BartCop Entertainment Archives - Thursday, 13 February, 2020


13 February, 2020

(Updated Daily)

[566 days in a row]


Recommended Reading

from Bruce

Garrison Keillor: An old man's Sunday morning annotated
I was in Reykjavik once, driving around, lost, and saw a large white home by the sea and walked up and knocked on the door and it was opened by the president of Iceland. It was his home. He told me how to get back to my hotel. He spoke perfect English, of course. Imagine knocking on the door of a white house and it's opened by the C.O. The thought is depressing, not to mention his English.

Alexandra Petri: A chastened president addresses a healing nation (Washington Post satire)
"We went through hell unfairly," Trump went on, the mortification in his tone evident. "Did nothing wrong. Did nothing wrong." His remorse was plain for all to see.

Paul Waldman: Why Trump's rage is exactly what conservatives want (Washington Post)
"A lot of what we hear among liberals who are feeling threatened is that they need to sort of tap out of the political world a bit because it's so overwhelming. And maybe some of this has to do with how social and cultural liberals deal with conflict. To the extent that that is the case, that would serve the right better than the left." - Dannagal Goldthwaite Young

Paul Waldman: Calm down. Democrats are not in disarray. (Washington Post)
It happens every four years. A field of presidential contenders starts off being polite and friendly to one another, emphasizing that the real enemy is across the aisle, and then as the actual voting approaches, the criticisms become more pointed and aggressive. Some candidates don't perform well enough, and drop out. Often the race comes down to two or three, who unload all kinds of nasty attacks on each other.

Steve Almond: Don't Lose Hope. Be A Fanatical Optimist Instead
Abolition. Suffrage. The labor movement. The New Deal. The War on Poverty. Civil Rights. In each case, the outcome seemed impossible. And yet millions of Americans rose up and took action to make our union more perfect. It's not enough at this point for us to wait around for others - the courts or suburban women or millennials or the media or Susan Collins - to come to our rescue. We have to come to our own rescue. … Be a fanatical optimist. Make a plan. Take action. Listen to your conscience. Vote. A brighter dawn might await all of us, but we have to work for it.

Bill Maher: "New Rule: 100% That Mitch | Real Time with Bill Maher" (You Tube, HBO)
In his editorial New Rule, Bill calls out Republicans over their undemocratic behavior and warns that when republics fall, they do so quietly.

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Michael Egan

Michael Egan


Trump Orders Movie Version of 'Unreadable' Constitution - Michael Egan, Humor Times

Editorial and Political Cartoons


Throwback Thursday Trivia Question of the Day

One of the United States' biggest toy fads in the early 1960s were Dam dolls, or Gjøltrold in the original Danish. By what name are these playthings more commonly known?


Send your answer to Marty

Trivia Question from Yesterday

Originally recorded by a cartoon band, this song reached No. 1 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1969 and remained there for four weeks. What is the title of this sweet bubblegum hit?

       "Sugar, Sugar"                                                      Source

"Sugar, Sugar" is a song written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim. It was originally recorded by the cartoon band the Archies. This version reached No. 1 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1969 and remained there for four weeks. It was also #1 on the UK Singles chart in that same year for eight weeks. The song became a hit again in 1970 when rhythm and blues and soul singer Wilson Pickett took it back onto the charts.

Produced by Jeff Barry, the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" was originally released on the album Everything's Archie. The album was the product of a group of studio musicians managed by Don Kirshner. Ron Dante's lead vocals were accompanied by those of Toni Wine and Andy Kim. Together they provided the voices of the Archies using multitracking.        Source

The Archies - Sugar, Sugar (Original 1969 Music Video)

wilson pickett - Sugar sugar - YouTube

tom jones - sugar sugar - Tom Jones - YouTube

Randall was first, and correct, with:
   Sugar Sugar, The Archies

Mark. said:
   "Sugar, Sugar" recorded by the Archies.

Dave wrote:
   "Sugar, Sugar". There was a lame Saturday morning cartoon based on the Archie comic strip. Anyway the cartoon teenagers formed their own band and "Sugar, Sugar" was one of the songs. The band was named The Archies because of course it was. I remember this because my teenaged brain suffered a "Sugar, Sugar" overdose because that infernal song was incessantly played on the radio until I grew to hate it. Recently I learned that a current live action TV series "Riverdale" is loosely based on the comic. Its on the CW network that pumps out a lot of cartoonish shows.
  Photos: RCA record cover | I don't think the records embossed on the back panel of Post cereal products counted toward the Billboard chart numbers. Come to think on it, Sugar Bear once had his own cartoon show but the FTC stepped in and ruled it was a 30 minute long commercial and wasn't allowed on TV any longer

Alan J answered:
   Sugar, Sugar.

Kevin K. in Washington, DC, replied:
   "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies.
  I was 11 years old. It was constantly on the radio.

jackbird responded:
   sugar , a sweet crystal

Stephen F said:
   Sugar, Sugar

Cal in Vermont wrote:
   Sugar, Sugar by the Archies. For Christ's sake...

Mac Mac answered:
   Sugar Sugar

Jon L replied:
   Could it be: Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?

mj responded:
   Sugar, Sugar by the Archies.

zorch said:
   Sugar, Sugar by the Archies.

Jim from CA, retired to ID, wrote:
   Sugar, Sugar

Daniel in The City answered:
   Sugar Sugar by the Archies

Deborah responded:
   Yesterday I came down with whatever exotic Italian "bug" he brought home Friday, and am laying low, feeling awful, hoping this thing is over very quickly. Thus, to conserve energy, I'm offering my two WAGS: it's either the Archies or the Chipmunks. Otherwise, I'm planning to nap and not have to think for the next few hours.

John I from Hawai`i says,
   Sugar Sugar

DJ Useo replied:
   My guess is you're referring to "Sugar, Sugar". Not a bad song, considering it was written before music was invented in the year 2000. ;)

Dave in Tucson wrote:
   Sugar by The Archies. Talk about glurge! I was into Jeff Beck at the time (and still am!).

David of Moon Valley took the day off.
Adam took the day off.
Billy in Cypress U$A took the day off.
Rosemary in Columbus took the day off.
Saskplanner took the day off.
Micki took the day off.
Harry M. took the day off.
Roy, the Never Trumper in Tyler, TX took the day off.
Barbara, of Peppy Tech fame took the day off.
Kenn B took the day off.
Joe S     took the day off.
Leo in Boise took the day off.
Michelle in AZ took the day off.
PGW. 94087 took the day off.
Ed K took the day off.
Gary took the day off.
MarilynofTC took the day off.
George M. took the day off.
Gateway Mike took the day off.
Paul of Seattle took the day off.
Doug in Albuquerque took the day off.
Peter W took the day off.
Brian S. took the day off.
Steve in Wonderful Sacramento, CA, took the day off.
Gene took the day off.
Tony K. took the day off.
Noel S. took the day off.
James of Alhambra took the day off.

BttbBob   has returned to semi-retired status.

  February 13 Birthdays - Celebrities Born February 13 | Famous Birthdays

Sally has retired.

MAM     In memory.




Middle Class Political Economist






Song: "Everybody Understands the Blues" from the album BLUES HEAVEN 1

Artist: Glenn Kaiser

Artist Location: Chicago, Illinois

Info: "After 30 years of playing music, Glenn Kaiser is known for his raw, bluesy vocal, fiery guitar chops as well as his harmonica work, Glenn is comfortable playing traditional and modern blues, original worship music and R&B."

Price: $0.99 (USD) for song; $9.99 (USD) for 15-track album.

Genre: Blues Rock.


Glenn Kaiser on Bandcamp


Other Links:



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Reader Suggestion

Michelle in AZ

Trump 'turns back the clock' by luring drilling companies to pristine lands | Environment | The Guardian

The mattress landfill crisis: how the race to bring us better beds led to a recycling nightmare | Environment | The Guardian

The cheating wife, her rich lover and a court case for 'immoral' Pakistan TV hit Meray Paas Tum Ho | Global development | The Guardian

Something strange is happening in New Hampshire on the "other side" ...

Coronavirus cases reach 45,000. But it did not come from a weapons lab, and yes, we know that

William Barr officially becomes Trump's personal attorney-with power to persecute or pardon anyone

The final straw...

Virginia House Passes Assault Weapons Ban -- Senate & Guv Expected to Follow

Nancy just tore up the speech. I would have torn him a new asshole. #ImWithFred | Margaret and Helen

Noted "bear whisperer" uses words, not bullets, to protect Mammoth and its creatures - Los Angeles Times

The Climate Crisis Is Threatening Bees. Here's What's Helping To Save Them. | HuffPost

Trump Tweets About Roger Stone, William Barr Grovels, and the Justice Department Turns On Itself

As Trump openly corrupts DOJ, a former insider sounds the alarm - The Washington Post

Cadillac Desert - YouTube

Democratic states are fighting Trump, and winning, at unprecedented level

Tennessee Republican bids to classify CNN and Washington Post as 'fake news' | US news | The Guardian

Opinion | Can Trump Tell the Justice Department What to Do? - The New York Times

Thanks, Michelle!



New Venture

Michael Egan

A Cartoon Page for Non-Cartoonists

Michael Egan

Editorial and Political Cartoons



Team Coco


From last night's CONAN: Joe Biden's New Attack Ad Against Pete Buttigieg

Joe Biden goes even further with his attacks on Pete Buttigieg's lack of experience in this new ad.


Conan jokes about the New Hampshire Primary, Trump, and Joe Biden.



Bonus Links

Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp

Bill Barr follows orders - and turns the Justice Department into Trump's protection racket | Salon | Digby

The Justice Department Is Now Trump's Personal Fiefdom | Mother Jones

Thugs R Us: Roger Stone Prosecutors All Quit After DOJ Meddles in Sentencing To Appease Mad King and There's More | Common Dreams

Barr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm | The Hill

Trump Turns to Tucker Carlson to Help Decide Roger Stone's Fate | Daily Beast

Tucker Carlson: A Trump pardon "could save Roger Stone's life, vindicate himself, and end his nonsense forever" | Media Matters

5 Ways Donald Trump Has Not Drained the Swamp | Robert Reich

Trump "privately encouraged" Giuliani to continue probing Bidens following Senate acquittal: report | Salon

Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | The Hill

Trump Fires Defense Official for Refusing to Break the Law on His Behalf | NY Mag

Donald Trump's fascist Circus Maximus: Pay attention to what's going on below the surface | Salon

McConnell says he won't discuss Trump's cuts to Medicare until AFTER election | Front Page Live

Trump Cuts Scheduled Federal Pay Raise, Citing "Serious Economic Conditions" in the Country | Slate

Trump Quietly Slashed Pay Raise for Federal Workers a Day Before Claiming US Economy Is Best 'In History' | Common Dreams

Moscow Mitch's Republicans Issue Another Invite to Putin to Interfere in 2020's Election | Smirking Chimp

Bureau Of Land Management Director's Deference To 'Constitutionalists' Creates Chaos In The West | Crooks & Liars

Ex-Ohio State wrestler claims Jim Jordan asked him to deny abuse allegations | The Hill

Jim Jordan's name comes up during Statehouse testimony on OSU abuse victims bill |

Rush Limbaugh: "Mr. Man Donald Trump" will "have fun" with Pete Buttigieg because he kisses his husband | Media Matters

States sue Trump administration at record pace | The Hill

Mark Zuckerberg's Private Notebook Shows Fixation on Illusion of Privacy | Daily Beast

Trump Dismisses Traumatic Brain Injuries Suffered By US Service Members (Again) | Maven

Snoop Dogg apologizes to Gayle King in Kobe Bryant flap: I was 'disrespectful' and 'overreacted' | The Hill



from Bruce



• A Quaker preacher named John Parker once stopped at a hotel, where he was seated at a dinner table with two other preachers who were not Quakers. A waiter appeared at their table and left a dish on which were two fish. Each of the other two preachers took a fish and put it on his plate, and then they bowed their heads in prayer. As they were praying, Mr. Parker took the two fish from off their plates and returned them to the serving plate. After the two preachers had said their prayer, Mr. Parker told them, "Friends, my religion teaches me to watch, as well as to pray. We shall now cut the fish into three parts.

• Servers can be overly friendly. A waiter once asked an elderly Peg Bracken and one of her elderly female friends, "And what will you have, young ladies?" Ms. Bracken's elderly female friend gave the waiter a one-finger salute. At another restaurant, Ms. Bracken overheard a headwaiter tell a busboy, "Take care of the dandelions in the corner, OK?" Ms. Bracken looked and saw six white-haired old ladies, who did look like dandelions whose seeds were about to be scattered by the wind.

• French operatic bass Pol Plançon enjoyed rich food, but as he grew older people worried that his taste for rich food might harm his operatic voice. When Italian baritone Antonio Scotti approached him with this fear, Mr. Plançon replied, "My dear friend, I shall live but once. And I can pay no higher tribute to life than to enjoy to the full all the fine things it has to offer."


• Puff Daddy was best friends with Biggie Smalls, aka the Notorious B.I.G., who was murdered. After Biggie had been shot several times, Puffy and a friend rushed him to a hospital, where he died. Puffy said afterward, "I want to make sure that Biggie's name goes down in history with some positivity." He and Biggie's ex-wife, whose name is Faith Evans, recorded "I'll be Missing You," a tribute to Biggie that reached number one on the charts. Puffy made $3 million from the song - money that he used to set up a trust fund for Biggie's two children: Christopher and T'yanna. Biggie had recorded his albums with Puffy's recording company, and Puffy used his own share of the profits from Biggie's posthumously released Life After Death to do such good deeds as fund community programs, including Daddy's House, where Puffy says that city children can receive "positive experiences - computer camps, summer camps, boys' and girls' clubs, ethics classes. … I've gotten where I've gotten because I had a chance to dream, and I want to instill that in kids. All kids have a spark in them. Somebody just needs to ignite that spark. They can accomplish anything."

• In 1930, Arturo Toscanini conducted Tannhaüser at the Bayreuth Festival, held in Bavaria. At intermission, several people waited to see Maestro Toscanini, including King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and Princess Margherita. However, the Maestro chose to see only a couple of old friends, ignoring the royalty. Afterward, he was asked if he had been aware that royalty had wished to see him. He replied, "Yes, yes, they told me. But what have I to do with kings and princesses? They have nothing to say to me. I have nothing to say to them."

• Italian baritone Titta Ruffo and Italian tenor Enrico Caruso were friends. According to one story, while Mr. Ruffo was attending a performance by Mr. Caruso, he was asked his opinion of Mr. Caruso. Mr. Ruffo replied, "He's magnificent - he scares me." A few days later, while Mr. Caruso was attending a performance by Mr. Ruffo, he was asked his opinion of Mr. Ruffo. Mr. Caruso replied, "He's magnificent - he scares me."

• Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso were great friends, and Ms. Farrar confided in him her fears about failure. Mr. Caruso encouraged her and predicted, "Farrar fara" - "Farrar will succeed." She liked the motto so much that she used it on a seal for her letters.

© Copyright Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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from that Mad Cat, JD

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In The Chaos Household

Last Night

Watched a semi try to make a too-tight right turn and nearly take out a power pole.

On the third attempt to make the turn, it was a matter of inches, but he was still too close and clipped the pole.

The pole swayed and the insulators were swinging - looked kinda dicey for a minute.

Left a big nasty gash in the wooden pole. Bet it'll have to be replaced.

FWIW, it took 7 attempts to make the turn.

Tonight, Thursday:

CBS opens the night with a FRESH 'Young Sheldon', followed by a FRESH 'The Unicorn', then a FRESH 'Mom', followed by a FRESH 'Carol's Second Act', then a FRESH 'Tommy'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Stephen Colbert are James Marsden and Sam Heughan.
Scheduled on a FRESH James Corden, OBE, are Patrick Stewart and June Diane Raphael.

NBC begins the night with a FRESH 'Superstore', followed by a FRESH 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', then a FRESH 'Will & Grace', followed by a FRESH 'Indebted', then a FRESH 'L&O: SVU'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jimmy Fallon are Rosario Dawson, Logan Lerman, and Megan Thee Stallion.
Scheduled on a FRESH Seth Meyers are Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Cam, and drummer Elijah Wood.
Scheduled on a FRESH Lilly Singh are Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher.

ABC starts the night with a FRESH 'Station 19', followed by a FRESH 'Grey's Anatomy', then a FRESH 'A Million Little Things'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jimmy Kimmel are Chris Pratt, Huey Lewis, and Sam Hunt.

The CW offers a FRESH 'Katy Keene', followed by a FRESH 'Legacies'.

Faux has a FRESH 'Last Man Standing', followed by a FRESH 'Outmatched', then a FRESH 'Deputy'.

MY recycles an old 'L&O: CI', followed by another old 'L&O: CI'.

A&E has 'The First 48', followed by a FRESH 'The First 48', then a FRESH 'Alaska PD', followed by a FRESH '60 Days In'.

AMC offers the movie 'The Intern', followed by the movie 'Grease', then the movie 'Grease', again.

BBC  -   
 [3:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Cities
 [4:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Islands
 [5:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Mountains
 [6:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Jungles
 [7:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Grasslands
 [8:00PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Deserts
 [10:29PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Islands
 [11:30PM]   PLANET EARTH II - Mountains
 [1:59AM]   PLANET EARTH II - Jungles
 [3:00AM]   PLANET EARTH II - Grasslands
 [4:00AM]   PLANET EARTH II - Deserts
 [5:00AM]   PLANET EARTH II - Cities    (ALL TIMES EST)

Bravo has 'Project Runway', another 'Project Runway', followed by a FRESH 'Project Runway', then a FRESH 'Watch What Happens: Live'.

Comedy Central has all old 'The Office' all night.
Scheduled on a FRESH The Daily Show is Nick Kroll.
Scheduled on a FRESH Lights Out with David Spade is Jim Carrey.

FX has the movie 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction', followed by the movie 'Baby Driver', then the movie 'Baby Driver'.

History has 'Swamp People', another 'Swamp People', followed by a FRESH 'Swamp People', then a FRESH 'Alone: The Beast'.

IFC  -   
 [6:00A]   The Three Stooges - Three Little Beers
 [6:15A]   The Three Stooges - Uncivil Warriors
 [6:45A]   Here Comes the Boom
 [9:15A]   Redemption
 [11:30A]   The Purge
 [1:30P]   Anaconda
 [3:30P]   Watchmen
 [7:00P]   Old School
 [9:00P]   Homefront
 [11:15P]   Face/Off
 [2:15A]   Bangkok Dangerous
 [4:30A]   Toast of London - Man of Sex
 [5:01A]   Toast of London - Global Warming
 [5:32A]   Pee-wee's Playhouse - Pajama Party    (ALL TIMES EST)

Sundance  -   
 [6:15am]   The Andy Griffith Show
 [6:45am]   The Andy Griffith Show
 [7:15am]   The Andy Griffith Show
 [7:45am]   The Andy Griffith Show
 [8:15am]   Bridget Jones's Diary
 [10:30am]   Sleepless in Seattle
 [1:00pm]   Law & Order
 [2:00pm]   Law & Order
 [3:00pm]   Law & Order
 [4:00pm]   Law & Order
 [5:00pm]   Law & Order
 [6:00pm]   Law & Order
 [7:00pm]   Law & Order
 [8:00pm]   Law & Order
 [9:00pm]   Law & Order
 [10:00pm]   Law & Order
 [11:00pm]   Law & Order
 [12:00am]   Law & Order
 [1:00am]   Law & Order
 [2:00am]   Sleepless in Seattle
 [4:30am]   The Mary Tyler Moore Show
 [5:05am]   The Mary Tyler Moore Show
 [5:40am]   The Mary Tyler Moore Show    (ALL TIMES EST)

SyFy has the movie 'Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life', followed by the movie 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider', then the movie 'Zombieland'.

Scheduled on a FRESH Conan is Will Arnett.

 [7:45 AM]      David Copperfield (1935)
 [10:15 AM]      A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
 [12:30 PM]      Five Star Final (1931) [ *Pre-Hayes Code*]
 [2:15 PM]      Little Caesar (1930) [ *Pre-Hayes Code*]
 [4:00 PM]      I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) [ *Pre-Hayes Code*]
 [6:00 PM]      The Commandos Strike At Dawn (1942)
 [8:00 PM]      When Worlds Collide (1951)
 [9:45 PM]      The Young Philadelphians (1959)
 [12:15 AM]      Night and Day (1946)
 [2:45 AM]      Destination Tokyo (1943)
 [5:15 AM]      Pride of the Marines (1945)    (ALL TIMES EST)

Friday   -  02/14/20

 [7:30 AM]      Air Force (1943)
 [9:45 AM]      Sergeant York (1941)
 [12:15 PM]      Fury (1936)
 [2:00 PM]      Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)
 [4:00 PM]      Rachel, Rachel (1968)
 [6:00 PM]      Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
 [8:00 PM]      The Firm (1993)
 [10:45 PM]      Brubaker (1980)
 [1:05 AM]      An American Dream (1966)    [AKA: 'See You in Hell, Darling']
 [3:00 AM]      Cool Hand Luke (1967)
 [5:15 AM]      Papillon (1973)    (ALL TIMES EST)

USA has a FRESH 'The Sinner', followed by a FRESH 'Briarpatch'.

Antenna TV - Johnny Carson (from 02/04/82) - Tom Hanks, Lynn Redgrave, and Franklin Ajaye.

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Find Justice - Justice Network

FNX - First Nations Experience

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ION Television - Positively Entertaining

Laff - You Know You Want To. - Laff


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The Sideshow - by Avedon Carol


Returns From 24-Year Acting Hiatus

Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis is finally stepping back into the spotlight - and it's for one of his most iconic roles.

The actor, who last appeared on screen in 1996's Big Bully, is returning for the reboot of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new filmed is titled Shrunk and will directed by the original's helmer Joe Johnston. Moranis played scientist Wayne Szalinski in the 1989 Disney classic and its 1992 sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kids.

The reboot will take place decades after the first, with Frozen's Josh Gad starring as Wayne's grown-up son.

This is the first on-screen role for Moranis in 24 years after he decided to take a step back following his wife Ann Belsky's tragic death.

The actor lost his wife, a costume designer, in February 1991 to breast cancer, with whom he had two children. Moranis slowly left public life to focus on being a single father, but he's never retired from the business, as he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015.

Rick Moranis



$165 Million

Warner Estate

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest person, has bought the Warner Estate in Beverly Hills from media mogul David Geffen for $165 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the transaction.

The deal marks a record for the Los Angeles area. The previous residential record was set late last year, when media executive Lachlan Murdoch paid roughly $150 million for Chartwell, a Bel Air estate used as the Clampett residence in the television show "The Beverly Hillbillies," the Journal reported.

Geffen purchased the 9.4-acre (3.8-hectare) estate in 1990 for a reported $47.5 million. It is named for Jack Warner, the head of Warner Bros. Studio who built the mansion in 1937.

Last week, the New York Post reported that Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, were house hunting in Los Angeles and touring mansions throughout the area. Bezos has been searching for a home for the past year, according to the Post.

Warner Estate


Newhead News


US Diplomacy


The former US ambassador who was a key figure in President Donald Trump (R-Fat Ass)'s impeachment trial criticized US foreign policy on Wednesday as "amoral" and based on threats.

Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump abruptly recalled last May from her post as US ambassador to Ukraine, spoke at Washington's Georgetown University where she received a prize from the school's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

"Right now, the State Department is in trouble," she said. "Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership skills."

"To be blunt, an amoral, 'keep-em-guessin' foreign policy that substitutes threats, fear and confusion for trust cannot work over the long haul," Yovanovitch said.

She also leveled criticism at State Department leadership, and by extension Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for failing to push back against forces that "apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy," or to support her in the face of "dangerously wrong" attacks.




Trophy Hunting Convention

Canned Hunts

An undercover video recorded by animal welfare activists shows vendors at a recent trophy-hunting convention promoting trips to shoot captive-bred lions in Africa, despite past public assurances by the event's organizers that so-called canned hunts wouldn't be sold.

Investigators for the Humane Society of the United States captured the footage last week at the annual convention of Safari Club International in Reno, Nevada. SCI is among the nation's largest trophy-hunting groups and its yearly gatherings typically draw thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors selling firearms, overseas safari trips and items made from the skins and bones of rare wildlife.

In the video captured by the Humane Society last week, tour operators said the lions for sale were bred in captivity. Typically, the lions are raised in cages and small pens before being released into a larger fenced enclosure. Once reaching young adulthood, customers pay to shoot them and keep the skins, skulls, claws and other body parts for trophies.

"They're bred in captivity. They're born in captivity, and then they're released," a salesman for Bush Africa Safaris, a South African tour operator, says on the video. "There's guys who are going to tell you something different on the floor, they're going to bulls-t you, that is what it is."

An avid hunter, Donald Trump Jr. (R-Daddy Issues) was among the featured speakers at the SCI convention last weekend. As part of the festivities, the group auctioned off a weeklong Alaskan "dream hunt" aboard a luxury yacht with the president's eldest son. Two hunters paid a combined $340,000 to go on the trip.

Canned Hunts


Digby's Hullabaloo


Oil Spill Spread Much Farther

Deepwater Horizon

Nearly a decade after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, computer simulations suggest that the toxic pollution extended much farther than satellite images first indicated.

Those images, taken after the spill dumped nearly 800 million liters of oil into Gulf waters, helped to determine which areas would be temporarily closed for fishing (SN: 4/3/15). Scientists' observations since then had suggested that the oil had spread farther (SN: 7/31/14).

The new analysis confirms that fact with computer simulations, which considered ocean currents, oil evaporation and other factors to map the spill's true expanse. Satellites appear to have overlooked at least 30 percent of the hazardous pollution, says biological oceanographer Claire Paris-Limouzy of the University of Miami.

The simulations uncovered vast ocean swaths where oil concentrations were high enough to endanger marine life, but dilute enough to have been overlooked by satellites, Paris-Limouzy and colleagues report online February 12 in Science Advances. Water and sediment samples from around the Gulf supported the findings.

Satellite images had shown oil mostly in a northern and central patch of the Gulf. But the simulations suggest toxic levels of oil pollution cast a much wider stain on the ocean. Fishery closures covered about 94 percent of the polluted region observed by satellites, but only about 70 percent of the hazardous area identified by the new analysis - missing spots near Texas and Florida. Some of those waters remained closed to fishing for years.

Deepwater Horizon



Ordered To Reveal

Secret Service

House Democrats are demanding to see documentation following reports in The Washington Post that the Trump Organisation is charging the Secret Service rates of up to $650 per night to stay at its properties.

The disturbing reports of "exorbitant charges" at President Donald Trump (R-Seedy)'s private clubs and resorts, and the administration's failure to disclose the amount of taxpayer dollars being spent at these private properties, are the subject of a letter (PDF) sent to James Murray, director of the Secret Service.

Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, the chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and committee member Jackie Speier of California, say in the letter that the rates and the lack of transparency raise serious concerns.

"These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny," Ms Maloney and Ms Speier wrote.

The report detailed nearly $500,000 in payments by the Secret Service to the president's companies during only a fraction of his time in office. Given the limited information available, the total is thought to be much higher than that.

Secret Service



Denim Factory Fire


Shouting and crying, workers in an Indian denim factory struggled to claw their way up a ladder to a door, their only exit as a fire blazed through fabric and machinery, officials said. Seven people died in the weekend blaze, and families were still waiting Wednesday to recover their relatives' bodies.

"Smoke kept billowing from the building as workers trapped inside screamed for help," said a witness who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was worried he'd lose his job.

The factory where the fire occurred, Nandan Denim, has ties to major U.S. retailers, according to its website. Nandan says it supplies jeans, denim and other garments to more than 20 global brands including U.S. companies such as Target, Ann Taylor, Mango and Wrangler, and its sister company supplies Walmart and H&M.

Some of the U.S. and multinational companies listed on the website said they were not actually customers, and many issued statements that strongly condemned dangerous work sites. Nandan Denim is one of the largest denim suppliers in the world.

The fire broke out Saturday in its two-story factory on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, a fast-growing city of 8.6 million in western Gujarat state. The city's industrial area, once covered with mountains of garbage, has slowly shifted into a hub for factories that make clothes sold to brands across the world.




Ancient 'Ghost' Hominid

West Africa

An ancient, humanlike population still undiscovered in fossils left a genetic legacy in present-day West Africans, a new study suggests.

These extinct relatives of Homo sapiens passed genes to African ancestors of modern Yoruba and Mende people starting around 24,000 years ago or later, say UCLA geneticists Arun Durvasula and Sriram Sankararaman. Surviving DNA of those ancient hominids is different enough from that of Neandertals and Denisovans to suggest an entirely different hominid was the source.

Yoruba and Mende groups' genomes contain from 2 to 19 percent of genetic material from this mysterious "ghost population," the scientists report February 12 in Science Advances. Some DNA segments passed down from the mysterious Homo species influence survival-enhancing functions, including tumor suppression and hormone regulation. Those genes likely spread rapidly among modern West Africans, the investigators suspect.

DNA from Han Chinese in Beijing as well as Utah residents with northern and western European ancestry also showed signs of ancestry from the ancient ghost population, Durvasula and Sankararaman found. But DNA from those two groups was not studied as closely as that from the Yoruba and Mende people.

The report adds to recent evidence that interbreeding of ancient people with various Homo species played a bigger role in the evolution of modern Africans than has generally been assumed. For instance, after leaving Africa around 60,000 to 80,000 years ago, H. sapiens groups interbred with European Neandertals before taking Neandertal DNA back to Africa starting around 20,000 years ago, another team has concluded (SN: 1/30/20). That study found that Neandertal DNA accounts for, on average, about 0.5 percent of individual Africans' genomes, far more than reported in earlier studies. Most present-day people outside Africa carry about three times as much Neandertal DNA as Africans do.

West Africa






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