Friday, April 27, 2018

Fun Facts For Friday

Enjoy for I am taking a much needed day off today.

"In a surprise, former R.I. governor Lincoln Chafee considers run for old Senate seat" by James Pindell Globe Staff  April 25, 2018

Former Rhode Island governor and onetime US senator Lincoln Chafee surprised his home state Wednesday by saying that he is “90 percent” sure he will challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for reelection later this year.

If it happens, one could see the race as a rematch of 2006, when Whitehouse dislodged Chafee, who was a Republican back then, from the Senate seat he had held since his father died in office. Another way to view it is as a pair-up of blue bloods — old white guys with Ivy League degrees in a world so clubby their fathers were once Yale roommates.

I'll bet those were happier times.

But in an interview Wednesday, Chafee said he views what would be his 11th time on the ballot as a contest between the new Democratic Party as envisioned by Bernie Sanders supporters in Rhode Island and the old Democratic Party that Sheldon Whitehouse and other local supporters of Hillary Clinton represent.

He’s so serious about it, he’s already talking about what he’ll do when he’s elected to the Senate.

Isn't that putting the cart before the donkey?

Just months ago, Chafee was openly discussing running for governor against incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo, but, as Chafee tells it, it wasn’t until Sanders supporters talked to him about taking on Whitehouse that he began to consider it. Then, after a poll last month showed Whitehouse with just a 46 percent approval rating, Chafee said, he decided that he should take a serious look at running.

After serving as mayor, US senator, and governor, and even briefly running for president in 2016 (remember that metric system debacle?) and changing parties twice, Chafee, 65 and now firmly a Democrat, said it’s not yet time to hang it up as a politician.

No, I remember him being against the Iraq War. That's what sunk him, the principled, if a little quirky, politician who sometimes dances to drumbeats nobody else can hear. He speaks often about being the only Republican senator to oppose the Iraq war. You can debate wether he regrets it or not.

“I am just not ready to retire yet, especially when it is just a volatile time in the country,” Chafee said.

What about that idea of running for governor? “She has enough challengers now,” he said of Raimondo, “and yet when you look at Whitehouse, he shouldn’t go unchallenged, particularly because of how bad he has been.”

Plus winning governor would have been no challenge at all (who would want that thankless job, right?).

Chafee said Whitehouse was out of step in backing Clinton in 2016 given that every county in Rhode Island narrowly voted for Sanders in the presidential primary that year.

He also criticized Whitehouse’s vote against the Yemen War Powers resolution, which would have removed troops from the Middle Eastern country until the Senate declared war there.


I didn't even know they had a vote about the Saudi butchering of women and children. 

Then there are other examples relating to wiretapping and privacy.

Whitehouse is already facing two underfunded Republicans ahead of the November election. But given Rhode Island’s record of voting deep blue, particularly when it comes to federal offices, Chafee notes that the real action is in the Democratic Party. (Fun fact: The last Republican to win a federal election in that state? Lincoln Chafee, 18 years ago.)


"Key Supreme Court justices appear friendly to travel ban" by Liz Goodwin Globe Staff  April 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether the president could take any action in the Muslim world without the courts probing him for religious bigotry.

What if the military advisers tell the president that, in their judgment, the president ought to order an air strike against Syria?” Roberts asked. “Does that mean he can’t because you would regard that as discrimination against a majority Muslim country?”

You guys finally going to address the war crimes of this government? 

I mean, they just did and there was a little bit of bleating from Congre$$ about not being asked.

Since then, missile strikes have gone down the ma$$ media memory hole.

If the court hands President Trump a victory in the case in June, when it is expected to rule, it will be a sign that a majority of the justices are reluctant to probe the controversial and often conflicting statements and tweets by the unorthodox president and his advisers when scrutinizing the legality of his actions. It would demonstrate a preference for a plain text reading of the law without questioning the executive’s motives.

That is what they should be addressing: the texts of the laws. This looking into the soul sh*t has to stop.

The president’s executive order faced a losing streak in multiple lower courts since he issued it a week after taking office, forcing the White House to change the order’s wording two times. Trump grumbled on Twitter that the later versions were “watered down” and “politically correct,” and attacked the courts that ruled against him.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a key swing vote who has occasionally sided with the court’s liberals in high-profile cases, repeatedly expressed concern about the court inserting itself into a president’s national security decision-making, suggesting it was not its place to do so. He also argued against the courts giving Congress the power to usurp presidential authority on security-related immigration restrictions.

“You want the president to say, ‘I’m convinced in six months we’ll have a safe world’?” Kennedy retorted.

Those concerns were echoed by his conservative colleagues, including Roberts, who suggested that second-guessing the president’s national security decisions would lead to a slippery slope that could render the president powerless.

I suppose that is what certain parties want, and maybe when it comes to the endless wars "he" -- or she -- should be rendered powerless.

Neal Katyal, who argued against the ban on behalf of the state of Hawaii and a Muslim group, attempted to assuage justices’ concerns about overruling the president on a national security matter — a rare action for the Supreme Court.

“We’re not asking you to second-guess national security judgment at all,” Katyal said.

You asking them to neuter the president.

Katyal argued that the court should decide whether a “reasonable observer” would look at the president’s statements about Muslims and the travel ban and decide the executive order was designed to disparage a certain religion.

(On the campaign trail, Trump said he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the country because America has “problems” with them. He said he would consider closing mosques in the United States and falsely claimed that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering during the Sept. 11 attacks.)

Yeah, he got that wrong. 

It was Israelis who were caught dancing.

Kennedy, even while appearing supportive of the president’s broad national security mandate, seemed skeptical of the government’s claim that campaign statements have no legal weight once a candidate is sworn into office.

“Suppose you have a local mayor and, as a candidate, he makes vituperative, hateful statements,” Kennedy said. “He’s elected, and on day two, he takes acts that are consistent with those hateful statements. Whatever he said in the campaign is irrelevant?”

Trump’s lawyer, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, answered yes. 

Just fulfilling campaign promises to those that voted for them, right?

Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, of the court’s liberal wing, also presented stinging and pointed hypotheticals of a hateful politician during the oral argument, asking the lawyers whether they should ignore a background of bigotry when evaluating policy.

“So let’s say in some future time a president gets elected who is a vehement anti-Semite and says all kinds of denigrating comments about Jews and provokes a lot of resentment and hatred over the course of a campaign,” said Kagan.

Later, that president asks his staff to craft a proclamation banning travel from Israel, Kagan said. Would that be legal?

How did a ban on Muslims get turned into a debate on Jewish victimhood? 


Francisco answered it was a “tough hypothetical” but that it probably would be, as long as there were real national security concerns underlying the decision to ban Israelis. Francisco said that would be hard for him to imagine.

“This is an out-of-the-box kind of president in my hypothetical,” Kagan said pointedly, drawing laughter from the usually somber court audience.

Oh, ha-ha-ha, Jewish control of government is a joke in the nation's highest court, ha-ha-ha!

Yeah, sometimes it's funny and other times, you know, not so much.

“We don’t have those, your honor,” the solicitor general answered back.

Sotomayor pressed Francisco to explain whether a different hypothetical president is allowed to tell his staff “I want to keep out Jews,” and then ask them to craft an executive order accomplishing that.

Francisco conceded that in that case, the executive order would likely not pass muster.....

Yeah, gotta protect those Jews. 

Now what were they supposed to be talking about?


"Emmanuel Macron challenges American ‘short-term’ thinking on the environment" by Karen DeYoung Washington Post  April 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking to a joint session of Congress amid frequent standing ovations and cheers, he repeated his support for the Iran nuclear trade deal and outlined a four-part solution to Trump’s concerns about the deal and Iranian expansionism in the Middle East.

‘‘Our objective is clear. Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons,’’ he said as the chamber rose with applause. ‘‘Not now. Not in five years. Not in 10 years. Never.’’

Yeah, well, it's a good thing they aren't building one and haven't been.

‘‘But this policy should never lead us to war in the Middle East,’’ he said, adding that respect for sovereignty must include Iran, ‘‘which represents a great civilization.’’

‘‘Let us not replicate past mistakes,’’ he said. ‘‘Let us not be naive on one side ... let us not create new wars on the other side. What I want to do .... is work on a more comprehensive deal’’ that would leave the agreement in place, while strengthening it by working on a larger, four-part international agreement that would also contain Iran’s ballistic missile program and its military expansion in the region

‘‘This containment ... is necessary in Yemen, in Lebanon, in Iraq and also in Syria,’’ Macron said.

Macron’s cross-party appeal was palpable from the moment he walked into the chamber — lawmakers did not appear to mind that he was running about 20 minutes late. Members of both parties beamed, hooted, and leaped to their feet more than two dozen times as Macron praised the US-French partnership and endorsed the Trump administration’s efforts to launch denuclearization talks with North Korea, but Macron began to lose the Republicans in the chamber when he spoke at length about the environment. Democrats were alone in cheering his efforts to balance economic and environmental concerns.....

Yeah, when it is supporting the Israeli and Zionist war agenda in the region, the Congre$$ is cheering in unison. Anything else, nope!

Where is his next stop, the Supreme Court?


I'm surprised he didn't mention the Russian threat:

"Street demonstrations resumed in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Wednesday at the urging of an opposition leader, after negotiations stalled on the way forward after the unexpected resignation of the prime minister. The resumption of public protests and the deployment of the police around the headquarters of the ruling Republican Party threatened to shift the tenor of what so far has been a peaceful movement for change in the small, southern Caucasus nation of about 3 million people. Nikol Pashinyan, 42, a member of parliament and the leader of demonstrations that forced the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, led the marchers, who beat drums and chanted for new elections. Local news agencies carried live feeds showing the protests. Although Pashinyan lacks a party and an established constituency, he has won widespread support, mainly among young Armenians who are fed up with corruption and nepotism in the group of pro-Russia politicians and their allies who have long commanded the government and the economy. Pashinyan, who has said he is ready to be prime minister, rejected the idea of holding elections under the supervision of the Republican Party. Opposition parties are small and prone to bickering, however. Pashinyan, in a statement posted on Facebook, said, “We cannot agree on the appointment of this party’s representative as prime minister, and we cannot allow this corrupted system to continue to exist.”


"Republicans, rattled by the loss last month in a special election for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania, welcomed the results in Arizona, as Democrats have turned even the most reliable GOP seats competitive. The GOP faces fierce political head winds, the drag of an unpopular president and the retirement of its House leader, Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. ‘‘As Democrats build the largest House battlefield in more than a decade, it should terrify vulnerable Republicans that their party had to run a desperate rescue mission to hold on to this deep red seat in Arizona,’’ said Jacob Peters, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. ‘‘It proves there is no place in the country where energized, organized Democrats are not ready to compete.’’

What is with the endangered senators then (explains Tester's moves as they still pound away at Pruitt)?

"Warren, who since leaving office in January had held a $70,000-a-year position teaching political science at the soon-to-be defunct Mount Ida College, said he would not endorse either of his opponents in the Democratic primary....."

Oh, the irony of it all.

At least the ladies are with you:

"In the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, the trial was the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in [U.S.] that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the attacks and treat the victims."

A New York City courtroom dismissed it.

At least he didn't kill anybody:

"With help of DNA, police arrest ‘Golden State Killer’ suspect" by Avi Selk, Mark Berman and Justin Jouvenal Washington Post  April 26, 2018

More than 40 years after the so-called Golden State Killer began to terrorize Californians, raping dozens of women and killing at least 12, authorities announced Wednesday that they had arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in the case.

News of DeAngelo’s arrest marked a sudden development in what had been one of the most notorious unsolved crime sprees in US history, one that stretched over a decade and terrorized scores of people across California.

Police said DNA evidence helped lead them to DeAngelo, a former police officer who had been living in Citrus Heights, Calif., a city outside Sacramento. They did not elaborate on what the DNA evidence was or how it was obtained.

The string of attacks — attributed to someone alternately dubbed the Golden State Killer, Original Night Stalker, and East Area Rapist— was horrifying for both its nature and its grim sweep. Between 1976 and 1986, the FBI said, the attacker killed a dozen people and raped 45 people, attacking people who were as young as 13 and as old as 41.

Authorities had said they suspected the Golden State Killer may have either had a background or interest in law enforcement techniques. On Wednesday, police said DeAngelo fit that bill. He had served as a police officer in California between 1973 and 1979, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said, a period that overlapped with the beginning of the attacks.

Beginning in 1976, the Golden State Killer is believed to have raped dozens of women in their homes — meticulously planning his intrusions, sometimes ambushing entire families, and killing several of his victims toward the end of his spree, before vanishing in 1986. The attacker was also behind numerous residential burglaries in the state, the FBI said.

Since his disappearance, investigators and amateur detectives have searched for the man across the United States and inquired as far away as Australia.

A poor man's Whitey Bulger case.

‘‘He was young — anywhere from 18 to 30 — Caucasian, and athletic, capable of eluding capture by jumping roofs and vaulting tall fences,’’ the crime writer Michelle McNamara wrote in a Los Angeles Magazine profile of the old cases.

Some sort of Superman, huh?

McNamara, who passed away in 2016, coined the term ‘‘Golden State Killer’’ in that 2013 profile, and in subsequent years transformed from an amateur crime blogger into a widely cited expert on the case, pursuing the investigation with the help of old police files, friendly investigators, and the trust of many rape survivors.....


When I saw Sacramento it triggered memories of a cop shooting and protests that are all gone now as it is time to rally together.

"More than a dozen South Carolina corrections employees are facing federal charges related to bribery and bringing contraband into the state’s institutions a week after a deadly prison riot, according to federal court documents. The indictments were unsealed a little more than a week after a deadly riot at Lee Correctional Institution left seven inmates dead — and just one day after the Associated Press quoted several people connected to correctional institutions as saying that cellphones, drugs, and other contraband were flowing into prisons around the state while officers turned a blind eye, or helped to smuggle them....."

Another one day wonder.

When Ed Markey cited a recent Boston Globe story I got that same old sinking feeling:

"Media group changes name of annual award after revelation of WWII fabrications" by Danny McDonald Globe Staff  April 26, 2018

A New England media association is changing the name of one of its annual awards after discovering the man it was named for misrepresented his World War II military service.

The New England Newspaper & Press Association said in a statement that Morley Piper fabricated stories about D-Day, according to a statement from the group.

Piper served as the executive director of a NENPA predecessor, the New England Newspaper Association, for 45 years. Previous to that, he worked at The Boston Globe in national advertising from 1952 to 1964, he said.

Piper told fabricated D-Day stories to journalists and to audiences at speaking engagements during the past decade, according to NENPA.

In an e-mail Tuesday night, Piper apologized.

“I wish to extend my deep apologies to the newspaper industry for transgressions I have made in telling my history during World War II: Parts of my story were indeed embellished and fabricated,” he said. “I acknowledge this deceit and hang my head in shame.”

In the e-mail, Piper said he does not understand what made him lie about his military service.

“It is too complex to piece together a rational explanation,” he said. “It is ironic.” 

I was thinking more like outrageous, but I suppose we can respectfully disagree on that.

I think I understand what made him lie, too. Seems to come with the territory.

He said his “aberrant behavior” was never intended to harm anyone, nor did he tell lies for financial gain. In his e-mail, he asked for forgiveness.

Maybe not, but others have blared front-page headlines that led to mass-murdering invasions and occupations, so..... weak excuse. Especially from a "new$paper" man.

“Today I beg forgiveness, wherever possible, of my shortcomings, and for having betrayed people and organizations that I have always cherished and strived to defend,” he said. “I am truly sorry and ashamed and look to the future as an old man in anguish and alone.”

The self-absorption and arrogant conceit on display during an alleged apology sort of takes away from it.

The association had given out the “Morley L. Piper First Amendment Award” annually to honor a newspaper for “the exceptional quality of its reporting, editorials, commentary or legal challenges that illuminate or uphold the First Amendment or educate the public about it,” according to its website, but given Piper’s admitted military fabrications, NENPA President John Voket said he could not support presenting an award bearing Piper’s name, according to the association’s statement.....

Yeah, that would look bad, and as we all know, image is everything when it comes to the the pre$$.


Isn't lying about military service now a crime since so many politicians were doing it?

Time to pay the Piper, one might say.