A Florida Department of Citrus employee has been arrested for improperly using the agency's computers to mine for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The computers are typically reserved for matters having to do with the promotion and regulation of the local citrus industry.
Matthew McDermott, 51, was serving as the department's IT manager when he allegedly decided to use the computers "to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward," explained the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Because that process uses so much energy, the Florida Department of Citrus saw utility bills jump more than 40 percent between October 2017 and January 2018, costing an estimated $825. Additionally, McDermott allegedly spent nearly $22,000 on a state credit card to buy 24 graphic processing units, which " are often used to mine for cryptocurrency," the Tampa Bay Times writes.
McDermott is not the first employee to try to mine bitcoin on the job. Russian scientists working at a top-secret nuclear warhead facility were arrested earlier this year for trying to use a supercomputer to get rich quick. Jeva Lange
Sure, Fox News goes out of its way to show its fealty and love to President Trump — it's Trump's No. 1 cable news channel, not just America's, after all. But is it really fair to compare Fox News to the state-run TV broadcaster of a murderous totalitarian regime that strictly prohibits outside news sources to the point that it created its own insular internet? The Daily Show did a little comparison shopping, creating a North Korea-Fox News "progagnda-off."
PROPAGAND-OFF! Fox News vs. North Korean State TV pic.twitter.com/B9CfxgN0XC
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) June 21, 2018
The main difference, you might conclude from these clips, is production quality and tone — the North Korea state broadcaster is perhaps a little manic-sounding for U.S. sensibilities. But Fox News has an actual news division, too, and unless North Korean state TV has its own Shep Smith, the comparison seems a little unfair. At the same time, two people familiar with preparations for the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit told The Washington Post, after watching some North Korean TV, Trump "talked about how positive the female North Korean news anchor was toward Kim" and "joked that even the administration-friendly Fox News was not as lavish in its praise as the state TV anchor." So stay tuned. Peter Weber
Throughout the campaign and even after the inauguration, President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen would regularly receive digital copies of National Enquirer articles and cover images related to Trump and his political opponents before they went to press, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.
Trump is close to David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer. The stories passed along about Trump were always positive, the Post reports, and if Cohen made any changes, it was to pick a more flattering photo. Trump, several people said, would pitch stories to Pecker and saw them before they went to print, including an article about Hillary Clinton's health and another about former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson allegedly botching operations.
Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser, told the Post the Enquirer was "such a help to Trump during the primary and even the general," and basically free advertising. The company's chief content officer, Dylan Howard, denies the Trump camp had a say in the articles, but said if the stories ever were shared, "it was not at the behest of me or David."
In April, FBI agents raided the office and home of Cohen, and people with knowledge of the matter say they took his records related to AMI, Pecker, Howard, and payments made to women who say they had affairs with Trump. Catherine Garcia
ABC has ordered 10 episodes of a Roseanne spinoff called The Conners, to start airing this fall, the network announced Thursday night.
The Roseanne revival had high ratings in its first season, and was canceled last month after star Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. Every lead actor from Roseanne, with the exception of Barr, will star in the spinoff. In a statement, ABC said Barr "will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series." Barr released her own statement, saying, "I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved and I wish the best for everyone involved."
BuzzFeed News reports that the show will focus on the Conner family as they deal with "a sudden turn of events" that rocks them all. The Conners will air at 8 p.m. in the time slot left empty by Roseanne's cancelation. Catherine Garcia
First lady Melania Trump is getting a lot of flack for a Zara jacket she wore going to and from a center holding detained immigrant children that read "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, took umbrage at the idea that anyone would find the message inappropriate. "It's a jacket," she said. "There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe." Well, everyone is focusing on it, including President Trump.
On Thursday evening, Trump tweeted: "'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' written on the back of Melania's jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!" As anyone who was ever a teenager knows, when you go around saying you don't really care about something, it means you actually do, and that goes double when you have it emblazoned on the back of your jacket.
So, what is it? Was there "no hidden message," as Grisham claims, or was this a blatant commentary on the "Fake News Media?" I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U? Catherine Garcia
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Thursday evening that House Republicans are postponing until next week a vote on a compromise immigration bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young immigrants and fund President Trump's border wall.
This was the second time GOP leadership decided to delay the vote; they were supposed to vote on the proposal Thursday, then it was moved to Friday. Leaders felt they did not have the 218 votes needed to pass the measure, and were pressured to postpone the vote by conservatives already opposed to the legislation, Politico reports. Catherine Garcia
Conservative columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer died Thursday, just weeks after he revealed that he had an aggressive form of cancer. He was 68.
Krauthammer wrote a syndicated weekly column for The Washington Post, which garnered him a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and earlier this month he announced in a letter published in the Post that doctors told him his cancer had returned and he only had a few weeks left to live. "This is the final verdict," he wrote. "My fight is over." Krauthammer regularly appeared on Fox News, and over his career wrote for outlets across the political spectrum, including Time, The New Republic, and the Weekly Standard.
He was born in New York in 1950, and grew up in Montreal. During his first year studying at Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer had a diving accident that severed his spinal cord. He is survived by his wife, Robyn, and son, Daniel. Catherine Garcia
Sessions denies that immigration policies 'intended' to separate families even though he said the Bible justified it
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said that President Trump's administration "never really intended" to separate migrant families who cross the border without documentation.
Sessions told CBN News that he didn't feel he took "an extreme position," and defended his use of the Bible to justify detaining children away from their parents for an indefinite period of time. Sessions was criticized after he quoted scripture to explain why the family separations were absolutely necessary, saying the separations were simply a matter of enforcing the law, which the Bible condones.
"It hasn't been good and the American people don't like the idea that we are separating families,” Sessions said on CBN. "We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do, was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they have committed."
When Sessions first announced the zero-tolerance policy last month that would prosecute every adult who crossed the border illegally, he previewed the family separations. "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law," he said in May. He later stood by his statements, saying that "it is very biblical to enforce the law."
He additionally defended the administration's current hard-line immigration policies, which will continue to detain families together rather than separate children. "It's not indefinite really," Sessions said of the detentions, "because we can't hold and we will not be holding people for extended periods of time awaiting a hearing on asylum." Read more from the interview at CBN News. Summer Meza