May 25, 2019

Arkansas paper to stop daily print editions, provide free Ipads for readers

Axios -The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of Little Rock will discontinue daily print editions by the end of the year, but will distribute free iPads to digital subscribers to access an online print replica edition, AP reports.

Only the Sunday issue of the 80,000-circulation paper will be printed. Publisher Walter Hussman Jr. said .. he's willing to spend $12 million on the tablets, or about 36,400 iPads, which retail for $329. At the current lowest subscription rate of $34 a month, that would generate about $14.8 million per year — enough for a profit.

In 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer sold Android tablets for $100 if users signed up for a 2-year, $9.99 monthly subscription.  Poynter analyst Rick Edmonds said the program was "very unsuccessful."

Meanwile. . .

Federal judge blocks Mississippi 'heartbeat' law...

Presidential race update

Jay Inslee vowed o resettle record numbers of refugees in the United States if elected president,...
The Washington governor called the record-low cap of 45,000 refugee applicants that the Trump administration set last year “damaging and unacceptable.” 

Trump 2020 campaign secretly working with former Cambridge Analytica staffers

Health notes

Dentists practicing in the U.S. write 37 times more opioid prescriptions than dentists practicing in England

Paying $150,000 for someone else to give birth to your baby

Latino unemployment reaches record low

NPR -  Unemployment for Latinos is at 4.2% — the lowest in recorded history. And their poverty rate has gone down somewhat, to 18.3%. .... But Hispanics earn about one-fourth less than white workers do.

Judge blocks $1B in funding diverted under emergency order from being used to build border wall

Dictator drift: Trump indifferent to law

NBC News -President Donald Trump found four former federal officials guilty of "treason" Thursday — and then commissioned his intelligence agencies to help the Department of Justice prove it.

At the same time, he is  blocking Congress from executing its constitutional duty to execute oversight of his administration, not only with regard to his campaign's ties to Russia and the interference detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation but also on a host of other fronts.

He's wielding power in ways not seen in the United States in generations, if ever, and which many experts say do not resemble global norms for heads of state.

"This is really a feature of petty dictators, where you see the power of investigation abilities being used as a political tool against enemies," Claire Finkelstein, the director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania's law school, said in a telephone interview.

Indpeendent, UK -   Donald Trump has asserted rarely used emergency powers to sidestep congressional objections, and give the green light to an arms deal involving Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, told the leaders of several congressional committees the president was claiming a national emergency existed because of a purported threat from Iran and was, as a result, giving permission for 22 arms deals with around $8bn

May 24, 2019

Top editors blast Assange indictment

The Hill -Executive editors from top newspapers including The Washington Post and The New York Times voiced alarm over the Trump administration charging WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, with Post executive editor Marty Baron arguing the decision "undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment."

The pushback comes after the Department of Justice  announced 17 additional felony charges against Assange, accusing him of conspiring with former Army intelligence office Chelsea Manning to obtain and disclose "national defense information." Press freedom organizations widely panned the agency's move.

“Dating as far back as the Pentagon Papers case and beyond, journalists have been receiving and reporting on information that the government deemed classified. Wrongdoing and abuse of power were exposed," Baron told The Daily Beast.

"With the new indictment of Julian Assange, the government is advancing a legal argument that places such important work in jeopardy and undermines the very purpose of the First Amendment."

Corporations funding abortion bans

40% pf Americans couldn't handle an unexpected $400 expense

NY Times -Four in 10 American adults wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that could be quickly paid off, a new Federal Reserve survey finds. About 27 percent of people surveyed would need to borrow or sell something to pay for such a bill, and 12 percent would not be able to cover it at all, according to the Fed’s 2018 report on the economic well-being of households,

Meanwhile. . .

The hiring pace for new judges continues to be insufficient to keep up with the Immigration Court's workload. As a result, the court's backlog continues to climb - up 65 percent since President Trump assumed office. A total of only 424 judges face a backlog of 892,517 cases on the courts' active dockets as of the end of April 2019, not counting the hundreds of thousands of pending cases that have not yet been re-calendared.

 Analyzing 76 total press articles of the “elite” press from January 15 to April 15, 2019, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) could find not one voice that opposed Trump’s regime plans in Venezuela. Meanwhile, 54 percent openly supported these plans.

An appeals court ruled a New York state law barring farm workers from unionizing and collective bargaining is a violation of the state constitution, according to the New York Law Journal. The panel ruled the state cannot exclude farmworkers from a state constitutional amendment enshrining workers’ rights to form a union. The New York Farm Bureau had argued the state constitution explicitly disallowed farmworkers organizing.

Trump regime to roll back transgender protections

NY Times -The Trump administration has formally proposed to revise Obama-era civil rights for transgender people in the nation’s health care system, eliminating “gender identity” as a factor in health care and leaning government policy toward recognizing only characteristics of sex at birth.

Health notes

Colorado becomes first state in nation to cap price of insulin.

More problems with 5G

The Verge -It’s become increasingly clear that the wireless industry is trying to push the idea of speedy 5G wireless networks before the technology is actually ready....

As reported by The Washington Post and CNET, the heads of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warn the issue could set back the world’s weather forecasting abilities by 40 years — reducing our ability to predict the path of deadly hurricanes and the amount of time available to evacuate.

It’s because one of the key wireless frequencies earmarked for speedy 5G millimeter wave networks — the 24 GHz band — happens to be very close to the frequencies used by microwave satellites to observe water vapor and detect those changes in the weather. They have the potential to interfere. And according to NASA and NOAA testimony, they could interfere to the point that it delays preparation for extreme weather events.

Last week, acting NOAA head Dr. Neil Jacobs told the House Subcommittee on the Environment that based on the current 5G rollout plan, our satellites would lose approximately 77 percent of the data they’re currently collecting, reducing our forecast ability by as much as 30 percent.

“If you looked back in time to see when our forecast skill was 30 percent less than today, it’s somewhere around 1980. This would result in the reduction of hurricane track forecast lead time by roughly 2 to 3 days,” he said. "“the reduction of hurricane track forecast lead time by roughly 2 to 3 days”"

If we hadn’t had that data, Jacobs added, we wouldn’t have been able to predict that the deadly Hurricane Sandy would hit. A European study showed that with 77 percent less data, the model would have predicted the storm staying out at sea instead of making landfall. Jacobs said later that we currently have no other technologies to passively observe water vapor and make these more accurate predictions.

Some of America's largest cities are shrinking

Yahoo -America’s largest cities are shrinking but a few in the Southwest are continuing to boom. Fort Worth, Texas, is now the 13th most populous U.S. city, surpassing both San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio, according to newly released population estimates from the Census Bureau.

Fort Worth grew by 19,552 residents during the twelve-month period ending in July 2018. That makes it the city with the third largest numeric population gain among U.S. cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Only Phoenix and San Antonio had larger growth.

Besides Fort Worth, the fifteen most populous cities were largely unchanged from the prior year. However, the three largest U.S. cities, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, shrank last year.

US births fall to 32 year low

NPR -The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low.

Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born. And it's an ongoing slump: 2018 was the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Birthrates fell for nearly all racial and age groups, with only slight gains for women in their late 30s and early 40s, the CDC says.

Senate shows a little gumption

Reuters -The U.S. Senate approved $19.1 billion in aid to help Americans rebound from a string of natural disasters, and President Donald Trump supported it even though it did not include the funds he requested to address a migrant surge at the southern U.S. border.  The Senate, which has a thin Republican majority, approved the measure 85-8. Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, said a vote could soon follow in that chamber.

The measure would assist victims of disasters across the country over the last two years, from hurricanes in the Southeast to Midwestern flooding and California wildfires. It includes funds to repair highways and other infrastructure and help farmers cover crop losses.

Slashdot -  The Senate passed a bill that aims to crack down on unwanted robocalls. "The legislation would impose stiffer fines of as much as $10,000 per call on robocallers who knowingly flout the rules on calls and would increase the statute of limitations to three years, up from one year," reports CNN. "It also instructs the Federal Communications Commission to develop further regulations that could shield consumers from unwanted calls."

The legislation would accelerate the rollout of so-called "call authentication" technologies the industry is currently developing, which could cut down on the number of calls coming from unverified numbers.

The legislation passed the Senate 97-1, with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky casting the lone dissenting vote.

Back when we had a president even kids liked