Monday

Can America’s new weed cafes make pot social?
The Guardian

Denver’s first legal consumption lounge, The Coffee Joint, opened last year. Its co-owner Rita Tsalyuk described it as a “Starbucks on steroids”. It costs $5 to enter if you plan to consume – though entrance is otherwise free – and while the shop itself can’t sell cannabis, it’s attached to a licensed dispensary. The space hosts video game and movie nights, singles mixers, yoga and industry events.

McConnell: Senate will spike Trump’s fake emergency
The Hill

NBA chief: Loneliness, melancholy pervasive in the league
Boston Globe

“When I meet with them, what surprises me is that they’re truly unhappy,’’ Silver told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons during an hour-long panel discussion at the 13th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday afternoon. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.’’

“If you’re around a team in this day and age, there are always headphones on,’’ Silver said. “[The players] are isolated, and they have their heads down.’

Russia Suspends Nuclear Missile Treaty With U.S.
Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir Putin formally ordered a suspension of Russia’s obligations under a Cold War-era nuclear treaty with the U.S., his office said Monday, a death knell for the pact that heightens the threat of a new arms race.

The Kremlin said the decision to suspend the agreement was made after the U.S. said it would stop abiding by the pact, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibited the possession, production and flight testing of certain short and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

The statement didn’t acknowledge Washington’s accusations that Russia had broken its obligations under the INF treaty with the testing of its nuclear-capable 9M729 missile. Those accusations have been met by sabre-rattling from Moscow, with Mr. Putin warning that the unraveling of the agreement would lead to a new arms race.

Russia wants to be able to pull the plug on its Internet
L.A. Times

Russian lawmakers want to tighten the screws on Russia’s internet access by creating an “sovereign” network that the Kremlin could shut off from the greater World Wide Web.
Proponents of a bill now working its way through the Russian parliament say passing the measure will protect the country’s internet from foreign cyberattacks or other threats.
But international human rights groups and opponents say the law is an attempt to create a firewall around Russia’s internet and restrict information flow.
Buyer Beware: Hollywood Special Effects Now Permeate Property Listings
Wall Street Journal

Real-estate listing photos have always accentuated the positive, but computer-generated imagery of the sort Hollywood uses has now become so cheap and prolific that home sellers are taking out walls, removing ugly paneling and even adding digital swimming pools.

At the same time, photos are more important than ever: Nearly every home search begins online and deals are often struck without in-person showings, particularly amonginvestors who are putting photos through their own algorithms to price homes as they make an unprecedented move into the U.S. housing market.
The technology allows sellers to green browned lawns, stage rooms with virtual furniture like digital dollhouses and even perform full-blown HGTV-style makeovers with clicks of a mouse.

The hazards to buyers range from disappointment when they arrive for in-person showings to blown renovation budgets. That could prove an especially thorny issue for investors, who may need to retrain computer models they use to comb through listings for houses that are good candidates to turn into rentals or flips.

So, Bonnie Prince Charley, too, was playing
financial footsie with the Russkies
The Guardian

“This is the pipe through which the proceeds of kleptocracy flow from Russia to the west.”

House Dems open sweeping corruption probe of Trump & Co.
Politico

Google Moves to Address Wage Equity, and Finds It’s Underpaying Many Men
NY Times

When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found that more men than women were receiving less money for doing similar work.

The surprising conclusion to the latest version of the annual study contrasted sharply with the experience of women working in Silicon Valley and in many other industries.

In response to the finding, Google gave $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees for this year. Men account for about 69 percent of the company’s work force, but they received a disproportionately higher percentage of the money. The exact number of men who got raises is unclear.

But the study did not tell the whole story of women at Google or in the technology industry more broadly, something that company officials acknowledged.
Most significantly, it did not address ingrained issues that, according to workplace experts, cannot be overcome simply by considering how much different people are paid for doing the same job: Women and racial minorities often do not get the same opportunities and they must overcome certain biases when they are hired or compete for promotions.

5 ways life would be better with permanent Daylight Savings Time
The Conversation

It’s not a bust, ‘it’s a rescue’:
Florida sting shows shift on sex trafficking

Christian Science Monitor

After using hidden cameras to film hundreds of men receiving illicit sex inside a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies decided to make their move.

But instead of a bust, Sheriff William Snyder had a different take: He called it a “rescue operation.”

An eight-month investigation had uncovered a clandestine operation that trafficked Asian women, most of whom had come to the United States legally in search of work. The investigation spanned four counties, two states, and involved more than 200 alleged johns. Eleven alleged owners and hundreds of men have been charged with crimes ranging from trafficking to solicitation.

Thanks to Decades of Government Meddling,
U.S. Dairy Is Going Through a Crisis
Reason

… Indeed, the USDA regularly buys up surplus dairy products that are overproduced due to the agency’s own policies. Just this month, for example, the USDA announced the agency was buying up surplus cheese “to encourage the continued domestic consumption of these products by diverting them from the normal channels of trade and commerce.”

What’s the Worst Trash Humans Produce?
Gizmodo
The experts weigh in.

Calif. Supremes mulling big cut in gov’t pensions
L.A. Times

Slaying of one of their own rattles gangland video reporters
AP

Shawn Cotton no longer drives his $55,000, bright pink Corvette to work because he’s afraid it could get him killed like his friend. But there are two things he won’t leave home without: his bulletproof vest and the 9 mm pistol he slips into his pocket.

Cotton, 28, quit his $7-an-hour job cleaning refrigerators at a big-box store six years ago to enter a new and uniquely dangerous field of newsgathering in which video journalists interview street gangs and rappers in high-crime areas, then post the videos on YouTube channels.

Dozens of gangland videographers like him nationwide risk their lives to provide a voice for communities routinely ignored by mainstream media, creating an alternative news genre that Cotton’s friend Zack Stoner liked to call “hood CNN” before he was killed in a drive-by shooting last year in Chicago.

‘Pug of war’ over eBay sale of impounded dog in Germany
AFP

eddaA decision by German local authorities to impound a pug from an indebted family and hawk it on eBay was spiralling on Monday into a possible case for the courts.

The buyer, Michaela Jordan, told national news agency DPA she had filed a case against Ahlen city authorities for “fraud”.

The Geography of Partisan Prejudice

A guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America
The Atlantic

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In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.

This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity.

They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents. (In fact, people who went to graduate school have the least amount of political disagreement in their lives, as Mutz describes in her book Hearing the Other Side.)

By contrast, many nonwhite Americans routinely encounter political disagreement. They have more diverse social networks, politically speaking, and therefore tend to have more complicated views of the other side, whatever side that may be.

And this map shows how much you need to earn to “get by” in every state
CNBC

livingwage

Depending on where you live in the United States, the amount you need to make to get by can vary by a lot. While a family of three can manage on just over $48,000 a year in Mississippi, for example, it takes at least $60,000 a year to make ends meet in New Jersey, and even more in California.

States making it harder for the rich to avoid taxes with “fake move”
Bloomberg

Based on an audit, New York notified high-flying exec Gregory Blatt that he owed the state $430,065, plus interest and penalties.

NRA gun nuts running out of allies in S. Florida
McClatchy

The National Rifle Association is running out of friends in South Florida.

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who received campaign cash from the NRA four months after the Parkland shooting, distanced himself from the nation’s largest pro-gun lobby and sided with Democrats to expand background checks last week. Diaz-Balart’s new stance blunts a potential 2020 campaign talking point for Democrats, who hammered him on his gun record last year but still came up 21 percentage points short of unseating one of the most well-known figures in Miami politics.

Alligators, Drugs, And Theft, Oh My! New List Shows Top 10 ‘Florida Man’ Stories
NPR

The Miami Herald‘s Howard Cohen started listing a few hallmarks of a typical “Florida Man” story to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

“A Florida man tends to generally have to have firearms, locations help — bodies of water, theme parks, Wal-Mart’s, Taco Bell’s fast food places like that — alligators for sure, reasons for arrest, injuries,” Cohen said, “Drugs and alcohol could be part of it, and like we said, animals, and those would include reptiles in particular.”

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Prime example of the genre: “Florida Man Steals $33,000 Worth of Rare Coins, Cashes Them in CoinStar Machine for $29.30”

Yup, this Memphis boy, 12, built fusion reactor in his bedroom
Motherboard

fusion kid

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