State Department Officials Baffled by Pompeo’s Exclusive Faith-Based Briefing (DonkeyHotey)
The author writes, “Citizens for Responsibility in Washington obtained records of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s March 18, 2019 ‘faith-based media’ briefing, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. … The call touched upon the topic of ‘Islamic radicalism,’ yet it did not include any Islam-focused outlets. The briefing was controversial because certain reporters were barred from the call … despite the fact that the purpose of the call was ostensibly to fill in reporters in advance of Secretary Pompeo’s diplomatic trip to the Middle East.”
Home Ownership Is the West’s Biggest Economic-Policy Mistake (Gerry)
From the Economist: “A trillion dollars of dud mortgages blew up the financial system in 2007-08. But just as pernicious is the creeping dysfunction that housing has created over decades: vibrant cities without space to grow; ageing homeowners sitting in half-empty homes who are keen to protect their view; and a generation of young people who cannot easily afford to rent or buy … Much of the blame lies with warped housing policies that date back to the second world war and which are intertwined with an infatuation with home ownership. They have caused one of the rich world’s most serious and longest-running economic failures.”
Keeping Homeless Families Homeless, by Force (Chris)
The author writes, “On the morning of January 14, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office sent a small army to 2928 Magnolia Street in Oakland, California. With the house flanked by police dressed in military fatigues and an armored vehicle standing nearby, the sheriff’s men arrested two mothers after breaking the door down with a battering ram in a pre-dawn raid. The two women are part of a collective of unhoused and marginally housed mothers … [who] had been occupying the vacant house with their children since November … More than just a way to take shelter, the mothers’ residency in the empty home was a protest against the larger housing crisis that has gripped Oakland, which has some of the fastest rising rents of any city in the United States.”
Learn From Tunisia: Stop Building on the California Coast (Reader Steve)
The author writes, “Sea level rise, global warming and melting polar ice caps were not the only reasons coastal cities in arid areas are at risk of flooding. The rapid housing development in coastal areas close to the beach plays a major role. The Southern California coastal climate from Los Angeles to San Diego mirrors that of the Tunisian coasts in North Africa — and the same mistakes that led to coastal flooding there are being made here. Over time, the massive urban development along Southern California beaches has contributed to erosion of its coasts.”
Fishermen Accidentally Catch a Secret US Navy Microphone Planted on the Ocean Floor (Mili)
From Popular Mechanics: “A strange device hauled up from the depths of the Adriatic Sea is almost certainly an underwater recording system … The device, netted by Croatian fishermen, is identical to the Navy’s EARS sensor system. … The device was caught on January 6, 2020, by the fishing boat Marian II. The boat was trawling in 460 feet of water when it snagged the 220 pound device.”
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