News Digest For Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bill Cosby Is Found Guilty in Second Trial for Sexual Assault

The Wall Street Journal
Kris Maher

A jury found entertainer Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004, in the first major prosecution since the #MeToo movement put the issue of sexual assault by powerful men onto the national stage.

Mr. Cosby, the 80-year-old comedian and actor who has occupied the pinnacle of American celebrity for decades, faces as many as 10 years in prison for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, though the sentences could be served concurrently.

Facebook To Offer Users Opt-Outs That Comply With New European Privacy Rules

Scott Neuman

Facebook on Wednesday announced it is introducing “new privacy experiences” aimed at complying with European Union regulations that will give users worldwide a chance to opt out of some features that could expose their personal data.

Robert Mueller is getting some unlikely support from TV ads. By Republicans. On Fox News.

Brian Murphy

A new group founded by prominent Republicans is taking its pro-Robert Mueller message straight to President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters in North Carolina and South Carolina via his favorite news network.

Republicans for the Rule of Law began airing a 30-second television ad on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” in four states on Tuesday, calling for the special counsel to be allowed to finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Senate Judiciary Committee backs bill to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from being fired by President Trump

The Washington Post

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14-7 to advance legislation that would protect Mueller after the panel’s Republican chairman backed off from changes that threatened the bipartisan support for the bill.

Junkies take over corridors Of San Francisco Civic Center BART station

Wilson Walker

Shocking video is calling attention to what’s going on in one of the busiest BART stations in the Bay Area: junkies blatantly shooting up out in the open as commuters walk by, others slumped along filthy corridors.

It’s a gauntlet commuters walk through every morning at the Civic Center BART and Muni station.

Smartphone addiction is worth talking about, but it probably isn’t a social crisis

Android Police
David Ruddock

The idea that smartphones are somehow having a broad negative impact our lives has understandable appeal. First, it’s highly reductive. It takes what are often complex and nuanced issues – our anxieties, our unhappiness, and our problems – and traces them back to a little brick we all carry around every day. It’s something we can all relate to. Second, it appeals to a romantic sort of nostalgia. Don’t you remember what it was like walking around with a dumbphone that could only do calls and text? What a time to be alive! After all, we were so much more engaged with our world before [insert technology that greatly improved life for everyone here] showed up, right?

Inside the Coming Battle Over Gene-Edited Food

The Wall Street Journal
Jacob Bunge and Dockser Marcus

Proponents including scientists and agriculture-industry executives say gene editing in plants could transform agriculture and help feed a growing global population. Organic farmers and natural-food companies say it may pose risks to human health and permanently alter the environment by spreading beyond farms.

F.B.I. Letter Casts Further Doubt on White House’s Rob Porter Timeline

The New York Times
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nicholas Fandos, and Adam Goldman

The F.B.I. first gave the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, a file containing spousal abuse allegations against Rob Porter in March 2017, according to a detailed new timeline the bureau has given to Congress that casts further doubt on the West Wing’s account of how accusations against one of President Trump’s closest advisers were handled.

Mr. Porter, Mr. Trump’s staff secretary, resigned under pressure in February after allegations that he had been physically violent toward two former wives were aired in the press. The White House — which initially sprang to his defense — has issued several competing accounts of how Mr. Trump’s team handled the allegations, which they insisted no senior officials knew about until just before Mr. Porter left his job.



News Digest for Tuesday, April 24, 2018

U.S. to fine Wells Fargo $1 billion — the most aggressive bank penalty of the Trump era

The Washington Post
Renae Merle

Federal regulators are preparing to fine megabank Wells Fargo about $1 billion for misbehavior in its auto and mortgage businesses, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

Paul Krugman on Twitter –

This is an administration of men with empty souls. Pruitt is in hot water not because he was stealing large amounts (that we know of) but because he demanded ludicrous privileges that made him feel important and special.

The same was, of course, true of Tom Price and is true of Ryan Zinke and Ben Carson — and I’m sure we’ll find true of other officials. All of these men obviously need special treatment — bowing and scraping by others — to fill some hole in themselves.

And this is obviously true of Trump himself — he’s the one who sets the tone for the whole administration. It’s not even about power or wealth, except insofar as these buy validation. It’s about humiliating and lording it over people to numb your inner emptiness.

The terrible thing, of course, is that these hollow men have real power now, and their neediness will do immense damage to the world.

The Yellowstone supervolcano is a disaster waiting to happen

The Washington Post
Joel Achenbach

Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention. Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano — it’s 44 miles across — and not until the 1980s did they grasp that this thing is fully alive and still threatens to erupt catastrophically.

27 incredibly useful things you didn’t know Chrome could do

Fast Company
JR Raphael

These days, a browser is more than just a basic navigator for the web. It’s effectively a second desktop—a gateway to countless apps, sites, and services. And optimizing that environment can go a long way in increasing your efficiency.

Google’s Chrome is full of hidden shortcuts, features, and power-user possibilities. Take the time to learn these tips and watch your productivity soar.

Flight records illuminate mystery of Trump’s Moscow nights

Vernon Silver

President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations.

Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest.

We know an awful lot about Manafort and Russia. Trump can’t make it disappear.

The Washington Post
David Ignatius

When August 2016 began, Paul Manafort was about 11 weeks into his job as chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign. But despite the political tumult, Manafort found time that month to meet at a swank Manhattan cigar bar with someone the FBI has suggested has ties to Russian intelligence.

By the time August ended, Manafort was gone — having resigned after allegations that he had received millions of dollars “off the books” to support pro-Russia figures in Ukraine. On the very day he was forced out, the financially strapped Manafort created a shell company that received $13 million in loans over the next few months from people or financial institutions with links to Trump.

Trump keeps saying he’s innocent. So why does he keep sounding like he’s guilty?

The Washington Post
Philip Rucker

As concern grew inside his orbit that Michael Cohen might become a cooperating witness to federal investigators, President Trump issued a declaration about his longtime personal lawyer and fixer.

“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble,” Trump tweeted over the weekend. He added: “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.”

By asserting that the government would not be able to “flip” Cohen, Trump invited a question: If the Russia probe is the “witch hunt” the president says it is — and if he is as innocent as he so often proclaims — what incriminating evidence would Cohen have on Trump that would give him leverage to flip?

It was only the latest instance of the president adopting a posture vis-a-vis his legal troubles that is both combative and defensive — and, perhaps unwittingly, seems to assume guilt.