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Journal Archives

Army Corps Suspends Atlantic Coast Pipeline Permit

Following requests from Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad) attorneys, the Norfolk, Huntington, and Pittsburgh districts of the Army Corps of Engineers have each suspended its authorization of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. As a result, ACP lacks authorization to do any instream or wetland construction anywhere along its route.

Appalmad has argued this action was necessary in light of a recent federal court ruling that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s reliance on Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 was improper. The NWP was issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. It allowed contractors to trench through the bottom of streams and rivers. The Corps’ decision has had the effect of forcing the ACP to temporarily suspend water crossings along the entire project until it can obtain a satisfactory permit.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates represents the Sierra Cub, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network in this action.

(no more at link)

link to permit suspension orders: https://bluevirginia.us/2018/11/a-decision-northam-cant-rig-army-corps-norfolk-district-suspends-authorization-for-work-on-atlantic-coast-pipeline

Virginia lawmakers announce proposals to legalize sports betting

State Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, said Tuesday he’ll introduce legislation to legalize sports betting in Virginia as part of a plan he says would reduce tuition at the state’s community colleges.

A few hours later, Del. Mark Sickles, D-Fairfax, announced his own sports betting proposal, floating a 15 percent tax on revenue that he estimated would bring in $41 million a year to fund research at state universities.

The flurry of legislative interest follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that struck down a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.

“Sports gaming is going to be legal across the United States,” Petersen said in a statement. “There is no reason to keep it illegal, when our neighboring states are already moving to legalize. We should keep that business in Virginia, along with the tax revenue.”

Read more: https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog/virginia-lawmaker-plans-legislation-to-legalize-sports-betting-direct-tax-revenue-to-community-colleges/

Virginia's Medicaid expansion drawing thousands more enrollees than initially projected

Less than two weeks after Virginia opened registration for its expanded Medicaid program, officials say they’ve already drawn thousands more applicants than initially anticipated.

The state had expected the new program to enroll 300,000 over the next year and a half. They now expect that number to reach 375,000. The new estimates won’t alter the total expansion population, which the state has said will be about 400,000.

Officials attributed the increase to automatic enrollment of residents who are already signed up for other social benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

“The idea is that, the people in SNAP, the food stamp program, we know who they are, we know what their income level is and we can expedite their enrollment by getting them to answer just two different questions,” legislative fiscal analyst Mike Tweedy told members of the Senate budget committee Friday during their retreat in Williamsburg.

Read more: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2018/11/16/virginias-medicaid-expansion-drawing-thousands-more-enrollees-than-initially-projected/

Judge scraps part of suit filed by NRA, over emails received after Parkland shootings

TALLAHASSEE -- Though he described disputed emails as “disgusting,” a federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit in which the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist alleged she received harassing and threatening emails after the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer’s claims against California attorney Lawrence Sorensen, who sent two emails to Hammer that included photos showing injuries from gunshot wounds. Hammer filed a lawsuit in July against Sorensen and three other unrelated men because of emails she received — with Hinkle’s dismissal limited to Sorensen.

In the ruling, Hinkle wrote that Sorensen sending the emails “unsolicited to anyone, even a public figure who advocates gun rights, was inappropriate, indeed disgusting.”

But the judge said Sorensen did not threaten Hammer and that the emails are protected by the First Amendment.

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article221922045.html

'Banking while black': Woman sues Wells Fargo alleging teller refused to cash her check.

All Satara Monroe wanted to do was cash her paycheck, make a stop at the grocery store and go home.

But she said her plans were ruined when a bank teller at a Pompano Beach Wells Fargo accused her of committing fraud. The quick errand turned into an hour-long interrogation by police, according to a lawsuit filed Nov. 5 in federal court in South Florida.

“I felt targeted,” Monroe told the Miami Herald Monday. “There wasn’t anyone else being harassed the way I was harassed.”

Michelle Palomino, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, said in a statement, “Wells Fargo opposes discrimination of any kind, and strongly denies Ms. Monroe’s allegations.”

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article221927390.html

'I think he's the future': Despite loss in governor's race, Gillum still has political clout

Andrew Gillum’s historic run for Florida governor may not have brought him all the way home, but it did set the stage for a promising future for the former mayor of Tallahassee, several friends, consultants and political analysts told the Tallahassee Democrat.

That future includes running for higher office, making public speaking engagements, a regular pundit spot on cable news network, and a return to his old bosses at People for the American Way.

“I think he’s the future,” said Reggie Cardozo, a political consultant who has known Gillum since their college days working for the state Democratic Party. “Folks like me thought win, lose, or draw he is the future. Whatever it is he wants to do he most definitely has the ability to do. This is not a loss that hurts him or prohibits him from doing whatever he wants.”

Gillum campaigned hard and took a close second to Tea Party Republican Ron DeSantis, a three-term congressman whose campaign was buoyed by the endorsement of President Donald Trump. Even though the .41 percent margin was close enough to trigger a machine recount, the final numbers didn't move the needle enough to change the Election night outcome.

Read more: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/20/andrew-gillum-democrats-2020-election-politics/2029527002/

Florida files lawsuit against Walgreens, CVS for allegedly 'playing a role' in opioid crisis

On Friday, state Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that Florida is suing the nation's two largest drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS, alleging that they "played a role" in furthering the national opioid crisis.

The state alleges that the two chains are responsible for overselling addictive painkillers, as well as not taking precautionary measures to stop illegal sales. The companies join Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, as well as several other opioid distributors, as defendants in the lawsuit.

In a news release, Bondi noted that the companies failed to stop "suspicious orders of opioids" and "dispensed unreasonable quantities of opioids from their pharmacies."

"We will continue to pursue those companies that played a role in creating the opioid crisis," Bondi said. "Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of the actions of the defendants."

Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2018/11/19/florida-files-lawsuit-against-walgreens-cvs-for-allegedly-playing-a-role-in-opioid-crisis

No End in Sight for Crypto Sell-Off as Bitcoin Breaches $4,500

Turmoil engulfed cryptocurrency markets again on Tuesday, with every major coin extending a rout that’s rocking confidence in the nascent asset class.

Bitcoin gave up a small early gain to slump 7.9 percent as of 9:16 a.m. in London. The largest digital currency, which started the year at more than $14,000, has fallen to $4,409.43. Rivals including Ether, Litecoin and XRP joined the slide, though they pared losses that reached as much as 17 percent.

After months of relative stability, cryptocurrency bulls have been left reeling by a sudden market downturn in November. Digital assets have now lost almost $700 billion of market value since crypto-mania peaked in January, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Trading on futures markets, where investors can bet against Bitcoin, has soared.

While the trigger for the latest sell-off is unclear, it has coincided with a “hard fork” of Bitcoin Cash. The move, which split the offshoot of the original Bitcoin into two, has underscored the sometimes chaotic nature of a crypto community racked by infighting.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-20/no-end-in-sight-for-crypto-sell-off-as-tokens-take-fresh-hit

Amid mass protests, bill introduced to return France to universal military service

Note: This article is from the Worldwide Socialist Web Site. I haven't seen any other mention of this news on DU and the other sites carrying this story are from right wing sites. While the analysis is socialist, I believe that the news about France returning to universal military service merits reporting.

Yesterday, after hundreds of thousands of people across France donned yellow vests and blockaded roads and intersections to oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hike and his social attacks on working people, the French government announced the return to universal military service. In an interview yesterday with Le Parisien, Junior Minister for Youth Gabriel Attal, who is presenting the bill, said: “My objective is to have the first draftees as early as June” of 2019.

The timing of this announcement underscored the close link between the ruling elite’s attempts to put entire generations of youth under military discipline, and its attempts to suppress social anger that is erupting among youth and workers in France and across Europe.

As it announced the return to the draft, the government was threatening a new, violent police crackdown against continuing “Yellow Vest” protesters’ blockades Monday. Some 27,000 protesters were involved, blockading highways in the northeast and near the western coast of France, as well as strategic Total oil refineries in the south.

With 183 protesters still in preventive detention after a heavy police crackdown on the weekend’s protests, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner threatened that Yellow Vest protesters would be “thrown out systematically, methodically” from their blockades during the week.

Read more: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/20/fran-n20.html

2 Weeks After Midterms Trump Announces He's Already Hitting Campaign Trail Again - to Help MS Racist

President Donald Trump's actual work as president has all but sputtered out, with at least one conservative commentator saying he's doing the job he was elected to do just a few hours a day. In the weeks leading up the the November midterm elections, President Trump held a rally nearly every day, and in some cases up to two or even three a day.

All that traveling comes at taxpayer expense, and takes time away from Trump performing his duties as president. For whatever reason (some say rain) he refused to attend s historic ceremony in Europe marking the end of World War I, and upon returning refused to even visit Arlington National Cemetery to honor Veterans Day.

But the so-called "populist" president continues to make time to campaign and fundraise for his own re-election, and to help other Republicans.

Trump Monday morning tweeted his support for an embattled Mississippi Republican, Cindy Hyde-Smith (photo, with Trump), and announced he will be campaigning for her next Monday.

Read more: https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2018/11/2-weeks-after-midterms-trump-announces-hes-already-hitting-campaign-trail-again-to-help-mississippi-racist/
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