Wednesday

Lunatic-fringe candidates won thousands of votes in Ill, Calif
Raw Story
And that’s not even counting Iowa’s openly racist Steve King…


They’ll leave the light on for you —
if you’re an ICE agent

Motel 6 to pay $7.6m to settle claims it gave guest lists to immigration agents

(The Guardian) — Motel 6 will pay up to $7.6m to Hispanic guests to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming it violated their privacy by regularly providing guest lists to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agents.
— Terms of the preliminary settlement with eight Hispanic plaintiffs – seven from Arizona and one from Washington state – were disclosed in a 2 November filing with the federal court in Phoenix.
— Motel 6 also agreed to a two-year consent decree barring it from sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm.

2 economic policies likely to change with a Dem House
The Conversation
— The NAFTA replacement crafted by the White House is likely to go down in flames.
— Democrats support infrastructure spending, but the stumbling block in the Trump plan was the provision that the private sector would effectively own the roads and bridges that it builds.
— While House Democrats may not support this plan, they would likely be willing to support something that mainly relies on just federal spending. And Republicans have a reason to go along as well: Infrastructure spending would boost economic growth, which is forecast to slow in 2019 – just before the 2020 elections.

100 years after a dumb Congress passed it, the madness of Daylight Savings endures
The Conversation
— It’s absurd – and fitting – that a century later, opponents and supporters of daylight saving are still not sure exactly what it does. Despite its name, daylight saving has never saved anyone anything. But it has proven to be a fantastically effective driver of retail spending.

Dead whore-master wins Nevada election
The Independent
Yep, that’s the guy who wrote The Art of the Pimp …

GoFundMe raises $100,000 for teacher who punched student
RochesterFirst
A racial thing. Student may have started it by throwing basketball at teacher and  using a racial slur.

Michigan gives the nod to legal pot
Marijuana Herald
— Voters this evening passed Proposal 18-1 into law, making Michigan the 10th state to legalize marijuana. The initiative allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or up to 10 ounces at a private residence, for those 21 and older. The measure also legalizes the personal cultivation of up to 12 marijuana plants.
— The initiative establishes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana retail outlets, which will be supplied by licensed cultivation centers. Marijuana will receive a 10% excise tax in addition to the standard 6% sales tax.
— Michigan now joins nine other states that have legalized marijuana for all uses: Washington, Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Vermont. The latter is the only state that does not authorize marijuana stores.

Invasive jumping worms altering midwest soil
Motherboard
— In contrast to their European earthworm cousins, which burrow inches deep in forest soil, Asian jumping worms like to stay close to the surface to feed on the “litter layer” composed of dead leaves and twigs. Previous studies suggested that the worms ravenously consume this leaf litter, removing nutrients and locking them up in their coffee ground aggregates where germinating plants can’t easily access them.


Dems = House
Reps = Senate
For election results, much much more at Politico

nonono-line

An info-gathering scam
Amazon’s site selection process a “ruse” says urban studies professor
Bloomberg
…. But it kept hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free information from the cities to create the biggest corporate site location database in the world, according to Richard Florida, an urban studies professor at the University of Toronto.
— Amazon’s well-publicized hunt for HQ2 was a “ruse,” he said. “I always thought this wasn’t about one site and was part of a corporate location strategy looking for different sites and different talent,” Florida said. “Headquarters two and three are just the beginning.”

GOP dufus admits his California seat is gone while voting in progress
Raw Story

Dire warning on species loss
Will we wake up? Or will we document our own extinction?
The Guardian
— The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.
— Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.


Mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ floating in space might be alien, say Harvard researchers
USA Today
— Researchers focused on whether solar radiation pressure could explain the unusual acceleration of “Oumuamua,” the first object entering the Earth’s solar system from interstellar space.
— The paper said if solar radiation pressure is the reason “Oumuamua” is moving at high speeds, it represents “a new class of thin interstellar material” either made naturally or through artificial means.
— The paper’s authors, which include Avi Loeb, chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, suggest the object could be a “lightsail” used to propel spacecraft with solar energy.
— The other possibility? It comes from aliens. “A more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua’
may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” reads the paper.


Fisherman thought it was a doll, pulls drowning child from water
The Guardian
— Gus Hutt was casting a line off Matata Beach in the North Island last week when he spotted what he thought was a porcelain doll in the water.
— Curious, Hutt dragged the body in from the sea where it was being swept along by a rip and realised it was actually a drowning 18-month old boy.

drownchild


The long slow sad decline of America, chapter 9999
Wisconsin giving away billions to Foxconn,
which is now importing Chinese workers
Raw Story
— Foxconn Technology is a key supplier to Apple, and is opening a large new plant in the Midwest. The plant has been heavily subsidized with $3 billion in American tax dollars, potentially up to one million dollars per job.
— But with a tight market for qualified American workers, Foxconn is “trying to tap Chinese engineers through internal transfers to supplement staffing.”
— “It’s very difficult to find skilled labor in our market,” said a staffing agency near the plant. “All the technical schools and local universities are gearing up their programs, but I still think Foxconn is going to fall short in terms of finding the people they need.”
— The company’s plan is to bring in Chinese workers.
— The big problem the company is facing? Chinese workers don’t want to move to Wisconsin.
— “One engineer who declined to give his name said he wouldn’t want to move to a place he worried could be as cold as Harbin, a northern Chinese city known as ‘Ice City,’” reports the Wall Street Journal.
1) The US finds it necessary to bribe companies to locate here.
2) But cannot even pump out enough mediocre engineering grads to fill the jobs.
3) Chinese engineers don’t want to move here.
4) It’s that damn immigrant caravan, I tell ya.


College students’ research frees man after 12 years in prison
Medill Justice Project
— Andre Gonzales, who spent 12 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit, was freed from prison Tuesday.
— Twenty Northwestern University students working investigated Gonzales’s murder conviction, researching and conducting extensive interviews with people involved in the case. The project, part of the Medill School of Journalism, has investigated potentially wrongful convictions since 1999.
— This week, Florida prosecutors dropped all charges against Gonzales a month after a Miami circuit court judge vacated his 2005 murder conviction and ordered a new trial.
andre gonzales


ROBOCALLS
Curiously timed announcement on election eve…
Reuters
dog-pony-juggleU.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday wrote the chief executives of major telephone service providers and other companies, demanding they launch a system no later than 2019 to combat billions of “robocalls” and other nuisance calls received monthly by American consumers.
Gee. Pai wrote letters? Really? Wow. That’ll stop the robocalls for sure. A commenter on Reddit pointed out the flaw in this act of gov’t propaganda: “… it turns out, some dude in India doesn’t really care about US laws.”


Berners-Lee calls for “Magna Carta for the web”
The Telegraph via Yahoo

berners— Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a “Magna Carta for the web”, warning that tech giants must change their ways to save the online world from the dangerous forces they have unleashed.
— Sir Tim, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, called for a “revolution” in how the internet is regulated and monetised in order to stem abuse, political polarisation and fake news.
— The 63-year-old was speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon to launch a new “contract for the web” which asks internet companies to uphold a set of principles such as protecting privacy and being transparent about their algorithms.
>>> Peak smartphone? Sales down again.
NY Post

Humans first footsteps on Mars could destroy any evidence of life
By David Weintraub, professor of astronomy, Vanderbilt
in The Conversation

— The closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist is Mars, and human beings are poised to attempt to colonize this planetary neighbor within the next decade. Before that happens, we need to recognize that a very real possibility exists that the first human steps on the Martian surface will lead to a collision between terrestrial life and biota native to Mars.
–If the red planet is sterile, a human presence there would create no moral or ethical dilemmas on this front. But if life does exist on Mars, human explorers could easily lead to the extinction of Martian life.

McDonald’s sent worker home for being late — so he robbed another McDonald’s, cops say
Miami Herald
— David Gomez-Beltran had arrived the McDonald’s, still in uniform, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by KSAT, and at first told the manager that he was sent to the McDonald’s from another location to help with the dinner crowd. When the manager took him to the office to fill out the necessary paperwork for doing so, he pulled out a handgun and told her to give him all the money in the restaurant’s safe, according to the affidavit obtained by KSAT.
— Managers of the McDonald’s at The Rim location recognized David Gomez-Beltran in security footage as the employee they sent home for being late the very same day, according to the sheriff’s office.


noads-line

Hundreds of booksellers strike back against Amazon
NY Times
— More than 450 antiquarian book dealers in at least 26 countries pulled their books off an Amazon subsidiary on Monday, an impromptu protest after the site abruptly said it would drop all sellers from several nations.
— The flash strike against AbeBooks, which removed over 2.5 million books from the marketplace, is a rare concerted action by vendors against Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue.
— The protest got its start after AbeBooks sent emails last month to booksellers in countries including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia to say that it would no longer “support” them.
— As the news spread, even unaffected dealers were surprised and angered. AbeBooks, together with Amazon itself, is by far the biggest international marketplace for secondhand and rare books.
— AbeBooks lists millions of books and manages the payments. The booksellers mail the books directly from their shops. The platform was founded in 1995 and was bought by Amazon in 2008. It continues to operate independently, and many of its customers never even realize who the owner is. AbeBooks is based in Victoria, British Columbia, where it started.
>>> Amazon may split second headquarters between two cities
Axios
Most likely: Dallas and suburban DC.

Ozone layer is healing, UN reports
CNS

The so-called immigrant caravan is a fake problem
But the risk of a tidal wave of refugees heading for the US someday is high
The National Interest
…. Venezuela, of course, makes Brazil look like paradise. Over two million Venezuelan refugees have left their country since 2014, as its self-imposed economic and political crisis has deepened. America is lucky that most of them are trying to get to Medellin, not Miami.
— It is the long-term trajectory of Latin America that should really worry Americans. There is little reason for optimism about the future of most countries in the Western Hemisphere. While globalization and a winners-take-all economy are hollowing out America’s middle class, these dynamics are likely to have catastrophic effects on Latin America’s even more unequal societies.
— The ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution will stall and reverse many of the gains poorer countries have made through comparative advantage and globalization. A great deal of manufacturing will probably return to the United States and Europe, particularly if political or environmental events cause significant disruptions to global supply chains.
— American tariffs may accelerate this process, but it is technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and driverless cars that will lead to a hemorrhaging of low- and medium-skill jobs. This will happen long before Latin American countries can manage even a modest imitation of East Asia’s export-led growth.
>>> So-called caravan poses no risk to US, but troop deployment will cost $220 million
CNBC

How Congress Stopped Working

Today’s legislative branch, far from the model envisioned by the founders, is dominated by party leaders and functions as a junior partner to the executive, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

— For more than 200 years, Congress operated largely as the country’s founders envisioned — forging compromises on the biggest issues of the day while asserting its authority to declare war, spend taxpayer money and keep the presidency in check.
— Today, on the eve of a closely fought election that will determine who runs Capitol Hill, that model is effectively dead.
It has been replaced by a weakened legislative branch in which debate is strictly curtailed, party leaders dictate the agenda, most elected representatives rarely get a say and government shutdowns are a regular threat due to chronic failures to agree on budgets, according to a new analysis of congressional data and documents by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

Lakes on Mars? No, but there used to be
Futurism

Inside Tesla factory: A medical clinic designed to ignore worker injuries
Reveal
— When a worker gets smashed by a car part on Tesla’s factory floor, medical staff are forbidden from calling 911 without permission.
— The electric carmaker’s contract doctors rarely grant it, instead often insisting that seriously injured workers – including one who severed the top a finger – be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft.
— Injured employees have been systematically sent back to the production line to work through their pain with no modifications, according to former clinic employees, Tesla factory workers and medical records. Some could barely walk.
— The on-site medical clinic serving some 10,000 employees at Tesla Inc.’s California assembly plant has failed to properly care for seriously hurt workers, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Non-stop ads and robocalls: welcome to America’s costliest election
Reuters via Yahoo
…  
“The mailers go in the trash,” she said. “I can’t wait until this whole thing is over.”
The contest in her California district, a top Democratic target, has drawn more than $26 million in spending by candidates and outside groups since January 2017, according to a Reuters analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) data.
— It leads the 10 priciest House races, where a total of $238 million has been spent.

Older workers replacing teens at fast-food joints
Bloomberg
— Fast-food chains are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the website of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.
— Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement often-meager retirement savings.

olderworkerchart


In the Deep South, residents of an upscale suburb fight to secede from “those people”
LA Times
— When Vikki Consiglio exits her subdivision next to the Eagle’s Landing Country Club, leaving behind a neighborhood of neatly manicured lawns, circular driveways and golf fairways, she cannot help feeling a wave of disappointment.
— “I see the Waffle Houses and the McDonald’s, the Walmart and the dollar stores,” she said. “I’m thinking, ‘Is this all I can have?’ There’s no fresh farm-to-table, no parks, no entertainment.”
— In what she says is a bid to attract more upscale amenities to this rapidly developing suburb about 20 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta, Consiglio has come up with a controversial plan: to form a new city, Eagle’s Landing, by combining unincorporated pockets of the county with the most affluent parts of the existing city of Stockbridge.
— The proposal to form a new city, up for a vote on Tuesday, has roiled Henry County, raising tense debate about racial and economic disparity and voting rights.

Drunk dude arrested after nabbing a horse at Churchill Downs, heading for the track.
Lexington Herald-Leader

Driver was “huffing” before killing 3 girl scouts
USA Today
— The driver of a pickup was “huffing” chemicals before slamming into a group of Girl Scouts collecting trash near a rural Wisconsin road, killing three children and a chaperone, authorities said Monday.
— Colten Treu, 21, was being held on four counts of homicide by negligent use of a motor vehicle, five counts of hit and run and four counts of homicide while intoxicated.
— Hallie Lake Police Chief Cal Smokowicz said the victims were wearing green “highly visible” safety vests and were working in a ditch beyond the road and its gravel shoulder at the time of Saturday’s crash. He said Treu’s black F-150 veered out of its lane, crossed the center line and the opposing lane before roaring across the shoulder and into the ditch.

Maine’s wonderful governor can’t wait to move to Florida so he can pay less tax
Press Herald
— Now in the final two months of his eight years in the governor’s mansion, LePage said he was “talking to a couple of universities” about teaching in Florida from September through April, but he would not identify the schools. LePage and his wife, Ann, already own a house in Florida and often vacation there. He said he would be in Maine from April to September.
— Asked where he would maintain his legal residency, LePage replied Florida.
— “I’ll tell you very, very simply: I have a house in Florida. I will pay no income tax and the house in Florida’s property taxes are $2,000 less than we were paying in Boothbay,” LePage said. “At my age, why wouldn’t you conserve your resources and spend it on family (rather) than spend it on taxes?”lepage

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