Blog Rolls

Demonstrators Across Israel Protest Violence Against Women

The protesters honored women killed in 2018, and called for the government to take action. They used empty shoes and posed as victims in graphic displays.

(Image credit: Oded Balilty/AP)

Categories: Just News

A Sustainable Path Forward Report from the Task Force on US Postal System

United States Postal Service: A Sustainable Path Forward Report from the Task Force on the United States Postal System. December 4, 2018 – “On April 12, 2018, you [President Trump] signed Executive Order 13829, which established the Task Force on the United States Postal System to evaluate the operations and finances of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and develop recommendations for administrative and legislative reforms for the U.S. postal system. The goal of these recommendations is to identify a path for the USPS to operate under a sustainable business model, providing necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, while competing fairly in commercial markets…”

The USPS is a $71 billion enterprise that collects, processes, transports, and delivers 146 billion pieces of mail and packages to nearly 159 million households and businesses annually.The mission of the USPS is broadly defined via the “universal service obligation”

(USO), which is intended to ensure that all citizens and businesses in the United States receive a minimum level of postal services at a reasonable price. The USPS has been losing money for more than a decade and is on an unsustainable financial path. The USPS is forecast to lose tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. Further, as of the end of FY 2018, the USPS balance sheet reflects $89 billion in liabilities against $27 billion in assets–a net deficiency of $62 billion. The shift toward digital correspondence and the corresponding decline in USPS mail volumes have been compounded by caps on mail pricing, leading to mail revenue declines of around 4 percent per year. Additionally, the USPS has not been able to sufficiently reduce costs to offset declines in revenue, resulting in net losses totaling $69 billion between FY 2007 and FY 2018…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Democrats Weigh Options In Potentially-Tainted N.C. Congressional Race

State investigators appears focused on whether a Republican political operative violated the law by hiring people to collect mail-in ballots from voters. The GOP candidate won with a 900 vote margin.

(Image credit: The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

TIME – World’s Greatest Places 2018 100 destinations to experience right now

TIME: “It’s easy to find guides to famous attractions. But which new and newly relevant destinations are worth experiencing right now? To assemble our first annual list of the World’s Greatest Places, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories—such as museums, parks, bars, restaurants, theme parks, cruises and hotels—from our editors and correspondents around the world as well as dozens of industry experts. Then we evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence. The result is a list as diverse as the world it reflects, with 100 entries spanning six continents and 48 countries—highlighting everything from a Texas water park that empowers kids with disabilities to a Maldives resort that’s building an undersea abode to a library in Tianjin, China, that’s almost as wondrous as reading itself. To see the full list, click here.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Social Security Administration offers dozens of publications in multiple formats

The 149 publications are listed in reverse chronological order [newest first] and each is available in PDF, Audio and up to 14 different languages. Current titles include the following:

  • Understanding The Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan 05-10508, ICN 470112, December 2018. An overview of the Extra Help available to cover the costs of a Medicare prescription drug plan and a list of factors you should consider when comparing plans. Audio PDF
  • Apply Online For Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs 05-10525, ICN 470142, December 2018. Learn how easy it is to apply online for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. Audio PDF
  • Social Security’s Electronic Wage Reporting (Forms W-2) 05-10034, ICN 456208, October 2018. If you run a business, make www.socialsecurity.gov/employer your first stop for information on W-2s, electronic filing and verifying Social Security numbers. Audio PDF
  • Get Your Payments Electronically 05-10073, ICN 467520, October 2018. Receiving Social Security payments electronically is a simple, safe and secure way to receive your benefits — even if you don’t have a bank account. Audio PDF
  • What Every Woman Should Know 05-10127, ICN 480067, October 2018. Learn about valuable Social Security program information, such as who is eligible for various benefits and the importance of reporting income properly. Audio PDF

[h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Journalist Flies Home To The Philippines To Face Arrest Warrant, Posts Bail

Maria Ressa, the head of Rappler, an online news outlet known to criticize the Philippine government, was charged with tax evasion. "I will do what I need to do to face all of this," she said.

(Image credit: Aaron Favila/AP)

Categories: Just News

Satanic Sculpture Installed At Illinois Statehouse, Just In Time For The Holidays

There's a Nativity scene for Christmas, a menorah for Hanukkah, and something a little different: an arm holding an apple, with a snake coiled around it.

Categories: Just News

Yes, the Octopus Is Smart as Heck. But Why?

The New York Times – “To demonstrate how smart an octopus can be, Piero Amodio points to a YouTube video. It shows an octopus pulling two halves of a coconut shell together to hide inside. Later the animal stacks the shells together like nesting bowls — and carts them away.“It suggests the octopus is carrying these tools around because it has some understanding they may be useful in the future,” said Mr. Amodio, a graduate student studying animal intelligence at the University of Cambridge in Britain. But his amazement is mixed with puzzlement. For decades, researchers have studied how certain animals evolved to be intelligent, among them apes, elephants, dolphins and even some birds, such as crows and parrots. But all the scientific theories fail when it comes to cephalopods, a group that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. Despite feats of creativity, they lack some hallmarks of intelligence seen in other species. “It’s an apparent paradox that’s been largely overlooked in the past,” said Mr. Amodio. He and five other experts on animal intelligence explore this paradox in a paper published this month in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution…”

…Another feature that cephalopods share with other smart animals is a relatively big brain. But that’s where the similarities appear to end. Most of the neurons that do the computing, for example, are in the octopus’s arms..”

Categories: Law and Legal

New study from NCconfirms some long-held folk wisdom about race and juries

The New York Times – Prof. Ronald Wright – “A new study from North Carolina confirms some long-held folk wisdom about race and juries. The good news is there are two doable solutions. Race, as a matter of constitutional principle, cannot factor into the selection of jurors for criminal trials. But in the American justice system, anyone with a bit of common sense and a view from the back of the courtroom knows the colorblind ideal isn’t true in practice.Racial bias largely seeps in through what’s called “peremptory” challenges: the ability of a prosecutor — and then a defense attorney — to block a certain number of potential jurors without needing to give the court any reason for the exclusion. The number of challenges allowed varies by state, but commonly 15 or more are permitted. Folk wisdom, among those familiar with the song and dance, is that prosecutors use these challenges to remove nonwhite jurors, who are statistically more likely to acquit, while defense attorneys — who can step in only after the pool has been narrowed by prosecutors — typically counteract by removing more white jurors.For a long time, the opacity of court records rendered the dynamic as only that — folk wisdom — which has made it difficult to articulate the urgent need to reform this understudied aspect of our system. But now, this informal knowledge has been empirically confirmed, and the case for change couldn’t be more compelling

My recently published research on juror removal in North Carolina conducted with colleagues at the Wake Forest University School of Law proves — for the first time with statewide evidence — that peremptory challenges are indeed a vehicle for veiled racial bias that results in juries less sympathetic to defendants of color. Based on statewide jury selection records, our Jury Sunshine Project discovered that prosecutors remove about 20 percent of African-Americans available in the jury pool, compared with about 10 percent of whites. Defense attorneys, seemingly in response, remove more of the white jurors (22 percent) than black jurors (10 percent) left in the post-judge-and-prosecutor pool…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Too Much Vitamin D In Dog Food May Have Poisoned Pets, Spurring Recalls And FDA Alert

The FDA says pet owners should watch out for vitamin D toxicity. Recalled brands include Abound, Nutrisca and Natural Life.

(Image credit: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Pentagon Will Train Recruits Holding Green Cards Following Court Order

A federal judge ruled that the Pentagon provided no rationalization for recruiting immigrants and then delaying their military service.

(Image credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Categories: Just News

6 Little Words Helped Make George H.W. Bush (A 1-Term) President

"Read my lips" succeeded at countering Bush's image problem. But if it improved his chances of being elected in 1988, it may have ruined his chances of being re-elected in 1992.

(Image credit: Mike Spague/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Denmark's Latest Stand Against 'Undesirable' Migrants: Ship Them To An Island

Lawmakers have agreed to send rejected refugees or those with criminal records to an uninhabited island once used to test diseased animals.

(Image credit: James Brooks/AP)

Categories: Just News

GOP Email Hack Shows How Bad Midterm Election Meddling Got

Wired Top Stories - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 16:30
Election-related hacking during the midterm season seemed fairly muted, but it turns out that the National Republican Congressional Committee suffered a major breach.
Categories: Just News

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