State of Georgia goes to court to defend voting machines that recorded 243% voter turnouts

A federal lawsuit brought by voting security activists against the State of Georgia has revealed breathtaking defects in the state's notoriously terrible voting machines -- and, coincidentally, the machines in question were wiped and repeatedly degaussed by the state before they could be forensically examined as evidence of their unsuitability for continued use. Read the rest

Russia buffs strategic Baltic nuclear bunker

As President Trump continues his campaign to piss off anyone who’s not a Nazi or the leader of an oppressive dictatorship, CNN is reporting that Russia may have dropped some serious coin to modernize a strategically-placed nuclear weapons storage facility. The facility is located in Kaliningrad – a wee bit of Russia all jammed up between Poland and the Baltics.

From CNN:

On Monday, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) published aerial photographs that the group says show the facility in the Baltic outpost has been under major renovation since 2016.

FAS said the images document refurbishments at the site back in 2016, when one of three underground bunkers at the location was excavated and deepened before it appeared to have been covered over in recent months, "presumably to return (to) operational status soon."

Now, here’s the fun part. Despite the fact that the bunker is designed for the secure storage and deployment of nuclear weapons for use by the Russian Air Force and Naval dual-capable forces, there’s no knowing whether it has ever stored nuclear weapons in the past or whether it will do so in the future: just because a military installation comes packing mission capabilities doesn’t mean that it has to use them. It’s the world’s shittiest shell game!

Even without the atomic weapons being packed into the Kaliningrad bunker, the joint still serves a purpose. The installation is one of the most westerly located in Russia. Upgrading it, in a manner that’s observable via areal photography or satellite imagery, provides an unspoken political message: The Russia that’s currently hosting the World Cup is the same one that invaded Ukraine in 2014, vandalized Georgia in 2008 and continues to giddily weaponize the baltic region, prompting a tactical response from NATO. Read the rest

The Democratic candidate for the Georgia governorship is a Black woman running on an "unapologetic progressive" platform

Stacey Abrams has won a bitterly contested primary for the Democratic candidate in Georgia's upcoming gubernatorial race; Abrams aims to be the first Black, woman governor in US history, and she plans on taking that office with an "unapologetic progressive" platform of gun control, financial aid for low-income families, and marijuana decriminalization. Read the rest

Georgia's governor has vetoed SB 315, the state's catastrophically stupid cybersecurity law

When Georgia's legislature passed SB 315, a horribly misguided cybersecurity bill that criminalized routine security research, thus allowing bad guys to get much worse, everyone pinned their hopes on Governor Nathan Deal vetoing it. Read the rest

The teachers' strikes are spreading

From Labor Notes, a weekly report-card of teachers' strikes, which are spreading from state to state, with North Carolina -- the laboratory for gerrymander-fueled Republican takeover -- next in line for a wave of school closures. Read the rest

Georgia criminalizes routine security research

Georgia is a hub for cybersecurity research, with leading university computer science and security programs and a new $35m state cybersecurity research center underway; but the Georgia state legislature just passed SB315, the most onerous prohibition on computer security research ever passed in the USA. Read the rest

Mysterious sea monster photographed on Georgia shore

Over the weekend, Jeff Warren and his family spotted this mysterious sea monster washed up on the shore of the Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge near Darien, Georgia. It is either:

• Altamaha-ha (aka Alty), a cryptid, said to live near the mouth of the Altamaha river, that reportedly looks very similar to what's in the photo

• A frilled shark, according to a marine science educator at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center

• A basking shark, in the opinion of a Savannah State University marine scientist

• Or a hoax, according to scientists at Georgia Southern University.

Either way, the story ends well.

“My son, who is twelve, thinks it is the child of the legendary Altamaha-ha and has now decided he wants to be a marine biologist,” Warren said.

(Savannah Morning News) Read the rest

The B-52s and a tour of their old Athens, GA haunts (1989)

In 1989, to promote their fifth studio album, Cosmic Thing, the B-52s took MTV viewers on a tour of the city where they formed: Athens, Georgia ((sadly, without guitarist Ricky Wilson who died of AIDS in 1985).

They began at the now-defunct Bluebird Cafe, formerly named the Eldorado, a vegetarian eatery where Fred Schneider used to wait tables.

From there, they continued their Athens excursion, first from the back of a convertible and then by walking the streets.

As the story goes, the band formed in October of 1976 after drinking many Flaming Volcanos at Hunan, one of the few Chinese restaurants in town. After drinks, they had their first of many jam sessions, according to this 1980 Rolling Stone article:

"So after the meal we went over to this friend's house," Kate [Pierson] continues. "And we just started playing these instruments."

The song they wrote that night was called "Killer Bees." "It's about a bus being chased by killer bees," Ricky [Wilson] explains. "It runs off into a river, and all the people get eaten by piranhas. And then the killer bees swarm into a theater, where these people are watching a movie, and they attack them. It's a true story."

The method of composition the band used that night — Ricky and Keith jamming on a musical idea and Fred, Kate and Cindy improvising lyrics — is the one the B-52's still employ. The jams, which often last several hours, are recorded on tape, and then Ricky arranges the material into a three- or four-minute song after studying the recorded havoc.

Read the rest

Someone wiped a key server in Georgia right after voters filed a lawsuit over insecure voting-machines

Georgia's voting machines are among the worst, most hackable in the nation, and that's why a "diverse group of election reform advocates" including the Coalition for Good Governance sued the state to purge its hoard of 27,000 AccuVote voting machines, whose defects were not patched though the state was warned of them six months prior to the election. Accuvote machines do not keep any kind of paper audit-tape that can be used to compare the electronic total to a hardcopy. Read the rest

Georgia Sheriff and deputies indicted for repeatedly touching the junk of 900 students at local high-school

Worth County, GA Sheriff Jeff Hobby (+1-229-776-8211) had his deputies repeatedly subject all 900 students at Worth County High School in Sylvester to "highly intrusive" pat-downs that included touching genitals and breasts; they say they were looking for drugs but they never found any. Read the rest

Sanders-backed politicians are winning battle after battle in southern local elections

In June, Chokwe Lumumba, Jr. was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi on a platform that promised to make it the "most radical city on the planet;" this week, Randall Woodfin creamed incumbent opponent William Bell in the mayoral race for Birmingham, Alabama, with a platform that promised free community college for Birmingham high-school grads, expanded pre-K, and more money for public transit and job training. Read the rest

What's worse than shitty, hacked voting machines? Unauditable, shitty voting machines

The news of attempts by Russian hackers to compromise US voting systems will forever throw into question the results of close US elections -- but that's not just because voting machines are security tire-fires, it's because they're security tire-fires whose vote-counts cannot be audited. Read the rest

Georgia police captain got his ex-wife jailed for her Facebook comment about him

According to a lawsuit, Corey King, a police captain in Washington County, Georgia, conspired with his friends magistrate Ralph O. Todd and Sheriff's Investigator Trey Burgamy to arrest King's ex-wife, Anne King, and her friend, Susan Hines, for a Facebook exchange in which they commiserated over Captain King's refusal to pick up medicine for his sick children. Read the rest

Georgia gas-station DVDs, like a scene from a racialized, porny Repo Man

Yes, they made the "Asian" porn yellow -- apparently this is a pretty common sight in Georgia gas-stations, though the proliferation of network connections in big rigs will surely cut into that market (and create some serious potential for mischief). Read the rest

Today is the 30th anniversary of REM's "Lifes Rich Pageant"

Thirty years ago today, REM released the magnificent "Lifes Rich Pageant," an iconic alternative rock album of the 1980s, and forever. The source of the title is the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark:

Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a fountain. Maria: "You should get out of these clothes immediately. You'll catch your death of pneumonia, you will." Clouseau: "Yes, I probably will. But it's all part of life's rich pageant, you know?"

Above, one of Michael Stipe's favorite songs from the entire REM catalog, "Fall on Me," about oppression. Below, "Swan Swan H."

Read the rest

Family: police high-fived after tasering our handcuffed relative to death

Chase Alan Sherman experienced a psychiatric episode after taking the drug spice, that prompted his family to call the police and an ambulance. When sheriff's deputies from Coweta County, GA arrived, they subdued him by kneeling on his chest and, according to the family, handcuffed him, and then two deputies repeated tasered him until he went into "medical distress" and died. Read the rest

Countersuit: Georgia can't copyright its laws

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "As many of you may remember, the State of Georgia filed charges against Public Resource complete with a scurrilous and unfounded charge that we engaged in a "strategy of terrorism." I am pleased to announce that we are represented pro bono by Alston and Bird, one of the leading law firms in Georgia. Our legal team filed an answer to the Georgia complaint and we counter-sued, denying their over-the-top characterization as 'bizarre, defamatory and gratuitous allegations.'" Read the rest

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