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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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United Airlines pays $37 million to ex-CEO who quit amid a corruption investigation

Despite resigning amid a federal corruption probe, the former chief executive of United Airlines is receiving nearly $37 million in compensation, including a car, free flights and lifetime parking privileges at two major airports.

The payout benefits to former United Continental Holdings Inc. CEO Jeff Smisek were described in a filing by the airline to the Security and Exchange Commission last week.

According to the filings, Smisek is receiving a lump cash payment of nearly $5 million, which includes payments for unused vacation days. The rest of his "separation agreement" includes bonuses for meeting company performance goals, plus healthcare and life insurance payments.

Smisek also receives "flight benefits," valued at about $82,000, plus lifetime parking at United Airlines hubs in Houston and Chicago. He can also keep his company car, valued at $58,700, the filing said.


White House poised to create first monument to gay rights

Source: Washington Post

President Obama is poised to declare the first-ever national monument recognizing the struggle for gay rights, singling out a sliver of green space and part of the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood as the birthplace of America’s modern gay liberation movement.

While most national monuments have highlighted iconic wild landscapes or historic sites from centuries ago, this reflects the country’s diversity of terrain and peoples in a different vein: It would be the first national monument anchored by a dive bar and surrounded by a warren of narrow streets that long has been regarded the historic center of gay cultural life in New York City.

Federal officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), will hold a listening session on May 9 to solicit feedback on the proposal. Barring a last-minute complication — city officials are still investigating the history of the land title — Obama is prepared to designate the area part of the National Park Service as soon as next month, which commemorates gay pride.

Protests at the site, which lasted for several days, started in the early morning of June 28, 1969 after police raided the Stonewall Inn, which was frequented by gay men. While patrons of the bar, which is still in operation today, had complied in the past with these crackdowns, that time it sparked a spontaneous riot by bystanders and those who had been detained.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-poised-to-create-first-monument-to-gay-rights/2016/05/03/0811810e-1154-11e6-93ae-50921721165d_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_no-name:page/breaking-news-bar

Nine years of censorship

Canadian scientists are now allowed to speak out about their work — and the government policy that had restricted communications.

Lesley Evans Ogden

Early one Thursday morning last November, Kristi Miller-Saunders was surprised to receive a visit from her manager. Miller-Saunders, a molecular geneticist at the Canadian fisheries agency, had her reasons to worry about attention from above. On numerous occasions over the previous four years, government officials had forbidden her from talking to the press or the public about her work on the genetics of salmon — part of a broad policy that muzzled government scientists in Canada for many years. At one point, a brawny ‘minder’ had actually accompanied her to a public hearing to make sure that she didn’t break the rules.

But the meeting last autumn was different. Miller-Saunders’ manager at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in Nanaimo walked in with a smile and gave her advance notice that the newly elected government would be opening up scientific communication: she and other federal researchers would finally be free to speak to the press. “It was like a weight was being lifted,” she says. Important findings on climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, toxicology and wildlife conservation that had been restricted for so long could now be openly discussed.

Canadian scientists celebrated the move far and wide. Shark researcher Steve Campana danced in his office at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, where he had relocated after leaving the DFO because of the communications constraints and other limitations.

Six months later, the government is loosening its grip on communications but the shift at some agencies has not been as swift and comprehensive as many had hoped. And with the newfound freedom to speak, the full impact of the former restrictions is finally becoming clear. Canadian scientists and government representatives are opening up about what it was like to work under the former policy and the kind of consequences it had. Some of the officials who imposed the rules are talking about how the restrictions affected the morale and careers of researchers. Their stories hint at how governments control communications in even more politically repressive countries such as China, and suggest what might happen in Canada if the political winds reverse.



Feds drop bid to shut down Harborside in big win for pot industry

In a major victory for the cannabis industry, the federal government dropped its four-year bid to shut down Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the biggest medical marijuana dispensary in the country with more than 100,000 patients, according to city officials.

Federal officials did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment.

Harborside, on the Oakland Estuary, has faced potential closure since 2012, when the U.S. Attorney’s Office cracked down on the industry across California and attempted to seize the buildings that housed the businesses. Federal officials called centers like Harborside “marijuana superstores.”

While Harborside stood its ground against the federal civil case, dozens if not hundreds of other dispensaries across California, facing similar federal threats, shut down operations.



Mr. Fish on the Donald

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest








Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Clowns

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Cards

8 Women Explain Why They Got Bernie Sanders Tattoos

Photo: Lisabeth Detwiler | Art: Jerrett Querubin at Tinta Cantina

Lisabeth Detwiler, 33, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Why you got it: I've been listening to Bernie for about 10 years on the radio on the Thom Hartmann radio program, and so I've been very familiar with Bernie and his politics, and I was always struck by his unwavering support for the middle class. I got the tattoo as an homage to somebody that I admire tremendously.

Any chance of regret?: Oh, of course not. I mean whether or not he loses, he's somebody that I admire — or whether or not he wins, that is. And, I mean, I have far too many tattoos to regret any of them.

Tattoo location: Upper left thigh

Photo: Vanessa Simo | Art: South County Tattoo

Vanessa Simo, 34, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Why you got it: He really speaks for a lot of the things I feel passionate about. I can only relate it to a religious experience, which sounds crazy. I'm a homeschooling mom, and I've talked to a lot of Christian homeschoolers, and they'll talk about their faith like, "Oh, you feel it in your heart; you know it transforms your life," and I was listening to Bernie Sanders talk, and I was like, "Oh my gosh." He spoke to me! All the things he was talking about that were important, were important to me — health care, education. This was someone who was actually saying something that mattered. Then I heard that they were giving all these tattoos away in Vermont, and I thought, Oh my gosh, I want that. Because to me, it signified everything I believe in and I could've easily just gotten "liberty" or "believe" or something patriotic, but that would've been so generic. This, I look at it and I'm like, Yeah, that man stands for something I believe in.

Any chance of regret?: No. Art's awesome; you can never go back. It's a cool tattoo, but that's not even it. It's like I look at it, and I'm like, "Whoa." I've never heard a politician talk and felt like I almost could cry. I look at it and I go, "Yeah, I stand for that," and I can tell my kids, "Listen, you have to stand up for what you need or what you believe," and this is what we need and this is what I believe in, so, no, I won't regret it.

Tattoo location: Inner left arm



Chopper shock: Couple gets $60K bill for 25-minute air evacuation

North Country woman went into labor and needed trip to hospital, but with heavy price to bear
By Rick Karlin

Leigh Campbell got quite a shock in the predawn hours of April 3: Twenty-seven weeks pregnant, his wife, Heather, went into early labor.

The couple, who live in Ray Brook in Essex County, rushed to the hospital in nearby Saranac Lake. But because that facility lacks a neonatal intensive care unit, their midwife called for a helicopter to bring Heather to the nearest open bed across Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vt.

They avoided a premature birth and Heather remained in the hospital waiting to bring her baby to term when her husband was last contacted.

But another shock came two days later with the realization that the helicopter bill was $59,999 and Heather's insurance carrier would only cover about $370 for the 25-minute flight.

The service provided by the helicopter company LifeNet, was "out of network," and therefore not covered in her health insurance policy.

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