Ides of March 3.15

Question: Don’t they already have too much crap to carry around?
US Senate candidate proposes arming the homeless — with shotguns

The Guardian
armhomeless— A Michigan candidate for US Senate has proposed arming homeless people with pump-action shotguns in an effort to reduce crime.
— Brian Ellison, who is running against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, says homeless people are “constantly victims of violent crime” and providing them with firearms would provide a deterrent.
— Ellison, a Libertarian who is expected to be the party’s candidate in the November midterm election, said he had settled on pump-action shotguns for practicality purposes.
— (T-shirt can be yours for $21.99. Order now, before they’re all gone!)

Including robot bees
 Walmart patents hint that its drones may monitor farm fields

— Walmart Inc’s patent filings hint that it may see a future where farmers use its drones to not only spot crop problems but selectively apply chemicals or even disperse pollen to bring shoppers the freshest and cheapest food possible.
— The world’s largest retailer applied for six patents last year on drones that aim to prevent damage to crops, control pest attacks on farms and cross-pollinate plants, according to U.S. Patents and Trademark Office documents that were made public last week.
— Groceries make up 56 percent of the company’s total revenue.

More than half of fruit sold in US is imported
NY Times
berriesThe surge in imports, mostly from Latin America and Canada, flows from many other changes during the last 40 years, starting with improvements in roads, containerized shipping and storage technology. Horticulturists developed varieties and growing practices adapted to warmer climates — enabling, say, blueberries and blackberries to be grown in central Mexico.

Climate science goes to court
— Cities of Oakland and San Francisco are taking on Big Oil, demanding that companies pay the cost of infrastructure needed to deal with rising seas.

93% of bottled waters contain plastic, study finds
USA Today
recently released study tested 259 water bottles from 11 brands sold across nine countries, including the United States, and found that 93% of those tested contained microplastic contamination. The research, which was conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia and non-profit journalism organization Orb Media, found an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water, which is twice the amount of contamination found in tap water, according to another Orb Media investigation.
The study, which has not been peer-reviewed or published in a journal, tested well-known bottled water ranging from Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life to San Pellegrino.

San Francisco embraces Amsterdam-style “marijuana lounges”
Yahoo News
— Other California cities are warming to the idea.
— The city of West Hollywood has approved plans to issue up to eight licenses; the tiny San Francisco Bay Area town of Alameda said it will allow two; and Oakland and South Lake Tahoe each have one lounge. Sacramento, Los Angeles and other cities are discussing the issue but have not authorized any lounges.

Don’t blame Amazon for demise of Toys ‘R’ Us.
CNN Money
The wounds were mostly self inflicted. Big debts. Poor management.

Treasury Dep’t sanctions Russians for election meddling
— The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is sanctioning five entities and 19 individuals in Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election — as well as for destructive cyberattacks, including the NotPetya malware attack. The entities sanctioned include some of Russia’s top intelligence services — the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) — as well as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which was indicted by the Mueller probe earlier this year.
—  The administration is also accusing Russia of an ongoing and deliberate attack on the U.S. energy sector.

“Amazon is not welcome here”
The Guardian
It’s probably too late, because the”smart money” has already laid its bets on the DC metro area. But politically diverse groups have formed in many cities to oppose a taxpayer giveaway to mega-corporations.

“He was born on 2nd base, and thought he’d hit a double”
Baseball of the future: Pitch clocks, and automatic man on second
bbOne radical change being tested in the minor leagues: Beginning in the 10th, when the leadoff hitter takes his place in the batter’s box, the teammate directly ahead of him in the batting order will set up across from him on second base — already halfway to home plate before a pitch has even been thrown.

Congress rides to the rescue of thriving bankers
— President Trump and other supporters of the major banking bill that cleared the Senate on Wednesday say they want to rescue the nation’s lenders from a crush of regulations.
— But far from being crushed, the industry looks more like it’s booming.
— Banks have hauled in record profits for the last three years and will be among the biggest winners under the new tax-reform law. Their loans are growing by 4 to 5 percent a year, well within historical norms. And even community banks, which the bill’s backers say they’re most concerned about, are making money.

Putin promises to beat US, and Musk, in race to Mars
Moscow Times
— “Very soon, in 2019, we’re going to launch a mission toward Mars,” Putin said in a new documentary film that was posted on Russian social media Thursday.
— Speaking with his re-election campaign spokesman Andrei Kondrashov in the documentary, the president said Russia would also send a mission to the Moon.
— “Our experts will try to land on the poles because there is reason to believe there may be water […] Research of other planets and outer space could begin from there,” Putin said.

This dude’s on a mission to make “safe” booze
Wall Street Journal
India’s Harsha Chigurupati spent 12 years and $35 million to create a compound that, he says, helps protect against the liver and DNA damage caused by drinking. In 2006, he hired six biopharmacologists to comb through the ingredients that the Food and Drug Administration deems safe to consume. By 2013, they settled on a three-ingredient formula: potassium sorbate, glycyrrhizin and mannitol, an anti-inflammatory derived from licorice root. Chigurupati created a company (Chigurupati Technologies) and named his compound NTX—short for “no-tox.” Compared with rats given plain vodka, rats given NTX-infused vodka showed a 40% to 70% reduction of biomarkers known to indicate liver damage, according to studies funded by Chigurupati.

Protecting our vital interests in Niger….
US, Niger troops killed 11 during previously undisclosed mission
Stars & Stripes
— U.S. Africa Command confirmed Thursday that U.S. troops and Niger government forces were on a Dec. 6 mission in the country’s Lake Chad Basin region when they came under fire from “a formation of violent extremists.”
— “The purpose of this mission was to set the conditions for future partner-led operations against violent extremist organizations in the region, and based on currently available information, we assessed this attack was launched by ISIS-West Africa,” AFRICOM spokeswoman Samantha Reho said in a statement.

Trump boasts to donors about lying to Canada leader
The Hill
trumptrudeau… said at a fundraising dinner that he made up facts during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
— Trump told those at the dinner that he insisted that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada, but did not know if that was the case, according to leaked audio of the speech obtained by the Post.
— The US has a trade surplus with Canada, not a deficit.
>>> Trump’s tweet today repeats the lie of deficit with Canada
The Hill
Compulsive liars are gonna lie, I guess.

Saudi crown prince: We’ll develop nuclear bomb if Iran does
—  Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if its arch-rival Iran does so, the kingdom’s crown prince said in remarks released on Thursday, raising the prospect of a nuclear arms race in a region already riven with conflict.
— The Sunni Muslim kingdom has been at loggerheads with revolutionary Shi’ite Iran for decades. The countries have fought a long-running proxy war in the Middle East and beyond, backing rival sides in armed conflicts and political crises including in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
>>> Crown prince, supposed champ of women’s rights,  has kept his mother under house arrest
NBC News
— When Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visits the White House next week, he’s expected to be welcomed as a reformer who’s expanded women’s rights in one of the most restrictive countries in the world, allowing them to drive and attend sports events.
— Yet there is one Saudi woman whom U.S. officials say has not benefited from the prince’s rise: his own mother. Fourteen current and former senior U.S. officials told NBC News that intelligence shows Prince Mohammed bin Salman blocked his mother from seeing his father, King Salman, more than two years ago and has kept her away from him as the young prince rapidly amassed power.

Montana Green Party senate candidate a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Raw Story
… Montana’s Timothy Adams, who is running on the newly certified Green Party ticket, is not only a conservative who heads an anti-tax group,  he’s also a recent former employee of the state Republican party. Adams has previously made headlines by filing elections complaints against Democrats.

Nashville plans to honor contribution of Civil War era slaves
NY Times
— As cities throughout the South move to take down monuments of Confederate leaders, the mayor of Nashville unveiled a plan this week for the city to honor an overlooked part of the Civil War era: the contributions and sacrifices of slaves.
— Under the proposal, announced Tuesday by Mayor David Briley near a Union Army stronghold built by thousands of former slaves, green space would be carved out in the heart of Nashville and a historic site rich in African-American history would be preserved. He said it was time for Nashville to recognize its slavery past.


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