Thur. June 7

√ Ben Franklin had it almost right. In this life, only THREE things are certain: Death, Taxes and Bullshit. The first two we can do nothing about, but we can try to keep bullshit out of our daily report. Here we go …

Billions in solar projects stalled due to tariffs
— “President” Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels has led U.S. renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of more than $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters.
>>> A move in Congress to reclaim authority over trade
The Weekly Standard
— A number of rank-and-file House Republicans on Wednesday night expressed support for a bill that would limit the president’s ability to impose far-reaching tariffs on national security grounds without congressional approval.
— The bill, introduced by Tennessee Republican Bob Corker alongside a bipartisan group of seven Republicans and four Democrats, would give Congress the ability to prevent tariffs …
>>>Putin to Europe: I told you so, US will betray you on trade
Moscow Times
“Dinner is served … please sit down and eat.”

The Achilles Heel of “Smart Cities” …
Attack cars intent on dirty tricks
The Conversation
— Someone who wanted to compromise the I-SIG system could hack her own car using (certain) methods, drive to a target intersection and park nearby.”

New Yorker staff petitions to join union
NY Mag
new yorker√ You would think the managers of this august magazine would treat the staff well enough that it wouldn’t come to this, but … no. 

Federal judge finds family separations at border “brutal, offensive”
Courthouse News Service
— Class action lawsuit … Congolese mother says she was held in a separate immigration detention facility from her young daughter without the government showing she was an unfit parent or posed a danger to her child.

Sixers top dude, accused of media fakery, fouls out
ABC News

Brooklyn pol backs “sex segregated” beach
NY Daily News
— “A lot of people are disenfranchised for religious reasons. They don’t use the beach because they don’t go mixed swimming. This is to give those people an opportunity for a day out at the beach.”
√ Does this beach come with a slippery slope?

Saudis assured Trump of oily support before Iran decision
— A day before “President” Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, one of his senior officials phoned Saudi Arabia to ask the world’s largest oil exporter to help keep prices stable if the decision disrupted supply.

At least 350 homes destroyed, bay filled in, as Kilauea oozes lava
— A terrifying wall of lava from Kilauea volcano has destroyed two entire tracts of suburban housing containing at least 280 units in the eastern part of Hawaii’s Big Island on Wednesday, meaning that the ongoing eruption there has now claimed at least 350 homes.

That big gray keyhole shape, now lava, used to be Kapoho Bay.

The looming demise (Thank God!) of Internet passwords
— The idea behind Web Authentication is that you can use all manner of options in place of a password: A fingerprint, a webcam, a USB stick plugged into your computer, and so on. These login methods have been around for a number of years, but Web Authentication is designed to get them standardized across the web.

Gates Foundation details its new biotech,
one without a profit motive
“We don’t have to worry about revenue, return on investment. Our bottom line is lives saved. So it’s a pretty exciting place to be.”
— Dr. Penny Heaton, CEO

China’s ZTE will pay $1B bribe fine to end US sanctions
— The United States has reached a deal with Chinese criminal telecommunications giant ZTE Corp. that includes a $1 billion fine, says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The resolution of the ZTE case may clear the way for the US to make progress in its high-stakes trade talks with China.

Black market will doom Canada’s legalized pot, dealers claim
The Guardian
“The majority of people aren’t connoisseurs and don’t have a lot of money to spend on pot. They want a good deal and don’t care, or know, much about quality. If the government prices pot too high … they will stick with the black market. I’m still going to deal with the regular people I deal (people who) don’t want to pay the astronomical prices the government is going to charge.”
— Ray, a black market Toronto pot dealer

The genes of thousands of marine creatures are patented
— and one company owns half those patents
Popular Science
… of the almost 13,000 genetic patents held on marine species, almost half are held by a single corporation and the vast majority are held by private companies, rather than public universities or governments. These patents span the gamut of ocean animals, and they offer corporations like BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, the opportunity to make money from the ocean’s genetic wealth.

dronePolice want control
over civilian drones

Voice of America
“While (drone) technology offers tremendous benefits to the economy and society, we recognize the misuse of this technology poses unique security challenges,” said Angela Stubblefield, deputy associate administrator for the FAA.

Voters fire sheriff who kept inmates’ meal money
— Voters in Alabama lost their appetite for a sheriff who personally profited off hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to buy food for inmates at the Etowah County Jail.
— Sheriff Todd Entrekin lost his re-election campaign during the Republican primary on Tuesday. Entrekin has said he had no choice but to take the money, and has urged state legislators to change the law so that no sheriff can profit in that way.

“Only a matter of time” until airliner is hacked, officials say
— US government researchers believe it is only a matter of time before a cybersecurity breach on an airliner occurs, according to government documents obtained by Motherboard.  The study builds on research in which a Department of Homeland Security team remotely hacked a Boeing 737.
— “Potential of catastrophic disaster is inherently greater in an airborne vehicle,” the report reads. It’s “a matter of time before a cyber security breach on an airline occurs.”

China backed off from hacking US companies …
But now it’s back in the game
— After a hiatus of several years, Chinese state hackers are once again penetrating networks at a range of U.S. corporations in a campaign to steal secrets and leapfrog ahead in a race for global technology supremacy, cyber researchers say.
— Companies in fields such as biomedicine, robotics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence have all been hit by cyber intrusions originating in China, the researchers say.
— “It’s definitely accelerating. The trend is up,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, cofounder and chief technology officer at CrowdStrike, a threat intelligence firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Dutch city creating the first habitable 3-D printed houses
— Currently, there are five houses in total, each with a unique shape and size that shows off the flexibility of the cutting-edge tech. Since the printer is essentially a giant concrete nozzle that moves along a two-dimensional track high up in the air, architects are able to design homes in pretty much any shape they like. Right now, the homes are printed in pieces off-site, then transported to their final destination. 3d-dutch

Wed. June 6

On the lookout for news that signals a change in American life.
And, as always:


Shale Country is out of workers even at double wages
— The oil industry has such a ferocious appetite for workers that it’ll hire just about anyone with the most basic skills. “It is crazy,” said Jazmin Jimenez, 24, who zipped through a two-week training program at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, about 100 miles north of Midland, and was hired by Chevron Corp. as a well-pump checker. “Honestly I never thought I’d see myself at an oilfield company. But now that I’m here — I think this is it.”
— That’s understandable, considering the $28-a-hour she makes is double what she was earning until December as a guard at the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs.

Single mom looks to be first Native American Congresswoman
USA Today
haaland– A single mom and former New Mexico Democratic Party leader was on track to become the first Native American congresswoman in U.S. history.
— Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe, won her party’s primary in the first congressional district Tuesday night. Haaland will face Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in November for the seat considered solidly Democratic.
— Haaland, a lawyer, is a strong abortion rights advocate and supports universal health care — “Medicare for all.” She says she wants to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” favoring 100% renewable energy sources.
— She also has endorsed elimination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
>>>Top takeaways from primary night
— Democrats avoided a debacle in California, and women fared well all over. But the Bernie Sanders revolution continued to sputter.

UPS Teamsters voted 90% to authorize strike
— On Tuesday, the union announced that members voted more than 90% in favor of going on strike, if a deal is not reached before the current labor contract expires on August 1.
— UPS employs 260,000 Teamsters, and has added 40,000 union members since its current contract was reached five years ago. The shipments UPS transports equal an estimated 6% of the nation’s GDP, which means a labor dispute could disrupt the US economy.
— At issue is how the shipping giant will expand to offer deliveries seven days a week.
…. BUT …. “The reality is that UPS and the Teamsters have already reached tentative agreements on a wide variety of non-economic issues,” said UPS spokesperson Glenn Zaccara.

Single-use plastic to be banned — In India
The Independent
— The Indian government has pledged to ban all single-use plastics by 2022, in a move which has been welcomed by both the United Nations and grassroots groups.
— India’s 1.3 billion population currently produces 25,000 metric tons of plastic per day. The government claims that around 60 per cent of that is recycled, but civil society groups put the figure closer to 40 per cent.

UBER will spend $500 million on apology for its rotten behavior
— The ads are part of a larger branding campaign that started rolling out last month in the U.S. with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi promising a better culture for employees, riders, and passengers in TV ads. “One of our core values as a company is to always do the right thing,”

Voters fire judge who was lenient in famous rape case
… first such action in California in 86 years
— California voters removed Aaron Persky, the judge who gave Brock Turner a 6-month sexual assault sentence in the Stanford University rape case that made headlines in 2016.
— Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, sexually assaulted an unconscious woman while at school. A jury convicted him on all three charges: sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person, and intent to commit rape, but Persky only sentenced Turner to six months in jail with three years probation.

Microsoft sinks data center in waves off Orkney Isles
— Microsoft has submerged a data centre off the Orkney archipelago in northern Scotland in a project to save on the energy used to cool the servers on land, the firm said Wednesday.
— The Northern Isles data centre consists of a 40-foot-long white cylinder containing 864 servers — enough to store five million movies — and can lie on the seabed for five years.

It’s not about the Anthem…
Trump’s four-decade war of revenge against the NFL
His failed investment in an alternative football league, his pathetic attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills …

Cupertino survey finds …
71% would tax Apple to build transit, housing

(San Jose) Mercury-News
— Seventy-one percent of Cupertino voters would support imposing an employee tax on Apple and other businesses to help pay for transit and housing, according to a survey the city released today.
— Almost 400 respondents (note small sample size, dubious methodology) were asked if they would vote to replace the city’s traditional business license tax with one that taxes companies based on their number of employees.
— The Cupertino City Council is considering placing such a question on the November ballot.

Improved antenna-TV is coming, but …
.. it’s unclear how many broadcasters will be willing to eat the costs necessary to upgrade to the new standard. And given it’s not backward compatible, consumers could balk at having to pay even more money for compatible hardware—especially so soon after upgrading to new 4K-capable televisions and audio equipment in the first place.
— But the biggest point of contention surrounding the standard has to do with digital rights management and consumer privacy.

New facial recognition tech will scan your face at US borders
The Verge
— The week after the 2016 election, drivers exiting the United States at Nogales would have noticed a new canopy over the far-right lane. As cars approached the turnstile, the cameras would capture a clear shot of the driver’s face through the windshield.
— Now, that system is ready for a permanent installation.

$7 billion “Chinese” extravaganza nears completion in Las Vegas
… hopes to attract a large number of domestic customers of Asian descent and they do hope to draw international customers from Asia …

Facebook gave Chinese outfits special access to user data
— One one of the firms, Huawei, is on the Pentagon’s no-buy list because of alleged connections to the Chinese government.

114 arrested in immigration raid, no charges against employer
Vice News
— The undocumented immigrants are expected to be charged with tax evasion and identity theft. No criminal charges have been raised against the employer so far, though an investigation is supposedly underway.
— Children of those arrested were left behind, stranded with babysitters and in daycare facilities, according to local activists.
¿ Well, if it was obvious that the workers were breaking the law, why does the employer get off?

Tuesday June 5

Hundreds of homes lost; lava flow wiping out bay
Hawaii News Now
— A massive river of lava covered hundreds more homes overnight as it poured into the sea, filling all of Kapoho Bay and decimating entire neighborhoods on Hawaii’s Big Island.
— A U.S. Geological Survey overflight confirmed that lava had completely filled Kapoho Bay, extending .7 miles from the coastline.

A river of lava fed by the erupting Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii and its many fissures was moving faster and hotter than ever before as authorities raced to find people who defied evacuation orders and are now surrounded by the bubbling magma.

Mueller: Manafort’s tampering with witnesses
… judge asked to revoke bail and house arrest
The Hill
— FBI agent Brock Domin said in the filing that Manafort and a longtime associate linked to Russian intelligence attempted to contact via phone call, text and encrypted messages two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” which Manafort had worked with to lobby for Ukrainian interests.
— Domin said that Manfort’s attempts at contact were “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence.”
>>> Manafort learns that encrypted messages aren’t really secret
Trump only hires the best people, remember? But Manafort is too dumb to understand the First Rule of Holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.

Coming “carbon bubble” could wipe out $$$ trillions
— and US, Canada in deepest danger
Courthouse News Service
— Mass unemployment, public disenchantment with institutions, a restless body politic – these are some of the features of a brave new world that could come about if prices of fossil fuels suddenly crater due to the rapid development of renewable energy technology.
— In a first-of-its-kind study issued Monday, economists from around the globe used simulations to chart the decline of fossil fuels industries and the repercussions for the global economy.
— Winners include nations like China, which is investing in alternative energy. But trends bode ill for countries who rely on carbon exports to prop up major parts of their economies – including Canada, Russian and the United States.

Miss America in swimsuit? Not anymore

In place of the swimsuit contest, the contestants will take part in a live interactive session with the judges, according to a statement from the Miss America Organization, “where she will highlight her achievements and goals in life and how she will use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”

One Koch brother going down … serious illness
AP via Snopes
— Billionaire conservative icon David Koch is stepping down from the Koch brothers’ network of business and political activities.
— The 78-year-old New York resident is suffering from deteriorating health, according to a letter that older brother Charles Koch sent to company officials Tuesday morning.

Amnesty: US-led bombing killed countless civilians in Raqqa
The Independent
— “On the ground in Raqqa we witnessed a level of destruction comparable to anything we have seen in decades of covering the impact of wars.”

Gas prices rising, so Trumpy pleads with his Saudi pals to open taps
— The U.S. government has quietly asked Saudi Arabia and some other OPEC producers to increase oil production by about 1 million barrels a day.

How to change the world: CRISPR geeks meet, debate
— Among CRISPR’s many dazzling applications is the promise of rewiring animals to eradicate infectious disease or save an endangered species. It sounds great on paper — edit a mouse, tinker with a tree, save a community — but the realities of culture make it infinitely more complicated.

Gee, why doesn’t NASA sell the International Space Station?
They just might. Maybe Prison Corporation of America, Comcast, Walmart, Delta or some other quasi-government corporation can just … 

Parkland kid’s home “swatted”
— The family home of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg — who was not present — was “swatted” on Tuesday morning, with the caller claiming a hostage situation was happening at the residence.

Sex robots. Good? Bad? Not much evidence either way
Medical Daily
sexbot— “It is speculative whether the development of a sexbot marketplace will lead to lesser risk of violence and infections, or drive further exploitation of human sex workers,” the authors wrote.

Analysts: About half of US housing is overvalued
— Overvalued markets include Denver, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
— High demand and very short supply continue to drive up home prices. The supply of homes has been dropping for three years. While more homes came on the market this spring, they have been selling at the fastest pace on record, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Americans not too happy with decline of unions
Pew Research
— The number of Americans represented by labor unions has decreased substantially since the 1950s, and a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the decline is seen more negatively than positively by U.S. adults. The survey also finds that 55% of Americans have a favorable impression of unions, with about as many (53%) viewing business corporations favorably.

The DIY surge is bringing Radio Shack back from the dead



Dog-and-pony-showJournalist who faked his own death demands $50,000 for TV interview
Moscow Times
Nothing suspicious about this ploy at all.

 Trump’s cancellation of Eagles visit wasn’t what it seemed
Vice News
— As few as 10 of the players consented to attend, so Trump needed some face saving.

Mon June 4

US Senator:
Immigrant kids kept in cages

Talking Points Memo
— Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he saw undocumented children in cages sleeping on thin space blankets on a concrete floor at a border processing facility. He was then barred from entering another immigrant detention center.
— “They have big cages made out of fencing and wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can’t climb out,” Merkley told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota of the McAllen border patrol station in Texas he toured on Sunday.

“This is very, very traumatic for the children, so I wanted to be able to visit the facility where apparently upwards of 1,000 children are being held in that massive building, a former Walmart, and the federal government, President Trump and team, Attorney General Sessions, homeland security, they do not want members of Congress or the public to know what’s going on.”
— Sen. Jeff Merkley

Supremes (sort of) rule for baker in Colorado gay wedding
— The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple, but the court punted on spelling out how far the government can go to prevent sexual-orientation discrimination in the marketplace.
— Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the baker’s rights by showing “hostility” to his religious beliefs in a proceeding in which he was found to have violated the law and was ordered to anti-discrimination training.
— The high court’s 7-2 ruling left open the question of how a state enforcing anti-discrimination laws in a more neutral fashion would have to accommodate individuals’ rights to religious freedom and free expression.

How US trade moves push Europe toward China, Russia
The National Interest
— Rather than bringing America’s European friends into the fold, Trump is severely undermining the transatlantic relationship and pushing allies further away, thus generating new space for Beijing and Moscow to wield influence.
… slapping tariffs on allies while flip-flopping on Chinese technology company ZTE is devastating since it fails to differentiate between countries posing a legitimate threat to the United States and those that do not. The great irony here is that that key European capitals such as Paris and Berlin are themselves getting more serious about taking on China’s unfair economic practices at the same time that Trump is dismissing their offer to join hands.

Big Tech goes to war
— A funny thing has happened to Google and Amazon on their path toward high-tech success: They have become crucial cogs in the U.S. national security establishment.
— Both companies are expanding teams of employees with security clearances to work on projects that include deploying artificial intelligence and building digital “clouds” to offering law enforcement facial recognition tools that can even read the mood of people caught on camera.
— The security establishment’s embrace of Big Tech has ruffled the feathers of traditional defense contractors and roiled employee ranks, in Google’s case, over whether the company is being drawn into what disgruntled employees called “the business of war.”

You won’t have Monsanto to kick around anymore
USA Today
— Bayer will dump the whole brand, after agreeing to pay $66 billion for Monsanto amid a global shakeup fueled by sluggish crop prices.
— The agribusiness merger won conditional U.S. antitrust approval (of course!)  in May after the companies agreed to sell off $9 billion in assets to preserve competition.

Yes, we have no bananas?

— Staking the fate of a fruit on monoculture is dangerous in the extreme. It’s only a matter of time before some bug or fungus strikes, and many experts believe that strike is coming very soon. Already, plantations in Asia, Africa and elsewhere have been wiped out by a new strain of Panama known as Tropical Race 4.


That’s the logo of a religion based on … blockchain

“It’s a religious framework that could allow for belief sets to update much more quickly and also to democratize the relationship between membership and convergence on what everyone believes in this religion.”
Get it? Me neither.

In Florida, big rush to pot dispensaries
Miami Herald
— 91,000 Floridians are buying 56 pounds of pot a week under the orders of 1,400 doctors. A year and a half after an amendment to the state constitution legalized medical marijuana, the fledgling industry is starting to show some muscle.

More and more people want to quit SF Bay Area
Sacramento Bee
Bay Area median home prices hit $850,000 in April.

Facebook fails to face its failures
as reported in Failing New York Times

— Facebook Inc rejected claims by the New York Times that it had allowed Apple and other major device makers “deep” access to users’ personal data, saying any such links were tightly controlled and largely subject to users’ consent.

22% of men without college degrees can’t find work
Here’s why they’re being left behind
The Conversation
Are these dudes just choosing to stay home and play video games? Nope, says this economist.

NYC may add “X” gender to birth certificates
The Hill

From chaos to calm: How ketamine helps people in distress
… researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that an intravenous dose could relieve severe depression in a matter of hours. Since then, doctors have prescribed ketamine “off label” to thousands of depressed patients who don’t respond to other drugs.

83,000 Americans missing in action,
and these folks try to bring ’em home
Popular Science
— A US agency uses a $112 million annual ­budget and a staff of about 700, working out of a center in Hawaii and a network of far-flung labs and field bases. At any given time, investigators are working on about 1,200 cases.

A search team looks for remains at the crash site of the World War II B-24 bomber “Hot As Hell.”  The team is led by anthropologist Meghan-Tómasita ­Cosgriff-​­Hernández, and is searching in the Indian Himalayas.

Religious right floods legislatures with bills
that promote their whacky views
The Guardian
— A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills.”



dog-pony-juggleDonald Trump yada yada yada
No link at Dead-Man-Walking.Com

No surprise: Court blocks radical Iowa abortion law
Courthouse News Service
It’s become a tiresome game. Politicians pass a law to soothe their nut-job base. Court strikes law down. Politicians blame “liberal judges.” Blah blah blah.

N. Korea “replaces” top 3 generals in sop to Trump
The Independent
Oh, Kim old buddy, how transparent of you. Wake me up after the so-called Summit, will ya? Maybe you and Donny Combover will win the Know Bell Prize.

Fri. June 1 & updates

Deadbeat son finally moves out
but calls cops on Dad
because of missing Legos
NY Post
rotondo— Michael Rotondo finally left his parents’ nest Friday, but not before delivering one last parting shot at them — by siccing the cops on his dad over some missing Legos.
— The infamous 30-year-old freeloader — whose parents won a court order to evict him from their suburban Syracuse house — called 911 reporting that his dad, Mark, wouldn’t let him into the home’s basement to search for his 8-year-old son’s Legos.
— The 61-year-old father offered to look for the toys and other items Rotondo wanted to take with him, but the layabout still whined like a baby.
— “This isn’t a game show,” he told “I don’t have to guess what’s behind Door No. 1.”

“Thanksgiving is gonna be particularly awkward this year.”
— Minimally Invasive commenting on Reddit

How Hawaii politicians made the volcano disaster worse
The Hill
… a state-created insurance group  incentivized living next to an active volcano.

Paramedics wanted to enter Parkland school,
where kids were dying. 

— Sheriff’s deputies said NO.
Miami Herald
— During the chaos of the Parkland school shooting, paramedics from Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department were desperate to go inside the building where students were wounded and dying.
— Michael McNally, deputy chief for Coral Springs fire-rescue, asked six times for permission to send in specialized teams of police officers and paramedics, according to an incident report he filed after the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 people dead.
— But every time McNally asked to deploy the two Rescue Task Force teams — each made up of three paramedics and three to four law enforcement officers — the Broward Sheriff’s Office captain in charge of the scene, Jan Jordan, said no.

The traveling medicine show of truly awful doctors
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
— Like traveling medicine hucksters of old, doctors who run into trouble today can hopscotch from state to state, staying ahead of regulators.
— Instead of snake oil, some peddle opioids. Others have sex with patients, bungle surgeries, misdiagnose conditions or are implicated in patient deaths.
— Even after being caught in one state, they can practice free and clear in another; many hold a fistful of medical licenses.

The endless bullshit of social media
(or … Never Trust a Meme)

Posted by a Twitter propagandist who calls himself Slappy Kinkaid
But here’s the real story from Snopes:
— Allison Mack didn’t “confess” that she sold children to the Rothschilds and Clintons, nor has any legitimate reporting on the case to date stated that sex trafficking of children (rather than adults) took place. The Mack “confession” claim originated solely with Your News Wire, a fake news site with a penchant for publishing exaggerated and fabricated clickbait articles involving pedophilia.

The Housewives of White Supremacy
NY Times
… dozens of YouTube and social media accounts have sprung up showcasing soft-spoken young white women who extol the virtues of staying at home, submitting to male leadership and bearing lots of children — being “traditional wives.” These accounts pepper their messages with scrapbook-style collections of 1950s advertising images showing glamorous mothers in lipstick and heels with happy families and beautiful, opulent homes. They give their videos titles like “Female Nature and Advice for Young Ladies,” “How I Homeschool” and “You Might be a Millennial Housewife If….
>>> Woman issues “white baby challenge” (YouTube)

GOP moderates soften on immigration
— Miami-area Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Jeff Denham, whose Modesto-area district thrives on agriculture powered by migrant workers, have launched a petition  that would force House votes on four immigration bills, ranging from liberal to conservative versions. Twenty-three Republicans have signed on, two shy of the number needed to succeed, assuming all Democrats jump aboard.

Feds prepare bailout for coal, nuclear plants
Ars Technica
— Leaked memo suggests that the Energy Department could force grid operators to buy power or electric generation capacity from a list of pre-determined power plants for two years, “to forestall any future actions toward retirement, decommissioning or deactivation.”

Dude running for Congress a pedophile, rapist, and proud of it
Haven’t we hit bottom yet?
One of his essays is entitled: “A Man Should Be Allowed to Choke His Wife to Death as Punishment for Cutting Her Hair Short Without Permission, or Other Acts of Gross Insubordination.”
The last time he ran for the Virginia house, 481 people actually voted for him.
>>> Snopes fact-checked this article and rated it TRUE.

Trump’s trips to Mar-A-Lago cost far more than Mueller probe
Washington Post

We’re gonna build a wall and Mexico’s gonna  … oh, wait
The Trump administration is examining ways American industries could hire more immigrant workers on a temporary basis, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC.
Wait, wait. I thought these people were “animals”

Another nuclear danger
Stars & Stripes (analysis)
… should the Russians initiate the use of tactical nukes on the battlefield, the United States would launch one or two low-yield weapons from submarines, not toward the battlefield, … but toward targets in Russia.

Some Facebook shareholders see Zuck as the Big Problem
Vice News
— Facebook is run like a “dictatorship,” according to some of the company’s shareholders, who slammed CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the annual shareholder meeting Thursday.
— “If privacy is a human right … then we condemn that Facebook’s poor stewardship of customer data is tantamount to a human rights violation.”
>>>Facebook admits its “trending news” sucks, will get the ax

Are ancestry web sites good science? Nope.
… “we come up with statistically plausible distribution of where your ancestors come from.”

No strike! Deal reached with Las Vegas hotel & restaurant workers

Digital license plates roll out in California
cal-digital-plate— California is testing new digital license plates on vehicles — opening up new possibilities and raising new privacy concerns.
— The digital plates use the same technology behind Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader to display large letters and numbers as any other license plate would. But the devices are also able to show ads and personal messages and send data about their locations.

Feds can’t charge dude with crime, but keep his $58,000
Raw Story
— Cleveland resident Rustem Kazazi was strip searched by customs officials at an airport last year because officials suspected he was involved in smuggling, drug trafficking or money laundering.
— As part of the search, officials seized $58,000 in cash that Kazazi was carrying on him — and they still haven’t given it back even though they did not uncover enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Battle over sports betting has just begun
The Hill
Yup, the sports leagues want a piece of the action
— Dan Spillane, NBA lawyer: “These are our games. [They] are the backbone of the whole business of sports betting, and we think it makes sense for us to be compensated. We’ve invested billions of dollars in creating this product. You can’t have sports betting without our game.”

Revealed: Google’s dream of big payday from Pentagon
The Intercept
drone-military-500x297— Google secretly signed an agreement with the Pentagon to provide cutting edge artificial intelligence technology for drone warfare. About a dozen Google employees have resigned in protest and thousands have signed a petition calling for an end to the contract. The endeavor, code-named Project Maven, is designed to help drone operators recognize images captured on the battlefield.
— Diane Greene, the chief executive of Google’s cloud business unit, claimed that the contract was “only” for $9 million.
— Company emails obtained by The Intercept show that Google expected military drone artificial intelligence revenue to ramp up to an eventual $250 million per year.

Progress in “holy grail” of cancer research: blood biopsies
The Guardian
“This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure,” said Dr Eric Klein, lead author of the research from Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. “We hope this test could save many lives.”


The Well-Regulated Militia

Uber driver blows passenger away
The Denver Channel

— Police say a driver for Uber shot and killed a passenger in a car early Friday.
That’s a 1-star ride for sure.

Bowler gut shot
If only he’d made that spare

“I didn’t mean to shoot him,” cries judge’s son
Victim might second that emotion — if he were alive

Shocking! Shocking I tell you
Goldman banker charged with insider trading


Makes it up as he goes along….
“We got $6 billion for opioid and getting rid of that scourge that’s taking over our country. And the numbers are way down.”  
— Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 in a Republican rally in Nashville, Tenn.

>>> One-fifth of all deaths of people age 24-35 are from opiods
The Atlantic

Thurs. May 31

typewriter-realnews.inkThe Roseanne Barr show was watched by 7 percent of Americans who watch TV. Which means that at least 95% of all Americans didn’t see it. Roseanne Barr wants to act like an asshole. ABC no longer wishes to employ her. Both are perfectly within their rights. Moving on …

5,000 die after Puerto Rico hurricane, but …

> MSNBC devoted 21 minutes of airtime to more than 5,000 deaths from the mega-storm.
> CNN 10 minutes
> Fox 48 seconds
>>> But … coverage of “Roseanne” controversy ate up 8+ hours of combined cable programming
Eco Watch
>>> $3.8 billion spent, and Puerto Rico’s grid still sucks
— After an eight-month, $3.8 billion federal effort to try to end the longest blackout in United States history, Puerto Rico’s public electrical authority is almost certain to collapse when the next hurricane hits. “It’s a highly fragile and vulnerable system that really could suffer worse damage than it suffered with Maria … ” Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello says.

puerto rico

Drugs surpass booze as top killer on US roads
US News

Quiet poverty seeps into America’s suburbs
The Conversation
– Good-paying jobs that don’t require advanced training have started to disappear in suburbs, just as they did in central cities more than a quarter century ago.

Facebook fading fast among teens
Pew Research

Also interesting from Pew Research:


Report claims:
Brit newspaper sold favorable coverage to Uber, Google
— The Evening Standard told corporate partners they would not just get the usual, clearly labeled “advertorial” content, but also news and comment pieces “that will appear to readers as routine, independently written editorial.”
— Newspaper’s owners issue denial.

Just out: 8 of top 10 universities are in US
World University Rankings
— Led by Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley…
Surprise low rankers in US:
— Amherst, Hunter, Howard, SF State, Wesleyan, Creighton

Should you kill spiders in your home?
An entomologist says, best not to.

The Conversation

Sears obituary just about written
— Sears Holdings Corp., which controls Sears and Kmart, says it has “identified approximately 100 non-profitable stores, 72 of which will begin store closing in the near future.”

Court awards 4 cents to family of man killed by cop
Raw Story
hill— The family of Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr. was awarded $4 in compensation by a jury this week, although that was knocked down to four cents on the grounds that the Lucie County Sheriff’s Office was “only 1 percent at fault in the death.”
— The shooting of Hill occurred in January 2014, when sheriff’s deputies responded to a noise complaint about Hill playing music in his garage.
— According to the accounts of the two deputies, Hill was intoxicated when they opened up his garage door. The officers also claim that Hill was pointing a gun at them.
— However, the facts surrounding the shooting paint a very murky picture.

California Senate votes to bring back net neutrality
The Verge
— Bill heads to state Assembly.

More evacuations as lava crosses Hawaii highway
USA Today

Fast-moving lava flows on Hawaii’s Big Island from the Kilauea volcano have blocked one major evacuation route and are headed toward the crossroads of another, prompting a new round of evacuations for rural neighborhoods in the area.

Cops bring suicidal man to hospital, beat the crap out of him
— After attempting suicide in March, a Paterson man called police in search of help. But when he arrived at the hospital, federal authorities say, he got brutal assaults at the hands of two city police officers who injured the man so badly he required surgery for one of his eyes.
— After the victim insulted one of the cops from his hospital bed, the officer pulled on medical gloves and struck the man twice across his face, according to the FBI.
— As his partner hit the cowering man — warning him: “I ain’t (expletive) playing with you” — Officer Roger Then recorded video of himself smiling into the camera of his cellphone.
–Investigators allege the officers never mentioned the attacks in their official report and concealed the cellphone video from law enforcement authorities.
— Federal agents arrested Then, accusing him of conspiring to violate the man’s civil rights and deliberately concealing the assault.

Florida brewery makes six-pack rings that don’t kill turtles, might feed them
Saltwater-Edible-Six-Pack-Rings— You’ve probably seen the heart-wrenching photos of the damage plastic six-pack rings can do to marine life. They tangle the wings of sea birds, choke seals and warp the shells of growing sea turtles.
— A Florida brewery has a solution: six-pack rings that that can either biodegrade or  serve as a snack for wildlife. After years of research and development, the rings – made of wheat and barley – are now popping up in south Florida stores.
— Saltwater Brewery, a craft microbrewery in Delray Beach, developed the rings.

MormonLeaks site claims LDS church owns $32 Billion in stock
KUTV-Salt Lake
— Which amounts to about $2,000 for each of its 16 million members.

American Bible Society tells workers: You can only screw your spouse
(But feel free to do anybody for the next 7 months.)
— The American Bible Society, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that translates and distributes Bibles around the world, wants employees to agree to abstain from sex outside marriage — or resign.
— In a policy recently made public, the organization also defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
— Employees who don’t commit to the terms by Jan. 1, 2019, will be told to resign.

The Well-Regulated Militia
Girl, 12, killed by gunfire at shooting range
— Sydney Darnell, 12, was target practicing with a lever action 22 rifle along with her mother’s boyfriend, Sean Frick, 52. Deputies say Sydney had just shot the rifle and wanted to check the target so she had laid the rifle down on the deck railing. Frick noticed she had left the rifle loaded with the hammer cocked back so he attempted to make the rifle safe.
>>> Dude accidentally shoots another dude in parking garage

Trump issues another practice pardon
Buzz Feed
— So-called President Trump said Thursday he would grant a “full pardon” to far-right commentator and conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza, the second time he’s rewarded a vocal supporter with clemency. D’Souza pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud.
>>> Trump: Tariffs, bans, pronouncements, lies, today’s bullshit, blah blah blah, and remember Mexico’s going to pay for The Wall and he hires the best people except that Jeff Sessions sucks.


Wed. May 30

typewriter-realnews.inkWe pretty much leave the “Muller Probe” be. It’s going where it’s going, and all will be revealed in time. In the meanwhile, we avoid whole mountains of pointless speculation, spin, bullshit and wishful thinking.

“Everybody knows N. Korea will never de-nuclearize”
Politicus USA
>>> CIA: N. Korea won’t shuck nukes, might flip burgers
The Hill
— Officials also told NBC News Kim might be willing to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a gesture of goodwill toward The Moron.

Ambien maker to Barr: Racism is not a side effect of our drug
USA Today

Southwest tries vainly to look good after
clueless agent questions mom of biracial son
Aside from the obvious, does this mean a Southwest employee thinks that a FACEBOOK POST is more authentic than a passport? My God!

Southwest Airlines has apologised after one of its officials asked a California basketball coach to prove that she was the mother of her bi-racial son.
Lindsay Gottlieb, who is white, and her fiance Patrick Martin, who is African American, were both present and showed the official their son’s passport.
She says after showing his passport she was asked for further evidence through a Facebook post or birth certificate.

Just what we need, bigger more powerful corporations
Bayer wins US OK for Monsanto deal, to create ag giant

Journalist who fled Russia shot dead
arkady2— He was critical of Russia’s military engagements in Ukraine and Syria and moved to Kiev with his family for their own safety. Arkady Babchenko’s memoirs of the Chechen campaigns were published in English under the title ‘One Soldier’s War.'”
–In recent years, he became a highly vocal critic of the Russian government – a stance that put him at great risk.
>>> Ukraine blames Russia for murder of anti-Kremlin journalist
Claims the Moscow Times

This guy is selling his Facebook data on e-bay
“I realized that I’d been selling my data for free for ages, and decided it was time to cash in.”

Are avocados toast?
California farmers place big bets on climate change
The Guardian
avocado.jpg— For farmers planting crops they hope will bear fruit in 25 years – including avocado trees – climate change must be reckoned with now.
— “I can look out my window and see trees that don’t have a leaf on them and others that are completely leafed out.
— The trees are totally confused.”

Walmart CLAIMS it will fund college degrees for its US workers
But it’s bullshit, as we will see. It will turn out to be an extremely limited program at “for-profit” so-called universities in Walmart’s orbit. The degree will be more or less worthless, except to Walmart. Nice headline, though.
— Walmart Inc. will fund college degrees for its U.S. workforce, the latest benefit rolled out by the nation’s largest private employer to reduce turnover and counter criticism over its treatment of staff.
— The retailer’s 1.5 million employees can now pursue associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in business or supply-chain management at three nonprofit schools for $1 a day, according to a statement Wednesday. Walmart will subsidize tuition, books and fees and provide support with the application and enrollment processes. As many as 68,000 employees might sign up, Walmart executives estimated. They declined to disclose the potential cost of the program.

Tesla on autopilot smashes police car

A Tesla in autopilot mode slammed into a police cruiser in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Tuesday. Police say the patrol vehicle was unoccupied. Police say they’re looking into whether lane markings are creating difficulties for the technology. Lane markings? That’s what this “high tech” depends on? 

Is Ancestry.Com to be trusted?
— It markets its DNA kits with promises that tug at the heartstrings: Discover ancestors. Strengthen family ties. Understand your life.
— Aided by venture capital and a flood of savvy marketing, Ancestry LLC has grown to become the world’s largest DNA testing conglomerate. Since 2012, it has lured more than 5 million people to spit into tubes and add their genetic code to the world’s largest private database of DNA. It has also banked away the world’s largest collection of human spittle, numbering in the hundreds of gallons.
… A three-month review by McClatchy, including visits to Ancestry’s headquarters and a main testing lab, reveals a pattern of breached promises to customers, security concerns and inflated marketing pledges that could give consumers some pause.

Vegas hotel & food workers, fearing robots, plan strike
— Each day, Vegas hotels and restaurants dish up 60,000 pounds of food. It takes nearly 50,000 real-live humans to prepare and serve all those crab legs, potatoes, and chocolate cakes, and now they’ve made it clear: they don’t want to lose their job to robots.
— Members of the city’s Culinary Workers Union voted last week togo on strike after June 1st, when their union contracts are set to expire at 34 different casino resorts.
>>> Flippy The Robot cooking 300 hockey-pucks burgers a day
Faux News

You NEED these 13 vitamins, but taking them in pill form won’t help
Popular Science
— No article or Instagram influencer can tell you whether you need supplemental vitamins. You’d need to go to a certified nutritionist who can analyze your diet, or even to a physician who’ll do testing to evaluate your measurable vitamin levels. Barring that, though, your best bet is to think more carefully about where you get those 13 essential vitamins from.

Judge thrwarts evil DeVos plan to collect $$$ from students
defrauded by her buddies’ bullshit universities
Courthouse News Service
— A federal judge has blocked Education Secretary Besty DeVos’ plan to force more than 60,000 defrauded students to repay loans for education programs that some borrowers describe as “worthless.”
— U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim found the U.S. Department of Education illegally enacted a rule to make former students of the now-defunct, for-profit Corinthian Colleges repay at least some loan debt.



Trump to meet with “prison reform expert” Kim Kardashian at White House
Vanity Fair
kim-kardashian-simpsons-cartoon-character— After months of back-channel talks between Kim Kardashian and Jared Kushner, the high priestess of reality television is coming to the White House. By late afternoon on Wednesday, Secret Service agents will wave Kardashian and her attorney through the southwest appointment gate to the West Wing, where they will meet Kushner to discuss prison reform before he walks with them to sit down with President Donald Trump, likely in the Oval Office, along with White House counsel. trump-simpsonAccording to a person familiar with the meeting, Kardashian plans to ask Trump to pardon a woman serving a life sentence without parole for a first-time drug offense. (White House staffers have joked about who will get to accompany her to the West Wing, and what they should wear for the occasion. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)