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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,329

Journal Archives

Trump to announce Bahrain joining UAE in normalizing ties with Israel

Source: Axios

The White House will announce later today that Bahrain is joining the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel, senior Israeli and Arab officials tell Axios, and a Trump administration official confirmed.

Driving the news: Israeli officials say that in the last two weeks, the White House has been pressing Bahrain to follow the UAE, which announced last month that it would open full diplomatic relations with Israel.

President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Manama recently and asked the King and Crown Prince of Bahrain to normalize relations with Israel, sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: The expected deal is a win for the Trump administration, which has sought to broker Middle East peace and strengthen ties with Israel.

It's also a major breakthrough for Israel, which lacks diplomatic recognition in many Middle Eastern countries but has been steadily improving relations in the Gulf, largely due to mutual antipathy toward Iran.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/bahrain-israel-uae-trump-white-house-peace-80fe7bdc-24f3-44e7-8050-c38879efb17f.html

Gender reveal party sparked new California wildfire raging across 7,000 acres

Source: CNBC

A smoke generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party was the source of a wildfire in El Dorado, California, that has spread to 7,050 acres as of Sunday, according to California fire officials.

In a statement released Sunday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the the fire began at 10:23 a.m. Saturday in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, spreading to the north. As of Sunday, the fire was 5% contained, according to the Cal Fire website. The communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls are under evacuation orders and an evacuation warning is in effect for the Yucaipa bench area. The Yucaipa Community Center is serving as a temporary evacuation facility, according to Cal Fire.

More than 500 personnel and 60 engines have been deployed to the site, according to the website.

The El Dorado fire adds to a series of dangerous wildfires that have cropped up in California as residents are already trying to fend off danger from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in San Bernadino County due to the El Dorado fire as well as four other counties due to other fires.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/07/gender-reveal-party-sparked-el-dorado-california-wildfire.html

Person Who Drove Car Through Crowd of Black Lives Matter Protesters in Times Square Released Without

Source: Law & Crime

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has interviewed the man they believe is responsible for driving his car through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square on Thursday night. The man was reportedly released without charges.

According to Gothamist, the car’s license plates are registered to “pro-NYPD activist” Hakim Gibson. The Associated Press cited the Gothamist when reporting the same.


Cellphone-captured footage of the black car ramming its way through several demonstrators quickly went viral online.

“NYPD asks if there is anyone injured, please come forward,” the law enforcement agency said on Twitter.

Critics took issue with that approach.

“You don’t need a complaint to file charges,” noted attorney Rebecca Kavanaugh. “It’s on video tape. You file charges without complainants all the time. That’s reckless endangerment, reckless driving, attempted assault right there on tape. Hey, you could even charge attempt murder if you wanted to.”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/george-floyd-death/person-who-drove-car-through-crowd-of-black-lives-matter-protesters-in-times-square-released-without-charges/

Federal Judge Finds Certain Trump Administration Redactions of Mueller Probe Are Lawful

Source: Law & Crime

A federal judge sided with the Trump administration on Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the Justice Department’s redactions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and obstruction of justice. Senior U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who previously read the entire Mueller report as part of a related case probing DOJ redactions, granted the administration’s request for summary judgment. Walton reasoned that DOJ redactions of FBI reports of witness interviews (302s) fell within legal exemptions to the department’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The consolidated lawsuit stemmed from a series of FOIA requests from multiple media outlets including Buzzfeed and CNN. The plaintiffs challenged redactions of memos and 302 reports produced by the FBI relating to any and all of the witnesses interviewed by Mueller’s team.

The DOJ previously produced an annotated version of the Mueller report identifying the specific FOIA exemptions that the agency was relying on in withholding the requested information, mainly citing to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5), better known as “Exemption 5.” Exemption 5 is extremely broad and essentially protects against the production of records deemed to be either the product of attorney work or presidential communications records which, if disclosed, may inhibit the candid exchange of views deemed necessary for the government to pursue effective decision-making processes.

Despite previously coming down hard on Attorney General William Barr for having “distorted” the findings of the redacted Mueller report, Judge Walton agreed with the administration on the legality of certain redactions. Walton first addressed the department’s invocation of attorney work product privilege, writing that the information withheld from the 302 reports fell “squarely within the scope of the privilege.”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/federal-judge-finds-certain-trump-administration-redactions-of-mueller-report-are-lawful/

Nancy Pelosi says she was victim of 'setup' in hair salon mask dispute

Source: The Guardian

Nancy Pelosi has claimed to have been “set up”, after she was photographed in a San Francisco hair salon without a face covering, breaking the city’s coronavirus prevention rules.

“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to many times,” the House speaker said on Wednesday afternoon, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. “It was a setup, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”

Salons in San Francisco have been closed during the coronavirus pandemic, with limited outdoor operations beginning only on Tuesday.

Security camera footage obtained by Fox News showed Pelosi, the House speaker and the most powerful Democrat in Washington, walking through the e Salon SF with a mask around her neck. The footage was filmed on Monday.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/02/nancy-pelosi-in-face-covering-row-after-salon-visit

Multiple Boston Cops Arrested for 'Stealing Taxpayer Money' Over the Course of Several Years

Source: Law & Crime

Nine current or former police officers were arrested for “stealing taxpayer money” through overtime pay fraud in a years-long scheme. U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said on Wednesday that although he supports police in general, official misconduct needs to be punished.

“I am a strong supporter of the police, especially in these difficult times. But all must be treated equally under the law, regardless of wealth, power or station,” Lelling said. “These officers are charged with stealing taxpayer money, year after year, through fraud. Beyond the theft of funds, this kind of official misconduct also erodes trust in public institutions, at a time when that trust is most needed.”


According to the indictment, the defendants were assigned to Boston Police Department’s (BPD) Evidence Control Unit (ECU), where they were responsible for, among other things, storing, cataloging and retrieving evidence at the warehouse. ECU officers were eligible to earn overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular hourly pay rate for overtime assignments. It is alleged that beginning in at least May 2016, the defendants routinely departed overtime shifts two or more hours early but submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips claiming to have worked the entirety of each shift.

One overtime shift, called “purge” overtime, was focused on reducing the inventory of the evidence warehouse. The shift was supposed to be performed from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. On days which the defendants claimed to have worked until 8:00 p.m., the warehouse was closed, locked and alarmed well before 8:00 p.m., and often by 6:00 p.m. or before. Despite this, it is alleged that the defendants routinely submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips claiming to have worked from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Supervisors, who also left early from this shift, allegedly submitted their own false and fraudulent slips and also knowingly endorsed the fraudulent overtime slips of their subordinates.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/multiple-boston-cops-arrested-for-stealing-taxpayer-money-over-the-course-of-several-years/

They were padding their overtime hours.

Overwhelmingly strong results could end COVID-19 vaccine trials early, Fauci says

Source: LA Times

A COVID-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if ongoing clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, said this week.

Although two ongoing clinical trials of 30,000 volunteers are expected to conclude by the end of the year, Fauci said an independent board has the authority to end the trials weeks early if interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative.

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, “The data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective,” Fauci said Tuesday. In that case, researchers would have “a moral obligation” to end the trial early and make the active vaccine available to everyone in the study, he said, including those who had been given placebos — and accelerate the process to give the vaccine to millions.

Fauci’s comments come at a time of growing concern about whether political pressure from the Trump administration could influence federal regulators and scientists overseeing the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and erode shaky public confidence in vaccines. Prominent vaccine experts have said they fear that President Trump is pushing for an early vaccine approval to help win reelection.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-09-02/covid-19-vaccine-trials-could-end-early-if-results-are-overwhelming

I suspected the conflict between Fauci and Trump could have been orchestrated with a result like this in mind.

In 'Stunning' 2-1 Decision, Appeals Court Says Congress Can't Enforce Subpoena Against Ex-WH Counsel

Source: Law & Crime

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Monday ruled that the U.S. House of Representatives does not have any legal authority to enforce a subpoena against former White House counsel Don McGahn. In a 2-1 decision penned by Judge Thomas B. Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee, the court reasoned that the Constitution does not grant a congressional committee the power to enforce its own subpoenas, dismissing the case in favor of McGahn.

“Congress has no implied constitutional power to seek civil enforcement of its subpoenas. The Committee thus cannot identify an underlying judicial remedy that could authorize it to invoke the Declaratory Judgment Act,” Griffith wrote. “Because the Committee lacks a cause of action to enforce its subpoena, this lawsuit must be dismissed.”

Judge Griffith stated, however, that while the committee does not currently have such enforcement power, that could be rectified if Congress passed a law granting such authority.

“We note that this decision does not preclude Congress (or one of its chambers) from ever enforcing a subpoena in federal court; it simply precludes it from doing so without first enacting a statute authorizing such a suit,” he wrote. “If Congress (rather than a single committee in a single chamber thereof) determines that its current mechanisms leave it unable to adequately enforce its subpoenas, it remains free to enact a statute that makes the House’s requests for information judicially enforceable. Indeed, Congress has passed similar statutes before, authorizing criminal enforcement in 1857 and civil enforcement for the Senate in 1978.”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/in-stunning-2-1-decision-appeals-court-says-congress-cant-enforce-subpoena-against-ex-wh-counsel-don-mcgahn/

Man Exonerated in 1983 Rape and Murder After Almost Four Decades Behind Bars

Source: Law & Crime

A man convicted in a 1983 rape and murder in Tampa, Florida is set to be released on Thursday. Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Nash found that the 1985 conviction of Robert DuBoise, 55, in the death of Barbara Grams, 19, is no longer supported by the evidence. This is a result of not just the man’s attorneys from The Innocence Project, but the local prosecutor’s office. They filed a joint motion.

“Today is an important day for justice — justice for the family of a victim and a man convicted of killing her,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said on Wednesday, according to The Tampa Bay Times. “This is painful and tragic. But it’s the truth, and when you tell the truth, justice is done.”

Grams was beaten to death while she was walking home from work, authorities said. Her body was found outside of a dentist office. The state argued that DuBoise, his brother, and a third man all participated in the rape and murder; the brother and the third man were never charged.

Incidentally, a dentist’s expert testimony contributed toward the guilty verdict. Dr. Richard Souviron took the stand to say that a bite mark on Grams’s cheek matched Duboise’s teeth “to a reasonable degree of dental certainty,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. But another dentist who recently looked at the evidence reportedly said that the mark wasn’t from a bite.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/man-exonerated-in-1983-rape-and-murder-after-almost-four-decades-behind-bars/

NASA drops "insensitive" nicknames for cosmic objects

Source: CBS News

NASA is joining the ever-growing list of organizations and companies reexamining its naming system, removing names that are "insensitive" and "harmful" from its vocabulary. Aunt Jemima, The Chicks, Lady A, Mrs. Butterworth's, the Washington Football Team — and now, celestial objects — are all undergoing a rebrand.

"Eskimo Nebula" and "Siamese Twins Galaxy" are just two examples of nicknames that will be retired, the space agency announced this week. "Often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science," it said.

Celestial objects such as planets, galaxies and nebulae are often given unofficial nicknames, since their official names are typically a series of letters and numbers. However, NASA said some of the names are offensive, and they plan to retire them.

"As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful," the agency said. "NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-drops-eskimo-nebula-insensitive-nicknames-cosmic-objects/
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