Pasadena Unified Teachers Move Closer to Possible Strike Vote (Pasadena Now link): Though they had originally planned a serious and somber demonstration – wearing black and carrying black balloons – teachers from the Pasadena Unified School District erupted into yet another noisy protest at Thursday evening’s monthly Pasadena School Board meeting.
The two-point focus of the protest continued to be the leadership of Principal Juan Ruelas at Madison Elementary School and the 3% “final” salary increase offer made to teachers by Superintendent Brian McDonald a few weeks ago.
On the labor front the two sides are scheduled to meet again at a fact-finding meeting on May 4, which, if unsuccessful,“could lead to a strike authorization vote,” according to United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) President Alvin Nash.
“It’s not too late to settle these (contract) issues, and we urge the district to work out an agreement that respects teachers and values students,” Nash told the Board. “Pasadena Unified is facing a looming teacher shortage with fewer and fewer people choosing to enter a profession that has too often been under assault by budget cuts and “blame the teacher” education reformers. While helping students succeed will always have some irreplaceable intrinsic rewards, Pasadena Unified is going to have to do better if it hopes to attract a shrinking teaching force and keep our schools among the best anywhere.”
(Mod: Honestly I think a lot of UTP teachers just find their jobs to be unsatisfying and boring. It is far more exciting to mount the barricades, make a lot of noise, dress up in matching clothing and hector the Board of Education for more money.)
Steve Chen under FBI & IRS criminal investigation (Behind MLM link) On February 19th, Steve Chen filed a sealed motion to stay the SEC’s case against himself and USFIA. Over the course of the past month, a whole bunch of correspondence regarding the motion has been filed by both Chen and the SEC.
The SEC have opposed Chen’s motion, with Chen filing several memorandums in support of it – all filed under seal.
On April 8th Judge Klausner denied Chen’s motion, with the order revealing Chen is the subject of criminal investigations by multiple US regulatory agencies.
The FBI investigation into Steve Chen and USFIA is ongoing. As per Judge Klausner’s ruling, it might have been triggered by investor complaints in Arcadia.
On September 17, 2015, Arcadia Police Department interviewed Chen about complaints from disgruntled investors who felt they had been defrauded by Chen.
All evidence pertaining to that interview has since been turned over to the FBI in an ongoing investigation into Chen’s alleged securities fraud.
(Mod: I am sure you all recall Steve Chen as the guy who brought to this imperfect world the incomparable GemCoin. While much of what he has done is not particularly good, he did set off a series of events that led to the resignation of John Wuo from his Arcadia City Council seat. So yes, there is a silver lining.)
Borrower returns library book 67 years late – but escapes $24,000 fine (The Guardian link): A woman has brought back a book to a New Zealand library 67 years after it was due to be returned.
Myths and Legends of Maoriland by AW Reed was checked out by a girl in 1948 and not seen again. But on Thursday a woman returned the book to a startled librarian at Auckland library and asked how much her late fines would be for returning the book 24,605 days past its due date.
“She told me she had checked out the book as a child and been meaning to return it for years,” said librarian Zoe Cornelius.
“She seemed a bit embarrassed but I was pleased because she said she had read and enjoyed the book many times over the decades and that made me happy – that the book had been in a good home and loved.”
The woman would not incur any late fees, said Cornelius, as she was a child when the book was checked out and children were not charged late fines at the library.
(Mod: There is always a loophole for these people.)
NASA Predicts Megadroughts Are Coming To The American West (The Guardian link): While the recent water shortage in California and other states made headline for months, NASA scientists believe that drought will be viewed as comparatively minor in the not-so-distant future.
Based on NASA’s climate models, large parts of North America could begin to experience megadroughts — severe climate events than can last decades — before the turn of the century. NASA believes that, without immediate and aggressive action to curb greenhouse gases, this frightening scenario will not just be a mere possibility. It will be a near certainty.
(Mod: Climate change is one theory. Another is that this could be God's vengeance for trying to put a development on the lands at the Passionist Monastery.)
Satanists Reject Ted Cruz-Lucifer Comparison (Vocativ link): Former Speaker of the House John Boehner let an audience of Stanford students know what he really thinks about presidential candidate Ted Cruz at an event earlier this week. And he didn’t mince words.
Boehner picked the phrase “Lucifer in the flesh” to describe his fellow Republican, according to The Stanford Daily. He went on, saying, “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
Some of this disapproval has to do with the fact that Cruz’s grandstanding in the Senate led to the shutdown of the federal government in 2013, when Boehner was still Speaker. Some of it also probably has to do with Cruz’s long history of coming across as an insufferable jerk.
And now, as if to prove that no group wants to be associated with Cruz, even the Satanists are taking issue with the accusation that Ted Cruz is Lucifer.
“Christians see Lucifer as being the essence of evil. Contrarily, Satanists view the character of Satan/Lucifer as embodying rebellion against tyrannical authority,” says Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan. “To us, the refusal to submit to an oppressor is something we value.”,” says Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan. “To us, the refusal to submit to an oppressor is something we value.”
(Mod: OK, so now that we know who the Satanists don't support, isn't it time they came out with an endorsement? Who exactly is it that's "embodying rebellion against tyrannical authority" in this year's race? Bernie Sanders?)
Sparky the Survivor - Lightning Won't Stop This Bison (Open Spaces link): Can you imagine being struck by lightning? Sparky, a bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa knows exactly what it’s like! Sparky was struck in 2013, and is doing surprisingly well. We recently checked in with Wildlife Biologist Karen Viste-Sparkman to learn more about Sparky’s amazing story.
Sparky joined the herd at Neal Smith in 2006 after being transferred from the National Bison Range in Montana. As you may have guessed, Sparky earned his name after the lightning strike and is the only bison that has been struck at the refuge - although it does occasionally happen across the country.
Karen does regular checks on the bison to watch for signs of illness and check body condition. During a survey in late July 2013, she noticed a bull standing by himself. When she took a closer look through her binoculars, she noticed that Sparky looked bloody. This wasn't entirely surprising because bison bulls will often fight during the mating season and July tends to be a prime time for injuries.
Upon closer inspection, it was clear that Sparky had been burned over a large area. His hump was missing hair and there was a large lump on his hind leg, which must have been the exit wound, meaning Sparky was lying down at the time of the strike.
(Mod: The good news is Sparky survived his ordeal, and is now thriving. Below is a picture of Sparky after the lightning strike.)
Say hello to our first national mammal (The Washington Post link): North America used to be teeming with bison. But in one century, their numbers plummeted from tens of millions to just a few dozen in the wild after hunters nearly wiped out the continent’s largest mammals.
Now, the bison is about to become the first national mammal of the United States. The National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the official mammal of the United States, passed the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Thursday.
The legislation now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
At a time of political gridlock and partisan bickering, lawmakers agree on an official national mammal.
The bison, which will join the bald eagle as a national symbol, represents the country’s first successful foray into wildlife conservation. Lobbying for the official mammal designation was a coalition of conservationists; ranchers, for whom bison are business; and tribal groups, such as the InterTribal Buffalo Council, which wants to “restore bison to Indian nations in a manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices.”
(Mod: Hopefully they'll pick Sparky to represent for all of America's bison.)