A dismal job market report Friday gave a resounding confirmation to fears that the United States recovery has markedly slowed, reflecting mounting evidence of a global slowdown.
The report, which showed the smallest net job growth in a year and an unemployment rate moving in the wrong direction, was a political game-changer that bodes ill for President Obama as he faces re-election.
So let me get this straight. Advertising networks that track user behavior are OK with “Do Not Track” only so long as a single-digit percentage of users have it turned on? But if a lot of people start using it they’re out? Not being able to track users across the web is a “nightmare” for ad networks?
Years ago I had the idea that if Microsoft really wanted to destroy Google, they should have released a version of IE with a built-in on-by-default ad-blocker that included Google ads in its blacklist.
Apple turns over its inventory once every five days.
That’s part of why a new report from the technology research firm, Gartner, ranked Apple’s supply chain the best in the world. And it’s pretty amazing when you think about it. This is a company that sells hundreds of millions of hardware gadgets all over the world and yet it doesn’t actually need to stockpile its goods.
The only company on Gartner’s list of 25 companies that turns over its product faster is McDonald’s, which is not exactly in the electronics business. Dell and Samsung rank two and three in Apple’s category, turning over their inventory roughly once every 10 and 21 days respectively.
“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated,” yells the Chicago police officer, caught on video right before arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital. One, an NBC News photographer, was led away in handcuffs essentially for taking pictures in a public place. He was released only minutes later, but the damage was done. Chicago cops suffered an embarrassing “caught on tape” moment, and civil rights experts who say cops are unfairly cracking down on citizens with cameras had their iconic moment.
“It wouldn’t really matter with some police officers if you had an original copy of Bill of Rights with you,” said Mickey Osterreicher, a lawyer for the press photographers association. He said he deals with new cases nearly every day involving photographers who he believes have been wrongly arrested.
“The sign on my desk that reads, ‘Bang head here,’ is getting worn out,” he said.
In March 2011, more than two years after Citigroup took $45 billion in bailouts from the U.S. government and billions more from the Federal Reserve — more in total than any other U.S. bank — Jeffery Polkinghorne, an O’Fallon executive in charge of loan quality, asked Hunt and a colleague to stay in a conference room after a meeting.
The encounter with Polkinghorne was brief and tense, Hunt says. The number of loans classified as defective would have to fall, he told them, or it would be “your asses on the line.”
Hunt says it was clear what Polkinghorne was asking — and she wanted no part of it.
“All a dishonest person had to do was change the reports to make things look better than they were,” Hunt says. “I wouldn’t play along.”
Instead, she took her employer to court — and won. In August 2011, five months after the meeting with Polkinghorne, Hunt sued Citigroup in Manhattan federal court, accusing its home-loan division of systematically violating U.S. mortgage regulations.
The U.S. Justice Department decided to join her suit in January. Citigroup didn’t dispute any of Hunt’s facts; it didn’t mount a defense in public or in court. On Feb. 15, 2012, the bank agreed to pay $158.3 million to the U.S. government to settle the case.
Citigroup behaving badly as late as 2012 shows how a big bank hasn’t yet absorbed the lessons of the credit crisis despite billions of dollars in bailouts, says Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
“This case demonstrates that the notion that the bailed-out banks have somehow found God and have reformed their ways in the aftermath of the financial crisis is pure myth,” he says.
A U.S. judge on Thursday declared a Florida election law “harsh and impractical” for requiring groups conducting voter registration drives to turn in registration forms within 48 hours of collecting them, and blocked enforcement of the deadline.
The nonpartisan League of Women Voters and other groups had challenged the law, passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature last year and signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott with the stated intent of fighting voter fraud.
Critics have said the law’s effect would be to suppress registration of voters who would be likely to vote Democratic.
In 2011, the US government rolled out its “International Strategy for Cyberspace,” which reminded us that “interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders.” An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus—and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target.
We’re pleased to say the 8 year-old pet, humans and Los Angeles household survived the interaction between flammable paint fumes and a kitchen ignition source. Yogi’s owner Hali Hudson explains more in a thought-provoking interview video that followed the fire:
Next year will be a half-century since the death of JFK. And the Obama Administration thinks we need to keep secret the records on the matter … a little longer yet.
Believe it or not, more than 50,000 pages of JFK assassination–related documents are being withheld in full. And an untold number of documents have been partially withheld or released with everything interesting blacked out. But why?
Since the government and the big media keep telling us there was no conspiracy and that it was all Lee Harvey Oswald acting on his own, why continue to keep the wraps on?
We don’t have an answer, but in understanding this and any number of other mysteries, we can begin looking for patterns in the way the administration handles information policy.
Earlier this year, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) asked, on its online Open Government Forum, for suggestions from the public about what it could do to create greater transparency. The #1 most popular idea? Get those Kennedy records out — before Nov. 22, 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of the Dallas tragedy.
But instead of dealing honestly with this matter, the feds have resorted to disinformation. In an interview with the Boston Globe, the Archivist of the United States claimed that at two public forums held on open records, the most public comments came from people interested either in the JFK assassination or … in UFOs.
Except for one thing: James Lesar, an attorney and co-founder of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), a D.C.-based nonprofit that has fought a long and valiant fight on behalf of the public interest in disclosure, attended both of those forums and says that, as he recalls, there were no people there asking about UFOs, or that at most it was of negligible interest. In fact, a look at NARA’s online idea forum (now closed) showed no UFO proposals or comments.
So, what’s with claiming otherwise? One could be excused for seeing in the Archivist’s statement a deliberate, and unworthy, attempt to smear the legitimacy of JFK inquiries by trying to make them appear “kooky.” (Not to judge the merits of the idea that there could be life elsewhere in the Universe, but the term “UFO conspiracist” is a well-worn dysphemism.)
Here’s what actually happened at the NARA forums.
The first was held in 2010. The assistant archivist, Michael Kurtz, said that withheld JFK assassination records would be processed, along with other documents, for declassification — and that the process should be completed by the end of 2013.
But by 2011, Kurtz, who had been at NARA for decades, had retired. At the 2011 forum, Jim Lesar was told that JFK assassination records are not part of the declassification process. Hence, they will not be reviewed for release.
Huh? What Happened
For some perspective, meet Sheryl Shenberger. She’s the head of the Archives’ National Declassification Center. What would you guess Sheryl’s professional background would be? Library of Congress? Academic research? Nope. Before NDC, Sheryl worked for … the Central Intelligence Agency.
The most logical and reasonable explanation for this is that the Obama administration placed an ex-spook in charge of declassification because this would induce her old colleagues in Langley to cooperate. (Which of course raises the question of whether, in a real democracy, you would want to have a bunch of people secretly deciding to do whatever they wanted with 50-year-old documents pertaining to a supposed loony loner who whacked a president.)
Frustrated by the administration’s foot-dragging on JFK, AARC sent a letter urging the government to get off its duff. One signer was G. Robert Blakey, who served as a Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which in its 1978 final report said that, um … it looks like an organized conspiracy was responsible for JFK’s death.)
Feast your eyes on this! Oracle’s Java APIs, specifically as used by Google, are not copyrightable. “Therefore, Oracle’s claim based on Google’s copying of the 37 API packages, including their structure, sequence and organization is DISMISSED,” the judge writes.
To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”
headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who wasactually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.
This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).
This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’m writing separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:
Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.
This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.
But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.
“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”
Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Ian Stawicki loved guns, but he had a disability, mental illness, that, thanks to the Constitution-hating, gun-grabbing lobby, disqualified him from owning them. Fortunately, there were good, Second Amendment respecting citizens within his community who were willing to help him exercise his NRA-given rights despite his disability.
One was a gun dealer who is known to prize gun ownership over silly government paperwork. Others were state legislators who require county law enforcement to issue concealed carry permits to people with a history of committing violent acts. These people helped Mr. Stawicki purchase six .45-caliber or 9-mm handguns and obtain the permit he needed to carry them, hidden from view.
It was a success story, a tale of one man’s triumph over a disability that prevented him from achieving his bliss.
It’s just before 8pm in the Villeray district of Montreal. People wander in and out of the shops and bars, and traffic streams down the main road. But gradually the atmosphere changes, as clusters of people begin to congregate at the busy Jarry intersection. Some are in small groups, and others alone; hipsters in shorts and hi-top trainers mingle with parents in hiking boots and khakis. One thing unites them: they are all carrying pots and pans.
Within half an hour, the metro station is closed to traffic and the intersection is shut down. Hundreds of people are banging their pans, drowning out the sound of car horns from frustrated motorists. This clanking cacophony has become a nightly ritual all over Montreal: a remarkably successful street protest against a draconian emergency law enacted to crack down on what began as localised protest against tuition fees.
Chagas disease, caused by parasites transmitted to humans by blood-sucking insects, has been named “the new AIDS of the Americas” in a lengthy editorial published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The authors, several of whom are tropical disease experts from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, argue that the dangerous spread of Chagas through this hemisphere somewhat resembles the early spread of H.I.V.
Chagas is also known as American trypanosomiasis, because the bugs carry single-celled parasites called trypanosomes. (Their best-known relative, spread by tsetse flies in Africa, causes sleeping sickness.)
Like AIDS, the authors say, Chagas disease has a long incubation time and is hard or impossible to cure. Chagas infects up to eight million people in the hemisphere, mostly in Bolivia, Mexico, Colombia and Central America. But more than 300,000 of the infected live in the United States, many of them immigrants.
The disease can be transmitted from mother to child or by blood transfusion. About a quarter of its victims eventually will develop enlarged hearts or intestines, which can fail or burst, causing sudden death. Treatment involves harsh drugs taken for up to three months and works only if the disease is caught early.