Even when they can find what’s left of the Camp fire victims, some remains may never be identified

“We’re finding remains in various states,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “I suspect there are some that will have been completely consumed.”

Search-and-rescue teams can take hours collecting a single victim – trying to make sure bones or other body parts aren’t left behind for relatives and friends to find when they return.

Still, “there is certainly the unfortunate possibility that even after we’ve searched an area, once people get back in there, it’s possible that human remains could be found,” Honea said. “I know that’s a very difficult thing to think about, but that’s the difficult situation we find ourselves in today.” …

The sheer heat generated by California’s deadliest wildfire will complicate matters. At its peak, the inferno may have reached temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. It could be impossible in some cases to obtain DNA samples from the victims, thwarting what is often the ID method employed when all else fails. “The severity, the blaze, the burning – who knows what DNA is left?” said Colleen Fitzpatrick, founder of an Orange County consulting company called Identifinders International. “You need a certain amount of DNA.”

From the LA Times’ must-read, absolutely terrifying hour-by-hour narrative of the Camp fire

The fire caught up to Jolly on Pearson Road, blasting her car with heat. She reached for the stethoscope slung around her neck and flinched as the metal burned. Her steering wheel was melting — the plastic stuck to her hands.

As her car caught fire and began to fill with black smoke, she called her husband. “Run,” he told her.

Jolly fled for safety to the car ahead of hers, but it too was abandoned. She ran on.

The rubber on her shoes melted into the asphalt. The back of her scrubs caught fire, blistering her legs. She tried another car, but it wasn’t moving.

“I can’t die like this,” she told herself. “There’s no way I’m going to die sitting in a car. I have to run.”

Jolly plunged into the smoke, now blinding, and ran with her hands stretched out in front of her. She hit firm, hot metal. A firetruck.

Two firefighters lifted her in and radioed for help, pleading for a water drop. The crackled response came back: “Impossible.”

A 2020 vision

Worth noting that Amendment 4, which passed at the same election, enfranchised 1.4 million Floridians, which is about 140 times the margin in the Senate race.

Meanwhile in the only remaining Senate race, a small opening for the Democrats

Last year, in another runoff special Senate election in Alabama, a surge of African-American turnout led to a stunning victory for Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore, who had been accused of sexually molesting and assaulting teenage girls. The allegations gave voters in the state who don’t typically support Democrats something to vote against.

[Mike] Espy, a 64-year-old former congressman and agriculture secretary, now hopes [Republican Cindy] Hyde-Smith’s comments [about attending a public hanging and suppressing liberal voters] will similarly turbocharge turnout and tilt voters in the November 27 runoff against her. …

Still, to win the Senate runoff, Espy must walk a tightrope, overperforming among African-American voters and college students in the state’s urban areas in a runoff being held on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving weekend while also winning a share of voters who typically back Republicans. It’s difficult to do both.

Nelson has conceded the Florida Senate race

Well, things turned out a little differently than we had hoped, but I by no means feel defeated. That’s because I’ve had the privilege of serving the people of Florida for most of my life. It’s been a rewarding journey and a very humbling experience. No one could be more blessed.

One likely reason so many people are still unaccounted for in the Northern California fire zone (but may not actually be “missing”)

[On Butte County’s “raw” list of the unaccounted for], many of the people whose ages are listed are elderly - reflecting the area’s popularity as a retirement hotspot. Paradise, the town in Butte County that was devastated by the wildfire, has an estimated population of about 27,000. According to the latest census, about a quarter of those are aged 65 or over.

Eric Reinbold, the chief of police in Paradise, said the list’s demographics underscore the difficulties in evacuating older residents in rapid emergency situations.

“Like any community, we had elderly folks and some of them gave up driving or can’t drive,” Chief Reinbold said.

If they did make it out, older residents may also be less likely to have access to the internet or other mobile communications to contact people they know.

An unparalleled popular-vote pushback on the president

Seems likely Democrats will eventually get up to about 60 million total votes for the House once unprocessed ballots from California are tallied. Maybe a bit more (~61M?) based on what’s left in other states. Those are similar numbers to what recent GOP presidential candidates have received.

Trump got 63M votes, Romney 61M, McCain 60M. Democratic votes for the House this year should be very close to that range. There’s not any precedent for an opposition party coming this close to matching the president’s vote total from 2 years earlier. The closest to an exception was when Democratic House candidates in 1970 got 92% of Nixon’s vote total from 1968.

Of course, this reflects three things we already knew:

1) Trump was elected despite losing the popular vote;

2) Democrats’s won by a big margin this year and

3) Turnout was VERY high.

But Trump is a very unpopular president, and I don’t think that’s totally sunk in yet in how he’s covered.

About 60 million people turned out to vote for Democrats for the House this year. That is a **crazy** number. (Republicans got 45M votes in the 2010 wave.) And this was sort of missed. Why so many stories about Trump voters in truck stops and not so many about “the resistance”?

Nate Silver, via Twitter thread

As expected, the manual recount hasn’t saved Nelson in Florida — but a better Broward ballot design might have (if he had taken 70% of those missing votes)

Post-manual-recount Florida Senate **official** election results: Rick Scott (R) defeats Bill Nelson (D) by 10,033 votes.

The manual recount actually shifted the margin by 2,570 votes, which is more than twice as many as the previous record recount shift this century. The fact that Florida is a huge state helps, but that’s certainly notable.

25,543 fewer votes were cast in the Florida Senate race than governor’s race in Broward County. It’s possible—though by no means certain—that bad ballot design cost Bill Nelson his seat.

Nathaniel Rakich, in a series of tweets

And just courting more failure anyway

To be clear: The only thing funnier/more tragic than the Browns trying to hire Condoleezza Rice as head coach is that they’ll likely be turned down by Condoleezza Rice

Fake-out news instead of progress in Cleveland

A principal concern that I have about this is that the Browns, whom Condoleezza Rice and I both love, will use her to satisfy the Rooney Rule and will fail to consider any other black candidates for the head coaching job.

John Dorsey, the Browns general manager, did say that he’d consider a woman for the job. Leaking that Rice would be the first such candidate underscores what a joke that was. This is throwing table scraps at feminist goals, using that promise for P.R. value rather than progress.

Rice, like me, is a Browns fan. Has been since her days growing up in Alabama. Our differing politics aside, she could possibly bring something to the organization in another capacity. But there are women now coaching football who could use this interviewing experience.

The Browns have a promising rookie quarterback, at last, as well as other young stars who need the best coaching that you can find. Dorsey does not appear to be focused fully on that mission. Considering Condi Rice is something Trump would do if he were running the Browns.

Jamil Smith, via Twitter

The canary-county in the GOP’s coal mine?

“Sitting back in the 1960s, I would never have believed this would happen,” said Stuart K. Spencer, a party strategist who spent more than half a century ushering Republicans, including President Reagan, into office.

But noting the extensive demographic and political changes that have taken place [in California] — especially over the last two decades — “it’s pretty understandable,” Spencer said. …

It’s the Republican wipeout in Orange County, a wellspring of conservatism that nourished generations of state and national party leaders, that stands as a shock. Many never thought they would see a day when its expansive suburban tracts were anything but flaming Republican red.

“A huge deal,” said Eileen Padberg, a veteran GOP strategist who recently shed her affiliation out of frustration with Trump and the national party.

Likening the GOP’s hegemony to a dictatorship, Padberg said that for as long as she could recall, “If you wanted contracts, if you wanted a job, you had to be a Republican.”

But, she said, as Orange County changed — growing younger, more diverse, more socially tolerant — most of its Republican lawmakers failed to change with it. “They focused only on their right-wing base,” Padberg said, “and didn’t do a good job problem-solving.”

Why rake when you can vacuum

Photo: Finnish photographer Pyry Luminen shows President Trump a more efficient way to rake the forest floor to prevent fires ("Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest ~ Ihan normipäivä suomalaisessa metsässä" — @pyryluminen/Twitter)

Is this real life?

The Cleveland Browns would like to interview former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for their head coaching job, a league source told @AdamSchefter.


But still plenty of red in Orange County’s new blue

Going into 2016, the GOP had carried Orange County in every presidential race since 1936 and held four House districts there. Then Clinton won it by 8% and Dems [have now won] every House district that includes Orange County.

On other hand, Orange County voters still open to GOP down-ballot, though barely: GOP still ahead in the two state Senate seats it was defending in Orange (though its margin in #SD34 is melting), and Don Barnes won an important sheriff’s election with immigration and ethics in backdrop.

My usual point: given big scandals in sheriff’s office, allegations of abusive detention, and *huge* immigration stakes, fact that Barnes appears to have done better than (all?) other Republicans running countywide signals work still to be done to make these issues and races salient.

Why I say sheriff’s race was important for immigration in OC: the department has been actively opposing, resisting CA’s “sanctuary” law. [There have been many] organizing successes in making such stuff salient — but also some cases (OC, Tampa…) of it not quite breaking through.

Daniel Nichanian, via Twitter thread


The California GOP’s collapse in Orange County wasn’t limited to House races. Right now Gavin Newsom is losing the county by 1.2 points, and may end up winning it. Jerry Brown lost it by 11 points.

The GOP-cut

The Trump-GOP corporate tax cut was a missile aimed at high-tax/high service blue states like New York / California / New Jersey.

One result:

• Republicans now down to one House seat in New Jersey.

• Dems routed GOP in California’s Orange County.

• Big Dem pickups in New York, even in rightish congressional districts.

Multiple causes here, obviously, but don’t underestimate this one.

Nick Confessore

Chalk up another House seat — and a complete sweep — for the Dems in Reagan Country (the midterm wave now stands at +37)

Breaking: Gil Cisneros has defeated Republican Young Kim in the 39th Congressional District. His victory means the longtime conservative stronghold of Orange County will be represented entirely by Democrats in the House next session.

Trump refused to listen to Khashoggi’s murder, and still doesn’t (want to) know about MBS’s involvement

Trump also suggested he may just live with it, even if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman misled him, because “we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”

“I don’t know,” he told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Who could really know? But I can say this, he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.”

Trump said he had refused to listen to a tape of the killing shared by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape,” he said. “I’ve been fully briefed on it. There’s no reason for me to hear it. … It was very violent, very vicious and terrible.”

Now nearly 1,300 people are unaccounted for in Camp fire (and the death toll has risen to 76)

Even as hundreds of searchers sift through the rubble in the town of Paradise[, California] looking for the dead, nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire sparked in Butte County, Sheriff Kory Honea announced Saturday night. Authorities stressed that the long roster does not mean they believe all those people are missing.

Honea pleaded with fire evacuees Saturday to review the list of those reported as unreachable by family and friends and call if they are safe. Deputies have located hundreds of people to date, but the overall number keeps growing because they are adding more names, including those from the disaster’s chaotic early hours, Honea said. …

Rain was forecast for midweek, which could help firefighters but also complicate the search for remains. The National Weather Service warned that on Sunday, the area could get 20 mph sustained winds and 40 mph gusts, which could make it hard for crews to continue making progress against the blaze.

ride sharing apps
ride sharing apps
Lyft Does More to Woo Drivers as It Preps to IPO
As both Lyft and Uber prepare to go public in 2019, both companies will be fighting for drivers just as they fight for passengers.
The GOP Thinks #MeToo Is a Chance to Exploit the ‘Biased’ Press
But their attempts just show how much they get wrong about journalism.

First responders have brought thousands of pets rescued from the Camp fire to California animal shelters (including many that suffered burns) — but this dog is still with his person

Photo: Jason House attempts to put a respirator mask on his dog Rowland at the "Wallywood" evacuee encampment in a Walmart parking lot in Chico, California on Saturday. More than 1,000 people remain listed as missing in the worst-ever wildfire to hit the US state. (Josh Edelson/ AFP/Getty Images)

Stacey Abrams’s plan to fight for Georgia’s democracy in court

Abrams said the [new federal] lawsuit, which will fall under the umbrella of a new organization called Fair Fight Georgia, will look toward improving the state’s election system prior to municipal elections in 2019 and the 2020 presidential election. Fair Fight may also push for legislative changes at the Capitol, and Abrams said it will hold the state accountable for running elections fairly.

“We have to consider all the pieces that go into voter suppression and diminishing the ability of voters to cast their ballots,” she said. “And that means looking at the staffing and sourcing of polling stations, making sure that there are an adequate number of machines, making certain that poll workers who are often volunteers aren’t judging whether or not someone gets to vote based on how many pieces of paper they have left.”

As for whether she will challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue in 2020 or seek another bid for governor in four years, Abrams is mum. But she is confident her legal challenges will help continue to expand Georgia’s electorate.

“We know that over the next two years there will be new people who will find themselves energized by politics,” she said. “And I think what we can do in 2020 is absolutely complete the transformation that started this year. It won’t only be at the top of the ticket, but also down the ticket.”

Newly discovered emails link pro-Brexit campaign with Cambridge Analytica, Steve Bannon, and the Mercer family

The possibility that both Brexit and the Trump campaign simultaneously relied upon the same social-media company and its transgressive tactics, as well as some of the same advisers, to further far-right nationalist campaigns, set off alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic. Damian Collins, a member of Parliament, and chair of its Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which held an inquiry into fake news, told the Observer, which has broken much of the news about Cambridge Analytica in the U.K., that the new e-mails “suggest that the role of Bannon and Mercer is far deeper and more complex than we realised. There’s a big question about whether Mercer’s money was used in the Brexit campaign and it absolutely underscores why Britain needs a proper Mueller-style investigation. There are direct links between the political movements behind Brexit and Trump. We’ve got to recognise the bigger picture here. This is being coordinated across national borders by very wealthy people in a way we haven’t seen before.”

The American investigations into foreign interference in Trump’s election, and British probes into Brexit, have increasingly become interwoven. The role of the Russian Ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, has reportedly been the subject of interest both to Mueller’s investigators and to those in the U.K., who have examined his relationship to Banks. The role of Nigel Farage, the former leader of the far-right, Euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party, who has been an ally of Bannon and Trump, has also reportedly stirred the interest of investigators in both countries, especially after he was spotted in 2017 leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in which Julian Assange has taken refuge. Assange’s media platform, WikiLeaks, published many of the e-mails stolen by Russia from the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 election season.

How and whether all of these pieces fit together is the subject of Mueller’s investigation, but the lack of a similar single, overarching investigation in the U.K. has led critics to call for one.

Finns seize long-awaited opportunity to debunk/dunk on President Trump over his raking comment


“Finland has ~73% forest coverage = 222,180 square kilometers of forests (world bank study). Our forests are densest in the world, averaging 72,000 trees in sq km. That’s 22 billion trees or 4,500 for every Finn (yale university study).

Please send help. Must bring own rakes.”


“I grew up in Finland. a) it rains all year round. b) we have a lengthy and cold winter. c) Finland is a sparsely populated country with just over 5mil ppl, with land size ~3/4 of CA and most of it forests and lakes. d) no friggin body is raking the forests.”


“We have had pretty much the warmest year ever. It has been +5-7C here in the east this week. The summer was one of the driest and hottest ever and that’s why we had quite many fires. On an average year fires are a non-issue. I didn’t complain about the heat myself (I love warm weather). It’s just that it tells you how climate change is changes our climate and that is certainly not good.”

NSC member in charge of U.S. Saudi policy has resigned

The official, Kirsten Fontenrose, had pushed for tough measures against the Saudi government, and had been in Riyadh to discuss a raft of sanctions that the American government imposed in recent days against those identified as responsible for the killing, according to two people familiar with the conversations. Specifically, she advocated that Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, be added to the list, and he ultimately was.

The exact circumstances of her departure are murky, and it is unclear whether her advocacy for a hawkish response to the killing angered some in the White House. When she returned to Washington, according to the two people, she had a dispute with her bosses at the National Security Council, where she had served as the director for the Persian Gulf region.

The unknown long-term harm of inhaling wildfire smoke

Most research has focused on how smoke exposure affects firefighters or how air pollution, not wildfire smoke specifically, affects people’s health. Many large studies have linked air pollution to heart and lung diseases; one 2012 study found that pregnant women who were exposed to smoke during the 2003 wildfires in Southern California delivered babies with slightly lower birth weight than normal. …

There are similarities between particles found in air pollution from fossil fuels and those found in wildfire smoke. Both contain toxic particles that are invisible to the naked eye that can penetrate into lung tissue and get into the bloodstream. These particles are 2.5 micrometers in size — about one-fortieth the width of a strand of hair. There are also differences, though, that scientists don’t fully understand.

When residential areas burn, they release chemicals into the atmosphere that aren’t emitted when wooded or grassy areas burn. Plastics, household cleaning products, metals from vaporized stoves and washing machines, and synthetic materials from carpets add to poor air conditions. Researchers don’t know what kind of long-term health conditions could be caused or exacerbated by exposure to these compounds.

Stranded in Chico’s “Wallywood” and other places of refuge for Camp fire evacuees

Hundreds of evacuees are squatting at camp in a Walmart parking lot — a ramshackle village some inhabitants call Wallywood, a sardonic mash-up of their location and reduced circumstances. …

“Big picture, we have 6,000, possibly 7,000 households who have been displaced and who realistically don’t stand a chance of finding housing again in Butte County,” county housing official Mayer said. “I don’t even know if these households can be absorbed in California.”

The county has the capacity to place 800 to 1,000 households in permanent housing, Mayer said. Housing was already scarce in Butte County before the Camp Fire. The housing vacancy rate was less than 2 percent, which “is considered a crisis state,” Mayer said. Unlike wealthier Sonoma County, where fires destroyed thousands of homes last year, many residents of Paradise don’t have the financial means to rebuild their homes quickly.

Closing in on the biggest midterm (popular vote) wave in three decades

Assuming [the Democrats’ national lead in House votes] gets up into the ~8.5[%] range, Democrats are also on track to have the largest House popular vote margin by either party in a midterm since 1986, when they it by 9.9 points. D’s did win it by 10.6 points in 2008, but that was a presidential year.

Nate Silver

Andrew Gillum concedes Florida governor’s race, again

And that’s it (officially officially) for this #FLGOV race. @AndrewGillum congratulates @RonDeSantisFL in a Facebook live video, teasing “stay tuned” about his own future plans. “There will be more to come. This fight for Florida continues.”

Waiting for the president to pass

Photo: People wearing masks watch the motorcade of US President Donald Trump as he drives to view damage from wildfires in Paradise, California, November 17, 2018.

Trump visiting what’s left of Paradise

Photo: President Trump and California officials view damage from the Camp fire in Paradise, California. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

He also promised to put $500 million “in the farm bill for management and maintenance of forests”

Trump says seeing the devastation of the wildfires in California hasn’t changed his opinion on climate change.

“No, no. I have a strong opinion. I want great climate, we’re going to have that, & we’re going to have forests that are very safe… that is happening as we speak.”

Make America Rake Again

We’re all committed — I’m committed to make sure that we’ve got all of this cleaned out, and protected. Gotta take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest. It’s very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently, and, it’s a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland, and he said, “We have a, much different — we’re a forest nation.” He called it “a forest nation.” And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem. So, uh, I know everybody’s looking at that. To that end. And it’s gonna work out. It’s gonna work out well.

President Trump, at the scene of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history

Translation: “We still want to believe the Saudis”

🚨Here’s the State Department response to reports of CIA’s assessment that MBS ordered killing of Khashoggi: “Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder”

“While Facebook surely does exhibit liberal bias in some ways, they have also dramatically — and, in the end, devastatingly — overcorrected for that bias.”

Facebook didn’t tiptoe to avoid poking the bear on the left. They went right up to the bear and stabbed it repeatedly. And then goaded the right’s bear to join in the stabbing.

The power of leftist outrage mobs has been well-discussed. The power of conservative outrage mobs to affect corporate and political policy, even from left-leaning organizations, is arguably less acknowledged.

In no small part to placate the right, the liberal company Facebook misled the nation again and again about the nature of Russian interference in the election. They repeatedly fed right wing conspiracies while waving away criticism from the left. It’s hard to see how an ardently Trumpist company could do much better.

Elizabeth Picciuto @ Arc Digital

Historians claim 2018 is not the worst year to be alive

Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.

A television viewer who does not understand forests, science, firefighting, or management continues to share his opinions about the use of forest management in fire prevention

President Trump, to Fox News in a new interview:

“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas — they were raking areas. When the fire is right over there and they are raking trees, little trees like this, that are, not trees — little bushes. That you could see are totally dry. Weeds. And they are raking them — they are on fire. That should have been all raked out — you wouldn’t have the fires. …

Maybe [climate change] contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management. … You need forest management. I’m not saying that in a negative way, a positive — I’m just saying the facts.”

And to reporters before heading to California on Saturday to have a firsthand look at the wildfire crisis:

“[California officials and I] will be talking about forest management. I’ve been saying that for a long time. It should have been a lot different situation. But the one thing is that everybody now knows that this is what we have to be doing, and there’s no question about it. It should have been done many years ago. But I think everybody’s on the right side. It’s a big issue, it’s a big issue, a very expensive issue, but very, very inexpensive when you compare it to even one of these horrible fires. And we’ll save a lot of lives.”

The logging industry stands with Trump, per the Washington Times:

“There is truth to statements he has made,” said Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers. “It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement.

Pesky science, via the AP:

One reason that scientists know that management isn’t to blame is that some areas now burning had fires in 2005 and 2008, so they aren’t “fuel-choked closed-canopy forests,” [Utah fire scientist Philip] Dennison said. In those earlier fires, Paradise was threatened but escaped major damage, he said. In the current blazes, it was virtually destroyed.

The other major fire, in Southern California, burned through shrub land, not forest, Dennison said. “It’s not about forest management. These aren’t forests,” he said.

The dean of the University of Michigan’s environmental school, Jonathan Overpeck, said Western fires are getting bigger and more severe. He said it “is much less due to bad management and is instead the result of our baking of our forests, woodlands and grasslands with ever-worsening climate change.”

The socioeconomics of saving your home from wildfires

[T]he fire department’s capacity crunch in the face of devastating and erratic fires has showcased a growing social divide. In areas where some residents felt the need to put their lives on the line, celebrities and affluent homeowners filled the gap with private firefighters to protect their mansions from burning.

In an article published last spring, NBC highlighted that the insurance giant AIG offers wealthy homeowners access to their Wildfire Protection Unit, certified through authorities to respond to fires that threaten million-dollar homes.

TMZ reported this week that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West hired private firefighters to protect their $50m mansion in the hills of Calabasas. It narrowly survived the fire, but critics began wondering if the destruction-fueled “new normal” meant the affluent, yet again, could save themselves while others suffered.

Designer districts

Partisan gerrymandering has been carried out by both Democrats and Republicans throughout U.S. history. But an Associated Press statistical analysis based on 2016 election data found that more states had Republican-tilted districts than Democratic ones. Some of the largest GOP congressional advantages were in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Republicans fully controlled redistricting after the 2010 Census. One of the Democrats’ biggest edges was in Maryland, where they were in charge of the last redistricting.

A follow-up AP analysis using preliminary 2018 election data shows the Republican statistical edge was cut in half under Pennsylvania’s new court-ordered congressional map but grew even larger in North Carolina.

Though an increasing number of states have adopted independent commissions, many states still rely on lawmakers and governors to draw legislative and congressional districts. Republicans controlled that process in far more states than Democrats because of their electoral success nationwide in 2010. Those maps were in place for the Nov. 6 elections, except in places where courts ordered them redrawn, and will be again in 2020.

Florida, the jammed paperclip perpetually short circuiting America’s democracy

In one of the most serious cases, Palm Beach County found “dozens of precincts missing a significant number” of votes during the machine recount, according to the supervisor of elections, Susan Bucher, causing the county to conclude that entire boxes of ballots may not have been counted.

Ms. Bucher blamed an overheated and outdated ballot-scanning machine. But the manufacturer of the high-speed scanner used in Palm Beach said its technicians had witnessed Palm Beach County elections workers, apparently worried that one of the machines was running too fast, jam a paper clip into the scanner’s “enter” button in an effort to slow it down. That, in turn, caused a short circuit that cut off the power, a company spokeswoman said.

The president who is permanently “at odds” with the conclusions of his nation’s intelligence community (and yes, he has been briefed on this)

[T]he CIA [has] assessed with high confidence that the Saudi leader [Mohammed bin Salman] ordered the killing [of journalist Jamal Khashoggi], based on multiple sources of intelligence. 

“We haven’t been briefed yet. The CIA will be speaking to me today,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving to survey damage from wildfires in California. 

But the president has already been shown evidence of the prince’s alleged involvement in the killing, and privately he remains skeptical, Trump aides said. He has also looked for ways to avoid pinning the blame on Mohammed, the aides said. 

The president’s most recent comments put him at odds with the findings of the CIA and senior intelligence officials. 

And in urban areas and Western states, minorities make up the majority of their generation, according to Pew

Don’t miss the major political implications of this [Pew study]: 48% of Post-Millennials (now aged 6 to 21) are members of racial or ethnic minorities–far above the 39% in the Millennial generation (which itself was the prior record-holder). They are just starting to join the electorate..

Larry Sabato

The better educated, more diverse generation to come

A new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data finds that the “post-Millennial” generation is already the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, as a bare majority of 6- to 21-year-olds (52%) are non-Hispanic whites. And while most are still pursuing their K-12 education, the oldest post-Millennials are enrolling in college at a significantly higher rate than Millennials were at a comparable age.

The parents of post-Millennials are more well educated than the parents of Millennials and those of previous generations, and this pattern most likely contributes to the relative affluence of the households in which post-Millennials live. … The high school dropout rate for the oldest post-Millennials (ages 18 to 20 in 2017) is significantly lower than that of similarly aged Millennials in 2002. And among those who were no longer in high school in 2017, 59% were enrolled in college – higher than the enrollment rate for 18- to 20-year-old Millennials in 2002 (53%) and Gen Xers in 1986 (44%).

The changing patterns in educational attainment are driven in part by the shifting origins of young Hispanics. Post-Millennial Hispanics are less likely than Millennial Hispanics to be immigrants – 12% of post-Millennial Hispanics were born outside the U.S., compared with 24% of Millennial Hispanics in 2002. Previous research has shown that second-generation Hispanic youth tend to go further in school than foreign-born Hispanic youth. That is borne out in this analysis, as 61% of second-generation Hispanics ages 18 to 20 who were no longer in high school were enrolled in college in 2017, compared with 40% of their foreign-born counterparts.

The hazardous air quality in northern California is not expected to improve until the middle of next week at the earliest

There have been widespread school and university closures. Many businesses have urged employees to work from home. Some public transit in San Francisco has been made free, in an effort to keep people inside as much as possible if they must commute.

In a region whose weather is usually pretty temperate, smoke days have become the Bay Area’s version of snow days. But instead of a joyful respite from work, wildfire smoke mixes a blizzard’s large-scale logistical nightmares with the anxiety of worsening climate change and a class divide that plagues American public health. Three of the five largest fires on record in California have occurred in the past three years, all in the northern part of the state. For the region’s residents, smoke days won’t go away once the Camp Fire is contained.

The risk posed by wildfire smoke is significant, and it goes far beyond a few days of coughing or headaches. According to Kristie Ebie, a professor of global public health at the University of Washington, the consequences of breathing wildfire smoke extend to other parts of the body because of the noxious nature of the tiny debris the smoke carries with it. “That affects not only people’s lungs, but it gets absorbed into people’s systems,” she says. Recent research shows that absorption can lead to cardiac arrest, stroke, and other deadly outcomes.

With kids home from school, people working from home, and few safe ways to leave the house, Northern Californians are looking for any outlet available to find some relief.

The ongoing search for remains

Photo: Rescue workers search an area where they discovered suspected human remians in a home destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 16, 2018 in Paradise, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As many as 7,000 households have been displaced by the Camp fire in Butte County , California

Photo: People drop off freshly baked cookies and cupcakes to Camp Fire evacuees who are living in a Walmart parking on November 16, 2018 in Chico, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Camp fire missing persons list now over 1,000, confirmed death toll up to 71

Searchers combing through the ruins of the deadliest wildfire in California history found eight more bodies Friday, bringing the number of dead in the Camp Fire to 71 as more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted for.

Seven of the eight bodies were found in the town of Paradise, which was all but destroyed in the fire that broke out Nov. 8, and the other was in Magalia, north of Paradise, said Butte County Sheriff-Coroner Kory L. Honea said. All were found inside structures.

Honea cautioned that the number of unaccounted for — 1,011 as of Friday night — could include names that are duplicates or have different spelling variations, and that investigators were working to verify them. …

The Camp Fire has displaced thousands of people and led to the evacuation of some 52,000 at the fire’s peak. About 47,200 remained evacuated Friday, officials said. The fire has burned 146,000 acres and was 50 percent contained Friday. … [It] has destroyed at least 9,700 single-family residences, 144 multi-family residences and 336 commercial buildings, according to Cal Fire.

What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare
The president’s commitment to small government is undermining America’s commitment to its veterans.

More deal-making at Mar-a-Lago

President Donald Trump will meet with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi — who is on his short list be his next attorney general — while he vacations at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach for Thanksgiving next week, according to a source close to the president.

Bondi, Florida’s first female attorney general, is finishing her second term. She is not legally allowed to run again, and has been mentioned as a possible administration appointee since Trump became president last year.

Three sources said Trump is seriously considering Bondi for the job. 

The Abrams campaign says goodbye


Seven plaintiffs sue Dartmouth for ignoring alleged sexual misconduct of three professors involved in a “predators’ club”

One of the plaintiffs, Kristina Rapuano, alleges that professor Paul Whalen in March 2014 forced himself upon her and put his hands down her pants when she visited his office. About a year later, she attended a conference with Kelley and alleges that he got her drunk and raped her. The lawsuit does not say whether she went to the police.

After the assault, she alleges professor William Kelley kept pressing her for sexual favors. When Rapuano finally rebuffed him, she said Kelley became hostile, stopped providing her with academic guidance and attempted to undermine her research by sharing it with colleagues.

BREAKING: Official says US intelligence has concluded Saudi crown prince ordered killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The end also appears near for Senator Bill Nelson’s recount hopes in Florida

Behind Gov. Rick Scott by an unofficial 12,603 Nelson needed to snare a majority of the thousands of undervotes and overvotes spit out by vote tabulating machines during an automatic machine recount that ended Thursday. In particular, he needed to do well in heavily Democratic Broward County, where 30,447 ballots were deemed to be “undervotes” left uncounted by machines because voters failed to follow directions or simply didn’t vote.

Nelson’s campaign hoped the large number of undervotes was machine-related. But there was so little work to do Friday in Broward’s Lauderhill elections headquarters that teams of volunteers were done in less than two hours and stopped working before the lunch catering arrived. 

Montana Court rules neo-Nazis cannot harass woman on First Amendment grounds

The case against a Neo-Nazi publisher can proceed to trial on accusations he called for a “troll storm” against a Jewish woman, a federal judge ruled.

Claims by Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin that the First Amendment protected his speech were not enough to dismiss the case at this point, the judge said.

The troll storm began after a dispute between Gersh and fellow Whitefish resident Sherry Spencer. Spencer is the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer. Gersh became a target for hate after contacting tenants of a building owned by Sherry Spencer, warning them about possible protests over Richard Spencer’s views.

Fun times at the Federalist Society’s annual convention

Judge Thomas Hardiman (to audience applause): if he could do it unilaterally, he would declare: “all cases under $500K will be tried without any discovery.” #FedSoc2018

House Ethics Committee sanctions Republican Mark Meadows and Democrat Ruben Kihuen for allegations related to sexual harassment

Meadows was found to have violated House rules “by failing to take appropriate steps to ensure that his House office was free from discrimination and any perception of discrimination.” This case grew out of an investigation into Meadows’ former chief of staff, Kenny West. Meadows kept West on his payroll even after learning of credible harassment allegations against the former aide.

Kihuen, who announced his retirement as the #MeToo movement swept Capitol Hill last year, was found to have “made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities.”

Both lawmakers were reproved by the bipartisan Ethics Committee, the least serious form of punishment it can mete out.

2018 midterms
2018 midterms
Stacey Abrams Ends Her Gubernatorial Campaign
After mulling and then rejecting possible lawsuits, Abrams yielded to Brian Kemp in a “non-concession concession.”

With the air quality index at 316, spending the day outside in Sacramento is like smoking over half a pack of cigarettes.

Stacey Abrams ends bid to become Georgia’s governor

“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, but to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”

Politically Georgia

Week one of the El Chapo trial included testimony on six-figure bribes and the murder of a Roman Catholic Cardinal

Jesús Zambada, whose brother was once considered one of the cartel’s leaders, said during his second day on the witness stand in Brooklyn that Guzmán once directed him to give $100,000, along with a hug, to a general in the state of Guerrero.

Zambada – a 57-year-old trained accountant who was arrested in 2008 and is still in US custody – was the first of several cooperators expected to give jurors an inside look at a cartel with a legendary lust for drugs, cash and violence.

GoFundMe Scam Saga Ends in Three Arrests
A New Jersey couple raised over $400,000 for a homeless man they claimed had helped them in an emergency. The trio made the whole thing up.

Are we reaching the end of the NRA era?

Two groups that are focused on gun control, Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety, spent at least $37 million at the state and federal level in the midterms, compared with at least $20 million by the N.R.A. The figures are incomplete, because some of the spending done by such groups is not required to be disclosed, but all sides agreed that the N.R.A. was outspent, stemming a trend of financial dominance for the N.R.A. going back years.

Trump wants a coal lobbyist to continue to run the EPA

A veteran on Capitol Hill, Andrew Wheeler worked from 1995 to 2009 as a staffer for Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a fervent denier of man-made climate change, and then for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Wheeler later worked as a lobbyist, including for coal giant Murray Energy Corp., which pushed hard at the outset of the Trump administration for coal-friendly policies from the EPA and other agencies.

The grandson of a coal miner, Wheeler told staffers in his first days as the agency’s acting head this summer that he was proud of his roots in coal country. In the acting role, Wheeler has a reputation as a more open and cordial boss for employees than Scott Pruitt was, and a more methodical steward of Mr. Trump’s deregulatory mission.

Trump Praises Dead Supreme Court Justice for Having a Ton of Sex
While honoring him at the Medal of Freedom ceremony.

The Cal/Stanford game is being postponed for the first time since the JFK assassination

Saturday’s Big Game has been postponed because of sustained unhealthy air quality in the wake of the wildfires in Butte County — a landmark moment in the 100-plus-year history of the rivalry.

Will Trump Dump Sycophant-in-Chief Mike Pence?
Some advisers want Trump to find a replacement veep who could appeal to women in 2020. But the Christian right would be unhappy about losing Pence.

Probably should have made some time for that

Trump on going to Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day:

“I should have done that,” but says he was busy.

A poignant cautionary tale about the internet and the perils of popularity

In my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.” The mug was given to me by Steve Stanich on the day I told him that, after eating 330 burgers during a 30-city search, I was naming Stanich’s cheeseburger the best burger in America. That same day, we filmed a short video to announce my pick. On camera, Stanich cried as he talked about how proud his parents would be. After the shoot, he handed me the mug, visibly moved. “My parents are thanking you from the grave,” he said, shaking my hand vigorously. When I left, I felt light and happy. I’d done a good thing.

Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed. Now when I look at the Stanich’s mug in my office, I no longer feel light and happy. I feel like I’ve done a bad thing.

Does the Democratic campaign to oust Nancy Pelosi make any sense?

A photo from Sacramento illustrates how bad air quality is in Northern California, thanks to wildfires

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP/REX/Shutterstock

All the president’s spin

People are not being told that the Republican Party is on track to pick up two seats in the U.S. Senate, and epic victory: 53 to 47. The Fake News Media only wants to speak of the House, were the Midterm results were better than other sitting Presidents.

Jim Antle on a case he sees as a test for gun rights activists

Yet the cold resignation in the witness’s account originates in the experiences of many African Americans. There is a burgeoning number of cases in which the police conduct that results in a dead black man is at least highly questionable.

So too is the relative silence of gun rights groups when these situations entail law-abiding black gun owners’ interactions with law enforcement. The most prominent example is Philando Castile, a valid gun permit holder who was slain despite informing police officers he was armed. The National Rifle Association faced questions about its handling of the incident—not least from its own members.

Wildfires have turned Northern California’s air into the worst in the world

The Bay Area’s already fetid, wildfire-choked air continued to register “very unhealthy” levels of particulate matter throughout the region Friday morning, following public health warnings and mass closures of schools, universities, businesses — even San Francisco’s fabled cable cars were pulled off the hills.

RBG is back

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was hospitalized with broken ribs just last week, joins fellow justices at the White House for Trump’s ceremony awarding the Medal of Freedom to Scalia, among others. Trump tells her he’s glad she’s feeling better.

Incredible statistics

Genuinely wild to compare the demographics of Democrats who flipped seats in the 2006 wave vs. the 2018 wave.

…in 2006
- 3% POC
- 13% Women
- 23% Under 45
- 83% White men

…in 2018
- 21% POC
- 68% Women
- 53% Under 45
- 24% White Men
nancy pelosi
nancy pelosi
For First Act in Power, Dems Consider Making Their Own Agenda Impossible to Pass
Pelosi is plans to create a super-majority requirement for raising taxes on the middle class, a rule that could make single-payer impossible to pass.

One way to revive struggling small towns

All across America, university towns are thriving. Their skilled workforces and research activities draw in business investment, while their medical facilities and high quality of life attract residents from smaller rural towns.

As a result, there are a lot of ideas for how public policy can help turn small and decaying rural towns into slightly bigger and more prosperous college towns. One way is simply to start new universities and put them there, and in fact I once suggested that the federal government create a system of elite universities, much like the one that exists in India.

There is a better way: Build up the research capabilities of the country’s existing smaller and less well-known colleges.

musical chairs
musical chairs
Lindsey Graham to Become Senate Judiciary Chairman and Trump Point Man
The formerly independent Graham will now be the point man for Trump in a very sensitive position.

A mighty strange talking point, considering Dems may end up winning close to 40 seats

I asked Kathleen Rice - a leader of the Dem anti-Pelosi movement - if she’s concerned this fight will show their party in disarray. “It was not as successful as some hoped it would be, we didn’t pick up as many seats as we thought we were going to get,” she said of the midterms

The drinking doesn’t really explain this…

A man shouting “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” during a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore smelled of alcohol and told police he was motivated by his hatred of President Donald Trump.

Anthony M. Derlunas, 58, told an officer he “had been drinking heavily throughout the night” before the outburst at the Hippodrome Theatre on Wednesday night, according to a police report.

But before details of the police report became public in the early evening, the incident rattled many already anxious about a recent spike in anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Maryland and nationwide.

Donald Trump, famous respecter of decorum

“In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass. We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House,” Sarah Sanders says of losing Acosta case.

War of words escalates in Pelosi speakership battle

Pelosi allies warning her Dem critics: A floor fight over her speakership “would be the nuclear option,” amounting to “mutually assured destruction” that “would lead to us losing the majority potentially on the first vote of a new Congress,” @CongressmanRaja says
the national circus
the national circus
Frank Rich: Trump Is Starting to Panic
It’s evident in his spells of rage and his empty official schedule. He is also stepping up his efforts to discredit democratic institutions.

Parsing a possible legal hail mary from Stacey Abrams

Republicans and Democrats Can Agree. Mass Incarceration Is Proof.
Trump is being hailed for unifying Republicans and Democrats around criminal justice. But the parties have rarely been that divided on this issue.
2018 midterms
2018 midterms
Abrams Considers Long-Shot Lawsuit As Georgia Prepares to Certify Kemp’s Win
Brian Kemp will likely be certified as the winner of the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia today. But Stacey Abrams may pursue one final legal remedy.

More on the Acosta ruling

The judge is ordering Acosta’s press pass reinstated because he found a likely violation of Acosta’s Fifth Amendment right to due process.

Acosta/CNN also argued a First Amendment violation of viewpoint or content discrimination. Judge did not end up having to consider this.
interesting times
interesting times
Andrew Sullivan: What Happens If Americans Stop Trusting the System?
Our fractured politics — and growing distrust by many of key institutions — suggest a burgeoning national crisis of political legitimacy.

CNN triumphs over Trump administration in closely watched case

“I will order defendants immediately restore Mr. Acosta’s hard pass.” Judge rules in favor of CNN in this initial proceeding and White House MUST restore @Acosta press pass IMMEDIATELY.

Trump-appointed judge sounds sympathetic to CNN’s case against the White House

Judge Kelly says Trump need not ever call on Jim Acosta again, but Acosta is owed due process if his hard pass is going to be revoked.

DeVos unveils major rollback of Obama campus rules

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday released her long-awaited rewrite of rules governing campus sexual harassment and assault allegations, narrowing the cases schools must investigate and giving the accused more rights.

The proposed regulation replaces less formal Obama-era guidelines tilting more toward accusers. DeVos rescinded the Obama measure a year ago.

Under the proposal, fewer allegations would be considered sexual harassment and schools would be responsible only for investigating incidents that are part of campus programs and activities and that were properly reported. Accused students would be entitled to lawyers and cross-examination.

the zucc
the zucc
Facebook Can’t Explain What Separates Its PR Operation and Russian Troll Farms
Facebook used a consulting firm to clandestinely push propaganda into the news cycle. It also penalizes Facebook users for doing the same.

An ominous sign for Bill Nelson in the Florida recount

In the absence of a clear motive for last year’s Las Vegas shooting, wild conjecture fills the void

In the sweaty, waning days of August, I went to a Cheesecake Factory in the Virginia suburbs to learn about a conspiracy that would rock the FBI, if true. The two men who met me for lunch, a retired CIA agent and a former National Security Council official in the Trump administration, were wearing shorts and flip-flops. Otherwise, they were all business, and utterly serious. “There’s substantial evidence that ISIS was involved in this,” the former NSC staffer told me, a few minutes after we had settled into our booth at the back of the restaurant.

He was referring to the worst mass shooting in American history, which happened last year in Las Vegas when Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 800 others at an outdoor concert. According to a final report issued by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on August 3, Paddock’s motive was unclear, but he “acted alone” and had no links to “any hate group or any domestic or foreign terrorist organization.

Stacey Abrams may throw a legal hail mary

Stacey Abrams’ campaign and legal team is preparing an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor’s race that could leave the state’s Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.

The Democrat’s longshot strategy relies on a statute that’s never been used in such a high-stakes contest. It is being discussed as Georgia elections officials appear to be on the cusp of certifying Republican Brian Kemp as the winner of a bitterly fought campaign that’s been marred by charges of electoral malfeasance.

Dems take another seat in Orange County, longtime Republican stronghold

Democrat Katie Porter captured a Republican-held U.S. House seat Thursday in the heart of what once was Southern California’s Reagan country, extending a rout of the state’s GOP House delegation that might not be over.

Porter’s upset in Orange County is a sign of changing times in a region once known nationally as a GOP fortress. The coastal county southeast of Los Angeles was home to President Richard Nixon, and President Ronald Reagan once likened it to a Republican heaven.

This explains the transportation apocalypse that followed

Official 6.4” ❄ in Central Park yesterday was biggest 1-day November snowfall in NYC in at least 136 years!
2020 elections
2020 elections
Should Democrats Focus On the Heartland or the Sunbelt in 2020?
The midterm results don’t really dictate either approach, but a 2020 candidate might.

Surprise! Julian Assange has been charged

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing — a development that could significantly advance the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and have major implications for those who publish government secrets.

The disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

Dwyer is also assigned to the WikiLeaks case. People familiar with the matter said what Dwyer was disclosing was true, but unintentional.

gun control
gun control
NRA Sues to Stop Gun Control Measures Approved by Washington Voters
The ballot initiative raises the minimum purchase age for semiautomatic rifles to 21, among other things.

The show will go on

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in a meeting on Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will proceed, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

Mick Mulvaney is ready for another new White House job

Over the summer, Trump considered a willing Mulvaney as a potential replacement for his chief of staff, John Kelly. However, in recent days, Mulvaney has abandoned that ambition and told allies and other officials that he is now interested in succeeding [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross, according to several people familiar with the conversations.

Angry over the war in Yemen and Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, a bipartisan group of senators has a plan to punish Saudi Arabia

Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday seeking to strike back at Saudi Arabia over the death of a Saudi journalist at a consulate in Turkey and for its role in Yemen’s devastating civil war.

If it were to become law, the bill would suspend weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and prohibit U.S. refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft for Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen against the Houthis, Shi’ite Muslim fighters that Yemen’s neighbors view as agents of Iran, the lawmakers said.

It also would impose sanctions on anyone blocking humanitarian access in Yemen and anyone supporting the Houthis in Yemen.

The horror in California continues

Latest numbers from #Campfire:

141,000 acres burned, 40% contained
5,596 personnel fighting the fire
11,862 structures destroyed

63 people are confirmed dead
631 people are still unaccounted for

Commuters were turned away from a crowded and chaotic Port Authority Thursday after icy weather ground buses to a halt

Mississippi GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith says suppressing student voters is a “great idea,” her campaign says it was a joke

 A video released Thursday shows U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith talking about making voting “a little more difficult” for some people. Her campaign quickly said she was “obviously” joking. 

The 18-second video, which has poor quality, begins abruptly. “And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote,” Hyde-Smith, a Republican, appears to say to a group of supporters, as several people speak over her the same time. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. So I think that’s a great idea.”

Very bad news for Wikileaks’s leader

The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

Making sense of Florida’s recount madness

foreign interests
foreign interests
Trump May Let Turkey Kill U.S. Resident to Help Saudis Who Killed U.S. Resident
Erdogan won’t lay off Riyadh for killing Khashoggi — so Trump might send him a legal U.S. immigrant whom the Turkish leader wants to behead.

Broward County has failed, barely, to get it together

Broward County machine recount results were two minutes late and were rejected by the state.
2018 midterms
2018 midterms
One Florida Recount Ends, and the Last One Begins
It appears the machine recount of the Florida midterms is complete, with a hand recount of the Senate — but not the gubernatorial — race up next.

Conservatives continue to react to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in completely normal fashion

Buckle up in Florida

Bill Nelson and Rick Scott race headed for a manual recount, based on machine recount numbers released by the Florida Secretary of State’s office.

The new totals show Scott with slightly higher lead over Nelson by 12,603 votes, or 0.15%, within legal margin for a hand recount

Coda to a horrific story

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal grand jury in Kentucky has charged a white man with three hate crimes in the shooting deaths of two African-Americans last month at a grocery.
An Augmented-Reality App Could Mean Guilt-Free Screen Time With Your Kids
Wonderscope creates a 3D storybook right in front of your eyes — and could help you feel better about letting your kids spend time with a screen.
wall street
wall street
Goldman CEO Is Shocked – Shocked – to Find Fraud Is Going On in Here
CEO David Solomon said that he is “personally outraged” over his bank’s role in abetting financial fraud in Malaysia.

Trump administration considers move that would undoubtedly cause international uproar

The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said.

“At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.

new york city housing authority
new york city housing authority
Don’t Expect Ben Carson to Fix New York City’s Housing Woes
New York City’s public housing is in shambles, but a federal receivership probably won’t help.

Fascinating overheard remarks from Mitch McConnell

Thread. Friend of a professional contact was having breakfast this morning, and told him some of a conversation he said he overheard Sen. Mitch McConnell having nearby. (He told my contact that McConnell was not speaking particularly quietly, he was not trying to eavesdrop). 1/

Zuckerberg tries to explain himself to reporters, employees after bombshell NYT expose

Zuckerberg stumbles over Soros question. “The intention was not to attack an individual,” he said, but to call attention to the fact that a group presenting itself as a spontaneous grassroots effort “was in fact funded by—err—uhh—was not in fact a spontaneous grassroots effort.”

Classic Susan Collins move

GOP Sen Susan Collins says she’ll continue to urge Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on legislation shielding Bob Mueller’s probe, but she won’t join Jeff Flake in refusing to vote for Trump judicial picks until it happens.

The disappearance of an Uyghur professor

On December 4, 2017, the disappearance of Professor Rahile Dawut, an eminent scholar of the Uyghur ethnic minority which she herself belongs to, sent quiet shockwaves among her students and colleagues around the world. On that day she had packed her bags for a flight to Beijing from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the majority of Uyghurs live, and has not been seen since. Presumably she is being held in detention. The cryptic text messages a colleague sent regarding what happened did not provide many details. They ended with the message, “I am going to delete my VPN [virtual private network, for communicating behind the Chinese firewall] and never use it again. So please if you care about people here, stop asking questions.”

2018 midterms
2018 midterms
Republicans Paid the Price for Bending the Knee to Trump
Trump made the midterms all about himself. And you can see that in the results, where his weaknesses became his party’s.
the top line
the top line
Why Amazon Gets Whatever It Wants
Public trust is a priceless asset. And critics of the Long Island City HQ2 deal are underestimating its importance.

Ohio Republicans kept a supermajority in the legislature despite getting less than half the votes

These are two fresh examples of how skillfully gerrymandered legislative districts can sway the balance of power - especially when one party is in full control of drawing the maps as was the case for the current districts.

Funny story, but also a sign of the NRA’s money troubles

According to NRA insiders, the austerity campaign has been led by Josh Powell, the group’s executive director for general operations. The coffee cuts, sources say, are part of Powell’s effort to overhaul the organization’s budget to make up for lost revenue. Powell, sources say, is scrutinizing every expense and contract with the help of the group’s new treasurer, Craig Spray.

On the fantasy of borders

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there were 15 border walls around the world. History had supposedly come to an end, jealous nationalisms were consigned to the past, and the world was becoming “flat.”

Instead, the 21st century has seen a proliferation of border walls, with 77 carving up the earth today.

Their power is often more symbolic than it is concrete. Not just bulwarks to preserve the order of the state—to keep the barbarians at bay—these walls loom as evidence of the apocalypse beyond, proving that the order of the state is what stands between us and chaos.

Trump’s tax cut includes a provision that will slowly increase taxes

The tax law enacted last year lowered tax rates and reduced tax burdens for most households in 2018. It also required the IRS to switch to a different, slower-moving measure of inflation to adjust a variety of tax-code features for rising prices.

The standard deduction, tax brackets and other items will still increase most years, but now they will usually climb more slowly than they would have under the old formula.

the national interest
the national interest
Trump Just Blurted Out the Real Reason He Hired Matt Whitaker
“As far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought.”

The EPA is rushing to open a mine that is still poisoning Idaho’s water

So far, much of the metals pouring down from Silver Valley has settled innocuously on the bottom of the lake, undiffused in the overlying water. But the pollution is a ticking time bomb. Coeur d’Alene’s rapid development is loading the lake with nutrients from septic systems, lawn runoff, and logging activity, among other sources. Nutrients promote plant growth, which depletes the water’s oxygen supply. When the water becomes sufficiently anoxic—depleted of saturated oxygen—the metals will dissolve and flux upward into the water column, turning the lake into a toxic sink of liquefied arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc.

2018 midterms