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Democrat Drops MN State House Run After Tweeting 'ISIS Isn't Necessarily Evil' ( 518

An anonymous reader writes: Dan Kimmel, who works for U.S. Bank in its technology and operations section, dropped out of the race for a Minnesota House seat after unleashing a firestorm of criticism. The controversy erupted after Kimmel tweeted, "ISIS isn't necessarily evil. It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though." The tweet rapidly led to harsh criticism on twitter and spread from there. The DFL Party Chair issued a statement saying that Kimmel's "views have no place in our party. On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. ..." The House Minority Leader for the DFL called for Kimmel to end his campaign. Kimmel issued a written apology and withdrew from the race.

2016 Presidential Candidate Security Investigation ( 97

New submitter Fryan writes: InfoSec Institute has assessed the security posture of 16 of the presidential candidates' websites. This is an indicator of the level of security awareness the candidate and the campaign staff has. The recent breaches and security lapses of high profile individuals highlight the absolute need for everyone to take security awareness seriously. The hacking of the Director of the CIA's (John Brennan) personal email account, and the storage of classified emails on a personal email server with Hillary Clinton, show how damaging a lack of basic good security hygiene can be. In this survey (of only the best known presidential candidates, not the scads of others), the authors give both their highest grade (an A) and lowest (a D) for candidates still in the race to two Republicans, Ben Carson and Jim Gilmore, respectively; surprising for a tech-focused campaign, Lawrence Lessig (who has ended his candidacy since the survey began) ranked even lower, with a D-.

Speaking of presidential candidates, the fourth Republican debate, hosted by Fox Business, will kick off about an hour after this post goes live (9:00 PM Eastern, 0200 GMT). Feel free to discuss it alongside the security report.

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline ( 369

An anonymous reader writes: The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is finally coming to a close. On Friday, President Obama denied a construction permit for the pipeline, ending a seven-year political fight. Obama said, "America's now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that's the biggest risk we face — not acting." Secretary of State John Kerry added, "The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers — jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves." The decision comes as no surprise to the oil industry, and they've been busily working on other ways to transport the oil. "U.S. imports of oil from Canada hit a record high of 3.4 million barrels a day in August, up from just under 2 million barrels a day in 2008, the year the pipeline was proposed."

TSA Screeners Can't Detect Weapons (and They Never Could) ( 349

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: TSA screeners' ability to detect weapons in luggage is "pitiful," according to classified reports on the security administration's ongoing story of failure and fear. "In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that I mean pitiful," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), speaking Tuesday during a House Oversight hearing concerning classified reports (PDF) from federal watchdogs (PDF). "Just thinking about the breaches there, it's horrific," he added. A leaked classified report this summer found that as much as 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings. Lynch's comments were in response to the classified report's findings.
United States

Larry Lessig Ends Presidential Campaign, Citing Unfair Debate Rules ( 309

An anonymous reader writes: Harvard law professor Larry Lessig is ending his run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Lessig blames the demise of his campaign on party rules that have left him "shut out" of the Democratic debates. "The party won't let me be a candidate," Lessig said in his final campaign video. "I can't ask people to support a campaign that I know can't get before the members of the Democratic Party."

Clinton Home Servers Had Ports Open ( 470

Jim Efaw writes: Hillary Clinton's home servers had more than just the e-mail ports open directly to the Internet. The Associated Press discovered, by using scanning results from 2012 "widely available online", that the server also had the RDP port open; another machine on her network had the VNC port open, and another one had a web server open even though it didn't appear to be configured for a real site. Clinton previously said that her server featured "numerous safeguards," but hasn't explained what that means. Apparently, requiring a VPN wasn't one of them.

Electoral System That Lessig Hopes To Reform Is Keeping Him Out of the Debate ( 239

schwit1 writes: Lessig has raised a million dollars, which is nothing to sneeze at, but he's being given the cold shoulder by the Democrats when it comes to participating in the debates. I think he's got a good argument for being included — he's certainly as serious a candidate as some of the others, and I'm hearing a lot about his campaign.

Why are they keeping Lessig out? According to Lessig, it's for the same reason he wants in: "My view is that if we can get this message [of reform] into the debate it would change the dynamics of this Democratic primary entirely. This issue framed in this way totally blows up the Democratic primary."

Hillary and Bernie, he says, are promising the moon to voters, but can't deliver. Lessig told me, "If I can get on that stage and say the rocket can't get off the ground, and we have to change this dynamic first," the narrative shifts in a way that the leading candidates can't address.

The Internet

Government Finds New Emails Clinton Did Not Hand Over 348

PolygamousRanchKid writes with this Reuters report that The U.S. Defense Department has found an email chain that Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department despite her saying she had provided all work emails from her time as Secretary of State.The correspondence with General David Petraeus, who was commander of U.S. Central Command at the time, started shortly before she entered office and continued during her first days as the top U.S. diplomat in January and February of 2009. News of the previously undisclosed email thread only adds to a steady stream of revelations about the emails in the past six months, which have forced Clinton to revise her account of the setup which she first gave in March. Nearly a third of all Democrats and 58 percent of all voters think Clinton is lying about her handling of her emails, according to a Fox News poll released this week.

Clinton apologized this month for her email setup, saying it was unwise. But as recently as Sunday, she told CBS when asked about her emails that she provided 'all of them.' The emails with Petraeus also appear to contradict the claim by Clinton's campaign that she used a private BlackBerry email account for her first two months at the department before setting up her account in March 2009. This was the reason her campaign gave for not handing over any emails from those two months to the State Department. The Petraeus exchange shows she started using the account by January 2009, according to the State Department.

Judge Orders State Dept, FBI To Expand Clinton Email Server Probe 303

An anonymous reader writes: In a hearing over Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said that former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't comply with government policies. He ordered the State Department to reach out to the FBI to see if any relevant emails exist on Hillary Clinton's email server. Judge Sullivan was surprised that the State Department and FBI were not already communicating on the issue following the FBI's seizure of Clinton's email server and three thumb drives of emails. More than 300 emails are being examined for containing classified information, and dozens of the emails were "born classified" based on content. Some of those emails were forwarded outside the government. There are also clues emerging about how some of the classified information made its way onto Clinton's server. The email controversy is beginning to show up on the campaign trail, an unwelcome development for Secretary Clinton. Reporter Bob Woodward, who helped bring down President Nixon, said the scandal reminds him of the Nixon tapes. It is interesting to note that the post-Watergate reforms have helped move the investigation forward.

Former Rep. Louis Stokes, the Man Who Saved the Space Station, Dies At Age 90 50

MarkWhittington writes: The Associated Press noted the passing of former Rep. Louis Stokes at the age of 90. Since Stokes was an African American Democrat first elected in 1968, most of the accolades touch on his effect on the civil rights struggle and his lifelong fight against racism. However, as George Abbey, former NASA Director of the Johnson Spaceflight Center and current Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute of Rice University pointed out on his Facebook Page, Stokes can be rightly be said to be the man who saved the International Space Station and perhaps human space flight in America.

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Is Now Chairing Lessig's Presidential Bid 119

Funksaw sends a followup to Tuesday's news that Lawrence Lessig is pondering a presidential campaign: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is now chairing the committee for Lessig's campaign. Wales said, "Larry's run for President is different. He's crowdfunding his campaign instead of seeking out rich donors. He's showing people that we can change the rigged political system. ... The Internet community came together to fight back against SOPA and we were successful. Now we’re behind Lessig to fight for citizen equality." Lessig's goal is to raise a million dollars by September 7, and they're already at roughly $300,000. Relatedly, Newsweek had a brief interview with Lessig over his potential campaign, and Eric Posner wrote an insightful piece about it at Slate.

Clinton Surrendering Email Server/Data To Feds After Top Secret Mail Found 676

An anonymous reader writes: Hillary Clinton's lawyer has surrendered three thumb drives with copies of emails from her server to the Justice Department, which is also where the controversial Clinton personal email server is destined as well. The FBI determined that Clinton's lawyer could no longer retain the thumb drives after two emails from a small sample were found to contain information classified as "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information," which would also taint the server. There is no evidence that encryption was used to protect the emails. From the limited reviews to date, Secretary Clinton and her aides exchanged emails containing classified information with at least six people with private email addresses. So far four of Clinton's top aides have turned over emails to the State Department, and there are demands that six more do so. The State Department's inspector general has stated that his office is reviewing "the use of personal communications hardware and software by five secretaries of state and their immediate staffs." Current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stated, "it is very likely" that China and Russia are reading his emails.

Hillary Clinton Takes Aim At 'Gig Economy' 432

SonicSpike writes with an excerpt from Marketwatch that says at least one major candidate in the 2016 electoral fight has made the "sharing economy" epitomized by Uber and Airbnb a campaign issue. In a major campaign speech in New York City, the former secretary of state didn't mention the ride-sharing service by name. But it was pretty clear what sort of companies she was talking about when she got to how some Americans earn money. "Many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car," she said at the New School. But that sort of work comes with its own problems, she said. "This 'on demand' or so-called 'gig economy' ... is raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future," Clinton added.

Barney Frank Defends Political Hypocrisy, Game Theory Explains It 191 writes with a link to Steven I. Weiss's Atlantic article which says game theory can shed light both on what is happening in Washington and on how the bargaining power of its negotiating parties may evolve over time and comes to the conclusion that hypocrisy is essential to the functioning of Congress -- in fact, it's the only tool legislators have after they've rooted out real corruption. "Legislators do not pay each other for votes, and every member of a parliament in a democratic society is legally equal to every member," writes Congressman Barney Frank in his new memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage. For legislators, cooperation is a form of political currency. They act in concert with other legislators, even at the expense of their own beliefs, in order to bank capital or settle accounts."

Game theory sets out conditions under which negotiating parties end up cooperating, and why they sometimes fail to do so. It does so based on analyzing what drives individuals in the majority of bargaining situations: incentives, access to information, initial power conditions, the extent of mutual trust, and accountability enforcement. Instead of seeing political flip-flopping as a necessary evil, Frank suggests it is inherent to democracy and according to Frank if there's any blame to be doled out in connection with political hypocrisy, it's to be placed on the heads of voters who criticize legislators for it, instead of accepting it as a necessary part of democratic politics.

Pew Survey Documents Gaps Between Public and Scientists 278

PvtVoid writes: A new Pew Research Study documents an alarming gap between public perception of scientific issues and the opinions of the scientists themselves, as measured by a poll of AAAS scientists. Even worse, the gap is partisan, with clear differences between Republicans and Democrats, and between conservatives and liberals. For example, while 98% of AAAS members agree with the statement that "Human beings and other living things have evolved over time", only 21% of conservatives agree, compared with 54% of liberals. Global warming, similarly, shows an ideological gap: 98% of AAAS scientists agreed with the statement that "the Earth is getting warmer mostly due to human activity", compared with 21% of conservatives and 54% of liberals. Encouragingly, almost everybody thinks childhood vaccines should be required (86% of AAAS members, 65% of conservatives, and 74% of liberals.) Go here for an interactive view of the data.

Video Mayday PAC's Benjamin Singer Explains How You can Help Reform American Politics (Video) 233

Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC is a SuperPac that is working to eliminate the inherent corruption of having a government run almost entirely by people who manage to raise -- or have their "non-connected" SuperPACs raise -- most of the money they need to run their campaigns. The Mayday PAC isn't about right or left wing or partisan politics at all. It's about finding and supporting candidates who are in favor of something like last year's Government by the People Act. As we noted in our Mayday Pac interview with Larry Lessig last June, a whole panoply of tech luminaries, up to and including Steve Wozniak, are in favor of Mayday PAC.

This interview is being posted, appropriately, just before the 4th of July, but it's also just one day before the Mayday PAC Day of Action to Reform Congress. They're big on calling members of Congress rather than emailing, because our representatives get email by the (digital) bushel, while they get comparatively few issue-oriented phone calls from citizens. So Mayday PAC makes it easy for you to call your Congressional representatives and even, if you're too shy to talk to a legislative aide in person, to record a message Mayday PAC will leave for them after hours.

The five specific pieces of legislation Mayday PAC currently supports are listed at the RepsWith.US/reforms page. Two are sponsored by Republicans, two by Democrats, and one by an Independent. That's about as non-partisan as you can get, so no matter what kind of political beliefs you hold, you can support Mayday PAC with a clear conscience. (Note: the transcript has more information than the video, which is less than six minutes long.)

Trade Bill Fails In the House 413

schwit1 writes: President Obama suffered a major defeat to his Pacific Rim free trade initiative Friday as House Democrats helped derail a key presidential priority despite his last-minute, personal plea on Capitol Hill. "In a remarkable rejection of a president they have resolutely backed, House Democrats voted to kill assistance to workers displaced by global trade, a program their party created and has stood by for four decades. By doing so, they brought down legislation granting the president trade promotion authority — the power to negotiate trade deals that cannot be amended or filibustered by Congress — before it could even come to a final vote." This was after Silicon Valley heavyweights made a last minute push to pass the bill and the White House got personal with many Democratic lawmakers.

Microsoft Will Help Iowa Caucuses Go High-Tech 71

jfruh writes: Poltical party caucuses are one of the quirkier aspects of American political life: local party members gather in small rooms across the state, discuss their preferences, and send a report of how many delegates for each candidate will attend later county and statewide caucuses to ultimately choose delegates to the national convention. It's also a system with a lot of room for error in reporting, as local precinct leaders have traditionally sent in reports of votes via telephone touch-tone menus and paper mail. In 2016, Microsoft will help both Democrats and Republicans streamline the process in a fashion that will hopefully avoid the embarrassing result from 2012, when Mitt Romney was declared the winner on caucus night only for Rick Santorum to emerge as the true victor when all votes were counted weeks later.

Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping 389

mi writes: President Obama has asked the Senate to renew key Patriot Act provisions before their expiration on May 31. This includes surveillance powers that let the government collect Americans' phone records. Obama said, "It's necessary to keep the American people safe and secure." The call came despite recent revelations that the FBI is unable to name a single terror case in which the snooping provisions were of much help. "Obama noted that the controversial bulk phone collections program, which was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is reformed in the House bill, which does away with it over six months and instead gives phone companies the responsibility of maintaining phone records that the government can search." Obama criticized the Senate for not acting on that legislation, saying they have necessitated a renewal of the Patriot Act provisions.

Clinton Foundation: Kids' Lack of CS Savvy Threatens the US Economy 208

theodp writes: As the press digs for details on Clinton Foundation donations, including a reported $26+ million from Microsoft and Bill Gates, it's probably worth noting the interest the Clintons have developed in computer science and the role they have played — and continue to play — in the national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis that materialized after Microsoft proposed creating such a crisis to advance its 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy, which aims to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas. Next thing you know, Bill is the face of CS at the launch of Then Hillary uses the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference to launch a Facebook, Microsoft, and Google initiative to boost the ranks of female and students of color in CS, and starts decrying woeful CS enrollment. Not to be left out, Chelsea keynotes the NCWIT Summit and launches Google's $50M girls-only Made With Code initiative with now-U.S. CTO Megan Smith. And last December, the Clinton Foundation touted its initiatives to engage middle school girls in CS, revamp the nation's AP CS program, and retrain out-of-work Americans as coders. At next month's CGI America 2015, the conference will kick off with a Beer Bust that CGI says "will also provide an opportunity to learn about Tech Girls Rock, a CGI Commitment to Action launched by CA Technologies in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that helps girls discover an interest in tech-related educational opportunities and careers." On the following days, CGI sessions will discuss tech's need for a strong and diverse talent pipeline for computer and information technology jobs, which it says is threatened by "the persistent poor performance of American students in science, technology, engineering, and math," presenting "serious implications for the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy." So what's the long-term solution? Expanding CS education, of course!