Midday open thread. Report: Aged voting machines vulnerable to hacking. Senate gun hearing sought

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Droning on and on:

Australia says no to visa for right-wing provocateur Milos Yiannopoulos: It’s part of a crackdown on anti-semitism. Last year, Paypal suspended Yiannopoulos after he used the service to send $14.88 to a Jewish journalist. White supremacists and neo-Nazis use “1488” because “14” is the number of words in statement by American Nazi party founder George Lincoln Rockwell:”We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” and “88” represents “Heil Hitler.” At the same time, Yiannopoulos sent threatening messages to journalists, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” Later, he claimed he was just trolling them. He has 30 days to appeal the rejection of his visa application.

Brennan Center releases report on 2020 election vulnerabilities: Bottom line? The potential for hacking voting machines remains with us in large part because local governments cannot afford to replace its aging machines. Last year, Congress allocated $380 million in election-security grants to the states, but that, says the Brennan Center, “only scratch[es] the surface” of the need. Two-thirds of the 121 election officials in 31 states the center interviewed said they don’t have enough money to replace outdated election equipment in time for next year’s elections.

Jean Fairfax, ‘unsung but undeterred’ in integrating schools, dead at 98: We missed seeing this obituary last month:

Ms. Fairfax created the Legal Defense Fund’s division of legal information and community service and was its director from 1965 to 1984. In that post she helped black families wrestle with whether and how to enroll in white schools, where they would face certain hostility.

Beyond that, she documented the white resistance to school integration, wrote reports that helped direct federal funds from President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” to poor black families and that helped black workers challenge discrimination in employment.

Ms. Fairfax helped protect historically black colleges from being downgraded in the face of cutbacks, and she helped overhaul the National School Lunch Program to serve poor children more fairly.

MIDDAY TWEET

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In Lakota, coffee is “pejuta sapa” which means “black medicine” and is such a better concept/description for how I feel after I drink (two(+) cups) every morning.

— Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (@mredshirtshaw) March 6, 2019

Senate Democrats ask Mitch McConnell for hearings on gun-buyer background checks: The Democrat-controlled House has already passed a bill authorizing universal background checks of all gun sales by requiring that even private sales be conducted by a federally licensed firearms dealer. But the Republican-controlled Senate is widely considered to be the end of the line for the attempt to widen the reach of FBI background checks. More than three dozen Democrats sent a letter asking Majority Leader McConnell to hold hearings. The last time a universal background check bill came up in the Senate, 2013, the Democrats held the majority there, but backers failed to get the 60 votes needed for passage. Now the Senate is controlled by a Republican majority. 

New EPA chief Andrew Wheeler tells Foxaganda that climate change isn’t an existential threat: Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said: “I don’t know what time frame [Wheeler] is dealing with. Maybe it’s not an existential threat in the next two years, which is how long he might be in power.” 

“As a scientist, I think it really depends on what you mean by existential,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a prominent atmospheric scientist and a political science professor at Texas Tech University. “So unchecked, does climate change mean the absolute end of the human race? Probably not.”

She continued: “Unchecked, does climate change mean the end of civilization as we know it? Absolutely, yes. Our civilization is perfectly adapted to a very narrow window of climatic conditions. We have already exceeded that window, and we’re starting to pay the price.”

Obama in Calgary warns on climate change: To a packed house of thousands in a city arena, Obama said: “All of us are going to have to recognize that there are trade-offs involved with how we live, how our economy is structured and the world that we’re going to be passing on to our kids and grandkids. Nobody is exempt from that conversation.”

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Technical difficulties couldn’t stop us… technically. Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter saved the day, rounding up the various TrumpWorld explosions & slow leaks. Fixing this will mean rules will just have to change. But were they ever really so hard & fast?

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