AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1525931 times)

Offline knarf

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Former White House counsel John Dean and other expert witnesses laid out the case Monday for impeaching President Donald Trump in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, and Dean drew parallels between Richard Nixon’s case and Trump’s.

Their testimony confirmed what special counsel Robert Mueller’s report implied — that it is now up to Congress to decide whether the president committed a crime.

“Congress — constitutionally, the first branch among equals — has a duty to investigate, expose, and hold accountable anyone who abuses the power of the presidency,” former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance told the committee. “This hearing is a first step in fulfilling that duty, and I am both honored and sobered to contribute to this essential work.”

The testimony Monday by Dean, Vance, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm focused on allegations that Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, released in April, cleared Trump and his campaign of criminally conspiring with Russia’s 2016 election meddling. But Mueller declined to determine whether Trump may have obstructed justice, and his report details 10 instances in which Trump appeared to use his office to hinder the special counsel’s investigation.

Democrats on the committee focused their questions on one of those incidents — a June 17, 2017 phone call in which Trump allegedly asked former White House Counsel Don McGahn to direct Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove Mueller.

In a March 24 letter to Congress, Attorney General William Barr said that he and Rosenstein did not believe Mueller’s evidence was sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction.

In their testimony Monday, however, Dean, Vance, and McQuade seemed to call on Congress to take up the obstruction investigation.

“[T]he conduct described in the [Mueller] report constitutes multiple crimes on obstruction of justice,” McQuade said flatly in her prepared testimony.

Malcolm, now a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, was the odd person out, criticizing Mueller for not reaching a prosecutorial decision on obstruction of justice and calling Barr and Rosenstein’s decision not to indict Trump “eminently reasonable.”

Dean participated in the Watergate coverup during the Nixon administration and later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. His testimony Monday drew repeated parallels between actions taken by Trump and those taken by Nixon, who faced impeachment hearings in 1974 for a host of alleged abuses of power, including obstruction of justice.

He also praised McGahn on Monday for refusing the president’s directive to have Mueller fired, saying there is “evidence he prevented several obstruction attempts.”

A debate over impeachment has raged in the Democratic House caucus. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called on the various committees investigating Trump and his administration to “build on an ironclad case to act.” But she has held off on joining calls for impeachment from 56 members of her caucus, including several committee chairs.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has backed Pelosi, saying that the House “cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it.”

For many House Democrats, it’s a difficult position. Passing on impeachment could mean failing to hold the president accountable for acts that many believe amount to criminal abuses of his office, but impeaching the president in an election year could backfire politically. Impeachment hearings may also build public support for the process and educate the public about Mueller’s report, a document which has not even been widely read by members of Congress, according to Dean.

Hanging over the debate is the unavoidable fact that the Republican-controlled Senate is certain to acquit Trump on any impeachment articles passed by House Democrats.

But whatever the political calculations, Monday’s testimony was clear — there is reason to believe the president obstructed justice, and impeachment remains the only course of action in holding a sitting president accountable for criminal actions.

“[A] president, while he cannot be indicted, can be impeached in Congress if the House feels his conduct warrants it,” Vance testified.

Now the House has to decide if Trump’s conduct warrants it.

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Arctic death spiral speeds up sixfold, driving coastal permafrost collapse
« Reply #13021 on: June 11, 2019, 05:59:46 AM »
The Arctic just saw its hottest May on record.

Scientists led by the University of Edinburgh used drone-mounted cameras to study erosion of permafrost coastline in the Canadian Arctic.

Drone surveys have revealed erosion of coastal permafrost in the Arctic — up to 3 feet a day. Researchers reported Friday that the recent rate of erosion is six times higher than the historical rate.

Meanwhile, the Arctic just saw the hottest May on record, with temperatures in northwest Russia hitting a remarkable 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). Global warming is driving Arctic sea ice to near-record lows, which in turn is driving ever-worsening summer heat waves in the southern United States, according to another new study.

In the first study, a team led by University of Edinburgh scientists flew drone-mounted cameras over a section of permafrost coastline in the Canadian Arctic.

They found that during a 40-day period in the summer of 2017, the coast had retreated a remarkable 47 feet — with daily rates of collapse sometimes exceeding 3 feet.

“Big chunks of soil and ground break off the coastline every day, then fall into the waves and get eaten away,” co-author Dr. Isla Myers-Smith, a University of Edinburgh geoscientist, explained.

This rate of erosion was more than six times greater than the historical average experienced in the previous half century.

The permafrost, or tundra, is soil that stays below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least two years. Thawing permafrost is a dangerous amplifying feedback loop for global warming because the global permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today .

As the permafrost melts, it releases heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane, and as the coastline disintegrates and erodes, more and more permafrost will be exposed to the warming air and water.

This means, as the planet continues to warm, more permafrost will erode and melt, releasing even more greenhouse gases in a continuous feedback loop.

A 2017 study found the Alaskan tundra is warming so quickly it had become a net emitter of CO2 ahead of schedule. That study was the first to report a major portion of the Arctic had already become a net source of heat-trapping emissions.

As the Arctic warms, the ice retreats — and the recent record Arctic temperatures have led to the second lowest amount of sea ice on record for June (after 2016).

Arctic sea ice extent (in millions of square kilometers).

Such ice loss is a key reason climate models have long predicted that human-caused warming would be at least twice as fast in the Arctic as elsewhere. When highly reflective sea ice melts due to higher temperatures, it is replaced by the dark blue sea which absorbs more solar energy, leading to more melting.

A study released last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research found that loss of Arctic sea ice is making extreme heat waves more likely. The study concludes that “low summer sea ice in Hudson Bay is statistically linked to an increased frequency of summer U.S. heat waves,” especially in the U.S. Southeast and southern Plains.

The study also finds that the melting sea ice is weakening the jet stream. A weaker jet stream causes summer weather systems to stall, leading to longer and stronger heat waves — and other extreme events, as recent studies have reported.

Back in December, the annual Arctic Report Card from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that “Growing atmospheric warmth in the Arctic results in a sluggish and unusually wavy jet-stream that coincided with abnormal weather events in both the Arctic and mid-latitudes.”

What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Unless we start cutting carbon pollution sharply and rapidly, we can expect Arctic temperatures to soar in the coming decades, bringing ever worsening extreme weather to this country.

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #13022 on: June 11, 2019, 07:16:11 AM »
Loss of polar albedo is breaking up the jet stream not melting permafrost.
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline knarf

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Female Divine Child High School students protest 'modesty' lesson
« Reply #13023 on: June 11, 2019, 05:21:36 PM »

Divine Child High School in Dearborn.

A Catholic high school in Dearborn that stirred controversy last year for a plan to pass out "modesty ponchos" at prom is under fire again for allegedly shaming some girls for the way they dress.

According to students, a campus life minister at Divine Child High School conducted a lesson on sexual harassment recently. The minister told students that girls are sometimes to blame for unwanted attention because of the way they dress.

Afterward, about 40 girls protested the lesson by wearing paper targets on their uniforms and put up posters that read: “Instead of publicly shaming girls for dressing how they want, teach men not to over-sexualize women’s bodies.”

This statement was accompanied with a bible verse at the bottom from Matthew 5:28.

Students said school administrators threatened detention to those students who refused to remove the paper targets from their uniforms.

School official released the following statement:

"Administration at Divine Child High School recently became aware of concerns from some students about a recent presentation given to all ninth-graders, over the course of May 28-31, covering students’ rights, responsibilities, and situations they may face while participating in Christian service opportunities.

"Our students' comfort, safety, and well-being are paramount to their experience at Divine Child High School, and we are taking all concerns seriously. To that end, we have discussed these concerns with some students and parents and welcome input from all of our stakeholders. School administration has no record of students being suspended, issued detentions or otherwise disciplined as a result of this situation.

"While we are confident in the message and value of the program, this input from our community has and will help us continue to improve our delivery of this important information to our students."

Students and parents at Divine Child High School declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.

Last year, the Catholic school faced scrutiny for its plan to hand out modesty ponchos at prom to girls whose dresses were deemed too revealing. That idea was quickly abandoned.

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Quebec education minister states as 3 EMSB schools to be given to French board
« Reply #13024 on: June 11, 2019, 05:42:36 PM »
The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) says it is “appalled” at the lack of consideration and respect by Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge, who announced Tuesday on 98.5 FM., a French-language radio station, that the transfer of three English-language schools will begin Tuesday.

“This is a very sad day for Quebec’s English-speaking minority community. The government has decided that our voices don’t matter and that our students don’t matter,” said QESBA President Dan Lamoureux.

    “It is our estimation that the government of Quebec is penalizing its minority community…This is a sad day in our history.”

The minister said though he triggered the decree Tuesday, he will remain open to any last-minute proposals to avoid the forced transfer.

“C’est triste, mais voilà (it’s sad, but there you go),” Roberge told reporters in Quebec City.

“We had a lot of discussions with the parents directly, with the community, and so, I still believe we have a good relationship with the anglophone community.”

READ MORE: Quebec education minister ‘strongly condemns’ EMSB decision to move Galileo Adult Education Centre

The deadline for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) to propose ways to save three of its English schools — Gerald McShane Elementary School, General Vanier Elementary School and John Paul I Junior High School — was midnight on June 10.

“We waited a certain time hoping that it will be settled between the two school boards, but unfortunately it’s not so,” said Quebec Premier François Legault.

    “We have to take action because we have children who need a place to study.”

With its dwindling enrollment numbers, the EMSB was tasked with figuring out a space-sharing arrangement with the overcrowded French-language Pointe-de-l’île School Board (CSPI).

If the boards did not come to a decision, Roberge threatened to simply hand the three schools over to the French board.

“We don’t know and it’s kind of sucks for the kids, I have to be honest. I don’t get how we’re just throwing out these kids on the streets without having any alternatives,” said Rocco Gallo, whose daughter goes to Gerald Mcshane Elementary.

“It was actually a really great school. We loved the staff, we loved their program and we’re very disappointing to hear they couldn’t get something done, something worked out.”

The EMSB said it disagrees with Roberge’s decision to use section 477.1.1 of the Education Act to “accelerate the transfer” of three of its schools.

“I’m extremely disappointed in the education minister for having made this announcement in the media,” said Angela Mancini, EMSB chairperson.

“We have a community out there with parents that are extremely worried about their students, their children, who have to leave. I am very disappointed in the way he [the minister] is acting.”

The biggest insult, says Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) President Geoffrey Chambers, is that Roberge did not speak directly to those affected by his decision.

“He [the minister] is doing something injurious to the English-speaking community and he should come and talk to us and explain it and try to justify it instead of essentially talking to his constituency and ignoring us,” he told Global News.

    “He doesn’t have the constitutional authority to go and grab assets from a minority-language school board and he’s got to be stopped.”

The EMSB had been pushing for a cohabitation model with its severely overcrowded French counterpart — something the CSPI has repeatedly rejected, saying it needs about 3,000 spots.

Roberge argued cohabitation was a short-term solution, but sharing buildings would impede new immigrants from learning French.

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Jury couldn't decide if Arizona activist broke law helping migrants
« Reply #13025 on: June 12, 2019, 05:46:26 AM »
TUCSON, Ariz. (Reuters) - An Arizona jury on Tuesday said it was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a U.S. human rights activist who was accused of hiding undocumented migrants, but said he was offering them humanitarian aid.

The Tucson jury remained deadlocked after three days deliberating charges against Scott Warren, 36, stemming from his January 2018 arrest by U.S. Border Patrol in Ajo, Arizona.

The split among the jurors reflected divisions in public opinion on how the United States should treat illegal border crossers after U.S. President Donald Trump made border security a signature issue.

Federal prosecutors argued that Warren was part of a conspiracy to illegally transport and conceal the two men at a ramshackle building used by activists who provide water, food and first aid to migrants.

Lawyers for the geography professor said he was exercising his legal right to provide aid to people crossing Arizona's southern deserts, where over 3,000 migrants have been found dead since 2001, and thousands more have disappeared.

"In the time since I was arrested in January 2018, no fewer than 88 bodies were recovered from the Arizona desert," Warren told reporters after U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial. "The government's plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees and their families."

Federal prosecutors now have the option to request a new trial, with a new jury, at a hearing set for July 2. They could also drop charges against Warren, who faced nearly 20 years imprisonment if convicted on all counts.

The trial sometimes veered into U.S. immigration policy, with jurors read an opinion piece by Warren in which he warned that his conviction could set a precedent allowing the Trump administration to expand prosecutions for harboring migrants.

"The government has failed in its attempt to apply federal charges to acts of common compassion," tweeted No More Deaths, the aid group Warren volunteers for.

Federal prosecutors said Warren's talk of deaths and suffering were a "smokescreen" for his attempt to smuggle migrants.

Warren testified in his own defense, telling jurors his spiritual values compelled him to help those who "stumble" out of the desert into Ajo.

Over 137,000 people signed a petition demanding he be released and United Nations officials called for charges to be dropped, arguing that "providing humanitarian aid is not a crime."

Offline knarf

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Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?
« Reply #13026 on: June 12, 2019, 06:23:43 AM »
Homes have gotten bigger, but Americans aren’t any more pleased with the extra space.

American homes are a lot bigger than they used to be. In 1973, when the Census Bureau started tracking home sizes, the median size of a newly built house was just over 1,500 square feet; that figure reached nearly 2,500 square feet in 2015.

This rise, combined with a drop in the average number of people per household, has translated to a whole lot more room for homeowners and their families: By one estimate, each newly built house had an average of 507 square feet per resident in 1973, and nearly twice that—971 square feet—four decades later.

But according to a recent paper, Americans aren’t getting any happier with their ever bigger homes. “Despite a major upscaling of single-family houses since 1980,” writes Clément Bellet, a postdoctoral fellow at the European business school INSEAD, “house satisfaction has remained steady in American suburbs.”

This finding, Bellet reasons, has to do with how people compare their houses with others in their neighborhood—particularly the biggest ones. In his paper, which is currently under peer review, he looks closely at the construction of homes that are larger than at least 90 percent of the other houses in the neighborhood. By his calculation, if homes in the 90th percentile were 10 percent bigger, the neighbors would be less pleased with their own homes unless those homes grew 10 percent as well. Moreover, the homeowners most sensitive to such shifts are the ones whose houses are in the second-biggest tier, not the ones whose houses are median-sized.
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To be clear, having more space does generally lead to people saying they’re more pleased with their home. The problem is that the satisfaction often doesn’t last if even bigger homes pop up nearby. “If I bought a house to feel like I'm ‘the king of my neighborhood,’ but a new king arises, it makes me feel very bad about my house,” Bellet wrote to me in an email.

The largest houses seem to be the ones that all the other homeowners base their expectations on. In neighborhoods where the biggest houses are more modest, Bellet told me, expanding the size of one’s house can be 10 times as satisfying as undertaking such an expansion in a neighborhood where the biggest homes are palatial.

Bellet sketches out an unfulfilling cycle of one-upmanship, in which the owners of the biggest homes are most satisfied if their home remains among the biggest, and those who rank right below them grow less satisfied as their dwelling looks ever more measly by comparison. He estimates that from 1980 to 2009, the size of the largest 10 percent of houses increased 1.4 times as fast as did the size of the median house. This means that the reference point many people have for what constitutes a big home has shifted further out of reach, just as many other lifestyle reference points have shifted in an age of pronounced wealth inequality.

To reach these conclusions, Bellet scraped data on millions of American homes from the real-estate website Zillow, and grafted it onto data from the American Housing Survey, which has been conducted by the Census Bureau since 1973 and records, among other things, how big new homes are and how satisfied homeowners are with their houses. The merging of these two sources allowed Bellet to examine how envy might play out on the level of the neighborhood block, and to study, for instance, whether being close to an enormous new house makes one less satisfied with one’s own home. (It appears to.)

Bellet was looking in particular at the links between the size of one’s home and one’s satisfaction with it. But it could well be the case that having a bigger home is beneficial in ways he wasn’t focusing on. “There could be positive impacts on, say, long-run life satisfaction more generally if McMansion neighborhoods also have better schools, which improves the future outcomes of homeowners’ kids,” Bellet wrote to me.

Of course, expansive homes could be unfulfilling in other ways. “The big house represents the atomizing of the American family,” a historian of landscape development told NPR for a story on gargantuan American homes back in 2006. “Each person not only has his or her own television—each person has his or her own bathroom … This way, the family members rarely have to interact.” It’s comfortable, in a way, but maybe also lonely.

In this sense, the story of American home sizes in the past half century is a story of shifting norms. Fifty-plus years ago, a one-bathroom house or a bedroom that slept multiple siblings might have felt cramped—but it also probably felt normal. Today, many Americans can afford more space, and they’ve bought it. They just don’t appear to be any happier with it than with what they had before.

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Sex Robots and the End of Civilization
« Reply #13027 on: June 12, 2019, 06:27:42 AM »
Sex robots are on the horizon. And this might be a problem.

Imagine this: A totally realistic robot of your own design that is capable of fully carrying out any sex act that you can dream up. It looks, smells, and sounds incredibly realistic. And your state-sponsored insurance paid for her in full. In effect, she was free—prescribed by your physician to help with your status as officially “sexually dysfunctional.” Recent federal legislation, supported overwhelmingly by a male majority in the House and Senate, has made this kind of medical prescription perfectly legal.

Robin the Robot never has a headache. It never gets a cold. It never rejects an advance. It is, perhaps strangely, beautiful in many respects. And, surprisingly, it is even seemingly intelligent and witty.

Sure, it sounds great on the surface.

And get this: According to expert clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Marianne Brandon, what I’ve described above is, in fact, a likely portrait of our near future. Welcome to the new world.

Sex Robots as Supernormal Stimuli

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend a special symposium on understanding mental health from an evolutionary perspective. This event, formally sponsored by the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society (AEPS) and affiliated with the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society (NEEPS), was eye-opening for the many scholars, practitioners, and students who were in attendance. And while all of the talks were provocative and engaging, I have to say that Dr. Brandon’s presentation was something of a show-stopper.

When you think about things from an evolutionary perspective, the history of human technology largely becomes the history of developing supernormal stimuli for profit.

In the 1950s, renowned behavioral biologist Niko Tinbergen articulated the idea of a supernormal stimulus. A supernormal stimulus is essentially an exaggerated, often human-made version of some stimulus that organisms evolved to respond to in certain ways.

For instance, humans evolved taste preferences so as to desire high-fat foods because our ancestors regularly experienced drought and famine. A Big Mac is a human-created product that includes an amplification of high-fat food that would have been beyond the fat and caloric content of nearly any food that would have existed under ancestral human conditions. The Big Mac is a classic supernormal stimulus.

Same with pornography. And video games. And so many cosmetic products that amplify attributes of faces and bodies that bear on Darwin’s bottom line of reproductive success. Vibrant hair color and lip gloss are supernormal stimuli.

Importantly, as you can see, supernormal stimuli may well be deceitful. In the modern world of humans, supernormal stimuli are essentially hijackers. They are human-created technological products that hijack our evolved psychology in a way that leads to short-term emotional and/or physiological benefits. However, since these products are, at the end of the day, evolutionarily unnatural, they quite often do not lead to the long-term evolutionary benefits (such as strong connections with others and/or long-term reproductive gains) which pertain to why these stimuli evolved to be desired by humans in the first place. We can call this evolutionary irony.

In her presentation, Dr. Brandon rightfully pointed out that sex robots, when they arrive (and they will), will be the ultimate in human-created supernormal stimuli. And this could be a problem.

Potential Problems Associated with the Sex Robot Revolution

Is there a sex robot revolution on the horizon? In a few weeks, the city of Brussels will host the 4th International Conference on Love and Sex with Robots, so you tell me!

In her presentation at the AEPS symposium, Dr. Brandon made a strong case suggesting that sex robots are truly in development and on the way. Perhaps in a decade or two.

Brandon pointed out several potential problems that may well come along with the robots for the ride. These problems all make sense when we think of our evolved relationship psychology. Some of the potential problems that she pointed out are as follows:

    Men, who are disproportionately represented as consumers of pornography, will likely be over-represented as consumers of sex robots.
    Within committed relationships, sexual interactions, which are apparently already on a nationwide decline, are likely to drop further in prevalence.
    Intimacy in relationships, which strongly maps onto both quantity and quality of sexual interactions within mateships, is likely to drop in quality as well.
    The prevalence of marriage and birth rates may well see declining numbers.
    Motivation for people to work on relationship problems within mateships will be naturally reduced.

In short, the advent of sex robot technology may well foreshadow, in many ways, the demise of intimate relationships in the modern world.

Bottom Line

As biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and software technologies advance, sex robots are nearly certainly on the horizon. On the surface, they might sound like a great idea to some.

But once we think about this technology from an evolutionary perspective, we can quickly see that sex robots will represent an unprecedented form of supernormal stimulus—one that may well have extraordinary physiological short-term benefits, along with equally extraordinary long-term costs, ultimately taxing individuals, dyads, families, and broader communities.

In our upcoming book, Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life, Nicole Wedberg and I (2020) make the case that any and all newly developed technologies need to be considered vis-a-vis our evolved psychology. Businesses are so stuck on short-term profits that they may well, often, neglect to consider long-term human and community-based consequences. Let’s hope that the people who are pulling the strings on the upcoming sex robot revolution take the time to learn about and understand human evolutionary psychology, along with how technologies need to be considered carefully relative to our evolved behavioral and mental processes. If sex robots are truly on the horizon, I’d say that industry will need some strongly evolutionarily informed oversight.


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Rare June heat wave grips San Francisco as triple-digit heat stifles West
« Reply #13028 on: June 12, 2019, 06:46:23 AM »

Record high temperatures have been shattered in the West to start this week, and more records will fall along portions of the Pacific coast into the middle of this week.

San Francisco was among the cities to shatter a record high the past couple of days as the temperature throttled to 92 F on Sunday, up to the triple-digit mark Monday and 98 F on Tuesday.

"Temperatures in San Francisco reached 100 F on Monday, which was 3 degrees higher than the maximum temperature at Las Vegas and equaled the high at Sacramento, California," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski. Monday's high beat the old daily record of 94 set back in 1994, and Tuesday's high shattered the old daily record of 88 set in 1985.

Tuesday was the third consecutive day above 90 in downtown San Francisco, a streak that's previously happened only 13 times on record and only the third time it's occurred outside of September or October.

Coastal Central California's highs are typically within a few degrees of 70 F due to the cooling influence of sea and bay breezes off of the cool Pacific water.

Many locations in California surpassed old record highs set 25 years ago in 1994, or even earlier. Record highs were set on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in San Bernardino and Ontario, California, to name a few.

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Trump offers a corrupt bargain to the Supreme Court
« Reply #13029 on: June 12, 2019, 06:48:39 AM »
Donald Trump's lawyers aren't even hiding their appeals to the court's self-interest.

Last month, a federal court held that President Trump cannot block a House subpoena targeting Trump’s accounting firm, which seeks many of Trump’s financial records. On Monday, Trump’s lawyers filed a brief asking a federal appeals court to reverse this decision, and their very first argument is a doozy.

The brief opens with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court’s corrupt self-interest.

Trump has no legal basis to resist the subpoena. As Judge Amit Mehta explained in his opinion ruling against Trump, “so long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which ‘legislation could be had,’ Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.” In this case, the financial documents the House seeks “will aid its consideration of strengthening ethics and disclosure laws, as well as amending the penalties for violating such laws” — among other things.

Moreover, even if Congress was not contemplating legislation to shore up ethics laws against a corrupt president, the Supreme Court explained in a 1957 opinion that Congress may “inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the Government.”

Faced with a bevy of precedents establishing that Trump has no legal case whatsoever, Trump’s lawyers appeal instead to a bizarre kind of solidarity between the sitting president and the members of the Supreme Court — protect my corruption, the lawyers write, and you’ll also shield corruption by the justices themselves.

“Replace ‘President’ with ‘Justices,'” Trump’s lawyer’s write, “and the ruling below would, without question, authorize a congressional subpoena for the Justices’ accounting records — even for many years before they joined the Court.”

It’s an audacious play. For one thing, Congress absolutely should have the power to investigate a sitting justice’s finances under the appropriate circumstances. To give just one example, the Constitution gives the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment,” and that power extends to members of the Supreme Court.

In the context of legislation, the Supreme Court explained in Eastland v. U.S. Servicemen’s Fund, “the power to investigate is inherent in the power to make laws because ‘[a] legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change.’” A similar logic applies to the impeachment power. If Congress cannot investigate federal officials who may be worthy of impeachment, it won’t be able to make wise or effective decisions about when impeachment is warranted.

If the House had good reason to believe that a sitting justice was engaged in corrupt dealings — perhaps the justice is deciding cases in a way that benefits their own stock portfolio — then the House absolutely should have the power to investigate that justice.

But Trump’s lawyers are apparently betting that a majority of the Supreme Court would corruptly give themselves immunity to investigation before they require 10 of the most powerful people in the nation — the president and the members of the Supreme Court — to comply with the same rules that every other government official must obey.

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(BIRMINGHAM, Ala. WIAT) -- Jessica is a 32-year-old woman from Dekalb County. She says the state's laws have forced her to face the man she says raped her again and again.

CBS 42 News Reporter Malique Rankin spoke with Jessica, who asked to have her last name omitted from this story to protect her children. With Alabama's recent abortion ban, Jessica's story has gotten national attention, showing how the state's laws can fail rape survivors.

Jessica tells CBS 42 she was continually raped by her step-uncle. The man was Jessica's mother's half brother. Despite an abundance of evidence, including a DNA test, the man was never convicted.

"Well it all started when I was 12 or 13 years old, and he started climbing in my bed at night," Jessica said.

As a result, she was impregnated four times. At 14, she miscarried. At 16, she had a baby boy. At 18, she had her third child. He later died due to a disease common in cases of incest. At 19, Jessica had her youngest son. She says her family threatened her to ensure she stayed home and the nature of her children's conception remained secret.

"I literally just felt like I didn't have any options," Jessica said.

Her accused rapist has been taking her to court, and winning, for visitation rights of her sons. The man that raped Jessica currently has visitation rights to her two children. The judge told Jessica for each visit she denied her rapist, she'd have to spend 48 hours in the county jail.

She shares her story in hopes it brings change.

    "You have to stand behind what's right, and you have to stand up for what you believe in. You know, it's been a very long, hard road for me, but it's going to be worth it. It may not benefit my case, but somebody in the future will benefit from this."


Representative Juandalynn Givan represents Jefferson County in the state legislature. She says the state continually takes steps backward through the laws we pass.

"We are one of two states in the union that does not have a law that terminates the rights of a rapist," Givan said.

Rep. Givan says her fellow lawmakers are wasting time passing senseless bills.

"I think the legislature is failing the women of Alabama. The justice system can do no more than what we enact into law," Givan said.

Rep. Givan has already taken steps to pre-file legislation for next session that would strip rapists of their parental rights.

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                                                 For the second time in a month!

In a bizarre case of friendly fire, a contingent of U.S. and Afghan troops came under fire from another group of Afghan security forces before calling in air support in self-defense, a U.S. military spokesman told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

The joint U.S.-Afghan force "came under effective fire" during a joint patrol in the country's Kunduz province, forcing them to request precision air support "to suppress the onslaught of machine gun fire," said Army Col. David Butler, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

As it turned out, the machine gun fire "was coming from another group of Afghan security forces," Butler said, killing an unspecified number of Afghan security forces personnel.

No U.S. troops were killed or wounded in the incident, Butler said, adding that the Pentagon plans on convening a joint investigation board to determine the details of the incident.

"This operation was extensively planned and coordinated with U.S. and Afghan security forces to prevent an event like this from occurring," Butler said. "We regret the tragic loss of our Afghan partners."

The incident comes less than a month after 18 Afghan police officers were killed by U.S. airstrikes in the Helmand province while coming to the defense of civilians during a Taliban attack.

The previous March, U.S. airstrikes "wiped out" a 17-man Afghan National Army outpost following a firefight that erupted after an Afghan military unit attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan convoy.

"This is an example of the fog of war," spokesman Sfc. Debra Richardson said at the time. "The U.S. conducted a precision self-defense airstrike on people who were firing at a partnered U.S.-Afghan force."

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VALLEJO, Calif. (BCN) -  A retired peace officer with experience in training police officers in the use of force said the Vallejo police officers' fatal shooting of rap artist Willie McCoy, 20, in a Taco Bell drive-thru in February was reasonable and in line with modern training and police practices,  the city attorney said.

City Attorney Claudia Quintana referred to a May 17 report by Dave Blake of Brentwood-based Blake Consulting. Quintana posted Blake's report and a news release about it on Vallejo's website Monday.

Quintana said the report details the legal background and the reasons behind Blake's conclusions. But she said it is important to realize that there is a difference between what force is reasonable from a civil
liability perspective and what outcome city officials and the community wanted.

A letter by Blake to Assistant City Attorney Kelly Trujillo, said the review of the Feb. 9 fatal shooting focused on the constitutional aspects of the use of force as well as any human factor psychological aspects which might apply.

Blake said he reserved the right to add, change and delete any of his opinions based on any provision of more information not reviewed at the time his report was completed.

The report says six Vallejo police officers fired 55 rounds in 3.5 seconds at McCoy who was sitting in a silver Mercedes that was still in drive gear.

Blake said the officers had reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to detain or arrest McCoy for offenses that included carrying a loaded firearm in public, DUI, possession of a firearm under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.

One of the officers who looked inside the Mercedes-Benz as McCoy slept said he saw a gun in McCoy's lap, and two other officers confirmed it, Blake said.

 Video footage from various angles makes it clear McCoy sat up, moved both hands toward his lap and then moved his left arm downward, Blake said.

Officers were giving loud verbal commands as McCoy made movements forward in his seat three seconds before shots were fired, Blake said.  McCoy's eyes were open and he looked around at the officers before reaching toward the area of the gun. Videos from all body worn cameras show McCoy was fired upon three seconds after the first verbal command to show his hands, Blake said.

Just before the shots were fired, McCoy's left arm movement indicates he was reaching down toward the floorboard, Blake said.

 According to Blake, the six officers had probable cause to believe McCoy posed an immediate threat of death or serious injury to themselves and others, and the use of force was objectively reasonable and necessary based on the totality of circumstances.

Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represents McCoy's family and plans to file a claim against the city of Vallejo, said in March that Vallejo police "failed to establish a plan of action to safely remove McCoy from the car and violated longstanding officer safety principles."

Burris also said he does not understand why the Vallejo police officers refused to take a position of safety to resolve the incident without gunfire.

"The death of Mr. McCoy is not the outcome that the City of Vallejo and our community desire," Quintana said.


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2 men die while competing in Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman
« Reply #13033 on: June 12, 2019, 05:50:11 PM »
Two men died following an Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin, over the weekend, the Madison Fire Department said.
Todd Mahoney, 38, an apparatus engineer with the fire department, and Michael McCulloch, 61, of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, both died during the swimming portion of the lengthy race.
The Ironman 70.3 is a three-part race, with a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Competitors began swimming in heats, starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the Ironman website.

McCulloch was rescued from Lake Monona by the Madison Fire Department, taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, a fire department statement said.
According to an obituary, McCulloch was a native of the area, and survived by his wife and daughter.
The fire department said it also rescued Mahoney when he was found unresponsive in the lake. He was transported to a hospital, where he died Tuesday.
Mahoney was a nine-year veteran of the fire department and occasionally was an aide to the chief. He is survived by his wife and three young sons, the department said.

The Dane County medical examiner's office told CNN affiliate WKOW that McCulloch's death "was consistent with an accidental drowning due in part to a medical event." The office continues to investigate Mahoney's cause of death, the fire department said.
"The well-being of our competitors is paramount and we are grateful for the effort and quick support of medical personnel," Ironman said in a statement Sunday to WKOW. "We will continue to work with the local authorities to gather all the details on these incidents and will continue to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our athletes. In respect of the families and athletes' privacy, we will have no further comment at this time."

Ironman didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway issued a statement Tuesday on the men's deaths.

"My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the two athletes who died while competing in the Half Iron Man on Sunday," Rhodes-Conway said. "It is a tragic coincidence that two men died competing in the same event."

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Police Detain Over 400 in Moscow During Protest Over Reporter’s Arrest
« Reply #13034 on: June 12, 2019, 06:10:18 PM »

Ilya Bolunov, 17, wears a T-shirt reading "I am/We are Ivan Golunov."

After investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was released on Tuesday, protesters’ focus turned to those responsible for his detention.

Police arrested more than 400 protesters in Russia’s capital on Wednesday during a march calling for the punishment of those responsible for the arrest of an investigative reporter on trumped-up drug charges.

The march, which was not authorized by the authorities, had been planned to call for the release of Ivan Golunov, a Moscow-based investigative reporter with the Latvia-based Meduza news site. But after police dropped all charges against him on Tuesday in a surprise pivot following an unprecedented public outcry, more than 1,000 protesters demanded that those responsible for his arrest should be held to account, and raised their voices for lesser-known Russians detained under similar circumstances.

“Today is Russia Day isn’t it?” said Elena Stepanova, a 60-year-old pensioner, referring to the June 12 holiday celebrating Russia’s sovereignty instituted after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Well, we’re here to call for true independence — from those who would limit our rights.”

Golunov’s arrest last Thursday had sparked mass outrage. As one of Russia’s most prolific investigative journalists, his defenders believed he had been targeted for his investigations through fabricated charges. In court, Golunov attested that he had received threats for working on his latest article on corruption in the funeral business, which he had filed the day of his arrest.

Over the weekend and into this week, hundreds picketed outside Moscow’s police headquarters. On Monday, Russia’s three main business dailies — Kommersant, RBK and Vedomosti — ran matching cover pages reading: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov.” Even some state-supported journalists and high-profile celebrities came to the reporter’s side, calling for justice in his case.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Interior Ministry dropped the case in a surprise about-face after a slew of evidence showed that the drugs could not have been Golunov’s. The decision came against a backdrop of authorities nervous about social unrest as Russian President Vladimir Putin faces dissatisfaction over living standards. The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev also said he had suspended the police officers involved pending an investigation, and that he would ask Putin to sack two high-ranking Moscow police generals over the case.

But many of the protesters at Wednesday’s march said they felt a responsibility to keep the momentum that had built up over the past week going to ensure that those responsible for Golunov’s arrest would be held accountable. Although the authorities have sanctioned a protest to take place on June 16, marchers told The Moscow Times they believed the move aimed to provide them with an outlet for their anger.

“They are trying to cool us off,” said 17-year-old Ilya Bolunov. “But we’re here today to make clear that we haven’t forgotten about all of the other people who are sitting in jail on the same charges as Ivan, who are less famous.”

Winding through central Moscow toward the police headquarters on Petrovka Street, protesters, many of whom wore T-shirts reading “I am/We are Golunov,” chanted for the annulment of Article 228 of Russia’s Criminal Code, under which Golunov was arrested. They also called for the freedom of political prisoners, including an aide to opposition politician Alexei Navalny, Leonid Volkov, who has spent more than a month in prison for protests organized by Navalny in September.

Navalny himself joined the protest, but was soon detained.

“The authorities got terribly scared of the fantastic and unanimous expression of solidarity over the Golunov case,” he tweeted soon after. “That’s why it’s important for them to first destroy the common solidarity and then to intimidate and imprison those who continue insisting.”

Along the planned route toward Petrovka, police set up barricades and used street-cleaning trucks to spray down marchers in an effort to get them to disperse. They also detained more than 400 protesters, including scores of journalists and two of the march’s organizers, according to the police-monitoring OVD-Info website. Many of the arrests were violent.

The result was several disjointed groups of protesters walking down central Moscow’s streets with the police trying to keep up until they eventually all dispersed, after several hours. About two hours after the start of the march, one of the remaining groups of protesters walked toward the Kremlin, chanting: “Russia without Putin.”

There, Putin was giving a reception in honor of Russia Day. Although the president didn’t mention Golunov in his remarks, a young woman had managed to get a front seat, wearing one of the T-shirts reading: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov.”