Letters: No to violence | Standing with women | McConnell’s Court | Playing God | Vision Act

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:30

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

Pro-choice forces must
not stoop to violence

As someone who has been pro-choice for most of my life, I am extremally disappointed with the current Supreme Court ruling on the abortion issue. It is indeed a great step backward.

That said, I do strongly condemn the threats by radical pro-choice activists against judges, the attacks on pregnancy centers, the desecration of churches, the intimidation of parishioners, and especially the attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice.

Any threats or escalation of violence by the pro-choice side will do nothing but irrevocably harm our cause and alienate millions who would otherwise support us. This is, in short, committing political suicide.

John F. Davies

Contra Costa won’t
turn back on women

Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court trashed nearly 50 years of established legal precedence and undermined the ability of women to control their reproductive health. Despite the court’s ill-considered decision, all women in Contra Costa County will continue to have unfettered access to reproductive health care.

Contra Costa Health provides a range of services through its Women’s Health Services clinics, including pap smears, breast exams, contraception, pregnancy testing, options counseling, STD/HIV testing and referrals to other services, including abortion services. Women with low income may qualify for no-cost or reduced-cost services.

We are resolved to protect the health of every resident and ensure full access to care. Some of us can remember a time when we did not have the right to choose. Here in Contra Costa County, we will do everything we can to not go back to those dark days.

Karen Mitchoff
Chair, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
and Anna Roth
Contra Costa Health Director

McConnell, not Trump,
built conservative court

Re. “Give Trump credit for overturning of Roe v. Wade ruling,” Page A13, June 26:

As he has been so many other times, Marc Thiessen has it all wrong.

Trump had nothing to do with the appointment of the three latest Supreme Court justices. He didn’t know any of them or their judicial histories before Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society fed him the names.

McConnell put his fingerprints all over these appointments. It has long been known that McConnell wants to reshape the high court as his legacy. With the steal of the Gorsuch seat (keeping it open for almost a year because it was “too close to an election”) and the quick installation of Amy Coney Barrett (even though the election was less than a month away), it gave McConnell – the hypocrite – the opportunity to stack the bench. The result may cement McConnell‘s legacy as the worst Senate leader in decades.

Stacie Thomas

Right-wing playing God
with gun, Roe decisions

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. This is no surprise since Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh all lied in their confirmation hearings. Their hypocrisy is absolutely nauseating.

On June 23, the Court ruled that it’s legal to carry a concealed handgun in public. Handguns kill people, but I guess that’s OK with them.

The Republican governors, senators, other legislators and court members claim that banning a woman’s right to choose is pro-life, yet they will not ban assault weapons and other weapons that kill many thousands of people. Also, some want to ban abortions at the moment of fertilization. How do they know the nanosecond that happens? Are they God? I guess they think they are.

Ramona Krausnick

Newsom must revive,
pass the Vision Act

I urge Gov. Gavin Newsom, in the strongest possible terms, to support and sign the Vision Act.

Related Articles

It is unconscionable that the state of California continues to allow people who are being released from prisons, on parole, to be instantly handed over to ICE for immediate detention in one of their facilities, maybe in this state or maybe hundreds or thousands of miles from their families.

It is very difficult to obtain parole in California, and there is absolutely no need to further detain parolees just because of their immigration status. And as we are all too well aware, the conditions which prevail in these largely private detention centers, which California legislators voted to ban in 2019, though it was overturned on appeal, are absolutely abominable.

It is past time to end these vile practices, which merely aid and abet a costly federal program that is itself anathema to the values of the American people.

Caroline Lehman

Categories: Local News

A Timeline of the Key Scenes in Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 Testimony

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:25
The former White House aide provided a fly-on-the-wall account of what former President Donald J. Trump and his top advisers were doing and saying as the attack on the Capitol unfolded.
Categories: Local News

As Monkeypox Spreads, U.S. Plans a Vaccination Campaign

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:16
States will be given vaccine doses from the federal stockpile, but supplies of the safest type are limited.
Categories: Local News

State auditor will probe high-profile sexual misconduct cases at San Jose State, other California State Universities

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:11

The California State University system, under hot water for its handling of sexual misconduct cases, is about to get audited.

On Monday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an audit into the CSU Chancellor’s Office, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University and Fresno State University’s handling of sexual harassment and abuse complaints that ended in botched or inadequate investigations by high-level administrators at the colleges.

The action comes after more than 40 state lawmakers requested the review to examine compliance with Title IX procedures and processes following a slew of highly publicized reports of improper handling of complaints. Several of those reports involved this news organization’s investigation into former SJSU swim coach Scott Shaw’s suspected abuse of nearly two dozen women and the failure by campus administrators, including former President Mary Papazian, to thoroughly investigate the allegations.


“We welcome the review by the state auditor, will cooperate with their investigation and will continue to look for additional opportunities to improve our policies and procedures,” Toni Molle, a spokeswoman for the CSU system, said in an email on Tuesday.

The California State Auditor will conduct the investigation, which will include:

  • A determination of “the mission of the role of the CSU’s systemwide Title IX office” and evaluation of “the process it has in place to provide oversight and ensure consistency and timeliness in CSU’s response to sexual harassment allegations, including its compliance with federal law and use of best practices.”
  • A determination of whether the university system has “adequate systemwide policies and procedures in place for preventing, detecting and addressing sexual harassment” and a review of “notices to students and employees about how to report allegations, efforts to keep victims of alleged harassment informed about the status of a complaint, and policies about employee obligations to report alleged harassment.”
  • A review of the CSU’s “process for investigating alleged sexual harassment,” and a determination of “whether the process ensures that the investigatory process is free from interference and identify any needed improvements.”
  • An identification of “the total number of sexual harassment complaints against CSU employees during the last five years,” and “whether CSU initiated an investigation of those complaints, how many it substantiated, and whether alleged perpetrators were involved in multiple complaints, and, if so, how many.”

“You want to have great respect for higher public institutions and they actually do the things they teach their students to do. They talk about protecting the truth, protecting the innocent… and the system itself failed to do the kind of inquiry and decision making they literally train students to do. I’ve called it a hypocrisy and systematic failure,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), who co-authored the request, said in an interview Tuesday.

In March, the CSU Board of Trustees announced the university paid a company to perform an internal investigation into its policies and procedures related to employee sexual misconduct, but the California Faculty Association, state lawmakers and school communities called it an inadequate. The state’s audit will commence after the university’s internal investigation is complete or in four months, whichever comes first.

CSU President Jolene Koester wrote in a letter last week that she’s “fully aware that this work is hard and that it seeks to address longstanding systemic problems as well as deeply rooted attitudes and behaviors. It will take time, requiring diligence and persistence and continuous self-assessment and improvement.”

into former San Jose State swim coach Scott Shaw’s suspected abuse of nearly two dozen women and former students revealed severe neglect under former President Mary Papazian’s leadership.”]



Categories: Local News

US officials announce more steps against monkeypox outbreak

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:11

U.S. health officials are expanding the group of people recommended to get vaccinated against the monkeypox virus.
Categories: Local News

San Jose LGBTQ+ community center changes with the times

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:07

Editor’s note: This story is part of the annual Mosaic Journalism Workshop for Bay Area high school students, a two-week intensive course in journalism. Students in the program report and photograph stories under the guidance of professional journalists.

In four decades, life for the LGBTQ+ community has changed a lot. The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center, nearing its 40th anniversary, has seen firsthand an evolution in how LGBTQ+ people are treated and perceived.

The Billy DeFrank center works to serve as a safe place for the queer community and activist groups at large. In 1981, several LGBTQ+ groups scattered throughout the Bay Area were searching for one central location, and so the center was born. Named for Billy DeFrank, a drag queen who died a year earlier, the center strives to live by his example, by loving and accepting everyone.

Gabrielle Antolovich, board president of the San Jose center, says the LGBTQ+ community has expanded a lot in 40 years, with the recognition of many more sexualities and identities.

“Because of the young people that come here, now we have all these different pronouns and descriptions of different gender identities that I actually have been able to name my identity as gender queer,” they said.

Free books sit on a table at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Jose, California on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. . (Saira Ahmed for Mosaic Journalism)Free books sit on a table at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Jose, California on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. . (Saira Ahmed for Mosaic Journalism) 

Antolovich says that younger generations have changed the community and what it means to be queer. “Government agencies now have alternate genders that you can fill out, including your driver’s license and medical records.” That has had a giant impact.

Another change is that the Billy DeFrank center has hosted pro bono days to assist people needing a legal name change, reaching out to transgender and non-binary citizens, two groups that in the past were looked down upon, Antolovich said. The center has also partnered with other organizations, such as the Women’s March and March for Our Lives against gun violence.

The center hosts discussion groups for different identities or sexualities and invites people to get to know people within their own groups. But they also encourage intermingling between the different niche groups as well, with whole-center activities.

They also motivate members to support everyone in the community.

“You know, we’re Asian, we’re Latino, we’re African American, we’re indigenous people, we’re immigrants, we’re undocumented. We speak every language. We are of every gender orientation. And so we need to work with other people in our own community,” Antolovich said.

They added that at the center they support the idea of everyone being family, often referring to each other as their siblings. That’s something that would have been looked down upon in the past, due to racial tensions between groups, Antolovich said.

The center is celebrating its 40th year in October with a black-tie Halloween gala to honor the work they do. “What I want people to feel is that their whole self becomes more integrated, and when you have a center like ours that can happen because we are not bombarded by the outside expectations,” Antolovich said.

Another organization working in parallel with the Billy DeFrank center’s goals is Silicon Valley Pride, which runs the pride parade and festival, the largest festival of its kind in the South Bay. Established in 1975 as a gay rights rally, the group evolved into the San Jose Pride Festival and Parade in 1977. After a hiatus in 2014 and a change of leadership, it was rechristened Silicon Valley Pride, with the mission to embrace diversity and inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community.

Nicole Altamirano, CEO of Silicon Valley Pride, said their organization has changed with the times as well. The focus has expanded beyond just cisgender white gay men, and the group added a “Hey Girl” subcommittee to promote inclusivity for the queer community across the spectrum.

Silicon Valley Pride, which will hold this year’s pride festival on Aug. 27-28 in downtown San Jose, also brought on a chief diversity officer to promote inclusivity in the community and to support LGBTQ+ groups of various races and ethnicities.

“We are only as free as our most marginalized community members. We aren’t just gay, we are a part of all minority groups,” Altamirano said. “Everyone that is an ‘ally’ and likes to wear rainbow colors during June should stand up and fight for rights all throughout the year.”

Abby Cordobes is a rising senior at Silver Creek High School in San Jose.

Categories: Local News

Will the Magic’s 2022-23 outlook change after drafting Paolo Banchero?

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:05

In the backdrop of the Orlando Magic’s draft-day choices, which included taking Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick, were questions about how their decisions would impact their short-term future.

Not just how the draft would affect who they did or did not pursue in free agency. Or whether Mo Bamba, the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft who’ll be a restricted free agent, is more or less likely to return to Orlando.

But bigger-picture questions about what their approach to next season will be after finishing 2021-22 with the league’s second-worst record at 22-60.

Will the Magic fast-track their rebuild? Or will their approach be similar to last season when the main priority was developing their younger players?

“You guys know we didn’t do all the roster deconstruction we did so we can rush back to the middle,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told reporters ahead of the draft. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. That said, there [are] a lot of different permutations to that. Right now, we want to play better basketball, make fewer mistakes, increase our IQ, build chemistry and continue to understand which of our players are going to impact winning.”

In other words, don’t expect the approach to next season to be significantly different from 2021-22.

There’s been a recent common trend among the teams who’ve been in the Magic’s position before drafting at No. 1.

Teams that won fewer than 30% of their games before drafting the top pick in the last 15 years typically made marginal improvements to their winning percentage the following season.

That’s what happened for the Detroit Pistons, who won 27.8% of their games in 2020-21, drafted Cade Cunningham at No. 1 last year and won 28% of their games this past season.

The same happened for the Minnesota Timberwolves when they took Anthony Edwards at No. 1 in 2020. They won 29.7% of their games the season before (2019-20) drafting Edwards and 31.9% his rookie year (2020-21).

Most teams in the Magic’s position took a significant leap 2-3 seasons after drafting No. 1, allowing more time for a team to build itself organically and identity which young players will take the next step with the organization. The Timberwolves are an example of this, winning 56.1% of their games in 2021-22 and making the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

“We do want to get better, but not at the expense of rushing back to mediocrity,” Weltman said. “We do want to have something sustainable. You have to elevate the standard to do that. You can’t just stay at the basement level. Those are conversations we’re having — which players do that for us.”

The Magic have been patient with their rebuild.

The internal growth of their young core — which includes Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz, among others — will dictate how significant Orlando will improve next season.

So will health, with Suggs and Fultz missing significant time last season. Jonathan Isaac is also expected to return to the floor in 2022-23 after missing the last two seasons while rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee he suffered in August 2020.

The Magic want to get better.

Unlike some teams who draft at No. 1, they already had a solid group of young players. Banchero will be a significant addition.

Winning will be a greater priority next season than it was last year. Just don’t expect Orlando to rush its plan by making any moves in free agency or in the trade market that suggest it’s in “win-now” mode.

“I wouldn’t really expect us to deviate from our plan, which was to come in and assemble a roster of high-character, talented, versatile players who’ll grow up together and make this a sustainable winning team,” Weltman said on The Ryen Russillo Podcast after the draft.Along the way, stuff is going to happen. When you have cap space and extra [draft] picks, interesting ideas will come across your doorstep. I’m very pleased with where we are now.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.


Categories: Local News

On Israeli and American Ballots: The Soul of Democracy

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:02
What ails Israel’s politics has similarities in the United States.
Categories: Local News

Letters: Court’s distraction | Overturning Roe | Trump’s popularity | Citizens United | Johnson’s malfeasance

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 16:00

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.

Don’t let court distract
from Jan. 6 hearings

Donald Trump and Company were on the ropes. They could not claim that the Jan. 6 hearings were a witch hunt by a Democratic conspiracy because respected Republicans were testifying to the mobster tactics that were threatened upon them when they tried to do their sworn duty to the U.S. Constitution (rather than comply with the illegal activities of a self-absorbed dictator).

Then out-of-the-blue rumors followed by the decision to undo Roe v. Wade (which has been in place for 50 years) appeared, seeming suspiciously timed to take attention away from swiftly bringing these mobsters to justice. Rather than deviate into the imbalance of what this decision does to those less fortunate (and overcoming the resistance of Republicans to pay for all the added government programs that should include ensuring the quality of life for all those born less fortunate), let’s not forget to bring justice to minimize a recurrence of Jan. 6.

Bob Fifield

Roe decision returned
power to the people

The hysteria associated with overturning the flawed 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is amazing to behold. Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t retire because the liberal press assured her (and lefty constituents) that Hillary was a shoo-in for president. Ergo, Donald Trump was able to appoint three conservative justices. And voila, Roe was overturned.

Liberals (including the Mercury News) have only themselves and RBG to blame for this outcome – returning the power to the individual states rather than the bloated bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. Personally, I support abortion (with proper justification) in the first trimester. I do not support abortion at or near delivery as the child is essentially fully formed.

The right to abortion was not repealed. The right of the people in individual states to determine the taking of life was reinstated. Kudos to our supremes.

Craig Carpenter
Los Altos

Trump’s popularity
may reveal dark truths

Jackie Calmes’ June 19 op-ed (“In 1972, Republicans rose to the occasion, unlike today’s GOP,” Page A13) ignores an underlying reality that makes Trumpism such a vexing problem: Roughly half the voters in the United States voted for Donald Trump in 2020, and they will vote for him again in 2024. Given Trump’s massive popularity, Republican politicians face a daunting situation. To repudiate Trump means the likely demise of their political careers. Rather than flush their jobs down the toilet, most GOP politicians choose to support Trump, even though in doing so they must forego significant ethical and moral considerations.

Our brain trust needs to understand and address why half our nation would vote for a man like Trump. I think the answers might reveal beliefs and attitudes that we’d like to keep hidden from the rest of the world.

Dave Salle
San Jose

Citizens United has
cost our nation plenty

Citizens United is what screws up our country. It legalizes bribing politicians. They work for those who give them money, both Republicans and Democrats. We have an entitled, crony upper class.

They don’t want change. They caused global warming. All government wealth indicators don’t figure in human suffering, so there is no universal health care but tax breaks for drug companies.

Our Constitution is 200 years old and needs revamping. They had muskets; we have nuclear missiles. They had horses for mail; we have the internet. A California senator represents 30 million people; a South Dakota senator less than a million. Any progress to help people is off the table with Citizens United intact.

Karen Van Brunt
Santa Cruz

Related Articles Wisconsin must fix
Johnson’s malfeasance

Sen. Ron Johnson hides behind his phone rather than answering a reporter’s question about what he was thinking subverting our government with a fake slate of electors.

Now, if I were him, I’d be calling a press conference pronto to clear my good name, not holding up a dead phone to my ear. This is the problem: We have schmucks running our government. What are they thinking in Wisconsin? Good Lord.

Robert Wahler
San Jose

Categories: Local News

King County Council delays vote on alcohol businesses operating outside city limits

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:57

The legislation's sponsor said it became clear there needs to be "deeper conversations and considerations." to work through complications.
Categories: Local News

Tech execs wheel and deal for $10 million Silicon Valley mansion

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:48

LOS ALTOS HILLS — A big home in Los Altos Hills has been bought for nearly $10 million in a deal whose buyer and seller are tech executives and their spouses.

A top executive with Texas-based Oracle, which in 2021 uprooted its Bay Area headquarters and transplanted the head offices to another state, sold the mansion to an executive with Quantumscape, a green energy company that’s expanding in its home territory of Silicon Valley, according to public documents.

The Los Altos Hills residence was bought this week for $9.75 million, according to documents on file with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office.

Safra Catz and her husband Gal Tiroshi, acting through a family trust, sold the residential complex, the property records show. Catz is the chief executive officer of Oracle, a tech behemoth that previously was based in Redwood City for decades until it departed California for Texas last year.

Residence at 13113 Byrd Lane in Los Altos Hills, overhead view. (Matt Anello, Blu Skye Media)Residence at 13113 Byrd Lane in Los Altos Hills, overhead view. (Matt Anello, Blu Skye Media)

A top executive with Quantumscape and his wife, who acted through a trust, were the buyers of the property.

San Jose-based Quantumscape makes advanced batteries for electric vehicles.

The transaction reflects the contrasting directions in the Bay Area of the companies where the buyer and seller work.

Oracle has been shrinking its footprint in the Bay Area by moving its headquarters, selling big office buildings in Redwood City and downtown San Jose, and putting big chunks of office space up for sublease.

Quantumscape has leased a huge building in north San Jose in a major expansion of its manufacturing operations and maintains its headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The Los Altos Hills transaction was arranged by agents Kathy Bridgman, Susan Sims and Tamara Pulsts with Compass, a real estate brokerage.

Residence at 13113 Byrd Lane in Los Altos Hills, elevated view. (Matt Anello, Blu Skye Media)Residence at 13113 Byrd Lane in Los Altos Hills, elevated view. (Matt Anello, Blu Skye Media)

The just-bought residence totals 6,158 square feet and features six bedrooms, five baths, two half baths, a tennis court and a swimming pool, according to the Compass listing.

The residence was purchased in an all-cash transaction, the county records show.

“A theater, customized wine cellar, dedicated office, and 6 bedrooms, one currently outfitted for a fitness center, and 5.5 baths are highlights of the home,” the listing states.

The home is tucked away in a neighborhood that commands panoramic views of the Bay Area.

“The rear yard is a dream for entertaining and fitness alike with a large pool, full tennis court, separate spa, and built-in barbecue,” according to the Compass listing.


Categories: Local News

Aaron Judge says he didn’t mean to call himself ‘best player on the team’

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:37

Aaron Judge may be the best player in baseball and there would be little argument against it, but the Yankees slugger did not mean to say that. He is human after all and just got a little tongue-tied on Sunday.

“When you’re the best player on the team how can you not [be confident]?” Judge was quoted as saying in a YES postgame interview on the field Sunday. The clip has gone viral.

“I was trying to say ‘when you are the best team on the planet,’ and I knew I messed it up,” Judge said Tuesday. “What I said was when you’re the best planet on the team. And I thought to myself I really messed that up. And then I tried to say something about the fans and that came out wrong too.”


Categories: Local News

Jalen Brunson ‘widely expected’ to sign lucrative Knicks deal: report

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:36

Jalen Brunson is getting closer to joining his friends and family on the Knicks.

The Mavericks point guard is “widely expected” to sign with New York on a four-year deal exceeding $100 million, according to ESPN. A source said the Mavericks were still in play since they can give Brunson more money as the incumbent team, but the draw of playing as the lead guard is enticing for Brunson — which he can’t do next to Luka Doncic in Dallas — and the Knicks are willing to offer more than market value.

Brunson has fans with the Mavericks but isn’t the most natural fit with Doncic, considering their defensive limitations. Meanwhile, at least one top Knicks decision-maker views Brunson as a top-10 NBA point guard, according to a source in contact with the organization. That’s hardly an instant road to title contention but would certainly plug a large hole in the lineup.

As it stands, the Knicks are engaged in trade discussions to create more cap space. Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel have been shopped the most aggressively, according to sources from three opposing teams.

Signing Brunson to such a lucrative contract will certainly open the front office to heavy criticism if it flops. Until Brunson’s breakthrough in the playoffs, his value was widely viewed as, at most, $20 million per year in free agency. Just before last season, the Mavericks declined to offer a four-year, $55 million extension.

But the Knicks have long coveted Brunson and are certainly familiar. His father, Rick, was recently hired as an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau. Rick was also the first NBA client of former agent Leon Rose, who now runs the Knicks and recently attended Rick’s 50th birthday party.

Leon Rose’s son, Sam, became an agent and represents Jalen Brunson. In other words, if Brunson’s deal goes sour, Leon Rose would be rightfully lambasted for taking care of friends with James Dolan’s money instead of helping his employer. If it works out, Rose will get the credit for his intuition and connections.

First, the Knicks have to create the space and get the signature. If the Mavericks are resigned to losing Brunson, they can help the Knicks – and help themselves – by facilitating a sign-and-trade.

The Brunson pursuit was set in motion on draft night, when the Knicks punted their first-round pick for future assets and more cap space by shedding Kemba Walker. The Knicks, according to sources, could’ve packaged a deal for guard Jaden Ivey during the draft by picking Jalen Duren but balked at the price and maintained focus on Brunson.

The Knicks only have one big free agent hitting the market this week – center Mitchell Robinson – who is expected to re-sign, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein. They also could extend RJ Barrett’s deal before next season.


Categories: Local News

The royal family should pay to keep Prince Andrew silent about Ghislaine Maxwell and everything else, expert says

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:34

Even though Prince Andrew is massively disliked by the British public, it’s easy to imagine some publisher thinking he could still garner an audience for a tell-all memoir, in which he shares insider information about the royal family and dishes dirt about the other rich and powerful pleasure-seekers he may have met while hanging out with convicted pedophiles Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

If the royal family is smart, Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine says, they will make sure that Andrew is kept financially secure so he won’t feel compelled to cash in by writing a memoir or giving more disastrous TV interviews in a misguided attempt to rehabilitate his image.

“He will be more trouble and start talking and giving TV interviews and writing books,” Seward said on True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat show, the Daily Mail reported. 

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell.(Florida Southern District Court)Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell.(Florida Southern District Court) 

Seward noted that Andrew, reportedly the queen’s favorite son, was stripped of his job as a senior working royal in the early days of the scandal over his association Epstein, the late financier who died by suicide in 2019, and Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime girlfriend and co-conspirator in his sex trafficking operation.

On Tuesday, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for helping Epstein carry out a years-long scheme to groom and sexually abuse underaged girls.

Andrew lost his military patronages and HRH title after he settled a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged underage trafficking victims who said she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times in 2001.

Thus far, Andrew has reportedly refused to talk to the FBI about his association with Maxwell and Esptein, but it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the financially strapped duke to write a book or give an interview about the association as he infamously did in his “car crash” BBC interview in 2019. He could try to avoid saying anything that could be used against him in criminal court.

Because of the scandal, there is no way the royal family will ever allow Andrew to return to a public role, Seward said in a conversation with Newsweek royal correspondent Jack Royston, the Daily Mail reported. It’s also likely that the royal family will become especially insistent that Andrew retreat to a quiet, private life after Maxwell’s sentencing.

If nothing else, the sentencing is another reminder of how Andrew and Maxwell, a former British socialite, were close friends for many decades. She reportedly introduced Andrew to Epstein in 1999. At the time, Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend, but even after Maxwell and Epstein broke up, they remained close friends, with Maxwell traveling with the multimillionaire on his private planes, running his various households and mingling with his rich and famous friends and guests, including Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates.

It has been documented in news reports and court filings that Andrew traveled on Epstein’s private plane multiple times, visited his different homes, and invited the financier for a weekend stay and for royal family birthday parties at Balmoral and Windsor castles. The friendship continued at least through late 2010, after Epstein was first investigated for trafficking underaged girls. He was convicted in 2008 of crimes involving sex with a minor.

During that time, from 1994 to 2004, Maxwell and Epstein worked together to identify girls as young as 14, groom them and entice them to travel with them to Epstein’s properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico, and elsewhere, prosecutors said in their sentencing memorandum for Maxwell.

Even though Andrew settled his lawsuit with Giuffre in February, he denied having sex with her or even meeting her. That denial has never gained much traction, given that Giuffre famously produced a photo that showed her visiting Maxwell’s London townhouse in 2001. The photo, she said, was taken the night she first had sex with Andrew, and shows him with his arm around her bare waist.

Both the queen and Prince Charles reportedly helped Andrew cover the cost of his settlement with Giuffre, which was reported to be between $9 million and $12 million, The Sun reported in February. Charles loaned his younger brother a sizable portion of the sum, while the queen also contributed.

Discussing Andrew’s absence from the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and other recent royal events, Royston said on the show: “When the Queen is no longer here, Charles will not have any truck with Andrew attempting a comeback.”

Ingrid Seward agreed, but said she still believes the Duke of York will be looked after financially.

“They’re not going to cast him out because he will be more trouble and start talking and giving TV interviews and writing books,” she said.

Categories: Local News

Heat willing to guarantee three years for P.J. Tucker, still might not be enough in NBA free agency

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:23

According to an NBA source familiar with the situation, the Miami Heat are willing to extend a fully guaranteed contract for the maximum-allowable three years to free-agent power forward P.J. Tucker.

The Heat’s offer is built off the $8.4 million non-Bird salary-cap exception, which would put the team’s standing offer at $27 million over three years.

The Heat do not appear poised to put their $10.3 million mid-level exception into play with Tucker because utilizing that exception would trigger a hard cap, which could limit or even preclude trade possibilities for the team both this offseason and then at the 2023 NBA trading deadline in February.

Tucker, who had pushed for the third year to be guaranteed, is believed to be seeking the Heat’s $10.3 million mid-level exception, which would result in a package worth $33 million over the three years.

With Tucker having turned 37 in May, teams utilizing salary-cap exceptions to sign the veteran power forward are limited to three-year packages due to the NBA’s over-38 rule that limits long-term deals with older players.

Although they either would have to trade several players or have James Harden return on a smaller contract in order to create a $10.3 mid-level exception of their own, the Philadelphia 76ers, according to numerous media reports, are poised to offer Tucker such a three-year, $33 million deal.

The NBA free-agency negotiation window opens 6 p.m. Thursday.

Should the Heat lose out on Tucker, the team, according to an NBA source, is considering either a trade for former Heat power forward Jae Crowder, who is entering the final year of a contract that pays $10.2 million next season with the Phoenix Suns, or a possible free-agent move for Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren.

Those, however, only would be fallback positions if current Heat teammates are unable to convince Tucker to stay.

Tucker signed with the Heat last August on a contract that paid $7 million this past season. He is opting out of the second year of that contract, which would have paid $7.4 million next season.

Summer roster set

Having earned a Heat two-way contract based on his stellar play in summer league last year, Marcus Garrett is one of 14 players on the summer-league roster released by the team.

Returning from midseason wrist surgery, which led to his departure from the roster in January, Garrett is scheduled to appear only in the Las Vegas Summer League, where the Heat open play July 9. The Heat will play three games at the California Classic summer league in San Francisco prior to traveling to Las Vegas.

Garrett, who went undrafted out of Kansas a year ago, emerged as an elite on-ball defender with the Heat’s 2021 summer roster, showing enough also with his offense to earn his two-way deal. He eventually was replaced on the Heat roster by Kyle Guy.

The Heat had been uncertain about Garrett’s status for summer league as recently as last week. He has been working at the Heat’s practice court, including sessions on the side with Heat coaches during the playoffs.

Current Heat players Haywood Highsmith, Mychal Mulder, Javonte Smart and Ӧmer Yurtseven, as well 2022 first-round draft pick Nikola Jović, highlight the Heat summer roster.

Yurtseven, who is working with Turkey’s national team, also will only participate in the Las Vegas portion of summer league.

Heat assistant Malik Allen will serve as summer-league coach for the second consecutive year, to be assisted by Kasib Powell, who coaches the Heats G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Summer practice sessions for the Heat open Thursday in San Francisco.

Heat summer roster

Jalen Adaway, F, 6-5, 215, St. Bonaventure

Kyle Allman, Jr.,G, 6-4, 183, Paris Basketball

Jamaree Bouyea, G, 6-2, 170, San Francisco

Jamal Cain, F, 6-7, 191, Oakland

Marcus Garrett, G, 6-5, 205, Kansas.

Bryce Hamilton, G/F, 6-4, 205, UNLV

Haywood Highsmith, F, 6-7, 220, Wheeling

Nikola Jović, F, 6-11, 223, Mega Basket

Mychal Mulder, G, 6-3, 195, Kentucky

Orlando Robinson, C, 6-11, 244, Fresno State

Javonte Smart, G, 6-3, 205, Louisiana State

Aaron Wheeler, F, 6-9, 205, St. John’s

Bryson Williams, C, 6-9, 237, Texas Tech

Ӧmer Yurtseven, C, 6-11, 255, Georgetown

(Note: Garett and Yurtseven only scheduled to play in Las Vegas.)


Categories: Local News

In Blow to Putin, Turkey Won’t Bar Sweden and Finland From NATO

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:16
The change was a victory for President Biden and a setback to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who had justified the Ukraine invasion as a warning against NATO’s expansion.
Categories: Local News

Little-used Manny Banuelos is designated for assignment by Yankees

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:16

Manny Banuelos finally making his Yankees debut 14 years after he was signed as a phenom out of his native Mexico was one of the best stories of the early Yankees season, but the 31-year-old’s time with the Bombers has come to an end again — for now. The lefty was designated for assignment before Tuesday night’s game to make room for J.P. Sears, who made a spot start.

“It was difficult,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, it’s a numbers game.

“One of the things that made it difficult on top of who the person he is and the story, and how much it’s been a joy to be around him every day and what he’s brought to the field every day, is we really think he can pitch and he hasn’t got a lot of opportunities.”

Banuelos, who was seen as multiple-inning protection for the starters, made just three appearances. That’s mostly because the Yankees starters were going deep into games, not a reflection of him. He pitched to a 2.16 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks.

“He earned his way here. He was on the outskirts going into spring training and opened up everyone’s eyes,” Boone said. “And we certainly hope for the best for Manny. Selfishly, I hope he remains with us, but you certainly understand this situation in the process too.”

Banuelos will have to pass through waivers and can elect free agency after that or accept an assignment back to the minors.


Categories: Local News

6 Takeaways From Today’s Jan. 6 Hearing

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:16
The former White House aide provided crucial insight into what President Donald J. Trump was doing and saying during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and in the days before.
Categories: Local News

EXPLAINER: Abortion, tech and surveillance

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:14

With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that vacuum up personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance.
Categories: Local News

Construction firm’s controversial past delays new Santa Clara County jail

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:13

In a temporary victory for criminal justice reform activists, plans for a new Santa Clara County jail stalled on Tuesday amid concerns about the company that was set to receive a half-billion dollar contract for the construction of the facility.

County Executive Jeff Smith said his office will examine the past practices and contract application of J.E. Dunn Construction. The Kansas-city based company has faced a number of labor lawsuits involving minority workers and its owners have spoken out against contraception and abortion. Smith made the decision after activists submitted a letter to supervisors shortly before the vote outlining the company’s history.

Opponents of the construction of a new jail said Tuesday that the county’s professed progressive values put it at odds with the construction company.

“This (contract) disturbs me in many ways,” said Walter Wilson, a county resident who spoke during public comment. “It is quite the outrage.”

In an interview, Smith said that the county was unaware of J.E. Dunn’s past when it was considering it as a contractor.

“We obviously have concerns,” said Smith, who said the county will specifically look into whether J.E. Dunn violated any part of the county’s contracting guidelines.

Criminal justice reform activists have soundly rejected the construction of a new jail and claim that it will not increase public safety. Those pushing for the new jail, primarily the executive’s office and the sheriff’s department, point out that conditions of existing Main Jail North are inadequate and a new facility will allow for the county to abide by federal consent decrees.

Though the new jail was approved in a narrow 3-2 vote in January, Tuesday’s development will almost certainly push off plans for months. If the county ends up switching contractors, a whole new set of blueprints will have to be submitted, a process which Smith said will cause at minimum a two-year delay.

Plans for a new jail facility have been years in the making and faced further delays in 2020 when supervisors requested that the county reconsider its plans and focus more on mental health and drug recovery in light of nationwide protests after the murder of George Floyd. In November, the county went ahead with the jail plans, which disappointed activists who felt that their reform efforts had been abandoned.

The $523 million contract with J.E. Dunn planned for a 499-bed facility that would replace Main Jail North, which is set to be razed. The cost of the new facility was projected to be $667 million back in mid-May, almost double the $390 million estimate that was presented in 2020, but the price was readjusted this month and dropped by about $100 million. County officials have blamed project delays and inflation on the overall cost jump.

J.E. Dunn is one of the country’s largest construction firms and builds a variety of facilities in addition to jails, like courthouses, corporate offices and hospitals.

In 2014, the company filed an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case when arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby challenged the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act’s provision that corporations offer employees access to contraception methods that include abortion. Owners of J.E. Dunn claimed that the ACA law violated their Catholic faith.

Individual leaders of the company, like chairman emeritus Bill Dunn Sr., stated in a 2005 speech that abortion and gay marriage are part of the “moral decline of society,” according to an article from the Kansas City Star newspaper.

The company has also been involved in several lawsuits brought by minority workers. For example, in 2016, J.E. Dunn settled with minority subcontractors who alleged that the the company fraudulently identified them as the recipients of a $21 million project in Georgia, according to a Savannah Morning News article.

J.E. Dunn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Raj Jayadev, founder of the San Jose-based Silicon Valley De-Bug and an opponent of the new jail, said that the county’s values were in direct conflict with J.E. Dunn. He brought up the Supreme Court’s recent move to strike down Roe v. Wade, which Smith, along with all five county supervisors, condemned in a widely-shared press release shortly after the court’s decision became public.

“Either the county administration did not do the basic due diligence of looking into a firm that they were asking the county to give hundreds of millions of dollars to,” he said. “That’s one possibility. The other possibility is that they saw the same (concerns) we did and they decided that they were going to turn a blind eye.”

On Tuesday, Smith pulled the vote for the contract and rescheduled it to an unassigned future date.

Categories: Local News