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Yet Another Aide to VP Kamala Harris Calls It Quits

Kamala Harris is losing aides left and right.  The latest defector, Vincent Evans, has departed the VP’s staff due to what he describes as “bullying” and “turmoil.”  Evans is the latest in the exodus of support personnel to leave Harris’ office.  

Dishing the Details of Evans’ Departure

Evans, the VP’s former Deputy Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, left his post to take on a new challenge on Capitol Hill.  CNBC broke the story on Wednesday.  Evans will soon work for the Congressional Black Caucus, which is chaired by Joyce Beatty, a Democrat from Ohio, who works as an advocate on behalf of racial minorities.

Evans didn’t mince words when departing his position with the Harris office, lambasting the VP as a bully who criticizes staffers with what he describes as “soul destroying” words and insults.  However, despite the harsh language used to describe the VP, Evans made it clear to CNBC that he is still on positive terms with Harris, claiming the resignation is not tied to any prior departures from her office.  

Evans went on to state, “I am deeply honored to be named the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.  I started my career in Washington working for a member of the CBC, so I know firsthand the tremendous leadership and impact this caucus has in Congress and across the country.”

Evans Might Be Throwing Away a Promising Political Career

The step down from Harris’ office is widely construed as a career setback.  Evans had worked with the VP in the race for office ahead of the ’20 election.  He also contributed during the transition to the Biden-Harris presidency.  Though he has now removed himself from contention for a potential promotion within the White House, it must be noted he is not the only Harris aide to voluntarily leave her office.  

Symone Sanders, the former longtime aide and chief spokesperson for Harris, also departed her office last month.  Making matters worse is the fact that Ashley Etienne, the communications director for Harris, also vacated her post with the Harris team last month.  Harris’ Director of Press Operations also resigned within the past year.

Psaki’s Response to the Departure

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, insists the exodus of staffers from the VP’s office is perfectly “natural” and that it should be interpreted as “…a very positive thing.”  She went on to describe how working in the White House during the initial year of a new presidential administration “…is exciting and rewarding, but it’s also grueling and exhausting.” 

Psaki insists the flurry of departures is par for the course, pointing to prior precedent in which staffers who have worked their tails off for sitting VPs transition to new challenges after a year or two.  She draws parallels between these former VP staffers and those who recently departed the Harris team.

Evans’ New Role Won’t Be Nearly as Demanding

If the rumors about Harris’ demeanor and short temper are true, Evans is in for a smooth ride with the Congressional Black Caucus.  Evans previously served as an aide to Al Lawson, a Congress member from Florida.  Evans will now work closely with Joyce Beatty, the chair of the 56-member Congressional Black Caucus.

Evans, a graduate of Florida A&M, has been heavily involved in Tallahassee politics for the previous 10 years.  He served as a Florida Senate staff member prior to working for Curtis Richardson, the Commissioner of Tallahassee City.  Evans started working for Richardson in 2015.  His stint with Richardson’s team lasted merely one year.  

Evans transitioned to the role of statewide director for Hillary Clinton, lending assistance in her ’16 presidential campaign.  He then segued to Lawson’s staff after he won a seat in Congress.  Though few know it, Evans even played a role in the election of Joe Biden, serving as the now-President’s southern regional director during the ’20 campaign that unseated Donald Trump from the Oval Office.

The Harris Team has Lost a Political Superstar

Evans’ departure is a clear indictment of Harris’ lack of professionalism and inadequate social graces.  Beatty heaped on the praise for Evans, noting he “…knows the importance of developing critical relationships when it comes to public policy.” 

Lawson also sang Evans’ praises, describing his former aide with the following words:  “He just brings a wealth of knowledge to the caucus, and I think that’s very important because you have a lot of different personalities.”

Even representatives speaking on behalf of the Harris office spoke highly of Evans.  The VP’s deputy press secretary, Sabrina Sing, issued a statement about Evans departure, stating, “Vince has been an invaluable member of our team. We are grateful for Vince’s service and dedication, and we look forward to working with him in his new role at the Congressional Black Caucus.”

 

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Cops Fired for Chasing Pokemon Instead of Robbers

Pokemon Go is a cell phone game that involves driving to different locations with GPS to capture virtual creatures known as Snorlax wherever they appear.

This game distracted two police officers in Los Angeles who subsequently  didn’t respond to an emergency robbery call from Macy’s at Crenshaw Mall.

On April 15, 2017, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, the two ex-officers, were parked in their patrol cars near to the robbery scene, but did not respond to the radio.

Active officers in a homicide crime scene rushed to the local mall for backup. Lozano and Mitchell, who were supposed to be on patrol and close to the robbery scene, continued to ignore the calls.

They denied hearing any radio calls..

The police captain, Davenport, arrived at the scene and saw the patrol car of Lozano and Mitchell, which was parked near the scene, and wondered why they hadn’t responded. 

Davenport responded to the radio call and saw the police car reverse back, so he thought they were from another unit.

Details of the case were obtained from the patrol car’s digital in-car video system (DICVS), which revealed the truth.

As captured by the DICVS, the two officers discussed the robbery call and decided not to respond. For approximately 20 minutes after ignoring the radio calls, they drove to different locations with GPS in order to catch Snorlax.

At 6 pm,  Lozano said: “screw the radio,” to check in with the communication about the robbery call. Officer Mitchell informed Lozano about the Snorlax that popped up at 46th and Leimert, as documented in official records.

After noting that Leimert doesn’t go all the way to 46th. Their conversation went further, and Lozano said, “Oh, you know what I can do? I’ll walk further to 11th and swing up to Crenshaw. I know that way I can get to it. Mitchell suggested a different route because the robbery scene was at Crenshaw and said, “We got four minutes.”

For the 20 minutes they drove to different locations, the DICVS recorded Lozano and Mitchell’s voices as they discussed Pokemon Go only, without discussing the robbery.

Their car stopped, and the DICVS recorded Mitchell’s voice saying, “Don’t run away.” “Don’t run away.”

After they successfully caught the Togetic, they returned to their watch duty.

Lozano and Mitchell lied that they were only having conversations about Pokemon Go and receiving messages from a Pokeman group  after listening to the DICVS record.

Lozano and Mitchell were charged with multiple misconducts while  on duty and were fired due to the following:

  • Failing to respond to a robbery call, and hiding the fact that they were wrong
  • Playing Pokemon Go on duty
  • Making false statements under investigation

Lozano and Mitchell petitioned the court that the means of evidence is against the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act to use car recording against them because their conversations should be considered private.

On January 7, 2022, the two former LAPD officers lost their appeals, and an LAPD media relations representative confirmed that they are no longer with the department.

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Treasure Hunters Sue the FBI For Records on their $55 Million Gold Dig

As a father and son treasure hunting company, Finders Keepers usually find their share of interesting objects. They thought they may have found lost Civil War era gold buried in the woods of Pennsylvania, so they decided to do a bit more digging. Now they are suing the Department of Justice for not turning over FBI documents regarding the excavation. 

According to folklore, the gold in question was lost or stolen during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. Dennis and Kem Parada (the father and son of Finders Keepers) spent years trying to locate the treasure which was a shipment of Union gold which somehow disappeared on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. According to expert sources, the gold could be worth $55 million today. 

The team thought they were on to something when their instruments detected a large metallic mass in the woods of Philadelphia back in 2018. They contacted the FBI regarding their findings. 

The organization brought in a contractor with more sophisticated equipment. According to an FBI affidavit, the contractor detected a mass that weighed up to nine tons and had the density of gold.  The affidavit was left unsealed at the request of news organizations. 

Although the Paradas accompanied the FBI on their dig, which took place about 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, they were ordered to stay in their car. The Paradas followed up trying to obtain information but were given conflicting stories every time. 

At first, they heard the dig came up with nothing. Other times the FBI claimed there were no files available. 

After the Justice Department ordered a more thorough review, the FBI stated the files were not available for public disclosure. Now that the Paradas have filed an appeal, they are admitting that they have over 2,400 pages of records and 17 video files available, but that it would take years for them to turn over that information. 

The FBI learned of the gold’s existence only after the owners of Finders Keepers directed the government to the location of the buried treasure, and the technology strongly (suggested) that, buried at the site, was multiple tons of gold,” says Paradas’ attorney Anne Weisman. 

“Following the dig, which the owners of Finders Keepers were barred from observing, the FBI insisted it had found nothing, contrary to all the evidence. At the same time, the FBI has refused to provide Finders Keepers with any documents in response to its Freedom of Information Act request,” Weisman goes on to say. 

Finders Keepers is asking for expedited processing which can be granted in cases where there is widespread media interest when it comes to protecting a government agency’s integrity. However, the Justice Department denied the request and has not yet assigned a request to a staffer for processing. 

The Paradas have filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department regarding their failure to act. Their lawyer has noted that the FBI dragged its feet on the Finders Keepers’ Freedom of Information Act request for their records. 

“There’s been a pattern of behavior by the FBI that’s been very troubling,” Weisman says. She also wonders if the organization has been acting “in good faith”. 

“From the outset, it seems as if the FBI is doing everything it can to avoid answering the question of whether they actually found gold.”

Both the FBI and Department of Justice are refusing to comment on the lawsuit. 

There is also the question of whether the gold actually exists. According to the press, the Elk County Historical Society says they believe the gold is just an old wives’ tale. A member of the historical society has stated that no historical evidence shows gold being buried in the area. 

Will the FBI ever reveal what information they are holding on to? Will the Paradas ever find out if there truly is gold in them thar hills? Tune in to find out!

The father and son treasure hunting company, Finders Keepers, may have found lost Civil War era gold buried in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Now they are suing the Department of Justice for not turning over FBI documents regarding the excavation. 

The gold in question was lost or stolen during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

Dennis and Kem Parada (the father and son of Finders Keepers) spent years trying to locate the treasure, which was a shipment of Union gold which somehow disappeared on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. 

According to expert sources, the gold could be worth $55 million today. 

Their instruments detected a large metallic mass in the woods of Philadelphia back in 2018, and they contacted the FBI regarding their findings. 

The organization brought in a contractor with more sophisticated equipment.

 According to an FBI affidavit, the contractor detected a mass that weighed up to nine tons and had the density of gold. 

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Nirvana Baby Strikes Again with New Complaint Over Naked Album Images

There are few people who are not familiar with the cover of the famous ‘Nevermind’ album by Nirvana. The breakthrough release shows a baby floating naked in a pool of water chasing a dollar bill and, literally, letting it all hang out. 

The subject of the photo is now a grown man. Spencer Elden, has long been involved in a legal battle against the group claiming the photo “constitutes child pornography”. A California judge granted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but now Elden is reigniting the battle. 

Elden’s legal team were granted “one last opportunity” to present an amended claim to the judge. They have come forward with new “images and materials which reveal the ‘Nevermind’ creators’ made deliberate choices to commercialize and exploit the sexually explicit photo lasciviously depicting Spencer’s genitals,” say Elden’s attorneys. 

“This unprecedented album cover is perhaps the first and only time a child’s full-frontal nudity has been used to sell a product,” the legal team went on to say in their statement. “Spencer’s image constitutes child pornography and each of the Nirvana Defendants robbed our client of his dignity and privacy.”

The suit is being reopened against then Nirvana band members Dave Grohl, Chad Channing, Krist Novoselic and the late Kurt Cobain, with potential damages being paid by Cobain’s widow and estate executor Courtney Love. Also being targeted are the album photographer, designer, and the record companies Geffen, Warner, MCA Music, and the Universal Music Group.

There are 17 defendants in all. Elden is asking for a trial by jury and $150,000 from each party. 

They are being accused of knowingly possessing, producing, and advertising “commercial child pornography.” Elden’s attorneys are claiming that the plaintiff “will continue to suffer damages as long as the violations above persist.”

“During the 10 years preceding the filing of this action, each Defendant intentionally commercially marketed the child pornography depicting Spencer and leveraged the lascivious nature of his image to promote the ‘Nevermind’ album, the band, and Nirvana’s music while, earning, at a minimum, tens of millions of dollars in the aggregate,” the lawsuit claims. 

The lawsuit also states that members of the band purposely chose a photo of Elden with his penis visible while reaching for the dollar bill hanging from a fishhook. It compares the image to that of a “sexworker”. 

Elden and his legal team note that the band has continued to reproduce, distribute, and advertise the supposedly pornographic cover as it was used for the 30th anniversary rerelease of the album in September of 2021. 

“As long as the entertainment industry prioritizes profits over childhood privacy, consent, and dignity, our client will continue his pursuit for awareness and accountability,” Elden’s attorneys said in a statement. 

Despite the lawsuit being filed, Elden’s attitude wasn’t always against the album image. In fact, he has previously recreated the cover to honor the album’s 15th and 25th anniversary releases. 

He also spoke positively about the cover to members of the media in the past. “It’s only opened doors for me and been a really positive fun experience,” Elden was quoted as saying in a 2015 interview. 

The photo cover in question was taken by current defendant and photographer Kirk Weddle. Weddle was friends with Elden’s parents and asked if they were interested in having their four-month-old baby be part of the project.  

According to Elden, his parents agreed, not thinking much of it, “My dad was like, ‘Ah, no problem, man. We’ll just go down to the pool and throw him (in) and that’ll be it. And it was no big deal. And no one knew what it was going to become.”

Elden’s parents were paid $200 in return for allowing the photographer to use their son for the album cover which, to date, has sold over 30 million copies. According to the complaint, neither Elden nor his parents ever signed a release authorizing use of the images. 

Will Elden’s efforts in reopening the lawsuit be worthwhile? Or will he end up with the same ruling? Only time will tell as the drama continues to unfold.

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The Cause of Death of Tampa Rays Bullpen Catcher has Been Revealed

Shockwaves rippled through the sports world earlier this month when Tampa Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez passed away.  The team’s bullpen catcher was in the prime of his coaching career, working for a major league baseball team and making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.  However, financial success does not always equate to personal happiness, as evidenced by the results of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s autopsy of the catcher’s body.  The Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that Ramirez died by suicide. 

Details of the Death

The Tampa Bay Times reports Ramirez’s body was found in a large field near his childhood home in Fort Worth, Texas.  His body was discovered adjacent to a creek bed.  Ramirez was only 28-years-old.  

Ramirez worked for the Rays for nearly half a decade prior to his death.  He was a minor league player in the Rays system until 2018.  The Rays released him during his minor league stint, but he returned to the team to serve as the squad’s bullpen catcher in the ’20-’21 season.  In fact, Ramirez was still working as the team’s bullpen catcher at the time of his death.  

Though it has been revealed that Ramirez committed suicide, little else is known about his personal life.  The catcher’s family released the following statement:

“The loss of our son has been the most excruciating experience we have lived through. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t see the signs. Struggling in silence is not OK. It is our commitment to honor our son’s life by helping other families. No parent should have to endure the loss of their child.”

The statement explains how the family is grateful to the Rays for giving Ramirez a chance to pursue his dream.  The family considers the Rays organization to be an extension of their family.  The statement concludes by expressing gratitude to the family’s friends and everyone who has offered support and love, ending with “God bless you! Rays Up in Heaven.”

The ballplayer’s family used their public forum to highlight the fact that they failed to see the signs of his depression and lack of a will to live.  The family also noted the loss of their son has been “the most excruciating experience” they have lived through.  

The Ramirez Family Wants to Help 

The family also provided a public service announcement in an effort to encourage those struggling with depression and mental illness, pointing to the fact that there is a 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available by phone at 1-800-273-8255.  Depressed and mentally ill individuals can also obtain texted assistance by texting TALK to 741741.  Those with suicidal thoughts can obtain assistance on the web at suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The Ramirez family would like everyone in the greater Tampa Bay area to know local services for the mentally ill and depressed are available through the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.  They can be reached by phone at 211 or online at crisiscenter.com.

Ramirez Lived a Good Life

Ramirez played three seasons in the Rays minor league system.  He joined the squad in 2016 after being selected in the 28th round of the draft.  Ramirez played college ball at Illinois State, Grayson County College, and the University of Arkansas.  

Though Ramirez didn’t play in the big leagues, he was respected as a minor leaguer.  The Rays thought so highly of him that they brought him back to the squad to serve as a bullpen catcher, putting him on a career track toward becoming a position coach and possibly even a manager.  Ramirez expressed his desire to become a baseball manager at some point down the line, in comments that were made in a 2019 interview with The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino.

The ballplayer’s impact on his teammates and coaches was felt in their response to his sudden death.  The Rays manager, Kevin Cash, stated, “Jean was an incredible teammate and friend.  He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed.”

Current Rays pitcher, Shane McClanahan, chimed in on his former teammate’s death, stating, “Just awful. Jean was an incredible person/friend,” and pitcher Shane McClanahan said. “We are all going to miss him deeply.”

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Bachelorette’ Alum Clint Arlis Found Dead

Clint Arlis, a former contestant on the television show, Bachelorette, has passed away.  The announcement of Clint’s death was made by his sister, Taylor Lulek.  Clint was just 34-years-old at the time of his death.

Taylor took to Facebook to reveal the bad news, stating, “It is with great sadness, to tell you that my family has lost my best friend and older brother Clint on the morning of January 11th.  Please respect our family’s privacy as we try to cope with this great loss.”

What is the Cause of Death?

Taylor hinted that she might provide details about the final days of her brother’s life at some point in the future.  She also mentioned the details pertaining to his service will be provided in the days ahead.  However, Taylor did not provide any indication as to the cause of death.  

Clint appeared on the Bachelorette season highlighted by Kaitlyn Bristowe.  He is best known for his mantra of “Villains gotta vil.”  Nick Viall, Clint’s former co-star, chimed in on his death, describing the Bachelorette contestant as a “talented, very kind, and unique” individual.  

Viall went on to state, “Just heard about the passing of Clint Arlis.  I got a chance to get to know Clint a little after our time on Kaitlyn’s season and I always enjoy our time and conversations.”  Viall ended his comments by stating Clint was taken from the world “…far too soon.”

Clint’s Wrestling Coach Pays Tribute

Scott Bayer, Clint’s high school wrestling coach, took to social media, tweeting the following about the former wrestler’s death: “It is with a heavy heart and a sense of profound loss that we announce the death of one of the Batavia Wrestling Program’s All-Time greats.  He was [a] talented artist with a sharp wit, a sardonic sense of humor and palpable authenticity.”

Bayer also made a note of how Clint’s “heartfelt” speech that he dedicated to his father during his retirement party made the wrestling coach proud to know both individuals.

Clint Will Be Remembered for his Appearance on the Bachelorette

Clint appeared on season 11 of the popular dating show.  Though he was eliminated in the third week of the program that aired in 2015, he made a lasting impression on fellow contestants and viewers.  It is particularly interesting to note Clint maintained a low profile after his appearance on the program.  He even went as far as deleting his social media accounts when he could have continued using those platforms to generate goodwill with his fans and establish additional relationships with entertainment industry power brokers.  

Bristowe provided some praise for Clint on social media after learning of his death, pointing to the fact that he remained civil and kind despite the fact that he did not win her affection on the show.  She went on to state she doesn’t know much about the death and “…it’s none of my business.”  

Bristowe also expressed her sorrow, stating the death is a “huge loss” and she is “…beside myself with this news.”  She also extended an olive branch to the Arlis family insisting she would be happy to help in any way.

Clint will also be remembered for his friendship with fellow Bachelorette contestant, JJ Lane.  The two established a “bromance” during the series that ultimately stood the test of time.  

A Life Well-Lived

Those who have paid tribute to Clint insist he was a warm and loving person.  His wrestling coach, Bayer, went to great lengths to describe him as “beloved” and pointed to how his father, Tom Arlis and his spouse, Jamie, were also loving individuals who cared deeply for Clint.  Bayer and others poured out support for the Arlis family. Clint was an architectural engineer who was both a loving and protective older sibling to Taylor, his younger sister, and a boyhood idol to his younger brother, Logan.

Some of the tributes also touched on the fact that Clint was a talented artist with wit, a lighthearted sense of humor, and the type of genuine social graces you rarely find.  Plenty of the individuals who wrote about Clint’s life on social media referred to the speech he made during his father’s retirement celebration that ultimately made everyone in the family’s social circle that much happier to know both of them.

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