NJ Sen. Loretta Weinberg hailed as champion of a free press and gov’t transparency

Press freedom via freepress.net
Press Freedom source: freepress.net
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg received the National Newspaper Association Open Government Award for her legislative advocacy to promote government transparency and accountability. The award was presented to the senator Thursday by NNA President Matt Paxton during the 2017 Community Newspaper Leadership Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Whether at the state or national level, an attack on the media is an attack on our democracy. Particularly during these uncertain times, we have to stand in support of a free and independent press. I am committed to continuing the fight for government transparency and accountability and am honored to receive this award from the National Newspaper Association,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “I am also dedicated to continuing the work that I’ve done over the last several years to reform the state’s open government laws to make government more accessible to the public. A strong press and transparent government are the best safeguards for truth in our state and our country.”

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Trump shut down NPS for climate change tweets but can’t block new unofficial Twitter account

@AltNatParkSer
Over at the Palmer Report, Bill Palmer tells us the way National Park employees found to stand up to Trump, who is blocking federal employees from commenting on climate change to the extent that he has issued a gag order to prevent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from mentioning it and has deleted tweets made by the National Park Service (NPS) and even suspended the Twitter account of one park account that tweeted about climate change. An anonymous group of individuals has created an unofficial Twitter account for park and climate change news that Trump can’t touch.

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Trevor Noah talks about his book on growing up in apartheid South Africa and inviting Tomi Lahren to The Daily Show

Trevor Noah on The Breakfast Club
Source: The Breakfast Club via YouTube

Trevor Noah speaks on The Breakfast Club about his autobiographical book on growing up knowing his birth – as a biracial child – was a crime in apartheid South Africa … a place where his mother had to dress as his nanny in order to be able to walk down the street with him.

Noah shares his questions and opinions on Donald Trump and speaks about his decision to invite Tomi Lahren to be his guest on The Daily Show. One reason for doing it was to have the chance to be heard by her audience, who otherwise would never learn anything about him.

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Days after referendum is defeated Colombian citizens demonstrate and president wins Nobel Peace Prize

Colombians march for peace
Source: AFP News Agency clip via YouTube
Colombians turned out en masse to demonstrate for peace after a ballot referendum was narrowly defeated on Sunday 02 October 2016 50.2% to 49.8%. The deal would have brought to an end Colombia’s half century of civil war. Former Pres. Alvaro Uribe led the “no” vote campaign surge by stirring up support among voters for his claim that FARC opposition forces deserve neither amnesty from criminal prosecution or government support to assist with transitioning back into civil society, both of which were provided for under the terms of the peace agreement.

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Uber won’t wait – rolls out driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh this month

Uber self-driving car
Source: Uber

For whatever its reasons: to be seen as a innovation leader … due to bad press when a driver ran a little girl down and her family paid the funeral expenses because neither the driver nor Uber agreed to assume liability … Because the math shows that drivers make a lot less money than they thought they would after car expenses, wear and tear and time are calculated … or because Google and Tesla are hard on the heels of driverless technology revolution …

Whatever the reasons are, Uber is not waiting five years – or even one – to roll out driverless vehicles. Instead, the rollout launches this month in Pittsburgh, PA, with stand-by technicians at the wheels of cars and others taking notes but none} of them are supposed to interact with customers nor drive. Bloomberg provides details:

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Court ruling: New Jersey police must turn over dashcam video on request

Dashcams
Source: Wikipedia
The New Jersey Law Journal reports on dashcam ruling handed down 30 June 2016. It’s a win for justice and respectful police conduct:

New Jersey appeals court on June 30 ruled that police video recordings taken from dashboard cameras are documents that must be released under the state’s Open Public Records Act.

Hurrah! I’m happy with this news. NJLJ reports that court case was filed by “open-government activist John Paff.” Thanks for the great work, John.

What Bernie & followers face now: thoughtful reporters take a 360º look

candidate didn't win
Source: Suffolk University/USA Today poll
Record reporters Herb Jackson & Christopher Maag take a look at the choices facing Bernie Sanders and his supporters following big end of primary season losses in delegate-heavy states California and New Jersey. I’m quoted in the article:

But some Sanders supporters in New Jersey say they are sticking with him.

“I’ve been a loyal Democrat all my life, but at this point, I’ll tell you the truth, I may resign from the Democratic Party after this election,” said Kim Wei of Fair Lawn, who with her son, Ivan, was on the ballot as a Sanders delegate.

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This year’s NJ Urban Mayor’s Conf on 5/5 features Urban Ag – public is invited to attend, free

Urban Ag Mayor's Conf bannerThe NJ Urban Mayors Association (NJUMA) will convene the 2016 Urban Agriculture as an Economic Development Tool Conference in Trenton, NJ this coming Thursday on May 5. The event is open to the public and is free, but we ask that you register.

Municipalities and partners across the state will be introduced to the economic possibilities that exist through urban agriculture. Participants will gather and demonstrate their commitment to the shared goals of creating jobs, growing our economy and improving our quality of life.

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UBER begins operating in Newark legally – and will pay $10M for airport access

Newark Penn Station 2015
Newark Penn Station Source: Wikipedia
Newark, NJ on 27 April 2016 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, UBER NJ General Manager Ana Mahony and taxi owner/drivers revealed additional details of the preliminary Newark/UBER agreement which was announced last week and signed on Tuesday, 26 April. The enhanced plan assures rider safety, provides revenue to Newark and protects the taxi industry.

This is the first agreement UBER has made with any major city in New Jersey and consists of:

  • UBER drivers may not stand in areas set aside for taxi waiting and will wait at an off-airport dispatch location to receive calls through the UBER app.
  • UBER drivers are prohibited from staying at Newark terminals to receive dispatches.
  • The City of Newark can receive a $3 Million up-front payment as part of the previously announced $10 Million permit fee to be paid by UBER over 10 years specifically for operating at Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Even if a state-wide law is passed regulating UBER, UBER will remain obligated to pay the $10 million.
  • Newark may audit UBER’s compliance with this agreement annually.
  • UBER will provide $1.5M of commercial liability insurance coverage for all drivers operating on the platform.
  • UBER will conduct background checks on all drivers through a nationally-accredited, third-party provider. These checks will examine county, state and federal records, as well as motor vehicle records, sex offender registries and terror watch lists.
  • UBER will enforce a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by drivers using the UBER app.

Mayor Baraka said, “My goals have been to protect the safety of UBER riders, to require UBER to pay its fair share including fees and permits under the same kind of regulations as other businesses in Newark, and to create a level playing field for UBER and the Taxi and Limousine Industry. The agreement is fair to all and allows UBER to become a good corporate citizen of Newark. This agreement is good for economic development and job growth in Newark. UBER is an important addition to our city’s rapidly expanding technology sector.”

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Worse than election rigging: Hillary & DNC sabotage Bernie’s campaign too

bernie can beat me only if people believe
Source: reddit.com
On the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, Barbara With follows the breadcrumb trail of intentional sabotage of Bernie Sander’s campaign that leads right back Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee headed by Debbie Wasserman Schulz.

The DNC has recommended campaign strategists and directors to the Sanders campaign – people whom have worked against the campaign’s success, instead of for it … and some of whom have been Clinton appointees and employees too. We’re talking access to “NGP-VAN, the vendor that controls the DNC voter database”, leaving Sanders off the ballot in DC and outright election fraud in Arizona and maybe other states.

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Clever, informative and interactive election results by The Guardian

Washington state election results
Source: The Guardian election results 2016
The Guardian has created my favorite election results page, which is both cute and informative. It displays up to date information refreshed often and results show all the important information: a map of districts and a bar graph which displays the percent of districts reporting; total number of districts per county and statewide; number and percentage of votes for both districts and state … and what’s more, the whole shebang is interactive! You can see results for any district by mousing over it on the map.

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23 yo is handcuffed, shot, sat on by police until he becomes late


Sad day for the United States as a young Los Angeles man is shamefully murdered by two police who shoot him repeatedly after handcuffing him, then sit on him while he writhes in pain crying for help until he ascends to meet his ancestors. In his lust to kill 23 year old Noel Aguilar, one of the policeman shoots his partner.

A bystander captured the whole episode on video but be warned: it is graphic, sad and extremely disturbing.

May the blessings of God cover us all in holy light and peace. Please Lord, bring comfort to the soul and family of Noel and enfold them in your loving embrace. With God’s help, let us act to end the violence raging out of control in the beautiful world that is His gift to us.

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TV Host Ibrahim Issa slams Arabs for claiming ISIS is not Muslim: “What else are they?”

Ibrahim Issa
Source: YouTube video of Ibrahim Issa on Al-Khaera Wal-Nas TV

In his November 16 2015 show, Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Issa criticizes the Arabic community for circulating the myth that ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam … What are we supposed to call them,” he asks, “Buddhists?”

Issa also scoffs at the Arabic-circulated conspiracy theory that Western intelligence agencies are behind the France attack. “Why?” he demands, “Why? Why would they murder … people of their own culture … in order to have an excuse to attack the terrorists? Attacking terrorists requires no justification, by the way.”

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A Syrian refugee in the UK shares hope and thanks for the kindness he’s experienced

Jack AR's room in UK
Foto source: Jack AR’s post to Calais – People to People Solidarity – Action from UK Facebook Group
Syrian refugee Jack AR (Ahmad al Rashid) posted these words of thanks, hope and homesickness in the Facebook group Calais – People to People Solidarity – Action from UK. It’s quite a statement:

This is my new home in England and, I have to tell you, it has taken me completely by surprise. I had heard and read so much about how the British people were so unwelcoming to migrants and asylum seekers and want to close the borders and even bomb the boats carrying migrants. But my experience has shown me that the ones who care and want to help far outnumber the ones who don’t. I have met such kindness from so many strangers.

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Breaking: TPP text released – and it’s every bit as bad as we feared. Opposition surfaces.

WikiLeaks_TPP shut up and swallow
Source: Wikileaks. Shut Up and Swallow
A Citizen’s Trade Campaign email was waiting for me this morning, with the breaking news that the TPP text has finally been released:

Text for the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was finally released in the wee hours of this morning, and after years of waiting, we now know why negotiators insisted on keeping it a secret for so long. This pact is a disaster for the economy, the environment and public health.

See the full TPP text http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Treaties-and-International-Law/01-Treaties-for-which-NZ-is-Depositary/0-Trans-Pacific-Partnership.php

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