Voting-Rights Push Could Begin a Third Reconstruction
This White Nationalist Police Officer Is a Case Study
Blink once for “yes”
His response: a death stare… before walking off without saying a word.
An impressive milestone
Turns out airplane safety features aren’t really optional
For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.
Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations.
Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Indonesia’s Lion Air, have opted not to buy them — and regulators don’t require them. Now, in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standard as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again.
… Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another.
Boeing will soon update the MCAS software, and will also make the disagree light standard on all new 737 Max planes, according to a person familiar with the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they have not been made public. The angle of attack indicator will remain an option that airlines can buy.
In case you forgot that there are terrible people out there
Dozens of graves at a Hebrew cemetery in Massachusetts were recently vandalized, prompting police to open a hate crime investigation.
Police found swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti at the Fall River cemetery and believe the incident occurred on March 16 or early March 17, according to a Tuesday social media post.
Gravestones were defaced using a black marker and some were pushed over, police said.
On Tuesday, police estimated that 25 gravestones were vandalized, but that estimate more than doubled on Wednesday to 59, The (Fall River, Mass.) Herald News reports.
The paper previously reported the graves were marked with words such as “heil Hitler” and “Hitler was right.” One was reportedly tagged with “Oy vey! This is MAGA country.”
Actually, you probably will
Fawning all over the president seems to be working
Thanks Florida, but we’re not sure we need to see the video
Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and more than a dozen other defendants charged in a Florida prostitution sting filed a motion to stop the public release of surveillance videos and other evidence taken by police.
Attorneys filed the motion Wednesday in Palm Beach County court. The State of Florida does not agree with the request, according to the filing.
In the motion, the attorneys asked the court to grant a protective order to safeguard the confidentiality of the materials seized from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, and “in particular the videos, until further order of the court.”
Some good advice from corporate America: just ignore Trump’s tweets
When Mr. Trump was running for president, he promised to personally stop American companies from shutting down factories and moving plants abroad, warning that he would punish them with public backlash and higher taxes. Many companies scrambled to respond to his Twitter attacks, announcing jobs and investments in the United States — several of which never materialized.
But despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to compel companies to build and hire, they appear to be increasingly prioritizing their balance sheets over political backlash.
“I don’t think there’s as much fear,” said Gene Grabowski, who specializes in crisis communications for the public relations firm Kglobal. “At first it was a shock to the system, but now we’ve all adjusted. We take it in stride, and I think that’s what the business community is doing.”
There’s no specific stipulation that Milo must be heard, so it could be worse
President Trump is expected to issue an executive order Thursday directing federal agencies to tie research and education grants made to colleges and universities to more aggressive enforcement of the First Amendment, according to a draft of the order viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The order instructs agencies including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Defense to ensure that public educational institutions comply with the First Amendment, and that private institutions live up to their own stated free-speech standards.
The order falls short of what some university officials feared would be more sweeping or specific measures; it doesn’t prescribe any specific penalty that would result in schools losing research or other education grants as a result of specific policies.
Tech companies have a terrorism bias
Tech companies say that it is easier to identify content related to known foreign terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda because of information-sharing with law enforcement and industry-wide efforts, such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a group formed by YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter in 2017.
On Monday, for example, YouTube said on its Twitter account that it was harder for the company to stop the video of the shootings in Christchurch than to remove copyrighted content or ISIS-related content because YouTube’s tools for content moderation rely on “reference files to work effectively.” Movie studios and record labels provide reference files in advance and, “many violent extremist groups, like ISIS, use common footage and imagery,” YouTube wrote.
The cycle is self-reinforcing: The companies collect more data on what ISIS content looks like based on law enforcement’s myopic and under-inclusive views, and then this skewed data is fed to surveillance systems, Bloch-Wehba says. Meanwhile, consumers don’t have enough visibility in the process to know whether these tools are proportionate to the threat, whether they filter too much content, or whether they discriminate against certain groups, she says.
Who are the mystery parties in the new Jeffrey Epstein suit?
Two mystery litigants citing privacy concerns are making a last-ditch bid to keep secret some details in a lawsuit stemming from wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein’s history of paying underage girls for sex.
Just prior to a court-imposed deadline Tuesday, two anonymous individuals surfaced to object to the unsealing of a key lower-court ruling in the case, as well as various submissions by the parties.
Both people filed their complaints in the New York-based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which is overseeing the case. The two people said they could face unwarranted speculation and embarrassment if the court makes public records from the suit, in which Virginia Giuffre, an alleged Epstein victim, accused longtime Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell of engaging in sex trafficking by facilitating his sexual encounters with teenage girls. Maxwell has denied the charges.
New Zealand bans the sale of assault rifles less than a week after Christchurch shooting
Updates from the catastrophic cyclone in Mozambique
Rescue teams in Mozambique are struggling to reach the thousands of people stranded on roofs and in trees and urgently need more helicopters and boats as post-cyclone flood waters continue to rise.
Rescue workers, military personnel and volunteers are rushing to save thousands of Mozambicans before flood levels rise further, but with four helicopters, a handful of boats and extremely difficult conditions, have only been able to save about 413 so far.
“I don’t even know if we’ve made a dent. There are just so many people. The scale is huge. We’re busy doing the best we can,” said Travis Trower from Rescue South Africa, adding that a lot of people had been washed away but those still alive, whom he had seen from helicopter flights, were in a very bad state.
More than 400 sq kilometres (150 sq miles) in the region are flooded, according to satellite images taken by the EU, and in some places the water is six metres (19ft) deep. At least 600,000 people are affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ranging from those whose lives are in immediate danger to those who need other kinds of aid.
D.C. is being hit by an unprecedented wave of gentrification
About 40 percent of the District’s lower-income neighborhoods experienced gentrification between 2000 and 2013, giving the city the greatest “intensity of gentrification” of any in the country, according to a studyreleased Tuesday by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
The District also saw the most African American residents — more than 20,000 — displaced from their neighborhoods during that time, mostly by affluent, white newcomers, researchers said. The District and Philadelphia were most “notable” for displacements of black residents, while Denver and Austin had the most Hispanic residents move. Nationwide, nearly 111,000 African Americans and more than 24,000 Hispanics moved out of gentrifying neighborhoods, the study found.
In an essay accompanying the study, Sabiyha Prince of Empower DC said the city “rolled out the proverbial red carpet” for tens of thousands of new residents in the past five years. But the new dog parks, bike lanes, condominiums and pricey restaurants that followed, she said, are not viewed as improvements by long-term residents, who can feel isolated because of losing neighbors, social networks and local businesses. Prince, an anthropologist, said longtime Washingtonians tell stories of “alienation and vulnerability in the nation’s capital.”
There’s a morbid Yakov Smirnoff joke in here somewhere
This says something about the Democratic Party’s relationship to Israel right now
The liberal group MoveOn is calling on Democratic presidential candidates to skip this year’s AIPAC policy conference, citing its links to the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu and charging that AIPAC has flirted with Islamophobia.
The move underscores a growing willingness on the Democratic left to criticize Israel and its staunchest Washington supporters, particularly since freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) bashed supporters of Israel in terms widely condemned as anti-Semitic.
“It’s no secret that that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” said Iram Ali, Campaign Director at MoveOn Political Action, in a statement provided first to POLITICO. Ali said the move should “give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.”
Pelosi’s stance on impeachment may have had an effect on voters
Will the EU go for this?
Ok, that’s a pretty good line
Famous last words?
“Beto,” the host says
Hard to believe, considering the Trump administration’s well-known commitment to promoting progress on gender and equality around the globe
Dozens of women have been denied visas to attend a major UN women’s conference in New York.
According to campaigners, women from African and Middle Eastern countries that fell under Donald Trump’s travel ban were disproportionately affected.
The US is obliged under a 70-year-old treaty to not restrict people or NGOs from attending the UN headquarters.
In protest, women’s rights campaigners are petitioning the US Mission to the UN to streamline visa procedures for those traveling to the UN.
A disturbing discovery in South Korea
Around 1,600 people have been secretly filmed in hotel rooms in South Korea, with the footage live-streamed online for paying customers to watch, police said Wednesday.
Two men have been arrested and another pair investigated in connection with the scandal, which involved 42 rooms in 30 accommodations in 10 cities around the country. Police said there was no indication the businesses were complicit in the scheme.
… Cameras were hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets and hairdryer holders and the footage was streamed online, the Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement.
The site had more than 4,000 members, 97 of whom paid a $44.95 monthly fee to access extra features, such as the ability to replay certain live streams. Between November 2018 and this month, police said, the service brought in upwards of $6,000.
An update on the White House marital drama no one asked for
Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump’s attacks on her husband George Conway saying he’s “a counterpuncher” and asserting that the president is free to respond when he’s accused of having a mental illness.
“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Conway, a senior Trump aide, told POLITICO in a brief telephone interview. “But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?”
“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You’re not a psychiatrist and he’s not, respectfully.”
Area man wakes up from two-year nap
A terrifying, previously unknown detail about last year’s Lion Air crash
As the Lion Air crew fought to control their diving Boeing Co. 737 Max 8, they got help from an unexpected source: an off-duty pilot who happened to be riding in the cockpit.
That extra pilot, who was seated in the cockpit jumpseat, correctly diagnosed the problem and told the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane, according to two people familiar with Indonesia’s investigation.
The next day, under command of a different crew facing what investigators said was an identical malfunction, the jetliner crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 aboard.
His first in three years
Perhaps inevitably, Bernie Sanders’s popularity seems to be slipping a bit
One of the arguments Bernie Sanders’ fans made during the 2016 Democratic primary was that he was more electable than Hillary Clinton. His favorable ratings with the general electorate were far higher than Hillary Clinton’s. Indeed, Sanders maintained fairly high favorable ratings with all voters as late as 2018.
Sanders’ popularity among all voters seems to be declining considerably in the last few months, however.
Our new CNN poll puts Sanders favorable rating at 46% compared to an unfavorable rating of 45% among registered voters. This is only the latest poll to have Sanders at basically even in his net favorability rating (favorable-unfavorable). A Quinnipiac University pollfrom late December gave the Vermont senator a net favorability of just +2 points. An average of all recent polls put Sanders’ net favorability at about -1 points.
Andrew Gillum is going to try to move Florida back into the Democratic column
Andrew Gillum has launched a Florida voter registration group dedicated to defeating President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in the nation’s largest swing state.
The former Tallahassee mayor and Democratic nominee for governor is expected to formally announce the effort today at a speech in Miami Gardens. One of the groups working with Gillum — Bring it Home Florida, named after his signature campaign phrase — was registered last week by his supporters with the state election division overseeing third-party voter registration organizations.
Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party says it will spend $2 million in the next year to register 200,000 voters ahead of next year’s presidential primary. Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said the party has not “dedicated enough resources” to registering voters in recent years. There are currently 4.96 million registered Democrats in the state compared to 4.7 million Republicans and nearly 3.6 million voters with no party affiliation.
Forget Joe Biden, Mike Gravel is going to shake this race up
Rubber finally hitting the road for Theresa May?
This may not rebut George Conway’s charges of mental instability
More horrifying details from the Lion Air crash
The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.
Democrats regularly falling below 1 percent in the polls are scrambling to meet the other debate threshold: 65,000 individual donors
Hitting 65,000 has become a magic ticket for many of the party’s presidential candidates, who are struggling to rank in public polls given a field that already has 15 contenders, with several more waiting in the wings. The new criteria have proved to be a boon to lesser-known candidates seeking a national stage this summer and could create challenges for more-established politicians seeking to break away from the pack — with unpredictable repercussions for the party.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg reached his 65,000 goal last week after a successful CNN town hall brought him a new wave of donors. Businessman Andrew Yang put a counter on his homepage to drive the online energy past 65,000 donors for his candidacy, which is based around the idea of giving every American adult $1,000 every month. (Buttigieg and Yang are the only two candidates who do not regularly register with clear support in national polls to claim that they’ve reached that mark.)
Aides to Marianne Williamson, a self-help guru, and former housing secretary Julián Castro say their campaigns are also on track to qualify.
“We need 65,000 individual contributions,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) pleaded after her own CNN town hall, in a hotel hallway video that now tops her Twitter page. She asked each of her donors to find at least 10 other people to chip in a dollar as well.
A powerful stand against hate and fear after the New Zealand mosque shooting
Islamic leaders have vowed to hold Friday prayer at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch exactly one week after an armed terrorist gunned down 42 worshippers.
The Deans Ave mosque’s religious leader Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived New Zealand’s worst ever terror attack, said the move will show the world that Muslims, and all New Zealanders, will not bow down to terror.
“We are going to prayer here on Friday,” said Fouda today, speaking to the Herald at the cordon across the road from the mass murder scene.
“The majority of people, including myself, we decided to come and prayer close to our site. We will never forsake it to please those people who actually attacked us.”
A Republican senator “closely aligned” with Mitch McConnell claims he’s going to tell off Trump today for repeatedly insulting the late John McCain
Later today Sen. Johnny Isakson will call out President Trump for his continued disparagement of John McCain. The chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that the service of any veteran, let alone McCain, should never be besmirched, that president’s comments “drive me crazy,” and that he plans to speak out at length on Wednesday.
… On Tuesday, Isakson told me he plans to deliver the promised whipping. “I want to do what I said that day on the floor of the senate,” he said [referring to a speech warning Trump in the days after McCain’s death]. “I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”
A chilling tale of Iraqi truffle hunters being abducted by ISIS
As he hunted for a seasonal delicacy, Mohaned Salah Yasseen scanned the ground intently, searching for places where the soil is cracked and slightly raised — the telltale sign a desert truffle lies below.
So he failed to notice the two pickup trucks, driven by men in military uniforms, until they were almost upon him.
“They ordered me to get into the truck,” said Mr. Yasseen, a 31-year-old pharmacist. “I thought about saying no, but they were armed.”
As he climbed in, he became the latest victim in a new campaign by the Islamic State.
Since late January, they have been kidnapping and, in some cases, executing Iraqi truffle hunters, mostly in the deserts of western Anbar Province. The Iraqi security forces confirmed the kidnapping of 44 truffle hunters this year, and more have probably gone unreported.