Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 3/5/2016: International Day Against DRM, 25th Anniversary of Linux (Kernel) Near

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why not use open source code examples? A Case Study of Prejudice in a Community of Practice
    We analyzed the perceptions of professional software developers as manifested in the LinkedIn online community, and used the theoretical lens of prejudice theory to interpret their answers in a broader context.

  • Critical Infrastructure Goes Open Source
    The electrical grid, water, roads and bridges—the infrastructure we take for granted—is seldom noticed until it's unavailable. The burgeoning open source software movement is taking steps to help rebuild crumbling U.S. civil infrastructure while capitalizing on expansion in emerging markets by providing software building blocks to help develop interoperable and secure transportation, electric power, oil and gas as well as the healthcare infrastructure.

    Under a program launched in April called the Civil Infrastructure Platform, the Linux Foundation said the initiative would provide "an open source base layer of industrial grade software to enable the use and implementation of software building blocks for civil infrastructure."

  • EMC prioritizes open-source integration
    Josh Bernstein, EMC’s new VP of technical strategy, sat down with Stu Miniman and Brian Gracely, cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during EMC World to talk about the value open source brings to EMC.

  • 10 Tips for Coding with Open Source Software
    Bootstrap is a framework to help you design websites faster and easier. It includes HTML and CSS based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, tables, navigation, modals, image carousels, etc. It also gives you support for JavaScript plugins.

  • Cisco Pushes Forward with Open-Source Strategy [VIDEO]
    For the last year, Lauren Cooney has been running open source strategy for the Chief Technology and Architecture Office at Cisco. Cooney's career includes time spent at some of the biggest IT vendors in the world, including Microsoft as well as rival networking vendor Juniper, but the Cisco experience for her is a bit different, especially in terms of open source.

    In a video interview, Cooney discusses why Cisco is investing in open source and how it determines whether a project can work on Github alone, or if it needs a broad foundation to support it.

  • NPV Considerations for Open Source Big Data Technologies
    Mention the words “open source” and all kinds ideas probably come to mind such as “free”, “agility”, and “speed”. However, with any IT project, it is important to look at business benefits vs. costs in a manner that goes beyond generalizations. One method for benefit-cost analysis for open source big data projects is Net Present Value (NPV).

    It’s not unusual to find the IT community excited about the possibilities of open source. And with good reason as adoption of open source big data technologies may provide companies flexibility in charting their own path, ability to innovate faster and move at the speed of business. And yet, it is sage advice to temper some of the frenzy in adopting open source with a financial analysis.

  • Demystifying Containers for a Better DevOps Experience

  • Break scalability barriers in OpenFlow SDN
    Over the past couple of years, software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged as a strong alternative to traditional networking approaches in the areas of WAN, data center networks, and network overlay solutions. The primary benefit realized from SDN, besides open networking, is the ability to accelerate service deployments. SDN solutions using OpenFlow tackle complex problems, including dynamic provisioning, interconnection, and fault management. Although the functionality of SDN has evolved and matured, the scalability of SDNs based on OpenFlow has been limited by OpenFlow’s ties to ternary content-addressable memory (TCAM). OpenFlow by design was implemented in the TCAM.

  • Open-source project lets players experience Fallout 4 in VR
    This week, Fallout 4 players will finally be able to experience post-apocalyptic Boston firsthand, thanks to the VR capabilities of the Oculus Rift. However, this isn’t an official patch released by Bethesda; instead, the functionality is being offered up by a third-party, open-source project called Vireio Perception.

  • Blockchain

  • SaaS/Back End

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • UPSat, an open-source Greek satellite
      As part of this mission UPsat is equipped with a specialized scientific instrument (mNLP) designed for its mission needs. Every other component of the satellite is designed from scratch, built, tested and integrated by engineers, scientists and developers of the University of Patras and Libre Space Foundation. That includes the structural framework, the on board mission control computer, the telecommunications system, the power management system and the software that runs across all different subsystems.

  • Programming/Development

    • Distributed tracing — the most wanted and missed tool in the micro-service world.
      We, as engineers, always wanted to simplify and automate things. This is something in our nature. That’s how our brains work. That’s how procedural programming was born. After some time, the next level of evolution was object oriented programming.

      The idea was always the same. Take something big and try to split it into isolated abstractions with hidden implementations. It is much easier to think about complex system using abstractions. It is way more efficient to develop isolated blocks.


  • Why Do Colleges Still Give Preference To Kids Whose Parents Went There?
    But other students have a very different story. Some high schoolers — who are on average whiter and wealthier than their peers — are provided with a unique privilege in the college admissions process simply because they were born to the right family. This privilege is known as the legacy preference.

  • Riders stuck left dangling on Alton Towers roller coaster
    Nearly 30 people were this afternoon stuck dangling from a roller coaster that broke down at Alton Towers.

    The passengers were heard screaming and shouting for help when they got stuck on the first hill.

    Air Galactica came to a halt at 2pm this afternoon before the ride was eventually re-started. It is believed to have been affected by flooding.

    A member of staff was seen climbing up to reassure the people on the ride which only re-opened in March after being refurbished.

  • From Paintbox to PC: How London became the home of Hollywood VFX
    In a darkened room on the backstreets of London's red light district, Mike McGee stared at a screen. Surrounded by a thick wall of cigarette smoke and impatient chain-smoking clients, he swiped a pen across the table, his movement replicated with surprising accuracy as a pixel-perfect line on the screen above. The clients—TV producers from the BBC—were impressed. In just a few short minutes, McGee had transformed a single frame of video into the beginnings of a title sequence. In a world where labour-intensive optical effects and manual rotoscoping were the norm, this was a revelation.

  • Hardware

    • Intel Decides To Let Go Of Broxton
      Broxton was to be Intel's 2016 Atom SoC platform for phones and tablets. Broxton was to be using 14nm Goldmont CPU cores and Skylake graphics, but now it's no more.

      For those that didn't hear yet, it's been confirmed that Intel is cancelling the Broxton platform and also letting go of their SoFIA platforms. With Intel failing to make inroads with high-end smartphones and tablets while ARM continues to dominate, Intel is letting go of these platforms and instead focusing upon other more profitable areas where they have greater success.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ACLU Sues Over Indiana Law Creating a Protected Class of Fetuses
      The new law may also require pregnant women who have miscarriages to bury or cremate their fetal remains.
    • Is the GMO Labeling Movement About to Score a Major Victory?
      So close to the July 1 deadline for complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law, and still no court ruling to overturn Vermont’s law. Still no federal legislation to preempt Vermont’s law.

    • Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
      There is a dangerous radiological threat to the West Coast of the United States that puts the health of millions of Americans at risk. It includes dangers to public health, dangers to the food supply, and dangers to future generations from long-lived radionuclides, including some of the most toxic material in the world. It is not Fukushima, it is Hanford. While radiation from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns is reaching the West Coast, carried across the ocean from Japan, the radiation from Hanford is already there, has been there for 70 years, and is in serious risk of catastrophe that could dwarf the effects of Fukushima even on Japan.

    • Families Sue ‘Sadistic’ Facility For Allegedly Abusing Developmentally Disabled Residents
      Part of the issue, the plaintiffs argue, stems from poor training at the managerial level. In the prior state investigation, officials found that staff members were not trained on how to document a resident’s physical injuries or health abnormalities — or on how to handle any behavioral issues. Without proper training, staff turned to abuse when faced with a challenge. Many often gave residents the wrong medication, falsified their medical documents, and failed to schedule necessary doctors’ appointments.

    • God’s Red Pencil? CRISPR and The Three Myths of Precise Genome Editing
      The second key error of CRISPR boosters is to assume that, even if we had complete precision, this would allow control over the consequences for the resulting organism.

      Suppose, as a non-Chinese speaker, I were to precisely remove from a Chinese text one character, one line, or one page. I would have one hundred percent precision, but zero control over the change in meaning. Precision, therefore, is only as useful as the understanding that underlies it, and surely no DNA biologist would propose we understand DNA–or else why are we studying it?

    • Flint Residents Outraged After Discovering The City Is In Talks With Private Water Companies
      Once again, decisions are being made about Flint’s tainted water system with no public announcement or conversation.

      Flint residents, whose longstanding complaints about water quality fell on deaf ears to disastrous effect, are experiencing some déjà vu over the next steps out of the city’s water crisis.

      The city has quietly started seeking bids from private water companies. City residents say they only discovered the move when a researcher at the consumer watchdog group Food & Water Watch unearthed a request for proposal (RFP) in a Global Water Intelligence report.

      The RFP is for an analysis of the city’s water system, which, thanks to officials who neglected to add corrosion control chemicals to the water coming in from the Flint River, has been leaching dangerously high levels of lead into residents’ drinking water. The analysis would give recommendations for how the system needs to be upgraded to bring it into line with best practices and address the Environmental Protection Agency’s order to take corrective measures. This particular contract wouldn’t make Flint’s public water system private on its own.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The (Former) Riyadh Station Chief Defends His Saudi Friends from Charges of Terrorism
      On Sunday, former CIA Riyadh Station Chief John Brennan had a remarkable appearance on Meet the Press. A big part of it — the second to last thing he and Chuck Todd discussed — was Brennan’s argument against the release of the 28 pages (“so-called,” Brennan calls them) showing that 9/11 was facilitated by at least one Saudi operative.

      Brennan opposes their release in three ways. First, he falsely suggested that the 9/11 Commission investigated all the leads implicating the Saudis (and also pretends the “so-called 28 pages” got withheld for sources and methods and not to protect our buddies).

    • On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan

    • America, unrepentant still
      Yes, the Vietnam War is remembered as a debacle and a defeat, but not as the moral sin it was and that Berrigan bravely protested. The war is described as misguided and by the right wing as poorly led and even prematurely ended. But it was profoundly immoral, an act of prolonged violence stoked by unconscionable arrogance, ignorance, lies and manipulation by political leaders. Phony theories of “falling dominoes” and of a unified and insatiable world communist movement were kept alive mainly because of electoral politics, especially the fears held by Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon of hardliners who could not countenance losing a war, despite the fact that the war was without merit and should never have been fought.

    • Know Where You Stand: Decades Ago, the Ever-Prescient Daniel Berrigan Lamented That the Dream of Israel Had Become A Nightmare
      In so many ways we mourn the indomitable poet, priest and activist Daniel Berrigan, who died at age 94 on the 41st anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War he decried and defied for years, starting with his famous 1968 burning - with homemade napalm - of Catonsville draft files with his brother Philip and other pacifists. "Our apologies, good friends," he wrote in his play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, "for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise." Father Berrigan got three years in federal prison for the action; when the appeals ran out, he refused to show up, spent four years opposing the war from underground, and went on to assemble an impressive rap sheet of arrests and convictions for protesting war, weaponry, nuclear power and the world's other unholy ills. Thus did Kurt Vonnegut crown him, "Jesus as a poet."

      Known for his fearless insights, Berrigan's mantra was to, "Know where you stand, and stand there." He remained true to it in a much-criticized 1973 speech to the Association of Arab University Graduates, where he denounced an Israel that had become "a criminal Jewish community" and, alongside a South Africa under apartheid and a U.S. embroiled in Vietnam, "a settler state (seeking) a Biblical justification for crimes against humanity." He lamented the tragedy of Jews who after enduring the Holocaust "arose like warriors, armed to the teeth, (who) entered the imperial adventure and spread abroad the imperial deceptions," going from slaves to masters who created slaves of "the people it has crushed"- Palestinians. Finally, he cites the "savage triumph" of a "model (that) is not the kingdom of peace; it is an Orwellian transplant, taken bodily from Big Brother's bloody heart." After the speech raised a furor, he defended it as "an act of outraged love." At his passing, Berrigan's family quotes his belief that, "Peacemaking is tough, unfinished, blood-ridden. We walk our hope and that’s the only way of keeping it going." Today, they add, no one person can pick up his burden, but there is enough work for us all: "His spirit is free, it is alive in the world, and it is waiting for you."
    • RIP Father Daniel Berrigan: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Antiwar Priest & Poet

    • PART 2: Family and Friends Remember Father Daniel Berrigan, Legendary Antiwar Priest & Poet
      We continue our interview with close friends and the niece of the legendary antiwar priest, Father Daniel Berrigan, as we remember his life and legacy. He died on Saturday, just short of his 95th birthday. Berrigan was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called "American military imperialism." Along with his late brother Phil, Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the antiwar and antidraft movement during the late 1960s, as well as the movement against nuclear weapons. He was the first Catholic priest to land on the FBI’s most wanted list. In early 1968, Father Daniel Berrigan made international headlines when he traveled to North Vietnam with historian Howard Zinn to bring home three U.S. prisoners of war. Later that year, Father Dan Berrigan, his brother Phil and seven others took 378 draft files from the draft board in Catonsville, Maryland. Then, in the parking lot of the draft board office, the activists set the draft records on fire, using homemade napalm, to protest the Vietnam War. They became known as the Catonsville Nine and invigorated the antiwar movement by inspiring over 100 similar acts of protest. It also shook the foundation of the tradition-bound Catholic Church. Then, in 1980, the Berrigan brothers and six others began the Plowshares Movement when they broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, hammered nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. They were arrested and charged with over 10 different felony and misdemeanor counts, and became known as the Plowshares Eight.

    • CIA Wants Its Narrative Back, Live-Tweets bin Laden Raid Five Years Later

    • 'Rewriting History' in 140 Characters as CIA Live Tweets Bin Laden Assassination
      The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was pilloried on Sunday for its decision to mark the 5th anniversary of the 2011 raid and killing of Osama bin Laden by "live-tweeting" the operation "as if it were happening today."

      Beginning at 1:25 EDT, using the hashtag #UBLRaid (referring to the alternate spelling, "Usama"), the CIA reiterated its account of the May 2 raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

    • Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

      Syria’s largest city, Aleppo has seen a worrying outbreak of violence in the past week that could fatally undermine the cessation of hostilities that had held between most Free Syrian Army units and the Syrian Arab Army.

      The ceasefire did not extend to al-Qaeda or Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), however, and it appears to be al-Qaeda that led the renewed fighting south of the city and mortar strikes from the rebel-held east on the Government-held west.

    • Trump’s Foreign Policy is just GOP Boilerplate, only more Confused
      He also showed himself in love with authoritarians abroad, perhaps seeing people like Vladimir Putin as soul mates.

    • Washington Brings Regime Change To Venezuela
      This manufactured “extraordinary threat” serves as the Obama regime’s excuse for overthrowing President Maduro in Venezuela. It is a Washington tradition to overthrow elected Latin American governments that try to represent the interest of the people, and not the interest of US corporations and banks.

    • Departing NATO Commander Hypes Nonexistent Russian Threat
      Thousands more US-led NATO forces are being provocatively deployed near Russia’s borders.

      Interviewed by Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter broadsheet, Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of “inching closer and closer to Russia’s borders. But when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that Russia is engaging in dangerous maneuvers near NATO borders. In fact, NATO borders are getting closer to Russia, not the opposite.”

    • Republicans Don’t Want to Know Costs of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal
      Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have lined up to quietly kill a cost estimate of the Pentagon’s three-decade nuclear modernization program, which experts predict will exceed $1 trillion. The vote was mentioned briefly in Politico’s morning briefing list last week but otherwise received no media coverage.

    • Escalating U.S. Air Strikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
      USA Today revealed on April 19th that U.S. air forces have been operating under looser rules of engagement in Iraq and Syria since last fall. The war commander, Lt Gen McFarland, now orders air strikes that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians without prior approval from U.S. Central Command, and U.S. officials acknowledge that air strikes are killing more civilians under the new rules.

    • Why Russia Resents Us
      Friday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work announced that 4,000 NATO troops, including two U.S. battalions, will be moved into Poland and the Baltic States, right on Russia’s border.

      "The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the border with a lot of troops," says Work, who calls this "extraordinarily provocative behavior."

      But how are Russian troops deploying inside Russia "provocative," while U.S. troops on Russia’s front porch are not? And before we ride this escalator up to a clash, we had best check our hole card.

    • Larry Wilmore Holds Nothing Back in Roast of Obama, Politicians and Media
      Comedian Larry Wilmore took real shots at President Obama, the media, various politicians and almost all the attendees at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.

      Often getting booed, or a response of silence, Wilmore used the comedic opportunity to address real issues in a manner resembling Stephen Colbert back in 2006. He started fiercely within the first three minutes and had this to say (among much else):

      “It’s great, it looks like you’re really enjoying the last year of your presidency. Saw you hanging out with NBA players like Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors. That was cool, that was cool. Yeah. You know it kinda makes sense too because both of you like raining down bombs on people from long distances, right? Yeah. It’s true. What? Am I wrong? What? Speaking of drones, how is Wolf Blitzer still on television? Ask a follow-up question. Hey Wolf, I’m ready to project tonight’s winner: anyone that isn’t watching ‘The Situation Room.’ ”

    • Who is the Man Leading Iraq’s Green Zone Revolution?
      And Why Does Washington Hate Him So Much?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Political Violence in Honduras
      On March 3, assassins entered the home of Berta Caceres, leader of Honduras’ environmental and indigenous movement. They shot her friend Gustavo Castro Soto, the director of Friends of the Earth Mexico. He pretended to be dead, and so is the only witness of what came next. The assassins found Berta Caceres in another room and shot her in the chest, the stomach and the arms. When the assassins left the house, Castro went to Berta Caceres, who died in his arms.

      Investigation into the death of Berta Caceres is unlikely to be conducted with seriousness. The Honduran government suggested swiftly that it was likely that Castro had killed Berta Caceres and made false statements about assassins. That he had no motive to kill his friend and political ally seemed irrelevant. Castro has taken refuge in the Mexican embassy in Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa. He continues to fear for his life.

    • Military and Energy Company Officials Arrested for Murder of Berta Cáceres
      Authorities have arrested four suspects in the assassination of environmental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, the Honduran attorney general announced on Monday.

      Adding credence to suspicions that Cáceres' killing was politically-motivated, among those arrested were Honduran military officials as well as an employee of Desarrollos Energéticos (or DESA), the private energy company behind the Agua Zarca dam, which Cáceres fiercely opposed.

      Central American-based freelance journalist Sandra Cuffe reported Monday that the arrests included Mariano Díaz Chávez and Edilson Atilio Duarte Meza. Cuffe wrote, "Honduran Armed Forces spokesperson identified Díaz as a major and Duarte as a former member of the military."

    • Texas Floods Sending Toxic Fossil Fuel Runoff into Public Waters
      Recent flooding in Houston has sent crude oil and toxic chemicals into Texas waterways, and residents and experts say regulators are not doing enough to address the threat to public health and the environment.

      Photographs taken by emergency management officials show oil slicks and other evidence of toxins spreading through the Sabine River on the Texas-Louisiana border from flooding in March, and new evidence is mounting that spills from oil wells and fracking sites increase when water levels rise.
    • 'Slap in the Face': Top Court Overrules Local Fracking Bans in Colorado
      The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday that state law trumps two cities' attempts to stem the domestic fracking boom, issuing "a severe slap in the face" to Coloradans and local democracy alike.

      The court heard cases from Longmont, where voters banned the oil and gas drilling practice in 2012, and Fort Collins, where voters approved a 5-year moratorium in 2013. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry trade group that brought the suits against both cities, argued that the fossil fuel-friendly state clearly regulates fracking, and the cities can't forbid a practice that the state allows.
    • Why Bill Gates’ Math Error About Climate Change Matters [Ed: for profit]
      Bill Gates keeps saying confused and confusing things about climate policy and clean energy.

      Gates has positioned himself as a major player and spokesman in this arena with his “Breakthrough Energy Coalition,” a $2 billion effort he is spearheading to research and develop breakthrough “energy miracles.” That means his confused — and often simply wrong — pronouncements could have serious consequences in the public debate and are worth exploring in detail.

      Gates’ latest bizarre position, as as one media headline explained, is to dismiss a carbon tax — “Bill Gates: Carbon tax not right for the US.”

    • As Climate Disruption Advances, UN Warns: "The Future Is Happening Now"
      Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It's as though each month I think, "It can't possibly keep happening at this incredible pace."

      But it does.

      By late April, the Mauna Loa Observatory, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide, recorded an incredible daily reading: 409.3 parts per million. That is a range of atmospheric carbon dioxide content that this planet has not seen for the last 15 million years, and 2016 is poised to see these levels only continue to increase.

    • Judge Sides With Kids Suing The Government Over Climate Inaction: ‘These Kids Can’t Wait’
      In the case of kids concerned about climate change versus the federal government, the kids keep racking up historic wins.

      On Friday, a group of children suing the government for inaction on climate change scored a major victory, as a judge ruled that the Washington State Department of Ecology must deliver an emissions reduction rule by the end of this year. That decision follows another major win in mid-April, when an Oregon judge ruled that a similar lawsuit could go forward despite opposition from the fossil fuel industry.

    • Scientists see the future in natural resources
      From creating transparent wood for solar panels or windows to turning carbon dioxide and plant waste into plastic bottles, scientists are finding ingenious ways to sidestep fossil fuels.

  • Finance

    • Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
      In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state’s oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND’s profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever.

      The BND has had record profits for the last 12 years, each year outperforming the last. In 2015 it reported $130.7 million in earnings, total assets of $7.4 billion, capital of $749 million, and a return on investment of a whopping 18.1 percent. Its lending portfolio grew by $486 million, a 12.7 percent increase, with growth in all four of its areas of concentration: agriculture, business, residential, and student loans.

    • The Third Way: Share-the-Gains Capitalism
      Marissa Mayer tells us a lot about why Americans are so angry, and why anti-establishment fury has become the biggest single force in American politics today.

      Mayer is CEO of Yahoo. Yahoo’s stock lost about a third of its value last year, as the company went from making $7.5 billion in 2014 to losing $4.4 billion in 2015. Yet Mayer raked in $36 million in compensation.

    • Just Say No to Corporate Rule
      In May 2014, Senator Elizabeth Warren talked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. “From what I hear, Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, telecom, big polluters and outsourcers are all salivating at the chance to rig the deal in the upcoming trade talks. So the question is: Why are the trade talks secret? You’ll love this answer. Boy, the things you learn on Capitol Hill. I actually have had supporters of the deal say to me, ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.'”


      If you aren’t already concerned about a deal being negotiated on behalf of giant corporations at the public’s expense, consider the following. One chapter in the deal, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, threatens democracy and the sovereignty of governments.

    • The Donor Class That Buys Chicago's Elections Is Overwhelmingly Rich and White—Unlike the City
      The windy city’s political donor class is disproportionately and overwhelmingly made up of rich white men with a penchant for austerity and budget cuts, according to the first-ever municipal-level study of race, class and gender disparities in buying elections.

    • The Devil Capitalism

    • Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Poses A Special Problem For Zika Fighting Efforts

    • Puerto Rico Defaults on Debt to Pay Public Services

    • As Vulture Funds Circle, Puerto Rico Set to Default on Debt
    • The Super-Rich Tech Elite Is Just Fine With Big Government
      There's something to this, but I suspect culture has a lot more to do with it. Most of these folks have spent their lives marinating in social liberalism, and being situated in the Bay Area just adds to that. So they start out with a visceral loathing of conservative social policies that pushes them in the direction of the Democratic Party. From there, tribalism does most of the additional work: once you've chosen a team, you tend to adopt all of the team's views.

      Beyond that, yes, I imagine that tech zillionaires are more than normally aware of how much they rely on government: for basic research, for standards setting, for regulation that protects them from getting crushed by old-school dinosaurs, and so forth. And let's be honest: most of the really rich ones have their wealth tied up almost entirely in capital gains, which doesn't get taxed much anyway. So endorsing candidates who happen to favor higher tax rates on ordinary income (which they probably won't get anyway) doesn't really cost them much.
    • CETA: ISDS and data protection

      This is the fourth in a series of blogs on the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) and data protection.

      In earlier blogs we saw that under the CETA text Canada can give our personal data related to financial services, transfered to Canada, a lower protection than under the standard set by the Court of Justice of the EU in the Safe Harbour ruling. This is relevant as Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes”, a group of countries committed to (suspicionless) mass surveillance. We also saw that CETA does not allow data protection measures based on a higher data protection standard than agreed in CETA.

    • Why Releasing Text Isn't Enough: Behind the Scenes of TTIP
      oday the draft text of the U.S.-Europe free trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), was leaked by Greenpeace Netherlands. The leak reveals for the first time the current state of the text of 15 chapters and annexes, along with a confidential commentary from the European Union.

      There's not much concerning digital rights issues in the current text, because text on most of those issues has not been tabled yet. The closest that we have is the Electronic communications/Telecommunications chapter, which despite its broader-seeming title, is almost entirely about the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, and raises few obvious concerns.

    • Leaked Documents On U.S.-E.U. Trade Deal Paint Worrisome Environmental Picture, Greenpeace Says
      By now, most in the environmental community know that there are major environmental and climate change concerns surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — that it could empower corporations to sue governments over environmental decisions and policies, for instance. But another trade deal, one being forged between the United States and European Union, has gotten less attention — until now.

      On Monday, Greenpeace Netherlands leaked documents from negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The 248 pages of documents — which account for about a third of the total text — illustrate four major environmental concerns, Greenpeace says.

    • TTIP trade talks: Greenpeace leak 'shows risks of EU-US deal'
      EU standards on the environment and public health risk being undermined by compromises with the US, Greenpeace has warned, citing leaked documents.

      The environmental group obtained 248 pages of classified documents from the TTIP trade talks, aimed at clinching a far-reaching EU-US free trade deal.

      Secrecy surrounding the talks has fuelled fears that US corporations may erode Europe's consumer protections.

    • Greenpeace Netherlands Releases Explosive Documents on Just Concluded U.S.-Europe Trade Talks

    • Leaked TTIP Documents: Threats to Regulatory Protections

    • International trade agreements attempt to undermine EU environment and health protection
    • Comment on Leaked TTIP Text
      “It’s disgraceful that despite the fact TTIP would have such a profound impact on the lives of people across Europe, the only way that people get to know about these disturbing details is through leaks like these. TTIP is being cooked up behind closed doors because when ordinary people find out about the threat it poses to democracy and consumer protections, they are of course opposed to it.

    • Greenpeace Netherlands Releases TTIP Documents

    • 'Today Marks the End of TTIP': Greenpeace Leak Exposes Corporate Takeover
      The documents represent roughly two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, according to Greenpeace, and on some topics offer for the first time the position of the United States.

      Wealth inequality is even more of a problem than income inequality. That’s because you have to have enough savings from income to begin to accumulate wealth – buying a house or investing in stocks and bonds, or saving up to send a child to college.

    • Watch: Billionaire Former Mayor Bloomberg Rails Against Demagoguery—Is Booed for Criticizing Safe Spaces

    • The Bernie Fade Begins
      “The 2016 presidential election,” Diana Johnstone recently wrote, “is shaping up as a contest between the two most hated people in America.” Bernie Sanders has called it quits. That’s what it means when your campaign says, as Bernie’s did two nights ago, that it looks forward to going to the Democratic National Convention to fight over the party’s platform, not over its presidential nomination. There’ll be no contested convention on the Democratic side. So what if Hillary Clinton is a “right wing fanatic” (Arun Gupta), a close friend of Wall Street, a backer of so-called free trade deals, and a spine-chilling war monger?

    • ‘This can’t happen by accident.’
      For generations, African Americans have faced unique barriers to owning a home — and enjoying the wealth it brings. In Atlanta, where predominantly black neighborhoods are still waiting for the recovery, the link between race and real estate fortune is stark.
    • Detroit Teachers Hold Sickout to Protest Broken Funding Promises
      Nearly every public school in Detroit was shut down on Monday as teachers city-wide held a "sickout" over news that the embattled district would not be able to pay them past June 30.

      The protest kept 94 out of 97 schools closed after the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) announced the action on Sunday. Detroit Public Schools (DPS) emergency manager Judge Steven Rhodes told the union over the weekend that without additional funding from the legislature, the district would not have enough money to pay its 2,600 teachers' already-earned salaries.

    • Detroit Teachers Launch Massive Protest After Learning They Won’t Be Paid This Summer
      Teachers across Detroit called in sick to work on Monday — a “sick-out” protest that ultimately shut down all but three public schools in the city because there weren’t enough teachers in class.

      The coordinated protest, which was organized by the Detroit Federation of Teachers, came soon after the school district’s emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, announced that there won’t be enough money to pay teachers after June 30.

      “Detroit teachers deserve to be paid fairly for their work like every other working person… But Detroit Public Schools has just informed us that it cannot guarantee to pay these dedicated men and women for their work. This isn’t right. It isn’t fair,” the president of the teachers union, Ivy Bailey, told the Detroit News.

    • Big Business Charter School Chains Seek Millions in Taxpayer Dollars With No Accountability
      KIPP also asked the Office of Innovation and Improvement to redact the amounts of funding provided to KIPP by foundations that wrote letters of support for KIPP to receive federal taxpayer money under the grant.

    • The United States, Britain and the European Union
      On his farewell tour, President Barack Obama has stirred the pot ahead of the June referendum in Britain on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union or leave. His warning to leavers that Britain cannot expect a trade agreement with the United States any time soon if it withdraws from the EU has infuriated leaders of the Brexit campaign, and delighted those who want to remain, including Prime Minister David Cameron. Obama’s message to Britain was that it should remain in the EU, and that it was in America’s interest, too.

      Some of the comments made by leading Brexit figures in the governing Conservative Party in retaliation to Obama’s intervention have been described as borderline racist.

      In a particularly outspoken jibe, London mayor and a member of the British cabinet, Boris Johnson, accused the American president of interfering in British politics. Johnson went on to say that after entering the House House Obama had ordered the removal a bust of the British wartime leader, Winston Churchill, from the Oval Office. Furthermore, he suggested that this might be because of Obama’s “part Kenyan ancestral dislike of the British empire.”

    • The Fed's Urge to Raise Interest Rates
      Voters should know the president's priorities in filling these positions. It will hugely affect their ability to carry through their economic agenda. Pretending the Fed does not exist is not serious economic policy. The public has a right to expect better.

    • Sam Brownback Gutted Kansas: How America’s Worst Governor and an Ultra-Conservative Ideology Wrecked an Entire State
      KCEG’s report partially demonstrates from one economic perspective why such a view of the world, when actualized into public policy, doesn’t work, except for those at the top of the financial food chain. KCEG rightly points out that the tax revenues devoted to state-provided services, such as transportation infrastructure, public education and healthcare, to name a few, are in actuality investments in some very “powerful economic development tools” available to Kansas (and other states).

    • Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
      Class warfare is on display in stark terms at Verizon Communications, and although such direct terms are avoided by the corporate media, there is much talk of the strike against Verizon by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as “labor’s last stand.” That might be a little hyperbolic, or it might be wishful thinking, as such talk of last stands is often intertwined with juxtaposing unionized older sectors with non-unionized sectors that are promoted as “new” and “vibrant.”

    • Billionaire Nike Co-Founder Confuses His Net Worth with U.S. Economic Growth
      IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with USA Today, Phil Knight, the co-founder and chair of Nike, expressed puzzlement over Americans’ anger about trade agreements like NAFTA, and concern that this anger is having an effect on the presidential race.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • State Party Officials Reportedly Displeased with Clinton-DNC 'Laundering' Scheme
      Sanders campaign lambastes Clinton for 'looting funds meant for the state parties to skirt fundraising limits on her presidential campaign.'

    • Facebook Has Lost The War It Declared On Fake News
      Fake news stories are a scourge. Something different from parody news folks such as The Onion, there are outfits out there that produce false news stories simply to get clickthroughs and generate advertising revenue. And it isn't just a couple of your Facebook friends and that weird uncle of yours that gets fooled by these things, even incredibly handsome and massively-intelligent writers such as myself are capable of getting completely misled into believing that a bullshit news story is real.

      Facebook is generally seen as a key multiplier in this false force of non-news, which is probably what led the social media giant to declare war on fake news sites a year or so back. So how'd that go? Well, the results as analyzed over at Buzzfeed seems to suggest that Facebook has either lost this war it declared or is losing it badly enough that it might as well give it up.

    • Exclusive: Aleppo Doctor Attacks Western Media for Bias, Censorship and Lies
      When the US and NATO war of aggression was launched against Syria, Dr Nabil Antaki could have abandoned Aleppo to ensure his own safety. Instead he decided to remain and to serve the besieged people of his City, working with various local charities. Above all, he wanted to bear witness to the destruction caused by Western support for the foreign armed groups who have been systematically destroying Syria and terrorising its people for the last 5 years.

    • Syria: The Real US-NATO Creators of Hell in Aleppo
      As US and NATO propaganda reaches another crescendo in Aleppo, it is important to remind ourselves of a few salient facts. First and foremost we need to understand that the prevailing force occupying Aleppo and terrorising civilians is US and NATO backed Al Nusra in the city itself and ISIS in Northern and Eastern outlying areas.

    • Could This Be Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential Pick?
      Meet Joni Ernst. Could she be Donald Trump’s choice for Vice President?

      The main attributes of a vice president are to balance the ticket, help raise money and then step back for four/eight years until it is her turn to run. You want someone good, but not too good, especially if you have an ego the size of Trump’s.

    • Ted Cruz’s Terrible Parenting Advice

    • Ted Cruz Tells Young Protester That He Deserves a Spanking
      On Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz suggested that the best response to a young protester who yelled "you suck" during a campaign rally in Indiana would be a good spanking. It's the second time the Republican presidential candidate has brought up the controversial form of physical punishment on the campaign trail.

    • Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
      After decisively losing in 2012 because of their inability to build bridges with people of color, Republicans were at an impasse. The question was: would they reach out to people of color and attempt to bring them into the fold . . . or would they continue their free-market assault and ignore that their voting bloc was shrinking? They choose door number three.

    • Bernie, the Little Bird, and What May Be Our Last Best Chance to Get It Right
      Take heart, Sanders supporters. We’re down, but we’re not out.

      Bernie’s difficult path to the nomination just got a little rockier, but it’s still three months to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years in presidential politics, it is to expect the unexpected, and that three months is an eternity in a political campaign. Anything can happen.

    • The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
      Now, however, Bernie Sanders is facing the verdict of closed primaries in many states which bar independent voters from voting for any of the Democratic or Republican candidates. Pointedly, Senator Sanders won only one of the five states with primaries on April 26, 2016: Rhode Island. Why? Because that state has an open primary allowing independent voters, heavily pro-Sanders, to carry him to victory.

    • When NYT Real Estate Stories Read Like 19th Century Colonial Dispatches
      The New York Times Real Estate section is written for the rich by writers who are either themselves rich or very good at faking it. The tone is one of “oh, what inequality?” matter-of-factness, where $2 million loft purchases are thrown around like Seamless thai food orders. It’s a style of journalism where the writer uncritically adopts the class and corporate tone and verbiage of those they cover: the affluent and the cottage industries that emerge to suit their whims.


      The author went on to refer to one of the wealthy brownstone-seekers, Matthew Trebek (son of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, naturally), as engaging in “explorations” of Harlem, as if it were an undiscovered wilderness.

      It may seem like PC parsing, but this type of language helps normalize a racist mindset in an already racist industry. A 2012 report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development found that discrimination and redlining, while more subtle than in decades past, is still rampant in the real estate business. Racially loaded terms like “pioneer” and “exploration” help reinforce the notion that long-existing communities of color are untamed frontiers needing to be settled.

    • Despicable Trump Ally Roger Stone Called for Bernie Sanders to Be Shot for Treason
      Too bad for Roger Stone that the internet remembers. This time it’s his sleazy red-baiting. These days, the notorious, nefarious Stone—opposition researcher, all-around dirty trickster, organizer of the “Brooks Brothers riot” of the 2000 Florida recount, rumor-monger of the Michelle Obama “whitey” tape, and general political hitman for the GOP—remains an ally of Donald Trump (even though he quit last year as Trump’s campaign manager). He is also chief of a Trump SuperPac, the Committee to Restore America's Greatness. What specific consultations consultant Stone may be whispering into the billionaire’s ear can only be deduced by listening to what crawls out of Trump’s mouth.

    • Bernie Sanders Vows to Take His Fight All the Way to Democratic Convention
      Speaking at the National Press Club Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters his campaign would take the fight for the candidacy all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    • US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
      The ongoing presidential race in the United States has revealed a number of phenomena that seem to have been brewing under the surface of neoliberal austerity economics for years. For one thing, it has shown a widespread popular discontent with the status quo. For another, it has revealed that the American public is no longer averse to socialistic ideas.

    • Chinese 'invaders' send cash registers ringing in Russia
      But it took more than just humour for Russia to gain the confidence of Chinese travellers.

      There are two key reasons why Chinese tourists have edged out those from Germany and the UK from the list of top visitors: a relaxed visa regime and the growing success of the China Friendly International Project by Russia's tourism industry stakeholders last year that was engineered to create and facilitate initiatives for healthy and comfortable hospitality for tourists from China.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Yale Students Fight College Censorship The Right Way
      Screaming matches with whiny social-justice warriors may go viral on social media, but hosting forums for genuine dialogue is a better way to fight campus censorship.

    • Nine years of censorship

      Canadian scientists are now allowed to speak out about their work — and the government policy that had restricted communications.

    • Hinds should have spoken out against censorship from the inception
      Editor, I was a soldier of the struggle for a free press during the 1970s to 1992 and the restoration of democratic rule. I became a columnist at the Chronicle in 1993 after the free press was restored. After a few columns, then editor Sharief Khan informed me that he received heat from the government about my columns, and asked me to soften my position on certain issues. I opted to resign from the columns rather than compromise my values; unlike other columnists I didn’t compromise my integrity and independence and I don’t grovel for supper. Newspapers should not censor views, especially when supported by facts.

    • Victory! Court Rules Against Louisiana’s Online Censorship Law
      Before Friday, a Louisiana bookstore might have feared prosecution for allowing a teenager to browse a book like “The Catcher in the Rye” on its website.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Los Angeles Law Enforcement Official Resigns After Newspaper Publishes His Racist Emails
      A top law enforcement official in Los Angeles County resigned Sunday after reporters discovered a cache of racist emails he circulated.

      Tom Angel stepped down as Chief of Staff to L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell just days after a series of racist and anti-Muslim emails he’d sent and forwarded in 2012 and 2013 were published by the Los Angeles Times.

      “I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently, ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers,” one of the emails Angel forwarded reads.

      Angel sent the emails while serving as Chief of Police in nearby Burbank, a community that is nearly one-quarter Latino and less than 3 percent black.

      In another message, Angel passed along a list of reasons “why Muslim Terrorists are so quick to commit suicide” that includes bullet points for “Constant wailing from some idiot in a tower,” “You can’t wash off the smell of donkey,” and “More than one mother in law.”

    • 3 Next Steps in the Political Revolution
      Bernie Sanders will campaign all the way up to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia to seek the nomination—and to continue building the “political revolution.”

      What is that political revolution, beyond his call to get the billionaires and corporations out and the people in?

    • FBI Chooses Secrecy Over Locking Up Criminals
      The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to discuss even the broad strokes of some of its secret investigative methods, such as implanting malware and tracking cellphones with Stingrays, is backfiring – if the goal is to actually enforce the law.

      In the most recent example, the FBI may be forced to drop its case against a Washington State school administrator charged with possessing child porn because it doesn’t want to tell the court or the defense how it got its evidence – even in the judge’s chambers.

    • Reassessing American ‘Heroes’
      There are plenty of other U.S. heroes of political renown and aggressive poor judgment, such as Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the U.S., who, while founding U.S. national parks and wildlife preserves, managed to find time to help engineer the Spanish-American War and the imperial seizure of Cuba and the Philippines.

    • 9 Arrested in Seattle After May Day Protesters Clash With Police
      The Seattle Police Department said violence rose out of a peaceful march for workers' rights and immigration that took place earlier in the day. At least five officers were injured, including one who was hit with a Molotov cocktail, another who was struck in the face with a rock, and a third who was bitten by a protestor.

    • Bernie Sanders 'Movement' Sees Progressives Planning Next Step
      When asked about his post-primary plans, if Hillary Clinton clinches the Democratic nomination for president, Bernie Sanders was quick to tell ABC News in Rome last week that he would go back to his day job as a U.S. senator from Vermont.

      But several of the advocacy groups backing his campaign have begun strategizing about the next phase of what many of them view as Sanders’ “political revolution.”

      “Many are wondering, ‘What’s next?’ We want to get together and talk about it,” said Charles Lenchner, co-founder of People for Bernie, a grassroots organization that has been unofficially working alongside the senator’s presidential campaign from the beginning.

    • Nevada Lawmaker: It’s Okay To Aim Guns At Cops If They Aim At You First
      Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R), who is currently seeking her party’s nomination for an open U.S. House seat, said last week that she believes the right to self defense includes the right to aim your gun anyone who aims a gun at you, even if they are a law enforcement officer.

    • White Teen Girl Sends Nude Photos to Black Male. Police Arrest Him for Child Porn.
      Another male teenager's future is in jeopardy after police charged him with possession of child pornography and contributing to the delinquency of a minor—all because he swapped sexy photos and videos with a girl.

      Levar Allen, a 17-year-old athlete at his Louisiana public school, is black. The girl, a 16-year-old, is white. Local news stories note that she initiated the sexting, and he reciprocated.

      His mother—a single mother of three—has spent thousands of dollars getting her son out of jail and fighting the charges. She thinks her son's race may have played a role in the police department's decision to vigorously punish him.

    • Refugee Woman Sets Herself On Fire To Protest Controversial Detention Center
      A 21-year-old woman named Hadon (who is also referred to as Hadan in media reports) suffered critical injuries from the self-immolation. She is currently being treated at a Nauruan hospital by four emergency doctors, including two anesthetists, the Nauruan government said in a statement released on Monday.

    • The Theory of Business Enterprise Part 3: Business Principles
      In the US the rise of the anti-Enlightenment right wing and its sponsors forces us to question whether the scientific mind continues to be a form of self-governance and of shared cultural values. And, of course, Natural Law lives on in the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas, at least according to an astonishing article in the Regent University Law Review which I couldn’t make myself read because the sections I did read were appalling, google it if you have to know.

      Locke’s ideas generally are associated with the Founding Fathers. No doubt his positions on slavery and expropriating the lands of Native Americans, and his idea that ownership of private property free of governmental interference is a crucial element of freedom, were congenial to their personal desires and philosophical positions. We may need to think about property more closely, as we have done with the other two. Tweet about this on Twitter

    • Paper That Couldn't Be Bothered To Report On Local Police Misconduct Fires Off Editorial Insulting Writer Who Actually Did
      As we recently covered here, a few Aiken, South Carolina, police officers engaged in a steady procession of Constitutional violations during a traffic stop predicated on nothing more than a (fully legal) temporary plate. Shirts were lifted and breasts exposed. At least one cop spent a considerable amount of time probing the passenger's anus. For all intents and purposes, it was a roadside raping, performed under the color of law.

      The horrific traffic stop is the focus of a federal lawsuit… and a whole lot of belated scrambling by law enforcement and city officials. Radley Balko of the Washington Post, who broke the story, found himself on the receiving end of a sneering, condescending editorial by the Aiken Standard -- the local paper which had no interest in covering the lawsuit until after national internet hellfire began raining down on the town it serves.

      The editorial is worth reading all the way through, if only to experience the surreality of being talked down to by an editor who wouldn't know unbiased journalism if it showed up at his desk wearing a blue uniform and told him to kill an unflattering story.
    • Media Convicts Scores of ‘Gang Members’ on NYPD’s Say-So–No Trials Necessary
      On the morning of April 27, in concert with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the BATF, the NYPD conducted what authorities described as a “gang raid” on the Eastchester Gardens and Edenwald House housing projects in the Bronx, arresting roughly 100 people on a series of charges. The New York media, apparently tipped off ahead of time and present with cameras ready for the wholly-pointless-except-for-police-PR perp walk, jumped into action—trying and convicting the suspects as gang members solely on the say-so of the NYPD and federal officials.

    • Solitary Confinement is 'No Touch' Torture, and It Must Be Abolished
      Shortly after arriving at a makeshift military jail, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in May 2010, I was placed into the black hole of solitary confinement for the first time. Within two weeks, I was contemplating suicide.

      After a month on suicide watch, I was transferred back to US, to a tiny 6 x 8ft (roughly 2 x 2.5 meter) cell in a place that will haunt me for the rest of my life: the US Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia. I was held there for roughly nine months as a “prevention of injury” prisoner, a designation the Marine Corps and the Navy used to place me in highly restrictive solitary conditions without a psychiatrist’s approval.

      For 17 hours a day, I sat directly in front of at least two Marine Corps guards seated behind a one-way mirror. I was not allowed to lay down. I was not allowed to lean my back against the cell wall. I was not allowed to exercise. Sometimes, to keep from going crazy, I would stand up, walk around, or dance, as “dancing” was not considered exercise by the Marine Corps.

    • Class, Football, and Blame: the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest
      Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun was, as was to be expected, the most colourful. The editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, made it his personal mission to smear and condemn the supporters, claiming that hooligan Liverpudlians had urinated in glee on brave police, pilfered from the dead and obstructed those keen to resuscitate the dying.

      With the bodies still warm, he juggled two options of headline: “You Scum” or “The Truth.” Eventually, he went for the latter, despite warnings within the paper about the potential inaccuracy of the message. “Drunken Liverpool fans,” went the story, “viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims of the Hillsborough soccer disaster, it was revealed last night.” To this day, some shops boycott that intemperate rag.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Allies join Defective by Design for the tenth anniversary of the International Day Against DRM
      Today community groups, activist organizations, and businesses are taking part in the International Day Against DRM, celebrating ten years since the first global day of action in 2006. The groups are united in envisioning a world without Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), technology that polices what people can do with digital media by spying on them and compromising their computer security. As the largest anti-DRM event in the world, the International Day Against DRM is intended as a counterpoint to the pro-DRM message broadcast by powerful media and software companies. The Day is coordinated by Defective by Design, a campaign of the Free Software Foundation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MSF Issues In-Depth Report On R&D And Drug Prices
      The substantive discussion of policy options include greater transparency on R&D costs; changing the incentives; setting priorities, coordinating efforts and ensuring sustainable financing; and government action. The report includes an analysis of how much it really costs to develop a drug, looking into recently asserted claims of massive expenditure to come up with a single product.

    • The Battle For Biosimilars In India

    • Australian Gov't Commission Also Wants To Fix Patent Laws Down Under
      To fix this, they have a few suggestions -- all of which seem worthwhile. First, they say the bar is way too low for granting patents, so Australia should raise the bar for what's considered "inventive." They suggest the standard should be changed to if the invention or solution "would have been obvious for a person skilled in the art to try with a reasonable expectation of success." They even consider going beyond that, but recognize that some patent holders outside of Australia may freak out at such a suggestion and avoid the Australian market.

      The second suggestion is giving an "overarching objective" to patent law, which examiners can use as a sort of guiding light or touchstone. Basically, allow Australia to reject patents by arguing that granting such patents would go against the public interest.

    • Trademarks

      • University Educates Student On How Everyone Will Abuse Trademark Law
        Institutions for higher education are no strangers to abusing trademark law, I suppose, what with Harvard one time looking to lock up all kinds of language, or the University of North Dakota bullying artists over a parody version of its defunct and abandoned sports team logo. But it sure seems to feel more egregious for a learning institution to blatantly bullshit one of its own students through trademark threats, which is exactly what Dixie State University did when it claimed a student's parody of its sports logo was trademark infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • “Everyone” Downloads Research Papers Illegally
        Science magazine just published a great piece on the utility of Sci-Hub. Unfortunately, its defense of its own business model is flawed.


        First, a bit of background. The Sci-Hub archives contain nearly 50 million documents, with more being added every day; these archives have been built primarily without the explicit permission of the publishers that hold the copyright to this material. By maintaining tight control over those copyrights, academic publishers can charge often-exorbitant fees for annual subscriptions and one-time access to articles; yearly subscriptions to some specialized science, technology, engineering, and math journals can cost upward of $10,000. In 2015, the academic publisher Elsevier earned about $1.58 billion in profit on about $9.36 billion in revenue. Knowledge is power!

      • Australian Productivity Commission (APC) Recommends Adoption of Fair Use to Restore Balance in Copyright Law
        A draft report by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) concludes that the current copyright law fails to properly balance the interests of copyright holders and users. It warns that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users.” The APC makes recommends changes to the law to address the imbalance, including “the introduction of a broad, principles-based fair use exception.” This follows the 2013 Australian Law Reform Commission report on Copyright in the Digital Economy, which also recommended that Australia amend its copyright law to include fair use.

      • – Australian Commission Recommends Fair Use To Restore Balance In Copyright Law

      • Australian Gov't Commission: Copyright Is Copywrong; Hurting The Public And Needs To Be Fixed
        Three years ago, down in Australia, the Australian Law Reform Commission started examining various copyright reform proposals, and eventually made a rather mild suggestion: bring fair use to Australia. Frankly, we felt that the Commission could have gone much further, but it basically said to copy the American approach to fair use. Not surprisingly, Hollywood flipped out, claiming that it would "lead to an increase in piracy." And, soon after that, the new government, led by Attorney General George Brandis flat out ignored the report and pushed for expanding copyright against the public interest, and very much towards exactly what Hollywood wanted. This wasn't all that surprising, given that it was revealed that Hollywood representatives spent a lot of time with Brandis, while he deliberately avoided meeting with representatives of the public.

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