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Links 1/4/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 3, pfSense 2.3 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 8:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • BlazeMeter Adds Open Source Tools for Performance Testing
  • An open-source microprocessor for IoT devices
  • Tech for easier wearable microelectronic devices
  • Thoughts on Leaving the OSI Board

    After six years (two terms), this week marks the end of my time on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). While I plan to remain involved with open source issues and with the Board, the end of my service on the Board is a significant personal milestone, so I thought that I would briefly reflect on the past six years for open source, and especially the OSI.

    When I was nominated for the OSI Board in 2010, the Board was a small, select group whose early members made important contributions to the open source community, notably the Open Source Definition and the approval of licenses that conformed to that Definition. The Board’s activities were supported by a couple of corporate donations. Since all of the Board members had “day jobs” that brought in their personal incomes, everyone was quite busy and it was often difficult to make progress on various initiatives. It’s a testament to the hard work of the earliest members of the Board that the OSI was well-recognized as the steward of licenses and the OSD.

  • What happens to a great open source project when its creators are no longer using the tool themselves?

    PANDA, the four-year-old Knight News Challenge-winning newsroom application for storing and analyzing large data sets, still has a respectable community of users, but could now use a new longterm caretaker.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • I hate Microsoft Office

      Here’s an example: The icon to delete emails in Outlook is a swooshy “χ” icon. That seems out of step with the smooth appearance that Microsoft seems to prefer. The swooshy “χ” is probably supposed to make Office look cool, but to me it just looks old. Like, that was a neat idea in the 1990s or early 2000s, but today that’s just clutter.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • UbuntuBSD

      Regardless of your position on the systemd debate, projects such as the UbuntuBSD distribution offer a wider range of options to the FOSS community at large. And, there are cases where a BSD kernel will provide better performance than Linux.

    • [pfSense] 2.3 Release Candidate now available!

      We are proud to announce pfSense® software version 2.3 Release Candidate is now available!

      The most significant changes in this release are a rewrite of the webGUI utilizing Bootstrap, and the underlying system being converted entirely to FreeBSD pkg (including the base system and kernel). The pkg conversion enables us to update pieces of the system individually going forward, rather than the monolithic updates of the past.

    • LLVM Adds Intel Lakemont CPU Support

      The LLVM compiler infrastructure now has support for Intel’s Lakemont processor.

      Lakemont is the codename for the Quark processors that include the Quark X1000 SoC. The Lakemont hardware has been available for a while now but continues to be used in different applications and Intel continues improving its support.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Critics Say White House’s Open Source Software Policy Doesn’t Go Far Enough

      Members of 18F, the General Services Administration’s digital consultancy that shares all its code on public repository Github, argue that a more comprehensive, “open source by default” policy would allow agencies to reuse code instead of constantly re-developing it. Coding in the open would also let developers gather input from the public about potential glitches.

      Open source development “helps to encourage good documentation and coding practices,” an 18F statement posted on GitHub said. “Everyone is aware and following processes for open information from day one. There is no just-before-launch, last minute review of everything.”

    • France unveils source code of income tax application

      France has officially opened the source code of the fiscal calculator used by the French fiscal administration to calculate the income taxes of individuals in France. Taxes for businesses are not included in the code.

    • Election Tech: How big data pioneers use open source technology to win elections

      National Field’s PHP application, MySQL backend, Node.js technology was used during the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, and acquired by and integrated with NGP VAN in 2013. Today, the product is used up-ticket and down by every major Democratic candidate, and their technologies have been embraced by the GOP and several non-partisan data brokers as well.

    • MIT Media Lab Goes Open Source, And Doesn’t Forget To FLOSS

      The MIT Media Lab, a tech innovation center that has has a hand in numerous tech related products over the years, including Guitar Hero has revealed that going forward, the way it deals with its approach to software releases is to fundamentally change.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Fair Source licensing is the worst thing to happen to open source-definitely maybe

      Fair Source attempts to bastardize open source to ensure companies get paid.


      This seems true, but is actually false. Fair Source really offers none of the benefits of open source precisely because of that “ability to charge for the software.” While free software licensing (e.g., GNU General Public License) attempts to force freedom on downstream developers, true open source basically says, “Take this software, use it and improve it (or not), and license the resulting product as you wish.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Contribution graph can be harmful to contributors

      A common well-being issue in open-source communities is the tendency of people to over-commit. Many contributors care deeply, at the risk of saying yes too often harming their well-being. Open-source communities are especially at risk, because many contributors work next to a full-time job.

      The contribution graph and the statistics on it, prominent on everyone’s profile, basically rewards people for doing work on as many different days as possible, generally making more contributions, and making contributions on multiple days in a row without a break.


  • Kyiv Smart City: how Kiev wants to become one of the smartest cities in Europe

    This project is part of a more global project, called Kyiv Smart City, the goal of which is to transform the Ukrainian capital into a smart city, comparable with the top five smart cities in Europe: Paris, London, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Vienna, as mentioned in the description of the project.

  • How People Lost Their Jobs Due To Google’s April Fool’s Day Prank

    Google has killed one of its April Fool’s Day pranks as it caused outrage among Gmail users. According to various complaints and online posts, people lost their jobs and harmed professional relationships.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Will Osborne’s Manchester ‘devolution’ fall flat on its face?

      Today, Manchester becomes the first English region to “take control of its health spending”, supposedly. But what do patients, NHS campaigners and junior doctors think?

    • Government ‘Ignored’ Environmental Threats When Approving GE Salmon, Lawsuit Claims

      Risk of escape is high on the list of worries for the environmental groups that filed the lawsuit. The fish are raised in land-based pens now, but if the industry takes off, there could be many more GE salmon being raised around the world, in different kinds of environments. The groups are concerned about “the risk that GE salmon will escape from the facilities where they are manufactured or grown and interbreed with wild endangered salmon, compete with them for food and space, or pass on infectious diseases; the interrelated impacts to salmon fisheries and the social and economic well-being of those who depend on them; and the risks to ecosystems from the introduction of an invasive species.”

    • Not an April Fool joke: UK pharma giant won’t patent its drugs in poorer countries

      The UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced that it will not be routinely patenting its drugs around the world. Instead of applying for patents on its medicines in all regions, it will now take into account the economic development of the country before deciding whether to seek monopoly protection there. As a result, a poorer country can encourage local manufacturers to create cheaper generic versions of GSK’s products, and thus provide them to a greater number of its population, potentially saving many lives.

      Specifically, GSK says: “For Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Low Income Countries (LICs), GSK will not file patents for its medicines, so as to give clarity and confidence to generic companies seeking to manufacture and supply generic versions of GSK medicines in those countries.”

      For slightly wealthier countries, “GSK will file for patents but will seek to offer and agree licences to allow supplies of generic versions of its medicines for 10 years. GSK intends to seek a small royalty on sales in those countries. This offer will apply even for those countries that move out of [Lower Middle Income Country] status due to increased economic growth during this period.” This should allow generic versions to be produced for a decade even in nations whose economies become more developed.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Reports: State Troopers, Civilians Shot At Virginia Bus Station
    • At Least 14 Dead In Overpass Collapse In India
    • How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS

      By funneling TOW missiles and other weapons to Syrian jihadists for their “regime change” war, President Obama facilitated the rise of the Islamic State with the terrorist blowback now hitting Europe, says Daniel Lazare.

    • Americans Have Been Accidentally Shooting Themselves for Three Centuries

      Bad luck? Sure, in part. But this is really about stupidity on the part of adults. Today, thousands of Americans are shot accidentally each year, and that doesn’t even count the collateral damage—stray bullets that take out a toddler or some other innocent, resulting in an assault or homicide charge—nor does it factor in our 20,000-plus annual gun suicides. All of these unhappy accidents, as it turns out, are very, very costly.

    • The Ultimate Trial of Israeli Society

      Last Thursday, March 24th, an Israel defense force (IDF) soldier was filmed executing a wounded Palestinian man alleged to have carried out a stabbing attack against IDF soldiers in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. The videographer responsible for the filming is Imad Abu Shamsiya, a Palestinian shoemaker who has since received death threats and intimidation from extreme right-wing Israeli settlers with the prospect of a potential lawsuit. Though the incident is part of a wave of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians carried out by Israeli soldiers, this particular case is different. Here, the film unambiguously shows that the wounded Palestinian man did not present a danger to his surrounding. Quite shockingly, not only does the film implicate the executioner; it also shows his IDF comrades as completely unfazed by the incident, including medical personnel. What’s more, the soldier has received a wave of public support that politicians from the right-wing have seized as an opportunity to further erode the moral fabric of Israeli society in a bid to serve their political and ideological interests.

    • U.S. Troops on Russia’s Borders

      Official Washington’s hype about “Russian aggression” has cloaked a U.S. military buildup on Russia’s borders, possibly increasing risks of escalation and even world war, explains ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Caveat Emptor, Canada: What the Acquisition of Lethal Drones Will Bring

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been shopping around for lethal drones for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The prospective acquisition is being downplayed as intended primarily for surveillance purposes. Of course, that’s how it always begins. The first step toward joining the bloody ranks of the avid drone killers – the United States, Israel and, increasingly, Britain – is obtaining the means to conduct surveillance. But these sophisticated machines were developed for use by the military, which is why they have the modular capacity to be armed. As their names have always implied, Predator and Reaper drones can be used not only for surveillance but also to kill by remote control. Snap on a couple of Hellfire missiles, and you’re good to go.

    • The Facade of Israel is Cracking

      For many more years than any intelligent person would want to count, Israel was the sacred cow of the United States. From its violent, bloody, genocidal inception that involved the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians, and the murder of another 10,000, right through to the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank and blockade (aka occupation) of the Gaza Strip, Israel, in the view of U.S. governance and politics, could do no wrong. Anyone who dared to criticize Israel’s many crimes was accused of anti-Semitism; as Dr. Norman Finkelstein said, “whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle, its apologists sound the alarm that a ‘new anti-Semitism’ is upon us”. In the past, if a Jew, such as Dr. Finkelstein, was critical of Israel, Zionists raised the cry that he was ‘a self-hating Jew’, and U.S. politicians bought that ridiculous line. As a result, Israel became the beneficiary of the bulk of U.S. foreign aid, and has relied on the U.S. for years for protection from international accountability for its crimes, with the U.S always happy to veto any United Nations resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

    • Derailing Peace Deal in Colombia

      A resurgence of drug-connected right-wing terrorism in Colombia has undercut a historic peace deal between the government and the main leftist rebel group, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Obama in Arabia

      Like his predecessors, President Obama is putting cozy ties with the Saudi royals ahead of telling the truth to the American people about the Saudi role in 9/11, writes 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser.

      Why does President Obama think it’s okay for 15 Arabs (and four of their friends) to come into our country, hijack our planes, crash them into our buildings, and brutally kill 3,000 innocent people? Because those 15 Arabs were Saudis, that’s why. And, Saudis are special. Saudis are apparently allowed to get away with murder — or at least the financing of it.

      I am a 9/11 widow. My husband Ron was killed while he was working at his desk for Fiduciary Trust Company on the 94th floor of Tower 2. Ron was 39 years old, I was 30, and our daughter was two. I watched the horror unfold on live worldwide television as I stood in my kitchen speaking to Ron. Moments later, I watched Flight 175 slice into his building, exactly where he stood on the other end of the line talking to me.


      There are 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry of Congress (an investigation into the U.S. government intelligence failures prior to 9/11) that have remained classified and hidden away from the American public by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. These 28 pages allegedly prove that the Saudis had a controlling hand in funding the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 innocent people.

    • What Do Terrorists Want?

      It’s not hard to fathom why officials and pundits do not acknowledge the full story of terrorism: it would draw attention to what the U.S. government and allied states have long been doing to people in the Muslim world. Nearly all Americans seem to think it’s a sheer coincidence that terrorism is most likely to be committed by people who profess some form of Islam and that the U.S. military has for decades been bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc. in multiple Islamic countries. Or perhaps they think U.S.-inflicted violence is just a defensive response to earlier terrorism. (I might be giving people too much credit by assuming they even know the U.S. government is doing any of this.)

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Who’s the April Fool: Trying Out the Hillary Defenses

      “So, you know why I pulled you over, ma’am, right?”

      “Oh, I have no idea at all officer,” Hillary said.

      “You were speeding. Clocked you right here.”

      “I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hillary said.

      “Well, you did. You broke the law, you did something unsafe, you endangered others, you set a poor example for your whole organization, you compromised security.”

      “Well, everybody does it,” Hillary said.

      “No, they don’t. Most people drive safely.”

    • IMF Internal Meeting Predicts Greek ‘Disaster’, Threatens to Leave Troika

      Today, 2nd April 2016, WikiLeaks publishes the records of a 19 March 2016 teleconference between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF Mission Chief for Greece. The IMF anticipates a possible Greek default co-inciding with the United Kingdom’s referendum on whether it should leave the European Union (‘Brexit’).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesian government threatens to deport Leonardo DiCaprio for palm oil criticism

      The Indonesian government has threatened to deport Leonardo DiCaprio after the Oscar-winning actor and film-maker made critical statements about the country’s palm oil industry during a visit.

      DiCaprio, an environmental campaigner, landed in Indonesia on 26 March from Japan. On Tuesday he posted a photograph to his Instagram highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s plans with local partners to establish a “mega-fauna sanctuary” in the Leuser rainforest ecosystem, a lowland Sumatran national park where palm oil plantations, mining, logging and other developments are endangering local populations of Sumatran elephants, orangutans, rhinos and tigers.

    • British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful That Businesses Want To Increase It

      A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this eight-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase.

      In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year.

    • Cantarow and Levy, Could Nuclear Disaster Come to America?

      Since the United States used nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, nuclear power has always had a fearsome aspect. In the 1950s, the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower began promoting “the peaceful atom” in an attempt to take some of the sting out of atomic power’s bad rep. (As part of that project, Eisenhower helped then-ally the Shah of Iran set up a “peaceful” nuclear program, the starting point for Washington’s more modern nuclear conflicts with that country.) Unfortunately, as we’ve been reminded, from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl to Fukushima, there is ultimately a side to nuclear power that couldn’t be less “peaceful,” even in a peacetime setting. As you think about the Indian Point nuclear power plant, the subject of today’s post, and its long history of problems and crises that only seem to be compounding, keep in mind how close Tokyo came to utter catastrophe and then think about the vast New York metropolitan area and what any of us would be able to do other than shelter in place if disaster were someday to strike up the Hudson River.

    • Environmentalists Call For No New Offshore Drilling, Period

      When the Obama administration scrapped leasing plans for drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast earlier this month, environmentalists praised the move, saying it was a win for the environment and the fight against climate change. But now some environmentalists and indigenous organizations from coastal regions say that’s not enough, and they’re calling on President Obama to use his executive power to end all new fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.

      In a petition filed Tuesday, more than 45 groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity say that ending offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf is an important step to limit global warming, as agreed to by countries in Paris last year.

      “We saw the president react to the opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic and think that our public policy should be set forth by … the public demanding further action to address climate change,” Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told ThinkProgress.

  • Finance


      In the list of the world’s great companies, Unaoil is nowhere to be seen. But for the best part of the past two decades, the family business from Monaco has systematically corrupted the global oil industry, distributing many millions of dollars worth of bribes on behalf of corporate behemoths including Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Halliburton and Australia’s own Leighton Holdings.

    • China Hits Steel Made In UK With 46% Levy

      Beijing’s decision to clamp down on foreign imports while dumping cheap steel in the EU comes at a bad time for the UK Government.

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Total Overhaul of Student Loan System

      ‘Five simple principles. Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace them.’

    • New York Reaches Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

      Not to be outdone by its perennial rival on the west, New York announced on Thursday it had reached a deal to raise the minimum wage in New York City to $15 by 2018. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed the agreement as the “best plan the state has produced in decades.”

      “We’re leaders in economic justice,” he said in an announcement outlining the state’s budget.

      But unlike California, where lawmakers approved a measure to hike its statewide minimum to $15, the Empire State failed to reach an agreement on a statewide minimum. Instead a hike will go into effect regionally: Areas outside of New York City, including New York’s wealthier suburbs in Westchester and Long Island, will have six years to implement the wage boost. The minimum wage in northern regions that are generally less affluent will only go up to $12.50 by 2021.

    • Most Americans Won’t Make $15 an Hour for Five Years—but Why Not Now, Like in This City?

      Newly adopted $15 minimum wage laws have been unveiled with great fanfare and media coverage. But lost in the headlines is the reality that because of phase-in schedules, workers won’t actually see $15/hour in their pay for three, five or even seven years—at which point the buying power will have been eroded by rent hikes and the rising cost of living.

    • The Clinton Myth and the Strange Case of Donald Trump

      The transition from Condoleezza Rice to Hillary was, all things considered, a step down. American foreign policy remained about the same, but at least Rice had no time for “humanitarian interveners” of the Samantha Power type.

    • The real poison pill in the TPP

      Canadians have many reasons to be concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive international trade agreement that, if ratified, will result in restrictive new rules governing our daily lives, from how we use the Internet, to how much we pay for medicine.

      We already know the TPP will extend copyright terms for decades, keeping valuable cultural content out of the hands of new artists and the public. We know it will hamstring Canadian innovation, with top Canadian tech entrepreneurs telling us how it locks in the economic advantage U.S. firms already enjoy in the intellectual property sector.

      But the real poison pill in the TPP lies in its “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanism, or ISDS. Economists from all sides of the political spectrum have warned about how the TPP’s ISDS rules would allow foreign conglomerates to challenge our domestic laws and subject Canada to multi-million-dollar lawsuits.

    • Rio de Janeiro’s public health system on verge of collapse

      None of Brazil’s 27 states have found themselves in such a dire financial situation in the country’s recent history – even if the public health sector has been facing multiple chronic difficulties throughout the country.

      Two health systems co-exist: the free and universal public sector system called the SUS (Sistema unico de saúde, designed along the lines of the French social security system) and the private sector financed by expensive health insurance schemes that 20 per cent of the population pay into to make sure they are taken care of more quickly.

      In Brazil public health funding remains relatively low: only 4 per cent of GDP as compared to 11 per cent in France. Government at all levels (the Federal State, the federalised states, districts and municipalities) contribute to the health budget.

    • Underpaid in the UK? The state probably isn’t going to help you

      The new £7.20 rate is still well below the real living wage — based on the cost of living — of £8.25 an hour. It’s only for over-25s, with younger people stuck on the old rate. Shareholders, CEOs and senior management of the corporations that dominate the economy will continue to accrue bumper payouts. Companies including Tesco, Wilko and B+Q have already cut other benefits to mitigate the impact of the new rate, while others are planning lay-offs.

      For the hundreds of thousands of workers currently paid below the minimum wage, its increase will mean little. Recent governments have shown little inclination to crack down on employers who are illegally underpaying their staff. The present one, for all its rhetoric, doesn’t seem set to change.

    • Chase Freezes Guy’s Bank Account For Paying His Dogwalker For Walking Dash The Dog

      It wasn’t so long ago that we were discussing the problems with the United States Treasury Department’s list of scary names and how it was being used to prevent completely innocent folks from using online services. The ultimate point of that post was that casting broad nets in which to turn suspicious eyes without applying any kind of checks or common sense was a recipe for calling a whole lot of people terrorists that aren’t actually terrorists.

    • Chase freezes man’s bank account because his dog’s name, ‘Dash,’ looked like ‘Daesh’

      The processors at Chase Bank thought that Dash might be a sneaky way of spelling Daesh (which is the mocking, insulting nickname used by critics to refer to “ISIS”), decided that this was possible terrorist money-laundering, and stopped the payment, froze his account, and notified the Treasury Department that he was a suspected terrorist.

      It’s hard to know what’s stupidest about this: that the bank thought that Daesh was the kind of thing that a terrorist sympathizer would use to help mark out laundered payments, that the bank subsequently insisted that “this is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the US banking system,” or that Francis himself thinks that being put out and branded as a terrorist somehow made him safer.

    • Bank freezes online payment over dog’s ‘terrorist-sounding’ name

      Bruce Francis, who has multiple sclerosis, was transferring money from his Chase Bank account to his dogwalker and he put the 9-year-old pitbull’s moniker “Dash” in the memo line.

      Bank officials thought Dash sounded a little bit too much like Daesh, the Arabic term for the self-described Islamic State, and canceled the payment.

    • Elizabeth Warren Warns Banks Are Lying About Upcoming Rule Change, Potentially Breaking The Law

      On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accusing banks of lying about the pending rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, thus potentially violating securities laws.

    • Elizabeth Warren Slams Donald Trump’s Lies About Being a Business Success

      Fresh off of her delightful Twitter takedown listing all the ways she believes Donald Trump is a “loser,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on the Late Show on Wednesday to shred the Republican frontrunner’s self-touted reputation as a successful businessman.

      “The truth is that he inherited a fortune from his father, he kept it going by cheating and defrauding people, and then he takes his creditors through Chapter 11,” Warren told host Stephen Colbert.

      “We have an economy that is in real trouble,” she added. “But when the economy is in this kind of trouble, calling on Donald Trump for help is like if your house is on fire, calling an arsonist to come help out.”

    • The Lies of Neoliberal Economics (or How America Became a Nation of Sharecroppers)

      Mortgages, with many houses now underwater because of 2008. I want to look first at the self-identified liberal class within the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama. It often uses the language of economic justice, and will even chastise Wall Street rhetorically, but has been as committed to this neoliberal project as the Republicans.

    • A Chicago Teacher Explains Why She’s Willing to Risk Arrest in Order to Strike Against the Destruction of Public Schools

      We got to this point because CPS has been starving our schools for years. It has been death by a thousand cuts. But recently it’s felt more like, I don’t know, chopping off our arms. We’ve seen over the years more layoffs, class sizes increasing, cuts to counsellors and clinicians, our schools being closed, private schools and charters opening up. It’s making the learning and working conditions very difficult in the schools.

      Just this school year, there’s been so many cuts to our schools that it’s hard to keep track of them. At the beginning of the year, there were millions of dollars in cuts to special ed. Our students with disabilities weren’t getting their services that were required by law; parents and teachers and community groups had to go fight the Board of Ed with lawyers to get services back.

      Then there were more special ed cuts in the middle of the year, then more general layoffs. A month or two ago, there were even more cuts. My school lost $100,000. Our budgets were already bare bones, and the principals had to cut even more.

      And then just two weeks ago, we had another round of cuts. They froze all the funds; my school lost another $80,000. For my school, they’ve cut almost all the before- and after-school programs—intervention programs for kids who were struggling, all types of clubs—plus most of our substitutes.

    • Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie

      “Bernie did well last weekend but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an article from the Washington Post that shows how far behind Bernie remains in delegates.

      Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This past Saturday, he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and 70 percent in Hawaii.

      In fact, since mid-March, Bernie has won six out of the seven Democratic primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged delegates.

      As of now, Hillary Clinton has 54.9 percent of the pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 45.1 percent.That’s still a sizable gap – but it doesn’t make Bernie Sanders’s candidacy an impossibility.

      Moreover, there are 22 states to go with nearly 45 percent of pledged delegates still up for grabs – and Sanders has positive momentum in almost all of them.

      Hillary Clinton’s lead in superdelegates may vanish if Bernie gains a majority of pledged delegates.

      Bernie is outpacing Hillary Clinton in fundraising. In March, he raised $39 million. In February, he raised $42 million (from 1.4 million contributions, averaging $30 each), compared to Hillary Clinton’s $30 million. In January he raised $20 million to her $15 million.

    • Bernie’s Right. Wall Street’s Business Model Really Is Fraud.

      Fraud is an essential part of Wall Street’s DNA. A 2015 survey, commissioned by law firm Labaton Sucharow, found that a deeply immoral culture had taken root among British and American bankers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Sanders Flipping Presidential Script, Turning Democratic Race Into Epic Contest

      If not for a certain Manhattan billionaire, Bernie Sanders’ surprising strength and Hillary Clinton’s relative weakness would be the big political story of the year.

      Democrats are fortunate that bloody insurrection is roiling the Republican Party. Clinton—the likely Democratic nominee—will almost surely face either Donald Trump, who is toxic to most of the electorate, or an alternative chosen at the GOP convention and seen by Trumpistas as a usurper.

    • Elizabeth Warren: Electing Donald Trump President Is Like Calling an Arsonist to Put Out a Fire

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump got where he is by “cheating and defrauding people.”

      “He is not a business success,” she said on Colbert’s “The Late Show,” citing disasters that punctuate Trump’s professional life and the wealth he inherited from his father. “He is a business loser.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Support Among Nonwhite Voters Has Collapsed

      On February 27th, Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders among African-American voters by 52 points.

      By March 26th, she led Sanders among African-Americans by just nine points.

      And on Thursday, Public Policy Polling, a widely respected polling organization, released a poll showing that Sanders leads Clinton among African-American voters in Wisconsin by 11 points.

    • Bernie Leads Hillary in Wisconsin, Slams Wall Street and NAFTA

      Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders currently has a 4-point lead over Hillary Clinton among Wisconsin voters. Of likely Wisconsin Democratic primary voters, 49.2 percent chose Sanders, while 44.9 percent went with Clinton. Five and a half percent are still undecided.

    • ‘The power to create a new world is… in our hands’

      DR JILL STEIN IS RUNNING FOR THE UNITED States presidency on the Green Party ticket. This will not be her first attempt. In 2012, Jill Stein’s Green Party ticket—with Cheri Honkala, the advocate for the homeless—won half a million votes. But running on a “third party” ticket in the U.S. is not easy. The two major parties, Democratic and Republican, keep a firm hold on the political process. It is hard to get on the ballot in all 50 States of the U.S., and it is impossible to join the candidates of the two major parties at their presidential debates. In fact, when Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala tried to enter the debate venue in New York during the 2012 election, they were both arrested. But arrests are not unusual for Jill Stein. During the 2012 election, she was arrested at a Philadelphia sit-in against home foreclosures and she was arrested while offering support to environmental activists in Texas who had camped out against the Keystone XL pipeline. Activism is the measure of Jill Stein’s politics.

    • Foreign Money Is Flowing Into U.S. Elections, Alito’s Lying Lips Notwithstanding

      IN HIS 2010 State of the Union address, Barack Obama attacked the then-new Citizens United Supreme Court decision for making it possible for U.S. elections to be bankrolled by “foreign entities.”

    • Is Hillary Clinton Running Away From Political Reality?

      As this new Wisconsin poll shows: Sanders leads Clinton 49% to 43%. Sanders leads among all African-Americans 51% to 40%. Sanders leads among 18 to 45 year olds 65% to 28%.]

    • “I’m Sick of It”: Climate Activist Touches Nerve, Clinton Responds with Finger

      ‘Clinton needs to listen to the people, not fossil fuel interests,’ says Greenpeace campaigner.

    • Hmm, That’s Strange… Why Would Clinton Use Trump Abortion Remarks to Attack Sanders?

      Even though Bernie Sanders immediately took to Twitter and called Donald Trump “shameful” for his comments on Wednesday regarding “punishment” for women who would have abortions, Hillary Clinton is now using the incident as an opportunity to attack her Democratic rival by suggesting to voters that Sanders does not take the issue of women’s choice seriously enough.

      “Last night, Sen. Sanders agreed Donald Trump’s comments were shameful,” Clinton said during a campaign rally in Purchase, New York on Thursday. “Then he said they were a distraction from the, and I quote, ‘serious discussion about serious issues facing America.’”

    • The Clash of Trump, Bernie and Hillary Is About to Create a Huge Political Circus in New York
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkish President Comes To The US, Pretends That It Can Silence And Attack The Press Like It Does At Home

      We’ve written a whole bunch about the incredibly thin-skinned and litigious President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan took his show on the road to the US this week, and apparently that included pretending that he can treat press in the US as bad as he does at home. Erdogan spoke at the Brookings Institution yesterday, and there were protestors outside. That’s not that surprising, but rather than doing what basically anyone else does in that situation and ignore the protestors,

    • Removing ‘Vaxxed’ From Tribeca Festival Is Common Sense, Not Censorship

      On March 21, the Tribeca Film Festival announced its 2016 lineup. The festival, which runs from April 13 – 24, was started in 2001 as a way to revitalize lower Manhattan after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its fifteenth year, TFF has garnered a reputation of celebrating independent filmmaking and storytelling through diverse and emerging voices.

      This year’s lineup, however, found the festival and one of its co-founders, Robert De Niro, caught in a firestorm of accusations of promoting lies and censorship.

      Scheduled to be screened on the last day of the festival was the documentary film “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy” by disgraced anti-vaccination zealot Andrew Wakefield. The film parrots the long disproven myth that vaccinations, particularly the MMR vaccine, causes autism. The theory was created by Wakefield who in 1998, then a gastroenterologist, published a fraudulent study suggesting the link.

    • MPAA Actually Steps Up To Defend Free Speech (Really!); Gets Attacked For It

      And “conduct, not merely speech” is the crux of the MPAA’s opposition to the bill. The MPAA doesn’t want revenge porn to go unpunished, but it only wants actual revenge porn punished — not everything else that might get pulled in by the broad wording and lack of a malicious intent requirement. Franks decision to excise the very element the MPAA was concerned about is completely disingenuous, as it places her on the side of the Supreme Court, even when the Supreme Court doesn’t agree with her assertions.

    • Today is your last day to comment on the Internet censorship through copyright abuse!

      Evan from Fight for the Future writes, “Hey Internet! Ever since SOPA we’ve all known that copyright laws have a huge impact on the Internet, free speech, innovation, creativity.”

    • How an underground hip hop artist and his book club threaten Angola’s regime

      This week 17 Angolan activists received jail sentences for participating in a book club. Here’s why.

    • Our Comment On DMCA Takedowns: Let’s Return To First Principles (And The First Amendment)

      As mentioned earlier, today’s the day to file comments with the Copyright Office over the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions. We’ve already discussed the recent set of studies showing that there are way too many bogus takedown notices that are clogging the system, creating real problems for small service providers and censoring free speech. We also wrote about the patently ridiculous filing by the legacy players in the music industry, who whined about how the public is enjoying more content than ever before (which, you know, is the stated purpose of copyright law), but they’re upset that their business models are now obsolete. Finally, we wrote about the fantastic filing from Automattic, which gives many more real world examples of how the takedown process is abused (which the legacy industry pretends isn’t true, because people don’t file counternotices).

    • More Evidence That Tons Of DMCA Takedowns Are Bad News… And That People Are Afraid To Counternotice

      Earlier this week, we wrote about a major new study that revealed that a ton of DMCA takedown notices are clearly faulty, and how that shows just how messed up the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown provisions are in giving tremendous incentives to send notices with absolutely no punishment for filing bogus takedowns. The legacy music industry and its supporters keep claiming that the fact that there are so few counternotices is evidence that there’s almost no abuse. In fact, in the legacy music industry filing we wrote about earlier today, they even had the gall to claim that the real abuse is in the counternotices themselves.

    • Want To Tell The Copyright Office To Stop Abusive DMCA Takedowns? Here’s How

      So, today’s been DMCA 512 takedown day here at Techdirt. Today’s the day that comments are due at the Copyright Office concerning the effectiveness (or not) of the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions. And, of course, no one’s entirely happy with the DMCA, but they’re unhappy in very different ways. We wrote about the legacy music industry whining that Google has built a successful service while they failed to adapt themselves. We wrote about Automattic reinforcing how DMCA takedowns are regularly abused to try to censor content (and how people are afraid to counternotice), and we wrote about our own filing, highlighting how the abuse of the DMCA process raises questions about how the current setup is Constitutional.

    • Slutface change name to SLØTFACE, share new single
    • Social media censorship forces Slutface to change name
    • Norwegian Band Slutface Changes Name Due to ‘Social Media Censorship’
    • China’s latest move to strengthen its grip on the Internet
    • China Domain Proposals Prompt Web Crackdown Fears
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Save The Internet: Final Consultation for the sake of Net Neutrality in Europe

      The BEREC is set to complete its guidelines on August 30, 2016, hereby settling the fate of an open and competitive Internet in Europe (the “Net neutrality”). It is therefore necessary that the principles laid down in EU legislation or in the “Open Internet Order” in the United States do not stay just wishful thinking: A failure of Net Neutrality in Europe would have dramatic consequences for citizens and European companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 50,000 People Protest DMCA Abuse, “Crash” Government Server

        A campaign launched by Fight for the Future and popular YouTube channel ChannelAwesome to protest DMCA abuse has generated 50,000 responses to the U.S. Copyright Office in less than 24 hours. The public interest is so overwhelming that the Government’s servers “crashed” under the heavy load.

      • Artists, Music Industry Urge Reform Of “Broken” DMCA

        Arguing that the copyright law in the United States intended to protect creative works while allowing access by the next creators is “broken”, hundreds of top artists, songwriters, managers and music associations are urging reforms to the law. Top performers like Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera joined the call.

      • RIAA: How Dare The Internet Use The DMCA That We Wrote To Build Useful Services!

        As we’ve mentioned, today is the day that comments are due to the Copyright Office on the effectiveness (or not) of Section 512 of the DMCA, better known as the “notice and takedown” safe harbor provisions. We’ll be posting the details of our own filing at some point (possibly not until Monday as we’re still finalizing a few things), but some of the other filings are starting to filter out, including a fairly astounding 97-page document from a bunch of legacy music industry organizations (about half of which is the actual filing, with the rest being appendices), including the RIAA, ASCAP, AFM, NMPA, SoundExchange and more. It’s basically every organization that represents the way the industry used to work — and the document reads like an angry polemic against the internet. It would have been much shorter, if they just wrote “our business used to be much better when we had more control and less competition — and we never bothered to adapt, so fuck Google and all those internet companies — and let’s change the DMCA to punish them and magically bring back the good old days.”

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