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posted by Fnord666 on Monday June 10 2019, @07:25PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the pie-in-the-face dept.

Ohio bakery awarded $11 million in libel lawsuit against Oberlin College over alleged racial profiling

An Ohio jury has ordered Oberlin College to pay $11 million to a bakery which said it was libeled and wrongfully accused of racially profiling students.

The case stems from the November 2016 arrests of three black Oberlin students at Gibson's Bakery and market near the college's campus in Oberlin, Ohio. One student, Jonathan Aladin, was accused of attempted robbery for allegedly trying to "steal wine or otherwise illegally obtain wine" from the bakery, according to a defamation lawsuit. He would eventually confess in a written statement to buying alcohol illegally. Two other suspects, Cecelia Whettston and Endia J. Lawrence, were arrested and accused of misdemeanor assault, court documents state.

After that, Oberlin staff members tried to discredit the family-owned bakery, the lawsuit says. Oberlin College staff -- including deans and professors -- and students engaged in demonstrations in front of Gibson's Bakery following the arrests of the three students, the lawsuit stated. The suit also said Oberlin Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and other college staff members "handed out hundreds of copies" of a flier to the community and the media stating that Gibson's Bakery and its owners racially profiled and discriminated against the three students.

A mass email sent by Oberlin College's Vice President and General Counsel to school alumni criticized the decision of the jury, despite the trial not being over. The email was sent ahead of a punitive damages hearing, which may triple the amount Oberlin College has to pay.

Also at Inside Higher Ed.

Update: Bakery suing Oberlin College for libel wins $33M in damages
Oberlin College hit with maximum PUNITIVE DAMAGES (capped at $22 million by law) in Gibson's Bakery case

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday June 03 2019, @04:35AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-has-changed? dept.

Tiananmen Square: China minister defends 1989 crackdown

China has defended the crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in a rare public acknowledgement of events. Defence Minister Wei Fenghe told a regional forum that stopping the "turbulence" was the "correct" policy.

[...] [After] a wide-ranging speech about trade and security at a regional forum in Singapore, General Wei Fenghe was asked about Tiananmen by a member of the audience. Mr Wei questioned why people still said China had not handled the events properly.

"That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence, which is a correct policy," he told the forum. "The past 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes," he said, adding that because of the government's action at that time "China has enjoyed stability and development".

Also at NBC and Al Jazeera.

Thirty years ago, from April 15 to June 4, 1989, the world was gripped by coverage of some of the largest protests in modern Chinese history. As many as a million people occupied the central Tiananmen Square in Beijing in protest against inflation, government corruption, and restrictions on freedom of speech and political participation. There are no official reports on the actual number of dead, though they are estimated to be in the thousands.

In the time that has passed, the uncensorable Usenet is no longer widely used and rarely even available. Mainland Chinese censors have come down hard and heavy on the rest of Net and, later, the Web since then in an ongoing attempt to rewrite a false history. Sometimes this censorship even has the help of the social control media giants who know which side their bread is buttered on.

In commemoration of those events and in particular the massacre culminating the events thirty years ago, here is a partial news round up:

The New York Times: Twitter Takes Down Accounts of China Dissidents Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary
TechCrunch: Twitter takes down 'a large number' of Chinese-language accounts ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary
Reuters: Online encyclopedia Wikipedia blocked in China ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
The South China Morning Post: Wikipedia blocked in China ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary
CNN: 30 years after Tiananmen massacre, Taiwan shows another way for China
The Straights Times: 'Tank man' video for Leica sparks outcry in China ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
CNN: The story behind the iconic 'Tank Man' photo
New York Times: Photos of the Tiananmen Square Protests Through the Lens of a Student Witness
Reuters: China's robot censors crank up as Tiananmen anniversary nears
Artnet: Chinese Authorities Have Detained an Activist Filmmaker for Posting a Picture Referencing the Tiananmen Square Massacre
The Epoch Times: In Memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre
The Epoch Times: Photographer Releases Never-Before-Seen Tiananmen Protest Photos
The Daily Beast: Tiananmen Square: Why China's Leaders Want to Erase 'May 35'
Business Insider: China's internet censors are on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests
CNN: Inflatable 'Tank Man' appears in Taiwan ahead of Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary
University World News: Tiananmen Square a topic that still can't be studied
The South China Morning Post: 30 years on from Tiananmen Square crackdown, why Beijing still thinks it got it right
Hong Kong Free Press: The Tiananmen Massacre, 30 years on: The troubled history of the Goddess of Democracy
Quartz: Tiananmen Square photos China never wanted the world to see, 30 years later
The Ottawa Citizen: Glavin: Tiananmen Square – China's 30 years of denial and suppression

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 01 2019, @07:22AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the your-data-your-choice dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4463

Maine lawmakers pass bill to prevent ISPs from selling browsing data without consent – TechCrunch

Maine lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent internet providers from selling consumers’ private internet data to advertisers.

The state’s senate unanimously passed the bill 35-0 on Thursday following an earlier vote by state representatives 96-45 in favor of the bill.

The bill, if signed into law by state governor Janet Mills, will force the national and smaller regional internet providers operating in the state to first obtain permission from residents before their data can be sold or passed on to advertisers or other third parties.

[...] the ACLU — which along with the Open Technology Institute and New America helped to draft the legislation — praised lawmakers for passing the bill, calling it the “strongest” internet privacy bill of any state.

“Today, the Maine legislature did what the U.S. Congress has thus far failed to do and voted to put consumer privacy before corporate profits,” said Oamshri Amarasingham, advocacy director at the ACLU of Maine, in  a statement. “Nobody should have to choose between using the internet and protecting their own data,” she said.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 30 2019, @09:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Mandering-the-racist-Jerry dept.

From Slate

If we had a fair Supreme Court not driven by partisanship in its most political cases, Thursday’s blockbuster revelation in the census case would lead the court to unanimously rule in Department of Commerce v. New York to exclude the controversial citizenship question from the decennial survey. Those newly revealed documents show that the Trump administration’s purpose in putting the citizenship question on the upcoming census was not its stated one to help Hispanic voters under the Voting Rights Act, but rather to create policy that would be “a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites.” It’s difficult to produce a greater smoking gun than explicitly saying you are hoping to help the GOP by increasing white voting power. But this revelation, coming from the hard drive of a deceased Republican political operative and made available to Common Cause by his estranged daughter, is ironically more likely to lead the Republican-appointed conservative justices on the Supreme Court to allow the administration to include the question that would help states dilute the power of Hispanic voters.

[...]And here is where Thursday’s revelations fit in. The New York Times reported that the hard drive of the late Republican redistricting guru Thomas B. Hofeller contained documents indicating that the real purpose of including the citizenship question was to allow Republicans to draw new congressional, state, and local legislative districts using equal numbers of eligible voters in each district, not equal numbers of persons, a standard that would greatly reduce the power of Hispanics and Democrats in places like Texas. According to the Times, files on Hofeller’s hard drives, subpoenaed in litigation concerning North Carolina redistricting, show that Hofeller “wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act—the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.”

[...]Thursday’s revelations should be damning. The ACLU is already seeking sanctions in the trial court in the census case for government officials lying about the real reason for including the citizenship question. But instead the revelations may help to prop up a case that should embarrass government lawyers to argue.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 30 2019, @03:17PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the comes-from-eating-too-many-Freedom-Fries dept.

US Department of Energy is now referring to fossil fuels as "freedom gas"

Call it a rebranding of "energy dominance." In a press release published on Tuesday, two Department of Energy officials used the terms "freedom gas" and "molecules of US freedom" to replace your average, everyday term "natural gas."

The press release was fairly standard, announcing the expansion of a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at the Freeport facility on Quintana Island, Texas. It would have gone unnoticed had an E&E News reporter not noted the unique metonymy "molecules of US freedom."

DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg is quoted as saying, "With the US in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world."

Artist's depiction of this news.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Wednesday May 29 2019, @04:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the pot-meet-kettle dept.

Chinese tech giant Huawei has filed a motion in a US court challenging the constitutionality of a law that limits its sales of telecoms equipment, the latest action in an ongoing clash with Washington.

Huawei's chief legal officer Song Liuping said the firm had filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to rule on whether it is constitutional for the US to implement a military spending provision that bars the government and its contractors from using its equipment.

Mr Song said the "state-sanctioned campaign" against the company will not improve cybersecurity.

"Politicians in the US are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company," he said. "This is not normal."


Additional Coverage:

[Ed Note: full disclosure - The submitter is also the author of the linked news story and a junior editor at the web site]

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 29 2019, @01:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the saving-you-from-yourself dept.

California lawmakers on Thursday advanced the last major surviving bill in a package aimed at reducing consumption of sodas, approving a measure that would require health warning labels on sugary drinks.

The measure by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) received a bare majority of votes even though some Democrats withheld votes while others in the majority party joined Republicans in opposition.

The latest action follows this year’s shelving of measures that would have put a tax on soda and banned “Big Gulp”-style sodas in an effort to address health risks including obesity and diabetes that are posed by sugary drinks.

“They represent the single leading source of increased bad calories that are being promoted in our communities and pushed on communities of color,” Monning said during the floor debate, citing a “national epidemic” of diabetes.

The label on container would say: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) may contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.”

[...] The American Beverage Assn. opposed the bill with a strong push by lobbyists and while making major political contributions to state lawmakers.

The industry argued that the bill and its health impact claims went too far.

“There are already more effective ways to help people manage their overall sugar consumption rather than through mandatory and misleading messages,” said Steven Maviglio, a spokesman for the American Beverage Assn.

[...] Legislators are also still considering a bill that would bar the soda industry from offering subsidies including discount coupons that encourage soda consumption.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 27 2019, @06:52PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-all-the-millennials'-fault dept.

The World Socialist Web Site, publication of record of the ICFI (SEP), on May 24th released a report about the grim situation many millennials face:

The stock market is booming, and President Donald Trump is boasting at every turn that the unemployment rate is lower than it has been in five decades.

However, the working class, the vast majority of the population, is confronting an unprecedented social, economic, health and psychological crisis. The same processes that have produced vast sums of wealth for the ruling elite have left millions of workers on the brink of existence.

Perhaps no segment of the population reflects the devastating consequences of these processes so starkly as the generation of young people deemed the "millennials," those born roughly between the years 1981 and 1996. More than half the 72 million American millennials are now in their 30s, with the oldest turning 38 this year.

A recent exposé by the Wall Street Journal noted that millennials are "in worse financial shape than prior living generations and may not recover." The article, "Millennials Near Middle Age in Crisis," [paywalled] concludes by stating that people born in the 1980s are at risk of becoming "America's Lost generation."

Selected bullet points from the WSWS article:

  • Millennials have taken on 300 percent more student debt than their parents' generation. [Source: The College Board, Trends in Student Aid 2013]
  • By 2014, 48 percent of workers with bachelor's degrees are employed in jobs for which they're overqualified. [Source: Labor Economist Stephen Rose, published by Urban Institute.]
  • The number of workers in the United States participating in the gig economy is expected to triple to 42 million workers by 2020, and 42 percent of those people are likely to be millennials. [Source: Freshbooks]
  • Between 1978 and 2017, according to the EPI, CEO compensation rose in the US by 1,070 percent, while the typical worker's compensation over these 39 years rose by a mere 11.2 percent.
  • In the 40 years leading up to the recession, rents increased at more than twice the rate of incomes. [Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.]
  • One in 5 millennials say they cannot afford routine healthcare expenses. Many of these millennials are uninsured because of the cost. An additional 26 percent say they can afford routine health-care costs, but only with difficulty. [Source: Harris Poll]
  • Men and women in their thirties are marrying at rates below every other generation on record. [Source: The Atlantic, "The Death (and Life) of Marriage in America"]
  • It is predicted that most millennials will not be able to retire until age 75. [Source: NerdWallet analysis of federal data]

The report concludes, "Far from becoming the 'Lost Generation' predicted by the Wall Street Journal, this generation of workers carries within it an enormous source of revolutionary potential."

[Ed. Note. I debated whether or not to run this story given the partisan source for the article, but the list of references suggested it was more than a simple opinion piece. So, are things really as grim as portrayed here? I'm too old to be a millennial, but have both personally experienced as well as witnessed many others facing the same trends listed here. Where do things go from here?]

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday May 24 2019, @02:35PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the May-won't-any-more dept.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May Will Resign, Pass the Brexit

Theresa May has announced that she will resign as UK's Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party:

Mrs. May announced on Friday that she would be stepping down as leader of her Conservative Party and then as Britain's prime minister, after repeatedly failing to win Parliament's approval for a deal to withdraw the country from the European Union.

A successor to Theresa May will be chosen before Parliament's summer break, the Conservative Party chairman said. She will continue as prime minister until the leadership contest is finished.

[...] Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May said it was in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister" to lead Britain through the Brexit process. She announced plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with the process to replace her beginning the following week.

Previously: Theresa May: UK's Next Prime Minister?

UK PM Theresa May announces resignation amid fury over Brexit handling

May spoke outside 10 Downing Street after a meeting with Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers. She said she will step down on June 7. Her resignation will trigger a party leadership contest, and whoever wins that contest will take over as prime minister.

[...] Her announcement could complicate the upcoming June 3 state visit by President Trump to London to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where he will also meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

May will still be in office during that visit, meaning it will nix the chance for a new prime minister to forge ties with the American president at a time where such relations are vital. A U.S.-U.K. trade deal is a top priority for the U.K. as it looks to depart from the European Union and begin making its own trade agreements -- and Trump has said "the potential is unlimited" for such a deal.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 08 2019, @10:19AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the next-up-is-the-unicorns-pooping-skittles-act dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Search engine and consumer privacy advocate DuckDuckGo has announced the "Do-Not-Track Act of 2019," a piece of draft legislation that would legally require sites to honor users' tracking preferences.

[...]If the act picks up steam and passes into law, sites would be required to cease certain user tracking methods, which means less data available to inform marketing and advertising campaigns.

The impact could also cascade into platforms that leverage consumer data, possibly making them less effective. For example, one of the advantages of advertising on a platform like Google or Facebook is the ability to target audiences. If a user enables DNT, the ads displayed to them when on browsing[sic] those websites won't be informed by their external browsing history.

[Ed Note: By proposed they mean "That's why we're announcing draft legislation that can serve as a starting point for legislators in America and beyond. "]

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission