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posted by martyb on Sunday September 02 2018, @02:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the who-will-take-his-place? dept.

Public Resignation of French Environment Minister

It appears that the French environment minister has become so disgusted with his government's inaction that he has publicly resigned.

PARIS (Reuters) - French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on Tuesday in frustration over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron's already tarnished green credentials.

Macron Minister Nicolas Hulot Quits on Live Radio

Global Engineering News reports:

Hulot said in the interview France is "persisting" in a nuclear industry that's a "useless madness, economically and technically".

"I don't want to lie to myself anymore", said Hulot.

The TV personality was lured into government past year as President Emmanuel Macron sought a high-profile figurehead for the environmental agenda.

In his radio interview, however, Hulot emphasized the inadequacy of "mini-steps" on climate change by France and other nations, voicing hope that his exit might "provoke deep introspection in our society about the reality of the world".


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posted by chromas on Thursday August 30 2018, @06:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the groundctl-to-major-pork dept.

Texas Lawmakers Press NASA to Base Lunar Lander Program in Houston:

The Apollo missions that flew to the Moon during the 1960s were designed and controlled by what is now known as Johnson Space Center, the home of the famous "Mission Control." Moreover, the astronauts that flew to the Moon all lived in Houston. It would stand to reason, therefore, that as NASA gears up to return to the Moon, major elements of this program would likewise be controlled from the Texas metropolis that styles itself "Space City."

Times change, however. In recent months, the politically well-positioned Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, has been quietly pressing leaders with NASA Headquarters for program management of mid- to large-size landers to the lunar surface, which would evolve into human landers. Sources indicated this effort was having some success.

However, Texas legislators have now begun to push back. On Tuesday, both of Texas' senators (John Cornyn and Ted Cruz), as well as three representatives with space-related committee chairs (John Culberson, Lamar Smith, and Brian Babin), wrote a letter to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"We support NASA's focus on returning to the Moon and using it as part of a stepping stone approach to place American boots on the surface of Mars in the 2030s," the Texas Republicans wrote. "As NASA reviews solicitations for lunar landers, we write to express our strong support for the establishment of NASA's lunar lander program at the Johnson Space Center." The letter reminds Bridenstine of Houston's strong spaceflight heritage.

Somehow, "Huntsville, we have a problem" doesn't have the same ring to it.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday August 30 2018, @01:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the need-a-lyft? dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4408

Getting to the polls can be an obstacle for many American voters. Thirty-five percent of youth who didn't go to college say a lack of transportation was why they didn't vote in the 2016 election, according to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Ride-hailing service Lyft said Thursday that it wants to help tackle the problem by offering half-priced rides across the country during this year's midterm elections. Riders can enter location-based codes into the Lyft app to access the discounted rides.

"It's about using our voice and our platform to make sure folks have access to go vote," said Mike Masserman, Lyft's head of Social Impact.

The US midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/lyft-will-offer-discounted-rides-to-voters-during-midterm-elections/


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posted by janrinok on Sunday August 26 2018, @07:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the RIP dept.

Chicago Tribune:

Sen. John McCain, who faced down his captors in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp with jut-jawed defiance and later turned his rebellious streak into a 35-year political career that took him to Congress and the Republican presidential nomination, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was 81.

McCain, with his irascible grin and fighter-pilot moxie, was a fearless and outspoken voice on policy and politics to the end, unswerving in his defense of democratic values and unflinching in his criticism of his fellow Republican, President Donald Trump. He was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times but twice thwarted in seeking the presidency.

An upstart presidential bid in 2000 didn't last long. Eight years later, he fought back from the brink of defeat to win the GOP nomination, only to be overpowered by Democrat Barack Obama. McCain chose a little-known Alaska governor as his running mate in that race, and turned Sarah Palin into a national political figure.

After losing to Obama in an electoral landslide, McCain returned to the Senate determined not to be defined by a failed presidential campaign in which his reputation as a maverick had faded. In the politics of the moment and in national political debate over the decades, McCain energetically advanced his ideas and punched back hard at critics — Trump not least among them.

The scion of a decorated military family, McCain embraced his role as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, pushing for aggressive U.S. military intervention overseas and eager to contribute to "defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America."

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, McCain said simply: "That I made a major contribution to the defense of the nation."

Also at The New York Timesand c|net.


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Sunday August 19 2018, @01:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the [Deleted] dept.

As Twitter Suspends Alex Jones, Should We Worry About Silicon Valley Regulating Speech?

Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube's decision to ban right-wing shock jock Alex Jones and his media site, Infowars, from their platforms in early August has reignited a debate about what, if any, obligations these companies have to provide access to ideologically diverse users in the name of free speech. Twitter came under enormous criticism for refusing to go along, but on Tuesday announced that they were suspending Jones's account for one week due to violations of its rules. Jones was banned after years of public outrage over lies spread by Infowars, including the infamous "Pizzagate" conspiracy and the false claim that the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 26 elementary school children and staff members were killed, was a hoax. Jones is also known for tirades against Muslims, immigrants, and transgender people.

Some critics have claimed that, given the monopoly-like power that Silicon Valley giants now exert over the internet, encouraging them to regulate content based on ideology, hate speech, or arbitrations of "truth" and "falsity" will jeopardize internet freedom and vest a handful of corporate executives too much control over it. But others have defended the choice to ban Jones, citing the anti-hate speech rules and nonviolence policies almost universally adopted by major internet platforms. Because terms of service are open to interpretation — "hate speech," for example, can be difficult to define — there is a significant risk that standards will be inconsistently applied. The ambiguous policies also present a threat to controversial speech from the left — think, for example, of speech related to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or expressive speech about bad cops or white men.

Twitter had been heavily criticized in the days following a Aug. 8 statement by CEO Jack Dorsey explaining that Alex Jones and InfoWars had not been banned because they had not violated Twitter's rules.

Taibbi: Beware the Slippery Slope of Facebook Censorship:

Many of the banned pages look like parodies of some paranoid bureaucrat's idea of dangerous speech. A page called "Black Elevation" shows a picture of Huey Newton and offers readers a job. "Aztlan Warriors" contains a meme celebrating the likes of Geronimo and Zapata, giving thanks for their service in the "the 500 year war against colonialism." And a banned "Mindful Being" page shared this, which seems culled from Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts bit: "We must unlearn what we have learned because a conditioned mind cannot comprehend the infinite." Facebook also wiped out a "No Unite The Right 2" page, appearing to advertise a counter-rally on the upcoming anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Facebook was "helped" in its efforts to wipe out these dangerous memes by the Atlantic Council, on whose board you'll find confidence-inspiring names like Henry Kissinger, former CIA chief Michael Hayden, former acting CIA head Michael Morell and former Bush-era Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. (The latter is the guy who used to bring you the insane color-coded terror threat level system.) These people now have their hands on what is essentially a direct lever over nationwide news distribution. It's hard to understate the potential mischief that lurks behind this union of Internet platforms and would-be government censors.

Deplatforming: does it work?


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 16 2018, @09:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the What-would-Emma-Lazarus-say? dept.

CBS News reports:

The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.

The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller's plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

[...] Though its effects could be far-reaching, the proposal to limit citizenship to immigrants who have not used public assistance does not appear to need congressional approval. As the Clinton administration did in 1999, the Trump administration would be redefining the term "public charge," which first emerged in immigration law in the 1800s in order to shield the U.S. from burdening too many immigrants who could not contribute to society.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday August 12 2018, @12:17AM   Printer-friendly
from the wasn't-expecting-that dept.

DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

The Democratic National Committee on Friday officially served its lawsuit to WikiLeaks via Twitter, employing a rare method to serve its suit to the elusive group that has thus far been unresponsive.

As CBS News first reported last month, the DNC filed a motion with a federal court in Manhattan requesting permission to serve its complaint to WikiLeaks on Twitter, a platform the DNC argued the website uses regularly. The DNC filed a lawsuit in April against the Trump campaign, Russian government and WikiLeaks, alleging a massive conspiracy to tilt the 2016 election in Donald Trump's favor.

All of the DNC's attempts to serve the lawsuit via email failed, the DNC said in last month's motion to the judge, which was ultimately approved.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for six years, is considering an offer to appear before a U.S. Senate committee to discuss alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, his lawyer said on Thursday.

WikiLeaks published a letter from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday which asked Assange to make himself available to testify in person at a closed hearing as part of its investigation into whether Moscow meddled to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. "The U.S. Senate Select Committee request confirms their interest in hearing from Mr Assange," lawyer Jennifer Robinson said in a statement.

Julian Assange 'seriously considering' request to meet US Senate committee

Lawyers for Julian Assange say they are "seriously considering" a request from a US Senate committee to interview the WikiLeaks founder as part of its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The Senate select committee on intelligence has written to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living for more than six years.

[...] The chairman of the committee, Richard Burr, wrote: "As you are aware, the Senate select committee on intelligence is conducting a bipartisan inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. As part of that inquiry, the committee requests that you make yourself available for a closed interview with bipartisan committee staff at a mutually agreeable time and location."

The ultimate irony would involve Julian Assange avoiding Metropolitan Police arrest by somehow fleeing to the United States.

See also: Mueller subpoenas Randy Credico, who Roger Stone says was his WikiLeaks back channel

Previously: DNC's Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks is an Attack on Freedom of the Press

Related: Prominent Whistleblowers and Journalists Defend Julian Assange at Online Vigil
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday August 07 2018, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the "A-Tale-of-Flodden-Field" dept.

5News reports:

President Donald Trump appears to have changed his story about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that is pivotal to the special counsel's investigation, tweeting that his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to collect information about his political opponent.

[...] That is a far different explanation than Trump gave 13 months ago, when a statement dictated by the president but released under the name of Donald Trump Jr., read: "We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago."

also at Vox, MSN and Mic


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 07 2018, @10:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the bread-and-circuses dept.

TechCrunch has written about the FCCs pre-emptive reaction to the new inspector general report regarding an alleged attack on the FCC comment system last year which the FCC had long alluded to concerning the net neutrality debate. The FCC now admits that the attacks never actually took place, after a report from its inspector general found a lack of evidence supporting the idea. Chairman Ajit Pai immediately turned around and blamed both the previous CIO and ... wait for it ... Obama.

Pai's statement was issued before the OIG publicized its report, as one does when a report is imminent that essentially says your agency has been clueless at best or deliberately untruthful at worst, and for more than a year. To be clear, the report is still unpublished, though its broader conclusions are clear from Pai's statement. In it he slathers Bray with the partisan brush and asserts that the report exonerates his office

TechCrunch is still waiting to hear back from the FCC and its Office of the Inspector General for more information, including the report itself.


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Wednesday August 01 2018, @04:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the fetus-deletus dept.

How technology could preserve abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates are exploring how technology might preserve or even expand women's access to abortion if the Supreme Court scales back Roe v. Wade. A nonprofit group is testing whether it's safe to let women take abortion pills in their own homes after taking screening tests and consulting with a doctor on their phones or computers. Because the study is part of an FDA clinical trial, the group isn't bound by current rules requiring the drugs be administered in a doctor's office or clinic.

The group, called Gynuity Health Projects, is carrying out the trial in five states that already allow virtual doctors to oversee administration of the abortion pill, and may expand to others. If the trial proves that allowing women to take the pill at home is safe — under a virtual doctor's supervision — the group hopes the FDA could eventually loosen restrictions to allow women to take pills mailed to them after the consult. If FDA took that step, it could even help women in states with restrictive abortion laws get around them, potentially blurring the strict boundaries between abortion laws in different states if — as is likely — the Senate confirms a high court justice who is open to further limits on Roe.

[...] Right now, even in states that allow a licensed provider to administer the abortion pill by video hookup, the provider must watch, in person or by video, as a woman takes the first medication in a clinic or other health care setting. The drugs abort the fetus without surgery but are safe and effective only in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. If the group's study shows it's safe for women to administer the drug themselves after an online consultation with a health care provider, it will petition the FDA to lift the requirement.

Or: Get a drug printer, download drug plans, print desired drug.


Original Submission