Today's News Headlines
Travis Reinking, 29, was captured Tuesday. He is accused of killing four at a Tennessee Waffle House on Sunday.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018
No rest for the Trump administration as a third federal judge has ruled against Trump’s decision to cancel an Obama-era program protecting young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The decision, issued Tuesday evening by U.S. District Judge John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee in Washington, D.C., is in one respect the broadest so far against the administration’s move to end the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
That is because Judge Bates’ ruling requires the government to accept new applications, as well as applications for the renewal of benefits under DACA. The previous rulings required only that the administration resume accepting renewal requests.
The judge, however, postponed the effect of his ruling for 90 days to give the administration “an opportunity to better explain” its decision to cancel the program, which President Barack Obama initiated in 2012.
To be eligible for DACA, participants must have arrived in the U.S. under the age of 16 and met a variety of other conditions, including being a student or graduate and having no significant criminal record. Roughly 800,000 young people have participated in the program, and about 690,000 are currently enrolled.
Amazon will even deliver packages to your car. Last year, Amazon asked for permission to unlock your front door so it could leave packages inside your home, and a certain number of extremely trusting Amazon Prime subscribers said okay. Now, the tech giant wants to do the same thing with your car. Amazon announced Tuesday a new service that gives its couriers access to a person’s vehicle for the purpose of leaving package deliveries inside. But rather than use smart locks and a cloud-connected camera to gain entry, Amazon wants to use the connected technologies embedded in many modern vehicles today. The company is launching this new service in partnership with two major automakers — General Motors and Volvo — and will be rolling it out in 37 cities in the US.
The Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. couldn’t just stand by when a man with an assault rifle began shooting people at the Tennessee Waffle House days ago. Nor could he stand by and watch the families of the dead and injured be saddled with financial burdens after the mass shooting. Days after Shaw was hailed as a hero for rushing the gunman and disarming him, saving countless lives, he started a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised more than $100,000 for the families of the dead and injured. • LINK
… Shaw’s heroism was recognized on Tuesday by the Tennessee state legislature, which presented him with a resolution that reads, in part: “If a hero is ‘a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character,’ then James Shaw Jr. is a hero twice over, for he has demonstrated both his courage and character in a manner few could ever attempt to emulate.”
Stolen identities are happening to you, and your children. Your children may be less safe online than you think — even before they ever use a computer. More than one million children were victims of identity fraud in 2017 (according to a study from Javelin Strategy & Research), costing a total of $2.6 billion. These attacks can occur before children even become active internet users, with around two-thirds of victims being under the age of eight.
… The most common perpetrator of childhood identity theft is a family friend, accounting for 33 percent of the incidents.
Giant TV and cable company, Comcast, has set into motion an official $31 billion proposal to buy European pay-TV operator Sky. Comcast’s official bid to buy Sky tops an existing offer from 21st Century Fox , which already owns a 39% stake in Sky.
The official Comcast offer sent Sky shares more than 2% higher—and above the Comcast bid, suggesting investors are positioning for a bidding war.
The formal bid kicks off what has been a long-expected corporate takeover battle pitting Comcast against Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox over the European TV giant. Sky said in response to the offer Wednesday that it was terminating its previous pact agreeing to the 21st Century Fox takeover. It said its board would also withdraw its recommendation for the Fox bid. 21st Century Fox, meanwhile, said Wednesday it remained committed to buying all of Sky.
Comcast is weighing whether to play interloper on the pending Walt Disney Co. acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, people familiar with the situation say. Comcast lost out to Disney in December when Fox rejected its bid, which was 16% higher. Comcast may choose to leave the Disney-Fox deal alone, and it doesn’t expect to make a decision in the near term, the people familiar with the situation said.
Comcast reported 21% profit growth compared with the year-earlier period. Revenue at its NBCUniversal media unit rose 21% to $9.5 billion, boosted by its Winter Olympics and Super Bowl broadcasts, which offset a weak performance in the film division. Comcast lost 96,000 cable TV customers, compared with a gain of 42,000 in the prior-year quarter, as it continues to feel the impact of rising competition from streaming services. This was its fourth consecutive quarter of subscriber losses.
Your summer remodeling projects likely are as big as Jeff Bezos’ mansion renovation plans, which includes an added 25 bathrooms. That’s right. The work is about to begin on his home in Washington D.C. in a couple weeks that includes:
• 11 bedrooms
• 25 bathrooms
• 5 living rooms
• 2 elevators
• 191 doors
• 3 kitchens
• 2 libraries
• 2 workout rooms
• 1 gigantic ballroom
… At 27,000 square feet it is the biggest home in Washington D.C.. The renovation and expansion will cost around $12 million.
Instagram has rolled out a data download tool similar to Facebook’s “Download Your Information” feature. On the web version of Instagram you’ll find it under privacy settings. It lets users export their photos, videos, archived Stories, profile, info and comments.
The University of Toledo deleted a tweet from Tuesday saying that if they received 500,000 retweets they would change the school mascot to Shrek. The school tweeted the announcement on Tuesday morning from their official account, issuing the challenge to potentially change their mascot from Rocky the Rocket to the green cartoon ogre. The tweet was up for over three hours and reached almost 91,000 retweets before being deleted. It was never intended to be taken seriously.
Did you know that the Earth is making music? Scientists say that the Earth is humming, generating a constant thrum of noise. And apparently, it’s not like a steady humming beat, but music with swirling loops of sounds that are so low that they cannot be heard by human ears. Scientists are at a loss to explain what is causing the mysteriously ethereal phenomena or why it’s happening.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
In Toronto, a driver mowed people down in a rented truck yesterday, running them over one by one on sidewalks and in streets of a busy intersection. Ten have died and another 15 are injured.
The driver who got out of the van after police arrived tried to get police to shoot him but instead was taken into custody. He is 25-year old Alek Manassian, who was shown on video over and over in the dramatic confrontation with Toronto police. Below is a summary of what we know so far, before I close off this rolling coverage.
There is no indication the man was related to any terror group so far, after checking his social media sites. He will be arraigned in court today.
Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, and praised first responders. “We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”
“All Canadians stand united with Toronto today,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an address outside of parliament in Ottawa.
People left flowers at a makeshift memorial, which grew as commuters returned to work on Tuesday morning. Blank white posters left against a stone wall were covered with messages.
The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff at parliament and at Toronto city hall. The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest even as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.
The Tennessee Waffle House shooter was captured in the woods yesterday nearby Antioch, Tennessee and appeared in court today as the investigation continues into his shooting spree that killed four on Sunday.
Travis Reinking, 29, has been charged with four counts of criminal homicide and his bond was set at $2 millio.
Reinking spoke through a phone on a jail monitor during his initial court appearance. Police arrested Reinking Monday afternoon after a massive 36-hour manhunt. A phone tip led authorities to his location in a wooded area.
"As soon as the detectives saw him, there was really no communication other than the detective drawing down on him and he got on the ground," said Metropolitan Nashville Police Lieutenant Carlos Lara. "As soon as the detectives saw him, there was really no communication other than the detective drawing down on him and he got on the ground."
There are questions about Reinking's run-ins with law enforcement. There are 30 pages of police reports on the suspect's past.
In July of 2017 Reinking was arrested by the Secret Service for trespassing near the White House. His four firearms were turned over to his father, who police say later gave all of them back to his son, including the rifle he's accused of using to gun down his victims. Federal investigators are now looking at his father, and asking whether or not he could face charges.
In Washington D.C., French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived for the first state visit of Donald Trump’s presidency between the two leaders. The three-day trip includes meetings at Mount Vernon, at a home was owned by George Washington, which will include a glitzy state dinner.
“This visit is really important in our current context, with so many uncertainties, troubles and, at times, threats,” Mr. Macron said after landing in Washington.
Those moments of presidential bonding may be good as they will have to work through a long list of issues that confront the two presidents and their countries.
Over the past year, however, Mr. Macron has emerged as one of the few Western leaders willing to openly court Mr. Trump, inviting the president to join him at a Bastille Day military parade last year and dine inside the Eiffel Tower. The two regularly speak by phone, and when Mr. Trump needed allies to join the U.S. in conducting strikes over Syria, Mr. Macron wasted no time in answering the call.
“Our president doesn’t have a lot of other friends in the region right now, so he’s our guy in Europe,” a State Department official said.
At the White House on Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the visit was intended to “celebrate the long enduring friendship” between the two nations. Beyond acknowledging that the two leaders would discuss “economic, diplomatic and global issues,” Ms. Sanders was reluctant to preview those talks.
Former President George H.W. Bush, 93, who just buried his wife and former First Lady Barbara Bush on Saturday, is in intensive care in a Texas hospital. A spokesman said: “President Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital [Sunday] morning after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering. We will issue additional updates as events warrant.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy for Prince William and Catherine.
The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London.
Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now. We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added.
When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough."
Looking for work? Do this first. Before you apply for a job, be sure to google yourself and check your social media posts for not-so-pleasant stuff. More than 1 in 3 employers say they will automatically disqualify a candidate because of something they found online!
Mellennials are totally obsessed with their phones and may not get too much done because of it. A new study by Neilsen shows that millennials and gen xers are with phone in their hands more than any other American age group. The obsession proves the work force is going to be great for young people who can get along without looking at their phone all day.
The horse named in honor of Rob Gronkowski is out of the field for the 2018 Kentucky Derby while battling a “slight infection.” Gronkowski the horse picked up a pair of victories last month, winning a Kentucky Derby condition stakes event on March 7 before finishing first in the Burradon Stakes on March 30. The New England Patriots tight end announced April 18 he had purchased a stake in the horse.
A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are. Using data from the 475,397 participants from all around the U.K, the new study (University of Manchester) showed that on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used. Tests included reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple different tests of memory. The study shows the relationships were consistently strong in both people aged under 55 and those aged over 55.
Amazon employs dogs. At Amazon’s Seattle-based headquarters, human employees share their work space with approximately 6,000 dogs on any given day. These furry friends have just one dog to thank for their employment opportunity: Rufus. During Amazon’s early years, a husband and wife team brought their Welsh corgi to the office and he immediately won the hearts of fellow employees.
… Rufus made such an impact that if you click a broken link and land on an error page, his picture comes up, along with three other dogs that followed in his “paw” steps: Lucy the Labrador, Sherriff the golden-Aussie mix and Martini the papillon.
… While some Amazon employees receive daily catered lunches and happy hour Fridays, dogs get access to some nifty perks as well. Not only do they get to spend the day with their owners, they’re able to snag dog treats at every reception desk in the company.
… Amazon also has a doggie deck, for pets to run around, on their 17th floor, which boasts a fake fire hydrant, dog relief areas and water stations. Additionally, the company offers a leash-free dog park where pups can play on rocks and other structures. On Halloween, employees and their dogs get to bond at Barktoberfest.
Make new friends easily? In a new study, a University of Kansas professor now believes he knows why making friends as an adult is just so difficult. Short answer? Time. Associate Professor Jeffrey Hall found that it takes about 50 hours to cement a friendship between two adults. That is to say, going from mere acquaintance to a casual friend.
… If you’re ready to kick it up a notch, it’ll take about another 40 hours (90 hours total) to be actual friends — the type you might ask to water your plants while you’re on vacation, or to help you move.
A Texas man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years. Gilberto Escamilla was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to theft by a public servant. Escamilla had been intercepting fajitas that he ordered through the Cameron County juvenile center where he worked and delivering them to his own customers. His scam was uncovered when he missed work for a medical appointment and an 800-pound fajita delivery arrived at the center, which doesn’t serve fajitas. Escamilla was fired in August and arrested after authorities checked vendor invoices and obtained a search warrant that uncovered county-funded fajitas in his refrigerator.
An elderly Pennsylvania man had no way of visiting his ill wife in the hospital, so he called police to help. The 84-year-old man’s same-aged wife had a medical emergency last Thursday and was taken from their home in an ambulance. The frail man told police at the scene he had no family in the area to take him to the hospital, and he can’t drive anymore. The police chief (of Montoursville) gave him the patrol car’s cell number and told him to call whenever he was ready to go. A few hours went by, and the Deputy Chief got the call. He picked up the man and escorted him into the hospital.
H&R Block says she’s dead. A Canadian (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) woman still reeling from her husband’s recent death is now facing added stress after tax-preparation company H&R Block mistakenly declared her dead. Mildred Bull’s husband of 43 years died January 13. In March, she went to H&R Block to have both his tax return and her own prepared. The couple had used the company in the past without problem. After paying H&R Block fees of almost $300, Bull left the business confident she had taken care of that part of her responsibilities following her husband’s death. But that changed April 10 when she received a check from the Canada Revenue Agency made out to “The Estate of the Late Mildred Bull.”
… She called the number on the back of the check to tell them she was really alive and after checking, the representative told her the information came from H&R Block. An H&R Block staffer made calls in an effort to correct the mistake, but Bull was still “red-flagged” by the system and had to take extra steps on her own to try to straighten out the mistake.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are entrusting one of their Day 3 selections in this weekend’s NFL draft to an unusual announcer: A parrot. The team announced Monday that Zsa Zsa, a parrot from the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary, will reveal its fourth-round pick Saturday from aboard the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium. The bird will be joined by caretaker Stephanie Dripps.
… Zsa Zsa is an 8-year-old Catalina Macaw. She has lived at the Florida sanctuary for four years and will have a life span of 70 to 90 years. Zsa Zsa’s previous owner had to find a home for her, due to not having the time to spend with her.
… The NFL draft begins Thursday. The San Francisco 49ers will announce at least one of their Day 3 picks with Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Stormtroopers from the Star Wars movie franchise. The U.S. Olympic men’s curling team will announce multiple selections for the Minnesota Vikings from a curling club in Minnesota.
Monday, April 23, 2018
As the days go, the changes keep coming for President Donald Trump, who has accomplished plenty for the nation while under constant scrutiny from Democrats and the media. Now Trump is tepping up his efforts to bring the Russia investigation to a conclusion, yesterday announcing the hiring of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as part of the legal team representing him in the probe.
Giuliani is joining the team amid the spotlight of tensions between the Justice Department and the White House. Mr. Trump has called for a swift conclusion to the investigation and in recent weeks lashed out at the two top officials overseeing it, special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, leading people close to the president to believe he might dismiss them. That is unlikely however, and he’s hoping Giuliani can get the lid on it, rather than Mueller keep searching for collusion or some wrongdoing through the years ahead of his presidency. It is costing the tax payers plenty and getting agonizing for the American people. The media and Democrats of course love it.
The addition of Mr. Giuliani, who has a decades-long relationship with Mr. Mueller, could ease some of those tensions. In an interview, Mr. Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said his first task after joining the team will be to “find out what Bob Mueller needs” to complete the investigation. “I’m pretty sure we can comply with it,” he said.
Mueller is investigating whether Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and whether associates of Mr. Trump colluded with Moscow., with no evidence whatsoever involving Trump himself thus far.
“He has a special trust in me,” said Mr. Giuliani, referring to the president. He said he has also known Mr. Mueller for two decades.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $1 billion to settle federal claims of misconduct in its auto and mortgage lending businesses. The settlement shows the bank’s failures to catch and prevent problems, including improper charges to consumers in its mortgage and auto-lending businesses. The fine is the largest against a bank so far in the Trump administration. The bank also agreed to offer restitution to customers and improve risk and compliance management practices as part of the settlement.
The regulator added that it “found deficiencies in the bank’s enterprisewide compliance risk management program that constituted reckless, unsafe or unsound practices.”
The settlement covers the bank’s practices in two main areas: charging improper fees for rate-lock extensions in mortgage lending and selling unwanted insurance products to auto-loan customers. The settlement is the latest in a series of regulatory woes for the San Francisco-based bank. It has faced a number of regulatory problems in recent years, including regulatory scrutiny of illegal sales practices that involved the opening of as many as 3.5 million accounts without customers’ consent.
Regulators have since probed the bank’s practices in auto lending, mortgages, wealth and investment management and foreign exchange.
His book tour and nonstop tour of TV networks continues for FBI Director James Comey, who says he really doesn’t like the spotlight. Yesterday, the reveal of private memos, whether the truth or opinion or made up, indicated Comey thought Trump had doubts about making Michael Flynn the national security advisor. The memos also show that Comey was against Trump, and quite biased about him, and only met with the new president a couple of times.
The documents are also part of the wide-ranging probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he fired Mr. Comey last year, which Mr. Trump denies. Russia has denied interfering in the election.
Mr. Trump late Thursday tweeted, “James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?’
Capitol Hill Republicans—who had been pushing for the memos to be released publicly—said that the memos vindicated Mr. Trump, who has long argued that there was no collusion with Russia and that he didn’t obstruct justice in firing his FBI director.
“Former Director Comey’s memos show the president made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated,” Reps. Trey Gowdy, Bob Goodlatte and Devin Nunes said in a joint statement. The three Republicans chair the House Oversight, Judiciary and Intelligence committees, respectively.
Four of the memos were deemed to have classified information, while three are unclassified. Mr. Comey testified to Congress that they were his “unclassified memorialization” of conversations with the president. They were released to Congress with the classified information redacted. Unredacted versions will be available to members of Congress in a secure facility, according to the Justice Department.
Mr. Comey is in the middle of a book tour for his memoir “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” which is deeply critical of Trump. But it’s selling books.
The Justice Department’s internal watchdog, the inspector general has concluded in a new report former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe misled investigators to federal prosecutors to determine whether he should be charged with a crime, according to people familiar with the matter.
McCabe was fired last month, a day before he was eligible to retire from his post with full benefits, based on the inspector general’s findings. He has said he never deliberately misled investigators and cited the “chaos” of the period when President Donald Trump fired Mr. Comey, and Mr. McCabe unexpectedly became acting director of the FBI.
According to the inspector general’s report, McCabe had authorized a lawyer in his office to speak to a Journal reporter and provide details about a telephone call Mr. McCabe had with a senior Justice Department official, but later told agents from the FBI’s inspections division he didn’t know who had given information about the call to the Journal. The inspector general’s report said Mr. McCabe provided a similar impression to Mr. Comey. Mr. McCabe has disputed those findings, saying he didn’t intend to mislead anyone and corrected the record when he realized his errors.
The inspector general’s report also concluded that McCabe engaged in misconduct by sanctioning the disclosure to the Journal reporter, saying that violated the FBI’s media policy. Mr. McCabe has said he had full authority to make decisions about speaking to reporters. This one is far from over for McCabe.
Arizona teachers voted yesterday to go on strike next week, making the state the fourth this year to host teacher protests in support of increased pay. Seventy-eight percent of teachers who cast ballots supported the protest, they said, and the walkout is set to begin next Thursday.
“This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action,” said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, the state’s largest union.
The teachers are asking for 20% pay raises and increases in state education funding, which hasn’t returned to prerecession levels.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, responding to the threat of a strike last week, proposed a plan that would use existing state funds to provide the 20% pay increase beginning in the fall of 2020.
But that plan hasn’t yet been approved by the state’s legislature, and union organizers expressed skepticism about the source of the funds. The governor’s office couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
“People feel like the state doesn’t respect the job we do as public school teachers,” said Lynn White, a high-school biology teacher in Gilbert, Ariz. She described herself as “not outspoken politically” and said, like most of her colleagues, she has never participated in protests before.
Florida wildlife officials are searching for the people responsible for spray-painting a tortoise — a protected species — with red paint and putting concrete on its limbs. The tortoise was found in the middle of a road near Montverde, Florida — near Orlando — covered with red spray paint and with concrete on its limbs and the top of its shell. Two people who spotted the tortoise took it to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
… Gopher tortoises are state-listed as threatened and are a protected species. Florida wildlife officials say it is illegal and harmful to a gopher tortoise to apply man-made substances, such as paint or concrete, to any part of their body or shell.
A Tennessee Air National Guard officer was fired for wearing a dinosaur hand puppet while taking a military oath during her re-enlistment ceremony. Sgt. Robin Brown, a senior noncommissioned officer (NCO), was fired from her full-time position with the Tennessee Joint Public Affairs Office. The unidentified colonel who administered the oath was demoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and “immediately retired.” The senior noncommissioned officer who made the recording was removed from his position as first sergeant and was officially reprimanded, but remains at the Tennessee Air National Guard.
… The video of the re-enlistment ceremony went viral with more than 2.7 million views after an unofficial Air Force forum posted it on Facebook, saying, “Remember when the Profession of Arms was taken seriously??” • VIDEO
… The video showed Brown using the dinosaur hand puppet to recite the Oath of Enlistment while the colonel conducting the ceremony read it to her from a piece of paper.
The best-paid workers in the US not only make more money than many of their colleagues, they also tend to get more paid vacation days. An annual survey of employee benefits conducted by the US government shows that, in 2017, nearly half of the people in the top 25% of earners received at least 10 days of paid vacation. The bottom 25% was not so lucky — only around a tenth of them received such generous leave.
In the autonomous revolution that is underway, nearly every transportation machine will eventually be self-driving. For cars, it’s likely going to take decades before we see them operating freely, outside of test conditions. Some unmanned watercraft, on the other hand, may be at sea before 2020. That’s partly because automating all ships could generate a ridiculous amount of revenue.
… Startups and major firms like Rolls Royce are now looking to automate the seas and help maritime companies ease navigation, save fuel, improve safety, increase tonnage, and make more money. As it turns out, autonomous systems for boats aren’t all that different than those of cars, beyond a few key factors — for instance, water is always moving while roads are not, and ships need at least a couple miles to redirect.
Autonomous ships are an area of particular interest for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which sets the standards for international waters. It launched a research period last year to analyze the impact of autonomous boats. By the time it wraps in 2020, market demand may make it so that we already have semi-autonomous and unmanned vessels at sea
If handling raw meat in the kitchen gives you — or your favorite millennial — the heebie-jeebies, a new touch-free product may be the answer to your prayers. Major British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s announced that they will roll out touch-free packaging on their store brand raw chicken in a few weeks so anxious cooks can avoid contact with the moist meat. Sainsbury’s was inspired to roll out the new touch-free packaging after a focus group found that 37 percent of millennials reported that they “preferred not to handle raw meat” while they cooked their meals.
Would you pay to use Facebook or dump it? There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook offering an ad-free subscription since Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress. The chances of that happening are likely being blown out of proportion. While Zuck did reluctantly say he would “consider” implementing a small fee, he also pointed out on multiple occasions that keeping Facebook a free service better aligns with the company’s goals of connecting people, no matter where they come from or how much money they make.
… But in the wake of its worst privacy crisis yet, the potential of Facebook charging is being talked about — at least by some. If it happened, how much would Facebook charge? Many so-called insiders think a “pay” Facebook would cost about $11 to $14 a month.
What they are teaching students in college these days. Yale is now offering a class on how to be happy. That’s right. Sure, we all know that happiness is one of the most important aspects of a fulfilling life, but we never imagined walking into a “Happiness 101” class between math and English while we were still in school. But at the same time, happiness is not always easy to find — especially in a world that seems to be consumed by bad news. So we suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that Yale University is offering a class about happiness — a class that anyone can take for free.
… Yale first began offering “Psychology and the Good Life” this semester, and it quickly became the most popular course in the university’s 316-year history. In fact, it was so high in demand that nearly a fourth of the entire undergraduate student population enrolled in it. But don’t worry: If you’re interested in taking the course, you aren’t required to dust off your textbooks or squeeze into one of those horribly uncomfortable student desks.
… Psychology and cognitive science professor Laurie Santos decided to open up an adapted version of the course — called “The Science of Well-Being” — for free on an online learning platform. You can sign up at Coursera, where the six-week course begins on April 30. It will cover topics such as misconceptions about happiness, why we sometimes have bad expectations, and strategies to reset our expectations. • LINK
The real origin of 4/20. THE ORIGIN OF 4/20. Today is April 20, or 4/20. That’s the numerical code for marijuana’s high holiday. Festivities are planned worldwide, culminating with a synchronized smoke at 4:20 p.m. How the marijuana-loving world came to mark the occasion is believed traceable to five Northern California men now in their 60s. They created the code nearly 50 years ago as students at a suburban San Francisco high school in 1971.
… David Reddix and his four buddies — Steve Capper, Larry Schwartz, Jeff Noel and Mark Gravich — were a stoner clique who hung out at a particular wall between classes at San Rafael High School. They dubbed themselves “The Waldos,” a term coined by comedian Buddy Hackett to describe odd people. One fall afternoon in 1971, a non-Waldo classmate came to the wall with an intriguing tale and a crudely drawn map.
… The map purported to show the location of a marijuana garden in a nearby forest (Point Reyes National Seashore). The classmate said the pot patch belonged to his brother-in-law. The five excited friends made plans to find the weed after school and decided to meet in front of the school at 4:20 p.m., when two of them finished football practice. The five laugh about tumbling out of a marijuana smoke-filled car when they arrived at their destination 45 minutes later.
… They didn’t find the patch that day, but vowed to keep searching. They would pass in the halls and whisper “420 Louis” to each other if a new attempt was planned, indicating they should meet at 4:20 p.m. at the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur. The patch was never found. But the “420 Louis” stuck as code for “Let’s get high at the statue after school.” Soon after, it was shortened to simply 420 and meant “Let’s get high anywhere.”
Thursday, April 19, 2018
California’s Governor Jerry Brown has been to Washington D.C., he’s been on TV, he’s made his case and he’s beginning to give in to The White House and will allow California’s National Guard to help with various duties regarding its borders with Mexico. Gov. Brown yesterday signed an order authorizing 400 California state National Guard troops to be deployed as part of President Donald Trump’s order for troops to be sent to the U.S. border with Mexico. Trump would have liked a 1,000 from California to help with the problem and conditions along that stretch of the border.
Mr. Brown’s order came after days of discussions with the Trump administration about what role California troops would serve to help the U.S. Border Patrol. The Democratic governor last week said he would send 400 troops but balked at allowing California troops to do jobs that would support immigration enforcement.
“We want to be cooperative,” Mr. Brown said Tuesday during an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington. “There’s been a little bit of back and forth, as you always get with bureaucrats. There’s enough problems at the border and the interface between our countries that California will have plenty to do—and we’re willing to do it.”
Democrat Brown’s order calls for state troops to be used solely to combat transnational crime, including human, drug and weapons smuggling, and not in any efforts to enforce immigration law, all of which are signs he’s got a big problem at the border. The governor’s office said the troops would work along the border and the coasts as well as in the interior of the state.
The Republican governors of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas were quick to support the move and each pledged to send hundreds of troops to help operate surveillance cameras, do vehicle maintenance and conduct nonenforcement tasks. The troops are prohibited from carrying out law-enforcement duties.
Mr. Brown’s office said the federal government would fund the deployment. The order signed Wednesday will be in place until Sept. 30.
Mr. Trump hasn’t specified how long he wants troops at the border. Administration officials have said the deployment would last until the Border Patrol has gained “operational control” of the area, though officials haven't said what that means.
Southwest Airline pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, was the captain who safely landed that Boeing 737 Tuesday after an engine broke apart midflight, is being hailed as a level-headed hero.
“We owe her our lives,” passenger Marty Martinez said in a text message Wednesday. “Most people don’t get to walk away from an experience like this, but she was able to safely get us home.”
One passenger was killed, and seven others received minor injuries, after an engine broke apart at more than 30,000 feet, spraying metal pieces through the fuselage. Capt. Shults, a former Navy fighter pilot and mother of two, navigated the Dallas-bound flight with 144 passengers and five crew members on board down to a runway at Philadelphia International Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a news briefing Wednesday that the plane’s pilots “seemed very calm and assured of what they were doing. My hat is off to them. They behaved in a manner that their training would prepare them for,” he said.
Capt. Schults, a New Mexico native, who was one of the first female Navy fighter pilots, can be heard in audio transmissions calmly explaining the situation to an air-traffic controller.
“Yeah, we have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” Capt. Shults said.
The controller told her she could choose her speed and maintain any altitude over 3,000 feet.
“OK, could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers,” she said moments later, as the plane headed to Philadelphia for an emergency landing.
The controller asked if the plane was on fire.
“No, it’s not on fire,” she replied, “but part of it’s missing”.
While in the Navy, Capt. Shults served at the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron in Point Mugu, Calif., as an instructor pilot flying the EA-6B Prowler and F/A-18 Hornet, the Navy said. She served eight years of active military duty. In a first-person account in the book “Military Fly Moms,” by Linda Maloney, Capt. Shults traced her desire to fly to her youth in New Mexico, where she lived on a ranch under the “dogfighting airspace” of Holloman Air Force Base.
Most businesses small to large corporations are having a tough time raising their prices. The competition these days against online purchase and conveniences like overnight delivery and grocery deliver the same day, is keeping the lid of sales growth.
An example is Procter & Gamble Co., the maker of Tide and Bounty, which is said to have lowered their prices by 2% just to keep people interested in their products. Gillette shaving brand, has had to slash prices to fend off low-cost rivals Dollar Shave Club, owned by rival Unilever PLC, and Harry’s.
Unilever, which sells Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said it was able to raise prices just 0.1% in the first quarter, while Nestlé SA reported price growth of 0.2%. The growth rates were the weakest for those companies since 2010 and 2000, respectively, according to analysts at Bernstein.
The industry has long relied on selling new or improved versions of products at higher prices to boost growth. That’s now challenged by weak inflation, Amazon.com Inc.’s rising prowess selling more household staples and less brand loyalty as consumers use the internet to shop around.
All three consumer-goods giants had to rely, instead, on selling more products to lift sales. Still, everyone loves to save money and the buying of consumers is still strong across America including the numbers for the month of March.
When Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suffered a major engine failure on Tuesday, forcing its courageous pilot to make an emergency landing, the engine’s shrapnel pierced the airplane’s fuselage, blew out a window, and caused the cabin of the airplane to depressurize. Oxygen masks dropped from the cabin ceiling during the incident, according to a public Facebook post by Marty Martinez, a passenger on the flight. Bobby Laurie, a former flight attendant, shared one of Martinez’s photos on Twitter along with a reminder that people should cover their nose and mouth with an oxygen mask in an emergency.
… He tweeted: “PEOPLE: Listen to your flight attendants! ALMOST EVERYONE in this photo from @SouthwestAir #SWA1380 today is wearing their mask WRONG.” At altitudes above 15,000 feet, people struggle to breathe and keep enough oxygen in their blood. They can lose consciousness within minutes — a condition called hypoxia. • LINK
The rail cars storing hulking loads of New York City’s human waste that have sat stalled for months in the 982-person town of Parrish, Alabama, have finally been removed. The last container of poop was removed from the town Tuesday afternoon. The poop train has been a nightmare for residents of the two-square-mile town for more than two months. The mayor said at one point there were 252 containers of 10 million pounds of poo rotting away aboard train cars in a rail yard near the town’s ball fields. The “death”-smelling poop stench has “made it difficult for those who wanted to go to those events.”
… Since early 2017, waste management facilities in New York have been shipping tons of sewage sludge to a private landfill in Adamsville, Alabama. The Big Sky Environmental landfill, located about 20 miles east of Parrish, is where the poop train’s cargo initially was bound. Previously, it was transferred from trains to trucks in nearby West Jefferson, but officials there obtained an injunction to keep the sludge out of their town. After West Jefferson went to court, the train stopped in late January in Parrish, which lacks the zoning regulations to block the train cars. It’s sat there ever since. New York City has discontinued shipping it to Alabama for the time being.
An 18-year-old high school student took an unexpected date to the senior prom. Joe Moreno of Corpus Christi took his mother, Vanessa, to prom at Collegiate High School on Friday — officially keeping a promise he made to her when he was in middle school. Joe explains: “My mom had me at 17, so she didn’t get to experience prom. I just really wanted to take her.”
… Mom Vanessa said, “Senior year came up and he brought up prom and I kept asking who he was taking, and he kept reassuring that it was me.”
… Ahead of the big night, Joe helped his mother pick out a prom dress and also bought her a corsage. He even picked her up “like a real date and walked in arm-in-arm with her.” The rest of the night included typical prom activities like dancing and taking an abundance of pictures.
Most Americans can’t get through the day with cursing. A new study finds the average American utters their first curse word of the day at 10:54 AM.
… The study found financial worry to be the biggest cause of stress and frustration among Americans (56 percent), followed by such time-honored stress-contributors like not getting enough sleep (36 percent), health concerns (35 percent) and work (30 percent).
… But some Americans are stressed and frustrated about things that one might not expect. For instance, one in ten (9 percent) listed the environment as a source of stress and frustration for them and four percent actually said the national deficit stresses them out. A curious three percent said they’ve been stressed about the national deficit within the past week. Slow WiFi is enough to send 52 percent of Americans into a tizzy.
… Top 10 causes of stress and frustration for Americans:
- Financial worry, 52.05 percent
- Not getting enough sleep, 36 percent
- Health concerns, 35.35 percent
- Work, 29.50 percent
- My partner, 25.90 percent
- My children, 25.25 percent
- Home life, 23.60 percent
- Family responsibilities, 22.60 percent
- The news, 20.80 percent
- Politics, 16.60 percent
Male mice like guys, gain more weight. Researchers have determined why they believe male mice traditionally gain more weight than females — and the answer likely involves neurons in the brain. While the study (Baylor College of Medicine) was with mice, researchers say that a genetic finding in a region of the brain responsible for the speed at which specific neurons fire — and which has an effect on appetite and energy expenditure — could lead to personalized treatment for obesity and other metabolic conditions.
A Florida man accused of flooding consumers with 97 million phone calls touting fake travel deals appeared Wednesday before lawmakers to explain how robocalls work and to say, “I am not the kingpin of robocalling that is alleged.” Adrian Abramovich, of Miami, who is fighting a proposed $120 million fine, told senators that open-source software lets operators make thousands of phone calls with the click of a button, in combination with cloud-based computing and “the right long distance company.” He has asked the Federal Communications Commission to reduce the fine proposed last year, calling it disproportionate, in part because most calls went unanswered or resulted in a quick hang-up by consumers.
There will be protesters of course, at the Royal Wedding. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry in Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel next month they can be sure of a warm reception from the thousands of people expected to line the streets outside. But they may also have to contend with less-than friendly chanting and placard waving after police yesterday gave the green light for protesters to stage demonstrations against the monarchy. Senior officers have indicated they will not arrest or attempt to remove anyone mounting protests in Windsor on May 19, unless their behavior threatens to disrupt the event itself.
… One protesting group, Republic, campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement with an elected head of state.
Can you fry an egg? A new survey (by Porch) finds many millennials don’t know how to cook basic dishes that have very few ingredients and use fundamental cooking methods.
- 21% don’t know how to cook fried eggs (over easy)
- 22% don’t know how to cook a cheeseburger
- 22% don’t know how to cook rice without a rice cooker
- 25% don’t know how to cook broccoli
- 28% don’t know how to cook mashed potatoes
- 28% don’t know how to cook an omelette
- 34% don’t know how to cook garlic bread
- 37% don’t know how to cook spaghetti and meatballs
- 50% don’t know how to make roast chicken
- 50% don’t know how to cook a medium ribeye steak
- 51% don’t know how to cook salmon
- 59% don’t know how to make salad dressing
- 60% don’t know how to cook fried chicken
- 60% don’t know how to bake a birthday cake (not from a mix)
… An eye-opening 37% of millennials could not identify a butter knife and 44% couldn’t recognize a garlic press. A mere 46% of millennials could tell you how many cups come in a gallon and only 53% knew how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon.
Get your sleep. Are you gaining weight and have no idea why? The culprit could be your bedtime. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, it doesn’t matter what you eat and how much time you spend on the treadmill. If you’re exhausted, your diet just won’t work. Why? Sleep deprivation affects the hormones that control appetite and weight reduction.
Experts (Columbia University) say bathing every day could increase people’s risk of infections. Showering excessively can reduce skin hydration, causing it to become dry and cracked, which allows germs to enter. Most people bathe in the belief it will reduce their risk of illness, however, it actually does little more than remove body odor. Washing strips the skin of its natural oils, which can disrupt ‘good’ bacteria that supports people’s immune systems. Bathing just once or twice a week is usually sufficient for most.
Germs are on your keyboards. Millions of us spend our days slaving over a keyboard. But lurking between the keys, hidden on the mouse and nestled in your phone lies more than 10 million bacteria — 400 times more than on the average toilet seat.
Fake coupons are promising free Starbucks coffee. A week after two African American men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, an Internet hoax is falsely suggesting the company has issued a coupon that entitles African Americans to free coffee. The fake coupons followed days of protest, a personal apology to the men from the company’s CEO, and an announcement the company would close more than 8,000 U.S. stores on May 29 to educate its employees about racial bias.
… The coupons, which are circulating on social media, say the holder is entitled to one free drink “Limited to persons of African American heritage and/or identity.” Many use the phrase, “The best dialogue starts over a cup of coffee, and we’d like to buy you one.”
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away yesterday at the Bush family home in Houston at age 92. Mrs. Bush was wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother to former President George, and was a national figure as one of American’s most prominent political families.
Her death came two days after the spokesman said she was in failing health and had decided not to seek additional medical treatment.
With her white hair and string of pearls, Mrs. Bush was an instantly recognizable national figure, particularly after the election in 1988 of her husband as the nation’s 41st president. Unlike some political spouses, she never claimed to have strong political views or an agenda of her own, though she started a well-regarded program to promote national literacy.
Instead, the nation came to know her as the widely admired and humorous matron of a large and expanding extended family, which gathered regularly at its compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, for seemingly endless rounds of boating, fishing and golf. She also proved more combative and less forgiving than her husband in challenging political foes or perceived press slights, and appeared more embittered by his loss in a re-election bid in 1992. When meeting her successor as first lady, Hillary Clinton, she pointed to the reporters watching them and declared: “Avoid this crowd like the plague. And if they quote you, make damn sure they heard you.”
George Bush had a long career that eventually lead the couple into the White House, where Barbara herself said the nation began to see her as “everybody’s grandma,” and she enjoyed a burst of popularity. In a news poll taken in early 1992, 70% of Americans said they had a positive view of her—25 points higher than her president husband.
When Mr. Bush was voted out of office, the couple retreated to their longtime home in Houston, while continuing their annual summer trips to Kennebunkport. She remained active in the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
She largely sought to stay out of the national political debate, though she emerged in 2016 to appear with her son Jeb in a joint interview with CBS News designed to promote his campaign. Barbara Bush, gone at 92.
Absolute passenger terror in the skies at 30,000 feet ensued yesterday on a Southwest Airlines flight when a jet engine broke apart and sprayed the plane with metal pieces that pierced into the airliner, killing one passenger as it crippled the jet and forced it into an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
It was the first fatality from a U.S. airline accident since 2009. Investigators today are studying what happened to Flight 1380 and why metal pieces from its left engine were hurled into cabin—apparently rupturing a window behind the wing and fatally injuring a passenger seated nearby according to passengers and crew.
The passenger killed was Jennifer Riordan, who worked as a community-relations leader for Wells Fargo & Co. in New Mexico and was a married mother of two children.
Witness reports, videos and preliminary information gathered by federal officials suggest the Boeing 737-700 suffered the most serious and rare type of engine problem, called an uncontained failure, in which rapidly spinning parts break off and end up penetrating the engine’s outer casing and front cover. The accident happened at cruising altitude just after the jet left New York’s LaGuardia Airport for Dallas Love Field. The plane, piloted by Tammie Jo Shults, made an emergency landing at around 11:27 a.m. at Philadelphia International Airport. There were 144 passengers and five crew members on board.
Passengers say shrapnel from the burst engine slammed against a window and broke it open. The entire plane began shaking as passengers hung on to the woman so she wouldn’t be sucked out of the airplane.
Air was being sucked out of the cabin. People started screaming”, according to one witness.
“The screaming was horrific,” said another passenger. “It was something you wish you could unsee or experience.”
The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t said how the passenger was killed. One theory, according to a person familiar with the matter, is that she was struck by pieces of the crippled engine that came in through the plane window.
One person familiar with the sequence of events said a fan blade in the engine separated and likely bored a hole in the nearby fuselage. Other high-energy parts penetrated different parts of the plane’s skin and damaged the front edge of the left wing, as some pieces were carried over the wing, this person said.
Parts of the fuselage near the damaged window had a pink tinge, suggesting a spray of blood from the passenger sitting in that seat, the person said.
The NTSB dispatched a team of investigators led by board Chairman Robert Sumwalt to the scene. The accident is the first fatal one involving a U.S. airline since 50 people died in February 2009 when a commuter plane operated by Colgan Air, a partner of what was then Continental Airlines, crashed near Buffalo, N.Y.
While President Donald Trump hasn’t spoke with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un himself, yesterday Trump surprised the media when he revealed that he had sent Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo on a secret trip to meet with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, in an effort to set up a summit between the two leaders.
Pompeo who is waiting for Congressional approval for his new job as Secretary of State, has met with Un to begin to discuss terms of a meeting aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.
The secret mission apparently went “very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday.
“Details of Summit are being worked out now,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea.
Mr. Trump had referred to the discussions Tuesday, saying his administration had directly engaged North Korea at “extremely high levels.” Trump said Tuesday he expects a summit to be convened “probably in early June” or before. He would become the first serving U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader.
Speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort at the start of a two-day meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Trump said negotiators were weighing five possible locations for the summit and that the U.S. wasn’t among them.
“I really believe there is a lot of goodwill,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see what happens, as I always say. Because ultimately it’s the end result that counts.”
The IRS is giving you an extra day to file your tax return after its website went down yesterday. An outage on the agency’s website, which began on Tuesday morning, crippled a crucial part of the tax collection agency’s website that allows taxpayers to make their payments directly through their bank accounts instead of paying fees that come with using debit or credit cards.
… Last-minute taxpayers unable to file their returns online because of the IRS computer problem will get an extension.
President Trump filed an extension according to sources for his taxes for the second time since taking office. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump will file his tax return by the extension deadline of October 15.
… As a candidate and since taking office, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, breaking decades of tradition by past presidents who released their personal taxes for transparency. Trump has repeatedly said that he would release them as soon as the Internal Revenue Service completes an audit, although experts say that audits don’t prevent taxpayers from making public their returns. We’re likely to never see his tax returns.
Starbucks will close for a day to retrain work force on May 29th. Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias. The announcement follows an uproar over the arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week. The store manager called the police. The racial bias training will be provided on May 29 to about 175,000 workers.
… Starbucks says the training will be developed with guidance from experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder.
A new study suggests drinking alcohol makes you more creative. Not getting drunk — just enough alcohol to make you feel fuzzy. It’s true. According to the Harvard Business Review, people are better at creative problem solving when they have a drink or two. Professor Andrew Jarosz of Mississippi State University and colleagues served vodka-cranberry cocktails to 20 male subjects until their blood alcohol levels neared legal intoxication and then gave each a series of word association problems to solve. Not only did those who imbibed give more correct answers than a sober control group performing the same task, but they also arrived at solutions more quickly. The conclusion: drunk people are better at creative problem solving.
… Keep in mind, the booze helps with creative problem solving. The stuffy, safe part of your brain that wants to think too much loosens up when it’s boozed up, and you risk-taking barriers are taken down a bit. However, alcohol still slows you down mentally.
Do you suffer from Eco Anxiety? Are you the kind who worries about the gasoline you burn, the paper towels you throw out, the small appliances that a burning electricity? For some, being green has taken over their life. Things have gotten so bad for them, they suffer from eco-anxiety.
Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls and bracelets linked to a Viking king were found by a 13-year-old boy on the eastern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea. A single silver coin was first found in January by two amateur archaeologists, one of them the 13-year-old, in a field.
… Archaeologists said about 100 of the silver coins are probably from the reign of Harald Gormsson, better known as “Harald Bluetooth.” He was one of the last Viking kings of what is now Denmark, northern Germany, southern Sweden and parts of Norway.
… His nickname came from the fact he had a dead tooth that looked bluish, but it’s now best known for the wireless Bluetooth technology invented by Swedish telecom company Ericsson. The company named the technology, developed to wirelessly unite computers with cellular devices, after him for his ability to unite ancient Scandinavia.
If you work on a higher office floor, a study shows you might be more willing to take financial risks. Researchers (Miami University) analyzed data from more than 3,000 hedge funds throughout the world, accounting for over $500 billion in assets. They correlated the level of volatility of the fund with the floor level of the firm, ranging from the first to the 96th floor. The study turned up a slight but significant correlation between elevation and the volatility of the fund.
… The study’s author said, “When you increase elevation, there is a subconscious effect on the sense of power.”
NASA’s chief astronaut trainer says the first person to set foot on Mars should be a woman. Allison McIntyre, a senior NASA engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, noted that a dozen men have already walked on the moon. She says, “My center director is a woman, my former division chief is a woman, we have female astronauts, but we haven’t put a woman on the moon yet. I think the first person on Mars should be a woman.” Allison heads up a division that puts potential astronauts through their paces in preparation for space exploration.
Pancakes, yum. A teacher who said he was suspended pending termination last week for serving pancakes during the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment will return to work tomorrow (Thursday). Kyle Byler, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Hand Middle School in Lancaster was suspended without pay after being disciplined for making whole-grain pancakes for his students while they took the exam. A vote on his termination was expected at last night’s (Tuesday) school board meeting. But contacted Tuesday afternoon, an school district spokeswoman said there was never any “dismissal action” on the school board’s agenda.
… Byler said he was suspended without pay on April 10 for making one whole-grain pancake for each of his students as they took their tests. He said the assistant principal walked in and questioned why he was making breakfast for his students. Within 24 hours, Byler said he had a meeting with administration who told him he’d be fired for causing a distraction during testing.
… School officials point out that teachers receive specific training on testing protocol. Also, free breakfast and lunch is offered to all students every day.
How long before you decided on your child’s name? A survey shows parents-to-be will agonize up to 45 hours over the name of their unborn child. In the survey, at least one in three parents believe the right name can give a child confidence and have an effect on their personal and professional well being.
Well, turns out the older you get, the happier you are. Findings from a three-decade-long study show happiness increases as we get older. Between 15 percent and 33 percent of 18-year-old Americans were likely to say they were very happy. The older people got, the more likely they were to report being happy, with slightly more than half of respondents in their 80s saying they were very happy.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
First California Governor Jerry Brown said no to National Guard troops helping at the border, then yes last week, and now it’s no again, rejecting President Trump’s request for Guard troops to help secure the border.
Brown and California officials turned down a Border Patrol request for about 237 troops to help with tasks such as operational support, vehicle maintenance, radio communications, planning, clerical work and manning surveillance cameras.
Last week Gov. Brown, said he would send 400 state troops to join the effort but that their work would be limited to combating “transnational crime,” as state guard troops have done in the past. Mr. Brown said he wouldn’t allow troops to help build a barrier at the border or enforce federal immigration laws or support immigration enforcement. He sent the government an agreement detailing those limitations.
This morning, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Brown and the state of California on Twitter, saying they “are not looking for safety and security along their very porous border. The high crime rate will only get higher,” he said.
A Homeland Security official said Monday that such agreements haven’t been signed with governors in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas and aren’t necessary for the troop deployments.
Across to the Middle East, The Trump administration is seeking to put together an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said.
The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said. Details about the initiative, which haven’t been previously disclosed, have emerged in the days since the U.S.-led strikes on sites associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities. A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment about Mr. Bolton’s call to Mr. Kamel, who is widely regarded as one of the most powerful figures in the Egyptian regime.
Other officials, however, acknowledged the conversation and noted the administration had reached out to the Gulf states as well.
"Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.A.E. have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute,” an administration official said.
Mr. Trump’s insistence that American troops come home as quickly as possible left administration officials scrambling to develop an exit strategy that would shift the U.S. burden to regional partners after Islamic State is defeated.
While estimates vary, 5,000 to 12,000 Islamic State fighters are believed to remain in eastern Syria, a U.S. official said.
TV’s NBC show Night Court actor Harry Anderson died Monday morning in Asheville, North Carolina at just 65 years old. No foul play is suspected.
Night Court with Anderson ran for 9 seasons starting in 1984, earning seven Emmys and 31 nominations, including 3 for Anderson, who starred as Judge Harry T. Stone alongside John Larroquette, who played assistant district attorney Dan Fielding.
Desiree Linden is the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years. She finished in 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 54 seconds, taking a wide lead at the 25.2-mile mark ahead of the rest of the women’s elite pack. Racers ran through terrible weather throughout the course — including cold winds and rains — to historically slow times.
… Yuki Kawauchi of Japan won the men’s marathon with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 54 seconds.
… Tatyana McFadden, a Russian-born American Paralympian, won the women’s wheelchair division. Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair division in 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 26 seconds.
Chris Bellamy is an engineer for Wiivv, a company that manufactures custom orthotic insoles with measurements taken through their app. But they’re also on the verge of launching custom sandals, and needed a way to get the word out. The answer? Have Chris run the Boston Marathon in a pair of their custom flip flops.
… In near-freezing temperatures and at-times heavy rain, Chris managed a respectable 2:59:36. Chris said the sandals gave him no trouble whatsoever throughout the race, and in fact offered some sneaky benefits: whereas other racers had to stop and change their shoes due to the conditions, the flip flops allowed him to plow through the mud and puddles.
If someone in your household eats all the tasty marshmallow bits out of the Lucky Charms box, leaving you with the cardboard-like cereal, your dreams have come true. Amazon now selling a 3 pound bag of dehydrated marshmallows for $20. Reviewers note they taste pretty much the same as the ones that come in the Lucky Charms box, and you can shovel these in by the fistful without the silly cereal taking up space. • LINK
When Jessica Rudeen boarded a plane with her two young children she thought she was going to be kicked off her flight from Kansas City to North Carolina. She wrote on her Facebook, “…with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation.” But it wasn’t working. That’s when the stranger sitting next to her stepped in to help. He held 4-month-old Alexander and helped 3-year-old Caroline get her movie started. Throughout the flight, the stranger — who she only knew as Todd — colored and watched movies with Caroline, while pointing out what they were flying over through his window seat. At the time, Rudeen only knew that this man was from Kansas (Lenexa) and that he has a son enrolled at the University of Arkansas.
… Both Rudeen and stranger Todd had the same layover in Charlotte with a final destination in Wilmington, North Carolina. Todd helped Rudeen and her kids get off the plane and led them to the next gate with Caroline in hand. If that wasn’t enough, he changed his seat on the next flight to sit their our row to help them once again.
… Thankful for the kindness and compassion Todd showed her, Ruden took to Facebook in hopes of reconnecting with the man. It didn’t take long for the post to go viral and for Todd — Todd Walker — to be identified. • IMAGES
A visitor from Seattle was really impressed with his Sunday dinner at Chicago’s Boka (boh-kuh) restaurant. The food and service made him so happy that he gave each of the restaurant’s 17 employees $100 bills. That $1,700 came in addition to tipping 39 percent — or $300 — on his $769 meal for six. The man, only identified as “Mike from Seattle”, tipped a total of $2,000.
A 10-year-old boy from Iceland who has autism built an astounding replica of the Titanic out of Legos, and now that model has found a home in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at the Titanic Museum Attraction.
Brynjar Karl Birgisson, now 15, created the 5-foot-high, 4-foot-wide Titanic model using 56,000 Legos. Birgisson developed an obsession with the ship, and he spent 11 months building the giant replica. His grandfather helped him. The duo even borrowed a storage room in order to have space to construct the massive project. Ultimately, they spent at least 700 hours recreating the ship.
Once the joy wears off after hearing your friends are getting married, you realize your bank balance is about to take a massive hit. Georgina Childs has had enough of forking out as a result of being a wedding guest. The public relations account manager from Essex, England, is almost $3,000 in debt and has had to move back in with her with her parents after attending 20 weddings and 12 bachelorette parties in four years.
… She says: “I shudder when the invite arrives. I wish I could say no — but how do you tell your friends you just don’t think their wedding is within your budget? I know the drill at weddings. The bride will walk down the aisle to Ed Sheeran, the floral theme will be subdued greenery — and my bank balance will have taken another hit to the tune of $380. That’s travel, accommodation, hotel, a gift and a dress. And that figure doesn’t even include the bachelorette party.”
… Since the summer of 2014, Georgina has spent $9,250 on weddings and $3,980 on bachelorette parties — for a grand total of $13,200.
Contrary to popular belief, not smiling doesn’t actually make you look cooler. The research (University of Arizona), which had participants judge the coolness of models in print ads, found that “emotionally inexpressive” people didn’t seem cool, but cold.
The mother and father of a two-year-old in Utah have decided not to tell people the gender of their toddler. Kyl and Brent Myer are part of the Gender Creative Parenting movement and have decided to raise their child, that they’ve named “Zoomer,” in a gender-neutral environment. The parents have made a conscious decision not to tell people if the child is a girl or a boy. Other than the immediate family, mom and dad say they “don’t disclose their sex to people who don’t need to know.” They made the choice in an attempt to unburden their baby from being “pigeon-holed” as a specific gender.
… In her blog, Raising Zoomer, Mom Kyl said: “The sex does not tell us anything about the child’s personality, temperament, favorite color, dietary preferences, sense of humor, attitudes toward climate change, or any of their other unique traits.” She does acknowledge that Zoomer will eventually identify as one of the genders and stressed that they aren’t banning the child from expressing any gender-specific preferences.
Did you know that healthy hair requires a healthy diet? Hair typically grows a half-inch each month. Restrict your calories too much, and your hair growth will slow. It could even fall out. Hair needs a nutrient-rich supply of blood to the follicles to grow and be its healthy best. Here’s a quick test from InStyle magazine to tell if your hair is healthy: Stretch a strand of hair by the root when it’s wet. Tug gently. If it stretches about 30 percent of its length before it breaks, it’s healthy. If it snaps instantly, it’s damaged.
Monday, April 14, 2018
In Southern California a 3.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the Grapevine in Kern County today at 9:36AM according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The temblor struck 10 miles northwest of Grapevine and 21.1 miles south of Bakersfield, USGS said. Residents in the South Bay of San Francisco also reported feeling shaking from the earthquake. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The U.S. Military hit specially targeted points in Syria on Friday as President Trump decided to listen carefully to General Mattis and the Pentagon’s strategies on where to attack Syria over allegations it used deadly gas on civilians. After days of tense White House meetings, the president and his advisers agreed on one of the most restrained of the military-strike options crafted by the Pentagon: a powerful missile attack aimed at three targets meant to hobble the Syrian regime’s ability to use chemical weapons and deter President Bashar al-Assad from using them again.
The outcome was a sign of the sizable influence Defense Secretary Jim Mattis still wields in the reorganized national-security team. Faced with a push from the president for a bigger response to the alleged chemical-weapons attack that killed at least 43 people, Mattis presented the White House with three military options, according to the people familiar with the decision-making.
The most conservative option would have hit a narrow set of targets related to Syria’s chemical-weapons capabilities. The second option proposed strikes on a broader set of Syrian regime targets, including suspected chemical-weapons research facilities and military command centers. The most expansive proposal, which might have included strikes on Russian air defenses in Syria, was designed to cripple the regime’s military capabilities without touching Mr. Assad’s political machinery.
The most ambitious of the proposals was three times the size of the one eventually carried out by U.S., British and French forces.
Mr. Trump approved a hybrid plan that saw more than 100 advanced missiles fired at the three Syrian targets early Saturday. That action reflected a melding the first two options: modest missile strikes, but ones the Trump administration said delivered a decisive blow to Mr. Assad’s chemical-weapons capabilities.
While Mr. Trump pressed his team to also consider strikes on Russian and Iranian targets in Syria if necessary to get at the Assad regime’s military equipment, Mr. Mattis pushed back, those familiar with the decision-making said.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley had joined Mr. Trump in calling for more forceful response, while Mr. Mattis warned about the risks that a more expansive strike could trigger a dangerous response from Moscow and Tehran, according to the people.
Mr. Trump remains eager to withdraw troops from the Middle East, for instance, but was adamant about a quick and forceful military response in Syria last week—and his newly assembled national-security team had been working together for less than a week before the bombing campaign was launched.
In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he persuaded Mr. Trump to remain engaged in Syria and to limit airstrikes to chemical-weapons targets. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders didn’t address Mr. Macron’s comments directly, but said Mr. Trump “wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible.”
The eventual U.S. decision was the work of a national-security team still taking shape. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo has been nominated to become Mr. Trump’s second secretary of state, replacing Rex Tillerson, who was an ally of Mr. Mattis in previous administration national-security debates.
The Trump administration is now preparing for high-stakes talks with North Korea over its nuclear-weapons program, but a breakdown of that effort would likely heighten tensions in the volatile region.
Consumer spending across the U.S. rose in March, rebounding after a weak start this year and the solid labor market continues to look good and worker paychecks are growing.
Retail sales—a measure of outlays at stores, restaurants and websites—increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in March from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Monday. Overall retail sales rose 4.1% in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the same period a year earlier. Data on retail sales can be volatile from month to month, aren’t adjusted for inflation and don’t include spending on most services such as housing and health care.
Consumer spending is the main driver of the U.S. economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of economic output. U.S. consumer spending had been weak December through February, a puzzling development given healthy economic conditions and growing worker paychecks. Monday’s report signaled a positive shift in spending momentum. Strong March sales could be a sign consumers are beginning to spend savings realized on their paychecks.
More than 200 million eggs distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in severals states have been recalled because of bacterial contamination.
The recall from the Food and Drug Administration says the eggs shipped from a North Carolina farm may be tainted with salmonella. The bacteria can cause nausea, diarrhea and, in rare cases, death. Twenty-two illnesses have been reported.
“Consumers with these eggs shouldn’t eat them,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter. “Throw them away or return them to place of purchase for credit or refund.”
The eggs reached consumers in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the notice.
The notice lists varieties sold as the Great Value brand, which is sold at Walmart stores along the eastern seaboard, and some went to the Waffle House restaurant chain on the east coast to Midwest.
Expressions like “You’re only as old as you feel” may be cliches, but according to a new study they can have a positive effect on a person’s mental and physical well-being. Researchers from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston found that so-called memorable messages about aging can persuade people to change their lifestyle as they grow older.
NBA PLAYOFFS Game 1
New Orleans Pelicans 97, Portland Trail Blazers 95
Hear all games on 1240AM THE WINNER CBS SPORTS RADIO, Klamath Falls.
Playoff series schedule
- Game 1: New Orleans 97, Blazers 95
- Game 2 in Portland: 7:30PM
- Game 3 in New Orleans: Thursday, April 19
- Game 4 in New Orleans: Saturday, April 21
- Game 5 in Portland: TBA (if necessary)
- Game 6 in New Orleans: TBA (if necessary)
- Game 7 in Portland: TBA (if necessary
Are you still stealing hotel towels? In a survey of members of the online travel community TripAdvisor, 22% of the more than 2,500 respondents admitted helping themselves to everything from bathrobes to decorative pieces to glassware. The larceny amounts to an estimated $100 million a year, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, though that figure also includes employee theft.
An Arizona restaurant won a major food award for its signature dish: a hot dog that costs $3.50. El Guero Canelo, located in Tucson, was one of five restaurants to win a 2018 America’s Classics award. The award-winning dish is El Guero Canelo’s Sonoran-style hot dogs — a Tuscon tradition that puts an elaborate twist on the traditional dish. Sonoran hot dogs involve wrapping franks in bacon, stuffing them into Mexican bolillo rolls, and dousing them in beans, onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce and mayonnaise. • IMAGE
… The James Beard Foundation Awards are annual awards presented by the James Beard Foundation for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Plenty of important issues surround Congress and The White House this week as President Trump stepped up preparations to counter political and military challenges that could reshape his presidency, moving toward some kind of strike against Syria and pushing a campaign to discredit the Justice Department.
Several aides described Mr. Trump seething over an FBI raid of his personal attorney’s filesand expressing horror at pictures of lifeless Syrian children following a suspected chemical attack. The combination tested Mr. Trump’s ability to focus on—and compartmentalize—issues as few others have since his presidency began. It also made for another tumultuous week in the West Wing.
Though he had taken no decisive action by Thursday, Mr. Trump had set out new, tougher approaches to the two issues. Talking to Pentagon officials after the apparent gas attack, Mr. Trump called for a more sweeping retaliatory response than the military advised, one White House official said. He asked to consider options that would punish not only the Syrian regime but also two of its sponsors—Russia and Iran. “He’s pressed back” on suggestions from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that the response should be more limited in scope, the official said.
Mr. Trump is also taking a more combative approach to Justice Department leaders, using both his megaphone and trusted surrogates to make the point the agency officials have overstepped.
On Monday, Mr. Trump was in a state of “extreme frustration” after the raid on Michael Cohen’s office, according to one senior administration official. With his jaw clenched and sharp, indrawn breaths revealing the extent of his anger, Mr. Trump complained to aides that FBI agents “broke into” the attorney’s office, the official said. The agents, as part of a probe by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, searched for records involving a hush payment made by Mr. Cohen to a former adult-film actress known as Stormy Daniels. It looks like no ones really cares about the sex life of Trump of years ago, as Americans want jobs and health care reform and security of their country.
One White House official says that obviously Special Council Robert Mueller “appears to have gone from looking at Russian meddling to a quixotic search for the blue dress”—a reference to the stained dress worn by Monica Lewinsky during the many liaisons with former President Bill Clinton.
The result: Two people who spoke to Mr. Trump during the week said they came away thinking both Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions would soon be gone, potentially sparking a political and constitutional crisis.
“It’s a matter of when, not if,” said one person who has discussed the matter with Mr. Trump.
“Eventually, it will happen,” a second person said, adding that the Cohen raid was “not good for the long-term relationship between the president and Sessions and Rosenstein.”
Mr. Trump has vented about firing officials in the past, only to allow them to linger in office for months. This week, his advisers told him to vent in public—on TV and Twitter—but not by picking up the phone and ordering personnel changes at the Justice Department.
Some congressional Republicans this week called for Mr. Rosenstein to be dismissed over the documents delay. “Let’s do it this week, and if this attorney general and deputy attorney general can’t do it—let’s find two who will,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) said on Fox & Friends on Tuesday.
Of all the top Justice Department officials, Mr. Rosenstein faces the greatest risk of being forced out, according to people close to the administration. Senior advisers, including press secretary Sarah Sanders, have urged Mr. Trump not to take that step, warning of the political and legal fallout.
Former FBI Director James Comey’s kiss and tell book will be out next week, loaded with opinion and rhetoric about President Donald Trump, with statements like Trump is a “deeply flawed person and leader.” In his new memoir, Comey who was wanted canned by both Democrats and Republicans many times in 2016, compares Trump to a Mafia boss and characterizes his presidency as a “forest fire.”
The book, “A Higher Loyalty,” is scheduled for release Tuesday. Mr. Comey was fired by Mr. Trump in May of last year and since then has been the subject of frequent criticism by Mr. Trump on Twitter.
Mr. Comey accuses Mr. Trump of “leading through fear” and demanding personal loyalty above all else. And Mr. Comey says he told former President Barack Obama in an Oval Office meeting shortly after the election, “I dread the next four years.”
Mr. Comey in the book defends his decisions surrounding his controversial series of disclosures of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in the final weeks and days of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Mr. Comey suggests that he feared that withholding information from the public could have made Mrs. Clinton an “illegitimate president.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The administration, however, is preparing to counter the criticisms of Mr. Trump. One person familiar with the White House’s thinking on the Comey book said in an interview Thursday: “The president has been very clear what he thinks of James Comey. He has politicized investigations, leaked confidential material and lied under oath.”
This person went on to say that the White House, though, won’t take the lead role in undercutting Mr. Comey and instead will be “allowing allies in Congress, outside advisers and the Republican Party apparatus lead the charge in margin the case that James Comey is dishonorable and shouldn’t be trusted.”
Trump says James Comey is just showboating and called the former FBI leader crooked, a leaker and a liar, and trying to head off an investigation on how corrupt the FBI has become.
California proposal to become two states. Voters in California could get a chance to decide whether their state should be split into two parts. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, who authored an initiative to break up the Golden State, says it has received enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Draper says the initiative, could help the state be better governed by splitting it into Northern California and Southern California. The proposal has more than 600,000 signatures and will be submitted to election officials next week.
… Splitting California would require congressional approval. The initiative proposes a central state that would consist of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties; a southern state made up of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera and Mono counties; and the 40 remaining counties grouped into a northern state.
… The new states would be named by its residents, according to the initiative. Draper said he conceived the initiative out of a belief that “the citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities and towns.”
Are you a nightowl? If the early bird catches the worm, what is the night owl more likely to catch? According to a new study, it’s diabetes, psychological problems and an increased risk of dying. The study (in the journal Chronobiology International) tracked almost half a million adults in the United Kingdom over an average of 6½ years. The researchers found that those people who identified as “definite evening types” at the beginning of the study had a 10% increased risk of death compared with “definite morning types.”
… Night owls were also more likely to have diabetes, neurological disorders, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory disorders.
An ALS sufferer gave voice to thousands like him around the world when he co-founded the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 — raising $115 million to help find a cure for the neurodegenerative disease. Three years later, Pat Quinn, a 34-year-old from Yonkers, New York, lost his ability to speak, walk or use his hands. This March, Quinn regained the power to speak in his own voice, thanks to new voice-banking technology from a Canadian company (Lyrebird). The new tech was financed, in part, by funds raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge.
… Up until now, Quinn used text and a computerized voice linked to special eye-gazing technology to communicate with others, much like famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who died from the disease last month. Quinn didn’t record his voice prior to losing it, but thanks to footage from his multiple Ice Bucket Challenge interviews, Project Revoice was able to clone his voice. Lyrebird’s algorithms analyze several hours of quality audio recordings to digitally recreate a person’s speech.
They might be the tech generation, but millennials appreciate the art of handwriting more than any other age group. A survey of 2,000 American adults sought to uncover our relationship with handwritten notes, handwriting and email in the digital age. Results showed millennials not only appreciate writing more but are more likely to keep hold of hand-written keepsakes than those in their fifties.
… According to the results of the survey, 81 percent of respondents consider a handwritten note to feel more meaningful than email or text, with millennials, surprisingly, leading the pack.
… But the study also definitely points to a decline in people writing by hand, in lieu of more convenient technology. A third (33 percent) of Americans haven’t received a handwritten note in over a year, with 15 percent saying it’s actually been longer than five years since they got one.
A high school student in Vancouver, Washington, wanted to listen to music during a physics exam, but his teacher said cell phones were not allowed. So he did what any creative young kid living in 2018 would do: He brought a record player to class. The teacher (at Hudson’s Bay High School) shared photos on his Twitter account of the student, Wyatt Prutch, listening to a Kanye West album on the record player — through headphones, of course. • IMAGE
Researchers say sitting too much can result in less thickness of the brain. Researchers at UCLA have found that long stretches of sedentary behavior by middle-aged and older adults affects brain health, in addition to potentially increasing the risk for heart disease, diabetes and premature death. In their findings the researchers determined sitting affects regions of the brain critical to memory formation by thinning the medial temporal lobe. And they found out that even high levels of physical activity isn’t enough to dramatically offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods.
One in ten are thinking about deleting their Facebook account. And roughly 35% of people are using Facebook less in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Of Facebook users who still have their account, 17% said they deleted the app from their phone.
A woman concerned about the possible discontinuing of Necco Wafers offered to trade her Honda Accord for some of the candy. Necco chief executive Michael McGee said in March that 395 workers could end up laid off if the company can’t find a buyer, and the company, which has been making the colorful wafers since 1847, could close down by May.
… In a sign of panin-buying, sales of Necco wafers are up — but can sales numbers remain high enough for the company to stay afloat?
… Katie Samuels, a Florida resident who has been eating the wafers since she was a child, attempted to strike the unusual deal with Candystore.com: She offered to trade her 2003 Honda Accord for all of their stock. Candystore.com ultimately decided to pass on Samuels’ offer.
Atlanta Brave player Brandon McCarthy partially dislocated his left shoulder while catching a ball as he covered first base during the Atlanta Braves’ win over the Washington Nationals. This led to a hilarious zinger from his wife Amanda on Twitter: “Whoa so much happened. Dislocated your shoulder, made the out, popped it back in, then just walked around normal? But you still can’t do the dishes… seems fishy.” • IMAGE
A Scottish elementary school is searching for the author of a message in a bottle found during a recent beach clean-up event. Inverkip Primary School said faculty members were able to open the bottle and discovered a letter signed Andrew Meers and dated 2007. Teachers said the message was faded, but they worked to type out an approximation of the letter. The message reads: “Dear Rescuer, I am floating out to sea — holding on to a piece of driftwood. Last landmark — Greenock Esplanade. I have been surviving on seaweed and fish. I am not sure my body can take much more. My co-ordinates are 30 degrees longitude and 24 degrees latitude heading for the arctic circle — can see polar bears and penguins too. You will be rewarded with some of my treasure… if you send help. Yours Helplessly Andrew Meers.”
… Faculty members said the coordinates in the letter, which appears to be tongue-in-cheek, are not believed to be accurate. The children are eager to find out who Andrew Meers is.
Bull City Burger and Brewery is offering guests burgers topped with a giant tarantula. The promotion is part of their sixth annual Exotic Meat Month, which celebrates the restaurant and brewery’s anniversary by serving burgers made from meats eaten around the globe each March and April. The burgers offered on the menu during the promotion include alligator, iguana, python, bison, turtle, bugs, among others, but this is only the second year that Bull City Burger has offered the tarantula challenge. Brave customers who clean their plates get a tarantula challenge T-shirt — and bragging rights. • IMAGE
… The tarantula burger is $30 and is a 100 percent North Carolina pasture-raised beef burger with gruyere cheese, oven-roasted tarantula, and spicy chili sauce served on a fresh-house baked bun with a side of dirty fries. The burger can be cooked to the customer’s preference, and Bull City Burger describes the tarantula as “lightly salted and oven-baked.”
A study (Brown University) claims strong smells can trigger a change in mood in women and even influence their behavior. There are strong links between how the brain associates smell with experience and emotions. Certain smells can reinforce an experience or emotion.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Did President Trump give up way too much information in the past few days of possible military strikes by the U.S. and tip off Syria and Russia on our planned military operations. Some are saying Trump spelled out a timetable and pointed to the kinds of weapons he may use.
Yesterday Trump tweeted: “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” he tweeted on Wednesday, referring to advanced weaponry at least 24 hours before any operation in Syria is likely to begin. The U.S. military maintains strict discipline when it comes to discussing such operations in advance, taking the position that removing the element of surprise can render operations less effective and put troops in danger.
“The department does not comment on potential future military actions,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said Wednesday when asked about Mr. Trump’s tweet. “I refer you to the White House to characterize the president’s tweet.”
But the commander-in-chief’s statements have telegraphed U.S. military intentions, appearing at odds with Mr. Trump’s own criticisms of former President Barack Obama, who often told the world exactly what he was thinking, and of which he seldom did anything but retreat during a crisis. Trump was furious at Obama while now his own comments is catching the the Pentagon off guard.
Mr. Trump’s pronouncements may already have triggered moves by adversaries, military officials said. Syria has moved its fighter jets, sending some to a Russia-operated airbase near the Syrian city of Latakia, according to Syrian experts, in the belief that the U.S. won’t strike Russian-protected targets.
Iranian troops and allied militias, meanwhile, were redeploying around the country, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later Wednesday that Mr. Trump hadn’t made a final decision on how the U.S. will respond to chemical-weapons attacks in Syria and that all options remain on the table.
Ms. Sanders argued that the key difference between Mr. Trump’s comments and Mr. Obama’s actions was that Mr. Trump “has not laid out a timetable.” Mr. Obama, in planning troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, issued a detailed timeline.
By telling the world that the strike was imminent, the president could have put the USS Donald Cook, which is in the region’s waters and expected to be a part of any operation, in danger of harassment flights and maneuvers by Russian forces, one defense official said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that the U.S. is still assessing the intelligence to confirm if the Syrian regime is behind the attack, and coordinating with allies.
Mr. Mattis told reporters: “I never talk about future operations.”
Mr. Trump added fuel to it all today, tweeting that he had “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
China isn’t taking our trash and scrap metals as much as in the past, has new restrictions for it and let’s add new tariffs to it as well. It’s a growing problem now, how to dispose of oiur scrap paper, plastic and metal, all on the list of U.S. products facing new barriers in China.
The U.S. generates more recyclable waste than any other country. China is the top customer for that scrap. China bought two-thirds of the used paper and half the scrap aluminum that the U.S. sold overseas last year, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., part of an overall haul of 13 million metric tons of cast-off American packaging, periodicals and shredded car bodies.
China’s 25% tariff on U.S. scrap aluminum would make reusable metal from other countries more appealing. China also recently imposed tougher quality standards on other imported recyclables, sending the U.S. recycling industry into a tailspin. Prices for discarded newspaper, office paper and magazines have fallen to zero in the U.S. Inventories of paper, crushed milk jugs and old cardboard are swelling. No other country wants to buy as much U.S. junk as China had during the past several years.
“It’s really been a jolt to the entire industry,” said Joel Litman, co-owner of Texas Recycling Inc. in Dallas, which recycles paper and cardboard. “If China doesn’t take it, you can ship it to other places, but nobody has the capacity that China has.”
Cast-off paper, cardboard and plastic is sorted into bales in the U.S. that typically contain bits of food waste, glass and other contaminants. In China, those bales are unbundled and often further sorted by hand to remove unwanted items and segregate recyclable materials. Analysts say the contamination rate of up to 10% of a bale’s contents became a disposal headache for the Chinese and a health hazard to the workers that sift through them.
China imposed a 0.5% waste limit on imported recyclables from any country at the beginning of the year. That is roughly 9 pounds of waste in an 1,850-pound bale of paper. As exporters reacted to China’s new quality standards, U.S. exports of scrap plastic to China dropped from October to January by 80%, to 5 million metric tons.
William Winchester, chief operating officer for Berg Mill Supply Co., a scrap broker in Los Angeles, said most U.S. sorting centers handling paper and plastic collected by home recycling services aren’t capable of reducing food waste and other contaminants by enough to comply with China’s new levels.
“It’s basically an impossible standard,” he said. “There are very few sorting facilities that are even going to try it. You’re losing money sorting it out.”
Trash haulers have expanded the list of materials they will recycle over the years to reduce the fees they pay landfills to take trash. Now that higher volume of recyclable material is becoming a burden. Some trash collectors may choose to throw away recyclables if they can’t find other buyers.
U.S. aluminum prices initially weakened after the new 10% tariff on imported metal because of oversupply concerns. Prices climbed this week after the U.S. government sanctioned a major Russian aluminum supplier. U.S. aluminum prices are up about 6% since March 1.
The U.S. National Guard is heading to the southern U.S. border and some living in the area say it can’t come too soon.
“I am absolutely elated,” Jim Chilton, a 79-year-old fifth-generation Arizonan and cattle rancher. “It’s what’s needed.”
Along the Arizona border, long a flashpoint in the debate over immigration policy, Mr. Trump’s decision last week has spurred emotional and wide-ranging reactions from lawmakers, law-enforcement officials and local residents.
More than 4,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents already are assigned to the roughly 370 miles of Mexican border in Arizona. More than 330 Arizona National Guard troops are expected soon to join them to help address what the administration has called a “crisis.”
The Arizona contingent is part of a force of 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops that Mr. Trump said likely would be deployed along the 2,000-mile border. There is no word yet on how long they may stay.
In the first few months of the Trump administration, the number of people arrested each month plummeted to record lows and since has steadily risen. No wall building is letting those immigrants below our border to possibly attempt the trip to get to our country.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama each deployed the National Guard to the border in the last dozen years—one time apiece. The the troops, who stayed on and off for several years, backed up the Border Patrol, helping monitor surveillance cameras, repair fences and vehicles and other nonenforcement tasks.
While testifying on Capitol Hill this week, Mark Zuckerberg denied secretly listening to users through microphones for ad targeting, but the company is able to quietly collect quite a bit of data from a single uploaded photo. The Wall Street Journal has published an article titled “How Pizza Night Can Cost More in Data Than Dollars.” In it, the WSJ examines subtle ways you may be handing over personal data to Facebook and other high-tech companies during a quiet evening at home. One of those ways: shooting and uploading a photo using your smartphone.
… Based on Facebook’s privacy and data collection policies, Facebook first receives your photo, caption, and tagged people. The photo can be analyzed to see what they contain — and due to Facebook’s massive trove of user data, it can identify people who are strangers to you in photos shot out in public. But that’s just the first layer of data that’s collected, as there’s also a huge amount of metadata that Facebook gets its hands on as well.
… Unless you’ve taken steps to block certain details, Facebook can also collect: location from geotag data, the date, the phone model you have, the exact device ID of your phone, your cellular/Internet service provider, nearby Wi-Fi Beacons/cell towers (which can be used to triangulate locations), and even things like battery level and cell signal strength.
… What this means is that Facebook could have the power to track your movements if you appear in other people’s private photos that were shot in public.
Despite genetic links to heart disease, people can reduce their risk with cardio fitness, according to a study by the American Heart Association. Based upon an examination of nearly half a million people in Britain, researchers found strength and cardiorespiratory fitness lowered the risk for heart disease regardless of whether they had low, intermediate or high genetic risk.
… Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. The risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess weight.
Air travel isn’t known as a people-pleasing industry, but it may not be as bad as you think. The US airline industry improved overall in the past year, according to a study released this week, bumping fewer passengers and losing less baggage. The rate of involuntary denied boardings improved to .34 per 10,000 passengers in 2017 from .62 per 10,000 passengers in 2016.
… The study (Airline Quality Rating report by researchers at Wichita State and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical universities) also showed fewer passengers complained about mishandled or lost baggage, down to 2.46 per 1,000 passengers in 2017 from 2.46 per 1,000 passengers in 2017. The only category airlines did not improve in was on-time arrivals.
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting a Pennsylvania school district is arming its roughly 500 teachers with weapons in an effort to boost security. Each classroom will be outfitted with 16-inch mini bats.
… Teachers in the Millcreek Township School District received the mini bats after a training day on how to respond to school shootings, reported Erie News Now. Superintendent William Hall admits the bats are “the last resort” and will be kept locked in each classroom.
… Last month a school district in rural Pennsylvania said it was arming its students with rocks as protection against the possibility of a school shooter. David Helsel, Superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District, said students would be trained on how to handle emergency situations, like barricading doors. Helsel said each classroom had been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stones, and said anyone who enters a classroom with a weapon will face a room full of students ready to stone them.
… Like the Millcreek Township School District, the superintendent says the rocks are a last resort. He said teachers, staff and students were given active shooter training through a program known as ALICE which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate and they routinely hold evacuation drills for active shooter simulations.
Gmail getting a makeover. A new version of Gmail is on the way. What’s coming:
- A fresh, clean look for Gmail on the web
- Easy Access to apps, such as Google Calendar, from within Gmail
- Smart Reply on the web, just like mobile
- Ability to “snooze” emails and choose when they reappear in your inbox
- Offline support
A roasting not to miss. Comedy Central has announced that “Moonlighting and “Die Hard” movie icon Bruce Willis will be the target of its next roast. The TV special is scheduled to be taped in Los Angeles this summer. The program’s airdate and the names of the stars who will mock Willis during it are expected to be announced in the near future.
… Previous celebrities who allowed themselves to be teased mercilessly by their fellow celebrities include Rob Lowe, Justin Bieber, James Franco, Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson and William Shatner.
Most people look at a bridge and see it as a way to get to the other side. Others look at the same bridge and see a death-dealing monster blocking the way. For drivers paralyzed by an unusual fear of bridges, there’s help in one U.S. state. Drivers crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge, connecting New Castle, Delaware, and Pennsville, New Jersey, can turn to the Acrophobia Escorts program, named after the fear of heights. Patrolmen meet them at the head of the bridge, then drive their cars across for them. One of the patrolmen says once an acrophobic person is in the passenger seat “that tends to be the only medication they need.” The service has been offered since the structure opened in 1951.
… At the Delaware Memorial Bridge there were with 323 transports in 2017 and 468 the year before. About 60 percent are repeat customers. Men are just as scared as women, millennials as bridge-shy as boomers.
… While acrophobes are afraid of heights, gephyrophobes have a specific fear of bridges.
The mummified remains of a decades-old monkey were found by crews working in Minneapolis on the renovation of an historic downtown building. Crews found the remains while tearing down interior areas in a building as part of a $200 million project that includes office, retail and a food hall. City officials don’t know the origin or story behind the mummified monkey and are working with local museums to learn more and to find homes for artifacts like it.
Lots of sit-down restaurants offer a free basket of bread to their customers. Ever wonder why? From a business standpoint, it doesn’t make sense: Giving customers the chance to fill up on bread they haven’t paid for before they eat their meals? Seems dumb.
… The reason makes sense, however. Customers are pains when they’re waiting, according to an industry expert, and bread essentially helps keep them quiet and patient while they wait at their table. That basket of bread — or chips, or breadsticks, depending on the restaurant — helps ward off “hangriness,” and we all know how our tempers flare when we’re starving. Free baskets of bread equal happy, not-angry customers.
A single mom of five who will graduate from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law is the perfect example of why you should never give up. Ieshia Champs has gone viral after taking a graduation photo with her five children. In the picture, the 33-year-old Champs wears her cap and gown and holds a sign that says “I did it.”
… But the phrases on the signs held by her children standing behind her make the photo even more special. The messages are variations of each other that range from “I helped!” to “We did it!”
North Carolina officials confirmed an 877-pound bluefin tuna landed by a fisherman from Delaware is a new state record. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries confirmed the big tuna hooked by Retired Army Gen. Scott Chambers last month beat the previous state record for a bluefin tuna, caught in 2011, by 72 pounds. Chambers said it took him two and a half hours to reel in the fish, which measures 113 inches from the tip of its nose to the fork on its tail.
… The largest bluefin tuna catch in the world was an 1,496-pound fish reeled in off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1979.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Today The White House sent a message to Russia, to get out of Syria, because the U.S military is coming. President Trump said that U.S. missiles “will be coming” to Syria soon and warned President Putin he’s serious about launching a military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over an alleged chemical-weapons attack over the weekend on his own people where dozens died.
U.S. military officials have reports now from medical professionals and human-rights groups found that Syrian military helicopters dropped weapons containing poison gas that caused symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine and a nerve agent. Dozens of people, including families hiding in their basements, died and hundreds were injured.
The Syrian government has denied involvement, but faced with growing international pressure, offered with Russia to allow a fact-finding team into the country to investigate the attack.
Yesterday at the United Nations Council meeting, Russia vetoed a U.S.-crafted resolution that called for creation of a new group to investigate chemical attacks in Syria.
This morning on Twitter Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump wrote: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” He warned Russia it shouldn’t be “partners” with Mr. Assad, whom he termed a “Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
The U.S. and France have positioned warships armed with cruise missiles within firing range of Syria, and the U.S. has been working to rally international support for a strike.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in response to Mr. Trump’s tweet that Washington should direct its rockets at terrorists in Syria, not the lawful government fighting them.
Mr. Trump has had direct conversations with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Theresa May of the U.K., and with the visiting emir of Qatar in the White House Tuesday, about a potential strike.
To protect its fighter jets, the Syrian government was moving some of them to a Russia-operated air base near the Syrian city of Latakia, they added. Iranian troops and allied militias, meanwhile, were redeploying around the country, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian regime couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. It has denied carrying out the chemical attack
Unable to bring Americans a better path to health care and unable to get fellow Republicans to work together, House Speaker Paul Ryan has had enough and announced today he will retire at the end of this term and won’t seek re-election.
The Wisconsin Republican was expected to step down if Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in the November 2018 election, a possibility seen by analysts from both parties. But his announcement today that he’s completing planning to leave Congress come next January 2019, comes a s a surprise to Washington D.C.
“After nearly 20 years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father,” said Ryan aide Brendan Buck. “While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him.”
The move sets off a leadership race among Mr. Ryan’s top aides. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) are considered the two most likely replacements.
“There is not a lot of legislating left to be done, and that’s something that motivated Ryan in the first place,” said a former House GOP leadership aide with direct knowledge of the situation. “He never wanted to be speaker anyway.”
Democrats said they saw Mr. Ryan’s retirement as a sign of the grim political prospects the GOP sees in the 2018 midterms, when analysts from both parties believe the party risks losing its House majority.
“Speaker Ryan sees what is coming in November,” said Tyler Law, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Stay tuned for more retirements as Republicans increasingly realize that their midterm prospects are doomed.”
But others say that the move is more a reflection on Mr. Ryan’s personal career trajectory than on his assessment of the political landscape.
Mr. Ryan, 48, decided not to seek re-election while on a recent spring break vacation with his family in Europe, according to a source familiar with his decision. He decided he couldn't commit to serving another full two-year term and didn’t wish to ask voters to elect him if he were to resign. Mr. Ryan reluctantly became House speaker in 2015 after his predecessor, John Boehner of Ohio, was pressured to quit, and his future plans had been seen as uncertain.
As one of the most watched C-Span days of all time played out, Congressional lawmakers threw out question after question to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday in the hearing to discuss privacy issues of Americans when using Facebooks and other apps and how it all works.
Clearly Zuckerberg knows Congress doesn’t get all that Facebook does and collects, but the Silicon Valley billionaire stood his ground as the grilling progressed for more than 5 hours.
Zuckerberg is likely very worried burdensome regulation of his company is on the way.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) mistook WhatsApp, Facebook’s popular text-messaging tool, for an email service. Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) asked for clarification when Mr. Zuckerberg referred to internet service providers as the “pipes” of the internet. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) asked whether Facebook could provide West Virginia with “fiber”—a service the company doesn’t offer.
“It’s a reminder of how far Silicon Valley has to go to educate policy makers and the public about our companies and products,” said one source after watching the Zuckerberg testimony.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) both said federal intervention in tech platforms might be necessary. Or as Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.) put it, “I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God I will.”
Mr. Zuckerberg mostly remained poised as he answered questions from the senators, many more than twice his age, but having to repeatedly explain how Facebook works left him seeming agitated at times. During one exchange, Sen. Kennedy asked whether Facebook would allow users to have certain controls over their data. Mr. Zuckerberg replied, seven times, that Facebook already does.
Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) asked whether Facebook is using the microphones of users’ phones to listen in to what they are doing and saying—a charge the company has denied repeatedly in recent months.
“You’re talking about this conspiracy theory,” a slightly animated Mr. Zuckerberg answered. “We don’t do that.”
Chris Nolan, founder of ad-buying firm Spot-On, which works with tech companies, said Mr. Zuckerberg risks coming across as a “smarty-pants” from Silicon Valley. “I don’t think that is going to serve Facebook well in the long run,” he said. “Congress likes to see conciliation and humility.”
The Wall Street reaction to Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony was largely positive; Facebook shares rose 4.5% Tuesday.
Mr. Zuckerberg “absolutely hit it over the fence,” said Shad Rowe, general partner at Dallas-based Greenbrier Partners Capital, a long-term holder of Facebook shares. He described Mr. Zuckerberg as patient, composed and “completely in charge of the conversation.”
Facebook has begun alerting some users that their data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. A notification that appeared on Facebook for some users Tuesday told them that “one of your friends” used Facebook to log into a now-banned personality quiz app called This Is Your Digital Life. The notice says the app misused the information, including public profile, page likes, birthday and current city, by sharing it with the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.
… As many as 87 million users who might have had their data shared were supposed to get a detailed message on their news feeds starting this week.
In testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated Facebook might one day offer a paid version. Zuckerberg seemed to reveal that a paid version of Facebook is under consideration in response to a question from Senator Orrin Hatch, who asked if Facebook will always be free. Zuckerberg said: “There always will be a version of Facebook that will be free.” This answer left the door open for a version that users do pay for.
… In an interview last week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said an ad-free Facebook “would be a paid product.”
Most teens own iPhones from Apple. iPhone, Chick-fil-a, Netlifix, Nike and Amazon. These are the companies your teen likes most, according to the annual Taking Stock With Teens survey released on Tuesday (by investment bank Piper Jaffray). Researchers asked more than 6,000 US teens, whose average age is 16.4 years old, what they spend money on and which brands they hold dear to their hearts.
… The preferred smartphone of teens is the iPhone. 82 percent of teens surveyed said they owned an iPhone, and 84 percent said their next phone would be an iPhone.
… Teens say Snapchat is their preferred social media app, followed by Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
… After Chick-fil-a teens like Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonald’s.
… For entertainment they turn on Netflix, YouTube, cable TV, and Hulu.
Your taxes are due Tuesday. What will you be doing this weekend? Many Americans will be working on their taxes. They’re due by midnight Tuesday night.
If you concentrate on this image for long enough an astonishing thing will happen. After about 30 seconds the swirls of color will disappear entirely. It’s an example of a phenomenon known as Troxler’s fading. It was discovered by Swiss doctor Paul Troxler in 1804, who found that the brain stops paying attention to visual scenes that don’t change. • IMAGE
Has craft beer peaked? In one sign that the industry has grown less frothy, more craft breweries closed in 2017 than any time in the past decade. And while the craft beer makers saw more growth in production than the overall market last year, their pace is slowing.
… A new report by the Brewers Association showed that craft brewers saw a 5 percent rise in production volume in 2017. Yet with that growth comes an increasingly crowded playing field, leading to more closures of small craft breweries. In 2017, there were nearly 1,000 new brewery openings nationwide and 165 closures — a closing rate of 2.6 percent. That’s a 42 percent jump from 2016, when 116 craft breweries closed.
Ugly cars beware. An Arkansas town is enforcing a rule banning people from having inoperable automobiles on their property because some people find those cars unsightly. The town is West Memphis, Arkansas. Critics call it government overreach, but smart citizens know broke-down cars devalue nearby properties and make their towns unattractive to people and companies that are thinking about moving there.
… Last summer, a 70-year-old Michigan man named Ron Dauzet was (and still is) being forced to remove 20 cars per month from his collection of over 200 vehicles. The local township stops by every month to count his progress as they enforce the blight ordinance banning unregistered, uncovered vehicles on private property.
Free-range parenting. Recently, Utah passed the country’s first law legalizing so-called free-range parenting. Now groups in states from New York to Texas are pushing for similar laws. Free-range parenting is the concept that giving kids the freedom to do things alone — like explore a playground or ride a bike to school — makes them healthier, happier, and more resilient. It surfaced nearly a decade ago, when blogger Lenore Skenazy touched off a firestorm with a column about letting her then-9-year-old son ride the New York City subway alone. Since then, she’s become a vocal advocate for free-range parenting.
… Utah’s new law specifies that it isn’t neglectful to let well-cared-for children travel to school, explore a playground, or stay in the car alone if they’re mature enough to handle it. In New York, Democratic state Assemblyman Phil Steck said he’s gearing up to introduce a similar proposal. And Texas lawmakers might pass a bill next year.
Since the passage of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, “Warranty Void if Removed” stickers and other policies that put restrictions on third party repairs have been unenforceable in America, but that doesn’t stop companies from putting deceptive tamper-evident stickers on their equipment in an effort to trick or intimidate their customers into going to a manufacturer-authorized service depot. Now the FTC has sent a warning to six companies, ordering them to end the practice of using these stickers. The companies are unnamed, but they “market and sell automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems in the United States”.
April showers may eventually bring May flowers, but what does it mean for the workplace? According to a CareerBuilder.com survey, 10 percent of workers say they tend to be less productive on gloomy and rainy days, with 21 percent stating that weather negatively impacts their demeanor.
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