Tuesday

Empire actor Jussie Smollett victim of racist attack in Chicago
Chicago Sun-Times
smollett— A cast member from the Fox series “Empire” was injured in what police called a “possible racially charged assault and battery” early Tuesday in the Streeterville neighborhood.
— The 36-year-old man was walking about 2 a.m. in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street when two people walked up and “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” police said. They then hit him in the face and “poured an unknown chemical substance on him.”
— One of the attackers also put a rope around his neck before they ran away, police said. The victim walked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was in good condition.
— Police did not name the victim, but a statement from 20th Century Fox identified him as Jussie Smollett.

Heavy drinking may change DNA —
Leading to increased craving for alcohol
Eureka Alert
rutgers.jpg— Binge and heavy drinking may trigger a long-lasting genetic change, resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
— “We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said Distinguished Professor Dipak K. Sarkar, senior author of the study and director of the Endocrine Program in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
— “This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted.”

Electronics Are ‘the Fastest-Growing Waste Stream in the World’
Motherboard
— Electronic waste is a growing threat to the environment. Thanks to the low cost of manufacturing, it’s easier than ever for corporations to pump out millions of laptops, smart phones, internet of things devices, and other electronics. Electronics companies want consumers to keep buying new products, and believe repair and reuse hurts their bottom line. Old CRT monitors and televisions fill warehouses across the country, and companies like Apple and Microsoft pay lip service to the problem, but often pursue business practices that make the problem worse.

Two Florida mopes push for self-driving cars minus safety drivers
Futurism
— Two Florida lawmakers are working to loosen state restrictions on self-driving technology.
… “You have this technology that is being unleashed on the world prior to it really being ready,” liability and injury lawyer Joshua Chilson told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s obviously not advanced to the point where it’s capable of responding to real-life scenarios, like the one that happened in Tempe.”

US sanctions on Venezuela oil reverberate around the world
Reuters
— The Kremlin condemned the sanctions as illegal interference, while China said they would lead to suffering for which Washington would bear responsibility. Both countries have lent billions of dollars to Venezuela and are concerned about new stress on debt payments.

You should probably turn off FaceTime even though Apple just fixed a massive privacy bug
Popular Science
The caller can hear you even if you don’t pick up.

Harley-Davidson Profit Wiped Out by Tariffs
Bloomberg

PG&E, owner of biggest US power utility, files for bankruptcy
CNBC

Greed’ fueled Insys founder’s opioid bribe scheme: prosecutor
Reuters
BOSTON — A lawyer for Insys Therapeutics billionaire founder on Monday denied that he had any role in the U.S. opioid crisis as a federal prosecutor told jurors he ran a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive fentanyl spray.
— John Kapoor, the drugmaker’s former chairman, and four colleagues are the first painkiller manufacturer executives to face trial over conduct authorities say contributed to an opioid abuse crisis that has killed tens of thousands of people a year.

Alabama GOP official trashes Sen. Krysten Sinema  for being “improperly attired” 
AL.com
… In earlier versions of Zeigler’s post he said Sinema “took the floor improperly attired.” That phrase was later removed, and Ziegler did not directly comment on Sinema’s attire – a dress and tall boots – but instead mused about the male senator who he said “accompanied” Sinema as she took the floor of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, is visible in the bottom corner of one of the photos.

pjimage-20
She ain’t dressed proper, says the GOP’s Fashion Czar.
sinema
Or maybe it was the boots that offended his tender sensibilities?

Senators ask Facebook: Did you prompt kids to spend parents’ money?
The Hill
— Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) on Tuesday sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding answers about recently unsealed court documents that show Facebook knowingly tricked children into spending their parents’ money without permission.
— Markey and Blumenthal, members of the Senate Commerce Committee, called the revelations laid out in a Center for Investigative Reporting report last week “highly troubling.”
— Facebook for years ignored warnings that children were unknowingly spending their parents’ money on games connected to the platform, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting investigation. Children at times racked up thousands in fees, which their parents often only discovered when they received their credit card bills, parents claim in the court documents from a 2012 class-action lawsuit.

U.S. Likely To Settle for Afghan Withdrawal Deal It Could Have Got 15 Years Ago
Reason
… 
Cato foreign policy scholar John Glaser: “The broad outlines of the peace deal that we are now negotiating could have been pursued back in 2001. We really could have gotten out of Afghanistan a decade and a half ago if we didn’t harbor ridiculous ambitions of we might accomplish in Afghanistan.”
— Those ambitions included an attempt to eliminate the Taliban as a political force in Afghanistan and establish a stable, democratic government in its place, Glaser says.
— Despite 17 years of direct U.S. military involvement in the country—which has cost $900 billion and the lives of some 2,400 U.S. military personnel—these goals have proven elusive.

Why women still earn a lot less than men
The Conversation
…. The economic gains from closing the gender pay gap are huge. Doing so would add about $513 billion to the economy because of the extra income generated, reduce poverty and do a lot to support American families since mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners in about half of them.

Bill would make animal cruelty a felony nationwide
The Hill
— The Humane Society Legislative Fund praised the bill in a release, saying that Deutch and Buchanan’s law is a “long overdue” federal statute that will fill “gaps” in felony provisions in all 50 states.

Madman stabs, kills pregnant Lyft driver …
… so he could steal her car
CBS News
“Throughout our careers as officers, we have incidents that really, really touch our hearts and stay with you throughout your careers,” Elcock said. “This is definitely one of those incidents that really is going to affect the police department for a long time, and the community will think about this for a long time.”

Watchdog: U.S. gov’t succumbing to corruption
Bloomberg

Questions abound in supposed “Russian Roulette” shooting of cop
USA Today
hendren.jpg— Hendren was injured on the morning following the shooting. Police declined to provide details of the injury. A booking photo released by police showed a bruise below Hendren’s left eye. His cash-only bail was set at $50,000.
— St. Louis Police Commissioner John Hayden Jr. had characterized the shooting on Thursday as an “accidental discharge of the weapon.” Police said initially that Hendren had “mishandled” the gun.
— But authorities announced charges against Hendren the following day.
——> So first they tried to cover it up as a “mishandling.” Next story: “Russian roulette.” We’ll see how long that lasts.

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