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mbusby

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Member since: Sat Nov 5, 2016, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 518

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Houston mayor cancels in-person GOP convention

Source: By Cassandra Pollock, The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Wednesday that the city has canceled its contract with the GOP convention, which was scheduled at the George R. Brown Convention Center on July 16.

Turner said the contract cancellation will mean that the convention cannot be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center or any other facility in Houston, but may continue virtually.

During a virtual City Council meeting Wednesday, Turner said he asked the city's legal department to work with the Houston First Corporation, which operates the George R. Brown Convention Center, to review the contract with the state party.

"Where there are provisions that would allow us to cancel this convention - we will exercise those provisions," Turner said. "And the plan is to exercise those provisions to cancel this agreement, this contract, today - to not go forward with this convention."

The news comes days after Mayor Turner threatened to cancel the convention if it violated COVID-19 rules.


Read more: https://abc13.com/politics/houston-mayor-cancels-in-person-gop-convention/6307042/

Supreme Court Turns Down Request to Allow All Texans to Vote by Mail

Source: New York Times

Adam Liptak
June 26, 2020, 5:25 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said on Friday that it would not require Texas to let all eligible voters vote by mail.

The Texas Democratic Party and several voters had urged the court to reinstate a federal trial judge’s injunction requiring state officials to allow all voters, and not just those who are 65 or older, to submit their ballots by mail. They relied on the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 and said the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age.”

The court’s brief order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices rule on emergency applications, and there were no noted dissents. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a statement saying that the question in the case raised “weighty but seemingly novel questions regarding the 26th Amendment.”

But she said the court was right not to address those questions in the context of an emergency application. “I hope,” she wrote, “that the court of appeals will consider the merits of the legal issues in this case well in advance of the November election.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/supreme-court-texas-vote-by-mail.html

Mnuchin said Greta Thunberg needed to study economics. So we talked to an economist....

Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Switzerland, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked about calls from climate change activists such as Greta Thunberg for investors to pull their money out of fossil fuel stocks.

Mnuchin jokingly pretended to be unfamiliar with Thunberg, who even while still a teenager has become a leading global proponent of addressing the warming planet. Last year, she was Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

“Is she the chief economist or who is she? I’m confused,” Mnuchin said of Thunberg. He questioned her credentials to offer solutions: “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

The Washington Post contacted someone who did study economics in college and asked him to explain it to us. Gernot Wagner is a climate economist at New York University who has a joint A.B. in economics and environmental science and public policy from Harvard University, a master’s degree in economics from Stanford University, a master’s in political economy and government from Harvard, and a PhD in political economy and government from Harvard.

According to Wagner, Thunberg doesn’t need to go much further than Economics 101 to make her case.

...

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/23/mnuchin-said-thunberg-needed-study-economics-before-offering-climate-proposals-so-we-talked-an-economist/

New York Times' botched Kavanaugh story the latest in series of blunders from Opinion section

Source: CNN Business

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Updated 9:02 PM ET, Mon September 16, 2019

New York (CNN Business)The New York Times was reeling on Monday after its Opinion section fumbled a high-profile story about an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, drawing widespread criticism and condemnation of the newspaper.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile blunders that has caused embarrassment to James Bennet since he was appointed in 2016 as the editor overseeing The Times' Opinion section.

Bennet's tenure has been marked with several mishaps that have generated controversy, drawn criticism, and spurred at least one lawsuit.

A spokesperson for The Times declined to make Bennet available for an interview for this story, but defended the Opinion section by pointing to its talented writers and the good work they have produced.

...


Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/16/media/new-york-times-kavanaugh/index.html

Where in The U.S. Are You Most Likely to Be Audited by the IRS?

By Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques, ProPublica, April 1, 2019

Humphreys County, Mississippi, seems like an odd place for the IRS to go hunting for tax cheats. It’s a rural county in the Mississippi Delta known for its catfish farms, and more than a third of its mostly African American residents are below the poverty line. But according to a new study, it is the most heavily audited county in America.

In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to help boost low-income workers out of poverty. As we reported last year, the IRS audits EITC recipients at higher rates than all but the richest Americans, a response to pressure from congressional Republicans to root out incorrect payments of the credit.

The study estimates that Humphreys, with a median annual household income of just $26,000, is audited at a rate 51 percent higher than Loudoun County, Virginia, which boasts a median income of $130,000, the highest in the country.

Read more: https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/eitc-audit

Antibiotics set to flood Florida's troubled orange orchards...

Nature | Maryn McKenna

In the next month or so, orange trees across Florida will erupt in white blossoms, signalling the start of another citrus season. But this year, something different will be blowing in the winds. Farmers are preparing to spray their trees with hundreds of thousands of kilograms of two common antibiotics to combat citrus greening, a bacterial disease that has been killing Florida citrus trees for more than a decade.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of allowing growers to use streptomycin and oxytetracycline as routine treatments, spraying trees several times per year, beginning with the ‘first flush’ of leaves this spring. Growers in the state could end up using as much as 440,000 kilograms of the drugs. Although the compounds, which are both used in human medicine, have been sprayed on other crops in the past and applied in limited amounts to citrus groves, the scale of this application has researchers and public-health advocates alarmed.

“They are doing a huge experiment with limited monitoring,” says Steven Roach, a senior analyst in Iowa City at Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition of research and advocacy groups that has formally objected to the plan with the EPA.

More: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00878-4

Proposal for U.N. to study climate-cooling technologies rejected

Reuters
Laurie Goering
MARCH 14, 2019

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi, as countries including the United States raised objections.

“From our perspective, that’s a huge disappointment,” said Franz Xaver Perrez, environmental ambassador for Switzerland, which had proposed the U.N. assessment with the backing of 11 other governments.

“Some of these technologies could have huge impacts at a global scale - and if things have that dimension, there may also be a need for multilateral controls,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview from Kenya.

“Geoengineering” technologies, which are gaining prominence as international efforts to curb climate-changing emissions fall short, aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun’s warmth to cool the Earth.

They could help fend off some of the worst impacts of runaway climate change, including worsening storms and heatwaves, backers say.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-climatechange-geoengineer/proposal-for-un-to-study-climate-cooling-technologies-rejected-idUSKCN1QV2RL

DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

Source: MOTHERBOARD | By Kim Zetter | Mar 14 2019

For years security professionals and election integrity activists have been pushing voting machine vendors to build more secure and verifiable election systems, so voters and candidates can be assured election outcomes haven’t been manipulated.

Now they might finally get this thanks to a new $10 million contract the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched to design and build a secure voting system that it hopes will be impervious to hacking.

The first-of-its-kind system will be designed by an Oregon-based firm called Galois, a longtime government contractor with experience in designing secure and verifiable systems. The system will use fully open source voting software, instead of the closed, proprietary software currently used in the vast majority of voting machines, which no one outside of voting machine testing labs can examine. More importantly, it will be built on secure open source hardware, made from special secure designs and techniques developed over the last year as part of a special program at DARPA. The voting system will also be designed to create fully verifiable and transparent results so that voters don’t have to blindly trust that the machines and election officials delivered correct results.


Read more: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/yw84q7/darpa-is-building-a-dollar10-million-open-source-secure-voting-system

Meet Jim Allison, Texas' Newest Nobel Laureate (and Three-Time Cancer Survivor)...

by Sophie Novack

Published
Mon, Dec 10, 2018
at 6:19 am CST

The Houston immunologist talks about growing up in small-town Texas, creationism in public schools and what it means to talk about a cure.

https://www.texasobserver.org/meet-jim-allison-texas-newest-nobel-laureate-and-three-time-cancer-survivor/

Microsoft reveals first known midterm campaign hacking attempts

Source: Politico

Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections.

“Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for security and trust, at the Aspen Security Forum. “And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.”

Burt declined to name the targets but said they were “people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint.”

...


Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/midterm-campaign-hacking-microsoft-733256
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