“The bill reacts to a recent boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the American Studies Association — a national organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history — as well as a decision by the Department of American Studies at University of Maryland, Baltimore County to maintain its annual membership in the association. At a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Sara N. Love, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said the ACLU opposes the bill because it is “inimical to democratic principles.” Under a guise of protecting academic freedom, the bill penalizes a particular viewpoint as unacceptable and acts as a censor in an academic controversy, Love said in her testimony. She also said the Supreme Court has found similar actions by governments unconstitutional.”
“This Divestment Bill Hurts My Feelings” is a video collaboration with Palestinian director, animator, and co-founder of Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, Suhel Nafar. The video, based on a poem I wrote, attempts to deconstruct and debunk the spurious arguments against divestment on college campuses. Integrating animation, typography, and motion graphics, we attempted to present a visually stimulating experience, while concretely laying out the case for divestment. Zionist students on campus inspired the title. In an effort to derail divestment resolutions, students would often profess that divestment “hurt their feelings.” My hope is that the video educates, pushes people to act, sways people on the fence, and ultimately serves as a resource for those promoting divestment on campus.”
An automated reader attached to the spotter car takes a picture of every license plate it passes and sends it to a company in Texas that already has more than 1.8 billion plate scans from vehicles across the country. These scans mean big money for Sousa — typically $200 to $400 every time the spotter finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default — so he runs his spotter around the clock, typically adding 8,000 plate scans to the database in Texas each day. “Honestly, we’ve found random apartment complexes and shopping plazas that are sweet spots” where the company can impound multiple vehicles, explains Sousa, the president of New England Associates Inc. in Bridgewater. But the most significant impact of Sousa’s business is far bigger than locating cars whose owners have defaulted on loans: It is the growing database of snapshots showing where Americans were at specific times, information that everyone from private detectives to insurers are willing to pay for.
In return for all their hard work, Americans who aren’t executives or shareholders are paid just enough to meet basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. Under the capitalist system, the majority of life for today’s average American before retirement is spent pursuing profits that will never be shared with them. And because capitalists like Pete Peterson and the Koch Brothers are so determined to weaken Social Security in the pursuit of ever-increasing profits, even retirement is unstable. As a system predicated on the need to grow endlessly and never stagnate, capitalism is doomed to fail. I’ve written previously about how capitalism is currently in its endgame, similar to the endgame of Monopoly, where one player has accumulated nearly all of the property and money, and all the other players are afraid to make any moves at all, lest they land on the wrong square and are destroyed by debt.
Civil Rights Groups and information technology firms have joined together in a campaign to improve data security over the next three years. Human rights groups Access, Fight for the Future and the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined Twitter and eight other outfits to launch the Encrypt all the Things campaign this week with the Data Security Action Plan of 2014. Encrypt all the Things has a catchy name and a compelling proposition. It wants to improve the security landscape and foster personal data protection in the technology industry. You should expect to see a mix of campaigning and events over the next three years. If you want in, you should refer to the Encrypt all the Things website.
People kept asking me when Obama first ran did I think it would make a difference in lives of Black males. I said yes, symbolically. On issues of illiteracy, poverty, the sense of meaning of Black males, no. I saw Obama having great ties to the wealthy and the sustaining of the wealthy. His militarism alone puts him at odds with Black males or any of us sustaining our lives. I think a lot of the things Obama did were evident of who he was before he took office. If anything we have learned from both the civil rights and feminist movements is that we have people in power who look like us but do not represent us. Too often we focus on image over the action.
“Dow Chemical Co. steered $2 million to a Michigan “dark money” nonprofit in 2012 whose ads helped defeat a union-backed ballot measure aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights, the Center for Public Integrity has learned. The giant chemical maker was one of several corporations that helped finance a web of so-called “social welfare” nonprofits and trade associations that are active in politics but not legally obligated to publicly identify their funders[…]Ahead of the 2012 election, unions pushed for a ballot measure that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. The top underwriters of the ballot measure’s opposition were the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Alliance for Business Growth.”
Former Insomnia Cookies employees who went on strike against the company last August after alleging unfair working conditions reached a settlement with the company Tuesday. The workers, who brought forth charges with the National Labor Relations Board, will be compensated with payback totaling more than $4,000 and will have their terminations rescinded from their records. In addition, the settlement requires Insomnia Cookies to hang a poster in their Harvard Square location stating the company is union-neutral and will not fire workers for union activity, according to an Industrial Workers of the World press release Wednesday.
It’s no Iron Man suit, but if you’ve got a knack for civil disobedience and often find yourself on the business end of a Taser, the folks at Hackaday discovered that carbon fiber clothing can actually let you shrug off those electric shocks. To be more specific, they cut open the lining of a sports coat and lined it with endless strips of iron-on no-sew hem tape and carbon fiber tape so that the resulting jacket still had lots of flexibility. The carbon fiber conducts electricity much better than human skin, and since the strips were placed close enough to let the juice flow between them, they were able to dissipate the charge without shocking down the dapper-looking target.
“Robert Boyle and Phillip G. Dantes, attorneys for Conway, filed a motion on his behalf based on this ruling, arguing that the judge in Conway’s trial had not properly instructed the jury that this “beyond a reasonable doubt” proviso was mandatory for conviction. Based on this motion, they negotiated an agreement whereby Conway would be resentenced to time served and be released from prison. In exchange, Conway and his lawyers agreed not to litigate his case based on the Unger ruling[…] Scores of former Black Panthers are serving virtual life sentences in prison, largely the result of the efforts of J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered his FBI in the 1960s and ’70s to target the Black Panther Party – as revealed by the 1977 Church Committee Senate hearings. The first Panther chapter was started in 1966 in Oakland, California, but by the time a chapter was formed in Baltimore in 1968, the FBI had had ample time to insert more than its usual share of informants into the fledgling organization.”
The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal. Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.
“On a routine visit to Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday, President Obama was again confronted by a passionate immigration reform activist calling for an end to deportations. John Molina, a 46-year-old Colombian immigrant, interrupted a speech Obama was giving about his recent minimum wage increase. Much like 24-year-old Ju Hong—who called out the president in November during a speech in San Francisco—Molina stood on a chair and yelled, “Mr. Obama, stop the deportations!” Originally, Molina went to the event to join a demonstration outside of the university, and hadn’t planned on going in. But once he arrived he decided it was his only chance to tell the president how he really felt. Unlike with Hong, however, the president did not respond, nor did he intervene when Molina was asked to leave. ”
There has not yet been any substantive whistleblower reform in the US, and unfortunately my government has taken a number of disproportionate and persecutory actions against me. US government officials have declared me guilty of crimes in advance of any trial, they’ve called for me to be executed or assassinated in private and openly in the press, they revoked my passport and left me stranded in a foreign transit zone for six weeks, and even used NATO to ground the presidential plane of Evo Morales – the leader of Bolivia – on hearing that I might attempt to seek and enjoy asylum in Latin America.
Yesterday James suggested she and others would return to the site at daybreak to protect cultural sites in their traditional territory. “I’m a Sinixt woman within Sinixt territory,” she said. “I have to uphold my responsibilities to my society. We’re doing our cultural practices and they’re trying to turn us into criminals.” Little, who was not present when the arrests were made, said a number of other people were also on site when police arrived but stood aside when asked. He was not sure whether the Crown would proceed with civil or criminal contempt of court charges. “We will be patrolling the area and monitoring it,” he said. “If the company is blocked we will respond.” The injunction, which BC Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan extended until June 30, bars anyone from interfering with Galena Contracting of Nakusp, which has a contract with BC Timber Sales to extend the Perry Ridge forest service road eight kilometers and harvest about 5,000 cubic meters of wood.
Federal prosecutors filed papers today indicating that they want to drop all but one of the 12 charges in their original indictment, including all the counts related to hyperlinking. Brown no longer faces 10 charges of “aggravated identity theft,” but he is left to deal with a charge of possessing stolen credit card numbers. The government’s backing down comes a day after Brown’s defense lawyers filed a motion to dismiss all the charges against him. Brown’s lawyers say that all he did was post a hyperlink, which can’t amount to the “transfer” of stolen information. The charges against him violate First Amendment free speech protections, the motion argues. The information that Brown’s link pointed to all stemmed from an Anonymous hack against Strategic Forcasting, Inc., also known as Stratfor. In addition to information related to thousands of credit cards, e-mail addresses of hundreds of thousands of Stratfor subscribers were stolen.