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Non-religious Israelis can now ask for Sabbath off

(JTA) — JERUSALEM — The Knesset approved an amendment to a Sabbath law that will allow Israeli employees to request not to work on Shabbat even if they are not religiously observant.

The Work and Rest Hours Law previously required employees of any religion to prove that they were religiously observant in order to take off work for their day of rest.

The new legislation, proposed by Aliza Lavie of the Yesh Atid party and Miki Zohar of Likud, was passed unanimously on Monday by the Knesset.

Nasdaq record close, Dow drops 7th straight day

(CNBC) — The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 closed higher on Wednesday, boosted by dealmaking activity and potentially improving trade relations between the U.S. and the European Union.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.7 percent to 7,781.51 to close at an all-time high, led by Facebook and Netflix, which also reached record levels. Facebook and Netflix rose 2.3 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. The S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent to end at 2,767.32, with real estate stocks outperforming.

Disney raised its bid for Twenty-First Century Fox assets to $38 per share, or $71.3 billion, surpassing an offer made by rival and NBCUniversal parent Comcast. Last week, Comcast bid $65 billion in cash for Fox assets which include FX, Star TV and stakes in Sky.

'Cop-bashing' poster promoted by candidate to be top cop

The image is stunning: A police officer, mouth open, possibly struggling for breath. His cap is tipped down almost over his eyes. There’s a rope around his chest, and around his neck.

On the other end of the rope? Wonder Woman.

The poster was shared online by the Kansas State Troopers Association, mainly because the ownership of the poster “that incites violence against police officers,” is the Democrat candidate to be the state’s top law-enforcement officer.

Attorney Sarah Swain is the Democrat candidate for Kansas state attorney general.

The image:

WonderCops

“The remarkable thing isn’t that in post-Obama America, Democrats have become so comfortable demonizing police officers that they don’t think twice about displaying a poster of Wonder Woman lassoing a police officer around the neck,” commented BizPacReview.

“The remarkable thing is that after doing so, they think they should be elected as chief law enforcement officer in their state.”

“This is a very disturbing image,” the photo caption on Facebook said. “Even more disturbing is it is the property of a candidate for State Attorney General. Someone who incites violence against law enforcement is not the kind of leadership we need.”

Fox reported Swain apologized for those offended, but also “essentially defended the poster, claiming Wonder Woman using her ‘lasso of truth’ to keep ‘less-than-honest police officers’ in line is a metaphor for cross-examination and a zealous defense.”

Swain stated, “As a criminal defense attorney for nearly 17 years, I have seen firsthand the injustice that can be doled out at the hands of less-than-honest police officers.”

She cited cases where the truth was ignored and people’s lives “destroyed.”

Even Democrats were taken aback, BPR said.

“Promotion of violence against law enforcement officers disqualifies Swain from serving as Kansas’ chief law enforcement officer,” Ethan Corson, the executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Judge: Kansas cannot require citizenship proof from voters

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson (YouTube video screenshot)

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson (YouTube video screenshot)

A federal judge has struck down a Kansas law requiring voters to prove they are citizens, even after she admitted that “to register to vote, one must be a United States citizen.”

The decision comes from U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who boasts on her federal court profile of being a fourth-generation Kansan and “the first African American to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.”

Robinson not only struck down the state’s legislatively approved requirement to provide proof of citizenship, she lashed out at Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who defended the law.

She ordered Kobach to take additional continuing education classes because she claimed he did not follow her instructions.

The law was part of a nationwide effort to prevent illegal aliens from voting.

In her ruling, Robinson denigrated witnesses for the state, including the renowned Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and adjunct, non-tenured professor at the Law School of George Mason University.

Robinson belittled him with the comment, “He has never testified as an expert witness before” and “has published no peer-reviewed research on any subject.”

Another expert, Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, was dismissed by Robinson as having experience limited to “scholarship and reports that generally deal with immigration and citizenship issues, not election issues such as voter registration.”

The Kansas City Star reported the judge “ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.”

The newspaper said the decision “holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach.”

However, Robinson acknowledged in her opinion that one cannot register to vote without being a “United States citizen.”

A woman in Robinson’s court office who declined to identify herself said Robinson would not comment.

“Under Kansas law, legally qualified voters must register to be eligible to vote, and only United States citizens over the age of 18 may register to vote,” the judge found.

The state previously used an attestation in which applicants stated: “I swear or affirm that I am a citizen of the United States and a Kansas resident, that I will be 18 years old before the next election, that if convicted of a felony, I have had my civil rights restored, that I have abandoned my former resident and/or other name, and that I have told the truth on this application.”

The law gave residents the options of 13 forms of acceptable identification, and even allowed for “another form of citizenship documentation.” But the judge found, “Driver’s license applicants in Kansas must provide proof of lawful presence when they apply for the first time.”

That process, she said, recognizes five documents that purportedly ‘”how your date of birth, identity, and lawful status as a U.S. citizen.”

Applicants have an option during the process to state they want to register to vote.

At issue were thousands of people who had started the registration process but failed to provide documentary proof of citizenship and eventually were struck from the voter rolls.

Robinson’s opinion included dozens of pages of reasons why she rejected the state’s witnesses and why she approved of the testimony of witnesses for the plaintiffs, Steven Wayne Fish, Parker Bednasek and others in the consolidated case ruling.

The judge cited one of the witnesses, saying the witness “credibly testified that there is no empirical evidence to support defendant’s claims in the in this (sic) case that noncitizen registration and voting in Kansas are largescale problems.”

The judge also cited the low incidence of voting, reportedly 1 percent, among “purported noncitizen registrations.”

“If these purported noncitizen registrations were intentional, one would expect these individuals to vote more frequently,” the judge wrote.

She praised the plaintiffs’ witnesses for “nonmisleading” testimony.

Robinson also published her own criticisms of some of the statistical testimony offered by witnesses, complaining “the sample size is too small.”

She said the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already has decided that the National Voting Rights Act obliges a state to show a substantial number of noncitizens successfully registered, after apparently lying on their attestation, for there to be a problem.

“This court found that defendant’s showing must go beyond the number of registrations that would impact the outcome of an election to be substantial.”

The judge said there was “scant evidence” of fraudulent voting by noncitizens and the state’s requirements for proof of citizenship were a “deterrent” on young voters.

Robinson ordered that elections officials state “voter registration applicants need not provide [proof of citizenship] in order to be registered to vote” and that counties shall treat “all registrants lacking [proof of citizenship] … in the same manner and in the same list as all other registered voters’ names.”

She also listed reasons to penalize Kobach: the state’s mistakes: failing to designate one person as an expert witness, failing to disclose a coming supplemental report by a witness and updating numbers in testimony.,

Kobach’s office said he will appeal.

“Judge Robinson is the first judge in the country to come to the extreme conclusion that requiring a voter to prove his citizenship is unconstitutional. Her conclusion is incorrect, and it is inconsistent with precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court,” the statement said.

GE isn't the only stock booted from the Dow

(SWISS AMERICA) — If the stock market is a great investment, why do Madison Avenue executives get paid tens of billions of dollars each year to promote it? Gold puts real, reliable value in your hands, and gold companies spend comparatively little on advertising.

I looked into both. Since 2000, the Dow 30 has increased by 109%, from $11,722 to $25,517 – on average, about 6% per year.

But is this a giant shell game? The Dow during those years changed, delisting 11 of its 30 benchmark companies and replacing 37% of them since 2000. They just keep replacing the numbers.

TV weathercasters now push 'global warming'

(NBC) — Steve LaPointe has been a television weatherman for nearly three decades, and for most of his career, he didn’t focus much on global warming. He was skeptical about the science behind it, particularly the notion that human behavior was heating the planet.

But the issue wouldn’t go away. So LaPointe began to do “a lot of homework,” he said, reading research papers and consulting fellow meteorologists, who connected him with a nonprofit, Climate Central, that spreads information on climate change.

LaPointe increasingly came to realize he was wrong — that the evidence that greenhouse gases are warming the Earth is “irrefutable.” Now, LaPointe routinely reports on the effects of climate change — from the escalated growth of poison ivy to a jump in the number of high-pollen days — alongside his usual seven-day nightly forecasts on CBS affiliate WRGB in Albany, New York.