Favorite Link Friday March 18, 2016 - P.O.W. Report

Friday, March 18, 2016

Favorite Link Friday March 18, 2016

Alaska Senate OKs bill easing texting-while-driving penalty 

JUNEAU — A bill aimed at boosting the enforcement of Alaska's ban on texting while driving has passed the state Senate. The bill makes it a violation, subject to a $500 fine, for texting while driving in cases that do not involve physical injury or death to another person. Stiffer penalties would remain for those more severe cases. It is currently a misdemeanor to text-while-driving in cases not involving injury or death. In his sponsor statement, Senate President Kevin Meyer has said that the reduced penalty proposed by the bill is intended ease prosecution of distracted drivers by allowing officers to issue tickets on site rather than pursue a case through the court system. [Source]
I actually remember when this bill was originally passed in the Legislature. Most legislators were opposed to this bill but voted for it anyway because the 'constituents cared deeply about it'. Funny how things turn back full circle and the 'constituents' are now against the bill that they originally wanted. At least this is proof that the legislature listens to its constituents.

Professor wins $700k for solving 300-year-old math equation

It was a problem that had baffled mathematicians for centuries -- until British professor Andrew Wiles set his mind to it.
"There are no whole number solutions to the equation xn + yn = zn when n is greater than 2." Otherwise known as "Fermat's Last Theorem," this equation was first posed by French mathematician Pierre de Fermat in 1637, and had stumped the world's brightest minds for more than 300 years.

Wiles, 62, first became fascinated with the theorem as a 10-year-old growing up in Cambridge, England, after finding a copy of Fermat's Last Theorem at his local library.

He spent seven years intensively working on the equation in secret while at Princeton University, finally cracking it in 1994 by combining the three complex mathematical fields of modular forms, elliptic curves, and Galois representations.

"I was very lucky that not only did I solve the problem, but I opened the door for a whole new era in my field," said Wiles. [Read the rest here

Legislature votes to prevent debate about Medicaid expansion

Recognizing that a legislative vote to not pay a Washington, D.C., law firm $150,000 for an appeal would be divisive, leaders of the House and Senate used parliamentary procedure to kill attempts by Democrats to discuss the topic, requiring members of the ruling coalitions to vote as instructed.

"There's a timing issue," Coghill said after the Senate voted 16-4 to prohibit discussion of an amendment by Sen. Bill Wielechowski to save the $150,000. "I think the budget wasn’t exactly the right place to deal with it."

Cogill is wrong about that, of course. The budget is all about the money.

There has never been a good time to vote because legislative leaders believe they would lose. Coghill acknowledged that a majority of senators "probably generally support the Medicaid expansion," though he said they don't like the unilateral action by the governor to do it without a vote by the Legislature.

After the Legislature declined to vote last year, Gov. Bill Walker expanded Medicaid Sept. 1 to more low-income Alaskans, funded mostly by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." So far, 12,678 people have signed up for health insurance under the program and about 30,000 more could be eligible, the state estimates.

The Legislative Council, a committee controlled by the leaders of the Legislature, failed in efforts to get an injunction last summer to stop the expansion and the judge dismissed the case March 1, saying the governor followed existing law. The Legislature has the authority to rewrite the law, but is unwilling to do so. [Read the rest here]

Clinton Emails

Read all the Clinton Emails Here

Personality Test

Here is a fun 'Jung' Personality test: [Click here]

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Quote of the Week

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." -George Orwell

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