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For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
SIGNOFF QUOTE[s]: “As nations can not be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this.” ~ George Mason George Mason IV (December 11, 1725 [O.S. November 30, 1725] – October 7, 1792) from “The Journal of the Debates in the Convention which Framed the Constitution of the United States, May-September, 1787”, Volume 2, as recorded by James Madison, 1908.”
- US warships again challenge Beijing’s claims in South China Sea, By Ryan Browne | CNN | Updated 2:55 AM ET, Mon February 11, 2019
- The United States sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday (Sunday night, ET), a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.
- The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a “freedom of navigation operation.”
- The operation was carried out “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” Cmdr. Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, told CNN.
- “All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Doss said, adding “that is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe.” …
- Older Job Applicants Not Protected By Age Bias Law, Says U.S. Appeals Court, By Ruth Umoh, Forbes Staff | COM |Jan 27, 2019, 04:30pm
- For decades, federal law has protected job seekers over the age of 40 from age discrimination. But in a major blow to older applicants on Wednesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Public Appeals ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only protects current employees and does not cover external applicants. …
- … [Dara Smith, a senior attorney for AARP Foundation,said], “We strongly disagree with the decision and find it very disheartening that the Court interpreted a civil rights law so narrowly, despite the statutory language and the great weight of Supreme Court precedent.”
- Wednesday’s ruling comes at a time when older workers are delaying retirement because of longer life expectancy, higher education and changes to Social Security benefits and employee retirement plans. Roughly 40% of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014, according the most recent S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. That number is expected to increase through 2024, with particularly rapid growth among those ages 65 and older.
- Nevertheless, many older U.S. workers are pushed out of the labor force before they choose to retire, leading to “irreversible financial damage,” according to an analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute. Coupled with the recent ruling, this creates a vicious cycle for older American workers, who already face longer bouts of unemployment than younger workers.
- “Over half of older workers do not leave their job by choice. Now this law makes it easier for employers to discriminate during the hiring process, meaning it’s almost impossible to even enter the class of ADEA protection that kicks in at 40,” says Ashton Applewhite, an ageism activist and the author…
- MIKE: LET’S DISCUSS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!
- Are All Instances of Blackface Alike? – Perhaps there is a difference between donning it to mock black people and donning it to resemble someone, as Mark Herring did. By John McWhorter | THEATLANTIC | Feb 10, 2019 (Contributing editor at The Atlantic and professor at Columbia University)
- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring blacked up his face in 1980 when dressing as Kurtis Blow. Herring admitted what he did and apologized. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook page contains a photo of a man in blackface next to someone dressed as a Klansman. Northam admitted that he was one of the men and apologized, then said perhaps he wasn’t in the photograph at all.
- Is it right to treat these two acts in the same way, as unforgivable acts of racism, even white supremacy?
- I wonder if we are allowing social progress to detour into a kind of reflexive shaming. I wonder if all blacking up is alike, or if even blackface contains shades of grey.
- Perhaps there is a difference between blacking up to mock black people, as the person pictured on Northam’s yearbook page seems to have done, and blacking up in affectionate imitation of a black person, as part of seeking to resemble said person, as Herring did. …
- … [The author recalls] the early ’80s when [Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring] dressed as Blow—specifically, 1984, when I was in college at Rutgers University. That Halloween, a friend and I dressed as George and Louise Jefferson. I was Louise (I did a mean Isabel Sanford in my day) and my friend was George. He was white, and as part of his role browned his face. No Afro wig, but still. …
- … That same year, two female friends, one white and one black, “switched” races for the night. The black one wore whiteface and the white one wore blackface. Not with an Afro wig or big red lips, but thoroughly blacked up. I believe she wore a head scarf, which could be seen as a “black” garment under the circumstances. Their idea was to ridicule the very idea of racial categories. They went about with an ironic air, the black one chirping “I’m white!” and the white one chirping “I’m black!”
- Yet the black woman was what we would today term a highly woke individual. And no one chided the white one for, say, failing to attend to the fact that blackness is not just a matter of skin tone but of grappling with the coded hostilities baked into a fundamentally racist society. She was read as making a little joke, a wise one, even—and remember, this was a dorm full of people voting for Mondale, renowned (and often ridiculed) for being gay-friendly in a way alien to most of the campus beyond at the time, very comfortably interracial, replete with international students and all manner of the “different,” and professionally intolerant of the repressive, bigoted world of Reagan’s America beyond our dorm doors. …
- … Maybe a true progressive, a true anti-racist, should have reported my George Jefferson mimic and the “I’m black!” woman to the higher authorities? I’m not sure, especially since sensibilities on imitative blackface were different as recently as 10 years ago. On an episode of 30 Rock—a sitcom with a sensibility directly channeling the Demarest sensibility—the Jenna Maroney character dresses as a black football player and her costume includes brown makeup. There was no outcry over this, since the moment was perceived as an expression of Jenna’s cluelessness, presumably let pass by the “sensible” writer characters on the show. …
- The idea, apparently, is that whenever any white person puts on brown makeup, it can be read as a salute to, or at least not attendant to, the brutally dismissive blackface practices of minstrel performers from the 19th century well into the 20th. To wear blackface is to condone white men prancing around onstage talking in cartoonish syntax and promulgating an idea that the essence of blackness is resounding ignorance, sexual rapacity, and buffoonery.
- But minstrelsy was a very long time ago now. Ever fewer people now living experienced it live. While we must never return to minstrel-style hijinks, does it really make sense, does it really serve a purpose, to ban anyone ever putting on brown makeup as part of mimicking a person of color regardless of his or her intent? Must we really have it that a white person dressing as a black person must do it with his or her own pale skin on view? The likely outcome will be a tacit societal rule that black Americans are the only people in the country who are never to be imitated, even in praise, except by other black people. And what purpose would that glum, peculiar stricture serve? …
- Much of this special kind of vigilance, which leaves many people who thought of themselves as on the barricades a few years ago scratching their head, can be seen as a quest for power. To get someone fired from his job and publicly shamed for, say, having blacked up to dress as a black pop artist 40 years ago is to wield force, to have an effect; it is a kind of whip held at one’s side.
- Talks Over Border Security Break Down, Imperiling Effort to Prevent Shutdown, By Emily Cochrane, Maggie Haberman and Eric Schmitt |NY TIMES | 10, 2019
- Congressional efforts to reach a border security deal ahead of another government shutdown broke down on Sunday over Democratic demands to limit the detention of undocumented immigrants, as President Trump moved more troops to the border and prepared to rally supporters in Texas on Monday. …
- … Meantime, the Trump administration was moving on its own to fortify the southwestern border with thousands of active-duty military troops. The number of deployed troops on the Mexican border was set to exceed the high of 5,900 reached around the November elections …
- …Senior officers are voicing greater worries that the deployed troops are not conducting the training needed for their regular missions, while other military units must now pick up the routine duties on behalf of their deployed colleagues. …
- … The impasse appears to center on Democratic demands for a limit on the number of unauthorized immigrants already in the country who could be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, according to aides familiar with the talks. Democrats say a cap of 16,500 beds in ICE detention centers would force the Trump administration to focus on detaining undocumented immigrants with criminal records instead of using indiscriminate sweeps that drag in otherwise law-abiding residents. …
- California Gov. Newsom Mostly Ends State’s National Guard Border Deployment, By Ben Adler | NPR | February 11, 20198:39 AM ET
- Gavin Newsom is rescinding former Gov. Jerry Brown’s deployment of California National Guard troops to the Mexican border, pulling most of 360 troops off their current missions but leaving some in the area to combat transnational drug smuggling.
- “The border ’emergency’ is a manufactured crisis,” Newsom will say during his State of the State address Tuesday morning, according to advance excerpts provided by his office. “And California will not be part of this political theater.”
- Earlier this month, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the majority of her state’s National Guard troops at the border to withdraw.
- Each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia maintain National Guard units. During peacetime, the Guard is under the command of each state governor and adjutant general and typically is called upon to respond to emergencies and natural disasters. In time of war, the president can place the Guard under military command.
- Why more than half of Americans’ phone calls go unanswered – It’s turning into an ordeal for many people, By Kari Paul | COM |Published: Feb 1, 2019 9:09 a.m. ET
- … Today … 52% … of phone calls go unanswered, an analysis of 11 billion calls by caller ID and call blocker app Hiya This comes as 26.3 billion robocalls were made to American phones in 2018, up 46% from the previous year’s total of 18 billion …
- … The Federal Communication Commission and the Federal Trade Commission have been working towards solutions to the robocall epidemic for years, levying massive fines against telemarketing operations. …
- … Experts also suggest never answering calls from an unknown number and blocking numbers that are known to be spam.
- Every consumer should register with the free National Do Not Call Registry … at gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. This will stop legitimate telemarketers from calling within a month, though it is unlikely to stop illegal scammers.
- 3D-printed heads let hackers – and cops – unlock your phone, By Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker)/ COM /DEC 16, 2018 / 12 hours ago
- …You can …3D print a life-size replica of a human head — and not just for Hollywood. Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster commissioned a 3D printed model of his own head to test the face unlocking systems on a range of phones — four Android models and an iPhone X.
- Bad news if you’re an Android user: only the iPhone X defended against the attack.
- … [B]iometrics — your fingerprints and your face — aren’t protected under the Fifth Amendment. That means police can’t compel you to give up your passcode, but they can forcibly depress your fingerprint to unlock your phone, or hold it to your face while you’re looking at it. And the police know it — it happens more often than you might realize.
- But there’s also little in the way of stopping police from 3D printing or replicating a set of biometrics to break into a phone.
- “Legally, it’s no different from using fingerprints to unlock a device,” said Orin Kerr, professor at USC Gould School of Law, in an email. “The government needs to get the biometric unlocking information somehow,” by either the finger pattern shape or the head shape, he said.
- Although a warrant “wouldn’t necessarily be a requirement” to get the biometric data, one would be needed to use the data to unlock a device, he said.
- Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, said it was doable but isn’t the most practical or cost-effective way for cops to get access to phone data.
- … Those cheering on the “death of the password” might want to think again. They’re still the only thing that’s keeping your data safe from the law.