November 28, 2017

Tobacco industry finally placing court ordered ads – after 11 year delay. “The “corrective statements” to be aired beginning 26 November are part of a 2006 judgment against tobacco companies, which found companies such as RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris broke anti-racketeering laws, lied about how cigarettes harmed health and denied their efforts to market cigarettes to children.”

Supreme Court to hear case involving privacy of “third party” records. “Visiting a website, sending an email, buying a book online – all of these things requiring sharing sensitive data with internet service providers, merchants, banks and others. If this kind of commonplace and unavoidable information-sharing is sufficient to extinguish constitutional privacy rights, the digital-age fourth amendment will soon be a dead letter.”

Arizona judge orders press to conceal identity of prosecutor. “…if you ever go to court accused of a crime, you deserve to know that the identity of the person prosecuting the case will be public — not hidden behind a judge’s order of secrecy.”

New York Times accused of blaming Edward Herman, in his obituary, for downplaying atrocities that happened after his book was published. “In the obituary, the Times’ Sam Roberts wrote of the classic book that Ed co-wrote with Noam Chomsky, ‘Manufacturing Consent was severely criticized as having soft-pedaled evidence of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and, during the Bosnia war, Srebrenica’. The problem with this statement is that Manufacturing Consent was published in 1988—years before the 1994 Rwandan genocide or the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.”   Looks like the NYT has corrected their error.

Russia passes law categorizing foreign news media as “foreign agents”. “It will now allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of “foreign agents” and to disclose their funding sources.”

Supreme Court declines to hear case on Maryland law that bans military-style rifles. “The justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states.”   Is speech that is too harshly critical of the government the next clearly protected constitutional right that will be quashed by the courts?

Former White House communications director reportedly threatens to sue student newspaper editorial writer for defamation. “It’s not surprising that a Trump disciple who briefly led a virulently anti-media White House would try to shut down an opinion column critical of him. It is surprising, however, that the Fletcher School would keep such a person on the advisory committee.”

New York Times widely criticized for profile of white nationalist. “The newspaper maintained that the story did not intend to “normalize” white nationalist views by giving Hovater a platform, but to reveal how such hateful views have become “far more normal” in the U.S.”

Dictionary website names “complicit” word of the year. “ defines “complicit” as ‘choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing’.”

EU approves use of chemical found in herbicide Roundup for five more years. “Critics say it’s carcinogenic and negatively affects biodiversity, but many farmers say there is no viable, cost-effective alternative and that banning it will push food prices up.”

Russian president unveils monument to victims of Stalinism (without mentioning Stalin). “With tears in her eyes, 78-year-old Zoya Puchkina described how her father was arrested in 1943 after a colleague at the factory where he worked reported him for saying the country had not been ready for war.”

Time magazine bought by group of investors which includes Koch brothers. “The deal was made possible, in part, by an infusion of $650 million from the private equity arm of Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers known for using their wealth and political connections to advance conservative causes.”

Wells Fargo traders may have cheated foreign exchange customers in pursuit of bonuses. “Of the approximately 300 fee agreements for foreign exchange trades reviewed internally by Wells Fargo, only about 35 firms were billed the price they had been quoted, the employees told the Journal.”

Facebook announces use of artificial intelligence to detect suicidal posts. “The idea of Facebook proactively scanning the content of people’s posts could trigger some dystopian fears about how else the technology could be applied. Facebook didn’t have answers about how it would avoid scanning for political dissent or petty crime, with Rosen merely saying ‘we have an opportunity to help here so we’re going to invest in that’.”

Apartment complex manager uses “abandonment” clause to evict single mom, throw all of the family’s belongings into dumpsters.  “The manager showed us an abandonment clause in the lease that she says gives her the authority to change the locks and take back the apartment, without having to go through the legal process of filing eviction.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has two bosses. “Two public servants — one a holdover from the Obama administration, the other a rushed temporary appointee by President Trump — messily and publicly vied to lead an agency that has fought for consumers while under political assault by Republicans. Its future as an independent agency rests on who leads it next.”


November 28, 2017

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