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The Other Side of the News


Oops: Trump Takes Call from Taiwan

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:28:23 -0500

President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the President of Taiwan Friday in a move that threatens to trigger a diplomatic showdown with China. The conversation marks the first publicly reported call between a U.S. president or president-elect and the leader of Taiwan since Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979. It is certain to incense China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, and risks throwing US-China relations into a tailspin before Trump takes the oath of office on January 20. An Obama administration official said there was no contact with either the White House nor the State Department about the call beforehand. "This could be damaging," said Barry Pavel, director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council. "We'll see the Chinese reaction in several hours. I don't expect it to be pretty."(image)

Milbank: The Election Really Was Rigged

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:33:41 -0500

Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Millions of would-be voters didn't participate because of obstacles designed to discourage them. The hurdles were, thanks to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling invalidating key parts of the Voting Rights Act, largely legal. So let's not get distracted by [Donald] Trump's fantastic claims of millions of illegal votes, nor by [Hillary] Clinton's search for a voting-system cyberattack that even the computer scientist urging the recount says has "probably not" occurred. Focus instead on the scandal that really is rigging American democracy.(image)

Trump Gives Pakistan PM a Tongue Bath

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:32:14 -0500

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House. These talks rarely if ever make news, but Wednesday's conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries. Here's part of the read-out of their conversation, as released by Pakistan's Press Information Department: "President[-elect] Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems."(image)

China Turns Big Data Into Big Brother

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:31:07 -0500

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese government is now testing systems that will be used to create digital records of citizens' social and financial behavior. In turn, these will be used to create a so-called social credit score, which will determine whether individuals have access to services, from travel and education to loans and insurance cover. Some citizens -- such as lawyers and journalists -- will be more closely monitored. Planning documents apparently describe the system as being created to "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step." The Journal claims that the system will at first log "infractions such as fare cheating, jaywalking and violating family-planning rules" but will be expanded in the future -- potentially even to Internet activity.(image)

Jacksonville Bans Medical Marijuana Shops

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 17:33:33 -0500

More cities in Florida are reacting to the passage of Amendment 2. Hundreds of thousands of Floridians can be eligible for medical marijuana next year, with a possible 2,000 dispensaries in business. But Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches are all considering temporary bans for these businesses. Jacksonville Beach has proposed a one-year ban and Neptune Beach has proposed a three-year ban. Jacksonville Beach city manager George Forbes said they're not trying to prevent the dispensaries, but instead will create regulations for where they'll go."We're not so interested in having them in the downtown area, and more interested in having them in general commercial zones," Forbes said.(image)

Creator of the Big Mac Dies

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:41:15 -0500

Jim Delligatti, the McDonald's franchise owner who invented the Big Mac, died on Monday at his home in Fox Chapel, Pa. He was 98. Delligatti, who opened the first McDonald's in western Pennsylvania in 1957, struggled to compete with the Big Boy and Burger King chains by the 1960s. He proposed to company executives that they add a double-patty hamburger to the McDonald's menu, something along the lines of the Big Boy, that could put a dent in sales of Burger King's Whopper. His Big Mac was introduced on April 22, 1967, with newspaper ads describing it as "made with two freshly ground patties, tangy melted cheese, crisp lettuce, pickle and our own Special Sauce."(image)

Trump Picks Mad Dog as Defense Secretary

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:30:33 -0500

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. "Mad Dog" Mattis to be secretary of defense, selecting a former senior military officer who has said that responding to "political Islam" is the major security issue facing the United States. Mattis, who retired as chief of U.S. Central Command in 2013, has often said that Washington lacks an overall strategy in the Middle East, opting to instead handle issues in an ineffective one-by-one manner. To take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law stating that defense secretaries must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years. Congress has granted a similar exception just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950.(image)

Bearded Backpacker: I'm Not Jesus

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:30:48 -0500

A bearded Australian backpacker in Kenya has been forced to deny that he is Jesus after he was mobbed by fans who wanted selfies, convinced that he is the messiah. Dressed in long flowing robes and walking barefoot with a staff, long-haired Daniel Christos went viral as people screamed "Jesus, welcome back Jesus" at him after he arrived in Nairobi a fortnight ago. "I am not Jesus! I have never pretended to be," the former software engineer from Perth announced on Facebook.(image)

Fawlty Towers Star Andrew Sachs Dies

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:33:55 -0500

Andrew Sachs, who starred in the TV comedy series Fawlty Towers as Manuel, the earnest but bumbling waiter who was regularly recruited into the schemes of hotel owner Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, died on Nov. 23, according to news reports in England. He was 86. He died at a private care home in West London four years after learning he had vascular dementia. Sachs's credits included dozens of movie and TV appearances, but his most memorable role came in the 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers, which aired on the BBC in two separate seasons in 1975 and 1979. The British Film Institute in 2000 ranked Fawlty Towers No. 1 in a list of the top 100 British television shows.(image)

Fox Host Mocks Trump's 'Victory Lap' Rally

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:08:57 -0500

On Fox News' The Five Thursday night, one of the hosts was critical of Donald Trump's decision to hold a campaign rally in Ohio after the campaign was over. Greg Gutfield said, "If Obama did a victory lap, this network would explode. We would be frothing. We'd have pitchforks running down Pennsylvania Avenue!" Trump, who has been skipping classified intelligence briefings, took the time to hold a rally celebrating his victory. Steve Benen of MSNBC writes, "He held a public rally for the purpose of celebrating himself, his election victory, and all the amazing things he intends to do once he takes office."(image)

Jon Stewart: 'Much of the Media is Fake'

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:33:13 -0500

At a New York Times event Wednesday, Jon Stewart made a sharp critique of the media's performance. "What the media has become is an information-laundering system," Stewart said, citing the thin, porous line between news published by mainstream media and fake news. Stewart described the "information laundering" as the progressive surfacing of news -- fake, or otherwise -- from unverified sources into the mainstream. Because second-hand reporting is so common, he said, and is often done without serious vetting of sources, even relatively reputable news organizations will report on something that a blog or platform of unknown credibility has written.(image)

WSJ Calls Trump's Carrier Deal a 'Shakedown'

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:14:14 -0500

Wall Street Journal: A giant flaw in President Obama's economic policy has been the politicized allocation of capital, from green energy to housing. Donald Trump suffers from a similar industrial-policy temptation, as we've seen this week with his arm-twisting of Carrier to change its decision to move a plant to Mexico from Indiana. ... Trump has now muscled his way into at least two corporate decisions about where and how to do business. But who would you rather have making a decision about where to make furnaces or cars? A company whose profitability depends on making good decisions, or a branding executive turned politician who wants to claim political credit?(image)

Catholic Schools Will Help Undocumented Students

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 22:37:22 -0500

As President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration and the threat of mass deportation grow closer, more than 70 leaders of Roman Catholic universities have pledged their support for undocumented immigrant students, vowing to assist vulnerable members of their campus communities in "confronting legal and financial uncertainty and in managing the accompanying anxieties" in the months and years to come. "The anti-authoritarian resistance that used to come from Christian-democratic parties in Europe, now in the USA could come from the Catholic school system," said Massimo Faggioli, professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University.(image)

Doctor Suspended for Racist Michelle Obama Post

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:48:10 -0500

An anesthesiologist at Denver Health Medical Center has been suspended from seeing patients after a racially objectionable social media post. Michelle Herren posted a photo of First Lady Michelle Obama on Facebook yelling and wrote, "Monkey face and poor ebonic English! There! I feel better and am still not racist! Just calling it like it is!" Herren said in a phone interview she was taken out of context and didn't realize saying Obama has a "monkey face" is offensive. Denver Health wrote on Facebook, "Her views are contrary to the mission and values of Denver Health, and to our staff and patients. Denver Health proudly serves people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and social backgrounds -- and our staff and patient population truly reflect our diverse community and nation."(image)