I wrote the dialogue for this:
Carrie Fisher, Child of Hollywood and ‘Star Wars’ Royalty, Dies at 60
December 27, 2016
Carrie Fisher, the actress, author and screenwriter who brought a rare combination of nerve, grit and hopefulness to her most indelible role, as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movie franchise, died on Tuesday morning. She was 60.
A family spokesman, Simon Halls, said Ms. Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. She had a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday and had been hospitalized in Los Angeles.
“Star Wars,” released in 1977, turned her overnight into an international movie star. The film, written and directed by George Lucas, traveled around the world, breaking box-office records. It proved to be the first installment of a blockbuster series whose vivid, even preposterous characters — living “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” as the opening sequence announced — became pop culture legends and the progenitors of a merchandising bonanza.
Ms. Fisher established Princess Leia as a damsel who could very much deal with her own distress, whether facing down the villainy of the dreaded Darth Vader or the romantic interests of the roguish smuggler Han Solo.
Wielding blaster pistols, piloting futuristic vehicles and, to her occasional chagrin, wearing strange hairdos and a revealing metal bikini, she reprised the role in three more films — “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, “Return of the Jedi” in 1983 and, 32 years later, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” by which time Leia had become a hard-bitten general.
Lucasfilm said on Tuesday that Ms. Fisher had completed her work in an as-yet-untitled eighth episode of the main “Star Wars” saga, which is scheduled to be released in December 2017.
Winning the admiration of countless fans, Ms. Fisher never played Leia as helpless. She had the toughness to escape the clutches of the monstrous gangster Jabba the Hutt and the tenderness to tell Han Solo, as he is about to be frozen in carbonite, “I love you.” (Solo, played by Harrison Ford, caddishly replies, “I know.”)
UC Berkeley says the Obama administration might force it to remove 13,800 hours of free educational videos from YouTube
This is the YouTube channel for University of California, Berkeley: https://www.youtube.com/user/UCBerkeley/videos
It has 13,800 hours of free educational content.
Recently, the Department of Justice sent this letter to the school, which criticized the videos for not being closed captioned, and for not having audio descriptions of content that was visible on chalkboards.
The school responded by issuing a statement which said it might have to remove the videos because of this. Specifically, the school’s statement said:
“… we might not be able to continue to provide free public content under the conditions laid out by the Department of Justice to the extent we have in the past.”
“In many cases the requirements proposed by the department would require the university to implement extremely expensive measures to continue to make these resources available to the public for free…”
The same letter from the Justicte Department also ordered the school to pay “compensatory damages” to deaf people because these free educational videos were not closed captioned.
However, the Justice Department did not explain how it was possible for the school to pay “compensatory damages” for something that the school had given away for free.
Detroit News: “Too many votes in 37% of Detroit’s precincts” and “95 Detroit poll books missing for several days”
Too many votes in 37% of Detroit’s precincts
December 13, 2016
Voting machines in more than one-third of all Detroit precincts registered more votes than they should have during last month’s presidential election, according to Wayne County records prepared at the request of The Detroit News.
Detailed reports from the office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett show optical scanners at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts, or 37 percent, tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books. Voting irregularities in Detroit have spurred plans for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday.
The Detroit precincts are among those that couldn’t be counted during a statewide presidential recount that began last week and ended Friday following a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Democrat Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly prevailed in Detroit and Wayne County. But Republican President-elect Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes or 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent.
Overall, state records show 10.6 percent of the precincts in the 22 counties that began the retabulation process couldn’t be recounted because of state law that bars recounts for unbalanced precincts or ones with broken seals.
The problems were the worst in Detroit, where discrepancies meant officials couldn’t recount votes in 392 precincts, or nearly 60 percent. And two-thirds of those precincts had too many votes.
Republican state senators last week called for an investigation in Wayne County, including one precinct where a Detroit ballot box contained only 50 of the 306 ballots listed in a poll book, according to an observer for Trump.
95 Detroit poll books missing for several days
December 15, 2016
Detroit elections officials waited several days to deliver nearly 100 poll books to Wayne County officials charged with certifying the presidential election, newly released documents show.
County clerk officials on Thursday released a memo to State Elections Director Chris Thomas that said 95 poll books from the 662 precincts weren’t available at the start of the canvass, which began the day after the Nov. 8 election. Five of those poll books, which contain the names of voters and ensure the integrity of elections, were never delivered to county canvassers and presumably remain missing.
The memo from county elections official Jennifer Redmond to the state also shows poll books in 101 Detroit precincts were not delivered in sealed envelopes, as the law requires.
Separate county documents obtained by The News show that poll books in 17 precincts were missing seal numbers from ballot boxes, as is required by state law.
Another Detroit precinct contained 50 of the 306 ballots listed in a poll book, according to an observer for Trump.
A man set his ex’s car on fire for revenge, then blamed it on the KKK, police say
December 14, 2016
The 911 caller told a dispatcher that she was worried about her brother’s apparently violent abduction.
She also conceded that she was confused.
“I don’t understand what’s going on,” she told the emergency dispatcher on Sunday.
She had found bloody fingerprints on her car and her brother’s jacket lying in the street. A threatening note was nearby — and her brother, Vincent Palmer, was nowhere to be found.
“Apparently, somebody supposedly got my brother,” the woman told the dispatcher on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. “There’s blood in the car. Somebody left a note in the car and it says ‘KKK. I hate black men who f— with white women. You will never see your grandson again alive.’ ”
But things didn’t add up. Palmer didn’t live with his sister, and she had seen him only sporadically in the past few weeks. So why would a racist kidnapper leave a detailed note at her place?
The 911 dispatcher asked the caller to be frank about her brother: “Has he been having issues with anyone that you know of?”
“He’s been having issues with his girlfriend,” the caller said, according to a recording of the 911 call provided by the Ormond Beach Police Department.
“Issues” was probably an understatement, according to police and the mother of Palmer’s ex.
In a three-day span, they say, Palmer set his ex-girlfriend’s car on fire, wrote two racist notes as part of a staged hate crime, faked his own abduction and was arrested twice.
He remained in custody Wednesday. Police and jail officials did not know whether he had an attorney.
It was all part of an elaborate but ultimately doomed scheme to get back at his ex and avoid paying child support, authorities and the woman’s mother say.
The couple, who have four boys together, broke up in March. They had fought frequently, said Lynda Winn, the ex-girlfriend’s mother.
Sometimes the fight was in court, over child support. Sometimes Palmer landed in jail.
“She kept saying, ‘Oh, I’m done with him,’ ” Winn said of her daughter. “Then next thing I know, she’s calling him up.”
But infidelity was the final straw, Winn said.
“My daughter found out that he was having an affair with this other girl that was pregnant,” Winn told The Washington Post. “He did it once before and she took him back and he said he’d never do it again, but he did.”
Police believe Palmer put the arson plan in motion early Friday after he got out of work as a forklift driver at a warehouse.
He headed for his girlfriend’s house about 4:35 a.m., the police report says, and stopped along the way at a gas station, where he filled a Mountain Dew bottle with gasoline.
When he got to his ex’s house, police say, he taped a note to her mailbox: “I HAVE WATHED [sic] YOU FOR A LONG TIME YOU AND YOUR N—– KIDS DON’T Belong.”
On the other side he wrote one word: “TRUMP.”
Then, the police report says, Palmer scooped up a brick from a neighbor’s yard and shattered the back window of his ex’s Chevrolet Sonic. He then doused the back seat with gasoline, used a burning piece of paper to ignite a fire and made a hasty exit on his scooter, police say.
Seeing the car engulfed in flames, neighbors called 911 and banged on the woman’s door to make sure everyone in the house was okay.
Distraught, Palmer’s ex spoke with police. Then she called Palmer, authorities said.
He showed up on the scooter with a cup of coffee and a cigarette for his ex, Winn said. But, she said, he got antsy “when they said they were going to get fingerprints off the paper. He was like, ‘They can do that?’ ”
Authorities also thought Palmer seemed uncomfortable, according to the police report.
One officer “spoke to the defendant while at the scene and said he appeared to be nervous,” the police report says. Police ran a warrant check and took Palmer into custody.
One of the conditions of his release from jail: He had to pay some of the back child support he owed.
After his release, police say, Palmer faked his own abduction, probably in an attempt to avoid legal trouble from the staged hate crime.
Winn thinks Palmer was also running from his child support obligations.
Her daughter, she said, had asked about additional delinquent money to support the boys. But after Palmer got out of jail, he vanished.
The abduction story began to unravel after Palmer’s sister called 911 and reported the bloody fingerprints and the jacket, which were found in Daytona Beach.
Police there mounted a search and notified surrounding jurisdictions to be on the lookout for Palmer.
They also contacted Ormond Beach Police because of their involvement with Palmer.
Shortly afterward, police tracked Palmer via his cellphone. They found him eating at a Burger King.
Initially, the police report says, Palmer said his name was Raquel Johnson.
But he eventually shared his real identity and admitted to two days of deceit, the report says.
He said he set the fire. He said the kidnapping was bogus, too.
“The defendant told us that he wrote the note found at the arson before he left work,” the report says. “He apologized for the fire and said he never meant to hurt anyone.”
He said the blood outside his sister’s home was his. “He had pricked his own finger and spread the blood around to add to the abduction illusion.”
He was arrested again and charged with second-degree arson.
Palmer remained in Volusia County jail Wednesday with no bail set.
The population of Morocco is 99% Muslim.
Geert Wilders guilty of ‘insulting a group’ after hate speech trial
December 9, 2016
The Dutch far-right opposition leader Geert Wilders was convicted Friday of inciting discrimination and “insulting a group” after a trial over statements he made about Moroccans.
But the court found him not guilty of incitement to hatred and handed down no punishment.
Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), was charged after inciting supporters into a chant calling for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands in 2014.
According to a court statement, Wilders asked his audience: “Do you want more or less Moroccans in this city and in the Netherlands?”
The audience repeatedly chanted “less.”
The court said that Wilders “singled out an entire group of citizens” and that the message “came through loud and clear.” It convicted him of insulting a group and incitement to discrimination.
But the court found insufficient evidence to find him guilty of incitement to hatred.
The court, which could have fined Wilders, decided that verdicts were sufficient punishment and imposed no further penalty.
The 53-year-old far-right leader has campaigned against “Islamic immigration.”
“Three PVV-hating judges just declared Moroccans a race and convicted me, as well as half of the Dutch population,” Wilders tweeted shortly after the ruling.
Wilders said in a Twitter post ahead of the verdict Friday morning that he will “continue to speak the truth about the Moroccan problem.”
“No judge, politician or terrorist will stop me,” he added.
Wilders has previously called Islamic immigration “an invasion” that will “replace our people” and “erase our culture.”
Among his other policies, Wilders has called for a referendum on the Netherlands’ membership in the European Union, and a full burqa ban.
Wilders, 53, came to international attention in 2008 with the provocative online film “Fitna,” which juxtaposed the aftermath of terrorist attacks with verses from the Quran.
Known as much for his anti-Muslim views as his bleached hair, Wilders has been called “Europe’s Donald Trump” — with his party gaining popularity in recent years.
It’s not the first time Wilders has appeared in court on hate speech charges.
In 2011 he was acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims, after calling for the Quran to be banned in the Netherlands.
Friday’s verdict comes three months ahead of the country’s parliamentary election in March, when Wilders will be vying for the top job of prime minister.
The opposition party leader will face current prime minister Mark Rutte, whose conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) rules in a coalition with the the Labour Party (PvdA).
Rutte said at a press conference Friday that neither he nor his party would be willing to govern with Wilders unless he retracted his comments about Moroccans.
Wilders has run on a party manifesto focused on a so-called “de-Islamification” of the Netherlands, in which he lays out an 11-point plan pledging, among other things, to shut down all the country’s Islamic schools and close the borders to migrants from Islamic nations.
MSNBC fake news reporter Brian Williams falsely says Cubans prefer using donkey carts instead of cars
In Michigan, video shows police tying a black man to a chair and beating him so badly that he lost vision in one eye
Police tie black man to chair and beat him until he loses vision in one eye
Frankie Taylor has filed a lawsuit against the police department in Eastpointe, Michigan, after the brutal ordeal
December 8, 2016
A black man in Michigan has filed a lawsuit against his local police department after he was beaten by police so badly that he lost vision in one eye.
Frankie Taylor was arrested for alleged drink driving on 10 August last year. He was taken to the police station, restrained, tied to a chair and savagely beaten.
The disturbing incident at Eastpointe police department was caught on camera. The footage was obtained by Fox News.
After a verbal exchange, the officers get Mr Taylor on the ground and restrain him. They then tie him to chair facing the camera.
“If you keep acting like a child, you’re going to get strapped in that chair and you’re going to stay there,” an officer says to Mr Taylor.
Another officer puts on a pair of gloves and beats the victim until he loses consciousness. His cries of pain and fear are clearly heard in the video.
There are four officers surrounding Mr Taylor while he is tied in the chair.
“Stop resisting,” the officer says automatically as he lands punches on Mr Taylor’s face and head. “Stop resisting.”
“The guy hit me so many times, it made me cry once I seen the tape,” Mr Taylor told Fox news. “I was knocked out.”
He previously had an implant under one eye for glaucoma, but the beating dislodged it and led to his loss of vision.
His lawyer, James Rasor, said the police moved Mr Taylor to jail the next day instead of hospital. By the time he went to a Detroit hospital for surgery a few days later, it was too late to save his eye.
Mr Rasor said his client has “horrible nightmares”. The lawsuit requests a sum of money greater than $75,000, excluding legal fees and punitive damages.
He was not allowed to make a phone call once he got to the jail last August, Mr Rasor said, unlike other detainees who are white. The lawyer described the incident as police brutality.
Eastpointe police department could not be immediately contacted for comment.
Fake hate crime in upstate New York: white firefighter sets his own house on fire and writes “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon.”
Firefighter Charged With Torching His House, Blaming It On Anti-Cop Suspects
A spray-painted message on the home read: “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon.”
December 8, 2016
A firefighter in upstate New York is facing a felony arson charge after authorities say he set his family’s house on fire and wrote an anti-police message outside as a potential cover-up.
Jason Stokes, 41, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony second-degree arson following the mysterious Aug. 10 summer blaze in Endicott, just west of Binghamton, local station TV WBNG reported.
Stokes, his wife and two teenaged children escaped the home safely, state police said.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell described an “obstacle course” inside the house that firefighters had to get through.
“There were gas cans, full gas cans and other containers full with flammable material, placed throughout the home as if it were an obstacle course to get around,” he said at a press conference Tuesday.
Authorities say they found a “Blue Lives Matter” flag outside the home and a spray-painted message on a wall reading: “Lie with pigs, fry like bacon.”
Cornwell called the message, which he refused to repeat, a “despicable display of how law enforcement should be viewed in society today.” He suggested that the message was meant to throw off investigators into believing anti-police protesters were to blame. He declined to speculate on a possible motive.
At the time of the incident, the family suggested that the fire was a targeted attack against them, WBNG reported.
Stokes was released Wednesday on $10,000 bail. An attempt to reach him for comment Thursday was not immediately successful.
The Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton reported that Stokes has worked as a firefighter with the Endicott Fire Department since March 2005. He has been placed on administrative leave following the charges.
A trial date is set for April 17.
France banned this TV commercial that shows smiling children with Down Syndrome, so here it is for you to watch
The Sensitivity Police Strike Again
The court has ruled that the video is — wait for it — “inappropriate” for French television.
December 3, 2016
The word “inappropriate” is increasingly used inappropriately. It is useful to describe departures from good manners or other social norms, such as wearing white after Labor Day or using the salad fork with the entree. But the adjective has become a splatter of verbal fudge, a weasel word falsely suggesting measured seriousness. Its misty imprecision does not disguise, it advertises, the user’s moral obtuseness.
A French court has demonstrated how “inappropriate” can be an all-purpose device of intellectual evasion and moral cowardice. The court said it is inappropriate to do something that might disturb people who killed their unborn babies for reasons that were, shall we say, inappropriate.
Prenatal genetic testing enables pregnant women to be apprised of a variety of problems with their unborn babies, including Down syndrome. It is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal defect that causes varying degrees of mental disability and some physical abnormalities, such as low muscle tone, small stature, flatness of the back of the head and an upward slant to the eyes. Within living memory, Down syndrome people were called Mongoloids.
Now they are included in the category called “special needs” people. What they most need is nothing special. It is for people to understand their aptitudes, and to therefore quit killing them in utero.
Down syndrome, although not common, is among the most common congenital anomalies at 49.7 per 100,000 births. In approximately 90 percent of instances when prenatal genetic testing reveals Down syndrome, the baby is aborted. Cleft lips or palates, which occur in 72.6 per 100,000 births, also can be diagnosed in utero and sometimes are the reason a baby is aborted.
In 2014, in conjunction with World Down Syndrome Day (March 21), the Global Down Syndrome Foundation prepared a two-minute video titled “Dear Future Mom” to assuage the anxieties of pregnant women who have learned that they are carrying a Down syndrome baby. More than 7 million people have seen the video online in which one such woman says, “I’m scared: what kind of life will my child have?” Down syndrome children from many nations tell the woman that her child will hug, speak, go to school, tell you he loves you and “can be happy, just like I am — and you’ll be happy, too.”
The French state is not happy about this. The court has ruled that the video is — wait for it — “inappropriate” for French television. The court upheld a ruling in which the French Broadcasting Council banned the video as a commercial. The court said the video’s depiction of happy Down syndrome children is “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”
So, what happens on campuses does not stay on campuses. There, in many nations, sensitivity bureaucracies have been enforcing the relatively new entitlement to be shielded from whatever might disturb, even inappropriate jokes. And now this rapidly metastasizing right has come to this: A video that accurately communicates a truthful proposition — that Down syndrome people can be happy and give happiness — should be suppressed because some people might become ambivalent, or morally queasy, about having chosen to extinguish such lives because . . .
This is why the video giving facts about Down syndrome people is so subversive of the flaccid consensus among those who say aborting a baby is of no more moral significance than removing a tumor from a stomach. Pictures persuade. Today’s improved prenatal sonograms make graphic the fact that the moving fingers and beating heart are not mere “fetal material.” They are a baby. Toymaker Fisher-Price, children’s apparel manufacturer OshKosh, McDonald’s, and Target have featured Down syndrome children in ads that the French court would probably ban from television.
The court has said, in effect, that the lives of Down syndrome people — and by inescapable implication, the lives of many other disabled people — matter less than the serenity of people who have acted on one or more of three vicious principles: That the lives of the disabled are not worth living. Or that the lives of the disabled are of negligible value next to the desire of parents to have a child who has no special — meaning inconvenient – needs. Or that government should suppress the voices of Down syndrome children in order to guarantee other people’s right not to be disturbed by reminders that they have made lethal choices on the basis of one or both of the first two inappropriate principles.
“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail. Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption.”
– Sarah Palin
KKK holds parade in Roxboro
December 3, 2016
ROXBORO — The Ku Klux Klan held a parade in North Carolina Saturday, but moved it to the afternoon and one county over from where the group said it would gather to celebrate Donald Trump’s election as president.
State troopers blocked intersections as the KKK parade of about 30 vehicles drove through the city’s downtown and major thoroughfare, the Times-News in Burlington reported.
Men and women shouted “White power!” and “Hail victory!” from vehicles flying KKK flags, Confederate battle flags, Donald Trump flags and Christian flags during the afternoon parade, the newspaper reported.
Hundreds of protesters and observers had arrived in Pelham Saturday morning preparing to demonstrate against the KKK, the Times-News reported. The group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group, had originally told the paper it would hold its “Victory Kavalkade Klan Parade” in the morning in the “vicinity of Pelham.”
Several groups across the state, including in Greensboro, Mebane and Charlotte, held rallies Saturday to counter the Klan event.
A U.S. born Muslim NYPD officer who ran into a burning building to save a baby and an elderly man is the victim of a real hate crime
I’ll definitely take the word of any police officer who runs into a burning building to save a baby and an elderly man.
Plus, they have a real suspect in custody.
Muslim NYPD officer threatened, told ‘go back to your country’
December 5, 2016
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s “sick to my stomach” over an incident in which a Muslim off-duty NYPD officer was reportedly threatened over the weekend by a man who said, “I will cut your throat, go back to your country.”
The officer, Aml Elsokary, said she had just dropped off her 16-year-old son in Brooklyn Saturday evening when a man begin arguing with the teen. When Elsokary, who was not in uniform, intervened, the man allegedly told her, “ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat, go back to your country,” before fleeing the scene.
Elsokary, a 34-year-old Muslim-American, is an 11-year-veteran of the NYPD. She was wearing a hijab at the time of the incident, according to the NYPD.
Within 24 hours of the incident New York police arrested Christopher Nelson, 36, and charged him with menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment. Nelson was ordered held on $50,000 bail, according to Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Nelson’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request from CNN seeking comment.
There are approximately 900 Muslim-Americans currently serving on the NYPD, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday at a news conference in which he addressed the threat against Elsokary.
“This is her country, she is an American, she is a New Yorker, and this is her home. We cannot allow this hatred and bias to spread,” de Blasio said.
Elsokary, who regularly wears a hijab while on duty in Brooklyn, was praised for her heroism after she helped save a baby girl and an elderly man from a burning building in April 2014, according to a press release from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“I help everybody no matter what your religion is. I’m born and raised here and I am here to protect you all. The department has supported me in wearing my hijab. I want to thank my Muslim officers for standing by my side,” Elsokary said at Monday’s press conference.
The incident involving Elsokary is just one in a recent rash of hate crimes in New York, authorities said.
On Monday, an off-duty Muslim NYC transit employee was assaulted by a male passenger at Grand Central Terminal. The man allegedly called the uniformed employee a “terrorist” and pushed her down a flight of stairs.
The transit employee sustained injuries to her ankle and knee and was transported to an area hospital, according to a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who directed the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the State Police and the state Division of Human Rights to investigate the matter.
“This is the great state of New York — we welcome people of all cultures, customs and creeds with open arms. We do not allow intolerance or fear to divide us because we know diversity is our strength and we are at our best when we stand united,” Cuomo said.
Hate crimes in New York City are up 35% from last year, with a “huge spike” in incidents right after Election Day on November 8, NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said Monday. Most of the reported hate crimes have been anti-Semitic in nature, followed by anti-Muslim crimes, Boyce said. De Blasio said the uptick in hate crimes were “obviously connected to the (presidential) election.”
Critics accused President-elect Donald Trump of fostering xenophobia and Islamophobia during the divisive presidential campaign. In an interview last month Trump said he was “so saddened” to hear about vitriol hurled by some of his supporters against minorities and told them to “stop it.”
“You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans negatively and not have some ramification for that, not have something as a result of that. It’s very troubling. Look, a few times recently the President-elect has spoken out against it. He needs to keep doing that,” de Blasio said Monday.
I agree with the plaintiff, Naked Capitalism. The Washington Post’s article accusing Naked Capitalism of being “fake news” did not cite any actual examples of “fake news” from Naked Capitalism. Also, the Washington Post did not interview anyone from Naked Capitalism when it wrote the article in question. The Washington Post’s irresponsible behavior meets all the criteria that are necessary for a defamation lawsuit. If anyone here is guilty of publishing “fake news,” it is the Washington Post:
Website Labeled ‘Fake News’ Threatens To Sue WaPo For Defamation
December 5, 2016
One of the websites The Washington Post labeled “fake news” in a November story demanded a retraction and threatened the paper with a defamation lawsuit in a demand letter Sunday.
A lawyer for Naked Capitalism accuses WaPo of running a debunked list of “fake news” sites in the “sensational” story compiled by a dubious team of researchers, without substantiating their claims or giving Naked Capitalism a chance to respond to the allegation. The Washington Post’s actions constitute defamation, the lawyer writes in the letter published Monday.
“You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist,” James A. Moody writes. “You provided no discussion or assessment of the credentials or backgrounds of these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot), and no discussion or analysis of the methodology, protocol or algorithms such ‘researchers’ may or may not have followed.”
Naked Capitalism is a finance and economics blog started in December 2006, with a stated goal of “shedding light on the dark and seamy corners of finance.”
Moody demands a retraction of the story and a public apology from WaPo in the letter, threatening a suit if the paper does not comply. He lists a series of damages to the site itself, as well as the writers and editors associated with the site; these include “ridicule, emotional distress, loss of reputation, and risk to future career advancement” for writers and editors.
Other mainstream news outlets criticize The Washington Post for running the story.
“The organization’s anonymity, which a spokesperson maintained was due to fear of Russian hackers, added a cybersexy mystique,” Adrian Chen wrote in The New Yorker regarding the WaPo story. “But a close look at the report showed that it was a mess.”
And Patrick Maines criticized the story in The Hill, calling it “perhaps the shoddiest piece of feature writing since Rolling Stone published its blatantly false story about a campus rape at the University of Virginia.”
“You have made damaging false accusations against Naked Capitalism,” Moody concludes in the letter. “Please immediately remove these from the web and provide an equivalent opportunity to respond. Please see the attached concerning your obligation to retain documents and electronically stored information relating to Fake News. I look forward to hearing from you within three business days.”
Afghan asylum seeker arrested over murder of German medical student who was daughter of senior EU official
Afghan asylum seeker arrested over murder of German medical student who was daughter of senior EU official
December 4, 2016
A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested after he reportedly confessed to murdering the daughter of a senior EU official.
Maria Ladenburger, a 19-year-old medical student, was raped and killed shortly after leaving a student party in Freiburg, southern Germany, on October 16.
According to German media reports, the 17-year-old suspect will stand trial early next year.
Ms Ladenburger was the daughter of Dr Clemens Ladenburger, who since 2008 has been an assistant to the director of the European Commission’s legal wing.
The Freiburg University student, who reportedly volunteered at a local refugee shelter in her spare time, was raped before drowning in the River Dreisam.
A team of 40 investigators were put to work combing the area for clues, and eventually came across a black scarf that belonged to Ms Ladenburger on the riverbed.
They also found a seven-inch strand of dark hair that had been dyed blonde, but drew a blank after comparing the DNA on both items to their own records.
Three weeks later, investigators unearthed CCTV footage from a tram station which showed an asylum seeker who wore what police described as “a very conspicuous hairstyle, an undercut hairstyle,” that was dyed blond in parts.
He was tracked down and arrested before being asked to take a DNA test, which according to German newspaper Bild matched him to the crime scene.
A German police spokesman said yesterday that they were trying to establish whether Ms Ladenburger knew her killer.
They are also looking into whether the attack had been planned in advance. Dr Ladenburger and his wife Friederike Ladenburger have since posted a memorial notice in their local newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, which pays tribute to their daughter.
“For 19 years Maria was a great ray of sunshine in our family and she will remain so,” it reads. “We thank God for giving us this gift, and for letting her be our child. We are sure that she is safe with him.”
A requiem was held for Ms Ladenburger at the Notre Dame des Graces Church in Brussels last October.
Her alleged killer is understood to have arrived in Germany during an influx of nearly one million asylum seekers in 2015 and had been living with a foster family without incident.
Germany has been bitterly divided over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision last year to declare an “open door” refugee policy in response to the war in Syria, which has displaced more than 4.8 million people.
Since them, a number of domestic terror attacks and plots in Germany have been linked to asylum seekers of both Syrian and Afghan origin.
In July, a 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker attacked passengers on a train in southern Germany with an axe, leaving three people seriously injured.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) went on to claim responsibility for the attack.
Ms Ladenburger’s case has drawn some comparisons in the German media to that of Caroline G, a 27-year-old jogger who was raped and murdered in November in Endingen, which is near Freiburg.
However, German police have denied any links to the unsolved murder. “We have no connection to the killing in Endingen,” German prosecutor Dieter Inhofer said.