PND News

Nutball Robertson warns of “bestiality wedding cakes”

February 19, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"TV pastor Pat Robertson warned on Thursday that the government could force Christian florists and bakers out of business if they did not cater to weddings where men marry dogs. After a Washington state judge found on Wednesday that a Christian florist had violated the state's anti-discrimination law by refusing to sell flower arrangements for a same-sex couple's wedding, Robertson asserted that an 'intelligent judge' would have ruled against the gay men. '[T]his is outrageous!' the conservative preacher continued. 'To tell a florist that she’s got to provide flowers for a particular kind of wedding. What if somebody wanted to marry his dog?'" [editor's note: Come on, Pat, give it a rest. It's called "consent" ... When Rover can express this validly, then we'll talk! - SAT] [additional editor's note: Well, consent goes all kinds of ways. For example, a florist may or may not consent to any particular request for his or her work. There's a word for requiring the florist to do that work whether (s)he consents or not. That word is "slavery" - TLK] (02/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/okshsxy  

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TX: Marriage apartheid ended for one couple

February 19, 2015
posted by

Austin Chronicle    

"Early this morning, history was made as the first gay couple in Texas received a marriage license in Travis County. Austin residents, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, secured a temporary restraining order from Travis County District Judge David Wahlberg allowing Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir to grant them a lawful marriage. In a statement, the County notes the situation applies to a medically fragile couple -- Goodfriend suffers from ovarian cancer and her 'future remains uncertain,' according to court documents -- and any additional licenses must also be court ordered." (02/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l9zhj3v  

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Wal-Mart plans to boost pay of U.S. workers

February 19, 2015
posted by

MarketWatch MarketWatch    

"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday said it plans to boost the pay of its U.S. employees above the federal minimum wage in a push to help entry-level workers and amid a national debate about income inequality. The retailer said it plans to pay its workers at least $9 an hour by the first half of the year, or $1.75 above the federal minimum wage, and $10 an hour by Feb. 1. The raises affect the company's 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at U.S. Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Clubs, or about a third of the company's 1.4 million U.S. workers." (02/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqoxp5d  

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CA: “Superbug” linked to two deaths at LA hospital

February 19, 2015
posted by

United Press International United Press International    

"Nearly 180 patients at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to a drug-resistant bacteria that's already been linked to two deaths at the Los Angeles Hospital, health officials said. A spokeswoman for the UCLA Health Systems, Roxanne Yamaguchi, said Wednesday seven patients who were treated at the hospital were infected by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE). She said the deadly superbug was a contributing factor in the death of two of those patients." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mzfadtb  

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South Sudan: One college fights civil war in the classroom

February 19, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"At the chiming of small hand bells, 100 teachers-in-training at the Yei Teacher Training College (YTTC) shuttle between lectures on education philosophy, mathematics, and English. There are no holidays here (seats are filled year round) and classes run from 9 am to 5 pm. 'Not even a second lost,' read signs posted in the classrooms and along shady walkways. The urgency is clear. South Sudan has one of the worst teacher shortages in the world, with fewer than 45 percent of its primary school teachers having had formal training, UNESCO states." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q6hq9hh  

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CA: Blast at Exxon refinery could hike gasoline prices

February 19, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil Corp refinery near Los Angeles on Wednesday, leaving California with the threat of higher gasoline prices. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast in Torrance, California, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST. Four contract workers were injured and sent to Long Beach Medical Center for evaluation. Exxon said late on Wednesday that three of the workers had been released. The company said it was operating units that had not been affected by the explosion at its 155,000 barrel-per-day refinery." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pseohaw  

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MA: Feds say Wal-Mart was biased against lesbians

February 19, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"A federal agency says Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered 'a just resolution' for violating her civil rights. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills. In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote 'was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex.'" (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kroun7j  

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MO: SLU alumni protest planned sculpture honoring demonstrations

February 19, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Donors and alumni of Saint Louis University are up in arms over a proposed sculpture honoring a protest on school grounds against police brutality. The plan has led those opposed to the art project to launch a petition demanding plans for the monument be shelved according to the College Fix. The higher education blog also reports that students are divided on the issue and that a campus forum will be held later this week. Last October, protestors refused to leave the St. Louis campus and end their demonstration, which was intended to extend the Ferguson, Mo. protests of the previous summer." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvhy565  

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Switzerland: Police raid HSBC’s Geneva office

February 18, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Swiss prosecutors have searched offices of the Geneva subsidiary of HSBC bank in an inquiry into alleged money-laundering [sic]. They said they were investigating HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) and 'persons unknown for suspected aggravated money laundering.' The investigation could be extended to people suspected of committing or participating in money laundering. HSBC said it was 'co-operating with the Swiss authorities.' The raid comes more than a week after allegations first emerged that HSBC's Swiss private bank may have helped wealthy clients evade tax." [editor's note: yet another war-related victimless crime - SAT] (02/18/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31516416  

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OK: Bill would punish state employees issuing same-sex marriage licenses

February 18, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"An Oklahoma bill to punish any local or state employee who issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be heading to a vote in the state House of Representatives after a committee approved the legislation this week. ... The bill called the 'Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act' prohibits taxpayer funds, including government salaries, to be used for any activity that supports same-sex marriage. It also says that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be subject to removal from office." [editor's note: And the stupid just gets deeper - SAT] (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/namxxs3  

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Security theater: White House holds “extremism” summit; fortunately seems to just be a bunch of guff

February 18, 2015
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"President Obama argued Wednesday that America must 'discredit violent ideologies' if it wants to counter recruiting efforts by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda here at home. The president, in his keynote speech at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, aimed to strike a balance between addressing the risk of the radicalization of disaffected youths and the need to reassure Muslim Americans that their communities are not being targeted as a source of terrorist plots." [editor's note: Unless Obama became an anarchist while I wasn't looking, he's currently the global poster boy for "violent ideologies" - TLK] (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mcx4sc8  

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OK: House panel OKs bill to punish government employees who don’t enforce marriage apartheid

February 18, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"An Oklahoma bill to punish any local or state employee who issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be heading to a vote in the state House of Representatives after a committee approved the legislation this week. The bill is one of several in the Republican-dominated statehouse to impose restrictions on same-sex marriages that have been proposed after a U.S. federal judge last year ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The bill called the 'Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act' prohibits taxpayer funds, including government salaries, to be used for any activity that supports same-sex marriage. It also says that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be subject to removal from office." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q6hwtmz  

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Alien star missed us by less than a light-year, scientists say

February 18, 2015
posted by

NBC News    

"Astronomers say a red dwarf star and its brown dwarf companion passed within a light-year of our own sun 70,000 years ago, moving through the comets in the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud that surrounds our solar system. The star is known as WISE J072003.20-084651.2, or Scholz's star. Today, it's 20 light-years away from us in the constellation Monoceros. ... Scholz's star would typically be too faint to be seen with the naked eye from Earth, even during the close encounter. But the research team, led by the University of Rochester's Eric Mamajek, says there's a chance that our ancestors in Africa might have seen a magnetically induced flare-up." (02/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/krol2db  

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MA: Stop jumping from windows into snow, says Boston mayor

February 18, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The snow in Boston is now so deep that the mayor has urged pranksters to stop jumping from windows into snow piles. Mayor Martin Walsh said the stunts, which have been shared on social media sites, could be very dangerous. 'It's a foolish thing to do and you could kill yourself,' Mr Walsh said at news conference this week. February has set a record as the snowiest month ever in Boston, with 10 times the snowfall it would get in a typical winter." [editor's note: Probably not "kill yourself" unless you dive headfirst; seriously mess you up, YEP! Likely to find rocks and such (if not buried cars) under some drifts - SAT] (02/17/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31508616  

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China’s high speed rail: All dressed up with no place to sell?

February 18, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Fresh off the production line, with white livery and blue trim gleaming in the wintry sunlight that floods a cavernous test hangar, five of China’s state-of-the art bullet trains hum quietly as engineers put them through their final paces. These sleek trains will soon whisk Chinese passengers on the world's longest high speed rail network, built here in little over a decade, and considered a Chinese engineering miracle. But for Yu Weiping, a vice president of train-maker China CNR that owns the Tangshan factory, such progress is not enough." (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k7p3cvk  

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IA: Widow pleads guilty to illegally dividing cash deposits

February 18, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"An Iowa widow pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally splitting up bank deposits of her late husband's legally earned cash, in a case that has drawn criticism as an overreach by the IRS and federal prosecutors. Janet Malone, 68, admitted she willfully violated a law that prohibits divvying up cash deposits into increments of less than $10,000 for the purpose of evading federal reporting requirements. The misdemeanor carries maximum penalties of one year in prison, one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine." [editor's note: One more Drug War related victimless crime - SAT] (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kc8laon  

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TX: Abbot plans to double state’s spending on border security theater

February 18, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Texas Governor Greg Abbott pledged to double the state's spending on securing [sic] the border with Mexico, saying on Tuesday the federal government has not done enough to halt illegal [sic] immigration. Abbott, a Republican and former state attorney general who became governor in January, has tried to position Texas as a top challenger of President Barack Obama's immigration policies. Texas spearheaded the lawsuit that led a federal judge there on Monday to block Obama's order shielding millions of illegal [sic] immigrants from deportation." (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mcnjpnq  

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After lobbying push, drugmaker resubmits women’s sex pill

February 18, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The makers of a twice-rejected pill designed to boost female libido are resubmitting their drug to federal health regulators, following a recent lobbying blitz. Sprout Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it is refiling its application for the drug, flibanserin, adding new information requested by the Food and Drug Administration about how the pill affects driving ability. FDA scientists requested that data after their most recent rejection of the drug, in part, due to results showing nearly 10 percent of women in company trials reported sleepiness as a side effect." [editor's note: Seems like "driving ability" would be kinda irrelevant, although "sleepiness" could be a problem - SAT] (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lqj3wa7  

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NY: State’s top judge calls for grand jury reforms

February 17, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Responding to outrage over a grand jury’s decision against indicting a New York City police officer for killing an unarmed black man with a chokehold, the state’s top judge on Tuesday proposed giving courts unprecedented authority over grand jury proceedings involving police. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals said in his annual address in Albany that the public’s trust in the justice system had been shaken by the secretive proceedings that did not lead to indictments in the cases of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner and an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, who shot and killed an unarmed black teen last year." (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ksjb46u  

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IL: Chicago taxi drivers refuse to pick up fares during anti-Uber protest

February 17, 2015
posted by

Chicago Sun-Times    

"The blast of dozens of taxi horns rose above the normal downtown cacophony Tuesday morning — as cabbies protested the ride-sharing giant Uber. Dozens of cabbies, their hazard lights flashing, cruised downtown and ignored potential fares during a planned four-hour protest near City Hall." [editor's note: If you don't read the whole story, you'll think that this is typical "save our monopoly" stuff. That's what the author obviously wants you to think. But scroll down to the bottom and you find this: "In announcing the protest, Rocky Orok, a board member of the taxi drivers council, said: 'We want the [taxi] industry to be deregulated just like the ride-share industry so there's healthy competition.'" - TLK] (02/17/15)

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/374447/taxi  

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Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s executive action on immigration

February 17, 2015
posted by

RTT News    

"In a move cheered by conservatives [sic], a federal judge in Texas has temporarily halted implementation of President Barack Obama's controversial executive action on immigration. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen comes as lawmakers in Washington continue to squabble over a bill linking funding for the Department of Homeland Security to blocking the president's immigration action. In the ruling, Hanen argued that the Obama administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which calls for a more elaborate rulemaking process before taking action." (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ocyt6dy  

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WV: Tomblin declares emergency in counties affected by CSX derailment

February 17, 2015
posted by

Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune    

"n oil train with 109 cars derailed near a West Virginia town Monday, causing as many as 15 tankers to catch fire and a state of emergency to be declared in two counties. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties as CSX Corp., the train's operator, worked with emergency responders at the scene in frigid conditions. One person was being treated for potential smoke inhalation after the derailment, while no other injuries were reported, according to the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad and a state official." (02/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qjetgkq  

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Russian researchers expose breakthrough US spying program

February 17, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives. That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations." [editor's note: This is why "reform" isn't enough. NSA has to be disbanded, its ringleaders confined -- or at least denied access to any technology more advanced than a pencil -- for life, its facilities destroyed and salt sown in the earth where they once stood. Anything less is not enough - TLK] (02/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lsflvr7  

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US drone rules impact Amazon plans

February 17, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Federal Aviation Authority's (FAA) draft rules for the use of drones in US airspace do not permit Amazon to launch its Amazon Air delivery service. The draft rules state that pilots must remain within eyesight of their unmanned crafts, although it said it would consider factoring in a second line of sight in some cases. Pilots must also be FAA certified to operate drones. Amazon said it remained 'committed' to its plans for delivery via drone." (02/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31487510  

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WA: Robinson seeks to link aerospace tax breaks with state workforce

February 16, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"A lawmaker says she will introduce a bill that could reduce Boeing's multibillion dollar tax break if the company trims its overall Washington state workforce. The Herald of Everett reported Monday that Rep. June Robinson says her bill aims to ensure aerospace tax incentives are used to benefit the taxpayers in Washington. Robinson's bill is the latest move in the union-led effort to compel the state to reconsider generous tax incentives if aerospace companies don't create and retain good paying jobs." (02/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/knxfdey  

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