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Thousands on California coast ordered to leave ahead of possible mudslides

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Authorities on southern California’s Pacific coast ordered thousands of residents to evacuate their homes on Tuesday to avoid possible mudslides caused by rain on hills denuded by wildfires of vegetation.

Santa Barbara County residents who live near the site of the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires last winter were told to leave by noon, county officials said in a statement.

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“We could experience localized flooding and road closures which are not isolated to the burn areas. The threat of rock falls, mud slides and debris flow is high,” said Rob Lewin, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.

The order is the latest for the affluent area northwest of Los Angeles this year as they heeded warnings about wildfires and then, weeks later, mudslides caused by torrential rains.

“Man, I SO do not want to evacuate again – – fifth time in four months!” said Robin LaFevers, an author who lives in the area, on Twitter early on Tuesday.

The storm could produce 5 to 10 inches (12-25 cm) of rain with downpours between 0.5 inches to 0.75 inches per hour from Tuesday to Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

The winter wildfires were the largest in California’s history. They left the scenic coastline vulnerable to mudslides because they burned grass and shrubs that hold soil in place and baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents rainwater from sinking deeply.

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 Some 21 people were killed and dozens injured in mudslides on Jan. 9 after rain in and around the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito, 85 miles (137 km) northwest of Los Angeles.
County officials said this week’s storm is expected to produce significantly more rainfall than the January storm.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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Trump supporters live in an ‘alternate universe’ like post-truth Soviet Union: Former world chess champion Kasparov

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Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Russia established a capitalist government that was headed by President Boris Yeltsin and later, President Vladimir Putin, it was infamous for Orwellian language: government-owned media reported what the Soviet Communist Party told them to report. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was among those who grew up in the Soviet Union, and in a December 5 op-ed for CNN’s website, he finds some Orwellian parallels between the old Soviet Union and the Trump Administration.

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Kushner’s business lawyers say lawsuit over horrific apartment conditions is a ‘political attack’

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Responding to a lawsuit from Maryland's Attorney General Brian Frosh charging “unfair or deceptive” rental practices, attorneys for an apartment management company owned by Jared Kushner are saying their client is on the receiving end of a "political attack," The Baltimore Sun reports.

According to the attorneys, Kushner is being singled out by the Maryland AG for his affiliations with the Trump administration, saying Frosh has "overreached, and in overreaching has turned what ought to have been, at best, a small administrative action of dubious merit into a sprawling prosecution threatening to devour the resources of the parties."

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Desperate conservatives unleash a torrent of misogyny to undermine Pamela Karlan’s devastating testimony

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As soon as Pamela Karlan, a constitutional law professor at Stanford who specializes in voting rights, opened her mouth during Wednesday's impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, I knew she would become the prime if not exclusive focus of the entire right-wing response to the hearing.

This article was originally published at Salon

Republicans were desperate to do anything to keep voters from paying attention to the actual substance of the testimony from the three law professors summoned to explain why Donald Trump should be impeached for his crimes, since the substance of their testimony is irrefutable. And while all three were articulate, intelligent and crystal clear in their arguments, only Karlan was female.

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