Blog Rolls

Inspector General Criticizes FBI and James Comey, But Some Want More

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 16:34
The report found no evidence that politics influenced the outcome of the 2016 probe, frustrating those on the right hungry for proof of corruption.
Categories: Just News

Which Countries Guarantee That New Dads Get Paid Paternity Leave?

There are 92 countries where there is no national policy allowing dads to take time off to care for their newborns.

(Image credit: World Policy Center)

Categories: Just News

SEC Says Ether and Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Aren't Securities

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 16:19
Top officials from the SEC have publicly stated that the world's two most popular cryptocurrencies are *not* like stocks and bonds, a relief for people who own them.
Categories: Just News

World Cup 2018: How to Secure Your Devices When Traveling in Russia

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:44
Russia expects as many as 2 million visitors during the 2018 World Cup, most of whom should take extra precautions against the country's many cyber risks.
Categories: Just News

Activists In Myanmar Say Facebook Needs To Do More To Quell Hate Speech

"The risk of Facebook content sparking open violence is arguably nowhere higher right now than in Myanmar," six Myanmar organizations wrote in an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in April.

(Image credit: Anthony Kuhn/NPR)

Categories: Just News

Does Vitamin D Really Protect Against Colorectal Cancer?

The jury's been out on whether low blood levels of vitamin D increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Researchers say a new review involving more than 12,000 people strongly suggests the answer is yes.

(Image credit: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley)

Categories: Just News

Ryan Says Legislation Needed To Stop Family Separation At The Border

Ryan told reporters he thinks Congress should pass a law to end the policy of separating children from their families at the Southwest border.

(Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Categories: Just News

With Narrow Vote, Argentina Takes Big Step Toward Legalizing Abortion

The country's lower chamber of Congress has passed a bill that would legalize abortion before 14 weeks, approving it by a four-vote margin. But it's likely to face a tougher test in the upper chamber.

(Image credit: Eeitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Elon Musk's Boring Company Will Build High-Speed Train To Chicago's O'Hare Airport

The train tunnel company will build and operate an "express service to transport people to O'Hare Airport from downtown in 12 minutes," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says.

(Image credit: The Boring Company)

Categories: Just News

Europe moves towards a common metadata language

European Data Portal – More and more data portals are implementing DCAT- AP – “The multitude of data platforms and the lack of common semantics resulted in a fragmented landscape of Open Data portals. To improve the metadata exchange and to reduce duplications and inconsistencies a number of standardisation and metadata harmonisation efforts have been undertaken. Using DCAT Application profile (DCAT-AP), portals with different descriptions of metadata can adhere to a common metadata language increasing the discovery of datasets. DCAT-AP is a specification based on W3C’s Data Catalogue vocabulary (DCAT) for describing metadata of public sector datasets in Europe. The DCAT Application Profile already has been implemented by several data portals across Europe like the EU Open Data Portal and the national data portals of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Spain and Switzerland. Many implementers use DCAT-AP natively by building local extensions on top of DCAT-AP. Learn more about DCAT-AP with the European Data Portal DCAT-AP factsheet.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Learn about – New York Society Library – established 264 years ago

The New York Times: “Founded in 1754, the New York Society Library, on East 79th Street in Manhattan, calls itself the oldest cultural institution in New York City. “If you can find one that’s older, let us know,” said Carolyn Waters, its head librarian. Yet the place remains little known, even to many New Yorkers. “It’s surprising to me how under the radar we’ve been,” said Ms. Waters, 54, who at times can seem like a den mother for the many writers who toil away in the library’s elegant reading and study rooms. Historically, these have included the likes of Herman Melville and Washington Irving. “We’ve always been a haven for writers,” Ms. Waters said. “You trip over them here. They’re everywhere.” Since this is a membership library supported by annual fees and its endowment, patrons must pay to enjoy lending privileges for its roughly 300,000 volumes on a broad array of subjects, including plenty of material about New York City. Members also enjoy access to the library’s stacks and its elegant, wood paneled spaces on upper floors decorated with paintings and sculptures. Ms. Waters has pushed to widen membership beyond the Upper East Side, despite the challenge of the name itself. “It’s frustrating, in many ways, to have that word, ‘society,’ in our name,” she said, because it can connote exclusivity…” [See also the New York Society Library Blog]

In reality, she said, “We’re a society in the sense that we’re a community of people with a similar interest: We’re bibliophiles.”

Categories: Law and Legal

A Moscow Prison Got A Makeover For The World Cup, Opposition Leader Says

Alexei Navalny, who was released from jail Thursday, said on Instagram that the prison was getting upgrades for soccer fans: big TVs, three-course meals and female interpreters in special uniforms.

(Image credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Via EveryCRSReport.com – Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? June 11, 2018: “Social Security’s receipts and expenditures are accounted for through two federal trust funds: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Under their intermediate assumptions and under current law, the Social Security trustees project that the DI trust fund will become depleted in 2032 and the OASI trust fund will become depleted in 2034. Although the two funds are legally separate, they are often considered in combination. The trustees project that the combined Social Security trust funds will become depleted in 2034. At that point, the combined trust funds would become insolvent, because incoming tax revenue would be sufficient to pay only about 79% of scheduled benefits. If a trust fund became depleted and current receipts were insufficient to cover current expenditures, there would be a conflict between two federal laws. Under the Social Security Act, beneficiaries would still be legally entitled to their full scheduled benefits. However, the Antideficiency Act prohibits government spending in excess of available funds, so the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not have legal authority to pay full Social Security benefits on time. It is unclear what specific actions SSA would take if a trust fund were insolvent. After depletion, the trust funds would continue to receive tax revenues, from which a majority of scheduled benefits could be paid. One option would be to pay full benefits on a delayed schedule; another would be to make timely but reduced payments. Social Security beneficiaries would remain legally entitled to full, timely benefits and could take legal action to claim the balance of their benefits. Maintaining financial balance after trust fund insolvency would require substantial reductions in Social Security benefits, substantial increases in tax revenues, or some combination of the two. The trustees project that following depletion of the combined funds in 2034, Congress could restore balance by reducing scheduled benefits by about 21%; the required reduction would grow gradually to 26% by 2092. Alternatively, Congress could raise the Social Security payroll tax rate from 12.4% to 15.7% following depletion in 2034, then gradually increase it to 16.7% by 2092.

Trust-fund insolvency could be avoided if expenditures were reduced or receipts increased sufficiently. The sooner Congress acts to adjust Social Security policy, the less abrupt the changes would need to be, because they could be spread over a longer period and would therefore affect a larger number of workers and beneficiaries. Even if changes were not implemented immediately, enacting them sooner would give workers and beneficiaries more time to plan and adjust their work and savings behavior.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Preparing Libraries for Nuclear War

JSTOR: “During the Cold War, America’s libraries helped patrons prepare for nuclear war, from stocking reference materials to providing fallout shelters: “From seemingly useless under-desk drills to legit bunkers, the general public was prepared for nuclear war during the Cold War. But what about libraries? Reference librarian Brett Spencer examines how libraries and librarians braced for the coming threat. Many of today’s scholars dismiss the nation’s civil defense push as a propagandistic effort that used fear to unite Americans against Russia. But at the time, the threat felt very real for everyday Americans. The nation’s attempts to shield itself from the coming bomb were reflected across institutions, including libraries. That’s surprising, says Spencer, especially given many librarians’ stance on other Cold War issues, like McCarthyist attempts to control the books in their collections. But despite their resistance to political pressures, librarians “vigorously participated” in civil defense during the 1950s. This participation showed up in library collections. Libraries became clearinghouses for pamphlets, books, and audiovisual materials about how to survive a nuclear attack. The New York Public Library led the charge, collecting “mountains of civil defense booklets” that laid out how to drill for an atomic bomb and survive after one fell…”

Libraries were turned into fallout shelters, urged on by government claims that the stacks “offered excellent radiation shielding.”

Categories: Law and Legal

N.Y. Attorney General Files Suit Against Trump Foundation

Barbara Underwood is suing the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its board of directors. Host David Greene talks with Bobby Allyn of WHYY about the investigation and about Trump's response on Twitter.

Categories: Just News

DOJ IG report – no proof FBI officials’ Trump criticism impacted probes

The Hill: “The Justice Department’s ethics watchdog reportedly found no evidence that the political leanings of two FBI officials, who exchanged text messages critical of President Trump during the 2016 presidential race, directly affected the FBI’s investigations, while noting that their conduct “cast a cloud” over the bureau’s actions. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz did not find that the conduct or potential political bias of FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page “directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” according to the report’s conclusions, which were obtained Thursday by Bloomberg…”

Bloomerg: “Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from bureau and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by politics, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report. “While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained by Bloomberg News. Although the report being sent to Congress on Thursday doesn’t deal with the origins of the probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with those around President Donald Trump, the president and his Republican allies in Congress were primed to seize on it as evidence of poor judgment and anti-Trump bias within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Supreme Court Strikes Down State Law Barring 'Political' Apparel In Polling Places

The high court on Thursday struck down Minnesota's broad ban on "political" apparel inside polling places. But said similar, more narrowly written laws in other states are likely fine.

(Image credit: Julio Cortez/AP)

Categories: Just News

New York's Attorney General Sues The Trump Foundation

The directors of the foundation named in the suit are President Trump and three of his children. The suit alleges unlawful political coordination and "self-dealing" that benefits Trump businesses.

(Image credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

New York files suit against President Trump alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’

Attorney General Underwood Announces Lawsuit Against Donald J. Trump Foundation And Its Board Of Directors For Extensive And Persistent Violations Of State And Federal Law: “Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and its directors, Donald J. Trump (“Mr. Trump”), Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The petition filed today alleges a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations. The Attorney General initiated a special proceeding to dissolve the Trump Foundation under court supervision and obtain restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties. The AG’s lawsuit also seeks a ban from future service as a director of a New York not-for-profit of 10 years for Mr. Trump and one year for each of the Foundation’s other board members, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The Attorney General also sent referral letters today to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, identifying possible violations of federal law for further investigation and legal action by those federal agencies. As alleged in the petition, Mr. Trump used the Trump Foundation’s charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, to promote Trump hotels and other businesses, and to purchase personal items. In addition, at Mr. Trump’s behest, the Trump Foundation illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign by using the Trump Foundation’s name and funds it raised from the public to promote his campaign for presidency, including in the days before the Iowa nominating caucuses…”

Washington Post: “The New York attorney general on Thursday filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit — to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events. In the suit, filed Thursday morning, attorney general Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation. She asked that its remaining $1 million in assets be distributed to other charities and that Trump be forced to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties. Underwood also asks that Trump be banned from leading any other New York nonprofit for 10 years — seeking to apply a penalty usually reserved for the operators of small-time charity frauds to the president of the United States. In the suit, Underwood noted that Trump had already paid more than $330,000 in reimbursements and penalty taxes since 2016. New York state began probing the Trump Foundation in response to an investigation by The Washington Post…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pompeo Talks To North Korea's Neighbors About Trump-Kim Summit

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to South Korea and China. He talked to leaders there about the nuclear threat, trade friction and military exercises and clarified some Trump remarks.

Categories: Just News

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