Senate Republicans Vote To Gut Internet Privacy

Senate Republicans Vote To Gut Internet Privacy

Hamza Shaban, writing for BuzzFeed:

The Senate voted Thursday to make it easier for internet service providers to share sensitive information about their customers, a first step in overturning landmark privacy rules that consumer advocates and Democratic lawmakers view as crucial protections in the digital age. The vote was passed along party lines, 50-48, with all but two Republicans voting in favor of the repeal and every Democrat voting against it. Two Republican Senators did not vote.

Disgusting. This is what buying policy looks like, folks. Kate Tummarello of the Electronic Frontier Foundation also did a write-up, and included a particularly scary piece of information:

Republicans in the Senate just voted 50-48 (with two absent votes) to approve a Congressional Review Action resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake which—if it makes it through the House—would not only roll back the FCC’s rules but also prevent the FCC from writing similar rules in the future.

(emphasis added)

This may not seem like a big deal, but it very much is, especially in an age where ISPs and the data brokers to whom they sell your information are frequently hacked.

More shameful behavior from Senate Republicans whose retirement can’t possibly come soon enough.

NJ law would require pet stores sell only rescue animals

NJ law would require pet stores sell only rescue animals

John C. Ensslin reports for The Record:

New pet stores in New Jersey would be allowed to sell only cats and dogs obtained from shelters, pounds and animal rescue organization under a bill the state Senate passed Thursday.

The bill still has to go to the Assembly and will face industry opposition there, but it’s a great step forward. Find more information about the bill here. You can read an embedded PDF of the Senate version below this post.


Re: Dumb conspiracy theories on Scalia’s death

Enough with the conspiracy theories about Justice Scalia’s death

I read this earlier today:

“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia,” William O. Ritchie wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday, according to reports. After seeking to cast doubt on the conclusion of the deputy U.S. marshals who responded to a call from the ranch, he added, “My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas.”

My gut tells me there is some fishing for attention going on in the head of the former D.C. police officer who said that.

Why?

Let’s consider this:

  1. Why?
  2. Why??
  3. Why???

Was it a Liberal conspiracy to get President Obama one more lasting decision about the future of United States legal policy?

Was it a “Conservative” conspiracy to give Congressional Republicans and presidential candidates something “meaningful” to “stand up” to Obama about?

Was it Ancient Aliens?

There was no autopsy, they say! There was a pillow above his head, they say! The President was told long before anyone else, they say (as if the President doesn’t get most of the news before everyone else…)!

Conspiracy theorists demand: “What is your proof Scalia wasn’t murdered?”

These stupid theories remind me of one of the frequent arguments levied against atheists: “What is your proof that there is no god??”

Who proved god exists in the first place?

Pillows

Many articles note the ranch owner who found Scalia said there was a pillow above his head, and many conspiracy theorists point to this as suspicious. I sleep with a pillow over my head every night, and another one underneath it, using the two to drown out the sounds of an increasingly conspiratorial world so I can maintain my slumber all night long.

No conspiracy. Just a light sleeper.

Politics aside

I disagreed with much of Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court jurisprudence but his presence on the Court was invaluable to the development of United States law and the debates from which it springs.

He articulated his positions in such a way that I (almost always) respected them, even when I found it hard to believe someone so intelligent was seriously asserting them. He was rarely conclusory, giving reasons for his views, and whether you agreed with those reasons or not, that’s more than most politicians (and lawyers) usually do.

His death is a loss, but there are few more certain paths to some sort of immortality than thirty years on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Photo: Then-nominee Antonin Scalia, right, with President Ronald Reagan in 1986, via Wikipedia

Retiring founder wants $1M for his SCOTUS audio archive

Retiring founder wants $1M for his SCOTUS audio archive

Oyez is a robust archive of audio recordings and other information spanning much of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. Its founder Chicago-Kent College of Law Professor Jerry Goldman is looking for a buyer as he nears retirement. Jess Bravin reports at the Wall Street Journal:

The sticking point, however, isn’t the annual budget; Harvard Law School, for one, has offered to pick up the operating cost. But Mr. Goldman also wants to be paid for the sweat he’s put into his baby–or at least the intellectual property it represents—something he estimates is worth well over $1 million.

Here comes an entitled opinion right here: A decision to somehow “close down” Oyez if no one is willing to put up six or seven figures for it would be morally bankrupt and stain Professor Goldman’s otherwise admirable legacy.

U.S. DOT paving way for self-driving cars (and a Klingons aside)

U.S. DOT paving way for self-driving cars

Chris Ziegler reports at The Verge:

DOT and NHTSA will develop the new tools necessary for this new era of vehicle safety and mobility, and will seek new authorities when they are necessary to ensure that fully autonomous vehicles, including those designed without a human driver in mind, are deployable in large numbers when demonstrated to provide an equivalent or higher level of safety than is now available.

This is far more progressive than I expected the federal government to be on the autonomous transportation vehicle front, primarily for safety reasons. It’s good news.

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Cosby charged with sexual assault

Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault in Pennsylvania

The TV legend is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand when she visited his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. A probable cause affidavit filed by investigators this week alleges that Cosby “sought to incapacitate” Constand by giving her a mix of pills and wine that sent her slipping in and out of consciousness and left her unable to consent to sexual activity.

Ms. Constand settled her civil case against Mr. Cosby but the latter’s statements in a deposition taken for that case and released to the public by request of the press triggered the Montgomery County District Attorney’s obligation to prosecute Cosby.