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New York Times newsroom staff prep for 24-hour walkout

The New York Times will likely have a 24-hour walkout of its editorial staff starting at midnight Eastern Time in the first labor action of its kind at the esteemed newspaper in forty years, the Guardian reports.

Union members of the NewsGuild of New York, consisting mainly of newsroom staff but including some production employees, hope to jumpstart the negotiations for a new contract.  The old one expired in March 2021, and they’ve been negotiating since, but talks have stalled.

NYT reporter Sheera Frenkel tweeted, “I am joining more than 1,100 of my colleagues at the NYT on strike tomorrow. Among national, business, and metro reporters, more than 90% of the desk is joining the strike. None of us wanted it to come to this, but two years is too long to wait for a fair contract.”

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Fox hosts mad that the candidates they chose lost

Welcome to Schadenfreude Theatre!  In tonight’s episode, two key advisors to Donald Trump bemoan the Georgia Senate loss of animated crash test dummy Texan Herschel Walker Tuesday.  What’s fun about this is how both Hannity and Ingraham blame Senate Republicans for not supporting Walker when Senate ongoing-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put in a reported $45 million into the race and Walker was chaperoned around by such conservative handlers as Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz–which, if you’re gonna pick two handlers to attract independent voters, who else would you choose?

In this clip as why lament Republicans’ historic unpopularity in the midterms, Hannity and Ingraham would never admit that one of the biggest factors in incumbent Democratic Georgia Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock’s fifth election victory in two years (including primaries) was that Donald Trump’s handpicked nominee sucked balls.  And maybe have a better policy platform than “I wanna be a werewolf, not a vampire.”  So, of course, the Tweedles–Mr. Dum and Mrs. Dee–blame…. Ronna Romney McDaniel.

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After ordering employees to go “hardcore,” Musk converted empty Twitter office space to bedrooms

Weeks after he told employees of Twitter to go “hardcore” or go home (because they were fired), new owner Elon Musk has reportedly converted some of the company’s numerous empty offices into bedrooms to facilitate workers’ “hardcore” schedule, the BBC reports.

Photos show a double bed, nightstand, chairs, wardrobes and floor lamps arranged in an office, trying badly to look like a hotel room… a cold, sterile, carpetless, more-impersonal-than-normal hotel room.  No television, of course, because it would distract from the “hardcore” coding.  Musk has reportedly been staying in one of these cells since he bought Twitter, apparently following the Herschel Walker playbook for raising his 8-10 children.

The residential cells have raised questions with San Francisco authorities who have suggested it violates a number of zoning, safety, labor and decorating regulations and norms.  Of course, Musk’s newly-found rightwing troll army will say the “librul” San Francisco is pickin’ on Elon ’cause he love FREE SPEACH [sic] and libs hate FREE SPEACH.  But it really has to do with the fact that the Twitter office is zone for neither residential or hotel use.

 

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Oh, man, the new “Wedding Singer” is really dark

Imagine having a former President of the United States as the First DeeJay at your wedding!  For the right amount of money, you can rent out the document depot at Mar-a-Lago, and have a cameo from a senile, half-dressed, washed-up reality television star!

Okay, so that’s not what’s happening here.  The tieless Trump, y’know, totally unplanned, stopped by to salute the QAnon conference that paid the extraordinary catering fees to line his pockets while they eat burnt Salisbury steak.  He wonders aloud where disgraced general, admitted perjured Mike Flynn, who shouldn’t be hard to miss because he was dressed like this:

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New York Attorney General, judge exclude Ivanka from further court-ordered Trump Org oversight

Former First Daughter (in more ways than one) Ivanka Trump will no longer be required to report her business’s activities to a court-appointed overseer monitoring the transactions of the Trump Organization, the New York Attorney General and a judge announced Monday, the Daily Beast reports.

Alerted to concerns of the Attorney General’s office that Trump would try to hide assets following the announcement of a $250 million (at least) lawsuit against the company, Judge Authur Engoron required all corporate transactions undertaken by the Trump Org be reviewed by an independent monitor.

Engoron agreed with the AG’s office that Ivanka Trump’s business operations were independent from the operation of the family business, allowing her enterprises to avoid scrutiny.  Now she just has to decide what to do with the dozen or so Chinese trademarks she got while she had an office in the White House.

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Theranos COO gets 13-year prison term

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the 57-year-old former chief operating officer of biotech start-up Theranos, received a 155-month prison sentence for defrauding investors about the company’s products, CBS News reports.

Balwani’s sentence was greater than the one handed down to Theranos CEO, the more Hollywood-friendly Elizabeth Holmes, with whom he carried on a romantic relationship.  Holmes claimed Balwani controlled her through psychological and sexual abuse.

Theranos gained a billion dollars in funding for a device which it claimed could diagnose myriad diseases and medical conditions using just a few drops of a patient’s blood.  Although the company attempted to develop such a device, it never succeeded despite claims that it had.

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Arkansas town elects 18-year-old man mayor

Earle, Arkansas has a new mayor.  In a few years, he’ll be able to legally sip some champagne to celebrate.  That’s because the town’s new mayor is 18-year-old Jaylen Smith, who was a senior in the local high school six months ago.

CNN reports Smith defeated the town’s street and sanitation superintendent by a 235-185 vote to lead the 1,831 people of Earle for the next four years.  To prepare for the job which he takes in early January, Smith is calling mayors across the state as well as working with Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock and the head of the African American Mayors Association.

Smith ran on a platform to clear the abandoned homes in town that has lost about half its population in the last 30 years.  He also wants to have a police force that operates 24 hours per day and implement public transportation routes to the area’s grocery stores.

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Republican Florida state lawmaker who wrote “Don’t Say Gay” bill indicted on wire fraud charges in COVID relief loan scam

“A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, 35, of Williston, Florida. The indictment was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The Indictment alleges that between December 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce. The Indictment alleges that Harding made and caused to be made false and fraudulent SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications, and made false representations in supporting loan documentation, in the names of dormant business entities, submitted to the SBA,” says a Justice Department press release on yet another scam by a member of the “law and order” party.

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Trump hosts QAnon fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump hosted a conference at Mar-a-Lago, his senior detention center and classified document depository, featuring a prominent Pizzagate proponent who continues to claim Trump personally freed hundreds of children from sex trafficking every month of his presidency.

According to ABC News, Liz Crokin delivered a speech at the event, marking another week where Trump hosted a loony conspiracy theorist at his flop house.  Trump and Crokin took photos together after the event, with each giving a thumbs-up.

Banned by social media for spreading false claims about coronavirus, migrants, the election and virtually everything, Crokin continues to be one of the prominent characters of the waning QAnon cult.  She was hosting a fundraising for a documentary she’s involved with that purports to expose a massive child sex trafficking ring in Hollywood.  Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-Ga.) has credited Crokin as the person who introduced her to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims Democrats were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Georgetown pizza parlor… that doesn’t have a basement. 

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Colorado Spring LGBTQ club murder vowed to family he’d be “the next mass killer” but police didn’t Red Flag him

The man who killed five at a drag show at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club in November said he planned to be “the next mass killer,” warning them to not stand in his way as he tried to amass a cache of guns and ammunition, family members told law enforcement after a June 2021 armed standoff at his mother’s house, the Associated Press reports.

Even with that explicit report, the county sheriff declined to pursue a “red flag” order that would have prevented Anderson Aldrich from buying and possessing weapons likey because El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder is a conservative who refuses to file such motions because he believes in the unfettered right of anyone he approves of to possess a firearm.

“There were many warning signs,” a spokesman for Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis told the AP. “It appears obvious that an Extreme Risk Protection Order law could have and should have been utilized, which would have removed the suspect’s firearms and could very well have prevented this tragedy.”

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MAGAts keeping it KKKlassy

As if you didn’t need another indication that MAGAts and conservatives are a deplorable lot–far more than the “half” specified by Hillary Clinton–here’s a MAGAbilly outside the church where the funeral for deceased Black Democratic Virginia Congressman Don McEachin was held Wednesday in Richmond.

Remember, folks:  the GOP is the Party of Family Values, they claim.  They believe in “Christian charity,” they claim.  They believe they walk in the steps of Jesus.  Until that all becomes way to burdensome on them and they have to let their rage rule.

 

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Tiny, remote island goes hard hyping tortoise’s 190th birthday

Tourism officials on the tiny, isolated South Atlantic island of St Helena, population 4,439, really want you to come check out their 190 year-old tortoise Jonathan, whose recent birthday was celebrated with a “cake” made out of lettuce, tomatoes, and possibly some croutons too.

So apparently pivotal is the massive super-centenarian reptile to the British colony’s tourism industry that the bureau’s Twitter profile’s banner has been “Jonathan-ized” with both a photo and cartoon depiction him to beckon visitors to come to a place 1,200 miles from Africa and 2,500 miles from Brazil. It’s not clear what else there is to do there besides seeing a lumbering tortoise and Napoleon Bonaparte’s former grave site. Former, as his remains were exhumed and repatriated to France in 1840, 19 years after his death in exile on Saint Helena. There appears to be plenty of beautiful natural scenery to enjoy for hikers and beachgoers, but not enough to really justify flying out to the middle of nowhere in our opinion at least. So our official editorial position is to open up a massive tortoise-themed casino with a giant Napoleon hat-shaped waterslide by the pool.

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In likely coup, Peru’s president moves to dissolve Congress

UPDATE (5:57 p.m. ET):  Pedro Castillo has been impeached and arrested, according to CNN.

Original story:  Pedro Castillo, the left-wing populist president of Peru, stated he would dissolve the nation’s Congress and install a temporary government hours before the Congress was to vote on impeaching him and removing him from office, CNN reports.

A former school teacher who won election by just 40,000 votes, Castillo has faced multiple attempts by conservatives to oust him from office, sometimes joined by traditionally left-leaning labor unions, since he took office in July 2021.  In a speech televised nationally Wednesday, Castillo called for new parliamentary elections and said he would assemble a committee to craft a new constitution.

Two previous impeachment attempts failed.  Peru’s Congress is comprised of 130 representatives divided among 14 different political parties.  The head of Peru’s supreme court described Castillo’s actions as a “coup d’etat” and called on Vice President Dina Boluarte to oust Castillo and take over the presidency.  Seven cabinet members have resigned in protest.

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Trump lawyers find more classified documents in storage unit

Trump lawyers have turned over to the FBI two additional classified documents they found in an off-site storage unit Trump rented in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Washington Post reports.  It’s unknown if there were more non-classified government documents found along with them.

An outside team of contractors reportedly undertook a search of various Trump-controlled properties found the documents at a storage unit at a site not at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago flop house and burnt steak emporium run by a private company.  While the storage unit was locked, there was no other significant security at the site to protect the documents, indicating Trump doesn’t give a shit about US national security.

The search of the storage unit came about as Trump’s lawyers face a deadline tomorrow to confirm in court that all documents had been returned to the government.  The unit, which was rented by the General Services Administration, the government agency that helps outgoing presidents who lost elections to transition to civilian life, was rented to temporarily store material that had been placed in an office space in Northern Virginia in the months after Joe Biden’s inauguration.  This means that the classified documents were likely in an unsecured location for months before being moved to Florida.

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Federal prosecutors indict MAGA and Kremlin-allied former Ukrainian lawmaker on money laundering charges

“A seven-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Andrii Derkach with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Acts (IEEPA), bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and four counts of money laundering in connection with the purchase and maintenance of two condominiums in Beverly Hills, California. Derkach allegedly purchased the properties in violation of new U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this year and concealed his interest in the transactions. Derkach remains at large,” says a DOJ press release.

This son of a bitch was one of the main conduits of Russian interference in the 2020 election, feeding information on Hunter Biden to Devin Nunes and Rudy Giuliani, among others, as they tried to gin up a scandal to torpedo Joe Biden’s candidacy before he had even launched a campaign. You all know the rest: Trump was impeached over it, people ignored the “laptop from hell” in large part because of the impeachment, then he lost reelection. This is just some unfinished business.

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Vlad looking at Venezuela or Argentina to flee to: Ex-minion

A former aide to Vladimir Putin said in an early Wednesday Telegram post that the Russian dictator is looking at holing up in Venezuela if he’s still alive whenever his rule becomes untenable, the Daily Beast reports. “The leader’s entourage has not ruled out that he will lose the war, be stripped of power, and have to urgently evacuate somewhere,” former speechwriter Putin Abbas Gallyamov posted, claiming it was reliable information from the inside, adding that an executive at state-owned oil company Rosneft resigned from his post to lead the project dubbed “Noah’s Ark.”

“As the name implies, it’s about a search for new land to go to in case it becomes completely uncomfortable in the homeland. The leader’s entourage has not ruled out that he will lose the war, be stripped of power, and have to urgently evacuate somewhere,” Gallyamov wrote. China was considered the first and best option, but Putin’s team reconsidered after deciding that the ChiComs might not cooperate since they hate “losers,” according to Gallyamov. Another Telegram channel reports that Kremlin big wigs have been working to obtain papers and are buying up properties on Venezuela’s Margarita Island, where the believe they’ll be safe from extradition. Lower-ranking Putin goons are looking at various other South American countries such as Argentina, Paraguay, and Ecuador. We’ll just skip the part where we detail the parallels with those countries, particularly Argentina, being famous as the refuge of Post-World War II Nazi fugitives.

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German cops arrest 25 in raids on QAnon-linked terrorist group

German police on Wednesday arrested at least 25 individuals in connection to a QAnon-linked far right terrorist group calling themselves “Reichsbürger” who were allegedly plotting to storm the country’s parliament and overthrow the government, the Washington Post reports.

As many as 3,000 cops participated were involved in the coordinated raids, which targeted locations associated with the group in 11 of Germany’s 16 states. At least one of the individuals arrested was a Russian national because, no shit, of course there would probably be some Kremlin connection to a far right QAnon group. The raids and arrests come two days after police in Japan cuffed eight members of a QAnon-linked cult for attempting to disrupt COVID vaccine distribution. It would be nice for the hard fist of the law to go 3-for-3 against Q Nazis in the former Axis Powers on the week of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, but it might be too much to hope for given the recent ascension of a far right government in Italy. Still two out of three ain’t bad.

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