Wed 2.28

Loose cannon! Trump posits gun controls

New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump stunned Republicans on live television Wednesday by embracing gun control and urging a group of lawmakers at the White House to resurrect gun safety legislation that has been opposed for years by the powerful National Rifle Association and the vast majority of his party.

In a remarkable meeting, the president veered wildly from the N.R.A. playbook in front of giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans. He called for comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keep guns from mentally ill people, secure schools and restrict gun sales for some young adults. He even suggested a conversation on an assault weapons ban.

“We’re not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the president talked to today doesn’t like them.”
— Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska.

$31,000 for furniture
Ben Carson’s ass don’t touch no cheap chairs
> Whistleblower Helen Foster says she was demoted and transferred from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which Carson heads, after she refused to go over the legal $5,000 limit to redecorate his office.
> Meanwhile, his agency is all about cutting benefits to low-income Americans…

“Potential threats”
China “re-educating” tens of thousands who’ve committed no crime
China is collecting and analyzing large volumes of data about citizens in its far west region of Xinjiang, according to new research from Human Rights Watch released on Tuesday, and people flagged as potential threats can be detained and sent to political education centers where they are often held for months without charge.

Dick’s Sporting Goods says “no sale” to assault weapons
USA Today
> Assault weapon sales ended at Dick’s stores after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in 2012, but the company was still selling them at its Field & Stream locations.
> “As we looked at what happened down in Parkland, we were so disturbed and saddened by what happened, we felt we really needed to do something.”
> The retailer will also end sales of high-capacity magazines and sales of guns to people under 21 years old.

U/Michigan survey says
Many older people feel doctors are over-treating them
One in four say their health providers often order tests or prescribe drugs that they don’t think they really need. One in six said it had happened in the last year — but about half of them followed through with the test or filled the prescription anyway.

Putin’s least favorite pop group
Two members of Pussy Riot disappear in Russia

> The women were allegedly in Crimea to protest the detention of filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence on terrorism charges that many say are politically motivated. Sentsov is originally from Crimea and was arrested there in 2014.
> The women decided to leave Crimea on Monday evening because they had been detained and harassed by security forces

Jury to decide
Did San Francisco cops frame dude for murder?
Courthouse News Service
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that four of five officers must face claims that they conspired to taint witnesses, withhold evidence and maliciously prosecute Jamal Trulove for a murder he did not commit.

New opioid bill would impose sweeping limits
on some prescriptions, boost funding
> A group of eight senators on Tuesday unveiled bipartisan legislation that would increase funding for addiction treatment and prevention by roughly $1 billion and impose a sweeping three-day limit on opioid prescriptions for initial pain treatment.
> The bill would aggressively limit doctors’ ability to hand out lengthy opioids prescriptions, exempting only cancer, chronic pain, and hospice treatment from the three-day initial prescription limits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new prescription guidelines in 2016 that indicate three-day prescriptions are typically sufficient and seven-day prescriptions are rarely necessary. A number of states have already enacted laws limiting first-time opioid prescriptions to three, five, or seven days.

Intelligence reports
Foreign nations sought to manipulate Kushner
> Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.
> Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.
> It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

“Right to be forgotten”
Google has received 650,000 requests to delete URLs
This right, naturally, exists in Europe, but not the US. Because … uh  because …

Environmental issues nulled
Judge, once scorned by Trump, rules The Wall can go forward
> A federal judge in California has rejected a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plans to build a wall on the Southern border with Mexico.
> The state of California and a variety of environmental groups had filed suit against the administration, arguing that it was wrong to launch the border wall project by waiving several federal environmental laws.
> But U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that the administration has not violated those laws, in essence giving the project a green light.
> Curiel is the same jurist who oversaw a separate lawsuit against Trump University. As a candidate, Trump accused Curiel of bias because the Indiana-born judge is of Mexican ancestry. Trump called Curiel a “hater.”

South Africa moves to confiscate white-owned land
> South Africa’s parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country’s Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.
> The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against. The only parties who did not support the motion were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the African Christian Democratic Party.
> It was amended but supported by the ruling African National Congress and new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who made land expropriation a key pillar of his policy platform after taking over from ousted PM Jacob Zuma.
“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice,” Mr Malema was quoted  as telling parliament.

Without a human “safety driver”
California OKs road testing of truly self-driving cars
Some carmakers already have plans in place for cars that wouldn’t give humans the option of taking control, and they’re now asking federal and state DMVs to change safety rules to allow them to test these fully autonomous cars. If testing of cars without human drivers goes well in California, cars without steering wheels or pedals could be next.

Preaching to the converted
Pence tells abortion-hating groups the end is nigh
“I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”






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