This guy was crowd-funding his legal bills

Judge Jackson also just read from Roger Stone’s financial filings, according to which he makes $47,000 a month as a consultant
international intrigue
international intrigue
Maduro and Venezuela’s Opposition Prepare for Dramatic Confrontation
Tensions are rising ahead of a Saturday deadline to let humanitarian aid into the country.
Some American Airlines Seats Have Built-in Cameras
The airline says they’ve never been used, so everything is fine.

Roger Stone goes with the “I’m an idiot” defense in trying to explain an Instagram post that juxtaposed the judge overseeing his case with what appeared to be crosshairs

Roger Stone on the stand now: “I believe I abused the order for which I am sorry. I am kicking myself over my own stupidity. I offer no excuse for it, no justification. It was the outgrowth of a lapse in judgement.”
the top line
the top line
What Killed the Biggest Passenger Plane Ever Flown?
And why the Airbus A380 could be revived in the future.
transit woes
transit woes
The Battle Over High-Speed Rail Money Is Part of Trump’s War on California
Trump’s focus on the California high-speed rail project curtailed by Governor Gavin Newsom is about more than his desire to recoup some federal money.

Elizabeth Warren comes out in support of reparations

Oops, copied wrong statement. What Warren said: “We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences including undermining the ability of Black families to build wealth in America for generations.”

The Massachusetts lawsuit against the Sackler family keeps uncovering more and more damning information

In May 1997, the year after Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin, its head of sales and marketing sought input on a key decision from Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that founded and controls the company. Michael Friedman told Sackler that he didn’t want to correct the false impression among doctors that OxyContin was weaker than morphine, because the myth was boosting prescriptions — and sales.

“It would be extremely dangerous at this early stage in the life of the product,” Friedman wrote to Sackler, “to make physicians think the drug is stronger or equal to morphine. … We are well aware of the view held by many physicians that oxycodone [the active ingredient in OxyContin] is weaker than morphine. I do not plan to do anything about that.”

“I agree with you,” Sackler responded. “Is there a general agreement, or are there some holdouts?”

2020 presidential election
2020 presidential election
The New Democratic Primary Calendar Makes Voters of Color Even More Important
A changing calendar for 2020 means that soon after Iowa and New Hampshire very diverse states will dominate the calendar, and the contest.

For the first time in Gallup’s polling, a majority of black respondents say black-white relations are somewhat or very bad

Sean Spicer switches sides

Surprise, surprise: Sean Spicer is now officially a member of the mainstream media. The former White House press secretary has signed a contract to serve as a special correspondent for syndicated newsmagazine show Extra.

“When they pitched this to me, I said, ‘Yeah, I love the idea,’” Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

Spicer, who famously tangled with television reporters during his stint in the White House, is beginning with a special series that focuses on the personal lives and views of D.C. insiders, including some of his former Trump administration colleagues. 

when to walk away
when to walk away
Don’t Buy the Folding Phone
Don’t pay Samsung $2,000 to help them field-test a first-generation device.

The Trump administration is making it more difficult to become a citizen. Probably not coincidentally, wait times to do so have soared.

The time that aspiring Americans must wait to be naturalized is now almost twice as long, 10 months, as it was two years ago. In Las Vegas, where the office has a particularly large backlog, applicants could wait 31 months.

The delays come as the Trump administration tightens scrutiny of applications, diverts staff from reviewing them and introduces proposals likely to make it more difficult, and cumbersome, for green-card holders to qualify and complete the process.

The administration’s move to tighten restrictions on immigration have awakened many longtime permanent residents to the fact that a green card does not shield them from deportation. It has also compelled many to seek citizenship in order to cast a ballot, with hundreds of thousands of immigrants poised to become potential voters ahead of the 2020 election.

Chicago PD superintendent laments the gap in coverage between Smollett case and everyday violence

“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention because that’s who really deserves the amount of attention that we’re giving to this particular incident.”

Eddie Johnson
don't read the comments
don't read the comments
YouTube Is Scrambling, Again, to Fix Its Child Predation Problem
The company has already removed 400 channels.

The teachers strike movement hits Oakland

BREAKING: Teachers in Oakland, California, have gone on strike demanding smaller class sizes and a 12 percent retroactive raise.

A murder in Indiana is looking increasingly like an anti-Muslim hate crime

An incident that was initially reported as a fatal road rage shooting has shined an even brighter light on potential hate crime legislation in Indiana. Mustafa Ayoubi, a Carmel native and Indiana University graduate, was killed Saturday. His friends say it was because of his Muslim faith. 

Witnesses told investigators that Dustin Passarelli, 33, yelled slurs about Islam just moments before he shot Ayoubi to death in an apartment complex parking lot.At least two shots struck Ayoubi, 32, in the back, court records said. The man yelled: “You are followers of Muhammad,” and “Muhammad is a pedophile,” Usman Ashraf, a friend of Ayoubi who witnessed the shooting, told IndyStar.

This incident comes as Indiana lawmakers debate a new hate crimes law. Indiana is one of a handful of states without such a law.

Chicago police tell reporters that Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack

Per Chicago PD Commission Johnson,
-Injuries to Smollett were self-inflicted scratches.
-Smollett wrote a $3,500 check to the brothers to stage the attack.
-Attack was done to promote his career.
-Smollett sent the threat letter.
-Smollett “orchestrated this”
Zuckerberg Will Finally Meet With UK Official
All it took was a blistering government report that called Facebook a corrupt company run by “digital gangsters.”
Report: Families Are Being Separated at the Border Over False Allegations
A new report shows that one of the darkest chapters of the Trump administration is ongoing.

Chicago police release Jussie Smollett mugshot

Time’s latest cover is a doozy

Mike Pompeo says he won’t run for senate in Kansas, which probably doesn’t actually mean much

SoS Mike Pompeo tells NBC Today show he won’t run for #KSSEN in 2020: “It’s ruled out. I’m here. I’m loving it…I’m going to be the Secretary of State as long as president trump gives me the opportunity to serve as America’s senior diplomat.”

Milwaukee is expected to be tapped as the Democratic Convention host in 2020, but Miami isn’t going down without a fight

Miami’s stable of Democratic donors — many of whom have hosted President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton multiple times and are already being hit up by numerous Democratic presidential hopefuls — are applying their clout to the city’s bid. Some of them say they’re already leaning on potential 2020 candidates — they won’t say which ones — to get them behind Miami’s convention bid.

Underpinning Miami’s pitch: It’s the heart of the largest Democratic county in the nation’s biggest swing state. Losing Florida — which is worth 29 Electoral College votes, compared to Wisconsin’s 10 — would likely cost President Donald Trump his reelection.

“We’re making a final effort to convince the DNC that Miami is the best place to go, that this could be a boost to the nominee,” said Chris Korge, the top financier of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and a co-chair of Miami’s convention effort.

what's next
what's next
5G Is Going to Transform Smartphones — Eventually
Over the next few years, the smartphone — and everything else connected to a mobile network — is going to be revolutionized.
A Complete Timeline of the Jussie Smollett Case
What started as an apparent hate crime has since grown far more complicated.

California’s status as right-wing punching bag makes little sense, considering what an economic powerhouse it is

California is now the world’s fifth-largest economy, up from eighth a decade ago. If it’s a socialist hellhole, it’s a socialist hellhole that somehow nurtured Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Uber, Netflix, Oracle and Intel, not to mention old-economy stalwarts like Chevron, Disney, Wells Fargo and the Hollywood film industry. California firms still attract more venture capital than the rest of the country combined, while its farms produce more fruits, nuts and wine than the rest of the country combined. During the Great Recession, when the state was mired in a budget crisis so brutal its bond rating approached junk and it gave IOUs to government workers, mainstream media outlets were proclaiming the death of the California dream. But after a decade of steady growth that has consistently outpaced the nation’s, plus a significant tax hike on the wealthy, California is in much sounder fiscal shape; while federal deficits are soaring again, the state has erased its red ink and even stashed $13 billion in a rainy day fund.

Things took a dramatic turn in the hearing over possible election fraud in North Carolina

The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified Wednesday that he warned his father repeatedly that he believed a political operative now at the center of an election-fraud investigation had previously used illegal tactics to win votes.

John Harris, now an assistant U.S. attorney in Raleigh, said he advised his father in conversations and emails that he believed Leslie McCrae Dowless was “shady” and appeared to have illegally collected absentee ballots in 2016 while working for a different Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

… At one point during his testimony, John Harris’s voice cracked and his father wept.

“I thought what he was doing was illegal, and I was right,” John Harris said about Dowless. He added: “I had no reason to believe that my father actually knew, or my mother or any other associate with the campaign had any knowledge. I think Dowless told them he wasn’t doing any of this, and they believed him.”

past is prologue
past is prologue
If Ross Perot Couldn’t Win the Presidency, There’s No Hope for Howard Schultz
Perot didn’t win a single state in 1992 — or cost Bush reelection. Schultz isn’t as well known, and there’s less of a rationale for his candidacy.

Maybe Trump should have consulted with our allies before announcing a big policy change in Syria

As the deadline approaches for the withdrawal of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, America’s closest European allies have turned down a Trump administration request to fill the gap with their own troops, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

Allies have “unanimously” told the United States that they “won’t stay if you pull out,” a senior administration official said. France and Britain are the only other countries with troops on the ground in the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State.

Along with the United States, they have provided training, supplies, logistics and intelligence for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-dominated group that has done most of the fighting. U.S., French and British ­forces also operate heavy artillery and conduct the airstrikes that have been decisive against the militants.

the city
the city
New NYCHA Monitor’s Strange Political Bedfellows
Federal officials’ pick to oversee public housing has links to Andrew Cuomo, Rudy Giuliani — and controversial activist Lenora Fulani.

Lead is still a major public-health disaster in many American cities

While we rightfully panic about the increasing dangers of a warming planet wrought by human industry, our negligence in housing — paired with a helping of systemic racism and poverty — has insured that children today are exposed to environmental dangers that should have been eradicated long ago. Five weeks before Trump made his declaration in an attempt to seize his border wall funding, researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland published two new studiesin coordination with a Cuyahoga County early-childhood initiative. Their conclusions were harrowing. Analyzing statistics obtained from the Ohio Department of Health, the Case studies found that 10.7 percent of children born in 2012 were found to have elevated blood lead level (EBLL) by age five. That’s 1,237 affected kids. And though overall lead-contamination rates for children in the region have declined for many years, kids under six in Cuyahoga County accounted for 41 percent of Ohio’s cases of elevated exposure.

Children living in pre-1978 housing laden with lead paint is the primary threat identified by the studies. Such homes are prevalent throughout Cleveland and its suburbs, and it’s chilling to consider the likelihood of children crawling around houses containing materials that could poison them. Before age six is about the worst possible time for exposure, as the neurotoxin present in lead potentially causes permanent damage in developing brains.

The stockpile of the U.S. Coast Guard officer who intended to kill Democrats and journalists

Photo: U.S. District Court via AP

The EPA cribbed the music for a game about recycling from the background music for Yoshi’s Island

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has an educational flash game on its site called Recycle City Challenge. That in itself is not special. However, what is interesting is that when you clicked the Let’s Get Started button, a familiar tune for Mario fans played.

The Verge reached out to the EPA for comment after the incident. Here’s what the EPA told the publication:

The ‘Recycle City Challenge’ game was created for EPA by a contractor. We are looking into whether the contractor received permission to use the music, to the extent permission was necessary in this instance.

climate change
climate change
Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel
Trump’s new climate expert William Happer: “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”

Nancy Pelosi announces that the House will vote on a resolution to oppose Trump’s emergency declaration

All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated. We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.

—Nancy Pelosi

Sanders rules out an independent bid in 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to sign a party pledge affirming that he will run for president as a Democrat in 2020 and serve as one if elected, senior campaign adviser Jeff Weaver told CNN on Wednesday.

The Democratic National Committee said on Tuesday that it planned to meet in the coming week with the presidential primary campaigns and distribute a form to the candidates, who under bylaws agreed on last August will be required “to affirm in writing” that they “are a member of the Democratic Party, will accept the Democratic nomination” and “will run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party.”

Sanders declined the Democratic nomination in all three of his Senate campaigns, choosing to run as an independent after winning the party’s primary.

The same day as the Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam

NEWS: Michael Cohen to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 27.

Pandora’s box of blackface has been opened

Amazing. USA Today editor gets staff to investigate blackface in old college yearbooks. Staff find their boss edited a college yearbook containing blackface.

A U.S. Attorney says New York owes the federal government for “falsely claiming that numerous NYCDOT vehicles were damaged during Superstorm Sandy” 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney announces $5.3 million proposed settlement of lawsuit against New York City for fraudulently obtaining FEMA funds following Superstorm Sandy
Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing a False Police Report
The indictment, which carries a felony charge, was handed down Wednesday evening.
Hate-Group Activity Rises for Fourth Year in a Row, Civil-Rights Group Says
The Trump presidency corresponds to a major increase in white supremacist activity.

It’s a tune as old as the special counsel itself, but the Mueller investigation may actually be coming to a close soon

Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.

The preparations are the clearest indication yet that Mueller is nearly done with his almost two-year investigation.

Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must submit a “confidential” report to the attorney general at the conclusion of his work, but the rules don’t require it to be shared with Congress, or by extension, the public. And, as Barr has made clear, the Justice Department generally guards against publicizing “derogatory” information about uncharged individuals.

In addition, Mueller has referred certain matters that fell outside the scope of the Russia probe to other US Attorneys to pursue. Some of those investigations have already been revealed, including the investigation in New York into former Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. That probe has spawned subsequent federal investigations in New York into the Trump Organization and the Trump Inaugural Committee. It is possible the special counsel’s team has referred other matters that have not yet come to light.

Some House Democrats are preparing to play the obstruction of justice card

The Times reported Tuesday that the president asked then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker late last year to put U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in charge of the investigation into Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to bank fraud, tax fraud and making payments to silence women alleging that they had affairs with Trump.

Berman, an ally of Trump who donated to his 2016 campaign, had recused himself from the case, and Whitaker did not act on Trump’s request, according to the report — which Trump has denied.

Democrats claim it is just the latest example of Trump trying to sway an investigation by influencing the investigator.

“I think if you just follow the number of incidences and evidence that has been presented involving the president and the Russia investigation and the investigation in the Southern District in New York and others, I think it clearly shows a pattern that the president has tried to use his influence and/or relationship to really interfere with the investigation,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.).

It’s quite likely that the president is calling the press the “enemy of the people” after receiving briefings on how the people are targeting the press

100% chance Trump was briefed on the US Coast Guard domestic terrorist plotting to kill Democrats and reporters BEFORE he tweeted that the NYT is the enemy of the people. His rhetoric is inciting violence. He’s going to get someone hurt. He doesn’t care.

Illinois will join California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York in the Fight for $15

Pritzker made a $15 minimum wage a cornerstone of his bid for governor, and made good on his campaign pledge Tuesday in Springfield, at a signing ceremony one day before his first budget address.

“Today is a victory for the cause of economic justice,” Pritzker said. “This will improve the lives of families across Illinois, and it will lift people out of poverty.”

Pritzker noted Illinois has not increased its minimum wage in nine years, and said the wage hike would affect 1.4 million workers statewide.

Domestic right-wing terrorism, thwarted

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist has been arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a massive domestic terror attack targeting politicians and journalists.

Christopher Paul Hasson called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland” and dreamed of ways to “kill almost every last person on earth,” according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”

Trump says he intervened personally in the case of a woman who married an ISIS member and now wants to return to America

I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!
the media
the media
Tom Friedman’s Latest Column Proves That Capitalism Was a Mistake
In “Is America Becoming a Four-Party State?” Friedman shows that the free market in hot takes selects for specious arguments and overheated headlines.

Another disturbing development in Israel’s rightward drift

This is an unprecedented development in Israel’s history and is equivalent to a U.S. president cutting a political deal with David Duke, the former KKK leader. The prime minister and the ruling Likud Party are legitimizing a racist, xenophobic and homophobic fringe party in hopes of bolstering a right-wing bloc after the elections.

“Jewish Power” was formed by the followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the former leader of the Kach party, which was banned from running in Israel’s 1988 elections and designated a terror organization by the Israeli government in 1994. Kach was also blacklisted as a terrorist organization in the U.S., Canada and the EU.

Northam Bet He Could Remain Governor, and It Looks Like Virginians Will Let Him
Poll numbers suggest voters are reluctant to see the governor resign. That may be due not to loyalty, but a clear-eyed understanding of the stakes.
Pinterest Temporarily Blocks All Vaccine Content (Factual and Otherwise)
The platform, like many tech companies, is trying to figure out how to handle conspiracy theories.
national emergency declaration
national emergency declaration
Can Congress Stop Trump’s State of Emergency Declaration?
Congress can pass a joint resolution ending the state of emergency, but it would have to be veto-proof to stick.

One takeaway: Elizabeth Warren is in a precarious position if she can’t do better than this in New Hampshire

YouGov/UMass Amherst poll in New Hampshire: Biden 28%, Sanders 20%, Harris 14%, Warren 9%.
Google Sorry It Forgot to Mention Nest Security Systems Have Secret Microphones
Turns out that piece of tech you bought under the guise of self-protection actually has the capability to spy on you.
the city
the city
Interview With the Amazon Slayer
The nomination of State Senator Mike Gianaris to a powerful post was the beginning of the end for HQ2. His next target: vast corporate tax breaks.

How long has he had this line in his back pocket?

“Andrew McCabe has made a fool of himself over the past couple of days. He really looks to me like a poor man’s J. Edgar Hoover,” President Trump tells reporters.
Why Has It Taken Us So Long to See Trump’s Weakness?
There’s a bad synergy at work between the short-termism of the news cycle and the longue durée-ism of the academy.

The White House wants to challenge the idea that climate change threatens national security

The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which would be established by executive order, is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.

Hard to tell, at this point, how meaningful this new report actually is

Breaking right now on @CNN: A.G. Bill Barr “is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar…”
the national circus
the national circus
Lindsey Graham’s Claims About an Anti-Trump ‘Coup’ Are Just Trolling
Andrew McCabe’s book provides more evidence that Trump’s Senate lackey is only threatening to probe the DOJ and FBI to give the president cover.

New York Times publisher releases a long statement in response to Trump calling the paper the “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE”

America’s founders believed that a free press was essential to democracy because it is the foundation of an informed, engaged citizenry. That conviction, enshrined in the First Amendment, has been embraced by nearly every American president. Thomas Jefferson declared, “The only security of all is in a free press.” John F. Kennedy warned about the risks to​ “free society without a very, very active press.” Ronald Reagan said, “There​ ​is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success.”

All these presidents had complaints about their coverage and at times took advantage of the freedom every American has to criticize journalists. But in demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle. It’s a principle that previous occupants of the Oval Office fiercely defended regardless of their politics, party affiliation, or complaints about how they were covered.

The phrase “enemy of the people” is not just false, it’s dangerous. It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information. And it is particularly reckless coming from someone whose office gives him broad powers to fight or imprison the nation’s enemies. As I have repeatedly told President Trump face to face, there are mounting signs that this incendiary rhetoric is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad.

Through 33 presidential administrations, across 167 years, The New York Times has worked to serve the public by fulfilling the fundamental role of the free press. To help people, regardless of their backgrounds or politics, understand their country and the world. To report independently, fairly and accurately. To ask hard questions. To pursue the truth wherever it leads. That will not change.

A.G. Sulzberger
supreme court
supreme court
Supreme Court Applies Ban on ‘Excessive Fines’ to States and Localities
The unanimous decision could have a big impact on state and local government, sparking many lawsuits aimed at fines, fees, and asset seizures.