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Darren Cohen Posts

What I’m Reading Today

Mic’s drop | The Outline

Mic started riding the Facebook wave early in 2012. Individual stories kept going viral, pulling in 2 million, 3 million, 5 million unique visitors per piece. Former staffers described the viral power of Mic’s stories as a fluke, something they’d never witnessed before and have never seen again. Every month brought a new record, former staffers told me. It felt like Mic was unstoppable — but it was not to last. In August 2015, Mic’s Facebook traffic dropped dramatically, former staffers said. This happened every so often; traffic would dip, the audience and editorial teams would adjust a bunch of levers, and the crisis would blow over. This time was different, possibly due to changes made by Facebook that included a penalty for clickbait, as indicated by readers clicking on a story but not spending much time with it.


Detention of famous director upsets Russia’s artistic world | McClatchy Washington Bureau

MOSCOW
In a move that sent a shockwave through Russia’s art community, investigators on Tuesday detained a prominent theater director famous for his biting satire of Russian officialdom on charges of embezzling $1.1 million.


The story behind a great Jerry Lewis obit in The New York Times – Poynter

To whom might one compare their fame today? It’s hard to come up with any apples-to-apples comparisons. Beyonce and Jay-Z? Nope. Not really close (and they’re not a combo act, anyway). The now-split Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? Same deal. Penn and Teller? Closer but, still, the magicians are not even in the same universe of national renown as Martin and Lewis were. They truly were household names in a smaller country without such media fragmentation.


Palestinians have spent decades battling Israel. Now they’re battling each other. – Vox

The harsh rhetoric means that Abbas is taking a risky gamble, hoping these punitive measures would bring Hamas to its knees and force it to join a national unity government with the Palestinian Authority. But the plan backfired quickly and spectacularly. Hamas refused to give in, and let the coastal enclave sink into darkness. Gaza’s 2 million residents were forced to get used to 20-hour blackouts and scorching summer days without air conditioning. Its already decrepit infrastructure deteriorated so severely that sewage overflowed into the sea.


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Little Thing About Free Speech

Spurned by Major Companies, The Daily Stormer Returns to the Web With Help From a Startup – ProPublica

Nick Lim, the 20-year-old founder of the company BitMitigate, said he offered his services to Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin because he believes in free speech, but also to get the word out about his company, which protects websites from so-called denial of services attacks that overwhelm internet servers. 


He has every right to choose his customers, but this has nothing to do with free speech. Neither he nor his company are the government the last time I checked.

Speaking of that, I see many journalists get very preachy online saying similar things about free speech in regards to Twitter and Facebook. To them I say “get a clue”!

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What I’m Reading Today

‘Washington Post’ Reporter Frustrated Every Space In Parking Garage Taken Up By Anonymous Source – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

WASHINGTON—Circling every level multiple times with no luck whatsoever, Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker was frustrated Tuesday that every space in the parking garage was taken up by an anonymous source. “I’ve gone around and around, but I can’t find a single spot that isn’t already filled by an unidentified White House leaker,” said an exasperated Rucker, who recalled how easy it was to nab a prime parking place to clandestinely receive privileged information only a few short years ago. “


Spicer’s ‘middle finger’ to the press – POLITICO

At one point, he got drinks with a group of other staffers and reporters in Jerusalem, where he was adamant that the conversation steer clear of work.


Anti-jihadist Ramadan advert goes viral – Kuwait Times | Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: A video advertisement that depicts a would-be suicide bomber confronted by the faithful has gone viral two days into the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.  “Worship your God with love, not terror” is the main message of the three-minute advert posted Friday online by Kuwaiti telecommunications giant Zain, which operates across the Middle East.


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What I’m Reading Today

Mitch Landrieu Reminds Us That Eloquence Still Exists – NYTimes.com

But it also addressed matters that are forever tripping us up — race, history, healing — better than anything I’ve heard or read in a long time. It was the masterpiece we needed at the moment we needed it, and I fear that it was lost in the brutal whirl of news these days. It shouldn’t be.


Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff – The Washington Post

The advance allows Google to determine how many sales have been generated by digital ad campaigns, a goal that industry insiders have long described as “the holy grail” of online advertising. But the announcement also renewed long-standing privacy complaints about how the company uses personal information.


Tawain’s top court rules in favor of same-sex marriage – The Washington Post

May 24 at 8:32 AM
BEIJING — A Taipei court on Wednesday ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex unions and cementing its status as a beacon for LGBT rights. 


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What I’m Reading Today

Turkey tests Trump’s patience after protesters roughed up – POLITICO

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara to lodge a formal protest days after Washington police intervened to stop Turkish security officials from beating up protesters. The violence near the Turkish embassy came soon after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House, and video caught Erdogan watching some of the skirmish.


Michael Flynn Misled Pentagon About Russia Ties, Letter Says – NYTimes.com

Mr. Flynn, who resigned 24 days into the Trump administration, told investigators in February 2016 that he had received no income from foreign companies and had only “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals, according to the letter. In fact, Mr. Flynn had sat two months earlier beside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a Moscow gala for RT, the Kremlin-financed television network, which paid him more than $45,000 to attend th


Microsoft Announces a New Surface Pro, Refreshes Branding and Marketing – Petri

The big story with this new device can be boiled down to a few simple things, new chips, much-improved battery life, refinements to the pen, and expansion of the kickstand. Overall, this is a modest but safe update for the Surface Pro line that should keep fans of this device happy.


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What I’m Reading Today

Never-Trump Confidential – NYTimes.com

Brothers can share that kind of joke, but for many people now in Trump’s camp, criticizing their leader is a serious offense, and I’ve been hearing from plenty of them. I am a Never-Trump Republican, as we’ve come to be known, part of the alliance of conservatives implacably opposed to the idea of Donald J. Trump becoming president of the United States. It’s a position that has estranged me from a plurality of my own party and put me at odd with friends, family, colleagues and a political movement that increasingly has taken on the character of an angry cult.

From last summer, but still important to read how conservatives are dealing with Trump.


‘The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It – NYTimes.com

“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Mr. Williams says. “I was wrong about that.”

Was he ever wrong about that! He wasn’t the only one, but now what? That is a question for all of us.


Prosecutor: Trump tax issues may echo Nixon | MSNBC

Comparisons between Donald Trump and Richard Nixon have been coming hot and heavy, but Ari Melber has got one you might not have heard much about and it involves tax returns.

A video definitely worth watching


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What I’m Reading Today

Federalism for the Left and the Right – WSJ

The framers of the Constitution would be pleased with this emerging consensus. By creating a national government with limited powers, they intended to allow the states and local governments to pursue a range of different policies on matters within what used to be called their “police powers”—that is, their authority to regulate behavior, maintain order and promote the public good within their own territory. The founders considered this arrangement the best way to protect liberty and diversity of opinion, as well as to defend political minorities from nationalist tyranny and concentrated power.

I don’t agree with the premise of the article, but it’s a really smart read.


Melania concerned with Spicer’s job performance: report | TheHill

An outside adviser who regularly speaks to the president told Politico that Melania Trump is concerned Spicer is not doing a good enough job in defending her husband.

Preibus leaving trip early, and now this? That part of West Wing should not get comfortable in the new digs.


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What I’m Reading Today

White House looking at ethics rule to weaken special investigation – sources | Reuters

The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday.


In hometown of Allendale, James Comey is no ‘nut job,’ but principled career man

“I never was crazy about Trump,” J. Brien Comey, 86, a Republican and a former borough councilman, said in an interview. “I’m convinced that he’s nuts. I thought he belonged in an institution. He was crazy before he became president. Now he’s really crazy.”


The humble power of immigrant restaurants: ‘You can’t hate someone if you like their food’ – The Washington Post

Someone could make an argument against me on each accusation, but I think any such discussions need to consider motivation and action. My motivation is to understand cuisines and pass along my knowledge, no matter how limited. My behavior is to enter every unfamiliar restaurant with humility because I know the roles are reversed, and I am the minority in the micro-culture of the immigrant restaurant. I respect this new world and try not to place the values of another restaurant culture upon it. It’s sometimes easier said than done, particularly in a restaurant that doesn’t share the sense of hospitality found at, say, Rose’s Luxury.


A Toothy Strongman Gets a Role at the Met Opera – The New York Times

In what will surely go down in the annals of opera as one of the most unusual auditions ever held at the Met, the British director Phelim McDermott was at the theater on Tuesday evening, casting his new production of Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte” for next season, when he asked one of the aspirants the usual question: “Do you want to do something?”


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What I’m Reading Today

F.B.I. Once Warned G.O.P. Congressman That Russian Spies Were Recruiting Him – The New York Times

The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.


Roger Ailes is survived by Trump, Hannity, this awful time.

Ailes leaves behind one of the largest legacies of any media figure of the past century: He made our country nastier, stupider, cruder, and more bigoted. Even as the memory of Ailes the man fades, we will always be able to look back on what he built.


Worldwide effort set to keep Trump happy on 1st trip abroad

In Saudi Arabia, people with knowledge of the planning for Trump’s trip say the caterers are planning to offer the president steak and ketchup alongside the lamb and hefty portions of rice on the menu. All the meat will have been butchered in a Shariah-compliant halal manner as per Islamic custom.


“It’s Time For West Virginia To Rise Up”: A Q&A with Paula Swearengin | New Republic

Now one of those activists seeks to unseat him. Paula Swearengin, 42, is an accounting clerk and single mother of four from Coal City, West Virginia. On March 9, she announced that she would challenge Manchin in the Democratic primary. She is a newcomer to politics and an early beneficiary of Brand New Congress, a political action committee founded by former members of Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.


Cuomo distances himself from the state-run MTA

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, following weeks of service failures in New York City’s subways, told reporters Thursday that his responsibility for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority merely consists of appointing a few people to its board, a responsibility shared by Mayor Bill de Blasio and county executives across the state. The state-run authority, he said, is a “regional transportation system.”


What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey – POLITICO Magazine

The story of that March 11, 2004, showdown—how it came to light and what it says about the motivations and the moral compass of the two men now at the heart of a new Washington showdown—should deeply worry the Trump White House.


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A Few Unneeded Thoughts on WannaCry

Since everyone is dumping their two cents about WannaCry I was feeling kind of left out.  I have a few thoughts about all this.  The overarching thing is this, the current system is broken.

Since the news broke of the malware late last week this has all started to take on a political war.  Everyone get on your side and start blaming someone.   In times like these we have to remember that nuance is hard, but nuance is needed.  Is Microsoft financially liable for this?  Given that they have been very clear about what gets support and what does not the answer is obviously no.  When it comes to PR that is a different story.  Microsoft released a patch to those paying for extended Windows XP support a few months ago.  This means that Microsoft had the tools in place to stop this outbreak.  Those that paid received it which seems to make sense as long as you don’t consider the fallout of having a huge malware story leading the evening newscast talking about “Microsoft Windows”.  Given that Microsoft quickly released the security update to everyone following the incident they also noticed this.

Last night Microsoft posted this:

The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call. They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world. We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits. This is one reason we called in February for a new “Digital Geneva Convention” to govern these issues, including a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them. And it’s why we’ve pledged our support for defending every customer everywhere in the face of cyberattacks, regardless of their nationality. This weekend, whether it’s in London, New York, Moscow, Delhi, Sao Paulo, or Beijing, we’re putting this principle into action and working with customers around the world.

I strongly disagree with this stance from Microsoft.  First if you tell the NSA that they have to turn over everything they find, guess what happens next?  They don’t have the need to do this anymore.  What incentive would our intelligence agencies have to do Microsoft’s work for them?  Microsoft’s job is to sell a product that makes money, the intelligence agencies job is to defend the citizens of the United States of America.  Now the tools, and how they do that is another debate.  If you think that the NSA is going to hand over bugs they find without wanting something back you are living on another planet.  Do we really want a world where the large tech companies have a symbiotic relationship with the CIA, NSA, etc?  Step one in this argument seems easy, where it goes from there is a tad harder.

We have to do something to address this in the future.  One of the big memes that has come out of this mess is that what will happen when your autonomous car is requiring $300 not to drive you off a cliff.  This is a bit much, but it made me think.  Right now car manufacturers are required to pay the cost of repairs and fixes that hit the level of needing a “safety recall” for ten years.  That means they must fix the seatbelt they sold with issues for ten years after the last one is sold.  This is a good starting point for tech.  Operating system and hardware vendors alike must come up with a standard across the industry that all must follow.  I think ten years for security should be that standard for business or institutional related devices.  If every company or government knows that every product they buy has a max of 10 years of shelf life they will be able to budget and plan in a better manner.  It will also allow vendors to offer longer service as a sales point.  I am talking a bare minimum.

We also need a similar setup for consumers.  Google announced last week that their own Pixel phone will get three years of security patches before it is cutoff.  That is three years from launch not from your purchase date.  This is not good enough. Security, not feature, updates should be required for five years from the last day the OEM sells the device.  Tying security to some average wireless contract is just dangerous.  There are many parts of the world where secondary market phones are big business.  You are pretty much telling those customers that their safety and security does not mean anything, and in many cases they live in places where security from their own government is paramount.

How do we do this?  How do we even start this discussion?  I am sure I am wrong about a few details above, and I may be off on how long things should be supported but I am confident in my belief that something has to be done now.  I have zero faith in tech companies doing this on their own.  This is why we have government, and it’s time they act. People look at the word “regulation” as some obstacle.  Remember the next time you get on an airplane that it is government regulation standing between your safety and some airline actuary selling shareholders on how many crashes they can incur before it hurts the bottom line.  Hey we saved a few billion on repairs and only seven planes crashed, pop the champagne as the stock price just went up!

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