Feds get ruling from 1948 overturned – you may end up with ONLY DisneyPlex theaters


A choice of one

If you went to the movies in 2019, you probably saw a Disney movie. Seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films released in the United States last year were distributed by the House of Mouse, and hundreds of millions of people went to see them on thousands of screens. Some weeks it felt like the entire film industry was Disney: Captain Marvel and the rest of the Avengers (Endgame) competed for your attention for a while, as Aladdin, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4 kept up a steady drumbeat of animation until Elsa dropped back onto hapless households in Frozen II. In amongst that morass, though, there were still other movies shown, many of them popular with audiences and critics alike.

But now, the rule that prevented a studio from buying up a major theater chain is gone—opening up the possibility that your local cinema could go whole hog and become a true Disneyplex before you know it.

In isolation, the decision could raise some concerns. In a world where theaters are decimated thanks to a pandemic and consolidation among media firms is already rampant, the future for independent theaters looks grim.

But, hey…if Disney suits your comfort level of sophistication, daring and intellectual challenge, you’ll have a few more choices. Maybe 10 out of 10.

California coppers have been snooping your cellphones at Disneyland

The Anaheim Police Department has acknowledged in new documents that it uses surveillance devices known as Dirtboxes — plane-mounted stingrays — on aircraft flying above the Southern California city that is home to Disneyland, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

According to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Anaheim Police Department have owned the Dirtbox since 2009 and a ground-based stingray since 2011, and may have loaned out the equipment to other cities across Orange County in the nearly seven years it has possessed the equipment.

This cell phone spying program — which potentially affects the privacy of everyone from Orange County’s 3 million residents to the 16 million people who visit Disneyland every year — shows the dangers of allowing law enforcement to secretly acquire surveillance technology,” says Matt Cagle, technology and civil liberties policy attorney for ACLU-NC

Stingrays and Dirtboxes are mobile surveillance systems that impersonate a legitimate cell phone tower in order to trick mobile phones and other mobile devices in their vicinity into connecting to them and revealing their unique ID and location. Stingrays emit a signal that is stronger than that of other cell towers in the vicinity in order to force devices to establish a connection with them. Stingrays don’t just pick up the IDs of targeted devices, however. Every phone within range will contact the system, revealing their ID.

The use of stingrays by local law enforcement agencies has been widespread for many years. But the use of the more invasive Dirtboxes has largely been limited to federal law enforcement, though at least two large cities were known before to be using them…Subsequent news reports revealed that Los Angeles and Chicago local police departments possessed Dirtboxes as well. Anaheim is the smallest city known to have one.

Dirtbags using dirtboxes. Something poetic about that, I guess.

If you’re a Muslim, think twice about booking a family holiday to the United States


Come to Visit the Enchanted Land of Disney — if you’re not a Muslim

A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport amid concerns of an American overreaction to the perceived terrorist threat.

US Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the plane even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight.

Senior politicians have been drawn into the case, warning that a growing number of British Muslims are being barred from the US without being told the reason for their exclusion.

Aides to the prime minister, David Cameron, have promised that he will examine the case, which comes as a leading community group in the US has warned that Muslims are being subject to “an unprecedented and dramatic increase” in violent and hostile incidents…

The family planned to visit cousins in southern California and go to Disneyland and Universal Studios, but they were turned away by US officials while at the departure lounge…

Mohammad Tariq Mahmood was one of the family members turned away from the flight. He was travelling with his brother and nine of their children. Mahmood told the Guardian that no officials had told them why their entry was barred, but he thinks the reason is “obvious”.

“It’s because of the attacks on America – they think every Muslim poses a threat,” Mahmood said.

He said the children had been counting down the days to the trip for months, and were devastated not to be able to visit their cousins as planned.

He said that the airline told them that they would not be refunded the $13,340 cost of their flights. They were also forced to return everything they bought at the airport’s duty-free shops before being escorted from the airport.

“I have never been more embarrassed in my life. I work here, I have a business here. But we were alienated,” Mahmood said.

Kind of warms the cockles of your heart to be reminded of the liberty shown the world by the United States government.

Welcome to America. If you manage to be admitted. All the way to Disneyland.