Thurs 3.29

One criterion for linking to a news item is: Does it get to the point right away? This style of news writing is called the “reverse pyramid” and it saves the reader a lot of time.

Report: Michigan State Univ. paid PR firm to monitor Nassar’s victims
Lansing State Journal
gymnasts– A public relations firm billed MSU for more than $500,000 for January as it tracked social media activity surrounding the Larry Nassar case, which often included the accounts of victims and their families, journalists, celebrities and politicians.
— The work, which also included collecting and evaluating news articles, had previously been done by members of Michigan State University’s Office of Communication and Brand Strategy, some of whom continued to do so in January.
(Simone Biles (left) and Aly Raisman in 2016. Both gymnasts say they were sexually abused by Larry Nassar. A public relations firm monitored both of their Twitter accounts, according to a report. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

eroticaAmazon puts erotic fiction
in a dark corner …
… authors are pissed

One of the most frustrating aspects of this situation for authors is that they have no idea what’s going on, and little communication from Amazon. Erotica author Ann Mayburn said that Amazon sent no warning or notice that her books had ranking removed. “All we do know for sure is that one day our books had ranks and visibility, the next there was simply a blank space.”

California woman won’t sell home to Trump supporters
Raw Story
The woman is putting her Sacramento home up for sale but insisted the house — which has been in her family since the 1960s — can’t fall into the hands of anyone who voted for Trump.

Blue Moon brewer to offer offer beer with pot, no alcohol
USA Today
— The inventor of Blue Moon beer is launching three marijuana-infused drinks that promise intoxication without the alcoholic headache.
— The drinks, served chilled and initially only available in Colorado this fall, will contain no alcohol but will instead be infused with special marijuana formulas designed to mimic the effects of booze. Its developers say the drink will “hit” the user at the same pace as if they were drinking a beer.
— Several other companies already manufacture marijuana-infused drinks or offer marijuana powders to sprinkle on food or in teas, but new technology allows the brewer to provide specific feelings, like euphoria or relaxation.

Blue Jays get secret cut from Stub Hub, thus scalping their own seats
Toronto Star
— The Toronto Blue Jays receive secret commissions on every ticket sold on StubHub, allowing the club to profit on the scalping of its own seats — all without telling fans.
— At least 20,519 tickets to the opening day game — 45 per cent of all stadium seats — were posted for sale on online ticket reselling platforms StubHub, VividSeats, TicketsNow and SeatGeek.
— The average price for those online seats was 205 per cent of face value — a large markup that will soon be illegal in Ontario.

Scary, scary, scary
Here’s all the data Facebook and Google have on you
The data Google alone has on you would entirely fill THOUSANDS of Word documents.
… including bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve bought through Google …
… They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day …

So he says …
Dear Leader Kim to become first N.Korea dictator to cross the DMZ
Vice News
Cho Myoung Gyon, Seoul’s unification minister, said both sides had committed to the meeting, with denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula high on the agenda.

The Onion staff wants a union, and they’re not joking… or are they?
The Hill
“A union will ensure that Onion Inc. remains a place that attracts and retains talented people, upholds opportunities for professional growth, and continues to be the most widely read, most lucrative, and most respected media company that has ever existed in the history of the written word.”

Armed officers becoming more common at US schools
— Armed officers were present at least once a week in 43 percent of all public schools during the 2015-16 school year, compared with 31 percent of schools a decade before, according to data from a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.
>>> Schools are buying bulletproof shelters for classrooms
It’s finally happened. The United States of America has become pathetic.

Nasty frat boys get lucky
Judge dismisses most serious charges in hazing death
Courthouse News Service
A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday dismissed many of the most serious charges against nearly a dozen Penn State frat brothers accused of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in last year’s hazing death of a pledge.
— The charges stem from the 2017 tragedy in which Beta Theta Pi pledge Tim Piazza fell several times after a drinking ritual and was allegedly left to die by fellow fraternity members who were accused of later trying to cover up the hazing.

Fired VA chief: They saw me as an obstacle to privatization
Stars & Stripes
he said some political appointees at the VA thought he wasn’t leading a fast enough charge toward privatization and sought to undermine him.
— Trump fired Shulkin late Wednesday afternoon after weeks of internal strife at the agency that followed revelations of his questionable spending on a summer trip to Europe with his wife.
>>> Trump’s doctor to lead Veterans Administration
Reaction: “We don’t know this guy”
— Ronny Jackson, a so-called doctor, once gave Trump a glowing bill of health on national television. So naturally…

Two pilots in different planes saw UFO, and FAA is baffled
Phoenix New Times
(With audio recording of the conversations.)
— “Was anybody above us that passed us like 30 seconds ago?”
— “Negative”
— What the hell was invisible to FAA radar, flying at 40,000 feet?

ACLU: To protect Democracy, cities should build their own Internet providers
“Internet service has become as essential as utilities like water and electricity, and local governments should treat it that way.”

Judge: Victims can press Saudi Arabia on 9/11 connections
Courthouse News Service
Although 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, the kingdom had a shield of immunity from lawsuits until Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act two years ago.

San Deigo to employ “big tents” to house the homeless
The Guardian
The industrial-sized tent holds 324 people in neatly spaced, numbered bunks. People can bring their pets, and 70 dogs also live in the shelter. It offers a bed and services – from healthcare to employment assistance to showers and laundry – while people wait for a place of their own. In appearance, it evokes a military installation or a refugee camp.

Sylvia Saliman and her dog Daisy in the Alpha Project tent for the homeless in San Diego, California. Photograph: Dan Tuffs for the Guardian

Musician wins landmark case: Wagner rehearsal ruined his hearing
— The case won by Chris Goldscheider has huge implications for the industry and the health and safety of musicians.
— It is the first time a judge has scrutinised the music industry’s legal obligations towards musicians’ hearing.

Russian spy daughter’s health rapidly improves
— Yulia Skripal, hit in a nerve agent attack that has chilled relations between Russia and the West, came out of critical care on Thursday following a swift improvement in her health.
— The 33-year-old daughter of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal is “improving rapidly… ”


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