Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nick Quidwai shared a link: Two Houston doctors facing removal by Immigration officials are granted temporary stay

What these idiots like Trump & his followers do not realize is that immigration has always been a big net money maker great πŸ‘πŸΌ for USA It is a brain & brawn drain for the rest of the world
Can we afford 4 yrs of this clown
Foreign aid is not aid It is sales for the war machine as well as big Corp Go to Saudi, πŸ‡°πŸ‡Ό Kuwait Not supporting Asad any more after he has murdered 100s of thousand Late action but right but begs to answer how we rid world 🌎 of IsIs u cannot win by bombing to stone age Pea brains running government & industry sad 😭 times
Nick iqbal quidwai 

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Nick Quidwai shared a link: Arab summit: Arab leaders oblivious to Arab realities | | Al Jazeera

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn received substantial paychecks from Russian entities in the year before joining Donald Trump's campaign as a surrogate, newly released documents reveal. The payments include previously reported disbursements from the Kremlin-backed RT network, as well as from two separate Russian companies, and are likely to renew questions about the Trump campaign's friendliness toward Russia.

Flynn attended a 10th anniversary gala for RT in December 2015, for which the government-funded network paid him $45,386, according to documents published Thursday by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee. Flynn, who had then most recently served in government as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, sat a few seats away from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event. Flynn's final cut was $33,750, after his speakers' bureau, Leading Authorities, took a 25 percent commission.

The documents also show that in July 2015, Flynn received two separate payments of $11,250 from Volga-Dnieper, a cargo airline, and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, a cybersecurity firm. Both companies are privately owned and based in Russia, though Flynn appears to have given talks to branches based in the U.S., according to Yahoo News.


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New Documents Reveal Michael Flynn Had Deeper Financial Ties To Russia

Actual docs payments on site 

was reading this article on Huffington Post, and I thought you might be interested in reading it, too.

New Documents Reveal Michael Flynn Had Deeper Financial Ties To Russia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michael-flynn-russia-payments_us_58cac910e4b0ec9d29d9ba8c

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn received substantial paychecks from Russian entities in the year before joining Donald Trump's campaign as a surrogate, newly released documents reveal. The payments include previously reported disbursements from the Kremlin-backed RT network, as well as from two separate Russian companies, and are likely to renew questions about the Trump campaign's friendliness toward Russia.

Flynn attended a 10th anniversary gala for RT in December 2015, for which the government-funded network paid him $45,386, according to documents published Thursday by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee. Flynn, who had then most recently served in government as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, sat a few seats away from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event. Flynn's final cut was $33,750, after his speakers' bureau, Leading Authorities, took a 25 percent commission.

The documents also show that in July 2015, Flynn received two separate payments of $11,250 from Volga-Dnieper, a cargo airline, and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, a cybersecurity firm. Both companies are privately owned and based in Russia, though Flynn appears to have given talks to branches based in the U.S., according to Yahoo News.

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Michael Flynn Seeks Immunity In Exchange For Testifying On Trump's Russia Ties

I was reading this article on Huffington Post, and I thought you might be interested in reading it, too.

Michael Flynn Seeks Immunity In Exchange For Testifying On Trump's Russia Ties

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michael-flynn-testimony_us_58dd889fe4b0e6ac7093b323

Flynn resigned from his role in the Trump administration in February after it was revealed he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office. Flynn had initially denied such contact. 

While Trump said he did ask for Flynn's resignation, he's maintained that his former adviser did nothing wrong by speaking to the Russian ambassador.

Earlier this month, documents revealed Flynn had deeper financial ties to Russia than previously reported, including receiving substantial payments from Russian companies in the year before he joined Trump's campaign as a surrogate. House Democrats have argued that this shows Flynn may have violated a clause of the U.S. Constitution that bars key government officials from receiving payment from foreign governments.

And lobbying disclosure forms recently revealed that Flynn was paid more than $500,000 in 2016 to help the Turkish government discredit exiled cleric Fethullah GΓΌlen. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the president was unaware of Flynn's work as a foreign lobbyist, but wouldn't say if Flynn would still have gotten the national security role if he had disclosed that work.  

Flynn was perhaps best known during Trump's presidential campaign for his fierce criticism of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server. During last summer's Republican National Convention, he led the crowd in a chant of "lock her up," in reference to Clinton. 

And during a September interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Flynn took issue with former Clinton staffers being granted immunity in the FBI's investigation into her use of the server during her time as secretary of state. 

"The very last thing that John Podesta just said is no individual should be too big to jail," Flynn told Todd. "That should include people like Hillary Clinton. I mean, five people around her have been given immunity, to include her former chief of staff. When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime."

This is a breaking story and has been

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Tues 4 pm mtg cvusd Supe job on the line?? 04/04-17

BoardDocs® LT: "A. Public Employee Appointment/Employment/Evaluation, Pursuant to Government Code §54957(b): Superintendent" Ann Bonititibus



'via Blog this'

la times Editorial Republicans 'fix' online privacy rules by making your browsing history less private


Editorial 

Republicans 'fix' online privacy rules by making your browsing history less private

The Times Editorial Board

Concerned that the Federal Communications Commission had overreached when it imposed new privacy rules on Internet Service Providers last year, congressional Republicans have responded not with a better approach to safeguarding consumer privacy, but with none at all. It's just another example of their repeal-first, ask-question-later approach, one that puts ideology ahead of outcomes.

The move by the House and Senate to repeal the rules at the behest of major phone and cable companies would allow those firms to sell revealing personal data they gather about their customers — their browsing habits, the apps they use, where they take their mobile devices — to advertisers and other buyers, whether their customers want the data to be sold or not.

These rules — the first privacy regulations ever applied to broadband providers, which previously had operated under the watch of the Federal Trade Commission — were too stiff for congressional Republicans, who rushed through a resolution (SJ Res 34) to repeal the FCC's action and make it hard for the agency to adopt a similar rule ever again.

Critics focused on the FCC's requirement that broadband providers obtain a customer's permission before disclosing "sensitive" information, such as the sites he or she had visited online, a mobile device's location or the mobile apps used. The FCC allowed broadband providers to share "non-sensitive" information, such as the customer's name and address, by default unless customers opted out.

That's a more restrictive approach than the FTC requires websites and online advertising networks to take, critics complain, noting that the FTC doesn't consider a person's browsing history or app use to be sensitive information. They're right about this: Having a single standard for the entire Internet ecosystem would be a good thing, considering how broadband providers, sites, services and apps all compete for some of the same advertising dollars. That's no reason to set the bar low, however; instead, it's a good argument for pushing the FTC to demand more of the companies under its jurisdiction.

You might think that Congress would try to address this question — what the right standard for privacy should be online — before taking a sledgehammer to the FCC's rules. You would be mistaken. If President Trump signs the resolution the House passed Tuesday, the online playing field will continue to be tilted, and ISPs will still be treated differently from all other players online. Only this time ISPs would face lighter regulation — and their users would be more vulnerable.

Granted, the resolution won't revoke the provision of federal communications law that requires all telecommunications services, including broadband providers, not to divulge "customer proprietary network information" without permission. What data fall into that category, however, remains a mystery — the law was written with telephone service in mind, not Internet access. And enforcement of the law would be left to the FCC, which is now dominated by Republican members who view regulation as an impediment to investment, not a safeguard for consumers.

Nor can most consumers count on competition in the market to guard them against privacy abuses, because they have few options for broadband service at home.

That competition may be coming as new, ultra-high-capacity fixed and mobile wireless services enter the market in the years ahead. In the meantime, though, eliminating the FCC's rules would appear to free Internet providers to track where their customers go and what they do online, create detailed profiles of their behavior and sell that information to advertisers, credit card companies, lenders or anyone else eager for these insights.

That's unacceptable. If the problem is unequal regulation, one solution would have been for Congress to give the FTC the power to regulate the privacy practices of all businesses online, from broadband providers to Facebook game developers. That wouldn't be ideal, given the FTC's permissive approach to data about consumers' browsing habits and mobile app usage. But at least the rule would be applied comprehensively.

Republicans aren't heading in that direction, however. In fact, even as they hold up the FTC as the model for online privacy protection, they've been trying to weaken the agency's power to crack down on bad privacy practices online. Their cavalier attitude about privacy puts them at odds with their constituents, who have consistently told pollsters that they are deeply worried about their privacy online. President Trump should listen to the grass roots on this one and veto SJ Res 34.

Nick  I.  Quidwai

Thousand Oaks CA 91360
 Cell 805-390-2857        Email: nick.ch2rd@gmail.com

Scandinavian Festival returns to CLU this weekend

Check out this article from Ventura County Star:

Scandinavian Festival returns to CLU this weekend

http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/conejo-valley/2017/03/29/scandinavian-fest-back-clu-after-one-year-absence/99596502/

Scandinavian Festival returns to CLU this weekend

00:44

Norwegian elkhounds and a Viking village will be prominently featured at the 42nd Scandinavian Festival this weekend at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks — and so will that yummy pastry called aebleskiver.

After a year's absence, the festival is returning Saturday and Sunday, offering a celebration of the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people from the Arctic regions of Scandinavia.

A new addition this year is a Family Tree DNA in the genealogy booth. A representative from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy will be available for a consultation and will have various testing kits available for sale.

"When you go online, they have so many different kits, so there will be someone at the festival who can help you decide which one is right for you," said Karen Ashim, who is directing the festival this year with her husband, Larry. Both are longtime members of the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Organization, which has sponsored the Scandinavian Festival for many years.

A 25-foot climbing wall is also new.

"If you look at pictures of Vikings in the outdoors, they're sitting on high edges," Ashim said. "We are going to have a climbing wall because Scandinavians climb mountains."

Scandinavian food has always been a big draw, Ashim said, with one highlight being Norwegian lefse. Ashim likened it to a tortilla, but instead of corn, it is made of potatoes, flour, sugar, butter and cream.

Other notable foods are the aebleskivers — also known as pancake puffs or Danish doughnuts — Swedish pancakes, Icelandic fish and chips, Viking dogs, Swedish meatballs and open-faced sandwiches.

"If you want to learn how to make lefse, you can learn how," Ashim said.

Activities for youngsters will include a children's theater and a puppet show of Hans Christian Andersen stories. Kids can also travel through a symbolic Scandinavia, earning passport stamps by completing culture-related crafts.

There will be a traditional maypole and a variety of games, including Dala horse croquet, a play on the Swedish tradition of Dala horses — crafted horses that are usually painted orange or blue and have flowers on them.

"They have little Dala horses they use as the croquet hoops," Ashim said.

The Ravens of Odin will set up a Viking encampment and discuss history and famous battles.

A Sami sliddastallan — the Sami community gathering — will represent the Sami population.

An ABBA tribute band also will perform.

Festival organizers said last year they realized too late that they hadn't allowed enough time to plan the event, so they canceled it for that one year only.

IF YOU GO

What: 42nd Scandinavian Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. Saturday will include a parade of flags, plus dignitaries from Scandinavian countries, many wearing Old World costumes

Where: Kingsmen Park, California Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks

Cost: $10 for one day, $15 for a two-day pass; $5 for teens; free for children.

Information: scandinaviancenter.org


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Body discovered in Thousand Oaks has been identified

How sad 😭 it is Americans living on the street no medical care nick q

Check out this article from Ventura County Star:

Body discovered in Thousand Oaks has been identified

http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2017/03/30/body-discovered-thousand-oaks-has-been-identified/99823912/

Body discovered in Thousand Oaks identified

00:38

Authorities identified a 55-year-old man whose body was discovered Tuesday in a van parked in Thousand Oaks.

Salvador Florez was found dead in the vehicle parked in the lot of Anthem Church, off North Moorpark Road, officials said. Authorities said the cause of death was natural.

Read more:

Crews responded to the scene just before 3 p.m. on a report of a person in the parked vehicle. The parking lot sits next a set of tennis courts, some of which were occupied when emergency crews began to arrive.

Upon their arrival, responding personnel reported a strong odor originating from the older model Toyota van. Civilians noticed the odor as well, covering their noses as they passed by the scene.


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How Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi became one of the most coveted minds in baseball LA Times 033017


(Robert Carter / For The Times)

THE ARCHITECT

How Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi became one of the most coveted minds in baseball LA Times 033017

A general manager mourns the loss of a baseball season in private, away from the pervasive gaze of the public and the impressionable minds of his subordinates, and so in October of last year, insomnia haunted Farhan Zaidi.

The on-field personnel can rage or weep or shrug. The leaders of the front office must be stoic, proud of the accomplishments just completed, hopeful for the days to come, unable to reveal the depth of their anguish.

"That moment in the middle of the night when you wake up is the only time when you are allowed to feel the pain yourself," Zaidi said.

He would shake loose from slumber around 3 a.m., unsettled by memories of the Dodgers' playoff defeat to the Chicago Cubs: A misplaced slider by Joe Blanton, an umpire's debatable call on Adrian Gonzalez. He fixated on the tiniest moments of a squandered chance to end his team's championship drought.

To Zaidi, the season mirrored the plight of Sisyphus. In those sleepless hours, he imagined himself staring at the boulder as it rolled down a hill.

Outsiders often view Zaidi as a clinical, camera-shy cog in the Dodgers' executive cadre. His colleagues see him as a wisecracking, idea-spewing agent of innovation. Alone in the dark, he considers himself a 40-year-old man exhausted by the cruelty of his profession. His office resides in the shadow of Hollywood, but each year his sport provides misery for every team but one.

"You get one 'Friday Night Lights' ending, and you get 29 'Sopranos' endings," Zaidi said. "The lights just go out, and you don't know what happened."

The pain reminds him why he is here, how his pursuit of happiness became intertwined with the pursuit of a championship. He forsook a lucrative career in business and risked disappointing his family to gamble on an entry-level job in sports. During a decade in Oakland's front office, he matured from a book-taught quant into a well-rounded executive. He developed a loyalty so fierce he nearly turned down the offer from Los Angeles.

With the Dodgers, as the chief lieutenant of Andrew Friedman's baseball operations department, he serves as a font of creativity. He piloted the negotiations for the acquisition of Rich Hill last summer. He helped foster the team's ethos of flexibility, which is part of the reason the club is favored to win a fifth consecutive National League West title in 2017.

"There are a lot of instances of him bringing something up that in the moment I think is crazy," Friedman said. "And as it resonates more, I oftentimes will come around to the crazy thought."

Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi played baseball in high school and cricket on family trips to Pakistan. An MIT graduate with a doctorate from UC Berkeley, he has helped foster an ethos of flexibility, away from rigid bullpen roles and fixed lineups.
Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi played baseball in high school and cricket on family trips to Pakistan. An MIT graduate with a doctorate from UC Berkeley, he has helped foster an ethos of flexibility, away from rigid bullpen roles and fixed lineups. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Zaidi's background defies convention. He never played beyond high school. He earned summa cum laude honors at MIT and a doctorate in behavioral economics from UC Berkeley. Born in Canada, raised in the Philippines, he descends from Pakistani stock.

In the monochromatic field of baseball executives, Zaidi is the lone Muslim general manager. During a conversation over dinner this spring, he lacked interest in publicly debating the merits of the Trump administration's proposed travel restrictions. His greater concern was the demonizing of a religion practiced by 1.7 billion people. He worries that fear and anger toward those who observe his faith, a viewpoint that once hovered on the fringes of society, has become more mainstream.

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"When people generalize or paint the whole religion in a certain way — and you know you're not like that, your family is not like that, whatever overwhelming percentage majority you want to use of the Muslim Americans in this country are not like that — it's demoralizing," Zaidi said. "And that sentiment, for me, is the most troubling thing."

The situation upsets him, but it does not overwhelm him. Zaidi subscribes to what he considers a "perverted form of optimism," a belief in the power of joyful pragmatism leavened with perspective on the unlikelihood of his journey. He bursts with laughter. He disarms agents and rival executives with humor. He ribs Dodgers staffers, trades barbs with the players about fantasy football and shares ideas with Manager Dave Roberts. He can forge a relationship "with anyone, whether it's the CEO of a company or it's the janitor," said Alex Anthopoulos, the Dodgers' assistant general manager.

Zaidi laughs off the notion that his inexperience on the field would merit insecurity. If you talk to seasoned baseball men, Zaidi said, "and they were like, 'Yeah, he's a total nerd, he doesn't get baseball, he's a total weirdo,' I'd be like, 'OK, that's fair. Because you know what? We work together, and that's an informed opinion . . . Maybe I am just a huge nerd.'

"But the notion that people see where I went to school and see that I didn't play and draw conclusions like that — what are you going to do about it?"

Zaidi subscribes to what he considers a 'perverted form of optimism,' a belief in the power of joyful pragmatism leavened with perspective on the unlikelihood of his journey.

Farhan Zaidi watches a minor league game during spring training at Camelback Ranch. Early in his career with the Oakland Athletics he realized went to numerous minor league and amateur games to develop his eye for baseball talent.
Farhan Zaidi watches a minor league game during spring training at Camelback Ranch. Early in his career with the Oakland Athletics he realized went to numerous minor league and amateur games to develop his eye for baseball talent. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The request stunned Billy Beane. His drive to the airport interrupted by a phone call, he struggled to formulate a response. On the other end of the line, Andrew Friedman waited for an answer.

It was October 2014, and Friedman had just become the Dodgers' president of baseball operations. The search for a general manager had brought him to Beane, architect of the "Moneyball" Athletics and the boss of Friedman's top target. Friedman needed Beane's permission to proceed.

Zaidi had just finished his 10th year with Oakland. He had risen to assistant general manager, third in the power structure behind Beane and general manager David Forst. The team had defied its low payroll to reach the playoffs in three consecutive seasons with a roster bearing Zaidi's fingerprints. His colleagues gushed about his singular blend of statistical proficiency, social intelligence and ingenuity.

In the process, Zaidi became one of the game's most coveted minds — and one of the most untouchable. He had no interest in leaving Oakland. And his boss had no interest in losing him.

After a lengthy pause, Beane sputtered an answer.

"Come on, Andrew," he said. "You can't do this."

In that moment, Beane regretted all the times he had raved about Zaidi to Friedman. He lamented the cruelty of running a small-market team: The rich can always poach your best people.

"It's one thing to lose [Jason] Giambi and [Miguel] Tejada," Beane told Friedman. "And now you're going to take Farhan?"

Zaidi became one of the game's most coveted minds — and one of the most untouchable.

Farhan Zaidi rose from analyst to assistant general manager in 10 years with the Oakland Athletics. He loved working there. But then the Dodgers came calling. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Farhan Zaidi rose from analyst to assistant general manager in 10 years with the Oakland Athletics. He loved working there. But then the Dodgers came calling. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times) (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

On Feb. 23, 1986, as the citizens of the Philippines revolted against president Fernando Marcos, tanks rumbled through Manila. Inside a gated community near the unrest, Sadiq Zaidi pondered what to do with his family.

The Asian Development Bank, where Sadiq worked as an engineer, had suggested its employees book hotels outside the city. His wife Anjum agreed, but Sadiq was unconvinced. Persuasion became easier after the conflict inched close enough to rattle their 9-year-old son, Farhan.

"At one point, there was gunfire, and it really sounded like it was coming from right outside my bedroom," Zaidi said. "I was so terrified."

The family found a room in a seedy spot away from the tanks, but stayed only one night. The People Power Revolution ended on Feb. 25 without bloodshed. Marcos fled to Hawaii, and Farhan went back to his boyhood.

He was the second of four children, three boys and a girl. The family had left the woodsy outpost of Sudbury, in the Canadian province of Ontario, for the Philippines when he was 3. Before they left, a friend warned about Manila's three seasons: Hot, Very Hot and Extremely Hot. Farhan developed asthma in the tropics. His father held him on his shoulder in a rocking chair to soothe him.

As a teenager, Zaidi became obsessed with collecting baseball cards, drubbing his younger brother Jaffer in basketball and being a free-swinging Little League first baseman. When he played cricket on trips to Pakistan, he found his mechanics corrupted because of his baseball grip. When they traveled to Canada, he rooted for the Toronto Blue Jays. He devoured the writing of statistics guru Bill James.

The children attended an international school, one with high standards and strict graders. They absorbed the culture of their American, Canadian, Chinese and Japanese classmates. "We were sometimes the only Muslims in our group of friends," said Noor Zaidi, Farhan's sister. "Everybody we spent time with was somebody different, with a different story."

Farhan treated class with a nonchalance that puzzled his parents. Older brother Zeeshan hunkered down for marathon study sessions. Farhan goofed off and whipped through homework in the morning.

In the spring of 1994, during Farhan's senior year, his parents made the pilgrimage to Mecca. When they returned from Saudi Arabia, Farhan met them at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. He came bearing news. Like Zeeshan, he had been named valedictorian. "I honestly was shocked," Anjum said.

"That's a pretty good encapsulation on how I kept them in the dark on my academic career," Zaidi said.

He left home at 17. At MIT he found economics, met his future wife Lucy and graduated in 1998 with a job at a management-consulting firm. Zaidi considered the gig a holding pattern. His mother suggested he go to business school, as Zeeshan had at Harvard. "Mom, people only do MBAs to get rich," Farhan told her, and went for a doctorate.

Zaidi kept flirting with the world of sports. Focusing on behavioral economics at Cal, he wrote a paper using baseball card collectors as a window into irrationality. Inspired by "Moneyball," he sent his resume to the front offices in Oakland, Toronto and Los Angeles. He never heard back, so he returned to his studies. "I could see him becoming one of the leaders in the profession," said Cal economics professor Stefano DellaVigna.

In December 2004, Zaidi found a listing for an assistant in Oakland's baseball operations department. The team needed an analyst to replace Paul DePodesta, who had become the Dodgers' general manager. Zaidi stood out among an avalanche of applicants. Forst, then the assistant GM, invited him to interview.

On a lark, Zaidi had included in his resume his love of 1990s Britpop. Beane opened the interview on that, and they bonded over the shambolic genius of Oasis. Zaidi made them laugh. He impressed them with his preparation. They even liked that his suit didn't quite fit.

The job paid $32,000. Zaidi waited five days to tell his parents, afraid he would upset them. He asked his brothers for advice. His fear was unfounded. His parents were ecstatic that he had found a purpose he could pursue with vigor."This was his passion," Anjum said. "And I feel if you can make a good, honest and honorable living out of your passion, then you are set for life."

This was his passion. And I feel if you can make a good, honest and honorable living out of your passion, then you are set for life.

— Anjum Zaidi

Farhan Zaidi, right, with Oakland A's assistant general manager David Forst, from left, director of scouting director Dan Feinstein and general manager Billy Beane at Detroit's Comerica Park in 2012. Zaidi was an essential part of the Athletics' executive team.
Farhan Zaidi, right, with Oakland A's assistant general manager David Forst, from left, director of scouting director Dan Feinstein and general manager Billy Beane at Detroit's Comerica Park in 2012. Zaidi was an essential part of the Athletics' executive team. (Michael Zagaris /Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

The numbers came easily to Zaidi. Forst gave him an ideal first assignment: Assemble the team's argument in arbitration against reliever Juan Cruz. Zaidi made a presentation with a format he learned at his management consulting firm. Oakland won, and "it soon became clear he wasn't just going to be our analytics guy," Forst said.

Zaidi accumulated responsibility quickly. Statistics were his specialty — he built an in-house projection system that came to be called "FarGraphs" — but the front office's limited manpower forced him to venture outside the comfort of laptops and spreadsheets.

The transition tested the patience of those around him. Zaidi wasted hours hunting small-college gems in the draft, recommending players who would never dream of reaching the majors. He questioned the scouting director about the team's interest in a well-rounded player with only "average" tools. "I was so clueless in so many ways," Zaidi said.

He recognized his blind spots and rectified them. Zaidi once told his sister that "nobody likes anybody who thinks they're too good for the job they have," so he puddle-jumped between minor league affiliates and baked in the sun watching amateur games. He pored over video. He sat in advance scouting meetings, quizzed infield coach Ron Washington about positioning and debated in-game strategy with Manager Bob Geren. He proved as capable with a stat as he was with a quip, and "he would say things you wouldn't expect an assistant GM to say," former Athletics and Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson said.

His evolution coincided with the industry-wide realization that scouts and analysts needed to collaborate. Zaidi added a comedic twist to the merging of disciplines. In the draft room, Zaidi became the "Tools Police." Whenever a scout could not identify a legitimate tool on a prospect, Zaidi smacked a siren that set off a blue light. His hand hovered over the button as a warning.

"It's like I don't even know you anymore," Beane told him, and started calling Zaidi "The Emotional Stat Guy." Zaidi co-opted that as his fantasy football name.

Dormant for years, Oakland sneaked up on the American League West to win a division title in 2012. It was Zaidi who stumped for the team to pluck Yoenis Cespedes out of Cuba before the season. A few months later, Zaidi penned a lengthy memo, later known as "The Moss Manifesto," arguing the team should recall well-traveled minor league outfielder Brandon Moss and install him as their starting first baseman. "The only thing I'll take credit for," Beane said, "is saying 'We're doing what Farhan says.'"

Another division title followed in 2013, but both teams fell in the fifth game of the division series. Those losses paled next to 2014, when the Athletics squandered a six-game lead in the division race and then a four-run lead in the eighth inning of the wild-card playoff game in Kansas City.

Zaidi never got over the loss to the Royals. He keeps a ticket stub from Kauffman Stadium in his wallet. And he was still grieving when Friedman called Beane.


After Beane hung up the phone, he took 15 minutes to decompress. Zaidi was walking out of Oakland Coliseum when his phone rang. Beane passed along Friedman's proposal. The job sounded similar to Zaidi's responsibilities in Oakland, only with a loftier title and for a team in a different financial stratosphere.

The etiquette of baseball requires that a team request permission to interview a rival executive. Beane was accustomed to these overtures being futile. He once said he fretted about losing Zaidi to Apple or Google, not another team. The Angels tried to hire him. So did the Houston Astros. Anthopoulos tried twice in Toronto. Forst worried more about Zaidi's friendship with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, "because I know basketball is his real, true love," Forst said.

The offer from Friedman surprised Zaidi. They were not close. But Zaidi figured he should listen. No team had ever before offered to make him a general manager. "I don't think that was the answer that Billy wanted to hear," Zaidi said.

Zaidi flew to Los Angeles. Club president Stan Kasten led a tour of Dodger Stadium and promoted the team's history. Zaidi sat with Friedman and Josh Byrnes, the senior vice president of baseball operations. Friedman had just left the small-market stability of Tampa Bay for the pressure and promise of Los Angeles. He was asking Zaidi to make a similar leap.

After a few hours, Zaidi left the stadium without an answer. He spent a fortnight mulling his decision. The intellectual challenge intrigued him. He worried about stagnation in Oakland, and felt he needed "to make myself uncomfortable, professionally, to get better." Friedman raised a similar theme to keep Zaidi interested.

Yet Zaidi agonized over his attachment to the Athletics. The team had plucked him out of academia and welcomed him into a dream job. He had shredded his vocal cords next to Beane at Oasis shows. Zaidi ran the front office's fantasy football league and "was arguably the most popular employee in baseball operations among every department," Beane said. Beane and Forst salivated over Anjum's chicken kabob patties and banana bread. They were a family.

After two weeks debating his choices, Zaidi made up his mind. He would stay in Oakland. He did not care about the title or the money. Loyalty mattered more. He fashioned an email to break the news to Beane, Forst and owner Lew Wolff.

Before he sent it, Zaidi went for a run.

About two miles in, he felt tension overtake his body. Zaidi had never before experienced a panic attack, but now he started to hyperventilate on the pavement of Oakland's Montclair neighborhood. He was consumed by fear of ignoring the opportunity offered to him. He stopped running and went home.

"I have to do this," he told his wife.

A couple hours later, Zaidi called Friedman. He was coming to Los Angeles.

Farhan Zaidi, born in Canada and raised in the Philippines, is the only Muslim general manager in Major League Baseball.
Farhan Zaidi, born in Canada and raised in the Philippines, is the only Muslim general manager in Major League Baseball. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

In his first few weeks on the job, Zaidi felt like the host of a variety show. He and Friedman shared the general manager's office, and a procession of visitors streamed through. The pace felt frenetic.

Friedman and Zaidi inherited from former general manager Ned Colleti a two-time National League West champion with an attractive farm system. But acrimony had riven the clubhouse and the team looked top-heavy, with a reliance on a small group of players. The new front office gathered inside a San Diego hotel suite during baseball's winter meetings in December 2014 hoping to deepen the talent pool.

As Friedman paced through his room, in the hours before acquiring catcher Yasmani Grandal from the Padres in a trade that sent star outfielder Matt Kemp to San Diego, he saw Zaidi reach into the refrigerator for a drink. The tension was high, and Zaidi was agitated to the point of absentmindedness. When the fridge closed, he spun around and conked his head against a wall. A lump sprouted across his dome.

"I'm sure it hurt him," Friedman said. "But in that moment, there could not have been a better thing to happen."

The others tumbled to the ground in laughter. Zaidi posed for a picture. Friedman saved it in his phone as Zaidi's contact photo. And, eventually, they consummated a series of trades to reshape the roster.

Zaidi's contributions soon had more concrete value. He pushed for reliever Grant Dayton in a minor league swap with Miami in July 2015. Later that summer, he floated the idea of moving Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, who had signed a six-year, $62.5-million contract months before. Zaidi argued against feeling beholden to the investment. Olivera became part of a three-team trade that brought Alex Wood and Luis Avilan.

Like Friedman, Zaidi treasures flexibility. In conversations with Roberts, he has debated the wisdom of rigid roles for relievers and a static batting order for hitters. The deployment of players, Roberts came to believe, should involve a daily assessment of the situation, rather than an ironclad pattern.

"I challenge the players to be comfortable being uncomfortable," Roberts said. "And Farhan does the same thing to me. Which is a good thing."

Farhan Zaidi, left, shares a laugh with manager Dave Roberts and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman during a news conference at Dodger Stadium in 2015.
Farhan Zaidi, left, shares a laugh with manager Dave Roberts and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman during a news conference at Dodger Stadium in 2015. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Zaidi can champion disruption. He favors the aggressive promotion of prospects. He wonders why teams design personnel plans that extend beyond three years. So much can change so quickly, and the powers of prediction tend to be overstated. An organization must be responsive, not rigid.

Last July, Zaidi received an assignment that was unique in its importance and awkwardness. The Dodgers divide tasks among their executives based on relationships with other clubs. When the team targeted Oakland starter Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick, that meant Zaidi negotiated with Beane.

Zaidi wore his affinity for his old boss with pride. He kept in his office the index card upon which he wrote down Beane's cellphone number when Oakland hired him. He once joked about affixing a portrait of Beane to his wall to befuddle visitors. Now he became an adversary at the bargaining table.

Their decade of shared experience eased the conversation, and helped lessen the discomfort. Each man understood what the other wanted. The Dodgers received the two veterans in exchange for a trio of pitching prospects. The relationship of the two executives proved essential. "The deal doesn't happen — I know it doesn't happen — if we're not negotiating with each other," Beane said.

The best part is winning. The worst part is losing. That's it. That's the whole thing.

— Farhan Zaidi

Farhan Zaidi heads out to watch a minor league game. The Dodgers team that he has helped to shape has been successful on many levels, but he has agonized over the failure to win a championship.
Farhan Zaidi heads out to watch a minor league game. The Dodgers team that he has helped to shape has been successful on many levels, but he has agonized over the failure to win a championship. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Despite the gravitas of his position, Zaidi still injects levity into his work. When the Dodgers finished a trade recently, Zaidi wagered with assistant scouting director Alex Slater about the players the other team might make available. If Slater was right, Zaidi would give up his office and sit in Slater's cubicle for a week. If Zaidi was right, Slater would wear a suit of Zaidi's choosing for a week.

Zaidi won the bet. He sent a picture of his selection: The one-piece man-kini made famous by Borat. "Technically," he explained, "this is a suit."

Added Friedman, "That is a suit."

The matter remained unresolved as spring training wound down. So was the fate of the 2017 Dodgers, who returned an overwhelming portion of the roster that finished two victories away from the World Series and then incited their general manager's sleeplessness. The insomnia is something Zaidi carries with him, like the index card from 2004, like the ticket stub from 2014, like all the mementos accumulated in a career still in its infancy.

People ask Zaidi about the best and the worst of his job. Early in his career, he pontificated with nuance: He relished the camaraderie and the relationships. He despised the stress and the time away from family.

As the years passed, his answer has become more succinct.

"The best part is winning," Zaidi said. "The worst part is losing. That's it. That's the whole thing."

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare | The Nader Page

21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare | The Nader Page:



'via Blog this'

The Crash Of Trumpcare Opens The Door To Full Medicare For All "SINGLE PAYER like Canada 033017 Ralph Nader


The Crash Of Trumpcare Opens The Door To Full Medicare For All "SINGLE PAYER like Canada 033017

03/29/2017 12:00 pm ET | Updated 22 hours ago

You can thank House Speaker Ryan and President Trump for pushing their cruel health insurance boondoggle. This debacle has created a big opening to put Single Payer or full Medicare for all prominently front and center. Single Payer means everybody in, nobody out, with free choice of physician and hospital.

The Single Payer system that has been in place in Canada for decades comes in at half the cost per capita, compared to what the U.S. spends now. All Canadians are covered at a cost of about $4500 per capita while in the U.S. the cost is over $9000 per capita, with nearly 30 million people without coverage and many millions more underinsured.

Seventy-three members of the House of Representatives have co-signed Congressman Conyers's bill, HR 676, which is similar to the Canadian system. These lawmakers like HR 676 because it has no copays, nasty deductibles or massive inscrutable computerized billing fraud, while giving people free choice and far lower administrative costs.

Often Canadians never even see a bill for major operations or procedures. Dr. Stephanie Wohlander, who has taught at Harvard Medical School, estimated recently that a Single Payer system in the U.S. would potentially save as much as $500 billion, just in administrative costs, out of the nearly $3.5 trillion in health care expenditures this year.

Already federal, state and local governments pay for about half of this gigantic sum through Medicare, Medicaid, the Pentagon, VA, and insuring their public employees. But the system is complexly corrupted by the greed, oft-documented waste, and over-selling of the immensely-profitable, bureaucratic insurance and drug industry.

To those self-described conservatives out there, consider that major conservative philosophers such as Friedrich Hayek, a leader of the Austrian School of Economics, so revered by Ron Paul, supported "a comprehensive system of social insurance" to protect the people from "the common hazards of life," including illness. He wanted a publicly funded system for everyone, not just Medicare and Medicaid patients, with a private delivery of medical/health services. That is what HR 676 would establish (ask your member of Congress for a copy or find the full text here. Conservatives may wish to read for greater elaboration of this conservative basis, my book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

Maybe some of this conservative tradition is beginning to seep into the minds of the corporatist editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal. Seeing the writing on the wall, so to speak, a recent editorial, before the Ryan/Trump crash, concluded with these remarkable words:

"The Healthcare Market is at a crossroads. Either it heads in a more market-based direction step by step or it moves toward single payer step by step. If Republicans blow this chance and default to Democrats, they might as well endorse single-payer because that is where the politics will end up."

Hooray!

Maybe such commentary, repeated by another of the Journal's columnists, will prod more Democrats to come out of the closet and openly push for a Single Payer system. At a recent lively town meeting in San Francisco, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blurted at her younger protesters: "I've been for single-payer before you were born."

Presumably retired President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will do the same, since they too were for "Full Medicare for All" before they became politically subservient to corporate politics.

Even without any media, and any major party calling for it, a Pew poll had 59% of the public for Full Medicare for All, including 30% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 80% of Democrats. Ever since President Harry S. Truman proposed to Congress universal health insurance legislation in the nineteen forties, public opinion, left and right, has been supportive.

We've compiled twenty-one ways in which life is better in Canada than in the U.S. because of the Single Payer health insurance system. Canadians, for example, don't have to worry about pay or die prices, don't take or decline jobs based on health insurance considerations, nor are they driven into bankruptcy or deep debt, they experience no anxiety over being denied payment or struck with reams of confusing, trap-door computerized bills and fine print.

People in Canada do not die (estimated at 35,000 fatalities a year in the U.S.) because they cannot go for diagnoses or treatment in time.

Canadians can choose their doctors and hospitals without being trapped, like many in the U.S., into small, narrow service networks.

In Canada the administration of the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. You swipe it when you visit a physician or hospital.

All universal health insurance systems in all western countries have their problems; but Americans are extraordinarily jammed with worry, anxiety and fear over how or if their care is going to be covered or paid, not to mention all the perverse incentives for waste, gouging and profiteering.

Time to call your Senators and Representatives. There are only 535 of them and you count in the tens of millions!

For the full 21 Ways, see the article here.

For more information on health care in the U.S., what's being done to combat vicious commercial assaults on our country's most vulnerable people, and to find out how you can help fight back, visit singlepayeraction.org.