Donald Trump Endorses Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Bill

By Carla Herreria : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The bill, backed by Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, would bring major changes to the federal prison system.

President Donald Trump has announced his support for a bipartisan prison reform bill that would overhaul prison sentencing laws in the U.S.

Trump endorsed the so-called First Step Act at the White House on Wednesday, saying the bill would “make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time.”

The bill, which Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been advocating for months, also “includes reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off the street,” Trump added… (more)


Red to Blue and Purple at the Border, or should I say Green?

All this talk about the Blue and Red States and immigration being a hot topic at the poles, lead me on a quest for a maps that illustrate the new America. I found some here:

What struck me as interesting is the fact that most of the boarder states are blue, indicating that the people who live on the border are less likely to support immigrant suppression and a “wall” than people who live elsewhere in the country.

Here is an example of the new wave of political changes coming to the deepest red state of Texas, that now has a Democrat in the Senate.

If This Bill Passes, Possessing Pot in Texas Will Be Treated Less Harshly Than Distributing Straws in San Francisco.

by Christian Britschgi : Reason – excerpt

A new bill in the Texas legislature would repeal criminal penalties for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

A new bill in the Texas legislature would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis.

Rep. Joe Moody (D–El Paso) today introduced HB 63. If it becomes law, possessing up to an ounce of marijuana would be a civil infraction, punishable by a maximum $250 fine. Currently, possession of any marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor and can earn you up to $2,000 in penalties and six months in jail.

Some 41,000 people were convicted of marijuana possession in Texas between August 2017 and August 2018, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Moody’s bill would also bar police officers from arresting someone solely for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana… (more)

Dear Amazon, New York doesn’t want you. Go find another city to destroy Hamilton Nolan

theguardian – excerpt

Jeff Bezos wants to build a colossal HQ in Queens. We’ve already got Wall Street – must we be flooded with rich techies on top of that?

New York is a metropolis. It has been able to withstand centuries’ worth of threats to civic harmony, from the Five Points gangs to the administration of Rudy Giuliani. We have successfully absorbed striving immigrants from around the world, weekend partiers from Jersey, and post-college seekers from the midwest. But one thing that New York City has never truly had to battle is a massive influx of rich techies. Let’s not start now.

For a full year, Amazon – a trillion-dollar company led by the richest man on earth – has been busily extracting subsidies from cities across the country, all of them desperate to lure a promised 50,000 jobs and $5bn investment for Amazon’s second headquarters. The “HQ2” became necessary after Amazon filled metropolitan Seattle edge-to-edge with glass towers full of Amazon employees.

This week, at last, it was reported that Amazon had decided to divide its new headquarters bounty between the suburbs of Washington DC and the Queens riverfront. Having tired of the amusement of watching second-tier cities debase themselves in a desperate bid for something they were never going to get, the company has apparently settled on “the two most obvious major cities on the east coast”… (more)

Forcing us to take in a flood of rich tech people is like giving the flu to someone who already has chronic diabetes

Well put. Forcing being the primary term here. Government forcing citizens to choke down anything they object to is “un-American” and there are some very negative words for top-down autonomous governments that partner with corporate entities to remove entitlements from the citizens they supposedly represent. Ask yourself, is your city guilty of these practices and what can be done about it. Nobody wants to be redeveloped. This country is full of undeveloped areas that welcome more jobs. Why are they piling them all onto people who are suffocating already?

Votes still being counted in race for governor, senate and ag commissioner

The Fort Myers News-Press – excerpt (includes video)

Floridians woke up Friday morning still not knowing who their next governor, senator or agriculture commissioner is, come January.

With votes still being tallied, as of Friday morning, the governor’s race got even closer, a .44 percent difference, with Republican Ron DeSantis leading, 4,072,796 votes, to Democrat Andrew Gillum’s 4,036,585. That’s just 36,211 between them.

The margin between North Fort Myers real estate appraiser Matt Caldwell and Fort Lauderdale attorney Nikki Fried continued to shift in Fried’s favor… (more)

Did the Red Tide play a negative role in the race for change in the sunshine state? Did the students and youth vote count or is it just a matter of a shift in priorities in the state that needs respite from bad news?


The Arizona, Florida, and Georgia election recounts, explained

By : vox – excerpt

As vote counting continues from Tuesday’s midterm elections and three states have a handful of elections with razor-thin margins, the fight has become about whether all the votes should be counted.

The races for Arizona’s US Senate seat, Florida’s US Senate seat and governor, and Georgia’s governor are all extremely close — close enough that under some state laws, a recount is warranted… (more)

In Georgia, Kemp Claims Victory, But Won’t Oversee Potential Recount

NPR – excerpt

“Stacey Abrams can’t accept the fact that Georgians rejected her radical agenda at the ballot box, so now she’s desperately trying to steal this election in the courtroom,” said Ryan Mahoney, the campaign’s communications director, in the statement… (more)

In Historic Move, Florida Approves Automatically Restoring Voting Rights To Felons

By Sam Levine : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The move, reversing a Jim Crow-era policy, is one of the most significant expansions of the franchise in modern times…

Floridians approved a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to people with felony convictions once they complete their sentences, a historic move expanding the right to vote to about 1.4 million people and reverses a state policy rooted in the Jim Crow South.

The move is one of the most dramatic expansions of the franchise in modern times.

Florida is one of four states that permanently prevents people with felonies from voting, even if they’ve completed their sentence, probation and parole. The 1.4 million people in the state who have been disenfranchised by that policy represent an estimated 10 percent of Florida’s voting population and a quarter of the total disenfranchised population in the United States. More than 1 in 5 African-Americans in the state are disenfranchised because of the policy, according to an estimate from The Sentencing Project. The only way people can get the right to vote back is if the governor decides to grant it to them through a process that takes years.

People convicted of murder and sexual offenses are exempt from the amendment and won’t have their rights automatically restored…(more)

A silver lining on the election results in Florida. Hope the Governor solves Florida’s “red” tide this year.

Scientists may have found the key ingredient for a universal flu vaccine, and it comes from llamas

By By Melissa Healy : latimes – excerpt

Along with soulful eyes, endearingly long necks and warm fuzzy coats, llamas have a far less appreciated feature: They make an array of immune system antibodies so tiny they can fit into crevices on the surface of an invading virus.

That feat could one day protect humans from entire families of flu viruses that bedevil scientists with their unpredictable and shape-shifting ways.

All, potentially, with a once-a-year puff up the nose.

In a study in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, a team from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and their international colleagues have taken a major step toward the long-sought goal of developing a universal vaccine against influenza…(more)


Five countries hold 70% of world’s last wildernesses, map reveals

By Lisa Cox : theguardian – excerpt (includes map)

First map of Earth’s intact ecosystems shows just five nations are responsible for most of them – but it will require global action to protect them…

The UQ and WCS study, published in the journal Nature, identifies Australia, the US, Brazil, Russia and Canada as the five countries that hold the vast majority of the world’s remaining wilderness… (more)