Sat. 3/24 and weekend updates

The march for gun reform having been well covered by big media, we turn to…

Can Jared Kushner mend the fraying ties with Mexico?
NY Times
Jared Kushner cannot even run an apartment rental business, so I’d say, in all likelihood, the answer is no. The source of this NYT story is “Mr. Kushner’s aides” who are apparently eager to see their vampire boss portrayed as competent in the press. Good luck boys and girls … By the way, how’s it going with Jared’s promise to bring peace to the Middle East?

Even the whacko pollsters at Faux News find support for gun reform
Fox News

70 counties, 210 towns in Arkansas join to sue opioid makers
— “It’s very clear that these companies were at least willing to profit on the carnage that has taken place as a result in Arkansas,” Jerome Tapley, who is representing Arkansas on behalf of Cory Watson Attorneys, told Newsweek.

To save whales, lobster fishery may have to change
— Scientists says to help whales, the ropes used to tend lobster traps must be changed or eliminated. Mainers who catch lobster for a living feel they’re being singled out for an international problem.

Threat to independent judiciary?
Politicians put new pressure on judges, try to toss them out
— From North Carolina to Oklahoma, lawmakers are trying to rein in judges in response to court rulings they don’t like. The latest effort is in Pennsylvania, where 12 Republicans this week introduced resolutions to impeach the Democratic justices who threw out a GOP congressional map.

Workers can share tips, but not with managers
Congress just banned restaurant owners from skimming waiters’ tips
— The language in the spending bill also effectively does another big thing: It allows employers to pool tips and distribute them among staff, as long as the employer also pays the full minimum wage. Many owners have long sought to boost the pay of kitchen workers and bussers by forcing servers to share their tips.

ACLU says…
Greyhound should stop encouraging immigration sweeps of its buses
NBC Bay Area
— The ACLU alleges that border officials have been randomly boarding Greyhound buses to search passengers, with Greyhound’s blessing.
— One such incident occurred in Indio, Calif. last month, when a Los Angeles resident boarded a Greyhound bus, then was detained because his “shoes looked suspicious,” according to the ACLU.
>>> You know, if you’re running a company that specializes in transporting low-income folks, you’d think … oh never mind.




Today’s Quote
Reporter: “So the candidate is the puppet?”
Cambridge Analytica: “Always.”

Feds want to build in access to cellphone encrypted data
mobile-phone-spy-software.png— The Justice Department is in “a preliminary stage” of discussions about requiring tech companies building “tools into smartphones and other devices” that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data.
— Senior Vice President of Apple’s software engineering, Craig Federighi, disagreed that a tool like this is appropriate. ““Proposals that involve giving the keys to customers’ device data to anyone but the customer inject new and dangerous weaknesses into product security.”

LA promises to shelter all its homeless
LA Daily News
— The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to develop an “emergency” plan aimed at immediately sheltering all of the city’s homeless individuals who are still living out in the open, including those in tents, mobile homes and on sidewalks.
— At last count, more than 25,000 of the city’s 34,000 homeless individuals are unsheltered.
— The effort comes as the council this week also pledged to build 222 units of permanent housing for homeless individuals in each of the city’s 15 council districts by 2020.

The Big March
Parkland students edit today’s …
… Guardian

Uber’s driverless car program stinks
— far behind its competitors
NY Times
uber-deathcar— Uber’s cars were having trouble driving through construction zones and next to tall vehicles, like big rigs. And Uber’s human drivers had to intervene far more frequently than the drivers of competing autonomous car projects.
… And there also was pressure to live up to a goal to offer a driverless car service by the end of the year and to impress top executives.
— Uber was planning to seek regulatory approval by December to start a self-driving car service in Arizona, according to company documents. Uber said the vehicles would have to be safer than human drivers before they would commercialize it.
(Photo shows investigators examining the Uber car that killed a pedestrian.
Credit: Reuters)

UN scientists: Earth undergoing an “extinction event”
Personally, I don’t like to read these stories, because they make me feel helpless and a bit depressed. But … looking away won’t help, either.
>- 42 percent of known terrestrial animal and plant species have declined in population size over the last decade in Europe and Central Asia
> – Climate change could result in the loss of more than half of Africa’s birds and mammals by 2100.
> – Globally,  about 41 percent of amphibian species and more than a quarter of mammals are threatened with extinction.

Who doesn’t read books in America?
Pew Research
… Adults with a high school degree or less are about five times as likely as college graduates (37% vs. 7%) to report not reading books in any format in the past year.
… Adults with annual household incomes of $30,000 or less are about three times as likely as the most affluent adults to be non-book readers (36% vs. 13%).
… Hispanic adults are about twice as likely as whites (38% vs. 20%) to report not having read a book in the past 12 months. But there are differences between Hispanics born inside and outside the U.S.: Roughly half (51%) of foreign-born Hispanics report not having read a book, compared with 22% of Hispanics born in the U.S.

NYC councilman would shield workers with “right to disconnect” law
— If Rafael Espinal were able to implement the bill, it would face similar challenges to its European counterparts. Critics say the legislation in France has no teeth, and companies are still allowed to define their own guidelines, leaving room for exploitation. And the New York version of the “Right to Disconnect” bill includes exemptions for jobs that require 24-hour on-call periods.
>>> South Korea’s solution to the endless workday: Shut it down

White House pushes transgender military ban
CBS News

Roy Moore supporters tried to bribe his accusers’ attorney
NY Daily News
Leigh-CorfmanBreitbart writers, editors involved
— An attorney for Leigh Corfman, a woman who accused failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, was offered $10,000 to dispute her allegations, according to a new report.
— Corfman’s lawyer Eddie Sexton was approached by two Moore supporters, who offered the money in exchange for dropping Corfman and publicly saying he did not believe her.
— One month before Alabama’s special elections, Corfman accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was just 14. He was 32 years old at the time, she said.
(Photos shows Corfman at 14.)
— This report is accompanied by an outstanding video explainer.

Solar energy wins a battle in Colorado
Denver Post
— Colorado has granted electricity users in the state a new right — the ability to store energy without discrimination in rates or excessive barriers in connecting to the grid.
— Utilities in some states have tried to block battery systems, which can present safety concerns but which also reduce their control over the grid. A few years back, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, proposed different rates for customers with battery systems, which the solar industry opposed.

French cop, who swapped himself for hostage, dies of wounds
— Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 45, took the place of a woman who gunman Radouane Lakdim was holding as a final hostage in the Super U store in the quiet southwest town of Trebes on Friday.
— A senior officer in the gendarmerie, Beltrame hoped to be able to negotiate with Lakdim once the 50 shoppers and staff caught up in the siege had been taken to safety.

Here are some winners in the Trump/Congress drunken sailor $pending $pree
Oddly, it supports and even enriches programs Trump supposedly opposed.

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