Judge Rules That Cherokee Freedmen Have Right To Tribal Citizenship Kat Chow August 31, 20177:39 PM ET

Waynetta Lawrie (left), of Tulsa, Okla., stands with others at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City in 2007, during a demonstration by several Cherokee Freedmen and their supporters.


A judge ruled Wednesday that the descendants of enslaved people who were owned by members of the Cherokee Nation — known as Cherokee Freedmen — have citizenship rights.

“The Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit,” U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote in his ruling, “but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen.”

After Emancipation, the Cherokee Nation granted its former slaves tribal citizenship as part of a treaty with the U.S. government in 1866. But in 2007, Cherokee members voted overwhelmingly to strip 2,800 Freedmen of their membership, defining tribal citizenship as “by blood.”

NPR previously reported that the U.S. government had opposed the tribe’s vote and that at one point, the Department of Housing and Urban Development suspended $37 million in funding to the Cherokee Nation.

Now, the fight over citizenship has come to an end.

Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes— one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit — called the decision “groundbreaking.”

“There can be racial justice — but it doesn’t always come easy,” Vann told NPR. “What this means for me, is the Freedmen people will be able to continue our citizenship … and also that we’re able to preserve our history. All we ever wanted was the rights promised us, to continue to be enforced.”

The tribe’s attorney general, Todd Hembree, said in a statement Thursday eveningthat the Cherokee Nation does not intend to appeal the decision.

“The Cherokee Nation respects the rule of law, and yesterday we began accepting and processing citizenship applications from Freedmen descendants,” Hembree said. “While the U.S. District Court ruled against the Cherokee Nation, I do not see it as a defeat. As the Attorney General, I see this as an opportunity to resolve the Freedmen citizenship issue and allow the Cherokee Nation to move beyond this dispute.”


‘Hope Is Gone’ as Venezuelan Protesters Vanish From Streets – Ryan DubeUpdated Aug. 31, 2017 10:25 a.m. ET

Antigovernment protests have dissipated and the president faces few short-term challenges to his rule

Wil Riera for The Wall Street Journal (2)

CARACAS, Venezuela—Wuilly Arteaga became a symbol of Venezuela’s protest movement as he played patriotic hymns from his violin in the face of tear gas and rubber bullets. Then he was arrested and beaten.

When the 23-year-old was released after three weeks, he was stunned to find the protest movement had died and President Nicolás Maduro in greater control than ever.

“It looks like hope is gone,” said Mr. Arteaga this week, bruises visible on his left cheek. “I feel like everything is so dark, I don’t see an exit.”

Five months of violent antigovernment demonstrations have dissipated and the epicenter in Caracas, Plaza Altamira, sits eerily quiet. The barricades that opponents once set up to slow government armored vehicles are gone. Rumors of a military uprising are gone. And life has returned to normal, with people struggling to find enough to eat in a country stricken by shortages.

Despite an 80% disapproval rating, Mr. Maduro seemingly faces few short-term challenges to his rule just a month after he drew international condemnation by installing his allies into a new rubber-stamp assembly.

The government’s crackdown on protesters—including widespread arrests and torture, human-rights groups and victims say—has broken the once-potent protest movement. The protests claimed more than 125 lives and nearly 2,000 wounded, including scores with permanent injuries.

Clockwise from top, opposition activist Wuilly Arteaga played the violin during a antigovernment protest in Caracas, was in a hospital in July after being injured during a protest and sat in August after spending three weeks in detention.

Clockwise from top, opposition activist Wuilly Arteaga played the violin during a antigovernment protest in Caracas, was in a hospital in July after being injured during a protest and sat in August after spending three weeks in detention. Photo: federico parra/AFP-Getty; ROBERT CARMONA-BORJAS/AFP-Getty; Ryan Dube/The Wall Street Journal

Article continues:

U.S. Dispatches Stealth Jets, Bombers in Warning to North Korea – WSJ By Jonathan Cheng Updated Aug. 31, 2017 6:13 p.m. ET

The U.S. sent four of its most advanced fighter jets and a pair of B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula, alongside Japanese and South Korean jets, as a show of force in direct response to North Korea firing a missile over Japan.

Source: U.S. Dispatches Stealth Jets, Bombers in Warning to North Korea – WSJ

Disney to Cut Staff at ABC Television Group – Joe Flint Updated Aug. 30, 2017 7:08 p.m. ET

As many as 300 jobs could be cut in aim to reach 10% reduction in costs

Posters for ABC Television shows "Once Upon A Time" and "Blackish" on  display at The Walt Disney Co. Studios in Burbank, Calif.

Posters for ABC Television shows “Once Upon A Time” and “Blackish” on display at The Walt Disney Co. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News


Walt Disney Co. is preparing significant budget cuts at its Disney/ABC Television Group that will include staff reductions and restructurings, people familiar with the matter said.

The bulk of the cuts are expected to take place at the ABC broadcast network, its television production studio, ABC News and local television stations. Cable networks Disney Channel and Freeform will also likely see their workforces reduced as well, the people said.

Overall, the cuts are expected to represent 10% of the unit’s annual costs and will identified by the end of September, which concludes Disney’s current fiscal year.

The Disney/ABC TV Group employs close to 10,000 people and is looking to reduce employees through a combination of layoffs and attrition, two people with knowledge of the situation said. The total number of positions being eliminated could be as many as 300, these people said.

The cable-sports unit ESPN, which is enduring its own tough times with declining ratings and subscribers, is not part of the Disney/ABC TV Group but has also endured employee reductions this year.

Article continues:

Don’t Blame the Robots – By Sahil Mahtani and Chris Miller Aug 30 2017

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI / REUTERS Canadian PM Justin Trudeau high-fives a robot in Boisbriand, Quebec, March 2017.

Six months ago, Microsoft’s Bill Gates proposed a robot tax, on the grounds that if workers pay taxes, so too should the machines that take their jobs. Such a policy would, in Gates’s words, “slow down the speed” of automation, thereby allowing societies to “manage [the] displacement” of workers. The idea speaks to a widespread sense that the labor market isn’t working like it used to.

But since Gates made his statement, it has become clear that taxing technology entails a comically large number of problems. One is that robots can both reduce and increase the demand for human labor. Search algorithms reduced the need for travel agents, but Uber increased demand for drivers. It is impossible to determine ex ante which robots to tax.

Others have noted that a robot tax would be impossible to structure and police. If a robot is, as the dictionary puts it, something that “is capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically,” then what is a dishwasher? Taxing some machines and not others would be a regulatory muddle.

Finally, whereas Gates saw a robot tax as a way of addressing the negative side-effects of rapid technological change, it is also a tax on capital investment—investment that every country is trying to encourage. No wonder that, when asked if he would support a robot tax, the European official in charge of digital affairs said, “No way, no way.”

Article continues:

Houston flooding: two explosions take place at Texas chemical plant – Tom Dart First published on Thursday 31 August 2017 06.26 EDT

Sheriff taken to hospital after inhaling chemicals at Arkema plant in Crosby that was flooded by waters from tropical storm Harvey

The Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas.

The Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. Photograph: Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP

Two explosions have taken place at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, that lost power due to flooding caused by tropical storm Harvey.

A sheriff’s deputy was taken to hospital after inhaling chemical fumes, and nine others drove themselves to hospital as a precaution. The plant makes organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, paints and other products.

Arkema, the industrial chemical manufacturer that runs the plant, said it was notified at approximately 2am by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center of two explosions and black smoke.

“Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out,” the company said.

“We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone.”

Article continues:

Don’t Fall Victim To Harvey Flood Scams Emily Sullivan – August 31, 20175:15 AM ET

As Harvey, the largest rainstorm in the history of the continental United States, floods homes in Texas and Louisiana, many Americans want to send money for relief efforts.

The need for that help will be enormous: FEMA Administrator Brock Long has saidmore than 195,000 people already have registered for disaster assistance.

Many reputable organizations already are delivering food and care to those in need. But experts on charitable giving say donors need to be wary: con artists are also after your money. Scam charities raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, and they are likely to try it again now.

Here’s are tips from legitimate sources, such as the Federal Trade Commission’s web site, on how to safely donate to Harvey relief efforts.

Know where your money is going.

Contribute to organizations that have an experience assisting in disaster relief, and be skeptical of charities that pop up solely in response to Harvey or those with unfamiliar names. You can check out charities with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

Never give out cash.


Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe – JOSH DAWSEY 08/30/2017 07:26 PM EDT

The cooperation is the latest sign that the investigation into Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been looking into Paul Manafort’s lobbying work and financial transactions, including real estate deals in New York. | Jeff Chiu/AP

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.

The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering.

No decision has been made on where or whether to file charges. “Nothing is imminent,” said one of the people familiar with the case.

Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has previously denied it. A spokesman for Manafort didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

A representative for Mueller’s office declined to comment, as did the New York attorney general’s office.

People close to Manafort say the team has pressured him by approaching family members and former business partners. A number of other firms and people who have worked with him have received subpoenas.

Article continues:

Google and Microsoft Can Use AI to Extract Many More Ad Dollars from Our Clicks – TOM SIMONITE 08.31.17 07:00 AM

When Google and Microsoft boast of their deep investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, they highlight flashy ideas like unbeatable Go players and sociable chatbots. They talk less often about one of the most profitable, and more mundane, uses for recent improvements in machine learning: boosting ad revenue.

AI-powered moonshots like driverless cars and relatable robots will doubtless be lucrative when—or if—they hit the market. There’s a whole lot of money to be made right now by getting fractionally more accurate at predicting your clicks.

Many online ads are only paid for when someone clicks on them, so showing you the right ones translates very directly into revenue. A recent research paper from Microsoft’s Bing search unit notes that “even a 0.1 percent accuracy improvement in our production would yield hundreds of millions of dollars in additional earnings.” It goes on to claim an improvement of 0.9 percent on one accuracy measure over a baseline system.

Google, Microsoft, and other internet giants understandably do not share much detail on their ad businesses’ operations. But the Bing paper and recent publications from Google and Alibaba offer a sense of the profit potential of deploying new AI ideas inside ad systems. They all describe significant gains in predicting ad clicks using deep learning, the machine learning technique that sparked the current splurge of hope and investment in AI.

Article continues:

Texas’s Harsh Sanctuary-City Ban Blocked – by Federal Judge Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Kartikay Mehrotra August 30, 2017, 5:42 PM PDT August 30, 2017, 7:25 PM PDT

Texas can’t punish so-called sanctuary cities, after a federal judge temporarily blocked a measure that would have let Texas’s Republican leadership jail sheriffs and fine towns for failing to fully cooperate with U.S. immigration policies.

The state is expected to appeal to try to reinstate the law, which was set to take effect Friday.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio refused on Wednesday to approve provisions that threaten local officials with firing or up to a year in jail and municipalities with fines of up to $25,500 a day for failing to fall in line with Texas Republican lawmakers’ goal to step up immigration enforcement.

QuickTake Why ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Are a Target for Trump

The judge also questioned provisions of the law, called Senate Bill 4, that could lead officials to illegally detaining U.S. citizens or seizing lawful immigrants who aren’t accused of any crimes.

“There is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe,” Garcia said in a 94-page decision. “There is also ample evidence that localities will suffer adverse economic consequences which, in turn, harm the state of Texas.”

Many Texas mayors, county officials and police chiefs warned the law would worsen public safety by frightening immigrants into not reporting crimes or seeking medical care. They also complained it punished public officials for expressing their opinions or adopting policies that discourage local officers from acting as immigration agents without supervision.

The ban, which also applies to university officials and campus police, lacked concrete standards for measuring compliance, opponents complained. That left it up to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — a Tea Party Republican — to decide whether a city or official should be charged with a violation.

‘Draconian Penalties’

Article continues: