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From Desert to Wonderland: Images Show California’s Striking Superbloom (Maria)

The author writes, “California’s superblooms this year are so lush and so exuberant that they can be seen from space. Satellite images from Maxar Technologies, a Colorado-based company, show striking images of bright orange, red, yellow and purple blooms across southern California.The vast, vibrant blooms are a sign of abundance after a prolonged drought, which was broken by historic snow and rainfall this winter. Wildflower seeds that accumulated underground through a series of punishingly dry years are finally coming up, UC Davis plant sciences professor Jennifer Funk explained in a news release.” 

Feinstein, Under Pressure to Resign, Asks to Step Down From Judiciary Panel (Dana)

The author writes, “Senator Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday pushed back on calls for her resignation but asked to step away from the Judiciary Committee indefinitely while recovering from shingles, responding to mounting pressure from Democrats who have publicly vented concerns that she is unable to perform her job. Ms. Feinstein, an 89-year-old California Democrat, has been away from the Senate since February, when she was diagnosed with the infection. Her absence has become a problem for Senate Democrats, limiting their ability to move forward with judicial nominations. In recent days, as it became clear she was not planning to return after a two-week recess, pressure began to increase for Ms. Feinstein to resign.”

Florida Fight Over ‘Baby Boxes’ Part of Bigger Culture War (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Safe Haven Baby Boxes and A Safe Haven for Newborns are two charities with similar names and the same goal: providing distressed mothers with a safe place to surrender their unwanted newborns instead of dumping them in trash cans or along roadsides. But a fight between the two is brewing in the Florida Senate. An existing state law, supported and promoted by the Miami-based A Safe Haven, allows parents to surrender newborns to firefighters and hospital workers without giving their names. A new bill, supported by the Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, would give fire stations and hospitals the option to install the group’s ventilated and climate-controlled boxes, where parents could drop off their babies without interacting with fire or hospital employees.”

It’s Time to Stop Arresting People for Trolling the Government (Reader Jim)

From Wired: “After Robert Frese posted a nasty Facebook comment about a police officer in 2018, police obtained a warrant to arrest him. This was the second time in six years that Frese was charged with ‘criminal defamation.’ Frese does not live in Russia, China, Iran, or another country notorious for oppressive speech laws. He lives in New Hampshire, which criminalizes the act of purposely making a false statement that exposes someone ‘to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.’ While Americans typically associate defamation with civil lawsuits, in which the alleged victim sues the speaker for money, many are unaware that, in some states, defamation is a crime that can lead to fines or jail time.”

The NSA’s Brain Drain Has a Silver Lining (Sean)

From Defense One: “For more than 60 years, the National Security Agency was the employer of choice for the country’s top cyber and tech talent. Even the Edward Snowden scandal in 2013 did little to mar the agency’s ability to hire and keep talent. In 2015, then-Director Mike Rogers could rightly boast about his agency’s under-2 percent voluntary attrition rate, better than its government and industry peers. But by 2016, reports of a brain drain were emerging from the halls of Fort Meade. Competition with Big Tech for talent had intensified. Internal discontent over organizational tumult, bureaucratic inertia, and lagging innovation pushed the attrition rate past 6 percent.”

Podcast: The Train Crash Riots in Greece (Al)

From Popular Front: “[In this episode] we speak to journalist and filmmaker Alexis Daloumis about the seriousness of the recent train crash clashes in Greece, and how this is much bigger than what’s sometimes being reported.”

Tokitae, the Oldest Orca in Captivity, Has Path to Freedom After 50 Years (Laura)

The author writes, “More than five decades after being captured in the waters off the Pacific northwest, Tokitae the orca has a plan to return home, delivering a victory to animal rights advocates and Indigenous leaders who have long fought for her release. [In March] the owners of the Miami Seaquarium where Tokitae lives announced a ‘formal and binding agreement’ with a group called the Friends of Lolita to begin the process of returning Tokitae to Puget Sound. A news release indicates that the joint effort is ‘working toward and hope the relocation will be possible in the next 18 to 24 months.”

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