U.S. Patent and Trademark Office narrows ArrivalStar's patent on transit-tracking systems. ArrivalStar had been suing public entities (like the state of California and the city of Cleveland, OH) for the sin of helping good Americans figure out if their buses and trains are running on time based on a patent it's held since 1999, but the USPTO found that a lot of what ArrivalStar patented had been done by other entities since 1992. A private corporation files an overly-broad patent and uses it to shake down public transportation systems? Sounds like the very definition of a frivolous lawsuit to me. But the next right-winger to describe it as such might be the first.
Judge finds 40-year-old San Diego-area activist who had scrawled protest messages in chalk on sidewalks in front of Bank of Amerikkka branches not guilty of vandalism. Mayor Bob Filner, until November a Democratic U.S. House Rep, called the prosecution of Mr. Olson a waste of time. And Bank of Amerikkka's popularity can only soar after their harassment of a man writing "No thanks, big banks" in washable chalk on their sidewalks. Please, good peoples, stop banking there -- credit unions ain't that hard to get into, and small banks ain't that tough to find.
UNITE HERE ends its global boycott of Hyatt hotels after reaching agreement on a contract covering hotel workers in four cities extending into 2018. Workers in Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Los Angeles still have to ratify the contract, which would restore pay and benefits going back to 2009 and hike wages by four percent annually, but no one thinks they won't. If you've agitated for better treatment of Hyatt workers, then you helped make this happen, and you ought to celebrate.
USDA updates nutrition standards for snacks sold on school grounds -- less sugar and fat, more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Even the exceptions (mostly for birthday parties and after-school programs) seem sensible, though I hope the folks who try to drive a Mack truck through those exceptions get punished appropriately. Anyway, if you left one of the 250,000 comments supporting healthier snacks for schoolkids, go get yourself a granola bar, because you've earned it.
Ted Nugent is supposedly seriously considering running for President in 2016. If he ever includes big corporate CEOs in his list of people who "refuse to produce" -- as opposed to the imaginary black people who currently populate that list -- then I might consider listening to anything he has to say. But "Journey to the Center of the Mind," the greatest Moody Blues song not actually recorded by the Moody Blues, only gets a man so far with me.