Day: November 4, 2018

Another Kavanaugh accuser admits to fabricating rape story…

Another Kavanaugh accuser admits to fabricating rape story...

(Second column, 3rd story, link)

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Pete Davidson ripped: 'I know he lost his eye in war — or whatever'…

“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” the cast member said during a segment on Weekend Update.

During an appearance on the Weekend Update segment of this week’s Saturday Night Live, cast member Pete Davidson spoke about the upcoming midterm elections and offered his “first impressions” of several candidates. Davidson’s comments about Republican candidate for Congress Dan Crenshaw — a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye to an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2012 — has drawn criticism. 

“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate in Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” Davidson said, laughing. “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.”

Crenshaw’s website describes the events of his injury: “On Dan’s third deployment in 2012, his life changed forever. After six months of combat operations, Dan was hit by an IED blast during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was evacuated and awoke from his medically induced coma learning that his right eye had been destroyed in the blast and his left eye was still present, but badly damaged.

Davidson’s segment, which he introduced as a look at “gross” candidates during this election, focused primarily on Republicans. After his comments about Crenshaw, he made a few remarks about New York governor Andrew Cuomo to “look fair.” 

The comments about Crenshaw quickly received criticism online, with many users pointing out that Crenshaw is a veteran who lost his eye serving his country. 

On Sunday, the National Republican Congressional Committee demanded an apology from Davidson and SNL.

“Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country,” NRCC spokesman Jack Pandol said in a statement. “Pete Davidson and NBC should immediately apologize to Dan, and to the millions of veterans and military families who tune in every weekend – because they’re not laughing.” 

During the segment, Davidson also mocked himself. “I shouldn’t be making fun of how anyone looks, I look like I make vape juice in a bathtub,” he said. “I look like a Dr. Seuss character went to prison.” The comedian then went on to address his recent breakup with singer Ariana Grande.

Davidson, NBC and SNL were contacted for comments but did not immediately respond.

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GOODWIN: Both media and Trump have responsibility to tone it down…

With Tuesday’s election touted as the most important in modern memory, morning-after scenarios run the gamut of possibilities. President Trump will be vindicated by a GOP sweep, weakened by a split decision or endangered if Democrats win both houses of Congress.

Yet none of those outcomes will necessarily improve the hostile political climate, and it’s more likely the rage and violence will grow, whatever the results. Thus, America will wake up Wednesday facing more of the same or worse.

It’s a disheartening prospect, which is why I’m hoping for something of a miracle. The one I have in mind would be good for all Americans, regardless of political allegiance.

It is that The New York Times temper its jihad against Trump and adopt a more balanced coverage in its news pages. Cue the laughter, but there are sound reasons for the paper to change course.

First, imagine the impact. If the Times, the leader of the media resistance, reverted to its traditional standards of fairness, the national press corps would follow, just as they followed the Gray Lady in unleashing vitriol against Trump.

In a heartbeat, the political temperature would cool if this president were treated with the same respect and fairness accorded his predecessor. That, in turn, would put the onus on Trump to use more care and precision instead of just calling “fake news the enemy of the people.”

My hope for change hangs on several recent events. Admittedly, the threads are slim, but here they are.

A piece last week by Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg had elements of a reconsideration embedded in its usual criticism. Under the headline, “Trump’s Attacks on the News Media are Working,” he conceded that reporters’ intense focus on every tweet and word is a failure and said, “The president has succeeded in casting journalists as the prim foils on his never-ending reality show.”

In a lament over the inability to counter the president’s strategy, Rutenberg concluded by writing: “At this rate, a solution may come sometime in Mr. Trump’s third term.”

The obvious partisanship aside, the significance of the column is that Rutenberg often voices the thinking of Times brass. Recall that his column in August of 2016 signaled the collapse of standards when he said Trump was too dangerous to be president.

Weeks later, top editor Dean Baquet told an interviewer that Rutenberg’s column “nailed” his own thinking, adding that Trump “challenged our language,” and “will have changed journalism.”

Regarding the struggle for fairness, Baquet said “Trump has ended that struggle … We now say stuff. We fact-check him. We write it more powerfully that [what he says is] false.”

About that time, virtually every news article became an anti-Trump opinion and the paper started calling him a “liar,” an unprecedented assumption about motive and intent. To my knowledge, no other politician, criminal or foreign leader has been so labeled, certainly not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, or even Vladimir Putin.

Now, more than two years later, the paper seems to be looking for a white flag — or should be. The war against Trump was a historic mistake that has failed and backfired — while damaging the nation.

A story from Politico about its latest poll put it this way: A majority of voters think Trump “has done more to divide the country than unite it since he took office — but that the national news media are even worse.”

The survey found that 30 percent of respondents said Trump is doing more to unite the country, compared with 56 percent who said he is dividing it. But 64 percent said the media was dividing the country, with just 17 percent crediting the press with uniting America.

In a Washington Post/ABC poll, the public blamed the media and Trump almost equally for sparking political violence.

Meanwhile, studies show consistently that 90 percent of news coverage of Trump is negative. In effect, the media’s onslaught has damaged Trump, but also their own credibility and helped to polarize America.

These findings are a damning indictment of everyone involved. If violence grows out of extremely bitter divisions — and most people believe it does — then the media and the Democrats, along with Trump, have a responsibility to tone it down.

To be clear, this is not a plea for sweet harmony or a wish to silence legitimate differences. Disagreements are inevitable and even desirable under our republic, but there must be universal agreement that we’ve gone too far.

Something has to give, because the nation has reached a dangerous stalemate, with allegiances split perfectly down the middle. The synagogue slaughter in Pittsburgh should serve as a lesson to both sides about the unintended consequences.

The warning signs are flashing — ignoring them is not an option.

Trump on the clock

Patrick Stephen Tierney
Patrick Stephen TierneyGabriella Bass

“I was always a Trump supporter, from the day he came down that escalator. I said to the guys, Trump is going to beat them all, and I never changed that view.”

That’s how Steve Tierney describes the process that led to his towering show of affection. The idea took shape when, after the election, a man approached him at an antique store and, noticing his NRA hat, shook his hand and said, “We were all so lucky.”

That phrase arcs over the presidential seal on the creation Tierney calls “The Trump Clock.” Nearly 18 months in the making, it is a cornucopia of hand-cut oak and maple wood, metal, gilding, paint and various figures, all paying homage to Trump’s life and ancestry.

At the bottom is a replica of the president’s boyhood home in Queens, and Trump Tower is at the top. In between are the Empire State building, the late Twin Towers and the White House. There are eagles, Lady Justice, a Native American and two red carnations for Melania Trump.

The structure stands more than 12 feet tall and weighs about 500 pounds.

Tierney came from Ireland when he was 18, and he and his wife have four sons and an adopted daughter from China. He built his labor of love at the auto-body shop he runs near Gaelic Park in The Bronx.

A cancer survivor, he counts himself lucky. As a student in Ireland, a teacher told him, “Someday, the whole world will see your art.” He’s hoping this piece proves the prophecy and ends up in the White House.

“I always figure he needs a lift,” Tierney says affectionately of the president. “The liberals have goodness in their hearts, but they’ve gone a little crazy.”

Mayor Putz draws the no-fault lines

Saturday’s Post had a surgically smart report on Mayor de Blasio’s habit of blaming others for everything that goes wrong. City Hall Bureau Chief Yoav Gonen cited six examples this year alone where the mayor pronounced himself “not happy” with aides — as if he’s an innocent bystander.

The list included a memorial ceremony where The Putz forgot to mention the names of the eight people killed in a terror attack. How can that be somebody else’s fault?

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Jury awards $105 million in lawsuit against pH Miracle author…

A San Diego jury sided against the author of the bestselling pH Miracle books this week, ordering him to pay $105 million to a cancer patient who said the author held himself out as a doctor and counseled her to forego traditional medical treatment.

The large award — more than double what the woman had sought — comes roughly 16 months after a criminal case ended with the author, Robert Oldham Young, going to jail for a few months for practicing medicine without a license.

Young — who on Friday called the judgment “a fraud” — has written several books, including the bestselling “The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health.” First published in 2002, his flagship book has been translated into several languages.

“It’s totally outrageous,” Young said of the verdict when reached by phone Friday afternoon. “It’s one-tenth of a billion.”

He also said it was “appalling” that the jury awarded so much more than the plaintiff had sought.

Young’s work — and treatments provided at his Valley Center ranch — were based on the theory that acidity in the body is the cause of disease, and that an alkaline diet is the answer.

In 2015, cancer patient Dawn Kali sued Young in San Diego Superior Court alleging negligence and fraud. She said he had advised her to forego chemotherapy and traditional treatment, and instead go with treatment in line with his alkaline theories.

Patrick Swan, one of Kali’s attorneys, said his 45-year-old client’s oncologist said Kali has about three or four years to live. She now has stage four cancer.

The civil trial in San Diego Superior Court lasted roughly seven days, with deliberations lasting less than half a day. The verdict came back Wednesday.

The $105 million award includes nearly $90 million for pain and suffering, and $15 million for punitive damages.

Swan said Kali — who has four children, including an 8-year-old — feels “vindicated” by the verdict.

‘The jury listened carefully and understood the gravity of the evidence, and rendered a verdict that was commensurate with the damage Ms. Kali suffered, and will suffer,” Swan said.

He also said he hopes the verdict “will have an effect on the “miracle, cure-all cancer industry.”

Young’s attorney, Conrad Joyner, said his client believes that his views have been suppressed because they are not in line with the medical establishment.

“No matter if you believe in the pH Miracle or disbelieve it, it’s clear that Robert believes it,” Joyner said. “He sincerely believes what he is doing.”

He also said Kali — who at some point worked for Young — was aware that Young’s theories were outside of the establishment.

Young did not have a civil attorney during much of the case. Joyner was retained just a few months ago as it neared trial.

Joyner said he sees the case as “ripe for appeal.”

“I have never heard of a jury case with that much damages where the jury comes back in about three hours,” Joyner said. “I wonder how much thought they really put into it.”

Young said there was “a tremendous amount of evidence” he was not allowed to present to the jury. He said he would appeal.

The year before Kali sued Young, he had landed in criminal court following his arrest in January 2014 after an investigation by the state medical board.

During the criminal trial, Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas painted Young as a charlatan who made money peddling pseudoscience to desperate, dying people.

She argued that Young’s degrees came from a nonaccredited “diploma mill” where Young went from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate in about eight months in 1995.

The criminal case highlighted his controversial theories and the pricey treatments he offered to seriously ill or dying patients, who in some cases were given intravenous fluids mixed with baking soda at $500 a pop.

Young’s criminal defense attorney argued his client was under attack for espousing alternatives to traditional medicine. He said people sought Young’s help specifically because he was not a doctor, but rather a naturopathic practitioner.

In early 2016 — after weeks of trial — a North County jury found Young guilty of two counts of practicing medicine without a license. The panel deadlocked on several remaining changes.

Facing retrial, Young struck a deal that put an end to the criminal case. He spent several months in jail as part of his sentence.

As part of the deal, the prosecutor insisted on a specific condition: Young had to make a public admission declaring that he is not microbiologist, hematologist, medical or naturopathic doctor or trained scientist. He did so in court.

Young’s supporters have defended him and his work, have said he was characterized unfairly during his criminal trial, and that he has helped several people.

Treatments are no longer provided at Young’s property, which sits on more than 40 acres.

The estate, known as Rancho del Sol, is up for sale, with a $3.2 million price tag. It is also advertised as a place for short-term vacation stays.

During most of the North County criminal case, including trial, Young was represented by a private attorney.

By the time he was sentenced, he was out of money and had to be represented by a public defender.

(760) 529-4945

Twitter: @TeriFigueroaUT


2:30 p.m.: This story was updated, including comments from Robert Young. It was originally published at 1;55 p.m.

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AMAZON hiring fewer holiday workers, a sign robots replacing…

Amazon is staffing up for the holiday rush with around 100,000 additional hires. As big as that number sounds, it’s actually fewer people than the e-commerce giant added in either the 2016 or 2017 holiday seasons, when it brought in 120,000 additional workers.

Citi analyst Mark May says he thinks the reduction in seasonal hiring is strong evidence that Amazon is succeeding with plans to automate operations in its warehouses.

“We’ve seen an acceleration in the use of robots within their fulfillment centers, and that has corresponded with fewer and fewer workers that they’re hiring around the holidays,” May told CNBC on Nov. 2. He added that 2018 is the “first time on record” Amazon plans to hire fewer holiday workers than it did the previous year.

“Since the last holiday season, we’ve focused on more ongoing full-time hiring in our fulfillment centers and other facilities,” Amazon spokesperson Ashley Robinson said in an email, adding that the company has “created over 130,000 jobs” in the last year. “We are proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs in the last year alone.”

Amazon bought robotics company Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012, and began using its orange robots in warehouses in late 2014. By mid-2016, it had become clear just how big a difference those robots were making. The little orange guys could handle in 15 minutes the sorting, picking, packing, and shipping that used to take human workers an hour or more to complete. In June 2016, Deutsche Bank predicted Kiva automation could save Amazon nearly $2.5 billion (those savings dropped to $880 million after accounting for the costs of installing robots in every warehouse).

Robinson said Amazon has added 300,000 full-time jobs since 2012. ”It’s a myth that automation replaces jobs and destroys net job growth,” she said by email. “Our teams work alongside more than 100,000 robots at over 26 fulfillment centers worldwide and we are excited to continue increasing the technology we use at our sites while growing our global workforce.”

The success of robots thus far may also have contributed to Amazon’s Oct. 2 decision to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees, affecting around 250,000 full-time employees and 100,000 seasonal workers. That move is less financially risky if Amazon sees itself rapidly replacing these human workers with robots and other automated systems.

In an Oct. 15 research note, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak was optimistic about Amazon’s ability to offset higher wages through automation. Nowak noted that Kiva robots were already enabling smaller Amazon warehouses to handle the same capacity as other centers, and leading to a drop in fulfillment costs. “We think improved fulfillment efficiency is set to offset the aforementioned wage increase,” he wrote.

In other words, the 2018 holiday season could be a harbinger of what’s to come.

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