Wed. May 23

Abrams romps to victory in Georgia

abrams— Former state Rep. Stacey Abrams crushed state Rep. Stacey Evans in Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. If she prevails in November, Abrams will make history as the first female African-American elected to a governorship. Republicans, however, have won four straight elections for governor in Georgia.
— In a statement after the race was called, she thanked voters “who believed that a little black girl who sometimes had to go without lights or running water … could become the first woman gubernatorial nominee from either party in Georgia’s history.”

“Deportation bus” candidate defeated
The Hill
— A Republican candidate in Georgia’s gubernatorial race who ran a “Deportation Bus Tour” to the state’s “sanctuary cities” was defeated in the GOP primary Tuesday night.
— State Sen. Michael Williams, who skipped out on running for reelection for his state seat for his gubernatorial bid, earned about 5 percent of the vote in the primary.

30-year old in court, refusing to move from parents house
NBC New York
rotondo— In a real-life case of “Failure to Launch,” an upstate New York judge Tuesday ordered a 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house after they went to court to have him ejected.
— Michael Rotondo told the judge he knows his parents want him out of the split-level ranch they share. But he argued that as a family member, he’s entitled to six months’ more time.
… and from
— As Rotondo’s parents sat quietly in the court gallery, Rotondo appeared to crave the spotlight. At one point, the judge called Rotondo up to the bench. Rotondo noted that microphones placed by the media were on the lawyer’s podium. He tried to take the podium up with him.
— Afteward, Rotondo called out to the television camera crews to meet him outside the courtroom for an interview.

They’re already weaseling…
Foxconn, getting massive taxpayer money, cuts back investment in Wisconsin
Nikkei Asian Review
— Foxconn is considering producing small to medium-size displays for Apple, carmakers and others to lower initial costs at its supposed $10 billion factory in Wisconsin.
— Foxconn’s shift to making diversifying displays for cars, personal computers, tablets, mobile devices, televisions and niche products is a change from its previous plan to churn out large panels, mainly for TVs, at the new plant.
— Foxconn and other panel makers face a glut of TV displays that will likely last for years, as many Chinese companies are aggressively adding capacity.

2 in 5 Americans can’t scape together $400 to meet emergency
— Another 25 percent of respondents had zero retirement savings or pension.

Kim, eyeing Singapore meet with the Orange One, fears coup, assassination
Vice News
“For the Kim family, everyone is a potential enemy,” Choi Min Jun, a North Korean defector told the BBC. “The North Korean military, the General Staff Department, the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, as well as the entire North Korean people, they are all potential enemies.”

Oh! Trade wars are “easy to win”
except this one,
which is “too hard to get done.”
√ Seriously, there’s no need to read beyond the headline. It’ll just be some other bullshit tomorrow.

Sarah Sanders: Being called a liar bothers me
The Hill
“One of the few things you HAVE are your integrity and reputation,” Sanders said.
√ No, Sanders, you mean HAD.

“(Ryan and McConnell) didn’t care who their nominee was, how he got elected or what effects having a foreign power influence our election would have on the nation, as long as they won.”
— James Clapper, former director of national intelligence
Quoted on The Hill

Putin’s “unlimited range” missile crashes after 22-mile flight
The Telegraph (UK)
— “Since its range is unlimited, it can manoeuvre as long as you want,” Mr Putin said. “For now, no one in the world has anything like this.”
— But sources with direct knowledge of a US intelligence report told CNBC that four tests of the missile between November and February all resulted in crashes.

American suffers mysterious sonic injury in China
Channel News Asia
— The US embassy in China issued a health alert after a US government employee experienced an “abnormal” sound and suffered a mild brain injury – in an incident reminiscent of a mysterious illness that hit diplomats in Cuba.

Banks make record profits as Congress set to weaken regulations
— The rollbacks increase the measure at which banks are considered “too big too fail” and subject to tougher restrictions and stress tests from having $50 billion in assets to $250 billion. Additionally, smaller banks with less than $10 billion in assets would not have to comply with the Volcker rule, which stops them from taking large risks with money insured by taxpayers.

Fake Wal-Mart kidnapping was staged to make social media splash
The News & Observer

Four men and the one woman — all either 19 or 20 — plotted the hoax over dinner and behind the Walmart Sunday night before showing up in front to carry out the plan, according to police. Their plan was to film onlookers’ horrified reactions as they witnessed the “abduction,” according to police. Then the group planned to post the video and make a splash on social media.

Facebook will prevent revenge porn,
just give them photos of yourself nude
Vice News
√ What could possibly go wrong?

The Well-Regulated Militia
Man will plead guilty to gunning down 5 in Fort Lauderdale Airport.
NY Times
Esteban Santiago would serve five consecutive life sentences, followed by 120 years in prison for the shooting rampage on Jan. 6, 2017.
√ The weird thing is, there’s so much of this happening in America, that I don’t even remember the original event. 

In 2018, have more died in school shootings or in military service?
As so often happens, it depends on who’s counting.

Support for gun control fades, but still favored by 7 in 10 Americans

NFL owners mull penalty for anthem kneeling
NFL club owners are considering potential 15-yard penalties for kneeling during the national anthem among ways of coping with a backlash over player protests, Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday.
√ Read this AFP version and avoid obnoxious videos on Sports Illustrated site.

Whoops, that “rattlesnake fell into my kayak” story was kinda bullshit
It turns out the kayaker in question “reached out” to grab the snake.

Congress passes patients’ “right to try” measure
— Patients with life-threatening conditions could soon have a new way to ask drug makers for medicines the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet approved, after the House on Tuesday voted to approve a version of “right-to-try” legislation.
— The House passed the legislation 250-169. Now, the measure awaits a signature from President Trump, who is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates
— Scientists have identified the mechanism that allows breast cancer cells to lie dormant in other parts of the body only to reemerge years later with lethal force, according to a study published Tuesday.
— In experiments with human cells and live mice, researchers showed that disabling the mechanism — with drugs or gene manipulation — crippled the cancer cells and inhibited their capacity to spread.

Tue. May 22

Rudy Giuliani’s deal to boost criminal opioid maker
The Guardian
– The US government secured a criminal conviction against Purdue Pharma in the mid-2000s but failed to curb sales of the drug after Giuliani reached a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business.
— Purdue Pharma hired Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now Donald Trump’s lawyer, to head off a federal investigation in the mid-2000s into the company’s marketing of the powerful prescription painkiller at the centre of an epidemic estimated to have claimed at least 300,000 lives.
— While Giuliani was not able to prevent the criminal conviction over Purdue’s fraudulent claims for OxyContin’s safety and effectiveness, he was able to reach a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business with the federal government which would have killed a large part of the multibillion-dollar market for the drug.
— Giuliani also secured an agreement that greatly restricted further prosecution of the pharmaceutical company and kept its senior executives out of prison.

ACLU aska Amazon to quit selling facial-recognition tech to cops
— The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”
— The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency — the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon — to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.
— But privacy advocates have been concerned about expanding the use of facial recognition to body cameras worn by officers or safety and traffic cameras that monitor public areas, allowing police to identify and track people in real time.
>>> Orlando police already testing it

McDonald’s workers march on new Chicago HQ, demadning $15/hr
CBS MoneyWatch

This Professor Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment For Years.
Then An Anonymous Online Letter Did What Whispers Couldn’t.
Buzz Feed
prof— Anneliese Harlander hadn’t thought much about the professor in the five years since graduating from UC Santa Cruz. But the memories flooded back this January, when an old college friend called to ask: Have you seen the letter?
— The long, single-spaced Google Doc, shared widely among UC alumni, contained explosive allegations about Gopal Balakrishnan, a Marxist historian.
>>> And the Chronicle of Higher Education fights back...
— The case of Gopal Balakrishnan, who is accused of serial harassment, has divided faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Where is the line between aggressive action and vigilante justice? (Paywall)

Americans prize cellphones over cars, payment patterns suggest

Creeping lava flow threatens Hawaii power station
— Molten lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has entered the grounds of Puna Geothermal Venture, a geothermal power plant that provides about 25 percent of the Big Island’s power.
— The 38 Megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) power plant, which is located in the east rift zone of the Kilauea volcano, was shut down soon after the eruptions began on May 3. Yesterday, lava from Fissure 22 came to within 820 feet of the plant’s nearest well pad before stalling. Overnight, workers managed to cap the 11th and final well at the facility in anticipation of the lava eventually reaching the facility, and to prevent the uncontrollable release of toxic gases.lava-puna-geothermal

Democrats Next Big Thing: Government guaranteed jobs
NY Times (edited)
— Prominent Democrats — stung by their eroding support from working-class voters but buoyed by the deficit-be-damned approach of ruling Republicans — are embracing a big idea from a bygone era: guaranteed employment.
— The “job guarantee” plans, many of them pressed by Democratic White House hopefuls, vary in scope and cost, but they all center on government-sponsored employment that pays well above the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage.  — a New Deal for a new age, absent the bread lines and unemployment rates of the Great Depression. The most aggressive plans seek to all but eradicate unemployment and to set a new wage floor for all working Americans, pressuring  pressure private employers to raise wages.  if they want to compete for workers.
— How such guarantees would be paid for is still largely unresolved. And Criticism of the idea has emerged not only from conservatives who detect a whiff of socialism but also from liberals who say it’s guaranteed employment is the wrong way to attack the central issue:  facing workers in this low-unemployment economy: stagnant wages.

Houston football team cheats its cheerleaders, lawsuit says
Courthouse News Service
cheerleaders-654359_960_720— The Houston Texans stiff its cheerleaders for the hours they spend in the gym and at official team events, and fires them for complaining about the squad’s weight-shaming coach, a former cheerleader claims in a federal class action.

The Well-Armed Militia
Boy seeking snacks finds gun, shoots cousin
The victim, age 8, was rushed to Akron Children’s Hospital where he was listed in critical condition as of Monday morning. Investigators said the shooter, a  9-year-old boy, went into the kitchen to look for snacks when he opened a cupboard and found the handgun. He then pointed the gun at the younger boy and shot him.
>>> Armed kid chases adults off playground

Tesla in denial after slam by Consumer Reports
— “Despite record range and agile handling, issues with braking, controls, and ride quality hurt the Model 3’s Overall Score,” says Consumer Reports.

Harley-Davidson cashes in tax cuts,
shuts Kansas factory,
moves hundreds of jobs to Thailand


College named for Robert E. Lee mulls reparations
to descendants of slaves it once owned.
Vice News
rllee— Washington and Lee University is considering hiring a genealogist to identify descendants of the 84 slaves owned by the university, and working toward some kind of reconciliation. Suggestions include funding school tuition at colleges of the descendants’ choice, hosting an annual gathering for living descendants on campus, and hosting campus lectures about the slaves’ contribution to the campus.

Trump, tired of winning, is losing to China and here’s three reasons why
North Korea, Steve Mnuchin and (surprise!)  a lack of focus internally. “The Chinese have played this beautifully.”

Who’s winning the trade wars? Certainly not the US
— Brazil could bring millions of new acres of land into production faster with the help of Chinese investments in its roads and railways, a boom for soybean farmers seeking an edge over U.S. farmers. In Europe, Airbus is poised to ramp up production to fill Chinese orders that were originally meant to go to U.S.-based Boeing. Australia, Canada and other countries may be able to export the scrap aluminum and other recyclables the U.S. used to send to China en masse.

Today’s Dog & Pony Shows
So-called judge orders kid to pay $36 million for starting fire
The Oregonian
dog-pony-juggle— Jack Morris, the lawyer for the 15-year-old who set the fire, called the figure “absurd” and “absolutely silly.” He also challenged the constitutionality of juvenile restitution on state, federal and policy grounds. He urged the judge to impose a “reasonable and rational” amount.
√ Seems the judge likes to make headlines. And speaking of headlines …

“The (daily White House press) briefing has become more of a show than an outlet of information for the media.”
— Sean Spicer, former White House paid liar.

Grandstanding asshole Rep. Steve King introduces bill to jail officials who thwart ICE raids
√ Not gonna happen, but his rube supporters will cheer and the dumber ones will send him money.

>>> Friends of Steve defend Sage of the Cornfields
(Warning: it’s a satirical rant)Steve-King-Confederate-Flag-3-1024x655

Mon. May 21

typewriter-realnews.inkNeither the “royal” wedding nor the “Yanny-Laurel” fad qualify as real news. We keep looking for news that shapes the nation’s future. Let’s see … 

5 truths about mass shootings in America
Frederick Lemieux, criminologist
The Conversation
— These facts are not opinions.
Radical idea: Kids, parents boycott schools until gun laws change
Politicus USA
“Maybe it’s time for America’s 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws.”

Google …

… removes “don’t be evil” clause from code of conduct
Maybe because they’re “rigging the game”
60 Minutes
“Google wields enormous power across the industry. And they set the rules. The question is who’s watching Google?”
— Jeremy Stoppelman, founder, Yelp

Elections have consequences …
Supreme Court screws workers
CBS News
— The Supreme Court says employers can prohibit their workers from banding together to complain about pay and conditions in the workplace.
— The justices ruled 5-4 Monday, with the court’s conservative members in the majority, that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration to resolve disputes. The outcome is an important victory for business interests.
An estimated 25 million employees work under contracts that prohibit collective action by employees who want to raise claims about some aspect of their employment.
— The Trump administration backed the businesses, reversing the position the Obama administration took in favor of employees.
√ The Court’s conservatives are paying back the corporations that fund the Republican right wing. Round and round it goes as the United States government becomes more and more a captive of its corporations. 

New York City mayor: No more pot arrests
NY Daily News
— Mayor de Blasio will tell the NYPD to stop arresting people for public pot smoking — and launch a new group to officially prepare the city for the outright legalization of marijuana in New York.
— De Blasio, who has long opposed making recreational pot legal, now says he thinks legalization is inevitable and is creating an official task force to get ready for the day when that happens.

Desperate airlines sucking up every pilot they can find
Stars & Stripes
— Airlines’ insatiable demand for pilots threatens to sabotage flight schools’ ability to train new ones. Carriers are raising wages and hoarding every available pilot – including the instructors schools rely on to teach incoming students.
— The very pilot pipeline that is supposed to meet decades of projected labor shortfalls is being squeezed. Some schools have been forced to scale back operations or turn down qualified students because they do not have enough instructors.

Cade Glass, 13, poses by a Cirrus SR20 airplane during a lesson at Chesterfield County Airport near Richmond, Va.

$90 million of liquid meth found in semi’s fuel tank
Fayettville (NC) Observer
— Raul Topete Arreola, 49, and from California, was the driver of a 2009 Peterbuilt semi-truck where authorities discovered 120 gallons of liquid methamphetamine stored in the driver’s side fuel tank, police said.

“Dark Overlord” hackers shrug off reports of arrest
PC Magazine
hacker.jpg— How does it feel to be a wanted cyber-criminal?
— “We all sleep like babies,” says a member of The Dark Overlord, an infamous hacking group that continues to elude law enforcement.
— On Wednesday, Serbian authorities said local police and the FBI had arrested a possible member of the group in Belgrade. But The Dark Overlord is shrugging off the news, claiming on Twitter that law enforcement got the wrong man.
— For the past two years, The Dark Overlord has been preying on medical providers, schools, and businesses by stealing their sensitive data and threatening to sell it on black market, unless they pay up, usually in Bitcoin.

Michigan mom banished to Albania as kids sob
USA Today
family— A Michigan mother with no criminal record was deported to Albania without being offered the opportunity to say goodbye to her three children or husband, family members say.
– ICE notified family members of Cile Precetaj’s impending departure and told them to pack her bags 10 days ago. Her husband said that he did not learn that his wife was deported until 4 a.m. Thursday, when she called him from Germany telling him that she was en route to Albania with two ICE agents.


… plan to replace US as world power
While America dawdles and bickers, China is thinking long-term — and acting now, everywhere. There is no U.S. equivalent of a plan for 2025 or 2050 — or really for next year.
… short of workers, may end birth limits
— China is planning to scrap all limits on the number of children a family can have, a historic end to a policy that spurred countless human-rights abuses and left the world’s second-largest economy short of workers.
— The State Council, China’s cabinet, has commissioned research on the repercussions of ending the country’s roughly four-decade-old policy and intends to enact the change nationwide. The leadership wants to reduce the pace of aging in China’s population and remove a source of international criticism.
>>> Are students paying attention? The camera knows
Vice News

Pope opens the Church door to gays
The Guardian
— A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church.
— Juan Carlos Cruz, who spoke privately with the pope two weeks ago about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chile’s most notorious pedophiles, said the issue of his sexuality had arisen because some of the Latin American country’s bishops had sought to depict him as a pervert as they accused him of lying about the abuse. dudes charged with extortion, money laundering
Courthouse News Service
sarid-sahar-2007-roundtable— Two men alleged to be the co-owners of had their own booking photos taken on Wednesday after South Florida police arrested them following a warrant issued by California’s attorney general.
— Sahar Sarid, 44, and Thomas Keesee, 60, face criminal charges for extortion, money laundering and identity theft in connection with, which publishes arrest records gleaned from law keeseeenforcement websites. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra accuses the men of demanding money if an individual wants the records removed from the site.
— Sarid has denied any ownership interest in the site.

Donald Trump yada yada yada
— Trump said something that will turn out to be hot air. No link needed.

Fri. May 18

Nearly 51 million American households can’t afford middle class basics, including housing, food, child care, health care and transportation, a new United Way study has found.
Politicus USA

North Carolina teacher’s widely-noticed claim of poverty is a lie
— His claim he was making “$53 a day to educate your child” turns out to be Fake Math.
Hate to bash a teacher but a lie is a lie, no matter who’s telling it. 

No immigrant workers, no crabmeat
Voice of America
— “I don’t know what we would do or the whole area would do without them. I mean from the stores to… I don’t even know how to describe it because of the impact that they have. They keep it all moving.”
— Robin Hall, co-owner, GW Hall & Son Seafood.

… The Well-Regulated Militia …
At least 8 dead in Texas school shooting
Breaking news from Houston Chronicle

>>> Oregon dude, pissed at loud kids, unloads withs assault rifle
Raw Story
— An Oregon man has been arrested after he allegedly opened fire on an apartment complex, injuring two, after he became angry about loud children, reports Portland’s KPTV.
— The alleged shooter Franklin L. Tomes, became angry about the noise at a children’s birthday party—so he opened fire with an AK-47, unloading 12 rounds and hitting two men.
>>> Police shoot gunman at Trump resort

“We don’t have that kind of party discipline.”
How the Dems failed to block Torture Queen’s route to CIA.

The Intercept
— “He is irreversibly damaged by torture that was unusually cruel and designed to break him. In my over 20 years of experience treating torture victims from around the world, including Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. al-Nashiri presents as one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.”

Beyond injections —  anti-allergy toothpaste
But of course, you can’t get it in Uh-Murrica, because ah…
Popular Science
— The idea is that patients use two dollops of the toothpaste, which comes in a pre-metered pump, daily in lieu of a weekly allergy shot. The toothpaste typically includes six to 10 of a patient’s key allergens; any more than that, Reisacher says, and the efficacy of the desensitization treatment may go down.

Pulitzer-prize winning reporter now works at hot dog joint
The Weekly Standard 

Charlie LeDuff anticipated all the problems that Trump’s election made plain to the rest of us—then he fell into The Hole himself.

UN predicts Russia will keep losing millions of people
Moscow Times

Amsterdamn’s had it with you damn drunken, stoned tourists

Under a plan “to seek a new balance” put forward by the four parties forming the city’s next coalition council, popular activities like beer-bikes and boozy boat trips will be sharply curtailed.

All 34 Chilean bishops resign in child abuse scandal
— Thirty-four Chilean bishops announced their resignation Friday over a child sex abuse scandal within the Church in Chile after three days of intense meetings with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
— “We, all the bishops present in Rome, have tendered our resignation to the Holy Father so that he may decide freely for each of us,” the bishops said in a statement read by a spokesman at the Vatican.

CDC: Hotel pools, hot tubs are major sources of illness
— Between 2000 and 2014, the CDC recorded 493 disease outbreaks related to treated recreational water, resulting in more than 27,000 illnesses and eight deaths. And in almost a third of those outbreaks, the infections could be traced back to hotel pools, hot tubs and spas, the CDC says. In hotels, pools were a major culprit, but 65 cases stemmed from hot tubs or spas.

Almost everybody (but the media) ignores Trump’s tweets

Another step backward for Banana Republic of America
The Guardian
— The asshole’s administration will reinstate a decades-old policy that will strip federal funds from family planning clinics providing abortion or related services.

China buys record amounts of Russian soy, cancels US orders
— China, the world’s biggest soybean importer, almost tripled purchases from Russia amid a trade dispute with the U.S., the biggest producer.
— Russia sold about 850,000 metric tons of soybeans to China from the start of the 12-month season in July through mid-May, according to Russia’s agriculture agency Rosselkhoznadzor. That’s more than during any season before and compares with about 340,000 tons sold during all of the previous period, Chinese customs data show.

Trump warns Kim: He’ll be the next Gaddafi
The Independent
— Donald Trump has warned Kim Jong-un that North Korea will be “decimated” if it does not agree a nuclear deal, and that Mr Kim himself will be treated in the same manner as slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Thur. May 17

Just because something “goes viral” doesn’t mean it’s news.
So on we go, trying to focus on what matters.

Tillerson: Ethics lapses will lead to America’s “twilight years”
The Independent
rex2— “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom”.
— The former Secretary of State also warned that if Americans fail to address the ethics crisis now, it could mean “American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.”

Jesus, does it ever end? Price fixing canned tuna now?
AP via Yahoo
— U.S. prosecutors filed a criminal charge Wednesday against the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the packaged seafood industry.
— A grand jury in San Francisco indicted Christopher Lischewski on one count of price fixing, alleging that from November 2010 to December 2013 he conspired with others in the industry to eliminate competition by setting prices for canned tuna.

US has spent insane $2,800 Billion fighting terrorism
Wall Street Journal
— The report from the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank said the figure included spending on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, in addition to homeland-security efforts and overseas programs. Spending on counterterrorism reached a peak of $260 billion in 2008, accounting for more than a fifth of the government’s discretionary budget.
— The report said the U.S. lacked a system for accounting for spending on counterterrorism and that loopholes have increasingly allowed billions to be spent on items that shouldn’t qualify for emergency funding.
(The cost works out to about $35,000 per family of four.)

Did you sneer during a pat-down?
— Are you on the TSA’s secret watch list?
NY Times
— The Transportation Security Administration has created a new secret watch list to monitor people who may be targeted as potential threats at airport checkpoints simply because they have swatted away security screeners’ hands or otherwise appeared unruly.

“If I’m running late, having a bad day and I’m rude to the screeners, do I get put on the list?”
— Fred Burton, chief security officer at Stratfor, a global intelligence company in Austin, Tex.

Michigan State to pay $500M to Nassar’s victims
The burden will fall mostly on taxpayers. Meanwhile, the folks who enabled and ignored all this will happily collect their pensions and move to Florida.
— Michigan State University has agreed in principle to pay $500 million to settle claims by hundreds of women and girls who say disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar abused them.
— The school will pay $425 million to those 332 current claimants, with $75 million set aside in a trust fund for any future claimants who allege sexual abuse by Nassar.
— MSU president Lou Anna Simon resigned in disgrace but …
Detroit Free Press
— She can choose to return to the faculty, at which point she will get a 12-month research leave at her current salary of $750,000. She then gets her current salary for the next year and 75% of her salary for the next two years. She also gets office space and secretarial support. She also gets the title of “president emeritus.”

Speaking of absurd pensions:
Florida cop who hid from school shooter gets $100K yearly pension
— A Florida sheriff’s deputy who failed to confront a gunman during a Feb. 14 school massacre is receiving a monthly state pension of $8,702.35.
— The SunSentinel reports 55-year-old Scot Peterson, who resigned and retired after the shootings, began receiving payments in April.
— Pension payments are based on the 32 years he worked and the average of his five highest-paid fiscal years.

San Fransiscans need to earn $333K a year to afford modest home
SF Gate
— About 15% of households qualify.

Mortgage rates reach 7-year high
Market Watch
… setting up a test of affordability for the housing market.

Don’t sit down in Durango
Fox News
Or you’re under arrest.

Remember the hole in the ozone? It’s back
Emissions of ozone-destroying chemical mysteriously rising
— A new study from NOAA shows an “unexpected and persistent increase” in global emissions of an ozone-depleting chemical even though an international treaty forced production to completely halt by 2010.
— CFCs—including the second most abundant ozone destroyer, CFC-1—were banned under the landmark Montreal Protocol of 1987, and since then parts of the ozone layer have been slowly recovering.
— NOAA scientists suggest that emissions are most likely from new, unreported production from an unidentified source in eastern Asia.
Gee, you mean the Chinese might be a bit lax on environmental enforcement?

Bitcoin is sucking up so much energy it may not be profitable
— The bitcoin network could use 0.5 percent of the world’s energy consumption by the end of this year, and it could soon cost so much to mine the cryptocurrency that it stops being profitable.
— These figures come from a new commentary published in the journal Joule.

12 years in prison for shoplifting? Wal-Mart’s influence on the law
The Guardian
— The case of a man facing 12 years in prison for shoplifting shows a growing trend in America: corporations successfully pushing state prosecutors to increase shoplifting charges to felonies.

On immigrants:
“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

— Donald J. Trump, whom the Electoral College anointed as President of the United States.






Wed May 16

Shocking, shocking I tell you
N. Korea dumps Trump
NY Times
“North Korea wanted to show that threatening to walk away from a meeting is a negotiating tactic it has mastered long before President Trump did,” said Lee Byong-chul, a senior fellow at the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul.

Gee, kinda reminds me of the Japanese internment, only worse
US ready to hold migrant children on military bases
Chicago Tribune
migrantkids— The Trump administration is making preparations to warehouse migrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications, the latest sign the government is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally.
— The Department of Health and Human Services will make site visits at four military installations in Texas and Arkansas during the next two weeks to evaluate their suitability for child shelters.

Amazon drops bomb in grocery wars

Some kinda whacked-out mystery here
Teacher with dicey past murdered in driveway
rachael-deltondo-2— Two years ago, police came upon DelTondo in a parked car with a juvenile student. She was questioned but not charged.
— However, a year later, a report of the incident was leaked to the press. Her employer, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School then suspended her.

Facebook debuts (ahem) “youth portal” hoping to be relevant to, you know, youth
Facebook launched a new feature called Youth Portal, which it describes as “a central place for teens.” In classic grownups-talking-to-the-youths fashion, it is replete with infantile animations, gratingly simplistic metaphors, and gentle rebukes about online behavior. And in classic Facebook fashion, it also includes several unsettling sections about data use.

Thousands of NC teachers strike- march on Capitol
Raleigh News & Observer

Downtown Raleigh was filled Wednesday morning with thousands of teachers marching up Fayetteville Street to the state legislature to demand that lawmakers do more to raise teacher pay and education spending in North Carolina. As many as 20,000 people are expected to attend the “March for Students and Rally for Respect.” 

The Air Force would like some help
finding box of grenades that “fell off a truck”
— Did you happen to be walking down a gravel road in or near Mountrail County, North Dakota and find a big ol’ crate of explosive grenade rounds? The US Air Force meant to fire those somewhere else, and would really like it if you return them.

Women sweep to victory in House primaries
— In Pennsylvania, the state’s all-male congressional delegation is poised to gain several female additions, as women swept to House Democratic primary victories in a number of Democratic-leaning and contested districts.
— In Nebraska, another woman — a Bernie Sanders-style liberal the party fears could harm its chances of winning back the House this fall — narrowly defeated a top Democratic recruit for a battleground congressional seat.

The crumbling Iran deal will make Russia great again
Moscow Times Op-Ed
… the significant South Korean and Japanese markets are expected to toe the U.S. sanction line and refrain from importing Iranian oil. In that case, Russia will position itself to fill the supply gap.

Two Dems weaken, will vote for Torture Queen
The Guardian
— Her confirmation chances had been shaky since a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, amid an intense and continuing public debate on the torture of terrorism suspects. On Tuesday, Mark Warner, a Virginia senator and the senior Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota both announced they would back Gina Haspel.

California court kills assisted suicide law
— Opponents have argued that the law could lead to coercion and abuse of terminally ill patients.
— “You have people at likely the most vulnerable time of their lives,” says Alexandra Snyder, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, one of the plaintiffs in the case.
— Those people are “potentially facing large medical expenses and that puts them in a position of being vulnerable to pressure not just from families but their own pressure that maybe this is a cheaper, less burdensome way to go.” Snyder says.

Assad is a monster for killing civilians, but uhm…
Did Israel use excessive force against Gazans?
— 100 dead people, 10,000 wounded would probably say yes.

Golfer’s wife behaving badly
glover… “when (Lucas Glover) plays a bad round of golf, (his wife) Krista proceeds to start an altercation with him and telling him how he is a loser and a pussy … how he needs to fire everyone and how he better win or her and the kids would leave him and he would never see their kids again.”
… Lucas told authorities that Krista “had been drinking throughout the day, and after playing a bad round of golf today, she began yelling at him in front of their kids and his mother,” the police report states. “Lucas advised Krista to stop the argument, while in front of the kids.” She put the kids to bed and Lucas was relaxing on the porch when she “began a physical altercation with him causing a laceration to his arm.”

CEO pay: They make $339 while workers make $1
The Guardian

Is it okay if I don’t read the 2,500 page Trump Tower Transcript because I already know that Trump is a criminal, coward, rapist, traitor and money launderer?
But if you want it, here it is (CNN)

Marshall Ramsey / Creators Syndicate

Tue May 15

No caption needed 

Follow the latest from Israel/Palestine at Haaretz

Seattle passes tax on workers, pissing off homeboy Amazon
Courthouse News Service
— The Seattle City Council voted Monday to fund homeless services with a $275-per-employee tax on the city’s largest businesses, including Amazon.
— City Council members worked over the weekend to reach a compromise with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who threatened to veto the original suggestion of $500 per employee, proposing her own plan calling for half that amount.
— The plan rankled Amazon. “We remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”

6 winners and 4 losers from Supreme’s sports gambling decision
— Among the losers: NCAA and major sports. They have never been fans of outside groups — like casinos and offshore bookmakers — making money off their sports without giving the leagues a cut.

Don’t believe the hyped numbers
US sports gambling potential nowhere near the claimed $150 billion
The Conversation
— The big question on many minds – particular state officials and companies like MGM Resorts and DraftKings looking to cash in – is how much money is at stake. Many of the articles on the decision cite the same eye-popping figure: Americans wager an estimated US$150 billion in illegal sports bets every year.
— As a macro economist, I am used to dealing with big numbers. Still, $150 billion struck me as much too high.

American Airlines bans “emotional support” goats, insects etc.
Chicago Tribune
— Under the new rules, which go into effect July 1, American is adding amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, nonhousehold birds and animals with tusks, horns or hooves to the list of those that can’t fly as service or support animals. The airline will make an exception for miniature horses that have trained as service animals.

Memory transferred between snails,
challenging theory of how the brain remembers
— UCLA neuroscientists reported Monday that they have transferred a memory from one animal to another via injections of RNA, a startling result that challenges the widely held view of where and how memories are stored in the brain.
— The finding hints at the potential for new RNA-based treatments to one day restore lost memories and could shake up the field of memory and learning.

Nurses want Zuckerberg name removed from SF hospital
NY Times

Zuckerberg name taped over after nurses protested at what used to be, and may someday again be, SF General Hospital. Megan Brizzolara, a nurse at the hospital, said the Zuckerberg name “scares” patients.

It’s a great time to be a wealthy heir with Trump tax dodge
— The new law doubles the amount that can be passed to heirs without worrying about estate and gift taxes, to about $22 million for a married couple. But the thresholds are in place only until 2025, and the ultra-rich are turning to a key tool—the dynasty trust—to secure the financial futures of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.

Wing-nut groups’ secret plan to wound unions
The Guardian
— Rightwing activists are launching a nationwide drive to persuade public sector trade union members to tear up their membership cards and stop paying dues.
— The strategy: “Well run opt-out campaigns can cause public-sector unions to experience 5 to 20% declines in membership, costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in dues money … This can affect the resources and attention available for union leaders to devote to political action campaigns.”
— The anti-union marketing drive is the brainchild of the State Policy Network, a coast-to-coast alliance of 66 rightwing think tanks that has an $80m war chest.

Feds kill NASA carbon monitoring as levels pass crucial marker
— As the Trump administration cancels a “crucial” carbon monitoring system at NASA, scientists and climate experts are sounding alarms over atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) that just surpassed a “troubling” threshold for the first time in human history.
>>> White House, EPA block chemical pollution study
— Fear of “PR nightmare”

Conservationists seek federal protection for lake sturgeon
Courthouse News Service
lake_sturgeon-03– The ancient lake sturgeon should be listed as endangered or threatened, a conservation group said in a petition filed Monday with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
— The lake sturgeon is found in the Great Lakes and a number of rivers throughout the Midwest. The prehistoric-looking fish has not evolved much over the past 200 million years. Individual sturgeons can live up to 100 years old, weigh up to 300 pounds, and can be more than 8 feet long.
— Its population, however, has declined by nearly 99 percent.

Rising share of primary schools have cop on site
Pew Research

Feds claim to double immigration checks of work sites
— Immigration officials say they have launched more than 3,500 worksite investigations, already doubling the number of cases compared to the previous fiscal year. Similarly, 2,282 employer audits were conducted between Oct. 1 and May 4 (with five months remaining in FY18). Over the course of last fiscal year, only 1,360 audits were launched.