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04.20.16

Links 20/4/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.8, Intel Layoffs

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Updates TensorFlow Open Source Machine Learning Platform

    Google’s TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computation using data flow graphs. The architecture provides the ability to deploy computation to one or more CPUs or GPUs in a desktop, server, or mobile device with a single API.

  • Capital One open sources Cloud Custodian AWS resource management tool

    Last July it started developing the tool that would become Cloud Custodian and today it announced at an AWS event in Chicago that it was making that tool available as open source on GitHub.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis and Supermicro to Deliver OpenStack Appliances

      Now, Mirantis has partnered with Supermicro, which focuses on server, storage, and green computing solutions,to deliver the Supermicro Mirantis Unlocked Appliance for Cloud Native Applications — billed as “a turnkey, rack-based appliance featuring Mirantis OpenStack, giving Supermicro customers an immediate onramp to agile development of cloud-native applications and container-based services in production.”

  • Databases

    • Firebird 3.0 is released

      Firebird Project is happy to announce general availability of Firebird 3.0 — the latest major release of the Firebird relational database.

      The primary goals for Firebird 3.0 were to unify the server architecture and to improve support for SMP and multiple-core hardware platforms. Parallel objectives were to improve threading of engine processes and the options for sharing page cache across thread and connection boundaries.

    • Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2016-W15

      One big area was charsets and collations, which were cached in the session data so far. This had bad effect of making the session data quite huge leading to performance loss on every page, while the cached information is needed only on few pages. I’ve removed this caching, cleaned up the code and everything seems to be behave faster, even the pages which used cached content in the past.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Updates VirtualBox 5.0.18

      Full-disclosure I’m both a fan and an everyday user of VirtualBox and have been for many years. Simply put, as an easy-to-use desktop virtualization tool, it works without much hassle, setup or prior knowledge.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • France improves fiscal transparency by opening tax calculator

      The fiscal calculator is used by the French fiscal authority to calculate the income tax of individuals. It is now freely accessible on GitHub and on the OpenFisca forum. OpenFisca is a social and fiscal simulator and its team is in charge of supporting the calculator.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Cloning Open-Source Hardware

        We’re great proponents (and beneficiaries) of open-source hardware here at Hackaday. It’s impossible to overstate the impact that the free sharing of ideas has had on the hacker hardware scene. Plus, if you folks didn’t write up the cool projects that you’re making, we wouldn’t have nearly as much to write about.

  • Programming/Development

    • The Operating System is the Target

      Abstracting the OS away isn’t inherently bad. Writing a program to run across multiple OS’s will need to unify the semantics of each system somehow. But making more use of the OS where appropriate can simplify a program while making it more robust and debuggable. OS’s already provide a wide range of tools to inspect what they are doing and by using the OS you get that introspection for free. Maybe next time you see yourself writing a service or tool, take a moment and see where the OS might be able to help you solve it.

    • Learn Git and GitHub Through Videos

      These days, GitHub is pretty much the warehouse district where nearly all open source projects are stored and maintained. There are some tricks to navigating the site, which can easily be mastered by watching tutorial videos.

    • 11 resources for teaching and learning Python

      If you’re looking to teach, tutor, or mentor beginning programmers, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Different learning styles, varying levels of knowledge, and a subject area that’s a moving target all conspire to see you run ragged as an instructor. Luckily, there is help available—lots of help. It comes in the form of open source textbooks, tools, and even games—all created to make being a teacher (and a learner) easier than ever before.

Leftovers

  • Optometrists Push For State Laws Blocking Online Eye Exams

    Billing itself as a sort of Uber-for-eye-exams, telemedicine startup Opternative recently came on the scene offering a quick, inexpensive alternative to traditional optical exams that uses your computer and smartphone. Following a 25-minute online exam, an ophthalmologist will approve your results and issue a prescription for a cost of $40. No doctor visit is required.

  • Sevens Marry Sevens: Is Online Dating Making Mixed-Attractiveness Couples More Rare?

    And with the trend in dating being a shorter time between meeting someone and dating them, with dating sites and apps playing a key role in this shift, matching people based on physical desirability because that’s how it tends to work outside of dating sites becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The algorithms will reinforce this by trimming people’s pool of candidates to their own desirability class, and we might see the end of mixed-attractiveness couples generally speaking.

    Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I’m married and never did any online dating at all, so I have zero experience with it. I do know that if I were a user of any of these sites, I would feel potentially cheated out of meeting great candidates because the algorithm thought I was too attractive or ugly to meet them. But that ultimately doesn’t matter, as the trends show that online dating isn’t going anywhere, so we might just all have to get used to seeing synced up couples from a physical standpoint.

  • Science

    • We Asked Some Experts to Score Justin Trudeau’s Explanation of Quantum Computing

      Although Trudeau was at the Institute to announce $50 million in funding which will allow those working at Perimeter to continue their work on fundamental physics, he took the time to breakdown the essence of quantum computing for a clueless journalist…

      [...]

      While most applauded Trudeau’s remarkably “clear and concise” explanation of quantum computing, others deemed his description as totally off the mark.

  • Hardware

    • Intel to cut 12,000 jobs from global operations

      US tech giant Intel is shedding 12,000 jobs as it seeks to cut reliance on the declining personal computer market.

      The maker of computer chips will take a $1.2bn charge to cover restructuring costs.

      The job cuts, about 11% of Intel’s workforce, will be made over the next 12 months, Intel said in a statement.

    • Intel Confirms Major Layoff, 11 percent of Employees To Go

      Intel Corp. today announced that it would cut some 12,000 jobs—that’s 11 percent of its total workforce—by mid-2017, with the majority of those affected getting the bad news within the next two months.

      In a press release, the company said the “restructuring initiative” would “accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and the billions of smart, connected computing devices,” and that the compnay would be increasing its investments in “data center, IoT, memory, and connectivity businesses.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • From the US to Indonesia, why do we perpetuate the ‘war on drugs’?

      The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, decided to declare a state of emergency in relation to drugs. And one key measure he would take in response to this emergency was to execute everyone on death row for drug offences. So Indonesia proceeded to execute 14 people last year. They’ve recently made statements that they wish to continue with more executions. Some analysts say that this is part of a political strategy. That he was seen as someone who was not a tough man, who did not have strong standing or the confidence of party members. And so he decided to take this stance to show that he could be tough.

      It’s political convenience, it’s political gain, that governments choose to perpetuate and stay on this path.

    • Teflon Toxin Contamination Has Spread Throughout the World

      IN RECENT MONTHS, PFOA, the perfluorinated chemical formerly used to make Teflon, has been making news again. Also known as C8, because of its eight-carbon molecule, PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. Although the chemical was developed and long manufactured in the United States, it’s not just an American problem. PFOA has spread throughout the world.

      As in the U.S., PFOA has leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan, both of which were built and operated for many years by DuPont. Last year, the Shimizu facility and part of the Dordrecht plant became the property of DuPont’s spinoff company, Chemours. Just as it did in both New Jersey and West Virginia, DuPont tracked the PFOA levels in its workers’ blood in Holland and Japan for years, according to EPA filings and internal company documents. Many of the blood levels were high, some extremely so. In one case, in Shimizu in 2008, a worker had a blood level of 8,370 parts per billion (ppb). In Dordrecht in 2005, another worker was recorded with 11,387 ppb. The national average in the U.S., in 2004, was about 5 ppb.

    • Drop in dementia rates suggests disease can be prevented, researchers say

      Dementia rates in the UK have fallen by a fifth over the past 20 years despite the population ageing, scientists say.

      With changes in lifestyle and education over the last two decades thought to be among the factors responsible for the drop, the researchers believe the study highlights the benefits of taking preventative action. “Physical health and brain health are clearly highly linked,” said Carol Brayne of Cambridge University who co-authored the study.

      Nick Fox, Professor of Neurology at University College, London who was not involved in the study, agrees. “This does suggest that our risk, in any particular age in later life, can be reduced probably by what we do ten, twenty or thirty years before.”

    • NHS spends millions picking up bill after patients suffer botched treatment in private hospitals

      Thousands of patients are having to be admitted to NHS hospitals after suffering botched treatment in private hospitals.

      Private hospitals ‘are often not equipped to deal with complications from surgery’, a damning report warns.

      As many as 6,000 patients a year need NHS care after bungled treatment at a non-NHS hospital.

      Almost half of them – around 2,500 – are ‘emergency’ cases who have to be rushed to the nearest NHS hospital.

      The problem is feared to cost taxpayers millions of pounds. Last night a senior doctor branded it a ‘national scandal’.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Bernie Sanders backs bill that would let Americans sue Saudi Arabia over 9/11 terror attacks

      Bernie Sanders has backed legislation that would let Americans sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

      The bill is opposed by the Obama administration, but it is important to victims’ families, some of whom believe Saudi officials played some part in the attacks.

      The Democratic presidential candidate spoke in favour of the legislation on NBC’s “Today Show” ahead of the New York presidential primary.

      He said it was important to have a full understanding of the “the possible role of the Saudi government in 9/11.”

    • Saudi Arabia’s Alleged 9/11 Connection Just One of Many Reasons the U.S. Ally is a Problem

      Lawmakers from both parties, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced legislation that would require the declassification of the 28 pages, and Congress is considering a bill that would allow terror victims’ families to sue the Saudi government for “contribut(ing) material support or resources” to “acts of terrorism.” The bill essentially removes the immunity currently enjoyed by officials of foreign governments from being held liable in US courts.

      The Saudi government has threatened to divest itself of up to $750 billion in American assets if the bill passes, and the Obama administration is currently lobbying Congress to not pass the bill, citing economic and diplomatic concerns as well as potential reciprocity against US officials and citizens.

    • Obama Went From Condemning Saudis for Abuses to Arming Them to the Teeth

      Thirteen years later, Obama is making his fourth trip to Riyadh, having presided over record-breaking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia while offering only muted criticism of the kingdom’s human rights violations.

      And don’t expect the president to speak up while he’s there. Obama last traveled to Saudi Arabia in January 2015, cutting short his trip to India after the passing of the former Saudi king, Abdullah ibn-Abdulaziz al-Saud. During that visit, Obama was criticized for not speaking out against the flogging of prominent Saudi blogger and dissident Raif Badawi. In 2014, Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” and “going beyond the realm of obedience,” with the first flogging session taking place weeks before Obama arrived.

      In January, after a record-setting year for Saudi beheadings, Saudi authorities set off protests by executing Shia cleric and regime critic Nimr al-Nimr. U.S. response was muted. The State Department merely said the execution “risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced” – and then fell silent on the repression of the following protests.

    • Night-vision goggle case cause of plane crash that killed 14, Air Force says

      A solid plastic case designed to hold a set of night-vision goggles was ultimately responsible for causing the crash of an Air Force transport plane that killed 14 people in October, the Air Force announced in a statement last week.

      [...]

      The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the crash, saying it shot down the aircraft.

    • Voices of Reason vs. the Doomsday Lobby

      In 2010, three high-ranking military officials including Air Force Colonel B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of the US Air Force’s Strategic Plans and Policy Division who had worked directly for the Secretary of the Air Force, published a major policy paper suggesting that the US should unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal by more than 90 percent. The paper argued, “…the United States could address military utility concerns with only 311 nuclear weapons in its nuclear force structure….” With about 1,300 warheads on Trident submarines, another 500 or so on heavy bombers like B-52s or B2s, 180 on fighter-bombers in Europe and the last 450 on top of the Minuteman rockets, cutting to 311 would clearly mean the ICBMs would go the way of the Berlin Wall (since the favored war-fighting nukes are on submarines which can be kept secret from the American public and everybody else).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • American Geophysical Union Sells Its Scientific Integrity For $35,000 In ExxonMobil Money

      Apparently you can buy the scientific integrity of the entire American Geophysical Union (AGU) for $35,000. Well, maybe you can’t, but oil giant ExxonMobil can.

      In February, 100 AGU members and other earth and climate scientists wrote an open letter to the board of 62,000-member group urging it to stop taking sponsorship money form ExxonMobil. The scientists urged the AGU to live up to its 2015 board-approved policy that says AGU will only partner with (i.e. take more than $5,000 from) organizations that meet “the highest standards of scientific integrity, that do not harm AGU’s brand and reputation, and that share a vested interest in and commitment to advancing and communicating science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.”

    • New Leak at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site is ‘Catastrophic,’ Worker Warns

      A leak at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state has prompted warnings of “catastrophic” consequences, as workers attempt to clean up more than eight inches of toxic waste from one of 28 underground tanks holding radioactive materials leftover from plutonium production.

    • U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Climbed For the Second Straight Year

      Over the last decade, the United States embraced energy efficiency and higher fuel economy standards, causing almost double-digit declines in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But since the last drop in 2012, that trend has gone in the opposite direction for the second time in a row, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, which tracks emissions across the entire country.

    • We must remain in the EU to protect our environment

      Environmental problems don’t queue politely waiting for their passports to be checked.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fossil Fuel Financiers

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency of the United States is powered by a lot of fossil fuel money. How can this be, when nearly all of the industry’s contributions are going to Republicans? For one, the oil and gas giants are very, very wealthy, so just a small Democratic leak from the pipeline adds up quickly. Moreover, Clinton has a lot of support from the nation’s corporate lobbyists, many of whom represent fossil fuel companies. Finally, Clinton’s wealthy backers come primarily from the world of finance—hedge-fund billionaires, investment bankers, and Wall Street executives.

    • President Obama Wants to Protect Wildlife From Cruel Killing Methods, but Trophy Hunters Aren’t Happy About It

      The strong public support for the changes is a strong signal that unsporting practices like baiting of brown bears is scientifically flawed and no longer acceptable to the majority of Americans whose tax dollars support public lands. Bear baiting involves intensive feeding of bears, typically weeks in advance of hunting seasons, so that the animals become accustomed to feeding in a certain area and then become easy targets for trophy hunters waiting nearby in blinds. Bait usually consists of donuts, candy, grease, rotting garbage, corn, fish, meat and other high-calorie foods, which can be toxic and even fatal to bears and other wildlife. Chocolate and caffeine are and can be lethal even for bears who are not later killed by hunters.

    • US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early

      The US and China are leading a push to bring the Paris climate accord into force much faster than even the most optimistic projections – aided by a typographical glitch in the text of the agreement.

      More than 150 governments, including 40 heads of state, are expected at a symbolic signing ceremony for the agreement at the United Nations on 22 April, which is Earth Day.

    • Global Warming and the Planetary Boundary

      Climate change is on a fast track, a surprisingly fast, very fast track. As such, it’s entirely possible that humanity may be facing the shock of a lifetime, caught off-guard, blindsided by a crumbling ecosystem, spawning tens of thousands of ISIS-like fighters formed into competing gangs struggling for survival.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fossil Fuel Financiers

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency of the United States is powered by a lot of fossil fuel money. How can this be, when nearly all of the industry’s contributions are going to Republicans? For one, the oil and gas giants are very, very wealthy, so just a small Democratic leak from the pipeline adds up quickly. Moreover, Clinton has a lot of support from the nation’s corporate lobbyists, many of whom represent fossil fuel companies. Finally, Clinton’s wealthy backers come primarily from the world of finance—hedge-fund billionaires, investment bankers, and Wall Street executives.

    • Indonesia Is Still Burning

      The orange-furred toddler survived one of the most destructive wildfires on record, but with a plastic tube leashing her neck to the porch of a small hut, she hardly appears to have found salvation. A villager, Kasuan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, found the orangutan cowering from wild dogs last fall, perched in one of the surviving oil palm trees in a scorched plantation near the burned forest that had been her home. The rest of her family, Kasuan tells me, perished in the epic forest fires that overtook Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, as woodlands were burned to make room for plantations that harvest palm oil, a $50 billion business. The ubiquitous ingredient is used in half of the packaged food and cosmetic products found on supermarket shelves, from Oreo cookies to Colgate toothpaste. At least nine of the highly endangered primates died during last year’s conflagrations. Three weeks before I arrive in March, three more orangutans, all of them female and one of them a baby, burned to death when the annual fires ignited months early.

      “If we didn’t rescue the orangutan from the haze and the fires, it would die like the others,” Erni, Kasuan’s wife, says. When the ape, which they named Sumbing, wasn’t tied to the post, Erni carried her like one of her own children. “I hope I can look after it and keep it healthy.”

      But the couple has no idea how to care for her when she grows into an adult weighing well over 100 pounds, if the animal survives that long. Compared with wild orangutans I’ve photographed, Sumbing’s hair and limbs look thin, and she seems frightened and depressed. She snaps at me when I first arrive but calms down when I pat her, and eventually she takes my hand for a moment. “I hope there are some authorities that will come to take care of the orangutan,” Kasuan says, contradicting his wife’s hopes, “because we can’t feed it what it needs.”

  • Finance

    • Investor-State dispute settlement undermines rule of law and democracy, UN expert tells Council of Europe

      Today before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, UN expert Alfred de Zayas explained why the investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms contained in trade agreements are incompatible with democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

      “Existing ISDS should be phased out and no new investment treaty should contain any provision for privatized or semi-privatized dispute settlement. It is wholly unnecessary in countries that are party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which commits States to due process and the rule of law,” said Mr. de Zayas.*

    • No, Bernie’s Taxes Don’t Show That He’s a Hypocrite

      Tax laws are tax laws, and there’s nothing hypocritical about following them even if you disagree with them. Just the opposite, in fact. It speaks well of Sanders that he supports changes that would hurt him personally. It’s a helluva lot more than Republicans ever do.

    • Robert Reich: Why Is Everyone Ignoring One of Sanders’ Most Important Proposals?

      Bernie’s idea to tax financial speculation is right on the money, and not even radical. What gives?

    • Is ISDS dead? No, multi-million lawsuits still on the horizon

      When put to the test, the Investment Court System, proposed by the Commission to replace the ill-fated Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS), fails to protect the right to regulate, write Cecilia Olivet and Natacha Cingotti.

      Cecilia Olivet is a researcher on trade and investment at the Transnational Institute and Natacha Cingotti is a trade campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe.

      In just a few days, the European Union will go back to the negotiating table with the United States in an attempt to salvage the small possibilities to complete a transatlantic trade and investment deal (TTIP) before President Obama leaves office.

      During the 13th round of TTIP negotiations in New York next week, a key issue will be the controversial subject of how to resolve investment disputes.

    • Australian Case Shows Why Corporate Sovereignty Isn’t Needed In TPP — Or In Any Trade Agreement

      One of central claims made by supporters of corporate sovereignty chapters in trade deals is that companies “need” this ability to sue the government in special tribunals. The argument is that if the extra-judicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework is not available to a company, it will be defenseless when confronted with a bullying government. A new case in Australia shows why that’s not true.

    • France threatens halt to TTIP talks barring progress in coming months
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Don’t the Candidates Talk About Afghanistan?

      Perhaps at some point the media, the voters, or the next debate moderators might inquire of the candidates what their current thoughts are.

    • 6 Policies Obama wants Saudi Arabia to Change

      He has also blamed Saudi Arabia for spreading around its intolerant, Wahhabi version of Islam, a very minority version of the religion that is puritanical and dislikes outsiders. (Probably only 40% of Saudis are Wahhabis, hence maybe 9 million of the kingdom’s 22 million citizens. There aren’t really any Wahhabis elsewhere outside Qatar and Sharjah, though millions of people have become Salafis, i.e. Sunnis who come close to Wahhabism but don’t want to leave their Sunni traditions entirely. So there are 1.5 billion Muslims, and most of them are not Puritanical or xenophobic and most of them are fine with women driving and disapprove of the full face veil (a lot of Muslim women don’t cover their heads at all). But it should also be noted that there is no statistical relationship between Wahhabism and extremism (most Wahhabis are not extremists andy more than most Shiites or Sunnis are).

    • Bernie Sanders Can Win Over Conservatives

      Now consider Clinton. Even among liberals her name is synonymous with Wall Street, and Wall Street is not synonymous with optimism for the future. The FBI continues to investigate her conduct at the State Department, and her family’s multi-billion-dollar philanthropic network means she’s conspicuously entangled with the world’s glittering, begrudged oligarchy. Do you believe her campaign is positioned to overcome the conservative distrust that a right-wing attack machine captained by Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich will relentlessly inflame among the masses? Now combine your answer with polls that suggest one-third of Sanders’ spirited supporters would neither vote for nor support Clinton in the general election and those that show her trailing him against Republicans nationally by as many as eight points.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Camp Complains to DNC Over Hillary Clinton’s Fundraising

      The line between legal and illegal presidential fundraising has gotten murkier in our post-Citizens United world. The Bernie Sanders camp believes Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee may have crossed it.

      On Monday, Bernie 2016 expressed its concerns in a letter to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The letter claims that the Hillary Victory Fund—the joint fundraising committee created by the DNC and Hillary for America (HFA)—is violating campaign finance rules.

    • Breaking Up With the Corporate Duopoly of Democracy

      In recent years, waves of whistleblowers have emerged, exposing the unprecedented scale of government and institutional corruption. From Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden, their courage and conscience not only revealed a system virtually devoid of morality, but it unmasked some of the operators of its machinery; those who act remorselessly without any regard for others.

      This callous and conniving sector of society has a name. They are psychopaths. Psychopathy expert Robert D. Hare called them “social predators”. Social worker Steve Becker depicted them as “exploitative-consciously violating individuals”. He described how a psychopath possesses an extreme sense of entitlement; an attitude of getting whatever he wants, and in his pursuit, others are simply an object that exist mainly “to satisfy his gratifications”.

    • Millions of New Yorkers Disenfranchised from Primaries Thanks to State’s Restrictive Voting Laws

      Voters head to the polls today in New York for both the Democratic and Republican primary in one of the most closely watched races of the election. But millions of New Yorkers won’t be able to vote, thanks to the state’s restrictive voting laws.

      The state has no early voting, no Election Day registration, and excuse-only absentee balloting. The voter registration deadline for the primary closed 25 days ago, before any candidate had even campaigned in New York. Meanwhile, independent or unaffiliated voters had to change their party registrations back in October—over 190 days ago—to vote in today’s closed Democratic or Republican primaries.

      Meanwhile, WNYC is reporting there are 60,000 fewer registered Democrats in Brooklyn and no clear reason why. This comes as a group of New Yorkers who saw their party affiliations mysteriously switched filed a lawsuit seeking to open the state’s closed primary so that they can cast a ballot. We speak to The Nation’s Ari Berman, author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.”

    • New Yorkers File Emergency Lawsuit To Give Voting Rights Back To 3.2 Million People

      With less than 24 hours until the presidential primary, a group of New Yorkers who saw their party affiliations mysteriously switched are filing a lawsuit Monday seeking to open the state’s closed primary so that they can cast a ballot.

      New York has the earliest change-of-party deadline in the country — registered independent voters who wanted to participate in Tuesday’s presidential primary had to change their party by last October. Many voters missed that deadline — or thought they met it, only to have paperwork get lost in the mail — and are disenfranchised as a result.

    • Trump, Clinton take New York, move closer to presidential nomination

      The voting in New York was marred by irregularities, including more than 125,000 people missing from New York City voter rolls. The city has roughly 4 million voters considered active for the primaries.

    • Clinton and Trump in a Landslide Victory in the New York State Primary

      Not only did it pit Clinton, its former U.S. senator, against Brooklyn-born Sanders, but both candidates aggressively parried. Sanders went after Wall Street and Clinton’s ties to financiers, held events where he reached out to other key constituencies (such as Puerto Ricans concerned about the island’s debt and striking Verizon telecom workers) and held rallies attended by tens of thousands of backers.

    • A Look at the Presidential Candidates’ Tax Returns

      Monday was the deadline for filing federal tax returns. The presidential candidates are also making tax-related headlines, as four of the five have already released their 2014 tax returns to the public. The takeaways? Bernie Sanders (who has made headlines for his low income compared to the rest of the 2016 candidates) pays the least, thanks to significant deductions. The Clintons, on the other hand, pay a 35.7 percent tax rate (compared to the average national rate of 14.7 percent).

    • After New York Win, Clinton Campaign Says Sanders’ Attacks Help Republicans

      Palmieri pointed to Sanders’ recent comment that Clinton is not qualified to be president—a remark Sanders quickly walked back—as well as his assertion in the last debate that he questioned her judgment. She also noted that the Sanders campaign on Monday accused the Clinton campaign of campaign finance violations.

    • Watch: Activist Whose Group Filed an Emergency Lawsuit in New York Blasts Mysterious Disenfranchisement of Thousands of Voters

      Shyla Nelson talks with The Young Turks about the federal lawsuit filed by Election Justice USA against the Department of Elections due to a giant voter purge in New York State.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How I Was Arrested by a War Crimes Tribunal — for My Journalism

      On March 24 I stood outside the United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Hague, surrounded by dozens of men and women who had survived massacres and concentration camps and rapes during the Bosnian war. I had joined the gathering on Churchillplein before the announcement of the tribunal’s verdict for Karadzic, who was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. I noticed a female security officer from the U.N. weaving back and forth through the crowd, trying to reach me. I realized, as the officer grabbed for my wrist and tried to put handcuffs on me, that my freedom was at issue on this day, too.

      “She’s crazy, she has no jurisdiction,” I shouted at a Dutch police officer who stood before me stone-faced. I didn’t try to run. I was on Dutch territory so I assumed the Dutch police would not allow a U.N. officer to arrest me. Having no police powers, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had always depended on member nations to execute its warrants—but this was about to change. Ironically, the tribunal’s first arrest by one of its own officers was going to be of a journalist who had reported on warlords and mass killers, rather than an actual war criminal.

    • Democracy Sleepwalking

      By the time the week was over, perhaps 1,200 were arrested. It may have been the largest nonviolent civil disobedience in years, but this is one more metric, like number of sponsoring organizations, to stick on a press release for media consumption. And the media know it. One high-level organizer scoffed at the mainstream media impact, noting the minimal coverage.

    • My Projection for Sanders v. Clinton in New York’s Primary

      This projection, if accurate, would keep Sanders on Another Path to Victory in terms of the pledged delegate race as I see it. The polls close tonight at 9pm eastern. By about 10pm, we should know whether I have stumbled upon a way to more accurately forecast Democratic primaries or whether I’ve been doing math to make myself feel better as a Sandernista.

    • Ben & Jerry Get Arrested At Capitol Hill Protests

      Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – more popularly known as Ben and Jerry, the guys behind the ice cream – were among hundreds of protesters arrested at the Democracy Spring rallies at the United States Capitol Building on Monday. The protests began early this month with a 140-mile march from Philadelphia to D.C. and continued with a week-long sit-in to demand Congressional action on voting rights and campaign finance. Cohen and Greenfield were among some 1,300 peaceful protesters who were arrested. Actress Rosario Dawson, who in recent months has been an active and vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders, was also among those arrested.

    • The Sanders/Clinton Split on Israel

      There is a vast difference between Sanders and Clinton on Israel. Make no mistake. A President Hillary Clinton would strengthen Israel’s noose around the necks of the Palestinian people. She would not be an honest broker in any process to bring peace to that region.

    • BREAKING: NYPD Officer Sentenced To Five Years Of Probation For Killing Akai Gurley

      Former New York Police Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service by New York Judge Danny Chun Tuesday, two months after a jury convicted the former officer of manslaughter and official misconduct. Just before the sentence was handed down, Chun reduced the manslaughter count to criminally negligent homicide.

    • Thousands of Israelis Rally in Support of Soldier Who Executed Wounded Palestinian

      Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Tuesday in support of an army medic who was caught on video last month apparently executing a wounded Palestinian suspect following a knife attack in the occupied West Bank.

      The medic, Sgt. Elor Azaria, 19, was charged with manslaughter by an Israeli military court on Monday for firing a single bullet into the head of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, killing him, on March 24 in the city of Hebron. Sharif was one of two young Palestinians suspected of lightly wounding an Israeli soldier in an area of the city inhabited by Jewish settlers.

    • How Israel Killed the ‘Two-State Solution’

      The radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron present what is certainly a candidate for being the ugliest face of Israel’s creeping annexation of the West Bank. And, the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has reached a point that renders the so-called Two State Solution an impossibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Did You Think the Battle Over Net Neutrality Was Over? Think Again

      A landmark decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that will determine the fate of US rules protecting net neutrality could come as early as this week.

      The central legal issue before the court is whether the FCC overstepped its regulatory authority in 2015 by reclassifying internet service providers, or ISPs, as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act.

      Some of the nation’s largest broadband companies have challenged the FCC’s policy, calling it “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” that “harms consumers, competition, and broadband deployment.”

      By changing the way it approaches ISPs, the FCC claimed the authority to apply utility-style regulations originally designed for phone companies to broadband providers in order to prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization deals, in which ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T favor certain content, effectively discriminating against rivals.

  • DRM

    • Netflix: VPN Blockade Backlash Doesn’t Hurt Us

      Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the recent crackdown on VPN and proxy users hasn’t hurt the company’s results. The VPN blockade only affects a small but vocal minority, according to Hastings, and there are no signs that hordes of subscribers are abandoning ship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Nationalizing Trade Secret Law

      Nationalizing Contract Law?: It is interesting that congress is moving forward so quickly with nationalizing the traditional state-law claim of trade secret misappropriation. Most trade secret cases involve an underlying breach of contract between the parties. The current bill would implicitly have courts rely upon local contract law to determine the scope of rights of the parties before then determining whether a federal claim of trade secret misappropriation exists.

    • EU-Canada Trade Deal Still Struggling, As Romania And Belgium Say They Won’t/Can’t Ratify Treaty

      Alongside the better-known trade deals that aren’t really trade deals, TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, the smaller one between the European Union and Canada, CETA, is still trapped in a strange kind of political limbo. It was “celebrated” way back in October 2014, and has been officially in the “legal scrubbing” phase where the text is tidied up and translated into all the relevant languages (lots of them for the EU). Cleverly, the EU has used this period to sneak in the “lipstick on a pig” version of corporate sovereignty in an attempt to head off revolts among EU nations worried about growing public resistance to the idea.

    • Copyrights

      • Microsoft’s Azure Awarded FACT Anti-Piracy Seal of Approval

        Azure, the cloud computing platform created by Microsoft, has become the first service of its type to gain certification from anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft. The accreditation means that Microsoft has implemented many physical and digital processes designed to thwart online pirates.

      • California Assembly Looks To Push Cities To Copyright & Trademark Everything They Can

        If you’ve followed Techdirt (or US copyright law) for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the fact that the federal government is barred from claiming copyright on any work created by the federal government (but it is able to hold copyrights that were transferred to it, which is another issue for another day). However, with state law, it’s a bit more murky. Many have (quite reasonably) argued that this same rule should apply to state laws as well. But states sometimes like to claim copyright in their works — and thus, for now, it’s officially a matter delegated to each state to decide for its own works. Remember when the state of Oregon claimed copyright in its own laws?

      • Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

        Yesterday we wrote about the fairly unsurprising, but still good, news that the Supreme Court had rejected an attempted appeal by the Authors Guild of the really excellent fair use decision by the 2nd Circuit appeals court over whether or not Google scanning books to build a giant, searchable index was fair use.

      • Copyright Experts: Fair Use is Not Getting a Fair Deal in Australia

        Fair use is one of the biggest undelivered promises of a report of the Australian Law Reform Commission to the Australian government two years ago, which recommended improvements to Australian copyright law. Instead of delivering a fair use exception, the government slapped users with onerous new enforcement provisions such as SOPA-style web blocking and data retention, along with a now-shelved attempt at a graduated response code for penalizing users suspected of infringement.

        Strangely, these new strict enforcement provisions have failed to transform Australia into a more innovative and productive economy, and so the government has finally turned its attention back to other copyright reforms such as fair use, by way of a new inquiry of its Productivity Commission. Cue the entry of Australia’s big media and entertainment conglomerates, who funded a fear-mongering report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) claiming that the introduction of a fair use exception to copyright would bring near-apocalyptic consequences for Australia’s creative sector, while failing to deliver significant benefits.

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