Legal weed for N.J. takes a huge step forward … expect final votes next week.

——> This is a big deal because NJ is easily accessible to huge populations in NY, PA and CT. It’s hard to imagine those states holding on to pot prohibition while watching NJ suck up all that tax revenue. Theory: If NJ goes, its border states go too, bringing legal pot to an area with 40 million people. 

‘It’s over’: Miami Beach tries to outrace climate change’s rising seas
Yahoo News


MIAMI BEACH — Harold Wanless sits on a bench in Maurice Gibb Memorial Park beside a new concrete sea wall, the sound of hammers and drills emanating from Belle Isle across a cloudy, turquoise inlet of Biscayne Bay. Knowing what he does about how fast the water surrounding these porous barrier islands is rising, Wanless, director of the University of Miami’s geological sciences department and a leading expert on sea level rise, marvels at the level of denial the latest building boom requires.

“Just using the U.S. government projections, we could be at 11 to over 13 feet [of sea level rise] by the end of century,” Wanless, 77, says. “There’s only 3 percent of Miami-Dade County that’s greater than 12 feet above sea level.”

Netflix’s Bright Future Looks A Lot Like Television’s Dim Past

In 2018, 14 of Neflix’s top 20 shows, and all 10 of its top 10 shows, were broadcast-network reruns. Friends, which received its first Emmy nomination while Bill Clinton was president, is number one. None of this means that Netflix isn’t really the future. It’s just more proof that such a future would suck.

Some Humans Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field, Experiment Suggests

The ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field—a trait known as magnetoreception—is well documented among many animals, but researchers have struggled to show that humans are also capable of the feat. Until now.

New experimental evidence published today in the science journal eNeuro suggests the human brain is capable of responding to the Earth’s magnetic field, though at an unconscious level. It’s not clear if our apparent ability to sense the magnetic field is in any way useful, as it’s likely a vestigial trait left over from our more primitive past. Giving the new finding, however, researchers should investigate further to determine if magnetoreception is somehow contributing to our behavior or abilities, such as spatial orientation.

Trump got $2bn in loans from Deutsche Bank despite being ‘deemed untouchable’ by other institutions
The Independent

…  With the bulk of the loan repayment due in November 2008, his lawyers claimed the financial crisis was an act of God that meant he was not liable. The bank and Mr Trump sued each other, but the dispute was later settled out of court.

Pediatrician gets at least 79 years for assaulting patients
AP/Tarentum Valley News Dispatch

Authorities had a chance to stop Johnnie Barto in 2000, when he appeared before the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine on administrative charges that he molested two young girls in the 1990s. But regulators threw out the case and allowed him to keep practicing medicine, saying the allegations were “incongruous to his reputation.”

Barto was a beloved pediatrician in Johnstown — and an elected school board member — with hundreds of supporters who flatly disbelieved he was a pedophile. Such was the community’s support that ribbons were distributed and worn at a high school football game as he fought the allegations in the 1990s.

Delaware House passes bill to give state’s Electoral College votes to popular vote winner
The Hill

Genealogy testing led Alabama police to arrest in 1999 cold case

Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker, who said he always believed the case could be solved, said the Golden State killer arrest inspired them to try something similar. “Let’s try that,’ Walker recalled.

Police on Friday arrested Coley McCraney, 45, of Dothan, Alabama after the genetic genealogy steered them in his direction.

Moore said the Alabama crime scene sample was analyzed and uploaded to GEDMatch, a public genetic database repository where over a million people have uploaded profiles from at-home ancestry kits.

“We are looking for second, third, fourth cousins and then we reverse engineer the family tree based on the people who are sharing DNA with that crime scene sample,” Moore said.

A large fire at a Houston-area petrochemicals terminal will likely burn for another two days, authorities said Monday, noting that air quality around the facility was testing within normal (for Houston?) guidelines. The company said the fire spread to seven storage tanks holding components of gasoline and also used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

Putin Signs ‘Fake News,’ ‘Internet Insults’ Bills Into Law
Moscow Times

Online news outlets and users that spread “fake news” will face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles ($22,900) for repeat offenses.

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

Dude who shot himself in penis faces gun charge
The Smoking Gun 

The Indiana man who accidentally shot himself in the penis and scrotum has been charged with carrying a handgun without a license.

Snowflake Congressman sues Twitter, and some of its users
Fox News

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” to secretly hide their posts, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints, an “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior

Devins Nunes’ Cow, an account with 45,000 65,000 followers

cowThere’s a cow on Twitter. But it isn’t just any cow – it claims to belong to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

“Hanging out on the dairy in Iowa looking for the lil’ treasonous cowpoke,” reads the bio of the account “Devin Nunes’ cow,” which, as of early Tuesday, had nearly 45,000 followers (RealNews found it had grown to 65,000 as of 8:30 Eastern time Tuesday.)

The opinionated bovine appears to not be the biggest fan of its owner. “Devin’s boots are full of manure,” it once tweeted. “He’s udder-ly worthless and it’s pasture time to mooove him to prison.”

<> Who’s paying to file this lawsuit? (Bill Nichols on Twitter)

Cop admits she was screwing supervisor
as her child died in hot car
CBS News

A former Mississippi Gulf Coast police officer told a judge Monday that she had sex with her supervisor and then fell asleep while her 3-year-old daughter was dying inside an overheated patrol car. Cassie Barker pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in a plea bargain after being indicted on a second-degree murder charge.

Warren: Trash Electoral College
The Hill


Farmers markets are killing each other

“There are way too many markets. The markets have started cannibalizing both customers and farmers …”

Hollywood Employs More Workers Than Mining and Farming

  •  Report shows entertainment industry’s spread beyond California
  •  Film, TV have $10.3 billion trade surplus with rest of world

Meteor blast over Bering Sea was 10 times size of Hiroshima
The Guardian

A meteor explosion over the Bering Sea late last year unleashed 10 times as much energy as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, scientists have revealed.

The fireball tore across the sky off Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula on 18 December and released energy equivalent to 173 kilotons of TNT. It was the largest air blast since another meteor hurtled into the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, in Russia’s south-west, six years ago, and the second largest in the past 30 years.

Unlike the Chelyabinsk meteor, which was captured on CCTV, mobile phones and car dashboard cameras, the December arrival from outer space went largely unnoticed at the time because it exploded in such a remote location.

‘I have to perform to save my life’:
Medical bills kept rock legend Dick Dale touring till the end



Tributes have begun popping up online, with many celebrating his distinctive sound. But the musician’s life story was also a constant struggle against health problems — and to pay medical bills. After his first cancer diagnosis in 1965, Dale continued to battle the disease. Up until the end of his life, Dale was explicit that he toured to fund his treatment.

“I can’t stop touring because I will die. Physically and literally, I will die,” he told the Pittsburgh City Paper in 2015. “Sure, I’d love to stay home and build ships in a bottle and spend time with my wife in Hawaii, but I have to perform to save my life.”

Selling Used Panties Online Is a Thing …
And Harder Than You Might Think

China admits nearly 13,000 ‘terrorists’ have been arrested in Xinjiang

China on Monday defended its controversial security crackdown in the fractious far west region of Xinjiang, saying nearly 13,000 “terrorists” have been arrested there since 2014.

Beijing has come under international criticism over its policies in the region, where as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps, according to human rights groups.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, hit back again with a white paper saying that the government “is relentless in striking hard, in accordance with the law, at any conduct advocating terrorism and extremism”.

The document states that Xinjiang has long been part of Chinese territory but that “terrorist and extremist forces” have fomented separatist activities by “falsifying” the region’s history.

Facebook finds 40% of Americans live in “news deserts”

—-> So, the company that helped suck up all the world’s news advertising is now complaining because local news outlets can’t afford to feed them news. 

It Wasn’t Just Khashoggi:
A Saudi Prince’s Brutal Drive to Crush Dissent

NY Times

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman created a secret team that spied on, kidnapped and tortured Saudi citizens a year before Jamal Khashoggi was killed.

Members of the team that killed Mr. Khashoggi, a dissident journalist, were involved in at least a dozen operations since 2017, according to officials.

—-> And the Prince of Darkness is welcome to visit the White House any time. 

Today’s conflicting medical advice:
Remember that aspirin you were supposed to take every day.
Uhm. Forget it.
USA Today

—–> And by the way remember when eggs were bad for you, then they were good for you, and now they’re bad for you again? Uhm….

Researcher: Quit giving mega-killers the “celebrity treatment” they crave

Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama, who has studied the influence of media coverage on shooters, said it’s vitally important to avoid focusing excessive attention on gunmen.

“A lot of these shooters want to be treated like celebrities. They want to be famous. So the key is to not give them that treatment,” he said.
Social media creates a spectacle society that makes it easier for terrorists to achieve notoriety

The use of social media technology and livestreaming marks the attack as different from many other terrorist incidents. It is a form of violent “performance crime”. That is, the video streaming is a central component of the violence itself, it’s not somehow incidental to the crime, or a disgusting trophy for the perpetrator to re-watch later.

In the past, terrorism functioned according to what has been called the “theatre of terror”, which required the media to report on the spectacle of violence created by the group. Nowadays, it’s much easier for someone to both create the spectacle of horrific violence and distribute it widely by themselves.

In an era of social media, which is driven in large part by spectacle, we all have a role to play in ensuring that terrorists aren’t rewarded for their crimes with our clicks.

Police issue ‘virtual kidnap’ alerts to California schools
Sacramento Bee

Laguna Beach police say victims received phone calls claiming their daughters had been abducted and would be harmed unless money was wired to a Mexican bank account. Police say there were no abductions in either case.

Tourist hordes turned away during “Poppy Apocalypse” 
Times of San Diego

California’s Lake Elsinore on Sunday closed flower-filled Walker Canyon to visitors and shuttles. “Residents have been screaming at the people directing traffic. Estimated 50,000 visitors. Twice as many as last weekend. People lined up since 5:30 am. It’s insane.”

Why New Zealand can do what the U.S. hasn’t been able to: Change gun laws in the face of tragedy
WaPost analysis

New Zealand’s gun lobby mainly represents a core of rural supporters, whereas more than 86 percent of New Zealanders now live in urban areas and form a largely liberal majority. In the United States, the ratio of citizens living in urban areas is slightly lower. More importantly the U.S. system of representation and the way congressional districts are drawn increase the significance of rural Republican voters disproportionately. That helps explain why the NRA can pressure politicians into following its demands, even though NRA supporters account for only a fraction of all U.S. voters.

In contrast, New Zealand’s election system is designed in a way that the number of lawmakers a party has in Parliament is aligned with its share among all votes cast. The mixed member proportional voting system — which is also in place in countries such as Germany — is supposed to prevent small interest groups from being able to gain disproportionate influence over lawmakers.

Feds seize 1 million lbs. of pork smuggled from China to N.J. amid swine fever outbreak

“Agriculture specialists made a critical interception of these prohibited animal products, and stopped them from entering the U.S. before they could potentially cause grave damage,” said Troy Miller, director of Customs and Border Protection Field Operations in New York/Newark.

—–> Can someone please explain why we need meat from China?

Maybe the message from France is:
It’s all over for capitalism


France is sounding an alarm for the world’s advanced economies: capitalism is tearing them apart.

President Emmanuel Macron and his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire are using France’s presidency of the Group of Seven to argue that the system fuels inequality, destroys the planet and is ineffective at delivering goals in the public interest. The country has already experienced some of the fallout firsthand in the Yellow Vest movement that erupted late last year.

They’re pushing a reinvention that includes minimum global taxes and higher levies on tech giants like Amazon and Facebook. There are echoes of that in the self-proclaimed democratic socialists in the U.S. and firebrand Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last week said “capitalism is irredeemable.”

Week ender

Deciding whether to have kids has never been more complex.
Enter parenthood-indecision therapists.

ann davidman
Ann Davidman: The more abrupt change she’s noticed, she says, is the psychological state of the clients who seek her out: “Anxiety is huge now,” she says. “That’s increased tremendously in just the last couple of years.”

They arrive anxious for an answer. Or maybe, finally, a sense of peace. They arrive because they haven’t been able to resolve the biggest question of their lives: Do I want to be a parent? And so they come to the California therapy practice of Ann Davidman — by plane, by car, by phone — in the hope that the self-titled “motherhood clarity mentor” might deliver an epiphany.

Next comes a simple instruction: Write down every fear, every loaded question, every disapproving comment and every panic-inducing headline that has coalesced into a stranglehold of indecision.

Will my mom be disappointed if I don’t give her a grandchild?

What kind of world will my kid grow up in?

Will I regret it if I don’t have a baby?

Will I regret it if I do have a baby?

Panic at SXSW as street shooting erupts
Deadline Hollywood

Google making huge bet on “cloud gaming”

Colorado governor signs national popular vote bill into law
The Hill

Gun Nut Nation
Two dead, boy, 11, blamed as shooter
<> A 6-year-old boy died after finding a loaded gun in a home, police say
Bradenton Herald

Jackass introduced bill requiring Missouri youngsters to own assault rifles … now says it “wasn’t meant to pass.”

Weeks after being “promoted” at Klan-loving Alabama newspaper, black editor steps down

—–> Long story short: Owner’s a flaming racist. After notorious editorial, tried to take the heat off himself by promoting a black clerk to editor.

elicia dexterAn African-American woman who was named publisher and editor of the Alabama newspaper that recently urged the Ku Klux Klan to “night ride again” has stepped down, citing what she said was continuous and damaging interference by the paper’s owner.

Elecia R. Dexter, who took over the troubled Democrat-Reporter of Linden last month, told CNN Saturday that she left the weekly newspaper Monday because she could no longer work with owner and former editor and publisher Goodloe Sutton. He penned a staggering editorial with the headline “The Klan Needs to Ride Again” in the February 14 edition.

Dexter said she resigned “so that her integrity and well-being can be maintained.”
Attempts to reach Sutton for comment were unsuccessful.

South Florida priest jailed, accused of drugging and raping a parishioner
Miami Herald

Jean Claude Jean-Philippe
Father Jean Claude Jean-Philippe … according to a police report, the woman is a parishioner at the church, and Jean-Philippe had even officiated her wedding. In October, the 64-year-old priest invited her to his home on the church grounds, offering her tea. She passed out and, according to the police report, woke up naked in his bed two hours later.

Porn, privacy issues, and the UK “age block”
The Guardian

The age block will require commercial pornography sites to show that they are taking sufficient steps to verify their users are over 18, such as by uploading a passport or driving licence or by visiting a newsagent to buy a pass only available to adults. Websites which fail to comply risk substantial fines or having their websites banned by all British internet service providers.

Doomed airliner’s speed was “way too fast”

That was no mob hit, cops say, that was a personal beef
NY Post

The mafia didn’t kill Gambino boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali — a twentysomething Staten Island hothead with a personal beef did, police and sources said Saturday.

Anthony Comello, 24, a non-mobster who works odd construction jobs, was in custody in a New Jersey jail and expected to face murder charges in connection to the killing of Cali, 53, who was blasted at least 10 times outside his Todt Hill mansion on Wednesday, police said at a news conference at NYPD headquarters.

“Everything is on the table at this point,” said Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. “The investigation continues.”

Comello will be extradited to Staten Island in the next few days to face murder charges, Shea said.

Shea said police recovered the blue pickup truck that witnesses said slammed into Cali’s parked car, luring him outside to his demise.

Cali didn’t think Comello was worthy of associating with a woman in his family, the sources added.

Italy probes mystery death of Berlusconi sex trial witness
France 24

Italy is investigating the mysterious death of a former model and witness at Silvio Berlusconi’s sex trial, with a newspaper suggesting she may have been poisoned with a radioactive substance. Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said an investigation had been opened following the death on March 1 of Moroccan-born Imane Fadil. The 33-year-old had been brought to the hospital on January 29 with unexplained stomach pains. Fadil testified at the trial of the former Italian premier and media mogul on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute at one of his notoriously hedonistic bunga-bunga parties.

Smiling mosque massacre shooter makes a white supremacist sign as he is charged with 49 murders in New Zealand … and man arrives at court ‘armed with knife to stab the accused’
The Daily Mail

NJ’s biggest city to test universal basic income
Fox Local

Getting a paycheck for doing nothing could be in the future for residents of New Jersey’s largest city.  Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the city is going to study a pilot program to provide a universal basic income, or basically guaranteeing income for all residents whether they have a job.

Shake Shack is trying a four-day workweek
Market Watch

Because it’s a good idea to let lunatics carry guns
Woman shoots boy 11, and mom on playground
Baltimore Sun

nichole georgePolice said the attack took place just before 6 p.m. near Round Road and Seagull Avenue. The boy was shot in his hand and head. His mother, 34, was shot in the upper body. Both were taken to an area hospital for treatment.

“We have to pray for our young scholar,” Cherry Hill Elementary Principal Tracey Garrett said.

She said the victim is a fifth-grade student at the school, which was closed Friday for conferences. She described the boy as a quiet student who does not cause trouble. Garrett said she and other staff members tried to visit him at the hospital but could not because he was still in critical condition.

Weed delivery and pot lounges could be a reality
as N.J. cannabis bill heads for a vote


Amazon Virginia HQ faces first test
as local pols decide whether
to give away $51 million in taxpayer dollars





Americans Are Going Bankrupt From Getting Sick
The Atlantic
–> Doctors’ bills play a role in 60 percent of personal-bankruptcy filings.

Arkansas Legislature Effectively Votes To Abolish Civil Asset Forfeiture
…. joins three other states in requiring police secure a conviction before they can seize a person’s property.

Cozy Capitalism
FAA’s close ties to Boeing questioned after 2 deadly crashes

Piece Found at Boeing 737 Crash Site Shows Jet Was Set to Dive

Greta Thunberg, climate change, the Nobel Peace Prize, and marching children

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who jump started the climate strike movement, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg is helping to organize a massive global school strike today that is expected to involve at least 1,659 towns or cities in 105 countries.

49 killed in coordinated terrorist shootings at 2 mosques in New Zealand; suspects in custody
Yahoo News

At least 49 people were killed in a shooting attack on the southern island of New Zealand on Friday when a gunman opened fire inside two mosques.

The shootings in Christchurch, categorized as a terrorist attack, included 41 deaths at one mosque, according to authorities. Christchurch Hospital also confirmed it was treating 48 people for gunshot wounds, ranging from minor to critical. One person died at the hospital.
<> Gunman live-streamed it (News.com.au)

<> Manifesto claims NZ mosque attacks were revenge (The Australian)

… a “regular white man from a regular family” who decided to “take a stand to ensure a future for my people”.
A 73-page manifesto posted to the Twitter site of Brenton Tarrant today takes aim at mass immigration of “non-Europeans to “our lands”, and “WHITE GENOCIDE”.

“To take revenge on the invaders for the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders in European lands throughout history,” Tarrant writes.

“To take revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers.

“To take revenge for the thousands of European lives lost to terror attacks throughout European lands.

“To directly reduce immigration rates to European lands by intimidating and physically removing the invaders themselves.”



Harvard scientists uncover DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration
Yahoo News

Humans may one day have the ability to regrow limbs after scientists at Harvard University uncovered the DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration.

Some animals can achieve extraordinary feats of repair, such as salamanders which grow back legs, or geckos which can shed their tails to escape predators and then form new ones in just two months. Planarian worms, jellyfish, and sea anemones go even further, actually regenerating their entire bodies after being cut in half.

Now scientists have discovered that that in worms, a section of non-coding or ‘junk’ DNA controls the activation of a ‘master control gene’ called early growth response (EGR) which acts like a power switch, turning regeneration on or off.

“We were able to decrease the activity of this gene and we found that if you don’t have EGR, nothing happens,” said Dr Mansi Srivastava, Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

Since 1990s, heart attacks have become less deadly, frequent for Americans
Eureka Alert

Why Texas Is Nearing Battleground Status (It’s Not Just About Beto)
NY Times
> Hispanics represent the (elusive) upside for Democrats, but it’s a shift in white voters that is making the biggest difference.

The dream of a “Blue Texas” has captured the imagination of Democrats for nearly a decade, and Beto O’Rourke has come closer than anyone to making a statewide victory a reality.

His strengths as a candidate in his narrow loss in a 2018 Senate race against Ted Cruz — by 2.6 percentage points — led his supporters to push him to run for president, and he obliged them Thursday morning.

But his performance may have demonstrated something else: Texas is on the doorstep of emerging as a battleground state, and any number of Democrats might stand a chance to compete there in 2020 for the presidency or the Senate.

His relatively close loss is promising for the party because he did not take full advantage of the longer-term trends that might put it over the top sooner than later. His strength came almost exclusively from white voters, not from the growing Hispanic population in the state.


Mueller, in U.S. court filing, says multiple probes continue

Israel says it struck 100 targets in Gaza after two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv

The Israeli military said that it struck more than 100 targets in Gaza overnight Friday after two rockets were fired toward Tel Aviv, escalating tension less than a month before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces reelection.


Facebook, Instagram outages send surfers to Pornhub for “tentacle porn”


<>Tentacle and Monster porn, an explainer, should you need one


NY mayor seeks $10 billion for lower Manhattan flood barrier
NY Post

“Time is not on our side. This country has wasted too many years pretending it had the luxury of debating climate change. The national emergency is already here. We have to meet it head-on.”



“There seems to be a growing consensus that birth order does not influence personality in a way that can be measured in adulthood.”


Trump, in bonkers interview, admits border policy hurts people


“WHAT EMERGENCY?” Senate pisses on Trump’s wall
The Hill

The Senate voted on Thursday to nix President Trump’s national emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall, setting up the first veto battle with his White House.

Senators voted 59-41 to pass the resolution of disapproval blocking Trump’s declaration. Underscoring the broad base of concern over Trump’s actions within the Republican caucus, 12 GOP senators broke rank and voted with all the Democrats.

The measure passed the House last month, 245-182.

Dazed and confused, Parliament votes for foot-dragging Brexit

… but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states.


A: Possibly true and important

Court rules gun maker Remington can be sued over Newtown shooting

A divided Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Justices issued a 4-3 ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit and overturned a lower court ruling that the lawsuit was prohibited by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.

The plaintiffs include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre. They argue the AR-15-style rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza is too dangerous for the public and Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people.

Too late to stop radical warming in Arctic, study says

Rising temperatures in the Arctic are on an unsteerable course, even if drastic measures to curb climate change are undertaken, a United Nations report has found.

The new environmental report projects that winter temperatures in the Arctic will increase 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2050, and a subsequent 5 to 9 degrees Celsius by 2080, changes that are “locked in,” even if nations collectively meet Paris Agreement goals.

The report was released at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday, and adds to other recent, dire predictions for the Arctic—one of the places on Earth where global warming will trigger catastrophic outcomes due to the snowballing effects of melting permafrost.

US official reveals Atlantic drilling plan
while hailing Trump’s ability to distract public

The Guardian

Balash-5x7A top US official told a group of fossil fuel industry leaders that the Trump administration will soon issue a proposal making large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and said that it is easier to work on such priorities because Donald Trump is skilled at sowing “absolutely thrilling” distractions, according to records of a meeting obtained by the Guardian.A

Joe Balash, the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, was speaking to companies in the oil exploration business at a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, or IAGC, last month.

“One of the things that I have found absolutely thrilling in working for this administration,” said Balash,“is the president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”

For young Brits, fear and loathing of Brexit
The New Yorker

For a number of reasons, Brexit has been an invidious political process. But one of the most unsettling has been the mismatch between the generations that voted for Britain’s departure and the generations that will have to bear the consequences. Around seventy per cent of those under the age of twenty-four voted Remain, while sixty per cent of those older than sixty-five voted Leave. “It’s really, really scary to watch politicians who are trying to implement something which the vast majority of us don’t want and have never wanted.”

EU on no-deal Brexit motion: ‘like Titanic voting for iceberg to move’
The Guardian

“We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening,” the spokesman said. “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal – you have to agree to a deal. We have agreed a deal with the prime minister, and the EU is ready to sign it.”
<> MPs to vote on second Brexit referendum
The Guardian

Students File Class Action Over College Admissions Bribery Case
Courthouse News Service

Two Stanford students said in the lawsuit that qualified students paid college admission fees without realizing that “unqualified students were slipping in through the back door of the admissions process by committing fraud, bribery, cheating, and dishonesty.”

The lawsuit names Stanford University, the University of Southern California, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, Yale University and Georgetown University as defendants.

B: Probably true

Venezuela: Motorcycle gangs become Maduro’s enforcers 

CARACAS, Venezuela — The neighbors were fed up. For days, they’d had no electricity or running water because of a massive national blackout. So one morning this week, they piled logs and garbage into a makeshift barricade in their middle-class Caracas neighborhood and started yelling slogans against the government.

Then came the motorcycles.

There were at least 20 of them, their motors buzzing, driven by men with scarves over their faces, according to interviews with 10 witnesses. The demonstrators scattered. But as people in surrounding buildings started hurling bottles at the bikers, the men raised their weapons — pistols and rifles — and opened fire.

No one was injured. But the neighbors were terrified.

“Now we can’t even protest, because they’ll shoot at us,” said Delia Arellano, 72, one of the demonstrators.

Inactive Ingredients in Drugs May Be Less Inactive Than You Think
Live Science

US whitewashes Kashoggi murder, fails to mention the Prince who done it
CBS News

Anchor Beer Workers Win First Union at a U.S. Craft Brewery

Employees at the 123-year-old San Francisco brewer won a March 13 election to form a unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The workers’ win takes on extra significance given the beer’s iconic reputation in the Bay Area.

Miami surgeon fired after posting pix of patients’ genitals on Instagram

A Miami surgeon known for his gender reassignment work with trans patients has lost his job after it was discovered that he’d been posting offensive, explicit images of his patients’ body parts to a secret Instagram account without their consent.

According to The Trans Advocate’s Noah Adams, Dr. Christopher Salgado of the University of Miami Health System had been operating the since-deleted Instagram account, @sexsurgeon, since at least as far back as October of last year. There, he would post pictures of surgically removed genitals, pairing them offensive captions intended to be humorous.

C: True, but maybe meaningless

House votes 420-0 for Mueller report to be made public

(Original Post report said vote was 420-1. This has been since corrected.)
But the resolution by itself cannot force attorney general William P. Barr to publish more of the report than he intends to — and that is why even some of the Republicans supporting it complained that the measure was a waste of time.

Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation
NY Times

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users.

The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.

D: Spin and Opinion

College cheating scandal shows why elite colleges should use a lottery to admit students
Natasha Warikoo, Harvard assoc. prof. of education
In The Conversation

The lottery I envision would involve applicants who meet a certain academic threshold and help universities admit students in a more equitable way. An admissions lottery would accomplish two important goals:

1. Acknowledge the advantage for the wealthy.

2. Save time and money.

E: Entertaiment

As population falls, Russia seeking migrants from “donor countries”
Moscow Times

Big changes as MLB hopes to pick up pace of baseball games
USA Today

  1. — Pitchers will be required to face a minimum of three batters in a game beginning in 2020.
  2. — There will be a single July 31 trade deadline.
  3. — Mound visits will be reduced from six to five.
  4. — There will be an All-Star election day where fans can determine the starting players in the All-Star Game with 24-hour voting.
  5. — Commercial breaks will be shortened by 20 seconds to 2 minutes.
  6. — Position players will be prohibited from pitching in games that don’t go into extra innings, unless a team is ahead or behind by at least eight runs.
  7.  — Committees will be appointed by the Commissioner’s office and the union to formally discuss the game’s economic concerns. They will study ways to make the free-agent market more active. They will discuss eliminating the incentive for teams from purposely losing to gain top draft picks.
  8. — Beginning in 2020, all teams will have a 28-man roster in September, after having a 26-man roster the first five months of the season.


Gambino Don plugged outside his tasteless Staten Island home
The Ultimate NY Daily News story


Top 30 cities to live in? NOT ONE in US
Market Watch

Global consulting firm Mercer has released its quality-of-living rankings, and, for a 10th year in a row, Vienna took the No. 1 spot. It was followed by Zurich, with Auckland, Munich and Vancouver tying for third place.

The company ranks hundreds of global cities based on a number of factors, including recreation, housing, economy, public services and transport, political and social environment, education, medical and health considerations, and the natural environment.

Top 20 all in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia … almost all US cities fall in rankings.

F: False Claim

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opposed daylight saving time because “the extra hour of sunlight drastically speeds up climate change.”
False, says Snopes


Rising Sea Levels Are Bigger Threat to California Than Wildfires
US News

RESEARCHERS SAY THE combination of sea level rise and storms in California has the potential to displace more than half a million people and cost $150 billion by the end of the century, according to a study published Wednesday.
Though sea level rise is a gradual process (with a 2-meter rise expected by 2100), scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey explained that, when combined with storms, erosion and other consequences of climate change, the coastal impacts are greatly accelerated.
According to the study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, 600,000 people and more than $150 billion in property could be impacted if a 100-year storm (a storm with a 1 percent chance of occuring) were to hit the state. This is seven times the exposed population and property cost when considering sea level rise alone, the researchers note.


Native American tribe donates $184,000 to cover funeral costs of people who died in Alabama tornadoes
ABC News

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris reached out to the tribe for financial aid in the aftermath of the tornadoes. Beauregard, a small town within Lee County, was torn apart by two tornadoes on March 3.

Initially, the tribe had agreed to donate $50,000, but Harris said it wasn’t enough, Harris told ABC News.

“[The tribe] said, ‘Tell us what it would take to cover all of it,’” Harris told ABC News. “I told them [$184,000] and they said, ‘Fine.'”

Number of older renters spikes in US cities
Voice of America

Carmen Perry decided to rent rather than buy immediately after she divorced her husband and sold the family home. The 67-year-old realtor sees definite advantages to living in a space owned by someone else.

Perry is not alone among older Americans who are opting out of buying. The number of renters over the age of 60 jumped 43 percent in large American cities between 2000 and 2017, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data.

‘Like a ghost town’: how short-term rentals dim New Orleans’ legacy
The Guardian

New Orleans’ Treme is regarded as the nation’s oldest AfricanAmerican neighborhood, but some of its residents, like Darryl Durham, now say that legacy is fading quickly.In recent years, short-term rentals with companies such as Airbnb proliferated and now operate on about 45% of the Historic Faubourg Treme District’s parcels. Resulting rent rises and property taxes stemming from that have forced out many black families and residents, said Durham, a musician who has lived there since 2006.

Now Treme moves in an unnatural rhythm. For about half of each week, the number of tourists drops and many blocks are “like a ghost town”, Durham said. Each Thursday, the tourists return, filling hundreds of units. Suddenly, Treme is alive with groups of drunk, mostly white college-aged kids, Durham said. There are loud parties, overflowing garbage cans and countless other issues “grating” on remaining residents, he added.

Treme isn’t an isolated case. Short-term rentals are so concentrated in Bywater, Marigny and other neighborhoods around the French Quarter that some residents and longtime homeowners are finding investors have effectively converted their blocks into hotels.

The number of Airbnbs citywide spiked from 1,905 to 6,508 between 2015 and December 2018, according to the watchdog website Inside Airbnb. Of that figure, 85% are owned by investors, some of whom live as far away as San Francisco or New York City.


Judge adds 3.5 years to Manafort sentence …
… new charges filed in NY
AP/Stars & Stripes

Manafort, 69, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, (ah, yes) said he was the primary caregiver of his wife and wanted the chance for them to resume their life together.

“She needs me and I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other as you deliberate,” Manafort said. “This case has taken everything from me already — my properties, my cash, my life insurance, my trust accounts for my children and my grandchildren, and more.”

Trump to Chief of Staff: ‘Get Rid of My Kids’ Who Didn’t ‘Play the Game,’ Book Claims — as WH Dismisses ‘Fiction’

“Get rid of my kids; get them back to New York,” Trump told John Kelly, then his newly installed chief of staff, according to Vicky Ward’s Kushner Inc. Ward’s book will be published next week and, she writes, is based on some 220 interviews — most of them anonymous. (Hmm.)

Ward writes that Trump felt his kids “didn’t know how to play the game,” referring to what he saw as inept attempts at public relations, inevitably resulting in negative headlines.

and more importantly from the WH via NPR:

The Trump administration is seeking to close nearly two dozen U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices around the world in a move it estimates would save millions per year. But critics argue the closures will further slow refugee processing, family reunification petitions and military citizenship applications.

Trump’s Lower-Court Judges Are Dismantling Roe v. Wade One Ruling at a Time

That is precisely what the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did on Tuesday, permitting Ohio to defund Planned Parenthood by proclaiming that there is no “Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions.” The court’s threadbare reasoning ignores controlling Supreme Court precedent and disregards the impact of Ohio’s crusade against abortion providers on women. But that doesn’t matter to the majority, which includes all four President Donald Trump appointees who participated in the case.

NASA: First person on Mars “likely” to be female

… though it’s not yet clear why he thinks that … fewer than a third of NASA’s active astronauts are female…. possible it’s a meaningless bit of PR flummery and a warm-and-fuzzy PC signal.

Calif. gov: No more executions …
… defies voters …
… 737 inmates on death row
Sacto Bee

His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.

Thanks, FBI … but admission to elite colleges
has been “rigged” for a long time
The Guardian

But here’s the thing: the whole system is “rigged” in favor of more affluent parents. It is true that the conversion of wealth into a desirable college seat was especially egregious in this case – to the extent that it was actually illegal. But there are countless ways that students are robbed of a “fair shot” if they are not lucky enough to be born to well-resourced, well-connected parents.
<> The real college admissions scandal is what’s legal
If we are going to continue to publicly fund higher education, taxpayers might rightly ask whether institutions that receive federal dollars should be permitted to privilege the wealthy, the donor class, the athletes (both faux and actual), and certain racial groups (resulting in abject discrimination against Asians) over applicants who might actually be interested in checking a book out of the library.

May goes down in flames in 2nd Brexit vote
Politico Europe

Gene-edited food quietly arrives in restaurant cooking oil

Pilots complaints on Boeing Max uncovered
Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual “inadequate and almost criminally insufficient” several months before Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, an investigation by the Dallas Morning News found.

The Morning News found at least five complaints about the Boeing model in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report about aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The disclosures found by the Morning News reference problems with an autopilot system during takeoff and nose-down situations while trying to gain altitude during flights of Boeing 737 Max 8s.
>>> Canada bans the Max in its airspace (The Hill)

Meet Tengai, the job interview robot who won’t judge you

The goal is to offer candidates job interviews that are free from any of the unconscious biases that managers and recruiters can often bring to the hiring process, while still making the experience “seem human”.

Tuesday …

250 scientists sign UN warning: wireless earbuds increase cancer risk
The Daily Mail

L.A., Philly lead list of most-aggressive drivers
USA Today

Saudi plane turns around after mother forgets baby at airport
The Guardian

‘May God be with us. Can we come back?’ says pilot.

Selfie-taker who was attacked by jaguar apologizes for breaking the rules

“We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar. She’s a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe- not a wild animals fault when barriers are crossed,” zoo officials said.

Feds uncover large-scale college entrance exam cheating plot
NBC News

The scheme involved students who attended or were seeking to attend Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, and other top colleges … ffocused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment.

Trump’s 2020 budget: The top 10 takeaways

  1. Big deficits
  2. No accounting for a recession
  3. More for military, veterans
  4. 10% cuts to many agencies
  5. Wall
  6. $500 billion cut to Medicare
  7. Parental leave? Not much
  8. Make states pay more
  9. Many higher fees
  10. More student loan scams

<> Big cuts to farm subsidies proposed

Desperate Venezuelans swarm sewage drains in search of water

“I’ve never even seen this before. It’s horrible, horrible,” said Lilibeth Tejedor, preparing to carry the container on a small hand cart back to her home in the neighborhood of San Agustin.

“Look at the 50 percent who are on the web, and it’s not so pretty for them. They are all stepping back suddenly horrified after the Trump and Brexit elections realizing that this web thing that they thought was so cool has actually not necessarily been serving humanity very well.”
— Tim Berners-Lee

Murdoch’s News Corp calls for Google breakup
— It may not have occurred to the old pirate that, under the same logic, News Corp, too, should be broken up.

Residents of picturesque Paris street
plead for gate to keep out the Instagram hordes
The Independent


Why non-conformists end up looking alike
Big Think

“… this study may have important implications in understanding synchronization of nerve cells, investment strategies in finance, or emergent dynamics in social science.”

<> New trend to limit cellphone addiction: carry a minimalist phone
Wall Street Journal

Smartphone-fatigued consumers are renegotiating their relationships with their devices. A growing contingent is embracing a new crop of minimalist phones, priced around $300 to $350, to wean themselves off premium models that keep them constantly connected.

Cecilia D’Urso uses a 4.6-inch-long phone from Swiss devicemaker Punkt, which has a small, dark screen that allows only basic phone calls and texts. The 22-year-old art student in Turin, Italy, started using it after feeling stressed out by social media and chat notifications on her Huawei smartphone.

Brooklyn doctor, responsible for “prescribing” millions of opioids, to get 5-year prison term
NY Daily News

A Brooklyn doctor who flooded the city with millions of illegal Oxycodone prescriptions pleaded guilty to 16 felony charges Monday.

Lazar Feygin, 72, sold the Oxycodone scrips from medical offices in Clinton Hill and Kensington, and also took part in schemes to defraud Medicaid and Medicare, officials said.

He encouraged his staff at Parkville Medical Health and LF Medical Services NY to perform unnecessary tests on people seeking the pills, and then bill Medicaid or Medicare or their insurance companies, said prosecutors.

The clinics illicitly prescribed 3.7 million Oxycodone pills from 2012 to 2017, said a news release from Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. The prescriptions grossed the clinics $16 million in Medicare and Medicaid money, Brennan said.

A Russian “banker” is now London’s wealthiest man
Moscow Times

russkiebanker.jpgMikhail Fridman’s net worth of $15 billion knocked billionaire “investor” Len Blavatnik from the top of the list, Forbes reported Tuesday. Fridman is one of 55 billionaire Londoners, who have a combined net worth of $226 billion.

Forbes Russia named Fridman its businessman of the year in 2017. That year, Buzzfeed published the infamous Trump Dossier, accusing the oligarch of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections on President Vladimir Putin’s orders.

Fridman co-founded the Luxembourg-based LetterOne “investment fund” and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest “commercial banks.”

Texas woman, 33, dies after rock thrown from overpass crashes windshield
Fox News

keila-flores-fb.jpgA Texas woman died Saturday after someone reportedly threw a large rock from a railroad overpass, hitting the car’s windshield and crushing her while her boyfriend and children sat helplessly inside the vehicle.

Keila Ruby Flores, 33, was in the car with her boyfriend, Christopher Rodriguez, and her three children when the rock came crashing through the car’s windshield about 8:40 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 35, KWTX reported. Flores was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time.

Italy bans unvaccinated children from school

New app lists “safe” places for Trump’s MAGA snowflakes
The Hill

A new app launched this month to help conservatives find “safe” restaurants and other businesses where they won’t be harassed for supporting President Trump.

The 63red Safe app, described as “Yelp for conservatives,” was created in response to reports of Trump administration officials and Trump supporters being asked to leave restaurants.