Friday, May 19, 2017

This is really good news for Flint.

It could mean increased tourism and an uptick in the economy. It also increases the presence of those interested in the natural world, clean water and protections that help the environment. It is a new conscience for some in Flint and it is a good thing.

May 1, 2017
By Roberta Costa

Flint River, MI - Additional patrols (click here) will hit the Flint River Trail in and around the downtown area beginning this week through the end of October following an expansion of the River Trail Watchers program.

The University of Michigan-Flint announced the addition of two golf carts for the program in partnership with several local community organizations and police departments, as well as new weekend patrols along University Avenue from Mill Street to Ballenger Highway.

After a pilot year in 2016, University of Michigan-Flint Department of Public Safety director Ray Hall said the response has been positive and they would like the effort to continue moving forward with help from a $200,000 Urban Safety Corps grant through the United Way of Genesee County....                       

There is a great deal more security at Cannes this year, but, the controversy over "Traditional Theater" and "Populous Fad" is interesting.

It seems to me the "Theater Culture" is under attack. TV and Computers remove culture and isolate individuals. I think the organizers of Cannes are correct. There is nothing to say the made for electronic media films can't be enjoyed and have wide appeal, but, let's face it MTV got over being part of the Grammy Awards a long time ago.

May 17, 2017

...This year's Cannes programme (click here) points to changes shaking up the film industry, including the march on Hollywood by streaming giants Netflix and Amazon and the arrival of virtual reality.

A row over Netflix, which has hailed Cannes' acceptance of two of its movies as proof of its new status as a major industry player, dominated the run-up to the festival.

The US platform has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas due to strict rules that mean films cannot be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box office release.

A backlash from French cinema chains prompted Cannes organisers to change the festival's rules from next year onwards to insist on a theatrical release -- a move that could effectively ban Netflix from taking part in the future.

The website -- which has 100 million subscribers -- hit back by saying the industry must embrace change, with CEO Reed Hastings blaming the French cinema establishment for "closing ranks" against it.

Netflix's movie "Okja" about a mysterious giant beast, starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, is nonetheless among the most talked-about at Cannes, with Sofia Coppola's American Civil War thriller "The Beguiled" featuring Colin Farrell alongside Kidman.

The Australian actress is the undisputed queen of this year's Cannes, starring in three movies as well as TV series "Top of the Lake", which is getting a special screening.

Others in the running for top honours include "Happy End", a film set against the European migrant crisis by "Amour" director Michael Haneke, who is seeking a record-breaking third Palme d'Or.

Another highlight will be Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu showcasing a virtual reality project that allows the viewer to walk in the footsteps of refugees.

The extravaganza's opening ceremony on Wednesday evening will be hosted by Italian actress Monica Bellucci, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film.

"The Bennan Center for Justice" has released a report about gerrymandering.

...This report focuses (click here for "Extreme Maps") on one of the most egregious of these abuses: the manipulation of district lines to give the party drawing the map a share of seats grossly at odds with statewide election results, thus ensuring that one party is over represented and the other underrepresented in a delegation....

The degree these maps are skewed, they are ignitable. The recent Supreme Court Decision should back up such extreme maps.

May 15, 2017
By Vann R. Newkirk II

North Carolina (click here) voters probably won’t have to worry about a return of strict voter-ID tests any time soon. Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear arguments in North Carolina, et al. v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, et al. That case was petitioned by Republican state officials, including then-Governor Pat McCrory, after the Fourth Circuit court found last year that a package of 2013 voting reforms, including the establishment of a strict voter-ID requirement and restrictions on early voting and same-day registration, “were enacted with racially discriminatory intent.”...

There are other states I am fairly confident the Trump campaign is also examining for his re-election. These are the states that went for him only through their electoral college vote AND where tens of thousands of people were rejected or disheartened in their resolve to vote. Wisconsin was one of those states.

May 14, 2017
By Christina A. Cassidy and Ivan Moren

Milwaukee — State Sen. Mary Lazich (click here) was adamant: The bill Republicans were about to push through the Wisconsin state Senate, requiring that voters present identification at the polls, would do no harm.

“Not a single voter in this state will be disenfranchised by the ID law,” Lazich promised.
Five years later, in the first presidential election held under the new law, Gladys Harris proved her wrong.

By one estimate, 300,000 eligible voters in the state lacked valid photo IDs heading into the election; it is unknown how many people did not vote because they didn’t have proper identification. But it is not hard to find the Navy veteran whose out-of-state driver’s license did not suffice, or the dying woman whose license had expired, or the recent graduate whose student ID was deficient — or Harris, who at 66 made her way to her polling place despite chronic lung disease and a torn ligament in her knee.

She had lost her driver’s license just before Election Day. Aware of the new law, she brought her Social Security and Medicare cards as well as a county-issued bus pass that displayed her photo....

He's back.

May 19, 2017
By Neal Katyal   

Appointing special counsel Robert Mueller (click here) to probe Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible ties to President Trump’s campaign was not a perfect solution. It won’t end the possibility of political interference in the investigation. The rules provide only so much protection: Congress, Trump and the Justice Department still have the power to stymie (or even terminate) Mueller’s inquiry.

Still, this was the best possible option to deal with the conflicts and potential conflicts of interest these matters posed. In fact, the special-counsel regulations under which Mueller was appointed were written precisely to address a situation like this one.

I would know; I wrote them, in 1999....

I have had no particular affection for the former Director of the FBI. I thought some of his arrests of "so-called" terrorists was more entrapment than a person of actual danger, but, that is up to the courts. His philosophy regarding terrorists is to choose the lesser of two evils and be abundantly safe regarding the country.

"Independent Counsels, Special Prosecutors, Special Counsels and the Role of Congress" (click here for PDF)

I think Robert Mueller is the absolute best choice for the responsibility before him. There is no doubt about his character and his devoted service during some of the roughest years for the USA, both domestically and abroad.

I think Americans will have confidence in his findings.

I have sincere doubts about the former Senator Joe Lieberman for FBI Director.

Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (click here) gives a 'thumbs-up' as he leaves the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. The White House says President Donald Trump will be interviewing four potential candidates to lead the FBI.

This is not about retribution for causing the Affordable Care Act problems that would have been resolved with a Public Option, but, more about his political activity within the global spectrum.

To begin there is his involvement with Israel. He doesn't weigh in on the country in the same way as someone more distant and Israel has a very productive relationship with Russia.

November 25, 2015
By Ralph Ahren

...“I think (click here) we’re entering a period now where the relations between the United States and Israel are going to be very positive and productive — and that includes a maintenance of the qualitative military edge,” Lieberman told The Times of Israel during an interview in Jerusalem....

The USA under President Obama saw some of the most extensive support for Israel to date and it occurred before Joe Lieberman made this statement. It was his idea that Democrats would bend over backwards to please Israel after the Iran sanctions were lifted.

The sanctions being lifted have been good for our allies actually, ie: New Zealand had a twenty year prohibition of selling anything to Iran. Today, New Zealand farmers are preparing for what seems like a new customer for 2 decades. Our allies have been loyal to the USA and UN sanctions. So, the idea the sanctions being lifted are meaningless to The West is completely wrong. It is these renewed relationships most countries believe will return Iran to a far less angry character internationally. The sanctions have been hard on the people of Iran and these returned trade relations will bring about a different dynamic within the country.

But as to Lieberman. Vote No!

Israel is always seeking good relations with other countries as their diaspora is extensive. No could or should ask Israel to change their international relationships. The relationships that need to change with Israel are all close border issues, ie: Palestine. 

Joe Lieberman had a plan for Palestine and Israel in 2004. which included a sovereign Palestine. However, it was different in that it was based on the population density of Arabs vs Jews in areas where both resided. The Lieberman Plan would leave Israel and Palestine proper alone and seek only to set up distinctions in towns that would yield a stable land mass for both countries with people of both ethnic designations living on them. Ultimately, it would be the people that would seek to stay or move depending on their preference to residential country designations. The plan was not well accepted. 2004 was a time when Joe Lieberman was running with John Kerry for the Vice Presidency.

That idea, however, has survived within Israel to some degree.

February 11, 2017

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (click here) said he would like to see all of Israel’s “Palestinian” citizens relocate to the Palestinian territories and become citizens there, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at his meeting on Wednesday with Donald Trump, should coordinate with the new US president on expanding Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank....

The cost to this 'idea' is that Palestine would give up more land in the West Bank. In my opinion, that is simply more aggression by Israel and out of the question. It is these issues that could really taint the former US Senator's work for the FBI. There would always be questions and it could lead to more tensions between Israel and Palestine.

March 25, 2017
By Seth J. Frantzman

In June 7, (click here) Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the iconic Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. “Russia and Israel can take pride in our high level of partnership, fruitful cooperation and far-reaching business contacts,” Putin said in an address before the ballet.

Since then, that partnership has continued to grow, but the looming crisis in Syria threatens to upset this dance....

I think the speculation about Russia and Israel growing apart is an error. Israel has deployed strikes against Hezbollah when there were obvious dangerous munitions rolling across Lebanon or Syria. The idea Russia will carry out hostility to any Russian Jews or Israel is not accurate and the diplomatic distance will not increase between the two countries. Let's just say, "They understand each other."

March 31, 2017

Former Senator Joe Liebermann, (click here) who also headed up the Senate Homeland Security Committee, tells Larry why he's calling for an independent commission to look into the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

For those that simply love "Larry King" and his particular style of journalism know they can find him on "RT" (click here) which is the English version of Russian television.

Larry King has had his influence in USA politics even today. He is a strong proponent of the Third Party candidates. It is a platform for them and they have been able to get their message out because of Larry's focus on democracy and freedom of speech.

I know there is an independent council that former Director Muller has accepted so the idea Lieberman would be involved in the investigation is not a concern. What is a concern is his larger role with involvement internationally and the power the FBI would give him and any focus that leans political.

Director is responsible for ensuring that cases and operations are handled correctly. The Director also is in charge of staffing the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices with qualified agents.

Former US Senator Joe Lieberman was never an agent. Can we kindly keep a focus on Bureau competency rather than politics.

Sorry to hear such sad news. Who knew?

My first thoughts are for Huma Mahmood Abedin and her children. I hope they are well, safe and finding comfort during a very difficult time.

This has to be quite a shock to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was close to the family and there probably was nothing more reassuring than having a US House Representative in her circle of friends with her husband. Politics is a rough game and no one knows that better than Secretary Clinton, but, this type of insult can be a personal shock. I am sure her friendship with Huma will help both find solace at this time.

May 19, 2017
By Victoria Bekempis and Adam Edleman

Anthony Weiner will finally be cut off. (click here) 

The pervy ex-pol whose years-long self-destructive sexting run sabotaged his own blossoming political career and marriage and helped torpedo Hillary Clinton’s shot at the White House will plead guilty Friday to a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, possibly sending him to prison.

Weiner was taken into FBI custody Friday morning, a source told the Daily News, and he will enter the plea in a federal courtroom in Manhattan at 11:00 a.m.

The 52-year-old disgraced former congressman had been under federal investigation for having allegedly exchanged sexually explicit messages and images with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina in 2016....