A 'Candyland for Sheriffs' ; The End of California's Oldest Newspaper ; and More Picks 12/30

A ‘Candyland for Sheriffs’ (Reader Steve)

From ProPublica: “California has given counties more than $8 billion to handle thousands of new inmates. But lax spending rules and limited scrutiny have allowed some sheriffs to use that money for other things, which may violate state law.”

Freight Railroads Funded Climate Denial for Decades (Mili)

The author writes, “The four largest American freight railroads — BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and CSX — have sat at the center of the climate-denial movement nearly since it began, documents and studies show. These four companies have joined or funded groups that attacked individual scientists, cast doubt on scientific consensus, and rejected reports from major scientific institutions.”

The UN Climate Conference Has Failed. What Now? (Chris)

From the Correspondent: “The core transgression in Madrid wasn’t so much the continued belligerence of high-polluting countries. That part isn’t new. The worst part was the seemingly intentional exclusion of dozens of countries from the process altogether, particularly small countries who are already bearing the brunt of the climate emergency. The final session featured a half-empty room with entire delegations missing. It was a betrayal of the basic fact that makes the climate negotiations meaningful: every nation gets a voice.”

MI6 Floor Plans Lost by Building Contractor (Chris)

The author writes, “The documents, most of which were recovered inside the building, held sensitive information on the layout, including entry and exit points. Balfour Beatty, the company working on the refurbishment at the headquarters in Vauxhall, is reportedly no longer working on the project.”

Mark Twain Once Wrote for California’s Oldest Newspaper. Now It Nears Its Final Days. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “It became the Mountain Messenger in 1854 or 1855 and moved to La Porte and then to Downieville, a Gold Rush community about 110 miles northeast of Sacramento. The paper’s claim to fame is that Twain once wrote there while hiding out from the law. He was only there for a couple of weeks, writing under his real name, Sam Clemens, according to [Editor-publisher Don] Russell, who read some of his articles on microfilm. ‘They were awful,’ Russell said. ‘They were just local stories, as I recall, written by a guy with a hangover.’”