Wed. July 11

TSA thugs getting rude with you? Tough, says court
— Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses.

Ben & Jerry’s sued over pesticide issue
— According to the lawsuit, the ice cream is made from milk sourced from the same kinds of farms as most other dairy products and the final product contains the pesticide glyphosate. (aka Roundup)

Charge: Monsanto hid Roundup/cancer link
Courthouse News Service
— On the second day of a California trial over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused a Bay Area man’s terminal cancer, his lawyers tried to convince a jury Tuesday that Monsanto suppressed research showing Roundup may be carcinogenic and ghostwrote research to defend itself in future cancer litigation.

Charge: Company deliberately sold black farmers bad seed
WMC Action News
… why is it then that white farmers are buying Stine seed and their yield is 60, 70, 80, and 100 bushels of soybeans and black farmers who are using the exact same equipment with the exact same land, all of a sudden, your seeds are coming up 5, 6, and 7 bushels?”

FBI says:
Chinese engineer nabbed at airport
trying to sneak out self-drive car secrets

USA Today

Snooping malls sending license plate info to ICE
The Week
— Surveillance systems at more than 46 malls in California are capturing license plate information that is fed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported Tuesday.
— One company, Irvine Company Retail Properties, operates malls all over the state using a security network called Vigilant Solutions. Vigilant shares data with hundreds of law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and debt collectors — including ICE, which signed a contract with the security company earlier this year

Facebook fined 7 minutes revenue for Cambridge-Analytica scam
— A UK government office that investigated the Cambridge Analytica scandal has announced its intention to fine Facebook $663,000 for contravening the law by failing to safeguard that user information.

Merkel hits back at Trump’s insane tirade against Germany
The Guardian
— Angela Merkel has pushed back against Donald Trump’s extraordinary tirade against Germany on the first day of the Nato summit in Brussels, denying her country was “totally controlled” by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.

More news from the whacked-out future:
The pods would move like trains to collect passengers, then add wings at the airport.

Silicon Valley … is this economic powerhouse about to collapse, ala Detroit?
The Conversation
— Today there are 23 active Superfund toxic waste cleanup sites in Santa Clara County, California. Its culture is equally unhealthy: Think of the misogynist harassment campaigns, the entitled “tech bros” and rampant sexism and racism in Silicon Valley firms. These same companies demean the online public with privacy breaches and unauthorized sharing of users’ data. Thanks to the companies’ influences, it’s extremely expensive to live in the area. And transportation is so clogged that there are special buses bringing tech-sector workers to and from their jobs. Some critics even perceive threats to democracy itself.
— In a word, Silicon Valley has become toxic.

Kavanaugh pretty much figures presidents are untouchable
Which may help explain …
— the 2009 Minnesota Law Review article he wrote advocates for a congressional statute that would exempt the president from civil suits while in office, as well as immunizing him from criminal investigation and prosecution. He does use some pretty strong language about the prospect of a criminal trial of a sitting president, saying it would “cripple the federal government”—an assessment that one could imagine leading a Supreme Court justice to step in to avert such a prospect.

No single origin of human race, scientists say
The Guardian
… the distinctive features that make us human emerged mosaic-like across different populations spanning the entire African continent. Only after tens or hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups, did the fully fledged modern human come into being.

Branson is booming, except if you’re caught in the motel trap
— This summer, millions of vacationers are expected to visit Branson, Mo., to see acts like singer Tony Orlando or the Oak Ridge Boys. It’s boom time for the tourist destination, but for many of the workers who keep the good times rolling, a severe shortage of affordable housing forces them into rundown extended stay motels.
… At the end of the day, she returns to a musty extended stay motel where she and her three children and pets live. Their one room has a single king-size bed where the family sleeps together. She does laundry in the bathtub. For a kitchen, they have a mini-fridge and a microwave. Outside, drug dealers and prostitutes stalk the parking lot.

“They will die in Tallinn” Estonia prepares for (inevitable?) war with Russia.
— Estonians still have vivid memories of the price of occupation, and this perspective sharpens strategic planning in unexpected ways.



Pfizer pretends to back down on drug price in fake Trump fear
(Shamelessly promoted by NPR)

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