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mbusby

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Member since: Sat Nov 5, 2016, 09:11 PM
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New York Times' botched Kavanaugh story the latest in series of blunders from Opinion section

Source: CNN Business

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Updated 9:02 PM ET, Mon September 16, 2019

New York (CNN Business)The New York Times was reeling on Monday after its Opinion section fumbled a high-profile story about an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, drawing widespread criticism and condemnation of the newspaper.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile blunders that has caused embarrassment to James Bennet since he was appointed in 2016 as the editor overseeing The Times' Opinion section.

Bennet's tenure has been marked with several mishaps that have generated controversy, drawn criticism, and spurred at least one lawsuit.

A spokesperson for The Times declined to make Bennet available for an interview for this story, but defended the Opinion section by pointing to its talented writers and the good work they have produced.

...


Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/16/media/new-york-times-kavanaugh/index.html

Where in The U.S. Are You Most Likely to Be Audited by the IRS?

By Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques, ProPublica, April 1, 2019

Humphreys County, Mississippi, seems like an odd place for the IRS to go hunting for tax cheats. It’s a rural county in the Mississippi Delta known for its catfish farms, and more than a third of its mostly African American residents are below the poverty line. But according to a new study, it is the most heavily audited county in America.

In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to help boost low-income workers out of poverty. As we reported last year, the IRS audits EITC recipients at higher rates than all but the richest Americans, a response to pressure from congressional Republicans to root out incorrect payments of the credit.

The study estimates that Humphreys, with a median annual household income of just $26,000, is audited at a rate 51 percent higher than Loudoun County, Virginia, which boasts a median income of $130,000, the highest in the country.

Read more: https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/eitc-audit

Antibiotics set to flood Florida's troubled orange orchards...

Nature | Maryn McKenna

In the next month or so, orange trees across Florida will erupt in white blossoms, signalling the start of another citrus season. But this year, something different will be blowing in the winds. Farmers are preparing to spray their trees with hundreds of thousands of kilograms of two common antibiotics to combat citrus greening, a bacterial disease that has been killing Florida citrus trees for more than a decade.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of allowing growers to use streptomycin and oxytetracycline as routine treatments, spraying trees several times per year, beginning with the ‘first flush’ of leaves this spring. Growers in the state could end up using as much as 440,000 kilograms of the drugs. Although the compounds, which are both used in human medicine, have been sprayed on other crops in the past and applied in limited amounts to citrus groves, the scale of this application has researchers and public-health advocates alarmed.

“They are doing a huge experiment with limited monitoring,” says Steven Roach, a senior analyst in Iowa City at Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition of research and advocacy groups that has formally objected to the plan with the EPA.

More: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00878-4

Proposal for U.N. to study climate-cooling technologies rejected

Reuters
Laurie Goering
MARCH 14, 2019

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi, as countries including the United States raised objections.

“From our perspective, that’s a huge disappointment,” said Franz Xaver Perrez, environmental ambassador for Switzerland, which had proposed the U.N. assessment with the backing of 11 other governments.

“Some of these technologies could have huge impacts at a global scale - and if things have that dimension, there may also be a need for multilateral controls,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview from Kenya.

“Geoengineering” technologies, which are gaining prominence as international efforts to curb climate-changing emissions fall short, aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun’s warmth to cool the Earth.

They could help fend off some of the worst impacts of runaway climate change, including worsening storms and heatwaves, backers say.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-climatechange-geoengineer/proposal-for-un-to-study-climate-cooling-technologies-rejected-idUSKCN1QV2RL

DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

Source: MOTHERBOARD | By Kim Zetter | Mar 14 2019

For years security professionals and election integrity activists have been pushing voting machine vendors to build more secure and verifiable election systems, so voters and candidates can be assured election outcomes haven’t been manipulated.

Now they might finally get this thanks to a new $10 million contract the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched to design and build a secure voting system that it hopes will be impervious to hacking.

The first-of-its-kind system will be designed by an Oregon-based firm called Galois, a longtime government contractor with experience in designing secure and verifiable systems. The system will use fully open source voting software, instead of the closed, proprietary software currently used in the vast majority of voting machines, which no one outside of voting machine testing labs can examine. More importantly, it will be built on secure open source hardware, made from special secure designs and techniques developed over the last year as part of a special program at DARPA. The voting system will also be designed to create fully verifiable and transparent results so that voters don’t have to blindly trust that the machines and election officials delivered correct results.


Read more: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/yw84q7/darpa-is-building-a-dollar10-million-open-source-secure-voting-system

Meet Jim Allison, Texas' Newest Nobel Laureate (and Three-Time Cancer Survivor)...

by Sophie Novack

Published
Mon, Dec 10, 2018
at 6:19 am CST

The Houston immunologist talks about growing up in small-town Texas, creationism in public schools and what it means to talk about a cure.

https://www.texasobserver.org/meet-jim-allison-texas-newest-nobel-laureate-and-three-time-cancer-survivor/

Microsoft reveals first known midterm campaign hacking attempts

Source: Politico

Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections.

“Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for security and trust, at the Aspen Security Forum. “And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.”

Burt declined to name the targets but said they were “people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint.”

...


Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/midterm-campaign-hacking-microsoft-733256

A quiet change in US policy threatens immigrants who apply for a change in status...

By Hassan Ahmad | Quartz | July 07, 2018

It went largely unremarked, just another bland procedural decision from a government agency. But a quiet policy change at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services last month is the next step toward a nationwide purge of non-citizens.

On June 28, USCIS announced that non-citizens who apply for a “benefit”–such as an extension or change of status, a green card, or citizenship—would be placed in deportation proceedings if that benefit is denied. For years, a criminal conviction has been required to be fast-tracked for deportation. Now, merely losing your petition for visa extension, being charged with a crime, or doing something DHS considers to be criminal (even if never arrested or charged) places you on the same fast-track.

Once in deportation proceedings, the non-citizen must prove she is eligible to stay in the United States. She will not be provided a lawyer; she may be detained, sometimes with no bond. There is no right to a speedy trial, nor trial by jury. Here are a few examples highlighting the full extent of the new rule.

...

More:

https://qz.com/1323136/a-uscis-immigration-policy-change-threatens-non-citizens-with-deportation-if-they-lose-status/amp/

USCIS is Starting a Denaturalization Task Force...

The bulk of the article is in the podcast in the link. Click on 'Listen' at the top of the article to hear.

Produced by Priscilla Alabi
Hosted by Tanzina Vega

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is creating a new task force. Its goal: to examine what they say are bad naturalization cases, according to Director L. Francis Cissna’s June announcement.

As a result, the organization expects to hire dozens of lawyers and immigration officers in the coming weeks to find U.S. citizens they say should not have been naturalized, to revoke their citizenship, and then eventually deport them.

Ur Jaddou, a former chief council for the USCIS, now the director of the immigrant advocacy group DHS Watch, and an immigration law professor at Washington College of Law at American University explains this development.

Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment. Don't have time to listen right now? Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go.

More in the podcast (see above).

https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/uscis-starting-denaturalization-task-force/

Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent's Stealth Takeover of America...

By Lynn Parramore
May 30, 2018 | History of Economic Thought | Institutions, Policy & Politics

Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.

James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.

That is a dangerous blind spot, MacLean argues in a meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.

...

More:

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america
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