Sam Blakeslee, a retired Republican California state senator, worked with Cal Poly students to create Digital Democracy, a service that aggregates videos of the interminable, innumerable -- and vital -- local government hearings and meetings and then use machine-learning systems to generate automated transcripts so that activists, journalists and citizens could search and analyze them. Read the rest
The New York AG's lawsuit against Time Warner Cable (now a division of Charter) lays out a damning set of accusations of fradulent conduct, including "f sky-high prices, chronic service outages, bait-and-switch plan offerings, lower-than-advertised internet speeds and other indignities." Read the rest
Procedure at New York's Rikers Island prison is for visitors to be subjected to a pat-down search, but women who visit their loved ones are suing the New York Department of Corrections because guards there subject them to illegal, violent, humiliating strip and cavity searches, sometimes holding them down while forcibly penetrating them with their fingers. Read the rest
Joseph Talbot, a bank executive, was arrested by New York State Police on Dec 29 for DUI, and, as its custom, the Times of Wayne County published his name and mugshot -- something it's done for every local arrest for 28 years. Read the rest
IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest
James Cawley is a 50 year old Elvis impersonator from Ticonderoga, NY; his friend William Ware Theiss was costume-designer for the original Star Trek series, and left Cawley the blueprints for the original Star Trek Enterprise sets in his will -- so Cawley rented out a 13,000 sqft shuttered supermarket and built an exquisite replica of the original there to use in elaborate fan-films, and now he gives one-hour tours. Read the rest
In the Bronx (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere) when your belongings are seized as "evidence," it can be impossible to ever get them back, even if you're never charged with a crime. Read the rest
Zephyr Teachout (previously) is the anti-corruption candidate in New York's Hudson Valley who raised more than $500K from small-money, Bernie-Sanders-style donors (I was one of them); then vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer gave $500K to the PAC for John Faso, her Republican opponent, catapulting him into contendership. Read the rest
The New York Times' tumblr of photos from its voluminous archive is full of impactful and gorgeous moments.
May 23, 1974: A kiss outside City Hall, where gay rights activists had gathered to show support for a gay rights bill up for a vote at the City Council. The anti-discrimination measure was defeated, 22 to 19, but the bill’s backers vowed to resubmit the following week, although they would “not press for action until after the November election.” It didn’t pass until 1986.
Photos include "back stories", literally notes on the back of a photo to add context including how the photo was used, how much the photographer was paid, and the published caption, if applicable.via The Lively Morgue. Read the rest