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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 36,862

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters.

alwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

The Falwells, through a lawyer, declined to comment for this article.

Cohen, who began a three-year prison sentence this week for federal campaign violations and lying to Congress, recounted his involvement in the matter in a recording made surreptitiously by comedian Tom Arnold on March 25. Portions of the recording — in which Cohen appeared to disavow parts of his guilty plea — were first reported April 24 by The Wall Street Journal.

The Falwells enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, according to the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the year Trump announced his presidential candidacy. At the time, Cohen was Trump’s confidant and personal lawyer, and he worked for the Trump Organization.

The Falwells wanted to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen told Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”


Did Trump report phony losses to avoid taxes?

His family is known for this.

Mueller fought release of Comey memos to prevent Trump and others from changing stories

(CNN) Special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors didn't want former FBI Director James Comey's memos released because they feared that President Donald Trump and other witnesses could change their stories after reading Comey's version of events, according to an argument they made in a January 2018 sealed court hearing.

The newly released record gives a rare glimpse into the Mueller team's concerns at a time the special prosecutors were publicly silent about their work -- and before redacted versions of Comey's memos were made public.

A court order on Tuesday forced the Justice Department to provide a transcript of the hearing to CNN as part of a lawsuit over access to the Comey memos.

The Justice Department implored a federal judge to keep the memos under seal after CNN and other news organizations asked for their release. Mueller's plea to keep the memos under seal coincided with negotiations with Trump's legal team over a potential interview with the President at Camp David, planned for the days following the court hearing and which ultimately fell through. At the time of the late January hearing, several other witnesses to the Comey developments had already spoken to Mueller.


Florida Woman Pulls Small Gator Out of Yoga Pants During Traffic Stop

Call this a classic "only in Florida" moment.

Deputies in Charlotte County found dozens of reptiles in a man and woman's possession early Monday morning during a traffic stop in Punta Gorda, NBC affiliate WBBH-TV reports.

After being stopped for running through a stop sign, the couple told deputies they were coming from collecting frogs and snakes at an underpass nearby.

When deputies asked what kind of animals they collected, the woman opened her backpack at her feet, where there were over 40 small, three-striped turtles, according to WBBH.

When asked if she had anything else, the woman pulled a foot-long alligator from her yoga pants, Charlotte County Sheriff's officials said.


Tweet of the Day


US Navy sailors instructed to 'clap like we're at a strip club' for Pence arrival

(CNN)US Navy sailors were instructed by the ship's senior enlisted sailor to "clap like we're at a strip club" for Vice President Mike Pence's arrival aboard the USS Harry S. Truman on Tuesday.

The ship's public information officer confirmed to CNN the comments were made prior to Pence's arrival aboard the Truman in Norfolk, Virginia, and called the statement "inappropriate."

"We can confirm that this statement was made by USS Harry S. Truman's Command Master Chief to Truman's Sailors, prior to the arrival of the Vice President," Lt. Cmdr. Laura Stegherr said in a statement.

"This statement was inappropriate, and this issue is being addressed by Truman's leadership," she said.

Pence toured the ship Tuesday and made remarks to ship officers and crew members.


Joy Behar clashes with Dan Crenshaw on Trump's Charlottesville comments

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) on Monday defended President Trump's comments following a violent 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va., prompting a heated response from "The View" co-host Joy Behar.

The back-and-forth on the ABC opinion program came after a host asked Crenshaw about his staunch criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has been accused by many Republican and some Democratic lawmakers of using anti-Semitic tropes when criticizing U.S. support for Israel.

Crenshaw, an Afghanistan War veteran who lost his right eye in combat and was recently elected to Congress in Texas's 2nd District, was first asked by co-host Meghan McCain why more Democrats weren't condemning Omar's remarks.

“Unfortunately, we’re playing a team sport these days," Crenshaw replied. "We just had a long discussion about how Republicans feel about Trump. I think you’re seeing the same thing play out on the Democrat side, [when it's] somebody on their own team and they’re not sure how to handle it even though behind closed doors they might disagree.”

Behar jumped in to raise Trump's "good people on both sides" comments following the rally in Charlottesville that left one person dead.

“On the right, what we have is the president of the United States in Charlottesville saying there are good people on both sides and people are yelling ‘Jews will not replace us.’ There are not good people on both sides,” Behar exclaimed.

Crenshaw interrupted to note that “in the same sentence” Trump had said he was “definitely not referring to white nationalists," but to those who opposed Confederate statues being taken down.

“Why do you apologize for him? He's ridiculous!" Behar responded.


Bill to protect patients from surprise medical bills passes Colorado Senate

DENVER — After years of similar bills failing in committee, the state Senate passed the "Out-of-network Health Care Services bill," a bill filed in response to the 9Wants to Know investigation "Lien On Me."

That investigation detailed how out-of-network doctors might work at otherwise in-network health care facilities.

The bill, aimed at curtailing the practice of "surprise medical bills," passed the Senate with a bipartisan contingent of senators. Four Republican senators, including Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R-Lone Tree), voted against the measure.

It now goes back to the state House where it was previously passed (before some minor changes in the Senate) by a wide margin. It is expected to pass the House again.

The bill aims to eliminate what its sponsors call “deceptive trade practices” taking place inside Colorado hospitals and other medical facilities. The "Lien on Me" series focused on how patients in the state have gone to an in-network facility for care, only to be treated by an out-of-network doctor without being told. That practice has led to massive, surprise medical bills for many of our neighbors.


The political science of why Game of Thrones' Daenerys may be a terrible queen

The problem, though, is that this kind of revolution can often replace old tyrannies with new ones. The classic examples here are 20th century communist revolutionaries like Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Fidel Castro — leaders who seized power in the name of the people, but ended up building structures that oppress them.

Research by scholars Jeff Colgan and Jessica Weeks suggests that these equally oppressive outcomes are not not accidents. Revolutionary leaders are often aggressive, and work to consolidate power in their own hands after the revolution. They tend to build what political scientists call “personalist” dictatorships — political systems where ultimate power is concentrated in their hands and their hands alone — and then use that power to repress political opponents and wage war abroad.

“The same characteristics that allowed revolutionaries to succeed in their domestic struggle,” Colgan and Weeks write, “also make such leaders more likely to initiate international conflict once they have obtained office.”

Daenerys fits this pattern to a tee. A woman whose iron will and ruthlessness allowed her to rise to power on Essos, and to eventually win most of Westeros to her cause, she’s clearly an effective revolutionary. But that same will to power makes her unwilling to share it, and that same ruthlessness makes her willing to go to extreme lengths to punish her enemies. Any innocents who get hurt along the way are just collateral damage.

This is clearly the final major conflict the show is setting up. Once Cersei is dispatched with — and, let’s be real, she will be dispatched with — the struggle for the shape of the post-war order will begin.


Tweet of the Day (AVENGERS SPOILER)

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