Friday, March 29, 2013

Alternate Realities Roundup 03/29

Posted By on March 29, 2013, 9:31 AM

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While President Barack Obama has squared off against the NRA in seeking gun regulations at home, he’s agreed with the organization in helping to have the United States stall a global treaty regulating the $70 billion international arms trade.---

Top of the Alty World

“Strange Bedfellows: While Urging Gun Laws at Home, Obama Joins NRA to Weaken U.N. Arms Treaty”—Democracy Now!

Meanwhile, investigators have found NRA literature at the home of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza.---Mother Jones

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell takes out op-ed in New York Daily News touting fracking, without disclosing his job as a consultant to the industry.—ProPublica

Walmart controls 25 percent of the nation’s grocery-market shares, a tight grip advocates worry is increasing unhealthy eating in poor rural and urban areas of the country.—AlterNet

In an effort to crack down on house parties, Boston police are posing on social media sites as “punk” kids looking to know where the house concerts are at, sometimes with hilarious results.—Slate

Top of Alty Utah

Community leaders including a Republican state senator called for tax increases to meet future transportation- and education-funding needs.—KUER

Google now has live UTA updates available for Salt Lake City smartphone users.—Salt Lake City Weekly

Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to make a decision on the controversial Snake Valley water pipeline issue soon.—KCPW

Tenants of a low-rent artist’s collective complain of Salt Lake City Police handcuffing, detaining and interrogating tenants, all for the sake of investigating possible violations of operating without a business license.—Salt Lake City Weekly

Supporters of same-sex marriage far outnumbered those in attendance at a rally in support of traditional marriage held at the Capitol this week.—Q Salt Lake

Rantosphere

In a Utah Political Capitol editorial, Eric Rumple of Alliance for a Better Utah criticizes a bill passed this session that lets lawmakers sidestep the expertise of the Utah Transportation Commission in funding road projects.

"HB377 mandates that $4,500,000 go to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development “for transportation infrastructure acquisitions and improvements that have a significant economic-development impact within the state.” That’s it? Nothing more specific about how the money is to be used? With criteria this vague, just about anything, anywhere, that’s a transportation infrastructure could be funded. Does anyone but the Governor have to concur about what constitutes “significant economic development”?—Utah Political Capitol

The Long View

Rolling Stone looks at the shameful legacy of California’s “Three strikes laws” that have imprisoned thousands with life sentences for nonviolent crimes.

“Despite the passage in late 2012 of a new state ballot initiative that prevents California from ever again giving out life sentences to anyone whose "third strike" is not a serious crime, thousands of people – the overwhelming majority of them poor and nonwhite – remain imprisoned for a variety of offenses so absurd that any list of the unluckiest offenders reads like a macabre joke, a surrealistic comedy routine. Have you heard the one about the guy who got life for stealing a slice of pizza? Or the guy who went away forever for lifting a pair of baby shoes? Or the one who got 50 to life for helping himself to five children's videotapes from Kmart? How about the guy who got life for possessing 0.14 grams of meth? That last offender was a criminal mastermind by Three Strikes standards, as many others have been sentenced to life for holding even smaller amounts of drugs, including one poor sap who got the max for 0.09 grams of black-tar heroin.”—Rolling Stone

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