Mother Jones Is Named Magazine of the Year – Right on!


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Staff members of Mother Jones with their awards

Mother Jones was named magazine of the year on Tuesday for finding “new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism,” the sponsors of the National Magazine Awards announced.

Bravo!

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One-Third of Americans Don’t Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same

❝ A sizable minority of Americans don’t understand that Obamacare is just another name for the Affordable Care Act.

This finding, from a poll by Morning Consult, illustrates the extent of public confusion over a health law that President Trump and Republicans in Congress hope to repeal.

❝ In the survey, 35 percent of respondents said either they thought Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different policies (17 percent) or didn’t know if they were the same or different (18 percent). This confusion was more pronounced among people 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $50,000 — two groups that could be significantly affected by repeal…

When respondents were asked what would happen if Obamacare were repealed, even more people were stumped. Approximately 45 percent did not know that the A.C.A. would be repealed. Twelve percent of Americans said the A.C.A. would not be repealed, and 32 percent said they didn’t know.

The ever-present question: Are Americans stupid or just plain ignorant?

Our politicians, the Congressional clown show, the so-called president occupying the White House – with a few exceptions, none of these really care what the answer is. Their only concern is how to make political hay from a field sown in superstition and grandpa’s advice that was out-of-date a half-century ago.

Is Your Vizio TV Spying on You?

❝ This week, Vizio, one of the biggest makers of internet-connected televisions, agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle charges that it has been collecting and selling viewing data from millions of TVs without the knowledge or consent of the sets’ owners. The charges, brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the New Jersey attorney general’s office, have some serious implications for consumers and smart TV makers.

❝ Here’s what you should know.

Vizio, which has sold more than 11 million internet-connected TVs since 2010, and its data arm earns money by licensing people’s TV viewing information in three main ways, according to a complaint from the agencies.

One is through audience measurement — showing what programs and commercials people watched, along with how and when they viewed it. Another is from gauging the effectiveness of advertisements, including the ability to “analyze a household’s behavior across devices,” using the IP address attached to all the internet-enabled gadgets in a home. That could mean tracking whether someone visited a website on their laptop after seeing a fast food commercial, or if an online ad motivated them to watch a TV show. The third is by targeting ads to people on other devices, like phones or tablets, based on what they watched on TV.

❝ The complaint says that Vizio has manufactured TVs since at least February 2014 with software turned on by default that collects “information about what a consumer is watching on a second-by-second basis.” It also was said to have remotely installed the software…onto TVs sold without it. Data…are sent to Vizio servers and matched to a database of TV shows, movies and commercials. Vizio called the tracking “Smart Interactivity,”…and portrayed it as a feature for program suggestions.

❝ When TVs were updated with the software, people were notified through a brief pop-up, above, saying “Smart Interactivity has been enabled on your TV,” without disclosure on the data collection. In March 2016, once the F.T.C. and the New Jersey attorney general’s ’s office investigations were pending, the complaint said that a new pop-up appeared that referred to the data collection for the first time.

RTFA. More about the sleaze so common to much of the tech industry.

And, yes, I turned off the “feature” on my Vizio TV.

Republicans turn Sessions vote into a vote of approval for racism and bigotry


“Here comes another kissy-kiss from the Klan”

Sen. Mitch McConnell used a little known Senate bylaw to stop Sen. Elizabeth Warren from using the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s widow to question Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday night.

The Democrat from Massachusetts was about to speak of Session’s voting record on domestic violence when McConnell said Warren was “impugning the motives and conduct” of Sen. Jeff Sessions with Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter opposing his failed judicial appointment.

The March 19, 1986 letter Warren recited was addressed to former South Carolina Sen. James Thurmond and stated Sessions used his position of power “in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

McDonnell accused Warren of violating Senate Rule 19, which prohibits lawmakers from impugning a colleague’s conduct on the floor.

“I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate,” Warren fired back…

The GOP majority Senate found Warren in violation of impugning Session’s conduct with a 49-43 vote, prohibiting Warren from speaking for the rest of the debate.

Yes, it comes to this. The words of Coretta Scott King aren’t white enough to please Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party. The party of racist innuendo has become an open voice for racism and bigotry. The party of racism now uses its majority position to silence critics even from the grave.