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News in America

Court refuses to halt construction of controversial Hawaii telescope, governor urges calm amid protests

Associated Press

HONOLULU — The governor of Hawaii acknowledged Tuesday that an ongoing protest about a telescope planned atop the state’s highest mountain is also about addressing the treatment of Native Hawaiians going back more than a century.

Gov. David Ige said he would ask Hawaii County’s mayor to lead efforts to find common ground with Native Hawaiian protesters blocking construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, a site considered sacred by many of the protesters.

A judge in Hilo, Hawaii, denied protesters’ request Tuesday to halt the telescope’s construction with a temporary restraining order, Hawaii News Now reported. Legal proceedings are still underway on a lawsuit against the Ige’s emergency declaration limiting access to Mauna Kea to the public.

The lawsuit claims that the order unconstitutionally infringes on a Native Hawaiian’s right to pray on the sacred ground.

The governor said he and Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim understand that the issues go deeper than the telescope and were about “righting the wrongs done to the Hawaiian people.”

About 1,000 activists gathered Tuesday halfway up Mauna Kea in opposition to the $1.4 billion telescope, marking the ninth day of the protest. Over the weekend, crowds swelled to 2,000 people.

The demonstrators are blocking a road to prevent construction equipment and crews from going to the summit.

Ige indicated last week that he was willing to talk to protesters. But his statement Tuesday is the first public step he’s taken toward that end.

“We will be working together to determine next steps that are in the best interests of all the people of Ha

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9-year-old girl tossed into air by bison at Yellowstone National Park

Doha Madani

A 9-year-old Florida girl was injured after a bull bison charged her and sent her flying into the air at Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

The unidentified girl was with a group of people in the Old Faithful Geyser area of the park in Wyoming, standing within five to ten feet of the bison before the bison charged, The National Park Service said in a press release Tuesday.

The group consisted of 50 to 60 people, who were gathered near the bison for nearly 20 minutes before “causing the bison to charge,” the statement said. The park service did not specify what the group did to cause the animal to charge.

“The girl was taken to the Old Faithful Lodge by her family where she was assessed and treated by a park emergency medical providers, and la

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Agreement affirms North Carolina transgender restroom rights

The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge approved a legal settlement Tuesday affirming transgender people’s right to use restrooms matching their gender identity in many North Carolina public buildings.

The consent decree between the state’s Democratic governor and transgender plaintiffs covers numerous state-owned buildings including facilities run by executive branch agencies that oversee the environment, transportation and Medicaid, among others. In return, the plaintiffs have agreed to drop pending legal action against the governor and other defendants.

The agreement was signed by Judge Thomas Schroeder after a three-year legal battle challenging North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill and the law that replaced it.

“The importance of this cannot be understated — it is about nothing less than the ability to enter public spaces as an equal member of society,” said Lambda Legal lawyer Tara Borelli, who represents the plaintiffs. “Nationally, this decree sends an important signal that targeting transgender people for discrimination is unacceptable.”

The agreement between the plaintiffs and Gov. Roy Cooper says nothing in the current state law can be interpreted to “prevent transgender people from lawfully using public facilities in accordance with their gender identity” in buildings controlled by the state’s executive branch.

The agreement further says executive branch officials, such as the current and future governors, as well their employees at state agencies, are forbidden from using the current law “to bar, prohibit, block, deter, or impede any transgender individuals from using public facilities … in accordance with the transgender individual’s gender identity.”

North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders, who passed the “bathroom bill” and its replacement, had opposed the consent decree.

The 2016 law, also known as H.B.2, required transgender people to use restrooms matching their birth certificates in state government buildings and other publicly owned structures including highway rest stops, schools and universities. While that requirement was later rescinded, a replacement law halts new local antidiscrimination ordinances until 2020.

Transgender plaintiffs who had challenged the original law amended their lawsuit to fight the replacement law, arguing that it continued to harm them by creating uncertainty over bathroom rules. They also

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3 family members in viral Disneyland brawl video face criminal charges

Elisha Fieldstadt

Three members of a family who were caught on video in a chaotic brawl at California’s Disneyland earlier this month are facing criminal charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Avery Robinson, 35, his sister, Andrea Robinson, 40, and her husband, Daman Petrie, 44, are charged in connection with the fight, which broke out in the middle of Disneyland’s Toontown as children were around, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced.

A bystander’s video of the fight, which went viral after it was posted on YouTube, showed a man spit on a woman and hit her in the face. He later pulled her hair. Then, another man and woman got involved and more punches were thrown.

At one point, children were heard crying in the background. At another point, an elderly woman who appears to be part of the group got up from an electric wheelchair and wound up falling to the ground in the midst of one of the scuffles between the two women.

Several park staff members, including security, arrived more than three minutes after the violence broke out. The family was uncooperative when police arrived and they were escorted from the park, the Anaheim Police Department said after the July 5 melee.

Avery Robinson is accused of attacking his sister, brother-in-law, and girlfriend during the fight, and later threatening to kill the couple by making a gun sign with his hand and pointing it at them. He is also accused of trying to hit a Disneyland employee with his car as he left the park, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

“During the fight inside the park Avery Robinson made several comments, including ‘I’m ready to go to jail tonight’ and referenced a Southern

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Trump’s new food stamp rule is just another way to play the lower middle class off the truly poor

MSNBC

The politics of scarcity, so thoroughly employed in our country, has left those who have little looking angrily upon those who have nothing, while clutching their pocketbooks for dear life. The poor who manage to climb the mountain to the other side of the poverty line should not be met with government officials saying: “Congratulations! Now we’re gonna kick you back down the mountain a few hundred feet.”

And yet that is exactly what the Trump administration apparently intends to do to food stamp recipients. Through unilateral decision making — the kind you are frankly more likely to find in an authoritarian regime — the White House has decided to make an end run around Congress and chip away at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP, also known as food stamps) in a way that both undermines the stabilities of families in urban and rural America and has the potential to decimate local economies.

At the heart of the proposal is what hurdles states are required to force poor people to jump to qualify for food stamps. The majority of states currently allow residents to automatically qualify for food stamps without a financial review for up to two years if they also qualify for welfare, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The Trump administration has proposed a new rule that says that people will have their incomes and assets assessed for food stamp eligibility to ensure that those benefits aren’t given to anyone whose total income extends beyond the limit. (Congress refused to pass eligibility limits on the food stamp program last year.)

On a conference call Monday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated, “Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled.”

Well, that’s one way to spin it.

While Perdue’s acting deputy undersecretary claimed, with zero evidence, that “millionaires” are claiming food stamps, current policies like the one that allows for two years of eligibility before a food-stamp specific review don’t allow “millionaires” to receive food stamps, as they are limited to people who are already eligible for federal welfare benefits. Instead, such poli

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‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ is a three-hour reminder of Tarantino’s talent — and blind spots

MSNBC

All of Quentin Tarantino’s movies are about how much he loves movies — and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is no exception. A mélange of pulp styles, obscure and less obscure references and Hollywood legend, it’s a virtuoso effort to write himself into history.

It’s also, unfortunately, an almost three-hour long reminder of Tarantino’s glaring blind spots. For all his self-reflection and self-dramatization, there are things about the movies the director refuses to see, or to put on screen. Without them, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is less a fairy tale than a false alibi.

For all his self-reflection and self-dramatization, there are things about the movies the director refuses to see, or to put on screen.

The movie is set in 1969. The bulk of the plot leisurely follows the career of aging action star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman, driver and best friend, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Dalton happens to live next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). In real life, Tate was murdered by members of a commune led by Charles Manson. The film ends with a fictionalized version of Tate’s final night, in which Dalton and Booth play leading roles.

Most of the movie is less about its slow-moving plot than it is a chance for Tarantino to perform a series of homages to film styles he loves. There are lengthy scenes of Dalton — old, alcoholic, but still with a spark — playing a mustachioed Western bad man, not unlike the one DiCaprio played in Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” A shorter sequence has excerpts from one of Dalton’s World War II films, unleashing a flame thrower on the Axis high command in a deliberate nod to Tarantino’s own “Inglourious Basterds.” We also see Dalton playing a spaghetti Western cowboy, a villain in an FBI drama, taking the place of Steve McQueen in another war film and (post credits) performing in a period cigarette ad.

This is all good fun, and delightfully watchable, even at 160 minutes. But it’s also uncomfortably vacuous. In his best movies, Tarantino comments on, or reworks, his source material. “Inglourious Basterds,” for example, raises questions about what it means that American anti-fascist films are so similar to Nazi cinema. “Pulp Fiction” bends and twists pulp narratives to see if they can avoid the same violent end.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” though, is so caught up in its mythmaking that it starts to feel hollow and uncanny, like you’re watching “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” That’s most evident in the film’s portrayal of Sharon Tate. You’d think that part of the point of a film like this would be to remind us that Tate was a human being, not just a famous murder victim. But Tarantino treats her as nothing more than a pretty image. She has little dialogue, instead spending most of her time on screen grooving to records while the camera watches. The most personal glimpse of her we get is when she goes into a small movie theater to watch herself perform with Dean Martin in “The Wrecking Crew.” Even Sharon Tate is watching a flatter version of Sharon Tate.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” though, is so caught up in its mythmaking that it starts to feel hollow and uncanny, like you’re watching “Invasion of the

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Supreme Court legend John Paul Stevens’ Bill Clinton decision set a judicial standard that’s now fading

MSNBC

By 1997, it was no longer salient that Stevens had once been a Republican and nominated by a Republican. Along with justices David Souter (another Republican appointee), Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, Stevens was seen as a liberal justice. But liberal or not, the court did not hesitate. It confronted the powers of a Democratic president head on. Writing for a unanimous court, Stevens ruled that the president is not immune from civil suits for private acts.

In that same decision, Stevens rejected some of the formal and extreme separation of powers arguments we have heard recently in favor of presidential immunity. He quoted the Founders, like James Wilson, who said “that, although the President ‘is placed [on] high,’ ‘not a single privilege is annexed to his character; far from being above the laws, he is amenable to them in his private character as a citizen, and in his public character by impeachment.'” Stevens explained that while a president may be immune from civil litigation when acting as a public official, he “is otherwise subject to the laws for his purely private acts.”

Stevens also cited James Madison on the importance of checks and balances: “As Madison explained, separation of powers does not mean that the branches ‘ought to have no partial agency in, or no control over the acts of each other.’” Stevens cited precedent, Mistretta v. United States, to explain: “[O]ur system imposes upon the Branches a degree of overlapping responsibility, a duty of interdependence as well as independence the absence of which would preclude the establishment of a Nation capable of governing itself effectively.”

Stevens was making a very important critique of today’s conservative but ahistorical formalism about separation of powers. Madison emphasized “checks and balances,” which requires overlapping powers, more than a formal separation that would prevent checks and balances. Conservative “originalists” like Justice Antonin Scalia have exaggerated

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A 9-year-old girl was injured after a bison in Yellowstone charged her

Michelle Lou, CNN
(CNN)A 9-year-old girl was injured after a bison charged her in Yellowstone National Park on Monday, the park’s public affairs office said.
The girl was part of a group of about 50 people near Observation Point Trail in the park’s Old Faithful Geyser area, …
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Trump Sues New York and Congress to Shield His State Tax Returns

It was against that backdrop that Democrats in New York assembled their bill and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed it into lawthis month. As enacted, it requires state tax officials to hand over Mr. Trumps state returns to the chairman of one of three congressional…
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What the US makes of Boris Johnson

https://www.facebook.com/bbcnews
Media captionDo Americans recognise UK’s new prime minister?
What’s an American to make of Boris Johnson?
Not the person-on-the-street American, who may look at a photograph of the new British conservative leader and think they’re being asked to identify a…
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