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Pio Szamel
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trying something new

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The last line of a Vanity Fair profile of Groupon founder Andrew Mason, quoting same: "“I love the idea of dying doing something that nobody cares about. I think that’s a cool idea.” "

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+Intiya Isaza-Figueroa , this one's made for you. Because the snippet-generator's having trouble with the printer-friendly page, here's the lede and a sample para:

The Prettiest Boy in the World:
"Many people are blessed with beauty. Some even make a career of it. But very few can work both sides of the runway.

In fact, to even describe his look as androgynous feels somewhat misleading; most strangers who encounter Pejic do not seem to doubt that he is a woman. He has only the faintest trace of an Adam’s apple. His jawline has remained delicate, and he shaves his legs but has no chest or facial hair to speak of. (“Feel my face,” he says at one point, grabbing my hand and bringing it up to his cheek, which indeed had only a light dusting of peach fuzz.) While I was with him, waitresses asked if we “ladies” needed anything else. People at shoots referred to him as “her.” “I don’t feel the need to explain myself,” says Pejic, who has nicknamed his androgyny and its concomitant confusion “the situation,” as in “they didn’t notice the situation” or “the Japanese just loved the whole situation” or “I like having a level of mystery to this whole situation.” "

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Right on. And don't forget, this all started when the BART cops shot another dude. Really, why are the subway cops killing people on such a regular basis??
Here's the thing about censorship: in this globally connected world, censorship is never local.

So, whether you live in the SF Bay Area or not, whether you ride the BART rail system or not, the recent actions of local government officials affected us all.

Last Thursday, during the evening rush hour commute, BART shut down cell antennas in several of its San Francisco stations. According to BART’s official statement, silencing mobile devices was “one of many tactics” to prevent an on-site protest against the agency. BART officials claim that the protesters planned to “coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of the BART Police.” This supposedly justified the blackout of all cell phone activity within the BART stations.

But crowd control and communication control are two very different things, and it is dangerous for governments to confuse them. That is true for BART, as much as it is true for Hosni Mubarek in Egypt or David Cameron in the UK.

In the wake of a second BART demonstration yesterday, there is a great deal of debate about the balance between public safety and free expression. This debate is critically important. It is a fundamental piece of our democracy that distinguishes us from other more repressive places in the world.

And here is why what San Francisco and BART officials do next matters: the whole world is watching.

The “local” conversation about the police powers vested in BART, the applicability of the California Constitution or the primacy of the First Amendment right to free speech and assembly is only one part of the picture. Be sure that government officials in China, Vietnam, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are also watching this debate. Every time a Western democratic power chooses the censorship switch, it validates the censorship in other countries where the First Amendment has no purchase.

In order for us, as a democratic society, to maintain the moral authority to condemn repressive censorship and encourage the repressed to speak out against their governments, we must guard against the eroding of our own principles. Even if it involves the actions of just one local transit authority.

This is not a call for the further criticism of BART. If we are honest with each other, no one is seeking a world in which the police are prevented from acting swiftly and responsibly to protect people -- certainly not unmanaged crowds within falling distance of electrified rails.

This is a call for BART to lead in a way that serves its patrons and provides an example to every other government authority with the power to shut down a communication network. There must be a framework and decision process for deciding which tools to use in order to control a crowd. In this country, and particularly in San Francisco, the communication “kill switch” should be a tool of last resort.

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Ah this idea is fascinating, it's too fresh for me to be sure what I think but on the face of it it's quite compelling. The argument is we never really forgive, we just accept that it wasn't quite such a wrong after all, or agree to overlook the wrong for other reasons. Think of those you've 'forgiven' - in many cases it was because something else (the importance of the relationship, for example) outweighed the wrong, or because you understood where the wrongdoer was coming from. Is that really forgiveness, given the aura of selflessness which usually envelopes the term?

sample quote:
"CS Lewis wrote: "Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive." Which is again to imply that those who think they have offered forgiveness really find they don't have anything to forgive after all."

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I wouldn't go quite so far as +Jacob Glick - even the aggressive DPAs probably really do believe that they are protecting important rights from rapid erosion. But since the DPAs who push the envelope get the headlines, and thus the recognition, political capital, and ultimately promotions, the system is rigged to ratchet up more and more stifling regulations.

The same ratcheting effect exists for prosecutors - flashy, aggressive prosecutions targeting unpopular segments of society garner headlines and political recognition. In the United States, where chief prosecutors are either elected (most local DAs and state Attorneys General) or political appointees (US Attorneys and top Justice Dept positions), those who are the most aggressive and publicity-seeking naturally rise to the top, and those aggressive pushing-the-envelope prosecutions become the norm.

It is thus that we end up governed by folks like Elliot Spitzer, or (to pick a less-extreme example) Richard Cordray, who managed to turn a highly publicized 2 years as Ohio AG into a nomination as director of the (imho) all-too-powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The unwritten part of this New York Times story about the Hamburg Privacy Commissioner looking into Facebook's facial recognition technology is the competition among privacy regulators globally to lead the moral panic around new technologies.

This leads to increasing reactionary grandstanding and ultimately results in fewer choices for consumers and less innovation.

It probably also does very little to protect privacy.

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Finally, some small steps towards accountability for torture. torture of Americans, mind you - torturing foreigners is still something the Unites States courts, Congress, and President are perfectly okay with.

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hahaha "What 'gesture' comes to mind?" indeed. If FB replaces "like" with a middle-finger I might have to start logging in regularly again.
Facebook may stop censoring News Feeds

According to the Wall Street Journal, the motivation isn't to give people the status updates they think they're getting when they friend someone, but to enable people to share more ads.

The piece also says Facebook may expand the "gestures" beyond the thumbs up "Like" "gesture." What "gesture" comes to mind?

Here's the link to the Wall Street Journal:

If that gives you the paywall version, try one of these:
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