WOMENS MARCH >>> Thousands of women gathered in cities in the United States and around the world Saturday for the third annual Women’s March to demand gender equality and call attention to environmental concerns and immigrant rights, among other issues. At a rally in Washington, just blocks from the White House, march organizer and transgender rights activist Abby Stein told demonstrators they would not be deterred by efforts to divide them.

With youth vaping on the rise, FDA makes a (probably empty) threat
The Hill
— “A few years ago, it would have been incredible to me that we’d be here, discussing the potential for drug therapy to help addicted youth vapers quit nicotine.”
— E-cigarette use spiked 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students over the last year, the FDA says. Altogether, about 1.5 million young people took up the habit from 2017 to 2018, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail youth vaping.

“… a definite uptick in the use of criminals to further Russia’s foreign policy goals”
Moscow Times
— Russia appears to be deploying organized-crime connections abroad in ostensible peacetime, reflecting that Moscow sees the current geopolitical clash with the West as an existential political struggle analogous to war.

The hot “new” communications channel: Yup. Email
Wall Street Journal
— “If you ask me, would I want a mailing list with 1,000 people on it or 100,000 followers on Twitter, I’d take the 1,000 emails all day long, because the business you get from 1,000 emails will be much more than you get from 100,000 people on Twitter or Instagram.”

Constant aftershocks = Anxious in Alaska
ABC News
— With no end to the seismic action in sight, Laura Dykes said her upcoming vacation trip to Las Vegas will be a huge relief from the stress she now experiences. The Anchorage law firm worker still has vivid memories of her basement office in a building swaying back and forth during the November earthquake. It was built on rollers to protect it from seismic events.
— “I can’t get out of here fast enough,” Dykes said. “It’ll be five days I can get sleep.”

Lenient sentence for killer cop rankles Chicago
Chicago Sun-Times
— The slaying of Laquan McDonald that has roiled the city for years ended with a prison sentence Friday that only deepened the rifts, as Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke will likely serve a little more than three years in prison after shooting the 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in 2014.
— For the family and supporters of Van Dyke, the sentence by Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan represented hope and a measure of mercy. Prosecutors had asked for 18 to 20 years in prison. Gaughan handed Van Dyke an 81-month sentence, but the 40-year-old officer, now stripped of his powers and facing firing, will likely be paroled after serving only half that time.
— Van Dyke’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, told a waiting throng of reporters in the courthouse lobby that Van Dyke was “happy” when he met with his family in the holding area of Gaughan’s courtroom after the hearing.us-crime-chicago-police-trial

Mexico pipeline blast kills 66 and injures dozens more
NBC News
>>> Theft From Fuel Pipelines Is A Rampant, Deadly Problem In Mexico


FTC is reportedly considering a ‘record-setting fine’ against Facebook
— Facebook was accused of misusing personal information of its users when reports last year found political consultant agency Cambridge Analytica used personal information from millions of Facebook users without their explicit consent. Following the reports in March, the FTC launched an investigation into the company’s data practices.
— The fine is expected to be in excess of the $22.5 million fine the FTC imposed on Google in 2012 for allegedly violating an agreement to improve privacy practices, the Post reported. Sources told the Post Facebook has talked with FTC staffers about the investigation.
—– Except that even a $50 million fine would be chump change for Facebook. The company’s “cash on hand” in 2018 was $41 billion


Ocasio-Cortez Wants To Raise Taxes On The Rich
— And Americans Agree

— A new poll from The Hill and Harris X found that 59 percent of registered voters supported imposing a 70 percent tax rate on every dollar over the 10 millionth a person earns in a year. (Tax rates that apply only to income over a certain threshold are called marginal tax rates.) The idea even received bipartisan support: 71 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 45 percent of Republicans said they were in favor.

China blinks, offers to import more from US
… The U.S. had a trade deficit of $323 billion with China in 2018. This deal would aim to reduce that annual trade difference to $0 by 2024, one of the officials told Bloomberg.

She collapsed next to the best stroke center
Her ambulance was turned away. 
It was policy … She died.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Emergency departments in hospitals nationwide have been quietly deploying a controversial tactic, turning would-be patients away.
— Officially, it’s called ambulance diversion.
— Hospital officials decide they are too busy and essentially hang a “temporarily closed” sign on the emergency room door, telling ambulances to go elsewhere.

Alvin Blalock, and his son, Alex, 5, at their Milwaukee home. Alex’s mother, Tiffany Tate, suffered a stroke 350 yards from a Froedtert Hospital, a top-tier stroke center, but was taken to a different hospital that offered only limited stroke care. She later died.

Evidence of life found buried deep beneath antarctic ice

Only a disaster can end this shutdown
The Atlantic
— Aides on Capitol Hill fear that a dramatic government failure may be the only thing to force President Trump and the Democrats back to the table.
— In these interviews, I heard an array of macabre hypotheticals—from airplane crashes to food-safety scares, TSA strikes to terrorist incidents. But the one theme that ran through every conversation was a sense that the current political dynamics won’t change until voters get a lot angrier.
— “This is all pageantry,” a Democratic House aide said of the posturing by Trump and Congress. “It’s going to take a big national event to move things. I mean, we’re at a standstill.”

Teen diver finds tons of rotting golf balls in sea off California

There are sharks in the water there, but Savoca says that wasn’t the real threat. “When we were out there,” he says, “We’d hear, ‘plink, plink,’ and we’d look up on the hill and there’d be golf balls flying in off the course right into the ocean where we were doing collections.” Despite the aerial barrage, they kept at it, says Weber. “Whenever we had good conditions, we were able to pull out between, like, 500 to 5,000 golf balls,” she says.

America’s private prison scam:
$11 toothpaste: Immigrants pay big for basics at private ICE lock-ups
— Detained in a California lockup with hundreds of other immigrants seeking asylum, Duglas Cruz faced a choice.
He could content himself with a jailhouse diet that he said left him perpetually hungry. Or he could labor in the prison’s kitchen to earn money to buy extra food at the commissary.
— Cruz went to work. But his $1-a-day salary at the privately run Adelanto Detention Facility did not stretch far.
— A can of commissary tuna sold for $3.25. That is more than four times the price at a Target store near the small desert town of Adelanto, about two hours northeast of Los Angeles. Cruz stuck with ramen noodles at 58 cents a package, double the Target price. A miniature deodorant stick, at $3.35 and more than three days’ wages, was an impossible luxury, he said.

At least 1/4 of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary… and dangerous
Popular Science
… the actual number of extraneous prescriptions might be much higher. For example, the authors point out in the study that 34 percent of those were for sinusitis, which previous research has shown has a high rate of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

No real surprise but…
Trump directed Cohen to lie to congress about Trump Tower Moscow
——> How many crimes must this guy commit before they oust him?
 So-called President Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.
— Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.
— And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.
>>> If Buzzfeed report true, Trump is toast, legal experts say
— U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued a statement late on Friday taking issue with a report in Buzzfeed that President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said Trump told him to lie to Congress.
— “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller office, said in the statement.

Lawsuit: IBM invading cellphones for weather data
Vice News
— IBM is going to start predicting the weather — with your cellphone.
— The new forecasting system, announced last week by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, uses a novel but potentially invasive method: crowdsourced location data from millions of cellphones around the world. Even before this program was introduced, Los Angeles had already decided to sue the company for deceptive data gathering.
— Most smartphones have had a barometric sensor inside them since 2014, but until now, meteorologists and data scientists haven’t been able to capture the data at scale and use it for weather prediction. Rometty said the system, called the Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System, will put forecast accuracy in the developing world on par with systems that exist in North America, Western Europe, and Japan.

Even Davos elite think world is “sleepwalking into a catastrophe”
— “Extreme weather was the risk of greatest concern, but our survey respondents are increasingly worried about environmental policy failure,” the report notes, acknowledging that “biodiversity loss is affecting health and socioeconomic development, with implications for well-being, productivity, and even regional security.”
>>> Jackass-in-chief cancels US delegation to Davos

FBI field offices begin food bank to help payless workers
— Some 35,000 FBI employees missed a paycheck last week. That has left many also searching for outside employment, despite limitations on the type of work employees can do and still keep a security clearance or not violate government employment rules.
>>> Unpaid workers face discipline if they go begging on GoFundMe type sites
USA Today

Asteroid will have “multiple chances to strike the earth” scientists say
— Apophis, or 99942 Apophis, as it is officially designated, is expected to come within just 37,600 km of Earth – a tenth of the distance between Earth and the Moon, on 13 April 2029, researchers from the Department of Celestial Mechanics at St. Petersburg State University have warned.
— In a report prepared for the Korolev Readings on Cosmonautics, set to be held in Moscow later this month, scientists say that the asteroid, which will be moving at about 7.43 km per second, will have multiple chances to strike Earth in the coming decades as it is impacted by our planet’s gravity.asteroid.jpg


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