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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

Journal Archives

Does lawsuit against Gawker create playbook for punishing press?

Word last week that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker added a wrinkle to a case already featuring colorful characters and a US$140 million jury verdict.

At a sensational and personal level, the story highlights the animus between PayPal co-founder Thiel and Gawker founder Nick Denton stemming from a 2007 gossip item that publicly outed Thiel as gay. Thiel sees Denton as “a singularly terrible bully” who invades privacy for profit. In turn, Denton sympathetically portrays Gawker, in an open letter to Thiel, as “a small New York media company” being bullied by a man with “a net worth of more than $2 billion.”

But regardless of whether it’s framed as a personal battle between Thiel and Denton or a larger one between protecting privacy and a free press, the revelation raises important questions about third-party financed litigation targeting U.S. news media outlets that are safeguarded under the First Amendment.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/does-lawsuit-against-gawker-create-playbook-for-punishing-press/

Bernie Sanders compares his campaign to basketball’s Golden State Warriors

Like sports fans everywhere, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Monday perhaps put a bit too much weight on the outcome of a game. As the Golden State Warriors completed a historic series comeback and punched a ticket to the NBA Finals, Sanders said the stunning reversal of fortunes was a good sign for his chances to earn the nomination.

The Vermont senator is all but done mathematically in his pursuit of front-runner Hillary Clinton, but he's continued to pick up wins and California's June 7 primary could be a chance to try to win over superdelegates he'll now need to take the nomination. Sanders related his presidential hopes to the success of the Oakland-based Warriors, who broke the regular-season wins record this year, led by MVP Stephen Curry.

"They turned it around, I think that is what our campaign is going to do as well; a very good omen for our campaign," Sanders told reporters as he left the arena. The senator even confirmed to reporters that he thought his presence in the arena helped Golden State win, perhaps as some sort of good luck charm.

"Absolutely! No question about it. They were losing, then in the third quarter they did fantastically well. What other explanation is there?" he said to reporters.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/bernie-sanders-golden-state-warriors/

In historic visit to Hiroshima, Obama calls on the world to morally evolve

President Barack Obama paid somber tribute here Friday to the devastating human cost of war and pleaded with the world to progress morally as it does technologically, decades after an American warplane dropped an atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima and ushered in the age of nuclear warfare.

Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on the site of the world's first nuclear attack, joining with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to chart the devastation and lay a wreath at a memorial commemorating the 140,000 estimated to have died.

In a sweeping address that set aside policy in favor of a rumination on the obligations of humankind, Obama reflected on early civilization and the ancient nature of conflict. He noted that as battlefield weapons and tactics evolve, accompanying norms about using them advances in fits and starts.

"Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us," Obama warned. "The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well. That is why we come to this place."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/in-historic-visit-to-hiroshima-obama-calls-on-the-world-to-morally-evolve/

How did public restrooms get to be separated by sex in the first place?

In March, North Carolina enacted a law requiring that people be allowed to use only the public restroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificates. Meanwhile, the White House has taken an opposing position, directing that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. In response, on May 25, 11 states sued the Obama administration to block the federal government from enforcing the directive.

Some argue that one solution to this impasse is to convert all public restrooms to unisex use, thereby eliminating the need to even consider a patron’s sex. This might strike some as bizarre or drastic. Many assume that separating restrooms based on a person’s biological sex is the “natural” way to determine who should and should not be permitted to use these public spaces.

In fact, laws in the U.S. did not even address the issue of separating public restrooms by sex until the end of the 19th century, when Massachusetts became the first state to enact such a statute. By 1920, over 40 states had adopted similar legislation requiring that public restrooms be separated by sex.

So why did states in the U.S. begin passing such laws? Were legislators merely recognizing natural anatomical differences between men and women?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/public-restrooms-separated-sex/

Troubled waters: The conflict in the South China Sea explained

A United Nations arbitration court will soon rule over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea, a territorial dispute between China and the Philippines with global implications.

In recent years, China has been asserting claims in the region and has built up atolls and islands to be large enough to stage military exercises. This region is of major economic and geopolitical significance, with its vital commercial shipping lanes, rich fisheries and massive natural gas and oil deposits.

Even before any ruling, China has rejected the U.N. process and argued that the Philippines should seek to settle the dispute through bilateral negotiations. The U.S., meanwhile, has been stepping up military exercises in the South China Sea in recent months.

These growing tensions focus attention on an emerging geopolitical hotspot, something I view through my perspective as a researcher of political geography and globalization. What is the background to these tensions and what are their likely implications and consequences?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/troubled-waters-conflict-south-china-sea-explained/

Drought be dammed: Has the promise of huge dams run its course?

Wedged between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles up river from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second largest reserve.

When Glen Canyon Dam was built — in the middle of the last century — giant dams were championed as a silver bullet promising to elevate the American West above its greatest handicap — a perennial shortage of water. These monolithic wonders of engineering would bring wild rivers to heel, produce cheap, clean power, and stockpile water necessary to grow a thriving economy in the middle of the desert. And because they were often remotely located they were rarely questioned.

We built the Hoover Dam, creating Lake Mead, Glen Canyon Dam and more than 300 other dams and reservoirs at a cost of more than $100 billion. Such was the nation’s enthusiasm for capturing its water that even the lower part of the Grand Canyon seemed, for a time, worth flooding. Two more towering walls of concrete were proposed there, and would have backed up water well into the nation’s most famous national park.

But today, there are signs that the promise of the great dam has run its course.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/promise-huge-dams-run-course/

The US will arm a communist country for the first time since WWII

Diplomatic relations were finally restored in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, but on Monday President Barack Obama went a step further: During a visit to Hanoi, he announced he was lifting the embargo on US companies selling arms to Vietnam, 41 years after the fall of Saigon.

The Vietnam War was the bloodiest conflict America has been involved in since World War II. The physical and mental scars are still there for many of the Americans who served.

But on Monday Obama pointed to Secretary of State John Kerry, who served in the Vietnam War, and said veterans on both sides had shown “hearts can change, and peace is possible.''

Republican Senator John McCain has been a big advocate for lifting the arms embargo. McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five years, and was tortured.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/us-will-arm-communist-country-first-time-since-wwii-2/

Padres discipline employee after gay men’s chorus drowned out singing national anthem

The San Diego Padres said late Sunday that it had disciplined an employee and stopped working with a contractor who was responsible for marring the performance of the national anthem by the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus.

The choir's Saturday performance was drowned out by a recording of a woman singing the national anthem that was broadcast in the stadium.

The incident generated outrage, partly because the chorus was singing during "Out at the Park," a special LGBT pride event at the stadium. Members of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus accused the Padres of homophobia and called for an investigation by the team as well as Major League Baseball.

The Padres said in a statement that it had conducted an internal probe and concluded that there was "no evidence of malicious intent" by any of the individuals involved in the mishap, but the organization faulted personnel for not immediately intervening and correcting the situation.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/padres-discipline-employee-gay-mens-chorus-drowned-singing-national-anthem/

Postal banking: A realistic and trustworthy alternative to big banks

Each year, the average underserved household spends $2,412 – nearly 10 percent of gross income – in fees and interest for non-bank financial services. These transactions might include a payday or car title loan, cashing a paycheck, or simply accessing Social Security benefits. As United for a Fair Economy puts it, “Each year, over $103 billion is stripped from these people and their communities and ends up in the hands of Wall Street. For the underserved, there is little opportunity to create a credit history, have access to affordable, safe and sustainable financial services, or build assets over time.”

Is there an alternative? What if a trusted, accessible, and non-profit institution (that receives no tax dollars for operating expenses) with the world’s largest retail network (31,000 branches serving every urban, suburban, and rural community in the country) existed that could help fill this void?

Well, actually, it does exist. It’s the United States Postal Service.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/postal-banking-alternative-trustworthy-to-big-banks/

GOP Senator’s inquiry into Facebook runs afoul of First Amendment

By Sophia Cope

Allegations that Facebook’s “trending” news stories are not actually those that are most popular among users drew the attention of Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who sent a letter of inquiryto Facebook suggesting that the company may be “misleading” the public, and demanding to know details about how the company decides what content to display in the trending news feed. Sen. Thune appears particularly disturbed by charges that the company routinely excludes news stories of interest to conservative readers.

Congressional inquiries usually come with the tacit understanding that Congress investigates when it thinks it could also legislate. Yet any legislative action in response to the revelations would run afoul of the First Amendment. It is possible that Sen. Thune, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sees Facebook as engaging is “unfair or deceptive” trade practices, but that still does not create a legal basis for regulating what amounts to Facebook’s editorial decision-making.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/senators-inquiry-facebook-runs-afoul-first-amendment/

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