Stories of couples splitting up, then fighting over frozen embryos pop to the fore every now and then. There’s Sofia Vergara’s battle with her ex-fiance, now avowed opponent of abortion Nick Loeb, who wants to use embryos they created together against her wishes. Loeb tried to move the case to Louisiana, the only state that gives embryos standing to sue, but a Louisiana judge ruled against him—initially as a non-resident—and determined the embryos are “citizens of California.” So then Loeb “moved” to Louisiana to take a second shot at a win—and it seems he may have gotten it. On his second attempt in Louisiana, Loeb sued under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Vergara fought to remove the case to federal court, arguing that the law covers children, not embryos, but Loeb took the case back to state court. There, the judge determined it’s a “custody case over which federal courts lack jurisdiction.” Both the removal to state court and the judge’s wording bode poorly for Vergara. Now Arizona’s creeping in Louisiana’s direction. It hasn’t given embryos full personhood, but legislators have passed a law—in effect as of July 1—that specifies what happens to frozen embryos in the event of disagreement over the disposition of embryos upon divorcing. Whichever spouse intends to use the embryos gets the embryos from now on in Arizona, effectively forcing parenthood upon the spouse that doesn’t want them used. The argument underlying the law is that embryos are people; they should be treated as children under law. Once someone has voluntarily contributed to the formation of an embryo, that embryo’s right to life supersedes the contributor’s rights—meaning they “cannot be legally terminated at the whim of others,” as the Thomas More Society puts it. Anti-abortion groups like the Thomas More Society have been crusading for frozen embryos’ rights all over the country. If the Arizona law’s upheld, their next step would be getting a court to declare that just as an embryo in a freezer has rights, so too does an embryo in utero. “The new law is in fact an end around aimed at establishing the ‘personhood’ of unborn embryos,” confirms Rich Vaughn, chair of the American Bar Association’s committee on fertility technology and founder of the International Fertility Law Group. The law specifics that the objecting spouse “has no parental responsibilities … and no right, obligation or interest with respect to” any children that come of using the embryos. On the one hand, that means the objecting spouse won’t be liable for child support; on the other, they’ll become a biological parent without consent and forfeit any right to see the child that’s half genetically theirs by the simple act of opposition.
US energy providers love to spread horror stories of what it would cost to actually clean up America’s power supply and slow global warming. But they certainly don’t mind spending money when it comes to keeping American covered in soot, coal ash, mercury, and all the other byproducts of a dirty energy industry. As a new study shows, the fossil fuel industry has spent over $2 billion fighting to make sure that America stays dirty. That expenditure, coming in just the period since 2000, means that over 10 times as much was spent by fossil fuel companies lobbying Congress to resist making any changes to address climate change than by all science, health and environmental groups pressing to take action. Despite the introduction of several major bills to limit carbon emissions in the USA, none of them have been passed. None of them have passed not because there wasn’t evidence to back their actions, or popular support for addressing the issue. As the paper shows, legislators have tended to make a simple equation: More lobbying means a higher level of interest. And fossil fuel companies have poured money into making sure that their products can be burned with increasingly fewer restrictions. Even as scientific consensus was developing and the world waking up to the size of the threat, oil, gas, and coal companies worked diligently to make sure that no substantial action would be taken. And that’s true even of companies that were publicly mouthing belief in climate change, even as they were putting down their dollars to fight it. Companies didn’t “come to the table” to negotiate with environmental groups as a means of finding the best way to deal with global warming. They didn’t sit down to hear what those groups had to say. They came to those meetings for the same purpose that they lobbied Congress: To make sure nothing happened. Their apparent “support” for climate change, was just a feint designed to make the public think that these companies had at last agreed to take action. When they were really just sitting to the same table with environmental groups to weaken and slow reaction under the guise of being reasonable.
Those who have been wondering why the seemingly open-and-shut case of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a supposed charity being used as little more than a slush fund for the family's own benefit, has mustered only a civil case against the Foundation rather than a criminal one may soon see the other shoe drop: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office is signaling that they will support a criminal investigation into the Foundation at the state attorney general's discretion. «At Governor Cuomo's direction, the state stands ready to provide the Attorney General with the appropriate criminal referral on this matter if and when she asks for it,» Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, said in a statement. State Attorney General Barbara Underwood cannot pursue a criminal investigation without such approval; the filing of criminal charges against the Foundation would likely result in a halt to the current civil case, however, and so it's more likely that Underwood will let the (strong) civil case play out before pursuing separate criminal charges. That civil case will get underway in the fall, immediately before the midterm elections, and the presiding judge has dropped clear hints the Foundation is in a world of trouble. Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all named in the lawsuit and, at minimum, face the likely but trivial penalty of being barred from serving on the boards of other nonprofit groups for a year. Given the seemingly transparent criminal nature of their actions, using a registered charity to personally enrich themselves, dodge taxes, and to strategically assist the Donald Trump presidential campaign, those penalties have long seemed embarrassingly petty. But Attorney General Underwood has already referred those actions to federal agencies for investigation; criminal charges by the state now seem likely as well. Again, however, it's not likely to be imminent. The state has a strong civil case against the Trump family, and the judge has indicated a desire to move that process along quickly. The state can afford to be patient and let that process play out before beginning a criminal case based on the same evidence. It's not like the Trump family will be hard to find, when the time comes.
Last week, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee okayed an amendment that sparked anger in the LGBTQ community because, advocates said, it could block lesbian and gay couples from adopting. As Heron Greenesmith reports at Rewire, however, the proposed legislation doesn’t ban adoptions by same-sex couples outright. In fact, it could be far worse than that. The amendment is the work of Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama. It passed on a party-line vote. It would allow faith-based, taxpayer-funded adoption and other child welfare agencies to refuse to work with LGBTQ children or families if this conflicts with “the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be allowed to withhold as much as 15 percent of a state’s federal child-care funding if officials there fail to accede to an organization’s religiously based discrimination in foster care or adoption services. Yes. You read that correctly. A state that refuses to go along with an organization’s religiously based discrimination against LGBTQ families based would see its federal funding docked. The upsidedownism of our era is less and less surprising, and more and more infuriating. Especially since the latest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court apparently has issues with separation of church and state, there’s always the possibility that, if Aderholt’s amendment passes the full House and Senate and gets signed by the squatter in the White House, the highest court in the land will approve it.
If there is one single political issue that is salient for the whole state of Nevada, it's the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, a decades-old fight between pretty much the entirety of the state and the federal government. Opposition to the site is actually the official state position, and has united the state's Republican and Democratic elected officials since 1987. Which puts Sen. Dean Heller, the Senate's most vulnerable Republican in 2018, in a very hot seat when it comes to his vote on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee. In 2013, Kavanaugh was part of a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reviewing «that stopped the Obama Administration's Department of Energy (DOE) from killing the project and forced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to resume its licensing.» Guess who wrote the majority ruling on that? Yep, Kavanaugh. Ironically, the dissenting opinion came from Judge Merrick Garland. Heller's Democratic opponent in the general election, Jackie Rosen, was quick to point out the tough position he's in on this vote, and where she stands. “I have serious reservations about Judge Kavanaugh, and his pro-Yucca ruling adds to my list of concerns about how his confirmation to the Supreme Court would harm hardworking Nevadans,” Rosen said. “We have to do everything we can to keep our state from becoming the nation’s nuclear waste dump, and this ruling should raise major red flags for Senator Heller as he evaluates this nominee.” Heller isn't saying much of anything right now, not providing comment for this Nevada Independent story. He's said about the nomination in general he supports Kavanaugh, but also «has said he would do anything to ensure the project does not get built.» He's going to have to answer whether «anything» includes blocking a Supreme Court justice who could ultimately approve the project. Rosen could definitely make this an issue for November: 58 percent of Nevada voters are opposed to efforts to reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site. Add in the threats Kavanaugh poses to Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion that’s covered so many Nevadans, and Heller is a possible defector on Kavanaugh—not a likely one, but one worth pursuing. In the meantime, let's make life harder for him. Please contribute $3 to the fund to flip his seat.
In a week where The Spy Who Loved Me has become more than just a Bond movie, it’s easy to forget the non-Russia action transpiring in states across the country. But fret not! I’ve got my GoldenEye on the action. Campaign Action Dr. NOPE: I’ve been writing in this space about how former Arizona GOP state Rep. Don Shooter, who was expelled from the House by his colleagues in February after his years of sexual misconduct came to light, is running for the state Senate this fall. Shooter’s apparently perfectly viable candidacy is pretty depressing all by itself. I mean, if being the first state lawmaker to be expelled from a legislature in the wake of the #MeToo movement isn’t enough to keep you on the political sidelines, what is? Well, the AP dropped a little report this week on the negligible impact sexual misconduct allegations seem to be having on state legislators’ political careers. Sure, Rep. Steve Lebsock got the boot from the Colorado state House earlier this year, North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall lost his primary, and at least 14 other state lawmakers across the country resigned over the past year or so because of sexual harassment or misconduct allegations. But 25 other state lawmakers facing similar accusations are still running this year. 15 of them have already advanced to the general election. And seven of those didn’t even face a primary challenger. Ugh. But at least some of these alleged miscreants will face opponents in November, so there's still a hope of seeing some of them gone.
A new Justice Department policy aims to combat hacking operations like those conducted by Russia during the 2016 election.
Coming from the mind of George R.R. Martin, you know this new SyFy TV series he calls «Psycho in space» isn't going to be a serene mission.
Drivers who prefer to use Android Auto on their phone's display can now choose Waze for navigation.
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd cut its annual revenue and capital expenditure estimates on Thursday, as the world's largest contract chipmaker braces for slowing growth in the smartphone and cryptocurrency mining industries.
NEW YORK/ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss regulators are stepping up efforts to halt an exodus of cryptocurrency projects from the country, after two of only a handful of banks active in the nascent sector shut their doors on it in the last year.
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, trimmed its annual revenue and capital spending estimates on bleak demand from smartphone and cryptocurrency mining industries.
Walt Disney Animation Studio is set to debut its first VR short film, Cycles, this August in Vancouver, the Association for Computing Machinery announced today. The plan is for it to be a headliner at the ACM’s computer graphics conference (SIGGRAPH), joining other forms of VR, AR and MR entertainment in the conference’s designated Immersive Pavilion. This […]
You would think that Amazon, Reddit, Wikipedia and other highly popular websites would by now tell you that «password1» or «hunter2» is a terrible password — just terrible. But they don't. A research project that has kept tabs on the top sites and their password habits for the last 11 years shows that most provide only rudimentary password restrictions and do little to help users.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is still reviewing the 12 applications from companies to operate electric scooters in the city. In early June, companies like Uber, Lime, Bird, Lyft and others applied for permits to operate electric scooter share services in San Francisco. San Francisco’s permit process came as a result of Bird, Lime and Spin deploying […]
Huawei’s had a rough go of it here in the States, after concerns around ties to the Chinese government have left the company scrambling to gain a commercial toehold. Over the past several years, top U.K. security officials have also put the company under the microscope over potential security concerns. A new report issued by […]
Embark Trucks has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital in its bid to be the first to develop and launch a commercially viable driverless truck. Sequoia partner Pat Grady has joined Embark’s board. Existing investors including Data Collective, YCombinator, SV Angel and AME Cloud also participated in the round, […]
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A crack in rock that forced the closure of a popular waterfall tourist viewing area in Grand Teton National Park hasn't grown over the past week. In addition, the National Park Service says the crack may have begun to expand last fall and it's uncertain when ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration said Thursday that Somalis granted special immigration status in the U.S. can keep the designation, making them one of the few groups permitted to stay in the U.S. under a program that has allowed them to remain here for years. Somalia was first designated ...
Ten years ago the world of Star Wars changed forever with the debut of The Clone Wars. The first proper ongoing Star Wars TV show, it filled in much of the prequels’ timeline […] The post SDCC Celebrates 10 Years of Clone Wars appeared first on Geek.com.
I thought I was done with Amiibos. Then Splatoon 2 happened. Nintendo sometimes does amazing things with aesthetics, and its aesthetics have never been stronger than the look of Splatoon 2. The Octoling DLC is […] The post Geek Pick: Splatoon 2 Pearl and Marina Amiibos appeared first on Geek.com.
Doctor Who is going to look awfully different when the series returns later this year. We already saw Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor regenerate into Jodie Whittaker’s 13th last Christmas. Now when the show returns, […] The post SDCC Provides Our First Proper Look at Season 11 of Doctor Who appeared first on Geek.com.
The Coralarium is the newest aquatic sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously here and here). Built in a large developed coral lagoon in the Maldives, the semi-submerged installation is positioned so both human and marine visitors can interact with sculptural elements on the skyline, inter-tidal waterline, and seabed. To reach the Coralarium, island guests traverse about 500 feet (150 meters) of shallow water, seascaped with underwater poplars and endemic corals. More
Fans won't get to see Manny Machado on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. But they will get to see the Philadelphia Phillies kick off the second half of their season atop the National League East.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Jeffrey Carroll.
Stuart, who spent four years in the chief tech role, is set to move to the Confederation of Australian Motorsport as the Division Manager – Safety and Race Operations as of 2019.“David has made an invaluable contribution to our sport. He is deeply respected within our organisation, amongst the race teams and all key stakeholders within Supercars,” said Supercars CEO Sean Seamer.“To ... Keep reading
LOS ANGELES (AP) Luc Mbah a Moute is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, signing a free-agent deal.
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees and New York Mets headed into the All-Star break on different tracks.
A look at what's happening around the majors Friday: