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Government

House Appropriators May Limit Public Availability of Pending Bills 194

Attila Dimedici writes "The House Appropriations Committee is considering a draft report that would forbid the Library of Congress to allow bulk downloads of bills pending before Congress. The Library of Congress currently has an online database called THOMAS (for Thomas Jefferson) that allows people to look up bills pending before Congress. The problem is that THOMAS is somewhat clunky and it is difficult to extract data from it. This draft report would forbid the Library of Congress from modernizing THOMAS until a task force reports back. I am pretty sure that the majority of people on Slashdot agree that being able to better understand how the various bills being considered by Congress interact would be good for this country."
Censorship

PROTECT IP Renamed To the E-PARASITE Act 373

bs0d3 writes "The U.S. House has drafted their version of Protect IP today. They have renamed the bill to 'the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act' or the E-PARASITE Act. The new house version of Protect IP is far worse than the Senate bill s.968 and it massively expands the sites that will be covered by the law. While the Senate bill limited its focus to sites that were 'dedicated to infringing activities,' the house bill targets 'foreign infringing sites' and 'has only limited purpose or use other than infringement.' They're also including an 'inducement' claim, any foreign site declared by the Attorney General to be 'inducing' infringement, can now be censored by the US. With no adversarial hearing. The bill can be read here."
Bitcoin

Legal Tender? Maybe Not, Says Louisiana Law 655

First time accepted submitter fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a law that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea is to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to Bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any Slashdotters at all that support such a move." On the list of exceptions: people who deal in used goods or "junk" less frequently than once per month, and (drumroll, please) pawn shops. That means a pretty big chunk of the population who post in online classified ads in Louisiana are probably already in violation.
Censorship

Submission + - Texas Censors Climate Change Report (motherjones.com) 1

Doc Ruby writes: Rick Perry's Texas government censored a scientific report the state commissioned that showed human activity pushed climate change to raise sea levels recently in Galveston Bay:

Top environmental officials under Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change. For the past decade, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is run by Perry political appointees, including famed global warming denier Bryan Shaw, has contracted with the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce regular reports on the state of the Bay. But when HARC submitted its most recent State of the Bay publication to the commission earlier this year, officials decided they couldn't accept a report that said climate change is caused by human activity and is causing the sea level to rise. Top officials at the commission proceeded to edit the paper to censor its references to human-induced climate change or future projections on how much the bay will rise. [...] TCEQ even deleted a reference to the fact that the bay is currently rising by 3 millimeters a year—five times faster than the long-term average.

HARC refused to allow Texas to publish the censored report, saying "It would not have said anything."

HP

Sources Say Meg Whitman To Become HP CEO 277

MrCrassic writes "Looks like HP needed yet another remodeling, as they are tapping Meg Whitman to take Leo Apotheker's chair by this afternoon. From the All Things D article: 'Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is poised to be named CEO of Hewlett-Packard later today after the markets are closed, said multiple sources close to the situation. The full board of HP, which is meeting today in Silicon Valley, has not officially voted on move and the situation could certainly change, but sources said it is nearly a done deal.' Cringely got this one right."
Security

US House 'Creator' of TSA Wants To Kill It 681

U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Florida), the sponsor of the original House bill that helped create the TSA, has become an outspoken opponent of the agency. In a recent interview, "Mica said screeners should be privatized and the agency dismantled." Mica seems to agree with other TSA critics that the agency 'failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.' Mica is the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman and receives classified briefings on TSA. Perhaps we should trust him more than most people on this topic.
Government

United States Loses S&P AAA Credit Rating 1239

oxide7 writes with this excerpt from the International Business Times: "The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's on Friday in an unprecedented reversal of fortune for the world's largest economy. S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about the government's budget deficits and rising debt burden. The move is likely to raise borrowing costs eventually for the American government, companies and consumers."
NASA

Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope 409

Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."
Books

Is There a New Geek Anti-Intellectualism? 949

Larry Sanger writes "Geeks are supposed to be, if anything, intellectual. But it recently occurred to me that a lot of Internet geeks and digerati have sounded many puzzlingly anti-intellectual notes over the past decade, and especially lately. The Peter Thiel-inspired claim that college is a waste of time is just the latest example. I have encountered (and argued against) five common opinions, widely held by geeks, that seem headed down a slippery slope. J'accuse: 'At the bottom of the slippery slope, you seem to be opposed to knowledge wherever it occurs, in books, in experts, in institutions, even in your own mind.' So, am I right? Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?"
NASA

Utah vs. NASA On Heavy-Lift Rocket Design 285

FleaPlus writes "Utah congressmen Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Rob Bishop, and Jim Matheson issued a statement claiming that NASA's design process for a new congressionally-mandated heavy-lift rocket system may be trying to circumvent the law. According to the congressmen and their advisors from solid rocket producer ATK, the heavy-lift legislation's requirements can only be met by rockets utilizing ATK's solid rocket boosters. They are alarmed that NASA is also considering other approaches, such as all-liquid designs based on the rockets operated by the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX. ATK's solid rockets were arguably responsible for many of the safety and cost problems which plagued NASA's canceled Ares rocket system."
Privacy

Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules 222

CWmike writes "The Obama administration is considering plans to step up policing of Internet privacy issues and to establish a new position to direct the effort, reports the WSJ, which cites unnamed sources. Any push for stronger federal oversight over online privacy is likely to be welcomed by privacy advocates increasingly concerned about the data-collection and data-sharing practices of big Internet and marketing companies. High profile cases such as the uproar over Facebook's personal data collection habits and the public reaction to Google's continuing problems over its Street View Wi-Fi snooping have created a broader awareness of online privacy issues. The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House."
Google

Critics Call For Probe Into Google Government Ties 289

bonch writes "The National Legal and Policy Center has written to the House Oversight Committee to investigate alleged ties between Google and the Obama administration, specifically with regards to the closure of an FTC probe into Google's Wi-Fi privacy breach, when the company admitted to having collected users' unencrypted information over the course of three years. The NLPC compares Google's relationship with the administration to that of Halliburton and cites the timing of a $30,000-a-head Democratic fundraiser at Google CEO Marissa Meyer's home less than a week before the FTC ended its inquiry, where Obama made a personal appearance, as well as the fact that US deputy chief technology officer Andrew McLaughlin is a former Google employee. The NLPC further alleges that the FTC is tougher on other companies, issuing fines to Twitter and Sears for their privacy violations while letting Google off the hook after the company promised to improve its privacy practices."
Advertising

DMCA Takedown Notice Leveled Against Ohio Congressional Race Ad 130

Ponca City, We Love You writes "EFF reports that after Ohio Congressman John Kasich put out a commercial featuring a man dressed as a steelworker discussing Governor Ted Strickland's record, Strickland's campaign folks apparently realized that the 'steelworker' was really a paid actor, and put together their own video, mixing in clips of some of the actor's other work to make fun of Kasich. Now the DMCA has been used to send a takedown demand to YouTube that it remove Stricrkland's video for at least 10 days because it uses short clips from the actor's movies." The video has since been restored, some of the reasons for which are listed below.
Earth

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli's AGW Witch Hunt Continues 341

eldavojohn writes "A letter from Representative Edward Markey outlines Ken Cuccinelli's latest civil investigative demand targeting 39 people instead of just Michael Mann. You may recall that the original investigation was quashed by a judge, but the latest request demands records from people seemingly unrelated to Mann, including an Indian glaciologist. The Bad Astronomer calls Cuccinelli out in a similar manner and lists Cuccinelli's doubts about Mann's papers, including, 'Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.' The school that hosted the research announced the new investigation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses him of harassing scientists."
The Courts

Newspaper Endorses the Candidate It's Suing Over Copyright 166

An anonymous reader writes "Remember Righthaven? The copyright troll owned by the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal? You may remember, then, that Righthaven had sued Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle for posting LVRJ stories on her site. At the same time, LVRJ has been having its execs talk about how copyright infringement is no different than garden variety theft. So ... doesn't it seem a bit odd that the LVRJ is endorsing the very same candidate that it sued for such 'theft'?"

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