In today’s Buzz: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delays a vote on the GOP healthcare bill, a global cyberattack makes a comeback, and North Carolina legislators consider legislation that would allow alcohol sales on Sunday mornings.
This Buzz is brought to you by Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Observed during the last full week of June, the purpose of Lightning Safety Awareness Week is increase awareness about the hazards of lightning in order to lower the number of deaths and injuries caused by lightning strikes.
What I’m Reading – Knock ‘Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide
What I’m Watching – Black Mirror
What I’m Doing – Still looking for jobs
- Crunch time for McConnell as Senate GOP is forced to delay vote on healthcare bill: The abrupt decision Tuesday to temporarily shelve a vote on the Republican Obamacare overhaul gives him a few extra weeks to build support for a revised bill before it risks becoming hopelessly stalled by the opposition.
Cyberattack Hits Ukraine Then Spreads Internationally: Computer systems from Ukraine to the United States were struck on Tuesday in an international cyberattack that was similar to a recent assault that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide. The outbreak was the latest and perhaps the most sophisticated in a series of attacks making use of dozens of hacking tools that were stolen from the National Security Agency and leaked online in April by a group called the Shadow Brokers.
- Emmett Till Sign Vandalized Again: An Emmett Till historical marker in Money, Miss., has been vandalized two times in as many months, most recently last week, when panels with the 14-year-old’s image and his story were peeled off. Installed in 2011, the sign stands on the Mississippi Freedom Trail, which commemorates people, places and events that played a part in the civil rights movement. The sign marks the spot outside Bryant’s Grocery Store, where in 1955, Till did something any kid could relate to: He bought candy. The white shopkeeper accused him of flirting and told her husband. A few days later, Till — an African-American — was kidnapped, tortured and killed, his body dumped in a river.
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- A showdown between Texas and local officials centers on the state’s ‘sanctuary’ cities ban: Hundreds of immigrant advocates gathered outside a federal courthouse here Monday as local officials from across Texas squared off for a legal showdown with the state and federal governments over the state’s new anti-“sanctuary city” law. Mayors, council members and county judges from tiny border towns and big Texas cities were packed inside. One by one, their attorneys called for U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to temporarily halt implementation of Senate Bill 4, which aims to force local municipalities to help detain immigrants in the country illegally.
- Houston looking for artists to create new murals around city: The city of Houston is looking to usher in a new wave of “mini murals” to beautify neighborhoods and cover up gray, electrical utilities. In a recent job posting, the city called on local artists to re-imagine “traffic signal control cabinets as blank canvases brimming with creative opportunity.” All Greater Houston area artists are eligible for the gig, which will pay $750 per utility cabinet plus $250 for supplies.
- Los Angeles council unanimously approves Lucas Museum that Chicago rejected: The Force was with George Lucas on Tuesday as the Los Angeles City Council moved with lightsaber speed to clear the way for a $1.5 billion Museum of Narrative Art the “Star Wars” creator plans to build down the road from his alma mater. After hearing from Lucas himself, the council voted 14-0 to approve an environmental impact report and other requirements for the museum’s construction adjacent to the University of Southern California.
- MTA: Train derailment caused by ‘improperly secured’ rail: A subway train that derailed Tuesday as it entered a station, tossing people to the floor and forcing hundreds of shaken-up passengers to evacuate through darkened tunnels was caused by an “improperly secured piece of replacement rail” that was stored on the tracks, New York City transit officials said. Nearly three dozen people suffered minor injuries in the derailment, which happened in Harlem just before 10 a.m.
- N.C. ‘brunch bill’ for Sunday morning alcohol sales moves forward: The latest version of the so-called “brunch bill”— a proposed law that would allow alcohol sales Sunday mornings — has passed the North Carolina House and now moves to the Senate for approval. The expanded version of Senate Bill 155 would allow sales not only in restaurants but in grocery stores, as well.
- Portland must make a $500 million call on removing parasites from its water: By August, the City Council must choose between spending up to $500 million and 12 years to build a filtration treatment system or about $105 million and five years on a facility that will treat water with ultraviolet light.
- Ten Commandments Installed At Arkansas State Capitol; ACLU Plans Lawsuit: Little Rock, Ark., is the latest front in the ongoing battle over Ten Commandments monuments on government property. A six-foot-tall granite monument of the Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol on Tuesday, flanked by the state senator who raised the money to pay for it and sponsored the legislation that required it.
- The Poverty Just Over the Hills From Silicon Valley: As a recent report from the Mountain View-based nonprofit Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) described, “The affluence of Silicon Valley—located just ‘over the hill,’ as many residents say—has not touched [people on the South Coast] except by making their lives more expensive: fog rolls over from the coast and cost rolls the other way.” The report profiles local families, including one couple and their three school-age children who live in a rusted, insect-infested trailer that has a leaky roof and no heat. The parents make less than $11 an hour working for a local flower nursery and pay $1,100 a month for their housing. According to the report, the family’s situation isn’t an exception—it’s the reality for hundreds of South Coast residents, mostly Latino farmworker families.
- Tower in downtown Orlando could get $4M in incentives: Orlando leaders could soon approve more than $4 million in incentives for a tower project expected to bring 25 stories of hotel, retail and office space to the Church Street area. The tower, to be built at the northeast corner of Garland Avenue and South Street, is expected to include a 180-room AC Hotels by Marriott, 206,600 square feet of Class-A office space, 8,200 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 10-story parking garage.
- Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth: You may live in a building that you feel cuts you off from the world, in a city that feels cold to you. The building, however, isn’t going to change more quickly than you can. If you feel stifled and isolated, the best solution is to open the door and go outside.
Local Government Confidential
- FBI investigates Tallahassee government for redevelopment deals: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into Florida’s capital city regarding redevelopment deals in the city. Federal jury subpoenas have been issued that demand five years of documents and communications between Tallahassee, Fla., its officials, a redevelopment agency called the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and a list of people and corporations.
Is Santa Ana Illegally Overcharging for Trash Collection?: New concerns are being raised about whether Santa Ana is illegally overcharging residents and businesses for trash collection and using the money for other services like police, firefighting, and parks. The issue came up at the City Council meeting last Tuesday, when questions from a visibly frustrated Councilwoman Michele Martinez eventually prompted staff to say the city has ongoing issues under state law that they’re working to fix.
Montana city pays over $90 million to take control of local water utility: Concluding a process that took over three years, on June 22, the Missoula, Mont., government paid over $90 million to take control of a local utility and bring its residents public water. Missoula bought Mountain Water Co. for $83.6 million, while paying $6.8 million to a group of developers with a claim against the company. Including settling claims for legal fees, the settlement totaled $93 million.