January 18, 2018

Movie ticket sales down 6% in 2017

Misspending money on bullet trains instead of real ones

CBS Sacramento - Officials are raising the projected cost of the first phase of California’s bullet train by 35 percent, to $10.6 billion. The extra $2.8 billion comes on a 199-mile segment in the Central Valley that is partly under construction.

19 attorney generals want banking for legal weed industry

Huffington Post - In a letter sent to congressional leaders on Tuesday, attorneys general from 17 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territory of Guam said they shared “a strong interest in protecting public safety and bringing grey market activities into the regulated banking sector.”

“To address these goals, we urge Congress to advance legislation that would allow states that have legalized medical or recreational use of marijuana to bring that commerce into the banking system,” the letter stated.

Such a law “would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions,” 

Poll: Democratic presidential nomination

 Harvard CAPS/Harris

27% Biden
16% Sanderss
13% Winfrey
13%  Clinton H
10% Warren
 4%  Booker
 4% Harris
 2% Cuomo
 1%  Gilibrand

Restorative justice at work

Dept. of Good Stuff: Urban

City news

ESSAYS
MOVEMENTS

What Hollywood women could learn from farmworkers about sexual abuse

Talk Poverty - - What could Hollywood’s brightest stars learn from farmworkers in Florida’s tomato fields? When it comes to creating a workplace where women are empowered to report sexual harassment—and receive justice rather than retaliation when they do so—the farmworkers of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) offer a proven model. That the group created this solution in a town known less than a decade ago as “ground zero for modern slavery” makes it all the more remarkable and promising for other industries.

Agriculture is a notoriously dangerous industry for women: 80 percent of women farmworkers report having experienced some form of sexual violence on the job. The CIW is addressing this crisis through its Fair Food Program (FFP), which puts market pressure on tomato growers to enforce a strict code of conduct in their fields. The code, which was developed by workers themselves, sets various human rights standards, one of which is zero tolerance for sexual assault. (It mandates immediate firing for unwanted “physical touching.”) If violations of the code go unaddressed, the result is severe economic consequences for the grower. Get TalkPoverty In Your Inbox

To enforce the code, which covers more than 90 percent of Florida’s $600 million tomato industry, the CIW has established legally-binding agreements with 14 of the world’s largest retail food corporations that purchase tomatoes—including WalMart, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and all major fast-food companies with the exception of Wendy’s. These corporations promise to cut off purchases from farms that are out of compliance with the code. Now, tomato growers know if they don’t crack down on abuses in their fields, they can’t sell their produce to these major buyers. These agreements didn’t come easily: CIW educated consumers about the plight of farmworkers via hunger strikes, marches, and direct action. It took intense public pressure to get most of the corporate retailers to sign on.

Trump regime to allow doctors, nurses to discriminate against women and alternative sexe

NPR -Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.

The establishment of the division reverses an Obama-era policy that barred health care workers from refusing to treat transgender individuals or people who have had or are seeking abortions.

US border patrol routinely sabotages water for migrants

Guardian -United States border patrol agents routinely vandalise containers of water and other supplies left in the Arizona desert for migrants, condemning people to die of thirst in baking temperatures, according to two humanitarian groups.

In a report published on,  the Tucson-based groups said the agents committed the alleged sabotage with impunity in an attempt to deter and punish people who illegally cross from Mexico.

Volunteers found water gallons vandalised 415 times, on average twice a week, in an 800 sq mile patch of Sonoran desert south-west of Tucson, from March 2012 to December 2015, the report said. The damage affected 3,586 gallons.

The report also accused border patrol agents of vandalising food and blankets and harassing volunteers in the field.

Poll: Global view of American leadership; who's responsible for economy

Other nations’ approval of U.S. leadership under President Donald Trump hit a historical low of 30 percent in 2017, according to a Gallup poll

Obama gets more credit than Trump for the improved economy: 56% to 49%

January 17, 2018

Worst 2018 alternative sex bills

Freedom of information cases soar

TRAC--Since the new administration took office at the end of January 2017, there has been a sharp jump in the number of lawsuits filed by individuals and organizations seeking court orders to obtain federal government records. Suits brought by the news media and nonprofit advocacy organizations have fueled a significant part of this rise.

Lawsuits this past fiscal year rose an astonishing 26 percent, and are continuing to climb. Freedom of Information Act court cases are now up over 70 percent from just five years ago. Court backlogs of pending FOIA litigation have climbed even faster, with nearly 900 cases waiting resolution.

The Department of Justice with 197 FOIA lawsuits - a jump of 33 - was sued the most often, followed by the Department of Homeland Security with 98 suits. The Department of Interior with 68 new FOIA suits filed against it moved up in the rankings from fifth place in FY 2016 to third place in FY 2017.

Best states slash incarceration and crime

China fires shot in new financial war with US

The Daily Proof -  Bloomberg reported that Beijing is reviewing the composition of Chinese reserves and considering reducing their allocation to U.S. Treasury securities. China has been diversifying away from Treasuries for years, including increased allocations to gold, direct investments in private equity, hedge funds and high-quality, euro-denominated debt.

The Chinese leak is best understood as a shot across the bow in what is shaping up as a new currency and trade war between the U.S. and China.

The U.S. is preparing to slap tariffs and trade sanctions on China, so China was warning Washington that such actions might be met with retaliation.

Party control by state

Ballotpedia - Phil Murphy (D) was sworn into office as the Governor of New Jersey. He replaces Chris Christie (R), who was ineligible to run for re-election in 2017 due to term limits. Murphy's swearing-in gives Democrats trifecta control of the state, as they now hold the governor's mansion and both houses of the legislature.

The Democratic trifecta in New Jersey now brings the Democratic total to eight across the country. Democrats also picked up a trifecta in Washington as a result of the 2017 elections. Republicans currently have 26 trifectas, while 16 states remain under divided government.