Share Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneCody Wilson, whose Defense Distributed is selling blueprints for 3D-printed guns, in his company’s Austin headquarters.An Austin resident and self-described “crypto-anarchist” said Tuesday he’ll begin selling blueprints that would allow users to 3D print their own plastic guns, a day after a federal judge extended a temporary block preventing him from making the plans available on the web for free.In other words: If he can’t be the “Napster” of crypto-guns, he’ll be the “iTunes,” Cody Wilson told reporters at a press conference Tuesday in Austin.The decision may put Wilson, currently at the center of a slew of court disputes across the country, on shaky legal footing. Wilson has argued in court that preventing him from publishing the blueprints infringes on his First Amendment rights. But Monday’s injunction said the potential harms to Wilson’s First Amendment rights “are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer” if he was permitted to post the blueprints for free. Nearly two dozen states that lined up against Wilson in court have said the untraceable plastic guns made using the blueprints would pose an enormous security risk.Wilson called the injunction “hysterical,” saying that the order allows his company to sell the designs and distribute them to customers through the mail, over email and with secure downloadable links. Wilson said he has already received 400 orders, according to the Associated Press.Josh Blackman, Wilson’s lawyer, said in an interview Tuesday that selling the blueprints directly to people within the United States is perfectly legal.“It’s not about distribution, it’s about posting them,” Blackman said. “There’s no prohibition on distributing these files — the prohibition is on doing it in a way that foreign persons can access.”But the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading a 19-state challenge to Wilson, has characterized the block differently.“I am very concerned about 3-D printable guns, wherever they are,” Ferguson said earlier this month. Thanks to the federal judge in Seattle, he said, “federal firearm import and export laws once again prohibit the distribution of these downloadable gun files. Anyone who posts downloadable guns to the internet is violating federal law. It is the federal government’s job to enforce those laws, and I urge it to enforce them aggressively as to these prohibited items.”Wilson’s organization, Defense Distributed, is allowing customers to set their own price for any of 10 gun designs posted on his website. The guns appear to be available for as little as one cent.Wilson’s legal woes stretch back to 2013, when he posted blueprints for the 3D gun. The State Department ordered him to stop, arguing he was illegally exporting sensitive arms technology. Wilson sued in 2015, and Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the State Department earlier this summer, seemingly clearing the way for him to begin posting the designs online. But he was stalled by a flurry of lawsuits across the country.
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Andrew Schneider/Houston Public MediaOne of the biggest decisions facing Houston voters next month falls at the bottom of the ballot. Proposition B would require the city to start paying its firefighters the same as its police officers. The issue has driven a wedge between the firefighters and the mayor they once considered their ally.“The city of Houston has had pay parity between the fire department and police department since 1975,” says Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. “That was broken by the ex-police chief and then-Mayor Lee Brown in 2001.”Since then, the pay gap has grown wider under successive mayors. Houston is currently the largest city in the United States in which firefighters and police do not have pay parity. Lancton says his union campaigned hard for Mayor Sylvester Turner because they thought he’d change that.“We had a longtime, 26-year friend in [then-State] Representative Sylvester Turner,” Lancton says. “We went out and we helped Mayor Turner get elected. We put 1,200 firefighters on the streets, block walked 75,000 homes, just so that we could get somebody that would equally value the service and sacrifice. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”Turner spent much of his first two years as mayor working to overhaul the city’s pension system to keep Houston out of bankruptcy. The mayor argues all that work will be undone if Proposition B passes.“You cannot add another $100 million to the bottom line under the revenue cap and expect to absorb this particular item,” Turner says.Lancton says Turner is just trying to scare voters. He points to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget on the city’s website. It’s the last budget that includes a breakdown for the fire department’s payroll. The firefighters haven’t had a raise since.“The mayor talks about a 20 percent base salary increase, 5 percent incentives,” Lancton says. “If you take what the mayor is out there telling the public, and you do the math, it’s nowhere near what the mayor is saying it costs.”The City Controller’s office, which acts as Houston’s financial watchdog, prepared its own analysis. Controller Chris Brown presented it to the City Council earlier this month.“We demonstrate the annualized cost due to pay parity could be as high as $85.1 million beginning in Fiscal Year 2020, and this $85 million does not include the proposed 7 percent raise for the Houston Police Department,” Brown said. Later that day, the council approved the raise negotiated with the police, driving up the projected cost of pay parity to more than $100 million a year.The cost argument is a familiar one for Lee Adler of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Adler advises firefighter unions from upstate New York to Los Angeles.“It just gets tiring to see these explanations advanced all over the country – north, south, east, and west – about why people who risk their lives every day are not entitled to get a wage that they believe they’re entitled to,” Adler says.Jay Aiyer disagrees. Aiyer teaches public affairs at Texas Southern University and served as chief of staff to former Mayor Lee Brown. He says that concept of fairness must account for the changing nature of what firefighters do.“About 85 percent of what [Houston firefighters] do now is EMT calls for service,” Aiyer says. “They spend as much time doing rescue work as they do fighting fires. So from a public safety perspective, they’ve changed dramatically. Police have largely stayed the same.”That’s one reason Houston police oppose Proposition B as strongly as the firefighters support it.“This is a self-imposed crisis on their part,” says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. “They voted down a 4 percent raise in 2014. They now refuse to accept a 9.5 percent raise from this mayor. So they have been treated fairly. They just refuse to accept the pay raises because they don’t want to take any concession.”Both Mayor Turner and Controller Brown say the only way to meet pay parity will be to lay off thousands of city employees. That’s what worries Gamaldi the most.“They’re going to have to lay off a minimum of 850 firefighters,” Gamaldi says, “and then they’re going to have to start laying off our cadets and our young police officers, and we simply cannot afford to lose a single police officer.”Police officers and firefighters both have critical, life-saving roles in Houston, but voters will decide next month whether their pay should be equal. Listen X 00:00 /03:58
Gerald Herbert/AP FileFour Gulf states will receive another $280 million in restoration grants from the BP oil spill of 2010. Texas will get $19 million.Four Gulf states will receive another $280 million in restoration grants from the BP oil spill of 2010. Texas will get $19 million, including $6 million to protect some 575 acres of coastal habitat.The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation said that Louisiana –which suffered the worst damage– is getting about $161 million to restore barrier islands.Alabama and Florida are the other states receiving money.The money is from criminal damages paid by BP PLC and drilling company Transocean Deepwater Inc.The grants announced this week are the sixth round and bring the total so far to $1.3 billion. Share
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is reporting ten cases of measles as of Wednesday, surpassing the total number in all of 2018 when the state registered nine cases. In 2017, Texas only had one case of measles.The 10th case is an adult traveler visiting Guadalupe County from the Philippines, where there is an ongoing measles outbreak. Harris County has the most cases in the state, with four reported by health officials. The other counties with confirmed cases are: Bell, Denton, Galveston, Guadalupe, Jefferson and Montgomery.Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)DSHS has issued a health alert reminding health care providers to consider measles in diagnoses and immediately report suspected cases to public health authorities.The alert also provides advice to medical providers about limiting the spread of measles in a health care setting and options for preventing illness for susceptible people who have been exposed.Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes virus particles into the air.The best way to prevent getting sick is to be immunized with two doses of the measles vaccine. DSHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend children receive one dose at 12 to 15 months of age and another at 4 to 6 years.A large study by the Annals of Internal Medicine released on Monday provided strong new evidence that the childhood vaccine for measles is safe, and does not increase the risk for autism in children. Share
Share HarrisThrives.orgThe website Harris County has launched about the flood control bond program includes this interactive map.Harris County currently has more than active 50 flood control projects that are part of a $2.5 billion bond program voters approved in August 2018.Overall, the bond program includes more than 200 projects to reduce flood risk throughout Harris County. They include channel modifications, storm water detention basins and engineering studies of specific watersheds.The unprecedented devastation Hurricane Harvey caused after it made landfall in August 2017 was one of the main arguments that then Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner made to ask voters to approve the bond program.Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced this week the launch of the website www.harristhrives.org. It provides interactive information about the projects, including the location, budget and the current stage of each project.Hidalgo has made transparency one of the main elements of her government style in Texas’ biggest county. For instance, the meetings of the Commissioners Court are now longer than in previous administrations after she changed the rules to allow more public comments.The active projects are underway in all parts of Harris County, including infrastructure being repaired and built on Brays Bayou, as well as detention basins along Greens and Hunting bayous, and other waterways.Hidalgo discussed the progress on the detention basin along Hunting Bayou at a news conference this week. The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is in charge of the project and county officials say it will be completed within one or two months. Matthew Zeve, deputy director of the HCFCD, said it will have a storage capacity of approximately 326 million gallons of stormwater.HarrisThrives.orgThe website HarrisThrives.org has a breakdown of the funding sources for the flood control projects in Harris County.Besides flood control infrastructure, the county is also using some of the funds to buy out homes that have flooded multiple times. According to Harris County, there are $2.5 billion in potential additional funds provided by the federal government and local entities, and the federal grants that have been approved amount to $1.7 billion.The flood control district plans to use the bond funds over a 10- to 15-year period, as project timelines allow.
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen Share The Galveston Historical Foundation has released its yearly list of significant structures that are at risk of being lost. New to this year’s list are five homes and a boarding house on Galveston Island along with the Bolivar Point Lighthouse.Galveston Historical Foundation Executive Director Dwayne Jones said they release the annual list in hopes of finding someone who can restore the buildings.“It’s just really making people aware that our culture and our history is much more diverse and it’s around us every day,” said Jones. “And sometimes those properties that fall into disrepair or need help get overlooked.”Galveston has a large number of historic properties from the 19th Century and the early 20th Century. But restoring and maintaining those buildings is often costly. Jones said that while Galveston has a bustling tourism industry it doesn’t have the “depth of economy” you might see in other places.“Part of the challenge is always just the lack of money and interest in taking care of a property or rehabilitating it,” said Jones. “And sometimes it’s really that it doesn’t have an economic use or doesn’t appear to have an economic use.”Dwayne Jones Discusses Endangered Buildings on Houston Matters: X Listen 00:00 /07:56 X – / 6 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Galveston’s weather can also take its toll on aging buildings. While many homes are constructed of sturdy cypress, Jones said they have to endure wind, high tides and the occasional hurricane.“All of those put a special kind of pressure on all the historic buildings on the island that you wouldn’t see more inland in Texas or in some other parts of the country,” said Jones.He said that buildings can also fall into disrepair because of disputes over who owns it.“Sometimes there’s not a clear transfer of the property to some other owners,” said Jones. “Like if someone passes away and doesn’t have a will.”Jones told News 88.7 there have been cases where the Galveston Historical Foundation has purchased buildings from willing sellers. In other cases, it’s acquired historic properties through tax sales.For groups and individuals who want to restore old structures, there are federal and state tax credits available if the building is used for commercial purposes. There are also organizations that offer grants, like the Texas Historical Commission.As for increasing awareness of endangered historic properties, Jones said it’s all about building a culture of preservation.“It adds diversity to the community,” said Jones. “It tells a longer history of the community and it has economic benefits for a community as well.”The structures on this year’s list include:• 1872 Bolivar Point LighthouseThe 145-year-old lighthouse is currently in a severe state of deterioration and in need of considerable restoration. Extensive loss of original material necessitates complete removal and reconstruction of the upper portions including the watch and lantern rooms as well as the cupola. Work will require reconstruction of masonry walls and re-casting of iron elements. A condition assessment report completed in 2018 notes the lighthouse is in dire need of repairs, estimated at $2.5 million. Almost half of the cost is to remove the domed cupola and fabricating a replacement.• 1870 Emilia Gengler House, 2102 SealyNoted in the Galveston Architecture Guidebook for exemplifying a phenomenon that was common in 19th-and early-20th century Galveston of increasing the height of a house by adding a new floor beneath the existing house. The 1871 Bird’s –Eye View map of Galveston depicts the building as a two-story house with front verandahs and a low hipped roof.• 1913 Mrs. George Smith Boarding House, 1103 TremontThis three-story, 25-room house was built for use as a boarding house by Mr. and Mrs. George Smith. When completed, the Galveston Daily News noted the house contained ice water faucets on each floor, electric call bells and “speaking” tubes. In 1996, a previous owner abandoned rehabilitation efforts. The current owner purchased the house in 2007.• Joseph Franklin House, 3314 Avenue K Built 1868 / Rebuilt 1903The Galveston Architecture Guidebook recognized this Southern townhouse for the double-height fluted Doric columns and major openings framed with shouldered architraves. It was built by Joseph Franklin, a prominent lawyer, and land agent and originally located on the corner of the block facing 33rd Street. In 1903, it was reoriented on the block to face Avenue K and rebuilt.• 2814 Avenue L Built 1880This five-bay house is representative of a typical working-class cottage. The original paneled door surrounded by sidelights and transom is intact as are the building’s six-over-six windows. Missing windows and broken panes leave the house exposed to the elements. The current owner, who also owns 1103 Tremont, acquired the house in 1998. It is currently vacant.• 2813-2815 Avenue K, Rear Built 1889 (eastern house) and c1919 (western house)These two surviving alley houses are the only surviving buildings on the lot. The front house, described as “old” on the 1919 insurance certificate, was recently demolished. Both alley houses appear to have been unoccupied for years, and the front part of the lot is overgrown and strewn with trash. The alley houses should be preserved as a once common building type that could also increase the city’s housing stock. 00:00 /00:39
The Washington D.C. Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA-DC) held a Reporters’ Roundtable May 17 to discuss current immigration issues relating to youth in the United States. While immigration reform and the needs of first-generation immigrant youth often focus on Latinos, the roundtable revealed that sub-Saharan Africans tend to have the most difficulties assimilating into U.S. culture.According to the New Americans Integration Institute, out of all immigrant groups, sub-Saharan Africans find it particularly frustrating to move into the American workforce, despite being well qualified and highly educated, largely due to cultural and racial barriers. “If you’re a nurse or a doctor, there are so many federal and state requirements that you have to fill that become very, very complicated and time-consuming, and foreign degrees in general are often less valued than U.S. degrees,” said Jeff Gross, director of the New Americans Integration Institute at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.The result, as families like the Tureys, living in Southeast D.C. find, are children whose parents have advanced degrees, but who are unable to lift them out of poverty and forced to live and work in substandard conditions. “My husband has a master’s degree in mathematics and doctorate in engineering, but because his degrees were earned in Ethiopia, there is much paperwork and red tape to get through so he drives a taxi,” Mariama Turey told the AFRO. “The money is so poor with the Uber competition and people riding bicycles that we cannot afford to live like the professional-class people that we are.” Many foreign degrees require additional training before being accepted in the U.S.Turey’s four children, all born in the U.S., want what other U.S. children have, including cell phones and fashionable clothes. And while her husband would prefer she remain at home and not work, Turey said meeting the needs of the children and living above the poverty line require she braid hair in her spare time.“It is not a good situation for me at all because the laws are changing and I fear I will be forced to get a license to do something we consider to be a cultural service,” Turey said. “It makes you wonder if the system is not designed to keep you poor and begging when you cannot even scratch out a living without someone wanting to tax that as well.”But as Gross pointed out, assimilation or “Americanizing” oneself, remains the key to getting into the American professional job market. “If you don’t come to a job interview and approach it with an American attitude, an American style, and an American résumé, that credentialing document won’t do you much good,” Gross said.Still, for those like Turey, who wanted a bit of a hustle with hair braiding, the restrictions were found to be even worse. Licensing has spread inexorably through the U.S. labor market, often due to horror stories of people being harmed by the actions of someone without the necessary training, with occupational licensure, according to Forbes magazine, damaging the upward mobility of poor people and doing little to protect the public. And while challenged in court, new cases arise almost daily.In Tennessee, for instance, Pritchard v. Board of Cosmetology, the plaintiff Tammy Pritchard, was told she had to earn 300 hours of classroom instruction in order to wash hair in an African braiding salon. “These laws represent a hostile, anti-immigration work policy that makes it futile for hardworking citizens to gain full access to the American dream,” George Washington University foreign policy grad student, John Marshall told the AFRO. “When you acknowledge that in the 1950s roughly 5 percent of workers needed permission from federal, state, or local authorities to practice their occupation, these expensive licenses do a lot to keep Africans from earning money.”African immigrants from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya account for nearly half of the foreign-born African population in the U.S in 2013 and overwhelmingly settle in the South (38 percent) or the Northeast (27 percent) most often in New York, Maryland, D.C., and New Jersey.
Park West Health System’s, “Hidden Garden,” program is sponsoring a Community Outreach and Health Fair on June 24th, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The Community Outreach & Health Fair will be held at the health system’s Men and Family Health Center, located at 4151 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215. Various speakers will present information, including former Mayor Shelia Dixon, as well as other community leaders that have a vested interest in the health and well being of the Park Heights Community.
Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016 and captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, is scheduled to serve as a guest speaker at the Wealth, Health & Fitness Expo on Sept. 30 at Freedom High School, 15201 Neabsco Mills Road. The Expo is a community event hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Omicron Chi Omega chapter in order to foster good health, encourage an active lifestyle, help prepare the next generation for college, and promote sound money management. Capt. Deshauna Barber will also highlight her own personal story dealing with low self-esteem and how she was able to persevere through the traumatic loss of her mother to succeed. There will be health and nutritional workshops, Zumba and fitness workout sessions, and financial aid sessions on how to pay for college. There will be free blood pressure and liver screenings, and vendors from local businesses. For more information, visit omicronchiomega-aka.com.
Streaming entertainment is smacking into the wall of the paradox of choice — and the cost to consumers of piecing multiple services together.The boom in subscription streaming services has given consumers more options than ever, with an array that includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, CBS All Access, Showtime and YouTube Premium. Even more are coming down the pike with Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and others promising to enter the fray in a big way.But the plethora of options has a downside: Nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers say they’re frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want, according to the 13th edition of Deloitte’s annual Digital Media Trends survey. An even bigger pet peeve: 57% said they’re frustrated when content vanishes because rights to their favorite TV shows or movies have expired. Popular on Variety “Consumers want choice — but only up to a point,” said Kevin Westcott, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader, who oversees the study. “We may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue.’”All told, there are more than 300 over-the-top video options in the U.S. With that fragmentation, there’s a clear opportunity for larger platforms to reaggregate these services in a way that can provide access across all sources and make recommendations based on all of someone’s interests, Westcott said. “Consumers are looking for less friction in the consumption process,” he said.Today, the average U.S. consumer subscribes to three video streaming services; 43% subscribe to both pay-TV and streaming services, per Deloitte’s study. Effectively, Westcott said, they’re cobbling together their own entertainment bundles from multiple providers.Again, the sprawl of content options presents headaches. Nearly half (49%) of consumers in Deloitte’s survey said the sheer amount of content available on subscription VOD makes it hard to choose what to watch. Meanwhile, consumers say they know exactly what they want to watch 69% of the time, but 48% say content is hard to find across multiple services. And 49% give up on searching for content if they can’t find it in a few minutes.Deloitte’s survey found strong growth in streaming video subscription services — with 69% of households now subscribing to one or more — and streaming music services (41%). Pay TV remained relatively flat with 65% of U.S. households subscribing to cable, satellite or telco TV.Other findings from Deloitte’s study:Originals drive subscriptions: High-quality original content continues to be a dominant factor in streaming video growth, with 57% of all current U.S. streaming consumers (and 71% of millennials, ages 22-35) saying they subscribe to streaming video services to access original content.TV ad loads: 75% of consumers say they would be more satisfied with pay-TV service if there were fewer ads, and 77% said ads on pay TV should be under 10 seconds. Respondents indicated 8 minutes of ads per hour of programming was the reasonable upper bound — while they also said that 16 minutes or more of commercials per hour is the point they would stop watching.Data privacy: Consumers are increasingly wary of how companies handle their data, with 82% saying they don’t believe companies do enough to protect their personal data. Just 7% of respondents believe the government should play a role in protecting their data.Voice assistants: Ownership of voice-enabled home speakers grew 140% year-over-year in 2018, with total penetration soaring from 15% to 36%. The top five uses of voice-enabled digital assistants are playing music, searching for information, getting directions, making phone calls and setting alerts. However, half of consumers said they don’t use voice-enabled digital assistants at all, and only 18% claimed to use if daily.Video games: 41% of U.S. consumers play games at least weekly; among Gen Z (14-21) consumers, 54% do. Gaming consoles are being used more often as an entertainment hub — to stream TV/movie content (46%), watch online content (42%), browse the internet (34%), stream music (25%), and stream eSports (11%).Esports: One-third of U.S. consumers watch esports at least once a week — and 54% of Gen Z respondents do.The U.S. data for the 13th edition of Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends survey was collected from an online survey of 2,003 consumers fielded from December 2018 to February 2019. Additional findings from the study are available at this link. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15