s just a f**king idiot who thinks he’s winning when people are b*tching about him. He really does see the world as ratings and attention. I hate Forrest Gump." The House Judiciary Committee "just might pull the trigger if the President fires Mueller," Rep. X supposedly said. "The sh*t will hit the fan if that happens and I’d vote to impeach him myself. Most of us would, I think. Hell, all the Democrats would and you only need a majority in the House. If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker. Take him out with us and let Mike [Pence] take over. At least then we could sleep well at night." Rep. X calls Vice President Pence "competent." "I say a lot of shit on TV defending him, even over this," Rep. X tells Erickson. Erickson describes the Congressman as someone who defends Trump on Fox News and in public but obviously has a different personal opinion. The media and Democrats on Capitol Hill often say many Republican lawmakers oppose Trump in private, but won’t in public. (There are several words for that.) "But honestly, I wish the motherf*cker would just go away. We’re going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All his supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done, but he hasn’t led. He wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him. Of course, I can’t say that in public or I’d get run out of town." Of course." 

That was #160 in your program.

--more--"

Must be why he is going to the U.K.I don't think assassination is on the table anymore because he has covered that flank -- as well as worrying whether flowers and a card were enough for Melania’s 48th birthday(?).

Did you see who prepared the dinner?

"This is the 21st century, where robotics remove humans from the process and “take over the world.”

"More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing" by Sylvie Corbet Associated Press  April 27, 2018

PARIS — More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with the Islamic State group and Al Qaeda.

Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to ‘‘fully criminalize’’ terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions ‘‘even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.’’

Unless it is the western intelligence agencies and their Middle Eastern allies funding the stuff. Then it's okay.

The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long term. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.

He's been busy, and when one thinks about, "terror" has existed since mankind itself. They are going to reduce the threat in the long term by increasing it in the short term!

Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.

Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.

I wouldn't get your hopes up.

‘‘When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,’’ Lewis told The Associated Press.

Convenient excuse to rip off official enemies!

Participants called for better information sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses, and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to nongovernmental organizations and charity associations.

A global $urveillance $tate.

Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Persian Gulf.

Yeah, that's kind of awkward so my pre$$ quickly changes the topic.

France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.

Because so many of them were sitting around the table!!

Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets, and crowdfunding operations. ISIS has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing.

Uh-huh.

Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups ‘‘behave like big organizations’’ in that it ‘‘costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.’’ The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.

And it still might not work.

The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio the Islamic Statet uses microfinancing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.

Like Sanders?

Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to the group over the last two years, he said.

Money, he said, went to ‘‘320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.’’

Funding to extremist groups in the Middle East once flowed freely across the region’s informal money transfer shops and in donations made in mosques when traveling clerics issued special appeals during sermons.

In recent years, the United States and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources. However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states. Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules, as has Saudi Arabia.

Yeah, the two biggest Muslim allies in the fight are the two biggest sponsors of terrorism networks. Pretty good idea if you want to fool people, take away their liberties, and keep wars going forever.

Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.....

And the year after that? 

Or will terrorism be defeated by then?

--more--"

Reminds of the same way they funded another terror from way back when:

"Merkel is next European leader to visit Trump, but they’ll skip the bonhomie" by Katrin Bennhold   April 26, 2018

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany arrives at the White House on Friday in the broad wake of a visit this week by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. But don’t expect a sequel to the buddy movie. Already, the contrasts could not be starker.

Macron was treated by President Trump to a 21-gun salute, a state dinner, a night of opera, and a private visit to the home of George Washington. The public displays of affection between the two men were so gushy that they became the butt of jokes.

Oh, no!

The last time Merkel met Trump at the White House, in March 2017, the two did not even manage to shake hands before assembled photographers, but the lack of chemistry between Merkel, a scientist who grew up in communist East Germany, and Trump, a billionaire with a weakness for beauty pageants, is not new. What is new is the apparent indifference in the White House to the German chancellor, as well as the weakening of Merkel’s once towering position.

Even last year, Merkel was seen as the leader of Europe, the defender of the liberal world order and the counterbalance to Trump, but after 12 years in office and a difficult election last year, and with a successor waiting in the wings, Merkel now appears to be receding in influence. It is a vacuum into which the young Macron has eagerly stepped.

“Merkel is going to Washington and it looks like the US just doesn’t care,” said Jeremy Shapiro, a former State Department official who worked on European affairs under former President Barack Obama.

Macron may be the one who has captured the imagination of fellow Europeans, but even he needs Berlin to push through any meaningful change in the functioning of the European Union.

“Never underestimate Merkel,” said Joseph Braml, a trans-Atlantic expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations.

In Berlin, German officials played down the symbolism of this week’s twin visits — though not without a hint of frustration: “Let him enjoy the nice photos — she is going there to work,” said Peter Beyer, the government’s coordinator of trans-Atlantic relations.

Merkel and Macron had consulted each other closely before traveling across the Atlantic, Beyer said. They want the same things from Trump: a permanent exemption from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and the survival of the Iran nuclear deal (neither of which officials here expected them to obtain), but when it comes to foreign policy, France and Germany diverge sharply and in a way that analysts say has influenced their relationships with Trump.

Unlike France, Germany did not take part in the recent airstrikes against Syria. And unlike France, Germany is far from spending 2 percent of its GDP on its ailing military, mocked even at home for its fleet of defective submarines and grounded transport planes.

“German foreign policy seems overwhelmed by the tensions at home, in Europe and beyond,” Constanze Stelzenmüller of the think tank the Brookings Institution wrote in the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Macron, she said, “has so far been the most adept in Europe at reacting to the Trump phenomenon.”

Few leaders seem less personally in sync with Trump than Merkel. Estranged by widely diverging temperaments and leadership styles, the two leaders have also clashed on substance — from climate change and military spending to Germany’s chronic, yawning trade surplus with the United States, a particular bugbear of the president

They'll get to Russia in a minute.

German-American relations, analysts and officials reckon, are at rock bottom. “It didn’t seem possible for them to get any worse than they were after the Iraq invasion in 2003,” said Christian Tuschhoff of the Free University in Berlin, “but they are.”

Even inside Merkel’s own conservative party, many worry that the chancellor needs to change her strategy in order to be heard in Washington. “Trump will only listen to Germany if we put tangible proposals on the table and go beyond the proclamation of our common values,” said Jacob Schrot, founder of the Young Trans-Atlantic Initiative and a foreign policy adviser in parliament.

Increasing military spending to put Germany on track for its commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on the military by 2024 would be one thing, he said. Rallying the European Union behind Trump’s criticism of China for unfair trade practices would be another. And offering to put pressure on Moscow over Syria a third, but US officials say the only thing that would really get Trump’s attention is if Germany started buying American military equipment.

It would kill two birds with one stone, Braml of the German Council on Foreign Relations said: “It would get us a little closer to their 2 percent spending target and it would lower the trade deficit.” And, he added, “At least the planes would fly.”

Earlier this week, the German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, laid out a 450 million euro (about $545 million) procurement plan for military equipment, from rocket launchers to helicopters. “This is about the sustainability of our military and the reliability of Germany vis-à-vis our close partners,” she told the Sunday edition of the tabloid newspaper Bild.

The timing seems deliberate, said Tuschhoff of the Free University.

“Trump has explicitly linked the issue of tariffs with that of Europe’s military spending and contributions to NATO,” he said. “I expect that Ms. Merkel will use this list in her discussion on Friday.” 

Trump has already softened his stance on it, and the billionaire Deripaska plans to keep his hands on Rusal, while "Walt Disney Co. used the expansion of its $5.5 billion Disney Resort in Shanghai on Thursday to highlight its deep China connections despite worsening trade tensions between Washington and Beijing."

So there ain't gonna be no war no more, there ain't gonna be no war, how in the heck can they wring your neck, when there ain't gonna be no war no more?

And just as the leaders of Korea are set to talk, someone sues for war!

--more--"

I wonder if the coup attempt in Armenia will come up.

Russia parades Syrian ‘witnesses’ to disprove gas attack

The ‘‘witnesses’’ of the ‘‘crude staged action’’ and ‘‘obscene masquerade’’ in Syria came forward as OPCW inspectors made a second visit to Douma, and weeklong fighting in a nearby Palestinian refugee camp has killed dozens."

As for the Palestinians in Israel:

"Flash flood kills at least 9 Israeli teenagers on bonding hike" by David M. Halbfinger   April 26, 2018

JERUSALEM — At least nine Israeli teenagers on a bonding trip were killed, and one was still missing, after a flash flood swept them away Thursday while they were hiking in a riverbed near the Dead Sea.

Rescue workers, soldiers, and volunteers in helicopters, jeeps, rubber boats, and on foot frantically searched for the missing teenager as night fell in Wadi Tzafit, a popular hiking destination in dry weather that can become a death trap with little warning in a rainstorm. Eight of the teenagers who died were women and one was a man, according to Israeli media reports.

About 25 young people, participants in a 10-month academy for high school graduates waiting to be called for military service, had been hiking in the riverbed in a canyon with “very deep slopes,” said Nadav Eylon, chief security officer for the Central Arava Regional Council, which oversees an area south of the Dead Sea.

Eran Doron, head of the nearby Ramat Negev Regional Council, described the site as “a canyon where the moment a flash flood comes, there is no way out.”

“There are walls of rock between 4 to 20 meters high on the sides of the canyon,” Doron added.

Officials said survivors reported that they heard the sound of rushing water only about a minute before being hit by the flash flood.

Police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot suggested that the youth group had disregarded police warnings, telling the Mako news site that, “to our regret, these incidents take place when orders are not followed.” She said police had posted roadblocks in many areas warning of danger.

Eylon, speaking to the Ynet news site later, described the search and rescue effort. “We began combing the area and slowly found members of the group,” he said. “Some were wounded, some healthy, and some in more serious condition. We found them in little groups, pairs, and on their own. This is a complicated, grooved riverbed.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement, called the calamity a “grave disaster,” adding, “We all pray for better news.”

The hike was meant to be a bonding experience for the participants, officials said. They would not confirm the name of the premilitary academy that had sent the teenagers on the trip, citing the need to notify their families first.

An Israeli lawmaker, Yehudah Glick, said he had visited the academy’s offices and found its staff members, and other teenage participants who had not been on the trip to Wadi Tzafit, in tears and in shock.

“Everybody’s trying to collect crumbs of information that are coming in from all over, and mostly they’re trying to collect themselves and put themselves together, and really try to keep themselves in one piece, because they’re broken — they’re very, very much broken.”

Haven't they suffered enough?

Glick said the academy existed to let teenagers postpone their military service by a year and spend that time studying Israeli history, Zionism, and other topics.....

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They are already blaming Iran, and it is apparent that some children matter more than other children. You can't help but see it.

UN says 10 aid workers abducted in South Sudan

Not sure if it is even true or just an excuse to bolster the presence there, whatever it is. Could be a child sex abduction ring for all I know.

The way to prevent more Mount Idas

Nothing like the horse already being out of the barn

The big question now is what is going to happen to the softball team (Cardi B says stay the course).

You can briefly check the blotter before biking along to get your pickup risking death. Or you can wait for the ferry to come by next month.

‘Winter Is Coming’ to Boston University" by Sophie Cannon Globe Correspondent  April 26, 2018

Spoiler alert: “Winter Is Coming” and nine BU students know how it’ll go down.

As part of a class titled “Game of Thrones: The Virtual Final Season,” taught by TV writer and producer Kam Miller, students were tasked with writing six episodes outlining how they think the HBO show “Game of Thrones” will end. With the final season not due to air for another year, the students had the opportunity to be creative with their alternate endings.

I don't know if that is something you should talk about or..... ??

“Following HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ seventh season, fan speculation about GoT’s upcoming final season abounded,” Miller told us in an e-mail. “Of our nine writers, seven are women. These women say they were drawn to ‘Game of Thrones’ because of the strong female characters in the show. It’s been empowering for all the writers to see that they can work in a writers room environment and put on a season of television.”

I watched one episode and was repelled by the incest.

On Saturday and Sunday, the students’ six episodes will be presented in a staged reading over two days to a live audience (and also live-streamed by BUTV) in the new BU art space, formerly the Art Institute of Boston.

To sweeten the deal, HBO is lending the coveted Iron Throne — that larger-than-life chair made of swords that armies fight to the death over — to be featured for photo-ops and as a centerpiece of the accompanying exhibit on the first floor of the theater.

For directions and more information....."

I'm lost, and it doesn't know where its going:

"In a Rolling Stone cover story, Janelle Monáe came out as “pansexual.” After identifying as bisexual, Monáe says that once she read about pansexuality, she realized: “ ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ ” Pansexuality is more expansive than bisexuality, including attraction beyond the male-female gender binary, to include those who are trans, gender-fluid, androgynous, intersex, and more."

See what happens when you can't get laid?

I didn't think anyone could top RuPaul, and if you want to risk a walk down the runway the invitation is still active.