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Liberal Outrage

The Surveillance Act That Wouldn't Die

They didn't get CISPA to pass. Now they're trying again with CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act).

Cybersecurity bills aim to facilitate information sharing between companies and the government, but their broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers make them secret surveillance bills. CISA marks the fifth time in as many years that Congress has tried to pass "cybersecurity" legislation.
Aside from its redundancy, the Senate Intelligence bill grants two new authorities to companies. First, the bill authorizes companies to launch countermeasures (now called "defensive measures" in the bill) for a "cybersecurity purpose" against a "cybersecurity threat." "Cybersecurity purpose" is so broadly defined that it means almost anything related to protecting (including physically protecting) an information system, which can be a computer or software. The same goes for a "cybersecurity threat," which includes anything that "may result" in an unauthorized effort to impact the availability of the information system.

Even with the changed language, it's still unclear what restrictions exist on "defensive measures." Since the definition of "information system" is inclusive of files and software, can a company that has a file stolen from them launch "defensive measures" against the thief's computer? What's worse, the bill may allow such actions as long as they don't cause "substantial" harm. The bill leaves the term "substantial" undefined. If true, the countermeasures "defensive measures" clause could increasingly encourage computer exfiltration attacks on the Internet--a prospect that may appeal to some "active defense" (aka offensive) cybersecurity companies, but does not favor the everyday user.

Second, the bill adds a new authority for companies to monitor information systems to protect an entity's hardware or software. Here again, the broad definitions could be used in conjunction with the monitoring clause to spy on users engaged in potentially innocuous activity. Once collected, companies can then share the information, which is also called "cyber threat indicators," freely with government agencies like the NSA.

When i read "defensive measures", i picture the goon squad in Brazil that breaks into your house to arrest you for not filling out the proper forms.

By min | March 25, 2015, 10:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Where Are the Women?

From FiveThirtyEight:

Movies take place in a weird alternate universe where men outnumber women by more than 2-to-1, and where it's strikingly rare for women to have a real conversation about something other than a man. This imbalance extends to how certain jobs are portrayed in movies, even as bit parts, and reinforces old gender stereotypes.

I recently started diving into the OpusData database, which tracks film releases, box office performance and -- most interestingly -- screen credits. For instance, you can look up every role since 19951 that was credited as "bartender." There have been 145 such roles with gender data, and about 85 percent of the time the performer playing that bartender was a man.

I pulled that data for a couple dozen careers, some considered prestigious, others specifically gendered.

The vast majority of these are supporting roles -- the scientist in the background as the protagonist discovers the deadly disease has mutated, the emergency room nurse holding the respirator as our hero is wheeled into surgery on a gurney, and so on. But they represent Hollywood's background, the fabric you may take for granted but that can strongly influence perceptions about gender. If every engineer on screen is a dude, that sends a message about who can be an an engineer.

Even in fields with a large gender gap in real life, what we see on-screen is even worse. Yeah, medicine and law skew male, but not as much as in the movies. In 2005, 30 percent of lawyers were women, but in this data set, only 11 percent of lawyers or attorneys were played by women. And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 32 percent of doctors were women in September 2014, but on screen, only 10 percent were women.

This isn't really new. It's a message that Geena Davis has been putting out there for a while now. Here is an interview with her in a recent issue of the Guardian (emphasis mine):

[The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media] commissioned the largest piece of research ever on gender depictions in media. Spanning a 20-year period, it proved what Davis had feared: in family rated films and children's television, for every one female speaking character there are three males, while female characters make up just 17% of crowd scenes.

"What are we saying to kids when the female characters are hyper-sexualised, narrowly stereotyped or not even there? The message clearly is girls are not as important as boys, women are not as important as men and they take this all in completely unconsciously.

"Popular media is constantly hammering home the message that women and girls are second-class citizens. All the efforts that we put in to try and erase it, all the important things that we must do to empower women and girls, are being undermined by this unconscious message that women and girls aren't as valuable as men."

17%??!! I think we can all agree that women make up more than 17% of the population, so why aren't movies accurately portraying that? We're talking background crowd scenes here. Not major roles. You just need to be a warm body that can move and yet, even in this women are underrepresented.

By min | March 25, 2015, 10:22 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3)| Link

Who funds Riftwar?


Yet there it was in black and white: "RIFT AMONG PROGRESSIVES EMERGES ON TPP," read a headline in Politico's daily labor and employment tipsheet, Morning Shift. The short item detailed the emergence of the "Progressive Coalition for American Jobs" -- a group of "progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers," according to the coalition's barebones website. The website adds that "it's critical that we give the president trade promotion authority and establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

There's something weird about the group, though: No one in the Washington, D.C., progressive community seems to have ever heard of them before

By fnord12 | March 13, 2015, 7:48 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Not traitors

Seeing the NY Daily News front page regarding the Republicans sending the letter opposing the Obama/Iran nuke treaty gave me flashbacks to 2001-2003 when anyone opposing the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions had their patriotism questioned. So i agree with Glenn Greenwald that we should criticize the GOP on the substance, not for 'undermining' the Commander-in-Chief.

By fnord12 | March 10, 2015, 1:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Just once!

I have been pretty vocal about my dislike of our senator, Bob Menendez, especially due to his Straight From 1962 approach to foreign policy. So i guess i'd be happy to see him leave office no matter what the reason. But just once i'd like to see a politician from New Jersey not get wrapped up in serious corruption allegations. Rumors and weirdness have been swirling around Menendez for a while, but now the Feds are bringing charges.

By fnord12 | March 6, 2015, 3:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Got the bloggers talking, anyway

Ed Kilgore gives his take on Yglesias' Parliment/Gridlock article, and also summarizes and links to responses from Dylan Matthews, Ross Douthat, and Jonathan Chait.

By fnord12 | March 4, 2015, 2:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Get ready for 8 more years of nothing

Apropos of my post below, here's Hilary Clinton's proposal for ending gridlock:

She spoke at length about bipartisanship and promoted her record of working with Republicans in Arkansas and as a senator from New York. Her objective, should she run for president, would be to end partisan gridlock, she told Ms. Swisher.

"I'd like to bring people from right, left, red, blue, get them into a nice warm purple space where everybody is talking and where we're actually trying to solve problems," Mrs. Clinton said.

As Ezra Klein says, and i'd like delicious calorie-free vegan treats to fall out of the sky whenever i get hungry (ok, Klein's fantasy is about a Google Bus but i've got a better imagination). This is basically the same message that Obama ran on, and so did George W. Bush ("I'm a uniter not a divider"), but it's pure fantasy. People either accept that global warming is real or they don't. They think the economy can be fixed with a stimulus or by cutting taxes and regulation. There's no middle ground. And the only reward for a Republican to cross the aisle and work with Clinton is a Tea Party primary challenger.

By fnord12 | March 3, 2015, 10:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link


Matthew Yglesias has a pretty alarming essay regarding the eventual state of American politics and basically why we need a parliamentary system.

By fnord12 | March 2, 2015, 2:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link

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