Why these people spent Valentine’s Day with Howard Schultz
“We bought these tickets before he said he might run. We’re not fans. I’m definitely not broadcasting that I’m here on social media; I’m anonymous,” said Courtney Adams, a nanny who had driven almost three hours with her sister-in-law to be here because she didn’t want to eat the ticket. “I mentioned we bought these tickets before he said he might run for office, right?”
“Valentine’s Day is always a disaster,” said Tom Sheeran, sitting beside his date, Theresa Harrison, in a center pew. “Restaurants are always crowded, roses are expensive, people are miserable, so how could this be any worse?”
“My wife’s in Ethiopia. and I didn’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day, so why not?” Selcuk Karaoglan said. “But I don’t really even like Starbucks.”
The border crisis is fake, but the military housing crisis is real
Deeply troubled by military housing conditions exposed by Reuters reporting, the U.S. Army’s top leadership vowed Friday to renegotiate its housing contracts with private real estate firms, test tens of thousands of homes for toxins and hold its own commanders responsible for protecting Army base residents from dangerous homes. …
The Reuters reporting described rampant mold and pest infestations, childhood lead poisoning, and service families often powerless to challenge private landlords in business with their military employers. Many families said they feared retaliation if they spoke out. The news agency described hazards across Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps base housing communities.
Here’s where Trump’s getting his border wall money
In addition to $1.375 billion included in the bill passed by Congress, Trump plans to draw money from a mixture of drug forfeiture funds, military projects and other accounts.
Trump is eyeing about $600 million from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund and $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction program, according to officials.
In addition, the president wants to use $3.6 billion in military construction funds to help build his new border barriers.
This one is going to come back to bite him
That’s a new one
Not really making the case for his emergency
Trump announces his intention to declare a national emergency
This should go over well in Texas
Stephen Miller, Russ Vought and others had AM call with surrogates to sell deal. Said quick construction would “shock” people, effort is being made to keep California from having jurisdiction to sue, most action will be in Texas, Trump will “veto” any move to block declaration.
They also promised aggressive use of eminent domain.
Reminder: Trump is 72, not 2
Trump can be combustible and sometimes acts rashly when he feels cornered, so some Republican senators spent recent days on the phone, soothing him and trying to persuade him to hold his fire. McConnell also asked Trump to withhold judgment until the details of the deal were finalized.
Democrats decided in the final days they needed to be careful with their language, worried they could provoke Trump into another shutdown.
“He doesn’t seem to work on a totally rational basis,” Schumer said in the Post interview. “Little comments throw him off.”
Trump gets his first primary challenger
Former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld is launching a presidential exploratory committee to challenge President Trump in the Republican primaries, saying the country is “in grave peril” and he “cannot sit quietly on the sidelines any longer.”
Weld becomes the first Republican to officially announce he is exploring a run against Trump, and sets up a potential match-up in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire presidential primary and in other states.
Doesn’t sound like a guy gearing up for a Senate run
Beto O’Rourke is hitting the road again, this time for the Midwest.
Following a massive rally in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the former Texas congressman and potential presidential candidate will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event.
A peek at the fallout for real estate investors betting on Amazon coming to Queens
The real-estate investment firm Savanna had a commitment from Amazon to lease the majority of a 1.4 million-square-foot office tower in Long Island City. Now with the building’s main tenant,Citigroup Inc., likely to leave in 2020, Savanna faces a one-million-square-foot hole in the building that it now needs to fill.
A Savanna spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.
Manufacturing company Plaxall Inc., which owns a massive development site in Long Island City where Amazon planned to build part of its new headquarters, missed out on a sure windfall.
Plaxall’s managing directors Paula Kirby, Tony Pfohl and Matthew Quigley said in a statement they were “extremely disappointed by this decision.”
Amazon’s reversal could also hurt developers who had bought development sites or filed plans for new buildings in the area in recent months and were hoping that an influx of 25,000 new Amazon jobs could boost rents and property values.
Since Nov. 12, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon had chosen Long Island City, 31 commercial and multifamily properties have sold in Long Island City for a combined $553 million, according to real-estate data company Reonomy, although some of these contracts may have been signed before the announcement.
Trump probably won’t be speaking of “my generals” so fondly today
The US commander who has been leading the war against ISIS told CNN Friday that he disagreed with Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and warned that the terror group was far from defeated, in a stark public break with the President.
Joseph Votel, the top American general in the Middle East, also said that the US-backed forces on the ground in Syria were not ready to handle the threat of ISIS on their own.
“It would not have been my military advice at that particular time … I would not have made that suggestion, frankly,” Votel said of the troop withdrawal. “(The caliphate) still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network.”
Jeff Bezos may have considered buying A.M.I. to determine who leaked his extramarital texts
In October, Lauren and Bezos had their first publicity scare when they spotted a paparazzo taking long-lens photos of them from the Santa Monica beach. Then, at dinner at Santa Monica restaurant Capo, Lauren noticed a reporter snapping photos of their table. Michael said they were increasingly nervous when they left the restaurant and Bezos’s car hadn’t arrived. “We were literally standing on the street with Jeff Bezos and his mistress. I got very protective of him. I said, ‘We need to get you into an Uber,’” Michael recalled.
Two months later, they were outed. On the morning of January 7, Michael was on a Caribbean cruise when he was alerted that the Enquirer had called Bezos and Lauren for comment on their affair. “Lauren and Jeff called me like 911. They were terrified,” Michael recalled. According to Michael, they discussed various options regarding how to respond to the story. One option even included Bezos buying A.M.I.—not such an outlandish consideration given the seriousness of the breach and the fact that, for Bezos, the price of the tabloid company is essentially a rounding error—to find out the source of the leak. “We discussed the possibility to buy A.M.I.—not to kill the story, but to find out the source. They said that’s not a bad idea. We discussed numbers and the name of the LLC that we’d use. It would be called BOBO LCC”—short for Lauren’s helicopter filming company, Black Ops, and Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin—“that’s the level of detail we went into.”
Facebook may be tracking people who threaten Facebook employees
In early 2018, a Facebook user made a public threat on the social network against one of the company’s offices in Europe.
Facebook picked up the threat, pulled the user’s data and determined he was in the same country as the office he was targeting. The company informed the authorities about the threat and directed its security officers to be on the lookout for the user.
The incident is representative of the steps Facebook takes to keep its offices, executives and employees protected, according to more than a dozen former Facebook employees who spoke with CNBC. The company mines its social network for threatening comments, and in some cases uses its products to track the location of people it believes present a credible threat.
One of the tools Facebook uses to monitor threats is a “be on lookout” or “BOLO” list, which is updated approximately once a week. The list was created in 2008, an early employee in Facebook’s physical security group told CNBC. It now contains hundreds of people, according to four former Facebook security employees who have left the company since 2016.
If Trump is sticking with his national emergency stunt, it will most likely occur tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.
The LA Times owner must not be aware that most books don’t earn out their advances
The Los Angeles Times Guild is raising concerns about a proposal from the newspaper’s management to assert “unfettered control” over the outside projects — books and TV shows, for example — of its journalists, according to an open letter released on Wednesday. The proposal, according to the guild, has come in the late stages of negotiations over a union contract. “The company has proposed a draconian policy on books and other creative projects that, as a condition of employment, would go far beyond the work-for-hire standards of U.S. copyright law and the relicensing practices historically allowed by The Times,” reads the letter.
“If we have a book idea related to our work, even if fictional, the company wants unfettered power to claim control over whether it gets written, who owns the copyright and what we might get paid for it,” it continues. “The company also wants to claim the film rights to such books even if the company grants permission for the book to be written, on unpaid leave, for an outside publisher.”
Mark Kelly is so hot right now
Mark Kelly’s campaign for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat in 2020 reported raising more than $1.1 million in individual contributions since announcing his candidacy Tuesday.
The retired astronaut and Tucson Democrat launched his campaign for the seat Tuesday morning. By Wednesday evening, his fundraising haul was closing in or eclipsing that of two recent entrants to the 2020 Democratic presidential race.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, for example, raised about $1.5 million within 24 hours of announcing she was leaping into the crowded Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised $1 million over a 48-hour period.
Republicans were also surprised by Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency
“I wish he wouldn’t have done it,” said Chuck Grassley. “If [Trump] figures that Congress didn’t do enough and he’s got to do it, then I imagine we’ll find out whether he’s got the authority to do it by the courts.”
“In general, I’m not for running the government by emergency, nor spending money. The Constitution’s pretty clear: spending originates and is directed by Congress,” said Rand Paul. “So I’m not really for it.”
“I’m not enthusiastic about it, but I don’t know whether that’s actually going to happen, and if so, what follows from there. I don’t know what authority he may or may not invoke,” said Sen. Pat Toomey.
Marco Rubio simply called it a “bad idea.”