Tue 4.24

We try to choose stories that: 
(A) Provide insight into where America is going and …
(B) Get to the point quickly.
— Thanks for reading RealNews.

Chinese cars coming to a showroom near you?

— What seemed like just another launch of a new vehicle was actually something more: the coming-out party for China’s globally ambitious auto industry. For the first time, a Chinese-branded car will be made in Western Europe for sale there, with the ultimate goal of landing in U.S. showrooms.

Google absolutely rolling in profit
— Earnings jumped because a change in accounting rules forced the company to recognize the rough value of its stake in the ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc., and spending was hit by a fancy new building and ambitious infrastructure projects.

robotarmyArmy of None
The headlong,
and very real,
rush toward
robot battlefield

Science Mag

Fear of losing status, not economic hardship, drove voters in 2016 presidential election
Eureka Alert
It has been a well-worn postmortem of the 2016 presidential election: the white working class, having faced job losses and stagnant wages under President Obama, voted with their pocketbooks when they chose Donald Trump.
— Strong new evidence published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports the idea that many Trump voters are feeling left behind, but not for reasons related to personal financial problems or economic anxiety about the future.
— University of Pennsylvania professor Diana C. Mutz found that traditionally high-status Americans, namely whites, feel their status in America and the world is threatened by America’s growing racial diversity and a perceived loss of U.S. global dominance.

Ocean vacuum cleaner will suck up plastic
NY Post
— The first-ever machine to clean up the planet’s largest chunk of ocean plastic is due to set sail.
— It’s heading to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, halfway between California and Hawaii, where it will commence collecting the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic rubbish amassed there by ocean currents.
— The system uses a combination of huge floating nets (dubbed “screens”) held in place by giant tubes, ironically made out of plastic, to suck stubborn waste out of the water.

Hope for Great Barrier Reef seen in genetic diversity
— A study published Wednesday had some frightening news for the Great Barrier Reef—the iconic marine ecosystem is at “unprecedented” risk of collapse due to climate change after a 2016 heat wave led to the largest mass coral bleaching event in the reef’s history.
— But another study published Thursday in PLOS Genetics offers some hope: Corals are still in danger from climate change, but we have an extra 50 years to act to save them.
— Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Marine Science found that corals in the Great Barrier Reef have enough genetic diversity to survive rising ocean temperatures for another century, which is half-a-century more than previously thought.

Toronto cop arrested murderous terror suspect without firing a shot
Toronto Sun (with video)
torontocops— A police officer has been praised for calmly confronting the suspected Toronto van crash driver.
— Video footage showed the police officer staring down the suspect, later identified as Alek Minassian, at gunpoint in the middle of a road. The suspect pointed what appeared to be a gun and shouted, “Kill me”.
— The unnamed officer replied, “No, get down”. When the suspect then said, “I have a gun in my pocket,” the officer responded, ”I don’t care. Get down.”
— Eventually Minassian was arrested “without incident.”

He’s got a little problem. A few of them, actually
Trump’s ass-kissing doc may not make it as VA boss
CBS News 
–The ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs committee is reviewing allegations he’s hearing about Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was unclear late Monday whether the Senate panel would postpone Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday, in light of stories about the nominee told by current or former White House medical staff.
— Sources familiar with the tales say Sen. Jon Tester’s committee staff is reviewing multiple allegations of a “hostile work environment.” The accusations include “excessive drinking on the job, improperly dispensing meds,” said one of the people familiar, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. The other people familiar with the stories also confirmed those details.

Young California mayor’s radical experiment in universal basic income
Out in Stockton, California, there’s an experiment underway in millennial-led government that’s trying to pull a city back from the brink using what is essentially privately-funded socialism.
— The experiment’s name is Michael Tubbs.
— The 27-year-old mayor of a city of 307,000—26 when he knocked out the Republican incumbent, the same night Donald Trump won, in his own status quo-bulldozing election—is looking to redefine the sense of what works through redefining how people think about work.
— It’s not just the $500 checks that will soon start going out to 100 residents monthly in a universal basic income pilot program. It’s about transforming the entire posture of city government.
–>>> Finland’s basic income experiment is a leaker
— The Finnish government has decided not to expand a limited trial in paying people a basic income, which has drawn much international interest.
— Currently 2,000 unemployed Finns are receiving a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490; $685) as basic income.
— “The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it],” said Olli Kangas, one of the experiment’s designers.

NRA breaks 15-year fundraising record
— The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund raised $2.4 million from March 1 to March 31, the group’s first full month of political fundraising since the nation’s deadliest high school shooting on Valentine’s Day, according to filings submitted to the Federal Elections Commission. The total is $1.5 million more than the organization raised during the same time period in 2017.

Insane laws allowed Waffle House lunatic to keep his guns
Vice News
— Inconsistent state gun laws allowed Travis Reinking, the man suspected of killing four people in a Nashville-area Waffle House Sunday, to keep an assault-style weapon, even though he had a history of mental illness, was known to police, and was once arrested in front of the White House.

On the lookout for willing idiots
Pissed at GOP, Koch Bros rethink how to spend their $400 million political slush fund

The Hill
Their stated agenda:
> Protection for so-called “Dreamers” in exchange for border security.
> Criminal justice reform.
> Roll back Dodd-Frank banking rules.
> Providing access to experimental drugs for terminally ill patients.
> A rescission package to claw-back omnibus spending.
>A  vote to make individual tax rate cuts permanent.

Our Failing Democracy
Maine’s governor says screw the voters, no Medicaid expansion
— Nearly 60% of Maine’s voters gave the green light to Medicaid expansion in their state in a November ballot initiative, and individuals are supposed to become eligible for coverage starting July 2, per that mandate. But Gov. Paul LePage is defying voters by refusing to adopt the ObamaCare program and missing paperwork deadlines,

Amazon want the keys to the trunk of your car
— Amazon is expanding its in-home delivery service called Key to include deliveries to trunks and backseats of cars. The service is available only to Amazon Prime members in 37 cities who have a 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Volvo with an active OnStar or Volvo On Call account.
— Starting Tuesday, people in dozens of cities across the United States can start getting their Amazon orders delivered to a parked car, provided their vehicle has the proper technology.

Music streaming overtakes CD, vinyl  music sales for first time

The sneaky, persistent and irrational rise in price of Rx drugs
— When Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, which treats dangerous infections, from $13.50 to $750, the public was appalled.
— But lost in the outrage over predatory pricing was one crucial fact: What Shkreli did was completely legal—and common. Between 2012 and 2017, for example, the price for Nitrostat, which prevents and treats chest pain, increased by 477 percent, from $15.91 to $91.76. Nothing about the medication changed during those years—not its chemical formula, not its uses and not the manufacturing process. Pfizer, which sells Nitrostat, offered no explanation for the spike.


14 states see record low unemployment
The Hill

Iran, China try to loosen dollar’s grip
Wall Street Journal
— A small but growing number of countries are stepping up efforts to wean themselves off the dollar, aiming to chip away at the U.S. currency’s decades-long dominance.
— Iran last week became the latest when it pledged to replace the dollar with the euro in its foreign-currency accounting.
— China introduced the world’s first yuan-denominated oil contracts last month, part of a continuing effort to raise its currency’s global profile, while Venezuela launched a bitcoin-like cryptocurrency earlier this year. Russia has ramped up its gold reserves to diversify away from the dollar.
— Some analysts say the governments moving against the dollar may be trying to capitalize on growing unease among many nations, including U.S. allies, over recent or perceived shifts in U.S. trade policy.



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