Sunday, July 31, 2016

What does Fox do?; Idaho State Journal, 7/31/16

Michael H. O'Donnell, Idaho State Journal; What does Fox do? :
"If all you did was watch Fox cover the DNC, you missed a few major moments.
The Fox cameras weren’t rolling when retired Marine Gen. John Allen, former commander of American forces in Afghanistan, stepped on stage to deliver a strong argument against Donald Trump as a possible Commander and Chief.
The “fair and balanced” network also failed to air the speech by Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen Muslim American soldier who told the audience America is strong because of its acceptance of all people regardless of race, religion or creed. Khan held up his copy of the U.S. Constitution as he made his points about Americans of all walks of life giving up that life in service to their country.
Other folks who delivered primetime speeches without coverage by Fox were former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and actresses Elizabeth Banks and Meryl Streep. I guess Fox editors decided Meryl Streep, winner of three Academy awards and 19 nominations, just didn’t have the star power of a “Duck Dynasty” character or Chachi from “Happy Days.”
Fox defended its decision to ignore many of the main speeches at the Dems convention by simply saying “We reported on the speeches.”
That’s nonsense even the most fanatical conservative shouldn’t swallow."

How Benjamin Netanyahu Is Crushing Israel’s Free Press; New York Times, 7/30/16

Ruth Margalit, New York Times; How Benjamin Netanyahu Is Crushing Israel’s Free Press:
"In its annual report released this spring, Freedom House, an American democracy advocacy organization, downgraded Israel’s freedom of the press ranking from “free” to “partly free.” To anyone following Israeli news media over the past year and a half, this was hardly surprising. Freedom House focused primarily on the “unchecked expansion” of paid content in editorial pages, as well as on the outsize influence of Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”), a free daily newspaper owned by the American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and widely believed to promote the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu...
The only heartening thing in all this is that news outlets are pushing back to maintain their independence. Investigative “60 Minutes”-type programs like “Uvda” (“Fact”) and “Hamakor” (“The Source”) continue to delve into government corruption and to air in prime-time slots. “Despite the assault on the press, the Israeli media remains very critical, very aggressive, and has a lot of chutzpah. It’s a kind of basic instinct that’s part of our DNA,” Ms. Dayan, who hosts Uvda, told me."

How journalists can do their crucial job in the next 100 days; Washington Post, 7/31/16

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post; How journalists can do their crucial job in the next 100 days:
"How should the media recalculate in the months before Nov. 8, especially given the sharp divisions in the country?
We should remind ourselves of the fundamentals: Journalists’ most important role is giving Americans the information they need to cast their vote. And a lot of potential voters — about 11 percent — still haven’t decided, many of them not happy with either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
“We are supposed to help citizens participate in democracy,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute and the co-author, with Bill Kovach, of “The Elements of Journalism” and “Blur.” What journalists should not be doing, he told me, is “being part of the team,” on either side.
Whatever one thinks of the concept of journalistic objectivity — some think it’s dated and counterproductive — what’s really important is independence."

Boundaries, Empathy, and Compassion; YouTube, 3/7/16

[Video] Brene Brown, YouTube; Boundaries, Empathy, and Compassion

Will the GOP repudiate Trump’s cruelty to a fallen soldier’s family?; Washington Post, 7/31/16

E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post; Will the GOP repudiate Trump’s cruelty to a fallen soldier’s family? :
"Every Republican politician and commentator who continues to say that Trump is a superior or even morally equivalent choice to Hillary Clinton will now own their temporary leader’s brutality for the rest of their political careers.
Many humane Republicans know this. Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke for them when he tweeted that “there’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect.”
This is a moment of truth for GOP leaders who passively accepted and sometimes encouraged an extremism that trafficked in religious and racial prejudice and painted President Obama as an illegitimate, power-hungry leader."

Donald Trump’s Confrontation With Muslim Soldier’s Parents Emerges as Unexpected Flash Point; New York Times, 7/31/16

Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, Ashley Parker, New York Times; Donald Trump’s Confrontation With Muslim Soldier’s Parents Emerges as Unexpected Flash Point:
"Addressing himself to “patriotic Americans that would probably vote for Donald Trump,” Mr. Khan pleaded, “I appeal to them not to vote for hatred, not to vote for fear-mongering. Vote for unity. Vote for the goodness of this country.”
And Ms. Khan, in an opinion article published in The Washington Post, rebuked Mr. Trump for suggesting earlier in the weekend that she had not been permitted to speak at the Democratic convention. Ms. Khan said she did not speak because she did not believe she could remain composed while talking about her son.
“All the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart,” Ms. Khan wrote. She continued: “Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?”"

Khizr Khan calls Trump a ‘black soul’ and says McConnell, Ryan have ‘moral’ obligation to repudiate him; Washington Post, 7/31/16

Katie Zezima, Washington Post; Khizr Khan calls Trump a ‘black soul’ and says McConnell, Ryan have ‘moral’ obligation to repudiate him:
""Two things are absolutely necessary in any leader or any person that aspires, wishes to be a leader. That is moral compass and, second, is empathy. This candidate is void of both traits that are necessary for the stewardship of this country," Khan said on CNN's "State of the Union."...
Khan said McConnell and Ryan must speak out against Trump.
It is their "moral, ethical obligation to not worry about the votes but repudiate him, withdraw the support. If they do not, I will continue to speak, and I am speaking," Khan said.
In statements Sunday, Ryan and McConnell expressed support for the Khans and reiterated their opposition to Trump's proposed ban on Muslims, but did not abandon their support of the Republican nominee."

Ghazala Khan: Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice.; Washington Trump, 7/31/16

Ghazala Khan, Washington Post; Ghazala Khan: Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice. :
Ghazala Khan’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
"I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?
Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family."

"I'm In"; Doonesbury, 7/31/16

Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury:
"I'm In"

How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Online; NPR, 7/30/16

Angus Chen, NPR; How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Online:
"Medical information can be gleaned from all this and more, says Nathan Cortez, a professor of law at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
A recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that the vast majority of mobile health apps on the marketplace aren't covered by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. "HIPAA is pretty narrow as far as these things go. It applies only to traditional entities [like hospitals, doctors and health insurance providers], and it's not surprising. HIPAA was written by Congress in 1996 before we had health apps," Cortez says.
Apps or devices used in conjunction with a doctor's office or a hospital can't share or sell your information. But there's no definitive federal law governing what happens to the data that an app developer, tech company or private individual collects. Cortez and I spoke about what that means and what people can do with individuals' data."

Bill O’Reilly irretrievably loses it over White House slaves; Washington Post, 7/28/16

Erik Wemple, Washington Post; Bill O’Reilly irretrievably loses it over White House slaves:
"As the Erik Wemple Blog pointed out this morning, Jesse J. Holland, who wrote the book on slaves and the White House, noted that the slaves were housed in a barn and were provided with food. Yet there’s a gap between that historical fact and what O’Reilly alleged, which, again, is that they were “well fed” and resided in “decent lodgings.” Those aren’t really facts; they’re judgments. Though Holland researched this matter extensively, he found limitations. “Writing about slavery is difficult because there is so little that we know for a fact because so little was written about their lives during their lives.” If it weren’t for the records of payments to slave owners, says Holland, historians might still be arguing about whether slaves actually worked on the White House."

Five myths about patient privacy; Washington Post, 7/28/16

Charles G. Kels, Washington Post; Five myths about patient privacy:
"Shortly after the recent massacre at an Orlando nightclub, the city’s mayor declared that the White House had agreed to waive federal privacy rules to allow doctors to update victims’ families. News of the waiver was widely reported, but as the Obama administration later clarified, both the mayor and the media were “simply mistaken.” No waiver was granted because none was needed. The confusion amid the tragedy in Orlando underscores widespread misconceptions about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Here we shed light on a handful of myths that bedevil doctors and patients alike."

Marvel Artist Complains After 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Giveaway Uses His Work; Hollywood Reporter, 7/29/16

Graeme McMillan, Hollywood Reporter; Marvel Artist Complains After 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Giveaway Uses His Work:
"Bill Sienkiewicz, known for work on such Marvel titles as X-Men spin-off New Mutants and Elektra: Assassin, took to Facebook to complain after discovering that Fox was giving away limited edition promotional replicas of an album cover used as a prop in the movie, using artwork he had created three decades earlier. Previously unaware of the promo item, he discovered its existence at Comic-Con itself when fans asked him to sign them, he explained.
"I've been doing this comic-book thing for years. I'm aware most everything is Work-Made-for-Hire," Sienkiewicz wrote on his post. "Still, I received no prior notification (a common courtesy), no thank you (ditto), no written credit in any form whatsoever either on the piece or in connection with the premium, absolutely no compensation and no comp copies of the album. It's like two losing trifectas wrapped in an altogether indifferent f--- you."
The artist, who originally created the image as part of a cover for Marvel's Dazzler No. 29 in 1983, in collaboration with Marvel's in-house designer Eliot R. Brown, went on to say that he had to be physically restrained by colleagues from "making a scene" at the Fox booth during the show about the giveaway.
"Am I over-reacting here?" he continued. "Do I have the right — at least on behalf of fellow creators — to, at the very least expect decent treatment and some kind of minuscule, even boilerplate, acknowledgment?"

Melania no more: why did Donald Trump take down his wife's website?; Guardian, 7/29/16

Dan Tynan, Guardian; Melania no more: why did Donald Trump take down his wife's website? :
"Melania Trump’s personal and professional site, the Huffington Post reported on Wednesday, has disappeared. A search of Google’s cache reveals that sometime after 22 July, was redirected to, the official site for the Trump Organization.
Speculation immediately centered on a claim made on Ms Trump’s online biography that she obtained “a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia” shortly before embarking on her modeling career.
An an unauthorized biography of Ms Trump, published in February, claims the prospective first lady left the university after a year without obtaining her degree. Critics have accused the Trump campaign of deleting the site in order to hide her biography.
An image posted to Melania’s Twitter account earlier today states: “The website in question was created in 2012 and it has been removed because it does not accurately reflect my current business and professional interests.”"

South Korea Is Contending With A 'Gamergate' Of Its Own — Over A T-Shirt; All Tech Considered, NPR, 7/29/16

Mark H. Kim, All Tech Considered, NPR; South Korea Is Contending With A 'Gamergate' Of Its Own — Over A T-Shirt:
"An online controversy over a South Korean voice actress's tweeted image of a T-shirt has escalated into what is now being called East Asia's version of Gamergate — a reference to the vitriolic controversy that pitted gamers, largely men, against women in tech."

Judge compares offensive Facebook posts to football in sentencing Sydney man; Guardian, 7/28/16

Elle Hunt, Guardian; Judge compares offensive Facebook posts to football in sentencing Sydney man:
"Research from Our Watch and Plan International Australia found 70% of young Australian women aged between 15 and 19 believed online harassment and bullying to be endemic.
Siobhan McCann, the policy manager for Plan International Australia, said the majority of girls and young women received some sort of online abuse every day, but only one in three said they would report it.
“We wonder if this is because young women don’t feel supported by the legal system.
“We hope today’s small victory sends a message that abusing women in the digital space is just as legitimate a crime as abuse on the street or at home. And we hope trolls will take note that they can be charged and tried for it.”"

Kentucky Jail Sends Black Woman To Court With No Pants. This Judge Won’t Have It.; Huffington Post, 7/30/16

Sebastian Murdock, Huffington Post; Kentucky Jail Sends Black Woman To Court With No Pants. This Judge Won’t Have It. :
"“I just want to tell you how incredibly sorry I am that you’ve been treated this way,” Wolf told the defendant after she was clothed and brought back into the courtroom. “No one deserves this, but particularly in a situation like this where you failed to complete a diversion program and didn’t even pick up new charges.”
Wolf gave the woman a sentence of time served and a $100 fine.
“The fact you’re in custody is your fault ― you gotta come to court,” Wolf said. “The rest of this is completely inhumane and unacceptable, and I’m incredibly sorry you had to go through this.""

Khizr Khan responds to the latest from Trump: ‘Typical of a person without a soul’; Washington Post, 7/31/16

Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post; Khizr Khan responds to the latest from Trump: ‘Typical of a person without a soul’ :
"Responding to Trump’s latest statement, Khan said, “This is faked empathy.”
“What he said originally — that defines him . . . People are upset with him. He realizes, and his advisers feel that [his original statement] was a stupid mistake. That proves that this person is void of empathy. He is unfit for the stewardship of this great country. You think he will empathize with this country, with the suffering of this country’s poor people? He showed his true colors when he disrespected this country’s most honorable mother… all the snake oil he is selling, and my patriotic, decent Americans are falling for that. Republicans are falling for that. And I can only appeal to them. Reconsider. Repudiate. It’s a moral obligation. A person void of empathy for the people he wishes to lead cannot be trusted with that leadership. To vote is a trust. And it cannot be placed in wrong hands.”"

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bowser’s $9,000 in Trump change; Washington Post, 7/29/16

Colbert I. King, Washington Post; Bowser’s $9,000 in Trump change:
'What the Trump Organization sees in Bowser is for it to know. What Bowser sees in Trump is for D.C. citizens to know. To rid the city of any false idea that Bowser is not offended by Trump or is influenced by the Trump contributions, she should return all of the Trump family money or donate it to worthy causes.
And as mayor, she must deal with real estate mogul Trump and his business partners at arm’s length and with someone else in the room with a tape recorder."

The Blog That Disappeared; New York Times, 7/29/16

Roxane Gay, New York Times; The Blog That Disappeared:
"On June 27, Mr. Cooper’s Google account was deactivated, he has said. He lost 14 years of his blog archives, creative work, email and contacts. He has hired a lawyer and made complaints, and many of his readers and fans have tried to support his efforts. There is a petition circulating, urging Google to restore his work. Pen America, an organization that promotes free expression, has weighed in, saying that Mr. Cooper deserves a substantive response from Google.
Thus far, these efforts have been in vain. Google has not responded beyond saying there was a violation of the Terms of Service agreement. It has neither identified the specific violation nor indicated why it also deleted Mr. Cooper’s email account. It has not provided Mr. Cooper with the ability to download his personal information so he might rebuild his blog and email account elsewhere. In one interview, Mr. Cooper said he thought that the male escort ads might have led to his account’s being deactivated, but this has not been confirmed by the company.
When I contacted Google for further comment, I got a response that said, “We are aware of this matter, but the specific Terms of Service violations are ones we cannot discuss further due to legal considerations.” I asked about why Mr. Cooper’s Gmail account was also deleted and whether or not he would be able to retrieve the archive of his work, and I was directed to Google’s Terms of Service, Gmail Policy and Blogger Content Policy, which did not offer any useful specifics."

Who Loves America?; New York Times, 7/29/16

Paul Krugman, New York Times; Who Loves America? :
"That love of country doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, uncritical. But the faults you find, the critiques you offer, should be about the ways in which we don’t yet live up to our own ideals. If what bothers you about America is, instead, the fact that it doesn’t look exactly the way it did in the past (or the way you imagine it looked in the past), then you don’t love your country — you care only about your tribe.
And all too many influential figures on the right are tribalists, not patriots.
We got a graphic demonstration of that reality after Michelle Obama’s speech, when she spoke of the wonder of watching her daughters play on the lawn of “a house that was built by slaves.” It was an uplifting and, yes, patriotic image, a celebration of a nation that is always seeking to become better, to transcend its flaws...
Now comes Mr. Trump, doing the bidding of a foreign power and inviting it to intervene in our politics — and that’s O.K., because it also serves the tribe.
So if it seems strange to you that these days Democrats are sounding patriotic while Republicans aren’t, you just weren’t paying attention. The people who now seem to love America always did; the people who suddenly no longer sound like patriots never were."

Friday, July 29, 2016

Truth, Knowledge, and Academic Freedom; Huffington Post, 7/26/16

David Moshman, Huffington Post; Truth, Knowledge, and Academic Freedom:
"Microaggressions. Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. These are among the latest entries in the ever-expanding lexicon of campus censorship. There appears to be a new free speech crisis on campus, and it seems largely due to demands from a new generation of students to be protected from offensive ideas, emotional triggers, and feelings of being intellectually unsafe.
But not so fast. Two new books from the academic publisher palgrave macmillan expand the time frame and shift the blame from students to faculty. One of these, Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus, is a collection of short, readable chapters. The other, Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge, is a systematic book-length analysis by Joanna Williams..."
Much campus controversy today revolves around issues of respect for others. Respect for others is crucial but, as both these books make clear, such respect is not enough. In the academic context, what matters most is respect for truth. But there is no final arbiter of truth. Instead we seek it through intellectual and social processes that require respect for intellectual freedom.
It’s worth adding that respect for intellectual freedom, even when motivated by a concern for truth, brings us right back to respect for others. Full respect for others includes respect for their freedom of expression, even when we don’t like what they’re saying."

The Complicated Process of Adding Diversity to the College Syllabus; The Atlantic, 7/29/16

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic; The Complicated Process of Adding Diversity to the College Syllabus:
"When Thomas Easley interviews people who want to teach statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), he poses a question most applicants probably aren’t expecting: How would you integrate diversity into your curriculum?
It’s a question more universities seem to be asking in the aftermath of student protests against the dearth of people of color on their campuses and in their coursework...
Proponents say that asking students to acknowledge and discuss ideas and concepts through a variety of lenses with classmates from different backgrounds is every bit as important in an increasingly global society as drilling the fundamentals of essay-writing into young minds. But the idea is predictably controversial, with critics saying the requirements are a left-leaning affront to academic freedom. And even professors who are generally supportive of incorporating conversations about diversity into their teaching sometimes say they don’t know where to begin; lots of schools like to talk about diversity, but it’s a nebulous if nice-sounding word, and schools that espouse the broad concept sometimes fail to define exactly what they mean or expect when they tell professors to weave it into their work."

‘Stronger together’ vs. ‘I alone can fix it’, Boston Globe, 7/29/16

Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe; ‘Stronger together’ vs. ‘I alone can fix it’ :
"Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton did not deliver the best address of this convention or even the runner-up. Instead she gave a solid, substance-laden, and highly effective acceptance speech to her fellow Democrats. It never reached the rhetorical flights of fancy achieved by Obama the night before — but it didn’t need to. Clinton delivered rhetorical shot after rhetorical shot to Donald Trump as she laid out a clear vision for her presidency. She offered the nation an unabashedly liberal agenda — one surely intended to appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters — but in its wonkish, populist tone was eerily reminiscent of political speeches once delivered by her husband. She fully embraced the diverse and multicultural society America has become. But above all, she did the one thing that she and her party absolutely needed to do this week in Philadelphia — make clear the stark political contrasts between Clinton and Trump for the general election to come.
“Stronger together’’ has become the theme of Clinton’s campaign. In a country with the motto epluribus unum, out of many one — it’s an idea that would have resonance in any presidential race."

Trump walks back email hack comments, but damage lingers; CNN, 7/28/16

Stephen Collinson and Tom Kludt, CNN; Trump walks back email hack comments, but damage lingers:
"The affair is a lesson for Trump in how every word a potential commander in chief utters is parsed and amplified, and can have significant political and diplomatic consequences. US presidents in the modern era have seen singular sentences and offhand comments define global perceptions on US policies and leadership.
It's nothing new for the outspoken Republican nominee to cause a firestorm with comments that he made in a press conference; he's been doing it for his entire presidential campaign, with any resulting political damage seeming to be offset by the media attention and appeal they have to his voters.
But when they step up to accept their party's nomination, candidates move into an arena where the stakes are higher and the bar for mistakes is much more unforgiving than the rough-and-tumble of a primary campaign.
Nominees are viewed by voters, reporters, their peers and future international counterparts as commanders in chief-in-waiting on whose choice of words lives and crucial national security interests could ultimately depend. As a result, the room for error is far narrower than before."

From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa; Guardian, 7/27/16

Zoe Flood, Guardian; From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa:
[Kip Currier: A few weeks ago I posted a story about the use of drones to drop vaccine-infused M&Ms to highly endangered black-footed ferrets in the U.S. Here's another article about drones being used for benevolent, humanitarian purposes.]
"Some are killing machines. Others are pesky passions of the weekend hobbyist. As such, drones have not always been welcomed in our skies.
Across Africa, however, projects are being launched that could revolutionise medical supply chains and commercial deliveries, combat poaching and provide other solutions for an overburdened, underdeveloped continent...
“This technology has the potential to erase barriers to access for countless critical medicines and save lives on a scale not previously possible,” says Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s chief executive, which is staffed by experienced aerospace engineers including those who have worked at SpaceX, Boeing and Nasa.
“While there are a number of potential applications for this technology, we’re keenly focused on using it to save lives.”"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Is the Elite Media Failing to Reach Trump Voters?; Slate, 7/28/16

Isaac Chotiner, Slate; Is the Elite Media Failing to Reach Trump Voters? :
"Has your opinion of him or WikiLeaks’ project changed?
Yeah, it has, because when WikiLeaks first began—one of the things that people have forgotten—they were actually very careful in redacting. In fact, there were tons of redactions when they were releasing Pentagon documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. And they even wrote a letter to the State Department before they released the cables requesting the State Department’s help in figuring out which information ought to be withheld. And I used to defend WikiLeaks all the time on the grounds that they were not indiscriminate dumpers of information; they were carefully protecting people’s reputations. And they have changed their view on that—and no longer believe, as Julian says, in redacting any information of any kind for any reason—and I definitely do not agree with that approach and think that they can be harmful to innocent people or other individuals in ways that I don’t think is acceptable."

Trump Says His Russia Comments Were a Joke. He Always Lies Like This.; Slate, 7/28/16

Josh Voorhees, Slate; Trump Says His Russia Comments Were a Joke. He Always Lies Like This. :
"Trump wasn’t joking or being sarcastic; he was just being Trump. He was speaking without thinking and didn’t grasp the full implications of what he was saying in the moment or even its immediate aftermath. It’s possible that now that enough people have explained the situation to him, he understands the danger of calling on a geopolitical rival to conduct cyberespionage against your political opponent. That, though, should make us all sleep only marginally better given this time next year there is a legitimate chance this man could be performing his belligerent and ill-informed improv in the White House."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Donald Trump orders NBC’s Katy Tur to ‘be quiet’; Washington Post, 7/27/16

Callum Borchers, Washington Post; Donald Trump orders NBC’s Katy Tur to ‘be quiet’ :
"There is so much going on here. There is Trump's previously noted attempt to take the conversation in a different direction. There is his effort to bully a journalist into silence. And there is his suggestion that the journalist is in the tank for Clinton.
What a perfect encapsulation of how Trump interacts with the press. Here are his three primary tactics on display all at once. He ignores topics he doesn't like, tries to shut down reporters bold enough to push back — usually with an "excuse me"; "be quiet" was even ruder than usual — and suggests that the media is conspiring against him.
If you had paid zero attention to the presidential race before Wednesday, this single episode would tell you everything you need to know about Donald Trump's media relations."

'Treason'? Critics savage Trump over Russia hack comments; Politico, 7/27/16

Nahal Toosi, Politico; 'Treason'? Critics savage Trump over Russia hack comments:
"Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, said Trump's comments were "beyond the pale" because he was "in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics." An aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has endorsed Trump, added, meanwhile, that "Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug" and that it should stay out of the U.S. election.
Philip Reiner, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration, called Trump a "scumbag animal."
"Hacking email is a criminal activity. And he's asked a foreign government — a murderous, repressive regime — to attack not just one of our citizens but the Democratic presidential candidate? Of course it's a national security threat," he added.
And William Inboden, who served on the NSC during the George W. Bush administration, said Trump's comments were "tantamount to treason.""

By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines; Washington Post, 7/27/16

Bruce Shneier, Washington Post; By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines:
"Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party’s convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded.
The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November — that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack."

Donald Trump: ‘I Hope’ Russia Hacked Clinton’s Email Servers; Huffington Post, 7/27/16

Christina Wilkie, Huffington Post; Donald Trump: ‘I Hope’ Russia Hacked Clinton’s Email Servers:
"Within moments of Trump’s press conference, his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), released a statement distancing himself from the nominee’s words. “If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences,” Pence said...
Trump declined to say whether or not Putin should stay out of U.S. elections, telling the assembled press Wednesday, “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do?”
Clinton’s campaign was also quick to respond to Trump’s press conference.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue." deletes student emails; EdScoop, 7/25/16

Corinne Lestch, EdScoop; deletes student emails:
"The head of is taking an unusual step – by deleting student emails.
Hadi Partovi, founder of the education nonprofit, told EdScoop in an email that he was prompted by near-daily news reports about cyberattacks to stop storing student emails in's servers.
"The easiest way to protect sensitive data from hacking is to not have it stored in the first place," he wrote in the email. "In today's world, the more data you store, the more risk you bear."...
"We did this because the privacy and safety of student data is more important to us than the ability to contact our users," he wrote in the post."

How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President; Defense One, 7/24/16

Patrick Tucker, Defense One; How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President:
"The use of Wikileaks as the publishing platform served to legitimize the information dump, which also contains a large amount of personal information related to democratic donors such as social security and credit card numbers. This suggests that Wikileaks didn’t perform a thorough analysis of the documents before they released them, or simply didn’t care.
It’s the latest installment in a trend that information security researcher Bruce Schneier calls organizational doxing and that Lawfare’s Nicholas Weaver calls the weaponization of Wikileaks."

How the DNC Is Subtly Rebuking Donald Trump’s Mockery of a Disabled Reporter; Slate, 7/26/16

Ruth Graham, Slate; How the DNC Is Subtly Rebuking Donald Trump’s Mockery of a Disabled Reporter:
"It is worth contrasting Trump’s casual cruelty with the tone the DNC has set on disability issues so far. On Monday, disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza delivered a powerful speech in which she said she felt sorry for Trump. “I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart,” she said. “Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me, and he definitely doesn’t speak for me.” Somoza, who has cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia, delivered her talk from a wheelchair to the roars of an approving crowd.
In his keynote speech on Tuesday, Bill Clinton acknowledged Somoza in the audience as he talked about his wife’s early work on equal educational access for children with disabilities. Hillary “never made fun of people with disabilities,” he said, alluding not-so-subtly to her opponent. “She tried to empower them based on their abilities.”
On Tuesday, the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, several other disabled people took the stage in Philadelphia to share their stories."

Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails; New York Times, 7/27/16

Ashley Parker, New York Times; Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails:
"Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on a secretary of state’s correspondence.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies.
Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally telling the female questioner to “be quiet — let the president talk to them.”"

How the U.S. Could Respond to the DNC Breach; Slate, 7/26/16

Laura K. Bate, Slate; How the U.S. Could Respond to the DNC Breach:
"After a possible Russian attempt to influence U.S. elections by hacking the Democratic National Committee, the FBI has announced that it will investigate the origins of the hack. International interference in the democratic process has a long and storied past, but inhibiting self-determination is generally considered unacceptable and warrants a response.
But what should that response be? Below are six different paths the United States could take to answer the data breach. The choice will depend on many factors—the evidence supporting Russian involvement, the state of U.S.–Russian relations, the challenge of avoiding the appearance of using the tools of government to assist the Democratic candidate. Whatever the United States does or does not do will set an important precedent worldwide."

Assange, Avowed Foe of Clinton, Timed Email Release for Democratic Convention; New York Times, 7/26/16

Charlie Savage, New York Times; Assange, Avowed Foe of Clinton, Timed Email Release for Democratic Convention:
"Six weeks before the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published an archive of hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the Democratic convention, the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, foreshadowed the release — and made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency...
At one point, Mr. Peston said: “Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?”
Mr. Assange replied that what Mr. Trump would do as president was “completely unpredictable.” By contrast, he thought it was predictable that Mrs. Clinton would wield power in two ways he found problematic.
First, citing his “personal perspective,” Mr. Assange accused Mrs. Clinton of having been among those pushing to indict him after WikiLeaks disseminated a quarter of a million diplomatic cables during her tenure as secretary of state.
“We do see her as a bit of a problem for freedom of the press more generally,” Mr. Assange said."

The (alleged) Russian hack of the DNC should be one of the biggest stories of the year. Why isn’t it?; Washington Post, 7/26/16

Paul Waldman, Washington Post; The (alleged) Russian hack of the DNC should be one of the biggest stories of the year. Why isn’t it? :
"...[T]here’s something utterly bizarre about the kind of coverage this story is getting. Evidence currently suggests that the Russian government may have attempted to sway the results of the U.S. presidential election. I put that in italics, because it ought to be in screaming 72-point headlines on every front page in America. And yet, it’s being treated like just one more odd story in a wacky election year, not much more important than the latest fundraising numbers or which ethnic group Donald Trump has insulted most recently...
That being said, this hack represents something profoundly different from what we’ve seen before. We’ve known that foreign intelligence services from countries like China and Russia have in the past attempted to infiltrate not only government networks but those of other political organizations and actors, like the parties. What distinguishes this attack is that it wasn’t just for the purposes of surveillance. They weren’t trying to figure out what Americans are up to, they were trying to intervene to change the results of our election. Goldsmith suggests some even more frightening possibilities:
What if the hackers interspersed fake but even more damning or inflammatory emails that were hard to disprove? What if hackers break in to computers to steal or destroy voter registration information? What if they disrupted computer-based voting or election returns in important states during the presidential election? The legitimacy of a presidential election might be called into question, with catastrophic consequences. The DNC hack is just the first wave of possible threats to electoral integrity in the United States—by foreign intelligence services, and others.
For all we know, the DNC hack was a trial run for something much more ambitious."

Bigger than Watergate: The Russian-orchestrated DNC email hack places our national sovereignty at stake; Salon, 7/27/16

Bob Cesca, Salon; Bigger than Watergate: The Russian-orchestrated DNC email hack places our national sovereignty at stake:
"As of this writing, further details along with the chain-of-evidence is still being established by journalists, security experts and the FBI. (By the way, before anyone kneejerks to the “crazy conspiracy theory” conclusion, it’s worth noting that everyone from the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, to A-list reporter Richard Engel, along with The Daily Beast, ABC News, NBC News, Yahoo! News, Slate, TPM, Vice and The Washington Post have been uncovering new and frightening aspects of this story going back to June and culminating with the past 48 hours.) According to investigative journalists at Vice’s “Motherboard,” in particular, a security firm hired by the DNC discovered the existence of “two sophisticated adversaries” that had infiltrated the Democratic Party’s internal email network. Known as “APT 28″ and “APT 29,” the handles are used by both the Russian intelligence service, the FSB (formerly the KGB) and the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. Later, using a front handle known as the aforementioned “Guccifer 2.0,” the agencies announced back in June that it had given Wikileaks “thousands of files and mails.”
Regarding the content of some of the emails, bear this in mind: according to conservative author and former NSA analyst, John Schindler, who, by the way, is no fan of Hillary Clinton, part of the FSB’s tradecraft is to fabricate intelligence and toss it into a cocktail of legitimate documents. In other words, it’s fair to speculate, based on Russia’s modus operandi, that the questionable emails were doctored, if not manufactured for impact, while exculpatory emails might’ve been scrubbed from the tranche. We have to question everything here, given the tenacity of Putin’s propaganda efforts...
One last thing: if you’re only looking at this story as an internal DNC scandal, you’re missing the despotic forest for the trees. We can’t emphasize enough: this story is bigger than Bernie or Hillary. It’s bigger than Trump. It speaks directly to the sovereignty of our electoral process. The sooner it’s treated this way, the better off we’ll be."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The DNC Hack Is Watergate, but Worse; Slate, 7/26/16

Franklin Foer, Slate; The DNC Hack Is Watergate, but Worse:
"What’s galling about the WikiLeaks dump is the way in which the organization has blurred the distinction between leaks and hacks. Leaks are an important tool of journalism and accountability. When an insider uncovers malfeasance, he brings information to the public in order to stop the wrongdoing. That’s not what happened here. The better analogy for these hacks is Watergate. To help win an election, the Russians broke into the virtual headquarters of the Democratic Party. The hackers installed the cyber-version of the bugging equipment that Nixon’s goons used—sitting on the DNC computers for a year, eavesdropping on everything, collecting as many scraps as possible. This is trespassing, it’s thievery, it’s a breathtaking transgression of privacy. It falls into that classic genre, the dirty trick. Yet that term feels too innocent to describe the offense. Nixon’s dirty tricksters didn’t mindlessly expose the private data of low-level staff."

Michelle Obama delivers a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton; Washington Post, 7/25/16

Krissah Thompson and Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post; Michelle Obama delivers a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton:
"Obama did not mention Donald Trump by name, but she had a pointed critique of the Republican nominee.
“When you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well informed," Obama said...
“When they go low, we go high,” she said, repeating a mantra she heard as a child.
She delivered a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton — touting her “lifelong devotion to our nation’s children -- not just her own daughter – who she has raised to perfection, but every child who needs a champion.”...
"“When I think about the kind of president I want for my girls and for all children, that’s who I want,” Obama added. “I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues that a president tackles are not black or white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.”...
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I’ve watched my daughters, two beautiful intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” she said."

Democrats And Republicans Agree: Michelle Obama Absolutely Nailed It; Huffington Post, 7/26/16

Ed Mazza, Huffington Post; Democrats And Republicans Agree: Michelle Obama Absolutely Nailed It:
"First Lady Michelle Obama won praise for giving a stirring and optimistic speech in which she managed to attack Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump without once mentioning his name.
Praise for the speech came from across the political spectrum..."

China seeks to eradicate 'vile effect' of independent journalism; Guardian, 7/25/16

Tom Phillips, Guardian; China seeks to eradicate 'vile effect' of independent journalism:
"Top Chinese internet portals had been forbidden from producing original reporting on politically sensitive topics in what experts say is the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s battle to bring Chinese journalism under control.
Citing a CAC official, the Global Times, a Beijing-controlled tabloid, said online portals were permitted to publish stories on “social and political issues” only if they had been sourced from government-controlled news agencies...
Wen Tao, a Chinese journalist who worked for one of the current affairs services that has been closed down, told the New York Times censors would find it hard to completely control the production of news.
“The flow of information cannot be stopped – it’s like a flood,” he said."

Monday, July 25, 2016

The gift of privacy: How Edward Snowden changed the way I parent; Salon, 7/24/16

Annie H. Hartnett, Salon; The gift of privacy: How Edward Snowden changed the way I parent:
"While the conversation between these three thought leaders fascinated me, it was the remarks of 33-year-old Snowden that affected me most profoundly. “Privacy,” he asserted, “is the right to self…. Privacy is the right to a free mind.” He went on to explain that “privacy is what allows us to determine our beliefs without being influenced by others, subject to peer pressure, or judged before those beliefs are fully formed. Without privacy,” he added “at no time are you permitted to have a space that is only just for you.”
Consider that statement for a moment: “Without privacy, at no time are you permitted to have a space that is only just for you.”
Greenwald reinforced this idea when he explained that people secure their homes and rooms with locks and their email and social media with passwords in part “to ensure that there is a place they can go in the world to think and reason and explore without the judgmental eyes of other people being cast upon them.… When we lose privacy,” he went on, “we lose a really critical part of what it means to be an independent and free individual.”"

How Trump attacks the media, and why that distorts reality; New York Times, 7/24/16

Margaret Sullivan, New York Times; How Trump attacks the media, and why that distorts reality:
"In this presidential race, falsehoods by both candidates aren’t hard to find. And yes, both candidates deserve to be called out — consistently, clearly, determinedly. But they aren’t close to equal. The nonpartisan PolitiFact project found that Trump’s untruths during the campaign have far outpaced Clinton’s. When it checked questionable statements, it rated 60 percent of Trump’s as false, as opposed to 13 percent of Clinton’s.
Trump’s charge that the mainstream media has hidden Clinton’s misdeeds — or “edited out” the truth from news reports — is another one of his falsehoods. There’s no more evidence of this than of the “thousands and thousands” of Muslims cheering 9/11 in Jersey City — or of his early opposition to the invasion of Iraq."

Trump and the End of Truth; New York Times, 7/25/16

Roger Cohen, New York Times; Trump and the End of Truth:
"Facts are now a quaint hangover from a time of rational discourse, little annoyances easily upended. Volume trumps reality, as Roger Ailes understood at Fox News, before a downfall that coincided with the apotheosis of his post-factual world.
A red-faced bully, adept in the choreography of collective hysteria, arises. He promises that he alone can set things right. He is the voice. He stands against a great tide of menace, from ISIS to immigrants, and only he understands the vast dimensions of the danger.
We have been here before. Fascism was a backlash against dysfunctional democracies. It invited belief in the leadership of the strongman against enemies within and without. Its currency was untruth and its culmination bloody unreason. It was decried and dismissed by those it would devour.
It is inevitable, given what he represents, that Trump looks to Putin. Orwell again: “Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”"

Hong Kong book fair subdued after bookseller disappearances; Guardian, 7/25/16

Ilaria Maria Sala. Guardian; Hong Kong book fair subdued after bookseller disappearances:
"The controls on travellers have been strengthened, and many who came to Hong Kong to buy books censored in mainland China have stopped buying them, as they may get into trouble at the border.”...
What has befallen the five booksellers has cast a heavy pall across the industry in Hong Kong. “We now have problems at both ends of the book chain”, says Bao Pu, of New Century Press, a publishing house known for high-quality political works banned on the mainland. “Printers are not willing to print politically sensitive books, throughout the Hong Kong printing industry. This is a very serious situation. The printers are deciding what can be read. At the other end of the chain there are the bookstores, and most of them will no longer sell this kind of book because it is considered dangerous.
“Also, you see fewer political books because in this situation, we publish less. I think that Hong Kong is no longer a place that supports independent publishing, since the Causeway Bay Books event [when Gui Minhai was arrested].”"

Justices Show How Disclosing Revisions Offers (Confers?) Benefits; New York Times, 7/25/16

Adam Liptak, New York Times; Justices Show How Disclosing Revisions Offers (Confers?) Benefits:
"Public notice of these corrections is welcome progress from a court that is often resistant to change. There is little chance, for instance, that the court will allow camera coverage of its arguments anytime soon. The court continues to release audio recordings of arguments only at the end of the week, though it could easily provide them right away.
Gabe Roth, the executive director of Fix the Court, a group that has called for more openness, said the court should work harder to let Americans understand its work.
“Before 2014, few people knew that the Supreme Court was changing opinions after their release, but once this policy gained notoriety, the court made a simple fix to great praise,” Mr. Roth said. “A little dose of transparency, it seems, can go a long way, so there is no reason why the trend should not continue with swifter access to oral argument audio, online explanations of recusals and a high court webpage to which the justices’ financial disclosure reports may be uploaded.”"

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"How Do We Unwatch That?; Doonesbury, Go Comics, 7/24/16

Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury, Go Comics:
"How Do We Unwatch That?"

Ethics agency says HUD chief Castro violated Hatch Act; Politico, 7/18/16

Josh Gerstein, Politico; Ethics agency says HUD chief Castro violated Hatch Act:
"Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro violated a federal law against politicking on the job earlier this year when he fielded a journalist's questions about the presidential race and his own chances of being chosen as Hillary Clinton's running mate, a federal ethics watchdog agency has found.
The Office of Special Counsel determined that Castro ran afoul of the Hatch Act during his April 4, 2016, interview with Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric, even though he stressed that he was answering her political questions in his personal capacity."

As Pick for No. 2, Tim Kaine Sees Gifts Come Under Scrutiny; New York Times, 7/24/16

Eric Lipton and Steve Eder, New York Times; As Pick for No. 2, Tim Kaine Sees Gifts Come Under Scrutiny:
"Under Virginia’s lax ethics rules at the time, the gifts, which had a total value of more than $160,000, were all legal as long as they were disclosed.
But with Mr. Kaine’s selection on Friday as Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, the gifts he received in the four years he served as Virginia’s chief executive and his time as lieutenant governor before that are certain to be cited by his Republican critics as a sign that Mr. Kaine, who is now a United States senator, is not as squeaky clean as he portrays himself...
After he was elected to the Senate, Mr. Kaine publicly urged the Virginia legislature to tighten state ethics laws, saying he had concluded that the more stringent rules in Congress were appropriate.
“The new year presents a superb opportunity to fix a major Virginia weakness: our lax ethical laws,” he wrote in an op-ed article published on Dec. 31, 2013, in The Washington Post. “Gifts to elected officials can create a subconscious sense of gratitude in even the most upright public servants.”"

The Dark Knight; New York Times, 7/22/16

David Brooks, New York Times; The Dark Knight:
"Finally, a law-and-order campaign calls upon the authoritarian personality traits that Donald Trump undoubtedly possesses. The G.O.P. used to be a party that aspired to a biblical ethic of private charity, graciousness, humility and faithfulness. Mitt Romney’s convention was lifted by stories of his kindness and personal mentorship.
Trump has replaced biblical commitments with a gladiator ethos. Everything is oriented around conquest, success, supremacy and domination. This was the Lock Her Up convention. A law-and-order campaign doesn’t ask voters to like Trump and the Republicans any more than they liked Richard Nixon in 1968...
This is less a party than a personality cult. Law and order is a strange theme for a candidate who radiates conflict and disorder. Some rich children are careless that way; they break things and other people have to clean up the mess."

Donald Trump’s RNC Speech Was a Terrifying Display of Nightmarish Authoritarianism; Reason, 7/22/16

Peter Suderman, Reason; Donald Trump’s RNC Speech Was a Terrifying Display of Nightmarish Authoritarianism:
"It was a relentlessly grim and gloomy picture of America, built on thinly disguised racial distrust and paranoia. It was a portrait that was also essentially false. Violent crime has been steadily falling for more than two decades. Immigrants are less prone to criminality than native-born Americans.
But portraying America in such a dark light let Trump cast himself as the nation's dark hero, a kind of billionaire-businessman fixer, unbound by rules or expectations of decorum—President Batman, the only one with the guts and the will to fight for the people.
Trump did not invoke superpowers, of course, but he might as well have; he had no other ideas or solutions to offer...
Trump's entire speech was packed with threats and power grabs, details be damned. It was a speech about how government should be made bigger and stronger and given more authority over every part of American life, and government, in most cases, simply meant Donald Trump himself. It was an argument for unlimited government under a single man, for rule by Trump's whim. He sounded less like he was running for president and more like he was campaigning to be an American despot."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as DNC chair as email scandal rocks Democrats; Guardian, 7/24/16

Dan Roberts, Ben Jacobs, Alan Yuhas, Guardian; Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as DNC chair as email scandal rocks Democrats:
"The most explosive new revelation from the Wikileaks release was an official’s suggestion that Sanders’ religious faith, or lack thereof, could be flagged as a way to dissuade voters from backing him in Bible belt states.
“I think I read he is an atheist,” the DNC chief financial officer, Brad Marshall, wrote in one email. “This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
Sanders, who is Jewish, spoke little of religion during the primary, but the sight of a supposedly neutral body apparently seeking to weaken one of its own party candidates caused particular anger among progressives.
Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida who is herself Jewish, is not thought to have been directly involved in this email exchange, but she was seen in other messages writing dismissively of the Sanders campaign."

Donald Trump reminds me of Vladimir Putin — and that is terrifying; Washington Post, 7/23/16

Garry Kasparov, Washington Post; Donald Trump reminds me of Vladimir Putin — and that is terrifying:
"It is painful to admit, but Putin was elected in a relatively fair election in 2000. He steadily dismantled Russia’s fragile democracy and succeeded in turning Russians against each other and against the world. It turns out you can go quite far in a democracy by convincing a majority that they are threatened by a minority, and that only you can protect them.
The final and most worrying similarity between Putin and Trump is that so many are unwilling to believe that someone like Trump could ever become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed to great jubilation, we never would have believed that a former KGB agent would become the president of Russia just nine years later. The moral: Be careful whom you vote for, it could be the last election you ever have."

At 75, Wonder Woman Lassos In A New Generation With An Ageless Fight; NPR, 7/24/16

Petra Mayer, NPR; At 75, Wonder Woman Lassos In A New Generation With An Ageless Fight:
"Arriving on comics pages just as the horrors of World War II were descending, Wonder Woman would rise above male aggression — she almost never kills — and she would leave her home on Paradise Island to fight for America, described in her comics as "the last citadel of democracy and of equal rights for women!"
"She really is the first superhero humanitarian," says Jim Lee, the co-publisher of DC Comics and a former Wonder Woman artist himself.
He says Wonder Woman's lasted so long partly because of good timing — she was just one of the first female superheroes.
But also, he says, "It is an interesting, unique tale of someone who is basically giving up a life of comfort to take on conflict and to be a crusader for justice and peace. And I think those are the things that give characters their longevity.""

Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Information; New York Times, 7/23/16

Robert Pear, New York Times; Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Information:
"People can sign up through academic medical centers at Columbia University, Northwestern University in Illinois, the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh, each of which is working with local partners. Columbia, for example, is collaborating with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Harlem Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Participants will be recruited to reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the nation. To help achieve that goal, officials have enlisted community health centers, where more than 90 percent of patients have annual incomes less than twice the poverty level (less than $23,760 for an individual). About one-third of health center patients are Latinos, and about one-fourth are African-Americans.
Officials said they wanted patients to be partners in the research, not just “human subjects.” To that end, patients will have access to all the information about themselves, including laboratory and genetic test results. Doctors could eventually use the data to shape treatment for an individual patient, rather than using standard treatments that may not work for everyone. Patients will help guide the research, sitting on its steering committee and advisory board."

Canadian Lawyer Uncovers a Doping Scheme, and Russian Anger; New York Times, 7/22/16

Dan Levin, New York Times; Canadian Lawyer Uncovers a Doping Scheme, and Russian Anger:
"Mr. McLaren, 70, seems well equipped for the challenge. A respected lawyer from London, Ontario, he has spent much of the last 15 years focused on ethics in sport as an arbitrator in five Olympic Games and through his involvement in many sports inquiries and disputes. These include a watershed doping investigation of Major League Baseball, which resulted in what became known as the Mitchell report, and one last year for the antidoping agency that found systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian athletes in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“That’s why they chose me,” he said in an interview this week. “It takes a lot of experience to know how to conduct these types of investigations, to know what to look for.”
Despite his international reputation, Mr. McLaren is far more used to being surrounded by his students, known as “McLarenites,” at the law school of Western University in London, where he teaches courses on business, sport and banking law.
In interviews, Mr. McLaren’s colleagues described him as a dogged and ethical lawyer skilled at leveraging decades of legal experience and jurisprudence in the sometimes messy realm of athletics, whether it is resolving doping disputes as a member of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, deciding cases involving cyclists and kayakers for the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada or investigating accusations on behalf of the antidoping agency."

Saturday, July 23, 2016


"Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering “Art of the Deal,” his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell.
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”"

Make America Hate Again; New York Times, 7/22/16

Timothy Egan, New York times; Make America Hate Again:
"Starting on night one, when Republicans chose to manipulate the grief-deranged mother of a terrorist victim, the build-up to the hanging of Hillary Clinton was never subtle. Imagine if one party had exploited a widow of one of the 241 service members killed in the 1983 suicide bombing of Americans in Beirut — the deadliest single attack on marines since World War II — as a stick against Ronald Reagan, whose administrative negligence was much to blame.
You can’t imagine. Because nothing about this Republican Party, whose leader now stands ready to repudiate nearly 70 years of security for our European allies under an “America First” banner, even remotely resembles the Grand Old Party of before. You could not find a City on a Hill, a single Point of Light, no Morning in America. Only doom, dystopia, dread, darkness — and a bumper-sticker solution to restoring greatness.
The man who couldn’t manage his own convention, the creator of a “university” built on fraud, bet his shot at the top job in the world on a panicked public and collective amnesia of his serial misdeeds. “I will restore law and order to our country, believe me, believe me,” he said.
And the instigator of four corporate bankruptcies, the man who stiffed plumbers and carpenters, the failed casino owner, promised to use his dark arts to “make our country rich again.”"

"We Were Never Here and You Saw Nothing"; Bizarro, 7/19/16

Dan Piraro, Bizarro:
"We Were Never Here and You Saw Nothing"

Why Libraries Are Everywhere in the Czech Republic; New York Times, 7/21/16

Hana de Goeij, New York Times; Why Libraries Are Everywhere in the Czech Republic:
"Why so many Czech libraries? Well, for decades they were mandatory — every community, from a big city down to a tiny village, was required by law to have one.
The law was enacted in 1919, soon after Czechoslovakia emerged as an independent country. The idea was to promote universal literacy and education after the country was free of the German-speaking Austro-Hungarian Empire. And it worked.
“Czechs developed a strong reading habit, and even today, those who visit libraries buy more books — 11 a year, on average — than others,” said Vit Richter, director of the Librarianship Institute of the Czech National Library.
The library law survived the German occupation, the communist era and even the breakup with Slovakia in the early 1990s. What it couldn’t survive, in the end, was budgetary pressure."

EFF sues US government, saying copyright rules on DRM are unconstitutional; Ars Technica, 7/22/16

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica; EFF sues US government, saying copyright rules on DRM are unconstitutional:
""Section 1201 is a draconian and unnecessary restriction on speech and the time has come to set it aside," writes EFF staff attorney Kit Walsh in a blog post announcing the lawsuit. "The future of cultural participation and software-related research depends on it."
"[C]opyright law shouldn’t be casting a legal shadow over activities as basic as popping the hood of your own car, offering commentary on a shared piece of culture (and helping others do so), and testing security infrastructure," writes EFF's Parker Higgins, in a separate post explaining the effects that Section 1201 has on scholars, artists, and activists. "It’s time for the courts to revisit Section 1201, and fix Congress’s constitutional mistake.""

Fox After Ailes; Slate, 7/22/16

Isaac Chotiner, Slate; Fox After Ailes:
"Gabriel Sherman, a reporter for New York magazine and author of a decidedly unauthorized biography of Ailes, has broken the lion’s share of news about Ailes’ conduct and the subsequent News Corp. investigation.
I spoke by phone with Sherman after Ailes’ departure. During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed the Murdoch family’s internal debates, Donald Trump’s relationship with Roger Ailes, and the future of the network...
"Many people see Fox News as a cynical production of people who know better. But you seem to be saying that people believe in what they are doing or their leader. Maybe those aren’t exclusive—
No, they aren’t mutually exclusive. The culture of sexual harassment is widely known at Fox News. The whole idea that it is a family values network is incredibly cynical, and everyone knows that. But the fear and psychological control that Ailes had over his employees—if he says the sky is green and not blue, even very intelligent people, maybe even liberals, tend to start believing it. He has this charismatic, cultlike power to shape a corporation in his image. And that’s why Fox, whatever it becomes, is going to be very different. There is no executive in American media and politics who has that charisma and that ruthlessness, and, as these allegations have shown, the kind of darkness of his mind to control women and people.
Do you think the Murdochs were aware of the culture as it pertained to sexual harassment?
Rupert Murdoch, based on what we know publicly, was clearly aware of the culture at Fox News: In 2004, Bill O’Reilly was accused by a former producer, Andrea Mackris, of sexual harassment in the whole loofah scandal. Fox’s biggest host at that point was exposed."

The fall of Roger Ailes: He made Fox his ‘locker room’ — and now women are telling their stories; Washington Post, 7/22/16

Manuel Roig-Franzia, Scott Higham, Paul Farhi and Krissah Thompson, Washington Post; The fall of Roger Ailes: He made Fox his ‘locker room’ — and now women are telling their stories:
"“Boorish behavior is Murdoch company behavior — boorish behavior as defined by tough-guy behavior,” Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff said in an interview. “The tough-guy behavior sometimes intersects with sexual harassment, and this is very strong within the organization.”
In a statement Thursday announcing Ailes’s resignation (which made no mention of the claims against Ailes), Lachlan and James Murdoch said: “We continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”"

Study: The Digital Divide Between Latinos And Whites Is Shrinking; NPR, 7/22/16

Ericka Cruz Guevarra, NPR; Study: The Digital Divide Between Latinos And Whites Is Shrinking:
"After years of lagging behind other ethnic groups when it comes to accessing the Internet, the "digital divide" between Latinos and whites is now at its narrowest point since 2009.
A new study from the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of Latino adults who report using the Internet increased from 64 percent to 84 percent between 2009 and 2015, a faster growth rate than that of whites going online in the same period (80 percent to 89 percent).
As a result, the gap in Internet use between Latinos and whites shrank from 16 percentage points in 2009 to just 5 points in 2015."

Turns Out, Fighting Fat Shaming And Racist Trolls Is Also A Ghostbuster's Job; NPR, 7/22/16

Tanya Ballard Brown, NPR; Turns Out, Fighting Fat Shaming And Racist Trolls Is Also A Ghostbuster's Job:
"I don't know what makes trolls attack so viciously on social media. Is it that they don't like it that some women — in this case a 6-ft.-tall, larger than size zero dark-skinned black woman — are confident and comfortable with themselves?
Who knows, but now that Leslie has returned and is once again engaging on social media with her fans, maybe she can reach out to help some of the women who aren't comedians or actors in summer blockbuster movies navigate troll attacks."

Trump Rehashes JFK Conspiracy Theory Linking Ted Cruz’s Father To Lee Harvey Oswald; Huffington Post, 7/22/16

Matt Ferner, Huffington Post; Trump Rehashes JFK Conspiracy Theory Linking Ted Cruz’s Father To Lee Harvey Oswald:
"At a televised speech Friday, and less than 24 hours after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president, the reality television personality breathed new life into a conspiracy theory that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was an associate of President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.
“His father. I don’t know his father, I met him once,” Trump began, referencing Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz. “I think he’s a lovely guy. I think he’s a lovely guy. All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.”"

Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy; Washington Post, 7/22/16

Editorial Board, Washington Post; Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy:
"Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.
Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies. The U.S. democratic system is strong and has proved resilient when it has been tested before. We have faith in it. But to elect Mr. Trump would be to knowingly subject it to threat."

By Russian Standards, Melania Trump Would Be a Plagiarism Amateur; New York Times, 7/22/16

Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times; By Russian Standards, Melania Trump Would Be a Plagiarism Amateur:
"A study published in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta found that out of 450 members of Parliament, about 200 claimed advanced degrees and at least 49 had been accused of plagiarism, including the speaker. (He denied it.)
Dissernet started work in 2013 after a political appointee with a limited academic record was tapped to lead a prestigious mathematics school. Academics began pouring over his history dissertation line by line, which inspired Mr. Rostovtsev to write software to automate the process.
The Dissernet group knew that an electronic synopsis of every doctoral thesis was posted online in Russia. Its software selects a thesis and compares it with all others in the system. If there is more than a 50 percent overlap, the computer flags the material and a volunteer compares both full works manually.
The software makes comparisons 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a band of about 50 volunteers does the rest. The results are published on"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Can Big Data Help Head Off Police Misconduct?; NPR, 7/19/16

NPR Staff; Can Big Data Help Head Off Police Misconduct? :
"Big Data has been considered an essential tool for tech companies and political campaigns. Now, someone who has handled data analytics at the highest levels in both of those worlds sees promise for it in policing, education and city services.
For example, data can show that a police officer who has been under stress after responding to cases of domestic abuse or suicide may be at higher risk of a negative interaction with the public, data scientist Rayid Ghani says.
Ghani, the chief data scientist for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, is now director of the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He spoke to NPR's Ari Shapiro about finding ways to use data analytics in fields where it's not so common, like policing and city services."

In praising Trump, Mike Pence pushes an imaginary and corrupt narrative; Washington Post, 7/21/16

Michael Gerson, Washington Post; In praising Trump, Mike Pence pushes an imaginary and corrupt narrative:
"The reputation of any politician close to Trump will eventually be ruined. But it is particularly sad when good and decent people vouch for Trump’s character, knowing almost nothing about him. They surely believe that they can guide and shape a political novice in helpful and positive ways. There is no evidence of this — no proof that Trump is willing to internalize good advice. In fact, the best of the Republican Party is being exploited. And such politicians are viewed as weak (see Trump’s announcement of Pence) by a candidate with contempt for weakness. The only politician who will be proud of what he did on Wednesday evening is Ted Cruz, who refused to endorse. He may have been booed on the floor, but I imagine he slept well. And he won’t be ashamed to recount that night to his children and grandchildren.
In his essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell said: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The construction of an imaginary narrative of virtue and insight around Donald Trump is a form of political corruption, no matter how skilled or well-intentioned the effort. “In our time,” said Orwell, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” A fitting epitaph for the 2016 Republican convention."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An appeal to Mike Pence: Leave your anti-LGBT views behind; Washington Post, 7/20/16

Chrys P. Kefalas, Washington Post; An appeal to Mike Pence: Leave your anti-LGBT views behind:
"Pence’s vice-presidential nomination, and this Republican convention, make it seem like it was so long ago when leading Republicans such as Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, among others, joined former vice president Dick Cheney and former George W. Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson in embracing marriage equality. But it wasn’t. Progress, however, is full of setbacks and false starts.
But Pence can still do a lot to turn the page — and take an important step to making the Republican Party great again by renewing the legacy of Lincoln, disavowing his old thinking and embracing a future of inclusion."

Banning Leslie Jones’s trolls won’t change a thing — hate is still the norm online; Washington Post, 7/20/16

Mikki Kendall, Washington Post; Banning Leslie Jones’s trolls won’t change a thing — hate is still the norm online:
"This is not just a matter of speech, despite the persistent notion that online harassment is easy to escape because in theory you can close the tab or turn off the computer. Online harassment spilled offline years ago. Harassers may imitate a deceased parent, contact employers in an attempt get a target fired or track someone down and drive them from their home. The last is often accomplished via SWATting, a tactic where a harasser files phony reports alleging a hostage situation or something similar so that police will in theory send the SWAT team into their target’s home.
Can we really claim that the trolls are outside the norm when the norm dismisses their behavior or even supports it on flimsy free speech grounds? After all, the people behind those keyboards sending hateful messages and imagery can vote. They can work on political campaigns; they can run for election. Ignoring bigots in our midst and failing to take them seriously can have a negative impact on everyone.
People like Yiannopoulos and his supporters are the symptom, but the real disease is the way that bigotry is being normalized as something harmless. It’s not. Some of the world’s darkest moments have happened because hate of “the other” spread like wildfire and stripped people of empathy, reason or basic human decency."

The significance of CNN’s Chris Cuomo dropping the ‘L’ word (lying) on Trump’s campaign chairman; Washington Post, 7/20/16

Callum Borchers, Washington Post; The significance of CNN’s Chris Cuomo dropping the ‘L’ word (lying) on Trump’s campaign chairman:
"The Trump campaign's refusal to admit obvious plagiarism undermines the Republican presidential nominee's credibility, as he attacks Clinton for dishonesty. And Trump's general unwillingness to acknowledge mistakes raises questions about how he would handle missteps as president. That's why a seemingly small issue like borrowing language from a Michelle Obama speech matters in the election — and why Cuomo and the rest of the press won't just let it go.
Cuomo's unvarnished assertion that Manafort "keep[s] lying" matters, too, because mainstream journalists have been so reluctant to attach variations of the word "lie" to the Trump campaign. Reporters have mostly stuck with less-loaded terms such as "factual inaccuracies," or "false statements." Word choice is significant because "lie" suggests intent; calling a statement "false" or "inaccurate" leaves open the possibility that the speaker got it wrong but didn't mean to."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Melania Trump Plagiarized Her Convention Speech From Michelle Obama; Huffington Post, 7/19/16

Christina Wilkie, Huffington Post; Melania Trump Plagiarized Her Convention Speech From Michelle Obama:
"Trump communications adviser Jason Miller, in a response early Tuesday, acknowledged that Melania Trump plagiarized “fragments” of her speech and referred to a “team of writers,” essentially refuting her claim that she wrote the speech.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” Miller said in a statement. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”"

Monday, July 18, 2016

Zika Data From the Lab, and Right to the Web; New York Times, 7/18/16

Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times; Zika Data From the Lab, and Right to the Web:
"Dr. O’Connor’s decision was the most radical manifestation of a trend already underway. In early February, more than 30 of the most prominent academic journals, research institutions and research funders signed a “Statement on Data Sharing in Public Health Emergencies” in which the journals agreed to make all articles about the Zika virus available free instead of charging their subscription fees, which can be hundreds of dollars.
The journals also agreed to consider articles that had first been posted for comment on public forums like bioRxiv, which is hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. The funders agreed to make everyone receiving their money share data as widely as possible...
“I never planned to be an evangelist,” he said. “I was happy toiling in anonymity, so this is a surreal experience. We all grew up in the same system: You do a study, you submit it to a journal, and your place in the hierarchy depends on the quality of the journal it appears in.”
“If it’s all you’ve known, you assume it’s the right way. But if you’ve got data that can contribute to the public health response during an epidemic — is it really yours to hang onto?”"

Both Sides Now?; New York Times, 7/18/16

Paul Krugman, New York Times; Both Sides Now? :
"And in the last few days we’ve seen a spectacular demonstration of bothsidesism in action: an op-ed article from the incoming and outgoing heads of the White House Correspondents’ Association, with the headline “Trump, Clinton both threaten free press.” How so? Well, Mr. Trump has selectively banned news organizations he considers hostile; he has also, although the op-ed didn’t mention it, attacked both those organizations and individual reporters, and refused to condemn supporters who, for example, have harassed reporters with anti-Semitic insults.
Meanwhile, while Mrs. Clinton hasn’t done any of these things, and has a staff that readily responds to fact-checking questions, she doesn’t like to hold press conferences. Equivalence!
Stung by criticism, the authors of the op-ed issued a statement denying that they had engaged in “false equivalency” — I guess saying that the candidates are acting “similarly” doesn’t mean saying that they are acting similarly. And they once again refused to indicate which candidate was behaving worse.
As I said, bothsidesism isn’t new, and it has always been an evasion of responsibility. But taking the position that “both sides do it” now, in the face of this campaign and this candidate, is an act of mind-boggling irresponsibility."

Are MOOCs Forever?; Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/14/16

[Podcast and Transcript] Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education; Are MOOCs Forever? :
"Think back to the early days of MOOCs. Professors at Stanford and Harvard and other places were suddenly teaching really big classes, free. Hundreds of thousands of students at once were in those courses. It was an unprecedented giveaway of what had traditionally been the most expensive education in the world.
Back then, I met several students who were binging on the courses the way you might binge-watch a season of your favorite show on Netflix. They took as many courses as they possibly could, powering through and finishing as many as 30 courses in a year. When I asked why they were in such a hurry, the most popular reason was that they thought it was all too good to last. As one of those binging students told me, "I’m just afraid this whole thing might end soon." Surely, universities would change their mind about this, or the start-ups working with colleges might lock things up.
Fast forward to last month, when Coursera did something that stirred up all of those concerns again. On June 30 the company deleted hundreds of its earliest courses, as part of a shift to a new software platform. Reaction, as you might expect, was negative on social media and blogs. One programmer called it cultural vandalism...
Hello, and welcome to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Re:Learning Podcast. I’m Jeff Young, and I recently had the chance to talk with Daphne Koller, a co-founder of Coursera, about those issues."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Tragic Coverage";, 7/17/16; "Tragic Coverage"

Boris Johnson ‘lied a lot,’ says French foreign minister; Washington Post, 7/14/16

Michael Birnbaum and Griff Witte, Washington Post; Boris Johnson ‘lied a lot,’ says French foreign minister:
"Britain’s new top diplomat, Boris Johnson, swept into office Thursday on a cloud of acrimony, amid worldwide disbelief that the irreverent campaigner for a British break from the European Union will now be his nation’s main voice abroad.
From composing a dirty limerick about the Turkish president and a goat to comparing the E.U. to Hitler and calling Hillary Clinton a “sadistic nurse,” the mop-haired Johnson spared few world leaders in his previous career as the devil-may-care mayor of London. This time, he was on the receiving end: France’s foreign minister declared that the “leave” campaigner had “lied a lot,” and Germany’s top diplomat called him “irresponsible.”
The unusually sharp rhetoric from Johnson’s new peers reflected the degree to which he has alienated Britain’s global partners and the challenges he faces as he takes part in his nation’s divorce from the E.U. From Washington to Paris and Berlin to Ankara, leaders uttered bitter cries of surprise at the appointment of a man who has reveled in dishing offense, not making friends. Critics said Britain appears to be taking further steps to disengage from the world."