Good whatever it is….
1. Bottom line” Don’t trust Facebook. From the Times: “Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to Congress last month.” Surprised? As with Google promising moths ago that it was no longer reading our mail, then admitting months later that it had resumed the practice, the big tech companies have proven repeatedly that that we cannot believe what they say, or their motives, or their pledges of good will and public service. More from the Times story:
Facebook’s loose oversight of the partnerships was detected by the company’s government-approved privacy monitor in 2013. But it was never revealed to Facebook users, most of whom had not explicitly given the company permission to share their information. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent last month to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, a privacy advocate and frequent critic of the social media giant.
In the letter, a copy of which Mr. Wyden provided to The New York Times, Facebook wrote that by early 2013 it had entered into data-sharing agreements with seven device makers to provide what it called the “Facebook experience” — custom-built software, typically, that gave those manufacturers’ customers access to Facebook on their phones. Those partnerships, some of which date to at least 2010, fall under a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission drafted in 2011 and intended to oversee the company’s privacy practices.
Read the whole thing. I just assume that anything I put on Facebook, regardless of the alleged settings,will be sold to or otherwise obtained by potentially malign entities.
2. Just what we need now, a rogue First Lady. First Lady Melania Trump publicly called for the President’s deputy national security adviser, Mira Ricardel, to be fired. In a word, well, two: Shut up. The felicitous circumstance of marrying someone who is later elected President of the United States confers no expertise or authority. The position of First Lady has no Constitutionally recognized duties, nor does it carry any real power. There is nothing anyone can do to diminish the influence and spouse may have with the President behind closed doors—and that is a problem—but she or the inevitable he must not confuse, confound or otherwise seek to influence affairs of state with public comments and opinions. Why Melania wants Ricardel fired is irrelevant. It’s none of her business.
I just want to point out that I sneezed six times while typing those last four words. Applause, please.
3. A note about a flagrant conflict of interest that drives me crazy this time of year. This is free agent time in baseball, with literally hundreds of players seeking lucrative multi-year contracts as they peddle their talents to the 30 Major League teams for millions of dollars. Their negotiating and peddling are handled by player agents and agencies, almost all of which handle many currently unemployed players at the same time. The problem is that many of these clients are competing with each other. There are only so many open jobs on a baseball team, and only so much money each team can spend. If an agent represents two left-handed closers, then finding a job for one of them hurts the prospects and earning potential of the other. High-priced free agents of different positions also compete with each other, because no team is likely to sign more than one.
I’ve written about this many times, even before this post. Nothing has changed, which means “the Players Union is still negligent, agents are still unethical and greedy, and baseball players are still as naive as puppies.”
4. Not the there won’t be some judge someplace who would support it, but…CNN has neither a legal nor an ethical leg to stand on with its lawsuit demanding that Jim Acosta get his White House press pass back. The lawsuit is grandstanding, just as those accusing the White House of a Freedom of the Press incursion by justly pulling the credentials of a journalist who repeatedly behaves in an unprofessional manner is grandstanding. CNN can replace Acosta: the network’s access hasn’t been blocked, although I see no reason why it couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be.
The news media’s war with President Trump is unwise and destructive, and it is journalists who are responsible, not the President, who had the courage and principle to expose the fraud at the heart of their reporting. Now, if he also had restraint, taste and nuance, he could have really done some good. The problem is that the President can’t tell legitimate journalism from the biased, partisan, unprofessional kind, not that he has many opportunities to experience the former.
5. That annoying “innocent until proven guilty” thingy again. Yes, Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, registered to vote while incarcerated and awaiting trial, as indeed every accused citizen may, even in states like Florida where convicted felons lose the right to vote. This caused many civically ignorant conservatives heartburn, while liberals pointed out that the beast—that is, alleged beast—registered as a Republican, proving something. (Since Democrats want to repeal the Second Amendment, I would assume that almost all prisoners accused of gun-related crimes would be Republicans
6. [Added] I just read the comments on the Baraboo High School photo, and realized that I meant to include this follow-up today. Points:
I know the photographer claims that he just asked the kids to “wave,” and there was no intent to give Nazi salutes. Suuuuuure. Here’s that photo again:
- I’ve participated in many “waving” photos, and none ever involved stiff armed, palm-down salutes. I’ll concede that there are some legitimate waves in there, but look at the back row.
- There have been enough comments by students involved in the photo and with knowledge of the incident that the claims that it was all a big misunderstanding ring false. Jordan Blue, one of the students in the photo who refused to give the salute, told a local newspaper that his classmates were trying to make a joke. Blue also says the students spent “about five minutes taking pictures and laughing” about their salute to Adolf Hitler.
His is just one account, but this is very close to a res ipsa loquitur situation.
- Vox opines that the stunt was the result of a general lack of understanding and historical perspective among the younger generations regarding the Holocaust and World War II. That’s probably correct. Blame parents and schools: this is basic education and cultural literacy. If kids are more familiar with “Springtime for Hitler” than they are with Hitler, society has failed them.