Weekend

Pennsylvania school bus driver tells students to “go fuck yourselves”
and then abandons them and her vehicle
The Independent

A school bus driver who told students to “go f*** yourselves” before abandoning them along with her vehicle has been charged with 26 counts of endangering children and one of drink driving.

Lori Ann Mankos was driving so erratically before she pulled over into a service station that many youngsters were screaming to be let off.

Footage filmed by the teenage pupils, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, suggests at least one student was close to tears. “Call the school, this is not even funny, pull over” she can be heard shouting.

“There was a right-hand turn and when she took it, she was going far too fast – she ended up being halfway into the opposing lane of traffic,” youngster Mason Persiani told local news channel WFMZ News. “That was probably the scariest point of the ride, and at the point my heart was racing.”

The teenager added: “She told us ‘Go f*** yourselves’. And then flipped us off, you know, stuck her hand in the air and flipped us off.”

A Florida “Massage Parlor” Owner Has Been Selling Chinese Execs Access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago
Mother Jones

trump-yang

On a page displaying a photo of Mar-a-Lago, Cindy “Happy Ending” Yang’s company says its “activities for clients” have included providing them “the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.”

The company boasts it has “arranged taking photos with the President” and suggests it can set up a “White House and Capitol Hill Dinner.The overall message conveyed by the GY US Investments website seems clear: hire Cindy Yang’s company and she can get you close to Trump and his government—at Mar-a-Lago and in Washington. If the posted photos are authentic, she has been able to get Chinese clients at least into the Trump circle for a quick pic. They are a sign that this Chinese immigrant and Trump donor has used her contacts to go from massaging clients to massaging influence.

The Mar-a-Lago and Chinese “business executives” story isn’t simply about crony capitalism or foreign businesses buying access. Given that there’s zero chance these Chinese businesses aren’t enmeshed with China’s intelligence services, it’s a national security problem.
— William Kristol

US says OK to Franken-Salmon 
AP

U.S. regulators on Friday gave the green light to salmon genetically modified to grow about twice as fast as normal, but the company behind it may face legal challenges before the fish can be sold domestically.

The Food and Drug Administration said it lifted an alert that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its Indiana facility, where they would be grown before being sold as food. The agency noted the salmon has already undergone safety reviews, and that it lifted its alert because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that will require companies to disclose when a food is bioengineered.

Judge Says Government May Have To Reunite More Migrant Families Separated At Border
NPR

Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Counts in Attack Hoax Case
Variety

“I would still expect a period of probation, a psychological evaluation and restitution to cover costs of the investigation, I would still be surprised if he goes to prison.”

Americans will soon need “permit” for Europe travel
Politico

‘I can’t believe I did this’
Jayme Closs kidnapper writes letter from jail
NBC News

Jake Patterson is jailed while awaiting trial in Barron County on charges of kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering her parents. In the letter, he says he plans to plead guilty and says he doesn’t want her family to worry about a trial.

He writes that he never returned to Barron after the kidnapping, and that he only followed the news of Jayme’s disappearance through news updates on his phone. When asked when he realized he was capable of doing something like this, he replied, “This was mostly on impulse. I don’t think like a serial killer.”

City raters revise list for housing affordability
— Here are their top places to live
Livability

We asked 1,000 millennials across the country in an exclusive survey.

Their #1 answer, by a landslide? Affordability.

So, for the first time ever, we instituted a cap on median home value. This year, no city on the Top 100 Best Places to Live list has a median home value above $250,000.

——-> Top of the list? Boise, Raleigh, Madison, Iowa City, Rochester MN … biggest city in the top 10 is Pittsburgh… But really, it’s pretty arbitrary to exclude cities soley on the basis of median housing price.

 

Trump Just Gave US More Power to Kill in Secret
The Atlantic

He reversed an Obama-era order requiring the annual publication of drone strikes undertaken by the United States.

The legislative branch has all but abdicated its war powers, and lawmakers on both sides have let successive presidents preside over secret kill lists. Without the reporting order in place, there is no way for the public to know what the Trump administration is up to, theoretically in its name.

Trump inauguration underwritten by sneaky foreigners
The Guardian

Creators of firms that donated revealed by Guardian as Indian financier, lobbyist with links to Taiwan and Israeli real estate developer

Mark Zuckerberg’s Plans to Capitalize on Facebook’s Failures
The New Yorker

“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” Zuckerberg tells us. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”

fb-cartoon-1.jpg
“Facebook is changing. From now on, sharing is private. War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.”

Elizabeth Warren pushes to break up big tech companies like Amazon and Facebook
CNBC

—–> Generally, we’re not paying attention to the mud slinging that’s already started in anticipation of the 2020 madness. However, sometimes a candidate actually proposes policy … 

In a blog post, the Democratic candidate from Massachusetts wrote that she wants to make “big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition.” Those overhauls would include “breaking up” Amazon, Facebook and Google — companies that have come under scrutiny for both their protection of user data and consolidation of services such as e-commerce and digital advertising.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”

States with stricter gun control have fewer mass shootings
The Hill

—–> Guns don’t kill … oh wait. Wrong slogan.

Costco is raising its minimum wage to $15 as the war for talent rages on
Insider
<BUT> Job creation takes big fall  (CNBC)

Unvaccinated Oregon Boy Diagnosed with Tetanus, State’s 1st Child Case in 30 Years
Live Science
<Gizmodo> It took 6 months and nearly $1 million to save his life 

Trust Fund Squirrels That Inherit Food Hoards Succeed at Life, Study Finds
Motherboard

squirrel.jpegSquirrels, like humans, can be trust fund kids, benefitting from caches of spruce cones left behind by older generations, according to new research.

These privileged individuals are more successful in life, having the “time and energy” to bear more offspring—roughly 50 percent more than squirrels who didn’t receive a nutty inheritance.

Another for-profit college closes, as money disappears
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Federal officials say the situation has become so severe that some faculty members at one Argosy school in Phoenix were called out of their classrooms while teaching and told they were fired, documents show.

Trump cheered Kraft’s team to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where he was busted
Miami Herald

—–> Will there be a happy ending?

CindyandthePresident.jpg

Philadelphia Is First U.S. City to Ban Cashless Stores
Wall Street Journal
Lawmakers move to maintain access to marketplace for lower-income consumers; Amazon and other businesses express concern about limits on innovation

Venezuela blackout: Government accuses opposition of ‘sabotage’ as country plunged into darkness by major electricity outage
The Independent

Thursday

Manafort gets off easy — of course
CBS News

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.”

simpleline

“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

simpleline

Judge has been anti-Mueller for a while now…

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 Asshole Ross broke law, violated Constitution in census decision, judge rules
Wa Post

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
Market Watch

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.

Woman reads fine print on insurance policy, wins $10,000 in hidden contest
CBS News

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.

190307-travel-insurance-prize-mc-544_9da3d175d64e120207255598d6404791.fit-760w

UN Human Rights Council discovers that Saudi government sucks
WaPost

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.

MONOPOLY MONEY
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.

US households see biggest decline in net worth since the financial crisis
CNBC

Disney heiress slams CEO pay:
‘Jesus Christ himself isn’t worth 500 times” a worker’s salary

CNBC

Abigail-Disney-Net-Worth
Abigail Disney’s net worth has been estimated at $500 million.

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.


‘Re-Imagining Paradise’ — Making Plans To Rebuild A Town Destroyed By Wildfire
NPR

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.

Researchers claim libs, cons, mostly get their news from the same sources
Pacific Standard

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.

Kentucky teachers go on sick call
AP

PBS News Hour discovers the West Coast
L.A. Times

Wisconsin might not get a Foxconn plant of any size, analysts say
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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.

walker
Tben-Gov. Walker signs away billions … a fool and the taxpayers’ money are soon parted….

Sen. Bill Cassidy, an actual physician, schools Rand Paul over anti-vaxxer claims
Salon

$15 federal min. wage passes House
NPR

Source: Leaked Documents Show the U.S.Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database
NBC San Diego

…. 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.

NJ town: Yer dog won’t quit barking?
Maybe you go to jail
CBS  NY

Court inclined to expose more sordid details
in Epstein-Dershowitz-Acosta sex case
Politico

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.

 

squirrel.jpeg

Wednesday

US plans to end wolf protections
Yahoo News/AP

U.S. wildlife officials plan to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, re-igniting the legal battle over a predator that’s run into conflicts with farmers and ranchers after rebounding in some regions, an official told The Associated Press.

Wildlife advocates reacted with outrage and promised to challenge in court any attempt to lift protections. Agriculture groups and lawmakers from Western states are likely to support the administration’s proposal.

Nearly 3 million dropped pay-TV in 2018, Double 2017 Total 
Deadline

— There are some stories that you just can’t resist posting…
Billionaire diamond trader, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery
The Daily Mail

Feinstein, Grassley call for investigation into sex abuse of kids at HHS facilities
The Hill
… “into the alleged widespread and long-term pattern of sexual abuse against unaccompanied children in HHS facilities and reports that these cases of sexual assault are not being appropriately investigated…”

… more than 4,500 allegations of sexual abuse committed against unaccompanied minors, including more than 1,000 that were reported to the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, Trump lackey Nielsen blathers on about the “emergency” at the border. Hey, Nielsen, you empty suit, the sexual abuse of children on your watch is the real emergency.

Chained dog hears Iditarod race go by, breaks free, joins in the fun
Anchorage Daily News

iditarod
Skagway musher Ryan Redington spotted Dillon running on the trail between his team and the team of Bethel musher Pete Kaiser.

Dog-walking can be hazardous for seniors, study suggests
WaPost

Six people were convicted of a murder they didn’t even remember. Now a county owes them $28 million.
WaPost

beatrice
In this February 2009 photo, Joseph White, left, one of six people wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of Helen Wilson in 1985, is hugged by Rachel Morgan, daughter of Ada Joann Taylor, right, another member of the “Beatrice Six,” following his testimony before the Judiciary Committee in Lincoln, Neb.

For years, a group of outcasts in Beatrice, Neb., were convinced they had brutally raped and murdered an elderly woman named Helen Wilson one night in February 1985, even though they couldn’t remember any of it.

That was only what they had been told by the detectives and the police psychologist at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office. At first, it was befuddling: Why couldn’t they recall any details about something so terrible? None of the six suspects could even remember being in the woman’s apartment that night. But that was okay, the police assured the group: They had simply repressed the traumatizing memories.

The police psychologist, Wayne Price, assured them the memories of the murder would probably come back in dreams or in deep thought, but that it may take awhile. For some it didn’t take long. “I block bad things out. I always have,” Ada JoAnn Taylor told police in one of her first interviews in 1989, parroting the psychologist.

By the end of the investigation, three of the six suspects — Taylor, Debra Shelden and James Dean — wholeheartedly believed in their guilt.

But for at least one of them, Joseph White, it was a different story. Convicted on nothing more than his friends’ false memories and dreams, he would spend the next 20 years seeking to prove his innocence — a pursuit that finally came to an end this week.

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld $28.1 million in damages to the wrongfully convicted, now known as the Beatrice Six. The judgment comes as a result of a civil rights lawsuit that White filed in 2009, the same year the group was pardoned and declared innocent beyond all doubt after DNA evidence exonerated them. They had collectively served more than 70 years in prison.

Amazon/Whole Foods raises pay, as promised, but then cuts hours
The Guardian

In response to public pressure and increasing scrutiny over the pay of its warehouse workers, Amazon enacted a $15 minimum wage for all its employees on 1 November, including workers at grocery chain Whole Foods which it purchased in 2017.

All Whole Foods employees paid less than $15 an hour saw their wages increase to at least that, while all other team members received a $1-an-hour wage increase and team leaders received a $2-an-hour increase.

But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees.

German gardener keeps blowing people up, even after he’s dead
AP/Courthouse News Service

Net neutrality is back in play as Democratic lawmakers announce a bill. Here’s what to expect
WaPost

Democrats control the House. But with Republicans in control of the Senate, the legislation could be dead-on-arrival there unless the two parties agree to negotiate a compromise. Even then, it’s unclear whether the resulting bill could pass both chambers — or be signed by Trump.

“Sneak-and-peak” warrants questioned in Florida “Happy Ending” arrests 
Reason

Arkansas teen saves for 2 years to buy his friend an electric wheelchair
CNN

“He’s just been a really good friend and I wanted to do him a favor,” Tanner Wilson said. “I just felt like I needed to do it. … Brandon, he’s just always been there for me.”

wheelchair

US explosives have killed hundreds, including kids, in illegal Yemen bombings
Newsweek

A report published by the U.S.-based University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) and Yemeni monitoring group Mwatana identified 27 air strikes launched by the Gulf alliance—led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—between April 2015 and April 2018, which they said were unlawful.

The organizations said U.S.-made weapons were likely used in 25 of the attacks. In total, the 27 unlawful strikes killed at least 203 people and wounded close to 750. More than 120 children and at least 56 women were among the casualties, the report said.

‘Sconsin dude arrested after going to gym, breaking measles quarantine
NBC News

Dollar Tree is losing it; 390 Family Dollar stores to close
CNBC

—–> But what are they going to do with all those attractive buildings?

Scranton cannabis festival expected to attract 10,000.
But Pa. bans dispensaries from being there.
Philly.com
Marijuana legalization is winning the 2020 Democratic primaries
Vox

North Korea rebuilding long-range rocket site, photos show
NBC News

Photos taken just 2 days after the Trump-Kim Hanoi summit show rebuilding at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s operational space launch facility.

nkor

4-year-old begged for her life before monster father killed her
NY Post

“There was a struggle,” said attorney Steven Lambert. “Of the things that have been hard for the [family] to comprehend and to accept in this reality, what happened to Bella in those last moments has been the hardest.”

Chef Mario Batali Sells Stake in All His Restaurants One Year After Sexual Harassment Accusations
Yahoo/Blast

Teen who defied anti-vax mom says she got false information from one source: Facebook
WaPost

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Ethan Lindenberger said Facebook, or websites that were linked on Facebook, is really the only source his mother ever relied on for her anti-vaccine information.

Most importantly, Lindenberger said, was the impact Facebook’s anti-vax communities had on his family.

“I feel like if my mom didn’t interact with that information, and she wasn’t swayed by those arguments and stories, it could’ve potentially changed everything,” he said. “My entire family could’ve been vaccinated.”
State lawmakers pushing for weaker vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks
Politico

In biggest advance for depression in years,
FDA approves novel treatment for hardest cases
WaPost

The nasal spray works in a new way and is based on an old anesthetic, ketamine, that has been used as a party drug.

Police Arrest 84 After Stephon Clark Protest In Sacramento
NPR

The march comes two days after Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not file criminal charges against the two police officers who killed Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot after police chased him into his grandmother’s backyard.

U.S. Credit Card Debt hit Record $870 Billion
Bloomberg

Brits to require ID to surf porn sites
The Sun

Dr Victoria Nash of the Oxford Internet Institute says “it may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers.”

Experts have also raised concerns that people’s privacy will be threatened by the new system.

Tuesday

How badly are we being ripped off for eyewear?
Former industry exec: “It’s ridiculous” 
L.A. Times

E. Dean Butler, founder of Lens Crafters, said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices lower.
“You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8,” Butler said. “For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you’d get from Prada.”
And lenses? “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.
Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.
Butler laughed. “I know,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a complete rip-off.”

The real powerhouses that drive the world economy
City Lab

mega

… the obsession with nation-states does not fit the reality of today’s highly-clustered knowledge economy, centered in and around global cities. And, it’s not just individual cities and metropolitan areas that power the world economy. Increasingly, the real driving force is larger combinations of cities and metro areas called mega-regions.

  • Bos-Wash, which extends from Boston through New York and Philadelphia down to Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest mega-region of nearly 50 million people, generating almost $4 trillion in economic output.  If this mega-region were its own country, the economy would be equivalent to the world’s seventh largest, bigger than the United Kingdom’s or Brazil’s.

noram.


Federal Judge Upholds Challenge to Money Bail
Courthouse News Service
A federal judge said she could find no justification for San Francisco’s bail schedule Monday in a ruling that could affect the outcome of constitutional challenges to money bail throughout the country.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the two lead plaintiffs in the case, who languished in jail for more than 24 hours before their families could secure bail, had shown that their poverty significantly deprived them of their right to freedom.

Wisconsin kid thought it was “funny” to spike
stepdad’s drink with cattle tranquilizer
The Smoking Gun

kidInvestigators allege that Tyler Rabenhorst-Malone, 17, adulterated his kin’s drinks last year. The teen, cops say, used a sedative often administered to cows giving birth. The victim, a dairy farmer, had stored the drug in a barn.

According to a criminal complaint, after Rabenhorst-Malone first spiked his stepfather’s drink, the victim was left stumbling and suffering slurred speech, a droopy face, and heavy breathing. Doctors at a Madison hospital concluded that the symptoms were a result of stress, lack of sleep, and the victim’s consumption of energy drinks.


DANGEROUS TIMES

Deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control data. The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase.

— USA TODAY

France Plans 5% Digital Tax as Governments Chase Internet Giants
Bloomberg

Teen gets 22 years for school massacre plot foiled by grandmother
KOMO

… Joshua O’ Connor, 19, a former student at ACES Alternative High School, Everett, WA. …. pleaded guilty in December to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery with a firearm and possession of explosive device …. investigation began when his grandmother, Catherine Katsel O’Connor, called 911 in February 2018 to report what she believed were credible threats by her grandson to shoot other students at his high school… In a written statement to the court, O’Connor apologized, saying he’d been suicidal and abusing drugs and alcohol.
<> Video shows O’Connor robbing a gas station at gunpoint the night before his arrest.

Scotsman may have faked drowning to avoid 24 rape charges
Cal Coast News

Authorities conducted a three-day search by land and water and found no signs of Kim Gordon. Sheriff’s investigators questioned Gordon’s son about the story and determined his answers were not adding up.

These Cameras Can Spot Shoplifters Even Before They Steal
Bloomberg

simpleline

 

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

safe_image

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.”

D0SD0SKUYAAlhHk
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

Weekender

Deadly Alabama tornadoes
The Weather Channel

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office told local media that no fewer than 23 people were killed when at least two tornadoes hit the southern Alabama county. The sheriff later said some of the victims were children; the National Weather Service said the first twister was at least EF3 in strength and was a half-mile wide or more.

Schiff: There’s direct evidence of Trump/Russia collusion
The Hill

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that he believes a Russian lawyer’s 2016 offer of damaging information on Hillary Clinton to members of the Trump campaign and their subsequent meeting amounts to “direct evidence” of collusion.

“I think there is direct evidence in the emails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump,” Schiff said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” in response to a question about collusion.

“They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts and furtherance of that,” he added, citing a summer 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between the Russian lawyer and members of the president’s team.

“That to me is direct evidence,” Schiff continued. “But there’s also abundant circumstantial evidence.”

He pointed to charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony as examples.

<> House opens obstruction probe
Reuters

Idaho lawmakers okay with child marriage
Newsweek

<> Rejected bill would have restricted marriage to those under 16.
<> Idaho has recorded 4,000 child marriages in decade.

“I do not think courts should be involved in marriage at all,” Republican representative Bryan Zollinger said. “I don’t believe there should be a license required to get married. I think two willing people should be able to go and get married.”

Facebook sues over sales of fake accounts, likes and followers
Reuters

Australia to bar visitors with domestic violence convictions
France24

India, Pakistan resume their mini-war
AP

70-year-old Texan executed for killing in-laws
but first incites melee with cryptic last words
Dallas News

Asked Thursday for his final words, Billy Wayn Coble told his family he loved them and replied with the cryptic remark, possibly a reference to his nickname, “$5 Bill.”

Just as he finished speaking, a melee erupted in the death chamber’s witness room, with Coble’s son and other family members yelling obscenities, banging on the glass and lashing out at other witnesses. They were moved to a courtyard, and two men were handcuffed.

“Why are you doing this?” a woman asked. “They just killed his daddy.”

Oakland Teachers Reach Tentative Deal to End Strike
KQED

How a HUD official turned the Michael Cohen hearing into a reality TV audition
WaPost (with video)

Her cameo appearance at the Michael Cohen hearing — a bit of stagecraft intended to dispel accusations of racism against President Trump — provoked an instant backlash from black politicians and the public.

But Lynne Patton, a longtime Trump family aide turned federal housing bureaucrat, has long reveled in the limelight and has asked permission to star in a reality-TV show while serving as a HUD official.

Girl, 11, charged with child abuse after infant she was watching died
 Buzz Feed

When the girl’s family members returned to home from an errand, they found the little boy unresponsive and suffering from “several,” “severe injuries,” and called 911.

Comic relief
Grandma poses on an iceberg, floats away, is rescued

Guide to Iceland Now

iceland
… rescued by a fellow countryman. His name is Randy Lacount and is a licensed boat captain from Florida who … waded into the water and pulled the grandmother off the iceberg before it took her out to sea.

Like the proverbial frog in heated water,
Americans may not perceive climate change
The Atlantic

Americans’ sense of “normal” weather seems to reset about every five years, they found. People sent more weather tweets when it was unusually hot or cold outside, but their sense of what made for “unusual” weather was fairly shortsighted. Generally, if people had experienced an extreme temperature in the same month over the previous two to eight years, they were much less likely to tweet about it.

Arizona lawmaker calls mandatory vaccinations “communist”
Newsweek
“It seems we are prepared to give up our liberty, the very sovereignty of our body, because of measles,” Republican State Representative Kelly Townsend wrote on Facebook.

Kelly-Townsend
Townsend says her opposition is rooted in her experience. The legislator’s 22-year-old daughter has significant medical problems that she blames on a vaccine she received when she was 10 months old. She says no scientific evidence will convince her otherwise.

Scientists find first evidence of huge Mars underground water system
C-NET

Previous modeling has demonstrated the planet was once overflowing with water that eventually retreated under the surface. But new research details the first direct geological evidence for a “planet-wide groundwater system” explaining Mars’s watery history and providing new sites for future missions to hunt for signs of life.

Lyft files for IPO, beating Uber
CNN
Still losing money like crazy, though.
<> L.A. Inches Closer to Tax on Uber, Lyft to Solve Traffic Woes
— Los Angeles County transit officials voted unanimously Thursday to explore a tax on ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft, and advanced plans to study the impact of charging drivers a congestion fee to access certain roadways.

Rumors of Amazon grocery chain rise, and stocks of supermarkets sink
CNBC

Amazon is reportedly getting ready to expand even further in early 2020 with two more leases already signed for other grocery locations. It’s unclear whether the new stores will be branded as Amazon markets, though the Journal reported the chain will be separate from the Whole Foods brand. Amazon is reportedly in talks about opening grocery stores in shopping centers based in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Warmbier family slams Trump after he takes Kim’s side in the murder of their son
Raw Story

Otto-Frederick-Warmbier-1-800x430
‘Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son, Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.’”

Victoria’s Secret closing more than 50 stores
 Newser

Oregon governor signs statewide rent control law
Wall Street Journal
—–> But do the math, and you’ll find that it’s a compounding formula that allows absurd rent increases, so …

Wisconsin governor’s proposal would give ID’s to undocumented immigrants

The Hill

US offers $1 million for “info” on Osama Bin Laden’s son
Newsweek

Coal booster to lead EPA
WaPost
The Senate on Thursday approved former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 52 to 47, elevating a veteran of Washington political and industry circles who has advanced President Trump’s push to rollback Obama-era environmental regulations.

Tesla to close showrooms, sell its cars online
The Verge

Thursday

Art of the Deal
Kim-Trump Dog and Pony show folds

AP

kim trump

The nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un collapsed Thursday after the two sides failed to reach a deal due to a standoff over U.S. sanctions on the reclusive nation, a dispiriting end to high-stakes meetings meant to disarm a global threat.

Trump, in a news conference after the summit abruptly shut down early, blamed the breakdown on North Korea’s insistence that all punishing sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Pyongyang be lifted without the country committing to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

Flooding cuts off entire towns along Russian River 
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

flood

The Russian River rose to its highest level in a generation, flooding storm-battered neighborhoods up and down the main stem and turning several lower river towns into islands disconnected from the rest of Sonoma County because floodwater and mudslides closed major roads.

Thousands of people were displaced as the roiling river escaped its banks and flattened into a broad expanse of brown plasma that swept through vineyards, riverside neighborhoods and other low-lying areas, swamping cars and picking up all kinds of debris, including a dumpster and port-a-potties seen carried away in the swift current.

The river crested at 45.5 feet at 10 p.m. after three days of staggering rainfall that in the wettest areas west of Healdsburg surpassed 20 inches.

FAA Bans Cargo Shipment of Lithium Ion Batteries on Passenger Flights
Gizmodo

Toledo’s legal maneuver seeks to give Lake Erie status to sue polluters
The Guardian

This week, more than four years after the devastating algae bloom in 2014 that cut off drinking water for 500,000 people, Toledo voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, a unique charter amendment that establishes the huge lake as a person and grants it the legal rights that a human being or corporation would have.

The final results weren’t even close, as it passed by a 61% to 39% margin.

Flights disrupted worldwide as Pakistan closes its airspace
CNBC
<>Pakistan: Indian pilot to be released as peace gesture

8 Goppers side with Dems on gun background checks
The Hill
——> But only a crack in the NRA wall, as bill is doomed in Senate, White House.

TURN OFF?
Newly published research debunks the notion that listening to music can increase creativity. Its three studies suggest precisely the opposite, indicating that background music, with or without lyrics, “consistently disrupts creative performance in insight problems.”
Pacific Standard

Majority White School Districts Are Way, Way Richer Than Majority Nonwhite School Districts
Jezebel
But the analysis does not include federal dollars, which go to the poorest districts.

Former Gov. of Maine: Eliminating Electoral College would make whites “a forgotten people”
Talking Points Memo

Former Gov. Paul LePage (R) tore apart a bill currently in the Maine state legislature that proposes essentially eliminating the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote because it would only “be minorities that elect” the President.

According to a Thursday Maine Beacon report, LePage told local radio station WVOM that the legislation would render him and other whites “a forgotten people.”

“Actually what would happen if they do what they say they’re gonna do is white people will not have anything to say,” LePage said. “It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida.”

lepage2

Patient in wheelchair shoots doctor, turns gun on other patients at VA hospital in Florida

The FBI says a 59-year-old U.S. Army veteran has shot and wounded a doctor just before a mental health evaluation at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Riviera Beach, Florida.

The FBI told news outlets Wednesday night that Larry Ray Bon, of Michigan, arrived at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center that morning and was combative for hours. Bon is a double amputee who uses a wheelchair. They say he was about to undergo the evaluation that evening when he pulled out the gun and shot the doctor in the neck.

Special Agent Justin Fleck says the doctor subdued Bon, who’s also accused of shooting at other patients and staff. Another employee was grazed by a bullet. VA spokeswoman Mary Kay Rutan says the doctor was treated and released. Authorities didn’t immediately release his identity.

Judge won’t kill lawsuit filed by prisoners who want porn
Courthouse News Service

The inmates, who participated in the January hearing by phone from the prison, argued their case is not about pornography but about their constitutional right to have access to literature and art that may include nudity …

Kids app TikTok to pay $5.7 million over alleged violation of child privacy law
NBC News

“These practices reflected the company’s willingness to pursue growth even at the expense of endangering children,” an FTC commissioner said.

U sues professor, saying he stole student’s research on valuable drug
AP

The University of Missouri system is suing a pharmacy professor at its Kansas City campus over allegations he stole and sold a student’s research, claiming that the school is the rightful owner of the work it believes could be used to make a billion-dollar drug.

Dude who shut George Washington Bridge says did it to please Christie
Politico

One of the conspirators behind the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal blamed the “cult and culture” of Chris Christie before being sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison.

The bizarre political stunt, which became known as Bridgegate, was designed to help the Republican governor’s career, but ended up halting his march toward the White House.

Bill Baroni, a former Republican state senator who served as Christie’s top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was convicted in November 2016 after a dramatic, six-week trial in federal court.

Federal Judge Orders Texas To End ‘Flawed’ Effort To ID Noncitizen Voters
NPR

The sharply written ruling by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio ordered Texas officials to halt the removal of any registered voter from state voter rolls.

“The evidence has shown in a hearing before this Court that there is no widespread voter fraud,” Biery wrote.