Tuesday

House fails to override Trump veto on so-called emergency

WaPost

President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border survived a critical vote in the House on Tuesday, as Democrats failed to muster the necessary two-thirds majority to override his veto.

The vote was 248 to 181, well short of the 288 that would have been required. The vote effectively ends — for now — legislative attempts to strike down Trump’s national emergency declaration. Now the fight over his attempt to circumvent Congress to get more money for his border wall will shift to the courts.

“President Trump can’t take taxpayer dollars to build his wall without Congress’s permission,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who has filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s declaration, said following the vote. “The 20 states standing with us in court are ready to fight long and hard to stop his fabricated emergency in its tracks.”

US Dep’t of Justice seeks to destroy Obamacare
WaPost

… in the new filing, signed by three Justice Department attorneys, the administration said that a decision of U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor should be affirmed and the entirety of the ACA should be invalidated.

… If the Justice Department’s position prevails, it would potentially eliminate health care for millions of people and cause disruption across the U.S. health-care system — from removing no-charge preventive services for older Americans on Medicare to voiding the expansion of Medicaid in most states. A court victory would fulfill Republican promises to undo a prized domestic accomplishment of the previous administration but leave no substitute in place.

Charges dropped against “Empire” actor
ABC News

In a statement, Smollett’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said, “Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement. 

Chicago mayor blasts prosecutors for dropping Smollett hoax charge
Yahoo News

“Ok, I have no idea what to believe anymore. I think maybe the Feds need to get involved because obviously the Chicago PD can’t do anything right. Either he’s guilty or not and regardless of that, we all need the truth.”
— “Sarah” on Twitter

“He’s always been innocent. Period. I never trusted the corrupt Chicago PD nor the media. He’s black so remember that.”
— “King Malek” on Twitter

“Somebody got paid off in this Jussie case loll do you know how rare it is to have your record expunged, the case sealed, and charges dropped? That almost never happens lol somebody in Chicago PD must’ve fucked up big time. Whole story reeks lol”
“Dee” on Twitter

Yale rescinds admission of a student whose family paid $1.2 million to get her in
CNN

May Loses Control of Brexit Process as Parliament Takes Over
Bloomberg

The U.K. Parliament seized control of the Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May and will now seek to decide how Britain exits the European Union.

In a vote late Monday, the House of Commons split 329 to 302 to schedule votes on a series of alternative strategies, potentially including a second referendum, keeping the U.K. in the bloc’s customs union, leaving without a deal and even canceling Brexit altogether.

NJ lawmakers chicken out on pot vote
NJ.com

Liquor lobby at work?

Why Increased Pot Use in Colorado Is Sending More People to the Hospital
Gizmodo

Solar farm? Fine, but not in my back yard
NPR

The largest solar farm east of the Rocky Mountains could soon be built in Virginia and, depending on whom you ask, it would be either a dangerous eyesore that will destroy the area’s rural character or a win-win, boosting the local economy and the environment. The solar panels would be spread across 10 square miles — 1.8 million panels soaking up the sun’s rays.

The project is planned for Spotsylvania County, about 60 miles south of Washington, D.C. Amid the county’s Civil War battlefields, farms and timberland, a fight is raging over the future of energy in Virginia, and in the Eastern U.S.

The heart of the solar resistance is in a gated community called Fawn Lake, built around a golf course and man-made lake.

“I mean we live at a resort, essentially,” says Dave Walsh, one of the many Fawn Lake residents organizing against the planned solar farm. One corner of the massive project would butt up against the back of the gated community. Walsh says he supports solar, in theory, but not here.

Father Of Sandy Hook Shooting Victim Dies By Apparent Suicide
NPR

The father of a Newtown, Conn., girl who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has died in an apparent suicide. Newtown Police say 49-year-old Jeremy Richman was found dead early Monday morning, not far from his office.

In 2012, Richman’s 6-year-old daughter, Avielle, was among the 26 children and educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

This Nutt thinks he’s found a safer “booze” —
all the pleasure, and none of the damage
The Guardian

Scientist David Nutt memorably said alcohol is more dangerous than crack. Now, he is trying to invent a healthy synthetic alternative, and the race is on to get it to market.

nutt

“I’m not against alcohol. I like it, but it would be nice to have an alternative.”

Unions Make Case Against Wisconsin Lame-Duck Laws
Courthouse News Service

Matthew Wessler, an attorney with Washington, D.C. based firm Gupta Wessler appearing on behalf of the unions, opened by stating that the plaintiffs’ challenge seeks “to restore the fundamental balance of power” that has stood in Wisconsin for 150 years.

Wessler derided the Legislature’s lame-duck attempt to “change the basic rules of how democracy works in Wisconsin” by using an all-night extraordinary session, after working in unseen committees, to pass legislation giving the executive branch’s authority to enforce state laws to the legislative branch.

Avenatti bails out after fraud charge
Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged on Monday with what prosecutors said was an attempt to “shake down” Nike Inc for over $20 million.

Avenatti, who was also hit with separate embezzlement and fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was arrested in New York.

A federal magistrate judge ordered Avenatti released on $300,000 bond during a hearing in U.S. District Court in New York. A subdued Avenatti, appeared in the courtroom wearing a dark gray suit, sitting with federal public defenders.

“When due process occurs I will be fully exonerated and justice will prevail,” Avenatti said outside the court following the hearing.

Prosecutors said Avenatti and another lawyer, who was not named in court papers, met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they had a client, a former amateur coach, who had evidence Nike employees had bribed top high school players to play for Nike-sponsored college teams.

The other lawyer, an unnamed co-conspirator, was identified by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, as high-profile Los Angeles attorney and CNN contributor Mark Geragos.

Life in the slow lane for 13 million Chinese on gov’t shit list
South China Morning Post

David Kong was feeling crumpled after a recent business trip to Chongqing, which took more than 30 hours on a hard sleeper known locally in China as the “green-skin train” for its distinctive dark olive hue. The same journey would have taken just three hours by air, or about 12 hours by high speed train, but Kong could not take either as he was a “deadbeat”.

As one of 13 million officially designated “discredited individuals”, or laolai in Chinese, on a public database maintained by China’s Supreme Court, 47-year-old Kong is banned from spending on “luxuries”, whose definition includes air travel and fast trains.

For this class of people, who earned the label mostly for shirking their debts, daily life is a series of inflicted indignities – some big, some small – from not being able to rent a place to stay in their own name to being shunned by relatives and business associates. In some places, the telecommunication companies apply a special ringtone to the phone numbers of laolai as a warning.

Men ditch suits, and retailers try to adapt
Wall Street Journal

Jos. A. Bank, a chain known for selling suits to the corporate masses, began airing a television commercial earlier this month that features men in sport coats, khakis and jeans.

With fewer men buying suits, retailers of tailored clothing are trying to adapt to a world in which it is no longer unthinkable to wear Lululemon pants to the office.

“We want to send the message that we can help with more than just suits,” said Mary Beth Blake, Jos. A. Bank’s brand president.

McDonald’s invests in “personalized menu” company
Bloomberg

The world’s biggest restaurant chain is spending more than $300 million on Dynamic Yield Ltd., according to a person familiar with the matter. With the new technology, McDonald’s restaurants can vary their electronic menu boards’ display of items, depending on factors such as the weather — more coffee on cold days and McFlurries on hot days, for example — and the time of day or regional preferences. The menus will also suggest add-on items to customers.

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