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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 31, 2022

New NY laws to fund 'complete streets' projects; require transit dependent representation ........

New NY laws to fund ‘complete streets’ projects; require transit dependent representation on agency boards

Two pieces of legislation in New York state gained Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature to move them into law. The bills support municipal “complete streets” projects and require regional transportation boards in upstate and western New York to have voting seats for transit dependent individuals.

"Whether you're on the sidewalk, in the bike lane or riding the bus, you deserve a high-quality trip that gets you safely to your destination," Gov. Hochul said. "Transportation is all about connections: Bringing people closer to their jobs, their homes and the people they love. I'm proud to sign two new laws that will make our streets safer and our communities more connected."

Complete streets

Legislation (S.3897/A.8936-A) will increase funding and support a holistic approach to street design through "complete streets" projects. These projects are roadways planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders and motorists.

The governor’s office says complete street designs contribute to a cleaner, greener transportation system. This bill increases the state share of funding for municipalities incorporating complete street features. Under the new legislation, the state's contribution to the non-federally funded portion of complete street projects will increase to 87.5 percent, which will help municipalities to implement these street designs. .............(more)


December 31, 2022

These paragraphs in this Guardian story exemplify why I think Pete Buttigieg will be prez one day...

OP's comment: I don't think any Democrat has so effectively countered the right's 'Big Government' rhetoric as effectively as Pete does. He articulates it better than anyone:


Buttigieg, who is unapologetically from the government and here to help, says: “The beginning of the Reagan era brought about a vicious cycle of public trust, where resources were stripped away from the government. It became harder for government to deliver for people and then those policy failures reduced trust in government, which made people more reluctant to trust their taxpayer dollars to government, which meant even fewer resources and even worse results.

“The cycle of disinvestment has been accumulating for essentially my entire lifetime and part of what’s so exciting about this moment is a chance to re-establish public trust by making big investments to get big results to build public confidence in the things we can do together through good public policy and good public investment.” .......(more)


December 30, 2022

Top Republicans remain silent over George Santos campaign lies

Weeks after winning a district that helped Republicans secure a razor-thin House majority, the congressman-elect George Santos is under investigation in New York after acknowledging he lied about his heritage, education and professional pedigree as he campaigned for office.

But the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, and his leadership team have kept silent about Santos, who remains set to take the oath of office Tuesday even after publicly admitting to fabricating swaths of his biography.

Santos has shown no signs of stepping aside, punting the decision to hold him accountable to his party and Congress, where he could face an ethics investigation.

Representatives for McCarthy, who is running to become the next House speaker, did not respond when asked what action he may take. On Tuesday, Santos was asked on Fox News about his “blatant lies”. He said he had “made a mistake”.

Democrats are expected to pursue several avenues against the 34-year-old, including a potential complaint with the Federal Election Commission and a resolution to expel him, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity. .........(more)


December 30, 2022

Who dares to mock Dark Brandon now? Joe Biden keeps rolling up the wins

Who dares to mock Dark Brandon now? Joe Biden keeps rolling up the wins
Republicans badly underestimated Joe Biden — and in his first two years in the White House, he's driven them nuts


(Salon) When the 2020 presidential campaign was lurching into gear three years ago, former Vice President Joe Biden had led in the polls for months. Still, everyone kind of assumed he was a placeholder, a former office-holder with high name recognition whose campaign would nevertheless go the way of his two previous presidential bids, meaning nowhere. He was dull as dishwater compared to many of the others vying for the nomination, and nobody had ever really considered him presidential timber.

As the campaign took off, other candidates were winning in the early states even as Biden still led in national polls. Bernie Sanders Pete Buttigieg looked like the major contenders after Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, states where Biden did poorly. Then he pulled off a sweeping victory in South Carolina and shortly thereafter the race was effectively over. He went on to win the rest of the primaries handily. America was reeling during the traumatic first year of the pandemic and there was a sense that Democrats were happy to have the race settled so they could concentrate on taking down Donald Trump, which was considered Job One by every faction of the Democratic coalition.

Even so, nobody expected much of Joe Biden. He had his charms, but he was a longtime creature of Washington with an anachronistic fetish for bipartisanship. All we could realistically expect, it seemed, was some relief from the chaos and a reliable, experienced staff to help right the ship. When the Democrats barely held onto the House and squeaked out a 50-50 Senate "majority" (thanks to the runoff elections in Georgia and Trump's constant whining) everyone assumed that the Democratic agenda promised during the campaign was pretty much dead. The best we could hope for at that point was to stop the bleeding and live to fight another day.

But Biden has turned out to be full of surprises. Rather than just acting as a kindly old caretaker president until the new generation can take the wheel, his administration has been a flurry of activity, passing more Democratic domestic legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. To name just a few, he signed into law the huge American Rescue Plan in the spring of 2021 (with no Republican votes); the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, with massive investments in climate policy and health care; the $280 billion CHIPS Act, funding a vital semiconductor industry in the U.S.; the PACT Act to help veterans; and the first federal gun control legislation in almost 30 years. In the big omnibus spending bill just passed during the lame-duck session, he got the Electoral Count Act included as a step toward avoiding another Jan. 6 debacle. Finally, Biden pushed through and signed the Respect for Marriage Act, offering at least some protection to same-sex couples against the inevitable assault from right-wing judges and legislators. Some of that legislation was even bipartisan, which seems like something out of an old black-and-white movie at this point. ..........(more)


December 30, 2022

January 6: judge hints Trump wanted supporters to 'do more' than protest

(Guardian UK) Donald Trump may have been telling his supporters he wanted them “to do something more” than simply protest against his defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race when he told a mob of them to “fight like hell” on the day of the Capitol attack, according to findings from a federal judge on Wednesday.

The opinion from Judge John Bates came in the form of a ruling barring one man charged with having a hand in staging the Capitol assault on January 6 2021 – Alexander Sheppard – from arguing that Trump, as president at the time, had authorized his actions.

Bates’s judgment recounted how Trump’s speech near the White House on the day that Congress certified his loss to Biden urged his supporters to march to the Capitol without saying that it was illegal to enter the area where lawmakers would be voting.

“These words only encourage those at the rally to march to the Capitol … and do not address legality at all,” wrote Bates, who was appointed to Washington DC’s federal courthouse bench by former president George W Bush. “But, although his express words only mention walking down … to the Capitol, one might conclude that the context implies that he was urging protesters to do something more – perhaps to enter the Capitol building and stop the certification.” .............(more)


December 30, 2022

Shirkey to Jan. 6 panel: 3 lawyers, including Hillsdale leader, pressed for fake electors

(Detroit News) Three attorneys — one of whom is a Hillsdale College vice president — pressured state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey after the 2020 election to award Michigan’s electoral votes to former President Donald Trump rather than President Joe Biden, Shirkey told a U.S. House committee.

The Clarklake Republican told the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee in June that he was pressured to submit an alternate slate of electors during meetings with Hillsdale College Vice President Robert Norton, Grand Rapids attorney Ian Northon and Amistad Project Director Phill Kline, who is the former Kansas attorney general, according an interview transcript released Tuesday.

Shirkey said he denied the requests because it would have violated Michigan law.

“I’m not going to suggest to you that there were specific threats, but the pressure was real and the expectations were, for the most part, unambiguous,” he said in a June interview. .....................(more)


December 29, 2022

What the devil? Woman mistakes real Tasmanian marsupial for dog toy in Hobart home

Hobart woman Kirsten Lynch got the fright of her life on Wednesday night when she went to pick up her golden retriever’s Tasmanian devil plush toy and it ran away.

“I went to reach for it, the devil shot underneath the couch,” she said.

The toy was actually a real Tasmania devil and Lynch said her yelling woke up the whole house.

While her husband chased the little devil out of the house with a broom, Lynch and her children had to take refuge on top of their kitchen table.

“We were concerned that if she or he was cornered and scared they would bite someone,” Lynch said.

“So at some stage, the family were standing on the dining table, which in itself was classically funny. .............(more)


December 29, 2022

Kari Lake's "forever coup" is what the future looks like -- until we start to see real consequences

Kari Lake's "forever coup" is what the future looks like — until we start to see real consequences
As long as the money flows and legal sanctions don't, Trump and his allies see no reason to quit

Senior Writer

(Salon) One thing seems certain: Kari Lake is not giving up. The Big Lie-spouting GOP candidate for Arizona's governor's seat lost another frivolous lawsuit challenging her loss over the weekend. Lake just kept posting through it, crowing about how the "People want Justice" and that she will keep up the fight against her loss in the courts. She even tweeted a conspiracy theory early Monday accusing the judge of letting "left-wing attorneys" ghost-write his opinion for him. Around the same time, election officials and the Democrat who won the election, Gov.-Elect Katie Hobbs, filed a request that the court formally sanction Lake for her relentless abuse of the courts.

"Enough really is enough," the request reads. "It is past time to end unfounded attacks on elections and unwarranted accusations against elections officials."

The move was celebrated by democracy proponents who believe, correctly, that insurrectionists like Lake and her mentor, Donald Trump, will continue to launch attacks on democracy unless they start to face real consequences. Lake's stubbornness has been alarming, in no small part because she appears to be doing this mainly to curry favor with Trump. Even if she doesn't succeed in convincing a court to just hand her the lost election, her quest will only help boost Trump's mood and stiffen his spine for what is widely expected to be another attempt at stealing the White House in 2024.

This is why it is so troubling that the judge declined to sanction Lake late on Tuesday, claiming that the lawsuit was not "brought in bad faith."


This really is a "why not keep trying" situation for Trump and his allies. Call it a forever coup, with some part of the larger plan to seize power always in motion. They don't lack resources, for one thing. On the contrary, the forever coup is quite profitable. As the January 6 report shows, the Big Lie has opened the spigot for "an unprecedented amount of political donations," with "much of it from small-dollar donors who were promised their money would 'Stop the Steal.'" Mostly, however, the money went "to fund the former President's other endeavors and to enrich his associates." Lake's never-ending efforts to steal the Arizona election look to be more of the same. Her "Save Arizona" fund is steadily raising money. There's even an option to become a monthly donor, hinting at the indefinite nature of this attempted coup. ....................(more)


December 29, 2022

Florida man beat roommate's raccoon with hammer, threatens to kill neighbor with sewing needle

MOUNT DORA, Fla (CBS12) — A man is behind bars after deputies say he bludgeoned and shot his roommate's raccoon, then threatened to kill his neighbor with a sewing needle.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a 911 call on Dec. 14 to 26 Circle Drive in Mount Dora. When they arrived, just after 5:30 p.m., they met with the first victim.

She told deputies when she arrived home, her roommate 30-year-old Tevin Williams approached her threatening to kill her. He began punching her car and said, "I'm going to kill you." .....................(more)


December 29, 2022

The mission to return jaguars to the US: 'We aren't right without them'

The mission to return jaguars to the US: ‘We aren’t right without them’
The big cats once roamed North America but have been pushed near to extinction. Could they make a comeback?

Erin McCormick
Wed 28 Dec 2022 05.00 EST

(Guardian UK) Somewhere among the rocky pinnacles of southern Arizona’s Chiricahua mountains roams the last known jaguar in the US.

The dark-spotted big cat, a male known as “Sombra” to wildlife researchers, wanders between three mountain ranges, hunting for deer and piglike javelinas and, perhaps, searching for a mate.

The last known female jaguar north of the Mexican border was shot by a hunter in 1963, so Sombra’s chances of producing offspring to continue the US population are near zero.

This month, conservationists called on the federal government to stop big cats like Sombra from going extinct in the US by reintroducing jaguars to the region and increasing protections for the animals’ habitat.

The non-profit Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create an experimental population of jaguars in the Gila national forest, a sprawling, rugged 3m-acre wilderness in New Mexico dotted with pinyon pines. They also called for protections for millions of acres of wildlands in New Mexico and Arizona, including the tracts where Sombra currently lives. .............(more)


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