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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
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Journal Archives

White House Tells F.B.I. to Interview Anyone Necessary for Kavanaugh Inquiry

Source: New York Times

The White House has authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long as the review is finished by the end of the week, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

The new directive came in the last 24 hours after a backlash from Democrats, who criticized the White House for limiting the scope of the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. The F.B.I. has already completed interviews with the four witnesses its agents were originally asked to talk to, the people said.

Mr. Trump said on Monday that he favored a “comprehensive” F.B.I. investigation and had no problem if the bureau wanted to question Judge Kavanaugh or even a third accuser who was left off the initial witness list if she seemed credible. His only concerns he said, were that the investigation be wrapped up quickly and that it take direction from the Senate Republicans who will determine whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.

“The F.B.I. should interview anybody that they want within reason, but you have to say within reason,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden after an event celebrating a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. “But they should also be guided, and I’m being guided, by what the senators are looking for.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/us/politics/trump-fbi-kavanaugh.html

U.S., Canada and Mexico just reached a sweeping new NAFTA deal. Here's what's in it.

Source: Washington Post

Here’s a rundown of what’s in the “new NAFTA.”

New name: Goodbye NAFTA. The new deal will be known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA. Trump, who had long disdained NAFTA, had suggested he might call it the “USMC,” in honor of the U.S. Marine Corps, but in the end, USMCA won out.

Big changes for cars. The goal of the new deal is to have more cars and truck parts made in North America. Starting in 2020, to qualify for zero tariffs, a car or truck must have 75 percent of its components manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States, a substantial boost from the current 62.5 percent requirement.

There’s also a new rule that a significant percentage of the work done on the car must be completed by workers earning at least $16 an hour, or about three times what the typical Mexican autoworker makes. Starting in 2020, cars and trucks should have at least 30 percent of the work on the vehicle done by worker earning $16 an hour. That gradually moves up to 40 percent for cars by 2023.


Trump’s victory: Canada opens up its milk market to U.S. farmers. Trump tweeted often about how unfair he thought it was that Canada charged such high tariffs on U.S. dairy products. Canada has a complex milk and dairy system. To ensure Canadian dairy farmers don’t go bankrupt, the Canadian government restricts how much dairy can be produced in the country and how much foreign dairy can enter to keep milk prices high. Trump didn’t like that and dairy was a major sticking point in the negotiations.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/01/us-canada-mexico-just-reached-sweeping-new-nafta-deal-heres-whats-it/?utm_term=.6e2818aa9e19

Study Confirms Cats Aren't That Into Catching Rats

We've long been told that cats can help tamp down rat populations—let's face it, who wouldn't want a Ninja force of cats to combat vermin? However, a new study from Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution has shattered conventional wisdom, positing that cats actually don't catch that many rats.

Ecologist Michael Parsons, a visiting professor at Fordham University, spent time with colleagues observing the behavior of rats and cats at a rat-infested Brooklyn recycling facility. (Nice work if you can get it.) The study concludes that "feral cats (Felis catus) are predators that cause widespread loss of native wildlife in urban ecosystems. Despite these risks, cats are commonly released as control agents for city rats (Rattus spp.). Cats can influence their prey directly by killing or indirectly through changes to feeding or space-use. However, cats prefer defenseless prey, and there are no data suggesting that cats influence large (>300 g) urban rats."

In other words, cats don't really want to expend much energy chasing after and fighting with rats, which are more of a pain to catch and kill. Plus they are rats!

Parsons had actually been researching rat behavior when he made the discovery. According to Scientific American, this was his initial reaction to noticing the cats at the recycling facility: "As a behavioral ecologist, I was like, ‘Let’s get rid of the cats so we can do our rat research.'" But then he realized, "We don’t know what the rats will do around the cats," which quickly became,


College football player from Atlanta in critical condition with head injury

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Atlanta native and Tennessee State football player is in critical condition after he suffered a head injury in Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

Christion Abercrombie, a sophomore linebacker who played at Westlake High School in south Fulton County, was rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville for emergency surgery, the Tennessean newspaper reported. He was injured in the second quarter.

Tennessee State coach Rod Reed didn’t know the exact time of Abercrombie’s injury.

“It was right before the half,” Reed told the Tennessean. “He came to the sideline and just kind of collapsed there.”

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/local/college-football-player-from-atlanta-critical-condition-with-head-injury/a6keuTCDuKTOUDyS2u5jFM/

Police and State's Attorney response to Montgomery County House Delegation's request to open crimina

Source: Baltimore Sun

Police and State’s Attorney response to Montgomery County House Delegation’s request to open criminal investigation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh


To date, there have been no criminal reports filed with the Montgomery County Department of Police that would lead to the initiation of any criminal investigation related to Judge Kavanaugh. Furthermore, the law at the time the offense occurred is the law that must be applied to any charges that might be brought. For example, in 1982, assault and attempted rape were both misdemeanors and subject to a one-year statute of limitations. The Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office stand ready to investigate any sexual assault allegation from any victim where the incident occurred in our jurisdiction.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-police-and-state-s-attorney-response-to-montgomery-county-house-delegation-s-request-to-open-crimina-20180928-htmlstory.html#

Judge Says Democratic Lawmakers Can Sue Trump On Emoluments

Source: NPR

About 200 Democrats in the House and Senate have won a judge's approval to go ahead with their anti-corruption lawsuit against President Trump.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, in Washington, D.C., said the lawmakers have standing to sue Trump. They allege he violates the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, as his hotels and other establishments around the world profit from spending and favors by foreign governments.

Justice Department lawyers, representing Trump, contended that only Congress, not its members acting individually, could deal with the emoluments clause.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause bars U.S. officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments unless Congress consents. It's a visible issue, as some foreign dignitaries pay to stay at Trump's hotel while on official visits to the White House.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2018/09/28/652820065/judge-says-democratic-lawmakers-can-sue-trump-on-emoluments

Red-state Democrats refuse to come out against Kavanaugh

Source: Politico

Democrats have all the cover they need to vote in lockstep against Brett Kavanaugh. But a half-dozen of them have refused to go there, even after the pair of sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.

Democratic insiders are feeling more bullish than ever that the party’s 49 caucus members ultimately will oppose Kavanaugh. Yet the undeclared bloc of Democratic senators could be a problem for Democratic leaders, who want to put the weight of the nomination entirely on a handful of holdout Republicans.

“I’m very open. I haven’t closed any doors at all on Kavanaugh. I just want to make sure there’s a fair, open and civil hearing,” said Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, perhaps the most conservative Democrat. “The man has to have a chance to clear his name, but these ladies have the complete opportunity to tell their story.”

Manchin said the allegations haven’t made him any less likely to vote against Kavanaugh than he was two weeks ago: “It hasn’t changed anything. I’m still waiting for this hearing.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/25/red-state-democrats-kavanaugh-841400

Judge overules Trump as Yellowstone grizzly bears offered protection from trophy hunts

Source: The Telegraph

Judges in the US ordered protections to be restored to grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park, halting plans for the first licensed trophy hunts of the bears in the region in more than 40 years.

US District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana, sided with environmentalists and native American groups by overruling the President Donald Trump's decision to strip the grizzlies of their status as a threatened species.

The outcome caps one of the most high-profile legal battles over the Endangered Species Act, rivaling previous disputes surrounding the gray wolf and northern spotted owl.

The ruling came as the Trump administration is seeking to rewrite regulations that scientists say would erode wildlife protection for the benefit of commercial interests.

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/25/judge-overules-trump-yellowstone-grizzly-bears-offered-protection/

Planet Earth Wobbles As It Spins, and Now Scientists Know Why

Source: Live Science

Humans are responsible for some of the wobble in Earth's spin.

Since 1899, the Earth's axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change.

Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet.

"We have provided evidence for more than one single process that is the key driver" for altering the Earth's axis, said Surendra Adhikari, an Earth system scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a lead researcher on the new study.

Read more: https://www.livescience.com/63655-why-earth-wobbles.html

Earth's climate-change liposuction: Sucking carbon from the air

Removing CO2 from the air can be done a few different ways, including planting trees that naturally soak up carbon dioxide. A leading line of research is backing technology capturing far more CO2 faster than trees ever could. A small handful of companies around the world are pursuing this. Two examples:

Last year, Switzerland-based Climeworks opened its first commercial-scale plant that captures CO2 from the air.
Canada-based Carbon Engineering, whose investors include Bill Gates, is planning to build its first commercial plant by early next year. Its CEO Steve Oldham told me recently to stay tuned for potential news soon on new partnerships, including possibly with oil and gas companies, though he wouldn’t disclose any more details.

Two of the biggest considerations with capturing carbon are the cost to do it, and then what to do with it once you’ve caught it.

On the capture cost:

The current cost to capture a ton of CO2 anywhere between $600 and $800, according to Climeworks. But estimates by that company and Carbon Engineering project that cost could drop to below $100 for commercial scale projects in the next several years.
On what to do with it:

In theory, captured carbon dioxide can be turned into almost anything, including building material like carbon fiber and cement, shoes, transportation fuel and even beer.

Carbon Engineering is focusing on making fuel, which it says is is currently 25% more expensive to produce than a comparative gallon of diesel.

Climeworks says its CO2 can be adapted for various uses, and it’s in the process of making beverage-grade CO2 available to sell in the coming months for things like beer.

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