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The Senate's No-Drama Russia Investigation

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As Tolstoy would have written if he were a national-security reporter, all dysfunctional committees are dysfunctional in their own way, while all functional committees are frustratingly tight-lipped.

Or something like that. In any case, a Wednesday press conference by Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, presented a glaring contrast to the House’s own intelligence committee, which seems to spin into greater chaos daily. The pair emphasized bipartisanship, process, and patience, offering little in the way of factual revelations while implicitly rebuking the House Intelligence Committee.

“It's not something that can be done quickly,” Burr said. “Let me remind you, the last public investigation that we did was the Senate investigation into Benghazi … it took one year, and in comparison to the public hearings that happened in the House, our report and findings were out much quicker than what they were.”

It was left to Warner to dramatize the stakes of the investigation. “It's important for us, at least, and I think all of us here, to remember to not lose sight about what the investigation is about,” the Virginian said. “An outside foreign adversary effectively sought to hijack our most critical democratic process, the election of a president, and in that process, decided to favor one candidate over another.”

Yet although Burr acknowledged his own vote for President Trump—and his endorsement of the president during the campaign—he pledged a thorough and impartial investigation. “Mark and I work hand in hand on this, and contrary to maybe popular belief, we're partners to see that this is completed and that we've got a product at the end of the day that we can have bipartisanship in supporting,” he said.

The contrast to the House couldn’t be clearer. On that side of the Capitol, the committee got out to a quick start, hosting a newsmaking hearing where FBI Director James Comey confirmed an investigation into collusion between Trump aides and Russia. But since then, the committee has spun out of control. Two days after that hearing, Chairman Devin Nunes announced a vague report of intelligence surveillance having swept up Trump transition-team members. Ranking Member Adam Schiff reacted angrily, then said that he had seen evidence that was “more than circumstantial” to support the idea of collusion. (Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, later specified that he felt the evidence he’d seen would be good enough for a grand jury but not a trial jury.)

Neither Nunes nor Schiff has provided evidence for their claims, which they may be unable to do because they are classified. Meanwhile, acrimony has led to the committee suspending its meetings, and Schiff and other Democrats have called on Nunes to recuse himself, as questions about whether he is coordinating with the White House or even acting as a Trump surrogate mount.

Burr and Warner, neither of whom is likely to win a charisma contest any time soon, had a message for observers of their panel: Don’t expect that kind of excitement over here. They refused to answer questions about the House committee, but some of their answers seemed targeted.

“It would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation,” Burr said. As for Nunes’s claims, Burr said, “We're not asking the House to play any role in our investigation. We don't plan to play any role in their investigation.”

Unlike Nunes, who has twice publicly rebuked the FBI for not being as fast to deliver documents as he’d like, Warner and Burr were careful to praise the intelligence community while still saying they’d like some things faster.

Still, the press conference was not entirely without new information. Burr said the committee was dealing with an “unprecedented” number of documents. Warner mentioned rumors of a group of more than 1,000 paid “trolls” working out of a Russian facility to influence the election. As the Senate investigation moves slowly forward, meanwhile, Burr noted that Russian meddling with elections did not end on November 9.

“I think it's safe by everybody's judgment that the Russians are actively involved in the French elections,” the North Carolinian said. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also funded the far-right National Front. As to the central question in the inquiry, whether Trump himself was involved in any Russian interference, the senators said they couldn’t say now but understood they were obligated to find out. Just don’t expect an answer any time soon.

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jprodgers
8 hours ago
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"“I think it's safe by everybody's judgment that the Russians are actively involved in the French elections,” the North Carolinian said. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also funded the far-right National Front."

Whoa, I hadn't even considered the Putin government as being a driving force behind the recent surge of nationalistic populists in the US and EU.
Somerville, MA
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For sale: Your private browsing history

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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Dimitri Otis)

The US House of Representatives voted Tuesday to eliminate ISP privacy rules, following the Senate vote to take the same action last week. The legislation to kill the rules now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature or veto.

The White House issued a statement today supporting the House's action, and saying that Trump's advisors will recommend that he sign the legislation. That would make the death of the Federal Communications Commission's privacy rules official.

The rules issued by the FCC last year would have required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers' opt-in consent before selling or sharing Web browsing history, app usage history, and other private information with advertisers and other companies. But lawmakers used their authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to pass a joint resolution ensuring that the rules "shall have no force or effect" and that the FCC cannot issue similar regulations in the future.

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jprodgers
1 day ago
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I legit don't understand what the repubilcans are thinking. Maybe this is just a wedge to get rid of common carrier status, but damn is it a shitty way to do it.
Somerville, MA
acdha
18 hours ago
I'm pretty sure the thought process started with “Obama and other Democrats liked this” and ended at “important people told me this was costing their companies lots of money”. If you spend most of your time fundraising or at the country club, how often do you hear someone selling the benefits of privacy? (The same problem happens in tech circles when everyone has been chasing ad clicks, referrals, etc. for so long that they forget to question the ethical tradeoffs for any particular incremental move. It's just what you do…)
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Go to Your Happy Place, Kitty

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go to your happy place kitty fear

Submitted by: (via srsfunny)

Tagged: fear , caption , Cats , vacuum
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jprodgers
5 days ago
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Somerville, MA
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Google reportedly removing SMS texting from Hangouts on May 22

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Welcome to your new Hangout.

Google continues to shake up its messaging tools with the upcoming removal of a popular feature from Hangouts. According to an email sent to GSuite administrators and subsequently posted to Reddit, Google will remove the SMS messaging feature from Hangouts on May 22. Anyone using Hangouts as both a Google messaging app and their primary text messaging app won't be able to send SMS texts after that date.

Hangouts users will be notified of this change via an in-app message starting March 27. You'll be prompted to select a new default messaging app from your list of downloaded apps. If you don't have anything other than Hangouts, you'll be directed to the Google Play Store to download another messaging app. All of your existing SMS messages will not be affected and they will be available in your new default messaging app.

Google Voice users will also be affected, but not as much as Hangouts-only users. The rule only applies to messages sent and received with your carrier phone number—all SMS messages sent with your Google Voice number will remain unaffected. "For SMS users using Google Voice on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who also send carrier SMS messages will need to choose another default messaging app. Their Google Voice messages will be unaffected and will still be available in Google Hangouts," the email states. "For Google Voice users on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who do not use carrier SMS text messaging will not be affected and no notification will be shown."

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jprodgers
6 days ago
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(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Somerville, MA
MotherHydra
6 days ago
This is the correct response.
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Location sharing finally returns to Google Maps

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Location sharing is back in Google Maps. Google announced the addition of "real-time location sharing" to the Android and iOS apps, coming soon to an app store near you.

The process seems pretty simple: Open the navigation drawer and press the new "Share Location" button. You'll be able to send a sharing permission to a Google contact or send a link over a messaging app, and you'll be able to pick how long you want to share your location for—permanently or for a set time. Anyone you share to will get a notification from Google Maps, and they'll be able to see your location on the smartphone and Web versions of Google Maps. There's also a "share trip" button you can activate while navigating somewhere, so rather than sending someone an ETA, they can just see you drive around on the map.

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jprodgers
7 days ago
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I was a heavy latitude user, so I'm glad to see it's return. It was a major boon to be able to share my location publicly while I was a digital nomad and meet up with friends in various cities around the world. Granted, I recognize the privilege of being a white tech dude and my ability to do that, which is why I made it public for my friends that were not so keen about the prospect. The JSON database of all my locations was great to have as well.
Somerville, MA
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Enter the Trippy, Fanciful World of Soviet Light Art Studio Prometheus #ArtTuesday

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via CDM

Somehow, tucked into the Kazan Aviation University in Tatarstan, USSR, inside a Faculty of Radio Engineering, the Studio “Prometheus” explored experimental aesthetics. In short, while performing the complicated dance of keeping Soviet authorities and the KGB happy, Professor Bulat Galeev and his colleagues managed to create an enormous body of work in visual music.

These projects included everything from small light organs to full-scale projections, in a seemingly endless parade of inventions. And lately, Russian and Western artists alike have been rediscovering them, thanks to ongoing curatorial work by Kazan’s surviving Prometheus Institute. So while a museum was lost, Galeev is gone, and some of the machines are destroyed or in non-working order, there seems to be an imminent rediscovery in the works. I expect that will range not only to the work in Kazan, but a full-on reappraisal of experimental aesthetics throughout the former communist sphere.

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jprodgers
11 days ago
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Somerville, MA
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