Cody Wilson arrested: 3D-printed gun company owner accused of sex with girl is detained in Taiwan - CBS News
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 13:36
Last Updated Sep 21, 2018 1:32 PM EDT
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The owner of a Texas company that sells blueprints to make untraceable 3-D printed guns has been arrested in Taiwan, CBS News confirmed. Cody Wilson has been accused of having sex with an underage girl and paying her $500 afterward in Texas.
Taiwan's National Immigration Agency and Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed to CBS News Friday that Wilson was arrested. The bureau confirmed earlier that Wilson was in Taiwan after arriving on the island earlier this month.
The bureau also said Wilson's passport has been nullified, which means he's staying in Taiwan illegally, CBS News has confirmed.
Taiwan's Central News Agency said the island's immigration department would make arrangements for Wilson to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.
A U.S. Marshals wanted poster shows Cody Wilson, the Texas man at the center of the 3-D printed guns debate, who is wanted for alleged sex crimes involving a teen girl.
Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer said Wednesday that before Wilson flew to Taiwan, a friend of the 16-year-old girl had told him that police were investigating the accusation that he had sex with the youth.
In a court filing this week, Wilson was accused of having sex with the girl at an Austin hotel last month. A counselor for the teenager reported the accusation to Austin police a week later, according to the affidavit. Wilson met the girl through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com, where she had created an online profile, according to the document.
The girl, according to the affidavit, said they met in the parking lot of an Austin coffee shop before they drove to the hotel. The girl told investigators that Wilson paid her $500 after they had sex and then dropped her off at a Whataburger restaurant.
Wilson is identified in the affidavit as the owner of Austin-based Defense Distributed. After a federal court barred Wilson from posting the printable gun blueprints online for free last month, he announced he had begun selling them for any amount of money to U.S. customers through his website.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued to stop an agreement that the government reached with Defense Distributed, arguing that the blueprints for how to print plastic guns could be obtained by felons or terrorists.
Law enforcement officials worry the guns are easy to conceal and are untraceable since there's no requirement for the firearms to have serial numbers. Gun industry experts have said the printed guns are a modern method of legally assembling a firearm a home without serial numbers.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
'I'm getting ripped off': A look inside Ticketmaster's price-hiking bag of tricks | CBC News
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 13:31
Buying a ticket for Saturday's Bruno Mars concert in Toronto was probably never going to be cheap, but what many of the star's 17,000 fans who scored a seat might not realize is it wasn't just scalpers driving up prices.
A CBC News and Toronto Star investigation reveals how box-office behemoth Ticketmaster uses its own bag of tricks '-- which includes partnering with scalpers '-- to boost its profits at the expense of music fans.
Data journalists monitored Ticketmaster's website for seven months leading up to this weekend's show at Scotiabank Arena, closely tracking seats and prices to find out exactly how the box-office system works.
Here are the key findings:
Ticketmaster doesn't list every seat when a sale begins.Hikes prices mid-sale.Collects fees twice on tickets scalped on its site. "I definitely feel like I'm getting ripped off," said Ajay Saulnier, 31, a Bruno Mars superfan and impersonator from Hamilton who was dismayed by CBC's findings '-- particularly since he says he can't afford a ticket to his idol's show.
"It's definitely unfair for the public. They're only caring about padding their own pocket."
Trick 1: Prices can change any time The most common criticism of scalpers is that they hike the price of tickets way beyond their so-called face value '-- the price set in advance by the box office.
But scalpers aren't alone in increasing prices mid-sale.
Within five minutes of tickets going on sale at noon on Feb. 16, it appeared the arena was nearly sold out. Most of what remained were tickets priced at $500 or up to $2,500 for a spot in the front row.
As fans scrambled, Ticketmaster ripped a page from the proverbial scalper handbook and began increasing prices for some seats.
Thirty-two of the seats were part of Ticketmaster's "platinum tickets" program. A pop-up window on the website notifies buyers that " Platinum Tickets are tickets that are dynamically priced up and down based on demand."
What the pop-up doesn't mention is the original price, or face value, so the buyer is missing information to determine if they're getting a good price.
And CBC also found 120 non-platinum tickets that increased from $191.75 to $ 209.50 after the sale began.
"That's absolutely terrible. They should not be doing that," Saulnier said. "They don't need to be making this much money off a ticket just for us to see an hour show."
Ajay Saulnier of Hamilton works as a Bruno Mars impersonator but says he can't afford tickets for Saturday's show in Toronto. (Oliver Walters/CBC) Ticketmaster declined CBC's requests for an interview.
In a statement, the company said it does not own the tickets and that "prices are set by the seller," pointing to Bruno Mars's management team and the venue.
"Ticketmaster is a technology platform that helps artists and teams connect with their fans," the company said. "We do not own the tickets sold on our platform nor do we have any control over ticket pricing '-- either in the initial sale or the resale."
Read Ticketmaster's full statement Bruno Mars's team did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Scotiabank Arena, referred comment to the concert's promoters. The 24K Magic World Tour is promoted by Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster.
According to recent reports to shareholders, Ticketmaster hopes to boost profits with its "market-based pricing," which changes according to supply and demand "to price tickets closer to their true value."
In 2017, the company made $2.1 billion from ticket sales, up from $1.8 billion the year before.
Trick 2: Not all tickets go on sale initially Initial prices for tickets ranged from $56 to $2,500, but there were fewer than 150 seats available at $56, all in the back rows of the upper levels farthest from the stage.
Ninety minutes into the sale, Ticketmaster started releasing hundreds more tickets for between $99 and $159, including a slow dribble of seats from eight additional sections to the side and behind the stage that weren't initially available to fans.
Hundreds more tickets were added in June, July and August.
Lawyer Tony Merchant, who launched a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster earlier this year, says the box-office giant tries to artificially drive up demand. (Yanjun Li/CBC) " They're artificially driving the price up. They're artificially giving the impression of high demand," said Tony Merchant, a class-action lawyer who launched a fan lawsuit against Ticketmaster in February after Canada's Competition Bureau accused the company of price-gouging.
Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster, Live Nation over allegations of inflated ticket prices As with setting prices, Ticketmaster told CBC News it is not responsible for deciding how seats get released for sale.
"We also do not determine when tickets are available for purchase or how they are allocated '-- those decisions are communicated to us by our client, the venue, after consultation with the event presenter."
But as the next trick shows, Ticketmaster has an incentive for trying to drive up those prices '-- for its platinum seats, as well as for those scooped up by scalpers.
Trick 3: Double-dip fees on scalped tickets Ticketmaster charged $350,000 in service fees for the Bruno Mars concert '-- and then nearly doubled that revenue with resales.
The company, which for years publicly denounced scalpers, now runs a "verified resale" program that lets scalpers sell directly on Ticketmaster's site '-- and lets the company collect fees a second time for the same ticket.
For example, Ticketmaster collected $25.75 on a $209.50 ticket on the initial sale. When the owner posted it for resale for $400 on Ticketmaster, the company stood to collect an additional $76 on the same ticket.
CBC counted more than 4,500 Bruno Mars resale tickets on Ticketmaster, meaning that if Ticketmaster sells every seat in the arena for Saturday's show, it would collect an initial $350,000 in service fees, plus $308,000 in fees on scalped tickets, for a double-dipped total of $658,000.
Ticketmaster's statement to CBC News didn't address questions about its fees.
'-- With files from the Toronto Star's Marco Chown Oved and Robert Cribb
Company that runs immigration detention centers is top donor for three Texas congressmen | Politics | Dallas News
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 13:05
Updated at 2 p.m. June 21 to include contributions to U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock. The headline was updated to reflect that GEO is the top donor for three Texas congress members.
WASHINGTON -- One of the country's largest operators of private immigration detention facilities has made significant contributions to several Texas members of Congress.
The GEO Group's PAC and executives have given $32,900 to Houston Republican Rep. John Culberson's campaign this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission documents and OpenSecrets.org. GEO is Culberson's largest donor.
In Texas, GEO operates detention centers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Karnes City, Laredo, Pearsall and Conroe.
Culberson is facing a tough re-election race against Democrat Lizzie Fletcher. The race has been rated a 'toss up' by nonpartisan analyst Cook Political Report.
Culberson received the most funding from GEO out of Texas members of Congress, but GEO is also the top donor this cycle for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who received $32,400, and Round Rock Republican Rep. John Carter, who received $31,600.
Both Culberson and Cuellar serve on the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, which funds private immigration detention centers. Culberson is also the chairman of and Carter serves on the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science, which oversees funding for private prisons.
Cuellar's campaign manager Colin Strother said that GEO is one of the largest employers in Cuellar's district, and that Cuellar has not allowed campaign contributions to influence his decisions.
''If you live in a district in the state of Washington, you get boating money. If you live in a district in Nebraska, you get agriculture money. We have a district with lots of jail facilities that employ lots of people,'' Strother said.
Culberson's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
GEO has also donated to other Texas lawmakers, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who received $10,000; House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, who received $2,500; Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, who received $2,500; Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, who received $1,000; and Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, who received $1,000. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz received $150.
GEO has come under scrutiny by immigrant rights organizations for alleged mismanagement and abuse in detention facilities. GEO faced class-action lawsuits in which detainees alleged that they were forced to work. In a GEO facility in California, three detainees died in custody. The American Civil Liberties Union accused GEO of denying detainees food, water and bathroom access.
"We strongly dispute these allegations. On a daily basis, our dedicated employees deliver high quality services, including around-the-clock medical care, that comply with performance-based standards set by the Federal government and adhere to guidelines set by leading third-party accreditation agencies," GEO said in a statement.
Another one of the largest groups that runs private immigration detention centers in the United States is CoreCivic. The company runs facilities in Houston, Laredo, Dilley and Taylor.
CoreCivic PACs have given less money to candidates than GEO, but still contributed to three Texans, according to OpenSecrets.org: Culberson with $11,000, McCaul with $3,500 and Cuellar with $1,500.
Washington correspondent Camille Caldera contributed to this report.
EEOC Home Page
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:58
Pay Data Collection and the EEO-1 SurveyActing Chair Victoria A. Lipnic has issued a statement about the OMB Decision on EEO-1 Pay Data Collection. Instructions for filing the 2017 EEO-1 Survey, which will not include the collection of pay and hours worked data, are now available.
Final Rules on Employer Wellness ProgramsFinal rules were issued in May 2016 that describe how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic InformationNondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to wellness programs. In October 2016, EEOC held a webinar to discuss the new rules. A recordingof that session is now available.
Are You Affected by an EEOC Lawsuit or Settlement?The EEOC currently has a number of on-going lawsuits and settlements of lawsuits. We are looking for people who may have been affected by the unlawful discrimination alleged in these suits. Please read the list below for the name ofthe company, the type of discrimination, and the basis of the action, and follow the link for each case to learn more.
United Parcel Service - litigationDiscriminating against current and former applicants and employees whose religious beliefs or practices conflict with UPS's Appearance Policy.Bass Pro - settlementFailure to hire African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos.Texas Roadhouse - settlementFailure to hire people age 40 and older for front of house positions.EEOC v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., or Lowe's HIW - settlementTermination for exceeding the maximum amount of leave available.Federal Express Ground Package System, Inc. - litigationDiscrimination against current and former deaf and hard-of-hearing Package Handlers and applicants for the Package Handler position. (ASL video available.)Performance Food Group - litigationFailure to hire women at their Broadline distribution facilities.USPS - settlement, federal sector employees onlyDisability discrimination against employees in permanent rehabilitation positions.
Opinion | Is This Man the Antidote to Donald Trump? - The New York Times
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:53
Maybe one superrich old white guy from New York can save us from another superrich old white guy from New York.
Sept. 22, 2018 Image Credit Credit Illustration by Ben Wiseman; Photographs by Eric Thayer for The New York Times, and Ozier Muhammad, via The New York Times It takes a billionaire to know a billionaire.
What if it also takes a billionaire to take down a billionaire?
That was the theory behind giving Michael Bloomberg a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention, where his mockery of Donald Trump carried extra zing and sting. And that's the idea '-- well, one of the ideas '-- behind Bloomberg's possible bid for the presidency in 2020.
You didn't hear? It was a morsel of news easily missed amid the ceaseless slop from the White House and Capitol Hill. Bloomberg is again thinking about running, and if he forges ahead, he'll compete for the Democratic Party's nomination. To the extent that people I know reacted to this, it was with a chuckle or an eye roll vigorous enough for corneal abrasion. What most of them said was some version of: ''Oh, great, that's just what voters want and America needs '-- another superrich old white guy from New York.''
But no two superrich old white guys from New York are exactly alike, and these two have little in common, including financially. Trump's net worth '-- as mysterious as the yeti '-- is estimated to be about $3 billion, while Bloomberg's supposedly tops $50 billion. To those of us who make do with fewer zeros and commas, that gap may seem meaningless, but you can fit the annual gross domestic product of North Korea in it.
Bloomberg, 76, probably doesn't stand a chance. He has all the va-va-voom of a ficus tree, all the populism of a Bermuda golf course. And he's hardly the perfect suitor for a party whose loudest voices are on the left.
But if we're going to start putting Democrats' diverse options for 2020 on magazine covers, falling in and out of love with them and floating scenarios sublime and ridiculous, he warrants an iota of oxygen, a small pocket of the breathlessly speculative space that Cory and Kamala and Elizabeth and Beto are taking up.
And that's not just because he's a serious person of stratospheric accomplishment (''His name is synonymous with excellence,'' Nancy Pelosi recently said). He's also, from a certain angle, the Trump deplorer's dream come true, an answer to prayers for the president's opposite. If there's a Michael in the mix with a few too many of Trump's qualities and the wrong temperature for the job, it's Avenatti, not Bloomberg.
Bloomberg is as insistent on order as Trump is on disorder, as steady as Trump is spastic. Trump won't give us a moment's peace. Bloomberg could lull us to sleep. Politically speaking, we need the R.E.M.s.
Bloomberg is as prepared as Trump was unready. The presidency for him wouldn't be a first whirl at governance, some gee-whiz, why-not, how-hard-can-this-be lark. He spent 12 years, from 2002 through 2013, as New York's mayor, in charge of a complicated city of more than 8 million people.
Trump operates by gut. Bloomberg demands data and more data. Trump doesn't really have his hand on the wheel '-- he just wants to be the shiny hood ornament. Bloomberg is all pinpoint GPS navigation. He didn't always steer New York in the right direction. But there was never any question that he'd keep us out of the ditch.
Trump is playing midwife to ever more extreme, debilitating partisanship. It's hard to envision Bloomberg doing the same. How could he demonize Republicans, independents or Democrats when he has been a Republican, an independent and a Democrat? And while that may make him appear as ideologically rudderless as Trump, he's not. Many of his core positions and principles '-- pro-immigration, pro-choice, in favor of free trade, in support of clean air '-- have been intact for a long while.
He's pro-transparency, too. When he was in government, he routinely released his tax returns, though his station was well below the presidency and there weren't rampant suspicions about untoward influences on him and sinister conflicts of interest. He has had complaints about journalists but never sought to delegitimize journalism itself. He never would. He owns a media company.
He built that company from scratch, without noteworthy melodrama. Trump got into real estate courtesy of his father, who gave and lent him large amounts of money, and as he sought to grow that fortune, he sprouted lawsuits and bankruptcies like weeds.
Bloomberg is fanatical about recruiting top-notch talent and empowering it. Trump picks a mix of standouts and stooges and disempowers them '-- if they're lucky. If they're not, he disembowels them. Ask Jeff Sessions, who probably considers Mel Gibson's end in ''Braveheart'' preferable to his endless mortification. Bloomberg's top aides say that with him, loyalty is a two-way street. With Trump it goes in only one direction.
Bloomberg's mayoral administration was light on ethical scandals. Trump's presidential administration '... why even waste the keystrokes?
Trump is a Potemkin philanthropist, so much so that a Washington Post reporter, David Fahrenthold, won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing all the fakery in the Trump Foundation, and the attorney general of New York opened an investigation into it. Bloomberg is the real deal, supporting a carefully chosen array of causes genuinely dear to him. Eight years ago he signed the Giving Pledge, by which nearly 200 billionaires around the world have agreed to donate more than half of their wealth. In the last two years alone, he gave away more than $1 billion.
He has gaping blind spots, which were described well in a recent story about his potential candidacy by my Times colleagues Alexander Burns and Sydney Ember. I was floored that he digressed in an interview with Burns to wonder about the accusations against Charlie Rose, the news anchor who was dismissed from the shows that he hosted on CBS, PBS and Bloomberg's own cable network after numerous women accused him of sexual harassment. The reporting on Rose was thorough and persuasive.
And though Bloomberg, during his mayoralty, famously rode the subways, he never managed to seem of the subways. But then, the 2016 election has left me confused about who should, could and does have the ability to connect with middle-class and blue-collar Americans. Many of them saw a champion in Trump.
It's funny: Republican voters came to embrace Trump '-- and then Republican lawmakers meekly followed suit '-- though he hadn't done all that much for the party before. Democratic voters are probably less inclined to embrace Bloomberg, but he has pumped substantial sums of money into initiatives '-- regarding gun control, L.G.B.T. rights, climate change and more '-- that matter to them.
That doesn't make him their best choice. It certainly doesn't make him their likely one. But I hope it elicits their respect and, if he pursues this thing, an open-minded assessment. So many of the virtues lost on Trump are found in him. Let's celebrate that, as a way of making sure that the party's eventual nominee possesses them in robust measure.
I invite you to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter. You can follow me on Twitter (@FrankBruni).
Correction:An earlier version of this column misspelled the surname of a Times reporter. She is Sydney Ember, not Embers.
Frank Bruni has been with The Times since 1995 and held a variety of jobs '-- including White House reporter, Rome bureau chief and chief restaurant critic '-- before becoming a columnist in 2011. He is the author of three best-selling books. @ FrankBruni ' Facebook
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The Many Mysteries of Brett Kavanaugh's Finances '' Mother Jones
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:50
President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
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Before President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, he had a lot of debt. In May 2017, he reported owing between $60,004 and $200,000 on three credit cards and a loan against his retirement account. By the time Trump nominated him to the high court in July 2018, those debts had vanished. Overall, his reported income and assets didn't seem sufficient to pay off all that debt while maintaining his upper-class lifestyle: an expensive house in an exclusive suburban neighborhood, two kids in a $10,500-a-year private school, and a membership in a posh country club reported to charge $92,000 in initiation fees. His financial disclosure forms have raised more questions than they've answered, leading to speculation about whether he's had a private benefactor and what sorts of conflicts that relationship might entail.
No other recent Supreme Court nominee has come before the Senate with so many unanswered questions regarding finances. That's partly because many of Kavanaugh's predecessors were a lot richer than he is. Chief Justice John Roberts, for instance, had been making $1 million a year in private practice before joining the DC Circuit as a judge. The poorer nominees had debts, but explainable ones, such as the $15,000 Sonia Sotomayor owed to her dentist. Neil Gorsuch came the closest to financial scandal when he disclosed that he owned a mountain fishing lodge in Colorado with two men who are top deputies to the billionaire Philip F. Anschutz, who had championed Gorsuch's nomination.
Kavanaugh's finances are far more mysterious. During his confirmation hearing last week, he escaped a public discussion of his spending habits because no senator asked about it. But on Tuesday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent Kavanaugh 14 pages of post-hearing follow-up questions, many of which involved his finances. On Thursday, Kavanaugh supplied answers, but he dodged some of the questions and left much of his financial situation unexplained.
A number of the questions Whitehouse sent Kavanaugh dealt with the house he bought in tony Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 2006 for $1.225 million. Kavanaugh would have needed $245,000 in cash for the traditional 20 percent down payment on the house. But in 2005, when his nomination to the DC Circuit was pending, Kavanaugh reported a total net worth to the Senate of about $91,000, which reflected a mere $10,000 in the bank and $25,000 in credit card debt. According to his financial disclosure forms before and after the purchase of his house in 2006, Kavanaugh's liquid assets and bank balances never totaled more than $65,000, and those balances didn't decline after the purchase of the house.
Whitehouse wanted to know why. He wrote, ''The value of assets reportedly maintained in your 'Bank of America Accounts' in the years before, during, and after this purchase never decreased, indicating that funds used to pay the down payment and secure this home did not come from these accounts. Did you receive financial assistance in order to purchase this home?''
No other recent Supreme Court nominee has come before the Senate with so many unanswered questions about his or her finances.In his responses, Kavanaugh didn't answer the question directly. He indicated that he took out a loan against his retirement fund to help make the down payment. But the year before he bought the house, he indicated on his financial disclosure form that the total value of that account was only $70,000. Loans through the Thrift Savings Program, the federal government retirement plan against which Kavanaugh borrowed money, are capped at the value of the account or 50 percent of the vested balance. For Kavanaugh, that wouldn't have been nearly enough to cover the down payment on his house, even if he'd put down only 10 percent. (He also noted that he paid back the loan with paycheck deductions.)
Other questions from Whitehouse addressed Kavanaugh's unusual debt history. Not long after Trump nominated him, the Washington Post reported that since joining the DC Circuit Court of Appeals as a judge in 2006, Kavanaugh had run up a significant amount of debt that often appeared to exceed the value of his cash and investment assets. His debts on three credit cards, as well as a loan against his retirement account, totaled between $60,000 and $200,000 in 2016, according to his financial disclosure forms. The next year, his debts vanished. When he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week for his confirmation hearing, his financial disclosure form listed no liabilities aside from his $815,000 mortgage. His disclosures don't show any large financial gifts, outside income, or even a gambling windfall, as Sotomayor's had when she hit the jackpot at a Florida casino in 2008 and won $8,283.
The White House didn't fully address how Kavanaugh managed to incur all that debt and pay it off in a matter of months on his federal judge's salary of $220,600 a year. (His wife left the workforce in 2010 and returned in 2015, when she took a part-time, $66,000-a-year job as the town manager in their village of 225 homes.) A spokesman told the Post in July that Kavanaugh had used his credit cards to purchase Washington Nationals season tickets and playoff game tickets for himself and friends, who later paid him back. The White House also said some of the debt came from home improvements.
Sen. Whitehouse was looking for a better answer as to how a man who has spent most of his professional life working in public service managed to pay off so much debt so quickly without draining his other savings accounts. (Kavanaugh worked in private practice for only about three years, in between stints at the office of the independent counsel during the Clinton administration.) In his written questions to Kavanaugh, Whitehouse asked how many seasons' worth of Nationals tickets he'd purchased, which friends he'd bought them for, what sort of home improvements he'd made, and where the debt repayment money came from.
Kavanaugh elaborated on some of those answers in his response to Whitehouse this week. Of the large credit-card debts, he explained:
I am a huge sports fan. When the Nationals came to D.C. in 2005, I purchased four season tickets in my name every season from 2005 through 2017. I also purchased playoff packages for the four years that the Nationals made the playoffs (2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.) I have attended all 11 Nationals' home playoff games in their history. (We are 3-8 in those games.) I have attended a couple of hundred regular season games. As is typical with baseball season tickets, I had a group of old friends who would split games with me. We would usually divide the tickets in a ''ticket draft'' at my house. Everyone in the group paid me for their tickets based on the cost of the tickets, to the dollar. No one overpaid or underpaid me for tickets. No loans were given in either direction.
He also told Whitehouse that the $1.225 million house he'd bought in 2006 was basically a fixer-upper. He included a long list of repairs he'd made on it'--everything from replacing the HVAC system to mold removal'--that accounted for the bulk of the rest of his debt. ''Maintaining a house, especially an old house like ours, can be expensive,'' he wrote.
Whitehouse also asked about Kavanaugh's membership in the Chevy Chase Club, which he joined in 2016. In his responses to a Senate questionnaire before his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh made the club sound like a basic rec center, writing, ''The Chevy Chase Club is a recreational club. We joined because the club has an outdoor hockey rink and a girls ice hockey program, and because of its gym and sports facilities.''
But the Chevy Chase Club is a lot more than a gym. Whitehouse noted in his questions that the club's initiation fee is reportedly $92,000, plus more than $9,000 in annual dues. The private country club founded in 1892 is so elite that a neighborhood realtor once told the Guardian that ''you can be a CEO, a billionaire, but you can't get in.'' Its website offers no insight as to how someone might go about joining'--it's by invitation only. But the website does outline the dress code: no jeans, no collarless shirts, and hats must be worn ''visor forward.'' Any guest hoping to play tennis with a member must appear on the court dressed only in white.
As recently as 1976, the club refused to admit Jewish and African American members. In 2011, a reporter from the Telegraph wrote of the club, ''Order a cocktail at the Chevy Chase country-club and you'll step back into ante-bellum Savannah. The blacks wait on Wasps, showing all the deference expected of them. You won't find many Cohens either, lounging on the well-kept lawn.''
Whitehouse wanted to know how someone with less than $65,000 in the bank came up with the initiation fee to join the club. Did someone help him? And if so, who? Kavanaugh wrote in his response that he paid the full price to join the club, as well as the annual dues, with no discounts. Befitting a club member, he declined to say exactly how much that initiation fee was.
Kavanaugh's country club's initiation fee is reportedly $92,000. As recently as 1976, the club refused to admit Jewish and African American members.As part of the document dump leading up to Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, a lawyer for the Bush administration released an email from Kavanaugh's time working in the White House. It appeared to be part of a conversation with some school buddies discussing a weekend reunion in Annapolis. Kavanaugh wrote, ''Apologies to all for missing Friday (good excuse), arriving late Saturday (weak excuse), and growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don't recall). Reminders to everyone to be very, very vigilant w/r/t confidentiality on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses.''
The email prompted Whitehouse to ask Kavanaugh whether some of his debts might relate to a gambling addiction. He asked whether Kavanaugh participates in a regular poker or dice game, and even whether he ever ran up any gambling debts in the state of New Jersey, former home to casinos owned by Trump. ''Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?'' he also asked.
Aside from a few low-stakes blackjack hands played in his twenties, Kavanaugh responded that he's not a gambler and never has been.
His answers leave many questions as to where the nominee found the cash to buy his house and to pay off his debts last year. He acknowledged that in 2014, he received a lump-sum payment'--which Whitehouse estimated at $150,000'--as part of a settlement in a class action filed by federal judges seeking back pay for cost-of-living increases denied by Congress. The payment wasn't included on his financial disclosure form because, he wrote, the instructions exempt reporting pay from the federal government. Kavanaugh also indicated that his income had increased from teaching gigs at Harvard, his wife's return to the workforce after many years at home, and a pay raise.
But reading between the lines of his answers to Whitehouse, it's clear that Kavanaugh has gotten a substantial amount of financial help from his parents, in-laws, or other family members. (Kavanaugh had a privileged, private-school upbringing as the son of a Washington lobbyist for the cosmetics industry and a state prosecutor.) ''We have not received financial gifts other than from our family which are excluded from disclosure in judicial financial disclosure reports,'' he wrote.
Kavanaugh wouldn't be the first Supreme Court nominee or justice to receive a windfall from his parents. Both Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Elena Kagan inherited money from parents who had died, but unlike Kavanaugh, they disclosed the estate transfer on their federal forms. The White House has worked hard to frame Kavanaugh as a mainstream fellow who, just like ordinary American dads, loves sports and drives the carpool. Publicly disclosing the extent to which his parents or in-laws may be subsidizing his high-end lifestyle could probably undermine that portrayal.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on September 20.
The Lawyer Who Took On Uber Is Suing IBM for Age Discrimination - Bloomberg
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:14
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Iran summons some European envoys over attack on military parade: IRNA
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:50
LONDON (Reuters) - Iran summoned the envoys of the Netherlands, Denmark and Great Britain on Saturday night over the shooting at a military parade in which 25 people were killed, accusing them of harboring Iranian opposition groups in their countries, IRNA reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the annual military parade marking in Tehran, Iran September 22, 2018. Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS
''It is not acceptable that these groups are not listed as terrorist organizations by the European Union as long as they have not carried out a terrorist attack in Europe,'' foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Hugh Lawson
Theresa May tells EU to seriously engage on Brexit | Euronews
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:43
Britain said on Saturday it would not ''capitulate'' to EU demands in Brexit talks and again urged its partners to engage with its proposals, as French and German ministers suggested the next move in the negotiations should come from London.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday demanded new proposals and respect from European Union leaders, saying after a summit in Austria that talks had hit an impasse - a position her foreign minister reinforced on Saturday, even if that meant leaving the bloc next March without a deal.
''If the EU's view is that just by saying no to every proposal made by the United Kingdom, we will eventually capitulate and end up either with a Norway option or indeed staying in the EU... then they've profoundly misjudged he British people,'' Jeremy Hunt told BBC radio.
''We may be polite, but we have a bottom line. And so they need to engage with us now in seriousness.''
May's defiant statement was welcomed on Saturday by many in the British press that had seen the Salzburg summit as a failure for her. The strongly eurosceptic Daily Express said it was ''May's finest hour''.
But initial reactions from across the English Channel suggested France and Germany were digging in too.
EU leaders and May have said they want to get a deal agreed in October, to be finalised in November.
In Paris, Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau said that, while France still believed a good Brexit deal was possible, it must also prepare for a 'no deal' outcome.
Britain's vote to leave ''cannot lead to the EU going bust,'' she said on France Info radio. ''That's the message we have tried to send for several months now to our British counterparts, who may have thought we were going to say 'yes' to whatever deal they came up with.''
In Berlin, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said the other 27 EU states were striving to achieve reasonable solutions. ''The blame game against the EU is, therefore, more than unfair. We can't solve the problems that are arising on the island (Britain) due to Brexit,'' he said on Twitter.
In London, the pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph reported that May faced the prospect of ministerial resignations next week if she failed to come up with an alternative to the ''Chequers'' Brexit plan that she presented in Austria.
But domestically, even some critics of May's plan backed the prime minister in her standoff against the EU.
''I have a serious difference of opinion with our prime minister. But, even so, I have to tell you that I view the behaviour of the European Union leaders in Salzburg with contempt,'' David Davis, the former Brexit minister who resigned in protest at Chequers, said in a speech at a ''Leave Means Leave'' rally in the northern English town of Bolton.
''Disrespect our prime minister, and you disrespect our country.''
After May's Friday statement, European Council President Donald Tusk said that the results of the EU's analysis of that plan had been known to Britain for many weeks. But Hunt said there was a difference between rhetoric and substance.
''On the substance of the Chequers proposals, we have not had a detailed response,'' he said, adding that EU proposals for the Irish border would mean that it was impossible ''to leave the EU intact as one country''.
May has accepted the need for a ''backstop'' insurance policy on the Irish border, but says the EU's version of the proposal would see Northern Ireland carved off from the United Kingdom.
The EU says May's proposal, keeping the province and mainland Britain in the same regulatory space, undermines the single market.
This wasn't a happy week for Brexit negotiators
Despite the differences, Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE radio an Irish backstop was ''doable'' by an October summit.
Bumpy and Difficult
Hunt said Britain wanted a deal but would be able to withstand a no-deal Brexit.
''Even in a situation where we aren't able to come to an agreement, we would be trading on World Trade Organisation terms. It would be bumpy, it would be difficult, but we would find a way to survive and prosper as a country,'' Hunt said.
''We've had far bigger challenges in our history.''
British opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday his party would challenge May on any Brexit deal.
"We will challenge this government on whatever deal it brings back it brings back on our six tests, on jobs, on living standards, on environmental protections, Corbyn told a rally in Liverpool, on the eve of the party's annual conference.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had told May's ministers that no Brexit deal could mean a fall of GDP in the rest of the EU of between 1 and 1.25 percent, without citing sources. The BoE declined to comment.
Blint's extended musings | Chrome is a Google Service that happens to include a Browser Engine
Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:19
Starting with Chrome 69, logging into a Google Site is tied to logging into Chrome.
This is typically the topic where things are complex enough that tweets or 500 character Mastodon toots don't do it justice. I'd also mention that I prefer to avoid directly linking people's posts on this, because I dislike the practice of taking discussions out of their original audience and treating them as official or semi-official communications from a given company.
So what changed with Chrome 69? From that version, any time someone using Chrome logs into a Google service or site, they are also logged into Chrome-as-a-browser with that user account. Any time someone logs out of a Google service, they are also logged out of the browser. Before Chrome 69, Chrome users could decline to be logged into Chrome entirely, skipping the use of Sync and other features that are tied to the login and they could use Chrome in a logged-out state while still making use of GMail for example.
Just to spell it out: this means Google logins for Chrome are now de-facto mandatory if you ever login to a Google site.
When someone in the security community raised this, it turned out that apparently this is intended behaviour from Google's side as confirmed by multiple googlers and they were wondering why the new behaviour might feel abusive to some people. Some folks working on Chrome pointed out that most people can't differentiate between logging into a Google Site and logging into Chrome and this has lead to problems with shared computers, where person A logs into GMail, but person B is logged into Chrome. This prompted Chrome developers to come up with the change that erases the distinction entirely.
It is at this point that I should note that I don't personally use Chrome, as I felt it was too closely corporate Google even before this change. This is also not a post arguing that ''some users can tell the difference, therefor'...'', I do believe software should be written with the common users in mind. Interestingly, the common user belief that strongly equates Chrome with a Google Service (and not an application or tool) is probably the more accurate view of Chrome, post release 69. It's worth wondering from where users got that impression and why.
So if this change is just about bringing Chrome in line with what most users believe anyway, what's the fuss? Perhaps it's not about what people believe, but what is right. Perhaps Google doesn't want Chrome, currently having majority browser market share, to be a neutral platform. A lot of people, developers especially, believe that Chrome is a Google-influenced but more or less neutral tool and then this widespread belief has to be reconciled with the Chrome-as-a-service thinking.
Violating the content vs browser separation layer doesn't just conform to what a lot of users believe, it also ties what's happening inside the browser to Google on an unprecedented level, throwing the neutrality of Chrome as a platform into question. What's the next thing that Google and only Google can make Chrome do? Concerned about shared computers but you're not Google? There is no neutral API to log someone out from Chrome and prevent data from being synced if it's about person A logging into Facebook in person B's Chrome profile.
Sidenote: Most Google services have for me this in common with Facebook: these services are too deeply integrated and impossible to use in part or isolation. It's either the entire system or nothing, based on how the question of consent is approached. You would like to use GMail (logged in obviously) but Google search, Youtube, Chrome etc without a login? No can do. You selected strict settings in Facebook for your profile data? You're just an API/permission redesign away from having your choices nullified. Part of me feels that this Chrome shared computer issue that Googlers mentioned is real, but it's also just too convenient to solve this by tieing Chrome closer to Google, you know?
Why did Tesla say that 3, 6, and 9 was the key to the universe? - Quora
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:48
If it was a real quote, then let me first try to convince you why anyone could believe this from an evolutionary perspective and then ill speculate more on Tesla.
The number 3 is the most important number after 1 and 2, or perhaps just as important. Because when your born, you normally see two parents. And you see single entities in instants of time.
But you mainly act on impulse until you grow abit older.You see humans giving you nourishment with symmetric body parts.Two eyes, two arms, two legs, two breasts.
Once you realise there is such thing as your self, then there are three important people - your self, and your mum and dad (assuming dad hasn't been killed fighting sabre tooth tigers, even if he has, maybe your uncle is now helping out, or maybe somehow mum was killed and your aunt is helping out, or maybe somehow you end up with two'...).
Even before you have invented a calendar or electricity or a counting system that uses the number of fingers on your hand you clearly have an idea of the importance of three.
But for sake of argument, let's suppose that all the people in your tribe are born of only 4 fingers on each hand and they haven't invented counting yet and when they do it wont be base 10.
(the designer had a bad day, you cant win them all right?)
Anyway, you also have learnt an idea of circles because they're found in nature.Your parents eyes are circular. Flowers are circular. Your mothers tit is circular. The sun is circular. The unborn child in womb is circular. The head is circular.
You also learn a method of basic enclosure to keep safe from the rain and cold.Its a natural extension of the mothers womb so maybe its a cave, an approximation of what you know enclosures/circles/safety should look like. Innately you know at least has three dimensions thought you dont understand that concept yet. You just understand it encloses you and you and your parents and tribe can fit inside.
Ate some point you discover bashing rocks together or rubbing sticks together can create heat and even fire. Perhaps you conjectured this after seeing lightning strike a tree.
In any event, you've just as innately picked up the concept of long thin things, like trees and branches and sticks, of the shape resembling what we call straight lines. Our limbs are approximately straight. Our eyelashes. Diffraction of light rays, we don't have these words, but we see the idea of line around. You use spears and sticks. Your first drawings are stick figures. You make use of this idea to make weapons like spears. You workout you can even shape other materials to be even sharper and pointier to help with hunting animals and protecting yourself from other tribes.
They kinda look like little mountains.
You also discover to help in cooking you can hold food aloft by making a minimally three dimensional hold-aloft device. And you can make your own little mountain houses.
The point is you know what sharp at top but wide at base shapes are and a few ideas of what they're good for. We've basically succeeded in holding something up using the strong yet efficient concept of three.
The sacred three line constructed mountain and spearhead like enclosure model is easier to build than full round cave like enclosures. But we do settle on the round ones that are more durable in windy conditions and we want durable housing when we've more permanently settled on somewhere we like.
Some genius might have put two triangles base to base and invented the square or perhaps just used two perpendicular sets of parallel straight things. But there is no real precedent to do that yet. Squares don't occur regularly in nature, but parallel lines sort of do, like on trees. But you do find square shaped rocks due to erosion. But it probably didn't come till the evolution of more lasting housing.
So from the basic idea of a square, projected into a volume with another square at each side, we had developed bricks and the idea of cubes and cuboids.
We used them when we decided to make our own square-triangle mountains as a gift to the gods.
At some point a really smart guy tried to understand all the basic solid things and make sense of it all.
Another smart guy tried to expand on using these solids to study planets.
But physics went on to disband these models, because we can describe spheres with more accurate mathematics (based on revolutions) now. But who knows, maybe there is more to the Pyramids?
Anyway, back to our story.We can sorta see why 3 and 6 have become important, but not 9.(3+6=9 but thats not particularly universally interesting).
At some point when we began making basic communities and trading with each other, before the pyramids were built, very smart people developed counting systems. The number of digits on our hands are important in what base we decide on, but in this hypothetical case, because we only have four fingers, we might have chose to use base 4 or 8.
But as it turned out, we did have 10 fingers and so we decided on more appropriate base. And so 9 was important in the first counting systems because they only went to 9 and there was no concept of 10.
But in others there was (base 60, of which 3, 6 and 9 come up as important).
But these base choices are quite arbitrary.
We need to introduce the concept of multiplication for 9 to become un-arbitrarily (universally) important, which is a very important operation in the development of counting and later more complex mathematics and physics.
We were lucky that we actually did have 5 fingers on each hand and 10 in total resulting in us choosing to use base 10 counting. Because as it turns out counting in 3's in base 4 or base 8 is pretty difficult. Base 10 is a lot easier in small multiples.But if we had've chosen base 3 we would've been even better off if it were important to count in 3's. But it wasn't particularly so.
But at least now we can count: one three = 3two three = 6three three = 9
If it were important to trade in 3's and we still chose base 10 because of our fingers, 3,6,9 would still all fit on our two hands. So for small counts it still would've been alright.
Also, the base 60 number system shown above may've influenced our choice of a perfect calendar based on 30 natural days each 12 lunar cycle solar year, which is where the degrees in a revolution comes from (12x30=360).
As others have pointed out, 9 perhaps could be seen as mathematically relevant to this amount of degrees, but it actually turned out to be the wrong amount of days in a solar year (now 365.25). So the importance of 9 is just coincidence (and not naturally emergent to reality).
However, some have speculated that before some natural event, the 360 day perfect calendar may have actually been correct. ( 360 days Ancient Calendar ).
In which case it could be seen to been as an efficient calendar that naturally emerged for an efficiently evolved human being with an efficient number of fingers to choose a particular base to use for counting.
And so there is perhaps a relation between the natural efficiency of ''3'' and the importance of 6 and 9 in the calendar system as well, which is actually describing the revolution system, which also links up to the idea of AC electricity which can be described in terms of revolutions that define waveforms.
So, starting off with 1 and then 2 and then 3 and then a good counting system for 3's, perhaps governed by our fingers which evolved in a system with a naturalness of maths from with sacred constants of growth (phi, e, pi), we get an emergent description of waveform electricity, and energy waveform in general.
Of course there are some loose ends in describing the whole universe in terms of wave energy, but hopefully it's just a matter of time before they're worked out.
This is why Tesla said the secrets of the universe are in energy, frequency and vibration. (Its "Not A Dream" ).
It's been abit of a stretch, but perhaps this argument has sufficiently convinced you that 3, 6, 9 are important naturally emergent numbers because they contain:
a basic family: mom, dad and childsharpness, strong base and efficient enclosurethe concepts of counting, multiplication, and perfect squares.perhaps the emergence of a perfect calendar (which is at least a decent approximation of current reality)from the emergence of the near accurate revolutionary perfect calendar an emergence of the waveform description of electricity and energy which governs all matter in the universe and perhaps the fabric of spacetime itselfAre these the secrets of the universe?At least they've been quite important to the three dimensional humanity and math and electricity.
Not really an answer as exciting as free energy, and many unanswered questions, but perhaps those answers are still emerging?
Speculating more specifically on Teslas life, his invention of 3 phase AC electricity is most notable. But perhaps another reason why 3,6,9 was important to Tesla is just that they are simply factors of 3.
Tesla was known for being very religious for Christianity.There is the trinity theme in Christianity.The father, the son, and the holy ghost.He was also known to be basically OCD.The top of the crucifix is also representative of 3.However Christians also traditionally like the 10 commandments and the 12 apostles too, so maybe not. Contrastingly, the Christian mythology doesn't place much importance on the mother, which might say volumes about feminism, atheism and that capitalism that is blind to it's environment, mother earth .
OR perhaps if he lived to see computers he might've said 0, 1 and 2 are the three most important numbers.
Feel free to correct me if any of this is more pseudo history/physics than actual history/physics, its been a long day, and actually history is not my strong suit and i haven't done physical maths for a while, I spend my time in front of ones and zeros these days.
The calm voice of podcasts risks being lost in a crowd of noise | Financial Times
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:40
The night air above Manhattan was ''filled with wireless messages'' in 1909, Modern Electrics magazine wrote about the early radio boom, when anyone who bought wireless equipment could broadcast. In 1912, the US government grew tired of the chaos and limited amateur radio to a range of 200 yards.
Wireless mania is back, revived by the internet. If asked a few years ago to imagine a medium that would flourish in the age of digital communications, few would have predicted podcasts. But voice '-- not just the spoken word, but individual personality and tone '-- is filling the ether.
Two recent deals say more about the future of media than the sale of Time magazine this week to Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce.com, for $190m. The biggest US radio chain, iHeartMedia, has acquired the podcasting group Stuff Media for $55m, and Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker magazine writer, is forming a podcasting company with Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of Slate Group.
Voice is not just the province of upstarts. Audible, Amazon's audiobook subsidiary, is signing writers including Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and Liar's Poker, to put voice first in creating new narratives. Audio is the fastest increasing revenue stream in publishing, and a fresh cause of tension between Amazon and book publishers over who controls rights.
The question is how much of this will last, and how much will be swallowed up like the early days of radio and of blogging. Some of the new wave of podcasting feels as much for the gratification of author and podcaster as listener. It is fun to be declaiming highbrow essays in a small studio, away from the click-chasing trap into which much of the media '-- including Time '-- have fallen.
Like blogging or blockchain, podcasting holds out the vague hope of returning to a peer-to-peer nirvana rather than mass media and blanket control by technology platforms. History shows that such episodes last for a while before the usual intermediaries move in with contracts for a few, while the long tail grows ever longer and more frustrating for the others.
You already need a strong hook, or personal fame as an author or speaker, to cut through the babble. It is too easy to get lost amid the thousands of quirky, amiably hesitant, yet confidently educated hosts speaking in what the author Teddy Wayne dubbed ''NPR Voice'', after US public radio, the closest equivalent to the UK's BBC radio.
Consolidation is approaching, as the recent deals indicate. Most traditional media brands, including the FT, host podcasts (one attraction is that they are cheap compared with video). Endeavor, the Hollywood agency, last week started an audio division, led by Dick Wolf, the television producer, with the promise to ''take podcasts mainstream'', which sounds menacing.
RecommendedHollywood agents may be crass, but they are not fools. Looming in the background are voice-activated assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, which can play music, radio and podcasts on command. The ease with which intelligent speakers can summon audio entertainment on phones, in cars and in living rooms promises to open up a new market.
That market is needed, not only by authors and studios, but by big technology groups. Voice search is a liberating technology but threatens Google, which gains most of its revenues from web search. It is more disturbing to insert ads in voice answers to search queries than on web pages. Other sources of revenue will be needed and listeners are used to ads on audio shows.
Podcasting's audience remains narrow '-- 57 per cent of US podcast listeners have a bachelor's or graduate degree, and 77 per cent are millennials or from Generation X. They also tend to be fans, listening to an average of seven per week, according to one study. That leaves plenty of room for growth among the 56 per cent of Americans who have not listened to a single one.
Narrowness is one of the appeals of podcasts. They often cover specialist topics and listening to them or to audio books on earphones is an intimate experience compared with watching films or television, or navigating the anger of social networks. Often, there is only one voice talking in the listener's head in a calm, unhurried tone.
Whisper it quietly, but this defies one of the founding tenets of the internet '-- that the voice of authority was dead and audiences would in future interact on equal terms and in real time with authors. Podcasting is a one-to-many medium in which the listener lacks the means to answer back.
Podcasts need not be elitist; there is no reason why more people should not enjoy them. But as investment rises, the stakes become higher, and as the audience has to be widened to obtain a return, the incentive to talk more loudly and court controversy increases.
It would be easy to lose something rare in the transition, like the development of radio left behind the innocence of early pioneers broadcasting to a few fans over the airwaves. Many companies are eager to shape the future of the new medium, but they should not sacrifice its tone of voice.
There's no perfect minimalist phone '-- yet - The Verge
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:29
I went searching for the perfect minimalist phone, but I ended up back with my iPhoneI have no love for my phone. And yet, it's the first thing I reach for in the morning and often the last thing I look at before going to sleep. I reach for it obsessively, reflexively, often for no reason at all. Sometimes I'll look away from Twitter on my laptop so I can look at Twitter on my phone.
Simply put, our phones do too much. The services they give us easy access to '-- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter '-- leave us distracted, overwhelmed, and maybe even depressed. To break their habits, people are scrubbing their phones of notifications, grayscaling screens to make them less enticing, imprisoning their phones in nefarious-looking lockboxes, and attending over-the-top digital detox retreats. But changing our habits is hard. These are products methodically designed by behavioral scientists employed by the richest companies in the world, working to keep us endlessly engaged, forever thirsting for our next like.
But if we can't change our behaviors, maybe we can change our devices. Enter the minimalist phone: a phone that does less. Over the course of a few weeks, I tried out four different phones '-- the Unihertz Jelly, the Nokia 3310 3G, the Punkt MP01, and the Light Phone '-- in an effort to curb how much time I spend needlessly scrolling and refreshing. Not every one of these phones is intentionally minimalist, but each came with unique limitations, built-in throttles that would effectively discourage anyone from wallowing in the stupor of infinite feeds. I was looking for a change. I was looking for salvation.
But when it was all over, I came crawling back to my iPhone.
Unihertz, the makers of the Jelly, call the phone ''Impossibly small. Amazingly cute. Totally functional.'' Two of those claims are true, and I'll let you guess which ones.
The first thing you'll notice about the Jelly, which retails for $125, is just how small it is. At just over three and a half inches in length, it fits in the palm of your hand. Despite that, it's a real, honest-to-god smartphone: it runs Android 7.0, has a Quad Core 1.1GHz processor, and features both rear and front-facing cameras '-- though at 8 and 2 megapixels, you might not like what you see. The phone runs on 4G networks and supports dual SIM cards. Because of how thick it is, most people I showed it to thought it had a slide-out, Sidekick-style keyboard. It doesn't, no matter how hard you push. Instead, it has a 2.5-inch fully functional touchscreen.
Admittedly, the Jelly is ''impossibly cute'' and ''amazingly small.'' It's toy-like, and there's something remarkable about watching a live Instagram video on a miniaturized screen. For those looking to disconnect, that size serves a purpose: though you can still scroll through feeds, chances are you'll spend less time doing so. The size of the touchscreen adds a considerable layer of friction, so even if I had just as much functionality as I did on my iPhone, I found myself using it less. It was just too annoying to decipher the content of an Instagram post '-- or, god forbid, try to type out a comment.
Ultimately, the phone's keyboard is what undermines its claim as ''totally functional.'' I have normal-sized hands '-- I think '-- but the Jelly's minuscule keyboard left me feeling like I had sledgehammers for fingers. Just my thumb covered half the keys. My texts were full of so many typos I started texting less out of shame. ''Okay'' turned into ''k.'' Anything longer than a few words was best conveyed in a call. And maybe that's not such a bad thing.
The Jelly's other big drawback is battery life: there is none. The phone lost almost 20 percent of its juice within 15 minutes as I downloaded four apps. At an 83 percent charge, the phone told me that I had just over four hours of life left, and even that turned out to be overly optimistic. Eventually, I learned to carry around an external battery pack with me just to make it through the day. I'd never felt less minimalist.
Still, there was too much functionality. If I wanted to disconnect, I'd have to ditch smartphones altogether.
The original Nokia 3310 is one of the most iconic and commercially successful phones of all time. So in 2017, as part of the company's nostalgia-focused marketing push, it brought the 3310 back to life. Design-wise, the new Nokia 3310 is pretty close to the original, though it does benefit from a significantly larger color screen and feels more bubbly than its brick-like predecessor.
The phone retails for $60, has a 2-megapixel camera in the back, runs Nokia's proprietary OS, and comes with a predictable skeleton crew of 2002-era features: a calculator, an MP3 player, and, most importantly, all the Snake you can handle. Unlike the Jelly, it has a respectable battery life '-- an estimated 6.5 hours of talk time, and about 650 hours of standby life.
Those looking for a minimalist experience might be disappointed to find two new additions to the phone's navigation screen: Facebook and Twitter icons. Rest assured, these aren't actual apps, but instead shortcuts to Nokia's web client. Open these up, and you'll be banished to the mid-2000s, moving a clunky mouse cursor up and down with an old-school directional pad. It took me 10 minutes to pull up Twitter and complete my two-factor authentication, only to accidentally leave the web client and be faced with embarking on the process all over again. I gave up. The apps are so hard to use they may as well be nonexistent, which suited my purposes just fine.
But the Nokia 3310 comes with one step back in history that I ultimately couldn't stomach: T9, a texting system so slow and miserable that it should've been left to die in the 2000s. I refuse to memorize how many times I have to hit ''1'' in order to land on a question mark.
If you're looking for an intentional minimalist phone experience, you might want to consider the MP01, created by a Swiss company called Punkt. Punkt promises that the MPO1 has ''no app icons, animations, or special effects vying for your attention.'' It is, they assure, ''everything you need, nothing you don't,'' and ''timeless.'' It also looks like a calculator.
Despite that, the MP01 feels nicely designed to the touch. The phone comes in three colors '-- black, brown, and white '-- and is about four and a half inches tall. It has a sturdy fiberglass-reinforced body, Gorilla Glass, and feels solid in your hand.
Unlike the Nokia, the MP01 really and truly only does two things: it makes calls and texts, and the face of the phone has easy access buttons to both functions. That limited functionality gives the MP01 good battery life '-- almost five hours of talk time, and an optimal standby time of over 20 days.
But '-- and there's always a but with minimalist phones '-- the MP01 costs $230. That's a lot to pay for a device that only does two things. And one of them, not so well. Texting is clunky, and the phone has trouble with the basic task of capitalizing just the first letter of a sentence. In a seeming nod to an earlier '-- and worse '-- era of email, the MP01 does not thread text conversations. Instead, messages are divided into Inbox and Outbox folders, and nary the two shall meet. For a minimalist phone, it feels maximally confusing.
The MP01 also only currently works on a 2G network. That's a problem because if they haven't already, most of the major carriers will be phasing out 2G coverage over the next few years. So much for timeless.
If there's one phone that represents the epitome of the minimalist phone trend, it's the Light Phone. It's a business card-sized device that you can use independently on a 2G network or tether to your smartphone. It does one thing and one thing only: make phone calls. It costs $150 and comes with six months of a free SIM card from the company.
The Light Phone only comes in two colors: white and black. It weighs a featherlight 38.5 grams and has a muted OLED display. It can display your call logs, but not much more than that, and it has a three-day standby time. It's a beautiful gadget that, despite its limited functionality, actually feels like it's from the future.
But that limited functionality needs to be addressed. The problem with having a phone that only makes calls is that it takes two to talk. And in 2018, whoever you call probably won't pick up '-- maybe their phone is on silent, maybe they don't have time to talk, or maybe they just don't like you. (And if they do pick up, you're sure to cause alarm since, these days, it seems out-of-the-blue phone calls are almost exclusively reserved for life-and-death scenarios.) If no one's picking up on the other end, what's the point of even having a phone? Instead of buying the Light Phone, I suggest you just toss your current phone over a cliff. It may be just as useful.
Its extremely limited functionality makes the Light Phone feel more like an experiment than a viable product '-- an attempt to gauge whether there's enough consumer appetite for a phone dedicated to the minimalist experience. Apparently, there is: according to the company, the Light Phone has shipped to 10,000 customers. In fact, at the time of this review, the Light Phone was totally sold out and no longer available for purchase.
In early 2018, the creators behind the Light Phone announced the development of the Light Phone 2, a 4G version of the original that will feature ''E Ink, messaging & other essential tools,'' and even a full keyboard. The Indiegogo campaign to finance the project has met and exceeded its fundraising goal of $400,000 by over $1.1 million. It's slated for release in spring 2019.
Ultimately, none of the phones I tried hit the minimalist sweet spot: either the battery life sucked, or I was left frustrated with a texting interface that was shabby or nonexistent. But the experiment did clarify what a viable alternative to a smartphone should look like. First, and foremost, even a minimalist phone should have a full-sized keyboard. Texting is a fact of life in 2018, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Forcing users to make phone calls to relay every message is unrealistic, and asking them to relearn T9 is cruel.
But aside from that, everything else can go '-- the social networks, the cameras, the dual cameras, and the big color screen. My phone could be one large bezel for all I care, as long as I can text effectively when I need to and have enough battery life to make it through the day. As far as I can tell, that phone doesn't exist yet '-- though the Light Phone 2 sounds like it may come close.
For now, it'll just be me and my iPhone. And until a good minimalist phone arrives, I'll do my best to resist Instagram Discover's endless feed of rescued dog videos, stale memes, and sports clips, but I'm not making any promises.
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White House Drafts Order To Probe Google, Facebook Practices
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 17:45
Sep 22 2018, 4:02 AMSep 22 2018, 3:44 PMSeptember 22 2018, 4:02 AMSeptember 22 2018, 3:44 PM
(Bloomberg) -- The White House has drafted an executive order for President Donald Trump's signature that would instruct federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies to open probes into the practices of Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Facebook Inc., and other social media companies.
The order is in its preliminary stages and hasn't yet been run past other government agencies, said a White House official. Bloomberg News obtained a draft of the order.
The document instructs U.S. antitrust authorities to ''thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.'' It instructs other government agencies to recommend within a month after it's signed, actions that could potentially ''protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.''
Read the Executive Order draft on bias in online platforms
The document doesn't name any companies. If signed, the order would represent a significant escalation of Trump's aversion to Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies, whom he's publicly accused of silencing conservative voices and news sources online.
The press offices of Google, Facebook and Twitter didn't respond Saturday to emails and telephone calls requesting comment outside of normal office hours.
''Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,'' Trump said on Twitter in August. ''Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won't let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.''
Social media companies have acknowledged in congressional hearings that their efforts to enforce prohibitions against online harassment have sometimes led to erroneous punishment of political figures on both the left and the right, and that once discovered, those mistakes have been corrected. They say there's no systematic effort to silence conservative voices.
Stiglitz Calls for Tougher Antitrust Stand to Fight Market Power
The draft order directs that any actions federal agencies take should be ''consistent with other laws'' -- an apparent nod to concerns that it could threaten the traditional independence of U.S. law enforcement or conflict with the First Amendment, which protects political views from government regulation.
''Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms,'' the order says. It adds that consumer harm -- a key measure in antitrust investigations-- could come ''through the exercise of bias.''
The order's preliminary status is reflected in the text of the draft, which includes a note in red that the first section could be expanded ''if necessary, to provide more detail on role of platforms and the importance of competition.''
The possibility of an executive order emerged as Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares for a Sept. 25 briefing by state attorneys general who are already investigating the tech firms' practices.
The meeting, which will include a representative of the Justice Department's antitrust division, is intended to help Sessions decide if there's a federal case to be made against the companies, two people familiar with the matter have said. At least one of the attorneys general participating in the meeting has indicated he seeks to break up the companies.
Growing movements on the right and the left argue that companies including Google and Facebook engage in anti-competitive behavior. The companies reject the accusation, arguing they face robust competition and that many of their products are free. Bias has not typically figured in antitrust examinations.
In July, for instance, Twitter algorithms limited the visibility of some Republicans in profile searches. Jack Dorsey, the company's chief executive officer, testified before Congress in September that the limits also affected some Democrats as the site tried to enforce policies against threats, hate, harassment or other forms of abusive speech. The moves were reversed.
A Pew Research Center survey earlier this year found that 72 percent of Americans, and 85 percent of Republicans, think it's likely that social media companies intentionally censor political viewpoints that those companies find objectionable.
Even on the right, however, there are misgivings about a Trump administration crackdown on the companies. On Friday, libertarian-leaning groups including FreedomWorks and the American Legislative Exchange Council sent a letter to Sessions expressing ''fear'' that his ''inquiry will be to accomplish through intimidation what the First Amendment bars: interference with editorial judgment.''
Inside a Failed Silicon Valley Attempt to Reinvent Politics
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 06:29
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New York Times Just Handed Trump Rod Rosenstein's Head On A Stick, So It Can Fuck Right Out Of Here
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 06:22
If it's a day, the New York Times is fucking shit up, but today, it fucked up BIGLY.
Fresh-faced access journalists Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt have just published what we can only describe as a drive-by shooting against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which reads as some bullshit planted by the White House to give Donald Trump the pretext for his Saturday Night Massacre, if he wants it. (He does.)
Maybe the White House is tired of talking about the flailing nomination of Judge Maybe Rapey and how Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, and the New York Times was more than happy to help!
Or maybe it was planted by former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just hours before his pension was set to kick in, and may have a serious axe to grind with DoJ officials and leaked a copy of his own memos. (His lawyer says that's not true, but he would say that, wouldn't he?)
Or maybe it's both, somehow! Or one of many other things!
Regardless, the news is that -- according to NYT's sources who are obviously telling the truth and giving all the important context that's fit to print -- Rosenstein talked about getting a group together to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump last year after Trump fired James Comey. Also, Rosenstein VERY SERIOUSLY talked about how he should secretly record his conversations with Trump like a common Omarosa, to document how crazy Trump was, and that the dudes interviewing for the FBI job should do the same, because Trump was "failing to take the candidate interviews seriously."
Hey, Donald Trump! The New York Times is talking to you! Bet you don't think it's so "failing" right now, and we can't imagine you're upset about these anonymous sources!
The sources for the NYT piece appear to be McCabe's leaked memos, and also a combination of people (probably close to the White House) who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another Rod Rosenstein's been messin' around.
Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president's dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein's actions and comments.
So in other words, "several people" heard some third-hand information by the water cooler from people who play Strip Jenga with people who have seen McCabe's memos, and all of them say Rosenstein is a very bad man who tried to 25A Donald Trump by the pussy and threatened to Omarosa the president with wire tapps. OH NO, IS ROD ROSENSTEIN THE RESISTANCE INSIDE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WHO WROTE THAT ANONYMOUS LETTER THAT ALSO APPEARED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES?
Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt aren't saying he's not.
Rosenstein has issued a statement that vehemently denies this account -- without actually denying the specific details -- and confidently asserts that "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment." (LOL factcheck bullshit.)
Regarding those purported 25th Amendment conversations, Rosenstein isn't the only one getting thrown under this bus right now:
[Rosenstein told] Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.MORE ENEMIES TO MAKE DONALD TRUMP A WHOLE BUNCH MORE MAD!
Regarding what Rosenstein supposedly said about doing wire tapps to Trump, the Justice Department released a statement that essentially says, "Guys, he was fucking around," according to somebody who actually heard him say it. The Washington Post also talked to somebody who was in the meeting in question, who confirms Rosenstein was being sarcastic, and adds that they didn't even talk about the 25th Amendment. In fact, let us read some reporting from the Post, which is a real newspaper:
That person said the wire comment came in response to McCabe's own pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president. To that, Rosenstein responded with what this person described as a sarcastic comment along the lines of, "What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?"THAT'S SOME HELPFUL CONTEXT THE NEW YORK TIMES FAILED TO PROVIDE.
But according to NYT's sources, he wasn't kidding even a little bit! He was very serious! NYT gonna editorialize right now about what a wild and crazy man Rosenstein is:
The suggestion itself was remarkable. While informants or undercover agents regularly use concealed listening devices to surreptitiously gather evidence for federal investigators, they are typically targeting drug kingpins and Mafia bosses in criminal investigations, not a president viewed as ineffectively conducting his duties.That's NUTS! According to NYT's sources, this just shows everybody how "erratically [Rosenstein] was behaving" when he decided to go off and appoint a special counsel. The New York Times is JUST SAYING.
They are also JUST SAYING that Rod Rosenstein was very emotional at the time:
The extreme suggestions show Mr. Rosenstein's state of mind in the disorienting days that followed Mr. Comey's dismissal. Sitting in on Mr. Trump's interviews with prospective F.B.I. directors and facing attacks for his own role in Mr. Comey's firing, Mr. Rosenstein had an up-close view of the tumult. Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional, according to people who spoke with him at the time.Good God, NYT, why don't you just say Rod Rosenstein had his period?
Weirdly, this was all happening around the time Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. Did Rosenstein do that because of his EMOTIONS or because the president obviously was trying to obstruct the investigation and appointing a special counsel was the only way to protect the investigation? The New York Times is JUST ASKING.
Also, as Josh Marshall points out, Rosenstein comes off as REAL DUMB in the section about how he was just so shocked that maybe Trump used him to write that memo about Hillary Clinton's emails to give him a pretext for obstruction of justice:
The president's reliance on his memo caught Mr. Rosenstein by surprise, and he became angry at Mr. Trump, according to people who spoke to Mr. Rosenstein at the time. He grew concerned that his reputation had suffered harm and wondered whether Mr. Trump had motives beyond Mr. Comey's treatment of Mrs. Clinton for ousting him, the people said.Really? Is Rod Rosenstein that much of a dipshit? We are skeptical. Also, people who know Rosenstein are skeptical:
Oh fuck you, Maggie Haberman, we don't have time or space in this post for your defensive horseshit about this steaming pile of shit your BFFs wrote.
So how will this land at the White House? Will Trump use it as a pretext to fire Rosenstein, as we expect might happen, either after work today or just after the midterms? Maybe yes of course no shit Sherlock!
Glad to know the White House is getting what it wants from the newspaper the president verbally abuses on a regular basis.
Rod Rosenstein, of course, is the only one protecting the Robert Mueller investigation. If he is fired, or if Mueller is fired, what do we do? Do we take to the streets? No, dears: we TAKE the streets.
Swear to God if he does it after work today, we are filing a fucking complaint against GOD.
Also, it's your open thread we guess, but you should probably mostly talk about THIS JESUS UGH FUCK!
[New York Fucking Times / Washington Post]
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Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment - The New York Times
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 06:22
Image Two weeks into his job as deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein was confronted with a crisis: the president's firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director. Credit Credit T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.
Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump's firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.
Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president's dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.
Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein's actions and comments.
None of Mr. Rosenstein's proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.
The extreme suggestions show Mr. Rosenstein's state of mind in the disorienting days that followed Mr. Comey's dismissal. Sitting in on Mr. Trump's interviews with prospective F.B.I. directors and facing attacks for his own role in Mr. Comey's firing, Mr. Rosenstein had an up-close view of the tumult. Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional, according to people who spoke with him at the time.
Mr. Rosenstein disputed this account.
''The New York Times's story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,'' he said in a statement. ''I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.''
A Justice Department spokeswoman also provided a statement from a person who was present when Mr. Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire. The person, who would not be named, acknowledged the remark but said Mr. Rosenstein made it sarcastically.
But according to the others who described his comments, Mr. Rosenstein not only confirmed that he was serious about the idea but also followed up by suggesting that other F.B.I. officials who were interviewing to be the bureau's director could also secretly record Mr. Trump.
Image Andrew G. McCabe, who became acting director of the F.B.I. after Mr. Comey was fired, memorialized his interactions with Mr. Rosenstein in memos. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images Mr. McCabe, who was later fired from the F.B.I., declined to comment. His memos have been turned over to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in the investigation into whether Trump associates conspired with Russia's election interference, according to a lawyer for Mr. McCabe. ''A set of those memos remained at the F.B.I. at the time of his departure in late January 2018,'' the lawyer, Michael R. Bromwich, said of his client. ''He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos.''
The revelations about Mr. Rosenstein come as Mr. Trump has unleashed another round of attacks in recent days on federal law enforcement, saying in an interview with the newspaper The Hill that he hopes his assaults on the F.B.I. turn out to be ''one of my crowning achievements,'' and that he only wished he had terminated Mr. Comey sooner.
''If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,'' Mr. Trump said. ''I should have fired him right after the convention. Say, 'I don't want that guy.' Or at least fired him the first day on the job.''
Days after ascending to the role of the nation's No. 2 law enforcement officer, Mr. Rosenstein was thrust into a crisis.
On a brisk May day, Mr. Rosenstein and his boss, Mr. Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation because of his role as a prominent Trump campaign supporter, joined Mr. Trump in the Oval Office. The president informed them of his plan to oust Mr. Comey. To the surprise of White House aides who were trying to talk the president out of it, Mr. Rosenstein embraced the idea, even offering to write the memo about the Clinton email inquiry. He turned it in shortly after.
A day later, Mr. Trump announced the firing, and White House aides released Mr. Rosenstein's memo, labeling it the basis for Mr. Comey's dismissal. Democrats sharply criticized Mr. Rosenstein, accusing him of helping to create a cover story for the president to rationalize the termination.
''You wrote a memo you knew would be used to perpetuate a lie,'' Senator Christopher Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote on Twitter. "You own this debacle.''
The president's reliance on his memo caught Mr. Rosenstein by surprise, and he became angry at Mr. Trump, according to people who spoke to Mr. Rosenstein at the time. He grew concerned that his reputation had suffered harm.
A determined Mr. Rosenstein began telling associates that he would ultimately be ''vindicated'' for his role in the matter. One week after the firing, Mr. Rosenstein met with Mr. McCabe and at least four other senior Justice Department officials, in part to explain his role in the situation.
During their discussion, Mr. Rosenstein expressed frustration at how Mr. Trump had conducted the search for a new F.B.I. director, saying the president was failing to take the candidate interviews seriously. A handful of politicians and law enforcement officials, including Mr. McCabe, were under consideration.
To Mr. Rosenstein, the hiring process was emblematic of broader dysfunction stemming from the White House. He said both the process and the administration itself were in disarray, according to two people familiar with the discussion.
Mr. Rosenstein then raised the idea of wearing a recording device, or ''wire,'' as he put it, to secretly tape the president when he visited the White House. One participant asked whether Mr. Rosenstein was serious, and he replied animatedly that he was.
If not him, then Mr. McCabe or other F.B.I. officials interviewing with Mr. Trump for the job could perhaps wear a wire or otherwise record the president, Mr. Rosenstein offered. White House officials never checked his phone when he arrived for meetings there, Mr. Rosenstein added, implying it would be easy to secretly record Mr. Trump.
Mr. Rosenstein mentioned the possibility of wearing a wire on at least one other occasion, the people said, though they did not provide details.
The suggestion itself was remarkable. While informants or undercover agents regularly use concealed listening devices to surreptitiously gather evidence for federal investigators, they are typically targeting drug kingpins and Mafia bosses in criminal investigations, not a president viewed as ineffectively conducting his duties.
In the end, the idea went nowhere, the officials said. But they called Mr. Rosenstein's comments an example of how erratically he was behaving while he was taking part in the interviews for a replacement F.B.I. director, considering the appointment of a special counsel and otherwise running the day-to-day operations of the more than 100,000 people at the Justice Department.
At least two meetings took place on May 16 involving both Mr. McCabe and Mr. Rosenstein, the people familiar with the events of the day said. Mr. Rosenstein brought up the 25th Amendment during the first meeting of Justice Department officials, they said. A memo about the second meeting written by one participant, Lisa Page, a lawyer who worked for Mr. McCabe at the time, did not mention the topic.
Mr. Rosenstein's suggestion about the 25th Amendment was similarly a sensitive topic. The amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of cabinet officials to declare the president is ''unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.''
Image Mr. Rosenstein acknowledged that Mr. Comey was a role model but said he thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader for the F.B.I. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times Merely conducting a straw poll, even if Mr. Kelly and Mr. Sessions were on board, would be risky if another administration official were to tell the president, who could fire everyone involved to end the effort.
Mr. McCabe told other F.B.I. officials of his conversation with Mr. Rosenstein. None of the people interviewed said that they knew of him ever consulting Mr. Kelly or Mr. Sessions.
The episode is the first known instance of a named senior administration official weighing the 25th Amendment. Unidentified others have been said to discuss it, including an unnamed senior administration official who wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times. That person's identity is unknown to journalists in the Times news department.
Some of the details in Mr. McCabe's memos suggested that Mr. Rosenstein had regrets about the firing of Mr. Comey. During a May 12 meeting with Mr. McCabe, Mr. Rosenstein was upset and emotional, Mr. McCabe wrote, and said that he wished Mr. Comey were still at the F.B.I. so he could bounce ideas off him.
Mr. Rosenstein also asked F.B.I. officials on May 14, five days after Mr. Comey's firing, about calling him for advice about a special counsel. The officials responded that such a call was a bad idea because Mr. Comey was no longer in the government. And they were surprised, believing that the idea contradicted Mr. Rosenstein's stated reason for backing Mr. Comey's dismissal '-- that he had shown bad judgment in the Clinton email inquiry.
Mr. Rosenstein, 53, is a lifelong public servant. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal judge before joining the Justice Department in 1990 and was appointed United States attorney for Maryland.
Mr. Rosenstein also considered appointing as special counsel James M. Cole, himself a former deputy attorney general, three of the people said. Mr. Cole would have made an even richer target for Mr. Trump's ire than has Mr. Mueller, a lifelong Republican: Mr. Cole served four years as the No. 2 in the Justice Department during the Obama administration and worked as a private lawyer representing one of Mrs. Clinton's longtime confidants, Sidney Blumenthal.
Mr. Cole and Mr. Rosenstein have known each other for years. Mr. Cole, who declined to comment, was Mr. Rosenstein's supervisor early in his Justice Department career when he was prosecuting public corruption cases.
Mr. Trump and his allies have repeatedly attacked Mr. Rosenstein and have also targeted Mr. McCabe, who was fired in March for failing to be forthcoming when he was interviewed in an inspector general investigation around the time of Mr. Comey's dismissal. The inspector general later referred the matter to federal prosecutors in Washington.
The president's allies have seized on Mr. McCabe's lack of candor to paint a damning picture of the F.B.I. under Mr. Comey and assert that the Russia investigation is tainted.
The Justice Department denied a request in late July from Mr. Trump's congressional allies to release Mr. McCabe's memos, citing a continuing investigation that the lawmakers believed to be Mr. Mueller's. Mr. Rosenstein not only supervises that investigation but is also considered by the president's lawyers as a witness for their defense because he sought the dismissal of Mr. Comey, which is being investigated as possible obstruction of justice.
Matt Apuzzo and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.
Follow Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT and @nytmike.
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PayPal bans Infowars for promoting hate - The Verge
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 05:28
PayPal will no longer do business with Infowars, according to a post on the conspiracy theory site this morning. PayPal broke the news in an email to Infowars yesterday, saying the company had conducted a comprehensive review of the Infowars site and found that it ''promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions,'' a violation of PayPal's acceptable use policy. Infowars had used PayPal to process transactions for its on-site store; the site will have ten days to find new payment processors.
The move comes after a string of bans, which have effectively barred Infowars from distributing content on the internet's major platforms. Facebook banned a number of Infowars pages in August after public pressure. YouTube, Twitter, the iOS App Store, and others followed Facebook's lead in the weeks that followed. Infowars and its founder Alex Jones have drawn increasing criticism for harassment of the parents of Sandy Hook victims (whom Jones described as ''crisis actors'') and persistent conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Clinton staffer Seth Rich.
PayPal's partnership with the site was highlighted in August by Right Wing Watch's Jared Holt, who described ''highly publicized and egregious violations of the platform's own terms of service.'' Reached by The Verge, Holt said today's move had been a long time coming. ''Removing PayPal from the Infowars platform inhibits Jones' ability to make money from his malice,'' Holt said, ''but it's a bit odd it took so long given how egregiously Infowars violated the platform's terms of service.''
Reached by The Verge, PayPal confirmed the ban, and said it extended to all Infowars-related sites. ''Our values are the foundation for the decision we made this week,'' a PayPal spokesperson said in a statement. ''We undertook an extensive review of the Infowars sites, and found instances that promoted hate or discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions, which run counter to our core value of inclusion.''
GeenStijl: Rutte weet niks van gratis Toyota's voor jihadi's
Sat, 22 Sep 2018 05:24
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Schorsing Rusland opgeheven: 'Een klap in het gezicht van de schone sport' | TROUW
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 06:28
Rus-sia, Rus-sia, Rus-sia. Het is februari 2018. Op de Olympische Spelen in Pyeongchang laten de Russische sportfans van zich horen. Ze staan op het plein bij het ijshockeystadion om lawaai te maken. Met geschminkte gezichten zwaaien ze uitzinnig met Russische vlaggen, terwijl ze Rus-sia, Rus-sia, Rus-sia scanderen.
Lees verder na de advertentieAls de atleten hun nationaliteit niet mogen uitdragen, doen de fans het wel. Russische sporters waren de afgelopen jaren geen Russen. Althans, zo deed het Internationaal Olympisch Comit(C) IOC het voorkomen. Achter hun naam stond 'OAR', een niet bestaand land, door het IOC verzonnen. De afkorting staat voor Olympische Atleet uit Rusland. Alleen sporters die nooit zijn gepakt op doping kregen een olympisch ticket. Zij mochten onder strikte voorwaarden afreizen naar Zuid-Korea. De Russische vlag, kleding, het volkslied en officials waren verboden.
Het Wada heeft nog geen volledige toegang tot het laboratorium in MoskouIn de atletiek werden de paar Russen die mochten deelnemen aan de WK in Londen vorig jaar door de mondiale atletiekfederatie IAAF 'ANA' genoemd, geautoriseerde neutrale atleten.
Binnenkort heten Russen waarschijnlijk gewoon weer Russen. Want gisteren besloot het mondiale antidopingagentschap Wada om de schorsing van het Russische antidopingbureau Rusada op te heffen. Daarmee wordt een begin gemaakt tot rehabilitatie van Russen als volwaardige sporters, inclusief eigen tenue, vlag en volkslied.
Herman Ram, voorzitter van het Nederlandse antidopingautoriteit. (C) ANPDe beslissing zorgt voor een storm aan kritiek vanuit de internationale sportgemeenschap. Herman Ram, voorzitter van het Nederlandse antidopingautoriteit, vindt het een slecht besluit dat de Russen weer vrij spel krijgen. ''Dit is het grootste dopingschandaal van deze eeuw. Rusland heeft slechts gedeeltelijk aan de eisen voldaan.''
'Omgekeerde wereld', vindt Herman Ram. Een 'soap', vindt Rutger Smith, de kogelstoter die in zijn carri¨re vaak heeft gestreden tegen gedrogeerde sporters. De voorzitter van de atletencommissie van het Wada, de Canadese ex-langlaufster Beckie Scott, noemt de beslissing een 'klap in het gezicht van de schone sport'.
Rusada werd in 2015 geschorst voor minimaal drie jaar vanwege de grootschalige fraude bij de Olympische Spelen in Sotsji in 2014. De Russen smokkelden op de Winterspelen vuile urinestalen via gaten in de muur naar buiten om deze te verwisselen voor schone stalen. Het land kreeg drie jaar om de boel op orde te brengen.
DopingprogrammaDe eerste signalen van een minutieus voorbereid dopingprogramma, gestuurd door de staat, komen in december 2014 aan het licht als de Duitse tv-zender ARD een documentaire uitzendt over het massale gebruik van doping bij Russische sporters. Wie in het nationale team wil komen, moet zich schikken naar het Russische systeem. Dopinggebruik hoort daarbij. Het Wada start na de documentaire een onderzoek.
Na een eerste rapportage wordt het Russische antidopingbureau Rusada in 2015 geschorst. Voor de internationale atletiekfederatie IAAF is de maat ook vol. Russische atleten mogen vanaf dat moment niet deelnemen aan internationale wedstrijden. De schorsing wordt in 2016 verlengd waardoor ook de Europese kampioenschappen atletiek in Amsterdam en de Olympische Spelen in Rio aan hen voorbij gaan.
Vlak voor de Spelen van Rio presenteert jurist Richard McLaren het eerste deel van het onderzoek naar de dopingfraude. Daaruit blijkt dat Rusland er een dopingprogramma op nahoudt dat wordt gestuurd vanuit de staat. Honderden sporters zijn in de afgelopen jaren gedrogeerd om medailles te winnen. Positieve testen werden massaal weggemoffeld.
Na die rapportage ontstaat er grote druk vanuit de internationale sportgemeenschap om alle Russen in alle sporten te weren van de Spelen in Rio. Het Wada roept op tot een algehele uitsluiting, maar het IOC wil daar niet in mee en laat de beslissing bij de individuele sportbonden. Uiteindelijk gaan er 271 Russen naar Rio. Het Internationaal Paralympisch Comit(C) sluit wel alle Russen uit voor de Paralympics.
Neutrale kledingOp de WK atletiek in Londen in 2017 mogen er alleen enkele atleten uit het land meedoen die nooit zijn gepakt op doping en meerdere keren zijn getest buiten Rusland. Ze heten ANA's, lopen in neutrale kleding en krijgen geen volkslied te horen bij een overwinning.
Ondertussen komen de Winterspelen in Pyeongchang eraan en heeft Rusland de boel nog steeds niet op orde. Het wordt weer billenknijpen voor de Russische sporters. In een poging genade te krijgen, wordt de Russische kunstschaatsster Evgenia Medvedeva twee maanden voor de Spelen naar Lausanne gestuurd om de hoge heren van het IOC te overtuigen Rusland toe te laten tot de Winterspelen.
Weer durft het IOC geen harde straffen uit te delen. Russen mogen zoals verwacht toch naar Zuid-Korea. Ze zijn onder strikte voorwaarden welkom, met 'OAR' achter hun naam. Russische officials mogen zich niet laten zien.
Sports HouseIntussen is het in het Rusland-huis in Zuid-Korea gewoon feest als er een Russische medaille wordt gewonnen. Al heet het Rusland huis natuurlijk geen 'Russia House' maar 'Sports House'. Er wordt een Russische Napoleontaart aangesneden en mensen kunnen een matroesjka schilderen. Bij de uitgang krijgen bezoekers nog wat stickers mee met de tekst Russia in my heart.
Om de schorsing van Rusada dit jaar op te heffen, moest Rusland nog aan twee voorwaarden voldoen. Het McLaren-rapport moet erkend worden. En het Wada moet volledige toegang krijgen tot het laboratorium in Moskou waar nog veel informatie verborgen ligt. Dat is nog niet gebeurd.
Toch adviseerde een commissie van het Wada vorige week dat het tijd was om de schorsing van Rusada op te heffen, mits er voor 31 december van dit jaar alsnog toegang komt tot het lab.
Donderdag werd de schorsing opgeheven. Herman Ram verwacht dat er voor internationale sportbonden als atletiekfederatie IAAF niets anders op zit dan Russen toe te laten nu het Russische dopinglab haar officile status terug heeft. Als Rus, met vlag en volkslied. Ram blijft erbij: hij vindt het onbegrijpelijk.
Lees ook:Kogelstoter Smith gelooft niets van antidopingbeleid van 'schurkenstaat' Rusland"Je geeft jezelf steeds de schuld, zoekt naar redenen waarom het net niet lukte. Maar achteraf blijkt dat ik recht had op veel meer." Kogelstoter Rutger Smith heeft zo zijn gedachten over het antidopingbeleid van Rusland.
Applaus voor Van Zweden bij New York Phil | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 06:25
Op zijn welkomstgala dirigeerde hij niet alleen Ravel en Stravinsky, maar ook de wereldpremi¨re van een compositie van de Amerikaanse Ashley Fure (36). Van Zweden (57) staat open voor vernieuwing. Later deze maand komt er nog meer jong talent uit de VS aan bod: Conrad Tao (24).
In oktober geeft Van Zweden ook ruim baan aan een Nederlander die niet meer zo piep is: Louis Andriessen (79). Die schreef speciaal voor Van Zweden en het New York Phil het stuk Agamemnon, dat in New York in wereldpremi¨re gaat tijdens het festival The Art of Andriessen.
Als chef-dirigent van het New York Phil treedt Van Zweden in de sporen van onder anderen Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein en Willem Mengelberg. De komst van de Nederlander zal weinig New Yorkers zijn ontgaan: de stad hangt vol met posters met zijn foto en de tekst 'New York, meet Jaap'.
Hoewel Van Zweden het ANP afgelopen week vertelde over een 'paar jaar' toch wat meer aandacht te willen geven aan zijn familie en met name zijn kleinkinderen, zei hij deze week in De Volkskrant best open te staan voor een combinatie van de baan in New York met die van chef-dirigent van het Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam. Dat zit immers plotseling zonder door het vertrek van Daniele Gatti. 'Maar ik zou het alleen doen als de musici echt heel graag willen dat ik kom'', vertelde hij de krant.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
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Podcast shakeup! Panoply, iHeartMedia, Stuff, and'...Malcolm Gladwell? are all making industry moves >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 05:29
Sept. 13, 2018, 9:30 a.m.
Are these moves a harbinger of consolidation, a healthy restructuring for a rapidly growing industry, or something else entirely?
It's been a tumultuous 24 hours in the podcast business!
First, late yesterday afternoon, our own Nick Quah broke via his newsletter the news that Panoply '-- the Slate-born podcast network that had been tightly connected with the newsier, more public-radio-y end of that business '-- was getting out of the content business altogether.
Several sources in the company inform me that, earlier this afternoon, the company internally announced that it will no longer be developing new podcasts and that it will be letting go of its entire editorial staff. I'm told that the layoffs are effective starting the end of the month.
The company also announced that it will now shift its operational focus to the Megaphone targeted marketing platform '-- that is, Panoply's podcast hosting, analytics, and monetization technology, which it acquired in the summer of 2015 and, more recently, forged a partnership with Nielsen to build a marketplace for targeted podcast ads'...
Prior to this point, Panoply, a sister company of Slate, was your standard end-to-end podcast company. It produced original shows (like The Message, Empire of Blood, Family Ghosts, and By the Book) and handled ad sales for a portfolio of podcasts. It also helped produce and monetize existing shows like You Must Remember This. In its earlier days, the company pursued a content strategy that heavily involved production partnerships with external publications like Politico and Tablet Magazine, and has since shifted to focus more on original programming.
Panoply had not been known as, well, one of the more stable podcast companies, but the move was pretty shocking given that it was busy announcing its new fall show lineup just a week ago:
We're proud to announce our fall line up at @iab #PodcastUpfront! This November, gear up for #BrokenRecord, a music show helmed by @Gladwell, and #PassengerList, a suspense thriller with writing by @laurenshippen and @MaraWilson starring #KellyMarieTran. pic.twitter.com/o3EZI1ZyHw
'-- Panoply (@Panoply) September 6, 2018
After Nick's story went out, Panoply CEO Brendan Monaghan got back to him with a comment:
After much consideration, Panoply has decided to focus solely on our growing podcast hosting and ad services business, and exit the podcast content business. Our editorial staff was notified of the change today. They are an amazingly talented and creative group of people, and we will miss working with them.
Happily, some of Panoply's producers and shows will be moving to our sister company Slate. The last day for most staff editorial staff members will be Sep. 28, although some will continue working on projects for a limited time after that'...
Our main goal in this reorganization is to reinforce Megaphone's position as the clear leader in podcasting technology and advertising services, and every person at the company will be laser focused on creating tools to help podcasters thrive.
I'm privy to no particular insight on Panoply, and I never like it when anyone gets out of the content business. But in any young industry there are significant opportunities to be had at the infrastructure-building, tool-providing level, and apparently Panoply thought its offerings were more differentiated there than in the hit-or-miss original content game. That doesn't do much for the people and shows affected by the move, of course:
Hey friends, our podcast network Panoply is shutting down content + ad sales so this is a scary time for us at Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. If you can send us some love or a small donation, we'd be so glad as we figure out how to weather this storm x https://t.co/PabrU1K202 https://t.co/cXHY0dRI1t
'-- HPandtheSacredText (@hpsacredtext) September 12, 2018
We can't believe how fast we hit our goal of $1k/month to keep HPST alive through OoP. TY! When we did, Patreon showed our goal of $8,000/month to make HBP happen. Some kindly emailed us why? Thank you for that great question, and here is our honest reply: https://t.co/bgSZGonbcK
'-- HPandtheSacredText (@hpsacredtext) September 13, 2018
Thinking of all my @Panoply friends today especially the delightful @kristenmeinzer & @JolentaG. Raw deal for all involved. If anyone wants to talk about how to handle the collapse of your show, hmu. I know a thing or two about that.
'-- Lauren Ober (@OberandOut) September 13, 2018
Hey everyone we're suprised to hear that @Panoply is closing podcast operations. Don't worry @SwitchedOnPop is not going anywhere! The show is doing better than ever'--big announcements coming soon. And we're already working on finding a new home to break down pop with all of you.
'-- Switched On Pop ð¶ (@SwitchedOnPop) September 13, 2018
Yeah this was super upsetting to find out without any foresight. The show is doing better than ever, so we will absolutely continue. We just need to find a new home.
'-- Switched On Pop ð¶ (@SwitchedOnPop) September 13, 2018
@RememberThisPod reading abt @Panoply and fearing the worst. Tell me how to send you money to keep the podcast going
'-- Annie Corrigan (@oboeontheradio) September 13, 2018
Panoply is closing down content and apparently won't be selling ads for their existing podcasts anymore. If you have inside info on that, Joseph is a great person to talk to. If you have any favorite Panoply podcasts, maybe now is a good time to check them on Patreon. https://t.co/66tkfKDM8w
'-- Hank Green '' 13 DAYS LEFT! (@hankgreen) September 12, 2018
what a strange move to make a week after announcing a new slate of podcasts. I feel terrible for the entire editorial staff, that have been doing fantastic work. https://t.co/SKLlvYuSQc
'-- Joseph Fink (@PlanetofFinks) September 12, 2018
The news about @Panoply today is such a bummer. I was hired as the first producer at Panoply, and saw the network grow from zero shows to many shows. I came to the office to record a podcast the day after my wedding. Let's just say, I was invested in the place. (1/2)
'-- Laura Mayer (@lrmayer) September 12, 2018
Your audio project/company/storytelling idea/podcast/soundtrack/movie/video game/choose your adventure/sonic oddity radio shows are about to get a lot better. The @Panoply All-Stars are ready for you. https://t.co/rPwd7TxA1o
'-- Efim Shapiro (@efimthedream) September 12, 2018
This past year my anger toward @Panoply was one of my main driving forces to succeed. Although the management suck there are a lot of good people there who are awesome and will move on to great new things and I look forward to seeing their what they do next. To freedom ðð¾
'-- Renay (@RenayRich) September 12, 2018
They've been ruthlessly firing people the last 18 months, me being one of them now they've mass fired everyone else.
'-- Renay (@RenayRich) September 13, 2018
Real disappointed to hear @Panoply is folding its' content wing. Folks made some great shows + employed some of the best in the business, like @SamDingman + @KristenMeinzer to name but two. Audio recruiters, take note!
'-- Chris Berube (@ChrisBerube) September 12, 2018
Folks across the way at Slate made sure to note that their podcasts weren't impacted by the move. Those include shows like The Gist, Slow Burn, Trumpcast, and the various Gabfests:
BTW, this has no bearing on the podcasts produced by @slate. We are still 100% in the game. The bad thing is that we no longer work in the same building with some of the best audio producers in the business. The editorial team at @Panoply is a force. https://t.co/gJo3uSbOoz
'-- Steve Lickteig (@slickteig) September 12, 2018
But there was some Slate/podcast news that was oddly timed with the Panoply shift: Slate Group editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg announced he was leaving to start'...a new podcast company with Malcolm Gladwell:
After 22 years I'm leaving Slate to launch a new audio company with Malcolm @Gladwell. We'll make Revisionist History, Broken Record, and lots more. Love to friends @slate & @panoply, the best people in digital media. Thanks to @oshy, GHCO and Don Graham for so much support.
'-- Jacob Weisberg (@jacobwe) September 12, 2018
I am trying to convince Jacob to name the new company after an obscure early 20th century Marxist theoretician. Stay tuned. https://t.co/IlRLnFKLKj
'-- Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell) September 12, 2018
The Gladwell show Revisionist History was a Panoply production. And Broken Record was announced as a Panoply production just last week.
With barely enough time to digest all that news, here comes more news! The Wall Street Journal reports that radio giant iHeartMedia '-- f.k.a. Clear Channel '-- is buying Stuff Media, producer of popular podcasts like How Stuff Works and Atlanta Monster, for $55 million.
News: The second-biggest podcast company is buying the fifth-largest podcast company for $55 million.https://t.co/ALHEsXtK9U(By audience #s)
'-- Ben Mullin (@BenMullin) September 13, 2018
''Podcast is to talk what streaming is to music,'' said [iHeartMedia CEO Bob] Pittman in an interview. ''It's very critical to us and very strategic.''
As part of the agreement, Stuff Media CEO Conal Byrne will join iHeart and lead its entire podcast division'...
Last month, public-radio companies PRX and PRI agreed to merge in a bid to capitalize on podcasts.
Mr. Pittman said the deal was aimed at beefing up iHeartMedia's existing podcasting business, which already has an audience of more than 5.6 million monthly listeners, according to podcasting-analytics firm Podtrac.
The acquisition increases iHeart's lead among a group of publishers in terms of audience, though it still trails No. 1 NPR. iHeart, which already hosts more than 750 original podcasts and carries over 20,000 on its app, is the top commercial podcast publisher.
(Note that there are plenty of problems with Podtrac's rankings.)
Is this a classic case of legacy media (iHeart) buying into its digital disruptor (podcasting), la the investments of companies like Comcast, Hearst, Time Warner investing into digital natives like BuzzFeed, Vox Media, and Mic? Or something less positive, a sign of further shakeouts in an industry that, while far more structured than in its loosey-goosey early days, is still relatively decentralized? We'll find out eventually.
Photo of Malcolm Gladwell at Pop!Tech 2008 by
Kris Kr¼g used under a Creative Commons license.
Newly Released Eric Holder Memo: Feds Can Use FISA to Spy on Journalists - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 05:08
YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS/Newscom The federal government can use the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on journalists. So said a pair of 2015 Justice Department memos, including one from then''Attorney General Eric Holder.
FISA is controversial in itself. The act is supposed to be used to justify surveillance on foreign targets. But as Reason's Scott Shackford has explained, intelligence agencies often use it to secretly spy on American citizens, sometimes without a warrant.
According to the newly released documents, obtaining permission to surveil members of the media is not easy, but it is possible. In one memo, dated March 19, Holder says FISA applications against journalists must be approved by the attorney general and deputy attorney general prior to being brought before a FISA court.
In the other memo, dated January 8, the deputy attorney general writes that "the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General shall retain discretion to refer such FISA applications to the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division for Disposition."
Both memos were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought against multiple federal agencies by a pair of press freedom groups: the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. The lawsuit originally sought answers regarding the Trump administration's war on leaks.
Berkeley law professor Jim Dempsey, a former member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (an independent agency within the executive branch), claims that the information contained in the memos is "a recognition that monitoring journalists poses special concerns and requires higher approval." Dempsey tells The Intercept he sees the rules "as a positive, and something that the media should welcome."
Patrick Eddington, a policy analyst in homeland security and civil liberties at the Cato Institute, disagrees. "If the government wants to conduct surveillance of any American for alleged criminal conduct, they should have to obtain a probable cause-based warrant from a federal judge, exactly as the Fourth Amendment requires," Eddington tells Reason. "These guidelines," he adds, "degrade that Fourth Amendment standard to the point of making it meaningless."
On top of that, we don't know whether the guidelines are being violated. Past audits of the Department of Justice "have routinely shown violations of the law," Eddington says, so "we have no reason to believe these guidelines have not been similarly ignored or abused."
While the memos date to the Obama era, the Trump administration seems willing to snoop on journalists as well. Earlier this year, the Justice Department demanded the phone and email records of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins in an attempt to find out whether her source, a former Senate aide, had leaked classified information.
Eddington suspects the guidelines for spying on journalists under President Donald Trump may be "looser" than they were under Obama, especially given Trump's "almost daily stated antipathy towards the press as a whole."
Regardless of who's in the White House, one constant remains: The federal government doesn't seem to have any problems with going after journalists.
Apple gives you a TRUST rating '' and it's based on your phone call and email habits
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 05:00
APPLE is now assigning trust ratings to iPhone users, based on your phone call and email habits.
The new ratings were added as part of the latest iOS 12 update, which rolled out to users on Monday, September 17.
Getty - Contributor
Apple design chief Jone Ive (left) and CEO Tim Cook (right) revealed new iPhone models last week '' but also quietly introduced a user-rating systemApple's new system was revealed after the company updated its iTunes policy page on the official website.
According to the iPhone maker, Apple builds a score based on the number calls and emails you send and receive '' to help spot fraudulent transactions made using your device.
"To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase," Apple explained.
"The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers."
The number of phone calls you make and receive, and the amount of emails you send and receive, are used to determine a trust scoreSo how does it actually work?
Apple has a bunch of different anti-fraud systems in place to work out whether payments you make are legitimate.
One of these, added in the new iOS 12 update, is a numeric trust score that's associated with your device.
This score is sent directly to Apple when you make a purchase.
The data used to create the score '' including the number of phone calls you've made '' is only ever stored on your device.
Importantly, when Apple sees the score, it doesn't see the contents of your communications. It's not reading your emails, for instance.
These scores are also encrypted in transit, which means anyone who managed to intercept them would only see gibberish.
Apple says it holds onto the scores for a limited period of time, although it's not clear how long that is.
Apple launch promo for firm's three new smartphones - the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XRApple told The Sun that the calculated score is a single number, which is applied to a large number of accounts.
The Californian tech giant maintains that there's no way to work backwards from the score to actual user behaviour.
The good news is that Apple says this score isn't being used for targeted advertising '' it's simply a fraud-prevention measure.
It's still not entirely clear, however, how knowing the number of calls and emails you make or receive can help stop fraud.
Apple said it's fully committed to transparency, and worked hard to make sure the score was privacy-preserving.
It's currently not possible to see your own trust score on your device.
However, Apple told The Sun that users can request any of their data at any time from this link.
We're not entirely sure the trust score would be included in the data you receive though, because Apple only hangs onto it temporarily.
Getty - Contributor
The trust scores were added as part of Apple's new iOS 12 update, which is available to download nowThe revelation comes exactly one month after the Washington Post revealed Facebook was also giving users trust ratings.
The rating system, later confirmed to The Sun, would signal whether a user was "trustworthy", helping to "identify malicious actors".
Facebook tracks your behaviour across its site and uses that info to assign you a rating.
Tessa Lyons, who heads up Facebook's fight against fake news, said: "One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles.
"For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person's future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true."
According to Lyons, a user's rating "isn't meant to be an absolute indicator of a person's credibility".
Instead, it's intended as a measurement of working out how risky a user's actions may be.
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At the time, a Facebook spokesperson told The Sun: "The idea that we have a centralised 'reputation' score for people that use Facebook is just plain wrong and the headline in the Washington Post is misleading.
"What we're actually doing: we developed a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system.
"The reason we do this is to make sure that our fight against misinformation is as effective as possible."
We've asked Apple for clarification on whether it's possible to request your score. We'll update this story with any response.
Which tech company do you trust the most: Apple, Facebook, Google or Microsoft? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at email@example.com or call 0207 782 4368 . We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
Another Potential Witness Named By Kavanaugh Accuser Denies Claims | Daily Wire
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:56
A second man named by Christine Blasey Ford as one of the four boys who attended the high school pool party in which Brett Kavanaugh allegedly tried to force himself on her has denied Ford's claims.
Ford, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University, claims that 35 years ago, when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17, Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her while another boy, Mark Judge, was in the room. When Judge jumped on the two, apparently "rough-housing," Ford said she managed to get away.
Kavanaugh and Judge have both denied the allegation. Now a second potential witness who Ford says was at the party, Patrick J. Smyth, has likewise denied any knowledge of the party or alleged incident.
Smyth, who graduated with Kavanaugh from Georgetown Prep back in 1983, gave his response in a letter sent by his attorney Eric Bruce to the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained by CNN.
"I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as 'PJ' who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post," Smyth says in the statement. "I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh."
Smyth also provided his unequivocal endorsement of Kavanaugh: "Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women. To safeguard my own privacy and anonymity, I respectfully request that the Committee accept this statement in response to any inquiry the Committee may have."
Judge likewise denies witnessing Kavanaugh act in such a way, calling the accusation "absolutely nuts."
"It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way," Judge told The Weekly Standard last week:
After Judge categorically denied ever witnessing an attempted assault by Kavanaugh, I asked him if he could recall any sort of rough-housing with a female student back in high school (an incident that might have been interpreted differently by parties involved). "I can't. I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys. It was an all-boys school, we would rough-house with each other," he said. "I don't remember any of that stuff going on with girls."
Kavanaugh has repeatedly and adamantly denied the allegation and has volunteered to say so under oath.
"This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes '-- to her or to anyone," Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday. "Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity."
Senate Republicans have offered Ford the chance to testify in either a public or closed hearing on Monday, but her lawyer is insisting that the FBI launch an investigation before she agrees to appear in front of the committee.
Related: Feinstein Under Fire, Scrambles To Walk Back 'Truthful' Comment About Kavanaugh Accusation
The Post-Meritocracy Manifesto - Created by Coraline Ada Ehmke
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:36
The Post-Meritocracy ManifestoEnglish Deutsch Espa±ol Nederlands Portuguªs à¤¹à¤à¤¨à¥à¤...à¥ à¤à¤¾à¤·à¤¾Meritocracy is a founding principle of the open source movement, and the ideal of meritocracy is perpetuated throughout our field in the way people are recruited, hired, retained, promoted, and valued.
But meritocracy has consistently shown itself to mainly benefit those with privilege, to the exclusion of underrepresented people in technology. The idea of merit is in fact never clearly defined; rather, it seems to be a form of recognition, an acknowledgement that ''this person is valuable insofar as they are like me.''
(If you are not familiar with criticisms of meritocracy, please refer to the resources on this page.)
It is time that we as an industry abandon the notion that merit is something that can be measured, can be pursued on equal terms by every individual, and can ever be distributed fairly.
What does a post-meritocracy world look like? It is founded on a core set of values and principles, an affirmation of belonging that applies to everyone who engages in the practice of software development.
Our ValuesThese core values and principles are:
We do not believe that our value as human beings is intrinsically tied to our value as knowledge workers. Our professions do not define us; we are more than the work we do.We believe that interpersonal skills are at least as important as technical skills.We can add the most value as professionals by drawing on the diversity of our identities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Homogeneity is an antipattern.We can be successful while leading rich, full lives. Our success and value is not dependent on exerting all of our energy on contributing to software.We have the obligation to use our positions of privilege, however tenuous, to improve the lives of others.We must make room for people who are not like us to enter our field and succeed there. This means not only inviting them in, but making sure that they are supported and empowered.We have an ethical responsibility to refuse to work on software that will negatively impact the well-being of other people.We acknowledge the value of non-technical contributors as equal to the value of technical contributors.We understand that working in our field is a privilege, not a right. The negative impact of toxic people in the workplace or the larger community is not offset by their technical contributions.We are devoted to practicing compassion and not contempt. We refuse to belittle other people because of their choices of tools, techniques, or languages.The field of software development embraces technical change, and is made better by also accepting social change.We strive to reflect our values in everything that we do. We recognize that values that are espoused but not practiced are not values at all.Signatories To add your name to the list of signatories, sign this form.
Coraline Ada Ehmke Aurynn Shaw Timothy Caleb Nordloh Nick Wilde Dax Murray Franzi Trabold Kevin Laude Sareh Heidari Tim Chevalier Tobias Goeschel Samir Talwar Christoph Neuroth Sonia Gupta Steve Huff Brad Grzesiak Vrinda Malhotra Daniel Nº±ez Brad Fults Sophie D(C)ziel Jennifer Lyn Parsons Jenna Charlton Kathy Heffern Jessica Kerr Danielle White Jordan Rose Joshua Zimmerman Rachel Chalmers Ryan Mitchell James Socol Jameson Hampton Paul Hinze Jacob Walker Greg Dunlap Leon Miller-Out Matthew Boeh Florian Gilcher Joseph Miller Marc Drummond Beth Debertin Bruno Albuquerque Henry Smith Lucas Moore Benjamin Kampmann Yuvi Panda Derek Pennycuff Gavin van Lelyveld Brittany McCullough Nat Dudley jo flynn Min Ragan-Kelley Michael Carius Jer Lance Alex O'Neal Steph Nagoski Mark Nicol Brion Vibber Paul Tyng Julian Simioni Eric Stiens Adrian Cheater Matt Boehm Klaus Purer Joshua Bartz Duilio Ruggiero Evelyn Klein Conrad Heiney Jeff Hoover Billie Alice Thompson sam raker Dave McPherson Carina C. Zona Jonathan Mezach Brent Miller Jacob Lukas Mark Nicol Guillaume Gay Benjamin Dumke-von der Ehe benjamin melan§on Michael Cook Danielle Grace Jackson Guido Vilari±o Dana Scheider Jennifer Konikowski Ricardo Yasuda Christoph Grabo Benjamin Lippi Frederick Wells Joe Carnahan Alex Kitchens Matt Beland Melody Horn Alex Wynter Aaron Weiss Brant Bobby Michael Hunger Carly Ho Nathan L. Walls Claudius Link Kai Dalgleish Mickie Betz Matt Mills Dave Latham Kate Taggart Brian Dorsey Rich Burroughs Erik Foss JoseLuis Torres Isabella Rebel Nick Morgan Madalyn Parker Nora Howard Katherine Prevost Claudius Link Hannah Evelyn Read Rich Siegel Addie Beseda Simon Welsh Boris Buegling Steve Malsam Emma Tsujimoto Cunningham Mark Mzyk Sam Whited Chris Kreussling Matthew Weitzel Moisis Langley Missailidis Eric Sipple Matt Siegel Alexis Moody Jon Yurek Kenny Bastani Logan Davis Eric Miller Sia Xiong Karl McCollester Guilmour Rossi Erin Atkinson Adam Duston Thorsten Brunzendorf Joshua Conner Greg Signal Celedonio Gracia Nathaniel J. Smith Alex M. 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Cody Wilson is on the lam with $1 million in bitcoin | Southern Poverty Law Center
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:35
Before he departed, Wilson cleared out personal cryptocurrency accounts and one related to his business, Defense Distributed, which sells a boutique milling machine for finishing unregistered AR-15 lower receivers.
The charges against Wilson stem from an alleged encounter with an unnamed victim on Aug. 15. A sworn affidavit by a police detective with the Austin, Texas, police department's Human Trafficking/Vice Unit maintains that Wilson and the victim, who is under the age of 17, met at a coffee shop after exchanging nude photos on the website SugarDaddyMeet. The affidavit said Wilson then drove the victim to an Austin hotel in a car licensed to Defense Distributed. Wilson and the victim had sex and he paid her $500 in $100 bills before dropping her off at a nearby Whataburger, according to the affidavit.
As reported by Wired, Wilson ''was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police, and police were investigating him for having sex with a minor.''
Bitcoin accounts identified as belonging to Wilson and his company by Hatewatch staff show that on Aug. 16, 2018, in a little over an hour, Cody Wilson emptied more than 60 bitcoin accounts with five transactions totaling $986,525. These transactions can be viewed through the cryptocurrency's public ledger.
All funds were transferred to a new 1FBxL account with a value of around $1 million.
On Aug. 31, 2018, Wilson emptied this new account, valued at $986,525.37, and moved these funds to a new account, 1Q6B2, where it still sits.
No IP addresses or countries of origin are visible for those transactions through the public ledger.
Click here to download a PDF of the image below for clickable links to the wallets.
A commander of the Austin Police Department said Wilson's last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, a country with no extradition treaty with the United States.
In 2014 Wilson created a short-lived project called ''Dark Wallet'' with British cryptocurrency pioneer Amir Taaki. Dark Wallet was intended as a secretive alternative to traditional cryptocurrency platforms, which typically allow transmissions of funds to be traced. Dark Wallet would hide account activity through a process known as ''mixing,'' which involves breaking up bitcoin transactions in between the sending and receiving addresses to make the transactions harder to trace through the blockchain.
Wilson publicly demonstrated his knowledge of cryptography and digital currencies. In an interview with the BBC's ''HARDtalk'' he discussed his holdings in private key cold storage wallets.
In an email exchange with Hatewatch staff in February 2018, Wilson was evasive when asked about periodic transfers over the course of three years of Defense Distributed's bitcoin into cold storage wallets.
Wilson responded: ''Re: the BTC, I suppose your numbers are incomplete and I don't recognize your characterization of my habits. What's public is public, but I don't 'move' bitcoin and also rarely spend any. I'd certainly never deny having it though.''
>>Two of Wilson's projects are listed in the Intelligence Project's 2017 report on domestic Hate and Extremism. The now-defunct Hatreon, listed on the Hate Map, was explicitly intended to serve as a fundraising platform for the racist ''alt-right'' in the face of efforts by tech companies to begin policing hate content.'¨'¨'¨
When questioned in media interviews about his decision to provide material support for the alt-right after the disastrous aftermath of its Aug. 12, 2017, rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Wilson dismissed the danger of promoting the alt-right.
No I'm not worried about [helping fund the alt-right]. When I'm talking about incitement or imminent lawsuits, I'm talking about, like, when you're outside of someone's home and there's a mob and you say, 'There he is, get him!' That's not protected speech. But these personalities that use Hatreon right now, these people who have been kicked off these services, these people are at worst trolls, performance artists, provacateurs, vulgarians. And at best, they represent through their hyperbole or through their extreme thinking or presentations, elements of a political speech that should not be censored. That's entirely possible, and you don't have to join my shitty little site with its dumb name. But you know no matter what that if you do won't be kicked off of it.
Hatreon ultimately floundered after credit card companies blocked the use of their services on the site. The most recent update to Hatreon, on Feb. 9, 2018, reads, ''Pledging is currently disabled while we upgrade our systems.'''¨'¨'¨
In an appearance on the white nationalist podcast Red Ice Radio's ''Radio 3Fourteen,'' Wilson supported maintaining public memorials to the Confederacy.
''And so when I see, like, the elimination of a symbol, right, the elimination '-- I'm not just sympathizing with Southern white racists '-- I'm basically recognizing a dangerous mode of post-politics: the need to eradicate a historical narrative.''
Wilson has himself hinted at racist views. In an appearance on ''YOUR WELCOME'' with Michael Malice, Wilson propagated a prominent white nationalist canard that holds that minorities are inherently more violent and are responsible for most gun-related homicides.
I mean it just comes down to how you interpret the figures and the statistics. I mean for our per capita gun ownership it's actually a decent violent crime rate, right? It's actually a pretty reasonable gun homicide rate. And when we do digest the numbers even further we see and can begin to see specific causes for the gun crime that we do see. It isn't white people in North Dallas shooting each other to death on the streets, right? And I'll probably leave my analysis at that comment.
Wilson also bragged in the appearance about calculations by Hatewatch that he generated a considerable portion of the alt-right's fundraising in 2017.
Defense Distributed, Wilson's main business venture, is listed among other antigovernment extremists based on its founder's stated antigovernment beliefs. '¨'¨'¨Wilson created the company to legitimize his plans to publish design files for a downloadable 3D-printed pistol, known as the Liberator.
Barred from releasing the files on the open web, Wilson instead began selling a boutique compact milling machine specifically designed to create unmarked AR-15 lower receivers. The Ghost Gunner has generated considerable revenue for Wilson, to the tune of around $6 million by the 2016 presidential election. It is unclear what percentage of that revenue was generated through cryptocurrency.
Many in the extremist community were excited by the potential of Wilson's ''Ghost Gunner'' machine, particularly neo-Nazi hacker Andrew ''weev'' Auernheimer, who discussed an illegal moneymaking scheme utilizing the product on an episode of his podcast:
Gotta teach those niggas to use the Ghost Gunner my friend. That's a legal thing. You could literally rent out a Ghost Gunner to every fucking nigger that you wanted. Just rent time on it, go to the fucking hood and teach them how to'...
Brent Fallin's Facebook post
Brent Fallin, a member of the neo-Confederate League of the South and Ph.D. student at Duke University's Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory, shared a post in 2016 pondering whether he could 3D-print a weapon like Wilson's Liberator on one of the university's machines.
'¨'¨'¨A recent lawsuit intended to block Wilson from posting gun files to the open web brought his name back into the headlines and garnered considerable public support from many on the mainstream right.
Ann Coulter tweeted, ''So far, the only smart person I've seen talking on TV this week is Cody Wilson on Fox News Sunday. @Radomysisky'' on Aug. 5. The NRA's Dana Loesch was effusive in her praise of Wilson's crusade to circumvent conventional manufacturing restraints on the private ownership of firearms.
Wilson shared two fundraisers to aid his pending legal battles against 19 state attorneys general, both of which raised around $348,000, with an option for funders to donate in cryptocurrency.
Wherever Wilson is now, his flight from the law will be greatly aided by his knowledge of and access to difficult-to-trace cryptocurrencies.
Photo credit Kelly West/AFP/Getty Images
'No accident' Brett Kavanaugh's female law clerks 'looked like models', Yale professor told students | US news | The Guardian
Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:27
A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a ''mentor to women'' privately told a group of law students last year that it was ''not an accident'' that Kavanaugh's female law clerks all ''looked like models'' and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned.
Amy Chua, a Yale professor who wrote a bestselling book on parenting called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on ways they could dress to exude a ''model-like'' femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh's chambers, according to sources.
Sign up for the US morning briefing. We'll email you the first briefing on Monday, 24 September.Kavanaugh is facing intense scrutiny in Washington following an allegation made by Christine Blasey Ford that he forcibly held her down and groped her while they were in high school. He has denied the allegation. The accusation has mired Kavanaugh's confirmation in controversy, drawing parallels to allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill in the 1990s.
Yale provided Kavanaugh with many of the judge's clerks over the years, and Chua played an outsized role in vetting the clerks who worked for him. But the process made some students deeply uncomfortable.
One source said that in at least one case, a law student was so put off by Chua's advice about how she needed to look, and its implications, that she decided not to pursue a clerkship with Kavanaugh, a powerful member of the judiciary who had a formal role in vetting clerks who served in the US supreme court.
In one case, Jed Rubenfeld, also an influential professor at Yale and who is married to Chua, told a prospective clerk that Kavanaugh liked a certain ''look''.
''He told me, 'You should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look,''' one woman told the Guardian. ''He did not say what the look was and I did not ask.''
Sources who spoke to the Guardian about their experiences with Chua and Rubenfeld would only speak under the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution and damage to their future careers. Some elements of this story were first published by the Huffington Post.
[Rubenfeld] told me, 'Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look'. He did not say what the look was and I did not ask
Chua advised the same student Rubenfeld spoke to that she ought to dress in an ''outgoing'' way for her interview with Kavanaugh, and that the student should send Chua pictures of herself in different outfits before going to interview. The student did not send the photos.
There is no allegation that the female students who worked for Kavanaugh were chosen because of their physical appearance or that they were not qualified.
However, the remarks from Chua and Rubenfeld raise questions about why the couple believed it was important to emphasize the students' physical appearance when discussing jobs with Kavanaugh. The couple were not known to do that in connection with other judges, sources said.
''It is possible that they were making observations but not following edicts from him,'' said one student who received such instructions. ''I have no reason to believe he was saying, 'Send me the pretty ones', but rather that he was reporting back and saying, 'I really like so and so,' and the way he described them led them to form certain conclusions.''
Kavanaugh is close to Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement from the supreme court left an opening, and Kavanaugh was one of three judges who vetted clerks to serve in Kennedy's chambers. His role as a so-called ''feeder'' judge made his clerkships among the most coveted posts for law students across the country, but especially at his alma mater, Yale.
According to one source, Chua invited a group of students that she mentored to a bar last year to catch up and discuss their plans for clerkships. The conversation turned to a high-profile #MeToo case that was emerging in the news at the time involving a well-known public figure.
The group began to talk about whether the federal judiciary would ever face similar scrutiny, and, according to a source, Chua said she did not believe it would. She told the students she had known about allegedly abusive and harassing behavior by another judge, Alex Kozinski, who was head of the ninth circuit and was forced to retire from the bench last year after more than a dozen women accused him of harassment.
The conversation then turned to Kozinski's protege and good friend Kavanaugh, who one source said was a familiar name even though he had not yet been nominated to the high court. Chua allegedly told the students that it was ''no accident'' that Kavanaugh's female clerks ''looked like models''. Student reacted with surprise, and quickly pointed out that Chua's own daughter was due to clerk for Kavanaugh.
A source said that Chua quickly responded, saying that her own daughter would not put up with any inappropriate behaviour.
Chua has cancelled her classes at Yale this semester and, according to her office, has been hospitalised and is not taking calls. Rubenfeld sent an email to the Yale Law School community that said his wife had been ill and in hospital and had a long period of recuperation ahead of her.
The Guardian has learned that Rubenfeld is currently the subject of an internal investigation at Yale. The investigation is focused on Rubenfeld's conduct, particularly with female law students. Students have also raised related concerns to Yale authorities about Chua's powerful influence in the clerkships process. The investigation was initiated before Kavanaugh was nominated by Donald Trump to serve on the high court.
Rubenfeld said in a statement to the Guardian: ''In June, Yale University informed me that it would conduct what it terms an 'informal review' of certain allegations, but that to preserve anonymity, I was not entitled to know any specifics. As a result, I do not know what I am alleged to have said or done. I was further advised that the allegations were not of the kind that would jeopardize my position as a long-tenured member of the faculty.
This is the first we have heard claims that Chua coached students to look 'like models'. We will look into these claims
''For some years, I have contended with personal attacks and false allegations in reaction to my writing on difficult and controversial but important topics in the law. I have reason to suspect I am now facing more of the same. While I believe strongly that universities must conduct appropriate reviews of any allegations of misconduct, I am also deeply concerned about the intensifying challenges to the most basic values of due process and free, respectful academic expression and exchange at Yale and around the country.
''Nevertheless, I stand ready to engage with this process in the hope that it can be expeditiously concluded.''
In a statement, Yale Law School said it could not confirm or deny the existence of an internal investigation.
A Yale Law School official said in an emailed statement: ''This is the first we have heard claims that Professor Chua coached students to look 'like models'. We will look into these claims promptly, taking into account the fact that Professor Chua is currently unreachable due to serious illness. If true, this advice is clearly unacceptable.''
The official added: ''I can assure you that we take allegations of faculty misconduct very seriously.''
Chua and her husband are towering figures at Yale and were described by one student as being the centre of gravity at the elite law school, connecting students to jobs and clerkships, and rewarding loyalty.
The couple wrote a controversial book together in 2014 called The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. It said that a mix of feeling superior with some insecurity were two traits that led to success. It also emphasised the need for ''impulse control''.
The couple have hired a well-known crisis communications expert but he did not respond to specific questions from the Guardian about Chua's remarks or the internal investigation.
In an emailed statement, Chua told the Guardian: ''For the more than 10 years I've known him, Judge Kavanaugh's first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence. He hires only the most qualified clerks, and they have been diverse as well as exceptionally talented and capable.
''There is good reason so many of them have gone on to supreme court clerkships; he only hires those who are extraordinarily qualified. As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal, he has also been an exceptional mentor to his female clerks and a champion of their careers. Among my proudest moments as a parent was the day I learned our daughter would join those ranks.''
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Guardian was assisted in its reporting by Elie Mystal, the executive editor of the Above the Law blog. If you have tips on this story please contact the reporter Stephanie.Kirchgaessner@theguardian.com
Apple creates an iTunes device trust score based on your calls and emails (updated) | VentureBeat
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 22:48
The provision appears in the iTunes Store & Privacy windows of iOS and tvOS devices:
To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase. The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.
This provision is unusual for a few reasons, perhaps the least of which is that Apple TVs don't make phone calls or send emails. As such, it's unclear how Apple computes the device trust score for iTunes purchases made through Apple TVs, but there's other potential ''information about how you use your device'' that could be scraped and abstracted.
It's equally unclear how recording and tracking the number of calls or emails traversing a user's iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch would better enable Apple to verify a device's identity than just checking its unique device identifier. Every one of these devices has both hardcoded serial numbers and advertising identifiers, while iPhones and cellular iPads also have SIM cards with other device-specific codes.
Citing personal privacy concerns, Apple has said that it's unwilling to share users' private data, notably including phone call logs, even under foreign government demands '-- except under proper legal process. While transmitting and storing an abstracted number of emails or phone calls doesn't come close to full call or email records, it's an odd metric to rely upon as an anti-fraud measure.
The latest version of Apple's iTunes Store & Privacy support document was released yesterday, September 17. Before that, the May 24 version made no reference to either the device trust score or using user calls and emails to compute scores.
Updated September 19 at 12:48 p.m.: An Apple spokesperson reached out to confirm that the device trust score is indeed new in iOS 12, and clarified that it was designed to detect fraud in iTunes purchases, as well as to reduce false positives in fraud detection. It apparently gives Apple a better likelihood of accurately determining whether content is being bought by the actual named purchaser, an issue that notably made headlines earlier this year.
Reiterating its commitment to user privacy, Apple says that the only data it receives is the numeric score, which is computed on-device using the company's standard privacy abstracting techniques, and retained only for a limited period, without any way to work backward from the score to user behavior. No calls, emails, or other abstractions of that data are shared with Apple. It's still unclear how the trust score works on the Apple TV, which has neither emails nor phone calls, but presumably uses similar metrics stored on that device.