News and Headlines. 7/31/2018

News and Headlines. In The News, Immigration, Tech Watch, World News, Commentary/Opinion, Video’s.

In The News:

Florida man convicted of plot to bomb Target stores in alleged stock-buying scheme

Mark Barnett, a 50-year-old from Ocala, was found guilty Monday of attempted arson and the possession and making of unregistered destructive devices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida announced.

“If someone has to die so that I can make some money, so be it,” Barnett had told what officials described as a “confidential source.”

Mark Barnett, a 50-year-old from Ocala, Florida,
Mark Barnett, a 50-year-old from Ocala, Florida, was found guilty of attempted arson and the possession and making of unregistered destructive devices. (Florida Department of Corrections)

Officials say Barnett offered someone $10,000 to create and place makeshift bombs disguised as food packaging on Target store shelves from Florida to New York. But before finalizing the plan, investigators discovered the bomb-making materials at Barnett’s place of residence, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

Consumer spending up solid 0.4 percent in June

Consumer spending rose by a solid 0.4 percent in June, while a key gauge of inflation increased at an annual pace of 2.2 percent for a second straight month — the strongest back-to-back gains in six years.

The gain in spending followed an even better 0.5 percent rise in May, which was revised from a 0.2 percent initial estimate, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Incomes rose a solid 0.4 percent in June, matching the May increase.

Inflation over the past four months has been at 2 percent or slightly above 2 percent, which is the target the Federal Reserve seeks to achieve for price gains.

Worker pay and benefits climbing at fastest pace in 10 years, ECI finds

The employment cost index rose 0.6% in the second quarter, a tick below the MarketWatch estimate of 0.7%.

More important, the cost of worker compensation in the form of pay and benefits edged up to 2.8% to mark the biggest yearly gain since mid-2008.

In other words, workers are making out better.

Homeless man gets hundreds of job offers after handing out resume at stoplight in California’s Silicon Valley

A homeless web developer’s struggle to try to find a job on the streets of California’s Silicon Valley on Friday has brought in hundreds of job officers after a photo of him went viral.


David Casarez was standing out on a street corner in Mountain View holding a sign that said “HOMELESS. HUNGRY 4 SUCCESS. TAKE A RESUME” and passing out copies of his resume to anyone who stopped.

LeBron James opens school for challenged youth in hometown

Before heading out West, where James will play for the Los Angeles Lakers and help bring the storied franchise back to their former Showtime glory, the former Cleveland Cavalier unveiled Monday a public school for challenged youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

“The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life,” James tweeted ahead of the opening of the I Promise School.

The school will welcome 240 third- and fourth-graders, while adding second and fifth grades the following year before ultimately having students from grades 1-8 by 2022. Meals will be provided for the students, and school hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to ESPN. Each student will also receive their own bicycle and helmet.

Pittsburgh dad worked three jobs to surprise teen daughter with ‘dream’ dress

A hefty price tag for an eighth grade formal outfit was well worth the “priceless” reaction one hardworking Pittsburgh dad earned when he presented his 14-year-old daughter with the dress of her dreams.

In recent days, footage of Nevaeha Smith’s ecstatic reaction to her dad’s special gift has gone viral online, with over 12 million views pouring in for the minute-long clip on Facebook.

The father of 14-year-old Nevaeha Smith said he couldn't afford the dress she wanted for
The father of 14-year-old Nevaeha Smith said he couldn’t afford the dress she wanted for her 8th grade formal. But the tenacious dad from Pennsylvania worked multiple jobs and saved up enough money to surprise his daughter in an emotional video filmed by her mother.

According to ABC News, the teen was delighted to find the perfect look for the Ringgold Middle School in Monongahela, Pa. dance back in June, but fretted over the nearly $200 price tag.

McScam: Report details how McDonald’s Monopoly game was fixed by ex-cop

The story of how a former Georgia police officer rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly Game for over a decade is captivating the Internet.

Over the weekend, The Daily Beast published details of Jerome Jacobson’s large-scale scam to bilk McDonald’s for over $24 million in cash and prizes between 1989 and 2001, after he obtained a job as a private security officer overseeing the production of the McDonald’s game pieces.

California’s Carr Fire becomes 9th most destructive in state history; twin blazes threaten 10G homes

A deadly wildfire raging in Northern California that has killed at least six people is now the ninth most destructive in the state’s history, as fire crews work to battle 17 other major blazes burning across the Golden State.

Homes leveled by the Carr Fire
Homes leveled by the Carr Fire line the Lake Keswick Estates area of Redding, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The massive blaze, which has swallowed up 103,772 acres, is now 23 percent contained after burning for more than a week. Two firefighters and four people, including a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, have died so far in the fire.

Colorado police fatally shoot armed homeowner who killed intruder

The Aurora Police Department said it arrived at the home shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday, heard shots fired from inside the home and encountered an armed man.

Police shot the man, who later turned out to be the resident, according to KDVR. The homeowner was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds where he later died.

When police went inside the home, they found the intruder, who was dead on the bathroom floor. Police said the intruder was fatally shot by the armed resident.

4, including boy, dead in murder-suicide amid custody battle

A New York murder-suicide that left four people dead, including a 6-year-old boy and his Dutch mother, may have stemmed from a trans-Atlantic custody fight.

James Shields Sr. told reporters on Tuesday that his son was in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife and that she was taking Jimmy to the Netherlands next week.

James Shields Jr., a licensed physical therapist, ranted about the custody dispute in an April GoFundMe posting titled “Child Kidnapping.”

Group seeks to halt prayers at West Virginia council meeting

A West Virginia city that opens its council meetings with The Lord’s Prayer is being sued by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based group and two of its members filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Charleston against the city of Parkersburg.

FAKE NEWS: ‘Nat Geo’ Photographer Admits Viral Photo Of Polar Bear ‘Dying From Climate Change’ Is False

One year later, National Geographic has finally admitted to facilitating “fake news” regarding climate change.

The magazine’s most viral video ever, which featured heart-wrenching images of a starving polar bear, perpetuated the narrative that the animal’s imminent death was caused by climate change.polar_bear_

However, the climate change aspect of the story is void of any real evidence.

‘Hit him with a vengeance’: Man’s limbs amputated after dog lick leads to blood infection

“He loves riding his Harley,” Dawn Manteufel, Greg’s wife, told WITI.

Dawn said her husband was perfectly healthy, but what they initially thought was the flu landed Greg in the emergency room.

“It hit him with a vengeance. Just bruising all over him. Looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat,” said Dawn Manteufel.Opera

The infection very likely entered Greg’s system by something common – getting licked by a dog, probably his own.

Iowa girl, 3, dies after fall from carnival ride in Mexico

“She was at a Carnival with her mom and was on a ride when she was ejected from her seat,” Villalpando wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Someone in the public saw and tried to catch her but unfortunately wasn’t able to. Sophia suffered major trauma to the head and her brain was swollen.”

Jenessy “Sophia” Villalpando died after being ejected from a carnival ride in Mexico. (GoFundMe)

Mexico’s El Mercurio newspaper reported that the child fell 30 feet from the ride. Villalpando told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier the child was seated next to her mother at the time.

Video posted to YouTube shows the aftermath of the accident at the carnival.


DOJ, Labor Dept to target employers that ‘discriminate’ against Americans by hiring foreign workers

The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Labor announced an agreement Tuesday to work together in cracking down on companies that “discriminate” against U.S. workers by hiring foreign workers.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the Labor Department will start sharing information on employers, refer issues to the appropriate officials at each department and offer training to each other’s staff under the agreement.

ICE agents accuse Oregon mayor of abetting ‘Abolish ICE’ protesters

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Monday accused an Oregon mayor of violating the Constitution after emboldening “Abolish ICE” protesters by ordering the police to stand down and openly expressing support for their cause.

The accusations were outlined in a cease-and-desist letter sent to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, saying he actively encouraged the protesters and their cause, while making sure Portland’s police wouldn’t crack down on them, thus creating “a zone of terror and lawlessness,” the Washington Times reported.

Portland, Ore. Mayor Ted Wheeler was blasted by ICE agents.
Portland, Ore. Mayor Ted Wheeler was blasted by ICE agents. (Facebook/AP)

“When the mayor gave the order that police would not support ICE employees trapped in the facility, he turned the lives of our employees over to an angry mob,” Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, the organization that sent the cease-and-desist letter, told the newspaper.

Texas mall robbery suspects ID’d as Mexican nationals in US illegally

Seven suspects who were arrested in connection with an attempted robbery at a jewelry store in Texas over the weekend have been identified as Mexican nationals that were in the U.S. illegally.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not determined when the suspects arrived and how long they’ve been here, Fox News has learned, but that is something that they’ll work to determine moving forward.

From left to right, top row: Brayan Oliver Melchor, Alberto Rafael Barrera, Miguel Quintanilla-Cardenas, Zepeda Abner Posos. From left to right, bottom row: Javier Leobardo Olvera-Ramirez, Raul Alberto Rangel-Rivera and Jorge Angel Rodriguez Mejia (McAllen Police Department)

Once the suspects complete their sentences, they will be turned over to CBP so they can process their immigration and criminal histories accordingly.

Illegal immigrant deported 5 times from US sentenced for third DUI

A Mexican native who has been living in the U.S. illegally for 28 years was sentenced to nine months in jail for his third DUI in Virginia.

Mario Santos-Ochoa, 44, was sentenced to nine months in jail on Monday and immigration authorities placed a detainer on him, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. He could be deported again after serving his time.

Santos-Ochoa was convicted in federal court in Texas of “re-entering the U.S. after being deported — in 2009, 2011 and 2012 — and sentenced to seven months, 180 days and 15 months, respectively, in federal prison,” court documents stated.

Mario Santos-Ochoa, who has been deported five times from the U.S.,
Mario Santos-Ochoa, who has been deported five times from the U.S., was sentenced to nine months in jail. (Chesterfield County Jail )

In November, Santos-Ochoa was pulled over after a Chesterfield County police officer said they had to stop short after he tried to change lanes. Santos-Ochoa’s blood alcohol content was 0.11 percent, 0.3 percent above the legal limit. Two years before the incident, Santos-Ochoa was convicted of his second DUI. He was also convicted three times of “giving a false identity to police.”

Dems Expand Push to Blacklist Businesses Working on Trump’s Border Wall

As President Donald Trump renews his battle with Congress to fund his multi-billion-dollar border wall with Mexico, Democratic lawmakers and liberal groups in California have stepped up their campaigns to blacklist businesses involved in building the border wall.

San Diego is the latest city poised to join the list of California municipalities demonstrating their opposition to Trump’s promised border wall by punishing businesses involved in working or even bidding on the wall prototypes or other border-wall projects.

Ex-Trump adviser: U.S. citizenship not a birthright

Former Trump adviser Michael Anton argues that birthright citizenship is not a constitutional requirement.

After delays, former Iraqi translator is becoming US citizen

An Iraqi former translator for U.S. troops is finally becoming a U.S. citizen a year after officials abruptly removed him from a naturalization ceremony, prompting him to sue the government and charge it was targeting people from Muslim-majority countries.

Tech Watch:

Facebook takes down suspected Russian network of pages

In briefings on Capitol Hill, Facebook has told lawmakers that it suspects a Russian group is behind more than 30 pages advocating US political stances, according to a congressional source briefed on the matter.

One page promoted a “No Unite the Right 2” march — a counter demonstration to a planned “Unite the Right” event to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the march in Charlottesville in which a woman was killed.

There was also an effort to amplify the “Abolish ICE” message pushed by liberals, the source said.

Air Force brings AI to B-2, F-35 and F-15

While AI can of course massively expedite data consolidation, cloud migration and various kinds much-needed cybersecurity functions, it is increasingly being applied more broadly across weapons systems and large platforms.

AI performs a wide range of functions not purely restricted to conventional notions of IT or cyberspace; computer algorithms are increasingly able to almost instantaneously access vast pools of data, compare and organize information and perform automated procedural and analytical functions for human decision-makers in a role of command and control.

File photo – F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., July 13, 2015, during a flight from England to the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown)

When high-volume, redundant tasks are performed through computer automation, humans are freed up to expend energy pursuing a wider range of interpretive or conceptual work.

China’s robot subs will lean heavily on AI: report

A rare interview with the leader of a Chinese unmanned-submarine program offers tantalizing new hints about the direction of China’s artificial-intelligence and naval-technology efforts — as well as Beijing’s messaging and deterrence strategies.

One close observer of China’s military technology efforts found the interview remarkable.

Chinese submarine (Warthog Defense/YouTube)
Chinese submarine (Warthog Defense/YouTube)

“It is quite striking that a senior Chinese [scientist] is willing to confirm the story and discuss a classified program, the 912 Project, in an English-language publication,” said Elsa B. Kania, adjunct fellow at the Center for New American Security. “Presumably, that uncharacteristic transparency reflects a recognition of the relevance of this disclosure for signaling and deterrent purposes.”

Judgmental A.I. mirror rates how trustworthy, kind you are based on your looks

As the success of the iPhone X’s Face ID confirms, lots of us are thrilled to bits at the idea of a machine that can identify us based on our facial features. But how happy would you be if a computer used your facial features to start making judgments about your age, your gender, your race, your attractiveness, your trustworthiness, or even how kind you are?

World News:

North Korea possibly constructing new intercontinental ballistic missiles: report

North Korea is reportedly constructing new intercontinental ballistic missiles, despite reassurances from President Trump that the rogue nation is “no longer a nuclear threat.”

Satellite images appear to indicate North Korea is possibly building two ICBMs at the same facility where the country produced its first long-range missiles, including the Hwasong-15 which make have the capability of hitting the U.S. East Coast, officials told The Washington Post Monday on condition of anonymity.

The intelligence suggested Kim Jong Un is continuing to build-up his arsenal instead of honoring the commitment he made with Trump last month, the newspaper reported.

11 die in Afghan roadside blast; militants hit eastern city

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A roadside bombing hit a passenger bus in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, as militants launched a coordinated attack on a city in the country’s east, setting off gunbattles with Afghan troops, officials said.

The morning attack in western Farah province took place in the Bala Buluk district and also wounded 31 people, all civilians, according to Abdul Jabar Shahiq, the provincial health department chief. There were women and children among the casualties.

The bus was on its way from Herat province toward the capital, Kabul, when it hit the roadside bomb, Shahiq said.

Details were sketchy for the attack in eastern Afghanistan, where militants launched a coordinated assault Tuesday on Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, according to local officials.

ISIS claims responsibility for Tajikistan attack that killed 2 US cyclists, 2 others

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a weekend attack on Western tourists in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan that left four people dead, including two U.S. cyclists.

The group said in a statement late Monday that several of its soldiers attacked the “citizens of the Crusader coalition,” referring to an incident on Sunday when a car rammed into a group of foreign cyclists south of the Tajik capital Dushanbe. After the crash, the driver and the passengers got out of the vehicle and attacked the tourists with knives, leaving four dead and three injured.

Afghan migrant whose deportation was thwarted by ‘hero’ Swedish student was actually sentenced for assault

Elin Ersson, a student at Gothenburg University, was subjected to fawning media coverage over her stunt earlier this month when she refused to take her seat on the plane until the 52-year-old Afghan deportee was released. She was successful and authorities weren’t able to deport the man.

However, Swedish Police confirmed to Fox News that the man whose deportation Ersson prevented had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault. The police spokesman declined to go into more details about the crime the migrant has committed. His asylum application was also rejected.

One of the largest newspapers in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, reported last week as well that the man was sentenced for assault. The man will still eventually be deported, though the date remains unknown, the newspaper reported.

Child Brides in Turkey

Where would you like your daughter to be when she is 13? In school, or in bed with a grown man? The answer to this question is largely beyond argument in much of the world. In Islamic societies, however — including non-Arab and theoretically secular Turkey — the answer is anyone’s guess.

Usually in such states, the police power of the government does not fight the patriarchal tradition; instead, it supports it.

Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gül, incumbent Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former ally and co-founder of the party that has ruled Turkey since 2002, was a 30-year-old man when he married his wife Hayrünnisa when she was 15. Gül, nominated for the presidency by Erdoğan, was Turkey’s first Islamist president…

Turkey threatens to retaliate against any US sanctions over detained pastor

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday that Turkey is prepared to retaliate to any sanctions the U.S. imposes over a detained American pastor, according to Reuters.

But the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, also said Turkey expects the two countries to resolve their differences through diplomacy and that foreign ministers from each side were planning to hold talks, Reuters reported.


Patriotism: The Secret of Trump’s Success

Trump lives American patriotism.  It is the reason he ran for president and the reason he won.  He knows we are a great country.

Trump recognizes and is comfortable with power – his personal power, America’s power.  He does not think power is toxic.  He thinks American and presidential power is wonderful and meant to be used for our common, national good.

Our president loves to build.  He used to build big apartment and hotel towers with his name on them.  Now he is building up America, because he loves America.

President Trump’s patriotism has these two equal parts: a strong economy and a strong military.  His eye is always on the prize of jobs and security.

Trump: “Collusion Is Not A Crime”

President Donald Trump today weighed in, again, on the Russian investigation with a tweet declaring that “collusion is not a crime.”  He is correct. Indeed, I was raising this objection before the appointment of the Special Counsel.

For months, commentators treated collusion as if it were a per se crime.  However, it is unwise for Trump to continue to weigh in on the investigation though he is clearly undeterred by complications created legally by his tweets in litigation (particularly in the immigration challenges).

Trump Derangement Syndrome makes Dems unrecognizable

The Democratic Party has come totally unmoored from anything resembling guiding principles. Under FDR, the party was distinguished by its support for working-class Americans and organized labor.

But they could never unite around such groups today. Instead, their only guiding light is hatred of Donald Trump.

Shapiro: Culture war is between elitists and everyone else

Journalist views Trump in new light after attending rally. Columnist sounds off on ‘The Ingraham Angle.’

Whatever happened to the ‘unmaskings’ probe?

Every day brings new stories about Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether Donald Trump played a role, and alleged abuses by our intelligence agencies.

One of the deepest, darkest, most important issues in the whole mess has to do with the massive number of “unmaskings” of U.S. citizens. It potentially opens a can of worms squirmier than many other issues.

Officials involved in unmaskings insist they did nothing improper, that their motivations were to protect the nation. They say they did not act for political reasons, or to spy.

If they did, people could go to prison. Theoretically.