Monday, July 6, 2015

To Encourage Californians To Conserve, A Tweak In Wording Can Help

By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fighting California’s drought is a bit like running a political campaign, complete with carefully calibrated messages crafted with polling data.
Even details like colors are used for maximum effect.

Officials at the state’s Save Our Water conservation program recently tweaked their “brown is the new green” message, advising instead that residents let their lawns “fade to gold.”

The shift was the result of polling funded by the Association of California Water Agencies, which surveyed 800 voters over three days last month.

A variety of phrases were tested to see which ones were most appealing.…

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Bakery Ordered To Pay $135,000 For Denying Wedding Cake To Lesbian Couple

By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

The former owners of an Oregon bakery have been ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who were refused a wedding cake, in the latest front in the battle between religious liberty and individual rights.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Ore., to compensate the couple for emotional and mental suffering that resulted from the denial of service.

The Kleins had cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in refusing to make the wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.…

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Kerry Tempers Optimism For Deal With Iran

By Jonathan Tirone, Henry Meyer and John Follain, Bloomberg News (TNS)

VIENNA –– U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tempered expectations that a nuclear deal with Iran is imminent as foreign ministers from world powers rejoined a ninth straight day of negotiations.

While progress continues to be made at the talks, “we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues,” Kerry said Sunday at Vienna’s Palais Coburg, where he met for much of the day with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

An agreement would allow energy-rich Iran back into global oil and natural-gas markets as sanctions are lifted.…

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