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French official threatens lawsuits over internet photos of police

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Unfortunately, it's all too clear that some government officials just don't understand how the internet works. After police in Nice, France were shamed online for forcing Muslim women to remove burkinis and other tradition-honoring apparel at the be...
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Technicalleigh
1 hour ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Do you ask people questions about themselves?

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My friend L and I had been hanging out together for a few months, but they almost never asked me how I was doing or what was up with me.

One day they were upset with me; they said, “You never tell me what's going on with you!”

I replied, “You never ask!”

And L told me that in their family, you didn't ask people questions. If someone wanted to tell you something about themselves, they would. If they didn't want to tell you, then asking them would be rude, an invasion of privacy.

I was shocked. I've encountered a lot of people who never ask me about myself, but it had never occurred to me that that might be a family-cultural difference, that they might be waiting for me to volunteer information about myself.

I'm very far on the opposite end of the spectrum; I often have a hard time saying anything at all about myself if someone doesn't explicitly indicate interest by asking.

But since I learned that different people have different approaches to this kind of thing, I've asked other people about it, and have found a few others who were also raised in families that didn't ask questions about each other.

So I'm interested in hearing from more people, and in further discussion. Do you ask people questions about themselves and what they've been up to lately? Or do you expect them to volunteer information if they want to tell you something?

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Technicalleigh
3 hours ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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My Brother Was Brutally Murdered, But the Delaware Supreme Court’s Decision to Ban the Death Penalty Was the Right One

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The sister of a murder victim explains why the death penalty is a false promise of justice.

As the sister of a murder victim who opposes the death penalty, the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in early August declaring the state’s death penalty statute unconstitutional gives me hope. The court’s decision affirms what death penalty opponents have known all along: Delaware’s death penalty doesn’t achieve justice for many reasons.

The death penalty not only violates the rule of law, but it is costly, biased, prone to error, and ineffective at reducing violent crime and healing communities. Delaware’s statute, however, was particularly flawed. It had allowed a jury to recommend death without getting the approval of all 12 jurors, and it had allowed the judge in a capital case to override the jury’s sentencing recommendation to not put the convicted to death. Because the Delaware scheme diluted the historic role of a unanimous jury in criminal proceedings — to the point of denying capital defendants their constitutional right to a jury trial — the court struck it down.

I joined the death penalty abolition movement in Delaware in 2001, having learned from personal experience that the death penalty is a false promise for victims’ families. In 1995, my 22-year-old brother David and four of his friends were brutally murdered in Connecticut. David shared a house with three of his friends, and a fourth was visiting. They were murdered by their landlord, who then burned down the house to hide the evidence. David had to be identified by dental records.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty. Our families had no say in that decision. Seeking the death penalty meant that it took longer for the case to go to trial. Three long years of legal limbo before the trial started in order to create a case that would support the death penalty. Midway through the trial, the death penalty was dropped. Again, our families had no say.

Looking back, I expect it was a legal strategy to ensure a win. Prosecutors did win the case, and the man who killed my brother received a sentence of life without parole, which satisfied me that he would not kill again. By then I knew that the death penalty was a false promise and that life without parole was justice enough for me.                                                                                  
In the 21 years since my brother’s murder, through my own experience and by studying the death penalty and the needs of victims, I have learned that the death penalty has very little to offer victims’ family members. It doesn’t give us a voice. It doesn’t try to restore us. We are excluded from decisions made on our behalf. The death penalty aims our attention at the person who hurt us the most. It immerses us in gruesome details so that we are re-traumatized. It tells us the cruel lie that both our own healing and the value of our loved one are dependent on the fate of the killer.

My healing journey has had less to do with the final legal fate of my brother’s killer than with my own path. I went to counseling where I could share my story and express all the anger and sadness and fear in my heart. I joined abolition and victim support groups, such as Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty, the Delaware Repeal Project, and Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. I began sharing my story in public. I became a clinical social worker. I eventually assumed leadership roles in Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty. In short, I reclaimed my power.

Since beginning death penalty abolition work, I can’t count the number of times I have heard death penalty supporters say, “We do it right in Delaware.” The recent Delaware Supreme Court decision that the statute is unconstitutional confirms that Delaware doesn’t “do it right.”  

Not unexpectedly, in response to the Delaware Supreme Court decision, 15 Delaware state legislators have vowed to try to create a new death penalty statute when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. For too long, legislators have been willing to sacrifice the rule of law to try to execute just a few whose victims they deem worthy of this particular punishment.

I want our legislators to stop supporting the death penalty and start supporting murder victims’ family members, all murder victims’ family members. No matter how much some try to “fix” the statute, if our goals are accountability for those who kill, safety for our communities, and healing for victims’ families, then the death penalty will never be the right choice.

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Technicalleigh
5 hours ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Actress Amber Heard Donates Millions to Support the ACLU and Its Work Fighting Violence Against Women

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The ACLU’s Executive Director Anthony Romero comments on the donation.

Actress Amber Heard announced yesterday she will give the American Civil Liberties Union half of her $7 million divorce settlement to support our work fighting violence against women. The other half of the settlement will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

“We are incredibly grateful that Ms. Heard has so very generously shown her support for the important and necessary advocacy for victims of domestic violence,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“For years, we have worked through the courts and legislatures around the country to make sure that domestic violence victims are fully protected by the law and receive the government assistance they deserve. We could not be more thankful for Ms. Heard’s support — she can be confident that this gift will help other women live safely and freely.” 

Learn more about ACLU’s work fighting violence against women

 

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Technicalleigh
6 hours ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Facebook is testing autoplaying videos with the sound already on

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Facebook’s silent movie era may be ending.

You know how Facebook shoves a ton of video in your feed feed, and starts playing it automatically, but with the sound turned off?

That could be changing.

Facebook has begun testing autoplaying all of its videos — including ads and Facebook Live videos — with the sound automatically turned on. Users in the test can turn off the sound on individual videos or navigate their way to Facebook’s settings page and turn the sound off for all videos.

The tests, first reported by Mashable, are currently limited to some Australian Facebook users who access the social network on their phones.

Facebook confirmed the tests and offered this statement:

“We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start. For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself. This is one of several tests we're running as we work to improve the video experience for people on Facebook.”

If Facebook expands the test, it could signal a significant change in its video strategy, which has been fueled by silent, autoplaying videos.

Video producers and advertisers who’ve wanted to partake in Facebook’s video push have learned to make video specifically for the platform — stuff that can grab your attention immediately, and without sound.

Turning the sound on automatically — as many digital publishers, including CNN, ESPN and Bloomberg, already do on their own sites — would require video makers to rethink their current tactics.

The test also underscores the current tension underlying the larger digital video boom. Publishers are focused on growing their video views so they can take advantage of the video dollars advertisers want to spend — but that only works if viewers actually want to watch the videos publishers are showing them, and the ones advertisers want to show them.

Autoplaying videos are one way to solve that problem, if advertisers give publishers credit for videos that start on their own.

But none of this works if users won’t accept self-starting videos, which is why Facebook has been very careful about the way it has integrated them into its service. Turning up the volume is a big move.

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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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Every time my FB usage falls, they come up with yet another way to keep me away! (Currently checking FB about once a week for new photos of my nibblings.)
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
RedSonja
1 day ago
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If nothing else, this means I won't access Facebook in situations where I don't want to be disruptive - waiting rooms, libraries, etc. So strategy fail?
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1 public comment
wreichard
1 day ago
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Make way for Idiocracy.
Earth

The Trump Campaign Didn't Think Much of Melania's Speech Either

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When large sections of Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention turned out to be lifted from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech, the Trump campaign tried to deflect criticism by throwing the speechwriter under the bus (after initially insisting Melania wrote the speech herself). The campaign went so far as to release an apology letter from the writer, Meredith McIver.

But in doing so, the campaign created another problem, because McIver doesn't work for the campaign. She's an employee of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump's business empire. A basic rule of campaign finance is that if an employee of a corporation does work for a campaign, it counts as a corporate contribution, and corporations are not allowed to donate to campaigns.

To get around that, the campaign had to pay McIver for her work on Melania's speech. In the latest campaign filings, McIver is listed on the payroll of the campaign—for a grand total of $356.01. The payment, which occurred on July 23, five days after the speech, marks the one and only time McIver has been paid by the campaign.

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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
srsly
21 hours ago
This seems fair. That sounded like a three hundred fifty dollar speech.
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