Day: February 20, 2020

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Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule…



Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule...

(Third column, 1st story, link)






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Trump Drags Paul Ryan Into His War on FOXNEWS…


President Donald Trump is stewing over a segment on Thursday’s edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto — in which a guest analyst offered a harsh critique of his 2016 debate performances.

In a Thursday afternoon tweet, Trump blasted A.B. Stoddard of RealClearPolitics for calling his debates “disastrous.” So furious was the president that he went so far as to seemingly blame “Fox board member Paul Ryan” — who joined the board of the Fox Corporation in March 2019 — for Stoddard’s analysis.

“Could somebody at @foxnews please explain to Trump hater A.B. Stoddard (zero talent!) and @TeamCavuto, that I won every one of my debates, from beginning to end,” Trump wrote. “Check the polls taken immediately after the debates. The debates got me elected. Must be Fox Board Member Paul Ryan!”

Stoddard, as part of a panel discussion analyzing Wednesday night’s Democratic Presidential debate, ripped Trump’s performances from four years ago in the context of Mike Bloomberg’s struggles.

“I think that Donald Trump had disastrous debate performances,” Stoddard said. “Many answers were so cringeworthy. You just couldn’t even believe that he was standing on the stage. And he’s president.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

UPDATE 6:20 p.m. ET: Cavuto fired back at the president to close his show on Thursday — with a stinging fact-check which noted that Trump was, in the near-unanimous opinion of experts and polls, deemed to have lost his debates in 2016.

“He did not [win the debates],” Cavuto said.

Watch below.

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Joaquin Phoenix Rescues Cow And Her Calf From L.A. Slaughterhouse…


Less than 48 hours after Joaquin Phoenix hoisted the first Oscar of his career the Joker star was cradling a newborn calf that he rescued from a Los Angles slaughterhouse.

A just-released video from Farm Sanctuary shows the somber 45-year-old star liberating both the calf and her mother from a Pico Rivera slaughterhouse while visiting the facility with his fiancee, Rooney Mara, and a delegation of the Los Angles Animal Save activist group.

The visit and the short film punctuated a triumphant awards season for Phoenix that saw him sweep all of Hollywood top trophies for his on-screen metamorphosis in the billion-dollar hit Joker. Phoenix used much of his microphone time along the way to promote the vegan lifestyle and to frame animal agriculture as an environmental plight.

The video, shot by Shaun Monson, shows the Walk the Line and Gladiator star escorting the cow and her calf to a facility used by Farm Sanctuary. Phoenix named the bovine refugees Liberty and Indigo, respectively.

The rescue was preceded by the actor’s impromptu discussion with Anthony Di Maria, the CEO of the slaughterhouse, and a tour of the paddocks of Manning Beef. At one point the businessman and the thespian have a semantics debate (“harvest” vs “murder”) but the footage as presented in the short film show a respectful interaction throughout.

The cow gave birth in the holding area of Manning Beef in Pico Rivera, CA. They are the fifth bovine mother and child rescued from Manning Beef by L.A. Animal Save, the grassroots group that holds peaceful vigils at area slaughterhouses. Phoenix is a regular attendee, according to the group.

Phoenix also released a statement through the activist group:

“I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences. Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf, Indigo, would have met a terrible demise. Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them. Shaun Monson, Amy Jean Davis, and the entire LA Animal Save community, have taken their pain of bearing witness and turned it into effective, diplomatic advocacy for the voiceless. As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand. My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us.”

 



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In America's Richest Town, $500k a Year Now Below Average…


(Bloomberg) — You could easily drive through this leafy Silicon Valley suburb without realizing you were in America’s richest neighborhood. From the road, it’s all high brick walls and opaque gates.

It takes Google Maps to get a glimpse of what lies behind. Satellite images of Atherton, California –- where the average household income just blew past half a million dollars — reveal the sprawling homes of tech billionaires and sports stars, studded with tennis courts and pools.

For the fourth straight year, Atherton topped Bloomberg’s Richest Places annual index. With an average household income of more than $525,000, it became the first and so far only community to top the half-million dollar mark since Bloomberg started compiling the index in 2017.

At least some of the town’s Silicon Valley neighbors are more or less keeping up. Atherton is joined in the upper echelons of the Bloomberg list by Hillsborough (No. 3) and Los Altos Hills (No. 5), two more communities in the hi-tech corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. Both have average incomes upwards of $400,000.

‘Company Town’

Elaine White, a real-estate agent and native of neighboring Redwood City, has watched the tech boom shape the region.

“Because of how big Facebook has gotten, and Google, we’ve kind of become this concept of the company town, where so many people work for these Silicon Valley companies,” she said.

In Atherton, the cheapest house on the market is currently listed for $2.5 million, according to real estate marketplace Zillow.com. Numerous tech billionaires have called the town home, including Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Microsoft’s late co-founder Paul Allen, whose former residence there was sold last week for more than $35 million. Golden State Warriors athlete Stephen Curry bought an Atherton estate last year for $31 million.

Coast to Coast

In second place for the second straight year is Scarsdale, New York, less than 25 miles outside Manhattan, with an average $452,000 in annual household income. Also making the top 10 are a town near Denver, two northern suburbs of Chicago, and a wealthy enclave in Dallas, Texas.

In general, the East and West Coasts dominate the top-100 list. California takes up 23 places, while the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey accounts for 32 (although that’s down from 36 last year). Middle America is slowly gaining some ground. States including Illinois and Minnesota added one new listing in this year’s index, while Texas gained two (Lucas at No. 73, and Alamo Heights at No. 75).

Altogether, 16 states are represented on the list, the same number as in previous years — suggesting that the concentration of wealth in certain regions remains largely unchanged over time. Also, the richest communities continue to get richer. This year, in order to make the top 100, a neighborhood needed an average household income of $220,000 — up from $209,000 last year.

The top 200 richest towns are now available on the Bloomberg terminal. To access, click HERE.

Methodology

Bloomberg evaluated inflation-adjusted household data for all U.S. locations with a minimum of 2,000 households (as defined by the Census), and ranked them based on average household income. Almost 6,300 communities met the criteria, which includes approximately 75% of total households in the U.S.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shelly Hagan in Ottawa at shagan9@bloomberg.net;Wei Lu in New York at wlu30@bloomberg.net;Sophie Alexander in San Francisco at salexander82@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, ;Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Alex Tanzi, Ben Holland

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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GOLDMAN warns of stock market correction…


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The losses wiped out a combined $445 billion in market value.”,”descriptionText”:”The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component Index plunged on their first day of trading after an extended Lunar New Year holiday. The losses wiped out a combined $445 billion in market value.”},{“title”:”Portfolio manager: Passive investing has become a Ponzi scheme”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/29/markets-now-passive-investing.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/29/markets-now-passive-investing.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200129131318-markets-now-passive-investing-00002316-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/29/markets-now-passive-investing.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Rupal J. Bhansali of Ariel Investments explains why she thinks a big comeback for active investing is on the horizon. “,”descriptionText”:”Rupal J. Bhansali of Ariel Investments explains why she thinks a big comeback for active investing is on the horizon. “},{“title”:”Strategist predicts another year of double digit gains for stocks”,”duration”:”01:48″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/22/markets-now-alicia-levine-stocks.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/22/markets-now-alicia-levine-stocks.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200122131437-markets-now-alicia-levine-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/22/markets-now-alicia-levine-stocks.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Alicia Levine, Chief Strategist for BNY Mellon, explains why she doesn’t think the market is overvalued.”,”descriptionText”:”Alicia Levine, Chief Strategist for BNY Mellon, explains why she doesn’t think the market is overvalued.”},{“title”:”Here’s how the market may predict the next president”,”duration”:”01:04″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/15/market-predicts-election-year-sam-stovall.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/15/market-predicts-election-year-sam-stovall.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200115105042-20200115-markets-now-08-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/15/market-predicts-election-year-sam-stovall.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Ahead of the 2020 election, Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, explains why the performance of the market can predict elections and what that means for investors.”,”descriptionText”:”Ahead of the 2020 election, Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, explains why the performance of the market can predict elections and what that means for investors.”},{“title”:”Oil prices retreat as Trump eases Iran fears”,”duration”:”01:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/09/oil-prices-iran-trump.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/09/oil-prices-iran-trump.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200108120635-06-trump-iran-0108-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/09/oil-prices-iran-trump.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Oil prices fell after President Trump moved to de-escalate tensions with Iran. Trump also declared that the US no longer needs to rely on the Middle East for oil. CNN’s Christine Romans explains why it’s not that simple.”,”descriptionText”:”Oil prices fell after President Trump moved to de-escalate tensions with Iran. Trump also declared that the US no longer needs to rely on the Middle East for oil. CNN’s Christine Romans explains why it’s not that simple.”},{“title”:”This is why Iran fears may not move the market”,”duration”:”01:40″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn/com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/08/markets-now-iran-memani-bonds.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/08/markets-now-iran-memani-bonds.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190718121807-iran-flag-stock-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/08/markets-now-iran-memani-bonds.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Krishna Memani, former Vice Chairman of Investing at Invesco, explains the importance of bonds in your portfolio to combat uncertain market factors.”,”descriptionText”:”Krishna Memani, former Vice Chairman of Investing at Invesco, explains the importance of bonds in your portfolio to combat uncertain market factors.”},{“title”:”UAE energy minister speaks to CNN amid rising oil prices”,”duration”:”02:01″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://edition.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/01/08/us-iran-soleimani-rockets-iraq-airbase-tensions-oil-prices-defterios-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/01/08/us-iran-soleimani-rockets-iraq-airbase-tensions-oil-prices-defterios-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200108110953-suhail-al-mazrouei-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/01/08/us-iran-soleimani-rockets-iraq-airbase-tensions-oil-prices-defterios-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”The United Arab Emirates’ oil minister, Suhail Al Mazrouei, spoke to CNN’s John Defterios amid concerns of rising oil prices after Iran launched ballistic missiles against military bases in Iraq that house US forces. “The world economy cannot sustain another $100 oil price,” al Mazrouei said.”,”descriptionText”:”The United Arab Emirates’ oil minister, Suhail Al Mazrouei, spoke to CNN’s John Defterios amid concerns of rising oil prices after Iran launched ballistic missiles against military bases in Iraq that house US forces. “The world economy cannot sustain another $100 oil price,” al Mazrouei said.”},{“title”:”Truist might be the largest bank you’ve never heard of “,”duration”:”03:23″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/12/12/truist-suntrust-bbt-ceo-kelly-king-orig.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/12/12/truist-suntrust-bbt-ceo-kelly-king-orig.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191212114952-truist-kelly-king-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/12/12/truist-suntrust-bbt-ceo-kelly-king-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”CEO Kelly King tells CNN Business about new bank Truist, a result of the merger between SunTrust and BB&T, and about his changing attitude toward banking reform.”,”descriptionText”:”CEO Kelly King tells CNN Business about new bank Truist, a result of the merger between SunTrust and BB&T, and about his changing attitude toward banking reform.”},{“title”:”Strategist: 2020 Fed rate cut is a coin toss”,”duration”:”01:33″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/12/11/2020-fed-rate-cut-coin-toss-dimartino-booth.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/12/11/2020-fed-rate-cut-coin-toss-dimartino-booth.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191211143359-markets-now-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/12/11/2020-fed-rate-cut-coin-toss-dimartino-booth.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO & Chief Strategist at Quill Intelligence, explains why there’s a 50-50 chance of an Fed rate cut in 2020, as experts pull back on recession warnings.”,”descriptionText”:”Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO & Chief Strategist at Quill Intelligence, explains why there’s a 50-50 chance of an Fed rate cut in 2020, as experts pull back on recession warnings.”},{“title”:”The Trump economy is good for his reelection. Will trade stand in the way?”,”duration”:”02:50″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/12/09/economy-recap-lookahead-2020-yir-orig-bu.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/12/09/economy-recap-lookahead-2020-yir-orig-bu.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191209121535-econ-yearender-01-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/12/09/economy-recap-lookahead-2020-yir-orig-bu.cnn/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”2019 was a good year for Wall Street which bodes well for Trump’s reelection bid, but as u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/christine-romans” target=”_blank”>Christine Romansu003c/a> explains, there were some economic headwinds that could stand in his way.”,”descriptionText”:”2019 was a good year for Wall Street which bodes well for Trump’s reelection bid, but as u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/christine-romans” target=”_blank”>Christine Romansu003c/a> explains, there were some economic headwinds that could stand in his way.”},{“title”:”Saudi Aramco raises $25.6B in world’s biggest IPO”,”duration”:”02:02″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/12/05/saudi-aramco-ipo.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/12/05/saudi-aramco-ipo.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191108123254-01-saudi-aramco-ipo-preview-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/12/05/saudi-aramco-ipo.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”The IPO values state-owned Saudi Aramco at roughly $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.”,”descriptionText”:”The IPO values state-owned Saudi Aramco at roughly $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.”},{“title”:”Why this strategist thinks stocks will keep climbing in 2020″,”duration”:”02:16″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”https://money.cnn.com/investing/markets-now”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/12/04/dan-russo-us-equities-rally-2020.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/12/04/dan-russo-us-equities-rally-2020.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191204133746-dan-russo-us-equities-rally-2020-00001624-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/12/04/dan-russo-us-equities-rally-2020.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”Dan Russo, chief market strategist at Chaikin Analytics, says trade war fears and market volatility are near-term noise as he predicts the S&P 500 will rally to 3,200 in 2020.”,”descriptionText”:”Dan Russo, chief market strategist at Chaikin Analytics, says trade war fears and market volatility are near-term noise as he predicts the S&P 500 will rally to 3,200 in 2020.”},{“title”:”The moral dilemma of doing business in China, explained”,”duration”:”02:50″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/11/08/china-influence-on-american-companies-orig.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2019/11/08/china-influence-on-american-companies-orig.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181016143937-101618-china-tech-companies-gfx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2019/11/08/china-influence-on-american-companies-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/”,”description”:”From airlines to the NBA, CNN’s Christine Romans explains why American companies often end up compromising on moral positions to appease China.”,”descriptionText”:”From airlines to the NBA, CNN’s Christine Romans explains why American companies often end up compromising on moral positions to appease China.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-mcg6iy’,”,”js-video_source-featured-mcg6iy”,true,true,’business-markets-investing’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length



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UPDATE: TITANS, RAIDERS Favorites To Land Tom Brady…


By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Today in As The Tom Brady Turns …

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show, and during the course of that interview, Schefter relayed information passed along to him by fellow ESPNer Jeff Darlington. Schefter said that Darlington told him that the Titans appear to be “the favorite right now” in the Tom Brady Sweepstakes of 2020.

Here’s exactly what Schefter told Eisen:

This is going to be the most interesting question of the offseason. … Jeff Darlington is a lot more connected to that particular situation than I think a lot of people realize. And in talking with him yesterday — and my eyes were opened to this. I mean I always thought this was possible but I got even more of a hint that it’s more possible. Jeff Darlington basically … I mean, handicapped the Titans as the favorite right now. Which I was like, ‘Whoa. OK. I knew that Tennessee was an option,’ but he made it out to be more of an option than I realized it to be.

And in his mind, to rank the teams right now, would be Tennessee, Las Vegas, and New England.

And his explanation on the podcast was very interesting. And so my takeaway from that was, I think we all need to play a little bit more attention to Tennessee here than we thought, and Tennessee is more viable as a potential Tom Brady destination than we thought. And Tennessee, I expect to be in the mix. Las Vegas, I expect to be in the mix. I think the Chargers will try to be in the mix, I don’t know if they’ll be able to get it done.

And the question is, of course, is does he go back to New England?

The real interesting one on Tennessee is this. They have Ryan Tannehill. And if you franchise Ryan Tannehill … it’s very hard to go get Tom Brady. I don’t think you can do that. But do you take the risk of not franchising a guy that played like a franchise quarterback last year, and try to get Tom Brady, running the risk that you could lose both? Or do you go ahead and franchise Tannehill, and remove the Brady option off the table, when it certainly sounds like a possibility?

OK, well, nobody cares about the fate of Ryan Tannehill. We care about Tom Brady, dangit.

So, the committed internet reporter that I am, I did the one that nobody evvvvver wants to do: I checked out the man’s podcast.

Here’s precisely what Darlington told Schefter on the podcast, which is thankfully no longer named “The Know Them From Adam Podcast”:

I put the Titans and the Raiders right now as the front-runners for Tom Brady’s services.

Tennessee has to be considered one of the bright spots when you consider what Tom Brady is looking for in free agency, whether it is the team itself and what they possess personnel-wise, whether it’s the ability to potentially collaborate with the head coach and have some say in game planning and personnel, I quite frankly think the Tennessee Titans make a lot of sense for Tom Brady.

If you’re asking me to put odds on this thing, I say Titans and Raiders, and then I say Patriots, and then I put down the list, teams like the Chargers, the Dolphins, and some of those other names. The wild cards. The field. And I would put the Patriots, though, somewhere pretty close — behind though — the Titans and the Raiders, if you’re asking me to put odds on this thing.

I think that that’s something that has been very difficult in my assessment of the reactions — every time I mention this — for sports fans to digest. It’s as if people think it’s so unfathomable that he would leave New England, and as a result they just sit there and say it’s not going to happen. Where we need to wrap our heads around the idea of Tom Brady leaving, because he is considering exactly that. That is not speculation. That is fact. Whether they can get on the same page in the next 30 days — that is the Patriots and Tom Brady — and figure this thing out, and it is a tall task from a number of different levels. Unless they can figure it out in the next 30 days, Tom Brady is gone.

Football-wise, Tennessee has always made the most sense (provided they sign Derrick Henry). The head coach is a boss, he rocks an occasional mustache, and he’s good pals with Brady (Tom used to throw him TDs back when the Patriots really felt like bullying opponents, ya know?). The receiving trio of A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries is solid. The tight ends are good. The line is good. The team has some … moxie.

Lifestyle-wise … the idea of extending the TB12 brand into Nashville is not quite as sexy as, say, Los Angeles, or New York, or Miami, or even Dallas (maybe).

So all of that, when taken together, lands on the scale of being interesting. It doesn’t necessarily advance the story anywhere, as it’s still largely based on reading tea leaves and making an educated guess. Nevertheless, that is where we are on this day, with free agency less than a month away.

Once the NFL cognoscenti descend upon Indianapolis next week for the scouting combine, that’s when we can really start to get hot and heavy in Speculation SZN™.

Until next time, on “As The Tom Brady Turns” … 

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.



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'Fiscal hawks' now endangered as US shrugs at debt…


Washington (AFP) – At their national convention in 2012, Republicans mounted a clock counting the growing US national debt on the wall, a warning of the looming financial catastrophe they said imperiled Americans.

Eight years later, the clock has stopped under Republican President Donald Trump, and the “fiscal hawks” whose strident calls for action to contain the trillions of dollars in US government debt have either lost their influence, or are keeping quiet.

The latest sign of this shift away from fiscal discipline was on full display as White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said as much in a speech in Britain.

“My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president,” Mulvaney said according to a report by The Washington Post late Wednesday.

But with Trump in office, “we’re a lot less interested as a party,” the former budget chief said, calling the growing deficit “extraordinarily disturbing.”

The White House budget proposal released last week abandons Trump’s deficit cutting promises and relies on economic growth assumptions most economists dismiss as unrealistic to pay down the debt.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the deficit will surpass $1 trillion and government debt will reach 81 percent of GDP by the end of September.

“The fiscal hawks are clearly an endangered species,” Bill Hoagland, a former Senate budget staffer, told AFP. “I really can’t pinpoint anybody that’s willing to step up and clear the plate.”

Though the budget proposal is unlikely to ever be implemented as Trump fights for re-election in November against Democrats who have their own radically different spending priorities, analysts worry that there is no will in Washington to address debt and deficit.

But economists warn the swelling levels are increasingly risky and could leave the US unprepared to fight the next recession.

“Ultimately, interest (on the debt) could become the largest federal government program,” warned Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“Your debt cannot rise faster than the economy forever.”

– ‘Tidal wave of debt’ –

While they have remained silent under Trump, Republicans repeatedly hammered Obama at every turn, from his plan to stimulate the economy out of recession in 2009 to his reform of the health care system.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of Obama’s most prominent opponents in Congress, once warned the president’s fiscal policies would unleash a “red tidal wave of debt.”

Republicans blocked Obama’s attempt to stimulate infrastructure spending, and put the debt clock front and center at their national convention ahead of the 2012 election, where voters ended up giving Obama a second term.

But the Republican-led Congress had a change of heart in late 2017 approving Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations and the richest Americans that has been credited with boosting growth but also piling on government debt.

“The fiscal hawks that were the loudest and most vocal during the Obama administration have been largely silent,” said Romina Boccia of Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank.

– Sending signals –

Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal does address the deficit, but abandons his pledge to eliminate the budget gap in 10 years, pushing the goal back to 2035.

And even the extended deadline achieves balance by projecting the US economy will grow by around 3.0 percent annually for years to come — a feat almost unheard of.

The spending blueprint has no chance of getting through Congress unaltered, and Democratic and Republican lawmakers are seen as unlikely to take up a budget during election season.

But Ben Ritz of the left-leaning Progressive Policy Institute said the cavalier attitude towards spending betrays “political opportunism” by Republicans who wielded the debt and deficit as a cudgel against Obama.

“We’re seeing these people who criticized Obama for much lower debt levels suddenly being ok with much higher levels under President Trump,” he said.

– Who cares? –

And Trump himself has shown pronounced disregard for the future consequences of running debts so high.

On the campaign trail in 2016, he called himself “the king of debt.” In January, The Washington Post reported Trump quipping in a behind-closed-doors speech, “Who the hell cares about the budget?”

Yet the record-long US economic expansion has to end sometime, and in testimony to Congress this month, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell once again called for a “more sustainable budget.”

With the key lending rate holding at a very low 1.5-1.75 percent, the central bank does not have much space to maneuver should a downturn hit.

But the growing deficit and debt, will make it harder for the government to boost spending to support a slowing economy.

Financed by the sale of US government bonds, that could be the force that brings the economic expansion to a halt, Goldwein said.

“I think there’s kind of a slow-burn consequence,” he said. “The more bonds we keep selling, the less investment there’s going to be in the private sector. Over time, that’s going to slow growth.”



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USS Nimitz captain reveals his pilots have to watch out for UFOs…


The commanding officer of the US Navy supercarrier, the USS Nimitz, has revealed his crew has an ‘obligation’ to make sure the airspace is clear of UFOs.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Captain Max Clark said it’s important his ship and everybody on it is kept safe from Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) – the term for UFOs used by the Navy.

This comes just weeks after the Office of Naval Intelligence revealed the existence of a classified, unreleased video relating to the Nimitz carrier group’s 2004 encounters with a ‘Tic Tac’-shaped UFO.

The existence of the video was revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by researcher Christian Lambright, and published by Lambright’s friend Paul Dean.

The video is likely the full version of a leaked 76-second video clip that the Defense Department admitted in 2017 was authentic.

Captain Max Clark, commanding officer of the USS Nimitz, tells DailyMail.com it is important his ship and everybody on it is kept safe from UFOs after the Nimitz carrier group had an encounter with a UFO in 2004

Captain Max Clark, commanding officer of the USS Nimitz, tells DailyMail.com it is important his ship and everybody on it is kept safe from UFOs after the Nimitz carrier group had an encounter with a UFO in 2004

This comes just weeks after the Office of Naval Intelligence revealed the existence of a classified, unreleased video of a UFO. The classified video is likely the full version of the leaked 76-second clip (above) which circulated online from 2007, and was confirmed as authentic in 2017

This comes just weeks after the Office of Naval Intelligence revealed the existence of a classified, unreleased video of a UFO. The classified video is likely the full version of the leaked 76-second clip (above) which circulated online from 2007, and was confirmed as authentic in 2017 

The footage was taken by a pilot using a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) gun-pod camera on an F/A-18 Super Hornet flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking to DailyMail.com on the bridge of the Nimitz, Captain Clark said of the bizarre encounter: ‘From my perspective we have an obligation to make sure the airspace is clear, whether it’s UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), this is part of the air space.

Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for Britain's Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, said Captain Clark's comments come as a surprise because there are 'huge sensitivities' over the Nimitz incident

Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for Britain’s Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, said Captain Clark’s comments come as a surprise because there are ‘huge sensitivities’ over the Nimitz incident

‘It adds another level of… from a pilot’s point of view, to see and avoid, and also our radar systems looking for things like that too, just to make sure everybody’s safe.’

Philadelphia native Captain Clark, who assumed command of Nimitz on August 1, 2019, wasn’t on board the Nimitz when the unusual sighting was recorded 16 years ago.

And the experienced officer wouldn’t be drawn further on the video or the Navy’s close encounters of the third kind.

Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs in an official capacity for Britain’s Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, said Captain Clark’s comments come as a surprise.

The commentator told DailyMail.com: ‘These are fascinating comments and it’s interesting they were made at all, because the Department of Defence recently took over responding to all UFO-related questions from the media, following some tension between them and the US Navy.

‘But ship’s captains are strong-willed characters who don’t take kindly to being muzzled.

‘That said, the captain was totally on-message, because the official line involves talking in general terms about the need to guard against unauthorized incursions into restricted military airspace, with the aim of promoting safety.

‘What’s being downplayed by everyone is the staggering fact that the US government still doesn’t know what these objects are.

‘The DOD’s line is that the objects seen by naval aviators during the USS Nimitz incident remain “unidentified”.’

Pope added that there are ‘huge sensitivities’ over the Nimitz incident and the recent admission by the US Navy that it has the secret unreleased video has put the affair back in the spotlight. And Captain Clark’s comments further fuel the speculation surrounding the footage which has baffled the world.

At least six Super Hornet pilots made visual or instrument contact with the UFO on November 14, 2004.

The encounters, which are documented in numerous interviews with first-hand witnesses, remain a mystery, and the object’s incredible speed and movements have led to speculation that it was extraterrestrial in origin.

Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence last month in an interview with New York Magazine

Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence last month in an interview with New York Magazine

Underwood was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet as part of the USS Nimitz (above) carrier group when he encountered an 'unidentified aerial phenomena'

Underwood was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet as part of the USS Nimitz (above) carrier group when he encountered an ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’

A map shows the rough location of the USS Nimitz carrier group during the 2004 encounter

A map shows the rough location of the USS Nimitz carrier group during the 2004 encounter

The original FLIR video from the Nimitz encounters leaked online as early as 2007.

Witnesses say that clips of the video had been circulated widely on the Navy’s intranet – used to communicate between ships in the carrier group – and an unknown sailor in the group likely first leaked it.

The clip became one of the most-touted pieces of evidence in the UFO community when the Pentagon confirmed its authenticity in 2017.

Last month, Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence in an interview with New York Magazine.

He said the oblong, wingless ‘Tic Tac’ shaped object was spotted off the coast of Mexico over the Pacific.

He also revealed that for about two weeks, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently for two weeks on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar.

The radar contacts were so inexplicable that the system was even shut down and restarted to to check for bugs – but operators continued to track the unknown aircraft.

Then on November 14, Commander David Fravor says he was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet when he made visual contact with the object, which seemed to dive below the water, resurface, and speed out of sight when he tried to approach it.

As Fravor landed on the deck of the Nimitz, Underwood was just gearing up to take off on his own training run.

Fravor told Underwood about the bizarre encounter, and urged Underwood to keep his eyes open.

He recalls how he suddenly saw a blip on his radar before tracking it on his FLIR camera.

‘The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving,’ Underwood told the magazine.

‘And what I mean by “erratic” is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets.’

The FOIA response letter above revealed that Office of Naval Intelligence has 'TOP SECRET' briefing slides and 'SECRET' video related to the 2004 USS Nimitz carrier group encounters

The FOIA response letter above revealed that Office of Naval Intelligence has ‘TOP SECRET’ briefing slides and ‘SECRET’ video related to the 2004 USS Nimitz carrier group encounters

Underwood says the object wasn’t obeying the laws of physics and dropped from 50,000 feet altitude to 100 feet in seconds, which he says, ‘isn’t possible’.

Underwood added that he saw no signs of an engine heat plume or any sign of propulsion.

The pilot refuses to speculate as to whether the object is an alien spacecraft or not, however.

‘That’s not my job. But I saw something. And it was also seen, via eyeballs, by both my commanding officer, Dave Fravor, and the Marine Corps Hornet squadron commanding officer who was out there as well.’

DailyMail.com spoke to Nimitz commanding officer Captain Clark about the incident after being invited onboard the awesome 95,000 ton vessel earlier this month.

We joined the crew on a five day training mission in the Pacific Ocean and witnessed first hand it’s awesome capabilities.

Capable of reaching more than 30 knots (35mph) the Nimitz-class supercarrier is one of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Fleet.

We observed flight operations as F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and a handful of F-35C stealth strike fighters were launched off the ship and brought in to land.

The Nimitz is the lead ship of her class, one of the largest warships in the world and the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Eleven (CSG-11) with Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) embarked.

Its homeport is Naval Base Kitsap in Washington and the vessel is named for legendary fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885–1966), who helped the US defeat the Japanese Navy in World War II.

 



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Next Trump? Bethenny Frankel Sets Business Competition Show from Mark Burnett…


The unscripted show from Mark Burnett and MGM TV will give contestants a chance to work as part of the Skinnygirl founder’s executive team.

Bethenny Frankel is returning to her reality TV roots with a competition series at HBO Max.

The Skinnygirl founder and former Real Housewives of New York City star will front an eight-episode series called The Big Shot With Bethenny, in which aspiring business moguls compete for a job on Frankel’s executive team. The Apprentice-like show hails from MGM TV, Mark Burnett and Frankel’s B Real Productions.

“I first met Bethenny when I put her on the first season of The Real Housewives of New York City, and she’s always both impressed and entertained me,” Jennifer O’Connell, executive vp original non-fiction and kids programming at HBO Max, said Wednesday in a statement. “It’s incredible to see her empire continue to grow, and I know that candidates will be clamoring to work for her.”

Said Frankel, “Aside from motherhood, what truly defines me as a person is being a driven, passionate and hard-working woman determined to make the impossible possible. My mantra is to come from a place of ‘yes’ and to find and create the solution. I am an executor of visions, and I share and impart that information to those who work with me. MGM has been neck-in-neck with me with ideas and their execution. I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue my longstanding relationship with Mark Burnett on this series and pay this American Dream story forward.”

Frankel’s first TV exposure came on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (a spinoff of Burnett’s Apprentice franchise) in 2006, where she finished as runner-up. She also has made several appearances on Burnett’s Shark Tank on ABC, in addition to eight seasons on Real Housewives, two seasons of the spinoff Bethenny Ever After and a syndicated talk show that ran in the 2013-14 season.

“Bethenny is that rare talent whose creative instincts are equal to her business acumen, and working with her to create this series has been an amazing collaboration,” said Barry Poznick, president unscripted and alternative television at MGM and president Orion Television. “We’re giving fans what they want, access inside Bethenny’s businesses so they can see how she runs her empire, all while offering one fan the chance of a lifetime to join her executive team. We’ve found the perfect home in HBO Max to bring this exclusive opportunity to viewers.”

Big Fish Entertainment is producing along with MGM TV and B Real. Burnett, Poznick, Frankel, Dan Cesareo and Lucilla D’Agostino are executive producers. 

The Big Shot With Bethenny joins a slate of 15 other unscripted originals (along with about 30 scripted shows) at HBO Max. The WarnerMedia streaming platform is set to launch in May with plans to debut 31 originals in its first year, growing to 50 in year two. It also will feature an extensive library of past shows from HBO, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and other WarnerMedia properties. A premiere date for The Big Shot hasn’t been set.

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Does Iran regime plan to destroy tomb of Esther and Mordechai?


The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom condemned the Iranian regime on Wednesday for its reported threats to raze the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan.“USCIRF is troubled by reported threats to the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, and emphasizes the Iranian government’s responsibility to protect religious sites,” tweeted the US agency.The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan, federal government entity that monitors, analyzes and reports on threats to religious freedom.The Alliance for Rights of All Minorities in Iran tweeted on Sunday that, “According to covering reports, members of the Iranian Basij attempted to raid the historic [tomb of Esther and Mordechai] site yesterday in an act of revenge against the Israelis Palestinian peace plan by US President Donald Trump.”ARAM noted that “Iranian authorities are threatening to destroy the historic tomb of Ester and Mordechai in Hamadan and convert the site to a consular office for Palestine.”The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the “covering reports” cited by ARAM.ARAM promotes equal rights for women and religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, as well as the Iranian LGBT community.Esther and Mordechai “were biblical Jewish heroes who saved their people from a massacre in a story known as Purim. Their burial site has been a significant Jewish landmark for Jews and history buffs around the world,” wrote ARAM.The Iranian Christians News Agency (Mohabat) reported in early February that the Basij issued threats to the tomb. “The Council for the Exploration of Student Mobilization of Hamadan Universities said in a statement to the United States, Israel and the Arab countries in the region that they will turn the tomb into a Palestinian Consulate if any action is taken.”According to the Mohabat report, the Basji militia said the plan to raze the tomb was in response to the unveiling of the Palestinian-Israeli peace plan. The Basij termed Trump’s peace plan a “vicious act of treachery,” adding “You will no longer find the place as a tomb in the land of Hamadan”. The paper said the Iranian regime “with the help of God will defeat the recent conspiracy and fulfill the promise of the demise of the racist and childish Zionist regime to make this place a dear Palestinian Consulate… And you will see this promise come true.”



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