“It is very disappointing that not a single Republican leader sees the value in participating in this 50th commemoration of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. I had hoped that some of the leadership would attend, but apparently none of them will,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. “The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing.”
Former CBC Chair Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) agreed.
“Not only do they have an opportunity to participate in something that is historic in this country, but certainly they’ve lost an opportunity to show the American people that they care,” she said. “Their loss.”
“No one doubts the political and economic justifications that people give for their behavior. When someone says, ‘Listen, I murdered my rich neighbor because I knew he kept a pile of money in a safe. I wanted that money, and I didn’t want to leave a witness,’ nobody looks for an ulterior explanation for that behavior,” he said.
“But when someone says, ‘I think infidels and apostates deserve to burn in hell, and I know for a fact that I’ll go to paradise if I die while waging jihad against them,’ many academics refuse to accept this rationale at face value and begin looking for the political or economic reasons that they imagine lie beneath it. So the game is rigged.”
The reason those academics refuse to believe the statements of a believer is that they are too committed to their secular understanding of the world to fully comprehend the power of belief.
But “once you imagine what it would be like to actually believe in paradise, and in martyrdom as the surest way of getting there, it becomes obvious why someone would want to join the Islamic State. If a person truly believes that the Creator of the universe wants him to wage war against the evil of unbelief and that the Islamic State is the very tip of His spear, he has to be insane not to join the cause.”
“I see no reason to think that most jihadis are psychologically abnormal,” Harris said. “The truth is far more depressing: These are mostly normal people — fully capable of love, empathy, altruism, and so forth — who simply believe what they say they believe.”
“The fact that most jihadis are generally rational, even psychologically normal, and merely in the grip of a dangerous belief system is, in my view, the most important point to get across.”
“It is amazing how resolutely people will ignore the evidence of this,” he concluded. “Justin Bieber could convert to Islam tomorrow, spend a full hour on 60 Minutes confessing his hopes for martyrdom and his certainty of paradise, and then join the Islamic State — and Glenn Greenwald would still say his actions had nothing to do with the doctrine of Islam and everything to do with U.S. foreign policy.”
One of the world’s leading Catholics has said he sees a close parallel between Islamic State and the IRA.
Well, if there’s one organization that knows a lot about religious perverts, it’s the Catholic Church..
With Tuesday’s opinion, the Alabama justices did not just overrule a federal district judge; they attempted to openly defy the Supreme Court. This is no longer a case about just marriage equality; it is a case about the power to say what the law is. The Alabama Supreme Court wants to claim that power for itself. And it’s daring the U.S. Supreme Court to call its bluff.
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released its report on the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, whose officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, prompting large-scale, nationwide protests, which only increased following a grand jury’s choice not to indict Wilson for the killing.
According to the DOJ, “This investigation has revealed a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law,” including finding that “Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes;” “Ferguson’s own data establish clear racial disparities that adversely impact African Americans” and are motivated at least in part by “discriminatory intent;” “Officers expect and demand compliance even when they lack legal authority,” going so far as to “interpret the exercise of free-speech rights as unlawful disobedience, innocent movements as physical threats, [and] indications of mental or physical illness as belligerence;” and “Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices have sown deep mistrust between parts of the community and the police department, undermining law enforcement legitimacy among African Americans in particular.” “Police and City officials, as well as some Ferguson residents, have insisted  that the public outcry is attributable to ‘outside agitators’ who do not reflect the opinions of ‘real Ferguson residents,'” and “City officials have frequently asserted that the harsh and disparate results of Ferguson’s law enforcement system do not indicate problems with police or court practices, but instead reflect a pervasive lack of ‘personal responsibility’ among ‘certain segments’ of the community” — a “refrain” that “reflects many of the same racial stereotypes found in the emails between police and court supervisors.”
The Washington Post details seven racist emails sent and/or received by employees of the Ferguson PD. All of the employees involved in sending and/or receiving the emails are still employed by the Ferguson PD.
The DOJ report states that “Addressing the deeply embedded constitutional deficiencies we found demands an entire reorientation of law enforcement in Ferguson.”
From the PDF:
Together, these court practices exacerbate the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices. They impose a particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty. Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay, and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.
We spoke, for example, with an African-American woman who has a still-pending case stemming from 2007, when, on a single occasion, she parked her car illegally. She received two citations and a $151 fine, plus fees. The woman, who experienced financial difficulties and periods of homelessness over several years, was charged with seven Failure to Appear offenses for missing court dates or fine payments on her parking tickets between 2007 and 2010. For each Failure to Appear, the court issued an arrest warrant and imposed new fines and fees. From 2007 to 2014, the woman was arrested twice, spent six days in jail, and paid $550 to the court for the events stemming from this single instance of illegal parking. Court records show that she twice attempted to make partial payments of $25 and $50, but the court returned those payments, refusing to accept anything less than payment in full. One of those payments was later accepted, but only after the court’s letter rejecting payment by money order was returned as undeliverable. This woman is now making regular payments on the fine. As of December 2014, over seven years later, despite initially owing a $151 fine and having already paid $550, she still owed $541.
The Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which staged a protest outside Downing Street against Charlie Hebdo in February, has launched a “legal strategy” to stop insults against Mohammed.
The organisation is also asking supporters to “lobby your MP” to make “Islamophobia” a criminal offence.
They state that they intend “to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system” because “depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of ‘Hate Crime’ that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide.”
So they are using your fairy tales to kill women, atheists, gays, and who knows what else in about half the countries where that filth has taken root, and the DARE claim that silly pictures of their precious pedophile are the worst kind of hate crime?
Go fuck yourselves.
“These false, ideologically-driven programs are turning out sexually illiterate young people whose lives and health are put in literal danger by ‘educators’ handing out false information. All this, just so your teenager might be scared straight enough to forgo sex for a few extra months,” columnist Jessica Valenti wrote in The Guardian in July 2014. “Students need sexual education that’s comprehensive, medically accurate, and free from shame and ideology. Not just because sexuality is an integral part of our humanity, but because when you withhold medical information about sexuality from children and teens, you are endangering health and lives.”
President Barack Obama on Monday sharply criticized China’s plans for new rules on U.S. tech companies, urging Beijing to change the policy if it wants to do business with the United States and saying he had raised it with President Xi Jinping.
In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access.
“This is something that I’ve raised directly with President Xi,” Obama said. “We have made it very clear to them that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.”
But, of course, if American law enforcement wants the passwords, it’s OK. Here’s Obama last week:
Obama: … the company says “sorry, we just can’t pull it. It’s so sealed and tight that even though the government has a legitimate request, technologically we cannot do it.”
Swisher: Is what they’re doing wrong?
Obama: No. I think they are properly responding to a market demand. All of us are really concerned about making sure our…
Swisher: So what are you going to do?
Obama: Well, what we’re going to try to do is see if there’s a way for us to narrow this gap. Ultimately, everybody — and certainly this is true for me and my family — we all want to know if we’re using a smartphone for transactions, sending messages, having private conversations, we don’t have a bunch of people compromising that process. There’s no scenario in which we don’t want really strong encryption.
The narrow question is going to be: if there is a proper request for — this isn’t bulk collection, this isn’t fishing expeditions by government — where there’s a situation in which we’re trying to get a specific case of a possible national security threat, is there a way of accessing it? If it turns out there’s not, then we’re really going to have to have a public debate. And, I think some in Silicon Valley would make the argument — which is a fair argument, and I get — that the harms done by having any kind of compromised encryption are far greater than…
Swisher: That’s an argument you used to make, you would have made. Has something changed?
Obama: No, I still make it. It’s just that I’m sympathetic to law enforcement…
Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.
“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”
Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.
The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.
An amateur photographer captured the incredible moment a woodpecker fought for its life after being mounted by a baby weasel in an east London park on Monday afternoon.
Martin Le-May had taken his wife, Ann, for a walk in Hornchurch Country Park hoping to see a green woodpecker. When the couple spotted a bird “unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface” they knew something was amiss.
“Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.”
Wells Fargo, one of the largest subprime car lenders, is pulling back from that roaring market, a move that is being felt throughout the broader auto industry.
The giant San Francisco bank, known for its stagecoach logo and its steady profits, has been at the center of the boom in making loans to people with tarnished credit scores. Wall Street, meanwhile, has been bundling and selling such loans as securities to investors, reaping big profits while allowing millions of financially troubled borrowers to buy cars.
Now where did I hear this thing before….
They are people like Zheng Hui Dong, a Chinese immigrant who bought a 2010 Honda Civic from a dealership in Queens for a total cost over the life of the loan of $42,000 — or nearly four times the resale value of the car, according to court records. And Beatriz Rodriguez of Queens, who filed for bankruptcy last year, but still tries to keep up with her $900 monthly payments on the Honda she uses to take care of her grandchildren.
“Let that sink in,” he told the audience. “That means it is not uncommon today for a family with subprime credit to take a loan at 110 percent of a used car’s value that they will be paying off for seven years.”
Nope. No clue. Anybody?
Whether Apple is actually building a car, or it’s just a controlled leak to show that the company has more planned after the Apple Watch, isn’t known yet. What is sure, though, is that Apple is now legally covered if it wants to slap its name and logo onto an automobile.
Using its regular law firm Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Apple recently expanded its corporate description to not just include the current array of watches, smartphones, tablets and computers, but vehicles, too. And Apple’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, either. Apple aircraft, anyone?
Utah is considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana. If the bill passes, the state’s wildlife may “cultivate a taste” for the plant, lose their fear of humans, and basically be high all the time. That’s according to testimony presented to a Utah Senate panel (time stamp 58:00) last week by an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“I deal in facts. I deal in science,” said special agent Matt Fairbanks, who’s been working in the state for a decade. He is member of the “marijuana eradication” team in Utah. Some of his colleagues in Georgia recently achieved notoriety by raiding a retiree’s garden and seizing a number of okra plants.
Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. However, there has never been an experiment able to capture both natures of light at the same time; the closest we have come is seeing either wave or particle, but always at different times. Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists have now been able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving both as a wave and as a particle. The breakthrough work is published in Nature Communications.
Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John, a sure indicator that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place in corporate America.
Among chief executives of S.&P. 1500 firms, for each woman, there are four men named John, Robert, William or James. We’re calling this ratio the Glass Ceiling Index, and an index value above one means that Jims, Bobs, Jacks and Bills — combined — outnumber the total number of women, including every women’s name, from Abby to Zara. Thus we score chief executive officers of large firms as having an index score of 4.0.
Before Gov. Chris Christie’s administration abruptly settled long-running state environmental litigation against ExxonMobil for far less than originally expected, the oil behemoth donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Republican group that Christie ran and that financed his election campaigns. Additionally, the Christie administration office that engineered the settlement had been run by a former Exxon lawyer.
When the case was initiated in 2004, when Democrat James McGreevey was governor, New Jersey sought $8.9 billion in damages in a suit alleging that ExxonMobil damaged more than 1,500 acres of waterfront and meadows. Yet, according to documents reported on by the New York Times on Friday, the Christie administration is settling the suit for just $250 million.
The devout Muslim says he was working as a cashier’s assistant at the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn in September of 2012 when pork came across the conveyor belt.
It’s against his religious beliefs to touch either pork or alcohol.
Camara says after telling his managers this, they transferred him outside collecting the shopping carts.
Camara says they never told him why he was reassigned.
When I refused to do my assigned task, they gave me another one. Discrimination!
My own religious beliefs prohibit me from breaking a sweat, “loss of sacred essence” and all that, so I demand my employer to allow me to lay on my ass all day. Also I get to eat hamburgers.
It’s my religion, dude. Don’t question it.
When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, you don’t see every post by every friend; what you see has been selected by an automatic algorithm that’s not made public. But someone can pay to increase the likelihood that their friends or fans will see their posts. Corporations paying for placement is a big part of how Facebook makes its money. Similarly, a lot of those links to additional articles at the bottom of news pages are paid placements.
The potential for manipulation here is enormous. Here’s one example. During the 2012 election, Facebook users had the opportunity to post an “I Voted” icon, much like the real stickers many of us get at polling places after voting. There is a documented bandwagon effect with respect to voting; you are more likely to vote if you believe your friends are voting, too. This manipulation had the effect of increasing voter turnout 0.4% nationwide. So far, so good. But now imagine if Facebook manipulated the visibility of the “I Voted” icon based on either party affiliation or some decent proxy of it: ZIP code of residence, blogs linked to, URLs liked, and so on. It didn’t, but if it did, it would have had the effect of increasing voter turnout in one direction. It would be hard to detect, and it wouldn’t even be illegal. Facebook could easily tilt a close election by selectively manipulating what posts its users see. Google might do something similar with its search results.
As Mike pointed out recently, thanks to Snowden (and possibly other sources), we now know the NSA, with some help from GCHQ, has subverted just about every kind of digital electronic device where it is useful to do so — the latest being hard drives and mobile phones. That’s profoundly shocking when you consider what most non-paranoid observers thought the situation was as recently as a couple of years ago. However, given that’s how things stand, there are a couple of interesting ramifications.
If the NSA and other parties do have ways of turning practically every digital electronic device into a system for spying on its users, that essentially means there is no criminal organization in the world — ranging from the so-called “terrorist” ones that are used to justify so much bad policy currently, to the “traditional” ones that represent the bulk of the real threat to society — that is not vulnerable to being infiltrated and subverted by government agencies.
And yet we don’t see this happen. Drug cartels thrive; people trafficking is surging; the smuggling of ivory and endangered animals is profitable as never before. Similarly, despite the constant and sophisticated monitoring of events across the Middle East, the rise of Islamic State evidently took the US and its allies completely by surprise. How is it that global criminality has not been brought to its knees, or that such massive geopolitical developments were not picked up well in advance — and nipped in the bud?
Millions of people watched and shared the video of Caldwell during a “call up” to the front of the church at the 2014 Church of God in Christ conference in St. Louis. Some Christian denominations feature a point in their services at which sinners are called to the altar by an inner voice to repent their sins and testify before the church about their “deliverance” into a state of holy grace.
“I’m not gay no more!” Caldwell famously declared. “I’m delivered! I don’t like mens no more! I like women! Women women women women!”
“They think that they can preach the homosexuals away in the Church of God in Christ,” he said. “And you can’t.”
“I still have desires,” he confessed.
“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”
“Apple has a very straightforward business model,” he said. “We make money if you buy one of these [pointing at an iPhone]. That’s our product. You [the consumer] are not our product. We design our products such that we keep a very minimal level of information on our customers.”
It also means that Apple’s strategy has made it less profitable than it otherwise might have been, at least in the short term (and even though few shareholders are likely to have noticed, given its massive cash pile).
“We don’t make money selling your information to somebody else. We don’t think you want that. We don’t want to do that. It’s not in our values system to do that. Could we make a lot of money doing that? Of course. But life isn’t about money, life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.”
After meeting Alan Turing and his colleagues at Bletchley Park, Winston Churchill reportedly said to MI6’s Stewart Menzies, “I know I told you to leave no stone unturned to find the necessary staff, but I didn’t mean you to take me so literally.”
Few are aware that in their spare time, these same codebreakers held a competition that created several of the finest English-language palindromes, those sentences that read the same backward and forward.
Peter Hilton, the young math student who (in the film, anyway) had a brother on a doomed Royal Navy convoy, won by writing what many consider the best palindrome ever:
Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
A wounded soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan will have to verify his condition and the kind of support needed, including his wheelchair, to Veterans Affairs every three years, rather than annually under a policy change.
The revision was quietly unveiled in the House of Commons on Friday by Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister.
In addition, Lemieux told opposition parties that veterans who are required to complete these renewals under the veterans independence program will have six months to hand in the paperwork, considerably longer than under the current system.
So now veterans will only have to amputate those regrowing limbs every three years instead of every year. I’m sure they’re glad about this change!
When news broke that Samsung’s Smart TV’s listened to conversations and sent them to a third-party server company, the Korean manufacturer countered by claiming that all data transmissions to and from its televisions were encrypted. When testing demonstrated that the data in question wasn’t encrypted (despite being sent via Port 443, which is typically used for HTTPS traffic), Samsung modified its stance, claiming that new TVs were encrypted properly but older sets were not. This, too, has now been proven false.