In the News

News and Headlines. 9/21/2018

News and Headlines. In The New, Tech Watch(FaceBook,Google,Twitter), World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Trump touts economy ahead of midterms but is the message getting through?

Four percent growth, unemployment at a 40-year low, trillion-dollar tax cuts and a big boost in federal spending that helped U.S. stocks reach record highs on the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P.

Two years after being elected, President Trump has steered the U.S. economy from predicted peril to financial success.


It’s unquestionably good news for Republicans fighting to hold on to the House and Senate in November.

In any other election year, the successful economy should be more than enough to give Trump voters and the GOP a fighting chance going into the midterms, traditionally a time where the party who holds the White House suffers heavy defeats.

But this isn’t a typical election cycle and for midterm voters – this time it’s not the economy stupid.

Tax cuts were just ‘the cherry on top’ for earnings growth in the second quarter

Corporate earnings were strong in the second quarter. Had to be the tax cuts, right?

They helped, but actually, the tax cuts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act were just the “cherry on top,” according to an analysis done by the Leuthold Group, a Minneapolis research and investment management firm.

That law cut the headline corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, though the actual rate paid differs by company and sector.

Leuthold broke down growth in S&P 500 SPX, +0.06% earnings per share outside of financials and real estate.

This chart shows the haves and have-nots of the housing market, and it’s getting worse

More than a decade after the housing crisis, homeowners have been made whole — and then some. But the amount of mortgage debt that Americans owe still hasn’t returned to its previous, precrisis high. Those two numbers together say a lot — not all of it happy — about the state of our national housing market.MW-GQ493_mortga_20180921112219_MG

There are lots of reasons why home equity is up. Home prices have spent the past several years roaring higher, even if that pace of growth has recently started to moderate.

Home equity is also more concentrated. Americans are staying in their homes longer, in large part because the housing market has made it so challenging to move around. That means that they’re paying down more of their principal, if they have a mortgage.

It’s great that people who own homes have, for the most part, done well. (It’s important to remember that not everyone has: over a million are still underwater, and far more are barely above.)

Slain Massachusetts cop’s widow confronts husband’s accused killer with emotional outburst

The widow of a Massachusetts cop lashed out at the man accused of killing her husband in an emotional and vulgar outburst following a court hearing on Thursday.

Emanuel Lopes, 21, pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, “including two counts each of murder” in connection with the slayings of Weymouth Police Officer Michael Chesna, 42, and Vera Adams, 77, on July 15, the Boston Herald reported.Opera

The officer’s widow, Cynthia Chesna, yelled at Lopes as he was led out of the courtroom.

Woman stabs 5 – including newborns – at New York nursery

A woman stabbed five people — including three newborn babies — and then slashed her wrist early Friday inside a New York City home that was apparently being used as an unlicensed neighborhood nursery for new mothers and their children, authorities said.

All of the victims in the attack, which happened before 4 a.m., were hospitalized but expected to survive.

The 52-year-old suspect — an employee at the nursery — was taken into police custody and was being treated for her wounds and undergoing a psychiatric examination, authorities said.

DNA and genetic genealogy used to ID suspect in “NorCal Rapist” case

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento police have made an arrest in the case of a serial rapist who terrorized Northern California for 15 years, authorities announced Friday.

Investigators used genetic genealogy, an emerging and controversial DNA technique in law enforcement, to identify the suspect as 58-year-old Roy Charles Waller.Opera

Waller, who is married and lives in Benicia, was arrested Thursday on his way to work at the University of California, Berkeley, campus, police said.

In a statement released to CBS Sacramento, the university said Waller has worked as a safety specialist for their environment, health and safety office since 1992. No assaults are believed to have occurred on campus, but the university said it is reviewing unsolved sexual assault cases.

Delta passenger removed from plane for head-butting flight attendant

A “violent” and “unruly” passenger forced a Delta flight to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City Friday morning.

A Delta passenger was taken to jail

A Delta passenger was taken to jail after head-butting a fight attendant and yelling at another one. (Oklahoma County Jail)

Prior to the incident, crew members told police Maas appeared intoxicated, but didn’t seem dangerous. During the flight, the passenger then ordered two alcoholic beverages.

When he tried to order another one, the flight attendant refused. The situation quickly escalated and Maas became verbally abusive toward one crew member and head-butted another one, according to KOCO 5.


A retired police detective allegedly ran a prostitution ring in New York City for nearly 18 years before he was caught, marking one of the most marked corruption NYPD scandals in recent history.

Authorities say they discovered 51-year-old Ludwig Paz, a former police detective who retired in 2010, successfully ran at least seven brothels in New York City for years without discovery.

Paz previously had a clean record and did not entertain engaging in any criminal activity until he began suffering significant financial difficulties in 2008, The New York Times reported Friday.

In 2008, Paz had more than $690,000 in debt, and earned only $120,000 on his police salary, according to The NYT.

New Jersey governor calls on sheriff to resign after ‘appalling’ racially charged remarks captured on tape

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called on a sheriff to resign Thursday after he was caught on tape making racially charged remarks about African Americans and the state’s first Sikh attorney general.


New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, center, called on Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, right, to resign following his comments about African Americans and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, left.

WNYC radio obtained the tape from a person who was present during Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino’s conversation with colleagues. The statements were recorded on the day of Murphy’s inauguration in January.

Saudino was heard on the tape saying New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was appointed because of “the turban.” Grewal is the first Sikh to serve as a state attorney general in U.S. history.

Saudino was also heard slamming alleged policies that would allow African Americans to “come in, do whatever the f— they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that.”

Saudino apologized for his remarks on Thursday night but did not say he would step down.

Report: Rosenstein Considered Secretly Recording Trump to Bolster Impeachment Case

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed the possibility of secretly recording President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to impeach him in the days following the firing of former FBI director James Comey, the New York Times reported Friday.

Just two weeks into his tenure as deputy attorney general, Rosenstein reportedly began to regret his role in crafting a memo that cast Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as incompetent and was ultimately used to justify his firing.

In conversations with Department of Justice and FBI officials, Rosenstein reportedly considered wearing a wire himself to document chaos in the White House. He also suggested that candidates interviewing for the open FBI director position might secretly record the president, presumably in an effort to document a loyalty test like the one the president is said to have posed to Comey.

Around the same time, Rosenstein reportedly discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would declare the president unfit for office and prompt impeachment proceedings. Rosenstein also suggested that he could likely convince Chief of Staff John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to support the impeachment effort.

Georgetown pro-choice group offers free morning-after pill at oldest Catholic college

A non-recognized pro-choice student group is providing “Plan B” free of charge to students at Georgetown University because the emergency contraception is not available on campus.

The group made the announcement Monday in a Facebook video, with their president, Angela Maske saying: “If they won’t meet our needs, we’ll build our own systems and meet them ourselves.”

“H*yas for Choice has been providing condoms, lube, dental dams, and other safer sex supplies on Georgetown’s campus for decades,” HFC communications director, Elianna Schiffrik, said in the clip. “But because of Georgetown’s ban on selling any form of contraception on campus, up until now, the closest place you could buy EC was nearly a mile’s walk away where it can cost between $30 and $60.”

California’s DMV finds 3,000 more unintended voter registrations

Officials at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said Wednesday that an additional 3,000 people were mistakenly signed up to vote during the rollout of the state’s new “motor voter” program, errors made during the spring and summer and part of a larger batch of problems first reported two weeks ago.

Voter registration forms in different languages

Voter registration forms in different languages at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana on May 5, 2016. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

While the total number of registration errors between mid-April and early August remains the same — estimated at roughly 23,000 — the new discovery more than doubles the instances in which customers unsuccessfully tried to opt out of registering to vote, the DMV said.

Rural Texas town council approves Muslim cemetery plan

DALLAS – A rural Texas town council has approved plans for a Muslim cemetery, three years after the project was met with derision and claims it could be a precursor to a mosque or an extremist training center.

The Farmersville City Council on Thursday authorized the Islamic Association of Collin County’s plans.

City spokesman Mike Sullivan said Friday that the association must still submit a final design for the cemetery to be created on 35 acres (14 hectares) just outside the city, 40 miles (65 kilometers) northeast of Dallas.

Sullivan says the Farmersville council’s approval halts a potential discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Disney CEO Bob Iger says ESPN has become too political: ‘The pendulum may have swung a little bit too far’

When asked by The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview published Thursday how the sports network has changed over the past year, Iger said that the network is working on reeling in its politics and focusing on sports.

“There’s been a big debate about whether ESPN should be focused more on what happens on the field of sport than what happens in terms of where sports is societally or politically,” Iger said.

Iger then explained that its new president, Jimmy Pitaro, who replaced longtime executive John Skipper in March, is working towards refocusing the network. Skipper shocked the media industry by leaving ESPN last year when a drug dealer attempted to extort him by using his cocaine habit against him. Prior to his sudden exit, Skipper was reguarly accused of making ESPN a left-leaning network.

Watch Live: 6 Women Speak Out in Support of Kavanaugh at ‘#IStandWithBrett’ Conference

A group of six women who have known Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh personally or professionally dating back to his school days will speak at an “#IStandWithBrett” press conference at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, DC, Friday.

The conference is held as Kavanaugh faces a sexual assault allegation never publicly revealed in the 35 or more years since the attack allegedly occurred. Accuser Christine Blasey Ford claims a 17-year-old Kavanaugh and another teenager forced her into a room and groped her in or around 1982 at a high school party.

Keith Ellison accused by former girlfriend of emotional, physical abuse: What to know

While senators grapple over what to do with the sexual assault accusation levied against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a Minnesota political activist is continuing to allege Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., was physically and emotionally abusive when they dated.


Karen Monahan, a Sierra Club activist, accused Ellison of abuse in August after her son publicly posted the allegations on social media. She said Ellison dragged her off a bed while shouting profanities at her and sent multiple abusive text messages.

“You know you did that to me,” Monahan said.

Ellison, the Democratic nominee for attorney general in Minnesota, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

North Carolina boy asks President Trump for a hug

New Bern, North Carolina boy who hugged President Trump was lending a helping hand to Florence victims joins ‘Fox & Friends.’

Tech Watch:

Congressmen question Google over kids’ privacy on YouTube

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two members of Congress are calling on Google to address concerns that YouTube might violate children’s privacy.

Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a Nebraska Republican, sent a letter this week to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking for more details about how the service collects data.

Their letter comes months after privacy advocates filed a complaint about YouTube with the Federal Trade Commission. The April complaint alleged that YouTube violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, which bans kid-oriented websites from collecting personal information from children under 13 without their parents’ consent.

Fox News Vidoe: New evidence of political bias at Google?

Internal Google emails reveal employees discussing manipulating search results after Trump’s travel ban; insight from Peter Schweizer, producer of ‘The Creepy Line.’

Google tells lawmakers it allows other apps access to your Gmail

Even though Google has ceased the practice of scanning user’s Gmail accounts to serve ads, the search giant admitted in a letter to lawmakers that — with user consent — it still allows third-party apps access to your

Google’s letter will likely set the tone for what lawmakers will discuss at a congressional hearing scheduled for September 26 on digital privacy with technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter.

Google defended its policy in the letter, stating that it makes its privacy policy easily accessible to users to review before granting access to third-party developers, and that developers may also share the data gleaned from emails obtained from Gmail users with other service providers.

Facebook stops sending staff to help political campaigns

The social network used to offer dedicated staff to political campaigns to help them develop their online advertising campaigns.

Donald Trump’s digital director for the 2016 presidential election has said Facebook’s assistance helped him win.

Facebook said rival Hillary Clinton was offered the same support, but declined.

The social network is the second largest online advertising broker, behind Google.

Google and Twitter also offer specialised advice to political campaigns. They have not indicated that they will end the practice.

Twitter notifies users about API bug that shared DMs with wrong devs

Twitter has started notifying users today about an API bug that accidentally shared direct messages (private messages) or protected tweets from a user’s account with Twitter app developers.

According to a support page published today, Twitter said the bug was found in the Account Activity API (AAAPI), a system that allows Twitter business accounts to grant access to an account’s data to multiple developers at the same time.

Because of the bug, when regular Twitter users contacted Twitter business accounts that used the AAAPI, the bug send DMs and protected tweets to the wrong developers instead of the authorized ones.

Sessions urged not to go after social media companies by technology activists

A group of technology activists and think tanks is urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to go after social media companies.

Companies such as Facebook and Twitter are firmly in the spotlight at the moment amid allegations of anti-conservative bias.

The Justice Department recently confirmed that Sessions has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general to discuss “a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”

World News:

Brazil arrests man linked to Hezbollah on crimes in Paraguay

Brazilian police on Friday arrested a fugitive whom U.S. authorities have accused of serving as Hezbollah’s financier and who has repeatedly been accused of illegal activity in a lawless border area where three South American nations meet.

Police took Assad Ahmad Barakat into custody in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguacu, which is home to the famous Iguazu Falls and sits where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay converge.

Assad Ahmad Barakat,

FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2003 file photo, Lebanese citizen Assad Ahmad Barakat, who was then facing tax evasion charges, is escorted by police to a courthouse in Asuncion, Paraguay.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, File)

The Tri-Border Area, as it is known, has long been a haven for smugglers, traffickers and counterfeiters, and U.S. authorities and others have alleged it is also a redoubt for terrorism support and financing.


Negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union broke down into bitter recriminations Friday, with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May accusing EU leaders of making a “mockery” of the process after they shredded her Brexit plan.

In a combative speech at 10 Downing Street, May said the two sides “remain a long way apart” on two major sticking points — the Irish border and the integrity of the common market.

“The EU has proposed the U.K. stays in the [European Economic Area] and customs union,” May said, according to the BBC. “In plain English this would mean we would still have to abide by all EU rules … that would make a mockery of the referendum we had two years ago.”

Brussels’ demand to revive customs barriers between EU member Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland is also a nonstarter, May asserted.


Brexit Morons

Tucker: What the left will to do to maintain control

It’s unlikely we’ll ever know conclusively what happened between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford 36 years ago, if anything. But it’s crystal clear what’s happening now.