Tue May 15

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Follow the latest from Israel/Palestine at Haaretz

Seattle passes tax on workers, pissing off homeboy Amazon
Courthouse News Service
— The Seattle City Council voted Monday to fund homeless services with a $275-per-employee tax on the city’s largest businesses, including Amazon.
— City Council members worked over the weekend to reach a compromise with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who threatened to veto the original suggestion of $500 per employee, proposing her own plan calling for half that amount.
— The plan rankled Amazon. “We remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”

6 winners and 4 losers from Supreme’s sports gambling decision
— Among the losers: NCAA and major sports. They have never been fans of outside groups — like casinos and offshore bookmakers — making money off their sports without giving the leagues a cut.

Don’t believe the hyped numbers
US sports gambling potential nowhere near the claimed $150 billion
The Conversation
— The big question on many minds – particular state officials and companies like MGM Resorts and DraftKings looking to cash in – is how much money is at stake. Many of the articles on the decision cite the same eye-popping figure: Americans wager an estimated US$150 billion in illegal sports bets every year.
— As a macro economist, I am used to dealing with big numbers. Still, $150 billion struck me as much too high.

American Airlines bans “emotional support” goats, insects etc.
Chicago Tribune
— Under the new rules, which go into effect July 1, American is adding amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, nonhousehold birds and animals with tusks, horns or hooves to the list of those that can’t fly as service or support animals. The airline will make an exception for miniature horses that have trained as service animals.

Memory transferred between snails,
challenging theory of how the brain remembers
— UCLA neuroscientists reported Monday that they have transferred a memory from one animal to another via injections of RNA, a startling result that challenges the widely held view of where and how memories are stored in the brain.
— The finding hints at the potential for new RNA-based treatments to one day restore lost memories and could shake up the field of memory and learning.

Nurses want Zuckerberg name removed from SF hospital
NY Times

Zuckerberg name taped over after nurses protested at what used to be, and may someday again be, SF General Hospital. Megan Brizzolara, a nurse at the hospital, said the Zuckerberg name “scares” patients.

It’s a great time to be a wealthy heir with Trump tax dodge
— The new law doubles the amount that can be passed to heirs without worrying about estate and gift taxes, to about $22 million for a married couple. But the thresholds are in place only until 2025, and the ultra-rich are turning to a key tool—the dynasty trust—to secure the financial futures of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.

Wing-nut groups’ secret plan to wound unions
The Guardian
— Rightwing activists are launching a nationwide drive to persuade public sector trade union members to tear up their membership cards and stop paying dues.
— The strategy: “Well run opt-out campaigns can cause public-sector unions to experience 5 to 20% declines in membership, costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in dues money … This can affect the resources and attention available for union leaders to devote to political action campaigns.”
— The anti-union marketing drive is the brainchild of the State Policy Network, a coast-to-coast alliance of 66 rightwing think tanks that has an $80m war chest.

Feds kill NASA carbon monitoring as levels pass crucial marker
— As the Trump administration cancels a “crucial” carbon monitoring system at NASA, scientists and climate experts are sounding alarms over atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) that just surpassed a “troubling” threshold for the first time in human history.
>>> White House, EPA block chemical pollution study
— Fear of “PR nightmare”

Conservationists seek federal protection for lake sturgeon
Courthouse News Service
lake_sturgeon-03– The ancient lake sturgeon should be listed as endangered or threatened, a conservation group said in a petition filed Monday with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
— The lake sturgeon is found in the Great Lakes and a number of rivers throughout the Midwest. The prehistoric-looking fish has not evolved much over the past 200 million years. Individual sturgeons can live up to 100 years old, weigh up to 300 pounds, and can be more than 8 feet long.
— Its population, however, has declined by nearly 99 percent.

Rising share of primary schools have cop on site
Pew Research

Feds claim to double immigration checks of work sites
— Immigration officials say they have launched more than 3,500 worksite investigations, already doubling the number of cases compared to the previous fiscal year. Similarly, 2,282 employer audits were conducted between Oct. 1 and May 4 (with five months remaining in FY18). Over the course of last fiscal year, only 1,360 audits were launched.







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