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Showing posts from May 7, 2017

Highlights of the French Presidential Vote

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[LePen concedes; bullet dodged. See also: Front National 'to be renamed' as Jean-Marie Le Pen criticises daughter's campaign. *RON*]

Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, 7 May 2017

■ The independent centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen and will become the next president of France, according to projections based on preliminary results on Sunday, in a campaign that offered voters a stark choice and whose final days were marked by a vicious second-round debate and a hacking attack against Mr. Macron.

■ Mr. Macron captured about 65 percent of the vote, according to the projections from several French polling institutes, while Ms. Le Pen was at about 35 percent.

■ At 5 p.m. French time, the voter turnout stood at 65.30 percent, according to the Interior Ministry, lower than in the past three presidential elections. Lower turnout had been expected to benefit Ms. Le Pen.

■ Polls closed at 7 p.m. in smaller towns and rural areas, where M…

Today's Trumpery

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Vaccine fears driving measles outbreak among Somalis in Hennepin Co.

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[If they weren't endangering herd immunity I would say this is just Darwin in action. But they are pointlessly putting the public health at risk, and this should not be permitted. *RON*]

Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio News, 20 April 2017

The Hennepin County measles outbreak is now up to 12 cases as of Thursday afternoon — all of them in unvaccinated kids 5 years old or younger.

The confirmed cases have been in the Somali community, but Kris Ehresmann, the Minnesota Department of Health infectious disease director, wants to make one point absolutely clear: "This outbreak has nothing to do with being Somali."

It has to do with vaccinations. Only about 42 percent of Somali 2-year-olds in Minnesota are vaccinated compared to a rate of nearly 90 percent among other Minnesota kids.

"It is absolutely an outbreak that is driven by unvaccinated children," Ehresmann said. "And that's really what the source is."

• Think…

Climate change is already forcing U.S. communities to abandon their homes

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[Seventeen communities are already being forced to move due to the impacts of climate change. *RON*]
Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 5 May 2017

Projections of climate-fueled sea level rise show terrifying scenarios with major economic centers like New York and Miami losing much of their land to rising seas. But for some communities in the United States, losing land to climate change isn’t a future nightmare — it’s a present and daily struggle.

According to new analysis from the Center for Progressive Reform, at least 17 communities across the United States are currently being forced to relocate due to climate change. And the majority of those 17 — like the residents of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana — are indigenous communities for whom relocation would mean leaving coastal areas replete with cultural and economic significance.

“Community displacements due to climate change are about so much more than moving possessions and finding new homes,”…

Justice Department Opens Criminal Probe Into Uber For Deceiving Regulators

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[Democracy versus corporatocratic arrogance. Uber's approach to the rule of law is to just break it and see what happens. *RON*]

Brian Solomon , Forbes, 4 May 2017

Uber continues to put itself in hot water.

Uber's already deep into a fraught civil legal battle with Google. Now it could be called into court against a bigger opponent: the federal government.

According to a report from Reuters, the U.S. Department of Justice has started a criminal investigation into Uber's use of a software tool code-named "Greyball" that helped Uber drivers avoid detection from location transportation authorities in markets like Portland, Oregon where the service was not yet legally allowed to operate. Uber has apparently received a subpoena "seeking documents concerning how the software tool functioned and where it was deployed."

The "Greyball" program came to light for the first time in March, when a New York Times inves…

In Rare Unity, Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Criticize Health Bill

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[Health care class wars. "To me, this is not a reform," said Michael J. Dowling, the chief executive of Northwell Health, a large health system in New York. "This is just a debacle." *RON*]

Reed Abelson & Katie Thomas, New York Times, 4 May 2017

It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation that passed the House on Thursday.

The bill’s impact is wide-ranging, potentially affecting not only the millions who could lose coverage through deep cuts in Medicaid or no longer be able to afford to buy coverage in the state marketplaces. With states allowed to seek waivers from providing certain benefits, employers big and small could scale back what they pay for each year or reimpose lifetime limits on coverage. In particular, small businesses, some of which were st…

The Threat: A Conversation With Ross Anderson

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[More than a bit freaky. "If I can threaten to cause millions of cars in America to turn right and accelerate sharply into the nearest building, causing the biggest gridlock you’ve ever seen in every American city simultaneously, maybe only killing a few hundred or a few thousand people but totally bringing traffic to a standstill in all American cities— isn’t that an interesting weapon worth developing if you’re the Chinese Armed Forces R&D lab? There’s no doubt that such weapons can be developed." *RON*]
The Edge, 7 May 2017



People who are able to live digitally enhanced lives, in the sense that they can use all the available tools to the fullest extent, are very much more productive and capable and powerful than those who are still stuck in meatspace. It’s as if you had a forest where all the animals could see only in black and white and, suddenly, along comes a mutation in one of the predators allowing it to see in color. All …