Mon June 4

US Senator:
Immigrant kids kept in cages

Talking Points Memo
— Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he saw undocumented children in cages sleeping on thin space blankets on a concrete floor at a border processing facility. He was then barred from entering another immigrant detention center.
— “They have big cages made out of fencing and wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can’t climb out,” Merkley told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota of the McAllen border patrol station in Texas he toured on Sunday.

“This is very, very traumatic for the children, so I wanted to be able to visit the facility where apparently upwards of 1,000 children are being held in that massive building, a former Walmart, and the federal government, President Trump and team, Attorney General Sessions, homeland security, they do not want members of Congress or the public to know what’s going on.”
— Sen. Jeff Merkley

Supremes (sort of) rule for baker in Colorado gay wedding
— The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple, but the court punted on spelling out how far the government can go to prevent sexual-orientation discrimination in the marketplace.
— Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the baker’s rights by showing “hostility” to his religious beliefs in a proceeding in which he was found to have violated the law and was ordered to anti-discrimination training.
— The high court’s 7-2 ruling left open the question of how a state enforcing anti-discrimination laws in a more neutral fashion would have to accommodate individuals’ rights to religious freedom and free expression.

How US trade moves push Europe toward China, Russia
The National Interest
— Rather than bringing America’s European friends into the fold, Trump is severely undermining the transatlantic relationship and pushing allies further away, thus generating new space for Beijing and Moscow to wield influence.
… slapping tariffs on allies while flip-flopping on Chinese technology company ZTE is devastating since it fails to differentiate between countries posing a legitimate threat to the United States and those that do not. The great irony here is that that key European capitals such as Paris and Berlin are themselves getting more serious about taking on China’s unfair economic practices at the same time that Trump is dismissing their offer to join hands.

Big Tech goes to war
— A funny thing has happened to Google and Amazon on their path toward high-tech success: They have become crucial cogs in the U.S. national security establishment.
— Both companies are expanding teams of employees with security clearances to work on projects that include deploying artificial intelligence and building digital “clouds” to offering law enforcement facial recognition tools that can even read the mood of people caught on camera.
— The security establishment’s embrace of Big Tech has ruffled the feathers of traditional defense contractors and roiled employee ranks, in Google’s case, over whether the company is being drawn into what disgruntled employees called “the business of war.”

You won’t have Monsanto to kick around anymore
USA Today
— Bayer will dump the whole brand, after agreeing to pay $66 billion for Monsanto amid a global shakeup fueled by sluggish crop prices.
— The agribusiness merger won conditional U.S. antitrust approval (of course!)  in May after the companies agreed to sell off $9 billion in assets to preserve competition.

Yes, we have no bananas?

— Staking the fate of a fruit on monoculture is dangerous in the extreme. It’s only a matter of time before some bug or fungus strikes, and many experts believe that strike is coming very soon. Already, plantations in Asia, Africa and elsewhere have been wiped out by a new strain of Panama known as Tropical Race 4.


That’s the logo of a religion based on … blockchain

“It’s a religious framework that could allow for belief sets to update much more quickly and also to democratize the relationship between membership and convergence on what everyone believes in this religion.”
Get it? Me neither.

In Florida, big rush to pot dispensaries
Miami Herald
— 91,000 Floridians are buying 56 pounds of pot a week under the orders of 1,400 doctors. A year and a half after an amendment to the state constitution legalized medical marijuana, the fledgling industry is starting to show some muscle.

More and more people want to quit SF Bay Area
Sacramento Bee
Bay Area median home prices hit $850,000 in April.

Facebook fails to face its failures
as reported in Failing New York Times

— Facebook Inc rejected claims by the New York Times that it had allowed Apple and other major device makers “deep” access to users’ personal data, saying any such links were tightly controlled and largely subject to users’ consent.

22% of men without college degrees can’t find work
Here’s why they’re being left behind
The Conversation
Are these dudes just choosing to stay home and play video games? Nope, says this economist.

NYC may add “X” gender to birth certificates
The Hill

From chaos to calm: How ketamine helps people in distress
… researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that an intravenous dose could relieve severe depression in a matter of hours. Since then, doctors have prescribed ketamine “off label” to thousands of depressed patients who don’t respond to other drugs.

83,000 Americans missing in action,
and these folks try to bring ’em home
Popular Science
— A US agency uses a $112 million annual ­budget and a staff of about 700, working out of a center in Hawaii and a network of far-flung labs and field bases. At any given time, investigators are working on about 1,200 cases.

A search team looks for remains at the crash site of the World War II B-24 bomber “Hot As Hell.”  The team is led by anthropologist Meghan-Tómasita ­Cosgriff-​­Hernández, and is searching in the Indian Himalayas.

Religious right floods legislatures with bills
that promote their whacky views
The Guardian
— A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills.”



dog-pony-juggleDonald Trump yada yada yada
No link at Dead-Man-Walking.Com

No surprise: Court blocks radical Iowa abortion law
Courthouse News Service
It’s become a tiresome game. Politicians pass a law to soothe their nut-job base. Court strikes law down. Politicians blame “liberal judges.” Blah blah blah.

N. Korea “replaces” top 3 generals in sop to Trump
The Independent
Oh, Kim old buddy, how transparent of you. Wake me up after the so-called Summit, will ya? Maybe you and Donny Combover will win the Know Bell Prize.

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