Tag Archives | Law

A warmer embrace of Muslims could stop homegrown terrorism

Sarah Lyons-Padilla, Stanford University and Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

The discovery that several of the Paris attackers were European nationals has fueled concern about Muslim immigrants becoming radicalized in the West.

Some politicians have expressed views that the best way to avoid homegrown terrorists is to shut the door.

The refugee migration debate turned even more contentious after authorities found a Syrian passport at the scene of the attack. Poland is now turning back refugees, more than half of American governors have vowed to refuse Middle Easterners seeking a new beginning, and US House Speaker Ryan has asked for a “pause” on the federal Syrian refugee program.

Fearful reactions to terrorist violence are nothing new. Incidents of extremist activity are often followed by anti-Islam protests or hate crimes. Reports of ISIS luring Western Muslims abroad are followed by a tightening of homeland security policy. Just after the attacks in Paris, presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that he would be willing to close mosques in the US.… Read the rest

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To Break Big Pharma’s Stranglehold, Doctors Vote for Ban on Drug Ads

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. (Photo: A./flickr/cc)

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. (Photo: A./flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

In an attempt to combat the soaring cost of prescription drugs and Big Pharma’s stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system, the American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy to “support a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.”

“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., in a press statement on Tuesday. The vote took place at the AMA’s 2015 Interim Meeting in Atlanta.

Supporters of the ban also cited concerns including patient confusion and encouragement of off-label, or unapproved, use of certain drugs.… Read the rest

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Senate Votes to Legalize Space Mining

Concept art | Deep Space Industries |  Robotic asteroid mining might look like this.

Concept art | Deep Space Industries |
Robotic asteroid mining might look like this.

The Space Act of 2015 has passed in the Senate. If the bill passes in the House — it’s expected to — and is signed into law by Obama, it could mean big things for the private space industry.

Sarah Fecht via Popular Science:

After much delay, an important space bill has finally passed in the Senate.

The Space Act of 2015 would do a lot of things to encourage the private space industry–including extending the “learning period” wherein fledgling spaceflight companies can operate without too much government oversight. It would also give companies the rights to the resources they might one day extract from asteroids, such as platinum and water (which, believe it or not, is a valuable resource in space).

The bill has just passed in the Senate with unanimous approval and a few amendments.

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Adults Are the Problem

children's day
Marian Wright Edelman writes at the Children’s Defense Fund:

It is time for adults of every race and income group to break our silence about the pervasive breakdown of moral, family, and community values, to place our children first in our lives, and to struggle to model the behavior we want our children to learn. School children don’t need one more “Officer Slam” as some students referred to the White South Carolina school resource officer who this week shamed the nation with his violent ejection of a 16-year-old Black female student from her classroom for a nonviolent offense. A very welcome counter narrative took place when a White female police officer in Washington, D.C. after diffusing a potentially volatile conflict between two groups of Black teens, then charmed with a “dance off” a defiant teen-age girl who had refused to leave.

Any parent who has gone through the challenges of adolescence could only admire the quick thinking and agile footwork of the D.C.

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Copyright Terms And How Historical Journalism Is Disappearing

EP Journalism Prize 2011 winners are from France, Italy, Finland and Germany

Parker Higgins writes at Techdirt:

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced last Wednesday the “Chronicling America” contest to create projects out of historical newspaper data. The contest is supposed to showcase the history of the United States through the lens of a popular (and somewhat ephemeral) news format. But looking at the limits of the archival data, another story emerges: the dark cloud of copyright’s legal uncertainty is threatening the ability of amateur and even professional historians to explore the last century as they might explore the ones before it.

Consider that the National Digital Newspaper Program holds the history of American newspapers only up until 1922. (It originally focused on material from 1900-1910 and gradually expanded outwards to cover material from as early as 1836.) Those years may seem arbitrary—and it makes sense that there would be some cut-off date for a historical archive—but for copyright nerds 1922 rings some bells: it’s the latest date from which people can confidently declare a published work is in the public domain.

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The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual

The US Department of Defense published its “Law of War Manual” in June and now the World Socialist Web Site dissects some of the more controversial provisions:

The new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual is essentially a guidebook for violating international and domestic law and committing war crimes. The 1,165-page document, dated June 2015 and recently made available online, is not a statement of existing law as much as a compendium of what the Pentagon wishes the law to be.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.19.00 PM

According to the manual, the “law of war” (i.e., the law of war according to the Pentagon) supersedes international human rights treaties as well as the US Constitution.

The manual authorizes the killing of civilians during armed conflict and establishes a framework for mass military detentions . Journalists, according to the manual, can be censored and punished as spies on the say-so of military officials. The manual freely discusses the use of nuclear weapons, and it does not prohibit napalm, depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs or other indiscriminate weapons.

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What Do You Think About Censorship?


There seems to be, in our society today, a crackdown on communication of a spiritual, candid and honest nature; a tacit censorship or “chilling out” of opinions, ideas, beliefs and worldviews that do not promote spending and consumption, free market neoliberalism, xenophobia and the characterisation of entire groups of people as enemies, to name a few major tangents.

It strikes me that this kind of censorship is a product of certain lawmakers, legislators, “public interest” groups, judges, police, members of government and moneyed lobby groups of big business and the church who embody an attitude of thought that seeks to control others and limit their expression to what they consider “acceptable.”

This kind of totalitarian thought is not at all unlike the mentality of German National Socialists burning books in the thirties, it is not unlike the mindsets of the Chinese who set out to “purify” Tibet from its own culture, and it is not at all unlike the current madness in North Korea.… Read the rest

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Fox & the War on Cops

You Can't Sell That Photograph, Said the Cop
Mike LaBossiere writes at Talking Philosophy:

After bringing the world live coverage of the War on Christmas from their own minds, the fine folks at Fox have added coverage of the War on Cops. The basic idea is that violence against cops has increased dramatically and that cops are being targeted. Blame is laid primarily on the Black Lives Matter movement and, this being Fox, President Obama.

Unlike the War on Christmas, Fox does have some real-world basis for the claims about violence against police officers. Police officers are, in fact, attacked and even killed in the line of duty. In some cases, officers are specifically targeted and murdered simply for being police. The harming of citizens, be they police or not, is clearly a matter of concern. The problem is that while police do face the threat of violence, Fox’s rhetoric and claims simply do not match reality.

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Lawsuit Asserts Monkey’s Copyright To Grinning ‘Selfie’

There’s a British colloquialism that the law is an ass (as in donkey, not posterior), but a new lawsuit in California has the potential to make a monkey of copyright law, reports Reuters:

A rare crested macaque monkey who snapped a well-known, grinning “selfie” should be declared the photo’s owner and receive damages for copyright infringement after it was used in a wildlife book, animal rights activists argued in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

Photo: PETA

Photo: PETA


Naruto, a six-year-old macaque who lives free in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, took the image and several others about four years ago using a camera left unattended by British photographer David Slater, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said in the suit.

The so-called Monkey Selfies that resulted came from “a series of purposeful and voluntary actions by Naruto, unaided by Slater,” said the complaint, filed in U.S.

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French court confirms Monsanto liable in chemical poisoning case

March Against Monsanto Lethbridge
A French court is upholding a 2012 ruling against Monsanto “in which Monsanto was found to be liable in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer.” The farmer suffered complications after inhaling Lasso weedkiller, which a Monsanto spokesman says has now been “phased out.”

Via Reuters:

A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found to be liable in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company’s Lasso weedkiller.

The decision by an appeal court in Lyon, southeast France, confirmed the initial judgment, the first such case heard in court in France, that ruled Monsanto was “responsible” for the intoxication and ordered the company to “fully compensate” grain grower Paul Francois.

Monsanto’s lawyer said the U.S. biotech company would now take the case to France’s highest appeal court.

Francois, who says he suffered memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso in 2004, blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

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