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Tue, 21 Jan 2020
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The more we find out about Tehran plane crash, the more questions we have. Here are the main ones

plane crash
The crash of the Ukrainian plane in Iran so soon after the country launched a missile strike would have been a geopolitical event no matter what. Then came the strangely certain statements, and the retractions.

Iran blames technical issues, Ukraine not so sure

Iranian authorities were quick to blame a technical fault for the fatal crash of the Ukrainian airliner which took off from Tehran bound for Kiev Wednesday morning, with all 176 onboard losing their lives.

Ali Abedzedah, head of Iran's civil aviation authority, attributed the cause of the crash to engine failure, and said there was no involvement of terrorism.

While Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky warned against "speculation and unchecked theories", his prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk told a press conference that he was not ruling out the possibility that a missile could have brought down the plane.


Maryland legislator wants to steer low-income housing to affluent suburban neighborhoods

© Government photo: http://www.lindenhousingauthority.org/Home/tabid/4901/Default.aspx
A Maryland legislator wants to identify affluent suburban neighborhoods and target them for low-income, high-density housing.

House Del. Vaughn Stewart, a Democrat, wrote Jan. 3 that he will introduce "Homes for All" legislation that would "legalize the construction of modest homes in neighborhoods close to affluent schools, reliable transit, and good jobs."

"For too long, local governments have weaponized zoning codes to block people of color and the working class from high-opportunity neighborhoods, pushing them to the crumbling margins of cities and towns. We must act boldly to reverse decades of these exclusionary policies," he wrote.

The bill follows other efforts throughout the country to bring high-density housing to quiet neighborhoods of single-family homes, with advocates describing suburban neighborhoods with low crime rates and top-ranked schools as racially segregated.

Bizarro Earth

UK legal system allows known sex offenders to travel abroad to abuse children

Gary Glitter
© Associated Press/Alastair Grant
In this Jan, 11, 2000 file photo, British performer Gary Glitter, during a press conference in London. Police investigating the sex abuse scandal surrounding late BBC children's television host Jimmy Savile have arrested pop star Gary Glitter in connection with the case, British media said Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Gaps in the UK legal system are allowing known sex offenders such as Gary Glitter and Richard Huckle to abuse children abroad, a report has found.

Offenders from England and Wales are travelling overseas to commit "extensive abuse" of children, including in eastern Asia and Africa, said the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

It said civil orders, such as travel restrictions, are rarely placed on offenders to stop them visiting other countries where poverty and corruption have left children vulnerable.

Police forces are also often not aware of Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which allows residents of England and Wales accused of sexually abusing children abroad to be prosecuted in the UK, the report found.

Bizarro Earth

Unstable politicians in California seek to ban gas-powered lawn equipment

lawn mower
If you've got a gas-powered lawnmower or leaf blower or any other garden equipment, you may have to give it up completely.

California is considering a statewide ban on the small-engine machines and Novato is the most recent city to make moves towards getting rid of them.

Mark Bailey, the owner of Buck's Saw Service, knows he'll have to sell more of this battery-powered equipment as he prepares to lose sales of another kind of inventory, blowers and mowers that run on gas.

Bailey says he sells about 500 of them a year.

Comment: These politicians are more concerned about maintaining their doomsday cult beliefs about carbon emissions than they are about the people they serve and their local economies. Seems they are quite intent on driving California into the ground.


Professor vows to fail students if they cite Jordan Peterson

ted mccoy tweet jordan peterson
Ted McCoy, a historian of prisons and punishment, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Calgary, has tweeted out that the rumours about him are true: any student who cites Dr. Jordan Peterson in his class will fail. He lists himself as anti-fascist, and his pronouns he/him.

According to the University of Calgary, his areas of interest include, Social Inequality and Social Justice, Criminology and Deviance, Health, Illness and Medicine, Work and Occupations, and First Nations. We assume it's the interest in "Social Justice" that led him to make this censorious claim on Twitter, promising to punish students for citing one of the most renowned scholars in the world.

McCoy has since deleted the tweet, but the internet never forgets. The archived tweet can be found here. Professor McCoy joins a dubious list of social justice professors like Matthew Sears who have contracted what can only be described as PDS: Peterson Derangement Syndrome.

Comment: See also:


Reza Aslan to face the music for calling Nick Sandmann's face 'punchable' in now-deleted tweet

reza aslan nick sandmann tweet
One day after news broke that CNN settled a defamation lawsuit on behalf of Covington Catholic teen Nick Sandmann, Robert Barnes announced he had sued author, producer, and show host Reza Aslan for Aslan's tweet describing Sandmann's face as "punchable." The lawsuit, which Barnes provided to PJ Media, would slap Aslan with a minimum of $135,000 in damages.

When video of Sandmann supposedly smirking at a Native American man outside the March for Life went viral last year, Aslan infamously tweeted, "Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid's?"

Nearly exactly one year after posting the tweet, Aslan had finally deleted it on Wednesday.

Comment: See also:

Stock Down

Worst year for UK retail in 25 years - trade body

UK retail
© Getty Images
Retail sales fell for the first time in 25 years last year, according to the leading UK retail industry body.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales fell 0.1%, marking the first annual sales decline since 1995.

Sales in November and December were particularly weak, falling 0.9%, the BRC said.

A separate report from Barclaycard found a rise in consumer confidence had failed to boost festive spending.

Comment: While the digital economy may be taking a larger share of spend, it's undeniable that, overall, the signs point to a stagnating and sliding global economic situation:


NY Times columnist Paul Krugman says hacker 'compromised' his IP address to 'download child pornography'

Comment: And he claims the hacker whodunnit is... Q-ANON!

You couldn't make this up... unless you're an American icon!

paul krugman
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is appearing to be having technical difficulties as he acknowledged Wednesday on Twitter that his IP address had been "compromised" and used to "download child pornography."

"Well, I'm on the phone with my computer security service, and as I understand it someone compromised my IP address and is using it to download child pornography," Krugman wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "I might just be a random target. But this could be an attempt to Qanon me. It's an ugly world out there."

Qanon is a reference to the group of conspiracy theorists who in recent years spread incriminating myths against many high-profile Democrats on social media.

Comment: What an absolutely freaking WEIRD thing to confess on Twitter.

Why did he do that?

Was it a 'preemptive strike' because he's in trouble with the law over kiddie porn?

And this guy is the creme de la creme of US intelligentsia!

Oy vey!


MORE glitches found on Boeing's planes

Boeing 737 NG

Boeing 737 NG simulator
A bug in Boeing's 737 NG airplanes' software caused all six of the main screens inside the cockpits to go blank during landing procedures at specific airports, The Register reports. The Register spotted the glitch in an airworthiness directive, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on December 27.

"All six display units (DUs) blanked with a selected instrument approach to a runway with a 270-degree true heading, and all six DUs stayed blank until a different runway was selected," reads the directive.

Go West

Comment: See also: "Potentially catastrophic" wiring issue on Boeing 737MAX confirmed by FAA


CNN settles Nick Sandmann defamation lawsuit in Covington Catholic High School controversy

Nick Sandmann covington
CNN has settled a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed by Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann over its botched coverage of a viral confrontation with a Native American elder that had portrayed the Kentucky teen as the aggressor.

Fox 19 first reported that CNN settled with Sandmann on Tuesday for an undisclosed amount. The $250 million defamation suit sought damages for the "emotional distress Nicholas and his family suffered" in the fallout of the network's reporting.

Sandmann's attorney, Todd McMurtry, declined to comment on the dollar amount or other elements of the settlement with CNN.

Comment: See also: