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American joins Delta, United in raising checked-bag fees

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - It's official: It will cost you more to check a bag on any of the three biggest U.S. airlines. American Airlines said Thursday that it is raising fees for checking bags by $5 apiece each way, matching Delta and United. The first bag i

Politics

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Border agents are deciding on their own to separate kids, with no input from child welfare experts

“Separating a child from a family in most communities requires a child welfare specialist and involvement of the judicial system,” USA Today reports, “often with a judge scrutinizing the case for months or even years.” This, however, isn’t the cas
Daily Kos

Border agents are deciding on their own to separate kids, with no input from child welfare experts

“Separating a child from a family in most communities requires a child welfare specialist and involvement of the judicial system,” USA Today reports, “often with a judge scrutinizing the case for months or even years.” This, however, isn’t the case at the southern border, where federal immigration agents are deciding on their own to separate families, in some cases basing their reasoning on outright lies. The Texas Civil Rights Project says in a new report that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers accused one dad of being a gang member but provided no evidence to back up their claim. In July, another dad was accused of faking his daughter’s birth certificate and then was separated from her. “He was not given an interpreter during his interview.” But the paperwork was real, and DNA testing proved he was her dad. They weren’t reunited until the next month. Judge Dana Sabraw ordered a stop to family separation at the border last summer, but made an exception for cases in which the parent is a danger to the child. The problem with that, as USA Today notes, is that “at the border, the removal decision is made solely by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in the field. No child welfare specialist is required, and no judge is involved in a decision that cannot be appealed.” It’s clear agents are abusing this exception. Even CBP’s former commissioner under the Obama administration “questioned whether agents should be conducting the child welfare investigations alone,” saying that families are fleeing traumatic situations, and nervous behavior relating to that could then be used by officers to justify separating them. «How do you determine whether the child is afraid of the parent,” Gil Kerlikowske asked, “or afraid of the Border Patrol agent in the green uniform?» The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought forward the lawsuit to reunite separated families, plans to raise this issue this week in ongoing court proceedings relating to the lawsuit. «The government appears to be doing an end run around the court order by unilaterally declaring parents a danger, and failing to give parents the ability to rebut that charge,» the ACLU’s Lee Gelernt said. Nor should agents who have been caught gleefully destroying life-saving jugs of water in the desert or accused of sexually assaulting minors be left to decide child welfare concerns. Sabraw should take this decision out of their hands. There must also be a push to end another crisis, which is that kids separated under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy remain in U.S. custody, 210 days after Sabraw’s reunification deadline. Family separation remains a crisis.

Trump's former fixer has a packed schedule testifying to Congress before he goes to prison

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, will spend a lot of time testifying to Congress the last week of February. Hours after the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced that Cohen would be talking to its members in a publ
Daily Kos

Trump's former fixer has a packed schedule testifying to Congress before he goes to prison

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, will spend a lot of time testifying to Congress the last week of February. Hours after the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced that Cohen would be talking to its members in a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 27, and to the House Intelligence Committee in a closed session on Thursday, Feb. 28, Reuters reported that Cohen would also be talking to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has been more serious in its investigation than its House counterpart was while under Republican control, but nonetheless, now that the House Intelligence Committee is led by Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, it’s a more promising source of investigation. Cohen has time for all of this thanks to a 60-day delay in the start of his prison sentence. He’ll start serving three years in May after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, making false statements to a bank, and lying to Congress. He can contribute to investigations of Trump on multiple angles, from the payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to help Trump win the 2016 election to the negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow.

Power-grab 'em by the Constitution: Trump’s national emergency diverts money from real disasters

Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in an attempt to scrape funding together for his border wall project. Unfortunately for Republican lawmakers, the government’s coffers aren’t bottomless, and the money has to come from somewhere. So the presi
Daily Kos

Power-grab 'em by the Constitution: Trump’s national emergency diverts money from real disasters

Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in an attempt to scrape funding together for his border wall project. Unfortunately for Republican lawmakers, the government’s coffers aren’t bottomless, and the money has to come from somewhere. So the president chose to divert more than $7 billion in funding from other programs. Trump’s money grab is an attempt to snatch $3.6 billion from military construction projects, such as building barracks for troops. Another $2.5 billion will be shunted from counternarcotics programs, and $600 million will come from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund—if, that is, a legal showdown doesn’t stop the emergency declaration in its tracks first. While these spending numbers don’t seem massive, at least by governmental standards, they represent a disregard for the constitutionally mandated powers of the presidency and the will of the American people. Some 56 percent of people believe that using emergency powers to construct a border wall is unnecessary. Even the president himself has said he “didn’t need to do this.” This emergency declaration—called a “power grab by a disappointed president” in a joint statement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer—may have more far-reaching effects than the president’s previous bombastic ploys. No government document lays out rules for what qualifies as a national emergency. What the National Emergencies Act of 1976 does clarify is that, in his declaration, the president must specify which statutory power he will use. “Trump could conceivably use a national emergency to control communications systems—including the Internet—in addition to appropriating Department of Defense funds to build a wall along the southern border,” Indra Ekmanis writes for PRI’s The World. Sixteen states, including New York and California, have filed suit against Trump in a challenge to his plan to misuse emergency powers to fund his border wall. If the national emergency survives the upcoming legal battle, it may set a dangerous precedent by monstrously expanding presidential powers and destabilizing the checks and balances that are keeping our democracy together—sometimes, it seems, by the narrowest of margins. Such an expansion of powers has the potential to warp our democracy to fit the president’s worldview, which is a thoroughly terrifying prospect. One way an emergency declaration can be misused has already been made plain: In a national emergency, the president could strip funds from real emergencies in order to bankroll imaginary ones.

Midday open thread. EPI: Wage gaps by gender and race persistent; Pinterest blocks anti-vaxxers

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is Can Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls USA, replace his phone battery?​​​​​​​ • Obama Presidential Center will have no library:  The four-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set t
Daily Kos

Midday open thread. EPI: Wage gaps by gender and race persistent; Pinterest blocks anti-vaxxers

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is Can Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls USA, replace his phone battery?​​​​​​​ • Obama Presidential Center will have no library:  The four-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set to be built in a public park on the South Side of Chicago, will include a 235-foot-high “museum tower,” a two-story event space, an athletic center, a recording studio, a winter garden, even a sledding hill. But the center, which will cost an estimated $500 million, will also differ from the complexes built by Barack Obama’s predecessors in another way: It won’t actually be a presidential library. In a break with precedent, there will be no research library on site, and none of Mr. Obama’s official presidential records. Instead, the Obama Foundation will pay to digitize the roughly 30 million pages of unclassified paper records from the administration so they can be made available online. • Las Vegas has measurable snow for the first time since records started being kept in 1937: There was a whole inch of the stuff at the airport early Thursday morning. • Peter Tork of The Monkees dead at 77: No cause was immediately announced, but Tork was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer a decade ago: While the Monkees were a manufactured, television-centric, American version of the Beatles as depicted in “A Hard Day’s Night,” Tork and fellow guitarist Mike Nesmith were serious musicians who paid their dues on the folk and rock scenes of the early 1960s; vocalist Davy Jones and singer/drummer Micky Dolenz were former child actors. Tork played the “Ringo” role in the group, as a charming and goofy comic foil. • The Economic Policy Institute has a new report out on the State of Wages 2018: Main takeaway: Wages are rising but most workers are only seeing moderate wage growth “and even workers who have seen more significant gains are just making up ground lost during the Great Recession and slow recovery rather than getting ahead”; economic inequality is rising  generally, and wage gaps by gender and race are persistent and, in some cases, worsening.  MIDDAY TWEET xSo, uh, why were a bunch of US mercenaries rolling around Haiti heavily armed amidst protests and street unrest?— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 21, 2019 • Pinterest blocks vaccine-related searches to battle anti-vaxx disinformation: On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House intelligence committee decided to do as others, including journalists, have been doing—searching “vaccine” on Facebook. He then posted a screenshot of what he found: autofill suggestions for a morass of anti-vaccination groups. But at Pinterest, such a search wouldn’t have turned up anything. Seeing that search results for some terms related to vaccines were broken, Pinterest “broke” its own search tool. This isn’t Pinterest’s first effort to curb anti-vaccine propaganda on its popular site. In 2016, a study found that 75 percent of posts related to vaccines at Pinterest were negative. So it changed its policy to ban anti-vaccine material under a guideline mandating exclusion of false information that “has immediate and detrimental effects on a pinner’s health or on public safety.”  • Experts find Switzerland’s online voting system has serious problems even before first major test: The public penetration [and bug bounty] test doesn’t begin until next week, but experts who examined leaked code for the Swiss internet voting system say it’s poorly designed and makes it difficult to audit the code for security and configure it to operate securely. • Amazon’s new environmental report likely to show how bad two-day shipping is for the climate:  Estimating the emissions from e-commerce is complicated. Ordering something online is often less energy intensive than driving to and from a physical store to pick up an item, because shipping can take advantage of economies of scale. But the benefit declines rapidly as delivery times get shorter and when customers don’t group items together, said Josué Velázquez-Martínez, a sustainable logistics professor at MIT. That’s a challenge for Amazon, which now counts more than 100 million Prime members, all of whom are eligible for two-day shipping. “When customers want to receive a product in one or two days, the carbon emissions increase substantially,” he said. “If you are willing to wait a week, it’s like killing just 20 trees instead of 100 trees.” On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up stories of the day: NC-09; another Trump fan turns terrorist; a study shows how race divides us on identity & values; Israeli election chaos. Also, Trump's a huge liar & you should never, ever, ever believe him. Especially “in writing.” x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

Wow: North Carolina Republican at center of election fraud investigation calls for new election

Wow. Republican Mark Harris, who’s at the center of an investigation into whether he benefitted from an illegal absentee ballot scheme in his race last year for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, just called for a new election to be held: xWOW@
Daily Kos

Wow: North Carolina Republican at center of election fraud investigation calls for new election

Wow. Republican Mark Harris, who’s at the center of an investigation into whether he benefitted from an illegal absentee ballot scheme in his race last year for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, just called for a new election to be held: xWOW@MarkHarrisNC9: «I believe a new election should be called.»Harris says he's had two strokes in recent months and has been undergoing medical treatment, says he stills struggles with memory recall— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) February 21, 2019 The North Carolina State Board of Elections is in the midst of the fourth day of hearings on the tainted election, and those proceedings have gone very poorly for Harris. On Wednesday, his own son testified that he'd warned Harris about McCrae Dowless, the operative accused of masterminding the illegal absentee ballot harvesting operation on behalf of Harris’ campaign. Then on Thursday, board members were furious to find out that Harris’ team had failed to produce relevant documents pursuant to their subpoena, including one message in which Harris specifically asked a friend to connect him to Dowless because he was “the guy whose absentee ballot project ... could have put me in the US House this term.” In his own testimony before the board on Thursday, Harris sought to throw his son under the bus, saying, “I’m his dad, and I know he’s a little judgmental, and has a little taste of arrogance.” He also professed a shocking ignorance of basic campaign finance laws: He initially paid Dowless through an “independent expenditure PAC” (often known as a “super PAC”), but said he was not aware that congressional campaigns are not permitted to coordinate their activities with such PACs. Democrats, including Harris’ 2018 opponent, Dan McCready, have long called for the board to order a new election should investigators substantiate the widespread charges of election fraud. The careful case they’ve laid out in four days of hearings makes that conclusion inescapable. North Carolina Republicans had demanded that Harris be seated, but with Harris himself saying a new election should be called, it’s hard to see how the board could do anything but order the election.

Economics

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Page turns for paper companies as sales improve, demand picks up

Market leader JK Paper posted a 72 per cent jump in December quarter profit to Rs 120.26 crore this year, compared to Rs 69.81 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.
Markets

Page turns for paper companies as sales improve, demand picks up

Market leader JK Paper posted a 72 per cent jump in December quarter profit to Rs 120.26 crore this year, compared to Rs 69.81 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

India's corn exports becoming unviable and uncompetitive on price

The domestic starch industry has also voiced concerns over sub-optimal corn supply this season, owing to less-than-normal rainfall last year
Markets

India's corn exports becoming unviable and uncompetitive on price

The domestic starch industry has also voiced concerns over sub-optimal corn supply this season, owing to less-than-normal rainfall last year

RBI emphasises on quick transmission of monetary policy action by banks

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das held the first meeting with heads of select commercial banks after the monetary policy review on February 6, 2019
Finance

RBI emphasises on quick transmission of monetary policy action by banks

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das held the first meeting with heads of select commercial banks after the monetary policy review on February 6, 2019

Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Fit: a hands on look at Samsung's new health features - CNET

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active will soon be able to measure blood pressure and costs $100 less than the previous Galaxy Watch.
CNET News

Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Fit: a hands on look at Samsung's new health features - CNET

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active will soon be able to measure blood pressure and costs $100 less than the previous Galaxy Watch.

Science

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How bird feather patterns form

According to a new study, the precise patterning of bird feathers relies on signaling through ectodysplasin (EDA) and its receptor EDAR -- the same signaling pathway known to be crucial for the formation of hair follicles, teeth and scales in fish, lizards an
Latest Science News -- ScienceDaily

How bird feather patterns form

According to a new study, the precise patterning of bird feathers relies on signaling through ectodysplasin (EDA) and its receptor EDAR -- the same signaling pathway known to be crucial for the formation of hair follicles, teeth and scales in fish, lizards and mammals.

Do volcanoes or an asteroid deserve blame for dinosaur extinction?

Scientists have obtained more precise dates for the Deccan Traps volcanic lava flows, linking peak activity more closely to the asteroid or comet impact 66 million years ago and the coincident mass extinction. But if greenhouse gases emitted before the impac
Latest Science News -- ScienceDaily

Do volcanoes or an asteroid deserve blame for dinosaur extinction?

Scientists have obtained more precise dates for the Deccan Traps volcanic lava flows, linking peak activity more closely to the asteroid or comet impact 66 million years ago and the coincident mass extinction. But if greenhouse gases emitted before the impact created a hothouse climate that set life up for a fall when the impact cooled the planet, those gases did not coincide with the largest lava flows from the Deccan Traps.

Phantom limb sensation explained

After a limb amputation, brain areas responsible for movement and sensation alter their functional communication. This is the conclusion of a new study. The findings may help to understand why some patients report phantom sensations and others do not.
Latest Science News -- ScienceDaily

Phantom limb sensation explained

After a limb amputation, brain areas responsible for movement and sensation alter their functional communication. This is the conclusion of a new study. The findings may help to understand why some patients report phantom sensations and others do not.

Culture

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Glass Lilac, Daffodil, and Magnolia Blossoms Thrive Underground at New York City’s 28th Street Subway Station

A new mosaic mural breathes life into the recently reopened 28th Street Station in New York City thanks to a cheerful design of blossoming glass flowers by artist Nancy Blum. ROAMING UNDERFOOT depicts plants that were chosen from the Madison Square Park Con
Colossal

Glass Lilac, Daffodil, and Magnolia Blossoms Thrive Underground at New York City’s 28th Street Subway Station

A new mosaic mural breathes life into the recently reopened 28th Street Station in New York City thanks to a cheerful design of blossoming glass flowers by artist Nancy Blum. ROAMING UNDERFOOT depicts plants that were chosen from the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Perennial Collection because of their ability to withstand climate change, such as Red Buds, Magnolias, Hellebores, Witch Hazel, Daffodils, and Camellia. “Blum’s intent was to capture some of the magic of the nearby park, regarded as an urban sanctuary, and to enhance the station environment for transit riders,” explains the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in a statement about the new work. More

Billy Graham Library: Attendance up after namesake's death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Billy Graham Library in North Carolina says it has seen a surge in visitors in the year since its namesake's death. Citing a blog post on the library's website, WLOS-TV reports that 214,000 people visited the Charlotte complex in 20
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Travel

Billy Graham Library: Attendance up after namesake's death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Billy Graham Library in North Carolina says it has seen a surge in visitors in the year since its namesake's death. Citing a blog post on the library's website, WLOS-TV reports that 214,000 people visited the Charlotte complex in 2018, up from 144,000 in 2017. ...

US says airfares hit new lows after factoring inflation

The average fare for airline travel within the United States has hit the lowest level since the government started keeping track in 1995, after adjusting for inflation. However, that doesn't count fees that airlines add for things like checking a bag, gettin
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Travel

US says airfares hit new lows after factoring inflation

The average fare for airline travel within the United States has hit the lowest level since the government started keeping track in 1995, after adjusting for inflation. However, that doesn't count fees that airlines add for things like checking a bag, getting a better seat, or moving up in the ...

Reggie Fils-Aime, Famous Black Nintendo of America President, Retires This April

The video game industry still has a lot of issues when it comes to making the public actually aware of who it is that makes the products we all enjoy. The visible faces […] The post Reggie Fils-Aime, Famous Black Nintendo of America President, Retires T
Geek.com

Reggie Fils-Aime, Famous Black Nintendo of America President, Retires This April

The video game industry still has a lot of issues when it comes to making the public actually aware of who it is that makes the products we all enjoy. The visible faces […] The post Reggie Fils-Aime, Famous Black Nintendo of America President, Retires This April appeared first on Geek.com.

Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Trailer Is a Freaky Alternate Reality

Jordan Peele is here to take audiences to a creepy alternate reality, where horror, mystery, and suspense unfold dark situations: The Twilight Zone. On Thursday, CBS All Access posted a new trailer for The […] The post Jordan Peele’s ‘Twili
Geek.com

Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Trailer Is a Freaky Alternate Reality

Jordan Peele is here to take audiences to a creepy alternate reality, where horror, mystery, and suspense unfold dark situations: The Twilight Zone. On Thursday, CBS All Access posted a new trailer for The […] The post Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Trailer Is a Freaky Alternate Reality appeared first on Geek.com.

11 Video Games That Should Add a Battle Royale Mode

We all know the story by now. Epic Games released Fortnite two summers ago, and the game did… OK. The cooperative co-op game combined zombie shooting and freeform construction with a warm, cartoony […] The post 11 Video Games That Should Add a Bat
Geek.com

11 Video Games That Should Add a Battle Royale Mode

We all know the story by now. Epic Games released Fortnite two summers ago, and the game did… OK. The cooperative co-op game combined zombie shooting and freeform construction with a warm, cartoony […] The post 11 Video Games That Should Add a Battle Royale Mode appeared first on Geek.com.

Sport

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Whitlock and Wiley respond to LeBron James saying his playoff level intensity is ‘activated’

Jason Whitlock and Marcellus Wiley give their take on LeBron James saying his playoff intensity level has been 'activated' for the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers regular season. Hear why Whitlock thinks this is a way of deflecting blame if the Lakers don't ma
FOX Sports Digital

Whitlock and Wiley respond to LeBron James saying his playoff level intensity is ‘activated’

Jason Whitlock and Marcellus Wiley give their take on LeBron James saying his playoff intensity level has been 'activated' for the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers regular season. Hear why Whitlock thinks this is a way of deflecting blame if the Lakers don't make the playoffs.

Jim Jackson explains why he believes Coach K should sit Zion Williamson for the season

After suffering an injury against North Carolina last night, some are saying that Zion Williamson should sit for the remainder of the season. Hear why Jim Jackson thinks that Duke should let Zion sit for the rest of the season.
FOX Sports Digital

Jim Jackson explains why he believes Coach K should sit Zion Williamson for the season

After suffering an injury against North Carolina last night, some are saying that Zion Williamson should sit for the remainder of the season. Hear why Jim Jackson thinks that Duke should let Zion sit for the rest of the season.

Barcelona Test Day 4: Renault shine, but expected pace-setters hold back

Nico Hulkenberg’s late-afternoon flying lap on the C5 tyre sent Renault into first place as the French marque finished first and third on the final day of the first test.Alexander Albon’s C5 lap originally sent Toro Rosso back to the top of the timing scr
Motorsport.com - All - Stories

Barcelona Test Day 4: Renault shine, but expected pace-setters hold back

Nico Hulkenberg’s late-afternoon flying lap on the C5 tyre sent Renault into first place as the French marque finished first and third on the final day of the first test.Alexander Albon’s C5 lap originally sent Toro Rosso back to the top of the timing screens in the morning session – narrowly ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo – but Hulkenberg’s sprint on the fastest ...Keep reading

An Earnhardt led at Daytona in a Supra! How did that happen?

Jeffrey is the 29-year-old grandson of the legendary seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, and has amassed more than 150 starts across NASCAR’s three national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks. He’s on a nine-race deal with Joe Gibbs Raci
Motorsport.com - All - Stories

An Earnhardt led at Daytona in a Supra! How did that happen?

Jeffrey is the 29-year-old grandson of the legendary seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, and has amassed more than 150 starts across NASCAR’s three national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks. He’s on a nine-race deal with Joe Gibbs Racing and started off on a high by recording a front-row start for the Supra – then led the first 29 laps before dropping back to finish ...Keep reading

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