The Wires

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (September 22): In March the Department of Justice described criminal cases involving nearly $700 million lost [to fraud] in the previous year by about two million people. The ones hit hardest by this kind of fraud are over 70, and they experience an average loss of $41,800, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports.... Some of the newer tactics for defrauding older people focus on Social Security, grandparenting and employment searches." ~~~

~~~ Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I have received a number of calls recently warning me I was about to lose my Social Security card, an eventuality that is highly unlikely. I have always just hung up on these automated calls, but yesterday, I decided to bite. When the "real person" came on the phone, he identified himself as a Social Security officer, certainly breaking the law right there. "Really?" I said. "How are you going to prove you're a federal government official and not a scammer?" He immediately hung up. Maybe this gang of crooks will stop calling me (tho probably not).

New York Times: "Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have both won this year’s Booker Prize, it was announced at a ceremony on Monday, after the judges for the literary award rebelled against its rules. 'We were told quite firmly that the rules state you can only have one winner,' Peter Florence, the chairman of the Booker judges, said at a news conference. But the 'consensus was to flout the rules and divide this year’s prize to celebrate two winners.' Evaristo, who won for her novel 'Girl, Woman, Other,' is the first black woman to win the Booker Prize. 'I hope that honor doesn’t last too long,' she said in her acceptance speech. Atwood, who won in 2000 for 'The Blind Assassin,' was considered a front-runner this year for 'The Testaments,' the sequel to her 1985 dystopian classic, 'The Handmaid’s Tale.'”

We are amused:

The Hollywood Reporter has a list of this year's Emmy Award winners.

The End of the Amtrak Dining Car. Washington Post: "Amtrak says it is reinventing its dining service on long-distance trains, killing the traditional dining car to create more 'flexible' and 'contemporary' dining options. The carrier says the change, starting this fall on the one-night routes east of the Mississippi River, is driven by the desire to save money and lure a younger generation of new riders — chiefly, millennials known to be always on the run, glued to their phones and not particularly keen on breaking bread with strangers at a communal table. With the transition, Amtrak is doing away with the traditional onboard kitchen, switching to serving prepackaged meals and easing restrictions on the traditional serving times. The change allows the railroad to cut costs associated with cooking aboard and keeping up with the white-tablecloth service that was once known to rival high-end restaurants and clubs." ~~~

     ~~~ Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I realize many of you are too young to have experienced this, but once upon a time, traveling by train & plane was glamorous. People dressed up to travel, and those who had train roomettes dressed for dinner. My then-husband & I once had a roomette when we traveled from Juarez to Mexico City, & the experience was absolutely fabulous; so was the cuisine in the dining car. Now, it's sensible to dress in the most comfy clothes in anticipation of getting squished into a teeny "economy class" airline seat. The photos accompanying the WashPo story show people wearing casual dress in the white-tablecloth dining room, & the men are too gauche to remove their billed caps. P.S. to American tourists: nobody more messes up a photo of an historic site than a bunch of yahoo sightseers ambling around in their sloppy travel outfits. Then:

CNN: "The US Navy has finally acknowledged footage purported to show UFOs hurtling through the air. And while officials said they don't know what the objects are, they're not indulging any hints either. The objects seen in three clips of declassified military footage are "unidentified aerial phenomena," Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher confirmed to CNN.The clips, released between December 2017 and March 2018 by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, appear to show fast-moving, oblong objects captured by advanced infrared sensors.In footage from 2004, sensors lock on a target as it flies before it accelerates out of the left side of the frame, too quickly for the sensors to relocate it. Two of the videos, both from 2015, contain audio from US fighter pilots attempting to make sense of what they're seeing."

New York Times: "A solid 18-karat gold toilet, titled 'America' by its creator, Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen early Saturday [September 14] from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace and family home of Winston Churchill.... The artwork is based on a common Kohler toilet and was created by a foundry in Florence. The work’s value was not disclosed, but [Guggenheim artistic director Nancy] Spector described it as 'millions of dollars’ worth of gold.'... The police said in a statement that they were investigating the burglary and that a 66-year-old man had been arrested but not charged. The toilet has not been recovered. Jess Milne, a detective inspector, noted that the toilet had been plumbed to the building, so the theft 'caused significant damage and flooding.' He said the police believed a 'group of offenders' using at least two vehicles was behind the theft." the Hill's story is here.

Modern Art. CNN: "Hillary Clinton's emails ... have become art -- and the former secretary of state herself went to take a look.The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee looked through printed copies of her emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office's Resolute Desk during a visit Tuesday to an art exhibit in Venice, Italy, titled 'HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails,' according to the exhibit's creator and curators. 'Hillary Clinton spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice,' American poet and artist Kenneth Goldsmith tweeted Wednesday. 'She is pictured here at a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk, stacked with her emails.' Francesco Urbano Ragazzi -- the collective name for two men who are working as the exhibit's curatorial team -- told CNN that Clinton came in for a private tour of the exhibit Tuesday morning."

... Related Washington Post story here.

     ... Thanks to NJC for the lead.

Saturday
Aug102019

The Commentariat -- August 11, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Hollie Silverman & Steve Almasy of CNN: "At least eight Walmart locations have received threats over the past week after deadly shootings at two stores in recent weeks, law enforcement agencies said." The story lists the locations & circumstances of the threats.

Katie Benner, et al., of the New York Times: "Jeffrey Epstein ... was supposed to have been checked by guards every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not being followed the night before he was found, a law-enforcement official with knowledge of his detention said. In addition, the jail had transferred his cellmate and allowed Mr. Epstein to be housed alone in a cell just two weeks after he had been taken off suicide watch, a decision that also violated the jail's normal procedure, two officials said.... A person with knowledge of the investigation said that when the decision was made to remove Mr. Epstein from suicide watch, the jail informed the Justice Department that Mr Epstein would have a cellmate and that a guard 'would look into his cell' every 30 minutes. But that was apparently not done, the person said." The Hill has a summary of the NYT report here.

Justin Wise of the Hill: "CNN host Jake Tapper opened his show on Sunday by calling out President Trump for promoting a 'deranged' and 'insane' conspiracy theory about the death of disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who died by an apparent suicide over the weekend.... White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday downplayed Trump's promotion of the conspiracy theory, saying on "Fox News Sunday" that the president 'just wants everything investigated.'" ...

... On Fox "News" Conway hinted she had some "secret information" to back up the Clinton conspiracy theory. "There is some unsealed information implicating some people very high up.... I'm not saying anything beyond that." Of course, while fingering Bill Clinton, Conway exonerated Trump: "Trying to connect the president to this monster from years ago, where they're seen dancing in a video versus other people who were actively, I suppose, flying around with this monster on his island ... perhaps there's a public interest in knowing more about that."

America 2019. Scottie Andrews & Brian Ries of CNN: "With every mass shooting in the United States comes renewed fear of another.... Instead of letting their children choose a plastic backpack covered in Hello Kitty or Spider-Man, some parents are purchasing bags that double as shields in case kids get caught in gunfire. Companies like Guard Dog Security, Bullet Blocker and TuffyPacks designed bulletproof backpacks to quell those concerns. The retailers said backpack sales spike during the back-to-school season, and all three said they they saw a significant uptick in the aftermath of mass shootings." --s

~~~~~~~~~~

Everything We Think We Know about Jeffrey Epstein's Death

I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI's investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death. -- William Barr, full statement, Saturday ...

... James McKinley & Ali Watkins of the New York Times: "Like all federal prisons, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan has a suicide prevention program designed for inmates who are at risk of taking their own lives. After an apparent attempt three weeks ago, Jeffrey Epstein -- the financier who was at the facility awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls -- was a prime candidate.Yet Mr. Epstein, 66, was not on suicide watch when he hanged himself and his body was found in his cell early on Saturday, raising questions about the steps officials took after the first incident to keep him from harming himself. Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement that he had asked the inspector general for the Justice Department to open an investigation' into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death.'... One federal prison official with knowledge of the incident said Mr. Epstein had been taken off suicide watch a few days ago, and was being held alone in a cell in a special housing unit." (Also linked yesterday.) The story has been updated, with Watkins the sole reporter on the byline. ...

     ... A related NBC News story is here. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... This Is Unbelievable. Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "... Lynne Patton, regional administrator at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, had [an] idea of what happened [to Epstein]. 'Hillary'd!!' she posted on Instagram around 10 a.m., alongside a screenshot of a Daily Mail story that described Epstein's manner of death. She added the hashtag, '#VinceFosterPartTwo,' a reference to the former Clinton aide whose death by suicide has fueled conspiracy theories for more than two decades. Patton, one of the highest-ranking officials at HUD, was not alone in seizing on conspiracy theories. Within hours of Epstein's death, 'Clintons' and 'ClintonBodyCount' were among the highest-trending topics on Twitter." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Patton, you may recall, previously worked for what I'm sure is a wonderful organization: the Eric Trump Foundation. She also was Eric's party planner & reportedly suffered from substance abuse & addition while working for him. Although she had no housing experience whatsoever, Trump appointed her to a HUD job, which she so badly flubbed that Ole Doc Carson promoted her to head up HUD's Region 2. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) used her as a prop during Michael Cohen's public House hearing as living proof that Trump can't possibly be a racist. Ole Doc should fire her right now. ...

... ** Update. Patton's Job Is Safe. Rachel Frazin of the Hill: "President Trump on Saturday retweeted a post promoting a conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein's death. The tweet, by Twitter user Terrence K. Williams, blamed the death on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton and does not provide evidence.... Conspiracy theories linking the death to both the Clinton and Trump himself trended Saturday on Twitter. Bill Clinton's spokesman Angel Ureña responded by writing 'Ridiculous, and of course not true -- and Donald Trump knows it. Has he triggered the 25th Amendment yet?'" Mrs. McC: Seriously, Trump's retweet looks like an Article of Impeachment to me. Of all of the stupid tweets this monster has written, this has to be the worst. It's shocking. President Clinton is right; Trump is in 25th-Amendment territory. ... "Does not provide evidence"? Ha ha. Here's a better lede by ...

     ... Christian Vasquez of Politico: "In his first public response to the death of financier and accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein..., Donald Trump retweeted baseless conspiracy theories around his death and a news alert citing former President Bill Clinton's previous involvement with Epstein. Trump first retweeted a post from @BreakingNLive, 'Documents were unsealed yesterday revealing that top Democrats, including Bill Clinton, took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein's 'pedophilia island.' Trump then retweeted a conspiracy theory from comedian Terrence K. Williams around Epstein's death that used some of the day's top trending hashtags on Twitter, such as #EpsteinSuicide, #ClintonBodyCount, #JefferyEpstein, and #TrumpBodyCount. 'Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he's dead. I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you're not Surprised#EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily,' Williams wrote." ...

     ... Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast: White House staff is taking Trump's conspiracy theory-mongering in stride. "One White House official said that as soon as Clinton conspiracy theories began bubbling up online about Epstein's passing, this official and other senior aides to Donald Trump immediately assumed that the president, an avid, longtime conspiracy theorist, would very soon tweet or say something about it. The aides, this official noted, began casually discussing and joking about what to do if Trump started going hard at the Clinton body-count conspiracy-theory-mongering. The general consensus among the president's advisers is there is nothing they can do except wait for him to move on to something else, and hope he doesn't make this a big thing." Mrs. McC: That's right. The boss is insane. Get used to it. ...

     ... Jane Timm & Liz Johnstone of NBC News: "... the tweets also notably cast suspicions on [Trump's] own Justice Department. In the video [Trump retweeted], Williams alleged that for Epstein to die by suicide, 'somebody not doing their job, or somebody got paid not to do -- not to do their job, so somebody can get knocked off, so information don't come out.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So if the Clintons really did murder Epstein, they foiled the Trump administration's prison system. Bill & Hillary know the White House a lot better than they know the Metro Correctional Center. Trump should fear for his life. If he's discovered in the residence hanged by a golden curtain tie-back, look to Hillary. It won't have been suicide; as Michael Moore pointed out on Twitter, "Here's what I know about the uber-rich: They never drive themselves, they've never done a load of laundry, and they have no friggin' clue how to tie a knot in a noose."

... this presidency shames and disgraces the office every minute of every hour of every day. And even when it ends, however it ends, the shame will stain it still. -- David Frum of the Atlantic, responding to Trump's accusation against the Clintons

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Maybe now that Trump has expressed his insane beliefs, Bill Barr will have to characterize whatever the DOJ's findings are as "not conclusively proving that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were directly responsible for Mr. Epstein's death." ...

     ... Dylan Matthews of Vox: "To understand what's going on here, you ... need to understand the role that allegations of murder by the Clintons have played in right-wing fever swamps since the 1990s, beginning with the suicide of Vince Foster and continuing through to the completely random 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.... What makes the conspiracy theories so frustrating, in part, is that they're premised on real elements: credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton's real ties to Jeffrey Epstein, and Epstein's own well-documented sex crimes. It doesn't take incredibly inventive conspiracy theorizing to move from that to allegations that Clinton was part of Epstein's sex abuse and from there to wild [and false] accusations that Clinton had Epstein killed." Thanks to Ken W. for the link. ...

... John Harris, in Politico's top story Saturday night, reports on conspiracy theories left and right. "... the Epstein matter is now thoroughly political because many influential people are unable to take the details at face value.... It was immediately clear that many people would not regard an inquiry overseen by Barr as credible. His handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the president and Russian election interference left many people, including most congressional Democrats, convinced he see his role not as defending rule of law, or the executive branch broadly, but ... Donald Trump's personal interests." Harris points to skepticism expressed by Neera Tanden & Lawrence Tribe. Tribe "demanded that Barr recuse himself from 'overseeing an inquiry that cuts this close to the bone.'" ...

... Matt Stieb & Chas Danner of New York have a round-up of Epstein conspiracy theories & who's floating them. ...

... Charles Pierce: "Absolutely nobody is going to believe any official story that comes out about this.... A whole bunch of Somebodies need to get fired behind this. Beyond it, of course, a thousand conspiracy theories will now bloom across all the Intertoobz.... This country is losing what's left of its mind." ...

People close to Epstein fear he was murdered...as Epstein told authorities someone tried to kill him in a previous incident weeks earlier. He was described as being in good spirits in recent days... -- Carol Leonnig of the Washington post, in a tweet ...

... Megan Garber of the Atlantic: "The most urgent question ... is ... what will Epstein's death mean for the reckoning sought by the women who have accused him of abuse? Will the alleged victims -- alleged being the correct word, but also, under the circumstances, a callous word -- find justice, despite it all? 'Obviously, criminal charges can't be lodged against a dead person,' Paul Callan, a legal analyst for CNN, put it on the network this morning. 'The question is ... can civil cases for money damages be brought by other and new victims? And the answer to that is yes ... So his suicide will not end coverage and interest in the Jeffrey Epstein case.'... Justice can also take the form of investigation: Journalists, following the lead of the Miami Herald's standard-bearer, Julie K. Brown, can keep pursuing the story.... And justice can take the form, too, of governmental inquiries. It can be found through hearings as to why Epstein was not under suicide watch at the time of his death. It can be found through investigations into how, precisely -- for so many years -- Epstein was able to evade full accountability for his reported predations." ...

Matt Stieb of New York "spoke with former U.S. Attorney ... Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here."


Simon Denyer & David Nakamura
of the Washington Post: "President Trump on Saturday appeared to side with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in renewing his objections to joint military exercises with South Korea, calling such drills 'ridiculous and expensive' at a time when Pyongyang has been testing short-range missiles. In a pair of morning tweets from his resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he arrived late Friday for a 10-day vacation, Trump said Kim objected to the exercises in a letter and suggested that the missile tests would end once the drills are finished. 'It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises,' Trump wrote, asserting that the letter amounted to 'a small apology for testing the short range missiles.' Trump also said Kim suggested that negotiations over its nuclear weapons program, which have been dormant since a second summit in Hanoi broke off without an agreement in February, could resume after the joint exercises conclude." A story by Riley Beggin of Vox is here.

Trump Rattles Sabre. David Jackson of USA Today: "... Donald Trump threatened undefined retaliation Friday against countries and organizations that issue travel warnings on the United States because of gun violence. 'If they did that, we'd just reciprocate,' Trump said during a wide-ranging impromptu gaggle with reporters at the White House, en route to fundraisers in New York. He added: 'We are a very reciprocal nation with me as the head. When somebody does something negative to us in terms of a country, we do it to them.' Amnesty International and a growing list of countries have begun issuing warnings about travel to the United States because of gun violence, including mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio." (Also linked yesterday.)

Kevin Sieff of the Washington Post: "Since [Trump's] 'Remain in Mexico' began in February, Human Rights First, an advocacy organization, has catalogued 110 'cases of rape, kidnapping, sexual exploitation, assault, and other violent crimes' against asylum seekers sent back to Mexico under the program, according to a report released Thursday. Since the policy was expanded from the Mexican states of Baja California and Chihuahua to the more dangerous state of Tamaulipas last month, several asylum seekers have been kidnapped in broad daylight, often from public places.... The U.S. State Department this year gave Tamaulipas its most severe travel warning -- Level Four: Do Not Travel — placing it at the same level as Syria and Afghanistan." Mrs. McC: That is, one administrative department -- State -- labeled Tamaulipas extremely dangerous, and another -- DHS -- moved amnesty-seekers there. The Trump administration knowingly & purposely put innocent amnesty-seekers in extreme danger. The administration is as criminal as the kidnappers & rapists.

Scott Bronstein, et al., of CNN: "The Environmental Protection Agency told staff scientists that it was no longer opposing a controversial Alaska mining project that could devastate one of the world's most valuable wild salmon fisheries just one day after President Trump met with Alaska's governor, CNN has learned. The EPA publicly announced the reversal July 30, but EPA staff sources tell CNN that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, during a hastily arranged video conference after Trump's meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor, a supporter of the project, emerged from that meeting saying the president assured him that he's 'doing everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns.' The news came as a 'total shock' to some top EPA scientists who were planning to oppose the project on environmental grounds, according to sources. Those sources asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution." Mrs. McC: On the other hand, who needs wild salmon? Speaking of bottom-feeders (Trump, Dunleavy), I hear catfish is delicious & healthful, especially when deep-fried in lard.

Presidential Race 2020

Daniel Politi of Slate: Joe Biden "told reporters in Iowa on Saturday that 'those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president.' But when they went to Capitol Hill, Biden said, lawmakers were 'basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.' The problem with this tale? The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead took place in 2018, more than a year after Biden left the White House. It looks like Biden repeated the gaffe twice. There is video of Biden telling the same story but with slightly different words at a forum on gun violence.... Although there was some basis in truth for what Biden said, considering he did meet with Parkland students in Washington shortly after the shooting, this was the latest in a string of gaffes that some say could end up dooming his prospects as a presidential candidate."

Gregory Krieg of CNN: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren has unveiled a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence by enacting a suite of new restrictions on buyers, cracking down on sellers and breaking 'the (National Rifle Association's) stranglehold on Congress' with anti-corruption legislation. The proposal arrives as more than 15 Democratic primary candidates prepare to take turns speaking at a gun safety forum in Des Moines, Iowa, and a week after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio." ...

... Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "Like many of her Democratic rivals, Warren supports an assault weapons ban and universal background checks before gun purchases, but her plan also would hike taxes on gun manufacturers, establish a federal licensing system for gun owners, set a uniform, one-week waiting period for purchases, bar anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning guns, and support urban-intervention programs. Warren's most ambitious ideas, such as raising tax rates by 30 percent on guns and 50 percent on ammunition, would require congressional approval, but other solutions detailed in her plan would not. She proposes signing executive orders to raise the minimum age for gun purchasers to 18, crack down on gun trafficking across state lines, and reverse Trump administration rules that have allowed weapons to be modified in ways that evade legal restrictions." ...

... Warren summarized her proposal on Medium. The page took forever to load this morning.

Natasha Korecki & David Siders of Politico: "On Friday, the same crowd of 2020 Democrats that ripped each other apart on the national debate stage in Detroit transformed into a paragon of 'Iowa nice' at the Wing Ding -- making their best pitches to potential Iowa caucus-goers without eviscerating each other. Instead, the 22 candidates unloaded on ... Donald Trump in a parade of speeches that framed the fight for the White House as a battle against hate and bigotry. Invoking last weekend's mass shootings, they joined in calling for stronger gun laws. And they called for different approach to immigration. The event came as the primary season in the first-in-the-nation voting state kicked into high gear with start of the annual state fair. The enthusiasm of voters was palpable: thousands packed into the historic venue, which at times grew so loud that speakers had to yell to be heard."


Second-Amendment Enthusiasts Are Not Necessarily Very Bright. Madeline Holcombe & Chris Boyette
of CNN: "A man accused of walking into a Walmart in Missouri equipped with body armor, a handgun and a rifle less than a week after a gunman killed 22 people in a Texas Walmart said it was a 'social experiment' and not intended to cause panic, police say. 'I wanted to know if that Walmart honored the Second Amendment,' Dmitriy Andreychenko told investigators, according to a probable cause statement filed by Springfield police. Andreychenko 20, was arrested Thursday after panic ensued when he walked into the store that afternoon with his rifle slung across his chest, pushing a shopping cart and recording himself with a cell phone, police say. Patrons fled the store, police were called, and an off-duty firefighter detained Andreychenko until officers arrived to take him into custody, police said. He told investigators he intended to buy grocery bags, and didn't intend for any negative reaction, police said. And he claimed the recording was in case anyone stopped him and asked him to leave, police said.... The rifle he carried had a loaded magazine, but a round was not chambered; and the handgun was loaded with a round in the chamber, the probable cause document said.... 'Missouri protects the right to open carry a firearm, but that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner, endangering other citizens,' [prosecuting attorney Dan] Patterson said. 'As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously explained, "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man ... falsely shouting fire in a theater, causing a panic."'"

     ... Hannah Knowles writes the Washington Post story. Andreychenko's wife & sister told him his little experiment was a bad idea.

AP: "Florida authorities are charging a 26-year-old man they say posted a threat on Facebook that he was about to have his semi-automatic rifle returned and people should stay away from Walmart. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Richard Clayton on Friday north of Orlando. The agency said Clayton posted his threat on Sunday, the day after a gunman in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people and injured two dozen at a Walmart. Investigators said the post read, '3 more days of probation left then I get my AR-15 back. Don't go to Walmart next week.' A department spokeswoman said Clayton was not on probation. The FDLE said Clayton appears to believe in white supremacist ideology and has a history of posting threats on Facebook using fake accounts. He was charged with making written threats to kill or do bodily harm." Emphasis added.

News Lede

Washington Post: "Viewers across the United States will have a chance [to see shooting stars] Monday and Tuesday nights, when a dozen meteors per hour and possibly up to 50 or more at its peak are slated to dazzle the heavens after dark." The story gives advice on your best chance of espying the meteor shower. ...

     ... Here's the Space.com story.

Reader Comments (13)

@ Marie

"Let them eat carp."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0EYv8yod3A

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@safari: Thanks! Never heard of electrofishing, so I learned something new. Here's quite a good explanation of how it's done & what its effects on fish might be. Also provides advice on how to get an unwanted blue whale out of your backyard pond.

August 11, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

There must be a handbook for white supremacist/Trump loving murderers and would-be murderers that offers advice on where to go to target black and brown people. You never hear about these guys strolling into a Nordstrom, or Neiman Marcus, or a Williams-Sonoma (“Drop that Henckels chef knife, lady!”), never mind a Louis Vuitton or Versace outlet. It’s always WalMart.

Imagine the outrage at cocktail parties if one of these nuts shot up a Ralph Lauren store. He’d be whacking stockbrokers and lawyers and even if a few of them were black, the pickings are probably much better at a WalMart.

The Waltons must be pleased to support right wing ideologies and politicians who think it’s just grand that whackos can walk around in public places like they’re ready to invade Poland.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

As Joy Reid just pointed out, "Attorney General William Barr has consulted with Justice Department ethics officials and will not recuse himself from overseeing the case of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein by federal prosecutors in New York." (AP: July 9)

So now Trump's top lawyer is bound & determined to investigate ... an incident in his own case.

Yo, Bill, this is why the government has inspectors general & independent counsels. But, hey, I know I would do a bang-up job of investigating myself on any appearance of mismanagement, incompetence or corrupt, criminal acts. Why, I can even predict what my conclusions would be.

August 11, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Don't have time to pen a Sunday Sermon, so thought to pass on someone else's about some of the darkness at our core.

https://www.salon.com/2019/08/11/people-kill-people-but-capitalism-makes-it-easy-and-profitable-around-the-world/

I think my father had a book (and I may still have it around somewhere) called "Merchants of Death," a best seller from the 1920's or early '30s. Will have to see if I can find it.

It would be nice to think things change for the better, but the retrograde Pretender keeps teaching another lesson.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@AK: Sadly, what it will take to do something about gun control is when some shooter who didn't get the memo walks into a high end place or private club and among his victims are the friends or family members of someone from the power elite — whether political, banking, entertainment or any high profile individuals currently in denial.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

In case you are tired of the moral outrage du jour over what the orange beast did or didn't say about gun violence or racism, filling the front pages of the major newspapers, consider some perspective on the alarming economic outlook of what drives our economy:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/08/bleak-financial-outlook-for-us-fracking-industry.html

And I thought 'Peak Oil' talk ended in 2007. Lets see, how will that small-handed political menace respond to a collapsing oil industry asset bubble? My money's on him doubling down with more 'drill baby drill' at the expense of protected wild lands, national parks, protected offshore habitats, etc. But, staged conflicts in Venezuela? More indentured involvement with Saudis?

While we are feeling "threatened" by an amoral and deeply flawed leader*, there are economic tectonics moving the foundations of civilization below our feet, the effects of which will play out in Washington.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeriscope

Trump, McConnell, and the entire right wing phalanx of obsequious gun lobby boot lickers would rather kids and parents buy body armor than to tell Doofus Shoot ‘em Up that he can’t buy anymore assault weapons.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Periscope

And we passed peak potable water some time ago, centuries I'd guess.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/06/climate/world-water-stress.html

On the NYTimes front page this last week. Should be on every front page every week.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Just wonder how long it will take for Barr to “discover” a previously hidden memo proving that Epstein’s “suicide” is the fault of Obama and the Clintons, and that he, his boss, and their joke of a Justice Department are cleaner than Caesar’s wife.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@ Ken
I guess my biggest worry is that Drumpf has a greater chance of winning in 2020 if the economy appears like it's doing well - even if it isn't. I don't know to what ends this administration will go to prop up a failing energy sector until the election. The rabble may tolerate his philandering, racism, and belligerence, but if gas prices rise and the economy slows he'll be under the bus, and we all know he's all about winning by any means necessary.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeriscope

@Periscope

Lord knows, we all share that same fear.

The R's in general and the Pretender in particular will destroy an entire country or two or three to stay in power just so they can grift a litte longer.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Yes, the one economic statistic the lumpenproletariat notice is the price of gasoline. I'm not sure how that fine old word translates into 2019 America, but it probably includes the folks who drove until they could qualify. That would be the suburban Rs who Hillary thought would put her in the WH, and which the Ds now expect will elect Joe Biden. Peace in our time. And if both Ds and Rs yell the same slogan? What will matter is what the lumpenproletariat understand as peace: cheap gas, bread and circuses.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Howard
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