Justice Department resumes controversial forfeiture program

The Justice Department Monday announced that it is resuming a controversial practice that allows local police departments to funnel a large portion of assets seized from citizens into their own coffers under federal law. The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. The Justice Department…

BLINDED TRIALS: On being Russell

Since I joined my current practice, I’ve been made partner. Even if the other partners were upset by my writing, it would be costly and difficult to fire me now. However, they all know I write, and have voiced support for my dropping the pen name and using my own.

But I suspect none of them have ever heard of Justine Sacco.

Sacco, for those of you who may also not know who she is, was a corporate communications director at IAC in 2013. (IAC is the parent company that owns The Daily Beast, for what it’s worth.) Right before leaving on a trip to Africa, she tweeted a joke about not being afraid of catching AIDS there, because she is white. It was meant to be taken as an ironic comment on white cluelessness by her very small number of Twitter followers, a statement so outrageous as to be obviously in wry jest. But on its face, it was a staggeringly racist thing to say, and that’s how people took it when it exploded on social media. Though she didn’t know it, she’d been fired before her plane even landed. Hers is one of the most famous cases of public shaming you’ll find.

Now, I bring up Sacco not because I’m afraid I’ll say something thoughtless that will blow up my career in the same way. (*pauses the knock the shit out of some wood*) But I know all too well how social media can magnify the reaction to something people don’t like, and how difficult that can be to manage.

From: On being Russell – Blinded Trials II

Mississippi Governor Signs Bill Increasing School Choice for Special Needs Students – Opportunity Lives

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that will increase educational choice for parents and students in his state. The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, provides scholarship vouchers for parents with special needs children so that they can attend a school that best…

Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI turns into a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours

What happens when you introduce an innocent Artificial Intelligence chat robot to Twitter? Well, it’s kind of predictable – you get an evil Hitler-loving, incestual sex-promoting, ‘Bush did 9/11’-proclaiming robot. Developers at Microsoft created ‘Tay’, an AI modelled to speak ‘like a teen girl’, in order to improve the customer service on their voice recognition…

BLINDED TRIALS: Should a Free Press Ever Be Self-Limiting? Open Thread

“That’s the dilemma for the press. In any previous election, if the Republican presidential front-runner had threatened a rival’s spouse, journalists wouldn’t have had to think twice about covering the incident. They would have known that highlighting such crass behavior would force the candidate to pay an appropriate price. They would have felt — quite rightly — that they were fulfilling an obligation to inform the electorate, which, being composed of sensible and decent people, would react with disgust.

From: Should a Free Press Ever Be Self-Limiting? Open Thread – Blinded Trials II

Donald Trump’s rise in America is a cautionary tale for democracy seekers in Hong Kong to go slow — and get things right | South China Morning Post

Donald Trump horrifies even the vast majority of leaders of his own party. Circumstances in the US – brought about in large part by major errors committed by the Republican Party itself – have caused large numbers of enraged citizens to vote for this man in a number of primary elections. If the trend continues,…

What Trump Supporters Were Doing Before Trump – 538

On social issues, the differences are more noteworthy. Trump backers were far more pro-choice than Cruz or Rubio supporters, at 0.63 (0.67 is equivalent to agreeing that “abortion should be available, but with stricter limits”). That’s not far from Clinton backers’ 0.73. By contrast, Cruz supporters’ 0.39 puts them closer to the view represented by…

BLINDED TRIALS: Shameless to be sure, but tastefully so?

So if you are good enough to be reading this rebooted blog of ours, allow me to promise you I did not decide to resume work on it for the sole purpose of blathering on about my writing elsewhere. Insofar as I can think of some aspect of it that may seem interesting to the audience here, I’ll write about it. (“Why the pseudonym?” has come up often enough that I may as well write a post, if only to have something I can just link in the future if I get asked again.) But I’m not going to make Blinded Trials II: The Blindening some kind of humblebragging clearinghouse.

To that end, I’ve decided to put a question I’ve been pondering to you lot, and you can tell me what your collective preference is. It’s a question I alluded to in my re-introductory post, which I’ll just ask outright:

To what degree would you here like me to mention/otherwise promote my work on other sites?

From: Shameless to be sure, but tastefully so? – Blinded Trials II