Manafort gets off easy — of course
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 47 months in federal prison for tax and bank fraud, a significantly shorter sentence than prosecutors had sought.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis handed down the sentence in federal court in Virginia Thursday afternoon. Ellis said Manafort committed “undeniably serious” crimes and expressed surprise that he did not “express regret for engaging in wrongful conduct.”
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of between 19.5 to 24 years behind bars, with an attorney from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office telling the court Manafort “failed to accept responsibility and is not remorseful.”
“For context on Manafort’s 47 months in prison, my client yesterday was offered 36-72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room.”
— Scott Hechinger, Brooklyn public defender
During a hearing today (May 4, 2018), Judge Ellis suggested that Mueller’s team lied about the scope of the investigation, and seek “unfettered power” as part of a play to unseat the President.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” said Judge Ellis. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”
How to prevent the ‘robot apocalypse’ from ending labor as we know it
By Thomas Kochan, Elisabeth Reynolds, MIT
In The Conversation
… Just ask General Motors what it got for its nearly US$50 billion in robots in the 1980s in its futile effort to catch up with Toyota’s more efficient production and labor relations systems. The answer is not much.
Instead, GM eventually learned from Toyota via a joint venture that the highest return on investments came by integrating new technology with new work practices, which allowed workers to help “give wisdom to the machines.”
Many Republicans Want Climate Change Erased From Curriculum
Courthouse News Service/AP
A Connecticut lawmaker wants to strike climate change from state science standards. A Virginia legislator worries teachers are indoctrinating students with their personal views on global warming. And an Oklahoma state senator wants teachers to be able to introduce alternative viewpoints without fear of losing their jobs.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
In finding a breach of the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires a census every 10 years to determine each state’s representation in Congress, the 126-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco went further than a similar decision on Jan. 15 by Judge Jesse Furman in New York.
More people under 40 having heart attacks
Heart-attack rates are rising for adults under age 40, researchers found after comparing data of heart attack survivors ages 41 to 50 with those survivors who were 40 and younger.
In fact, the proportion of heart-attack patients under age 40 has been climbing 2% every year for the last 10 years, according to findings slated for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session later this month.
The researchers tried to unearth the risk factors explaining the rise and said substance abuse might share part of the blame. The youngest patients were more likely to use marijuana and cocaine compared to slightly older counterparts, even if they drank less alcohol.
Hidden deep within the text of her Squaremouth insurance policy was a contest to win $10,000. The company buried instructions for claiming the grand prize in the fine print of every Tin Leg Travel Insurance contract.
The United Nations Human Rights Council rebuked Saudi Arabia on Thursday, with 36 countries, including all 28 European Union member states, signing onto the rebuke — the first the kingdom has faced from the panel since its establishment in 2006.
“We are particularly concerned about the use of the counterterrorism law and other national security provisions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights and freedoms.
Trump’s tweets criticize Facebook and Google, but the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department is making life easier for potential monopolists in Silicon Valley.
NY Times Opinion
…. the administration’s chief antitrust enforcer is their champion. On top of granting tech platforms huge windfalls in his tax reform law, Trump appointed a friend of big tech, Makan Delrahim, to lead the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Delrahim has consistently promoted the interests of the biggest tech companies.
Abigail Disney along with around 200 other millionaires living in New York asked lawmakers to introduce a “millionaires tax” on households earning more than $5 million to help fund affordable housing, infrastructure and other initiatives.
“The problem is that there’s a systematic favoring of people who have accumulated an enormous amount of wealth,” she said.
Residents of Paradise, Calif., are being given reassurances that their town — completely destroyed by last fall’s Camp Fire — will be rebuilt. But will the new town be too expensive for many?
Paradise was a haven for retirees and others who couldn’t afford the city or just wanted to live in the country. Like a lot of western towns, it grew too quickly — without a lot of planning and scant zoning. Mobile home parks, tract houses, fast food restaurants were packed into overgrown forests.
The researchers also found “asymmetries in individuals’ willingness to venture into cross-cutting spaces, with conservatives more likely to follow media and political accounts classified as left-leaning than the reverse.”
That is somewhat surprising, given that conservatives are widely characterized as craving certainty. The researchers suspect this crossover is driven in part by the fact that right-wing news outlets tend to be heavy on opinion and light on original news reporting.
“Conservatives with a taste for both traditionally reported news and congenial opinion may need to sample more widely than liberals with analogous tastes,” the authors write.
PBS News Hour discovers the West Coast
Wisconsin might not get a Foxconn plant of any size, analysts say
Foxconn and the state’s economic development agency still pledge that the Gen-6 facility will create “up to 13,000 new full-time jobs,” as enshrined in the contract. But a blur of mixed signals and shifting pronouncements over the past year has turned Wisconsin’s signature job-creation project into a nonstop guessing game — one that involves the most expensive package of corporate subsidies from a U.S. state and the largest-ever in Wisconsin by a factor of 50.
…. As the migrant caravan reached the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego County, so did journalists, attorneys, and advocates who were there to work and witness the events unfolding.
But in the months that followed, journalists who covered the caravan, as well as those who offered assistance to caravan members, said they felt they had become targets of intense inspections and scrutiny by border officials.
One photojournalist said she was pulled into secondary inspections three times and asked questions about who she saw and photographed in Tijuana shelters. Another photojournalist said she spent 13 hours detained by Mexican authorities when she tried to cross the border into Mexico City. Eventually, she was denied entry into Mexico and sent back to the U.S.
A federal appeals court panel signaled Wednesday that it is strongly inclined to set in motion a process likely to expose more sordid details in the politically charged scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier and philanthropist whose relatively cushy plea deal on underage-sex charges a decade ago has become a political liability for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
Sparks flew during arguments before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan as a lawyer for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an Epstein accuser, repeatedly reiterated his client’s claim leveled several years ago that the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz not only defended Epstein but also had sex with some of the women Epstein victimized.