By Mary Papenfuss : huffingtonpost – excerpt

“Hundreds of Kushner Cos. tenants were protected by city law from being hit with major rent hikes or forced out by a new owner…

However, the company ‘routinely’ filed false paperwork saying buildings had ‘no-rent regulated tenants,’ AP reported.”…

According to city documents — obtained by the tenant watchdog group Housing Right Initiative — at least 80 fraudulent applications were filed for construction permits in 34 buildings from 2013 to 2016. They all stated the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants, when in fact they included 300 rent-regulated units, according to tax documents, AP reported. Kushner was CEO of the company during that time.

In one case, Kushner Cos. filed false statements about tenants in three buildings with 94 rent-regulated units that it purchased in Queens in 2015, reports AP.  After the company displaced most of the residents, it sold the buildings two years later for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than their purchase price, according to AP…

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into Jared Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for family real estate operations from foreign investors during the presidential transition that may have impacted his work in the White House…. (more)

You can’t write this stuff. The report on the fraud explains the affordable housing crisis. This story describes how many rent-protected residents have been evicted by creative landlords and ended up on the street.


Florida Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Guns On Campus

By Doha Madani : huffingtonpost – excerpt

Gov. Rick Scott has expressed hesitancy over the bill and hasn’t ruled out a veto.

In a 67-50 vote on Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 7026 with an amendment that would allow certain school staff members in the state to carry firearms.

Lawmakers had been rushing to pass the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act before the end of the state’s legislative session on Friday. The state Senate had already passed the bill with amendments on Monday, but Gov. Rick Scott (R) still needs to sign it before it goes into effect.

Scott has expressed hesitancy over allowing guns in schools and has not said whether he will veto SB 7026 or not…

SB 7026 contains a number of gun-related reforms, including a three-day wait period on gun sales, raising the age requirement for all firearms sales to 21, some regulation of bump stocks, and allocating $69 million to the state’s Department of Education for mental health programs.. (more)

Congratulations to all the students and young people around the country for supporting life. Anything is possible if you believe you work for it.

Resistance and feminism: what to expect from this year’s Armory Show

By Nadja Sayej : theguardian – excerpt

The much-anticipated contemporary art fair hits New York with a range of provocative pieces, taking aim at Trump and highlighting the work of female artists.

It’s that time of year again, when black-clad art enthusiasts descend upon New York’s Armory Show, the labyrinth-like contemporary art fair at Piers 92 and 94 in midtown Manhattan. Kicking off 8 March, over 200 international art galleries will set up their booths in the white wall jungle to dazzle, sell and sizzle on Instagram. Let’s hope they have free wifi.

On top of your painting and photo fare, there will be tech-inspired artworks in the new Focus section, where 34 artists imagine a post-human world. From 3D-printed sculptures to digital spiritualism, it’s curated by Gabriel Ritter, who is fascinated by our online personas… (more)

The new direction of art in a world of tech and the internet shares the stage with traditional media in a show of international moods and modes. Art as always leads the way into our future. This is a good show to catch if you can.

Post-Columbine generation demands action on guns: ‘We don’t deserve this’

By Amanda Holpuch : theguardian – excerpt (includes video)

Survivors of the Florida attack have grown up in a world where school shootings are the norm, and they want a different future

Unsure whether he would be a victim or survivor of the mass shooting taking place outside his Florida classroom, 14-year-old Aidan Minoff sent an eight-word tweet.

“I am in a school shooting right now … ” Aidan said, before the world knew the day would end with 17 students and teachers dead.

Tens of thousands of people locked onto Aidan’s feed for the next 86 minutes, where he posted messages from the linoleum floor of his classroom, amid a forest of metal desk legs.

When the carnage ended, Aidan, and other teenagers who survived the attack, faced the cold lens of news cameras, not knowing the fate of all their friends and teachers, but they were sure about one thing.

Solutions must be found to tackle US gun violence crisis. “How are we allowed to buy guns at the age of 18 or 19? That’s something we shouldn’t be able to do,” Lyliah Skinner, who survived the shooting, told CNN…

“It was about guns. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings” – Carly Novell, shooting survivor

“We’re children,” David Hogg, a 17-year-old survivor, said. “You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done.”…


The Resisitance Now: ‘Throw them out’: plans to eject politicians ‘beholden to the gun lobby’

By Adam Gabbatt : the guardian – excerpt

Moms Demand Action and Everytown launch campaign to empower voters following the horrors of Parkland...

Activists pressure politicians to act on gun control

Activist organizations have renewed calls for gun control in the US in the wake of the school shooting in Florida.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, together with Everytown for Gun Safety, launched a campaign on Friday which it says will “empower voters to find out where candidates stand on gun safety”.

“Throw them out” will target members of Congress who are “beholden to the gun lobby”, Moms Demand Action said. They’ve set up five steps people can follow to pressure lawmakers, including how to get politicians on the record as committing to stricter gun control and a tool to encourage friends to vote.

The campaign uses a Washington Post interactive to help people track donations by the National Rifle Association. It means voters can understand which of their representatives have received money from the lobbying organization…

Indivisible, the progressive organization made up of thousands of groups across the country, is pursuing another line – encouraging people to pressure their members of congress to oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. That bill would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry a hidden weapon across state lines…

Meanwhile a petition on MoveOn, which calls for military-style assault weapons to be banned, had attracted 122,000 signatures by midday on Friday…(more)

National school walkout planned after calls for gun control grow louder

New billboard campaign aims to raise urgency around Los Angeles homelessness

By : SCPR – excerpt (89.3 KPCC includes audio)

The corner of Vine St. and Santa Monica Boulevard is busy at noon with people running after the bus or walking to get a quick bite. But some stopped to look up at a new billboard at the corner of the Hollywood intersection.

“It says HOMELESS,” said Christopher Hart, who stopped to look, “But it looks like where the Hollywood sign is supposed to be.”

It’s one of more than a dozen billboards posted around the city over the weekend, that turn the classic image of the Hollywood sign on the grassy hill on its head… (more)

You have to appreciate the creative use of signs and billboards that take advantage of the LA landscape and wide open streets.

FEMA Rejects Applications for Aid by Wine Country Wildfire Victims

By Emily Turner : cbslocal – excerpt

SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — Many of the Wine Country wildfire survivors made it through that tragedy to now find themselves as victims for a second time. They say now their problem is the government agency meant to help them.

In Sonoma County alone, thousands of houses were destroyed and even more lives turned upside-down in the disaster.Legal Aid of Sonoma County accuses FEMA of rejection for aid without a clear reason, repeatedly losing client’s documents, and a lack of clarity when it comes to their policy.

Legal Aid of Sonoma County accuses FEMA of rejection for aid without a clear reason, repeatedly losing client’s documents, and a lack of clarity when it comes to their policy…(more)

Santa Rosa fire survivors are denied insurance and FEMA aide.

I run a small, independent magazine. I worry Facebook will kill us off

By Nathan Robinson : theguardian – excerpt

For independent and non-profit outlets, small shifts in algorithms – as Mark Zuckerberg just introduced – can pose an existential threat

Facebook’s recent company announcement should scare anyone who values independent and non-profit media.

In response to mounting criticism over its role in spreading “fake news”, as well as research showing that social media has been making people less happy, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that the company is overhauling its news feed algorithms to de-emphasize “passive content” from brands and publishers and promote “meaningful interaction” with friends and family instead. Facebook says it wants its users to feel positive after using its service, and will display content accordingly. So more pictures of adorable dogs, fewer links to news sites.

Everyone can support efforts to eliminate fake news and improve user experiences. But for media organizations, Facebook’s approach is troubling. Many outlets depend on traffic from sites like Facebook and Twitter, since social media has become the main gateway through which people access content on the internet. If news organizations are “blacklisted”, or buried at the bottom of news feeds, they could see a significant chunk of their audience evaporate overnight.

There is already evidence of what the changes might do. The rollout of algorithm tweaks in other countries has had serious impacts on certain organizations, with at least one subscription news service losing nearly one-third of its Facebook engagements after the tweak, and Cambodian NGOs complaining that the delivery of public service information was disrupted… (more)

How is that net neutrality working for you so far? Burger King did a great ad that explains how net neutrality works when applied to their business. If you need a good laugh, and who doesn’t, you should love this ad.

By theverge ( video included)

Burger King — a fast-food chain that sells cheap beef — apparently understands net neutrality more than the average member of Congress. The company released an ad today explaining the concept of net neutrality with a stunt that showed what it would be like to have paid prioritization in a burger joint. In the ad, actors playing Burger King employees taunt “actual guests” by making them wait for absurd amounts of time to receive their food — unless they pay huge tolls to get it quickly…(more)