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Connecting the Dots: Afternoon Edition for Thursday, May 3, 2012


(East Bay Express) // Controversy is brewing over the certification of fair-trade coffee at the Oakland-based agency Fair Trade USA. The agency's recent decision to start certifying larger coffee plantations has smaller coops and farms fearing that they will be put out of business. Fair Trade USA argues that the expansion will increase the impact of fair trade...

(Sacramento Bee) // Another fair practice group is loosening its reigns – Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel has shelved an effort to have bloggers disclose their political funders. Ravel says she hopes bloggers will voluntarily disclose during the coming campaign months...

(East Bay Express) // While political bloggers are free to opine as they please, a local school official is in hot water over a recent controversial speech. West Contra Costa County Unified Schools' athletic director was put on leave after being caught sending racist, misogynistic, and pornographic emails to fellow employees. The emails targeted the Obama family, homosexuals and other minority groups...

(Sacramento Bee) // It's a good thing for schools to have more autonomy, according to the ratings agency Moody's Investors Service in its praise for a UC Berkeley proposal to give UC campuses more control over policy decisions such as setting tuition rates. The proposal will make it easier to admit more out-of-state students to increase revenues…

(Sacramento Bee) // California is looking to give gun owners less autonomy, on the other hand. This morning, legislators passed Assembly Bill 1527, which bans carrying unloaded rifles in public. People found guilty of carrying unloaded weapons will be subject to a minimum penalty of six months in jail and up to a year if they are also carrying ammunition…

(Bay Citizen) // Close to 90,000 Californian vets are waiting for the Department of Veteran Affairs to rule on their disability claims. Until they receive a ruling, veterans cannot access various government programs that would offer benefits such as tax breaks and preferences on small business loans. Many have been waiting more than four months.

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