Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bipartisan Disapproval Follows Bill Clinton's Meeting With Loretta Lynch; NPR, 6/30/16

Carrie Johnson, NPR; Bipartisan Disapproval Follows Bill Clinton's Meeting With Loretta Lynch:
"From the standpoint of legal ethics, Lynch did nothing wrong, said New York University law school professor Stephen Gillers. Gillers said he didn't think the attorney general needed to recuse herself from overseeing the email probe. But Gillers took a sterner tone with Bill Clinton.
"It was the height of insensitivity for the former president to approach the attorney general," Gillers said. "He put her in a very difficult position. She wasn't really free to say she wouldn't talk to a former president," after Clinton boarded her plane in Arizona.
"He jeopardized her independence and did create an appearance of impropriety going on to her plane," Gillers added."

Sanders is making his long goodbye count; Washington Post, 6/29/16

E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post; Sanders is making his long goodbye count:
"Sanders stands in a tradition of leaders and activists on the American left who, since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, have seen the Democratic Party as a vehicle for egalitarian purposes and have sought to build a strong progressive bloc inside the party.
Now that he has lost to Hillary Clinton, Sanders’s task is to maximize his side’s influence down the road. Given the threat posed by Donald Trump to so many of his own values, Sanders also has a moral obligation to help Clinton win this election."

Kaine accepted clothes, vacation as gifts; Politico, 6/30/16

Isaac Arnsdorf, Politico; Kaine accepted clothes, vacation as gifts:
"While legal under Virginia’s unusually permissive ethics rules, the gifts could become attack-ad fodder after similar presents led to corruption charges for Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose conviction the Supreme Court overturned Monday. Republicans could also use the records to portray Kaine as part of the self-dealing establishment in a cycle animated by hostility toward the political class.
Kaine’s staff and other defenders are quick to note that his gifts did not contain any suggestion of a quid pro quo trade for official favors — a major difference from the McDonnell case, and the key difference between an act of friendship and an act of corruption. And Kaine’s long career in Virginia politics, capped by a stint as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, contained no allegations of corruption.
“During his eight years as lieutenant governor and governor, Sen. Kaine went beyond the requirements of Virginia law, even publicly disclosing gifts of value beneath the reporting threshold,” a spokesperson said. “He’s confident that he met both the letter and the spirit of Virginia’s ethical standards.”
But Virginia’s standards are widely perceived as too permissive, especially in the wake of the McDonnell case. And even the appearance of lower standards could become an issue in the national spotlight."

After Orlando Shooting, ‘False Flag’ and ‘Crisis Actor’ Conspiracy Theories Surface; New York Times, 6/28/16

Christopher Mele, New York Times; After Orlando Shooting, ‘False Flag’ and ‘Crisis Actor’ Conspiracy Theories Surface:
"Still, trying to quash conspiracists can be a no-win proposition.
“For someone who believes in a conspiracy, you can’t go wrong,” Derek Arnold, who teaches communications at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, wrote in an email.
“If the powers that be give you information that is against your theory, it’s a lie; if it supports your theory, you are even more vindicated. And if they stay silent, it’s because you’ve got something to hide.”"

Prince William gets royally schooled by his grandmother, the Queen; Washington Post, 6/17/16

Melissa Etehad, Washington Post; Prince William gets royally schooled by his grandmother, the Queen:
"Thanks to one person who managed to catch it on film, people are able to enjoy a hilarious moment featuring Britain's royal family.
While making an appearance at last week's Trooping the Color parade, the Queen was caught "scolding" Prince William on the Buckingham Palace balcony. In the clip below, William is seen sitting down and tending to his son, Prince George. The 90-year-old monarch then nudged William's shoulder, indicating that he should stand. The 33-year-old Duke of Cambridge quickly turned and obliged.
The footage reveals a rare and authentic moment between members of the royal family, but also serves as a reminder of who is in charge. The clip has since taken the Internet by storm. Social media users across the world have tweeted pictures and shared the GIFs widely."

A Look at Copyright Lawsuits Involving Hit Songs; Associated Press via New York Times, 6/24/16

Associated Press via New York Times; A Look at Copyright Lawsuits Involving Hit Songs:
"A federal court jury in Los Angeles has decided that Led Zeppelin did not steal a riff for the intro of its epic hit, "Stairway to Heaven." Here is a look at some other cases that have taken pop songs from the recording studio to the courtroom over plagiarism allegations."

Exclusive: Google, Facebook Quietly Move Toward Automatic Blocking of Extremist Videos; Reuters via New York Times, 6/24/16

Reuters via New York Times; Exclusive: Google, Facebook Quietly Move Toward Automatic Blocking of Extremist Videos:
"Some of the web’s biggest destinations for watching videos have quietly started using automation to remove extremist content from their sites, according to two people familiar with the process.
The move is a major step forward for internet companies that are eager to eradicate violent propaganda from their sites and are under pressure to do so from governments around the world as attacks by extremists proliferate, from Syria to Belgium and the United States.
YouTube and Facebook are among the sites deploying systems to block or rapidly take down Islamic State videos and other similar material, the sources said.
The technology was originally developed to identify and remove copyright-protected content on video sites. It looks for "hashes," a type of unique digital fingerprint that internet companies automatically assign to specific videos, allowing all content with matching fingerprints to be removed rapidly.
Such a system would catch attempts to repost content already identified as unacceptable, but would not automatically block videos that have not been seen before."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is hero in new Marvel comic; Guardian, 6/28/16

Ashifa Kassam, Guardian; Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is hero in new Marvel comic:
"Trudeau will appear on the variant cover of Marvel’s Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, slated for release at the end of August. The cover is an alternative to the main cover in circulation.
The prime minister’s foray into Marvel Universe came after Canadian artist and writer Chip Zdarsky was approached by Marvel to write a story featuring Canadian superhero squad Alpha Flight. He immediately knew he wanted Trudeau to be part of the story.
“He seems to be the popular culture association with Canada right now, right behind [Toronto rapper] Drake – and I probably couldn’t get Drake in the comic,” Zdarsky told the Canadian Press. While it wouldn’t endorse the comic, Trudeau’s office said it was fine with the idea.
The storyline centers on Alpha Flight, who now work for Captain Marvel’s worldwide defence program. When faced with a moral quandary, the team decides to seek out Trudeau, their old boss, for advice.
“I liked the idea of him actually engaging them in an ethical debate,” said Zdarsky. “I didn’t want this to just be like a walk-on ... rescued by superheroes and he thanks them and that’s the end of the story.”
The story required Zdarsky to put himself in Trudeau’s shoes, envisioning how the politician would respond to certain situations."

Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons; New York Times, 6/29/16

Jonathan Martin, New York Times; Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons:
"Yet there was an even more fundamental deceit to the business, unreported until now: Extensive portions of the materials that students received after paying their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.
Together, the exaggerated claims about his own role, the checkered pasts of the people with whom he went into business and the theft of intellectual property at the venture’s heart all illustrate the fiction underpinning so many of Mr. Trump’s licensing businesses: Putting his name on products and services — and collecting fees — was often where his actual involvement began and ended."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Polish media in UK shocked by post-Brexit hate crimes; BBC News, 6/28/16

BBC News; Polish media in UK shocked by post-Brexit hate crimes:
"Police are investigating several cases, including racist graffiti daubed on the Polish and Social Cultural Association in London, and cards with the words "Leave the EU, no more Polish vermin" being posted through the letter boxes of Polish families and distributed outside primary schools in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
Anecdotal reports of such abuse have also appeared widely on social media in the UK.
"Had to issue a red card to the family of patient who were abusing a Polish nurse. They told her 'pack your bags as you will be deported soon'", posted @secret_nhs, an anonymous Twitter account purportedly written by an NHS manager."

Save Your Sympathy. You Are The Problem.; Huffington Post, 6/20/16

C.J. Prince, Huffington Post; Save Your Sympathy. You Are The Problem. :
"By failing to speak up against discrimination and hate, you have made the world unsafe for LGBTQ people, fueling their own self-loathing and inciting homophobic rage in others. You are the reason hate crimes against LGBTQ people were up in 2015, and particularly against people of color, transgender people and those who are gender-nonconforming. You are the reason LGBTQ teens are the daily targets of harassment, bullying and violence in schools. And you are the reason they too often choose suicide over the pain of living as a human target.
You. Are. The. Problem.
If you really want to stand in solidarity with the victims, their families and our community a whole, stop vilifying our community by calling us pedophiles and predators. Stop telling people to hate the sin. Stop warning straight people we are out to destroy their marriages, their families and the American way of life...
If you really want to make sure this doesn’t happen again, you must finally recognize the link between a cultural climate that demonizes LGBTQ people and the attacks against them that inevitably follow.
If you can’t do that, please, have some respect for the fallen and say nothing at all."

Pope Francis Says Church Should Apologize For Discriminating Against Gays, Ask For Forgiveness; Reuters via Huffington Post, 6/26/16

Reuters via Huffington Post; Pope Francis Says Church Should Apologize For Discriminating Against Gays, Ask For Forgiveness:
"Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.
Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the Church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for “blessing so many weapons” in the past."

The New Censorship: How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?; U.S. News, 6/22/16

Robert Epstein, U.S. News; The New Censorship: How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites? :
"Google's mysterious and self-serving practice of blacklisting is one of many reasons Google should be regulated, just as phone companies and credit bureaus are. The E.U.'s recent antitrust actions against Google, the recently leaked FTC staff report about Google's biased search rankings, President Obama's call for regulating internet service providers – all have merit, but they overlook another danger. No one company, which is accountable to its shareholders but not to the general public, should have the power to instantly put another company out of business or block access to any website in the world. How frequently Google acts irresponsibly is beside the point; it has the ability to do so, which means that in a matter of seconds any of Google's 37,000 employees with the right passwords or skills could laser a business or political candidate into oblivion or even freeze much of the world's economy.
Some degree of censorship and blacklisting is probably necessary; I am not disputing that. But the suppression of information on the internet needs to be managed by, or at least subject to the regulations of, responsible public officials, with every aspect of their operations transparent to all."

Huckabee’s anti-gay-marriage rally leads to copyright suit, $25,000 payment; Ars Technica, 6/27/16

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica; Huckabee’s anti-gay-marriage rally leads to copyright suit, $25,000 payment:
"Now, CNN has reported that Huckabee's campaign ended up paying $25,000 to Sullivan's music company to resolve a copyright infringement lawsuit over the incident. Two payments of $12,500 each appeared on a June 20 document filed with the Federal Election Commission...
Huckabee's campaign didn't give up without a fight, though. In court documents, Huckabee argued that his use of "Eye of the Tiger" was "de minimis" and should be considered fair use. He also said the rally for Davis was a "religious assembly," which further mitigated against a finding of infringement.
This isn't the first time "Eye of the Tiger" has been in the political eye of the storm. Newt Gingrich used the song at rallies for years before getting sued in 2012, when he mounted a presidential bid. He settled for an undisclosed sum. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also used the song in 2012, but he quickly stopped after receiving a warning from McGarry.
In an interview with CNN, song co-writer Jim Peterik said he doesn't want the song to be used at political events."

From Julia Gillard to Hillary Clinton: online abuse of politicians around the world; Guardian, 6/26/16

Elle Hunt, Nick Evershed and Ri Liu, Guardian; From Julia Gillard to Hillary Clinton: online abuse of politicians around the world:
"Hillary Clinton received almost twice as much abuse as Bernie Sanders on Twitter this year, according to a wide-ranging analysis provided to the Guardian that compared the treatment of politicians in the US, UK and Australia.
The abuse of politicians online, particularly women, is perceived by some to come with the territory. But as high-profile cases flag the urgent need to clean up the web, the scope of the problem is now revealed in greater detail in work by a Brisbane-based social data company, Max Kelsen.
The analysis looked at leadership contests involving both male and female politicians, with the aim of examining if abuse differed between politicians at similar levels in their parties...
As recently as in the past six months, there has been a growing intolerance of online abuse of public figures, spurred on by high-profile cases across the world, reflected in the Guardian’s The web we want series."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

La Cucaracha;, 6/26/16

Lalo Alcaraz,; La Cucaracha:
"I don't like that kid."

Illuminating the ‘Dark’ Web and Content Monitoring; New York Times, 6/24/16

Ted Loos, New York Times; Illuminating the ‘Dark’ Web and Content Monitoring:
"Eva and Franco Mattes — married Brooklyn artists and “hacktivists” — use those ideas metaphorically, peeling back the surface of what they call the “sanitized” internet to reveal its murkier side: the world of content monitoring and the elusive individuals who are tasked with tracking and removing offensive material online.
Their latest exhibition, “Abuse Standards Violations,” on view at London’s Carroll/Fletcher gallery until Aug. 27, is a journey into what Ben Vickers, a London curator at the Serpentine Galleries and fan of their work, called “the dark, morbid heart of the internet.”"

Patrick Murphy had a terrible week. Call it the Worst Week in Washington.; Washington Post, 6/25/16

Chris Cillizza, Washington Post; Patrick Murphy had a terrible week. Call it the Worst Week in Washington. :
"Things went from bad to way, way worse for Murphy later that day. A report by longtime Florida journalist Jim DeFede detailed a series of exaggerations and outright untruths in the young congressman's résumé. That included claims that he was a certified public accountant (er, not really) and a small business owner (kind of, sort of).
Murphy's campaign, recognizing the mortal danger to his chances represented by the allegations, threw the kitchen sink at the story. It was old news! DeFede got facts wrong! Quotes were taken out of context!
But DeFede knows his stuff. And the broad impression left of Murphy from DeFede's reporting is of a guy who has a pattern of exaggerations and résumé inflation (Read this Q&A with Miami Herald reporter Kristen Clark for more.)"

‘I hated this man more than my rapists’: Woman confronts football coach 18 years after alleged gang rape; Washington Post, 6/23/16

Michael E. Miller, Washington Post; ‘I hated this man more than my rapists’: Woman confronts football coach 18 years after alleged gang rape:
"“I said everything I needed to say. I asked everything I needed to ask,” Tracy told the Lincoln Journal Star. “We talked about 1,000 different topics. … I feel like I put everything on the table and left it all there.”
“He answered everything,” she told the World-Herald.
And he apologized.
For not digging more into what really happened during those six hours back in 1998...
And when she told the players that she used to hate Riley “more than my rapists,” she could feel 150 faces turn from her to the coach and back again.
But she also told them that Riley didn’t have to bring her to Lincoln.
“This is what accountability looks like,” she told the players, according to USA Today. “This is what transparency looks like. This is how we get things done.”"

Britain just killed globalization as we know it; Washington Post, 6/25/16

Jim Tankersley, Washington Post; Britain just killed globalization as we know it:
"Political factions in other European countries are now clamoring to follow Britain out the door of the European Union. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is promising to levy the highest set of tariffs in the last century for America, against China, Mexico and other key trading partners. His presumptive Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has vowed to renegotiate existing deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
These developments come at the hands of an anxious working class across the West, whose members feel left in the cold by many developments of the rapid integration of foreign products and people into their lives.
It is clear from the results of the British vote, and from Trump's rise in American politics, that there is a large backlash against the results of globalization so far. Native-born workers without college degrees are venting their frustrations with immigrants, with factory jobs outsourced abroad and with a growing sense of political helplessness -- the idea that their leaders no longer respond to concerns of people like them.
University-educated voters in Britain overwhelmingly sided with the "remain" campaign in Thursday's vote; those without college degrees powered the victory for "leave.""

Friday, June 24, 2016

President Obama Designates Stonewall National Monument;, 6/24/16

Simone Leiro,; President Obama Designates Stonewall National Monument:
"“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
President Obama"

The Wendy Bell debacle: Employers need clear, consistent social-media policies; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/24/16

Beverly A. Block, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; The Wendy Bell debacle: Employers need clear, consistent social-media policies:
"A lot of the commentary surrounding Ms. Bell’s Facebook post suggests that she had a First Amendment right to speak her mind about the Wilkinsburg shootings. Yes, but protections afforded by the First Amendment are not absolute and, generally speaking, do not apply to private employers such as WTAE and Hearst.
Many employers have a legitimate interest in regulating their employees’ speech to promote harmony, respect and the effective functioning of the business. That said, when rules are not precise, clearly communicated and uniformly applied, even the most sophisticated company or revered professional can end up facing severe consequences. Ambiguity can do a lot of damage."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How voters’ personal suffering overtook reason — and brought us Donald Trump; Washington Post, 6/22/16

Leon Wieseltier, Washington Post; How voters’ personal suffering overtook reason — and brought us Donald Trump:
"Grievance is sometimes the author of blindness, or worse. All the way at the other end of the political spectrum from the black aggrieved are the white aggrieved, and they are the ones playing with a terrifying fire. The people who support the white working class have been voting for Bernie Sanders, but the white working class has been voting for Donald Trump. He would be nowhere, and we would not be facing a grave historical crisis, without the enthusiasm of these despairing and deluded millions. It was inevitable that we would not escape the political consequences of our economic dislocations, but those consequences now include the darkest forces of reaction. These downtrodden demand sympathy, and they deserve sympathy, but they do not give sympathy. They kindle, in the myopia of their pain, to racism and nativism and xenophobia and misogyny and homophobia and anti-Semitism. They swoon over an ignorant thug who promises to deport 11 million immigrants from a country built by immigration and to close the borders of a religiously free country to an entire religion."

Mark Cuban Pledges $1 Million To Dallas Police For LGBT Efforts; Huffington Post, 6/22/16

Curtis M. Wong, Huffington Post; Mark Cuban Pledges $1 Million To Dallas Police For LGBT Efforts:
"Mark Cuban has responded to the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida in a very big way.
In the wake of the tragedy, the billionaire businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks will donate $1 million to the Dallas police department in an effort to better protect the city’s LGBT community, CNN reports. The donation will be used to fund additional patrols in Dallas’s Oak Lawn neighborhood, which boasts a sizable LGBT community, as well as an estimated an estimated 16,000 hours of overtime for officers to enhance counter-terrorism efforts across the city.
In a press release, the 57-year-old entrepreneur stated that he was “proud to be able to help the city of Dallas.”
Meanwhile, Dallas Police Chief David Brown praised the effort, vowing to “earmark and track the expenditure of these funds to ensure its effective use in creating a safe environment” for the city’s LGBT residents.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings echoed those sentiments, praising Cuban as “a man of action.”"

Orlando Massacre Inspires Some to Come Out as Gay; New York Times, 6/21/16

Julie Turkewitz, New York Times; Orlando Massacre Inspires Some to Come Out as Gay:
"On Tuesday, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch visited some of the people injured in the attack and the relatives of some who were slain. She spoke of those who might choose to hide their sexuality out of fear of such violence in the future.
“Let me say to our L.G.B.T. friends and family, particularly to anyone who might view this tragedy as an indication that their identities — their essential selves — might somehow be better left unexpressed or in the shadows: This Department of Justice — and your country — stands with you in the light,” she said."

Free Led Zeppelin: “This is about music, it’s not about sound”; Salon, 6/22/16

Scott Timberg, Salon; Free Led Zeppelin: “This is about music, it’s not about sound” :
"The federal court trial considering whether Led Zeppelin stole from a Spirit song for its ubiquitous “Stairway to Heaven” is moving toward its conclusion. Zeppelin singer Robert Plant took the stand Tuesday, saying he did not remember hearing the instrumental “Taurus” and describing in detail the way he wrote “Stairway” with guitarist Jimmy Page.
But the case is about a legal concept as much as musical ones – the plagiarism of intellectual property. Salon spoke to the Charles Cronin, who teaches at USC’s Gould School of Law and has written extensively on musical plagiarism. He’s also founder of the Music Copyright Infringement Resource, now housed at the university."

Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of 'Stairway to Heaven'; ABC News, 6/23/16

Sherene Tagharobi and Lesley Messer, ABC News; Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Suit Over Opening Lick of 'Stairway to Heaven' :
"A jury today found that Led Zeppelin had not plagiarized the opening riff of "Stairway to Heaven."
After a day of deliberation, the ruling came back that there was no copyright infringement. An eight-person jury delivered the verdict, ruling there was no "extrinsic similarity between Spirit's 'Taurus' and 'Stairway,'" following five days of testimony from music experts, a former Spirit band member and the surviving members of Led Zeppelin."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Addiction Treatment Industry Worried Lax Ethics Could Spell Its Doom; Huffington Post, 6/17/16

Ryan Grim, Huffington Post; Addiction Treatment Industry Worried Lax Ethics Could Spell Its Doom:
"The opioid epidemic, which just added Prince to its list of victims, has shoved the addiction industry into the spotlight, and many here at the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers conference worried aloud how the industry’s lax ethical standards would look in the new glare.
Nor is greater attention to ethics the providers’ only threat. Drug treatment is now big business, and a wave of consolidation is sweeping the industry, as private equity firms and publicly traded companies look to cash in on the surging rates of addiction. Federal regulators, meanwhile, are pushing to reform the very nature of the services offered by treatment centers...
For the first time, the industry’s leading trade group has rolled out an ethics policy that comes with an enforcement mechanism.
“We were nudged to do it by the fact that we look around and see ethical violations all over the place,” NAATP Executive Director Marvin Ventrell told the gathering."

Pride After Orlando; New York Times, 6/17/16

Guy Branum, New York Times; Pride After Orlando:
"It’s a dark, cruel joke, but ours is a culture that is not unfamiliar with darkness and cruelty. When people kill us, pass laws against us, make cheap jokes about us, they aren’t actually saying all gay people should die. They’re saying all L.G.B.T. people should know our place, live in silence, lie about who we are. Societal homophobia wants us to be ashamed, and finds ways to punish us if we refuse. The greatest gay rebellion is honest expression of our truth.
When word surfaced that the Orlando shooter had frequented gay bars and dating apps, some speculated that he might have been doing research to plan his attack. Gay people understood the other very real possibility, that the attacker might be a man with homosexual desires whom society had filled with so much secret shame that he would do anything to prove his distance from the gay world. It’s a tragic, complex truth that means however revolting I find him, I also have sympathy for the ways shame and the inability to live honestly may have twisted this man into a murderer.
The people who were at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Saturday made the choice to be out and gay, and they paid a horrible price for it. The people who were out in West Hollywood on Sunday, and who will come out around the country this month, were there for all the L.G.B.T. people before us who suffered and struggled to be out and honest, and we did it with pride."

The Violence of Forgetting; New York Times, 6/20/16

Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux, New York Times; The Violence of Forgetting:
"This is the fifth in a series of dialogues with philosophers and critical theorists on violence. This conversation is with Henry A. Giroux, a professor in the department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His latest book is “America at War With Itself” (City Lights).
Brad Evans: Throughout your work you have dealt with the dangers of ignorance and what you have called the violence of “organized forgetting.” Can you explain what you mean by this and why we need to be attentive to intellectual forms of violence?
Henry Giroux: Unfortunately, we live at a moment in which ignorance appears to be one of the defining features of American political and cultural life. Ignorance has become a form of weaponized refusal to acknowledge the violence of the past, and revels in a culture of media spectacles in which public concerns are translated into private obsessions, consumerism and fatuous entertainment. As James Baldwin rightly warned, “Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
The warning signs from history are all too clear. Failure to learn from the past has disastrous political consequences. Such ignorance is not simply about the absence of information. It has its own political and pedagogical categories whose formative cultures threaten both critical agency and democracy itself."

The Outrage Machine; New York Times, June 2016

[Video] New York Times; The Outrage Machine

Monday, June 20, 2016

The G.O.P.’s Cynical Gay Ploy; New York Times, 6/20/16

Charles M. Blow, New York Times; The G.O.P.’s Cynical Gay Ploy:
"Maybe Republicans want us to forget that, as ThinkProgress reported in December:
“Six of the Republican candidates vying for the presidency have signed a pledge promising to support legislation during their first 100 days in the White House that would use the guise of “religious liberty” to give individuals and businesses the right to openly discriminate against L.G.B.T. people.”
They want us to forget that although people of all political stripes have evolved on the issue of gay equality — including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton —Republicans are the trailing edge of that evolution.
No amount of the exploitation of fear and the revising of history is going to change what we know about the Republican Party and their continued abysmal record on gay rights.
In the wake of tragedy, you can’t conveniently hang the L.G.B.T. community on the tree of life as a glistening ornament."

Ron Cook: USGA almost chokes at U.S. Open; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/20/16

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Ron Cook: USGA almost chokes at U.S. Open:
"Oakmont did a beautiful job with its ninth Open, pulling it off despite violent storms that interrupted play Thursday and could have ruined the weekend. That, too, should have been a big story.
What a shame that the USGA had to get in the way.
The silliness started on the fifth green of the final round when Johnson backed off a putt and called for a rules official. Johnson had noticed his ball move and wanted to make sure the officials knew he had nothing to do with it. He didn’t want to be penalized one stroke.
The official appeared satisfied with Johnson’s explanation. That should have been the end of it. Golf is the one sport where integrity and honor still exist. Saturday, Shane Lowry, who ended up finishing in a tie for second behind Johnson, called a one-stroke penalty on himself when he noticed his ball move on the 16th green. “I had to penalize myself,” he said afterward.
If I’m the USGA, I would have believed Johnson when he said he wasn’t responsible."

Trump’s lies aren’t unique to America: Post-truth politics are killing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic; Salon, 6/19/16

Brogan Morris, Salon; Trump’s lies aren’t unique to America: Post-truth politics are killing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic:
"“There was a time, not long ago, when we would differ on the interpretation of the facts. We would differ on the analysis. We would differ on prescriptions for our problems. But fundamentally we agreed on the facts. That was then. Today, many feel entitled to their own facts.
So said Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, in a speech he gave to Temple University’s newest Media and Communication graduates not two weeks ago. Baron was talking about a new form of politics that’s been taking hold, a kind that brings into question the prospects of these hopeful future journos, a kind that threatens democracy as we know it."

Mob Shaming: The Pillory at the Center of the Global Village; New York Times, 6/19/16

Clyde Haberman, New York Times; Mob Shaming: The Pillory at the Center of the Global Village:
"Once upon a time, miscreants subjected to public ridicule were pilloried for perhaps a few hours. In internet life, that can last forever. “You never escape it,” Danielle Keats Citron said. She is a law professor at the University of Maryland and author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” (2014).
“When you post something really damaging, reputationally damaging, about someone online, it’s searchable and seeable,” she told Retro Report. “And you can’t erase it.”
Does shame have a legitimate place in our lives? Mark Twain seemed to think so. “Man is the only animal that blushes,” Twain wrote in 1897.
“Or needs to,” he added.
Jennifer Jacquet, an assistant professor of environmental studies at New York University, shares the sentiment. In her book “Is Shame Necessary?” (2015), the professor argues that shaming can be a strategy for beneficial change, notably if the targets are corporate polluters and others whose deeds harm the commonweal.
She is not opposed to chastising individuals publicly, as long as the tactics are not abusive, but her preference is to call out governments and large organizations that behave badly. “Shaming is better used for the collective well-being,” she said in an interview."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Al-Jazeera employees among six sentenced to death in Egypt; Associated Press via Guardian, 6/18/16

Associated Press via Guardian; Al-Jazeera employees among six sentenced to death in Egypt:
"All of Saturday’s verdicts can be appealed against. Of the case’s 11 defendants, seven, including Morsi, are in custody.
Amnesty International called for the death sentences to be immediately thrown out and for the “ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped”.
The two al-Jazeera employees – identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed Sablan and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Helal – were sentenced to death in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rassd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Jazeera condemned the verdicts, saying they were part of a “ruthless” campaign against freedom of expression, and called on the international community to show solidarity with the journalists. “This sentence is only one of many politicised sentences that target al-Jazeera and its employees,” said the network’s acting director, Mostefa Souag. “They are illogical convictions and legally baseless. Al-Jazeera strongly denounces targeting its journalists and stands by the other journalists who have also been sentenced."...
Egypt was ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders. In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Egypt was second only to China as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2015."

If you think Trump’s version of reality has been alarming so far…; Washington Post, 6/17/16

Tom Toles, Washington Post; If you think Trump’s version of reality has been alarming so far… :
Replacement for a Free Press

Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’; PBS NewsHour, 6/19/16

[Podcast and Transcript] Phil Hirschkorn, PBS NewsHour; Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ :
"This week in Los Angeles federal court, a jury began hearing evidence and testimony on whether rock band Led Zeppelin may have lifted part of their iconic song, “Stairway to Heaven.” At stake is the band’s reputation and millions of dollars. NewsHour Weekend’s Phil Hirschkorn reports."

Amid Tragedy, Libraries Can Offer Help and Hope: A statement from the chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table; American Libraries, 6/14/16

Peter D. Coyl, American Libraries; Amid Tragedy, Libraries Can Offer Help and Hope: A statement from the chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table:
"The GLBTQ community has been rocked by this past weekend’s horrific act of violence in Orlando, Florida. It is troubling and scary to know that our community was singled out in a place where we gather.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table has been working closely with ALA in response to this tragedy, and it is of paramount concern to ALA that its members and conference attendees are safe. ALA is working with our conference venue to ensure the safety and security of those who attend.
We have also been working with Conference Services and other ALA units to provide programs in response to this tragedy. We are investigating holding a blood drive and are asking ALA members to participate. Many people do not know that most gay men are prohibited from donating under FDA guidelines, which is a stinging rebuke when your community has been so severely affected.
In conjunction with the Office of Intellectual Freedom we will hold a readout at the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition. Attendees will have the opportunity to read from a banned or GLBTQ-related book to show support for the community.
Many have reached out and asked what they can do to help at home. We’d encourage libraries to let their community know they are a safe place. Let the community know about GLBT Book Month. Use the “Open to All” toolkit as a starting point if you are unsure how to offer services to GLBTQ customers.
Libraries can and should be safe places. Even if you are far from Orlando, there are those you serve who are affected by this tragedy. They are looking for help and hope. The library can provide that as we open our doors and are truly open to all."

Doonesbury; GoComics, 6/19/16

Garry Trudeau, GoComics; Doonesbury:

Court Decides All Bits Are Equal; New York Times, 6/15/16

Quentin Hardy, New York Times; Court Decides All Bits Are Equal:
"Count on an appeal, and most likely a final decision by the Supreme Court, because the concept of net neutrality touches on key philosophical and pragmatic aspects of modern life.
Is fast internet service now essential, since we need it to get a job or find out when the movie is on? Is broadband so essential that companies providing it must be regulated by the F.C.C. in how they treat customers?
What sort of essential commodity is the delivery of bits — is it like electricity, which is often priced against periods of peak usage? Is it like water, which must be provided at all times, but has different costs around the country based on difficulty of delivery? Is it something new?
On the other side, shouldn’t a company developing a new product have to consider how many bits it will be using, or other constraints it is putting on a system counted on by millions of people? When companies build a network for one purpose, and the network is overwhelmed by a new digital product that uses more bandwidth, should the old pricing rules apply?"

Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know; Huffington Post, 6/17/16

Dorothy Samuels, Huffington Post; Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know:
"In a gloomy news week dominated by the slaughter of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. and its aftermath, it is understandable that Congressional approval of unrelated legislation easing access to government records has not garnered tons of public attention. But Monday’s House passage of the bipartisan Freedom of Information Improvement Act previously approved by the Senate (also by a unanimous vote) now sends to the White House a major FOIA reform bill and blast against Washington’s culture of unwarranted government secrecy. President Obama has said he’ll sign the measure — a fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation’s premier transparency law this July 4th.
The bill’s foremost accomplishment is that it will embed in federal law a “presumption of openness,” making it clear that “sunshine, not secrecy, is the default setting of our government” and “government information belongs in the hands of the people,” as Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate’s foremost Democratic champion of the legislation puts it...
The idea is to make it harder for agency officials deny release of government information sought under the FOIA. The “presumption of openness” was first laid out as executive branch policy by President Bill Clinton, only to be reversed by his successor, President George W. Bush. President Obama reinstated it in 2009 as one of his first acts upon taking office, but his administration has been criticized for straying from the commitment to openness in practice, even lobbying against a similar version of the legislation that nearly passed both houses of Congress two years ago."

House defeats privacy measure in wake of Orlando shootings; Politico, 6/16/16

Cory Bennett, Politico; House defeats privacy measure in wake of Orlando shootings:
"The House on Thursday blocked an amendment that opponents said would have taken away critical intelligence tools just four days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
The 198-222 vote is a blow for privacy advocates who have spent years building support for the amendment, which would have barred the government from forcing companies to weaken their encryption for law enforcement. The provision passed the House twice in 2014 and 2015 by wide margins, before being stripped each time during conferences with the Senate.
But Sunday’s deadly assault in Orlando, in which suspected Islamic State supporter Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub, caused a drastic erosion in support for the language...
Numerous hawkish lawmakers have introduced bills to either delay surveillance reforms or strengthen the government’s ability to collect data. A widely supported email privacy bill — which would require law enforcement to seek a warrant before accessing stored email — is even being held up in the Senate over an amendment that would let the FBI use national security letters to obtain email and Internet metadata."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dalai Lama to address California Legislature on Monday about ethics, the environment; San Jose Mercury News, 6/18/16

Jessica Calefati, San Jose Mercury News; Dalai Lama to address California Legislature on Monday about ethics, the environment:
"Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will visit the Capitol and speak before both houses of the state Legislature on Monday.
The speech will cover "compassion, the environment and ethical leadership," according to a press release distributed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
The visit comes several days after the Dalai Lama met with President Barack Obama despite warnings from China that that the meeting would damage diplomatic relations."

Blondie; Today's Strip, 6/18/16

Today's Strip; Blondie:
Texting and Online Self-Defense

Trump, His Virus and the Dark Age of Unreason; Bill Moyers & Company, 6/16/16

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship; Trump, His Virus and the Dark Age of Unreason:
"So the ghost of Joseph McCarthy lives on in Donald Trump as he accuses President Obama of treason, slanders women, mocks people with disabilities and impugns every politician or journalist who dares call him out for the liar and bamboozler he is. The ghosts of all the past American demagogues live on in him as well, although none of them have ever been so dangerous — none have come as close to the grand prize of the White House...
We can hope for journalists with the courage and integrity of an Edward R. Murrow to challenge this would-be tyrant, to put the truth to every lie and publicly shame the devil for his outrages. We can hope for the likes of Joseph Welch, who demanded to know whether McCarthy had any sense of decency. Think of Gonzalo Curiel, the jurist Trump accused of persecuting him because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. Curiel has revealed the soulless little man behind the curtain of Trump’s alleged empire, the avaricious money-grubber who conned hard-working Americans out of their hard-won cash to attend his so-called “university.”
And we can hope there still remain in the Republican Party at least a few brave politicians who will stand up to Trump, as some did McCarthy...
No profiles in courage there. But why should we expect otherwise? Their acquiescence, their years of kowtowing to extremism in the appeasement of their base, have allowed Trump and his nightmarish sideshow to steal into the tent and take over the circus. Alexander Pope once said that party spirit is at best the madness of the many for the gain of a few. A kind of infection, if you will — a virus that spreads through the body politic, contaminating all. Trump and his ilk would sweep the promise of America into the dustbin of history unless they are exposed now to the disinfectant of sunlight, the cleansing torch of truth. Nothing else can save us from the dark age of unreason that would arrive with the triumph of Donald Trump."

First Person: A refuge no more: Gays bars have been safe havens for the LGBT community; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/18/16

Walter G. Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; First Person: A refuge no more: Gays bars have been safe havens for the LGBT community:
"It was gratifying to see so many people — gay, straight and of all races — queue up to give blood for the victims in Orlando. It was touching to hear so many voices expressing outrage and solidarity. Equality Florida’s GoFundMe page to support the victims collected more than $1 million on its first day. But all this is not enough.
We need to speak up to shut down hateful rhetoric from any quarter that signals to people that it is somehow OK to kill people in a church or a gay bar.
Pittsburgh’s Fred Rogers was famous for a quote that spread across Facebook after the tragedy in Orlando: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
We all need to be helpers. And become more caring. And end the hate.
I’ve often said that I don’t mind being known as a writer who is gay, but that I don’t want to be known as just a “gay writer.” I didn’t want the adjective to define me.
Today I am a gay writer. And today I will serve my community with my pen and my camera."

Saturday Diary: To live with pride and stay alive; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/18/16

Olena Goncharova, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Saturday Diary: To live with pride and stay alive:
"When it comes to freedom of speech and other constitutional rights, Americans often take them for granted.
While in the summer of 2015 the American LGBTQ community celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legally recognize same-sex marriage, thousands of miles away a group of violent homophobes attacked a peaceful march of 200 gay activists in Kiev, Ukraine.
When I tell people about that here in the United States, they seem not to believe it. But homophobia is real and raw in Ukraine, and every pride parade we have is a test of Ukrainian tolerance and police protection...
I personally know Mr. Skoropadsky and some members of Right Sector. Aside from their hatred of gays, they are decent people who consider themselves patriots. But don’t try to persuade them that LGBTQ equality should be accepted by Ukraine. They are not happy that the country is adopting gay-friendly policies to improve its chances of joining the European Union as an associate member.
Among those policies has been outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at work places – which, by the way, is still allowed in most U.S. states, including Pennsylvania. This gives hope to LGBTQ people in Ukraine and allows more of them to feel they no longer must hide who they are."

Two marines under investigation for alleged threat against gay bars; Guardian, 6/17/16

Sam Levin, Guardian; Two marines under investigation for alleged threat against gay bars:
"Two active-duty US marine corps members are under investigation for a social media post showing a man in uniform with a rifle and the caption “Coming to a gay bar near you!” – an apparent reference to the mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub that killed 49 people.
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force is investigating the man in the photo, which was shared on Snapchat, along with another active-duty marine, who reposted the image with the message “Too soon?”, according to spokeswoman Major Staci Reidinger...
The photo was reportedly posted on a private Facebook group, called Camp MENdleton resale, which describes itself as a “group for male Marines, Corpsman, and other active duty, reserve, retired, and veteran service members”...
“Orlando was long overdue,” read the message, which was posted on a San Diego Craigslist page, according to local station KGTV. “Those people were walking diseases, bug chasers, and thank god for AIDS and 9-11 and now Orlando. San Diego you are next.”
A pastor in northern California also faced intense backlash this week after he delivered a virulently anti-LGBT sermon, saying Orlando is “a little safer tonight” and “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die”."

Melvin Dwork, Once Cast From Navy for Being Gay, Dies at 94; New York Times, 6/16/16

Robert D. McFadden, New York Times; Melvin Dwork, Once Cast From Navy for Being Gay, Dies at 94:
"In 2011, after years of trying to remove the blot on his record, Mr. Dwork, supported by advocates for gay and lesbian military personnel and veterans, won his point. The Navy officially changed his discharge to honorable.
“It meant an awful lot to me because I know I never did anything disgraceful or dishonest,” Mr. Dwork said in a 2014 interview for this obituary, in which he spoke of painful military policies and glacially slow changes toward gay and lesbian service members.
Mr. Dwork, who became a hero to gay people for his persistence in fighting the dishonorable discharge, died on Tuesday in Manhattan, Alan Salz, the executor of his estate, said. He was 94.
Mr. Dwork was believed to be the first veteran of World War II to have an “undesirable” discharge for being gay expunged, although his case may have opened the floodgates for appeals in hundreds of similar cases. His was resolved shortly before the military ended its 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred openly gay people from service but prohibited discrimination against those not open about their sexuality."

The challenges in covering Trump’s relentless assault on the truth; Washington Post, 6/16/16

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; The challenges in covering Trump’s relentless assault on the truth:
"My aim is to defend the truth.
Political discourse can be civil or rowdy, gracious or mean. But to have any meaning, it has to be grounded in fact. Trump presents a novel challenge for both the media and the voting public. There is no playbook for evaluating a candidate who so constantly says things that objectively are not true...
How are we in the media supposed to cover such a man? The traditional approach, which seeks fairness through nonjudgmental balance, seems inadequate. It does not seem fair to write “Trump claimed the sky is maroon while Clinton claimed it is blue” without noting that the sky is, in fact, blue. It does not seem fair to even present this as a “question” worthy of debate, as if honest people could disagree. One assertion is objectively false and one objectively true.
It goes against all journalistic instinct to write in a news article, as The Post did Monday, that Trump’s national security address was “a speech laden with falsehoods and exaggeration.” But I don’t think we’re doing our job if we simply report assertions of fact without evaluating whether they are factual.
Trump’s lies also present a challenge for voters. The normal assumption is that politicians will bend the truth to fit their ideology — not that they will invent fake “truth” out of whole cloth. Trump is not just an unorthodox candidate. He is an inveterate liar — maybe pathological, maybe purposeful. He doesn’t distort facts, he makes them up.
Trump has a right to his anger, his xenophobia and his bigotry. He also has a right to lie — but we all have a duty to call him on it."

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Guardian view on Jo Cox: an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy; Guardian, 6/16/16

Guardian; The Guardian view on Jo Cox: an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy:
"The slide from civilisation to barbarism is shorter than we might like to imagine. Every violent crime taints the ideal of an orderly society, but when that crime is committed against the people who are peacefully selected to write the rules, then the affront is that much more profound.
The killing, by stabbing and repeated shooting in the street, of Jo Cox is, in the first instance, an exceptionally heinous villainy. She was the mother of two very young children, who will now have to grow up without her. It is also, however, in a very real sense, an attack on democracy. Violence against MPs in Britain is mercifully rare. Only three have been killed in recent history: Airey Neave, Tony Berry and Ian Gow, all of them at the hands of the Irish republicans. Two others, Nigel Jones and Stephen Timms, have been grievously wounded, the latter by a woman citing jihadi inspiration and rage about the Iraq war. Whatever the cause, an attack on a parliamentarian is always an attack on parliament as well, which was as clear in Thursday’s case as any before...
Jo Cox, however, was not just any MP doing her duty. She was also an MP who was driven by an ideal. The former charity worker explained what that ideal was as eloquently as anyone could in her maiden speech last year. “Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration,” she insisted, “be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
What nobler vision can there be than that of a society where people can be comfortable in their difference? And what more fundamental tenet of decency is there than to put first and to cherish all that makes us human, as opposed to what divides one group from another? These are ideals that are often maligned when they are described as multiculturalism, but they are precious nonetheless. They are the ideals which led Ms Cox to campaign tirelessly for the brutalised and displaced people of Syria, and – the most painful thought – ideals for which she may now have died."

The GOP is learning the hard way that character matters; Washington Post, 6/16/16

Michael Gerson, Washington Post; The GOP is learning the hard way that character matters:
"Republicans are beginning to see that the main problem with their presumptive nominee is not his lack of basic knowledge or his inability to stay on the script of sanity for 10 minutes at a time. The problem is Donald Trump’s public character, which no amount of last-minute coaching can change.
Trump’s instincts were on full display in his reaction to the Orlando terrorist attack. There was a pronounced lack of empathy for victims. There was a resort to insanely partisan conspiracy theories — including insinuations that President Obama is the Manchurian Muslim. There was an almost gleeful credit grab in asserting that his accusations about the violent nature of Islam were vindicated...
The presumptive Republican nominee has already proposed the largest police operation (by far) in American history — the rounding up of more than 11 million people and forcing them across the border. What limiting principle would prevent a roundup of all Muslims? Trump has already proposed the murder of terrorists’ families. What is the limiting principle that would prevent his use of nuclear weapons against the Islamic State capital of Raqqa? Trump has already raised the possibility that Obama is a Kenyan and a jihadist and that Hillary Clinton was involved in Vince Foster’s murder. What limiting principle would prevent President Trump from targeting congressional opponents with innuendo that they are traitors or murderers, or any other accusation that Alex Jones puts on the Web? Trump has already proposed changing libel laws in order to restrict media criticism against him. What limiting principle would prevent him from, well, changing libel laws to restrict media criticism against him?...
Either way, Republicans are learning the hard way that character counts."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Panels Brainstorm Ideas On Innovation And Drug Access; Intellectual Property Watch, 6/15/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Panels Brainstorm Ideas On Innovation And Drug Access:
"The Harvard Global Health Institute and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society & Global Access in Action co-organised an event on practical strategies to expand access to medicine and promote innovation on 13 June. The event was partly webcast.
In his introductory remarks, Ashish Jha, K.T. Li professor of international health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, talked about the tension between two communities with two competing sets of ideas.
The first set, he said, is the real practical need for more innovation for treating diseases and diagnostic tests. However, innovation fundamentally is expensive, “and there is no shortcut that we know of to make innovation happen without anybody’s forces,” he said.
The opposing factor, he said, is that a very large proportion of the world’s population that cannot afford to pay for the innovation. “The idea that innovation would only benefit those who can afford to pay for it is an idea that we feel is both from a moral, economic, and intellectual perspective, unsustainable.”
“We have to move forward beyond this tension, beyond this point of contention … and find practical solutions” that both support innovation yet ensure that there is broad access, he said."

ALA president responds to Orlando mass shooting; American Library Association (ALA), 6/13/16

[Press Release] ALA President Sari Feldman, American Library Association (ALA); ALA president responds to Orlando mass shooting:
"American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting at Pulse, a popular GLBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“The library community is deeply saddened by the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,” said Feldman. “Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends, and the GLBTQ community.
“Our nation’s libraries serve communities with equity, dignity and respect. ALA will carry this legacy to Orlando. In defiance of fear, ignorance and intolerance, the library community will continue its profound commitment to transforming communities by lending its support.
“In less than two weeks the ALA will host its Annual Conference and Exhibition at the Orange County Convention Center. We will work collaboratively with the leaders of ALA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); ethnic caucuses; and executive office to discuss our expressions of support. ALA Conference Services has reached out to our convention center partners and are working closely with them and local authorities to ensure that we will have a safe and secure conference.
“As the ALA prepares, I can’t help but recall past conferences where attendees rolled up their sleeves to foster change. ALA conference attendees were on the front lines of relief and social justice efforts as they supported New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Toronto during the SARS virus outbreak; and now continuing their support in Orlando despite this weekend’s senseless act of violence. We will actively reach out to local groups in Orlando to determine the most effective ways we can lend support and contribute to the healing.
“Librarians and library workers are community leaders, motivators and social change agents. During the conference attendees will hold the power to influence social change by means of example. Members will have an opportunity to support the people of Orlando by wearing armbands in support of diversity, equality and inclusion; volunteering for community relief projects; and supporting local minority owned businesses. The ALA also is currently working on efforts to support an onsite blood drive and Read-Out event.
“You can make a difference regardless of whether you attend the ALA Annual Conference. In a tragedy, we often feel overwhelmed or powerless, but within the next few days the ALA Annual Conference website at will empower members to give support. The site will provide a list of relief organizations supporting Orlando shooting victims and their families. The site also will have information regarding ALA diversity and inclusion resources.
“Like the libraries we represent, the profession’s commitment to supporting communities, social justice, and abolishing intolerance is unwavering.”
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all."

Library Field Responds to Orlando Tragedy; Library Journal, 6/16/16

Lisa Peet, Library Journal; Library Field Responds to Orlando Tragedy:
"Update: ALA is planning a planning a memorial gathering at the Annual Conference on Saturday, June 25, 8–8:30 a.m. in the OCCC Auditorium, and a special conference Read Out co-sponsored by GLBTRT and OIF. Details on other support activities during the conference can be found here.
In the wake of the shooting in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on the night of June 12, which killed 49 people and injured 53 others, library administration and staff, organizations and vendors have stepped up with statements of solidarity, offers of help, and opportunities to join forces with the LGBTQ and Latinx communities—the shooting occurred during Pulse’s Latin night—to mourn those killed and wounded.
Mary Anne Hodel, director and CEO of Orlando’s Orange County Library System (OCLS), posted a message on the library’s homepage, decrying the “despicable act of violence, and pointing users to a resource guide assembled by OCLS for those coping with the loss and looking for ways to support others. She added, “Moving forward, we will be exploring other ways that OCLS can be part of the healing process. Thank you, Orlando, for being so strong and so brave. We are proud to be part of this community.”"

In a moving, tearful speech, Utah's lieutenant governor apologized for past homophobia; Vox, 6/15/16

Emily Crockett, Vox; In a moving, tearful speech, Utah's lieutenant governor apologized for past homophobia:
"Cox talked about how he grew up in a small, rural town and that sometimes he "wasn’t kind" to kids in his high school class who were "different."
"I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now that they were gay. I will forever regret not treating them with the kindness, dignity, and respect — the love — that they deserved. For that, I sincerely and humbly apologize."
Since then, he said, "My heart has changed. It has changed because of you. It has changed because I have gotten to know many of you. You have been patient with me."
Cox said that the 49 "beautiful, amazing people" who died in the attack "are not just statistics. These were individuals. These are human beings. They each have a story. They each had dreams, goals, talents, friends, family. They are you, and they are me."
He concluded by asking listeners to "be a little kinder," and to try to love someone who is different from them. "For my straight friends, might I suggest starting with someone who is gay," he said."

Manners maketh Nan: Google praises 86-year-old for polite internet searches; Guardian, 6/16/16

Oliver Holmes, Guardian; Manners maketh Nan: Google praises 86-year-old for polite internet searches:
"John, a 25-year-old from Wigan, has been retweeted more than 11,000 times.
He told the BBC he and his boyfriend do not have a clothes dryer so they go to Ashworth’s house for their laundry.
“I asked my nan why she used ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it seemed she thinks that there is someone – a physical person – at Google’s headquarters who looks after the searches.
“She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker,” he said...
Google UK thanked “Ben’s Nan” saying: “In a world of billions of searches, yours made us smile.
“Oh, and it’s 1998,” it added. “Thank YOU”."

We need to be angry to overcome the tragedy in Orlando; Guardian, 6/15/16

[Video] Steven W. Thrasher, Guardian; We need to be angry to overcome the tragedy in Orlando:
"Steven W Thrasher gives a personal response to mass killing at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Thrasher says we should approach this tragedy with love, but also a renewed sense of anger at gun lobbyists, hyper masculinity and other sources of oppression."

Have Christians Created a Harmful Atmosphere for Gays?; New York Times, 6/16/16

Room for Debate, New York Times; Have Christians Created a Harmful Atmosphere for Gays? :
"“Sadly it is religion, including our own,” a Florida bishop wrote after the massacre in a gay club in Orlando, that can “plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence” against gays, lesbians and transgender people. One congressman said, “We are not blameless, when we tell government contractors it is O.K. to discriminate against someone because they are gay or lesbian – or tell transgender school children that we will not respect their gender identity.”
But is it fair to say that people share any blame for Saturday night’s attack because they oppose L.G.B.T. equality for religious reasons? And while the media is focused on the role that Muslim anti-gay rhetoric may have played in this slaughter, do conservative Christians need to accept greater civil rights for L.G.B.T people in order to create a less hurtful atmosphere in the United States?"

Prince William Appears on the Cover of Attitude, a Gay Magazine; New York Times, 6/15/16

Katie Williams, New York Times; Prince William Appears on the Cover of Attitude, a Gay Magazine:
"After meeting with a group of gay people who said they had been bullied, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, appeared on the cover of Attitude, a gay magazine, and urged young people to report instances of abuse to an adult.
“No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason, and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives,” Prince William said in an accompanying statement. “You should be proud of the person you are, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”
The cover was planned weeks before a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killed 49 people, but the magazine said in a statement that the type of hatred exhibited by the gunman, Omar Mateen, begins at an early age.
“Such violence does not exist in a vacuum but snowballs from intolerance and bullying that begins in classrooms, too often comes from politicians, religious leaders and is often not treated with respect by the media,” the statement read.
For Prince William, the decision to meet with members of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community appears to be a further venture into gay rights issues and an extension of a broader effort to combat bullying."

Las Vegas Judge Who Humiliated Defense Attorney Loses Election In A Landslide; Huffington Post, 6/15/16

Matt Ferner, Huffington Post; Las Vegas Judge Who Humiliated Defense Attorney Loses Election In A Landslide:
"A Las Vegas judge who last month ordered a public defender to be placed in handcuffs in court, saying she needed to learn “a lesson” about courtroom etiquette, got a lesson of his own when he lost his seat in Tuesday’s primary election in Nevada...
As Bakhtary tried to speak, Hafen told her to “be quiet“ and then ordered a court marshal to handcuff Bakhtary and seat her in the jury box next to inmates. Hafen then sentenced Bakhtary’s client to six months in jail.
“Clearly Zohra was acting within the bounds of her constitutionally mandated role as an advocate for her client when Judge Hafen had her placed in handcuffs,” Ryan Bashor, president of the Clark County Defenders Union, told The Huffington Post in an email. “The voters overwhelmingly expressed their disapproval of the Judge’s actions.”...
“This judge came off looking unjudicial, undisciplined and unprofessional,” Ken White, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles and a leading voice on legal issues on the law-oriented blog Popehat, told HuffPost. “Some judges — this may be one — have more of a hair trigger when a woman interrupts them than a man. Certainly judges have more of a hair trigger when a defense attorney interrupts them.”"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lessons of Hiroshima and Orlando; New York Times, 6/15/16

Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times; Lessons of Hiroshima and Orlando:
"“Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines,” the president noted. “The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.”
What the president was describing is the central strategic issue of our time: the growing mismatch between the combined rapid evolution of our technological prowess and the powers this gives to a single individual or group to destroy at scale (you can make your own gun now with a 3-D-printer), and the pace of our moral and social evolution to govern and use these powers responsibly.
And that brings me to the Orlando massacre — to what happens when, on a smaller scale, we refuse to reimagine the social and legal changes we need to manage a world where one loser can now kill so many innocent people...
We need to make choices appropriate for our age when technology can so amplify the power of one. We need common-sense gun laws, common-sense gender equality and religious pluralism and common-sense privacy laws.
But that takes common-sense leaders, not ones who think the complexities of this age can be bombed away, walled away, willed away or insulted away. Stop for a moment and reflect on what this week would have been like had Donald Trump been president — the carpet-bombing he’d have ordered in the Middle East, the fear and isolation his Muslim ban would have engendered in every Muslim-American, the joy that ISIS would have taken from being at war with all of America, the license this would have given to crazies in our own society to firebomb a mosque. And the backlash that would engender among Muslims around the world, the most radical of whom would be firebombing our embassies. When America goes nuts, the world goes nuts."

After Orlando, Gay Rights Moves off Diplomatic Back Burner; New York Times, 6/14/16

Somini Sengupta, New York Times; After Orlando, Gay Rights Moves off Diplomatic Back Burner:
"Sexual orientation was one of those subjects burdened with too many cultural sensitivities. American officials, even if they wanted to advance it on the diplomatic agenda, were wary of offending their allies, not least in the Islamic world.
The attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., moved the needle.
In its aftermath, the United States corralled an unlikely group of countries to support a United Nations Security Council statement that condemned the attack for “targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation.” Even Egypt and Russia — not known for embracing their gay and lesbian citizens — signed on, after what diplomats called intense consultations...
The attack in Orlando on Sunday enabled the United States to elevate the issue on the diplomatic agenda. On Monday morning, as the world was still absorbing the news of the attack, the alternate United States ambassador to the United Nations, David Pressman, told the 193-member General Assembly that condolences were not enough.
“If we are united in our outrage by the killing of so many — and we are — let us be equally united around the basic premise of upholding the universal dignity of all persons regardless of who they love, not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them,” Mr. Pressman said."

Donald Trump Responds to Orlando Attack by Exploiting Fear, Not Easing It; New York Times, 6/14/16

Patrick Healy and Thomas Kaplan, New York Times; Donald Trump Responds to Orlando Attack by Exploiting Fear, Not Easing It:
"Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton, said Mr. Trump was using the attack as an I-told-you-so moment. “He would see this as a confirmation of all the things he has been saying about the threat the United States faces and the need to be more aggressive,” he said.
Professor Zelizer cast Mr. Trump as part of a political strain dating at least from the 1950s. “When the United States is faced with national security threats or national security crises, you play to fear, you play to the anger of the electorate and you offer promises of military might as the solution,” he said.
In the jittery aftermath of a terrorist attack, people find themselves leaning on “emotional reasoning, as opposed to thinking through these kinds of issues rationally,” said Samuel Justin Sinclair, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of “The Psychology of Terrorism Fears.”"

A Time to Stand With Gay Americans; New York Times, 6/14/16

Frank Bruni, New York Times; A Time to Stand With Gay Americans:
"This is one of those moments, in the wake of terror, when we find the most apt and evocative ways to underscore our oneness and renounce our fear. When we make grand gestures. When we make pointed ones.
So Majority Leader McConnell, pick your rally. Speaker Ryan, accompany him. Governor Scott, attend the funerals of gay victims. Other Republicans and Democrats, recognize L.G.B.T. Americans with both your words and your presence at gay pride celebrations.
You want to show our enemies what America stands for? Then stand with us."

The narrative falls apart: Evidence that Omar Mateen was in the closet undermines GOP framing of the Orlando shooting; Salon, 6/14/16

Amanda Marcotte, Salon; The narrative falls apart: Evidence that Omar Mateen was in the closet undermines GOP framing of the Orlando shooting:
"With the caveats that it’s important to wait for more information, etc., it’s starting to look like this guy had serious personal issues and only latched onto the idea of ISIS because it’s in the news a lot and adds drama and impact to his actions.
Which isn’t to say that religion doesn’t play a role in all this. If Mateen was closeted and acting out in large part because of self-loathing and repression, then it’s more than safe to note that his religious beliefs were contributing to that. (Mateen’s father continues to issue religiously motivated anti-gay sentiments in public.) Many variations of Islam teach anti-gay views, just like many variations of Christianity; it’s foolish to deny otherwise.
But that, of course, is just the point. If the issue here is religiously motivated homophobia, then that’s a problem that is far from unique to Islam. It suggests the problem is not whether you read the Koran or the Bible, but whether or not you use religion as an excuse to wallow in bigotry. Which, in turn, implicates the Republican party that has spent decades stoking and exploiting Christian homophobia. You can pretend that Islam is a unique problem if the issue is violence done in the name of ISIS and their apocalyptic fantasies. Islam simply isn’t the only religion that teaches anti-gay views. There’s not a lot of wiggle room here."

The Corrosive Politics That Threaten L.G.B.T. Americans; New York Times, 6/15/16

Editorial Board, New York Times; The Corrosive Politics That Threaten L.G.B.T. Americans:
"While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish...
It’s hard to say how many politicians take these positions as a matter of principle and how many do so because it has proved to be an effective way in the past to raise money and turn out the vote. As the funerals are held for those who perished on Sunday, lawmakers who have actively championed discriminatory laws and policies, and those who have quietly enabled them with votes, should force themselves to read the obituaries and look at the photos. The 49 people killed in Orlando were victims of a terrorist attack. But they also need to be remembered as casualties of a society where hate has deep roots."

Rep. Jim Himes: Why I walked out of the House’s moment of silence for Orlando; Washington Post, 6/14/16

Jim Himes, Washington Post; Rep. Jim Himes: Why I walked out of the House’s moment of silence for Orlando:
"Then I thought about how Congress would respond to the latest atrocity. There would be, for the umpteenth time, a moment of silence. To “honor” the victims. We did it five times just last year: Stop talking about sports and dinner and Donald Trump for about 10 seconds, put on our most serious faces, wonder if we’d turned off our phones. For 10 seconds.
Done. Over. On to the next thing.
Not me. Not anymore.
If the House of Representatives had a solitary moral fiber, even a wisp of human empathy, we would spend moments not in silence, but screaming at painful volume the names of the 49 whose bodies were ripped apart in Orlando, and the previous victims and the ones before them. We’d invite parents and partners and siblings up from Orlando, and ask them to speak, openly, rawly, honestly about their pain. We’d listen. And maybe, just maybe, we’d hear...
All I know is that the regular moments of silence on the House floor do not honor the victims of violence. They are an affront. In the chamber where change is made, they are a tepid, self-satisfying emblem of impotence and willful negligence. It is action that will stop next week’s mass shooting.
I will not be silent."

The right response to Donald Trump? A media blackout.; Washington Post, 6/14/16

Dana Milbank, Washington Post; The right response to Donald Trump? A media blackout. :
"Donald Trump’s ban of Post journalists has left other news outlets with a stark choice: your ratings or your responsibility as journalists in a free society?
Trump’s announcement that he is barring Post journalists from his events follows similar bans he put on reporters from Politico, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Foreign Policy, Fusion, Univision, Mother Jones, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Des Moines Register and the Daily Beast. Trump goons have been known to kick out undesirable reporters at Trump events.
For those journalists and media executives who still don’t share the view of Post Executive Editor Martin Baron that Trump’s action “is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press,” it won’t be long before Trump comes for you, too.
Earlier this year, Trump said he would “open up” libel laws — in other words, dispense with the First Amendment — to make it easier for him to sue news outlets. He has suggested that, if president, he would use antitrust laws to harass Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns The Post. And longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has proposed that a President Trump seek retribution against CNN: “Turn off their FCC license.”
This goes beyond even Nixonian hostility."

Anderson Cooper absolutely grilled Florida’s GOP attorney general over her support for LGBT people; Washington Post, 6/14/16

Aaron Blake, Washington Post; Anderson Cooper absolutely grilled Florida’s GOP attorney general over her support for LGBT people:
"Eventually, Bondi tried to steer things away from that territory, but Cooper wouldn't let her.
"You know what today's about? Human beings," Bondi said. "Today's about victims."
Cooper interjected: "It's about gay and lesbian victims."
"It sure is," Bondi said. "LGBT victims.""

In a Race to Save a Man on the Tracks, a Reminder of What’s Good in the World; New York Times, 6/14/16

Jim Dwyer, New York Times; In a Race to Save a Man on the Tracks, a Reminder of What’s Good in the World:
"Ms. Tulic provided her video to Gothamist, and it has been seen more than two million times. One of the men who went onto the tracks, David Tirado, told Rebecca Fishbein of Gothamist that he had visited with the stricken man, who had no recollection of being in the subway or that a congress of strangers had gathered to save him.
“That is the greatest thing,” Ms. Tulic said. “The infrastructure in this city of millions is the people themselves providing, being there for others. Without even knowing the person, who he is, no matter what denomination he subscribes to. It was beautiful to see.”"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Trump revokes Post press credentials, calling the paper ‘dishonest’ and ‘phony’; Washington Post, 6/13/16

Paul Farhi, Washington Post; Trump revokes Post press credentials, calling the paper ‘dishonest’ and ‘phony’ :
"Donald Trump said Monday that he is pulling The Washington Post’s credentials to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign. The move puts the newspaper on a long list of media outlets that the presumptive Republican nominee has banned for reporting that displeased him.
“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” read a post on Trump’s Facebook page."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Texas politician's tweet after Orlando massacre appalls Twitter; CNet, 6/12/16

Chris Matyszczyk, CNet; Texas politician's tweet after Orlando massacre appalls Twitter:
"Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted this a few hours after the massacre: "Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." This verse from the Bible -- Galatians 6:7 -- may have its appropriate context.
Many on Twitter, however, took it as an affirmation of Patrick's anti-LGBT stance. He is against gay marriage. He's been described by Josh Earnest, the president's press secretary, as "a right-wing radio host elected to public state office."
Reaction to Patrick's tweet -- posted at 4 a.m. PT on Sunday -- was swift.
"Tweeted as new [sic] breaks of mass casualties at a gay nightclub. Vile. Have you no shame?" tweeted one commenter.
"Try being a human being for once in your life," tweeted another.
Just after 9 a.m. PT the tweet was deleted.
Later in the morning, Patrick's office issued a statement. It said in part: "Regarding his morning's scripture posting on social media, be assured that the post was not done in response to last night's tragedy. The post was designed and scheduled last Thursday.""

Can We Please Stop Pretending This Massacre Wasn’t About Homophobia? We are done being erased.; Huffington Post, 6/13/16

JamesMichael Nichols, Huffington Post; Can We Please Stop Pretending This Massacre Wasn’t About Homophobia? We are done being erased.:
"Few things, to me, feel quite as painful as the erasure of the sexual and gender identities of the victims when it comes to reporting on this attack.
We as LGBT people spent decades being told that we don’t exist or that our lives do not matter. We’ve been murdered in the streets and incarcerated for trying to live authentically as who we are. When we were dying by the thousands from AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, those in positions of power turned a blind eye.
And now, when are are slaughtered in a nightclub — historically the pinnacle of safe space and community for queer people — the world is trying to erase us once again.
Let me say this loud and clear: this was an invasion and massacre of the queer community.
If you have trouble understanding the idea of a nightclub as a safe, sacred space, then you’ve clearly never been made to feel like your love is illegitimate, incorrect and something that should be hidden away from the world. You’ve clearly never needed a safe space. We always have.
But we will not hide anymore and we will not allow the media — or anyone — to erase what this situation is really about: 49 queer and trans people, mostly of color, slaughtered in their sacred space during the one time of the year when we are supposedly celebrated by the public.
And if your reporting or conversation is not centered around that idea, then you should do some serious self-reflection. Ask yourself, why am I having trouble accepting that part of the narrative? Why do I so deeply deny that someone could be driven to do something so horrific over an immutable aspect of another’s identity?"

LGBT Community Mourns Orlando Attack, Boosts Security At Pride Events; NPR, 6/13/16

Camila Domonoske, NPR; LGBT Community Mourns Orlando Attack, Boosts Security At Pride Events:
"With sorrow, anger and expressions of unity, the LGBT community across the world is mourning Sunday's deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando. Meanwhile, security has been increased at LGBT landmarks and events in cities across America.
The attack — in which a gunman killed 50 people, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and injured 53 — struck during Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the gay rights movement more broadly...
And at the Tony Awards — the annual celebration of Broadway shows — the entire ceremony was dedicated to the victims of the attack.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who received a Tony for his wildly successful show Hamilton, read a sonnet for the victims. The poem begins in personal territory, before turning to Sunday's "senseless act of tragedy":
My wife's the reason anything gets done She nudges me towards promise by degrees She is a perfect symphony of one Our son is her most beautiful reprise.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us Until they're finished songs, and start to play When senseless acts of tragedy remind us That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger We rise and fall, and light from dying embers Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside I sing Vanessa's symphony. Eliza tells her story Now fill the world with music, love, and pride."