Category Archives: News

CA: Calexit gets go-ahead to start collecting signatures

Source: Fox News

“Advocates who want California to secede from the rest of the United States were given the green light Monday to begin collecting signatures for their initiative. California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the ballot proposal had been cleared. The latest measure would ask voters in 2020 to decide whether to open up a secession discussion. If passed, a second election would be held a year later asking voters to affirm the decision and become an independent country. Advocates have until mid-October to gather 365,880 signatures of registered voters to get it on the ballot. Marcus Ruiz Evans and Louis J. Marinelli, co-founders of the group Yes California, said the second vote would show that Californians are serious about secession and would strengthen the case for foreign governments to recognize the state’s independence.” [editor’s note: I find myself musing over the effect this would have on the other 49, beginning with the Electoral College (or the popular vote) never again having a Democratic majority for president (do the math) – SAT] [additional editor’s note: Sort of a gerrymander effect if Steve is right … but his math doesn’t account for some states changing parties from election to election – TLK] (04/24/18)

Facebook releases long-secret rules on how it polices the service

Source: Reuters

“Facebook Inc on Tuesday released a rule book for the types of posts it allows on its social network, giving far more detail than ever before on what is permitted on subjects ranging from drug use and sex work to bullying, hate speech and inciting violence. Facebook for years has had ‘community standards’ for what people can post. But only a relatively brief and general version was publicly available, while it had a far more detailed internal document to decide when individual posts or accounts should be removed. Now, the company is providing the longer document on its website to clear up confusion and be more open about its operations, said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of product policy and counter-terrorism.” (04/24/18)

NY: ICE thugs abduct 225

Source: New York Daily News

“Federal immigration officials [abducted] 225 people in a sweeping six-day raid in the five boroughs and surrounding counties, officials said. Operation Keep Safe, as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency called it, netted 163 people in the city between April 9 through April 14 — 45 of whom had no outstanding criminal issue. ICE officials said that 180 of those [abducted] were convicted criminals or had criminal charges pending against them, but refused to release their names. Those people now face deportation. The feds groused that the city refused to cooperate in the [abductions], claiming that it only increases the amount of people [abducted] who pose no public safety threat.” (04/24/18)

SCOTUS upholds legality of patent review process

Source: Reuters

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday gave its stamp of approval to a government review process prized by high technology companies as an easy and cheap way to combat ‘patent trolls’ and others that bring patent infringement lawsuits. The justices ruled 7-2 that a type of in-house patent review at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not violate a defendant’s right under the U.S. Constitution to have a case adjudicated by a federal court and jury. The court ruled against Oil States International Inc (OIS.N), a Houston-based oilfield services company that had challenged the legality of the process, called inter partes review (IPR). Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the decision authored by fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas.” (04/24/18)

TN: Judge revokes bond for Nashville shooting suspect after public outcry

Source: Raw Story

“A Tennessee judge on Tuesday revoked a $2 million bond set for the man accused of opening fire at a Nashville-area Waffle House restaurant, killing four people, while new details emerged of the suspect’s struggles with paranoia and delusions. Davidson County Judge Michael Mondelli did not give a reason for overturning the bond order issued by a night magistrate following the arrest of Travis Reinking, but his decision followed a public outcry over the possibility that the suspect could potentially be freed from jail. The Nashville District Attorney’s office was ‘inundated with calls’ from angry members of the public saying the shooting rampage suspect should not be released under any circumstances, spokesman Steve Hayslip said.” [editor’s note: The purpose of bond is to ensure appearance at trial, not to meet the standards of “public outcry” – TLK] (04/24/18)

CA: Social media erupts over restaurant serving “deconstructed avocado toast bowl”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“A Venice Beach restaurant’s attempt to lure the hipster crowd with a dish melding together multiple food trends has backfired. The Twitterverse is laughing at the eatery for calling what appears to be a basic salad a ‘deconstructed avocado toast bowl.’ San Francisco tech journalist Kara Swisher spotted a photo and description of the menu item at the unnamed restaurant and snapped a photo for Twitter. ‘Ok, now California trends are just f—— with me,’ she wrote. Social media users were quick to point out that the recipe for avocado toast is basic (avocado, bread and salt) and doesn’t warrant ‘deconstruction.'” (04/24/18)

Trump & Macron call for “new” nuclear deal with Iran

Source: Raw Story

“US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for a ‘new’ deal with Iran Tuesday, looking beyond divisions over a landmark nuclear accord that now hangs in the balance. Trump pilloried a three-year old agreement designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program as ‘insane’ and ‘ridiculous,’ despite European pleas for him not to walk away from the accord. Instead, Trump eyed a ‘grand bargain’ that would also limit Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for militant groups across the Middle East. ‘I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger, maybe, deal,’ said Trump, stressing that any new accord would have to be built on ;solid foundations.’ … ‘They should have made a deal that covered Yemen, that covered Syria, that covered other parts of the Middle East,’ said Trump.” (04/24/18)

Record concentration of microplastics found in Arctic

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Record levels of microplastics have been found trapped inside sea ice floating in the Arctic. Ice cores gathered across the Arctic Ocean reveal microplastics at concentrations two to three times higher than previously recorded. As sea ice melts with climate change, the plastic will be released back into the water, with unknown effects on wildlife, say German scientists. Traces of 17 different types of plastic were found in frozen seawater. Microplastics are tiny plastic pieces under five millimetres long. They can be eaten by filter-feeding animals and passed up the food chain. A considerable amount of microplastic is released directly into the ocean by the gradual breakdown of larger pieces of plastic. But microplastics can also enter the sea from health and beauty products, washing synthetic textiles or abrasion of car tyres.” (04/24/18)

AZ: Legislators haggle over funding before teacher strike

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Arizona policymakers have yet to agree how to increase teacher pay or education funding ahead of a first-ever statewide walkout this week, prompting calls from Democrats and even one Republican to generate new tax revenue in the conservative state. Republicans who control the state Legislature have yet to fully back Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan for a 20 percent teacher raise, which would cost $650 million by 2020. Many have shared concerns about the rosy revenue projections Ducey is using to cover the increase. Teachers have protested for weeks and took a vote on whether to launch the first statewide strike after Ducey unveiled his plan, saying they’re concerned it doesn’t increase funding for classrooms and students. With Ducey and legislative leaders meeting behind closed doors to negotiate a deal, Republican state Rep. Noel Campbell offered a plan for a sales tax increase. He said the three-year boost of 1 percent would generate $1 billion annually.” (04/24/18)

Scott Pruitt wants to change how science is used for EPA regulations

Source: USA Today

“In a move that could fundamentally reshape the way science supports environmental regulation, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Tuesday he wants the agency to rely only on studies that are fully transparent. ‘The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,’ Pruitt said. ‘The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.’ The proposal was immediately denounced by environmental activists, public health advocates and Democratic lawmakers as a cynical and dangerous maneuver to slash long-established public health protections because much of the data behind anti-pollution rules are individual health records that are privately protected. Pruitt has earned the unabating scorn of environmentalists and public health advocacy groups (and praise from industry) for the aggressive manner in which he is trying to undo a number of Obama-era regulations addressing water quality, clean air and climate change.” (04/24/18)