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Member since: Fri Nov 9, 2012, 02:24 AM
Number of posts: 3,316

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A Yemeni family flees a war-torn nation and bets on a future in rural Appalachia


WELCH — Sadeq Hauter looks out the window of his family’s convenience store at the steep hillsides and hollows of Appalachia and is reminded of his hometown in Yemen. The difference is that, here, he can see a future for himself and his wife and children.

He relocated them in 2015 to escape from Yemen’s escalating civil war. The family opened Eller’s Quick Stop on a flat stretch of U.S. 52 in Northfork, a town of 372 in McDowell County. Their arrival presents both a stir of hope and a challenge to a community that — like so many rural places in America — is trying to eradicate generational poverty while simultaneously adjusting to the huge economic shifts roiling the nation.

The Hauter children are the only English-as-a-second-language students enrolled in McDowell County public schools, which are on the front lines of the economic effort being led by Reconnecting McDowell, an ambitious public-private initiative. Yet the school district has been averaging triple-digit enrollment losses the past few years, according to education officials, prompting a paradoxical question: Are efforts to better prepare the county’s students simply quickening their exodus and hastening the demise of the county and its way of life? Or might the arrival of a family of newcomers hint at a new chapter for this corner of Appalachia?

Erie woman receives $284 billion electric bill


Mary Horomanski went online earlier this month to check her electric bill.

The Erie woman was stunned to see that she owed Penelec, her electricity provider, more than $284 billion — an amount greater than the national debts of Hungary and South Africa combined.

“My eyes just about popped out of my head,” said Horomanski, 58. “We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong.”

The good news, if you can call it that, was that Horomanski didn’t have to pay the entire $284,460,000,000 until November 2018. Her minimum payment for December was a relatively paltry $28,156.

Gay publisher Michael Yamashita purchases Bay Area Reporter


Michael Yamashita has purchased the Bay Area Reporter making him the first gay Asian-American publisher and owner of an LGBT newspaper. The decision was announced on Monday.

Yamashita has served as the newspaper’s publisher since 2013 and was also its former general manager. After receiving two shares from former investors, he was able to purchase the LGBT weekly newspaper.

He will also take over BAR Media Inc., which was founded four years ago. Todd Vogt and Patrick Brown have stepped down from the board but Yamashita plans to nominate replacements in the near future.

The Bob Ross Foundation now has 20 percent stake in the company with Yamashita taking over the other 80 percent in the company.

Democrats block dozens of Trump nominees


About 100 of President Donald Trump’s nominees have been kicked back to the White House, prolonging an unusually high number of vacancies across his administration and escalating the Senate’s long-running nomination wars.

While the Senate agreed to keep roughly 150 of Trump’s picks for consideration next year, it refused to do so on roughly 100 others, according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office. That means the White House will have to renominate them if Trump wants them installed.

Among the high-profile picks tossed back to the White House: Alex Azar, chosen as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas Farr, a district court nominee whose record on voting rights has infuriated Democrats; and K.T. McFarland, the former deputy national security adviser chosen as U.S. ambassador to Singapore who is now facing questions about her communications with ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

That will trigger a requirement that nominees’ paperwork be up to date — a gargantuan task for some nominees who've been languishing in the Senate for months, especially if their net worth changed dramatically because of the surging stock market.



Stunned and shocked would be an understatement if we wanted to describe how quite a few seasoned counter-intelligence officers at Hungary’s Constitutional Protection Office (AH) could have felt in April 2014. Going against their professional convictions, AH terminated an ongoing investigation and subsequently initiated a criminal case against a lesser-known far-right politician. The accusation was severe: spying against institutions of the European Union on behalf of a third country. Security officers of AH were embarrassed, not because they weren’t fully convinced that Béla Kovács, a notoriously russophile Hungarian member of the European Parliament – dubbed as KGBéla even by his own far-right comrades – broke the law and made illegal contacts with Russian intelligence officers, but because they wanted to make sure he could not escape justice and his web of contacts would be fully discovered.

As politics interfered with the investigation, the security officers of AH knew their work was still incomplete.

The story of Béla Kovács is the most accurate depiction of the complicated nature of Russian influence in Hungary. In order to understand what happened to him, and why, we need to take a brief look at today’s political landscape of Hungary first.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg dies at age 82

Source: ESPN

Dick Enberg, the Hall of Fame broadcaster whose "Oh my!" calls rang familiar with so many sports fans, has died, his wife and daughter confirmed Thursday night.

He was 82.

Enberg's daughter, Nicole, said the family became concerned when he didn't arrive on his flight to Boston on Thursday, and that he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed. The family said it was awaiting official word on the cause of death but believed he had a heart attack.

Enberg was one of America's most beloved sports broadcasters, with his versatile voice spanning the world on networks such as NBC, CBS and ESPN. In all, he covered 28 Wimbledons, 10 Super Bowls and eight NCAA men's basketball title games, including the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird showdown in 1979.

Read more: http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/21842570/dick-enberg-beloved-broadcaster-dies-age-82

Schumer calls cops after forged sex scandal charge

Source: Axios

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was the victim of a fake news hit on Tuesday, and has turned over to Capitol Police a document that purports to detail lurid sexual harassment accusations by a former staffer.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/schumer-calls-cops-after-forged-sex-scandal-charge-2517019807.html

IF Franken doesn't resign

How effective do you think he would be going forward?

Female lieutenant governor expected to replace Franken if he resigns

Source: Politico

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to appoint his lieutenant governor and close ally, Tina Smith, to Al Franken’s seat if the Democratic senator resigns on Thursday, three people familiar with the Democratic governor’s thinking said.

But that appointment would be just the start of an upheaval in Minnesota. Part of the reason Smith could be heading to the Senate, the sources said, is that she has indicated no interest in running for Congress in the past and would not run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which expires in 2020, in a 2018 special election. That would clear the way for a wide open Democratic primary next year if Franken steps down.

Franken’s sudden fall under a deluge of sexual harassment allegations has prompted Democrats to suddenly consider a fast-approaching special election for a once-safe seat — and given Republicans an unexpected opportunity in a state President Donald Trump lost by just 1 point in 2016. But installing Smith or another placeholder in the seat would separate the appointment from potentially fractious Democratic primary politics, giving other Democrats the opportunity to fight on a level playing field in a special primary. Additionally, appointing a woman to fill Franken’s role would serve as a symbolic rebuke to Franken in the wake of the allegations against him, Minnesota Democrats pointed out.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/06/al-franken-senate-smith-211125

Senate Democrats Poised to Pick Up 5-7 Seats

Senate Republicans had been doing a pretty solid job of maintaining their distance from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump by running their own campaign that focused largely on more local issues or those issues that motivate their base. The strategy was working fine and it looked as if Republicans would be able to keep their losses low. That is until October 7 when The Washington Post reported on the existence of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump described sexually assaulting women. Then things started to unravel, albeit slowly.

Assuming that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins the White House, the party needs four seats to tie the chamber, leaving the Vice President as the tie breaking vote. For much of the cycle, we have expected Democrats to score a net gain of between four and six seats. Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania where Clinton has established a lead. In fact, of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him.

Early voting is underway in 27 states, so Republicans don’t really have much time to turn things around, and Trump won’t be any help, especially his campaign doesn’t really have a ground game to speak of. The GOP’s only hope is to start running a checks-and-balances message, or more blatantly, a don’t-give-Clinton-a-blank-check message to motivate their base, particularly what one strategist called “casual Republicans,” to the polls. We are starting to see that message in some red and purple states as candidates work to tie Democratic candidate to Clinton.

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