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Cartoon: Mitch's Green raw deal

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:50

I don't care for this Mitch McConnell fella. No siree.

Categories: Politics

Samsung To Stop Making 4K Blu-Ray Players, Report Says

Slashdot - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:50
According to a report from Forbes, Samsung may be exiting the 4K Blu-ray player market. "After launching its first 4K players in 2017, the company didn't add any new players to its lineup in 2018," reports CNET. "A high-end player for 2019 along the lines of its UBD-M9500 was in the works, the report says, but has now been scrapped." From the report: One of the reasons for pulling out could be that the existing players' format support has lagged behind the rest of the industry. For example, instead of supporting Dolby Vision, Samsung created its own version of HDR10, HDR10+, which was designed for use in streaming and physical media. Competitor Oppo was the first company to support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision but announced it was ending production of its 4K Blu-ray players in April 2018. Meanwhile Sony announced the M2 player at CES 2019 with support for Dolby Vision and Panasonic recently released the high-end DP-UB9000 player in Europe and Australia.

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Categories: Geek

WormBase Manet is DOWN, 1550268966

WormBase Manet - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:30
Categories: Bio

For some reason, DNC Chair Tom Perez STILL wants to give Fox News a presidential primary debate

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:30

Campaign Action

On Friday, Daily Kos delivered 120,000 of your signatures to the Democratic National Committee, urging it to abandon the ludicrous notion of rewarding Fox News with a Democratic presidential primary debate. 

As Eric Boehlert pointed out, this is a terrible idea for countless (and obvious!) reasons. For example, “Can you imagine being Seth Rich's mother and father, knowing that Fox News dragged your son's name through the mud and toyed with his death for attempted partisan gain—your son who worked for the DNC!—and then watching Fox News being given the honor and privilege of hosting a DNC debate?” 

This really should be a no-brainer. DNC Chair Tom Perez should’ve never told Fox host Brett Baier that “Absolutely we’re having discussions with Fox” about having a debate. (Baier was ecstatic, responding, “Happy to hear that.”) And once over a hundred thousand Democrats mobilized against the idea, there would have been no harm in the party saying, “Good point, and don’t worry, there are plenty of credible news outlets available to host debates. Fox won’t be one of them.” 

Instead, it refuses to make any such commitment. I sent DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa a series of questions about the Fox debate, and in response, she sent this bullshit of horseshit:

[DNC] CEO Seema Nanda received the petition and thanked the activists. We are talking to cable and broadcast networks, as well as a whole host of outlets, including digital outlets. A number of media outlets have submitted proposals, and we're reviewing these proposals.      

As you can see, nothing in that statement precludes the possibility of Fox News hosting a debate. I followed up with a simple yes/no question: “So to be extra clear, the DNC is still considering letting Fox News host a debate, further validating them and their anti-Democratic agenda?” I got crickets as a response. 

So the battle continues. And what a stupid battle! Rather than do the right thing, Tom Perez has decided they’d rather create unnecessary internal conflict in order to protect Fox News. It’s so ridiculous it boggles the mind! 

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. This matter will certainly escalate, as we fight to keep our party from shooting itself in the foot. 

Categories: Politics

Voting Rights Roundup: How the Electoral College could give way to a national popular vote by 2024

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:10
Leading Off

Electoral College: After gaining unified control of state government in 2018, Democrats in Colorado and New Mexico are quickly moving to pass laws that would bring their states' 14 Electoral College votes into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This agreement would have every member state give its electoral votes (EVs) to the national popular vote winner if enough states with a majority of EVs—270 in total—sign up. Once that threshold is reached, all presidential candidates would have to compete to win the national popular vote rather than the Electoral College vote, effectively ending the Electoral College without needing to amend the Constitution.​

Campaign Action

​As shown on the map at the top of this post (see here for a larger version, or see here for a regular state map), we'll explore how Democrats could get enough states to join the compact so that it would take effect for the 2024 presidential election, if all goes according to plan. With Republican legislators voting in lockstep against the proposal, Democrats must rely on states where they have full control of government to join the compact. GOP gerrymandering helped prevent Democrats from taking legislative majorities in a handful of key states last year, and it likewise precludes the compact from reaching a majority in time for 2020.

However, there are already several states where Democrats are in charge that could vote to join the compact right away. That includes:

  • Colorado — 9 EVs
  • Delaware — 3 EVs
  • Maine — 4 EVs
  • Nevada — 6 EVs
  • New Mexico — 5 EVs
  • Oregon — 7 EVs

That’s a total of 34 EVs, so if all these states were to join, the compact would grow from 172 to 206 EVs. The next battle would be in Virginia, which will elect every member of its legislature this November. Democrats need to flip just a single state Senate seat and two state House seats to win unified control of government, meaning they could add Virginia's 13 EVs to the compact to give it 219 EVs. That’s still well shy of the 270 EVs needed, but depending on the results of state-level elections over the next few cycles, 2024 could be within reach.

Categories: Politics

US Labor Organization AFL-CIO Urges Game Developers To Unionize In Open Letter

Slashdot - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gamasutra: In the wake of Activision Blizzard's massive layoff wave, a move that was announced in the same call as the company's record quarter, the union federation AFL-CIO has published an open letter to game developers urging members of the industry to organize. The AFL-CIO itself is the largest labor organization in the United States and counts 55 individual unions (and more than 12.5 million workers) among its affiliates. The letter, readable in full on Kotaku, calls out many of the issues that have prompted conversations about unionization in just recent years like excessive crunch, toxic work conditions, inadequate pay, and job instability. The industry, points out AFL-CIO's secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler, boasted sales 3.6 times greater than those of the film industry in 2018, yet much of that financial success isn't felt by the developers working on the games that generate those billions. "Executives are always quick to brag about your work. It's the talk of every industry corner office and boardroom. They pay tribute to the games that capture our imaginations and seem to defy economic gravity. They talk up the latest innovations in virtual reality and celebrate record-smashing releases, as your creations reach unparalleled new heights," says Shuler. "My question is this: what have you gotten in return? They get rich. They get notoriety. They get to be crowned visionaries and regarded as pioneers. What do you get? Outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job. [...] Change will happen when you gain leverage by joining together in a strong union. And, it will happen when you use your collective voice to bargain for a fair share of the wealth you create every day. No matter where you work, bosses will only offer fair treatment when you stand together and demand it."

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Categories: Geek

Apple reportedly buys PullString, a voice assistant startup behind enterprise Alexa apps

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 16:57

Apple has today agreed to buy a San Francisco-based startup Pullstring, according to Axios. The company focuses on designing and publishing voice apps. Such an acquisition could play an important role for Apple as it continues to work on improving Siri, which many believe is far behind the acquisition.

more…

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Categories: Geek

GAO Gives Congress Go-ahead For a GDPR-like Privacy Legislation

Slashdot - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 16:32
An independent report authored by a US government auditing agency has recommended that Congress develop internet data privacy legislation to enhance consumer protections, similar to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). From a report: The 56-page report [PDF] was put together by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), a bi-partisan government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress. Its reports are used for hearings and drafting legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which requested the GAO report two years ago, has scheduled a hearing for February 26, during which it plans to discuss GAO's findings and the possibility in drafting the US' first federal-level internet privacy law. If the committee's members would be to follow GAO's conclusions, a GDPR-like legislation should be coming to the US.

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Categories: Geek

Economic Daily News: Updated AirPods in production with black color option, launching alongside AirPower in spring

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 16:27

Chinese media outlet Economic Daily News is reporting that Inventec is already producing a new version of AirPods with a different exterior material for the earbuds and charging case, as well as a black color option.

The report indicates that they will go on sale in the spring alongside the AirPower wireless charging mat. EDN says the new AirPods are expected to boost Inventec’s first quarter earnings, as the publication has a supply chain focus.

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Categories: Geek

Mitch McConnell Doesn't Seem Too Worried About Our Super Dangerous National Emergency [VIDEO]

Little Green Footballs - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 16:18

I hope you've got stores of canned goods, bottled water, dehydrated meals, and masking tape for your windows, because we're in a state of emergency now.

[...lights hair on fire, runs in circles screaming...]

Apparently there's an invasion of crime-committing, raping, murdering monsters happening on the southern border of the US, although nobody but Donald Trump can actually see it.

But it's comforting to know that not even a SUPER DANGEROUS NATIONAL EMERGENCY can stop the president* from enjoying yet another golf weekend.

Categories: Politics

US Investigators Probing Years of WikiLeaks Activities, Report Says

Slashdot - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:55
WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange are the subject of a long-running criminal investigation in the U.S., Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Investigators have dug into the website's activities going back years, people who have been in contact with witnesses in the case say. From the report: American investigators are gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website's large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010. Officially, U.S. authorities have issued no public comments about the status of Wikileaks-related investigations. But a document which U.S. authorities said was mistakenly filed in open court in an unrelated case last November alluded to a sealed U.S. criminal complaint against Assange, though the document does not provide specifics regarding which laws U.S. prosecutors believe Assange violated.

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Categories: Geek

ICE is jailing asylum-seekers at an isolated Mississippi private prison miles from any legal help

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:53

Due to overcrowding in detention facilities elsewhere, immigration officials are jailing a significant number of vulnerable asylum-seekers in a private prison run by CoreCivic, a company that has had such a long history of abuses that it changed its name as part of a PR makeover. But this Mississippi prison is so secretive that it’s unknown exactly how many Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees are even there. “Congress required ICE in 2018 to publish basic information about the jails and detention centers it uses,” Mother Jones reports, “but the agency has kept Tallahatchie off that list.” 

Since Mississippi does not have a history of immigration detention, access to legal counsel at Tallahatchie is severely limited; the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s website lists no immigration attorneys within 50 miles of the prison. Lawyers who have worked at the facility say there are not enough Spanish-speaking staff members at the prison, let alone those who speak the native languages of asylum-seekers from Africa and South Asia. 

A Southern Poverty Law Center attorney said that “if someone wanted to build a jail where asylum-seekers lose otherwise winnable cases because of lack of access to the outside world, that jail would probably look a lot like Tallahatchie does now.” Last year, the group sued the private-prison profiteers running Tallahatchie, accusing CoreCivic of forcing immigrants jailed in Georgia “to work for as little as $1 a day to clean, cook, and maintain the detention center in a scheme to maximize profits.” Conditions at Tallahatchie are also dire.

Last weekend, a Wyoming man detained at Tallahatchie died by apparent suicide. One month ago, a Cameroonian immigrant who tried to hang himself with a bedsheet was saved by a fellow detainee, who was a paramedic in Nicaragua. Isaac Molina had fled after being shot by police, after he had assisted demonstrators who were injured in an anti-government political protest. Once he arrived in the U.S., Molina passed his initial asylum interview. He has U.S. family he can be released to, but ICE continues to keep him detained. “As soon as I left my country, I knew I wasn’t going back,” he said. “Maybe when my papers are in completely in order, I can go back to having a normal life. That’s what I want the most: to have a normal life.”

Categories: Politics

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been interviewed by Mueller's team

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:39

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been barely working recently, with the blessing of her media-combative dictator in chief. CNN reports that Sanders did answer a few questions about whether or not she had been asked to speak with the special counsel’s investigators. She told the news outlet that she “was happy to voluntarily sit down with them.”

According to CNN, the interview came around the same time former White House chief of staff John Kelly was interviewed. Remember him? What Sanders spoke about with the Mueller team is not known. CNN speculates that she was asked about how she receives her marching orders, who tells her what to say, and what Donald Trump’s place is in that process. 

This isn’t a bombshell, but it does show how thorough the Mueller investigation has been in trying to create a detailed understanding of the corrupt hierarchy in the White House. Considering that Sanders has frequently lied on behalf of the Trump administration, either as directed or by her own design, not only might she know a little bit about buried bodies, but she might be liable for other public lies as well.

Categories: Politics

Comical iPhone XR ad shows off Portrait Mode Depth Control: ‘Did you bokeh my child?’

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:36

Apple has today rolled out a new ad titled “Bokeh’d” focused on the computational bokeh effect found on iPhone 7 Plus and later. With newer iPhone generations, users can adjust the amount of bokeh.

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Categories: Geek

WormBase Manet is DOWN, 1550261766

WormBase Manet - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:30
Categories: Bio

Twitter saves deleted direct messages for years, says security researcher

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:27

A new report from TechCrunch today reveals that Twitter holds on to deleted direct messages for years, in some cases even for accounts that have been suspended or deactivated.

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Categories: Geek

Federal judge just slapped gag order on Roger Stone and his attorneys

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:23

Since Trump adviser and very strange person Roger Stone was arrested and charged with seven counts of perjury and obstruction in connection with the Robert Mueller investigation of Donald Trump, he’s been doing a lot of what he’s always done—being an abrasive jerk and a nuisance. On Friday, possibly to save America from hearing from Stone over the Presidents Day weekend, Judge Amy Berman Jackson slapped a gag order on Stone and his legal team, saying that there was a very real chance that Stone and his team could make statements that could result in “a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”

Judge Jackson highlighted the need for all parties to stop making statements and holding press conferences in and around the courthouse, saying that she worried about “public statements made in the District of Columbia, directed at individuals who may be members of the venire from which the jury will be drawn.”

According to CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Pérez, Stone can continue blathering away outside of D.C.

x

 

I wonder how long he can stay away from those microphones and cameras in front of the courthouse, which he loves so very much.

Categories: Politics

Robot Squeezes Suspected Nuclear Fuel Debris in Fukushima Reactor

Slashdot - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:19
A robot outfitted with remotely controlled pinchers poked at debris that's suspected to contain molten nuclear fuel at the bottom of one of Fukushima's nuclear reactors, World Nuclear News reports. From a report: The poking and prodding is part of the ongoing cleanup effort at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the site of a major nuclear accident in 2011. The dextrous robot was dangled into the Unit 2 reactor on February 13th, according to a news release from the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Unit 2 is one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that overheated after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, which caused the reactor core to melt. TEPCO suspects that radioactive fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor vessel to fall into the containment structure surrounding it. The company has to find the radioactive debris and figure out how to remove them, so TEPCO has been sending in a series of robots to scout out the reactors. It's a dangerous journey that some of the robots haven't survived.

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Categories: Geek

Friday Cat Blogging – 15 February 2019

Kevin Drum - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:00

Back when I was taking pictures of raindrop splashes, I opened the window over my desk and took the screen out. This immediately attracted both cats, who were fascinated by this brand new way to get into the backyard. They were also fascinated by the birds who cluster around here because this is where our bird feeder is. In this picture, Hilbert’s attention is locked on a bird that he is hoping will fly into his mouth. Hopper’s attention is apparently locked on my computer. Or possibly a bug of some kind. Who knows?

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Raise the Wage Act would help black workers most; a substitute for Trump's wall?

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 15:00

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is The Revolver:

Cartoon by Mark Fiore

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

  • Are we a democracy or are we a monarchy, by Ian Reifowitz
  • We must take back our wealth from the super-rich methodically before it is too late, by Egberto Willies 
  • I used to be a "centrist" Democrat, by Frank Vyan Walton 
  • Rich guy says taxing rich guys is wrong, by Mark E Andersen 
  • The 2020 Trump strategy, and why scandal is our own worst enemy, by David Akadjian 
  • I’m a billionaire and I’m running for president, by Jon Perr
  • Here's our ultimate Democratic wishlist for Senate in 2020. Who's on yours? by Steve Singiser 
  • The 2020 electorate will be more diverse than ever, by Sher Watts Spooner 
  • I refuse to honor George Washington, and other 'founders' who enslaved, and sold human beings, by Denise Oliver Velez 

Cost of phone calls from Illinois’ jails 50 times more than from its prisons:

When you’re thrown behind bars, not much is more important than a phone call. And while a lot of attention has been paid to the exorbitant rates and hidden fees of phone calls from federal and state prisons, the cost of calling from city and county jails remains largely unchecked, preventing many prisoners—the majority of whom are pre-trial—from communicating with loved ones or lawyers.

According to a new report this week from the nonprofit research organization Prison Policy Initiative, the average cost of a phone call from jail is over three times as much as one from prison. In some states, it’s much higher than that: In Michigan, a 15-minute call from jail could cost as much as $22, whereas that call from state prison would come out to just under $2.50. In Illinois, a typical jail call is over 50 times more expensive than a call from state prison.

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation tried save the Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Katrina: It built 109 new homes there. But many are flawed in design, construction, and materials, one so bad it had to be demolished. One publication said, “Make It Right seems to have made it blight.” What happened?

MIDDAY TWEET 

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Group of engineers and scientists propose building solar, wind, natural gas, and water infrastructure instead of a wall on southern border:

Here’s an idea: Instead of an endless, inert wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, line the boundary with 2,000 miles of natural gas, solar and wind power plants. Use some of the energy to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean and ship it through pipelines to thirsty towns, businesses and new farms along the entire border zone. Hire hundreds of thousands of people from both countries to build and run it all. Companies would make money and provide security to safeguard their assets. A contentious, costly no-man’s-land would be transformed into a corridor of opportunity. [...]

The idea is more than a pipe dream. A consortium of 27 engineers and scientists from a dozen U.S. universities has developed a plan. Last week they delivered it to three U.S. representatives and one senator. “Let’s put the best scientists and engineers together to create a new way to deal with migration, trafficking—and access to water. These are regions of severe drought,” says Luciano Castillo, a professor of energy and power at Purdue University who leads the group. “Water supply is a huge future issue for all the states along the border in both countries.”

Andrew McCabe’s new book portrays Jefferson B. Sessions III as incompetent racist: While that description is a mild one by progressive standards, it’s always good to hear some details. Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe described several interactions with then-Attorney General Sessions, citing him saying: “Back in the old days, he said, you all only hired Irishmen. They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos.” 

Economic Policy Institute analyzes the Raise the Wage Act of 2019By raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, 40 million American workers would get a pay boost. And it would disproportionately increase the wages of all black workers by 38.1 percent and 23.2 percent of all white workers. African Americans would benefit more because they are more likely to be employed in jobs currently paying less than the proposed new minimum wage and less likely to work in states or regions that have passed a state minimum wage higher than the current federal minimum:

Just as black workers were significantly overrepresented in the industrial sectors originally excluded from [federal] minimum wage coverage [in 1938], black workers today are significantly overrepresented in states that have not raised their minimum wages as the purchasing power of the federal minimum has eroded. In both instances, these were intentional policy decisions rooted—at least in part—in indifference if not outright hostility toward black workers. 

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