solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
I really don't know what to say about the Trump press conference yesterday. I was livetweeting it, and it was... certainly something. Here's Rolling Stone's article on it, and here's a transcript.

I think the most appalling moment was when he called the rise in anti-semetic hate crimes false-flag operations, created by "people on the other side, to anger people like you." That was actually in response to a follow-up question on the topic, after he refused to answer the original, clearly Jewish reporter's version. (Trump in fact told that first reporter to sit down, then insulted him and called him a liar, before moving to another question.)

Clearly in second was Mr. Trump twice promoting a conspiracy theory lie, that 20% of the United States uranium supply had been sold - traitorously - to the Russians. In previous versions of this conspiracy theory, it was allegedly Mr. Obama's fault, but now it's allegedly Ms. Clinton's fault. Of course, the entire thing is horseshit. Here is a Bureau of Land Management publication from last year addressing the lie:

https://www.blm.gov/or/districts/burns/newsroom/files/uranium.pdf

Perhaps the single most odd thing was his repeated insistence upon confirming the Russian contact leaks as real and yet the news about them as "fake." To quote him directly from my own transcript: "TRUMP: The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake."

He keeps confirming the leaks. You have to get past all of that in order to reach the cascade of more ordinary lies, from the boring (largest electoral college victory since Reagan, completely untrue in any framing) to the bizarrely obvious (the travel ban rollout "was perfect" until it was ruined by a judge) to the casually racist (telling a black reporter he could tell before she even stood up that this was going to be an "unfair" and "bad" question). I think the best reaction I saw to all of this lesser noise was, "This is the longest cold opening in SNL history."

Anyway.

The biggest story today is that ocean oxygen content is falling. This is an unmitigated and possibly unmitigable disaster, and is a direct result of global climate change. It goes hand-in-hand with both total warming and acidification, which is _also_ disastrously bad for the oceans. This is literally some kind of Soylent Green-level calamity could very well be how humanity ends itself.

So that's fun.

White man arrested planning racist terror in South Carolina; voter ID laws do in fact suppress legal voting, but only for poor and minority voters (which is, of course, the point); plans from the DeVos family's institute to dismantle public education and replace it with religious training; Mike Pence has been fighting for three years to prevent a particular document from becoming public, but now it's coming out via court order, that might be fun; lots more. Enjoy?


----- 1 -----
Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate
By Chris Mooney February 15 at 1:00 PM

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/15/its-official-the-oceans-are-losing-oxygen-posing-growing-threats-to-marine-life/

A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.

The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.


----- 2 -----
Decline in global oceanic oxygen content during the past five decades
Sunke Schmidtko, Lothar Stramma, Martin Visbeck
Nature 542, 335–339 (16 February 2017) doi:10.1038/nature21399
Received 24 November 2015 | Accepted 18 January 2017 | Published online 15 February 2017

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7641/full/nature21399.html

Ocean models predict a decline in the dissolved oxygen inventory of the global ocean of one to seven per cent by the year 2100, caused by a combination of a warming-induced decline in oxygen solubility and reduced ventilation of the deep ocean. It is thought that such a decline in the oceanic oxygen content could affect ocean nutrient cycles and the marine habitat, with potentially detrimental consequences for fisheries and coastal economies. Regional observational data indicate a continuous decrease in oceanic dissolved oxygen concentrations in most regions of the global ocean, with an increase reported in a few limited areas, varying by study. Prior work attempting to resolve variations in dissolved oxygen concentrations at the global scale reported a global oxygen loss of 550 ± 130 teramoles (1012 mol) per decade between 100 and 1,000 metres depth based on a comparison of data from the 1970s and 1990s. Here we provide a quantitative assessment of the entire ocean oxygen inventory by analysing dissolved oxygen and supporting data for the complete oceanic water column over the past 50 years. We find that the global oceanic oxygen content of 227.4 ± 1.1 petamoles (1015 mol) has decreased by more than two per cent (4.8 ± 2.1 petamoles) since 1960, with large variations in oxygen loss in different ocean basins and at different depths. We suggest that changes in the upper water column are mostly due to a warming-induced decrease in solubility and biological consumption. Changes in the deeper ocean may have their origin in basin-scale multi-decadal variability, oceanic overturning slow-down and a potential increase in biological consumption.


----- 3 -----
'Telephone terrorism' has rattled 48 Jewish centers. Is anyone paying attention?
By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor
Updated 9:34 AM ET, Thu February 16, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/living/jcc-bomb-threats-anti-semitism/index.html

(CNN)Samantha Taylor was at Orlando's Jewish Community Center for a morning meeting when she heard reports of a bomb threat crackle from the director's walkie-talkie.

Her daughter attends preschool there; she ran to the classroom and evacuated with the students and teachers.

While police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the building for several hours, the teachers kept the children calm and happy at a safe spot down the street, Taylor said. No explosives were found.
On the same day, January 4, an Orlando Chabad center also received a threatening call, marking the first trickle in what would soon swell to waves of calls menacing Jewish institutions across the country.

In all, 48 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, according to the JCCA, an association of JCCs. Most were made in rapid succession on three days: January 9, 18 and 31. A number of JCCs, including Orlando's, received multiple threats.

In a statement, the FBI said the bureau and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are "investigating possible civil rights violations in connections with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country."

The JTA, a Jewish news agency, says it has obtained a recording of one of the calls. On it, the caller says a C-4 bomb has been placed in the JCC and that "a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered."

Several JCC sources said the FBI has told them it is investigating the calls as hate crimes. Online, another term has circulated: "telephone terrorism."

"I've been in the business for 20-plus years, and this is unprecedented," said Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish organizations on security. "It's more methodical than meets the eye."


----- 4 -----
Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign
By Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez, CNN
Updated 10:37 PM ET, Wed February 15, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-aides-russians-campaign/index.html

(CNN)High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.

President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

Both the frequency of the communications during early summer and the proximity to Trump of those involved "raised a red flag" with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn.

Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.

Adding to US investigators' concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access.


----- 5 -----
Trump knew of DOJ probe for weeks, Pence only days
By Stephen Collinson, CNN
Wed February 15, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-administration-michael-flynn/index.html

(CNN)The White House struggled Tuesday to answer an avalanche of questions over national security adviser Michael Flynn's resignation.

Flynn was asked to quit Monday after it became public that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions during pre-inauguration phone calls with the Kremlin's man in Washington, Sergey Kislyak.

In new developments Tuesday, it emerged that President Donald Trump was told on January 26 -- more than two weeks ago -- that the Justice Department had concerns about Flynn's conduct.

Pence did not find out he had been misled until February 9, according to two administration officials.

"It's not that he was being left out. It was a legal review," one source said.

When Pence began his inquiry based on Washington Post reporting, "the timeline moved fast," the source said.


----- 6 -----
GOP staffer falls after scuffle with activists over office door
By Mark Hensch - 02/15/17 01:41 PM EST
The Hill

[I'm linking The Hill as it is the only _not_-overtly-partisan source talking about this. From what I can tell, the fact timeline appears to be: Indivisibles group shows up. They're mostly older women, middle aged and up, but some are younger. (This from photographs.) They've been trying to show up for a while and have been being locked out, so they've been sliding paper under the office door to deliver it. They had one of their kids (a two year old girl) try to slide a Valentine's Day card under the door; Kathleen Staunton, the 71-year-old woman involved, opened the door while she was doing this, causing the two year old to fall and be knocked on the head, and start crying. I do not believe this was intentional. She then tries to close the door again, but one of the women from the group tries to keep it open, then a man from the group grabs the door and yanks it open. At that point, the staffer (71-year-old woman) fell over as a result. I don't believe _that_ was intentional either. There is video of the Indivisible group helping her up and apologising.]

[Video of immediately after the incident is here:
https://thinkprogress.org/congressman-says-constituents-asking-for-a-town-hall-are-enemies-of-democracy-a492ea1e3fa0#.pj426bgc6 ]

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/319682-gop-staffer-knocked-out-amid-protest-report

A 2-year-old girl and a GOP staffer were involved in a scuffle around a door after activists' Tuesday visit to GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s Huntington Beach, Calif. office.

As office visitors affiliated with the the "Indivisible" movement, a loosely connected set of groups opposed to President Trump's agenda, tried to slip Valentine's Day cards under the door, it swung out and hit one of the activists' 2-year-old daughter, according to an Orange County Register report.

A scuffle over opening the door ensued, with 71-year-old district director, Kathleen Staunton, falling over. Rohrabacher's office claims the district director was knocked unconscious and hospitalized, although police did not make any arrests.

...

In a statement, Rohrabacher accused the activists of "political thuggery."

“I am outraged beyond words that protesters who mobbed my Huntington Beach office violently knocked down my faithful district director, Kathleen Staunton, causing her to be hospitalized,” Rohrabacher said in a statement. "And, yes, deliberate or not, the incident came as part of a mob action that not only intimidates but coerces.”

“Thought the protesters think of themselves as idealists, they engaged in political thuggery, pure and simple,” Rohrabacher added. "These people do not want, as they’ve claimed, to hold a town hall meeting with me.”

“These holier-than-thou obstructionists will be held responsible for this outrageous assault. They are exposing themselves for what they are — enemies of American self-government and democracy.”


----- 7 -----
FBI arrests man in Myrtle Beach allegedly planning attack 'in the spirit of Dylann Roof'
By Ian Cross, Digital Content Manager
Thursday, February 16th 2017

http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/34521384/fbi-arrests-man-allegedly-planning-attack-in-the-spirit-of-dylann-roof

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A man with connections to a white supremacy group was arrested in Myrtle Beach Wednesday after purchasing a gun from an undercover FBI agent, apparently intending to commit an attack “in the spirit of Dylann Roof.”

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, from Conway, was arrested at around 5 p.m. Wednesday by the FBI, according to records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

On December 26, 2016, McDowell posted to Facebook a message: “I love love to act what u think,” followed by a link to the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, according to court documents. Horry County Police indicated to the FBI that McDowell had established White Supremacy Extremist connections while serving in prison in South Carolina for various criminal offenses. He also had tattoos indicating an affiliation with these groups. Read more about McDowell's criminal past here.

According to the federal complaint document, on January 5, 2017, McDowell posted to Facebook an anti-semetic screed referencing Dylann Roof, which included the statement: “you want to post if you ain’t got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did you need to shut the f***** up…”

Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in January after being found guilty in the murder of nine African-American parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June of 2015.


----- 8 -----
Washington State Supreme Court: Florist Who Refused to Provide Flowers for Gay Wedding Violated Anti-Discrimination Law
by Heidi Groover • Feb 16, 2017
The Stranger

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/02/16/24876899/washington-state-supreme-court-florist-who-refused-to-provide-flowers-for-a-gay-wedding-violated-anti-discrimination-law

The Washington State Supreme Court dealt bigots a loss today, ruling that the Richland florist who in 2013 refused to do the flowers for a gay wedding violated the state's anti-discrimination law.

Back in 2013, Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, who had been together since 2004 and regularly bought flowers from Arlene's Flowers in Richland, planned to get married. But when they asked the owner of Arlene's, Barronelle Stutzman, to arrange flowers for their wedding, Stutzman refused. She told The Stranger at the time that was "because of my relationship with Jesus."

So, the couple, the Washington State Attorney General, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington took Stutzman to court.

In 2015, a Benton County Superior Court sided with the couple in two cases, one brought by the ACLU and another brought by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Stutzman appealed and the state Supreme Court heard both cases in November.

Today's unanimous ruling upholds those lower court rulings. In court, Stutzman's attorneys argued that arranging flowers amounted to a form of speech. Ferguson, who argued on behalf of the state, said Washington’s anti-discrimination law requires businesses to serve everyone equally.

In siding with Ferguson today, the court writes that Washington's anti-discrimination law "does not compel speech or association" nor does it "violate [Stutzman's] right to religious free exercise under either the First Amendment."


----- 9 -----
Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research.
By Zoltan L. Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi and Lindsay Nielson
The Washington Post | February 15 2017

[Link to paper itself - and abstract - is the next item]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/15/do-voter-identification-laws-suppress-minority-voting-yes-we-did-the-research/

The Justice Department just got a new boss: Jeff Sessions. He is raising alarms in the civil rights community. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is concerned about his “record of hostility” toward the Voting Rights Act and the enforcement of civil rights. The NAACP-Legal Defense Fund lamented that it is “unimaginable that he could be entrusted to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for this nation’s civil rights laws.” No one knows for sure how Sessions will perform as attorney general — the former Republican senator from Alabama did, after all, once vote to renew the Voting Rights Act, in 2006 — but for many his record is deeply troubling.

Voter identification laws have spread rapidly in the past 10 years

What we do know is that voter identification laws are spreading rapidly around the country. Before 2006, no state required photo identification to vote on Election Day. Today 10 states have this requirement. All told, a total of 33 states — representing more than half the nation’s population — have some version of voter identification rules on the books.

As we detail below, our research shows that these laws lower minority turnout and benefit the Republican Party.

...

When we compare overall turnout in states with strict ID laws to turnout in states without these laws, we find no significant difference. That pattern matches with most existing studies. But when we dig deeper and look specifically at racial and ethnic minority turnout, we see a significant drop in minority participation when and where these laws are implemented.

Hispanics are affected the most: Turnout is 7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries in strict ID states than it is in other states. Strict ID laws mean lower African American, Asian American and multiracial American turnout as well. White turnout is largely unaffected.

These laws have a disproportionate effect on minorities, which is exactly what you would expect given that members of racial and ethnic minorities are less apt to have valid photo ID.

In the graph below, we display the turnout gap between whites and Latinos, Asian Americans and African Americans in states with and without strict voter ID laws. In general elections in non-strict states, for instance, the gap between white and Latino turnout is on average 4.9 points.

But in states with strict ID laws, that gap grows to a substantial 13.2 points. The gap between white turnout and Asian American and African American turnout also increases.

The right side of the figure shows that the same thing happens in primary elections — and more dramatically. For example, the white-black turnout gap grows from 2.5 to 11.6 when a state adds strict ID laws. The racial imbalance in U.S. voting expands.

These findings persist even when we take many other factors into account — including partisanship, demographic characteristics, election contexts and other state laws that encourage or discourage participation. Racial gaps persist even when we limit our analysis to Democrats or track shifts in turnout in the first election after strict rules are implemented. Definitively determining that the laws themselves are what lowers turnout is always difficult without an experiment, but however we look at it, strict voter ID laws suppress minority votes.


----- 10 -----
Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes
Zoltan Hajnal, University of California, San Diego
Nazita Lajevardi, University of California, San Diego
Lindsay Nielson. Bucknell University
The Journal of Politics, University of Chicago
Jan 05, 2017

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/688343

The proliferation of increasingly strict voter identification laws around the country has raised concerns about voter suppression. Although there are many reasons to suspect that these laws could harm groups like racial minorities and the poor, existing studies have been limited, with most occurring before states enacted strict identification requirements, and they have uncovered few effects. By using validated voting data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study for several recent elections, we are able to offer a more definitive test. The analysis shows that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of racial and ethnic minorities in primaries and general elections. We also find that voter ID laws skew democracy toward those on the political right.


----- 11 -----
Equal Pay For Women Has Consequences
James C. Green - Wasatch County (Utah) GOP Vice-Chair
The Wave (Utah)
16 February 2017

[Strange occasional Capitalisations as in original; strange ellipses use as in original]

https://twitter.com/MaryEmilyOHara/status/832358266617335808

Editor: Here's the problem with the Equal Pay bill being considered by the Utah legislature... Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families. They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.

If businesses are forced to pay women the same as male earnings, that means they will have to reduce the pay for the men they employ... simple economics. If that happens, then men will have an even more difficult time earning enough to support their families, which will mean more Mothers will be forced to leave the home (where they may prefer to be) to join the workforce to make up the difference.

And as even more women thus enter the workforce that creates more competition for jobs (even men's jobs) and puts further downward pressure on the pay for all jobs... meaning more and more Mothers will be forced into the workplace. And that is bad for families and thus for all of society.

It's a vicious cycle that only gets worse the more equality of pay is forced upon us. It's a situation of well-meaning intentions, but negative unintended consequences.

We could encourage our Legislators to drop the whole notion. Let the marketplace determine what free-market forces should prevail. It is not the role of the government to dictate to businesses what they should pay anyway... either as a Minimum Wage or Equal Pay for men and women.


----- 12 -----
Replay of Trump-Clinton debate, where Trump went right into evil mode against Clinton, after Ms. Clinton started talking about Mr. Trump's Russian ties.

https://twitter.com/mmpadellan/status/831420128604610561


----- 13 -----
Mr. Trump had been fully briefed on General Flynn's talks with Russian ambassador
John Roberts | Fox News
16 February 2017

https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/832396832974131200


----- 14 -----
Influential conservative group: Trump, DeVos should dismantle Education Department and bring God into classrooms
By Emma Brown
February 15, 2017
The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/influential-conservative-group-trump-devos-should-dismantle-education-department-and-bring-god-into-classrooms/2017/02/15/196bf872-f2df-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html

[PDF discussed: http://www.eclectablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ERR-CNP-Site.pdf ]

A policy manifesto from an influential conservative group with ties to the Trump administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urges the dismantling of the Education Department and bringing God into American classrooms.

The five-page document produced by the Council for National Policy calls for a “restoration of education in America” that would minimize the federal role, promote religious schools and home schooling and enshrine “historic Judeo-Christian principles” as a basis for instruction.

Names of the council’s members are closely held. But the Southern Poverty Law Center published a 2014 membership directoryshowing that Stephen K. Bannon — now chief White House strategist for President Trump — was a member and that Kellyanne Conway — now counselor to the president — served on the council’s executive committee.


----- 15 -----
Trump EPA nominee Scott Pruitt ordered to release his fossil fuel emails, as EPA staff revolt
Boing Boing / Xeni Jardin / 6:28 pm Thu Feb 16, 2017

http://boingboing.net/2017/02/16/pruitt.html

A state judge today ordered the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to release thousands of documents, including emails, related to Pruitt’s conversations with energy industry executives. Tomorrow, the United States Senate votes on Pruitt’s nomination to run the Environmental Protection Agency, for the administration of Donald Trump.


----- 16 -----
White House dismisses 6 over failed background checks
By Tara Palmeri | Politico
02/16/17 05:12 PM EST

http://www.politico.com/blogs/donald-trump-administration/2017/02/white-house-failed-background-checks-dismissals-235112

Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Some of the aides were "walked out of the building by security" on Wednesday after not passing the SF86, a Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearance.

Among those who won't be working at the White House was President Donald Trump’s director of scheduling, Caroline Wiles, the daughter of Susan Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign director and former chief of staff to Governor Rick Scott. Wiles, who resigned Friday before the background check was completed, was appointed deputy assistant secretary before the inauguration in January. Two sources close to Wiles said she will get another job in Treasury.

She's among others who failed to pass the intensive background check, which includes questions on the applicant's credit score, substance use and other personal subjects.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.


----- 17 -----
Trump’s Labor nominee oversaw ‘sweetheart plea deal’ in billionaire’s underage sex case
By Josh Gerstein | Politico
02/16/17

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/alexander-acosta-trump-jeffrey-epstein-plea-235096

President Donald Trump's new nominee for secretary of labor, Alexander Acosta, could face a grilling in the Senate over claims that — while he was the top federal prosecutor in Miami — he cut a sweetheart plea deal in 2008 with a billionaire investor accused of having sex with dozens of underage girls.

As the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, Acosta agreed not to file any federal charges against the wealthy financier, Jeffrey Epstein, if he pled guilty to state charges involving soliciting prostitution and soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Epstein ultimately received an 18-month sentence in county jail and served about 13 months — treatment that provoked outrage from alleged victims in the case.

Soon after the deal was cut in 2008, two women filed suit claiming that the decision to forgo federal prosecution violated a federal law — the Crime Victims Rights Act — because they and other teenagers Epstein paid for sex were never adequately consulted about the plea deal or given an opportunity to object to it.

Acosta is not a party in the suit, which names only the federal government as a defendant. In 2015, lawyers for the women demanded Acosta submit to a deposition in the case. The motion was withdrawn last year as settlement talks in the case went forward, but the case remains pending.

"There is good reason to believe that if the prosecutors had exposed their dealings to scrutiny by Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and other victims, they would not have reached such a sweetheart plea deal," the alleged victims' attorneys wrote in a court filing last year.

Acosta acknowledged to the media in 2011 that he came under extreme pressure from Epstein's high-powered defense team, which included legal heavyweights such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr and Florida criminal defense attorney Roy Black.

Acosta said Epstein's defense mounted "a yearlong assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors."

"I use the word assault intentionally, as the defense in this case was more aggressive than any which I, or the prosecutors in my office, had previously encountered," the former U.S. attorney wrote. He said his office stuck to its opening position in the case, but he also acknowledged that the ultimate punishment in the case may have been more lenient than Epstein deserved.

"Some may feel that the prosecution should have been tougher," Acosta wrote in the letter, posted online by The Daily Beast. "Evidence that has come to light since 2007 may encourage that view. Many victims have since spoken out, filing detailed statements in civil cases seeking damages. Physical evidence has since been discovered. Had these additional statements and evidence been known, the outcome may have been different. But they were not known to us at the time."


----- 18 -----
UW's Glenn Hughes Theatre Vandalized with Neo-Nazi Recruitment Posters
by Ana Sofia Knauf • Feb 16, 2017 at 11:17 am
The Stranger

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/02/16/24877015/uws-glenn-hughes-theatre-vandalized-with-neo-nazi-recruitment-posters

During last night's production of As You Like It at the University of Washington's Glenn Hughes Theatre, Tamsen Glaser and fellow students caught a whiff of something that smelled like spray paint backstage. In the midst of the play's first act, the stage manager went outside and found eight Neo-Nazi recruitment posters plastered onto the theatre's front doors. Students were able to tear down the posters, but there's still residue from the spray adhesive all over the doors, said Glaser, who is playing Jaques in the re-imagination of the classic Shakespeare production.

The poster, which appears to have been put up by members of the Atomwaffen Division, reads: "Where will you be when the race war begins? When the world burns? Join your local Nazis congregating near you!"

"It was terrifying because all the leads are people of color...and a wide [number] of our audience are people of color," she said. "We have people playing LGBTQ characters and that's a huge portion of our audience as well. It didn't seem arbitrary."

Glaser said she hadn't seen the posters in-person before, but knows that they have been popping up all over the UW campus for months. In mid-January, UW Political Science Associate Professor Jack Turner was harassed online and over the phone after he published a Facebook post about how students in his class tore down Neo-Nazi recruitment posters outside of Raitt Hall.


----- 19 -----
Jared Kushner complains to Time Warner about CNN’s Trump coverage
By Keach Hagey and Damian Paletta
Marketwatch
Published: Feb 16, 2017 10:26 p.m. ET

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jared-kushner-complains-to-time-warner-about-cnns-trump-coverage-2017-02-16

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, met with a senior Time Warner Inc. executive in recent weeks and expressed the administration’s deep concerns about CNN’s news coverage, according to a White House official and other people familiar with the matter.

...

But the anti-CNN push isn’t just a public display meant to rally Trump’s supporters. Behind the scenes, Kushner, the real-estate scion who until recently owned the New York Observer newspaper, has been pushing the issue with Time Warner executives including CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. “Our journalism has never been stronger as we continue to hold the administration’s feet to the fire. Those are the facts,” said a CNN spokeswoman.


----- 20 -----
Mike Pence's redacted emails could head to Indiana Supreme Court
Fatima Hussein, Indianapolis Star
Published 9:48 a.m. ET Feb. 7, 2017

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/07/mike-pences-redacted-emails-could-head-indiana-supreme-court/97570462/

An area labor attorney has petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to take up his case against Vice President Mike Pence in hopes that the court will reveal the contents of a political white paper the former governor has fought to keep secret for nearly three years.

If successful, the communications could reveal a slew of Republican political strategies that Pence and dozens of other U.S. governors devised against former President Barack Obama and an executive order issued on immigration during his time as president.

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