Friday News: Look in a mirror, pal


BERGER BLAMES DOT FOR FUNDING SHORTFALL: "We’ve known for years that the Map Act was something that we were going to have to have money for, so they’ve known about that. We also, for at least a year, have known the issues dealing with the extra money that was utilized to pay for damage during the hurricanes," Berger told WRAL News. "The question is, among some members, why has this all of the sudden come up as a crisis, and what could they have done to manage through it?" Agency defenders have pointed to laws setting a minimum and maximum for the DOT's cash reserve as one reason for the fiscal straits that have left pre-planning for some 900 projects on hold. In addition, the impact of Map Act settlements and additional storm-related expenses have further exasperated the cash balance issue. Most recently, the Cooper administration made a request for $50 million to help address Hurricane Dorian expenses by the department.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY INITIATIVE WILL START WITH DOWNTOWN RALEIGH: A state agency in North Carolina wants to find ways to improve pedestrian safety across the state, beginning with downtown Raleigh. The Office of State Human Resources began the "WalkSmartNC" initiative on Thursday with the help of the Governor's Highway Safety Program and other agencies. The initiative will start with the collection of public feedback from pedestrians, with a focus on a 60-block area in the center of Raleigh. Feedback will be collected for the next 30 days through an online safety study that includes a mobile app and interactive map. The human resources office says the study's findings will be used to create a pilot safety-awareness campaign and a best practices guide that could be used by other communities and organizations.

VEHICLE PARKED AT ELON UNIVERSITY JEWISH CENTER SHOT AT DURING YOM KIPPUR SERVICE: Elon police are investigating after a car was found damaged by gunfire outside a Jewish student center Wednesday night, according to a release from the department. Just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, police were called to Truitt Drive in reference to a damaged vehicle. Officers found a bullet lodged in the roof rack of the vehicle, bullet fragments in the wall of the rear cargo area, and damage to the rear cargo area glass. The vehicle was parked outside the Chabad Elon Jewish Student Center while the owner attended a Yom Kippur event. No one was injured. Police Chief Kelly Blackwelder said in the release that this incident is not currently being investigated as a hate crime, but the scope of the investigation could shift as more information becomes available.

TRUMP ATTACKS BIDEN AND OMAR IN UGLY MINNESOTA RALLY: Biden “was never considered smart,” Trump said. “He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.” Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, has been criticized for being too obsequious to the president. Trump also mocked Omar, the first Somali-American in Congress. “How hell did that ever happen?” he said of her election, adding: “Congresswoman Omar is an America-hating socialist.” While Trump talked about Omar, images of her in a headscarf flashed on the arena’s screens. “Leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia,” Trump said, at which point a sizable portion of the crowd booed, “without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers.”

TWO GIULIANI "ASSOCIATES" ARRESTED AT AIRPORT TRYING TO FLEE COUNTRY: Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Thursday against two men who have aided President Trump’s efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents, a criminal case that signaled growing legal exposure for the president’s allies as Mr. Trump tries to blunt an impeachment inquiry in Congress. The indictment of the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sketched a complex scheme to violate campaign finance laws and did not accuse Mr. Trump of wrongdoing. But it revealed new details about the push to pressure Ukraine: a campaign encouraged by Mr. Trump, led by his private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and assisted by obscure figures like Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. It directly connected the two men to a key element of the pressure campaign, an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump’s allies. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018 — some violating legal limits — for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her, court papers showed.



This is sounding more and more

like the collapse of an organized crime syndicate than a political crisis. What wasn't mentioned in this particular story is the fact these two goons had lunch with Giuliani at Trump Tower just hours before they were arrested with one-way tickets at the airport. Sheesh.

The ship is sinking...

and the rats are fleeing in increasing numbers. Just today, we've learned that not only is Ambassador Yovanovitch testifying in defiance of the administration that fired her, Ambassador Sondland has agreed to answer the subpoena issued for his testimony as well. It's only a mater of time before those who aren't directly implicated in Trump's crimes decide that jumping overboard is preferable to going down with the ship. That's especially true with Trump, since he's all too likely to push someone else overboard to try and save his own skin. But this time, it looks like he's the one headed for Davy Jones' locker.