Jan 9, 2018 & updates

Russia investigation
Document says FBI had source inside Trump campaign The Independent
>>> “Someone had already been killed” over Trump dossier? Raw Story

Court crushes N. Carolina gerrymandering. News & Observer
A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s election districts for U.S. Congress on Tuesday as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders and gave lawmakers until Jan. 29 to bring them new maps to correct the problem.

A more hawkish policy
US overhauls nuclear tactics, weapons The Guardian
> “… what they were trying to do was to send a clear deterrent message to Russians, the North Korean and the Chinese. And there is pretty good, moderate but strong language that makes clear that any attempt by Russia or North Korea to use nuclear weapons would result in a massive consequence for them and I think that’s actually moderate, centrist and probably very much needed.”
> “Where they go overboard, is where they say that in order to make that credible the US needs to develop two new types of nuclear weapons,” he added.

Oprah for president? Have we all gone bonkers? The Intercept


Naturally …

>>> Trump says he’d beat Oprah in 2020
The Hill

Warmer waters turning a turtle population into 99% females EcoWatch

Poll: Politics splitting the NFL’s fan base Courtroom News Service

US may consider “small war” against N. Korea Vice News
>>> N. Korea agrees to send athletes to winter Olympics The Guardian

Senators, AARP urge Facebook to end age-biased recruiting ProPublica
At one time, federal courts enforced laws against age bias … now … it’s up to AARP lobbyists?

California’s plush “pay-to-stay” jails
allow the well-off to avoid prison nasties

Trump so-called spiritual adviser warns:
send me a month’s pay or face “consequences”
Raw Story

 Among 20 richest nations, US worst in child mortality CNN

Pardoned criminal/sheriff to run for Senate from Arizona AZ Central

Share of women DECREASED in some computer jobs Pew Research


Jan. 8, 2018

Pentagon too
US diplomats to be turned into weapons salesmen Reuters
The Trump administration is nearing completion of a new “Buy American” plan that calls for U.S. military attaches and diplomats to help drum up billions of dollars more in business overseas for the American weapons industry, going beyond the assistance they currently provide, U.S. officials said.

Acclaimed book “The New Jim Crow” banned in NJ prisons The Guardian

Some here for 15+ years
200,000 Salvadorans may be told to get out of US CNN
The termination will come with an 18-month wind down, according to the source, as the Department of Homeland Security recently did in ending other recent Temporary Protected Status for other countries. That time will allow individuals who have lived under the status to either seek other means of staying in the US or prepare to leave.

On bended knee
Bannon begs for readmission to Trump throne room Politico
It did nothing to quell Trump’s rage at his former chief strategist or the anger of Bannon’s former West Wing colleagues, according to multiple administration officials, who said the vibe in the president’s circle was that people were unmoved by the statement. Asked whether there is anything Bannon can do at this point to get back in the president’s good graces, one White House official said curtly, “Unlikely.”

“It can’t be true.” 
Inside the semiconductor industry’s security meltdown Bloomberg
>>> Computer architecture must be fundamentally rebuilt NY Times opinion

After Golden Globes speech, chatter about Oprah for president Newsweek
When Winfrey’s partner Graham was asked if she is considering a run for president after her address, Graham toldThe Los Angeles Times “It’s up to the people” and added the former talk show host “would absolutely do it.

Once-promising alzheimer’s drug headed for trash bin Stat

With free 2-day delivery?
Report: 10% of Amazon workers in Ohio get food stamps Free Beacon



Jan. 6 2018

State’s lawsuit charges:
OxyContin maker, doctors teamed up to push painkiller
Seattle Times
> Years after Purdue Pharma was ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for misleading regulators and the public about the risks of its popular painkiller OxyContin, the company continued efforts to heavily market the addictive opiate, nearly doubling its sales force in Washington, according to a newly unsealed section of a complaint filed last fall by the state Attorney General’s Office.
> The document, made public Friday, reveals new details about Purdue’s marketing practices, including how it partnered with local physicians to boost prescriptions of its highly addictive pain killer, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Michigan dairy farmer gets jail time for hiring immigrants MLive
> U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington on Thursday, Jan. 4, sentenced Denis Burke to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Ludington did not order Burke taken into custody on Thursday, but gave him time to self-report to the U.S. Marshals Services.
> The judge also ordered Burke to pay a fine of $187,500 and an assessment fee of $100.
> Burke in September pleaded guilty to knowingly harboring illegal aliens for private gain and/or commercial advantage.
> Between February 2008 and May 2013, hired and harbored more than 100 undocumented immigrants …

> Flu season underway, and it may be a bad one Chicago Tribune
>> Severe flu brings medicine shortages, packed ERs

and a rising death toll in California LA Times

Another man shot dead by cops after questionable 9-1-1 call
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Even at good wages, can’t find workers, construction execs say Fox News

Observed: Falcons used burning sticks to set forest fires
New Scientist (truncated by paywall)
Some birds of prey have learned to control fire, a skill previously thought to be unique to humans. The birds appear to deliberately spread wildfires in order to flush out prey. The finding suggests that birds may have beaten us to the use of fire.
>>> and a skeptic weighs in kimberlymoynahan.com

For these airline passengers, shit happens Newser
Plane was headed for Hong Kong, forced to stop for cleanup in Alaska.

 Couple hoping Supreme Court will save their beach tree house AP
> Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen built a Florida beachfront treehouse that would be the envy of any child. It’s got two levels, hammocks and windows looking out on the Gulf of Mexico.
> But the hangout has cost the couple a handsome sum: about $30,000 to construct and probably five times that in legal fees as they’ve fought local authorities over it, Tran said. Now, they’re at their last stop, the Supreme Court. Unless the high court intervenes, the treehouse must be torn down.

Trump seeks $18 billion for wall Mexico was supposed to pay for
Buzz Feed

Possible Arson
Roy Moore accuser’s home burns down
tina johnson-trick> Roy Moore accuser Tina Johnson lost her home Wednesday in a fire that is now under investigation by the Etowah County Arson Task Force.
Johnson, who first came to public notice for accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of grabbing her in his office in the early 1990s, said her home in Gadsden caught fire Tuesday morning.
“I am devastated, just devastated,” said Johnson on Friday morning. “We have just the clothes on our backs.”
A spokeswoman for the local sheriff’s office said: “A suspect of interest is being spoken to. But there have been no charges, to my knowledge, related to the fire at this time.” 

Jan. 5, 2018

Trump’s offshore drilling move may be all washed up Scientific American
> While the oil and gas industry cheered, analysts and even some industry representatives cautioned that the plan’s signal may not immediately boost offshore development.
> Low oil prices and plentiful supply from onshore plays in Texas’ Permian Basin and in North Dakota remain a quicker and cheaper bet for oil companies, experts said. While the new drilling plan provides a plethora of options for development, investing in regions like the Atlantic Ocean — where little drilling has occurred — could cost billions of dollars in new infrastructure. Additional costs could also come from litigation initiated by state attorneys general and environmental groups, which fiercly oppose the expansion.

But they’re filmmakers with a product to promote so …
Couple claims to have solved the mystery of D.B. Cooper Seattle Times
cooper-trickA team of investigators committed to solving a decades-old cold case think they have identified the infamous skyjacker known as D.B. Cooper.
The mysterious air bandit took over a Boeing passenger plane in 1971 and jumped out on a parachute in Southwest Washington, never to be seen again.
A 40-member cold-case team led by documentary filmmaker Tom Colbert and his wife, Dawna, believe they’ve cracked a code that reveals the bandit’s true identity.
The FBI abandoned the case last year, citing a lack of credible leads.

Embarrassing Trump book gets early release after “unprecedented demand.” The Independent

Trump has “declared war on California” The Guardian
… administration threatening California’s immigrants, world-famous coastal shores, taxpayers and weed smokers.
“These are bullying tactics of the Trump administration,” said Barbara Lee, a congresswoman in northern California. “We are not going to tolerate it. We are going to fight back.”
>>> “Reefer madness” once again LA Times
“Jeff Sessions is an old dinosaur with old ideas,” says one pot-shop customer of the U.S. attorney general. “We have a younger, newer, more educated population who will vote that out. It won’t last.”

Why the US can’t totally alienate Pakistan AFP
> Washington’s footprint in Afghanistan is much smaller than it was at the height of the war, and it needs access to Pakistan’s supply lines and airspace. 
> Pakistan is still believed to have the strongest influence over the Taliban, making its cooperation necessary for peace talks.
> Pakistan also holds the Muslim world’s only known nuclear arsenal and the US wants to prevent it from going to war with rival nuclear power India, or collapsing and allowing the weapons to fall into the hands of extremists.

Comcast, while claiming tax cuts would create jobs, fires 500 Ars Technica
>>> Jetblue, citing tax cuts, gives $1000 bonus to all 21,000 employees CNN

Cheaper to fly employees into Silicon Valley by private jet than pay housing costs Houston Chronicle
> In the early light of a Tuesday morning at Sugar Land Regional Airport, a group of lawyers in sports coats and button-down shirts with open collars climbed aboard the idling Gulfstream G200 jet, handed their bags to the pilots, and settled into the cabin with polished eye-of-maple paneling, plush leather seats and a well-stocked bar. A signal came from the top partner. Wheels up.
> But this was no junket to a private golf course or to a luxury resort, and the gleaming jet was no trophy from a blockbuster verdict that yielded millions of dollars in fees. Rather, the jet is part of a novel strategy by the intellectual property firm Patterson and Sheridan to expand in Silicon Valley by exporting the cost advantages of Houston to one of the most expensive places in the world to do business.

Chicago suburb threatens homeowner who sheltered homeless from cold Raw Story
Greg Schiller began hosting “slumber parties” for homeless people to stay warm during the region’s frigid cold in December, and would give them food and warm drinks in his unfinished basement — but would not allow drugs or alcohol.

French president: US, Saudis, Israel want war with Iran Newsweek

Newspaper exec resigns in reporter-spanking scandal The Anniston Star
Publisher “spanked” young female reporters with a steel ruler.  He cites it as a youthful indiscretion. He was 40.



Jan. 4, 2018

trump-has-dementia-tricksLosing it
Book: Trump’s memory failing, can’t recognize old friends The Daily Beast
The bombshell book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, describes a scene where, at Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, “a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.” Wolff writes, “It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories—now it was within 10 minutes.”

It’s all as ugly as can be….
Trump, Melania didn’t want the White House gig NY Mag

Yeah, that’ll work
Trump trying to stop publication of book on his presidency The Hill

25th Amendment time?
Congress consulted Yale shrink over whether to remove Trump Politico
In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Yale’s Dr. Brandy X. Lee briefed lawmakers — all Democrats except for one Republican senator, whom Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

Opiod pill mills flourish while …
Sessions vows US crackdown on pot, “legal” or not. AP
> The move will leave it to U.S. attorneys where pot is legal to decide whether to aggressively enforce federal marijuana law. The move likely will add to confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it’s legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it.

“Jeff Sessions should focus on how Congress crippled the DEA’s ability to fight the opioid epidemic. Instead he tramples upon states’ rights and recreational marijuana laws. 64,000 Americans died last year from opioids. None have died from THC. But, you know, priorities.”
— Eugene Gu, MD, on Twitter.

Sessions is missing out here. There’s apparently a better way.
Turkish official: break drug dealers’ legs BBC

Nearly all phones, computers affected
Flaw in Intel chips leaves most internet data at risk
NY Times
(or if you need to skip the paywall) Newsweek
Hundreds of games, apps secretly eavesdropping on users The Independent

Heavily advertised on TV
Americans have spent $8 billion on Restasis …
a drug that may not work

Heads will roll … literally
North Korea hits its own city with a missile The Diplomat
The missile never flew higher than approximately 70 kilometers. The location of the missile’s eventual impact was revealed exclusively to The Diplomat and evidence of the incident can be independently corroborated in commercially available satellite imagery from April and May 2017.

Privacy protections included?
Fort Collins, CO beats cable lobby, plans muni broadband Ars Technica
“The network will deliver a ‘net-neutral’ competitive unfettered data offering that does not impose caps or usage limits on one use of data over another…”

Distinct from, and older than, American tribes
Child who died 11,000 years ago belonged to “unknown population” 
National Geographic
… somewhere along the way, either in eastern Asia or in Beringia itself, a group of people became isolated from other east Asians for about 10,000 years, long enough to become a unique strain of humanity.

But they’re screwed — no assistance offered
Louisiana says 2,400 should move away from flooding coast NPR

AKA Phillip Morris corp.
The Marlboro Man vows to quit smoking Newser

Father of 7 dead
After bad Yelp review, shooting at chicken joint Hartford Courant


Jan. 3, 2018

trumpjuniortrickBannon on Trump “treason”
“They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV.” The Guardian
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

At a glance!
Study suggests humans can spot sick people Stat

No-slaughter chicken
Super-Meat company raises more $$$, vows debut in 3 years The Futurist

US interfering in foreign politics?
Trump: Iranian protesters will get “great support” from US The Hill

What’s up-side down with that?
On Tuesday Anchorage was warmer than Jacksonville Phys.Org

Cheating on music royalties?
Spotify hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit Bloomberg

Invisible log-in pages
Advertisers secretly tracking people on the Net The Independent

At stake: $300 million in aid
Palestinians “won’t be blackmailed” by Trump AFP

Year-long study concludes
No, that’s not an alien mega-structure orbiting star Space.Com

After 2 years’ silence
North and South Korea talking again AP




Jan. 2, 2018

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works.
— Trump

Replaced by Romney?

Hatch to retire from Senate
The Hill

Finally, reacting to thousands of deaths
Feds employ data to target opioid pill mills
AP via Yahoo News
An indictment in October was the first by a nationwide group of federal law enforcement officials that, armed with new access to a broader array of prescription drug databases, Medicaid and Medicare figures, coroners’ records and other numbers compiled by the Justice Department, aims to stop fraudulent doctors faster than before.

cacaoCacao plants threatened by hotter temps
UC-Berkeley, Mars candy working on plan to “save chocolate.”
US News
> Berkeley researchers are reportedly exploring the use of a new gene-editing technology, CRISPR, to manipulate the DNA of cacao plants. If successful, scientists say the crop’s seedlings would be able to survive in drier and hotter climates.

Published in the journal Brain Research
Scientists claim progress in fighting, maybe reversing, memory loss

The medication is a triple receptor drug that combines the growth factors GLP-1, GIP, and Glucagon to protect the brain from degeneration. The researchers tested the medication using transgenic mice expressing the mutated genes that cause Alzheimer’s in humans. These genes run in families and are responsible for a form of Alzheimer’s that can be inherited.

Paranoid maniac who happens to be POTUS
slams his own Justice Department

… they should just “lock up” Clinton, Comey ad nauseum.

Buyers, sellers in frenzy for legal California pot
The market for marijuana in the state, the world’s sixth largest economy, is expected to reach $3.7 billion this year and more than $5.1 billion in 2019.
>>> Scientists seek reliable DUI test for marijuana NPR
>>> Legal marijuana may spread to these states in 2018 Newsweek

Authorities say:
High school coach sold two teen girls as sex slaves
CBS Sacramento


TV station fires longtime reporter in age bias lawsuit
Raw Story
> Demetria Kalodimos’ ousting comes after the station was accused in a lawsuit of “many acts of age-based discrimination and hostility” against her and two other reporters.