Barabak: Democrats giving Menendez the treatment he deserves

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 04:45

When New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez was busted for alleged bribery — a Mercedes, gold bars, envelopes stuffed with cash — the reaction from the state’s governor was swift and sure.

“These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Democrat Phil Murphy said in a written statement, which included an obligatory nod to every citizen’s innocent-unless-proven-guilty guarantee.

“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Sen. Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state,” Murphy said. “Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”

Other Democrats followed suit, including California Rep. Adam B. Schiff.

“The allegations in the indictment of Senator Menendez are shocking,” he wrote on Twitter, er, X. “If accurate, they represent the most profound betrayal of his oath of office. He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and will have his day in court. But the gravity of the matter demands his resignation.”

The condemnation from Menendez’s fellow partisans and calls for the ouster of the reputedly sticky-fingered senator stand in stark contrast to the see-no-evil response of countless Republicans who not only excuse the serial indictments of former President Trump but also double-down in support.

“Menendez needs to switch parties,” cracked George Conway, the conservative attorney and co-founder of the Trump tormenting Lincoln Project. “The other party would let him have at least two more indictments.”

In 2015, Menendez was indicted on federal bribery charges involving cash and lavish vacations received from a Florida eye doctor. The case ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict and the government decided not to retry him.

The latest case, rendered in a 39-page indictment, accuses Menendez and his wife, Nadine, of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to wield his political influence on behalf of the Egyptian government and business associates in New Jersey.

Authorities said a search of their home turned up more than $480,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes and jackets embroidered with Menendez’s name, more than $100,000 in gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible parked in the couple’s garage.

From a cynical viewpoint, it’s easy to see why Democrats feel free to express outrage and cast aside the senator. They get a free pass. Murphy, after all, would surely exercise his power as governor and replace Menendez with another Democrat, thus maintaining the party’s control of the chamber.

Removing Menendez would also eliminate the possibility of putting his seat in play in 2024, when Democrats face a stiff challenge keeping their tenuous majority, and reduce the risk of him dragging down Democrats in New Jersey’s legislative contests this fall.

Not that Menendez is budging.

He lost his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stepping down as required by Democrats’ Senate bylaws. But he made clear Monday at a defiant news conference that he will ignore calls to resign, even as he strains credulity to the breaking point.

All that lucre secretly stashed around the house? A form of personal insurance, Menendez suggested, resulting from trauma he faced as the son of Cuban immigrants

The justice system will weigh Menendez’s guilt or innocence. But his party’s peers aren’t waiting for that to happen.

“Thanks to Democrats who are calling on Menendez to quit,” California’s former Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, tweeted following his news conference.

“Sorry, it is not normal to have closets full of cash and BTW, just a couple of gold bars hanging around from ‘friends.’ Nobody’s indispensable & if we are to save America we better have people who won’t sell their souls.”

Republicans should pay heed and hold Trump to account.

Mark Z. Barabak is a Los Angeles Times columnist.

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Three astronauts return to Earth after a year in space. Frank Rubio sets US space record

Seattle Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 04:19

A NASA astronaut and two Russians are back on Earth after being stuck in space for just over a year.
Categories: Local News

North Korea Says It Will Expel Travis King, U.S. Soldier Who Crossed the Border

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 04:14
Pvt. Travis T. King dashed across the inter-Korean Demilitarized Zone in July to flee to North Korea.
Categories: Local News

Should Menendez Quit?

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:48
The senator for New Jersey’s indictment on corruption charges raised a sometimes tricky question: When should a politician resign?
Categories: Local News

Single family residence in San Jose sells for $2.2 million

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:30
1850 University Way - Google Street View1850 University Way – Google Street View

The property located in the 1800 block of University Way in San Jose was sold on Aug. 29, 2023. The $2,203,000 purchase price works out to $1,140 per square foot. The house, built in 1941, has an interior space of 1,932 square feet. The layout of this two-story house includes two bedrooms and two baths. Inside, there is a fireplace. In addition, the home includes a two-car garage, ensuring ample room for parking and storage.

Additional houses have recently changed hands nearby:

  • On Bel Air Avenue, San Jose, in July 2023, a 1,680-square-foot home was sold for $1,700,000, a price per square foot of $1,012. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
  • In March 2023, a 1,792-square-foot home on Bel Air Avenue in San Jose sold for $1,625,000, a price per square foot of $907. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
  • A 1,192-square-foot home on the 1800 block of McDaniel Avenue in San Jose sold in July 2022, for $1,525,000, a price per square foot of $1,279. The home has 2 bedrooms 1 bathroom.


Categories: Local News

Horoscopes Sept. 27, 2023: Avril Lavigne, savor beneficial relationships

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Lola Kirke, 33; Avril Lavigne, 39; Anna Camp, 41; Tamara Taylor, 53.

Happy Birthday: Keep life simple, factual and stress-free. Your decisions will determine how you feel and how far you get. Associate with people who have something to contribute and are willing to do their fair share, but don’t feel the need to tag along with anyone who wants you to walk a path that has no meaning or purpose for you. Savor beneficial relationships. Your numbers are 4, 17, 20, 26, 34, 38, 43.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Reach out to people who push you to try new things and participate in events promoting what you have to offer. A potential partnership needs monitoring. You will likely bring out the best and worst in one another. Proceed with caution. 3 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Take better care of yourself and your relationships. Don’t let unacceptable behavior be your downfall; poor health or financial choices can cause vulnerability. Consider what’s possible and how to utilize your intelligence. 4 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Refuse to get trapped in someone else’s dilemma. Don’t believe everything you hear or get lured in by sob stories. Put more time and effort into personal appearances, meaningful relationships and physically making your life and surroundings suit your needs. Make happiness your goal. 2 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Dedicate more time to listening and learning. What you discover will help you move from one situation to another quickly. Sidestep anyone trying to interfere with your progress or monopolize your time doing things that don’t interest you. Be true to yourself. 5 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Take nothing for granted. Look at every angle and say no to frivolous or uncertain ideas. Pay attention to how you can mold your skills into something you enjoy doing. Concentrate on investments and making your money work for you. 3 stars

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Change can be good if you don’t hesitate. Size up situations and set boundaries to avoid taking on too much, overspending or any other enticement that comes your way. Keep life simple, your facts straight and your health immaculate. Concentrate on learning, saving, peace and love. 3 stars

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Pay homage to the ones you love. Your actions will make a difference to someone who needs encouragement. Don’t let ego or anger cause problems at home or when dealing with joint endeavors. Protect what you have and say no to temptation. 3 stars

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Make your mark, press forward with discipline and approach people heading in a similar direction. A partnership will help you maintain your momentum to meet your deadline. Practicality, imagination and creativity will get you where you want to go. 5 stars

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): False information will slow you down. Don’t rely on others to do things for you. Take control of your destiny and invest your skills, knowledge and experience into your best work. Hard work, discipline and distancing yourself from interference will pay off. 2 stars

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Use brainpower to overcome adversity. Rely on experience and ingenuity to point you in the right direction. A domestic change will help alleviate stress, lower overhead or encourage you to engage in a healthier lifestyle. 4 stars

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Keep moving in a direction that soothes your soul and eases stress. Disregard what others choose to do and go about your business. Pay attention to what others request, and don’t be afraid to say no. A simple lifestyle will lead to personal freedom. 3 stars

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Come up with a plan and follow through. Don’t let anyone guilt you into something you don’t want. Give your all, and don’t lose sight of your objective. Your intuition won’t let you down. Follow your instincts and everything will fall into place. 3 stars

Birthday Baby: You are dedicated, cooperative and astute. You are innovative and productive.

1 star: Avoid conflicts; work behind the scenes. 2 stars: You can accomplish, but don’t rely on others. 3 stars: Focus and you’ll reach your goals. 4 stars: Aim high; start new projects. 5 stars: Nothing can stop you; go for gold.

Visit, or join Eugenia on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn.

Want a link to your daily horoscope delivered directly to your inbox each weekday morning? Sign up for our free Coffee Break newsletter at or

Categories: Local News

Carine Roitfeld Is Not Ready to Retire

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00
The former editor of French Vogue and renowned stylist discusses fashion week debuts, sex on the runway and why she finally got her first tattoos.
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Ruling Against Trump Cuts to the Heart of His Identity

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00
The finding by a judge in a New York civil case that Donald Trump committed fraud in valuing his real estate properties undermined the narrative of the business career that launched him in politics.
Categories: Local News

Bridge: Sept. 27, 2023

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00

Cy the Cynic, Rose, Grapefruit and I went to lunch at a restaurant. Our food was slow arriving, and Grapefruit called for the manager.

“Did the waiter who took our order leave any family?” Grapefruit wanted to know.

Grapefruit is as hard on his partners as unvarnished wood. He was today’s North in a penny game, and West led a spade against 3NT: three, ten, queen. Declarer then led the queen of clubs, preparing to run the clubs.


Unfortunately, East had a stopper. He won the fouth club and returned a spade, South went down one, and Grapefruit announced that South possessed a room-temperature IQ.

“I ought to give you a piece of my mind,” South growled.

“Careful,” Grapefruit snarled. “You don’t have much to spare.”

South needed foresight, and an awareness of “avoidance” play. In case West has the singleton jack of clubs (maybe one chance in 30), South must lead the five of clubs at Trick Two. When West’s jack appears, dummy plays low, and South is safe.


You hold: S 6 3 H A K D 10 6 3 C A K 8 6 4 2. Your partner opens one spade, you respond two clubs and he bids two hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: In a “two-over-one” style where your two clubs forced to game, this problem would be easy: You could rebid three clubs, forcing. In “Standard” methods, that bid would only invite opener to bid again. Your only option is a “fourth-suit” bid of three diamonds, asking opener to make another descriptive bid.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S 6 3


D 10 6 3

C A K 8 6 4 2


S A J 9 7 4

H 8 7 4

D K Q 7 2



S 10 8 2

H Q 9 6 3

D 9 8

C 10 9 7 3


S K Q 5

H J 10 5 2

D A J 5 4

C Q 5

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 H 1 S
2 C Pass 3 NT All Pass
Opening lead — S 7

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Word Game: Sept. 27, 2023

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 03:00

TODAY’S WORD — PANCAKES (PANCAKES: PAN-kakes: Flat cakes made of thin batter and cooked on both sides.)

Average mark 30 words

Time limit 40 minutes

Can you find 39 or more words in PANCAKES? The list will be published tomorrow.

YESTERDAY’S WORD — HOMILIES helm hole holism home hose mesh mile miso moil mole isle isohel lime limo lose semi shim shoe silo simile slim slime sloe smile soil sole some

To purchase the Word Game book, visit Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!


1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of “s,” such as “bats” or “dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a “d” or an “s” may not be used. For example, if “bake” is used, “baked” or “bakes” are not allowed, but “bake” and “baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at

Categories: Local News

In Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict, a Bloody End in Nagorno-Karabakh

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:35
After decades of wars and tense stalemates, almost no one saw it coming: Azerbaijan seized Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian control seemingly overnight.
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Ask Amy: I think her RV scheme is a big mistake. Am I allowed to say anything?

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:31

Dear Amy: My BFF and I met in grade school. We’ve lost touch on and off, but we always find our way back, usually when she’s losing a relationship.

The last loss was two Christmases ago, when after 10 years together her partner “Benny” called her at work, telling her: “This isn’t working anymore, I’m moving out today.”

It was rough. She had custody of her toddler grandson whom she thought Benny would help her to raise.

I was there for her. She got therapy and started choosing to focus on herself, versus always needing to be with a guy.

Six months later, she met “Chris” on a dating website. He was one of five or six guys she was seeing. After four months, she decided she really liked him, and they became exclusive.

I’ve seen her four times since then. Now I’m lucky if I talk to her once a month.

Her birthday is coming up, so we caught up.

She told me that her daughter and the daughter’s girlfriend are taking over her house, while she will live in the basement. They will pay the mortgage and buy the house in about a year.

She and her boyfriend are going to get out of debt, save their money, and, in a year, buy an RV.

I’m concerned because the one thing she has always had is her house. It’s the house she grew up in. No house, no foundation.

I’ve met the guy once, and he seems to be a good guy, and she did an amazing job working on herself the past two years — but I believe she is jumping in way too quickly.

I want to know how to express my concerns. Or should I just be happy for her?

– Best Friend Forever

Dear BFF: Close, intimate, longtime friends get to tell one another the truth, as long as they also accept the possible consequences.

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Sometimes, the most effective way to do this is through simple statements, followed by thoughtful questions, and listening with intent.

“Surrendering your childhood home is a huge change for you. I have to admit, I’ve been worrying about this. Have you thought it through enough? Have you considered the possible downsides?”

After you initiate a thoughtful, non-judgmental conversation and listen to her answers, then you should step back and be happy for her.

Dear Amy: My daughter, who is in her 40s, has always had a bit of a weight problem, as have I. Having to work from home during COVID resulted in her gaining even more weight. I think she is around 80 pounds overweight.

We are very close, and I am sympathetic since I have struggled with weight issues since I was a teenager. But even though I could lose 10 pounds, I am at a healthy weight and am careful to get exercise and try to eat well.

I blame myself for her weight gains, since when my kids were young, I baked a lot. My sons have never gained much weight, but sadly my daughter shares my love of all things sweet.

Any time I mention it, she tends to get annoyed; her response is always that she eats healthy and gets plenty of exercise.

I worry more about her health than about her appearance, and I value my relationship with her.

I have offered to pay for any good weight loss program, but she always says, “No thanks. I’m fine.” She did agree to have her thyroid tested, and that test was normal.

Is there any way to bring up the subject of weight with an adult child in a kind way?

– Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned: You ask if there is any way to bring up this subject kindly, and yet you have brought this up, kindly and repeatedly.

“Is it your thyroid?” She had it tested. “Can I pay for a weight loss program?” No, thank you.

She already knows she is overweight. There is literally no escaping this knowledge.

And now you should stop. Just – stop. Love her wholeheartedly and without judgment, just as she is.

Dear Amy: “Concerned Grandma” has her knickers in a twist about her daughter letting the teen grandson drink at home.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with parents allowing this. It’s their house, their kid, and you and the other grandmas should stay out of it.

– Bud Out

Dear Bud Out: I do agree that the grandmother should not intervene, but with a history of alcoholism in their family, I also understand her concern.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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Five-bedroom home in Pleasanton sells for $3 million

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:30
6007 Laurel Creek Drive - Google Street View6007 Laurel Creek Drive – Google Street View

The spacious property located in the 6000 block of Laurel Creek Drive in Pleasanton was sold on Aug. 1, 2023 for $3,026,000, or $758 per square foot. The house, built in 1999, has an interior space of 3,992 square feet. This single-story house offers a capacious living environment with its five bedrooms and five baths. In addition, the house comes with a three-car garage, allowing for convenient vehicle storage and additional storage space.

These nearby houses have also recently changed hands:

  • A 3,718-square-foot home on the 5900 block of Laurel Creek Drive in Pleasanton sold in September 2022, for $3,100,000, a price per square foot of $834. The home has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
  • On Laurel Creek Drive, Pleasanton, in July 2022, a 4,337-square-foot home was sold for $3,100,000, a price per square foot of $715. The home has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.
  • In November 2022, a 3,424-square-foot home on Crosby Drive in Pleasanton sold for $2,500,000, a price per square foot of $730. The home has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.


Categories: Local News

The Magic Number: 32 Hours

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:03
Striking autoworkers are demanding an end to the 40-hour week. It’s a change that would be good for everyone else, too.
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‘This Is Going to Be the Most Important Election Since 1860’

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:02
Why should Democrats be worrying? Why should Republicans?
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Crypto’s Wild D.C. Ride: From FTX at the Fed to a Scramble for Access

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:02
FTX’s demise and its leader’s upcoming trial haven’t stopped a major lobbying push by the industry this week, but the events have changed its tone.
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Libya Flooding Disaster Underlines the Country’s Corruption

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:02
Repair work was agreed but never finished and Derna paid the price. Experts say infrastructure projects have long been neglected, with officials focusing instead on lining their own pockets.
Categories: Local News

In Rare Alliance, Democrats and Republicans Seek Legal Power to Clear Homeless Camps

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:02
Dozens of leaders, mostly from Western states, have asked the Supreme Court to overturn lower court decisions that restrict enforcement against public camping.
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Lina Khan vs. Amazon

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:01
Why Lina Khan and the F.T.C. must prevail in their long-awaited lawsuit against Amazon.
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If Hurricane Rebuilding Is Only Affordable for the Wealthy, This Is the Florida You Get

N.Y. Times - Wed, 09/27/2023 - 02:01
Despite their intent to make coastal communities safer, Florida’s building codes can actually complicate long-term resilience efforts.
Categories: Local News