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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Growing share of Republicans say U.S. risks losing its identity if it is too open to foreigners

Pew – A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation. “But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation. Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points. Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September…”

See also – “A USA Today-Ipsos poll finds that 68 percent of Americans who were aware of Trump’s tweets about the four liberal minority lawmakers said they are offensive. But 57 percent of Republicans polled said they agreed with the president, and a third said they strongly agreed. Overall, 59 percent called the president’s tweets “un-American,” including independents by a 2-to-1 margin, and 65 percent of those surveyed said telling minority Americans to “go back where they came from” is a racist statement. Among Republicans, however, 45 percent agreed and 34 percent disagreed. Seven in 10 Republicans say that “people who call others ‘racist’ usually do so in bad faith,” compared with 17 percent of Democrats…”

Overlooked No More: Florence Merriam Bailey, Who Defined Modern Bird-Watching

The New York Times – “Her pioneering approach involved quietly examining birds in their natural habitat, rather than shooting them, as people had previously done…A student at Smith College at the time, Bailey decided to start a grassroots effort, with a simple step: She took her fellow classmates outdoors. “We won’t say too much about… Continue Reading

A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World

Tenth annual report dives deeper into the ways government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion have changed, from 2007 to 2017: “Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion – laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices – increased markedly around the world. And… Continue Reading

But You Look Fine: A Reading List About Disabilities, Accommodations, and School

Longreads – Jacqueline Alnes – “…I did not request accommodations until the second year of my PhD. For seven years of school, whenever I experienced a flurry of episodes, I’d spend an inordinate amount of time trying to read passages that had once felt joyful to engage with and arrive at class with blurred vision… Continue Reading

Is Wikipedia the last internet refuge if you ditch Big Tech?

Quartz Obsession: “Google-owned YouTube has a radicalization problem. So does Reddit. Twitter is full of fake news. Facebook is flooded with disinformation. The low-paid moderators hired to stem the tide of false and vile content are burning out. And even if you want to ditch the tech giants altogether, good luck with that—their ad reach… Continue Reading

To Break Google’s Monopoly on Search, Make Its Index Public

Bloomberg – The tech giant doesn’t have to be dismantled. Sharing its crown jewel might reshape the internet. ” Recognition is growing worldwide that something big needs to be done about Big Tech, and fast. More than $8 billion in fines have been levied against Google by the European Union since 2017. Facebook Inc., facing… Continue Reading

Donald Trump and the Plot to Take Over the Courts

The Nation – How the 45th president has packed the courts with ultraconservatives—and reshaped the judiciary for a generation. “…Trump’s Court—the collection of judges and justices now swarming our judicial system, nominated and confirmed to lifetime appointments on his recommendation—will linger, like an infected wound poisoning the body politic even after the initial injury has… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 13, 2019

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 13, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and… Continue Reading

This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops

Motherboard obtained a Palantir user manual through a public records request, and it gives unprecedented insight into how the company logs and tracks individuals – “Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP… Continue Reading

AP Exclusive: New Election Systems Use Vulnerable Software

AP via US News – “Pennsylvania’s message was clear: The state was taking a big step to keep its elections from being hacked in 2020. Last April, its top election official told counties they had to update their systems. So far, nearly 60% have taken action, with $14.15 million of mostly federal funds helping counties… Continue Reading

New Report on the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

“Everybody seems to be talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Some people laud its possibilities, whereas others envisage nightmare scenarios where robots take over. But what is AI exactly and how are countries dealing with it? The Oxford Dictionary defines AI as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human… Continue Reading