Algorithmic risk-assessment: hiding racism behind "empirical" black boxes

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Courts around America and the world increasingly rely on software based risk-assessment software in determining bail and sentencing; the systems require the accused to answer more than a hundred questions which are fed into a secret model that spits out a single-digit "risk score" that courts use to decide who to lock up, and for how long. Read the rest

Pat Buchanan on the Republican Party's historical opposition to free trade deals

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Arch-conservative Patrick J Buchanan's May column in American Conservative (an organ he founded) traces the history of the Republican Party's position on free trade, arguing that the "party of Lincoln" opposed free trade deals from its first days (Lincoln: "I am in favor of a national bank... and a high protective tariff") through to Reagan's tariffs against Japanese motorcycles. Read the rest

Elderly man kills wife because they couldn't afford her medicine

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William J. Hager of Port St. Lucie, Florida is a 86 year old man who confessed to shooting his 76 year old wife, Carolyn Hager, in her sleep, because the couple could no longer afford her medications, leaving her in pain and wanting to die. Read the rest

NRA endorses Trump

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The NRA's chief spokesmurderer told Republicans, "Now is the time to unite. If your preferred candidate dropped out of the race, it's time to get over it." Read the rest

We Stand on Guard: in 100 years, America seizes Canada for its water

Brian K Vaughan's varied career in comics has had numerous and diverse hits like Saga, the epically weird and sexy space-opera; Y: The Last Man, an end-of-the-world story; now, with We Stand on Guard, Vaughan dramatically ups his body count in a tale of an American resource war that's a lot closer to home than the invasion of Iraq.

Trump campaign cancels interview after overhearing reporter speaking in Spanish

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Donald Trump was all set to be interviewed by TV Azteca's Marcos Stupenengo -- a white, green-eyed Argentine expat -- until they overheard him talking on the phone in Spanish, whereupon the interview was summarily cancelled and Stupenengo was escorted out of the building by Trump's Secret Service detail (who apologized to him). Read the rest

Behavioral economist on why Americans freak out when you attribute their success to luck

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Cornell economist Robert Frank drew the ire of the nation's business press when he published an article that said something most economists would agree with: hard work and skill aren't enough (or even necessary) to succeed; but luck is. Rather than back down from the angry reception, he's expanded the article into a book, Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, which came out last month. Read the rest

The weird, humiliating nicknames George W Bush gave to everyone

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Remember when "Turd blossom" was the affectionate nickname the President of the United States used to refer to his chief advisor? Read the rest

DNC Host Committee composed of GOP megadonors, Net Neutrality haters, fracking boosters and anti-Obamacare lobbyists

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The Host Committee for this year's Democratic National Convention includes Finance Chair Daniel Hilferty, a health insurance industry lobbyist on the board of America’s Health Insurance Plan (which lead the FUD campaign against Obamacare and is backing the GOP's anti-Obamacare bills), who has donated thousands to PACs supporting GOP candidates like Orin Hatch, Pat Toomey, and Tim Scott. He also donated to the presidential campaigns of Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Hillary Clinton. Read the rest

Billionaire Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel will be a California Trump delegate

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The Facebook board member will be a Trump delegate to this summer's Republican National Convention, representing California's 12th district. Read the rest

McClatchy newspapers' CEO pleased to announce that he's shipping IT jobs overseas

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Between 120 and 150 IT workers will be fired from the McClatchy newspaper syndicate (Scramento Bee, Miami Herald, etc), after they have trained IT contractors from India's Wipro to do their jobs. Read the rest

America's courts are going dark

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US Federal Magistrate judge Stephen William Smith sounds the alarm about the skyrocketing trend of US courts operating in secret, with their findings (or even the fact that they're hearing a case at all) sealed to scrutiny, and an ever-increasing portion of judicial action taking place in off-record arbitration. Read the rest

Australian government issues report calling for copyright and patent liberalisation

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The Australian Productivity Commission has published its long-awaited, 600-page draft report on the country's copyright and patent laws, which are largely the product of diplomatic pressure from the US government, fronting for US entertainment industry associations. Read the rest

Hilary Clinton campaign ad: mashup of Republicans bashing Trump

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With the release of a pair of anti-Trump ads, the Clinton campaign has begun to fight a war on two fronts. Read the rest

Outstanding rant about establishment pearl-clutching over Trump

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With Trump headed to an uncontested convention, high-paid conservative columnists like George Will have penned columns defending party bosses who might be planning to overrule the popular votes and hand-pick a more acceptable candidate for the GOP to front for president in 2016. Read the rest

TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight

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The TSA gambled on millions of wealthy Americans opting out of its pornoscanner-and-shoe-removal process and signing up for its Precheck policy, which allows travellers to pay for the "privilege" of walking through a metal-detector with their shoes on, while their laptops stay in their bags. Read the rest

Leading Republicans send letters in support of Dennis Hastert, pedophile

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Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been convicted of paying hush money to cover up his raping of children and is about to be sentenced, and his political friends have closed ranks around him. Read the rest

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