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Media Overhypes Russian Hacking, Again

Media Overhypes Russian Hacking, Again

The headlines sound pretty bad. "Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States," says The New York Times. "New Senate Intelligence report shows 'extensive' Russia 2016 election interference," reports Vox. What these and many other fearmongering headlines leave out is that while Russians may have targeted state elections systems in 2016, there's zero evidence that they actually managed to interfere. We have no reason to believe that votes were changed or deleted, that voters were purged from rolls, that voter information was modified. And the assessment that all 50 states were targeted...

July 26, 2019
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CNN Says 10 Percent of Vaccinated Air Travelers May Catch COVID. That's Completely Wrong.

CNN Says 10 Percent of Vaccinated Air Travelers May Catch COVID. That's Completely Wrong.

Are airplanes more dangerous now than they were during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic? No, of course not. Yet that's what CNN implied on Sunday, in Correctly noting that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are only 90 percent protective against COVID-19, CNN went on to assert (incorrectly) that "translated into reality, that means for every million fully vaccinated people who fly, some 100,000 could still become infected."COVID-19 can and has spread on flights, of course. But even before people started getting vaccinated, confirmed cases of transmission were relatively small. "The risk of...

Apr 12
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These Big Tech Bills Are Unconstitutional. State Lawmakers Don't Care.

These Big Tech Bills Are Unconstitutional. State Lawmakers Don't Care.

Unconstitutional social media proposals abound. Utah lawmakers have approved a bill to micromanage how social media companies moderate content and punish those whom the state determines to be doing it wrong. The legislation "clearly violates the 1st Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and is also by Section 230," Mike Masnick at Techdirt.Some might chalk this up to politicians being clueless about the internet, or at least about the laws governing it. But no—it seems they've simply caught the bug infecting elected officials at the state and national levels, wherein bills are meant to send...

Mar 12
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Violent Crime in Baltimore Plunges After City Ditches Prosecution of Prostitution, Drug Possession, Other Minor Offenses

Violent Crime in Baltimore Plunges After City Ditches Prosecution of Prostitution, Drug Possession, Other Minor Offenses

Decarceral experiment in Baltimore gets results. After a year of foregoing prosecution of certain nonviolent misdemeanor crimes, Baltimore has seen a serious drop in violent crimes and property crimes, too. Between March 2020 and March 2021, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent and property crime dropped 36 percent. Homicides were also down slightly (13 fewer compared to the previous year).Baltimore State's Attorney in March 2020 that her office would dismiss all pending charges for drug possession, prostitution, trespassing, open container, public urination, paraphernalia...

Apr 1
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Georgia Bans Handing Out Water to Voters Waiting in Line, Because 'Election Integrity'

Georgia Bans Handing Out Water to Voters Waiting in Line, Because 'Election Integrity'

Republicans rush through a ream of voting restrictions in Georgia. A new law that Georgia's GOP is peddling as an "election integrity" measure contains a host of problematic provisions, including a ban on handing out water or food to people waiting in line to vote and a ban on taking pictures of completed ballots (even your own).Under the new law, "it shall be illegal for any person to…photograph or record a voted ballot." Anyone who does so will be guilty of a misdemeanor crime.An exception is made for the Georgia secretary of state, who will actually be required to digitize and publicize...

Mar 26
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Massage Parlor Massacre: 8 Killed in Atlanta, Media Speculate About Anti-Asian Motive

Massage Parlor Massacre: 8 Killed in Atlanta, Media Speculate About Anti-Asian Motive

Motive for fatal Atlanta shootings unclear. There's no indication that last night's was connected to conspiracy theories about sex trafficking at Asian massage businesses. Atlanta police say they showed up at one of the businesses in response to a call about a robbery in progress.The motive for the shooting, which left eight people dead, is still unclear, despite many in the media to anti-Asian racism.Seven women and one man were killed in the shootings; six of them were Asian and two were white, police report. One other man was injured as well.A suspect in police custody, 21-year-old...

Mar 17
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Is Matt Gaetz a Child Sex Trafficker? Here's What the Law Actually Says.

Is Matt Gaetz a Child Sex Trafficker? Here's What the Law Actually Says.

On Tuesday night, The New York Times is "under investigation over possible sex trafficking" of a minor. Gaetz has denied the allegations and spun some accusations of his own, involving a former federal prosecutor attempting to extort his family.According to "three people briefed on the matter," Gaetz "is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him," the Times reported. "Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said."The Times doesn't go...

Mar 31
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Americans Reject Republicans and Democrats in Record Numbers

Americans Reject Republicans and Democrats in Record Numbers

Half of Americans reject both Republicans and Democrats. Recent polling from Gallup finds 50 percent of respondents identifying as independents, rather than aligning themselves with either Democrats or the GOP.Gallup's latest , conducted January 20 through February 2, saw just 25 percent of respondents identifying as Democrats and 25 percent identifying as Republicans. Among independents, 41 percent said they lean more Republican and 50 percent said they lean more Democrat. This is quite a change from November 2020 (when the Democrat/Republican/Independent divide was 31 percent, 30 percent,...

Mar 2
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Study: Democratic Governors Feed the Prison-Industrial Complex

Study: Democratic Governors Feed the Prison-Industrial Complex

Republicans tend to get more blame than Democrats do for the terrible state of America's criminal justice system, with its overly punitive "tough-on-crime" policies and enthusiasm for mass incarceration. But published in Political Research Quarterly challenges this calculation. In looking at whether Democratic or Republican state leaders drive more carceral policies, Anna Gunderson—an assistant professor of political science at Louisiana State University—found that "Democratic governors who barely win their elections outspend and outincarcerate their Republican counterparts."For her...

Feb 19
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Daunte Wright Shooting a Reminder That It's Not Cops Who Should Fear for Their Lives During Traffic Stops

Daunte Wright Shooting a Reminder That It's Not Cops Who Should Fear for Their Lives During Traffic Stops

The truth about traffic stops and violence. The fatal by a police officer and who supposedly spawned a rash of demonstrations against police brutality in which protesters were . It's also opened yet another discussion about U.S. policing—why do we to enforce traffic violations anyway?—and how overcriminalization leads to tragedy. Stupid laws spawn enforcement of stupid laws by trigger-happy cops who have been primed to see much of the American populace as threats to control, rather than people they're supposed to "serve and protect."One commonly-offered defense in cases of cops murdering...

Apr 13
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