Someone forgot to inform Jeb Bush that Hurricane Katrina isn’t funny.Some say Bush’s wit is so subtle that you need a kind of special radar to detect it. Others say he has the perfect sense of humor for our time. To this debate, we add another piece of evidence, that time Bush jokingly nicknamed a South Carolina state senator after Hurricane Katrina because her name is Katrina.
This is not how free markets are supposed to work. Until we deal with this problem, everyone will be the poorer – except the banks.
Expect poverty to be “big” this year. Even legislative Republicans haven’t resisted too much. They’ve generally been OK with new spending proposals – provided they’re funded without raising taxes. We’ll have to wait and see any specifics from legislators, but we already know the details of the so-called “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act.” It’s likely to spark a spirited debate during the November 2016 election season given the size of the tax increase it would impose on property owners.
Miami Fraternal Order of Police president and well-known troll Javier Ortiz continued his campaign against black activists yesterday, tweeting “act like a thug and you’ll be treated like one” in reference to Tamir Rice’s death.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) has introduced legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to certify that the refugee has passed a polygraph as part of the screening process for applicants.
Calvert suggested that the current screening process for refugees, which takes two years on average, is too lax.
“It has become all too clear to many Americans that our security screening processes for individuals wishing to enter our country are insufficient,” he said in a statement.
“Peaceful people who wish to come to our country with good intentions have nothing to fear with these additional measures.”He also wants the three agencies to pledge that a potential refugee has handed over biometric data, including DNA, that would be used to check databases for any previous terrorist activity. The refugees would also need to complete background checks that include searching their Internet postings to determine if they are a threat to national security.
A new state labor board ruling casts doubt on San Diego’s aggressive pension cutbacks and orders the city to spend millions creating retroactive pensions for roughly 2,000 employees hired since those cutbacks took effect.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he hopes to quickly get City Council approval to appeal Tuesday’s ruling by the Public Employment Relations Board, which he has previously criticized as staunchly pro-union.
Labor leaders on Wednesday praised the PERB ruling and urged city officials to accept defeat so they could rein in the potentially spiraling costs of the litigation, which contends former Mayor Jerry Sanders and other city officials illegally put Proposition B on the ballot without conferring with labor groups.
“The city’s bill is going to keep accumulating with interest and it will only get more expensive if they keep filing appeals,” said Michael Zucchet, general manager of the Municipal Employees Association.
Many city budget projections and proposals rely on future pension savings creating by Proposition B, so any softening or elimination of the measure could have a significant effect.
California officials never anticipated how many people would sign up for state-run health insurance under Obamacare.
The state’s health plan for the poor, known as Medi-Cal, now covers 12.7 million people, 1 of every 3 Californians.
If Medi-Cal were a state of its own, it would be the nation’s seventh-biggest by population; its $91-billion budget would be the country’s fourth-largest.
Expanding Medi-Cal was a key part of the Affordable Care Act, the national law that overhauled the healthcare system and required nearly all Americans to have insurance starting in 2014.
When rumors of sexual misconduct began to surface over the past few years, Bill Cosby issued strong denials and sued some of his accusers. His reputation was damaged, but he was never charged with a crime; most of the accusations fell outside the statute of limitations.
That changed on Wednesday, though, when the 78-year-old star walked unsteadily into court here and was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a 31-year-old woman at his home in early 2004. The charges came shortly before time would have expired for a prosecution in Pennsylvania.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office is considering criminal charges against Michael Peevey, former president of the California Public Utilities Commission, for his private meeting with a Southern California Edison Co. executive about financial arrangements for shutting down the San Onofre nuclear plant.
A sworn affidavit filed by a state investigator in a Los Angeles court Sept. 25 said there was evidence that Peevey and Stephen Pickett, Edison’s executive vice president for external relations, had violated a state law against ex parte communications — private contacts between a regulatory official and a regulated entity about issues the agency is considering.
Engaging in such communications is a misdemeanor, and conspiring to do so can be charged as a felony.
Peevey retired from the commission in December 2014, at the end of his term. He had been besieged by revelations of private contacts between Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executives and the commission, including Peevey’s chief of staff and commission member Mike Florio, over the regulatory agency’s handling of a major rate-setting case and other matters.
The changes follow a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014 to let PG&E collect an extra $2.37 billion in revenue from its customers over three years, from the start of 2014 through the end of 2016. The additional money will pay for maintenance and upgrades to PG&E’s sprawling electricity grid and natural gas pipeline network, both of which span most of Northern and Central California.
Apple has agreed to pay Italy about $350 million in taxes for several past years, prosecutors said Wednesday, part of a broader European effort to make multinationals pay what they owe in each country where they do business.
Italy has already brought several cases against global technology companies that have headquarters in low-tax nations like Ireland to avoid paying higher taxes in other countries, like Italy.
The practice, called profit-shifting, has come under attack from European Union executives, who want multinationals to pay tax where they earn their revenue, and not where they have their regional base.
Milan prosecutors confirmed that Apple agreed to pay the sum for the years 2008-13. The prosecutors also said Apple’s tax liabilities for the five successive years will hinge on an international ruling on such cases. They declined to give details.
They also declined to discuss how payment of back taxes might affect a criminal probe, conducted by the prosecutors, into suspected tax evasion by three Apple employees.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly rejected the notion that his company is trying to dodge taxes. In an interview with CBS TV program “60 Minutes” aired Dec. 20, he said: “Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.”
In a more traditional election cycle, you might expect that a three-term Republican governor from a traditionally blue state would have a leg up on the competition. A résumé like that shows a willingness to work across party lines, an ability to capture voters on the left and right and a knack for winning tough elections.
But as the 2016 race keeps proving, this is no ordinary campaign. Former New York Gov. George Pataki is the most recent casualty in a crowded Republican field that has favored flashy outsiders over seasoned politicians.
In fact, Pataki joins four other former or current governors who have called it quits already: former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas; former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, D-R.I.; Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.; and Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., have all dropped out.
Rather amazingly, Pataki managed to hold on for almost eight months. That’s longer than Perry’s 14 weeks on the trail, despite better name recognition of the Texan, who was mounting his second White House bid. And Walker, originally thought to be a top contender, dropped out in mid September.
Even though he remained in the race longer, Pataki never got a foothold among voters. Data from RealClearPolitics shows Pataki hovered just below 1 percent for the entire time he was in the race. His polling numbers were so low, he missed the cutoff for even the undercard debate on Fox Business Network on Nov. 10.
I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life. I spent the first couple of minutes just trying to breathe properly.
There was a lot of nervous smiling until, eventually, we settled in.I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday rolled out his latest short-term steps to try to reduce the number of people shot by Chicago police, suggesting that training to “create more time and distance” to make tense situations “less confrontational and more conversational” would help.“
There’s a difference between whether someone can use a gun and when they should use a gun. And we as a city must train for that difference,” Emanuel said, referencing what he said was a conversation with a police sergeant.
The city also plans to buy hundreds of Tasers, a generally less-lethal option that has been available in the department for years, though not every officer has been trained to use them or carries them. Under Emanuel’s plan, all officers would be trained by June and officers will be equipped before the start of a shift.
When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by The Washington Post.
In July 2002, Rubio sent a letter on his official statehouse stationery to the Florida Division of Real Estate, recommending Orlando Cicilia “for licensure without reservation.” The letter, obtained by The Washington Post under the Florida Public Records Act, offers a glimpse of Rubio using his growing political power to assist his troubled brother-in-law and provides new insight into how the young lawmaker intertwined his personal and political lives.
Rubio did not disclose in the letter that Cicilia was married to his sister, Barbara, or that the former cocaine dealer was living at the time in the same West Miami home as Rubio’s parents. He wrote that he had known Cicilia “for over 25 years,” without elaborating.
Rubio has avoided discussing Cicilia’s case in detail and has declined to answer questions about his relationship with his brother-in-law. Earlier this month, prior to The Post publishing an article about Cicilia’s case, Rubio declined to answer a written question about whether he had helped win the approval of his brother-in-law’s real estate license.
As California wound down its fourth year of drought, employees from the state Department of Water Resources conducted the season’s first manual measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack Wednesday, and pronounced the results encouraging.
Frank Gehrke, chief of the California cooperative snow surveys program, said the snowpack measured about 5 feet at Phillips. That’s 136 percent of average for the old Phillips post office, located at 6,800 feet elevation and a few miles west of Echo Summit on Highway 50.
The overall reading for the Sierra is closer to 110 percent of average.
It was a dramatic contrast with last April 1, when Gehrke accompanied Gov. Jerry Brown to Phillips and the two men stood somberly in a meadow completely barren of snow. Brown used the occasion to announce an executive order that required the state’s first-ever mandatory reductions in residential water use.
Austin Police Department, Commander Stephen Deaton left his badge and gun in a bag at the Target store on 10900 Lakeline Mall Drive.
The bag contained a Glock 40 and an Austin Police Department badge.
The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.
Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes. The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.
With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes.
Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.
A year-long Washington Post analysis found that police officers have fatally shot civilians nearly 1,000 times this year — and that about a quarter of those killed were mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis.
The PoliceState exterminated at least 247 people with mental health problems in 2015.
The youngest of the 247 victims, the Post investigation concluded, was 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard.
People with untreated mental illness are 16 times as likely to be killed during a police encounter as other civilians approached or stopped by law enforcement.
Federal officials have a message for the estimated 1 million Americans who received drones this holiday season: Register your aircraft or face stiff penalties.
Days before Christmas, the Federal Aviation Administration launched a registry where drone owners — from hobbyists to commercial operators — must declare their small unmanned aircraft before Feb. 19.
FAA officials say the new registry is intended to hold the bad apples accountable. But many drone enthusiasts across the country say regulators have gone too far.
As lawyers for Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow wrapped up his defense against federal racketeering charges Tuesday, an appeals court refused to order prosecutors to identify the undercover agents at the heart of their case against the alleged gang leader.
It’s a sad feature of contemporary life that data breaches are as common as changes in the weather.
Still, the news that a misconfigured database resulted in the exposure of about 191 million registered voters’ personal information is incredibly alarming.
When Congress effectively lifted the federal ban on medical marijuana a year ago, Californians drove the landmark change, which was tucked into a sprawling spending package.
A year later, marijuana legalization advocates are conflicted over how big a victory the congressional vote, which was repeated this month, has turned out to be.
“The number of raids has dropped substantially, though not completely,” across the country, said Mike Liszewski, government affairs director for Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group.
A federal court ruling this fall, if it is upheld, would limit federal agents from targeting all but operations that are clearly flouting state law, he noted.
But in California, in particular, federal prosecutors continue to pursue cases, in large part because of flaws in the existing state medical marijuana law, which all sides agree is long overdue for an overhaul.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed three measures to clarify the state law, but those won’t take effect until 2018.
So for now, the state that was America’s birthplace for legal medical pot remains at the center of legal disputes as federal prosecutors struggle to navigate a murky landscape in which the line between healers and drug dealers is not always clear.
State election officials are looking into claims that data on millions of California voters were publicly posted online.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Tuesday that his office was working to verify media reports, first circulated Monday, that the information of as many as 191 million voters nationwide had been posted online “in an insecure manner by an unknown third party.”
Bill Cosby was charged by Pennsylvania authorities Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman at his home 12 years ago — the first criminal charges brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his wholesome image as America’s Dad.
The case sets the stage for perhaps the biggest celebrity trial of the mobile-all-the-time era and could send the 78-year-old Cosby to prison in the twilight of his life and barrier-breaking career.
It has been a year since a Southern California tourist, infected with measles, reintroduced the nation to a disease everyone thought had more or less gone away.
The Disneyland measles outbreak brought many lessons: the smallness of the world, the resilience of disease, the swiftness of contagions even where immunization is taken for granted.
But one of its clearest takeaways lay in the extent to which a minority of misinformed people had been able to endanger the public, leveraging liberty and “personal choice” to the point that they nearly undid decades of public health work.
Source: Polling Report – Environment
Source: Polling Report – Immigration
The federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department will include the two police shootings this past weekend, one of which left a 19-year-old man and 55-year-old woman dead.
“The shell casings that were shot, many were found on the sidewalk area and near the street, which suggests to me that the gunfire came from a substantial distance away, that no police officers’ life was in danger at the time.”
SeaWorld Entertainment has scored a legal victory with the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming the company defrauded visitors to its theme parks about the treatment of its killer whales.
A U.S. District Court judge in San Diego, in a ruling last Thursday, found no basis for multiple claims made by the plaintiffs, who had visited the San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando marine parks at various times over a three-year period.
The case, which was a consolidation of three lawsuits, alleged that the SeaWorld parks deliberately concealed the treatment of its whales, claiming, among other things, that the orcas were confined to cramped conditions and that calves were separated from their mothers.
The customers filing suit sought refunds for visitors to the parks on the grounds they would not have purchased admission tickets had they known how the animals were being cared for.
The case was also seeking class action status.
In granting SeaWorld’s request for a dismissal, U.S. District Judge Catherine Ann Bencivengo concluded that the theme park patrons failed to make their case under various consumer protection laws that the company misrepresented the treatment of their orcas and, therefore, knowingly induced them to visit the marine parks.
The merging of Latino and Muslim communities is not as new as it might seem.
Though statistics aren’t tracked, many in both communities describe Latino Muslims as one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the country, with an estimated 150,000 converts in the United States.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, and Latinos are converting to Islam at a rate higher than any other ethnicity.
The Chicago police officer who shot Laquan McDonald in the back in cold blood entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment Tuesday morning.
Jason Van Dyke appeared for the first time in front of Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan, who was assigned to hear his case. His lawyer, Dan Herbert, entered the plea at a brief hearing.
The case has created a firestorm after the release last month of a dash-cam video showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times within seconds of stepping out of his police car as the black teen moved away from the white officer.
Van Dyke’s lying rat lawyer has said the veteran officer feared for his life when he shot McDonald on a Southwest Side street in October 2014. What bullshit.
Even more amazing, the indictment against Van Dyke, 37, marked the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gov. Jerry Brown has been more generous with pardons than former governors, and we generally applaud him for it. But one of his choices last week raised a number of eyebrows around the state, and for understandable reasons.
The Oscar-nominated actor Robert Downey Jr. has certainly made the much of his life since serving more than a year in prison for a 1996 conviction on drug and weapons charges.
As the star of major Hollywood franchises like “Iron Man” and “The Avengers,” he was the world’s best-paid actor this year ($80 million according to Forbes magazine).
So it’s easy for the Chronicle’s editors to imagine that Downey’s recent pre-pardon contributions to Gov. Brown look bad.
No not really. What looks bad is Brown’s ignoring the mounting evidence that the police departments in California routinely murder the mentally ill and people of color without cause.
If the Chronicle really wanted to opine on something important, they’d write about bringing Mario Woods’ murderers (AKA the SFPD) to justice.
Major money has begun to flow into the effort to qualify a ballot measure that would impose a property tax surcharge on expensive homes to pay for anti-poverty programs.
On Christmas Eve, the Making Poverty History campaign committee reported a $700,000 donation from the Daughters of Charity Foundation. The money brought to $900,000 the total contributed by the Los Angeles-based group, a Christian organization dedicated to serving the poor.
Other major donors to the measure are Los Angeles entrepreneur Joseph Sanberg, who has given $150,000; St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Youth Policy Institute, Inc., which each donated $50,000.
The Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act is one of several tax-increase proposals seeking to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. It would impose a surcharge on property valued at $3 million or more to raise money for a bevy of various health, education and social programs.
Three years ago when Ori Herschmann first walked the UC Berkeley campus, he was still naive. A freshman from Palo Alto, he wore the Jewish Star of David, unaware it would make him a target.In his freshman year, he noticed that anti-Israeli events turned into anti-Jewish ones.
During sophomore year, he began seeing anti-Semitic slogans spray-painted on buildings. During his junior year, Herschmann served as a student senator and succeeded in pushing through a measure to condemn anti-Semitism.
Jewish students at UC Berkeley are not alone. Across the UC system, Jewish students are targeted by anti-Israel groups. At UC Santa Barbara, after contentious campaigns to boycott Israel, fliers blaming Jews for 9/11 were posted on campus. At UC Davis, the Hillel House was defaced with “grout out the Jews” and a Jewish fraternity was spray-painted with swastikas after brothers spoke out against divestment.
You can get away with murdering a child.
You can shoot a child in an open park. You can lie about the incident. You can refuse to cooperate with investigators. You can, if a Cuyahoga County prosecutor and grand jury are to be believed, escape indictment even when the entire episode is captured on videotape.
Tamir Rice did not deserve to die. The man who killed him, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, will never spend a day in prison.
The attorney general’s office has been inundated with marijuana legalization measures. So it’s been unclear which ones might emerge with enough financial backing to get on the ballot and maybe even win approval.
In November, former Facebook President Sean Parker backed something called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Parker is a billionaire who has said he will dedicate millions to the effort. The proposal also earned the backing of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the 2018 gubernatorial candidate who headed the state’s blue-ribbon commission on marijuana.
The basics, per California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws):
“(1) allow adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use;
(2) regulate and tax the production, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for adult use; and
(3) rewrite criminal penalties so as to reduce the most common marijuana felonies to misdemeanors and allow prior offenders to petition for reduced charges.”
GOP congressional candidate Paul Chabot, of the Coalition for a Drug-Free California, has been quoted opposing the measure. His group argues marijuana is a dangerous drug.
Some of the most intense initial opposition, however, comes from those in the pro-legalization camp who believe the measure is too restrictive. Steve Kubby, a Proposition 215 co-author, last month warned that the Parker initiative “is a Trojan Horse that gives us little, but authorizes cops and agents to perform warrantless searches and six months in jail for growing over six plants or possession of over an ounce.”
One need not support marijuana use to understand that Prohibition doesn’t stamp out its use – it only sends it underground. Yet if the state overly regulates something, black markets grow, even for legal products. The question is whether the initiative goes too far in the regulation direction. That remains to be seen, but at least everyone now knows the language they’ll be fighting over
There is powerful new evidence that the NFL still isn’t acting in good faith in addressing a problem that has ruined the lives of hundreds of ex-players and is blamed for many suicides, including that of beloved former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau.
The mother of the youngest of the Paris attackers, who blew himself up outside France’s national stadium, said she was “proud” of her son.
The woman identified as Fatima Hadfi late Sunday called Maghreb TV, a Belgian network with wide viewership among the country’s Moroccan community.
After the Paris attacks, which left 130 dead and hundreds injured, she said she visited the site near the stadium where her son detonated a suicide vest.
“I was enormously painful but I needed to do it. I had to see for myself what happened to my son,” she said.
They’re misnamed, have been known to burst into flames and are banned on some airlines. Yet hoverboards — those self-balancing sets of wheels popular with hipsters, college students and kids — were among the hottest gifts this Christmas.
They’ve been banned from the streets and sidewalks of New York City, where they’re considered unregistered motor vehicles, but they can be used in parks. In London, even parks are out, leaving only private property.
San Francisco is among the places where hoverboards aren’t legal on the sidewalks, said Officer Albie Esparza, a Police Department spokesman.“
But the legal issue is not so simple where sidewalks are concerned. Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, said sidewalks are the jurisdiction of cities and counties and the rules of how they may be used, and by whom, vary — even from neighborhood to neighborhood.
The snow numbers, and what they mean for California, are on a trajectory that shows this winter could be a drought-breaker.
The intuitive feeling across the board, with all the ski and snowboard parks in California open for the Christmas holidays, is that the winter is off to a big start.
The numbers bear that out.
Measures ranging from a $9 billion school bond to a condom requirement for actors in pornographic movies are set to join the presidential candidates on November’s California ballot, with plenty more still to come.
Battle lines are being drawn in what could be one of the busiest — and most expensive — initiative seasons in California history.
These include proposals for tax increases, campaign finance reform and marijuana legalization, all of which may or may not make the ballot.
Because the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot is a percentage of the number of votes cast in the most recent governor’s race, 2014’s dismal turnout means the 2016 bar for making the ballot is the lowest in at least 25 years.
It now takes 585,407 valid signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot and 365,880 to qualify a regular statute.
With just a couple days left in 2015, 83 measures have been approved for circulation this year, the most since a record 109 in 2005.
The United States is pockmarked by thousands of abandoned mines, particularly in the Western states.
Hard rock mines in the West — sources of gold, silver, uranium and other metals — also contaminate waterways with arsenic and other heavy metals.
Many of these abandoned mines are on land owned by the U.S. government. Federal agencies have struggled with the problem for years, in part because some of the sites were abandoned as long as a century ago by companies that no longer exist.
Cleanup funds are scarce because mining companies, unlike gas and oil concerns, do not pay royalties to the federal government for what they extract from public lands.
A group of environmental organizations is seeking a court order that would force the Environmental Protection Agency to issue long-delayed rules requiring financial assurances from other mining companies, too.
Meanwhile, lawmakers haven’t really done much of anything about the problem.
Boko Haram Islamics struck the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri for the first time in months Monday, attacking with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers, witnesses said. At least 30 people were killed and the death toll could go higher, officials said.
The military said there were multiple attacks by the Islamic extremists at four southwestern entry points to the city, including a female suicide bomber who killed one other person and injured 13 gathered outside a mosque after dawn prayers.
The attack appears to be a challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration last week that Boko Haram has been “technically” defeated, capable of no more than suicide bombings on soft targets.
Nigerian troops “intercepted and destroyed” 10 suicide bombers and repelled the attackers, according to PR Nigeria, an agency that disseminates government news.
Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets — or simply write a check — to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects aren’t so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.
San Francisco public defender Chesa Boudin says some of his clients who can’t afford to post bail plead guilty to minor charges for crimes they didn’t commit so they can leave jail.
A canal that delivers vital water supplies from Northern California to Southern California is sinking in places. So are stretches of a riverbed undergoing historic restoration. On farms, well casings pop up like mushrooms as the ground around them drops.
Four years of drought and heavy reliance on pumping of groundwater have made the land sink faster than ever up and down the Central Valley, requiring repairs to infrastructure that experts say are costing billions of dollars.
Four years of drought and heavy reliance on pumping of groundwater have made the land sink faster than ever up and down California’s Central Valley, requiring repairs to infrastructure that experts say are costing billions of dollars. Scott Smith AP PhotoThis slow-motion land subsidence — more than one foot a year in some places — is not expected to stop anytime soon, experts say, nor will the expensive repairs.
San Francisco prosecutors are seeking to get beyond a judge’s devastating ruling and resuscitate their long-troubled drunken-driving case against a former San Francisco firefighter who struck a motorcyclist with his rig and then was captured on video guzzling water at a nearby bar.
A grand jury indicted Michael Quinn last year, charging him with three counts of felony drunken driving in the June 29, 2013, crash in the South of Market area that left Jack Frazier badly injured. But in a scathing ruling, a judge tossed out key blood-alcohol test evidence in March, citing delays, investigative errors and Fire Department testing missteps in the hours after the crash. The case seemed all but dead.
Prosecutors nonetheless told the court in September that they would go forward without the blood test results that showed Quinn was still intoxicated about six hours after the incident. They plan to rely on other evidence, including problematic breath tests done by the Fire Department, to show Quinn, who is now 46, was under the influence.
“Crashing a fire truck into a motorcyclist speaks for itself,” said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for District Attorney George Gascón. “Although our case has been weakened by the judge’s ruling, we still have enough evidence to proceed to trial.”
The Department of Children and Family Services, which Los Angeles County auditors have criticized for poor fiscal oversight, now is facing questions about its spending practices — specifically its office equipment purchases.
Among the items acquired in recent months: $374 headsets and a $153 automatic tape dispenser.
Philip Browning, head of the department, said that he has made equipment and technology upgrades a priority following years of neglect. Outfitting case workers with iPhones, dictation technology and ergonomically sound furniture makes them more efficient, he said.
“It’s appropriate to keep employees safe and healthy,” he said. “We spend a huge amount of money on workers’ comp. We need to address that.”
According to department records, the DCFS paid $348,000 in fiscal 2014 for supplies and equipment. That amount more than doubled, to $709,000, in fiscal 2015. And in the first four months of the current fiscal year, the department spent $700,000-plus on the equipment — more than the similarly sized probation department did the last two full years.
Well before the latest threat from Islamic State, Israel’s military had stepped up intelligence and preparedness efforts with the militant group in mind.
In particular, Israeli forces are keeping an eye on Islamic State’s branch in Egypt’s lawless Sinai peninsula, possibly the organization’s most effective branch in the region, observers say. Sooner or later, Israel believes, Islamic State could attempt some kind of strike on the country.
Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivered a lengthy address Saturday in which he directly threatened Israel — and seemed to be answering critics in Islamist militant circles who have complained that the group, based in Syria and Iraq, has failed to take up the Palestinian cause.
“No, O Jews, we did not forget Palestine for one moment,” Baghdadi said in his speech, monitored by the SITE Intelligence Group. “Soon, soon you will hear the crawl of the mujahideen, and their vanguards will surround you on a day you believe is far but that we see is close.”
“Palestine,” he added, “will be your graveyard.”
Would Germany be a better place if each citizen received a no-strings-attached government check for $1,100 a month?
Would people still get out of bed each day and go to work or do something else productive even with that unconditional basic income of 1,000 euros, less than half the average German monthly wage, but more than twice what those on welfare receive?
Those are among the questions being examined in a small real-life experiment called “Mein Grundeinkommen” (My Basic Income) taking place in Germany — where 26 people thus far are being given $1,100 a month to do whatever they want with.
The privately operated project, financed by crowdfunding donations, has injected new life into an old debate in Germany about utopian ideals. The idea of a “basic wage” is also touching a nerve in Germany and across Europe amid a rise in poverty and an increase in the number of working poor.
Members of the mosque are still struggling with grief over the tragedy coupled with the “condemnation echo chamber” started by the actions of fellow Muslims, said Amjad Mahmood Khan, who attends the mosque and is director of public affairs for the national organization.
“This is still a very raw time for us,” Khan told the conference attendees.
County health inspection records show that over the past two years, the prison kitchens have at times been plagued by rats, roaches and flies. Mechanical dishwashers didn’t operate properly. More than once, the prison has been ordered to use “single serve” plastic utensils because of cleanliness issues. The food the prison serves inmates has been so bad at times that the U.S. Department of Agriculture did a surprise inspection and found that the meat— which smelled like fish — was rancid. Kitchen workers reported they were told to use garlic or sauce to mask the smell.
Despite Cali’s tolerance towards the LGBT community, there’s still plenty of bigotry.
“California boasts some of the best cities and towns in the world for LGBT people to live, work and visit,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement. But he said “there is still a huge gulf” between cities with perfect scores and “other cities and towns in California that are still blind or inattentive to the needs of LGBT residents, employees and visitors.”
Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally, George W. Bush, to respond to Republican pledges to declare war on “radical Islamic terrorism.
President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor’s refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. It’s a striking endorsement from a president whose political rise was predicated on opposition to the Iraq war and Bush’s hawkish approach in the Middle East.
As Hillary Clinton put it, “George W. Bush was right.”
“Hillary Clinton has real concerns about these reports, especially as families are coming together during this holiday season,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. “She believes it is critical that everyone has a full and fair hearing, and that our country provides refuge to those that need it. And we should be guided by a spirit of humanity and generosity as we approach these issues.”
Her chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said he was “very disturbed” by the reports, adding: “As we spend time with our families this holiday season, we who are parents should ask ourselves what we would do if our children faced the danger and violence these children do? How far would we go to protect them?”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, another Democratic presidential candidate, called for an end to “mindless deportations.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/obama-deport-sanders-omalley-217132#ixzz3vXZLNfw2