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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 19 2019, @05:14PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-many-candidates-are-there-now? dept.

"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) launching a second run for the White House in 2020."

"Reaction to the news was split......with some supporting the 77-year-old and others upset with the move."

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Friday February 15 2019, @04:59PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the marginal-opinion dept.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a panel moderator asked Michael Dell, America's 17th-richest man, what he thought about the idea of raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.

This idea has been in the headlines since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floated it in a 60 Minutes interview on January 6 as a way to pay for a Green New Deal.

The Davos panel found the question hilarious. When the laughing died down, Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, dismissed the idea out of hand, claiming it would harm U.S. economic growth.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday February 15 2019, @03:52AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the President's-precedents dept.

"President Trump will sign the border security compromise package on Capitol Hill to avert another government shutdown and will take the extraordinary step of declaring a national emergency to obtain funding for the border wall, the White House announced Thursday."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday February 07 2019, @07:33PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Senate approves Syria, anti-BDS[*] bill

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday breaking with President Trump's Syria policy. Senators voted 77-23 to send the legislation to the House that includes a provision warning Trump against a "precipitous" withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. It also asks the administration to certify that certain conditions have been met "for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan."

[...] In addition to the Syria amendment, the bill also included sanctions against the Syrian government, increased support for Israel and Jordan and a provision that would let states penalize businesses that take part in boycotts or divestments of Israel.

Both the Syria amendment and the anti-BDS provisions sparked division among Democrats. [...] Democrats had raised First Amendment concerns about the anti-BDS provision, which splintered most of the party's 2020 contenders and caucus leadership. "While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American's constitutional right to engage in political activity. It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans' First Amendment rights," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement last week.

[*] BDS: boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Also at NYT.

See also: Is the Anti-BDS Bill Constitutional? Yes, But...

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 07 2019, @08:39AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bigger-scissors dept.

Despite criticism and complaints, MIT won't cut ties to Saudi Arabia

MIT won't sever its financial and research ties to Saudi Arabian government groups over the brutal killing of a journalist, despite the urging of many faculty and students, and complaints by some of the university's female researchers that they face more restrictions than their male colleagues when working in the Saudi kingdom.

On Wednesday, MIT president, L. Rafael Reif, denounced the behavior of the Saudi regime for violating human rights but rejected calls to unilaterally pull out of engagements in the Middle Eastern country.

MIT needs to provide faculty autonomy to decide whether they want to remain on the current projects and can't abandon those in Saudi Arabia, including alumni, who are trying to modernize the kingdom, Reif said.

"MIT utterly condemns such brutal human rights violations, discrimination and suppression of dissent, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Reif said in a message to the MIT community. "Nevertheless, I hope we can respond to present circumstances in a way that does not suddenly reject, abandon, or isolate worthy Saudi people who share our principles and are doing good work."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday February 02 2019, @10:25PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the don't-look-at-me-that-way dept.

San Francisco could become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology, criticized as biased by lawmakers and privacy advocates.

A new bill unveiled on Tuesday, known as the Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, states that the risks of the controversial technology "substantially outweigh...its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring."

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday January 29 2019, @07:52AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the autism-causes-councils dept.

Anti-vaccine advocates appointed to Minnesota autism council after measles outbreak

Officials in Minnesota have appointed anti-vaccine advocates to a newly formed state council on autism, sparking controversy in the wake of a record measles outbreak in the state.

State senator Jim Abeler formed the MN Autism Council last fall to address issues surrounding autism, including "treatment, educational options, employment opportunities, independent living, and more." While about one in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the rate in Minnesota is one in 42.

Though the council is not designed to take up the issue of vaccination, it has been ensnared in controversy due to the anti-vaccine sentiments it includes, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. At least two of the council's more than 30 members are skeptical of vaccine safety and oppose compulsory immunizations. One of those skeptical members, Wayne Rohde, was one of three initial people Abeler appointed to the council. Rohde was charged with helping to shape the council and with picking other members.

Related: Anti-Vaccine Movement Linked to Measles Outbreak in New York

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Friday January 25 2019, @10:22PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the we're-safe...-for-now... dept.

Senate Passes Short-Term Deal To Reopen Government, With Trump's Endorsement

President Trump has endorsed a bipartisan deal that would end the 35-day partial government shutdown. The three-week stopgap funding measure would reopen shuttered agencies while negotiations continue.

Trump announces deal to lift shutdown

President Donald Trump has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

But the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

See also: Dem senator unveils 'Stop STUPIDITY Act' to prevent all shutdowns
White House: 'Large down payment' on wall could end government shutdown
35 ways the shutdown is affecting America

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posted by martyb on Thursday January 24 2019, @02:26AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the With-great-beard-comes-great-responsibility dept.

Philosophers deal with real, empirical, questions! From Quartzy, the ethical question of male facial hair.

Those who believe growing a beard is a personal fashion choice need to reconsider. The bristly facial hair of men is, in fact, the physical embodiment of deep ethical and aesthetic considerations. Henry Pratt, philosophy professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, wrote a detailed analysis of such philosophical conundrums in his aptly titled paper, “To Beard or Not to Beard: Ethical and Aesthetic Obligations and Facial Hair.”

Why now: well, it all goes back to the "fool says in his heart" guy, St. Anselm.

In this paper, presented at the January 2019 eastern division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in New York, Pratt considers the premise set out by Saint Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th century philosopher. Anselm writes:

Not having a beard is not dishonorable for a man who is not yet supposed to have a beard, but once he ought to have a beard, it is unbecoming for him not to have one. In the same way, not having justice is not a defect in a nature that is not obligated to have justice, but it is disgraceful for a nature that ought to have it.

The take-away:

However, one surprising consequence of my philosophical work on pogonotrophy is that I now find myself thinking that the choices made by myself and others about what to grow on our faces are actually pretty important. I find myself wondering whether I should worry about the masculinity projected by my beard, and the effects thereof. I also consider whether friends and associates should have the facial hair they grow. But just as it’s a bad idea to tell other parents they’re raising their kids wrong, I think it’s a bad idea to tell others that their beards are wrong. So far.

Other relevant sources:
The Philosophy of Beards: A Lecture Physiological, Artistic and Historical, by Thomas Gowing; 1875;
The Philosopher’s Beard
Beard Taxes!
The Gentleman Lawyer’s Guide to Facial Hair
"Law of Conservation of Facial Hair" still applies.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Monday January 21 2019, @06:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the identification-politics dept.

Civil rights group marks MLK Day with call for 'Trump card' national ID

A prominent civil rights group is marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day by pressing President Trump to honor his promise to create a national photo ID card for citizens.

Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the iconic civil rights leader and a co-chairmen of the Drum Major Institute, met with Trump two years ago on MLK Day. During that meeting, the then president-elect endorsed the idea of a national photo ID. This year, the group is calling on Trump to follow through.

William Wachtel, co-founder of the Drum Major Institute, said the group sees the issue as critical to ensuring King's work to remove barriers to voting.

[...] The idea has invited controversy in the past, in particular over privacy concerns. In 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a measure, the Protect Our Privacy Act, attached to a Senate immigration bill. The Paul amendment sought to prevent the creation of a national ID card, citing worries that it would make it easier for the government to track people. Wachtel sought to ease concerns about such an ID, saying it would not be mandatory and would only be an option for those who sought it.

Original Submission