Wed 4.18

While Drudge Report readers are catching up on volcanoes, earthquakes, shark attacks, rogue planets and two-headed giraffes … RealNews offers:

Sun Country Airlines: Sorry, passengers, you’re stuck in Mexico
Mpls Star-Tribune
— Hundreds of tourists were left stranded after Sun Country Airlines canceled flights back from Mexico and told passengers they would have to find their own ways home.
— The airline, which is based in Eagan, Minnesota, canceled flights Saturday from Los Cabos and Mazatlan in Mexico after a blizzard struck Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The two flights were the last scheduled for Sun Country’s wintertime-only service from those destinations.
— Sun Country’s telephone reservations line disconnected callers or said lines were jammed and directed them to “please call back later.”
— So maybe it’s not a great time for Sun Country to be promoting its Mexican vacations?

Bye bye to Bed, Bath and Beyond?
A credit rating cut will make it more difficult for Bed Bath & Beyond to borrow more money and will likely increase the amount of interest it has to pay on its existing long-term debt load: about $1.5 billion.

Serious people (bankers, diplomats, execs etc.) learning to ignore Trump
While markets will never completely discount his tweets and off-the-cuff pronouncements, “people are coming to realize that these statements often signify nothing, and are learning to live with the sound and fury.”

Southwest pilot who landed crippled jet
is Navy vet with “nerves of steel”
Washington Post via Stars & Stripes
shults-and-passengers— Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot, landed 148 people safely after an engine blowout.
— Passenger Diana McBride Self thanked Shults on Facebook for her “guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation.” She added that Shults “came back to speak to each of us personally.”
— Shults wasn’t allowed to fly in combat while she was in the Navy, because, you know, she’s uh … female. 

42% of Americans have <$10K saved, will retire broke

The No. 1 reason most people cited for not stashing more away was because they didn’t earn enough to save, followed by the fact that they were already struggling to pay bills, GoBankingRates said. The personal finance site polled more than 1,000 adults online in February.

Uh-oh again
House flipping at 11-year high
— A decade after the U.S. housing bubble burst, house flipping is on the rise again. Defined as reselling a house within a year of purchase, flipping is at an 11-year high in the United States and it’s the subject of dozens of TV shows and weekend workshops promising to teach real estate novices how to make a fortune.
— New research shows that flippers contributed to the housing crash of the mid-2000s more than economists initially realized. Because some of the same practices from the boom are making a comeback, some market watchers are concerned that the real estate market might once again be nearing a bubble.

Facebook: Users MUST accept target ads, damn them
— Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it would continue requiring people to accept targeted ads as a condition of using its service, a stance that may help keep its business model largely intact despite a new European Union privacy law.
— Facebook will use “permission screens” – pages filled with text that require pressing a button to advance – to notify and obtain approval. The screens will show up on the Facebook website and smartphone app in Europe this week and globally in the coming months.

Trump sycophants fear Pence-Haley alliance in 2020
Raw Story
— What has spooked Trump ass-kissers was Pence’s recent decision to hire longtime Trump critic Jon Lerner as his own national security adviser — a move that Trump angrily squashed after he learned that Lerner had made anti-Trump ads.
— Haley, meanwhile, has been openly feuding with the White House after she said on Sunday that there would be additional sanctions levied against Russia — only to be shot down by Trump one day after her announcement.
>>> This week, the White House claimed Nikki Haley was “confused” when she said there would be new Russian sanctions. Haley’s retort: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Rumors are flying in DC that she’s about to resign as ambassador to UN.

Massachusetts court: 2nd Amendment allows civilians to carry stun guns
— The decision marked a reversal for the court, which reached an opposite conclusion in a different case in 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, set aside that earlier ruling, saying the Massachusetts court failed to properly explain its decision.
— The Supreme Judicial Court stayed the effect of Tuesday’s ruling for 60 days, leaving the 2004 state ban in place to give the Legislature time to rewrite the law to regulate the ownership of stun guns, without banning them entirely.

Mexican drug cartels, having killed 82 politicians,
warn others: drop out die
— Those killed come from across the political spectrum, and most were running for local positions rather than high-profile national posts. Drug lords are hoping to install lawmakers they know and trust to ensure that their lucrative trade is allowed to continue.
— At least four politicians have been killed in the past week alone, as candidates vie for around 3,400 positions; a record number. If cartels can get their allies into office, local government offers a source of well-paid contracts and bribes. Local police forces can even be forced into working for and protecting the cartels.

GOP official: Voter ID law enabled Trump’s Wisconsin win
Politicus USA
— “We battled to get voter I.D. on the ballot for the November ’16 election,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel on a conservative radio show. “How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that Sen. [Ron] Johnson was going to win reelection or President Trump was going to win Wisconsin if we didn’t have voter I.D. to keep Wisconsin’s elections clean and honest and have integrity?”
— In 2014 a federal court stated that 9 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin didn’t have the photo I.D. About 45,000 voters statewide didn’t vote because of the law, most of them Democrats.  This is more than twice Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in Wisconsin.

2020 Census will ask about same-sex marriage for the first time
Pew Research

California fights AT&T, Verizon etc over net neutrality
Courthouse News Service
— Dodging heavy fire from AT&T and Verizon lobbyists, California lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a first-of-its-kind measure that would fill the regulatory void left by recently nixed federal net neutrality laws.
— State Sen. Scott Wiener’s consumer protection bill passed its first legislative test after he agreed to a series of amendments. It got out of committee on an 8-3 party-line vote. Wiener said the bill has been vetted by professors, industry experts and the state attorney general to clear legal scrutiny.

Feds going easy on air polluters these days
The Hill
— The Trump administration has quietly reshaped enforcement of air pollution standards in recent months through a series of regulatory memos.
— The memos are fulfilling the top wishes of industry, as the EPA is now allowing certain facilities to be subject to regulation and is letting companies use “Republican Math” in calculating emissions.

Hundreds airlifted to safety after storms, mudslides on Kauai
USA Today
— The National Weather Service recorded 28.1 inches of rainfall in the North Shore town of Hanalei between 2 a.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday.

Arid zone creeping eastward over fertile US farm belt
— Researchers predict that drylands will continue to move eastward with the century, as global temperatures continue to rise, and eventually trigger large-scale changes.

Starbucks arrests are no surprise to many in that Philly neighborhood
NY Times
— For some black Philadelphia residents who venture into Rittenhouse Square, the treatment depicted in the arrest video was a frustrating reality of everyday life.
— Rittenhouse Square, with its hotels, boutique museums and upscale shops, has the highest racial disparity in the city when it comes to police pedestrian stops. Although black people account for just 3 percent of the residents, they made up two-thirds of the people stopped by the police.

Atlanta’s subway soccer fields: the ‘crazy’ idea that works
The Guardian
— A radical idea to build a soccer pitch into an Atlanta subway station is enlivening once-dead plaza space while bringing the sport to underserved communities – and more are on the way.
— “I started thinking: What if we convert some pieces of this land to soccer fields and use the train system as a network for people to get to games?”

Concerned about weird sonic brain injury, Canada pulls families from Cuba
— Canadian diplomatic families are being recalled from Cuba after new research suggested a mysterious illness that afflicted some embassy staff was a “possible acquired brain injury.”
— This is the latest in a saga that began in late 2016, when American diplomats stationed in Cuba began complaining of headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, vision and hearing problems, and a lack of concentration.
>>> FBI “making progress” on finding answer to sonic attacks
You have to take Marco Rubio’s word for it, though.

Miguel Diaz-Canel is the one and only candidate to lead Cuba
NY Daily News
— Little is known about the 57-year-old, born after the revolution, with the small bits of information available on him in Cuban press saying that he is a trained engineer who uses an iPad and likes the Beatles.
>>> “One of the biggest lies you will be told this week is that a non-entity named Miguel Diaz-Canel will be in charge in Cuba … In totalitarian systems titles really do not matter … you will hear a lot fake news this week regarding Cuba.”
— Mike Gonzalez (a Heritage fellow) on Twitter


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