Oscar rants

Source: Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"Actress Meryl Streep likely set the stage for a very political Academy Award ceremony Sunday night when she accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes in January. Now the question is, will President Donald Trump be watching what is likely to be a four-hour verbal pounding of his person and policies? Streep indirectly panned Trump's immigration policies as she warned about kicking out people from diverse backgrounds out of the country." [editor's note: Fortunately this was less the case than expected, altho the nature of some of the winners made it politically correct anyway – SAT] (02/26/17)


Palestinian Arab envoy warns against moving US embassy in Israel

Source: Akron Beacon Journal

"The Palestinian[ Arabs'] top envoy to the United States is warning that moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could disrupt efforts to secure peace in the Middle East. Maen Areikat says an 'emotional decision' to shift the embassy’s location 'is going to have very, very negative repercussions' and could seriously complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve the conflict between the Palestinian[ Arab]s and the Israelis." (02/27/17)


Free Talk Live, 02/26/17

Source: Free Talk Live

"FTL Broadcasts from Anarchapulco Day Two of Four :: Tone Vays :: Amanda Johnson :: Matt Phillips :: Amanda Rachwitz :: Stephanie Murphy :: HOSTS — Ian & Mark." [Flash audio or MP3] (02/26/17)


The welcome and long overdue death of the cult of the NHS

Source: Adam Smith Institute
by Emile Yusupoff

"The state of the healthcare debate in this country is testament to the absurd pedestal the NHS has been placed on, as is illustrated by the hysterical cries of 'privatisation' induced by any reforms, no matter how minor or cosmetic. That universal healthcare can be delivered without a monolithic bureaucracy is apparently specialist knowledge. The debate has been skewed into the holy calling of defending 'OUR-NHSTM' on the one-hand and 'selling it to Richard Branson and leaving poor people to die' on the other. This orthodoxy appears, however, to be being slowly eroded. In spite of Labour having run a campaign that was literally based on claiming that Conservative health policy would kill babies, the Tories managed to win the first government by-election victory since 1982 in a seat that Labour have held since the 1930s." (02/27/17)


Google does it again: Discloses unpatched Microsoft Edge and IE vulnerability

Source: The Hacker News

"This month has yet been kind of interesting for cyber security researchers, with Google successfully cracked SHA1 and the discovery of Cloudbleed bug in Cloudflare that caused the leakage of sensitive information across sites hosted behind Cloudflare. Besides this, Google last week disclosed an unpatched vulnerability in Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI) library, which affects Microsoft's Windows operating systems ranging from Windows Vista Service Pack 2 to the latest Windows 10." (02/25/17)


Trump and the institutional quandary

Source: Cato Institute
by Christine Guluzian

"For those familiar with political science, and with institutional theory in particular, Trump could be considered something of an anomaly. Institutional theory holds that institutions over time will help shape a politician's preferences, agenda, or actions. In other words, a politician might come into office with his or her own expectations and agenda, but the construct and constraints of government — including partisan divisions, bureaucratic encumbrances, constitutional limitations, and even shared norms and values — will likely alter their capacity to push through a political agenda. President Trump is putting this theory to the test. The rapidity of his issuance of executive orders, coupled with an insular policymaking process confined largely to his inner circle, allows little room for institutional settings and norms to come into play." (02/27/17)


SCOTUS may strike down idiotic fascist censorship law

Source: Washington Post

"Lester Gerard Packingham praised Jesus on his Facebook page and simultaneously committed a felony. But his conviction may not stand for long. A majority of the Supreme Court on Monday seemed prepared to strike down a North Carolina law that makes it a crime for a registered sex offender such as Packingham to access social media sites even years after they have served their sentences or completed probation. … Justice Elena Kagan was perhaps the most outspoken of the justices who indicated North Carolina had gone so far in restricting sex offenders' use of the Internet that the state was violating First Amendment rights." (02/27/17)


China arrests 800 in crackdown on underground banking

Source: Fox News

"China's policy ministry says more than 800 people have been arrested in a crackdown on unlicensed banking operations as authorities try to stem outflows of money from the country. The ministry said more than 380 underground banks that handled transactions totaling more than 900 billion yuan ($130 billion) were broken up in the crackdown launched last year. Communist leaders allow informal finance to support entrepreneurs but try to stop activity they say threatens the state-run banking system, supports crime or helps people violate foreign exchange controls or other regulations. Expectations the currency would decline in value prompted companies and small investors to move money out of China starting in late 2015. That prompted Beijing to tighten foreign exchange controls." (02/27/17)


Hidden racism

Source: Sojourners
by Da'Shawn Mosley

"Even if you haven’t seen 'Hidden Figures,' the biopic about black women who worked at NASA in 1961 and this award season’s highest-grossing nominee for the Oscar for Best Picture, odds are you have watched, or heard about, the film’s bathroom scenes. One sequence acts as a pivotal moment: black mathematician Katherine Johnson, the main character, reveals to her boss why she takes 40-minute-long breaks: The nearest bathroom for 'colored ladies' is more than a mile away. … Another bathroom scene, just moments later in the film, has garnered a similar level of attention, this time for its inaccuracy. In the scene, Katherine Johnson’s boss Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner, uses a crowbar to tear down the sign hanging above one of the colored ladies’ restrooms on NASA’s campus, in response to Johnson’s earlier confession. 'Here at NASA, we all pee the same color,' says Harrison. But this scene never happened. Harrison never took a crowbar to a 'Colored Ladies Room' sign. He never solved Johnson’s dilemma of having limited accessibility to a legal bathroom." (02/26/17)


What does "freedom" actually mean? Self-indulgent Libertarian hypocrisy knows no bounds

Source: Salon
by Jeremy Sherman

[editor's note: I'm not even going to try to excerpt this. It's like someone challenged the guy to come up with an answer to the question "what would it look like if someone without the slightest idea what libertarianism is or where it came from had to demonstrate what it takes to get an F on a high school freshman composition exercise?" Yes. That bad. Really. – TLK] (02/27/17)