Tues 3.27

MSU dean, boss of Larry Nasser, jailed on pervy charges
– William Strampel, the former dean of the osteopathic medical school at Michigan State University, has been charged with criminal sexual conduct by the Michigan attorney general’s office. Strampel supervised convicted sex offender Larry Nassar while both were employed by MSU.
– The criminal sexual conduct charges against Strampel stem from allegations made against him by four former students, according to a court affidavit. Each student accuses Strampel of sexually harassing or assaulting he

Self-driving cars
Are pedestrians just guinea pigs in Uber’s experiments?
And why should these be carried out on public streets?
The Conversation
The crash in Arizona wasn’t just a tragedy. The failure to see a pedestrian in low light was an avoidable basic error for a self-driving car. Autonomous vehicles should be able to do much more than that before they’re allowed to be driven, even in tests, on the open road.
(Note: Arizona has suspended Uber’s right to test self-driving cars on its roads.)

So-called “ethics coach” accused of keeping sex slaves
Courthouse News Service
raniere— Prosecutors say Keith Raniere forced the women to have sex with him and no one else while being lectured under “NXIVM curriculum” that men should have many sexual partners while women should be monogamous.
— Many slaves were allegedly branded in their pubic regions with Raniere’s initials, using a cauterizing pen. Some were deprived of sleep or kept on low-calorie diets, because Raniere preferred women to be “exceptionally thin,” according to the complaint.

Exactly how will The Pentagon waste its $61 billion bonus?
For some perspective, that $61 billion increase matches or even surpasses Russia’s entire military budget each year. It’s more than the Trump administration originally requested. It rivals two big spending surges during President George W. Bush’s administration, in 2003 and 2008, which went to fund the Iraq War.

Mom gave son $$$ for tattoo; he bought AR15,
planned to shoot up Kentucky school
WKYT-TV, Lexington
— Timothy Felker, 18, is charged with second-degree terroristic threatening.
— Police released new details in Monday’s testimony, saying that the student bought an AR-15 using money his mother gave him to get a tattoo.
— “Around Christmas or December 2017 is when he purchased the AR-15 with money that his mom gave him for a tattoo, and that he also purchased 500 rounds of ammunition,” Lexington police detective Sean Stafford said.
— Police say three students heard Felker make threats, and he admitted he made statements saying he would shoot up the school because he was bullied. The mother told police she was unaware of these threats.

Texas couple arrested near Boston with huge weapons, ammo cache
But wait, aren’t they entitled by the 2nd Amendment to keep and bear arms?


 200 roosters in the pokey, held as cockfighting evidence
AP via Courthouse News Service
Roosters— A group of inmates is tending to 200 roosters at an Arkansas sheriff’s office pending their use as evidence against 137 people arrested at a cockfight.
— Sheriff Robert Gentry said the birds would be held at his office until a court decides what to do with them.
— The Texarkana Gazette reported several agencies raided a cockfight near De Queen March 17, tracking down an operation that moved every weekend. The sheriff said 34 people face felony counts of unlawful animal fighting and 86 face misdemeanors. Others arrested were spectators.

Colorado researchers’ vision:
A charging lane that fuels electric cars on the go
Eureka Alert
— Khurram Afridi and his colleagues have developed a proof of concept for wireless power transfer that transfers electrical energy through electric fields at very high frequencies. The ability to send large amounts of energy across greater physical distance to in-motion platforms from low cost charging plates could one day allow the technology to expand beyond small consumer electronics like cell phones and begin powering bigger things like automobiles.

N. Korea dictator arrives in Beijing on special armored train
The Independent
— Heavy security was reported at the Friendship Bridge before the train passed from North Korea to China, and there were reports of it passing through several stations on the way from North Korea to Beijing. Japan’s NTV network said the green and yellow train appeared very similar to the one that former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s late father, took to Beijing in 2011 and has 21 cars.
— Reuters said Chinese police tightened security along Beijing’s main east-west thoroughfare, Changan Avenue, on mid-afternoon Monday, closing off the entrances to some of the buildings which face the road. It said they also cleared out all tourists from Tiananmen Square, which normally only happens when important meetings are happening in the Great Hall of the People.

Photo shows Kim Jung Il, the current dictator’s father, boarding the armored train during a visit to Russia in 2011.

Four Brazilian school districts will serve only plant-based meals
— The cities of Serrinha, Barroca, Teofilandia and Biritinga in the northeastern state of Bahia will soon be home to the world’s first school districts to make such a commitment, program organizers touted.
— The “Escola Sustentável” (Sustainable School) project overs 30,000 students and will impact more than 23 million meals a year.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens:
Repeal the 2nd Amendment
NYT op-ed, quick read via Axios
— In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.
— That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

Pulse nightclub killer’s dad was FBI informant…
FBI closed down two inquiries into his son…
Is this more than a coincidence?
The Intercept
— FBI files provided to Salman’s defense lawyers suggest that agents consulted Mateen’s father, in his capacity as an informant, during the first assessment, raising questions about whether Seddique Mateen helped persuade FBI agents to close out an inquiry that could have prevented the deadly terrorist attack. It’s unclear whether the FBI consulted the elder Mateen during the second assessment as well.

Ordered to hold elections, Wisc. GOP tries to rewrite the law instead
Mother Jones
On Thursday, a judge ruled that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker must hold special elections this spring to fill two vacant state legislative seats that some Republicans fear could flip to the Democrats. But instead of scheduling new elections, Wisconsin Republicans came up with a different plan: They would convene a special legislative session to change the law governing special elections so they wouldn’t have to hold them before November.

State of State Wisconsin
Scott Walker. Enough said.

He served US during Afghan war, now he’s deported
Stars & Stripes
perez— Miguel Perez is one of many veterans, some of whom sustained injuries and emotional trauma during combat, who have been decorated for service, then confronted with the possibility of deportation after committing a crime.
— As with many others, Perez mistakenly thought he became a U.S. citizen when he took an oath to protect the nation. He discovered that was not the case when he was summoned to immigration court shortly before his release from a state penitentiary, where he had served seven years following an arrest on cocaine charges.

Hurricane recovery
Hooray for Texas, and screw Puerto Rico
Politico investigation
— No two hurricanes are alike, and Harvey and Maria were vastly different storms that struck areas with vastly different financial, geographic and political situations. But a comparison of government statistics relating to the two recovery efforts strongly supports the views of disaster-recovery experts that FEMA and the Trump administration exerted a faster, and initially greater, effort in Texas, even though the damage in Puerto Rico exceeded that in Houston.

Parts of West Texas sinking into a hole of its own making
Live Science
— Parts of West Texas are sinking — and other parts quaking and shaking — thanks to oil and gas extraction.
— A new study using satellite data to measure ground changes near Pecos, Monahans, Wink and Kermit, Texas, finds multiple disturbances, including places where the ground is sinking up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) a year. In one spot, the ground dropped so much that it formed a new lake, Lake Boehmer.

2020 census to include citizenship question
The Hill
Democrats have raised concerns that adding the question would result in an inaccurate population count because it would discourage some immigrants from filling out the questionnaire given the Trump administration’s crackdown on those in the country illegally.


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