June 2022 Archives

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A teen charged with setting a fire that killed five members of a Senegalese immigrant family in Denver, Colorado, has become the first person to challenge police use of Google search histories to find someone who might have committed a crime, according to his lawyers.  

The pushback against this surveillance tool, known as a reverse keyword search, is being closely watched by privacy and abortion rights advocates, who are concerned that it could soon be used to investigate women who search for information about obtaining an abortion in states where the procedure is now illegal.

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By Ariane de VogueTierney Sneed and Devan Cole, CNN

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The Supreme Court said Monday that a Washington state school district violated the First Amendment rights of a high school football coach when he lost his job after praying at the 50-yard line after games. 

The opinion was 6-3 along conservative-liberal ideological lines.

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Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization - SCOTUSblog

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Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

Docket No.Op. BelowArgumentOpinionVoteAuthorTerm
19-13925th Cir. Dec 1, 2021Jun 24, 20226-3AlitoOT 2021

Holding: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey are overruled; the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.

JudgmentReversed and remanded, 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Alito on June 24, 2022. Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. Chief Justice Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.

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A Practical Guide for Healthcare Providers, Lawyers, Medical Examiners, Child Welfare Workers, and Policymakers

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Since 1973, National Advocates for Pregnant Women ("NAPW") has documented more than 1,700 instances across the country
in which women have been arrested, prosecuted, convicted, detained, or forced to undergo medical interventions because of their pregnancy status or outcomes.
The rate at which state actors are criminalizing pregnant women is accelerating rapidly. NAPW has documented roughly three times as many deprivations of liberty from 2006-2020 than it has from 1973-2005.3

The women subjected to pregnancy- based prosecutions and forced medical interventions are overwhelmingly low income, disproportionately Black and Brown, and the majority are drug-using.4

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New York, Northeast leaders react to Supreme Court gun ruling | WAMC

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WAMC Northeast Public Radio | By Karen Dewitt

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Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, speaking moments after the ruling, called it deeply disturbing, and says it puts the safety of "millions of New Yorkers" at risk.

"This decision isn't just reckless, it's reprehensible," Hochul said. "It's not what New Yorkers want. And we should have the right of determination of what we want to do in terms of our gun laws in our state. If the federal government will not have sweeping laws to protect us, then our states and our governors have a moral responsibility to do what we can and have laws that protect our citizens."

A recent poll found that three-quarters of New Yorkers wanted the Supreme Court to uphold the law, including the majority of gun owners.


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BY JOHN KRUZEL 

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The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state law that made it difficult to obtain a permit to carry a handgun outside the home, marking the justices' first major opinion on Second Amendment rights in more than a decade.

The 6-3 decision to invalidate New York's law will almost certainly render unconstitutional similar restrictions in more than a half dozen other states that give licensing officials wide discretion over concealed carry permitting.

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Well, the Establishment Clause had a good run.

This morning, the Supreme Court stretched the Free Exercise Clause to swallow the Establishment Clause altogether in Carson v. Makin. Before today, the Court already hamstrung the Establishment Clause by ruling that government programs that funnel funds to religious entities don't necessarily violate the First Amendment, if citizens simply had the choice of sending those funds to religious institutions. Now, for the first time, the Court ruled that government programs must send money to organized religion if a citizen wants to.

You know, that deeply held religious tenet to... have your neighbors pay for your kid to go to religious school.

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The Ghost of Internet Explorer Will Haunt the Web for Years | WIRED

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Microsoft's legacy browser may be dead--but its remnants are not going anywhere, and neither are its lingering risks.

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AFTER YEARS OF decline and a final wind-down over the past 13 months, on Wednesday Microsoft confirmed the retirement of Internet Explorer, the company's long-lived and increasingly notorious web browser. Launched in 1995, IE came preinstalled on Windows computers for almost two decades, and like Windows XP, Internet Explorer became a mainstay--to the point that when it was time for users to upgrade and move on, they often didn't. And while last week's milestone will push even more users off the historic browser, security researchers emphasize that IE and its many security vulnerabilities are far from gone.


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Inflation is everywhere, so it's not surprising, even though it's discouraging, to see the monthly cost to finance a new car reaching record highs, or to hear that experts predict this situation will continue for months to come. Figuring out exactly how much people are now paying differs depending on who's doing the counting, with Edmunds.com finding the average payment for a new car in May reached $656, while Moody's Analytics calculatedthe amount to be $712.

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By Janon Fisher

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Republican gubernatorial wannabe Andrew Giuliani claims he's being picked on by New York's local news station NY1, which barred him from its studios for the next candidates' debate because he is unvaccinated.

The son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says that he should be allowed to debate his political rivals, Lee Zeldin, Harry Wilson and Rob Astorino, at either a neutral location or in the Chelsea studio of the cable news channel.


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"Mr. Giuliani accepted the invitation to the debate knowing the rules and parameters, which include the need to be vaccinated in order to appear live. He will be online, given the same visual space as others, and we are even sending a podium with our camera crew to ensure a similar look and feel for our viewers," Huff said.

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Lawyers are usually able to provide the best legal services possible when they are objective and are governed by reason and not by emotion. Then family comes along ...

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Maryland Apple store employees vote to unionize--WCVB.com 5 Boston

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Tommie Clark

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Out of 110 workers who were eligible to vote, 65 voted yes and 33 voted no. The group named its union the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, and it received assistance and support from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. 

In May, the group sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, informing him of the support from a "solid majority of (our) coworkers," adding that their team wants more rights to "information and collective bargaining."

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AP By MICHAEL HILL

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"Because the writ of habeas corpus is intended to protect the liberty right of human beings to be free of unlawful confinement, it has no applicability to Happy, a nonhuman animal who is not a 'person' subjected to illegal detention," the decision said. "Thus, while no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings deserving of proper care and compassion, the courts below properly granted the motion to dismiss the petition for a writ of habeas corpus, and we therefore affirm."

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The six new measures are intended to create additional legal protection for abortion providers and patients, including for some services given to people in a state where abortion may not be legal. It also directs the state Department of Health to study and report back on unmet health and resource needs for pregnant people in New York. 


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By Andy Rose, CNN

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Idaho police officers arrested 31 people Saturday who are believed to be affiliated with the White nationalist group Patriot Front, after they were seen gathering near a Pride parade in the city of Coeur d'Alene, authorities said.

"It is clear to us based on the gear that the individuals had with them, the stuff they had in their possession, the U-Haul with them along with paperwork that was seized from them, that they came to riot downtown," Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said during a news conference.
The FBI is assisting local police in its investigation, according to FBI Public Affairs Specialist Sandra Yi Barker. Barker said Coeur d'Alene police are the lead law enforcement agency investigating the situation.
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Why It's Impossible to Rent a Car Right Now | WIRED

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What happened? The pandemic, the chip shortage, and the war in Ukraine, for starters. But this isn't just a short-term shock; the car rental market could be changed forever. That's likely to mean permanently higher prices, an influx of electric cars, and the appearance of Chinese brands--and perhaps even the rise of peer-to-peer car sharing as a mainstream alternative, if enough people are willing to share their cars with strangers.

Things started to break down in early 2020, when lockdowns around the world resulted in the car rental market falling off a cliff. Almost two-thirds of Avis-Budget's rental business at airports vanished, with revenues company-wide sliding 41 percentyear-on-year in 2020. At Europcar, 2020 revenue was down 42 percent, and Hertz's revenue fell 46 percent before it filed for bankruptcy--though it has since restructured and recovered.

In response to the mayhem, rental companies sold off their cars. In the UK, fleets were slashed by 30 percent, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), a car rental membership organization. In 2019, Hertz had 700,000 vehicles globally. In the first quarter of 2022, that collapsed to 481,000, according to a company spokesperson. Europcar's fleet size numbered 293,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2020 but plunged to 187,200 in 2021.

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Janus Rose

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The question of sentient chatbots is fascinating but ultimately a distraction from the big tech companies creating them.

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When AI ethicist Timnit Gebru was fired from Google in 2020, she left the company with a chilling warning about the AI models that power advanced machine learning systems like PaLM and DALL-E.

In a paper that was blocked from publication by Google and led to Gebru's termination, she and her co-authors forced the company to reckon with a hard-to-swallow truth: that there is no clear way to build complex AI systems trained on massive datasets in a safe and responsible way, and that they stand to amplify biases that harm marginalized people...

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Robert Hubbell

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   The DOJ filed an amended ("superseding") indictment against the leaders of the Proud Boys alleging "seditious conspiracy." The superseding indictment is here: US v. Nordean, et al. Read pages 8 through 23 to see the minute-by-minute description of the "acts in furtherance of a conspiracy" to interfere with the count of electoral ballots on January 6, 2021. Seditious conspiracy cases are notoriously difficult to prove, but the detail in the superseding indictment suggests that the DOJ has the evidence necessary to convict the defendants.

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Gas Tax Holiday Is In Effect--Spectrum News 1

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From now until the end of the year, the state is cutting its gas tax by 16 cents per gallon. On top of that, 24 counties are capping their own gas taxes at $2, $3 or $4 per gallon.

Carey said if gas stations purchased their gas before Wednesday, they haven't had the savings to pass on to consumers yet.

"They bought their bulk supply and paid the tax on it so when that's used up, then the new supply comes in and that's taxed at a different rate, then they'll pass that down," she said.


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The bills propose to require the exchange of information between state, local and federal authorities whenever a gun is used in a crime. The bill A.6716-A/S89-B would make threatening mass harm a crime and bill A.7926-A/S.4116-A would require New York's Criminal Justice Services to investigate whether microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable.

Further, the bill A.10428-A/S.9229-A  eradicates the grandfathering of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of New York's Safe Act in 2013 or manufactured prior to 1994, prohibiting their possession entirely.  Another bill, A. 10504 / S. 9456, proposes to broaden the definition of  "firearm" to include "firearms that have been modified to be shot from an arm brace."

Bill A10503/S. 9458  would increase the minimum age limit to buy a semiautomatic rife from 18 to 21 and would require that an individual obtains a license prior to purchasing a semiautomatic rifle.

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Brian Lee More from This Author

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Legislation that would make it easier for judges turning 70 to be recertified for duty has built up momentum at the tail end of the New York lawmakers' session, which wraps up Thursday.

The measure calls for retired Court of Appeals judges and supreme court justices who otherwise meet statutory criteria for certification automatic, rather than discretionary.

Its prior version was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in January, upon Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks' opposition "in the strongest possible terms."


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 Thomas Claburn in San Francisco                

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The US Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated the suspension of Texas' social-media law HB 20 while litigation to have the legislation declared unconstitutional continues.

The law, signed in September by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), and promptly opposed, forbids large social media companies from moderating lawful content based on a "viewpoint," such as "smoking cures cancer" or "vaccines are poison" or hateful theories of racial superiority. Its ostensible purpose is to prevent internet giants from discriminating against conservative social media posts, something that studies indicate is not happening.

Those fighting the law - industry groups and advocacy organizations - say the rules would require large social media services such as Facebook and Twitter to distribute "lawful but awful" content - hate speech, misinformation, and other dubious material. They argue companies have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion for the content distributed on their platforms.

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