May 8, 2014

The City Council in Carson, California unanimously voted in favor of a measure making bullying a misdemeanor this week. The anti-bullying ordinance still has to pass a final vote later in May, NPR reported.

Groups are already questioning how effective the measure would be, though. The ordinance would make it a misdemeanor to cause any person between kindergarten age through 25 years old to "feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested," notes the Los Angeles Times. Meant to include cyberbullying, City Council members say the ordinance would better protect groups especially vulnerable to bullying; they say that includes gay, overweight, disabled, and gifted children.

What is not spelled out is what does and does not constitute a provocation under those terms: What if a "joking" text message is not taken as such by the recipient? What should happen to classmates of a young girl left out of a game at recess, does that warrant calling the police? And as for the age cutoff at 25, that feels entirely arbitrary.

Carson Mayor Jim Dear told Reuters he and fellow Council members are aware of the challenges, but that they support the measure: "We're not talking about putting a five-year-old in jail, we're talking about intervening in both the bully's life, who is a person who is hurting too, and the victim's life."

While the goal of a bully-free community is commendable, Carson's ordinance appears to have an awful lot of tweaks to iron out before it can adequately enforce such an ideal. Sarah Eberspacher

1:26 p.m.

The monthlong General Motors strike may be coming to an end in a matter of days, thanks to a tentative deal that was just struck.

The United Auto Workers, the labor union that organized a General Motors strike of almost 50,000 workers that has been ongoing since mid-September, announced Wednesday it has reached a tentative agreement with the company, HuffPost reports. This agreement now needs to be approved by a union council, which will meet Thursday, and then ratified in a vote.

No details about the tentative deal have been released yet, but The Associated Press reports it's "likely to include some pay raises, lump sum payments to workers, and requirements that GM build new vehicles in U.S. factories." Union officials, CNN reports, will decide at Thursday's meeting whether the strike should remain ongoing until the ratification vote.

The United Auto Workers last month said it was asking General Motors for more affordable health care, fair wages, and profit sharing. The nationwide strike came after a four-year contract expired between General Motors and UAW, with the failure to reach a new agreement leading to the union's first national strike since 2007, and General Motors' longest since 1970, The Wall Street Journal reports. The strike is expected to cost General Motors around $1.5 billion. Brendan Morrow

12:57 p.m.

Chelsea Clinton isn't looking to make a dynasty out of this thing just yet.

On a Wednesday appearance on The View, Clinton was asked about apparent "rumors" that she was considering running for Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-N.Y.) congressional seat. It's a question Clinton said she's been asked "literally as long as I can remember," and one she's turning down yet again.

Lowey's retirement announcement seemed like the perfect opportunity for Clinton to follow her parents' legacy — Lowey represents the Hudson Valley area where Bill and Hillary Clinton now live, after all. But Clinton confirmed Wednesday she's "not considering running" for the seat.

Instead, Clinton recalled one of her earliest memories of someone asking if she was "going to run for governor of Arkansas someday," and said that's "a question that shouldn’t just be asked of people whose last name is Clinton." "It's a question we should be asking kids ... young people, women," she continued. Still, Clinton didn't rule out an eventual run for office. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:53 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are both receiving a fair amount of praise for their proactive approaches during Tuesday evening's Democratic presidential primary debate in Westerville, Ohio. That aggressiveness, several analysts concur, seems to have resulted from the sense that former Vice President Joe Biden's standing as the leading moderate candidate was vulnerable. Subsequently, both Buttigieg and Klobuchar felt like they had a chance to seize that territory — in fact, Buttigieg came across as so moderate, even some conservatives were touting his performance on stage.

The candidates were particularly focused on going after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who they likely consider the frontrunner, and her support for Medicare-for-all. Klobuchar called it a "pipe dream," while Buttigieg criticized her vague response to a question about how she planned on funding the proposal. He kept that up the following morning, as well.

Their decision to forego running to the left of Biden during the debate indicates their campaigns believe there is still a vibrant centrist voting bloc in the party, and that Biden's failures are more related to his performance than ideology. But, at the same time, there appears to be a sense of urgency from Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who may be realizing they can't just wait around for Biden's campaign to fizzle out. Tim O'Donnell

12:11 p.m.

Another poll has found support for impeaching President Trump and removing him from office is on the rise, with a slim majority now on board.

Gallup is out with a new poll Wednesday following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in September announcing the opening of an official impeachment inquiry into Trump, which was sparked by a whistleblower complaint alleging Trump abused his power by pushing for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

In the poll, 52 percent of respondents backed both impeaching Trump and removing him from office, while 46 percent said he shouldn't be impeached and removed. Gallup notes this is essentially a reversal of the findings of its June poll, when 45 percent said Trump should be impeached and removed, but 53 percent said he shouldn't be. The question was asked in June after the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report were released.

Still, this isn't to say Republicans are getting on board with inquiry, with the poll finding only 6 percent of GOP respondents backing impeachment and removal, which is actually down one point from June. Support has risen nine points among independents and eight points among Democrats.

Numerous polls have shown support for impeachment rising in the wake of the House's official inquiry being opened, with a recent Fox News poll showing a slim majority of voters, 51 percent, backing it, with support among Republicans rising five points. This prompted Trump to fire off an angry tweet at Fox, writing, "whoever their pollster is, they suck."

Gallup's poll was conducted by speaking to a random sample of 1,526 U.S. adults over the phone from Oct. 1-13. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. Read the full results at Gallup. Brendan Morrow

12:11 p.m.

Joe Maddon is coming home.

Maddon, one of the most prominent managers in Major League Baseball, reportedly agreed to a three-year-deal worth somewhere between $12 and $15 million to take over as the new skipper for the Los Angeles Angeles after his contract with the Chicago Cubs was not renewed after the season. Maddon was involved with the Angels as a player, scout, and coach from 1975 to 2005, before he left to manage the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006.

Maddon helped turn the previously moribund Tampa Bay franchise into a perennial contender, and made the World Series there in 2008, though he's probably best known for guiding the Cubs to their first World Series victory in 108 years in 2016. While the rest of his Cubs tenure trended downhill, Maddon maintains a reputation as one of the games most innovative tacticians, and the Angels are surely hoping he can help revive an organization that's underachieved for years now, despite employing the greatest player in the game in outfielder Mike Trout.

It won't be an easy task, on or off the field. The Angels have many issues to address in terms of their roster, most notably the pitching staff, but they are currently dealing with scrutiny that goes well beyond baseball — the fallout from the death of former pitcher Tyler Skaggs' death may have revealed a longstanding failure to address drug use and addiction within the organization. Tim O'Donnell

11:29 a.m.

President Trump seems wholly unconcerned with the Kurds he left without backup in Syria.

After pulling U.S. troops from the Kurdish-held area of Syria and promptly allowing Turkey to invade, Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday that America's Kurdish allies are "safe" because "Syria's protecting" them. That's not true, but Trump doesn't seem to care regardless, adding that the Kurds are "no angels, by the way."

Once the U.S. pulled support from the Kurds who led America's fight against ISIS, Turkey quickly attacked the region and unquestionably killed Kurds along the way. But Trump brushed off the incursion on Wednesday, saying "If Turkey goes into Syria it is between Turkey and Syria. It's not our problem." "They've got a lot of sand over there... There's a lot of sand that they can play with," he said of the Turkish attacks that have already slaughtered dozens of Kurds. Trump also shrugged off how Russia has already started trolling the U.S. by sending troops to the region and said it's fine for Russia to start supporting Syria.

Trump seems to have forgotten that, like critics and allies on both sides of the aisle have told him, the Kurds lost about 11,000 of their own troops during America's fight against ISIS. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:08 a.m.

Since U.S. and South Korean authorities busted one of the world's largest child pornography sites in 2018, more than 300 site users in 11 countries — and more than two dozen U.S. states — have been arrested, while at least 23 minor victims in the U.S., U.K., and Spain who were actively abused by the site's users have been rescued, Bloomberg reports.

The site was shuttered in March 2018 and its founder, 23-year-old South Korean national Jong Woo Son, was indicted in August of that year. Son remains in custody in South Korea where he was convicted, while his indictment was unsealed Wednesday.

Son operated a Darknet, or encrypted online content, market that was hidden from traditional search engines to distribute more than 1 million explicit videos involving children, while accepting Bitcoin as currency. Agents from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division reportedly were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, which led to Son's arrest. They were then able to "de-anonymize" the Bitcoin transactions on the site to unmask many of the site's users.

Bloomberg notes that child pornography is a crime that's increasing at a rapid rate around the globe in part because of the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which allow transactions to remain anonymous. Read more at Bloomberg. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads