Commentary

New Day: Morning Update From Evolutionary Times

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Start The Morning With A Quickie

 

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 Russia denies Assad to blame for chemical attack, on course for collision with Trump: Reuters

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Evidence of Strained Ties on the China- North Korea Border Reuters

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Window closing for Republican stealth assault on U.S. regulations: Reuters

The clock began running out this week on a strategy that has provided U.S. Republicans in Congress with their only notable legislative successes this year: aggressive use of an obscure U.S. law known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
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Thousands of defects found on oil train routes: Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Government inspections of railroads that haul volatile crude oil across the United States have uncovered almost 24,000 safety defects, including problems similar to those blamed in derailments that triggered massive fires or oil spills in Oregon, Virginia, Montana and elsewhere, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

The safety defects were discovered during targeted federal inspections on almost 58,000 miles of oil train routes in 44 states. The inspection program began two years ago following a string of oil train accidents across North America, including a 2013 derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people.

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Car insurance rates much higher in minority areas: Associated Press

A new report suggests that people living in urban minority neighborhoods could be paying as much as 30 percent more for car insurance, but an industry group says the report’s findings are flawed.

Nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica and Consumer Reports published an analysis Wednesday based on insurance data in California, Illinois, Missouri and Texas detailing insurance claims payments by zip code. Those were the only states where regulators had the data available.

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Omidyar network gives $100 million to boost journalism and fight hate speech: Washington Post

The philanthropy established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar will contribute $100 million to support investigative journalism, fight misinformation and counteract hate speech around the world.

One of the first contributions, $4.5 million, will go to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Washington-based group behind last year’s Panama Papers investigation, which revealed offshore businesses and shell corporations, some of which were used for purposes such as tax evasion.

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Evolutionary Times

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Morning Update

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Richard North Patterson: Mike Pence and the rise of mediocrity – The Boston Globe

A NEBRASKA SENATOR once said of a Supreme Court nominee, “So what if he’s mediocre? [The mediocre] are entitled to a little representation.” But in Mike Pence mediocrity is overrepresented. Not even Donald Trump commends this intellectually blinkered, right-wing provincial as America’s Savior.

He began as a talk show host in 1994 in small-town Indiana, fulminating about the global warming “myth,” the perfidy of Washington, and the verities of an evangelical Christianity menaced by cosmopolites. Piety swiftly merged with pragmatism: ambitious for office, Pence learned what worked — an antichoice, antigay agenda served up with reckless rhetoric couched in a pose of rectitude. He informed his audience that Clarence Thomas was being “lynched,” and that “despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” A quarter-century later, Pence remains as small as his beginnings.

The flexibility of his conscience surfaced in his first race for Congress. He used campaign funds to pay for his mortgage, car, credit card, golf, and groceries. To smear his opponent, he sent a mailer depicting lines of cocaine; ran an ad portraying an Arab sheik; and spread a story that the Democrat was selling his farm to a nuclear waste facility. Only after losing, did Pence deploy an ostentatious show of guilt.

Once in Congress, he joined the Tea Party and displayed a rigid intolerance for anything outside the crabbed confines of evangelical conservatism. He attacked sex education and reproductive choice with the zeal of Savonarola, decrying stem cell research, the use of condoms to prevent STDs, and organizations whose services included abortion. To further this agenda, he proposed changing the definition of rape to “forcible rape” and shutting down the government as a tactic to defund Planned Parenthood.

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Federal appeals court holds workers can’t be fired for being gay read full article at Think Progress

With a lopsided majority joined by a bipartisan coalition of judges, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held on Tuesday that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law, at least in the context of the workplace.
The court telegraphed in an order last October that Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College was likely to be a victory for victims of discrimination in the workplace. The final vote in the case, however, is a bit more surprising.
Eight of the Seventh Circuit’s judges joined Tuesday’s opinion, including Republican appointees Richard Posner, Joel Flaum, Frank Easterbrook, Ilana Rovner, and Kenneth Ripple. Only three judges dissented.

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Trump’s Defence Secretary urged to overturn appointment of ‘ungodly’ lesbian Air Force chief · PinkNews

An extreme conservative group founded by Alabama’s former Chief Justice has attacked the nomination of an “ungodly” lesbian to head the US Air Force Academy.

It was announced last week that Col. Kristin Goodwin, who has a wife and two kids, has been named as commandant of the US Air Force Academy.

Her nomination as Brigadier General and appointment to the role did not attract a wide amount of controversy – but anti-LGBT activists are now demanding Trump’s Defence Secretary James Mattis reverse the decision.

In a letter to Mattis, the Foundation for Moral Law – founded by Alabama’s disgraced Chief Justice Roy Moore – claimed Col. Goodwin should not be allowed to take the role because she “does not set a proper moral example for youth.”

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Undercover NYPD officers infiltrated and surveilled Black Live Matters protests in 2014 and 2015 – Salon.com

After a grand jury decided against indicting the officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, undercover New York Police Department officers infiltrated the ensuing protests organized by Black Lives Matter at Grand Central Terminal. Court documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that officers posed as protestors and even gained the confidence of organizers so that they could access the group’s private text messages.

The documents contained emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, the Guardian reported, in addition to surveillance photos. The undercover officers apparently had substantial access to the protestors’ plans and whereabouts. In one email, an NYPD official confirmed that an undercover officer had been successfully embedded within a group at the station — the site of numerous protests following Garner’s death.

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Water Protectors Fight Atlantic Coast Pipeline read full article at Indian Country Media Network

Is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline another DAPL in the making? Given the way the project’s route was moved from a wealthier, whiter area to a poor part of the state that has high percentages of indigenous and African American residents, it seems to be.

That was on the minds of people who walked along the 200 miles of the proposed route across North Carolina. It brought together climate activists from the western part of the state with low-income white, African-American and Native farmers and other residents of the eastern flatlands.

“This pipeline will directly affect the traditional lands of several tribes, including the Monacan, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Nansemond, Nottoway, Occaneechi, Haliwa-Saponi, Meherrin, Tuscarora, Coharie and Lumbee,” said Ericka Faircloth, a member of the Coalition of Woodland Nations. The coalition is made up of individuals from many tribes and nations along the Eastern seaboard who have taken a position on the pipeline, which would bring fracked gas from West Virginia 550 miles south to the North Carolina–South Carolina border.

The Monacan Indian Tribe, a state-recognized tribe in Virginia, is staunchly opposed.

 

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12642932_1691271737809945_4644215077757061530_nSolidarity

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Tent City, infamous home of inmates who wear pink underwear and major piece of Arpaio’s legacy, is closing

Tent City, Maricopa County’s open-air jail notorious for hosting inmates wearing pink underwear in the blistering summer heat, will shut down, according to Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Penzone made the announcement Tuesday based on the recommendation of an advisory committee that he appointed after taking office in January.

The tents served as a prominent symbol of Penzone’s predecessor, Joe Arpaio, who erected the facility in 1993, his first year in office, and held it up as an inexpensive solution to overcrowded jails. Penzone defeated Arpaio in last year’s general election, ending his 24-year span as sheriff.

At an afternoon press conference Tuesday, Penzone said Tent City has become the preferred location for inmates and a liability for understaffed detention officers. Shuttering the facility will save the county approximately $4.5 million a year, he said.

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220 Cities Losing All Passenger Train Service per Trump read full article at New York and Chicago Railroad

Elimination of all federal funding for Amtrak’s national network trains
Stations used by 144.6 million Americans will close

Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Rail Passengers, the premiere national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit, denounced the budget outline released today by the Trump Administration, which slashes investment in transportation infrastructure. These cuts to Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to rural towns, would not only cost construction and manufacturing jobs, but place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities.

“It’s ironic that President Trump’s first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. “These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like ‘flyover country.’ But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak’s long distance trains, the Trump Administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S. These hard working, small town Americans don’t have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.”

 

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Bernie Sanders speaks on the floor of the Senate on why Neil Gorsuch would set back women’s rights, workers rights, and voting rights.

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Worked to Death | Jacobin

The American pension crisis helps corporations maintain a precarious, easily exploitable workforce.

The state of the American retirement system is not good. Pension funds are constantly being whittled away, workers who are lucky enough to have funds increasingly receive 401(k) plans that are subject to the wild fluctuations of the market, and free-market vultures continue to circle around the social security system — a terrifying prospect in a country where 45 percent of households don’t have any retirement savings at all.

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Brexit: Food prices rose at fastest rate for more than three years in March read full article at Independent

Food prices rose at their fastest pace for more than three years in March as retailers passed on surging costs from the Brexit-hit pound and global commodity hikes, new figures have shown.

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Remains of 3,700 year old pyramid discovered south of Cairo read full article at Digital Journal

Cairo – A team of Egyptian archaeologists has uncovered the remains of a new pyramid dating to the 13th Dynasty. The remains of the 3,700-year-old structure were found about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Egypt’s capital city Cairo.

Due to the bent slope of its sides, the remains are believed to be one of ancient Egypt’s first attempts at building a smooth-sided pyramid. The structure was discovered just north of Pharoah Sneferu’s bent pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis. The royal necropolis is located on the West bank of the Nile River and was the burial site for courtiers and high-ranking officials.

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UNEXPLAINED RADIO SIGNALS ARE DEFINITELY COMING FROM SPACE, SCIENTISTS REVEAL read full story at The Independent

Scientists have confirmed that the most mysterious signal in the universe is coming from space.

Fast Radio Bursts – the strange signals that are occasionally sent down to Earth – have been pinned down to everything from aliens to a measuring mistake. But researchers have now ruled out the most down-to-Earth explanation, that the signals aren’t actually coming from space but from interference on Earth.

New work confirms that the mysterious bursts of radio waves, tracked over ten years, are actually coming from somewhere else in the universe.

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Actions

Tonight 8 PM – 9:30 PM

Webinar: Meaningful Solidarity and How to Build with Allies hosted by Greenpeace USA

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Simply put, if we move together and with united vision, we cannot be stopped. As people who work for justice, we must learn to work together in healthy ways as individuals and organizations.

But how do we build effective relationships with other groups who we haven’t worked with before? How do we act in solidarity with those most impacted by hateful policies? And what can we, as individuals, do to interrupt our own oppressive behavior?
On this webinar we will build tools to demonstrate allyship, examine social privilege and oppression, and best practices for forming new partnerships.

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Daily Call

SB 1130/HB 969 will be voted on today. Please call your Florida Senators and Representatives today in Tallahassee to ask them to vote no on these bills.

This bill attempts to establish “Pregnancy Support Services” (also referred to as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs) as legitimate wellness centers and appropriate state funding to support and promote child birth. For years, CPCs have been receiving state funding with zero oversight.

St Johns Delegation Senators and Represenatives
Senators St. Johns
Travis Hudson (386) 446-7610
Representatives St. Johns
Cyndi Stevenson (904) 823-2300
Paul Renner (386) 446-7644

Duval Delegation Senators and Represenatives

Senators Jacksonville Tallahassee
Gibson, Audrey (D) 904-359-2553 850-487-5009
Bean, Aaron (R) 904-346-5039 850-487-5004

Represenatives Jacksonville Tallahassee
Byrd, Cord (R) 904-242-3495 850-717-5011
Daniels, Kimberly (D) 904-696-5928 850-717-5014
Davis, Tracie (D) 904-353-2180 850-717-5013
Fischer, Jason (R) 904-332-7297 850-717-5016
Fant, Jay (R) 904-381-6011 850-717-5015
Yarborough, Clay 904-723-5300 850-717-5012

Additional Talking Points/ Information
All health care providers should be regulated and while this legislation establishes regulation and guidelines for CPCs such as financial reports, background checks of staff, and non-coercive or religious information, we want to ensure that women receive medically accurate information to access the full range of reproductive health care services.
In promoting the health of women and pregnancy, the full range of reproductive health care should be offered.
fappa.org
Under this legislation “Wellness services” means services or activities intended to maintain and improve health or prevent illness and injury, including, but not limited to, high blood pressure screening, flu vaccines, anemia testing, thyroid screening, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, assistance with smoking cessation, and tetanus vaccines BUT does not include contraception or information about safe sex.

By limiting subcontractors to “exclusively those who promote childbirth” this legislation could cut out qualified family planning providers who provide birth control, testing and treatment of STIs or referrals to safe and legal abortion services. These providers might be the only health care center in many areas of our state.
The state should ensure that all information provided by health care providers is medically accurate. This means information that is verified and supported by the weight of medical research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods.
Due to some misconceptions around reproductive health care, it would be better to have a clear definition of what medically accurate information should entail.

All health care providers should be regulated and those regulations should be fair, unbiased and based on scientific evidence.

While we support regulating entities that receive state funds, the lack of comprehensive services and medically accurate information is concerning.
The best way to prevent unintended pregnancies is with contraception and medically accurate information around sexual health. That is why this legislation should promote the full range of reproductive health care, especially after a woman carries a pregnancy to term.
This information is from Florida Planned Parenthood and Florida NOW. Last Updated 3/10/2017

Thank You!

Judy Sheklin, President
Jacksonville Area NOW
jaxnow@comcast.net

morning-main

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