Tue Aug. 21

THE LATEST

Cohen cops a plea

CBS News — Former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen has decided to take a plea deal with the Justice Department to resolve his criminal investigation, and this was expected to be a straight plea deal to resolve the case against him, CBS News has confirmed. His plea, CBS News’ Paula Reid told CBSN, is expected to be related to campaign finance violations. Any cooperation from Cohen could help him during sentencing. Cohen went back and forth all morning over whether to take the deal, Reid reported.


Today’s top five news stories:

  1. Facebook trust ratings
    > Issued by a company most don’t trust
  2. A revolution in corn farming
    > No fertilizer needed
  3. Plastic in your beer
    > Don’t worry, it’s tiny?
  4. A plan to handcuff lobbyists
    > Elizabeth Warren’s DC dream
  5. Measels, a killer again
    > Anti-vaxxers, take note.

nonono-line

Facebook trust ratings?
Reuters
~ Sneaky, untrustworthy company to issue trust ratings on its users. Makes sense.

Researchers say this corn creates its own fertilizer
and the economics and environmental prospects are staggering
USA Today
> The plants in Mexico have bizarre fingerlike roots sticking out of their stalks. The roots secrete a goopy mucus, in which bacteria live. The bacteria take nitrogen from the air — which plants can’t use — and convert it to a different form of nitrogen that they can use. The plants soak up the fixed nitrogen in the gel through the fingerlike roots.
> The nitrogen is a critical nutrient for all plants; it’s the primary ingredient in chemical fertilizers.

Microplastics, even in your beer
NPR
… microplastics are in drinking water. In beer. In sea salt. In fish and shellfish. How microplastics get into animals is something of a mystery, and Chelsea Rochman is trying to solve it.micro-plastics-3-46067ed8a6176d049fc040a53163230d1bf4bd88-s800-c85.jpg

Warren outlines radical plan to deflate power of lobbyists
The Intercept
> In broad strokes, Warren is attempting to take the profit motive out of public service by making it extremely difficult for former lawmakers and government officials to cash in on their government experience, while simultaneously giving Congress and federal agencies the resources needed to effectively govern without the motivated assistance of K Street.
> Warren proposes much stricter restrictions on the revolving door between public service and lobbying, but, more fundamentally, flat-out bans on any lobbying on behalf of foreign governments, an industry that has come under increased scrutiny as a result of the trial of Paul Manafort, who made his fortune carrying water for foreign governments in Washington, often whose interests ran against those of the U.S.

37 died in Europe — of measels
Global News Canada
Vaccine skepticism remains high in many parts of Europe after past immunization problems

“Blood on the hands” of cities that allow E-Scooters
Newser

Feds say let states decide on coal pollution
NPR
MAGA! Make America Gritty Again

Teens are reading a lot less — why it matters
The Conversation
> By 2016, the average 12th grader said they spent a staggering six hours a day texting, on social media, and online during their free time. And that’s just three activities; if other digital media activities were included, that estimate would surely rise.
> Teens didn’t always spend that much time with digital media. Online time has doubled since 2006, and social media use moved from a periodic activity to a daily one. By 2016, nearly nine out of 10 12th-grade girls said they visited social media sites every day.
> Meanwhile, time spent playing video games rose from under an hour a day to an hour and a half on average. One out of 10 8th graders in 2016 spent 40 hours a week or more gaming – the time commitment of a full-time job.

Dozens of men duped by woman on Tinder, tricked into massive dating competition in New York’s Union Square
The Gothamist
82018Tinder1.

Watchdog agency sees no evidence N. Korea is quitting nukes
Raw Story

Girl badly burned in web “fire challenge”
Detroit Free Press
Timiyah Landers of Detroit poured rubbing alcohol on herself and the lit it on fire, according to Fox 2 Detroit. She was rushed to the hospital, where she will require multiple surgeries after suffering burns on 49 percent of her body, the report said.The fire challenge has been around since at least 2012. It involves pouring rubbing alcohol on yourself and then lighting it on fire before rushing to a bathtub or other body of water to extinguish it, all while filming. Because rubbing alcohol is a thin liquid, it usually burns quickly and sometimes does no harm.

Microsoft takes down Russian hacker sites
Reuters

Pennsylvania mayor to trial in “pay to play” bribery
Courthouse News Service
Reading mayor Vaughn Spencer, 71, faces nine counts of bribery, one of wire fraud and one of conspiracy. Prosecutor Wzorek explained Monday that he will present evidence over the next week that Spencer’s office was involved in a series of pay-to-play schemes.

“In its simplest terms, this means, ‘give me money and I’ll give you a contract with the City of Reading,’” said Wzorek.

Michigan health director will stand trial in Flint deaths
NPR
> Nick Lyon and other state department officials were aware of a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County in January 2015. But the department did not issue a public advisory about the outbreak until January 2016.
> The department did advise doctors and medical institutions in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, at least a dozen people died from Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, and dozens more were sickened. Evidence connecting the Legionella bacteria outbreak to Flint’s ill-fated drinking water switch in 2014 is disputed.

Quantum enganglement theory gets boost from old, old, old starlight
Motherboard
> On Monday, a group of researchers from MIT published the results from recent experiments that used the light from stars emitted 7.8 billion and 12.2 billion years ago to help confirm the reality of quantum entanglement.
> These results help settle a long standing debate in physics about whether entanglement is just an illusion that can actually be explained using principles of classical physics. These new results suggest that entanglement actually occurs because if it didn’t exist the universe would somehow have to have “known” 7.8 billion years ago that these MIT scientists would perform these experiments in 2018.
> Quantum entanglement is the theory that particles can be connected in such a way that measuring one particle can instantaneously convey information about that measurement to the other particle, regardless of the distance between them. It almost sounds like magic, which is probably why it received a healthy dose of criticism from the physics community when the theory was first proposed nearly 100 years ago.

That purple streak in the sky is STEVE …
… and nobody has any clue what it is

Live Science
steve.jpg

Inmates on strike over “modern slavery”
The Guardian
> The first part of the prisons likely to be hit will be the kitchens, where stoves will remain unlit, ready-meals unheated and thousands of breakfasts uncooked.
> From there the impact will fan out. The laundry will be left unwashed, prison corridors un-mopped, and the lawns on the external grounds ring-fenced with barbed wire will go uncut.
> On Tuesday, America’s vast army of incarcerated men and women – at 2.3m of them they form by far the largest imprisoned population in the world – will brace itself for what has the potential to be the largest prison strike in US history.
> Nineteen days of peaceful protest are planned across the nation, organised largely by prisoners themselves.

America’s rich moving to the coasts
and poor are moving inland
CBS News
> America’s wealthy households are increasingly moving to coastal cities on both sides of the country, but those with more modest incomes are either relocating to or being pushed into the nation’s Rust Belt, according to a new study.
> That’s creating “income sorting” across the country, with expensive cities like Los Angeles, New York and Seattle drawing wealthier residents. For instance, Americans who move to San Francisco earn nearly $13,000 more than those who move away, the study found. Conversely, those who are moving into less expensive inland cities such as Detroit or Pittsburgh earn up to $5,000 less than those who are leaving.

Protestors bring down NC campus Confederate monument
The Daily Tar Heel
silent-sam-confederate-statue-chapel-hill“I watched it groan and shiver and come asunder,” said Dwayne Dixon, an Asian studies professor at UNC who has been active in anti-racist movements. “I mean, it feels biblical. It’s thundering and starting to rain. It’s almost like heaven is trying to wash away the soiled contaminated remains.”

Mon. Aug. 20

Google location history tracks even when turned off,
so man sues, seeking class action
Ars Technica
>The lawsuit seeks class-action status, and it would include both an “Android Class” and “iPhone Class” for the potential millions of people in the United States with such phones who turned off their Location History and nonetheless had it recorded by Google. It will likely take months or longer for the judge to determine whether there is a sufficient class.

TSA tracks Americans because … because they can?
Reason
> Visit Turkey recently? If you have, air marshals may be snooping on you during your domestic travels.
>Among the travelers followed under a secret Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program recently exposed by the Boston Globe were a professional basketball player and a social media manager for an arts and crafts company.
>Neither of these women was actually suspected of any sort of criminal or terrorist activity. Nor, apparently, were thousands of others surveilled and trailed under the TSA’s Quiet Skies program, which launched in 2012 and expanded significantly this year. But Courtney Vandersloot, the basketball player, and Taylor Usry, the social media manager, were tracked by air marshals and were subjected to heightened security screening, all because they had gone to Turkey.

HERE ARE OUR TOP FIVE TODAY
1] Broke neighbors paying Amazon’s bills …
2] Asia Argento is totally screwed …
3] China hates apps, so Apple kills ’em …
4] Is advertising in its end times? …
5] Internet spoofing gets more dangerous …simpleline

 

Advertising is obsolete — here’s why
The Conversation
klein ad.jpg

> Imagine a world wiped clean of advertising of all kinds – from the sponsored links at the top of the Google search results page and the banner ads on your favorite websites or mobile apps to the sponsored posts in your Facebook feed and the TV commercials and billboards in the offline world.
> Would you still be able to find all the information you could ever want about products in this alternative world?
> Of course you would. Your friends, family and the host of complete strangers you follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and half a dozen other sites would continue to bombard you with information about their lives, including all the products they are using. And if you want to go out and learn more about a particular product, or find something new, a thousand little blue links optimized to meet your search criteria are just a Google search away.

Amazon’s hard-up neighbors paying its whopper of an electric bill
Bloomberg
> For a little while earlier this year, it seemed as though 87-year-old Rosie Thomas and her neighbors in the small town of Gainesville, Va., had beaten Amazon. Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy Inc., had planned to run an aboveground power line straight through a Civil War battlefield—and Thomas’s property—to reach a nearby data center run by an Amazon.com Inc. subsidiary. After three years of petitions and protests in front of the gated data center, skirmishes punctuated by barking dogs and shooing police, Dominion agreed to bury that part of the line along a nearby highway, at an estimated cost of $172 million.
> Within a month, however, the utility and state legislators had passed on the cost to Thomas and her fellow Virginians.

Harvey Weinstein Accuser Asia Argento Agreed to Pay $380,000 to an Actor Who Accused Her of Sexual Assault

asia argento

(Slate) — The New York Times reported Sunday that actress and director Asia Argento, who became one of the leading faces of the #MeToo movement after accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser in the months after the Weinstein story broke.
> Actor and musician Jimmy Bennett, who appeared as a child in Argento’s 2004 film adaptation of J.T. LeRoy’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, claimed in documents leaked to the Times that the director sexually assaulted him in the spring of 2013, when he was 17 and she was 37.
> Through her lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 in exchange for an settlement that barred Bennett from suing and transferred the copyright of a photograph Bennett took that showed the two of them together in bed with “unclothed torsos exposed.”
> The Times received documents about Argento and Bennett’s agreement via an anonymous encrypted email, but was able to authenticate them.

As internet ‘spoofing’ gets better, you may surf into a sea of sharks
McCalatchy
>Inserting exotic characters into a link is one technique criminals employ to send users to look-alike sites that may appear to be a bank website, a Gmail troubleshooting page or some other page that asks for a username and password. Other techniques are also used.
> In some cases, adversaries target employees of a corporation, nuclear plant, military unit or other high-value facility where they seek a digital foothold. The hackers send the targets tailored emails with the malicious links.
> “It’s easy(and) it’s cheap,” said Tom Richards, co-founder and chief strategy officer for GroupSense, a Virginia cyber threat intelligence firm.
> As a hacker, Richards said, “All I need to do is register a website that looks like my target and then send that to a handful of employees or people affiliated with the organization or potentially even customers. And then I can trap them. I can send them malware. I can get them to fill out a form.”
> “It’s embarrassingly effective.”

Apple kills thousands of apps that piss off China’s leaders
Wall Street Journal
> Under fire from Chinese state media, Apple Inc. AAPL -0.83% said it removed illegal gambling apps from its App Store in China—a move that could help quell the latest challenge for the American tech giant in its most important market outside of the U.S.
> “Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” Apple said in a statement Monday. “We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store.”
> Apple had been criticized by Chinese news outlets for not doing enough to filter banned content and applications. State broadcaster CCTV, which last month reported that Apple’s app store allowed illegal gambling apps disguised as official lottery apps, said Sunday that 25,000 apps had been removed.

Art of the Deal: Michael Cohen faces $20 million bank fraud charge
Vox
… investigation into Cohen, which is being handled by the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, is entering its final stages, and prosecutors are considering filing charges by the end of August — that is, of course, if Cohen doesn’t reach an agreement with prosecutors first. Cohen could reach some sort of plea deal in which he provides information — including to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation — in exchange for leniency.

Texas doctor raped sedated patient, but only gets probation
Vice News
> Shafeeq Sheikh was convicted of the attack, which took place at a Houston hospital, on Thursday. The next day, a jury sentenced him to 10 years of probation and a $10,000 suspended fine, as well as ordered to register as a sex offender.

South Africa test case: Seizure of white-owned game farms
City Press
> Government has begun unilaterally expropriating farms against which land claims have been lodged and where price negotiations with owners have stalled.
> Two game farms in Limpopo appear to be the first properties that will be expropriated without following a court process. The owners, who dispute the validity of the land claims lodged against their property, want R200m for the land, while government has offered them R20m.

Report: E-cigarettes damage DNA
Medical Xpress
> The popularity of electronic cigarettes continues to grow worldwide, as many people view them as a safer alternative to smoking. But the long-term effects of e-cigarette usage, commonly called “vaping,” are unknown. Today, researchers report that vaping may modify the genetic material, or DNA, in the oral cells of users, which could increase their cancer risk.
> The researchers will present their results today at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Video game developers making it harder to quit playing
Wall Street Journal
> Many games today are free, available on multiple devices and double as social networks. Where once games were played and put away for a while, now game companies are routinely delivering new content aimed at keeping players constantly engaged. Some new content is available only for a limited time, a maneuver that tugs at people’s fears of missing out, psychologists say.

Miami Herald endorses GOP candidate who claims aliens abducted her
Raw Story
Kinda looks like the Joker, no?
Bettina-Rodriguez-Aguilera-800x430 copy

Cruise ship passenger falls into sea … sings, treads water for 10 hours
USA Today
> The 46-year-old British woman, Kay Longstaff, fell off a Norwegian Cruise Line around midnight Saturday, plunging into the Adriatic Sea. She told Croatian news channel HRT that she was sitting at the back of the deck before the fall. She was roughly 60 miles away from the Croatian coast.

Giuliani tries in vain to explain his “truth isn’t truth” gaffe
Newser
After a consultation with spin-doctors, the patient’s feeling much better.giuliani-truth

And then there’s Tomi Lahren, Fox News idiot. Yes, she really did tweet these words:
tomi-2

 

Sunday, Aug. 19

Giuliani: Truth isn’t truth

“Truth is truth,” Todd responded.

“No, no, it isn’t truth,” Giuliani said. “Truth isn’t truth. The President of the United States says, “I didn’t …”

A startled Todd answered: “Truth isn’t truth?”

Giuliani: “No, no, no.”

Todd: “This is going to become a bad meme.“

giuliani.jpg

The NFL’s first male cheerleader

(New Orleans Advocate) While NFL clubs — including the Saints — have had men and women perform cheerleading stunts together before, it is believed that Peron and Jinnies in late March became the first men in league history hired to perform dance routines with an otherwise all-female squad.

cheer

More Americans crowdfunding medical bills

(Yahoo Finance) “Despite the progress that’s been made in the last five years because of the Affordable Care Act, there are still almost 28 million people in the U.S. without [health] coverage. We are the only major industrial nation that doesn’t provide basic health insurance to all of its citizens. In some sense, failure is on Congress and its inability to find a way for everyone to be insured.”

Kevin Spacey movie earns $126 on abysmal opening day

(The Hollywood Reporter) The ensemble crime-drama Billionaire Boys Club quietly opened Friday in 10 theaters scattered in select states across the U.S. The indie film earned an abysmal $126 for the day, following its release on premium VOD last month, according to those with access to theater grosses.

Little contact lenses = big plastics disposal problem

(Inverse.com) According to the findings, presented Sunday at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, anywhere from six to 10 metric tonsof plastic lenses end up in United States wastewater annually. Because of the way wastewater is treated, all that plastic ends up contributing to microplastic pollution currently building up in waterways, which eventually makes its way into the food chain. It’s an especially timely problem as the use of contact lenses is steadily rising.

Conserving oil doesn’t matter, US gov’t sez

(AP via The Daily Herald) The Department of Energy announced the policy shift in a memo made public this month. The memo comes in support of an administration proposal to freeze car mileage standards.

The statement takes note of a shale oil boom that has made the country a contender for title of top global oil producer.

Trump wants race war, Omarosa claims

(The Hill) Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday said President Trump is “disingenuous” in his efforts to help the African-American community, and accused the president of wanting to start a race war.

“We have a lot to lose right now,” Manigault Newman said on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation,” referencing Trump’s appeal to African-American voters during the 2016 campaign.

“I believe he wants to start a race war in this country,” she added.

White House lawyer flips

(NY Times) WASHINGTON — The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, has cooperated extensively in the special counsel investigation, sharing detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise, according to a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter.

In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s fury toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it. He provided the investigators examining whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice a clear view of the president’s most intimate moments with his lawyer.

(AP via the Toronto Globe and Mail) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was accused in court filings Friday of destroying evidence relevant to the case of families from Sandy Hook Elementary School, who are suing him for claiming the massacre was a hoax.
— Attorneys for two Sandy Hook victims noted that Mr. Jones said during a recent broadcast of his radio program that he’d told his staff to delete information from the website of his Infowars media company, after CNN cited content from it for violating Twitter policies.

 

Weekend Aug. 17-18-19

The NFL’s first male cheerleader

(New Orleans Advocate) While NFL clubs — including the Saints — have had men and women perform cheerleading stunts together before, it is believed that Peron and Jinnies in late March became the first men in league history hired to perform dance routines with an otherwise all-female squad.

cheer

More Americans crowdfunding medical bills

(Yahoo Finance) “Despite the progress that’s been made in the last five years because of the Affordable Care Act, there are still almost 28 million people in the U.S. without [health] coverage. We are the only major industrial nation that doesn’t provide basic health insurance to all of its citizens. In some sense, failure is on Congress and its inability to find a way for everyone to be insured.”

Kevin Spacey movie earns $126 on abysmal opening day

(The Hollywood Reporter) The ensemble crime-drama Billionaire Boys Club quietly opened Friday in 10 theaters scattered in select states across the U.S. The indie film earned an abysmal $126 for the day, following its release on premium VOD last month, according to those with access to theater grosses.

Little contact lenses = big plastics disposal problem

(Inverse.com) According to the findings, presented Sunday at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, anywhere from six to 10 metric tonsof plastic lenses end up in United States wastewater annually. Because of the way wastewater is treated, all that plastic ends up contributing to microplastic pollution currently building up in waterways, which eventually makes its way into the food chain. It’s an especially timely problem as the use of contact lenses is steadily rising.

Conserving oil doesn’t matter, US gov’t sez

(AP via The Daily Herald) The Department of Energy announced the policy shift in a memo made public this month. The memo comes in support of an administration proposal to freeze car mileage standards.

The statement takes note of a shale oil boom that has made the country a contender for title of top global oil producer.

Trump wants race war, Omarosa claims

(The Hill) Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday said President Trump is “disingenuous” in his efforts to help the African-American community, and accused the president of wanting to start a race war.

“We have a lot to lose right now,” Manigault Newman said on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation,” referencing Trump’s appeal to African-American voters during the 2016 campaign.

“I believe he wants to start a race war in this country,” she added.

White House lawyer flips

(NY Times) WASHINGTON — The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, has cooperated extensively in the special counsel investigation, sharing detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise, according to a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter.

In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s fury toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it. He provided the investigators examining whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice a clear view of the president’s most intimate moments with his lawyer.

(AP via the Toronto Globe and Mail) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was accused in court filings Friday of destroying evidence relevant to the case of families from Sandy Hook Elementary School, who are suing him for claiming the massacre was a hoax.
— Attorneys for two Sandy Hook victims noted that Mr. Jones said during a recent broadcast of his radio program that he’d told his staff to delete information from the website of his Infowars media company, after CNN cited content from it for violating Twitter policies.

60 intelligence pros slam Trump on security clearances
Reuters via Yahoo
— President Donald Trump faced an unprecedented outcry from former intelligence officials on Friday after stripping the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, but Trump defended his move and said he planned another one soon.
— The bipartisan group, which included Robert Gates, George Tenet, David Petraeus, James Clapper and Leon Panetta, lashed out at the president in a scathing letter released late on Thursday. By Friday evening, a separate group of 60 former intelligence officers added their voices in their own letter.

There are a heckuva lotta water planets out there, scientists say
Huge implications for possibility of life
Phys.org
— Now a new evaluation of data from the -hunting Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia mission indicates that many of the known planets may contain as much as 50% . This is much more than the Earth’s 0.02% (by weight) water content.
— “It was a huge surprise to realize that there must be so many water-worlds”, said lead researcher Dr. Li Zeng (Harvard University),

> Welfare investigators track drivers to find fraud.
> Privacy group raises red flags.
Sacramento Bee

Facebook dupes advertisers, fakes numbers, lawsuit says
East Bay Times
— Facebook allegedly misled advertisers on its platform by demonstrating it had a far larger audience size in U.S. cities and states than it actually had, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
— The lawsuit, filed by a Kansas-based aromatherapy fashionwear business owner, alleged Facebook ballooned its “Potential Reach” number for how many users were targeted by an advertisement …

Amazon among the suitors of Landmark Theaters
Newsmax

The new employee perk that’s slowly taking hold:
Help for those caring for aging parents.
Chicago Tribune
— Employers most commonly accommodate caregivers with flexible hours, part-time schedules, counseling and services that help them find specialists or assisted-living facilities, Laengerich said. Some offer educational resources around how to navigate a loved one’s cancer treatment or have difficult conversations about wills and whether mom should stop driving.

Two dozen sad wing-nuts cost DC $2.6 million
Reason
unite-the-right-protesters-arrive-in-dc-march-under-police-escort-amid-counterprotests-1050x600

Google workers fight plan to build censored search engine for China
Vice News
— Project Dragonfly, as the secret operation is known, raised “urgent moral and ethical questions” and the signatories asked Google’s leadership to be more transparent on the move.

starChina gains ability to strike US forces, Pentagon says
The Independent
“The (Chinese military) may continue to extend its operations, demonstrating the capability to strike US and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam,” the report said.

Musk admits he’s freaking out
CNBC
musck-bwsketch— At multiple points in an hourlong interview with The New York Times, he choked up, noting that he nearly missed his brother’s wedding this summer and spent his birthday holed up in Tesla’s offices as the company raced to meet elusive production targets on a crucial new model.
— Asked if the exhaustion was taking a toll on his physical health, Mr. Musk answered: “It’s not been great, actually. I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned.”
>>> Tesla shares getting slammed

Feds push to cut SEC reporting in half, to twice a year
Bloomberg
— Earlier this year, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon urged companies to stop issuing quarterly earnings guidance. But moving away from reporting earnings every three months would be a much more dramatic change that would almost certainly trigger resistance from shareholders who want transparency from the companies they invest in.

wealth-congress.png

NYU makes med school tuition free
Forbes

Low-carb mania could shorten dieters’ lives
BBC
√ I know, I know. Yet another study that contradicts the other studies … still. Might be worth considering.

Good ol’ boy puts the brakes on science research
The Guardian
Prominent US climate scientists have told the Guardian that the Trump administration is holding up research funding as their projects undergo an unprecedented political review by the high-school football teammate of the US interior secretary.

Pentagon rains on Trump’s military parade
Newsweek
… The move came just hours after the Department of Defense released a new estimate projecting that the parade would cost $92 million, $80 million more than the original $12 million the Pentagon had estimated last month.
√ The bureaucracy has played the White House big time.
>>> DC mayor mocks Trump over canceled parade
“finally got thru to the reality star in the White House.”

TODAY’S DOG AND PONY SHOW

dog-pony-juggle> Trump asks jailed pastor to be “patriot hostage” as U.S.-Turkey feud escalates

CBS news and other outlets fell for this one. It’s obviously a can of dog food to feed Trump’s rabid base. Imagine! A Man of God jailed by the Heathen Godless Moos-slams.

Thurs. Aug 16

Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley hides its diversity data

diversity-tech-final-1200x640

typewriter-realnews-line

HONESTY WINS!
Donald Trump, founder, Trump University, tweeting from the White House this morning.
Trump’s lies: 4,229 and counting (Washington Post)

New fracking wells are using hundreds of times more water than their predecessors
Popular Science
… The increase was as much as 770 percent in the Permian region of West Texas. There, for gas-producing wells, water use went from from about 350 gallons per foot of well in 2011 to 2335 gallons per foot of well in 2016. 

US bosses now earn 312 times the average worker’s wage
The Guardian
— The rise came after the bosses of America’s largest companies got an average pay rise of 17.6% in 2017, taking home an average of $18.9m in compensation while their employees’ wages stalled, rising just 0.3% over the year.
>>> Employers recruiting younger workers, and breaking the law?
NPR
— After working at a call center for two decades, Linda Bradley’s job came to an end about a year and a half ago. Since her layoff, she has combed online job sites every day looking for work — without much luck.
— Bradley, who is 45 and lives near Columbus, Ohio, began suspecting age discrimination after someone at her union mentioned how recruiters often target online ads at younger candidates. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh, that’s why I wasn’t seeing some of the ads that my daughter has seen on her Facebook,’ ” she says.
SEE OUR PAGE OF RECENT STORIES ABOUT WORK IN AMERICA

The re-packaging of marijuana
Gizmodo
“Why would you buy a gram on the corner when you could buy something that looks like it’s from Whole Foods?”
pot pack

On the horizon? A marijuana market for all North America?
Newsweek
— Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, who co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017, told Newsweek that he sees a legal cross-border North American market as “not just possible” but “probable.”

Veterans group sues to block “shadow” rulers of VA
Propublica
— A liberal veterans group is suing to block the influence of three outside advisers who have been secretly influencing the Department of Veterans Affairs from Mar-a-Lago.

Bio-plastics could work, but would require enormous investment
The Conversation
… 
any breakthroughs in materials science need to be coupled with sustainable methods for bioplastic production and a well-oiled system to direct bioplastic goods into composting facilities.

After making 650 sick, Chipotle to retrain all its workers
USA Today

Overdose total hits 76 in park near Yale
AP
— People on and around the historic New Haven Green near Yale University began falling ill shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, and the overdoses continued into Thursday morning. No deaths were reported, and most people brought to hospitals have been discharged, officials said.
— Toxicology testing remained incomplete Thursday. Some victims tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl, but it appeared most if not all the overdoses were caused only by a potent batch of “K2” synthetic marijuana…
.>>> US drug overdose deaths rose to 72,000 last year
The Guardian

Trees migrating west to escape climate change
EcoWatch

Throwing more $$$ at the Pentagon doesn’t make America safer
The National Interest
… defense spending totaled just north of $600 billion, a nearly 20 percent increase in funding in the past few years.
army

A New Home for $90,000? Manufactured Housing Is Making a Comeback
Bloomberg

Farmers already preparing for the Big Dry
West’s biggest reservoir nearing critical level
Wall Street Journal
… the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water and power in the West, said there is a 52% probability that water levels will fall below a threshold of 1,075 feet elevation by 2020. If Lake Mead’s water levels fall below that threshold, it could trigger the first ever federal shortage declaration on the Colorado River—which experts say could undermine the Southwest’s economy.

Neigh! Southwest Airlines to allow miniature horses onboard
SomecrappyFoxstation

Wed. Aug. 15

Trump revokes Brennan’s security clearance…
Brennan: I will not relent

Reporter wrecks Trump’s rationale for revoking Brennan’s clearance by pointing out they haven’t revoked Flynn’s
Raw Story

typewriter-realnews-lineTurnout in Tuesday night primaries:

  • Minnesota: Dem 580,962; GOP 319,276
  • Wisconsin: Dem 537,840; GOP 456,007
  • Connecticut: Dem 211,499; GOP 142,890
  • Vermont: Dem 57,102; GOP 35,840

Wisconsin’s Walker figures he’s in for rough ride
Talking Points Memo
— Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his Democratic detractors have been in a no-holds-barred brawl for eight years now. But there’s one thing the two sides can agree on: This election is Democrats’ best chance to beat him.

5 things about Christine Hallquist, trailblazing Vermont candidate
Boston Globe
Hallquist made history Tuesday night when she captured the Democratic nomination for governor in Vermont, making her the first transgender candidate to get a major-party gubernatorial nod in US history.

Congress snoozes as tariff cronyism gets worse
Reason
— Commerce Department now has 120 people working full-time deciding which businesses are exempt from tariffs.
… Thousands of American companies have filed more than 33,000 requests for exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs, but fewer than 1,500 have been granted and the vast majority remain in limbo.
√ A suspicious person might view this as an opportunity for favoritism, bribery, cronyism and corruption. No?

Governor candidates blaming each other for Florida’s killer algae
New Republic
… more pollution, less oversight, and a depleted budget for remediation set the stage for the current algal explosion.

Authors of crazy Qanon conspiracy theory
did it for … three guesses … money? money? money?
NBC News
… Their move to Reddit was key to Qanon’s eventual spread. There, they were able to tap into a larger audience of conspiracy theorists, and drive discussion with their analysis of each Q post. From there, Qanon crept to Facebook where it found a new, older audience via dozens of public and private groups.

The obesity epidemic: It’s WHAT we’re eating, not how much
The Guardian
… The light begins to dawn when you look at the nutrition figures in more detail. Yes, we ate more in 1976, but differently. Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yoghurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps.

Corona beer giant bets $3.8 billion on cannabis drink
Bloomberg

A piss-poor solution

paris urinals
In Paris, authorities are taking an unusual approach to combat the scourge of public urination: Make urination even more public. The city is experimenting with completely exposed, eco-friendly urinals.

Turkey’s econ crisis? That’s nothin’
What about China’s?
NY Times Opinion
… Now the question is whether Turkey is poised to trigger a wider global crisis, the way the fall of the Thai baht did in 1997. The answer is not clear. The fall of the Turkish lira has had a negative effect on other emerging market currencies, but few of those countries share Turkey’s dual problem of having large foreign debt and government policies that fuel inflation.
But there is an even bigger question looming: The strong dollar that is weakening Turkey’s economy may also be undermining the world’s second-largest economy, China.
… China is in a tough spot. The strengthening dollar threatens to provoke more capital flight out of China, but any effort to shore up the renminbi in response could further slow the Chinese economy. For years Beijing has responded to signs of weakness in the economy by printing more renminbi, which worked fine when the United States was also running a very loose monetary policy. Now that the United States is raising interest rates, lowering rates in China will only give Chinese investors more reason to leave the country.
…The fate of the world economy depends on how China negotiates this dilemma.

Italy’s populists called warnings of bridge collapse a “fairy tale”
Vice News
bridge italy.jpg… 
Di Maio and Toninelli’s own party, the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement, had repeatedly dismissed warnings about the safety of the bridge before coming to power, in line with its populist opposition to major infrastructure projects over their cost and the disruption they cause to locals.
… A 2013 statement on the party’s website dismissed warnings of “the imminent collapse of the Morandi Bridge” as a “favoletta” — a fairy tale.

3 other drivers say “stand your ground” dude threatened them
CBS News

Georgia cops shock weed-pulling grandma with taser
Raw Story
√ Put down that dandelion or I’ll have to shoot.
87yearoldwoman.png

Boys, girls to use same bathrooms in new Kansas City schools 
Kansas City Star
— The bathrooms still have an open alcove area with a common trough sink, but the toilets are enclosed inside individual stalls with floor-to-ceiling walls and lockable doors.

Biden “under doctor’s orders not to travel”
Chicago Sun-Times

Garbage companies are refusing your recycling.
The trade war with China will make it worse
San Francisco Chronicle
The Chinese “… are shutting the door on a lot of materials,” said Kimberly Scheibly at Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael, where mixed paper has been accumulating for months as the firm looks for a buyer.

Want your paycheck to go further? Move to Duluth
CBS Moneywatch
By contrast, salaries were lowest after adjusting for the high cost of living in cities like Honolulu, Santa Cruz, California, and Miami.

simpleline
“The entire global food system is a nightmare on the horizon.”
… a warning that our modern food system is interconnected in ways we will fail to truly grasp until “a single shock or stress impacts the system.”
— Grub Street 
simpleline

L.A. to install nation’s first subway body scanners
Yahoo/AP
— The deployment of the portable scanners, which project waves to do full-body screenings of passengers walking through a station without slowing them down, will happen in the coming months.

The average American takes less holiday time than a Medieval peasant, economist reveals
The (UK) Sun
The US is the only advanced country with no national vacation policy whatsoever …

US Household Debt Hits Record $13.3 Trillion
Zero Hedge

Tue. Aug 14

Vermont nominates first transgender candidate for govermor
AP

Kansas governor concedes squeaker to Trump-backed Kobach
Politico
— Kobach stretched his narrow primary lead to 345 votes as late ballots were tallied for a week after the August 7 primary.

New Mexico judge grants bail for 5 in notorious child abuse case, then gets threats
Albuquerque Journal
“One caller said she wished someone would come and smash the judge’s head.”
About 3 p.m. Friday, the Taos government and courthouse complex was closed because of the threats.

Manafort defense rests without calling witnesses
The Hill
— Attorneys for one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort rested their case Tuesday without calling any witnesses or presenting any further evidence to defend their client, who faces charges of tax evasion and bank fraud that could land him in prison for decades.
— Manafort briefly spoke in the courtroom without the jury present, saying he did not wish to testify on his own behalf.

Grand Jury: Pennsylvania priests abused > 1000 children
AP
“Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible not only did nothing: They hid it all.”

Researchers predict extreme heat for next 4 years
The Guardian
— Researcher cautions that this should not be seen as a prediction that Europe will definitely have more heatwaves, the US more forest fires, South Africa more drought or the Arctic more ice melt. The likelihood of these events will increase, but his model is on a broad global scale. It does not predict which part of the world will experience warming or in which season.

We are guinea pigs in a worldwide experiment: microplastics
The Conversation

albatross
A black footed albatross chick with plastics in its stomach lies dead on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Midway sits amid a collection of man-made debris called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Along the paths of Midway, there are piles of feathers with rings of plastic in the middle – remnants of birds that died with plastic in their guts.

Yep, folks like their small, locally owned ISPs
Motherboard
— … in countless parts of the country, consumers are increasingly turning to community-run broadband networks as an alternative to this cavalcade of dysfunction. More than 750 communities around the country have now either built their own broadband networks or built local cooperatives in a quest for better, cheaper service.

Even an 11-year-old hacker can change votes at Florida voting machine
Alternet


Charge: Mayor hit kid on bike, then took off
Raw Story

Complaint: Commerce Sec’y Ross engaging in self-enrichment
Alternet

China tries, can’t mute, Hong Kong nationalist
CNBC

China’s econ cools, so gov’t plans spending spree
Reuters
— With its trade war with the United States threatening to pile more pressure on China’s economy, Beijing on Tuesday reported downbeat economic data, rolled out a $14 billion urban railway plan and pushed local governments to speed up issuance of special bonds for funding infrastructure projects.

Surveilance tech spreading quickly across China
Reuters
surveil-china

— The officers took Liu’s iPhone, hooked it up to a handheld device that looked like a laptop and told him they were “checking his phone for illegal information”.
— Liu’s experience in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital, is not uncommon in a region that has been wracked by separatist violence and a crackdown by security forces.
— But such surveillance technologies, tested out in the laboratory of Xinjiang, are now quietly spreading across China.
— Government procurement documents collected by Reuters and rare insights from officials show the technology Liu encountered in Xinjiang is encroaching into cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
— Police stations in almost every province have sought to buy the data-extraction devices for smartphones since the beginning of 2016, coinciding with a sharp rise in spending on internal security and a crackdown on dissent, the data show.

“Stand your ground” guy who killed another in parking dispute is charged
Vice News
— The white man who shot and killed a black man over a parking space in Florida will be charged with manslaughter after all, despite the sheriff’s office previously declining to pursue  charges due to the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
— Michael Drejka, the 47-year-old who killed Markeis McGlockton after he parked in a disabled spot outside a Circle K convenience store and gas station in Clearwater in July, was charged with manslaughter Monday.
√ Ah yes, another satisfied member of the Well-Armed Militia. Even if this guy wins his case, the legal process will bankrupt him. How many times will he wish he’d never bought that gun? How many times will he wish he’d just passed that parking spot without opening his big stupid yap?

Mexican border radio station bought by China co. for … propaganda?
Free Beacon

Cops say lunch ladies stole half a million bucks
NBC Connecticut

Political spending at Trump properties balloons from $35K to $3500K
McClatchy
— “Rather than fully divest his properties, Trump has raised the art of the self-deal to unprecedented heights, allowing political campaigns to effectively pay tribute to the most powerful person in today’s Republican party through spending at Trump’s own properties,” said Alan Zibel, research director at Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project.

Trump aides hope to “spin” his use of racial slurs
Bloomberg
… Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson is heard saying she is trying to find out the context “to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it.”
— But the audio also makes clear that Pierson and other top Trump officials had not actually heard the alleged recording, and that Trump denied its existence at the time.