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Have Disneyland Magic Key prices finally outpaced demand? – Orange County Register

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Disneyland annual passes that sold out in hours in January have been languishing for weeks since they went on sale in early March following a price increase late last year that left fans moaning about the Anaheim theme park becoming the “Priciest Place on Earth.”

Which raises the question: Have Magic Key prices finally outpaced demand?

Sales of all four tiers of Magic Key annual passes went on sale March 5 and six weeks later the three most expensive tiers are still available. The lowest-priced Imagine Key available only to Southern California residents sold out in less than nine hours.

“Looks like Magic Key sales have finally plateaued for Disneyland,” according to MiceChat. “For the first time since the Magic Key program replaced the Annual Passport program, Magic Keys haven’t quickly sold out.”

ALSO SEE: Disneyland annual passholder fights 1-year ban for selling tickets on eBay

Signs at the entrances to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure encourage visitors with daily tickets to upgrade to Magic Key annual passes, according to MiceChat.

Disneyland Magic Key sales have not been as brisk as in the past, according to MousePlanet.

“When Disney last opened Magic Key sales in January, the offering lasted less than a day, with many fans shut out,” according to MousePlanet. “The top three tiers of Magic Keys sold out within nine hours, followed by the Southern California-exclusive Imagine Key later that night.”

ALSO SEE: Disneyland steakhouse makes a comeback — this time in Downtown Disney

Disneyland raised Magic Key prices in October to $1,649 for the Inspire Key, $1,249 for the Believe Key, $849 for the Enchant Key and $499 for the Imagine Key.


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ACA plans are being switched without enrollees’ OK – Press Enterprise

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Julie Appleby | (TNS) KFF Health News

Some consumers covered by Affordable Care Act insurance plans are being switched from one plan to another without their express permission, potentially leaving them unable to see their doctors or fill prescriptions. Some face large IRS bills for back taxes.

Unauthorized enrollment or plan-switching is emerging as a serious challenge for the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Brokers say the ease with which rogue agents can get into policyholder accounts in the 32 states served by the federal marketplace plays a major role in the problem, according to an investigation by KFF Health News.

Indeed, armed with only a person’s name, date of birth, and state, a licensed agent can access a policyholder’s coverage through the federal exchange or its direct enrollment platforms. It’s harder to do through state ACA markets, because they often require additional information.

“It’s rampant. It’s horrible,” said Ronnell Nolan, president of Health Agents for America, a nonprofit trade association representing independent insurance brokers.

The growing outcry from agents who have had their clients switched by rivals — which can steer monthly commissions to the new agent — casts a shadow on what otherwise has been a record year for ACA enrollment. More than 21 million people signed up for 2024 coverage.

Federal regulators are aware of the increase in unauthorized switching and say they have taken steps to combat it. It’s unclear, though, if these efforts will be enough.

On Feb. 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent a “ plan switch update” to industry representatives acknowledging “a large number” of 2024 cases and outlining some of its technical efforts to resolve problems when complaints are lodged.

“CMS is committed to protecting consumers in the marketplace,” said Jeff Wu, deputy director for policy for CMS’ Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, in a written statement to KFF Health News.

His office refused to provide details on how many complaints it has seen or the number of agents it has sanctioned but his statement said when action is taken, CMS reports it to state insurance departments, whose authority includes revoking licenses.

Wu did not answer specific questions about whether two-factor authentication or other safeguards would be added to the federal website, though he wrote that CMS is “actively considering further regulatory and technological solutions to some of these problems.”

In June, new rules kicked in that require brokers to get policyholders’ written or recorded verbal consent before making changes, although brokers said they are rarely asked for those documents.

Finding Out the Hard Way

Some unwitting enrollees, like Michael Debriae, a restaurant server who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, not only end up in plans they didn’t choose but also bear a tax burden.

That happens when enrollees are signed up for coverage that includes premium tax credits paid by the government to insurers, even though the enrollee is ineligible, either because their income was misstated by the broker making the switch, or they had job-based insurance, like Debriae.

Unbeknownst to him, an agent in Florida with whom he had never spoken enrolled him in an ACA plan in March 2023. It was two months after he canceled his Obamacare coverage because he was able to get health insurance through his job. In June, he discovered he had a new ACA policy when his longtime pharmacy said it could not fill a 90-day prescription, which it had done with no problem in the past.

“That’s when I realized something horribly wrong had happened,” said Debriae.

Debriae got contact information for the Florida broker, but when he called, the office said the agent no longer worked there. He filed a complaint with the federal marketplace and canceled the plan. But he still owed the IRS part of the $2,445 in premium tax credits paid to the insurer from March until July on his behalf.

To be sure, some switches could be legitimate, when enrollees choose a different broker or plan. And agents do have a vested interest in raising the issue. They lose out on commissions when their clients are switched by other agents. But brokers whose clients have been switched through unauthorized transactions say the real losers are consumers.

“People literally losing their plans is fraud, absolute fraud, not a squabble between agents,” said Leslie Shields, an insurance broker in Fort Worth, Texas.

Patients’ new plans might not include their doctors or might come with higher deductibles than their former coverage. Because the agent on the policy is generally switched, too, enrollees don’t know whom to call for help.

“You have surgeries that can’t happen, providers that can’t be seen, or have been changed,” said Shields.“It’s happened in the past, but now it’s literally the worst I’ve seen.”

Ease of access to policyholders’ accounts on the federal marketplace is a double-edged sword, agents say: It aids enrollment, but also makes it easier to switch plans without consent.

“Those bad eggs now have access to all this private information about an individual,” including household income, Social Security numbers, and dependents, said Joshua Brooker, a broker who follows the issue closely as chair of a marketplace committee for the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals, a trade group.

Complaints gained momentum during the most recent open enrollment period, agents say. One worker in a government office that helps oversee operations of the federal exchange told KFF Health News of personally handling more than 1,200 complaints about unauthorized switches or enrollments in the past three months, averaging about 20 a day. About 30 co-workers are working on similar complaints. It can take multiple days to resolve the most urgent cases, and two to four weeks for those deemed less urgent, the worker said.

Florida, Georgia, and Texas appear to be plan-switching hotbeds, agents say. Florida and Texas officials referred questions to federal regulators. Bryce Rawson, press secretary for the Georgia Department of Insurance, says the state saw no switching complaints last year and has about 30 so far in 2024, a small number but one it is taking seriously: “It’s still an active and ongoing investigation.”

By contrast, states that run their own marketplaces — there are 18 and the District of Columbia that do — have been more successful in thwarting such efforts because they require more information before a policy can be accessed, Brooker said.

In Colorado, for example, customers create accounts on the state’s online market and can choose which brokers have access. Pennsylvania has a similar setup. California sends a one-time password to the consumer, who then gives it to the agent before any changes can be made.

Adding such safeguards to healthcare.gov could slow the enrollment process. Federal regulators are “trying to thread a needle between making sure people can get access to coverage and also providing enough of a barrier to capture anyone who is coming in and acting nefariously,” said Brooker.

How Does It Happen?

Many people have no idea how they were targeted, agents say.

Jonathan Kanfer, a West Palm Beach, Florida, agent, suspects names and lists of potential clients are being circulated to agents willing to bend the rules. He said his agency has lost 700 clients to switching.

The agents doing the switching “don’t care about the people,” Kanfer said, only the money, which can amount to a monthly commission of roughly $20 to $25 per enrollee.

“Two weeks ago, someone telemarketed me, gave me a number to call to get leads for Obamacare,” said Kanfer, who turned down the offer. The person told him: “You don’t even have to speak with the people.”

Online or social media advertising is a way some outfits troll for prospects, who then end up on lists sold to brokers or are contacted directly by agents. Such lists are not illegal. The problem is the ads are often vague, and consumers responding may not realize the ads are about health insurance or might result in their policies being changed. Such ads promise free “subsidies” worth up to $6,400, often implying the money can help with groceries, rent, or gas. Some do mention “zero-dollar” health insurance.

Yet agents say the ads are misleading because the “subsidies” are actually the premium tax credits many people who enroll in ACA plans are eligible for, based on their income.

“They’re portraying it like it’s money going into your pocket,” said Lauren Jenkins, who runs an insurance brokerage in Coweta, Oklahoma, and has seen about 50 switching cases in recent months. But the money goes to insurers to offset the price of the new plan — which the consumer may not have wanted.

Ambetter Health — a division of Centene that offers ACA plans in more than two dozen states — sent email alerts to brokers in September and November. One noted a jump in complaints “stemming from misleading advertisements.” Another warned of “termination actions” against bad actors and directed agents not to collect consumer information or consent via “online forms or social media ads.”

In response to the switching, Ambetter also instituted a “lock” on policies starting at midnight on Dec. 31, meaning the agent on the policy by that deadline would remain on it for all of 2024, according to an email the insurer sent to brokers.

Results are mixed.

Adam Bercowicz, a licensed independent broker in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said he and his staff worked New Year’s Eve, monitoring their client lists and watching as some were switched before their eyes.

“If I saw one of my clients was stolen from me at, let’s say, 11:57 p.m., I put myself back on,” said Bercowicz, who estimates he’s had 300 to 400 policies overtaken by other agents not connected to his staff in recent months. “And by 11:58 — a minute later — they were already switched back.”

(KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs of KFF — the independent source for health policy research, polling and journalism.)

©2024 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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Dianne Feinstein made history. Now she could get honored with a post office?

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After a barrier-breaking career over more than a half-century that took her from being the first woman mayor of San Francisco to the longest-serving female Senator in U.S. history, California’s late Sen. Dianne Feinstein may be honored with a post office named for her.

Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, who, along with California’s junior senator, this week proposed naming a San Francisco post office after Feinstein, said it is just “a first step” in commemorating her.

“I think it’s going to take a number of honors to live up to the legacy of Senator Feinstein. So there’s other types in the works,” Padilla said in an interview.

Still, some quickly saw the proposal as a commemoration that falls short of Feinstein’s gravitas.

“It is kind of a consolation prize rather than a signal honor,” said Ross Baker, emeritus political science professor at Rutgers University. “Naming a post office is kind of an inside joke in Congress… It’s very, very easy to do.”

The late senator died at the age of 90 in September. During more than 30 years as a U.S. senator, Feinstein played pivotal roles in creating multiple national parks, sponsored the 1990s assault weapons ban and led Democrats on both the Senate Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees. She launched into the history books in 1978 when, as president of the San Francisco board of supervisors, she took over as the city’s leader after the mayor was assassinated. In 1992, she became the first woman to represent California in the Senate.

Recognizing someone with a post office is a fairly common occurrence on Capitol Hill. In both the House and Senate, a state’s entire delegation has to agree to the name change before the bill will be considered. So far this Congress, 150 bills have been filed to rename post offices, many in honor of members of the military who died in combat. In the last Congress, California post offices were named for an Oxnard civil rights activist, the “Pasta King” of Sonoma County, a Compton Medal of Honor recipient who died during the Vietman War and former San Diego Rep. Susan Davis, among others.

No money is included as part of a post office renaming bill. The signage outside the post office does not change to reflect the new name. Friends, family or civic organizations are left with the responsibility to pay for a sign to put up noting the commemoration.

“All that’s done typically is a little plaque that’s put inside the post office. And so it’s more trivial than trivial,” said Arizona State University politics professor Steven Smith. “It’s a weird form of commemoration.”

Instead, many prominent members of Congress are memorialized in more obvious, lasting ways, such as renaming courthouses, federal parks, or federal buildings. There is the Thad Cochran United States Courthouse in Jackson, Miss., for instance, and the Richard Shelby Federal Building and Courthouse in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Former Rep. Edward Roybal, who represented Southern California for 30 years and co-founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was recognized with the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles and the Edward Roybal Campus of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

The San Francisco post office Padilla and Sen. Laphonza Butler proposed naming for Feinstein is near the Embarcadero with a view overlooking the Bay Bridge. It’s on the ground level of the Rincon Center, which Feinstein oversaw redevelopment of as mayor in the 1980s.

Padilla would not describe any other efforts underway to recognize Feinstein, beyond saying they might be related to her desert conservation work.

“We’re not at that level of detail yet, but something else,” he said.

California Reps. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), filed legislation to rename the main trail in Headwaters Forest Reserve after Feinstein last year. She helped broker the 1999 deal that bought the land for the reserve from Pacific Lumber, protecting the redwoods it contained. Five months later, the bill has not been considered by the House Natural Resources Committee.

In January, the San Francisco Airport Commission voted unanimously to name its international terminal in honor of Feinstein.

In 2006, Dianne Feinstein Elementary School opened in San Francisco. At the time she told the San Francisco Chronicle that her connection to the campus would help students “look at government in a much more personal way than they otherwise would have.”


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Rep. Katie Porter said she’s open to running for public office again

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Since Democratic Rep. Katie Porter launched her losing bid for Senate, an air of discontent has simmered quietly — and not so quietly — among fellow Democrats.

They had worked hard to flip her Orange County congressional seat from red to blue in 2018. Porter’s decision to run for Senate against fellow Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Barbara Lee meant the swing-district House seat would be vacant, setting up an expensive race for Democrats — and a potential flip for Republicans — as each side fights for control of Congress.

California has become a key battleground in the fight for the House, and Porter’s seat is one of a handful that will help determine which party wins control. But she dismissed fears that her absence from the ballot could make the seat easier for the GOP to pick up, saying in an interview that Democrats have a strong candidate for the 47th Congressional District in state Sen. Dave Min, who will face off against Republican former Assemblyman Scott Baugh in November.

“We have to be careful not to let that anxiety doom us to fail,” Porter told The Times. “I absolutely don’t see why Dave won’t win.”

Porter has become friendly with Min since running against him in 2018 in a race that was unusually nasty. She noted that they have since become friends and this year, he prevailed decisively in a Democratic primary against a well-funded opponent even while bearing the brunt of millions of dollars in attack ads.

Porter also said she remains open to the possibility of running for elected office again but is excited in the near term to return to teaching at UC Irvine’s law school, where she has been on leave since her election to Congress.

“To me, educating students who are going to go on to become lawyers and prosecutors and public defenders and judges and civil rights attorneys is also shaping public life,” she said.

Jacob Rubashkin, deputy editor for Inside Elections, said it’s hard to envision Democrats winning the majority in the House if Min loses this fall. His Republican opponent Baugh lost by 3 percentage points to Porter in 2022 — in a race that saw her raise and spend close to $30 million. Min’s fundraising is unlikely to come close to hers, but he’s getting fundraising and organizing support from congressional Democrats’ national campaign arm.

Rubashkin also pointed out that outside groups supporting Min’s Democratic opponent in the primary ran nearly $5 million in ads attacking Min for a 2023 DUI in Sacramento, and he still won decisively last month.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more focus [from Republicans] on his legislative record in Sacramento than his criminal record in Sacramento this fall,” Rubashkin said.

Looking back on her primary run against Schiff, Lee and Republican Steve Garvey, Porter said she was handicapped by the outside money flowing into the primary in its final weeks attacking her along with a shifting “zeitgeist” that left many Democrats unenthusiastic about voting. The low turnout from young people in particular made it a hard race for her to win, she said.

“It’s hard when you get outspent 3 to 1, and that is ultimately how in the last month the race unfolded,” she said.

“Donald Trump is one of the biggest threats to our democracy. I think you could also say that voter disillusionment, voter disengagement — particularly among younger voters, voters of color — that is also a big threat to our democracy and we should be thinking about that going forward as well.”

Porter had previously said she regretted calling the California Senate primary rigged. Her point with that comment was that the money flowing from outside sources, some of which was hidden, made it hard for her to compete.

For now, Porter said she’s focused on her work on the House Oversight Committee, as well as on passing several pieces of legislation related to ethics and good government. One would require members of Congress to disclose their meetings to their constituents. She also highlighted a colleague’s bill to require more and earlier disclosure of campaign spending by super PACs.

When asked about running for governor or attorney general in 2026, Porter was noncommittal, saying that right now she wants to spend more time with her family, but that she would not “foreclose anything in the future.”

Since the primary ended, she’s already followed through on a promise to her daughter Betsy: that if Porter lost the race for Senate, the family could get a cat.

Naming the new pet, though, has been a big “controversy,” she said. “We’re currently deciding between Mocha, Karma and Dino.”


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Hiltzik: A transgender sanctuary law under attack

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In 2022, when legislation outlawing gender-affirming medical treatments erupted in mostly red-state legislatures across the land, California enacted a law creating a sanctuary for those whose treatments were blocked by the lawmakers.

SB 107, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom that September, provided a safe harbor for people from those states who sought the treatment in California, where it’s legal.

The law prohibited the release of medical information about a patient if it was sought from a state that made the treatments illegal, and forbade the arrest or extradition of medical providers in California if the request came from authorities in states that had criminalized the treatments.

Our Watch firmly believes that transgenderism is a cultural issue that it must deal with in accordance with God’s design for every child, as outlined in the Bible.

— Our Watch vs. Bonta

Unsurprisingly, SB 107 became the target of right-wing, anti-LGBTQ+ activists in California. On Tuesday, federal Judge Dale A. Drozd of Sacramento dismissed an effort to declare the law unconstitutional.

It was the third attempt by the plaintiff, a nonprofit affiliated with a conservative Christian church in Temecula that says its mission is to “restore Christian-Judeo values in government and education,” to win Drozd’s approval for its lawsuit. This time, Drozd, plainly fed up with the plaintiff’s serial inability to make its case, forbade it to try again because any further filing would be, as he wrote, “futile under the circumstances.”

Whether Drozd’s ruling will hold up under any appeal or whether the law itself can survive any other lawsuits to overturn it is impossible to say. But the lawsuit filed last year by the nonprofit Our Watch with Tim Thompson (he’s the pastor of the Temecula church) is nevertheless instructive. Our Watch was represented in court by lawyers affiliated with Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a Murrieta organization that lists “parental rights” and “the rights of children, both born and unborn,” among its concerns.

The lawsuit opens a window on the lengths to which zealots and fanatics will go to interfere with the activities of others because they conflict with their own narrow ideologies. There’s a polite name for them: “busybodies.”

The case also underscores how our personal rights are perched on a judicial knife edge in today’s America. There’s ample reason to believe that if such a case were to land in front of a Trump-appointed judge — U.S. Judge Matthew Kaczmaryk of Amarillo, Texas, for instance — the law would have been invalidated in a heartbeat. Appeal would have been taken to the Trump-infested 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and perhaps ultimately to the Supreme Court, where its fate might be sealed.

After all, that’s been the arc of Kaczmaryk’s ruling invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. In that case, Kaczmaryk and the 5th Circuit judges bought into the plaintiffs’ fanciful assertions that, as doctors, the prospect of medication abortions caused them “mental and emotional stress”; appeals judge James C. Ho rationalized upholding Kaczmaryk’s mifepristone ban by commenting, “Doctors delight in working with their unborn patients — and experience an aesthetic injury when they are aborted.”

That didn’t happen here because Drozd, an Obama appointee, can recognize a factitious claim for standing when it swims into his ken.

I’ve written before that transgender individuals have become the prime targets for discriminatory legislation in part because socially acceptable targets for hate-mongering and prejudice have become harder for conservative culture warriors to find.

As I observed in 2018, open racism is out (though it made a strong comeback in the Trump era and in the hands of commentators such as Tucker Carlson). In an increasingly pluralistic society, legislators who denigrated ethnic or religious minorities or those with mental illnesses or disabilities found themselves on the outs.

Gay and lesbian Americans have moved into the cultural and social mainstream. Many conservative families have found themselves embracing gay and lesbian siblings, children and parents as worthy of familial love and respect. Same-sex marriage has become embedded in the entertainment mainstream, portrayed on popular TV programs without apology.

Moreover, gay and lesbian people acquired a voice in the highest echelons of political power; gay-bashing no longer works for a political candidate as it has in the past, except perhaps in the most benighted corners of American society.

That leaves gender transition, which is easily caricatured and demonized by unscrupulous politicians aiming to rally their base against a wholly imaginary crisis. By early 2022, according to Human Rights Watch, 130 bills had been introduced in state legislatures. Many barred transgender youths from playing on sports teams or using bathrooms other than those designated for their birth gender.

As of this year, 23 states have banned or restricted gender-affirming treatments for youths; some carry prison terms for violations or restrict insurance coverage. In Florida parents who allow such treatments for their children can lose custody; in Texas, they can be investigated for child abuse. Florida, Ohio and Missouri have implemented restrictions even on gender transition treatments for adults. A Florida rule barring Medicaid coverage for gender treatments was blocked by a federal judge, whose ruling is currently under appeal.

This is the environment that prompted California to enact its sanctuary law. Its law resembled the state’s effort to become a sanctuary for women seeking abortions that their home states had rendered illegal in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade in 2022.

The plaintiff in this case left no question that its action was grounded in fundamentalist anti-transgender bias. “Our Watch firmly believes that transgenderism is a cultural issue that it must deal with in accordance with God’s design for every child, as outlined in the Bible,” the lawsuit says.

As so often occurs, the plaintiff’s case against the California law is a melange of misdirection and misrepresentations.

Our Watch positioned its lawsuit as an effort to protect the right “of parents to raise their children” without governmental interference. It depicted SB 107 as a law that “allows minors to obtain gender transition procedures like harmful puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries without parental consent, while denying parents access to their child’s medical information.”

This is a flatly inaccurate characterization of the law. It also turns the law’s goal on its head.

The truth is, as Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta observed in his response to the lawsuit, California law gives parents the right to access their children’s medical records. “Nothing in SB 107 changes that,” he noted. Further, he wrote, all those procedures listed in the lawsuit “generally require parental consent in California” — another regulation unaffected by SB 107.

The whole purpose of the California law, Bonta wrote, was to give parents of children seeking gender-affirming care refuge from out-of-state laws that interfered with their right to obtain medically indicated care for their children — not to allow such care over parents’ objections.

The lawsuit painted a picture of physicians willy-nilly imposing radical, irreversible gender-affirming treatments on innocent adolescents whose “gender dysphoria” (the medical term for gender uncertainties) might be transient and resolve themselves over time or with counseling.

That’s a caricature of the standard of care for gender dysphoria as it’s implemented by physicians following established protocols. The truth is that “prior to the onset of puberty, kids typically receive non-medical care,” explained Boston University psychologist Melissa K. Holt during a roundtable discussion of care for youths in 2022.

Care for prepubescent children, Holt said, “is focused around social transitioning,” such as choosing a new name and adopting different dress, “and providing mental health and structural support, like schools using a child’s preferred gender pronouns and allowing them to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity…. There are no 4-year-olds going through irreversible medical procedures.”

Drugs such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments are typically administered only as children move into adolescence, are viewed as safe, and are expected to be used only after discussions with medical providers. Medical protocols discourage gender reassignment surgery before the age of 18. But professionals in the field say that outlawing such treatments or even counseling for younger children can produce long-standing psychological problems.

Much of the lawsuit’s argument was self-refuting. “Parents, not the government, are best suited to decide” on their child’s medical treatment, the lawsuit says. Exactly; so how do SB 107’s opponents explain state laws that allow the government to impose its judgment over the parents? The lawsuit is silent on that question.

In dismissing the case, Drozd didn’t address those issues, because he found that the lawsuit had a more fundamental shortcoming: The plaintiff didn’t have standing to bring the case at all.

“Standing” is a concept derived from the U.S. Constitution, which holds, roughly, that litigants in federal court must show that they’re directly harmed by a government action and that their lawsuit will remedy the injury. Our Watch couldn’t meet that requirement, Drozd ruled.

Our Watch claimed that it was “directly harmed” by SB 107 because the law prompted it to “divert our attention to transgender issues” rather than “tackling major cultural issues that violate Christian-Judeo values, including the sexual indoctrination of children, … critical race theory, and abortion.” (Not to be churlish, but some people might be relieved that SB 107 narrowed the organization’s involvement in such overheated culture wars.)

Our Watch “plans to expend money on conferences to connect key stakeholders who are also fighting against the devastating effects of SB 107,” the lawsuit stated.

It wasn’t hard for the judge to see through this argument. Plaintiffs can’t “manufacture standing” through their own choices, he ruled: Our Watch’s “decision to place more focus and correspondingly commit more of its resources to ‘transgender issues’ … was a voluntary decision — not a forced one.”

The culture wars over gender issues are sure to continue because they rely on public ignorance and prejudice — always the preferred weaponry of demagogues. The lawsuit to overturn California’s sanctuary law had, at its core, nothing to do with protecting children. If it did, its promoters wouldn’t have had to gin up a cause of action where none existed.

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Q&A: Avoid deducting personal expenses

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Dear Liz: I am the sole owner of a condo. I am getting ready to realize a dream of mine by traveling around the world. I will be gone indefinitely. Thus, I am thinking about renting out my condo. I know I get a write-off for repairs on the unit, cleaning supplies, etc. What about the storage unit where I will need to store my things from my unit. Can I write off the storage unit?

Answer: Congratulations on your upcoming adventure! You’ll have excitement enough without defending yourself in an IRS audit, so avoid deducting personal expenses such as a storage unit.

The IRS says you can deduct the “ordinary and necessary” expenses for managing and maintaining a rental property. That includes mortgage interest, taxes, operating expenses, depreciation and repairs.

“If the storage unit was used in conjunction with the rental activity, such as storing maintenance supplies for doing work on the rental property, a deduction could perhaps be justified,” says Mark Luscombe, principal analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

However, you won’t be around to do that work, so deducting the storage unit isn’t going to fly.


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Delta is changing how it boards passengers starting May 1

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Delta Air Lines is changing its boarding process beginning May 1 in an effort to speed up loading passengers onto planes. 

If you’re flying on the airline, you’ll have to know what zone number you’re in to board in the correct sequence. 

That’s because Delta is introducing numbered boarding zones for all flights, meaning that customers will have a zone number assigned to them instead of boarding groups labelled by airline status or fare class, such as “Sky Priority.” The airline stressed that boarding orders will not change, but the group names will.

Customers who need more assistance will still pre-board as usual before passengers in Zone 1, which will comprise Delta One and First Class customers. Zone 2 will include Diamond Medallion Members and Delta Premium Select ticket holders. 

Delta Comfort+ customers will board in Zone 3, followed by Sky Priority in Zone 4, according to a chart on the airline’s website. Zone numbers will go up to 8, when basic economy passengers will board. 

Delta said the change is small, but could make the process easier for infrequent fliers and non-English speakers who only have to listen for a number to know when it’s their turn to board. The change will also make the process less stressful for gate agents, Delta added. 

Still, some travel experts questioned whether the change would meaningfully speed up the boarding process. 

“They’re not changing who boards when or the sequence,” Clarkson University professor John Milne, an expert on airline boarding, told CBS MoneyWatch. “All they are changing is the names of what passenger group boards next.” 

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Delta said the “simple change” will “provide customers more clarity into the boarding sequence and make the boarding process more intuitive—especially for infrequent travelers and/or customers who might face a language barrier at the gate.”

Delta added, “Numbered zones will also align more closely with our joint venture and international partners, providing international customers a more simplified, consistent experience when traveling on mixed-metal itineraries. ”  

CEO Ed Bastian addressed the change on the company’s first quarter earnings call Wednesday. “When you have a number and you’re standing in line, we are all trained to know when it’s our turn,” Bastian said.

Delta introduced its branded fare boarding process in 2018, calling zone boarding “a thing of the past” for the airline. 

Superficial changes?

The change is fairly superficial, Milne said, noting there are other changes Delta and its competitors could make to boarding processes that would make them more efficient. 

The airline still prioritizes passengers with airline status or who paid for a higher class fare on a particular flight. Instead, it would be more efficient to board passengers based on where on the aircraft they are seated, Milne said. 

For example, boarding window seat customers in the back half of the plane first would speed up the process. “That way you would minimize some of the congestion,” he said. 

Delta instead assigns passengers to boarding groups based on their loyalty to the airline and ticket prices. 

Travel expert Scott Keyes also emphasized that the change does little to meaningfully improve or expedite the boarding process. All Delta is doing is reverting to the traditional way of boarding passengers and scrapping its branded boarding process that began in 2018, he noted.

“The fact that they’ve reverted to numbered zones, like those employed by virtually all other airlines, speaks volumes,” Keyes said. “Traditionally, Delta has been seen as the innovative airline and others have followed suit. In this case, Delta’s innovation didn’t pan out, and they’ve been forced to once again mimic American and United’s boarding processes.”

To be sure, any move that would actually speed up passenger boarding could give an airline a leg up on competitors.

“Speeding up the boarding process by even 10 minutes can prevent delays, and if sustained, allow airlines to add an additional daily flight to the schedule,” Keyes said.

The airline posted a $37 million first-quarter profit on Wednesday and said demand for air travel is strong heading into the busy summer travel season. Travelers are flocking to book trips despite a string of recent air safety incidents, including a panel blowing off a Boeing 737 Max aircraft during an Alaska Airlines flight.


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Secured Signing for Bullhorn now uses AI to automatically send documents for digital signatures

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Secured Signing, a pioneer in digital signatures and remote online notarization solutions, is thrilled to announce the release of a revolutionary new feature designed exclusively for Bullhorn users. Secured Signing integrates with Bullhorn and provides a one stop Digital Signature solution that delivers a full range of form completion and eSigning capabilities.

Secured Signing
This innovative addition focuses on empowering recruiters to enhance their signing processes with automated triggers, setting a new standard for efficiency in the recruitment industry.

Introducing Secured Signing for Bullhorn – Trigger Rules!

With this latest addition, recruiters can now effortlessly automate their document signing processes through the establishment of trigger rules. This powerful functionality enables the automatic sending of preset documents or forms when the Bullhorn record’s status fields updates or changes.

But that is not all – you can track the entire signing process seamlessly within Secured Signing for Bullhorn a single view.

These trigger rules create a transformative and dynamic workflow that not only saves valuable time, eliminates double data entry and effort but also redefines how recruiters navigate essential paperwork. Secured Signing for Bullhorn – Trigger Rules is the key to unlocking an automated, more efficient, and organized recruiting experience.

Continuous Innovation at the Core

Secured Signing’s Simple, Smart, and Secured platform is at the forefront of technology development, delivering automated and inclusive experiences across Bullhorn communities. This latest feature exemplifies the commitment to providing innovative solutions that cater to the evolving needs of recruiters.

Mike Eyal, Founder, Director says, “At Secured Signing, we are dedicated to simplifying and securing document workflows for recruiters. The Trigger Rules feature is a significant change, offering an unparalleled level of automation that transforms how recruiters manage their paperwork. We believe this AI innovation will redefine the recruiting landscape in collecting data and get documents signed faster.”

About Secured Signing:

Secured Signing, a global leader in digital signature solutions, stands at the forefront of revolutionizing how organizations worldwide manage their document workflows. With a commitment to continuous innovation, the company provides a user-friendly and secure platform, simplifying the process for businesses of all sizes.

By combining simplicity, intelligence, and security, Secured Signing redefines the way organizations handle their digital signatures, offering a Simple, Smart, and Secured solution to meet the evolving needs of modern businesses.

Learn more: https://www.securedsigning.com/

RELATED LINKS:

https://www.securedsigning.com/integrations-api/bullhorn/

https://www.securedsigning.com/support/bullhorn-setup-status-trigger-rules/

Learn More: https://www.securedsigning.com/

This version of news story was published on and is Copr. © 2024 California Newswire® (CaliforniaNewswire.com) – part of the Neotrope® News Network, USA – all rights reserved.

Information is believed accurate but is not guaranteed. For questions about the above news, contact the company/org/person noted in the text and NOT this website.


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Orange County scores and player stats for Wednesday, April 10 – Orange County Register

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Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now


Scores and stats from Orange County games on Wednesday, April 10

Click here for details about sending your team’s scores and stats to the Register.

The deadline for submitting information is 10:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday.

WEDNESDAY’S SCORES

BASEBALL

WAVE LEAGUE

Corona del Mar 5, Newport Harbor 0

Laguna Beach 4, Marina 1

CRESTVIEW LEAGUE

Villa Park 6, El Modena 1

NORTH HILLS LEAGUE

Canyon 4, Esperanza 0

EMPIRE LEAGUE

Crean Lutheran 9, Valencia 1

Cypress 16, Kennedy 0

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Northwood 4, University 3

Woodbridge 9, Irvine 1

FREEWAY LEAGUE

Sonora 6, Fullerton 4

ORANGE LEAGUE

Savanna 9, Santa Ana Valley 1

SOFTBALL

GARDEN GROVE LEAGUE

La Quinta 18, Bolsa Grande 1

Loara 12, Rancho Alamitos 0

SURF LEAGUE

Los Alamitos 8, Edison 0

FREEWAY LEAGUE

Sonora 2, La Habra 0

Sunny Hills 10, Troy 0

Fullerton 10, Buena Park 0

ORANGE COAST LEAGUE

Calvary Chapel 12, Orange 2

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Beckman 16, University 5

Northwood 7, Irvine 0

GIRLS LACROSSE

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Northwood 15, Portola 4


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Russia will soon outgun Ukraine 10-1 without US

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By Tara Copp | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The top general for U.S. forces in Europe told Congress Wednesday that Ukraine will be outgunned 10 to one by Russia within a matter of weeks if Congress does not find a way to approve sending more ammunition and weapons to Kyiv soon.

The testimony from Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, head of U.S. European Command, and Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, comes as Congress enters pivotal weeks for voting for aid for Ukraine, but there’s no guarantee funding will be improved in time.

Ukraine has been rationing its munitions as Congress has delayed passing its $60 billion supplemental bill.

“They are now being outshot by the Russian side five to one. So the Russians fire five times as many artillery shells at the Ukrainians than the Ukrainians are able to fire back. That will immediately go to 10 to one in a matter of weeks,” Cavoli said. “We’re not talking about months. We’re not talking hypothetically.”

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has been trying to find a way forward for the bill that would fund new rounds of munitions production at U.S. firms to enable the Pentagon to then rush more munitions to Ukraine. Johnson is trying to bring it to the floor for a House vote, but he is facing concerns from members who cite domestic needs, including border security.

The speaker is also facing a threat to his leadership role from his far-right flank by Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who has called for his ouster over the issue.

While the political battles on Capitol Hill continue, the dire battlefield situation in Ukraine worsens.

Cavoli told the lawmakers that in this conflict, the U.S. flow of 155mm artillery shells has been a lifeline. “The biggest killer on the battlefield is artillery. In most conflicts, but in this one definitely. And should Ukraine run out, they would run out because we stopped supplying — because we supply the lion’s share of that,” Cavoli said.

Russia’s own production of missiles has ramped up and can launch large-scale attacks every few days. If Ukraine’s air defense stocks run out, “those attacks would absolutely cripple the economy, and the civil society as well as the military of Ukraine if they were not defended against without a U.S. provision of interceptors,” Cavoli said.

“Their ability to defend their terrain that they currently hold and their airspace would fade rapidly, will fade rapidly without the supplemental,” Cavoli said.

U.S. Army leaders offered similar dire warnings to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee later in the day, saying that the lack of the supplemental is a critical problem for both Ukraine and the U.S. Army.

“The side that can’t shoot back, loses, and at this point Ukraine is really starting to be pressed to be able to shoot back. So I am very concerned,” said Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. “We saw Ukraine lose some territory a couple of months ago. And I think there is a real danger …that the Russians could have a breakthrough somewhere in the line.”

Gen. Randy George, chief of staff of the Army added that the funding is needed to help send Ukraine long-range weapons and air defense systems so they can defend their critical infrastructure and their troops on the front lines.

At the same time, Wormuth and Gen. Randy George, chief of staff of the Army, said that unless Congress approves the supplemental soon, the Army won’t have enough money to bring home the troops currently serving in Europe, or funding to train units in the U.S.

“We don’t have the transportation money to have them redeploy,” said Wormuth, referring to Army units that are deployed across Europe. “We don’t have the transportation money to send units to backfill them.”

She and George said they also need the money to continue sending units to the national training centers. to avoid outright cancellation of the training rotations, Wormuth said they can try to reduce participation or shrink their size.

“But those are the kinds of hard choices we’re looking at. If we don’t see the supplementals come across,” she said.

If Kyiv falls, it could imperil Ukraine’s Baltic NATO member neighbors and potentially drag U.S. troops into a prolonged European war.


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Homeland Security secretary navigates working with Republicans

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas was expected to be testifying about his agency’s 2025 budget Wednesday just as House Republicans advanced impeachment articles against him to the Senate.

Instead, Republicans held off, choosing to wait until next week while they attempt to make the case for a full Senate trial of the first U.S. Cabinet official impeached in nearly 150 years.

It has been two months since Mayorkas, a California native and the highest-ranking Latino in the federal government, was narrowly impeached by a single-vote margin.

House Republicans, eyeing chaos at the southern border as a path to regain control of the White House and Senate, have said his failure to prevent record arrivals of migrants meets the constitutional bar for impeachment of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They’ve accused him of refusing to enforce existing immigration laws and breaching the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure.

On Wednesday, Mayorkas carried on, testifying before the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on homeland security. The at times tense back-and-forth of the hearings demonstrated the precarious position of the embattled secretary, who must find a way to work with Republicans who want him gone.

Mayorkas testified that his agency needs funding for more Border Patrol agents, asylum officers, detention capacity and deportation flights, while reiterating calls for Congress to pass the bipartisan national security bill that failed earlier this year.

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), echoing the arguments behind the impeachment case, told Mayorkas he was pointing fingers at Congress for a crisis of his own making.

“I called for your resignation last year and I stand by my request,” she told him.

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) recalled Mayorkas referencing expanding lawful pathways to the U.S. and asked him, “Who makes laws?”

“Congressman, if you must ask me questions the answers to which you know, allow me to answer: Congress,” Mayorkas replied.

Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) brought up reports that Biden is exploring an executive order to shut down the border without congressional authorization. Guest asked if Mayorkas was involved in those discussions.

“We are consistently evaluating what options are available to us,” Mayorkas replied. “I will share with you that executive action, which is inevitably challenged in the courts, is no substitute for the enduring solution of legislation that will fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system.”

Still, Republican lawmakers were pleased to hear Mayorkas refer to the situation at the southern border as a crisis. He told NBC News it was a crisis in February, after Biden did so, but in previous congressional hearings had stopped short of using that word.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Fla.), referencing what she called a “baseless impeachment effort,” thanked Mayorkas for his commitment to the job.

“You’ve faced an unprecedented, vicious and personal campaign against you and your staff at the Department of Homeland Security from my colleagues on the right,” she said.

At the onset of the Senate appropriations hearing Wednesday afternoon, Chair Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) called out the impeachment articles as an elephant in the room.

“There’s not a single act of impeachable misconduct alleged by these articles,” he said. “The process was an embarrassment to the House of Representatives. These articles are laughable on their face.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), meanwhile, criticized Democrats for, as he sees it, trying to sweep the impeachment under the rug.

“Most Republicans don’t trust you, and a vast majority of the American people don’t trust you,” Kennedy said to Mayorkas. “That’s why you’ve been impeached.”

Republicans hoping for a full Senate trial are likely to be disappointed. Democrats hold the Senate majority and appear poised to immediately dismiss the case when it reaches the upper chamber next week. Democrats’ majority in the Senate is narrow, though, creating the possibility that the plan to dismiss the case may fall short if just a couple of Democrats defect.

Even if it did go to trial, Mayorkas is sure to be acquitted because it would take two-thirds of the Senate to convict him, and no Democrats have signaled support for the impeachment effort.

“We want to address this issue as expeditiously as possible,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in floor remarks Wednesday. “And as I said yesterday, impeachment should never be used to settle policy disagreements. That sets an awful precedent. So, when the time comes for the Senate to receive the articles of impeachment from the House, we’ll be ready.”

Democrats have called the impeachment effort a politically motivated overreach and say Mayorkas is being used as a pawn in the upcoming presidential race.

Mayorkas narrowly escaped the House’s first impeachment attempt when three GOP lawmakers, including one from California, broke ranks with their party and joined Democrats to vote against it. House Republican leaders succeeded on their second attempt.

“When I say that I am not focused on the impeachment proceedings, I actually mean it,” Mayorkas told reporters Friday. “It is my hope that my time is not taken away from my work.”


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Samuel Woodward’s attorney admits his client killed a gay Jewish teen but denies it was a hate crime

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Alienated, lonely and “starved for validation,” Samuel Woodward found a brief sense of acceptance in the Atomwaffen Division, which preached America’s imminent collapse and consciously targeted the ostracized and bullied for recruitment, Woodward’s attorney said Tuesday.

In his opening statement at Woodward’s murder trial, Assistant Public Defender Ken Morrison acknowledged that his client was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, who was Jewish and gay. But despite Woodward’s association with Atomwaffen, which is considered a hate group, the attorney insisted Woodward was not driven by bigotry and had not premeditated the killing.

“What happened that night, plain and simple, was not a hate crime,” Morrison told jurors in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

Woodward, 26, faces a charge of first degree murder with a hate crime enhancement for Bernstein’s death. He will face life in prison if convicted as charged.

Bernstein, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, was home with his family for the holidays in Lake Forest when he disappeared on Jan. 2, 2018. A week later, his body was found under a thin layer of earth in nearby Borrego Park. He and Woodward had attended the Orange County School of the Arts together.

“The ‘why’ is the single most important issue you will need to decide — not who,” Morrison said. “Blaze Bernstein’s sexual orientation had absolutely nothing to do with the reason he was killed. … [He] was not killed because of who he was but because of what he did to Sam Woodward after they met up.”

Morrison did not explain what he meant about Bernstein’s actions. Instead, he painted a picture of his client — who sat at the defense table in a dark suit with unkempt dark hair hanging over his face — as a socially awkward young man who suffered for years with undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder and could not make friends.

“His ASD went undiagnosed and untreated for almost his entire life,” Morrison said. Woodward’s parents “wanted so badly for Sam to appear normal and fit” and thought perhaps “by force of will and prayer, they could help him appear normal.”

Woodward thrived as an Eagle Scout but was tormented by his sexuality, raised in Newport Beach in an “unaccepting household” by a conservative Catholic family, with a father who considered homosexuality a sin, the defense attorney said.

After briefly attending Cal State Channel Islands, Woodward moved back in with his parents. He became involved in the Atomwaffen Division, traveling to a “hate camp” the group hosted in Texas and posing for a photo with James Mason, author of “Siege,” regarded as the group’s bible.

Disputing what he called the prosecution’s “hyperbolic, sensationalized” narrative of “Nazi kills gay Jew,” the defense attorney said Woodward did not kill Bernstein in service of the group or its ideology.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Jennifer Walker told jurors that Woodward was so involved in the Atomwaffen Division that he devised tests for potential recruits to test their knowledge of its doctrines, and that he had killed Bernstein “because he was gay.”

On Dec. 19, two weeks before the killing, Woodward drew a skull and a bloody knife on a napkin and scrawled the words “text is boring but murder isn’t,” the prosecutor said.

Woodward’s diary showed that he liked to prank gay people on social media by pretending he was bicurious, attracting their attention and then threatening them. The prosecutor said Woodward applied the principles of his Eagle Scout training to targeting Bernstein.

“If it’s fishing, what type of lure are you going to use?” Walker said. In this case, “the prey … was gay people.”

The men exchanged flirtatious messages on Jan. 2. Woodward said that although he was straight, “I might make an exception for you.” Woodward picked him up in Foothill Ranch soon after, and Bernstein’s parents became alarmed when he missed a dental appointment the next day.

When the parents reached Woodward, alerted by their son’s social media activity that Woodward was probably the last to have seen him, Woodward said that he had hung out with Bernstein but that Bernstein had walked off into the park without him.

On Jan. 4, Woodward texted Bernstein’s father: “Mr. Bernstein, it’s Sam — has there been any word about Blaze?” The father replied, “Thanks Sam. We are still looking for him.”

Investigators searched the park for a week, but Bernstein’s body was not discovered until heavy rains washed away just enough mud to expose him. He had 28 stab wounds, Walker told jurors, many of them to his neck, with defensive wounds on his hands. “Blaze fought for his life as best he could,” she said.

Sheriff’s investigators later found Bernstein’s blood on Woodward’s watch, on a folding knife discovered in his desk and on a sleeping bag stashed beside his house. In addition, Woodward’s cellphone pings showed him moving around the area of the burial just before midnight on Jan. 2.

Morrison had not finished his opening statement by the end of court Tuesday. He said he expects to put Woodward on the stand. The trial will resume Wednesday and is expected to last till the end of June.


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‘Joker 2’ trailer: Joaquin Phoenix, Lady Gaga fall in love

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Warner Bros. on Tuesday debuted the first trailer for “Joker: Folie à Deux,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga.

The studio screened the preview during a presentation celebrating its upcoming slate of movies at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and released the footage online shortly thereafter.

The roughly 2-minute teaser sees Phoenix’s Joker and Gaga’s Harley Quinn escape from a mental asylum and embark on an intense, twisted romance to the tune of Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”

“We use music to make us whole,” Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, also known as Joker, remarks in the trailer, “to balance the fractures within ourselves.”

“I’m nobody,” Gaga’s Harleen Francis Quinzel says. “I haven’t done anything with my life like you have.”

Unlike 2019’s “Joker” — a box-office smash that won two Oscars, including lead actor — the highly anticipated sequel to the Batman villain origin story has been billed as a musical. Though you wouldn’t necessarily conclude that from the trailer, which features no singing — continuing a recent trend in which entertainment companies seem reluctant to market movie musicals as movie musicals (see also: “Wonka” and “Mean Girls”).

“Joker” and “Joker: Folie à Deux” director Todd Phillips described the upcoming film during the Warner Bros. presentation as “a movie where music is an essential element.”

“To me, that doesn’t really veer too far from the first film,” Phillips said.

“Arthur’s weird and aloof and distant … but he has a music and he has a grace to him. And quite frankly, that informed a lot of the dancing in the first film. That informed Hildur’s [Guðnadóttir] beautiful score in the first film. So it didn’t seem like that big of a step. What we did here, it’s different, but I think it’ll make sense once you see it.”

Phillips also thanked theater owners during the event for not wavering from screening “Joker” in 2019 despite “these bizarre warnings” about the comic book adaptation potentially inspiring real-life violence at the time.

“It was amazing that the exhibitors didn’t budge, and they didn’t flinch,” Phillips said. “The movie came out and did huge business, and that attitude was a huge reason for our massive success. … It’s a little late now, but thank you.”

Other Warner Bros. titles teased during Tuesday’s presentation included “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “Mickey 17” and “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.” The next “Joker” film opens in theaters Oct. 4.


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Q&A: Closing accounts won’t help your credit scores

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Dear Liz: I have an 834 credit score, with three credit cards. I don’t carry debt or pay annual fees. I’m considering closing one of my cards and replacing it with one available through my credit union. Is it worth the hassle?

Answer: Closing accounts won’t help your credit scores and may hurt them. If there’s no compelling reason to close a card, you might consider leaving the account open and using the card occasionally to prevent the issuer from closing it.

You also might want to rethink your stance on annual fees. These days, few cards without annual fees offer rewards, while many cards offer rewards that more than offset their fees. If you’re new to the rewards card world, consider getting a simple cash-back card. If you’re interested in travel benefits, look for a card that gives you points that you can transfer to frequent traveler programs.

If you’re determined to close the account and open another, apply for the new card first since the closure may drop your scores.


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Inflation runs hot for third straight month, driven by gas prices and rent

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Inflation, financial pressures lead more Americans to believe they need more in retirement savings


Inflation, financial pressures lead more Americans to believe they need more in retirement savings

01:17

Inflation remains the stickiest of problems for the U.S. economy, with the March consumer price index coming in hotter than expected — the third straight month that prices have accelerated. Gasoline prices and rent contributed over half the monthly increase, the government said on Wednesday.

Prices in March rose 3.5% on an annual basis, higher than the 3.4% expected by economists polled by financial data services company FactSet. It also represents a jump from February’s increase of 3.2% and January’s bump of 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. 

The latest acceleration in prices complicates the picture for the Federal Reserve, which has been monitoring economic data to determine whether inflation is cool enough to allow it to cut interest rates. But inflation, which measures the rate of price changes in goods and services bought by consumers, has remained stubborn in 2024, stalling the progress made last year to bring down the annual growth rate to the Fed’s goal of 2%.

“This marks the third consecutive strong reading and means that the stalled disinflationary narrative can no longer be called a blip,” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, in an email.  

Shah added, “In fact, even if inflation were to cool next month to a more comfortable reading, there is likely sufficient caution within the Fed now to mean that a July cut may also be a stretch, by which point the U.S. election will begin to intrude with Fed decision making.”

Stocks fell on the report, with S&P 500 futures down 1% in premarket trading, according to FactSet.


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California audit says results on homelessness are unclear. The numbers tell a different story – Orange County Register

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A duck hunter fires a shotgun in hopes that at least one of its many pellets will strike a fast-moving bird. A deer hunter fires a rifle to send one bullet toward his stationary prey, hoping to score a quick kill.

When responding to perceived crises, California’s politicians often take the scattergun approach, implementing multiple programs in multiple agencies hoping some will work, rather than carefully aiming a solution at a clearly defined problem.

One example of the syndrome is the many programs governors and legislators have implemented to bolster the state’s economy during downturns. Once created, the programs take on lives of their own, continue operating long after the economy has recovered and are rarely compelled to justify their existence.

Another is the state’s seemingly countless efforts – both legislation and administrative decrees, scattered among a plethora of agencies – to reach the holy grail of carbon emission neutralitywith little or no evaluation of their cost-effectiveness.

California’s current crisis d’jour is the ever-increasing number of men, women and children who lack homes, many of them living in squalid encampments on sidewalks and in urban greenbelts.

Polling has found that homelessness is consistently listed among Californians’ most pressing concerns. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature have repeatedly promised to deal with it and they have, as usual, enacted a stream of costly programs with catchy names they hope will have some positive impacts. Some provide housing and others purporting to treat the underlying issues, such as substance abuse and mental health, that force people into the streets.

The question, of course, is whether any of the efforts have made a difference.

In macro terms, the answer is no. The number of homeless Californians has increased by 50% in the last decade and 20% since Newsom became governor in 2019, despite the state’s spending about $20 billion on the various anti-homelessness programs during the last five years.

Those data come from a new and sharply critical report on homelessness programs by State Auditor Grant Parks, following up on a 2021 auditwhich found that a “lack of coordination among the state’s homelessness programs had hampered the effectiveness of the state’s efforts to end homelessness.”

The 2021 audit’s criticism rang true even though the state had created the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2017 to coordinate homelessness activities. After the 2021 audit and under pressure from the Legislature, the agency adopted an “action plan” with specific goals to achieve and orders to report on results.

However, the new audit, which was released Tuesday, said the homelessness council has been tardy in reporting on outcomes, “has not aligned its action plan for addressing homelessness with its statutory goals,” and has not collected accurate data on the many specific programs.

“Until Cal ICH takes these critical steps, the state will lack up‑to‑date information that it can use to make data‑driven policy decisions on how to effectively reduce homelessness,” the audit said.


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Short-handed Clippers stun Suns early, hold on to clinch top-5 finish – Press Enterprise

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By DAVID BRANDT AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX — Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, and the Clippers clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night, officially avoiding the play-in tournament by withstanding the Phoenix Suns’ late rally for a 105-92 win that guaranteed them at least a top-five finish in the Western Conference standings.

Westbrook had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists for his first triple-double of the season and the 199th of his career, as the Clippers built a 31-point lead in the first quarter before holding on late.

It was an embarrassing early showing for the Suns, who are fighting to stay out of the play-in tournament. They eventually rallied to cut the margin to 91-84 with 6:45 left on Bradley Beal’s free throw, but couldn’t get closer.

The Clippers – who were playing without All-Stars James Harden and Kawhi Leonard – have won four straight and seven of eight. They host the Suns on Wednesday night in the second game of the home-and-home series.

“Our will to win was great,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We came out with a defensive mindset, we were really physical, offensively we were clicking. This is a hell of a win against a really good team.”

Paul George led the Clippers with 23 points while Ivica Zubac added 17 points and 13 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures, with Terance Mann adding 17, Amir Coffey contributing 13 and Powell adding 10.

Westbrook had a standout game in his first start since November.

“No surprise on my end because I know I prepare very well,” Westbrook said. “I take a lot of time to prepare for games, no matter how much time on the floor. I’m grateful for my teammates, believing in me.”

Phoenix shot just 2 for 19 from the field in the opening quarter as boos became progressively louder from the home crowd. The Clippers built a 35-4 lead in less than 10 minutes, when Phoenix went nearly six minutes without scoring.

Fans sarcastically cheered when Devin Booker hit two free throws to stop the drought.

Kevin Durant led the Suns with 21 points while Beal had 19. Booker finished with 12, shooting just 1 for 11 from the field.

The Clippers continued to build their lead in the second. Bones Hyland hit a 3-pointer that made it 51-14 – which was the largest lead of the night – and they took a 66-33 lead into the halftime break.

Booker, Durant and Beal combined to shoot 4 for 25 from the field before the break. The Suns have dropped two straight.

“We got some good looks early, we missed them,” Booker said. “They were hot and that’s a bad combination for us.”


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Arizona banned abortion. What it means for the 2024 election

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With virtually all abortions in the state soon to be outlawed, Arizona has moved front and center in the national fight over reproductive rights that could help sway the election between President Biden and former President Trump.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday set off political shock waves when it reinstated a law from 1864, decades before Arizona became a state, banning abortions except when the mother’s life is at risk.

In response to the ruling, Biden pointed out that the law was first put into place when Arizona was a territory and long before women had the right to vote.

“This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” Biden said in a statement. “Vice President [Kamala] Harris and I stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose.”

Harris announced she will visit Tucson on Friday as part of her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour. She released a video statement hours after the ruling, blaming Trump for Arizona’s law.

“It’s a reality because of Donald Trump, who brags about being ‘proudly the person responsible’ for overturning Roe v. Wade, and made it possible for states to enforce cruel bans,” Harris said in a statement.

The decision came one day after Trump delivered his current stance on abortion, saying he supports leaving it to states. Trump also took credit for appointing the conservative Supreme Court justices who ultimately led to the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, returning decision-making power over the divisive issue to the states.

“President Trump could not have been more clear,” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said after the ruling. “These are decisions for people of each state to make.”

Arizona had already banned abortions after 15 weeks. Advocates with Arizona for Abortion Access, a reproductive rights organization, say they have enough signatures to put a state constitutional amendment that would protect abortion access on November’s ballot. The group said Tuesday it had collected well over the roughly 384,000 signatures required to put the measure on the ballot.

The issue could prove pivotal in the November election in Arizona, where Democrats make up 29% of the electorate and Republicans 35%. A recent KFF poll found that people who vote because they deem abortion to be the most important issue on the ballot lean Democratic.

The ruling landed at 10 a.m., just minutes before Chris Love, a spokesperson for Arizona for Abortion Access, held a news conference in the state Capitol’s rose garden. Her voice cracking, she told supporters gathered that passing the ballot measure in November “is as critical today as it was yesterday.”

“Today is a clear example of what’s at stake,” Love said in a later interview. “We still have a Legislature that is controlled by antiabortion folks, representatives. And at any point in time, they can do anything with the law. And so enshrining abortion in our Constitution gives Arizonans the certainty that their rights are protected.”

The near-blanket ban doesn’t go into effect for two weeks, and Love emphasized that people who are less than 15 weeks pregnant and are seeking abortions can still get them for now.

The move is expected to send Arizonans seeking abortions to Southern California.

“The last time abortion was unavailable in Arizona, right after the Dobbs decision [overturning Roe], we absolutely saw spikes in our volume,” said Sue Dunlap, chief executive and president of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, one of the largest abortion providers in the nation. “I have every expectation when this goes into effect, we will see dramatically more patients.”

After Roe was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2022, Dunlap said, abortions provided by the organization increased by 22%.

“I went to one health center parking lot, and one car after another was from Arizona,” she said.

Democrats seized on the ruling to push their abortion rights message — and to raise funds.

“Help us continue to fight for abortion access across the nation by electing fiercely pro-choice women,” Colleen Davis, the endorsements manager of Her Bold Move, which promotes female candidates who support abortion rights, wrote in an email appeal.

Alice Stewart, a GOP strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of antiabortion candidates such as former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), said the day’s news would undoubtedly “motivate the pro-abortion crowd” — giving Democrats a needed boost in the swing state.

“The reality is those in the pro-life community that fought to overturn Roe vs. Wade, taking this issue out of the hands of unelected justices and putting it in the hands of elected legislators, need to realize that could mean the pro-choice community is going to win,” Stewart said.

She praised former presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s position on abortion during the GOP primary as a smart tactic — talking about “reasonable abortion limits, not abortion bans.”

“If the goal for Republicans is to broaden the electorate past Republican primary voters and appeal to independent voters and suburban women, there has to be a more nuanced position on abortion,” Stewart said.

Both Democratic and Republican candidates in the tight race for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat condemned the ruling.

“I’m sorry to the women of Arizona,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said in a video posted to social media. “The fact that women in Arizona now have less rights than they ever had, have no control over their bodies — it’s just inhumane. But we’re not done. The state Supreme Court has had their say. We will have our say.”

His most prominent Republican opponent, Kari Lake, a former newscaster and loyal Trump supporter who has supported abortion restrictions, said she also opposed the ruling. She called for the governor and state Legislature to “come up with an immediate common sense solution.”

Lake said she agreed with Trump, that abortion “is a very personal issue that should be determined by each individual state and her people” — but she disagreed with her state’s ruling.

At a PBS debate during her run for governor in 2022, Lake said she believes that “life begins at conception.”

She also said: “I don’t think abortion pills should be legal.”

Love, with Arizona for Abortion Access, said she didn’t trust Lake’s statement Tuesday.

“Some of the antiabortion legislators that have been clear about their position for years and years are now trying to moderate that position. And I’m telling folks, don’t believe the hype,” Love said.

Arizona’s current senators — outgoing independent Kyrsten Sinema and Democrat Mark Kelly — lambasted the decision for endangering women’s health and pressuring doctors.

“This is a really sad day for the state of Arizona,” Kelly said.


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O.C. prosecutors aim to prove Blaze Bernstein killing a hate crime

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Blaze Bernstein had been missing a week when investigators found his body buried under a thin layer of mud at Borrego Park in Lake Forest in January 2018, with 19 stab wounds to his neck.

A 19-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the managing editor of Penn Appetit, a student-run food magazine, he had come home to spend the holidays with his family in Orange County.

Suspicion soon fell on 20-year-old Samuel Woodward, Bernstein’s former schoolmate at the Orange County School of the Arts, who had admitted to being with him in the park the night he disappeared. Investigators said they found Bernstein’s blood on a visor in Woodward’s car, and on a knife discovered in a drawer at the Newport Beach home where Woodward lived with his parents.

Bernstein was Jewish and gay, while Woodward, according to one of his attorneys, was conflicted about his sexuality. When investigators managed to hack into Woodward’s iPhone, they unearthed a trove of anti-gay, anti-Jewish material linked to the Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist hate group.

The role that ideology may have played in Bernstein’s death will be sharply contested at his trial, with opening statements expected to begin Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court. Woodward is charged with murder, with enhancements for use of a deadly weapon and for hate crime, which could put him in prison for life without parole.

“There is this narrative that’s been pushed: Nazi kills gay Jew. From the defense perspective, that’s inaccurate,” Assistant Public Defender Kenneth Morrison told Judge Kimberly Menninger during one of many hearings leading up to the trial.

The exact defense strategy remains unclear, but one of Morrison’s aims will be to decouple his client’s alleged crimes from his client’s association with the Atomwaffen Division. The attorney has argued, with little success, to have references to Adolf Hitler and Nazis excluded from testimony on the basis that they are inflammatory.

The case has drawn widespread media interest, and Morrison objected to the possibility of video cameras in the courtroom, which “really could be traumatizing” to some of the 56 people on his witness list, some of whom are reluctant to testify.

“Is it simply because the news media loves the salacious narrative that they created?” Morrison said, adding that in a fraught political climate, publicity poses a “greater risk of prejudice for Mr. Woodward.”

Menninger, the judge, said the trial involves “great issues of public interest,” including “murder, sexual orientation, gender and religion.” She said she would allow cameras on a limited basis, in part because transparency would serve the safety of the courthouse.

“I need to be sure people trust us,” Menninger said. “I need them to see that we are not hiding the ball.”

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing in September 2018, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department worked diligently to crack open the contents of Woodward’s iPhone. An investigator carried the phone by hand to New Jersey, where a telecommunications company called Cellebrite Inc. worked for 10 weeks to find the PIN code, bypassing the auto-shutdown function.

On Woodward’s phone, investigators found an abundance of Atomwaffen-related material, including a photo of Woodward with James Mason, the author of “Siege,” which a prosecutor described as “the Bible” of the hate group.

According to Sheriff’s Department testimony, the phone also contained emails Woodward wrote and sent to himself under the heading “Sam’s Diary.” One email from May 2017 said:

“I tell sodomites that I’m bi-curious, which makes them want to ‘convert’ me … Get them hooked by acting coy, maybe send them a pic or two, beat around the bush and pretend to tell them that I like them and then kabam, I either un-friend them or tell them they have been pranked, ha ha.”

In another, from July 2017, he wrote that he had downloaded the dating app Grindr and was amusing himself by threatening gay people.

“LMAO,” he wrote, according to testimony. “They think they are going to get hate crimed and it scares the s— out of them … Priceless.”

According to investigators, Woodward acknowledged meeting Bernstein on the night he vanished but asserted that Bernstein walked alone into the park and left him waiting, unsure “if Blaze was pranking him.”

Woodward also said that Bernstein had made a pass at him, an investigator testified, but Woodward found homosexuality “gross.” Asked about “numerous cuts and scrapes” on his hands, Woodward said he got them in a fight club, according to testimony in the preliminary hearing.

Six years after the killing, jury selection began in late February. A courtroom outburst by Woodward forced the process to start over. Woodward’s prior attorney said his client had Asperger’s syndrome and was torn about his sexuality. The trial is expected to last through the end of June.


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CinemaCon 2024: Exhibitors want more movies, less piracy

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Somehow, heartbreak feels good in a place like CinemaCon — where no matter how many hits the motion picture industry has taken over the last year (and, uh, it’s taken a lot), exhibitors from all over the world unfailingly come together to exude enthusiasm about the moviegoing experience and optimism about the future of cinema.

Flag bearers for the Motion Picture Assn., the National Assn. of Theatre Owners and other major industry players convened Tuesday at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to deliver their annual state-of-the-business address and officially kick off the event. Movie stars, filmmakers and studio heads are expected to tease, extol and in some cases screen their upcoming releases.

There’s a lot riding on those movies in the wake of a box office slump partially brought on by the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, which delayed several movies and effectively halted film and TV production last year for about six months.

“We can’t shy away from the stark challenges of this moment, nor can we ignore this time of volatility in our industry,” said Charles Rivkin, chief executive of the MPA, during Tuesday’s presentation. Washington-based MPA represents the Hollywood studios, including Disney and Netflix.

“Yet no one should fear that uncertainty,” he added, “because after all, we work in a business where unexpected twists can make for an epic story. … We understand the stakes. We recognize the need to do everything possible to ensure the enduring health of cinema.”

Global box office revenue is predicted to hit $32 billion in 2024, according to film analytics firm Gower Street, which is nowhere near the $40-billion-plus heights of the pre-COVID-19 era. But since the beginning of 2024 — when domestic box office revenue was down 20% from the previous year — some glimmers of hope have emerged.

In March, the highly anticipated sequel to Warner Bros.’ “Dune” launched at $82.5 million in the United States and Canada — the first true blockbuster opening weekend since AMC Theatres’ “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” ($93.2 million).

Following the desperately needed success of “Dune: Part Two” — which has now grossed more than $255 million domestically — Universal Pictures’ “Kung Fu Panda 4” notched a solid $58-million domestic debut, Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” posted a decent $45 million and Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” drew an impressive $80-million bow.

Exhibitors on Tuesday also touted the rising popularity of Japanese cinema in the United States, including Crunchyroll-distributed anime hits such as the latest “Demon Slayer” movie and Toho Co.‘s Oscar-winning “Godzilla Minus One.”

Mitchel Berger, senior vice president of global commerce at Crunchyroll, said Tuesday that the global anime business generated $14 billion a decade ago and is projected to generate $37 billion next year.

“Anime is red hot right now,” Berger said.

“Fans have known about it for years, but now everyone else is catching up and recognizing that it’s a cultural, economic force to be reckoned with.”

Exhibitors are hoping that momentum holds despite also weathering several recent box office disappointments, such as Universal Pictures’ misbegotten spy thriller “Argylle” and Sony Pictures’ superhero disaster “Madame Web.”

When the actors’ strike concluded in November, theater operators expressed concerns about the health of the 2024 film slate. The overlapping work stoppages prompted studios to push at least a dozen movies to 2025 from 2024, including the eighth installment in Paramount Pictures’ “Mission: Impossible” saga and Disney’s live-action remake of “Snow White.”

Cinemark Chief Executive Sean Gamble estimated in February that 95 pictures were slated to open this year in wide release, as opposed to 110 in 2023. And nothing spells danger for exhibitors like a thinned-out release schedule. It doesn’t help that the average length of the theatrical window significantly shrank (from 90 days to roughly 35 to 40 days) after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down movie theaters for more than a year.

At Tuesday’s presentation, exhibitors pleaded with distributors to take a leap of faith and commit to releasing movies in cinemas year-round — not just during times that have historically seen heavier foot traffic.

“For my friends in distribution, please embrace digital’s flexibility and offer your awe-inspiring movies 52 weeks of the year to every exhibitor,” said Chris Johnson, CEO of Classic Cinemas. “Eliminate print counts and trust us to make programming and scheduling decisions that yield the best results for all. … If you have a hit, we will hold it.”

Michael O’Leary, CEO of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, also made the case for more small- and medium-budget releases that attract cinephiles, citing prestige titles such as A24’s “Past Lives” and Amazon MGM Studios’ “American Fiction.”

“It’s not enough for us to simply sit back and want more movies,” O’Leary said. “We must work with distribution to get more movies of all sizes to the marketplace.”

This year, a number of potential upcoming blockbusters remain.

Universal is cooking up “Twisters,” “Wicked” and “Despicable Me 4”; Warner Bros. is sitting on “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “Joker: Folie à Deux” and “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice”; Paramount is distributing “Gladiator 2” and “A Quiet Place: Day One”; Sony is launching “Venom: The Last Dance”; Disney is set to release “Inside Out 2,” “Moana 2” and “Deadpool & Wolverine”; and Amazon MGM Studios is about to drop “Challengers,” starring Zendaya.

The last few years at CinemaCon have drawn battle lines between exhibitors and streamers. During the streaming wars of 2021 and 2022, studios threw an excessive amount of resources and funds at streaming projects in an effort to compete with Netflix.

At the time, streaming was painted as theaters’ archnemesis. But the great streaming boom of the early 2020s has subsided as entertainment companies — reeling from financial losses — are tightening their belts and greenlighting less streaming content.

In December, Disney unveiled plans to re-release three Pixar titles — “Soul,” “Turning Red” and “Luca” — in theaters this year after initially routing them directly to streaming. Additionally, “Moana 2” — originally conceived as a TV series to be streamed on Disney+ — was reworked into a feature coming to the big screen in November.

Though streaming undoubtedly still poses a threat to movie theaters, the tides appear to be turning ever so slightly in exhibitors’ favor as studios rethink their release strategies and film fanatics continue to splurge on Imax and other premium large formats.

“You can watch a movie on TV or on your tablet or on your computer, but you experience it in a theater,” O’Leary said. “And part of what makes the movie so special is the theaters themselves.”

However, exhibitors at CinemaCon did repeatedly express concerns about the rise of illegal streaming and digital piracy. Rivkin condemned the practice as “insidious forms of theft” that harm production workers, actors, directors, writers, craftspeople and even consumers who risk falling prey to malware viruses when watching movies illegally online.

Rivkin estimated that on average, piracy costs the movie theater industry more than $1 billion per year. During his state-of-the-industry address, he called on Congress to enact site-blocking legislation that would prevent internet users in the United States from accessing websites that stream films illegally.

“Piracy operations have only grown more nimble, more advanced and more elusive every day,” Rivkin said. “These activities are nefarious by any definition. They’re detrimental to our industry by any standard. And they’re dangerous for the rights of creators and consumers by any measure.”


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What college students need to know about payment apps

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For college students, sending money to friends has never been easier thanks to peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Cash App. But that convenience poses risks, including vulnerability to errors, fraud and the tendency to overspend.

As a result, payment apps can contribute to financial stress at a time when young people are learning how to manage their finances on their own. “Peer-to-peer payment apps are cash on steroids because they’re a straw stuck into your bank account,” says Anne Lester, author of “Your Best Financial Life.”

Not only does that make spending easier and more “frictionless,” Lester explains, but it also means “if you trust the wrong person, then you’re in big trouble,” because it can be difficult or impossible to get the money back. In Kimberly Palmer’s latest for ABC News, learn what college students need to know about payment apps.


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FAA investigating Boeing whistleblower claims about 787 Dreamliner

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The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Boeing engineer’s allegations that assembly defects in the company’s 787 Dreamliner raise safety concerns. 

Sam Salehpour, a quality engineer at Boeing, said “he observed shortcuts taken by Boeing” during the assembly of the plane, “resulting in drilling debris left in interfaces and deformation of composite material,” CBS News reported. He also claims to have observed issues with the 777 assembly process, according to a letter sent by Salehpour’s lawyers to the FAA in January.

The New York Times first reported on the alleged problems with the aircraft. 

In Salehpour’s letter to the FAA, his attorney, Debra Katz, said he was responsible for monitoring aircraft production at Boeing, as well as investigating defects “and their root causes.” Katz said her client repeatedly voiced his concerns to Boeing management, but alleged the aviation giant “dismissed and ignored” them. 

Boeing strongly denied the allegations and released a detailed defense of the aircraft.

“We are fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner. These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft,” the company said in a statement to CBS News.

Boeing added that “the issues raised have been subject to rigorous engineering examination under FAA oversight” and that they “do not present any safety concerns.” 

Boeing also said it has introduced “join verification” into its production processes after slowing output and halting deliveries for nearly two years in response to employees who identified issues on the 787.

“For the in-service fleet, comprehensive Boeing and FAA analysis determined there is no near-term safety of flight concern,” Boeing said. “Based on the analysis and any future inspection, the 787 will maintain its strength, durability and service life.”


Family of Boeing whistleblower John Barnett speaks out

04:23

Salehpour’s allegations will be heard by a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee later this month. 

Asked to comment about the claims, the FAA said in statement that “Voluntary reporting without fear of reprisal is a critical component in aviation safety. We strongly encourage everyone in the aviation industry to share information. We thoroughly investigate all reports.”

Boeing is already grappling with fallout from a January 5 emergency on an Alaska Airlines flight in which a panel on a 737 Max plane blew out mid flight. Boeing is experiencing production delays, reducing aircraft deliveries for carriers including United Airlines and Southwest Air Lines.

—CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave and the AFP contributed to this report.


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Reparations push in California won’t yield much this year – Orange County Register

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Try taking an apology to the bank and see what the teller says, or even the bank president.

One thing for sure: No apology will directly produce a bank deposit.

Thousands of Black Californians knew this when they attended hearings across the state last year aiming to develop an aid package for descendants of slaves who still suffer poverty and other after-effects of bondage. So they responded far more enthusiastically to the possibility of cash reparations than anything else mentioned.

Not preferential college admissions or affirmative action in hiring, nothing else drew crowd approval like cash.

But there is no cash in any proposal for reparations now being floated in the state Legislature, even the 14-bill package announced earlier this year by the legislative Black caucus.

That’s partly because there’s no cash to be had in this year of huge budget deficits amounting to somewhere between $38 billion and $73 billion. It’s also due to a seemingly definitive poll which found last fall that California voters by more than a 2-to-1 margin oppose paying descendants of the enslaved cash reparations for atrocities against their forebears.

That survey by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found 59 percent of voters against and just 28 percent in favor, with a relatively paltry 13 percent undecided or neutral.

Cash reparations, said poll director Mark DiCamillo, have “a steep uphill climb, at least from the public’s point of view.”

It’s no surprise, then, that the key piece of reparations legislation this year involves no money, or even affirmative action, which many Californians have long opposed. Rather, it would require the governor to apologize quickly to descendants of human chattel. That costs nothing, but from the viewpoint of Black lawmakers may seem as if it would leave them a big foot in the door for future actions on other types of reparations when times grow fiscally looser.

Even last year, with much smaller deficits than now, Gov. Gavin Newsom made it clear he would veto cash reparations. Not wanting to embarrass him by forcing an actual decision, majority Democratic legislators won’t yet try to pass out money.

One reason most Californians look askance at cash reparations is that this state was never a center of slavery. Under pre-Emancipation federal law, slaveowners could bring their human property into free states and keep them enslaved. Similarly, escaped slaves could be tracked down in so-called free states and forced back to their previous owners.

California was part of this, but not a ringleader, essentially no more culpable than New York, Massachusetts or Illinois, all hotbeds of abolition.

California voters looking at those historical realities were not last year inclined to pay the great-great grandchildren of slaves victimized by a Supreme Court that upheld slavery even in free states. That court included five justices from slave states.

If only because of California’s peripheral involvement with slavery, it would make no political sense to back monetary reparations. Plus, the concept may be illegal on its face.

That’s because government favoritism of one group over others is not permitted under the equal protection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guarantees all who live in America “equal protection of the laws.”


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UConn shuts down Purdue’s perimeter shooters in decisive NCAA title game win – Press Enterprise

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By JOHN MARSHALL AP Basketball Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — UConn left Donovan Clingan on the loneliest island, stuck deep in the paint to wrestle massive Purdue center Zach Edey.

Even when Edey bulled his way to shots at the rim, the Huskies refused to give their big man help, knowing the two-time national player of the year would get his points.

UConn had a much bigger concern than the 7-foot-4 man in the middle: Purdue’s perimeter shooters.

And, boy, did the Huskies shut them down.

Chasing the Boilermakers off the arc all night, UConn held one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams to one 3-point basket and became the first team since 2007 to repeat as national champions with a 75-60 win on Monday night.

“Not everyone can do what they just did,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “You just have to give credit to their defense and their coach and the way they’re wired.”

UConn has become one of the nation’s most efficient offensive teams under Coach Dan Hurley, finishing No. 1 in KenPom.com’s efficiency ratings this season.

What has made the Huskies great is they’re a gritty, downright dominating defensive team.

UConn held its first four NCAA Tournament opponents under 60 points and limited Alabama, the nation’s highest-scoring team, to 72 points in the national semifinals.

For the national title game, Hurley cooked up a plan to stay connected to Purdue’s shooters while living with whatever Edey was able to get against Clingan.

Edey finished with 37 points, but needed 25 shots to get there and didn’t hit a shot during a 10-minute stretch as UConn began taking control.

The Huskies instead shut down what the Boilermakers do better than almost every other team.

“They just made a decision, like we can defend the perimeter and we can take this away from you, then you’re just going to get the ball to your best player, he’s going to go one on one,” Painter said. “They were going to live with that.”

And they won with that.

Purdue was the nation’s second-best 3-point shooting team during the regular season at 41%, giving the Boilermakers the perfect outlet when teams inevitably double-teamed Edey.

UConn barely even let Purdue get looks from 3-point range in the national title game.

Freshman Stephon Castle led the charge, hounding Purdue point guard Braden Smith every step. The rest of UConn’s defenders swarmed the 3-point arc and recovered quickly when they did get beat, holding the Boilermakers to 1-of-7 shooting from deep.

Impressive against a team that averaged 8.3 made 3-pointers and 20.5 attempts per game before Monday night.

Purdue’s lone made 3 was the fewest since Michigan sank just one in 1996. The seven 3-point attempts was the fewest in a national championship game since UCLA in 1995.


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