Odds and Ends 

Senate Intelligence Committee releases first volume of its investigation into Russian election hacking

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the first volume of its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections. Helmed by Select Committee Chairman Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who serves as Vice Chairman, the committee’s report Russian Efforts Against Election InfrastructureThrough two and a half years the committee has held 15 open hearings, interviewed over 200 witnesses, and reviewed nearly 400,000 documents, according to a statement and will be publishing other volumes from its investigation…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

The government is about to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic filing system

Thanks to pressure from tax preparation industry, Congress is getting ready to ban the Internal Revenue Service from ever building a free electronic tax filing system. As ProPublica reports, the effort is a bipartisan one. The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Massachusetts Democrat, Richard Neal, passed the Taxpayer First Act. The bill would make changes to the IRS and is sponsored by Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis and Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania. One of its stipulations would make it illegal for the IRS to create its…

Read More
Headlines 

‘SNL’ pays tribute to the ‘Women of Congress’ and pantsuits

After a midterm election which brought a record number of women to Congress, some Congresswomen are being treated like celebrities. Saturday Night Live knows this fanbase well. This sketch from the Feb. 9 episode imagines the newly elected women of Congress as Charlie’s Angels dressed in white (the traditional color of women’s suffragists). There’s Kate McKinnon as Nancy “Madame Clap back” Pelosi and Leslie Jones as Maxine “Don’t Go Chasing” Waters. This is the kind of hardcore Pantsuit Nation feminism we can all get behind. Read more: https://mashable.com/video/snl-women-of-congress/

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Elon Musk Unmasked as Top Donor to House Republican PAC

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been revealed as a top donor to a Republican PAC aimed at keeping control of Congress. Filings published by ProPublica this weekend show Musk contributed $38,900 to the Protect the House PAC, joining the likes of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair in the PACs top 50 donors. The PAC raised more than $8 million in the second quarter for Republican lawmakers hoping to fend off Democratic challengers. Musk has a

Read More
Headlines 

Reps. Khanna and Ratcliffe: Its Time to Modernize Government Websites

It’s no secret that the federal government is way behind the private sector when it comes to modernization and technology. Because of these outdated systems, many federal agencies rank staggeringly behind the private sector when it comes to customer service. WIRED OPINION ABOUT US Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) (@RepRatcliffe) is chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure. US Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) (@RepRoKhanna) represents the Silicon Valley and serves on the Budget and House Armed Services Committees. In data collected last year, Healthcare.gov and USAJobs.gov were…

Read More
Headlines 

Americas Southwest Border Is Not Out of Control

President Donald Trump’s vision of the U.S. southwestern border verges on the apocalyptic. “Caravans are heading here,” he claims. “Deadly ravages of drugs, gangs and crime [are] pouring across our border,” while legal loopholes allow in murderers and thieves who have “transformed once-peaceful neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.” Never mind the studies showing that illegal immigrants commit crimes at rates less likely to be incarcerated than people born in the U.S. And ignore, for the moment, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s own put it this week, look instead at the historical record of…

Read More
Headlines 

Michael Bloomberg: Why Im Supporting Democrats in 2018

I’ve never much liked political parties. I’ve always believed that we should put country before party. Too many politicians practice the reverse, with terrible consequences for the American people. But although I don’t believe in partisanship, I very much believe in the importance of politics and elections. That’s how we make change and progress in a democracy. Over the years, I have supported candidates in both parties who were willing to break with partisanship and the special interests and seek common ground around solutions to make America better. I’ve focused…

Read More
Headlines 

TrumpsHomeland Security Secretary Defends His Family Separation Policy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called on Congress to change laws she said force the government to separate immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S. border unlawfully and called Democrats who say the Trump administration is using the controversy for political leverage “very cowardly.” Nielsen both defended President Donald Trump’s family separation policy at a White House briefing on Monday and maintained that it wasn’t his creation, but rather a consequence of the government’s prosecution of immigrants apprehended illegally crossing the border. “Parents who entered illegally are, by definition,…

Read More
Headlines 

Within Facebook, a Sense of Relief Over the Zuckerberg Hearings

About two hours, or 20 percent, into Mark Zuckerberg’s marathon testimony before Congress this week, the Facebook CEO had a slightly awkward exchange with senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). Cornyn wanted to know what happens to people’s data when they delete their accounts. Zuckerberg responded that Facebook deletes their data. But Cornyn continued, “How about third parties that you have contracted with to use some of that underlying information, perhaps to target advertising for themselves?” To Zuckerberg, this must have been exasperating. As he has said over and over, Facebook doesn’t…

Read More
Headlines 

If Congress Doesn’t Understand Facebook, What Hope Do Its Users Have?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a less than warm welcome in Washington, DC, where he testified before a joint hearing of two Senate committees Tuesday. Among the crowds of spectators lining up to watch Zuckerberg get grilled were members of the activist group CodePink, wearing oversized sunglasses with the words, "Stop Spying," written across them. Another group wore t-shirts with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook scrawled on them in red Sharpie. "What many young people feel about Facebook is they’ve kind of turned on us," said Emmanuel Sessegnon, as he waited to…

Read More
Headlines 

Kelly Loses White House Clout as Trump Blazes Own Path

Chief of staff out of loop for several key recent decisions President and top aide at times now on different wavelengths Donald Trump’s side for crucial decisions on staffing and policy moves, according to several senior aides. Kelly wasn’t with the president last week when Trump abruptly decided to oust H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and replace him with John Bolton. Just two people were in the room for that decision: Trump and Bolton. And Kelly is rarely on the line any more when Trump calls foreign leaders. Last…

Read More
Headlines 

Musk Takes Down the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook Pages

Musk and Zuckerberg have traded barbs on AI, rockets before Facebook is facing criticism after Trump-tied firm took data Zuckerberg said last August. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.” Musk responded, writing on Twitter: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.” In 2016, a SpaceX rocket carrying a Facebook satellite tweeted. Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-23/tesla-spacex-pages-vanish-as-musk-joins-deletefacebook-crusade

Read More
Headlines 

Silicon Valley Has Failed to Protect Our Data. Heres How to Fix It

Twitter, LinkedIn, Cambridge Analytica used that data to target likely Trump voters. Facebook responded that, no, this was not a “Featured in , March 26, 2018. Illustration: 731 For years we’ve been talking and thinking about social networks as interesting tools to model and understand human dynamics. But it’s no longer academic—Facebook has reached a scale where it’s not a model of society as much as an engine of culture. A researcher gained legitimate access to the platform and then just … kept going, and Cambridge Analytica ended up with those 50 million profiles.…

Read More
Headlines 

Days After Parkland, Its Business as Usual at a Florida Gun Show

It’s another week after another mass shooting in the U.S., and something finally feels different. In the days following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and faculty members, a vociferous movement of young people has risen up to say enough is enough. The generation that grew up in the wake of the 1999 carnage in Columbine is demanding new gun restrictions. The teenagers are adding a fresh voice to a gun control debate that has plodded, despite a number of high-profile massacres in the…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

‘Trump should resign’: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden call for CONGRESS to investigate president

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has some strong views and some strange timing. In mid-November, she enraged lefties by saying that President Bill Clinton should have resigned during the Monica Lewinsky scandal — and that was after she had hit the campaign trail with Bill and Hillary in 2016. Even then, though, she couldn’t quite bring herself to call for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation, despite photographic evidence of him groping a sleeping woman. What about President Trump, then? On Monday, after three women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment appeared on…

Read More