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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 87)

An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever

A driver in Los Angeles has turned to a unique type of sign language to deal with the city’s notorious traffic.

The unidentified Lexus driver was spotted last week in Culver City holding a sign out of the window that said “Please let me in,” as the turn signal indicated a lane change.

The unique method was caught on camera and posted to YouTube by the driver of the car behind him, who wrote, “Saw this man with a 300000 IQ switching lanes.”

After being let over, the Lexus driver then stepped things up a notch by holding a “Thanks” sign out the window.

Apparently, a turn signal just isn’t effective or polite enough these days, but none of this may be needed in the future.

MOST-FREQUENTLY STOLEN VEHICLES STUDY FINDS CROOKS LIKE MUSCLE CARS … A LOT

An important element in bringing autonomous cars to fruition on a mass scale is the development of a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, where all of the self-driving vehicles will be able to talk to each other wirelessly to better coordinate maneuvers without running into each other.

Westlake Legal Group mercedes An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article

(Mercedes-Benz)

In fact, some of the latest Mercedes-Benz models are already equipped with a simple version of this system that can monitor the traffic and road conditions and transmit the information to other cars in the area, alerting their drivers thorough the infotainment system.

It currently only works among compatible Mercedes-Benz vehicles, however, so you may not want to throw out the Sharpie and cardboard just yet.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group traffic An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article   Westlake Legal Group traffic An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article

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Anger at being labeled racist is the new ‘cultural anxiety’ for Trump supporters

Westlake Legal Group IW4jwIRPYhm3PrWc2RnHx_fH9xAy8_Sq0f3H6p4fTCE Anger at being labeled racist is the new ‘cultural anxiety’ for Trump supporters r/politics

Because what they’re all finding out is that the protection extended to Trump by congressional Republicans does not extend to his idiot supporters. Trump gets to be insulated through money and a legion of sycophants editing and curating the media he sees to constantly protect his exceedingly fragile ego. He gets a legion of congressional Republicans that know he’s a complete and utter imbecile, but in the interest of preserving their power eagerly and publicly defend his imbecility, his hate and stupidity. Trump lives in a painstakingly crafted bubble whose entire purpose is protecting him from the glaring reality that he’s racist loser with no mental capacity to do the job he never deserved in the first place.

But the Trump supporter out in the streets has no such protection. He feels the disgust and loathing of his fellow countrymen. And that’s powerful.

One of the single greatest forces acting on people in a society is the consensus and norms of their peers.

That is why you cannot let up. Do not let Trump and Republicans normalize his racism, xenophobia, and hate.

These norms can spread like a virus. We, the majority, are the herd immunity. We rebuff and make them ashamed to speak their viral hatred in person. And that is good. We cannot let them normalize this. We cannot let them be comfortable in their vile, horrid hate and racism.

I don’t know you, but you – whoever you are – you have much more power than you think. When you interact in real life with a Trump supporter, when you shame them for espousing hate, it may seem as though you get nowhere. That Trump supporter may be boisterous and prideful in his hate and anger, may seem unrepentant, but the disgust on the face of a peer does have a strong effect on them. They will remember it, and it will erode their resolve.

I can’t tell you who the best candidate for President is. But the one thing I can assure you – what we have on our side – is that Trump and the rhetoric and ideology of the Republicans is wrong. It is wrong for society, bad for humanity. It will lead to a culture that is poorer, sicker, more deprived of love and happiness and joy. It is a cancer in the body politic.

Look at the stories we see. Trump throws tantrums every other day when met with the resistance to his revolting ideas. Trump supporters are afraid to speak their hate aloud and in public. The administration is seeking an executive order just to suppress the overwhelming majority opinion on line that their ideas are vile and sick.

The illusion provided by their occupation of power can seem omnipotent, but Trump and the Republicans are far, far weaker than they seem, and they know it. And it terrifies them.

Trump has allowed these disgusting ideas to wriggle out of the rotted logs on the floor of our country. But now they’re finding they burn in the light. They thought their Imbecile Jesus had blanketed the sky in darkness for them to thrive, but he did not. We are not going anywhere, and there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them. They have cheated and lied and waited in the dark and in patience to scrabble together the power they have now, but do not confuse that with legitimacy. The government is nothing but the consensus of the people and they do not have our consensus merely because they can steal seats through hostile foreign interference and gerrymandering. We do not have to respect them and we do not have to allow them to exist through another election cycle. We choose.

So don’t stop. Don’t let up. Do not let trolls or loud jackasses in pickup trucks waving confederate flags get one moment of peace from our vocal condemnation of their ideas.

This is our society. Our culture. It is one of freedom for all men – an ideal that may not ever be achieved but must always be striven towards. One of the freedom for every person to pursue happiness. And at the core of the ideology of Republicans is the antithesis of that. Their ideology is one of a hierarchy of men, and not even one built on merit, but built on inheritance – the inheritance of money, the inheritance of privelege, the inheritance of a better skin color and better ancestry, the inheritance of entitlement merely from being born one place and not another. Like most of what they do, their fixation on “merit” is projection – they don’t want to have to earn or work for anything. They want respect for their gender, privilege for their race and birthplace, and most importantly, they want respect and acceptance.

That is their sickness. That is at the core of everything they think and everything they do. Reject them. Reject them everywhere you see them, everywhere you meet them. No one whose ideology is based upon denying another human being their fundamental humanity merely because they were born with blacker skin or to poorer people in a poorer country deserves any respect, and they deserve no peaceful night’s sleep without seeing and hearing the revulsion and condemnation of our many voices.

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Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics

This gives new meaning to the phrase, “This one’s for the birds.”

An amateur photographer from Scotland has captured incredible pictures of two jaybirds fighting over food.

Phil Clark, a 40-year-old bus driver from Inverness, said he waited seven hours to capture the remarkable photos at a bird hide in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, SWNS reports.

Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

Phil Clark, 40, snapped the colorful and noisy animals at a bird hide in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway. (Credit: SWNS)

ADORABLE ORPHANED BABY KOALA GETS ARM CAST AFTER FALLING FROM TREE

“You don’t always see jays there because they are very intelligent and shy,” Clark said of the pictures taken on Aug. 3. “To see two of them fighting for food was extremely uncommon. They are quite territorial. They are vocal and they shout once they see another bird coming.”

Clark added that he thinks the squabble was one of the birds telling the other it should not go near its food.

Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-2 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

Clark, a bus driver, from Inverness, Scottish Highlands, was at the lookout spot from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., patiently waiting to photograph wildlife. (Credit: SWNS)

According to Animal Diversity, Eurasian jays (which reside in Western Europe, Northeast Africa and parts of Asia) have a diet that largely consists of acorns. It’s also supplemented with fruit, grains and some insects.

“It was amazing to see them fighting,” Clark said, noting he had seen the birds before but had not been able to snap an image. “To get an action shot of them fighting was just something else.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750   Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

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Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.

The changes could clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live. The new rules will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, allow economic factors to be taken into account when making determinations.

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement Monday. “The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the finalized revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154532004_14b4009c-704c-4211-82f6-b6cbfc348a54-articleLarge Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Interior Department Global Warming environment Endangered and Extinct Species Conservation of Resources Bernhardt, David L

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Capitol Hill in May. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Ever since President Richard M. Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, it has been the most essential piece of United States legislation for protecting fish, plants and wildlife, and acted as a safety net for species on the brink of extinction. The peregrine falcon, the humpback whale, the Tennessee purple coneflower and the Florida manatee all likely would have disappeared without it, scientists say.

Republicans have long sought to narrow the scope of the law, saying that it burdens landowners, hampers industry and hinders economic growth. They also make the case that the law is not reasonable because species are rarely removed from the list. Since the law was passed, more than 1,650 have been listed as threatened or endangered, while just 47 have been delisted because their populations rebounded.

Over the past two years Republicans made a major legislative push to overhaul the law. Despite holding a majority in both houses of Congress, though, the proposals were never taken up in the Senate. With Democrats now in control of the House, there is little chance of those bills passing.

The Trump administration’s revisions to the regulations that guide the implementation of the law, however, mean opponents of the Endangered Species Act are still poised to claim their biggest victory in decades.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.CreditJosh Haner/The New York Times

One of the most controversial changes modifies longstanding language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected.

Under the current law, such determinations must be made solely based on science, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of determination.”

“There can be economic costs to protecting endangered species,” said Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. But, he said, “If we make decisions based on short-term economic costs, we’re going to have a whole lot more extinct species.”

The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species — a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered. It also gives the government new discretion in deciding what is meant by the term “foreseeable future.”

That’s a semantic change with far-reaching implications, because it enables regulators to ignore the effects of extreme heat, drought, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change that may occur several decades from now.

Among the animals at risk from this change, Mr. Caputo listed a few: Polar bears and seals that are losing crucial sea ice; whooping cranes whose migration patterns are shifting because of temperature changes; and beluga whales that will have to dive deeper and longer to find food in a warmer Arctic.

Jonathan Wood, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that has represented landowners in opposing endangered species designations, said he believed the changes would improve the law by simplifying the regulatory process and making the law less punitive.

“It’s a shift away from conflict in favor of more collaboration and cooperation,” he said.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

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Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

A Chicago police officer was under investigation Monday after apparently giving former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan an exclusive ride to the airport — in his squad car with sirens on while on duty.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, transported Hogan, 66, his manager and another person, who filmed the incident, in his police vehicle along the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport, according to a video Hogan posted to Facebook Live Aug. 2.

MICHIGAN COP PUT ON LEAVE AFTER KKK APPLICATION ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN HOME

“My Uber’s got sirens!” Hogan is heard saying in the video, as the cameraman says, “We love Chicago PD.”

“Chicago PD for life,” Hogan reiterates, before thanking the officer for their ride. “Don’t get in trouble doing this,” Hogan’s manager, Jimmy Hart, says in the clip.

HULK HOGAN TEAMS UP WITH JAMIE FOXX FOR WWE RETURN

In the video, which has since been deleted but was published by the Chicago Tribune, the officer can be heard saying his sergeant “is all for” giving Hogan a ride — which was apparently inaccurate.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, told Fox News in a statement Monday that the ride was “not authorized by the department,” and Cmdr. Thomas O’Brien, of airport operations, “had no knowledge that it was taking place.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The video came to the attention of the superintendents office this week and it is of significant concern. An internal affairs investigation has been opened into the officer and supervisors at the airport,” Guglielmi said. “We are in the process of revoking credentials for the officer to operate a vehicle on airport grounds pending the investigation.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

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Donald Trump administration wants to deny green cards to migrants on public assistance

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Donald Trump administration wants to deny green cards to migrants on public assistance

WASHINGTON – The Donald Trump administration issued a new rule Monday that would enable federal officials to deny green cards to migrants if officials believe the recipients will receive public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, or housing vouchers.

“To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient,” President Donald Trump said in a statement from the White House.

The rule, which would take effect on Oct. 15, would basically allow customs and immigration officers to consider public assistance in deciding whether to grant legal assistance, along with other facts like health, education, and household income.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of seeking to reduce the number of legal immigrants through what the government calls a “public charge” rule. They also accused the administration of targeting poor people and legal immigrants are seeking to gain a foothold in the U.S. economy.

In a tweet, the National Immigration Law Center described the proposal as “a race motivated wealth test on immigrant families seeking a healthy, stable future in the US. If this goes into effect, it would have a devastating impact on millions. We WILL fight back. Stay tuned for updates.”

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the purpose of the rule is to promote “self-sufficiency” among the immigrant population.

“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” he said.

Asked about the impact on the poor, Cuccinelli said: “We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration instructed agencies to enforce a 23-year-old law that requires sponsors of green card holders to reimburse the government for welfare benefits.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/12/donald-trump-team-seeks-deny-green-cards-migrants-food-stamps/1985148001/

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Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

A Chicago police officer was under investigation Monday after apparently giving former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan an exclusive ride to the airport — in his squad car with sirens on while on duty.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, transported Hogan, 66, his manager and another person, who filmed the incident, in his police vehicle along the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport, according to a video Hogan posted to Facebook Live Aug. 2.

MICHIGAN COP PUT ON LEAVE AFTER KKK APPLICATION ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN HOME

“My Uber’s got sirens!” Hogan is heard saying in the video, as the cameraman says, “We love Chicago PD.”

“Chicago PD for life,” Hogan reiterates, before thanking the officer for their ride. “Don’t get in trouble doing this,” Hogan’s manager, Jimmy Hart, says in the clip.

HULK HOGAN TEAMS UP WITH JAMIE FOXX FOR WWE RETURN

In the video, which has since been deleted but was published by the Chicago Tribune, the officer can be heard saying his sergeant “is all for” giving Hogan a ride — which was apparently inaccurate.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, told Fox News in a statement Monday that the ride was “not authorized by the department,” and Cmdr. Thomas O’Brien, of airport operations, “had no knowledge that it was taking place.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The video came to the attention of the superintendents office this week and it is of significant concern. An internal affairs investigation has been opened into the officer and supervisors at the airport,” Guglielmi said. “We are in the process of revoking credentials for the officer to operate a vehicle on airport grounds pending the investigation.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

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Curious orca surprises fishermen, swims alongside boat in amazing video: ‘Awesome day on the water’

This orca is ready for its close-up.

A group of fishermen were out looking for Yellowtail off the coast of San Diego when a curious orca broke off from its pod and swam over to the boat.

MASSIVE STURGEON BECOMES URBAN LEGEND IN MINNESOTA

In footage shared on social media by fisherman Nathan Benge, a large killer whale is seen performing belly rolls while swimming behind, and next to, the 21-foot fishing boat.

WARNING: Footage contains graphic language:

“Out of nowhere one of them popped up right next to the boat three or four feet away from me,” Benge said to Good Morning America. “[It] landed, splashed me and splashed the whole side of the boat. I screamed.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I mean I could have reached out and touched it,” he said.

According to Benge, the orca followed the boat for about 10 minutes before swimming back to its pod.

Westlake Legal Group OrcaiStock Curious orca surprises fishermen, swims alongside boat in amazing video: 'Awesome day on the water' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article Alexandra Deabler 01965007-7298-5a55-89f9-7c39ea39adb9

A group of fishermen were out looking for Yellowtail off the coast of San Diego when a curious orca broke off from its pod. (iStock)

James Stewart, a whale expert and boat programs coordinator at The Aquarium of the Pacific, said that orcas are “naturally very curious and playful animals,” Good Morning America reported.

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Benge also shared in his Instagram post that the group was able to catch some Yellowtail after the amazing show.

“We may not have found the tuna, but we did get a free, up-close and personal show from orcas, a handful of yellows, and great weather to make for an awesome day on the water,” Benge’s post read.

Westlake Legal Group OrcaiStock Curious orca surprises fishermen, swims alongside boat in amazing video: 'Awesome day on the water' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article Alexandra Deabler 01965007-7298-5a55-89f9-7c39ea39adb9   Westlake Legal Group OrcaiStock Curious orca surprises fishermen, swims alongside boat in amazing video: 'Awesome day on the water' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article Alexandra Deabler 01965007-7298-5a55-89f9-7c39ea39adb9

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Trump Admin Weakens Endangered Species Act Amid Global Extinction Crisis

Three months after leading scientists warned that humans have driven up to 1 million species around the globe to the brink of extinction, the Trump administration has finalized a sweeping overhaul of the Endangered Species Act, weakening one of America’s most important laws for protecting imperiled plants and animals.

The new rules, unveiled on Monday, change how federal agencies implement portions of the conservation law, making it easier to remove recovered species from the protected list and opening the door for more drilling and other development. It also scraps the “blanket section 4(d) rule,” a provision that automatically extends the same protections to plants and animals listed as threatened as the act affords those listed as endangered, and revises how agencies go about designating habitat as critical to species’ long-term survival.

The changes, first proposed in July 2018, allow federal agencies to consider economic factors when making decisions about granting species protections, which the law has previously explicitly prohibited, and potentially limits their ability to account for the impacts of future climate change.

The administration has said the overhaul will “modernize” and “improve” the law, lifting regulatory burdens while continuing to protect species.

Karen Budd-Falen, the Interior Department’s deputy solicitor for fish, wildlife and parks who once called the ESA “a sword to tear down the American economy,” was among several agency officials who briefed reporters about the changes during a call Monday.  The rules, she said, will “ensure transparency” in the ESA process and “provide regulatory assurances and protection for both endangered species and the businesses that rely on the use of federal and private land.” 

Environmentalists see it as another handout to industry amid rising alarm that the ecosystems on which humans rely are collapsing, creating an existential threat.

“This effort to gut protections for endangered and threatened species has the same two features of most Trump administration actions: It’s a gift to industry, and it’s illegal,” Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans at the nonprofit Earthjustice, said in a statement. “We’ll see the Trump administration in court about it.”

Westlake Legal Group 5cf7b9b0240000510b8577fd Trump Admin Weakens Endangered Species Act Amid Global Extinction Crisis

Aaron Bernstein/Reuters Interior Secretary David Bernhardt during a congressional budget hearing on Capitol Hill in May 2019.

Even as the administration was working to finalize the new Endangered Species Act rules, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the act with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was working to weaken or remove protections for threatened and endangered species, according to an internal 2018 memo obtained by freelance reporter Jimmy Tobias.

A coalition of 10 state attorneys general was among the many groups that condemned the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back species protections. In a September letter to the administration, the coalition called the proposed changes “unlawful, arbitrary, and harmful.”

The goal of the overhaul is clear: to “undercut the science” and reduce the number of listed species, according to David Hayes, the executive director of New York University’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center and former deputy secretary at the Interior Department under President Barack Obama. The only reason to consider economic impacts when making ESA decisions is to “poison the well and obtain a sort of public reaction to the listing,” he said. 

“The unifying principle of all these regulatory changes,” he added, “is to lessen the effectiveness of the act and to move away from what science tells you to do.”

The Endangered Species Act was passed with strong bipartisan support in 1973 and has succeeded in preventing 99% of listed species from going extinct, including the Yellowstone grizzly bear, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, manatee and humpback whale. Today, it protects more than 1,600 plants and animals, as well as the habitats critical to their survival.

A three-year study of the planet’s living world compiled by nearly 500 scientists for the United Nations in May showed that up to 1 million species of land and marine life could be made extinct by humans’ actions if present trends continue. The scientists said the rate of species extinction is up to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years. And a report last week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, the leading U.N. body of researchers studying human-caused global warming, determined that humans have altered as much as 76% of the planet’s ice-free land ― exploitation that is helping to drive the climate and biodiversity crises. 

Despite its impressive track record, the Endangered Species Act has been a longtime target of industry and Republican lawmakers. They argue the law has been abused to control land and block economic activities, namely fossil fuel development.

Westlake Legal Group 5cf7bbb6210000ed08e69990 Trump Admin Weakens Endangered Species Act Amid Global Extinction Crisis

SOPA Images via Getty Images A grizzly bear and her cub walk through a meadow in Yellowstone National Park.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist who was confirmed as secretary of the Interior Department in April, has a long history of fighting the Endangered Species Act. 

In 2008, as the Interior Department’s top lawyer during the Bush administration, he issued a legal memo that concluded the law cannot be used to protect imperiled species from climate change and told federal agencies not to consider the impact of planet-warming greenhouse gases when making permit decisions. Later, as a private industry lobbyist and lawyer, he was involved in litigation against the federal government for its implementation of the act. His former clients include the Independent Petroleum Association of America, an industry trade group that has described the Endangered Species Act as a “broken law that does not help species.”

The IPAA successfully lobbied the Trump administration to delay federal protections for the Texas hornshell mussel, as The Guardian reported last year. It also pushed for the Interior Department to ease ESA protections for the American burying beetle, according to internal emails obtained by the conservation group Western Values Project. In May, the federal agency proposed downlisting the beetle from endangered to threatened. 

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal ― recovery of our rarest species,” Bernhardt said in a statement Monday. “The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation.”

Bernhardt has a long list of potential conflicts of interest and is one of several top Interior officials being investigated for alleged violations of ethics rules dealing with former employers.

During his current stint at Interior, Bernhardt has played a key role in regulatory rollbacks, including loosening Obama-era protections for the greater sage grouse, a move that opened the door for more drilling, mining and other development in the game bird’s habitat. A recent investigation by The New York Times unearthed public records showing that Bernhardt intervened to block a scientific report by the Fish and Wildlife Service about the threat certain pesticides pose to more than 1,000 endangered species.

Asked about the agency’s planned Endangered Species Act overhaul during his confirmation hearing in March, Bernhardt said the act has “wonderful goals, wonderful objectives,” but also “some ambiguity.” At a congressional budget hearing in early May, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) accused Bernhardt of “rolling back endangered species protections to benefit your former clients.”

“I take offense to the concept about profiting and your allegation that I’m here to do the bidding” of corporations, Bernhardt said. “I came here just like you to do the work of the public.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Olive Garden offering Lifetime Pasta Passes, but only for 50 diners willing to fork over enough dough

Imagine never paying for another bowl of Cavatappi with Five Cheese Marinara ever again.

That is, in fact, a reality for 50 lucky Olive Garden fans, as the restaurant chain has announced plans to offer its very first Lifetime Pasta Passes during this year’s Never Ending Pasta Pass promotion.

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“Olive Garden has always been known for Italian Generosity and making everyone feel like family, which is why we introduced our Pasta Pass five years ago,” said Jennifer Arguello, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden, in a press release. “With the introduction of our new Lifetime Pasta Pass, we’re excited to be a part of our biggest fans’ memories around the table for years to come.”

Westlake Legal Group pasta-pass-never-ending-pasta-pass_bothcardsfullyvisible-_withfood Olive Garden offering Lifetime Pasta Passes, but only for 50 diners willing to fork over enough dough Michael Bartiromo fox-news/food-drink/food/restaurants fox-news/food-drink/food/food-trends fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 4d658b9a-67f0-58be-a4f4-c2aa67dc2e94

The Lifetime Pasta Passes — which are available to the first 50 people lucky enough to snag a Pasta Pass on Aug. 15 — will entitle the lucky recipients to unlimited pasta, soup, salad and breadsticks for their entire lifetimes. (Olive Garden)

The Lifetime Pasta Passes — which are, essentially, exactly what they sound like — will entitle 50 lucky recipients to unlimited pasta, soup, salad and breadsticks for their entire lifetimes.

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The passes, however, will only be available to those fast enough to purchase the original Never Ending Pasta Passes. Here’s how it works: On Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. EST sharp, the original Never Ending Pasta Passes will go on sale at www.PastaPass.com for $100 apiece (plus tax) and only for 30 minutes, or until sold out. The first 50 to complete their transactions will be offered the opportunity to opt-in for the Lifetime Pasta Passes for an additional $400, plus tax.

Those who opted in for the Lifetime passes will be notified if they qualify the following day, at which point they can finish their transactions and start scoping out real-estate listings near their preferred Olive Garden.

“This never-before offered pass will be paid off, on average, by the time you hit your 45th bowl,” the press release estimates.

Westlake Legal Group Lifetime-Pasta-Pass-Graphic-1 Olive Garden offering Lifetime Pasta Passes, but only for 50 diners willing to fork over enough dough Michael Bartiromo fox-news/food-drink/food/restaurants fox-news/food-drink/food/food-trends fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 4d658b9a-67f0-58be-a4f4-c2aa67dc2e94

Olive Garden claimed that, if one were to purchase the $500 Lifetime Pasta Pass and somehow consume a bowl of pasta per day for 60 years, each bowl would cost less than three cents apiece. (Olive Garden)

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The recipients of the remaining 23,950 regular Pasta Passes, meanwhile, will need to begrudgingly enjoy the nine weeks of unlimited pasta they will subsequently be entitled to.

Anyone who wants to get a Lifetime pass — or just a regular pass — needs to act quick, though. In 2018, Olive Garden’s limited Annual Pasta Passes, which allows the bearer to a year’s worth of unlimited food, sold out in less than 1 second, per the Daily Meal. All 22,000 of the passes the company offered in 2017 sold out in one second as well.

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“Guests are encouraged to visit the website early to join the online waiting room starting at 1:55 p.m. ET,” the company suggests.

Westlake Legal Group pasta-pass-never-ending-pasta-pass_bothcardsfullyvisible-_withfood Olive Garden offering Lifetime Pasta Passes, but only for 50 diners willing to fork over enough dough Michael Bartiromo fox-news/food-drink/food/restaurants fox-news/food-drink/food/food-trends fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 4d658b9a-67f0-58be-a4f4-c2aa67dc2e94   Westlake Legal Group pasta-pass-never-ending-pasta-pass_bothcardsfullyvisible-_withfood Olive Garden offering Lifetime Pasta Passes, but only for 50 diners willing to fork over enough dough Michael Bartiromo fox-news/food-drink/food/restaurants fox-news/food-drink/food/food-trends fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 4d658b9a-67f0-58be-a4f4-c2aa67dc2e94

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