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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 73,007

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Guest Drives Down Entrance Steps of Disney's Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World

Guest Drives Down Entrance Steps of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World

Sometimes when you’re on vacation, especially at Walt Disney World, it’s easy to “zen out” and forget about your worries and your strife—or in some cases, how to drive. Just in from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, photos of a vehicle looming over the entrance steps to the resort are circulating on social media after a guest made an early left turn inside the porte-cochère and ended up stuck on the steps.

It’s unknown if any guests or Cast Members were injured in this incident. Cast Members have coned off the car and are directing incoming guests to avoid the area.

Typically, those stairs are used by guests who are crossing to and from the parking lot from the main lobby, with entering cars meant to exit by ramp at the end of the porte-cochère, which lowers and curves back into the parking lot. ...........


Trumpism has taken over: but what happens to the Republican Party if Trump loses?

Trumpism has taken over: but what happens to the Republican Party if Trump loses?
Never Trump activists are hoping to purge his brand of nativist demagoguery but the end of Trump might not necessarily mean the end of Trumpism

David Smith in Washington
Published onSat 8 Aug 2020 05.30 EDT

(Guardian UK) “Whither Trumpism?” said one. “What will a post-Trump GOP look like?” asked another. “Republicans prep for leadership battle if Trump goes down,” said a third. “On the trail: the first signs of a post-Trump GOP,” offered a fourth.

Anyone who remembers the 2016 presidential election knows it is too soon to write Donald Trump’s political obituary, but a recent crop of headlines illuminate a growing angst over the fate of the Republican party if, as polls currently suggest, he goes down to defeat in November.

Republican politicians are jostling for position with an eye on 2024. Never Trump activists are hoping to purge his brand of nativist demagoguery from the party. Authors and commentators are pondering whether a post-Trump Republican party should resemble the pre-Trump one or if it needs to start over.

Peggy Noonan, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, asked: “Where did Donald Trump come from? Where is the GOP going? Should the whole thing be burned down? ” Bret Stephens, a columnist at the New York Times, noted that if Trump loses, “the future of the party will be up for grabs. It’s time to start thinking about who can grab it, who should, and who will.”

The debate has been fueled by hints Trump’s current iron grip on the party might weaken. Republican leaders roundly rejected his idea of postponing the election because of the coronavirus pandemic. In negotiations over the latest economic stimulus package, they brushed aside his proposals for a payroll tax cut and a new FBI building. .............(more)


'I don't trust them any more': how the NRA became its own worst enemy

(Guardian UK) Oliver North cut a lonely figure as he walked through the Indianapolis airport, quietly slipping out of the city midway through the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) convention which was still in progress. A day later, North announced from afar that he was not seeking a traditional second term as its president, while it also emerged that the New York attorney general was investigating the NRA’s tax-exempt status.

That was April 2019. More than a year later, the turmoil that heralded North’s departure has culminated in the New York attorney general, Letitia James, suing to put the NRA out of business, alleging that senior leaders used charitable donations for family trips to the Bahamas, private jets and lavish meals that shaved $64m off the organisation’s balance sheet in three years, turning a surplus into a financial crisis.

The NRA has been the most powerful gun lobby in the world since another former president of the group, Hollywood actor Charlton Heston, promised to resist efforts to prise firearms “from my cold, dead hands”. It has fought to suppress research on the danger of guns in society, keep open loopholes for background checks on gun sales and even for firearms to be present in schools.

The NRA also has been an electoral ally of Donald Trump, spending $30m to help him beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats, gun control activists and others have fought long and hard to curb its influence. But in the end, the NRA’s worst enemy was the NRA. Victim of its own success and hubris, it strayed from its core purpose and shot itself in the foot. ..........(more)


Busted Retailers Use Bankruptcy to Break Leases by the Thousands

(Bloomberg) With the pandemic intensifying the plight of U.S. retailers, companies from J. Crew Group Inc. to the owner of Ann Taylor are using Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings to quickly get out of costly, long-term leases and shutter thousands of stores.

By seeking court protection, firms like Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse avoid the headache of protracted negotiations with individual landlords. But the moves threaten to upend huge swaths of the real estate market and the half-trillion dollar market for commercial mortgage-backed securities.

“This is now black-letter law -- a debtor can cram down a landlord,” said Melanie Cyganowski, a former bankruptcy judge who’s now a partner at law firm Otterbourg PC. “If this becomes a tsunami of retailers rejecting their leases, it’s going to trigger another part of the sea change -- the mortgages held by the landlords.”

As bankrupt firms like J.C. Penney Co. and Brooks Brothers Group Inc. look to jettison leases, landlords are already feeling the consequences. CBL & Associates Properties Inc., owner of more than 100 shopping centers in the U.S., is preparing its own bankruptcy filing after rent collections cratered. And 16% of retail property loans bundled into CMBS were delinquent in July, according to research firm Trepp. ...............(more)


U.S. Worse Off Than Russia, Mexico in 2020 Economic Misery Ranking

(Bloomberg) The U.S. is projected to see the worst reversal of fortune this year in a ranking of global economic misery, underscoring just how much havoc the pandemic has wrought.

America fell 25 spots, from the No. 50 spot to No. 25, on Bloomberg’s Misery Index, which tallies inflation and unemployment outlooks for 60 economies. The drop comes as President Donald Trump fights for re-election while millions of Americans remain unemployed. Only Iceland, Israel, and Panama were even close to that level of deterioration in the annual rankings.

Almost all of the economies surveyed are projected to be more miserable this year amid Covid-19, with analysts expecting increased joblessness and tepid growth.

Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, and Turkey held on to their unenviable rankings from 2019 as the world’s four most miserable economies, with Venezuela keeping status as the world’s worse for a sixth straight year. The troubled South American country continues to suffer from soaring prices, with Bloomberg’s Cafe Con Leche Index estimating a current inflation rate of 4,043%. ................(more)


Italian homes evacuated over risk of Mont Blanc glacier collapse

(Guardian UK) Homes have been evacuated in Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta valley, after a renewed warning that a huge portion of a Mont Blanc glacier is at risk of collapse.

The measures were introduced on Wednesday morning after experts from the Fondazione Montagne Sicura (Safe Mountains Foundation) said 500,000 cubic metres of ice was in danger of sliding off the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses park.

Some 65 people, including 50 tourists, have left homes in Val Ferret, the hamlet beneath the glacier. Roads have been closed to traffic and pedestrians.

“We will find [alternative] solutions for residents,” Stefano Miserocchi, the mayor of Courmayeur, told the Italian news agency Ansa. “The tourists will have to find other solutions.”

Glaciologists monitoring Planpincieux say a new section of ice is at risk of collapse. Homes were also evacuated in September last year following a warning that 250,000 cubic meters of ice could fall. The movement of the glacial mass was due to “anomalous temperature trends”, the experts said. ............(more)


How Republicans gutted the biggest voting rights victory in recent history

(Guardian UK) On the night it finally happened, Raquel Wright peeled off the road on her way home and went to her sister’s house in Vero Beach, Florida. It didn’t matter that no one was home – Wright went inside, headed straight to the television, not bothering to turn on any lights. Watching the election results crawl across the screen, she finally saw the number she was waiting for. She broke into tears, sobbing in the pitch-black house.

About 100 miles north-west, in Orlando, Desmond Meade felt like “a ton of bricks” had been lifted off his shoulders. For nearly two decades, he and other activists had been pushing – sometimes quixotically – to end Florida’s longstanding policy of preventing anyone with a felony conviction from voting. First implemented in the 19th century, the policy was used as a cudgel of white supremacy during the Jim Crow era to disenfranchise African Americans after they formally gained the right to vote. By 2016, it had become one of the most potent forms of voter suppression in the United States, blocking up to 1.4 million people in Florida – including more than 21% of eligible Black voters – from being able to vote. Among them were Wright and Meade.

On election night in 2018, Meade and Wright would find out that 64.5% of Floridians had voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to end the policy. More than 5.1 million people – more than voted for Ron DeSantis, the Republican elected governor that evening – were in favor of the measure. The referendum – often referred to as amendment 4 – was one of the most dramatic expansions of the right to vote in US history since the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

But more than a year and a half after amendment 4 went into effect, hundreds of thousands of people still remain blocked from voting.

The promise of amendment 4 remains largely unfulfilled because Republicans in Florida moved aggressively to gut it. They passed a law that put insurmountable hurdles in front of those with felony convictions and required them to navigate a byzantine bureaucracy to get their voting rights back (one county official testified in May that records from crimes decades ago had been kept on index cards in shoeboxes). As of late May, Florida’s top election official had tens of thousands of pending registrations from people with felony convictions, but had yet to fully review a single one. ..............(more)


The Census Bureau's Grim Take on the Employment Shock During the Pandemic: Not Improving Yet

The Census Bureau’s Grim Take on the Employment Shock During the Pandemic: Not Improving Yet
by Wolf Richter • Aug 3, 2020 •

Low income earners got crushed. Many high-income earners could work-from-home.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Trying to figure out what the actual unemployment situation in the US is has become tricky. The government produces two major indicators that contradict each other. The Department of Labor said last Thursday that 30.2 million people continued to claim state or federal unemployment insurance, based on actual unemployment claims that were processed, however behind they may still be. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics asserted that the labor market has improved rapidly since April, and that in June, unemployment was down to 17.8 million people.

There is a huge difference between the 30.2 million people on unemployment insurance rolls, as per the Labor Department’s weekly tally of unemployment claims, and the assertion that only 17.8 million people are unemployed, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In recent weeks, the Census Bureau has weighed in with its own weekly Household Pulse Survey, which shows a labor market that is still in terrible shape and may be getting worse, and the pain has spread far and wide into households.

The Census Bureau wisely doesn’t pretend to measure the number of unemployed, or the unemployment rate per se, because this would contradict the Bureau of Labor Statistics directly and everyone that cites the BLS unemployment rate. Instead, the Census Bureau shows from a different angle just how far and wide unemployment has spread as a grim reality. ..............(more)


Cocaine 'was almost like coffee': John Landis, Dan Aykroyd talk John Belushi, frantic 'Blues Brother

Cocaine 'was almost like coffee': John Landis, Dan Aykroyd talk John Belushi, frantic 'Blues Brothers' shoot as film turns 40

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
August 3, 2020

The Chicago production of the 1980 action-comedy-musical The Blues Brothers has become the stuff of legend in the four decades since its release, perhaps most notable for its destruction of more than a hundred cars (mostly police cruisers) in filming its epic chase scenes.

It wasn’t just the vehicles, though, that were racing.

In new interviews with the Guardian to celebrate the film’s recent 40th anniversary, director John Landis and his co-writer/star Dan Aykroyd (who played Elwood Blues opposite the late John Belushi’s Jake) elaborated on the cast and crew’s rampant drug use, another thing the shoot became (in)famous over the years.

“At the time, cocaine was a currency. For some of the crew working nights, it was almost like coffee. I never liked it myself but I wasn’t going to police others’ behavior,” said Aykroyd. “We drove John Landis crazy. Sometimes he didn’t know whether we were going to show up for work after the parties.”

That’s not to say Aykroyd didn’t partake: “Everyone did it, including me,” Aykroyd told Vanity Fair in 2013 profile. “Never to excess, and not ever to where I wanted to buy it or have it. [But] John, he just loved what it did. It sort of brought him alive at night – that superpower feeling where you start to talk and converse and figure you can solve all the world’s problems.” ...........(more)


The Rise and Fall of the Mall

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