US Marshall Arrested in San Antonio
On Saturday, March 30, US Marshal Reynaldo Chavera was charged with drug possession following an arrest Saturday morning outside a San Antonio strip club. Bexar County booking records show he has been charged with possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance under “penalty group one” of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
San Antonio police officers arrested Chavera around 5:30 am Saturday at XTC Cabaret near San Antonio International Airport after security workers detained him when he refused to leave the club. Officers then identified Chavera as a U.S. Marshal and found that he had narcotics in his possession.
U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Christopher Bozeman said the agency is aware of Chavera’s arrest and ”takes seriously any allegation of misconduct by its employees which do not reflect our core values of justice, integrity, and service.”
Possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance in that category is a state jail felony punishable by a maximum two-year prison sentence.
Attorney General and Chick-Fil-A
On Thursday, March 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that he would launch an investigation into whether the city of San Antonio’s rejection of Chick-fil-A from its airport violates state law.
The San Antonio city council excluded the business from the airport after a ThinkProgress report claimed they support anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.
“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken,” Paxton wrote in a letter to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.”
Paxton said he is also encouraging Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to look into whether the city broke any federal law or regulation.
“I trust the City will fully cooperate with my investigation into this matter and will abide by relevant federal and state laws in the future,” he wrote.
“The City’s Attorney’s Office is reviewing the letter. I am withholding comment until we have had adequate time to analyze it,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg stated.
Paxton also told San Antonio officials that he asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to investigate whether the city’s actions violated federal law and regulations prohibiting religious discrimination by federal grant recipients.
Is Joe Biden Getting #MeToo-ed?
On Friday, March 29, former Nevada Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Lucy Flores wrote an essay in The Cut alleging that Joe Biden acted inappropriately with her and made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused”.
“As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze… I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified… He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,” Flores wrote.
She says she was more than relieved when her name was called and she was able to get away from Biden.
Even though Biden had come to Nevada to help Flores win her election, she claims his behavior was unprofessional. “He stopped treating me like a peer the moment he touched me,” Flores stated. “Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful.”
As she points out, however, this isn’t the first time Joe Biden has gotten too close for comfort.
“Time passed and pictures started to surface of Vice President Biden getting uncomfortably close with women and young girls. Biden nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife; Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women’s ears; Biden snuggling female constituents.”
Joe Biden has brushed past the allegations. “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once—never—did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention,” said Biden.
If betting markets are to be trusted as charts for public approval, this allegation has seriously hurt Joe Biden’s chances of becoming the 2020 Democratic nominee. On Election Betting Odds and PredictIt, Biden plummeted from the favorite Democratic contender to the fourth and third place, respectively.
It was a good week for US stocks. The Dow Jones increased to 25,928.68 on Friday, increasing by +426.36 points, or +1.67 percent over its March 22 close of 25,502.32. The S&P 500 increased by +33.69 points or +1.20 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Friday by +0.70 percent. With this, the stock market has overall erased the losses it suffered the previous week.
There are signs of a global economic slowdown on the horizon but if President Trump can get a favorable trade deal with China in the coming weeks then it should at least delay the slowdown as tariffs between the two largest economies are lowered.
California Magazine Ban Unconstitutional
On Friday, March 29, San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that California’s ban on the possession of magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds at a time is unconstitutional citing home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.
“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” Benitez wrote as he declared the law to be unconstitutional.
California’s 2000 law and its 2016 removal of a provision made the buying, selling, and possession of magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds illegal. The California arm of the National Rifle Association sued and Benitez sided with the group’s argument that banning the magazines infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Chuck Michel, an attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said that the ruling may even go so far as to strike down the entire ban.
“We’re still digesting the opinion but it appears to us that he struck down both the latest ban on possessing by those who are grandfathered in, but also said that everyone has a right to acquire one,” Michel said.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra came out against the ruling. “[My office] is committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws,” Becerra said.
This ruling is a big win for gun owners throughout California. With Trump having appointed over 90 judges since the start of his presidency, this ruling could carry shockwaves across the US and act as precedent against other similar bills in the US.
Texas House Budget Bill
In the night between March 27 and 28, the Texas State House voted 149-0 to advance a budget that grows the size of government by nearly 16 percent and provides little property tax relief.
Despite many Republican lawmakers campaigning on property tax relief and adding an amendment that would slow the growth of government spending, most of the amendments were either heavily changed or surrendered in exchange for Democratic votes on other amendments, such as those proposed by State Reps. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park), Matt Krause (R–Fort Worth), and Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler).
Not every bill that was cut dealt with property tax relief. According to Capitol sources, freshman State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) agreed to discard his amendment, which would prevent illegal aliens from receiving state dollars set aside for Hurricane Harvey assistance, in exchange for lawmakers moving his bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying forward in the process.
Property tax relief is perhaps the most vital issue for Texas residents but, as it currently stands, it is in the hands of the State Senate to determine the bill’s fate.
Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier
In a bit of good news, a NASA study released on Monday in Nature Geoscience found that Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier is actually growing.
From 2003 to 2016 the Jakobshavn glacier was one of the fasting shrinking glaciers in the world and in 2016 its thickness had diminished by about 500 feet and was retreating by about 1.8 miles annually.
However, between 2016 and 2017 the glacier began to grow in thickness again. Between 2016 and 2017 parts of the glacier grew in thickness by anywhere between 65.6 to 98.4 feet (20 meters to 30 meters).
A natural cyclical cooling of North Atlantic waters likely caused the glacier to reverse course, according to the study’s lead author Ala Khazendar, a NASA glaciologist on the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project. Khazendar and colleagues say this coincides with a flip of the North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural cycle of cooling and warming of parts of the ocean.
The water in Disko Bay, where Jakobshavn hits the ocean, cooled by about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit between 2014 and 2016, study authors said.
Hopefully, with the cooling of the Northern Atlantic Ocean, the Jakobshavn glacier will begin to advance back into Disko Bay and erase the losses it suffered over the past 20 years.