Day: January 9, 2018

Mother of boy (5) who drowned at water park says he ‘hated water’ so she didn’t bring armbands, court hears –

”The family had armbands but she decided not to take them because she knew (Charlie) would not want to go in the water,” said the judge.

Judge Perry said Charlie’s mother had told him how she was ”confident” that the youngster would not go into the lake because he ”hated water”.

”The mother was adamant that (Charlie) only went up to his ankles because he hated water, and indeed he had to be led by her by the hand to even enter the water.”

”She showed no understanding that children as young as five cannot be relied on to always do what they say they are doing.”

”She wonders whether he was chased or pushed by two boys who she had heard were pulling children down in the water.

“She knew there was no lifeguard.

Hartford’s Fitzpatrick Resigns Amid Questions About His Residency – Hartford Courant

Fitzpatrick provided a public statement as well, saying it was an honor to “serve the people of Hartford and work with Mayor Bronin over the past two years to spur Hartford’s continuing revitalization.”

“I am grateful to Mayor Bronin for the opportunity to have been part of his senior team,” Fitzpatrick said. “I know the Development Services team will continue the work we’ve begun with great determination and skill.”

“In particular, he deserves enormous credit for turning the stadium project around, delivering an award-winning ballpark while protecting taxpayers from bearing the burden of the previous developer’s mistakes,” he said. “We were fortunate to recruit someone of Sean’s caliber, and I am grateful for his dedication and service to our city, and for the new direction he’s set for his department.”

Before working for Hartford, Fitzpatrick was the chief of staff at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a member of the team brought in to overhaul the agency after the “Bridgegate” scandal. He and Bronin had met years earlier, when the two worked together at The Hartford.

The revelation spurred action by the city’s Internal Audit Commission, which promised to investigate the matter at its meeting Jan. 17. Despite Fitzpatrick’s resignation, the commissioners have said they still plan on probing whether or not Hartford’s department heads are truly adhering to the city’s residency requirement.

The mayor brought in Fitzpatrick in January 2016, not long after his inauguration to the city’s top office. In addition to his position with the city, Fitzpatrick also held a seat on the Capital Region Development Agency and the city’s Stadium Authority.

Fitzpatrick’s residency was thrust into the public eye last month, when it was revealed that the address he lists in official city records was at the Town and County Club, which normally only rents rooms on a short-term basis to its members and is not zoned as a residential property. Fitzpatrick still owns a house in Simsbury, according to public records in that municipality.

Sean M. Fitzpatrick, Hartford’s director of development services, announced his resignation Tuesday amid questions about his residence in the city.

Meanwhile, Bronin said Tuesday that Fitzpatrick “has done a terrific job assembling and leading a Development team that’s playing a key role in revitalizing Hartford.”

Actress Catherine Deneuve Signs Letter Calling Anti-Sexual Harassment Movement a ‘Witch-Hunt’ –

The controversial letter comes as the Time’s Up movement continues to grow. With more than 300 figures in the entertainment industry signed on (including Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera and Nicole Kidman), the initiative aims to fight sexual harassment, assault and inequality for women in all kinds of workplaces.

Along with Denueve, author Catherine Millet was among the list of people to sign the letter.

“What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite – we intimidate people into speaking ‘correctly’, shout down those who don’t fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors,” the letter reads. “Instead of helping women this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries.”

The letter, signed by nearly 100 actresses, writers, and academics and published in the French newspaper Le Monde, slams the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for forcing a “wave of purification.”

The letter insisted women are “sufficiently aware that the sexual urge is by its nature wild and aggressive. But we are also clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack.”

The letter claims that the ongoing sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood are threatening “sexual liberty” and taking on a “hatred of men” mentality.

French actress Catherine Deneuve has signed an open letter calling Hollywood’s response to the recent wave of sexual harassment scandals a “witch-hunt” against men.

RELATED: Women of Hollywood Attend Golden Globes Together in Support of the Time’s Up Movement

California mudslides: Live updates – CNN


California mudslides: Live updates
Damage: At least six homes have been "wiped away by mudflow and debris," an official said. Death toll in Santa Barbara County rises to 8. The death toll from a destructive storm in Southern California rose to eight, according to David Villalobos

Blockchain Makes New Waves as Law Firms Build Expertise – Big Law Business

Lawyers also will be needed to determine rules for trading blockchain assets, to help structure new financial products, and to clarify how consumer protections apply to digital token sales.

“At least once a day I have a call with some firm and they’re interested in getting involved,” he said.

Proponents believe potential blockchain applications go far beyond the cryptocurrency world, and could have an internet-like, transformational effect on the way business will be transacted across sectors, from healthcare to finance.

Dax Hansen founded Perkins Coie’s blockchain practice group long before the digital transaction and record-keeping platform was heralded as a game-changer.

For example, lawyers now are needed to help determine which laws apply when it comes to transferring digital tokens, and whether or when those tokens should be considered securities, commodities or currencies.

Breakingviews – Chancellor: Bitcoin will never be real money – Reuters

Its fervid exponents have even greater hopes. They claim that crypto-currencies hail the end of state-controlled money. Their vision is borrowed from the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, who envisaged a denationalisation of money that would bring about an end to both inflation and deflation, cure unemployment and result in the abolition of easy-money-peddling central banks, thereby limiting the reach of governments. What’s not to like?

The trouble is that bitcoin enthusiasts confuse the characteristics of money with its nature. This is a thorny subject. Mainstream economic theory has little to say on what money is, assuming it is a contrivance simply to do away with the bother of barter. In the era when bank notes were redeemable in gold, most people believed that money had the intrinsic value of the precious metal. But as John Law, who was responsible for the Mississippi Co bubble in the early 18th century, pointed out: “Money is not the value by which goods are exchanged but the value for which they are exchanged.” Simply put, gold derived much of its value from its use as money rather than the other way around.

Bitcoin possesses many of the characteristics of a proper currency: it can be divided, stored (provided it’s not with a dodgy broker where it’s liable to disappear into the ether) and transferred. And its supply is limited. Money is just a social technology which has been through many previous incarnations – among the exotic varieties of cash listed by Paul Einzig in his book “Primitive Money” 70 years ago are gin, jam, mulberry cakes, rat traps (in the Congo), and woodpecker scalps. Most of our current money is already held in digital form as electronic book entries at the bank. At first glance, bitcoin with its distributed ledger appears to be simply an advance on the current financial technology.

Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are a different kettle of fish. They purport to be non-credit currencies – that is, monetary assets without corresponding liabilities. Yet all money is by its nature a claim upon society, otherwise it cannot be spent. And why should society wish to confer vast monetary claims on the enterprising nerds and opportunistic speculators currently in possession of crypto-fortunes? More importantly, because crypto-currencies lack a mechanism for creating credit they are not well suited to the capitalist economy. Imagine what would happen if bitcoin were accepted as the monetary unit of account. The result would be a scarcity of the digital currency followed by a severe economic contraction and stagnation without end.

This is not to say that the blockchain and similar associated technologies have no future. The new high flyer, ripple, is working with banks to improve the global payments system. It’s a more modest aim than creating a new class of money – but a far more practical one.

The economic system commonly referred to as capitalism consists of a vast network of credit relations. Credit money is its key feature. Hayek, of course, realised this. His proposals to strip the government of its money monopoly envisaged the replacement of a dominant central bank with competing private money-issuing banks. Competition between the currency banks would thus produce a sounder currency. But Hayek’s money would still be of the credit variety.

LONDON ( Breakingviews) – It’s easy enough to identify bitcoin and its ilk as being caught up in a speculative mania. A more difficult and important question is whether crypto-currencies have any future as money. In a world where the stability of conventional currencies is threatened globally by the vast expansion of central-bank balance sheets, high government indebtedness and the myriad ill consequences of ultra-low interest rates, it would be nice to believe this was the case. Yet bitcoin and its peers are not money and, unless they change fundamentally, never will be.

Law and his contemporaries had another insight, namely that credit when it circulates acts as money. In the 18th century, much of what constituted money in England comprised bills of exchange issued by merchants against future receipts. At the same time, early English bankers were learning to create money through the act of lending. This bank money was backed by claims of real economic value. The credit theory of money maintains that money is just circulating credit. “Currency is ephemeral and cosmetic: it is the underlying mechanism of credit accounts and clearing that is the essence of money,” Felix Martin writes in his 2013 book “Money”.

The Tiny Nukes Trump Wants Could Be More Dangerous Than Big Ones – Motherboard

“The risk is that he will be quicker to order their use in a confrontation with Russia, China, North Korea or Iran and that the conflict will escalate to all-out nuclear war,” Blair said.

“We haven’t used nuclear weapons since 1945 because there are enormous political downsides to doing so,” Lewis added. “As a practical matter, I don’t think there will ever be a scenario in which using nuclear weapons will be an appealing option for a sane US policymaker.”

A nuke is a nuke is a nuke, in Lewis’s conception. There are no truly small ones. By extension, there are no limited nuclear wars, and American leaders will be as loath to actually use Trump’s smaller nukes as they were to use Obama’s bigger ones.

Former President Barack Obama’s nuclear review, from 2010, stated that the United States would only use nukes “in extreme circumstances.” Obama also championed a wide range of new and improved atomic warheads, plus missiles, bombers, and submarines to carry them.

The efforts to build, and develop rules for using lower-yield nuclear weapons reflects “wishful thinking” by leaders and military planners, Lewis said. Advocates of small nukes “imagine that there is some technical solution to what is an impossible political problem.”

But there’s an important qualifier in Lewis’s description of nuclear-averse American policymakers. And that’s the word “sane.”

With today’s nuclear weapons, there are pretty much no options for US leaders to wage a “small” atomic war. You either end the world or you don’t. In concept, that all-or-nothing proposition makes nuclear conflict less likely.

“The reason I say this is that reducing the yield doesn’t make it any easier to use a nuclear weapon. In that sense, it is no more credible than the existing nuclear weapons in our stockpile—some of which, like the W80 and B61, already have variable yields with very low settings.”

Read more: Experts: America Doesn’t Need All These Nukes

Tallahassee ignoring the people’s problems | Editorial – Sun Sentinel

We also didn’t hear about the governor’s demand that all nursing homes have generators. Fourteen patients died after a Hollywood facility lost power after Irma. Now the mostly for-profit nursing home industry wants taxpayers to give it $50 million to make needed safety improvements.

Scott did mention his two trips to Puerto Rico to “help in any way I could” and how Florida should be “the most welcoming state” for Hurricane Maria refugees from that island. They could be a big factor in this year’s elections. Scott did not mention that the administration of his “friend,” President Trump, has done a terrible job of restoring power to Puerto Rico.

If Corcoran runs for governor, as expected, he will need an issue to set him apart from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary. Immigration could be that issue. Putnam must be noticing. He recently accused Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum of wanting to make Florida a “sanctuary state,” a claim PolitiFact called “Half True.”

If Scott gave a campaign speech disguised as a session-opening address, so did House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes.

Scott continued to portray himself as the savior of Florida’s economy. He noted the 1.5 million jobs created since he took office after the worst of the Great Recession had passed and the Obama Recovery was about to begin. You can’t beat timing.

The session opened amid new revelations about what critics call Tallahassee’s “culture of sex” — harassment or consensual. With the capital’s image so bad, you’d hope the Legislature and the governor could forget about campaigning long enough to worry about real priorities.

Scott wants to ban state agencies from doing business with Venezuela, though there appears to be no evidence of any such business. Almost in passing, he said he wants $53 million to combat opioid abuse, with half coming from the federal government. The $53 million is nowhere close to what experts say the state needs.

And his call for “historic” education spending depends on raising local property taxes, in most cases by more than property owners would save from lower vehicle registration fees.

Though the governor said Florida has “come back even stronger” from Hurricane Irma, he said nothing about increased storm preparedness and response. He did not mention the property insurance crisis that Irma has made worse. And, of course, he did not mention climate change and rising seas that make hurricanes more powerful and storm surge more damaging.

Fantasy Football Coaching Carousel Analysis: Jon Gruden’s running backs will bring serious production –

We took a deeeeeeeep dive into Gruden’s history of calling plays for the Raiders and Buccaneers to get an idea of what we should expect from the players on his teams.

Gruden never, ever let the pass game get completely out of hand. His career coaching average of calling pass plays 56 percent of the time was exceeded six times, but never more than 59 percent.

There’s also the track record of No. 1 receivers under Gruden. You want more consistency? He had a wideout top 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 10 of his 11 years. No one is in a better position to do that than Amari Cooper, obviously. Coop’s career-highs of 83 grabs (2016), 1,153 yards (2016) and seven touchdowns (2017) could get challenged starting in 2018.

In years of studying play callers’ tendencies, we’ve never seen anyone lean on running backs as pass catchers as much as Gruden has. Practically a third of his quarterbacks’ completions have gone to the position! For some context, 30.2 percent of the Panthers’ receptions went to running backs this season, when Christian McCaffrey led the team in catches. 

As for the running game: 

It brings the conversation of running backs full circle – Gruden has had a running back total 1,000 yards 10 times, and seven different backs have scored at least seven total touchdowns. On four occasions, a back has done both in the same season. One additional running back had 995 total yards and three other players scored six times in a single campaign.