BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is asking a federal judge to stop Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration from ending Medicaid payments to the organization’s Louisiana clinics.
Jindal, a Republican presidential candidate, announced plans this month to cut off the funding, citing hidden-camera videos that accuse the organization of profiting from fetal tissue sales. Planned Parenthood denies the allegations.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast says termination of its Medicaid provider agreements will limit health services for poor people. The lawsuit says the Jindal administration is violating federal law and unconstitutionally penalizing patients for their association with Planned Parenthood.
The Medicaid payments are set to end Sept. 2 unless Planned Parenthood gets the injunction it’s seeking.
Federal officials have warned states that blocking Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood could violate the law.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A veteran computer scientist hates sitting in his car at stop lights, so he creates software that makes the experience less annoying. A former engineering professor wants to double the range of today’s electric vehicles. And an aeronautics expert believes flying cars shouldn’t be science fiction.
It’s no secret that technology is changing the car industry. The major automakers, as well as tech giants such as Google and possibly Apple, are laying the groundwork for the first driverless cars.
Meanwhile, a number of engineers and entrepreneurs have started their own companies to tackle other automotive challenges. Here are six startups that want to change the way you drive:
Traffic lights bring order to intersections, but have their inconveniences: They turn red when you’re in a hurry; they take forever to change green. And then your mind wanders while you wait — until the guy behind you starts leaning on his horn.
Entrepreneur and computer scientist Matt Ginsberg hates red lights. So he started Connected Signals, based in Eugene, Oregon, to collect real-time data from cities that synchronize their traffic signals. The company’s smartphone app tells motorists if an upcoming signal is about to change color. It shows drivers how long they’ll have to wait if a light is red — and chimes a warning just before it turns green.
The app helps prevent distraction, unnecessary acceleration and delays, Ginsberg says. BMW has added it to its driver display. Ginsberg also sees an opportunity in selling data for automotive systems that shut off a car’s engine to save gas during longer red lights. One hurdle is getting the raw data from individual cities: Ginsberg has agreements with about 100 towns and hopes to cover half the United States by 2017.
Sam Friedman and Alex Israel missed the start of a movie because they couldn’t find a place to park. That’s when the two young men, friends since kindergarten, decided to launch a company.
Los Angeles-based ParkMe is one of several startups with smartphone apps that help drivers find, reserve and pay online for parking spots. But it’s gone further than most in solving the data hurdle: ParkMe boasts parking information from 1,800 cities around the world, much of it collected via live feeds from ticket dispensers at commercial and municipal lots.
ParkMe also gets street parking data from meters that accept credit cards and from cities that use pavement sensors for parking enforcement. While it uses the data in its apps for drivers, ParkMe also sells it to planning agencies and car companies, including Audi, for their navigation systems.
That little diagnostic port under your car’s dashboard isn’t just for mechanics. It can provide useful information for drivers and insurance companies, too.
Several startups use matchbox-sized devices that plug into the port and send information on a car’s performance to the driver’s smartphone. San Francisco startup MetroMile goes further. It sells car insurance on a pay-per-mile basis, using a similar device to verify the miles driven.
Other insurance companies are trying similar devices to track drivers’ behavior, but MetroMile says it won’t penalize a customer for speeding or slamming the brakes. The company promises significant savings for people who don’t drive much. That may limit the potential market, although CEO Dan Preston says drivers also get useful information from MetroMile’s app.
You don’t need to wait years to enjoy autonomous driving. At least that’s the premise behind Cruise Automation’s “highway autopilot” kit.
Cruise engineers have retro-fitted some recent Audi models with prototype kits consisting of rooftop sensors, a computer in the trunk and controls that fit behind the steering wheel. Founder Kyle Vogt says the system will keep a car within its freeway lane, while steering around curves and maintaining safe distance from other vehicles.
Vogt, a software engineer who helped launch streaming video service Twitch.tv, told The Associated Press in December that he hoped to deliver the first Cruise kits to customers this year. But he stressed the importance of testing before releasing the product, to ensure it is safe. While Cruise received a permit in June to conduct tests on California highways, a spokesman recently declined comment on its timetable.
Most electric vehicles on the market only go 100 miles on a charge. A better battery is the industry’s “Holy Grail,” says investor Quin Garcia of Auto Tech Ventures, which funds automotive startups.
Sakti3, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is among several startups trying new approaches to lithium-ion batteries. Founder Ann Marie Sastry, a former engineering professor at the University of Michigan, was invited to a White House event this month to explain her ideas for making powerful batteries more cheaply.
It’s not enough to come up with an idea for a new battery, Sastry said. “If you can’t make it cost-effectively, you can’t have an impact.” She’s using computer simulations to design processes for making solid-state batteries that are lighter and hold twice the energy, providing more range. Appliance-maker Dyson Inc. has invested in Sakti3 and wants to use its technology. General Motors is also an investor.
Terrafugia, a privately backed startup in Woburn, Massachusetts, admits on its website that flying cars have become a pop-culture symbol for dreams that don’t come true. CEO Carl Dietrich wants to change that.
Two years ago, Dietrich and his co-founders — all MIT graduates — wowed observers at a Wisconsin air show by flying a gasoline-powered light plane the size of an SUV, which can fold its wings and meet legal requirements for highway driving. The company hopes to deliver a version to customers in 2017, at an anticipated price of $279,000.
Terrafugia is also working on a concept for a sleeker, electric-powered vehicle with rotors for vertical takeoff. But Dietrich acknowledged it will take years to achieve his goal of using software and automation to build a car that doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly.
“Our first product is very much an airplane that can be driven,” Dietrich says, “but it’s putting our company in position to make a car that can fly.”
Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter has issued an apology for telling NFL rookies at a league symposium in 2014 that they should “get a fall guy” to help them avoid trouble.
Carter posted his apology on Twitter after an ESPN article drew attention to the remarks he made during a presentation last year. He told a group of rookies from NFC teams in the session that if any of them were to get into trouble off the field, it was important to have someone who would step forward and take the blame.
The NFL had video of the talk on its website for a year, but it was pulled after it came to light on Sunday night.
“Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was,” Carter tweeted. “I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.”
Former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland told ESPN he was disgusted by a session in the 2014 rookie symposium in which an unnamed former player advised young players to identify a “fall guy” within their circle of friends. Video of Carter giving those remarks quickly surfaced.
Wearing his yellow Hall of Fame jacket, Carter is speaking to the group along with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Carter pulls Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater onto the stage to help illustrate his point.
“You all are not going to all do the right stuff,” Carter is seen telling the audience in the video. “So I got to teach you all how to get around all this stuff too. If you’re going to have a crew, one of them fools got to know he’s going to jail.”
More than a year after Carter made the remarks at the league-sponsored event, the NFL condemned the message.
“This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium,” the league said in a statement. “The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”
Jets safety Calvin Pryor, a rookie in 2014, said he didn’t think Carter was sending the wrong message.
“Not at all. He’s speaking real life,” Pryor said. “He’s been through a lot. People such as myself and others can relate to it, and some can’t. So it’s however you want to take it.”
Carter’s career arc has long made him a go-to resource for young players. He has admitted that drug abuse nearly derailed his career while he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, and it wasn’t until he cleaned his act up after being claimed off waivers by the Vikings that he became a star in the league.
Carter made the Pro Bowl eight times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr., in Florham Park, N.J., contributed to this report.
AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tony Sanchez carved out a corner of celebrity in a town full of high rollers and high-wire acts as a high school football coach.
Think about that for a second. A man coaching a high school football team squeezed his name onto the marquee with some of the biggest names in the entertainment world.
No wonder he’s been called The Sanchize.
But he is no Vegas veneer. The new UNLV coach has some substance to him.
He knows the game of football, how to build a winning program. He’s a communicator, connects with players, coaches, community leaders, boosters, fans — whoever, whenever.
And he knows details. Sanchez filled a book with his philosophies, ideas and quotes gleaned from other coaches, tactical and operational information. He has updated it every year and brought it — complete with aerial photos of campus and future plans — to his interview at UNLV.
If there’s a coach who can pull off the difficult double of jumping from high school directly into a head job at a major college and invigorating a moribund program, the 41-year-old Sanchez could be the man to do it.
“He is the right guy for this job,” UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. “We needed somebody who could come into this area and connect immediately. There have been a lot of coaches who have come through Las Vegas who were great people, but we were really irrelevant, I think, in this city and the state of Nevada. Tony has a chance to make us relevant again.”
UNLV’s football team has been one of the worst in FBS over the past two decades. The Rebels have had a winning record twice since 1994 and won two or fewer games eight times in the past 11 years. The struggles on the field have led to slumping at the gate.
Sanchez also is heading into waters that proved to be too turbulent for other coaches.
Three times in college football’s modern era have coaches tried to go directly from high school to the major-college level. None did it successfully. Iowa’s Bob Commings (1974-78), Notre Dame’s Gerry Faust (1981-85) and North Texas’ Todd Dodge (2007-10) went a combined 54-100-1 after making the jump.
Sanchez comes into his chance with a Vegas-show-sized advantage.
He isn’t transitioning from some neighborhood high school. He’s coming from Bishop Gorman, the football juggernaut across town.
In six seasons under Sanchez, Gorman went 85-5 and won six straight state titles, along with a mythical national title in 2014.
Sanchez ran Gorman like a college program, chartering planes to play games around the country while becoming a regular fixture on national television. Gorman was a big part of a reality TV show with Snoop Dogg and his son, the NFL Network brought its cameras to campus and Sanchez had a weekly radio show.
Gorman became so popular Celine Dion’s people asked for tickets. So did Imagine Dragons. The team not only had a pregame hype video, actor Ving Rhames narrated it.
Sanchez already knows the recruiting game. Gorman had 41 players earn college scholarships during his tenure, including 31 to FBS programs.
He also knows fundraising. With Sanchez leading the charge, Gorman built a new $93 million campus and a 41,000-square-foot training facility that’s closer to what Oregon has than any high school.
“All the off the field stuff, I’ll be honest with you, is probably an exaggerated version of what we were doing before,” Sanchez said. “I was in a really unique spot.”
Even so, Sanchez knows he doesn’t know everything.
To help the transition, he put together a staff of veteran coaches who have worked at some of the biggest programs in the country.
Kent Baer has been a defensive coordinator for 29 years, with stops at Notre Dame, Stanford, Arizona State, Colorado. Offensive coordinator Barney Cotton was at Nebraska, which included a stint as interim head coach after Bo Pelini was fired, Iowa State and New Mexico State.
Offensive line coach John Garrison worked at Nebraska, defensive line coach Joe Seumalo at Oregon State and San Jose State, cornerbacks coach J.D. Williams at Utah, Washington and California. Director of football operations Dennis Slutak held the same job under Pete Carroll at Southern California.
“I’m good at what I do, that’s why I’m here, but I’m smart enough to realize that this is different,” Sanchez said. “There will be certain things that are a little different, so surrounding myself with guys who have been around the game, have a lot of experience, come from successful places, all been involved in turnaround process, I can lean to the left or to the right if there’s something I don’t understand.”
What Sanchez does understand is Las Vegas. While many of UNLV’s previous coaches tried to distance themselves from the bright lights of The Strip, Sanchez has fully embraced it.
UNLV’s new helmets have stickers of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on the back. The team’s white pants have block letters that spell Las Vegas, the red and black pants have the diamond design from the old neon Stardust sign.
The Rebels’ new field has the “Welcome” sign in the end zones and the yard markers overlay symbols from the Stardust sign.
In a short time, Sanchez has created a buzz for UNLV sports that hasn’t been around maybe since Jerry Tarkanian and the basketball team took the city by fast break.
“He has a charisma and he’s really getting people excited about what he’s talking about,” UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice said. “It takes time to build a program, but I have no doubt that he will do that.”
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers advanced legislation Monday seeking to rein in the use of privacy-invading drones, passing one bill to prevent the use of drones by paparazzi and another making it a trespassing violation to fly drones over private property without permission.
In the state Senate, lawmakers voted 40-0 to approve AB856 by Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, classifying drone use to take pictures or video on private property as an invasion of privacy. “This bill will make paparazzi accountable for the breach of private property boundaries,” said Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who carried the bill in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Assembly voted 43-11 on AB856 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, which would create a trespass crime for operating a drone less than 350 feet above ground over private property without consent.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, who presented Jackson’s bill, said it makes sense to extend property rights upward as drones become more popular.
“If you drive on someone’s property with a car, you’re trespassing. If you’re looking on someone’s property to break in, you’re trespassing. It makes no sense that a drone should be able to look in your window and the operator should not be guilty of the same trespass,” Gatto said.
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, was among several Assembly lawmakers who worried the proposal would harm a growing industry and stifle innovation. She has a drone manufacturer in her district, she said.
“Don’t regulate an industry out of business,” Grove said.
Other lawmakers suggested the state should wait for federal regulators to develop policies.
Gatto said the bill would not affect businesses because the bill maintains a drone corridor and only targets “people up to no good.”
Both bills return to their house of origin for another vote.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Members of a mostly black women’s book club say a luxe Napa Valley wine train kicked them off because of their race.
The 11 members of the Sisters on the Reading Edge book club, all but one of whom is African American, say the Napa Valley Wine Train ordered them off Saturday, mid-journey. As debate built Monday on social media under the hashtag #laughingwhileblack, wine train spokesman Sam Singer said train employees had asked the women to either quiet down or get off the wine train and accept a free bus ride back to their starting point.
A manager on the train repeatedly told the women they were laughing and talking too loudly, book-club member Lisa Renee Johnson told San Francisco television station KTVU (http://bit.ly/1NwXeMR ).
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” said Johnson, who chronicled the episode via cellphone videos. On Facebook, Twitter and Yelp on Monday, defenders of the women posted videos of other, past noisy groups celebrating on the wine train, and they debated the wine train’s action with its supporters.
“We still feel this is about race. We were singled out,” Johnson told KTVU.
Wine-train employees marched the book club members through six railroad cars before escorting them off the train, the women said.
Employees of the Napa Valley Wine Train, which offers food and wine to passengers as they roll to Napa County wineries in updated Pullman cars, had asked the book club members to either be quieter or get off the train, Singer said Monday. “The book club clearly was fun-loving, boisterous and loud enough that it affected the experience of some of the passengers who were in the same car, who complained to staff,” he said.
The company refunded the women’s ticket money, Singer said.
On average, Singer said, individuals or groups are asked to get off the wine train once a month for one reason or the other. “It’s not a question of bias,” he said.
However, a police spokeswoman in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, which the wine train summoned Saturday, said it was the first time she recalled the wine train seeking police help removing a large group.
The 11 women, one of them 83 years old, already were off the train when St. Helena police arrived, police spokeswoman Maria Gonzalez said.
Wine train employees had called the police to deal with what they reported were “11 disruptive females,” Gonzalez said.
Police arrived at the railway siding and found “there was no crime being committed … nobody was intoxicated, there were no issues.” So officers left, Gonzalez said.
In the past, she said, the town’s police had responded to wine-train calls to offload passengers because of domestic incidents on board or for fighting.
Johnson did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday.