Saturday, May 26, 2018

Algorithm confusion? Utah Police Docs Add New Detail to Utah Autopilot Crash...good driver protection

By  on May 25, 2018 
Image: South Jordan Police Department via Associated Press
The collision earlier this month between a Tesla Model S and a stopped fire truck in Utah didn’t result in serious injuries, but questions remain as to why the vehicle, piloted by a suite of driving aids, didn’t recognize the approaching danger.
Witnesses claim the vehicle didn’t brake in the moments leading up to the impact. The driver, admittedly distracted by her phone (for a period of 80 seconds), only reacted less than a second before impact, police said. Now, thanks to a South Jordan Police Department report obtained by The Associated Press (via The Detroit News), we know a little more about what happened in those last moments.According to the docs, obtained via an open records request, the Model S accelerated for 3.5 seconds prior to the May 11th collision. Less than a second before impact, the 29-year-old driver manually applied the brakes.
The Model S involved in the accident had been in the driver’s possession for over two years, and had apparently been used in this manner several times. The driver even told police she had enabled its Autopilot functions on the same stretch of road. Obviously, she felt comfortable leaving the driving duties to the car, despite Tesla’s warning for drivers to remain alert, with their hands on the wheel. She told the police as much.
Unlike those other trips, however, this one saw her car plow into the back of a stopped truck at 60 mph. That’s the speed the driver set, police say, and records show the vehicle’s Traffic Aware Cruise Control slowed the car down to 55 mph shortly before the crash to match a vehicle driving ahead of it. It’s assumed that vehicle then changed lanes, prompting the Tesla to accelerate back to its cruising speed. At that point, the collision occurred.
The driver, Heather Lommatzsch, claims the car issued no visual or audio warnings in those final moments. Why the car’s forward-facing camera and array of sensors didn’t detect the stopped vehicle is something the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration intends to find out, as this isn’t the first time a Tesla has collided with a clearly visible object while under Autopilot control.
Light rain was apparently falling at the time of the crash, which occurred during daylight hours.
While Tesla heightened its calls for caution after a fatal Florida crash in 2016, the word “Autopilot” remains in the automaker’s lexicon. That’s irking safety advocates, as the name itself implies full autonomy. The actual system is supposed to be used as a semi-autonomous driving aid, regardless of what online enthusiasts post in their videos.
Just this week, two safety non-profits, The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog, called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Tesla’s use of the word, calling it “deceptive and misleading.” Tesla countered by saying its customers know the system’s limits, and that the company provides proper instructions on how to use the feature.
[Image: South Jordan Police Department via Associated Press]

Clinton Bashes ‘Troubling’ Electoral College as ‘Odd System’ Hillary is divorced from the Constitution...yeah for mob rule

Clinton Bashes ‘Troubling’ Electoral College as ‘Odd System’

Hillary Clinton continued to attack the Electoral College system used to elect U.S. presidents on Friday, calling it an "odd system" and contrary to the idea of "one person, one vote."
"I know this is another really obvious thing to say. Vote in every election, not just presidential elections," Clinton said at Harvard University, in a clip flagged by NTK Network. "You know, it is maddening because one of the panelists said we get the government that we vote for. Now, we have this odd system with the Electoral College."
Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the popular vote by nearly three million votes in the 2016 presidential election, but she only won 227 electoral votes to Trump's 304 en route to her defeat. Trump won 30 states and dominated the middle of the country, while Clinton won handily on the coasts and ran up huge margins of victory in California and New York.
Clinton called the roots of the Electoral College system "a little troubling."
"But nevertheless, we've got it. I've been against it, by the way, since 2000," Clinton said. "Not that you need to know that … I have been, because I just think it is absolutely contrary to ‘one person, one vote.'"
Clinton said last year that the system needs to be eliminated.
"I think it needs to be eliminated. I'd like to see us move beyond it, yes," she told CNN host Anderson Cooper.

“There is nothing more galling to limited government advocates than public employee unions being largely subsidized by taxpayer dollars while using their dues payments to support politicians in favor of expanding government,” said Mr. Manning.

President Donald Trump give a thumbs up to members of the media as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 25, 2018, after attending a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump give a thumbs up to members of the media as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 25, 2018, after attending a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Naval ... more >
 - The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2018
President Trump has ordered a crackdown on poor performance and misbehavior within the ranks of the federal workforce, senior administration officials said Friday.
Mr. Trump signed a trio of executive orders that reform civil service rules by expediting termination for cause, revamping union contracts and limiting taxpayer-funded union work at agencies, said a senior administration official.
“Today the president is fulfilling his promise to promote more efficient government by reforming civil service rules,” said Andrew P. Bremberg, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
He said the president was instituting “merit system principles.”
“These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and make sure taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” Mr. Bremberg said.
The move will promote efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and create better work environments for “thousands of employees who come to work each day and do a great job,” said another official.
The changes met loud objections from unions.
“This is more than union busting – it’s democracy busting,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government.”
Complaints about deadwood in federal agencies are nothing new. And the administration offered statistics to highlight the need for reforms:

• Office of Personnel Management data shows federal employees are 44 times less likely to be fired than a private sector worker once they’ve completed a probationary period.
• A recent Government Accountability Office report showed that it takes between six months and a year to remove a federal employee for poor performance, followed by an eight-month appeals process.
Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, applauded the orders.
“Today’s executive orders are an important step to help ensure government is primarily directed toward benefiting the American people — not government employees,” he said.
Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, said it would make the federal workforce stronger.
“We have thousands of federal employees who work very hard for the nation; it’s important that their work is not frustrated by the poor performance of a small few,” he said.
The executive orders also target taxpayer-funded union activity at federal agencies, including ending taxpayer-funded lobbying by unions.
Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, said the reforms were long overdue.

“There is nothing more galling to limited government advocates than public employee unions being largely subsidized by taxpayer dollars while using their dues payments to support politicians in favor of expanding government,” said Mr. Manning.
The order directs agencies to work on renegotiating contracts to cut taxpayer-funded union time by an average of two-thirds, reducing union business interfering with agency operations.
The Social Security Administration estimates it could complete 135,000 more retirement applications or 17,000 more disability determinations annually if taxpayer funding for union activities were redirected to public service functions.
Under one of the orders, federal employees authorized to act on behalf of unions will be permitted to spend no more than 25 percent of their time on union business.
The administration noted that over 470 Veterans Affairs employees spend 100 percent of their duty hours working for a labor union instead of serving veterans. Those employees include 74 full-time nurses.
The order cuts back on lobbying or pursuing a grievance against an agency on taxpayer-funded union time.
It also authorizes agencies to charge rent to employees that use Federal office space for non-agency business and to stop paying travel expenses for non-agency business.
The administration estimated that these cutbacks on taxpayer-funded union activity, when fully implemented, would save at least $100 million a year.
Another of executive order directs agencies to negotiate better contracts with Federal unions to reduce costs and promote accountability.
It will eliminate years of drawn-out bargaining with unions by encouraging agencies to conclude labor negotiations in less than a year.
The administration noted that agencies pay union negotiators’ salaries, so taxpayers foot the bill when bargaining drags on for years.
The salaries for union negotiators cost $16 million in 2016 alone, according to the administration.

David Hogg and the self righteous authoritarian fascists. This tactic of extortion by mob needs to end.

Publix acquiesces to ‘die-in’ protests organized by anti-NRA activist David Hogg

Publix acquiesces to ‘die-in’ protests organized by anti-NRA activist David Hogg
Parkland activist David Hogg planned "die-in" protests to pressure Publix grocery stores to stop donating money to a pro-NRA candidate for governor in Florida. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot) 

Publix, the grocery store company, has caved to pressure from a protest led by David Hogg that included “die-in” disturbances at their stores. 
Here’s what happened 
The Parkland massacre survivor began calling for a protest against the company over campaign donations they had made to Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for Florida governor who was supportive of the NRA. 
“Anyone who supports an NRA sellout is an NRA sellout,” Hogg tweeted. “That is why I am calling on everyone to stop shopping at Publix until they pull their endorsement of Putnam publicly.”
Hogg began to plan “die-in” protests where his accomplices lie down in Publix grocery stores and pretend to be dead while holding campaign signs and chanting slogans. The disturbance is meant to pressure the company to give in to their political requests. 
Hogg was also demanding that Publix double the amount it had given to the pro-NRA candidate and donate that amount to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund. 
Videos of the protests were spread online by supporters of the anti-NRA campaign, and through lavish coverage from the media. 
On Friday, Publix released a statement vowing to end their political contributions and review their donations process. 
“We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida,” thestatement read. “As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community.”

Good grief! USC president will step down amid gynecologist sex scandal

USC president will step down amid gynecologist sex scandal

LOS ANGELES — The president of the University of Southern California has agreed to step down amid a raging sex scandal involving a university gynecologist who is accused of conducting inappropriate exams for decades, the chairman of the school’s board of trustees said Friday.
The university’s board has “agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president,” Rick J. Caruso, the board’s chairman, said in a letter to students and faculty members.
The letter did not say when C.L. Max Nikias would leave his post.
“We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed,” Caruso said.
The announcement came days after hundreds of students, professors and alumni demanded Nikias’ ouster, alleging that USC failed to respond to complaints of misconduct involving Dr. George Tyndall, a gynecologist who worked at a university clinic for 30 years.
Tyndall routinely made crude comments, took inappropriate photographs and forced plaintiffs to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment for his “sexual gratification,” according to civil lawsuits filed this week.
At least a dozen lawsuits have been filed so far and police are interviewing alleged victims to see if any crime was committed.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that complaints about Tyndall weren’t properly addressed by USC for years and university officials never reported him to the medical board, even after he was quietly forced into retirement.
Tyndall, 71, denied wrongdoing in interviews with the Times and hasn’t responded to phone calls and emails requesting comment from The Associated Press.
USC has said Tyndall was placed on administrative leave in 2016 and never returned to treating students after officials received a complaint from a staff member at the health clinic. The staff member alleged that Tyndall made inappropriate comments to a patient in front of medical assistants.
The university said it has previously reviewed complaints that Tyndall made racially inappropriate comments.
Nikias, 65, who became the university’s president in 2010, had recently come under fire amid a string of scandals, including a report from the Los Angeles Times in July about how a USC medical school dean used drugs and partied with prostitutes.
A spokesman for USC said the university had no further comment.

Holding Russia accountable for downing MH 17 while Macron plays footsie with Putin

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Netherlands told Moscow on Friday it will hold the Russian state legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014, after investigators concluded that a Russian army missile system was used in the attack. 

FILE PHOTO: Dutch police officer Wilbert Paulissen, head of the National Crime Squad, is pictured next to a damaged missile as he presents interim results in the ongoing investigation of the 2014 MH17 crash that killed 298 people over eastern Ukraine, during a news conference by members of the Joint Investigation Team, comprising the authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, in Bunnik, Netherlands, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo
MH17 was shot down over territory held by pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine as it flew from Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people onboard, roughly two-thirds of them Dutch. 
A team of international investigators said on Thursday that the “Buk” missile system used to bring down the passenger plane came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk. 
“It is the first time the finger points to one specific country,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting. “We are holding Russia responsible for their role in the deployment of the Buk rocket system.” 
The diplomatic escalation comes at a time when relations between Western powers and Russia have reached their lowest point in decades. 
“Russia didn’t cooperate with the international legal requests in relation to the investigation,” Rutte said, referring to the probe carried out by prosecutors from Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, Ukraine and the Netherlands. 
The Netherlands and Australia informed Moscow that it expects Russia to now provide full assistance to the investigation, which is in the final stage of identifying perpetrators to be tried under Dutch law. 
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington supported the decisions by the Netherlands and Australia “to hold Russia to account.” 
“It is time for Russia to acknowledge its role in the shooting down of MH-17 and to cease its callous disinformation campaign,” she said. 
Russia has always denied any involvement, and said on Thursday none of its missile launchers had ever entered Ukraine, despite photographic evidence presented by prosecutors. 

FILE PHOTO: A damaged missile is displayed during a news conference by members of the Joint Investigation Team, comprising the authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine who present interim results in the ongoing investigation of the 2014 MH17 crash that killed 298 people over eastern Ukraine, in Bunnik, Netherlands, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday his Dutch counterpart had been unable to provide evidence of Russia’s involvement in the crash, the Russian TASS news agency reported. 
Rutte declined to specify what steps would follow if Moscow continued to fail to cooperate. The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, was quoted by the TASS Russian news agency as saying on Friday that Russia was prepared for everything, including new sanctions. 
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the Netherlands and Australia would seek unspecified financial damages. 
Blok said that attempts to hold Russia responsible for the plane’s downing under international law would be a different, parallel process from the ongoing investigation by prosecutors seeking to establish individual criminal responsibility. 
Russia is already under U.S. and European sanctions over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. More recently, dozens of countries have expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain which accused Moscow of using a nerve agent to poison an ex-spy and his daughter in an English city in March. 
The United States has tightened sanctions this year after accusing Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies all of the Western accusations against it and says it is the target of a propaganda campaign. 

But on the other hand Macron shows he's still a toad

Putin, Macron bond over shared unease at Trump's actions

Utah man incarcerated in Venezuela jail to be released, Trump says

By Kathleen Joyce | Fox News

A Utah man who has been incarcerated in a Venezuelan jail since 2016 is set to be released, U.S. officials said Saturday.
Joshua Holt, 26, has been jailed in Venezuela after he traveled to the South American country in the summer of 2016 to marry Thamara Candelo, whom he met on a website for Mormon singles. The two planned to return to the U.S. after getting married, but where jailed in El Hilcolde on what human rights groups said were largely trumped-up charges.
“Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 p.m. The great people of Utah will be very happy!” President Donald Trump said in an early morning tweet.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatches’ office said in a statement minutes before that Holt and his wife were on their way back to the U.S.
“Over the last two years I've worked with two Presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contracts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton,” the statement said.
Hatch's office also thanked Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker for his "pivotal efforts" and the "Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their help in this effort." 
"I want to particularly thank Caleb McCarry, whose expertise and effort in Venezuela on my behalf has been instrumental in bringing Josh home," the statement concluded. 
"I want to particularly thank Caleb McCarry, whose expertise and effort in Venezuela on my behalf has been instrumental in bringing Josh home," the statement concluded. 
josh holt
Joshua Holt and Thamara Candelo on their wedding day. Thamara's daughter, Nathalia, 7, is in the foreground.  (Courtesy of Laurie Holt)
Venezuelan authorities claim Holt and his wife were stockpiling weapons, and have suggested they were part of a U.S. plan to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. But witnesses say they saw Venezuelan police, accused of demanding $10,000 from Holt and Candelo, plant weapons just before arresting the couple - and announcing the discovery of the arms.
Laurie Holt, Joshua’s mother, told Fox News in February that her son’s ordeal has taken an emotional and physical toll on her. A week ago, the 7-year-old daughter of Candelo from a previous marriage arrived in the United States on a humanitarian visa to live with Joshua Holt’s parents in Utah.
Earlier this month, Holt made pleas on Facebook claiming that the prison he was incarcerated in has been taken over by people trying to kill him. 
josh holt
Joshua Holt in a Venezuelan jail holding a letter he received last Friday from Sen. Orrin Hatch.  (Courtesy of Sen. Orrin Hatch)
“I need help. They have taken the entire prison where I am at,” he can be heard saying in the first video. “The people have taken the entire prison. They’re outside, they’re trying to break in. They’re saying they want to kill me. They are saying that they want me as their guarantee.” 
In the second video, Holt continues by “calling on the people of America” to get him out. “I have been begging my government for two years. They say that they are doing things, but I’m still here and now my life is threatened.”