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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Embattled attorney Michael Cohen has dropped a pair of much-touted libel suits against BuzzFeed and the private investigation firm Fusion GPS over publication of the so-called dossier detailing alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia. Cohen abandoned the suits late Wednesday as he continues to fight to recover documents and electronic files seized from his home, office and hotel room last week by federal authorities as part of what appears to be a broad criminal investigation into his conduct.


Although artificial intelligence systems may be able to beat humans at board games, we still have the upper hand when it comes to complicated manual tasks. But now, scientists have created robots that can do something even most humans struggle with: Assemble an IKEA chair. Putting together a chair requires a combination of complex movements that, in turn, depends on such skills as vision, limb coordination, and the ability to control force. Until now, that was too much to ask of even a sophisticated robot. But researchers have finally broken the dexterity barrier by combining commercially available hardware, including 3D cameras and force sensors, to build two chair-building bots. read more


Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was held in contempt of court on Wednesday for disobeying a judge's orders not to enforce the state's controversial proof-of-citizenship voter registration law while the court weighed its legality. Kobach, a Republican candidate for governor in Kansas, is President Donald Trump's chosen voter fraud expert and has repeatedly made unproven claims of widespread election fraud.

He co-chaired Trump's commission on voter fraud before it was unceremoniously disbanded earlier this year. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ordered him to pay "reasonable" attorney fees to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of her decision.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A new poll released Wednesday suggests the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke is far more competitive than many political observers have initially thought. The poll from Quinnipiac University shows the two men in a dead heat: 47 percent of registered voters in Texas support Cruz, the Republican incumbent, while 43 percent back O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat. That number falls within the poll's 3.6 percent margin of error. The poll had another ominous warning for the GOP: President Donald Trump was underwater in Texas, with 52 percent of respondents disapproving of him and 43 percent approving of his job performance.


In a blog post, Facebook's product management director, David Baser, wrote that the company tracked users and non-users across websites and apps for three main reasons: providing services directly, securing the company's own site, and "improving our products and services" ... "Whether it's information from apps and websites, or information you share with other people on Facebook, we want to put you in control -- and be transparent about what information Facebook has and how it is used." But the company's transparency has still not extended to telling non-users what it knows about them -- an issue Zuckerberg also faced questions over from Congress.


Comments


@#4 ... He should be impeached for it. ...

Pushing Impeachment Would Backfire On Democrats, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Finds
www.npr.org

...Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

The survey finds that 47 percent of registered voters would definitely vote against a candidate who wanted to remove Trump from office, while 42 percent would definitely vote for a candidate who would make such a promise. Forty-seven percent of independent voters -- whose opinions could be decisive -- also say they would vote against candidates favoring impeachment....



... Trump also hosted a couple of Russian ambassadors in the Oval Office the day after he fired Comey and told them the firing would release the pressure of the Russia probe: ...

Especially egregious of that meeting was...

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador
www.washingtonpost.com

...President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump's disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump's decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump's meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

"This is code-word information," said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies."...



Some more info...

Tammie Jo Shults, who landed crippled Southwest plane, was one of first female fighter pilots in U.S. Navy
www.nbcnews.com

..."To get us down with no hydraulics and a blown engine and land us safely is nothing short of miraculous to me. She's a hero, for sure."

"We have part of the aircraft missing, so we're going to need to slow down a bit," she's heard calmly telling air traffic controllers in audio transmissions after reporting the aircraft's engine failure.

"Could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well? We've got injured passengers," Shults then requests.

A air traffic controller asks her if her plane is on fire, to which Shults calmly replies: "No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing. They said there's a hole, and -- uh -- someone went out."...

A 1983 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, Shults, 56, received her degree in biology and agribusiness, said Carol Best, a spokeswoman for the university.

Shults then became one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. military, according to the alumni group at her alma mater.

Cindy Foster, a classmate of Shults, told The Kansas City Star that when Shults enlisted in the Navy, she encountered "a lot of resistance" because of her gender. She was passionate about flying and dreamed of being in the Air Force, but went to the Navy instead after the Air Force denied her a chance, Foster added....



More detail in this one...

Judge Slows U.S. Review of Trump Lawyer's Records: Cohen Update
www.bloomberg.com

...U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said that federal authorities who seized documents from the lawyer, Michael Cohen, would provide copies to Cohen's team. A lawyer for Cohen said they could provide a list of proposed special masters by Tuesday. The government will also provide names.

The judge voiced confidence in federal prosecutors and stressed that she didn't want to slow down the matter. "I have faith in the Southern District U.S. attorney's office that their integrity is unimpeachable," Wood said. She said her interest is in "getting this moving"speedily and efficiently....


Judge Rejects Trump's Request to Review Seized Cohen Materials
www.nytimes.com

...A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt by President Trump and his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to block prosecutors in Manhattan from immediately reviewing a trove of materials seized in F.B.I. raids last week on Mr. Cohen's office, home, hotel room and safe deposit box.

But feeling her way toward a resolution of the clash involving Mr. Trump and prosecutors investigating Mr. Cohen, the judge, Kimba M. Wood, signaled that she was considering appointing a special master to assist prosecutors if and when they cull through documents seized in the raids....


Mr Hannity's explanation:

Trump attorney Michael Cohen's mystery legal client: Fox News commentator Sean Hannity
www.washingtonpost.com

..."Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter," the conservative commentator wrote on Twitter. "I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective."

"I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party," Hannity added....


How can I get my lawyer to work for free and get on that "no invoice" gravy train?

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