Atheists decry Florida county payment to church
The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Board of Commissioners has violated the U.S. and Florida constitutions by disbursing funds to finance the repair and renovation of a Lutheran church in Tampa. FFRF said the county awarded grants totaling $68,250 in the last two years and is planning to add another $59,000 this year. The grants were recommended by an historic preservation committee despite the Florida constitution’s specific ban against using taxpayer funds to facilitate religious worship, FFRF added.
Countervailing duty nears for Chinese aluminum foil
The Department of Commerce determined that imports of aluminum foil from China have been illegally subsidized by the Chinese government and proposed the imposition of countervailing duties ranging from 16.5% to 81% be assessed on future shipments. DOC plans to finalize the order in October. In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at about $389 million. The action responds to the first trade complaint ever filed by the Aluminum Association, a trade group for U.S. aluminum companies.
Cybercriminal indicted for damaging website
Kamyar Jahanrakhshan (aka: Andrew Rakhshan), 37, of Seattle, Wash., was indicted by a federal grand jury for launching a denial of service attack against a website that aggregates state and federal court decisions, the Department of Justice said. DOJ, in an earlier press release that announced his arrest, said Rakhshan attacked Leagle.com when the website refused to remove a Washington State Court of Appeals opinion that declared “a thief has no right to possess stolen property,” and involved the recovery of five vehicles that Rakhshan obtained with fraudulent credit cards.
How many Obamacare insurers are in your county?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services posted a map that reveals the number of Obamacare health insurers in each of the nation’s 3,143 counties. CMS claimed that 17 counties do not have a single insurance carrier (but the map identifies 16 counties, 13 of them in Nevada and one each in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio); and, 1,409 counties have only one insurance carrier. It means that 45.4% of the nation’s counties had just one or fewer carriers as of August 9.
Pesticides contaminate Midwestern streams
A survey by the U.S. Geological Survey found more than 180 pesticides and their by-products in small streams throughout 11 Midwestern states, some of them at levels high enough to harm aquatic insects. On average, 52 pesticide compounds were identified in each of the 100 streams that were tested. USGS said it did not assess the potential health effects the stream waters might have on humans because the streams that were sampled in agricultural and urban areas are not likely to be used as sources of drinking water.
ACLU blends rivals in speech rights lawsuit
The American Civil Liberties Union collected an unlikely assortment of organizations to help it contest the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s rejection of advertising posters as a violation of First Amendment speech rights. Joining with the ACLU were Carafem, a women’s health care group that supports family planning and abortion care; Milo Worldwide LLC, which is owned by conservative writer and speaker Milo Yiannopoulos; and, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights group.
A well-intentioned law fails to protect Indian children
A federal law meant to protect Native American children by authorizing tribal governments to assign abused and neglected children to another family has gone astray for some children and families, the Goldwater Institute said. In a report, the Institute said the Indian Child Welfare Act is sometimes applied to resolve custody disputes with the result that children “with only a very small percentage of Native American blood who previously have not been raised on tribal lands or had any contact with a tribe can be forced out of loving, safe homes and into other homes, based on their race.”
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, August 9