How About We Don't Charge Women Who Have Stillbirths With Murder?

California judge dismisses murder charges against Chelsea Becker

Yesterday, a judge in California dismissed murder charges against Chelsea Becker, for having a stillborn baby.

Prosecutors had argued the baby died because Becker, who struggles with addiction, caused the stillbirth by ingesting meth during her pregnancy, but Kings County Superior Court Judge Robert Shane Burns ruled that they hadn't presented any evidence that Becker knew when she took the drugs that doing so could kill her baby.

The outcome is right. Pregnancy should not be criminalized.

But, unfortunately, this is not the end of the bigger fight.

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2020 presidential election

Oops, Arizona's Phony Election 'Audit' Made Hundreds Of Voting Machines Unsafe To Use


Here's one for your "Gosh who could have seen this coming, oh right, anyone" file! Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a letter Thursday to Maricopa County officials to let them know that the fake "audit" of the 2020 election probably ruined hundreds of voting machines the county sent for "testing" under a subpoena from the state Senate. Since there's no knowing whether Cyber Ninjas, the QAnon enthusiasts running the audit, had messed up the machines, they can't safely be used again in future elections.

Once the machines were no longer under Maricopa County's control, Hobbs explained, the "chain of custody" was broken, leaving her with "grave concerns regarding the the security and integrity of these machines," she wrote. Hobbs said that she had consulted with election security experts at the federal Department of Homeland Security, who advised her that there was no way to tell whether the machines were still safe to use. The best thing to do with the things, she advised Maricopa County, would be to throw them out and buy new ones.

Hooray for the "voting integrity" wackaloons! They made good and sure those voting machines, which they assumed were corrupt in the first place, won't be used again. And it'll only cost millions of dollars to replace them.

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NOT SHINY, NOT NORMAL: Chevron Allowed To Literally Prosecute Lawyer For Winning Judgment Against It


Yesterday, the final day of his criminal trial, was Steven Donziger's 650th day under house arrest.

Donziger's crime? Pissing off Big Oil.

Steven Donziger now describes himself as an advocate. He used to be an environmental and human rights lawyer. For 28 years, he represented more than 30,000 indigenous Amazonians and rural farmers in Ecuador in their fight against Chevron.

For decades, the oil giant had destroyed the local ecosystem, dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste, leaving pits of oily waste water the size of football fields.

In 2011, an Ecuadorian court awarded Donziger's clients $19.5 billion in damages.

Rather than finally pay for some of the damage it had done, Chevron — which has some $260 billion in assets — quickly sold all of its holdings in Ecuador and got to work doing everything it could to get out of paying the people it harmed.

And, in addition to fighting the judgment, Chevron had a new goal: Ruin Steven Donziger's life.

Let's start at the beginning

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Hooray! A Story About Elon Musk And Bitcoin Where You Don't Have To Pretend Either Makes Sense!

Much less like them.

Billionaire creepazoid/visionary/cult figure Elon Musk announced yesterday that his car company, Tesla Motors, will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for cars, because of concerns about the astonishing amount of energy used in making Bitcoin happen. As with many times when Elon Musk Says A Thing, the announcement set off a bit of a panic, with the value of Bitcoin plunging and cryptocurrency markets losing something like $385 billion in value yesterday.

In the announcement, Musk said he was "concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, and especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel," and while Tesla won't be selling off any of its Bitcoin holdings — about $2.5 billion, which seems like rather a lot — it will hold off any further Bitcoin trading until the cryptocurrency "transitions to more sustainable energy."

Now, before we go any further, let us reassure you that this is an energy and environment story, not a cryptocurrency story. You don't have to understand anything about no "blockchain" or "public ledgers" or anything, beyond knowing that in order to add a version of the scarcity that makes money "money," Bitcoin can only be mined with dedicated computers that must solve incredibly complex math problems in order to be able to trade the imaginary currency. (If you do want to understand Bitcoin more, then what is wrong with you, and you can find a good introduction in this Chris Hayes podcast, which is remarkably non sleep-inducing).

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