Month: November 2018

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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.

teri.figueroa@sduniontribune.com

(760) 529-4945

Twitter: @TeriFigueroaUT


UPDATES:

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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MYSTERY: Rare East Asia Duck In Central Park Pond…


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A rare duck is going viral online after finding a new home in New York City.

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(credit: Pat Dubren)

The Mandarin duck, known for its multicolored feathers and hot pink bill, is native to East Asia. The big question: Why is it here, in the middle of Manhattan?

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A Mandarin Duck at Central Park New York City
(credit: Dennis Newsham @TouristPicsNYC)

Photographer Dennis Newsham can’t get enough of the duck.

“I took a couple hundred [pictures] because it’s a rare bird and I was trying to get some action shots, and I got some of it flying,” Newsham said.

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A Mandarin Duck and Wood Duck at Central Park New York City
(credit: Dennis Newsham @TouristPicsNYC)

The Harlem man isn’t the only one flocking to the park to get a glimpse.

The bird was first spotted on Oct. 10th and videotaped in a now viral video.

Since then, New Yorkers and tourists are swarming to the pond in the southeast corner of the park near 59th and Fifth.

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(credit: Pat Dubren)

“It’s just an incredible gift to New York,” said bird watcher Yovanna Davinci.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to see a beautiful animal,” said Michelle Ashkin, co-director of education at the Wild Bird Fund.

The reason why the bird is causing such a buzz? It’s native to East Asia. It shouldn’t be in the middle of Manhattan.

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(credit: Pat Dubren)

“It’s just enjoying some sunlight and taking it easy,” said bird watcher Dave Barrett.

Barrett says it’s one of the most colorful ducks you can find.

“It’s beautiful. That’s the thing that is getting people’s imaginations fired… It’s the most beautiful duck, probably in the world,” Barrett said.

Barrett says he’s checked with every zoo in the city, and none are missing a duck. It leads the bird watching community to believe it was a domestic pet, which is illegal in New York City.

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(credit: Pat Dubren)

“It might have got away or someone might have got tired of it and dumped it,” Barrett said.

It also may have flown here from a neighboring town.

Whatever the reason, it’s here. And it’s no chicken. This duck isn’t afraid to take on New York.

Bird experts say they don’t think the duck will migrate for the winter, but it should survive here in New York.

The city doesn’t plan on removing the duck unless it appears to be unhealthy or in danger.

Right now, neither seem to be the case.



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Bus ride from Hell: Panicked passengers jump out windows…


A frightful bus ride that was supposed to be a short jaunt from a downtown Long Beach parking lot to the Queen Mary’s “Dark Harbor” event wound up in Carson instead.

The incident wasn’t an attempted kidnapping – as at least some panicked passengers on board feared – but the result of a driver getting lost, police said on Friday.

The 60-year-old driver, who lives in Los Angeles, left the parking structure at The Pike with 20 to 30 revelers headed to the annual Halloween attraction at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, when he became disoriented by street closures and missed his destination, police said.

As the bus drove through Carson, passengers started getting worried that they were being kidnapped and one of them confronted the driver, police said.

“Patrons began exiting the bus through various emergency exits while stopped at a traffic light,” said Officer Alvino Herrera, a Long Beach police spokesman. “We understand how this situation evolved into fear. … However, through their investigation, detectives learned the driver was simply lost.”

The driver pulled into a gas station at Central Avenue and Del Amo Boulevard in Carson, and sheriff’s deputies detained him until Long Beach police arrived to question him, Herrera said. Someone had called police.

A passenger signed a private-person arrest for the driver for suspicion of battery, police said. Police did not detail the confrontation, but did say the driver had previously had a disagreement when the passenger tried to bring an open container of alcohol aboard.

The driver was released pending an investigation.

One passenger, identified by KABC-TV as Brian Corbitt, told the station that the driver “nailed” him in the stomach, knocking him back into a seat.

“I told him straight up, I’m like, ‘Listen, at this point it’s kidnapping, you can’t hold us like this,’ ” Corbitt told the station.

Corbitt declined to speak with a reporter Friday morning, saying he needed to consult his attorney. It is unclear if he was the passenger who filed the private-person arrest form.

The shuttle bus was run by a private contractor.

Lee Piatelli, of San Pedro, said he was so unnerved by the ride he’s considering getting a lawyer, too. The driver was still moving the bus as Piatelli and others jumped out of the windows, he said.

“When you’re trying to drive a bus and people are trying to get off, that’s (expletive). Somebody’s going to get run over and get hurt,” Piatelli said.

If the driver was lost, he should have said so and pulled over, Piatelli said. Instead, the driver ignored everyone who was frantically asking what was going on, he said.

“We all started freaking out,” he said. “All we wanted was one more night of Halloween, and we got the bus ride from hell.”

Piatelli said he never saw an altercation on the bus over alcohol.

“His job is to get us from point A to point B and he took us to point outer space,” he said.

Piatelli’s group, he said, never made it to the event.

In a statement, a representative for the Queen Mary said, “The safety and security of our guests are paramount. We are working with all parties involved to learn more about the incident with this vendor, and will provide updates as more information develops.”



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Cops: Woman wore giant dog's head costume during Houston convenience store robbery…


NOVEMBER 2–A Texas woman wearing an oversized dog’s head costume yesterday robbed a Houston convenience before leading cops on a vehicle chase that ended with her arrest, police report.

According to investigators, Colleen Dickens, a 30-year-old mother of two, robbed a Stripes store of cigarettes and $10 in cash Thursday morning. She then fled the scene in an auto, but was quickly apprehended by police officers.

After a short chase, Dickens emerged from her car wearing a large dog’s head. Police seized the furry costume part (seen above) as evidence.

Dickens was named yesterday in criminal complaints charging her with robbery and using a motor vehicle to evade arrest or detention, both felonies. Dickens, a Houston resident, is being held in the Harris County jail in lieu of $12,500 bail.

Since she kept trying to spit on jailers, Dickens was photographed as a corrections officer held a towel over her mouth.

In addition to the dog’s head, Dickens was also wearing a pair of wings (which did not aid in her flight from law enforcement). (2 pages)



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Japanese island disappears…


TOKYO: Missing – A tiny island in northern Japan. Or so authorities fear, prompting plans for a survey to determine if the outcrop has been washed away, ever-so-slightly shrinking the country’s territorial waters.

The island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima was only officially surveyed and registered by Japan’s coastguard in 1987, who couldn’t even say exactly how big it was.

Until recently, it rose 1.4-metre above sea level, and was visible from the very northern tip of Japan’s northern Hokkaido island.

But now, it has disappeared.

“It is not impossible that tiny islands get weathered by the elements,” a coastguard official told AFP.

The disappearance of the island “may affect Japan’s territorial waters a tiny bit”, she added, but only “if you conduct precision surveys”.

Japan pours resources into protecting its outer islands, particularly the remote Okinotori islands in the Pacific, which secures a significant portion of the nation’s exclusive economic zone.

It is also locked in disputes with neighbours, including China and South Korea, over the sovereignty of several islands in the region.

Prone to earthquakes and severe weather, Japan has found itself not only losing, but sometimes gaining territory thanks to natural disasters and extreme weather.

In 2015, a 300m strip of land emerged from the sea and attached itself to the coast of Hokkaido.

Initially, the phenomenon raised fears of mysterious seismic activity, but geologists said it was probably the result of a landslide that pushed the underwater surface up.

And in 2013, a volcanic island appeared around 1,000km south of Tokyo, engulfing an existing island and continuing to grow.



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Chaos after CARNIVAL ship lists mid-cruise…



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Carnival Cruise Line officials say a fin stabilizer is to blame for one of its ships tilting several hours after leaving Port Canaveral on Sunday evening. 

Guests told News 6 they had never experienced this kind of listing, which means to tilt or lean, while on a cruise ship.

“I didn’t think anything of it, since it’s not uncommon for ships to rock back and forth. But it didn’t rock back. It kept leaning,” David Crews, of Long Island, said in a message to News 6. “Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter. At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic.”

After leveling back to normal, the ship continued its weeklong Caribbean cruise. Pictures show some guests carrying around life jackets for the remainder of the night for safety.

The Carnival Cruise Line released the following statement: 

On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation. 
 
Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests. Carnival Sunshine proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled. We are very sorry for the disruption this caused. The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled.  We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.

Guests on board said they eventually received a note from the captain, going into more detail about how the ship’s fin stabilizer caused the issue. The letter explained how a fin stabilizer is not a safety feature of the ship, but helps smooth the ride against wind and waves.

 

The Carnival Sunshine is one of the oldest ships in Carnival’s fleet. It was born as the Carnival Destiny in 1996, the world’s largest cruise ship at the time, but was renamed after an extensive renovation several years later. 

News 6 has learned some guests cut their trip short, preferring to fly home early when the ship docked after the incident in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

The Carnival Sunshine is expected to dock at Port Canaveral on Friday morning. 

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.



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Actor Admits Severing Arm to Land War Veteran TV Roles?



Actor Admits Severing Arm to Land War Veteran TV Roles?

(Third column, 13th story, link)


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'New Age' beliefs more popular? Fewer follow traditional religions…


The growing popularity of “New Age” beliefs likely stems in part from fewer Americans following traditional religions, according to political analyst Ruy Teixeira.

“The data suggests this is the fastest growing religious group in America, are people who don’t hold any firm religious beliefs,” Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Wednesday on Hill.TV’s “What America’s Thinking.”

“Perhaps these New Age beliefs are in a sense, at least partially, a reflection of more and more people not having an orthodox religious set of beliefs,” he added.

Teixeira was discussing a recent Pew Research Center poll that found 62 Americans hold New Age beliefs, such as astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in trees or mountains.

Seventy-eight percent of those who held at least one New Age belief said they did not affiliate with any particular religion.

The survey also found that those who identify as Christian were more likely than atheists and agnostics to hold at least one New Age belief.

Sixty-one percent of respondents who identified as Christian said they held at least one New Age belief, compared with 22 percent of atheists and 56 percent of agnostics who said the same. 

Sixty-seven percent of mainline Protestants, 47 percent of evangelicals and 70 percent of Catholics said they believed in a New Age belief. 

— Julia Manchester



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