Best Of The Web
“The bewildering vagueness of these texts is a real problem. Remember, during a false alarm to phones in Hawaii earlier this year, a message said simply: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Part of the panic that followed, one resident told The New York Times, was that “there was no intel,” no way of learning more immediately, with just a handful of minutes before hypothetical destruction.
There are far more problems with the system than just a lack of clarity, though. One is the potential constitutional violation of the “rights to be free from government-compelled listening,” as stated in a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs in Manhattan. Although FEMA maintains that the alerts will only be used for mega-disasters, the infrastructure is now in place for it to, down the line, be used in other, more totalitarian ways. While presidents are currently restricted in what they can beam out to citizens by a 2015 law that specifies the alert system can’t be used for anything that “does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety,” some critics find those terms frustratingly unspecific. After all, it was the alleged threat to national security that allowed President Trump to implement the so-called Muslim ban.
Further, part of what makes the presidential alert more objectionable than old school or local alert systems is the intimacy of the government pinging a message straight to our phones — a private device that most people have on their bodies at all times, rather than something they choose to voluntarily tune in and out of. The authors of the aforementioned lawsuit claim that “subjecting plaintiffs to compulsory presidential alerts on their cellular devices turns those devices into government loudspeakers, against their wishes. Those loudspeakers operate on plaintiffs’ persons wherever they are, turning the plaintiffs themselves into mobile government loudspeakers.” That’s a pretty spooky thought.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"There's nothing democratic about forcing through a Brexit deal that voters in 2016 probably wouldn't have approved."
" Good negotiators use leverage (something they have, which their adversary wants) to obtain what are called “concessions” (something their adversary has, which they want). The result is what experts call “compromise.”"
"Some Israeli researchers and politicians are critical of a decision by the Hebrew University to teach more classes in English, but administrators believe such a switch is necessary to maintain the institutions status."
"A rumor that the TV show 'Friends' was leaving Netflix almost broke the Internet this week. Why do we love this show so much?"
"The U.S. economy is growing at the fastest pace in five years... So why are Wall Street and some economists suddenly worried about a recession?"
"What if Twitter is mostly a closed ecosystem, relevant only to and within itself? What if its ability to shape the real world is, as they say, greatly exaggerated?"
"Progressives are constantly checking their “white privilege,” but what about ideological privilege? Particularly for women, the prevailing assumption is that you aren’t normal unless you’re a liberal Democrat."
"Whether you want to dip into a novel that evokes Midge Maisel’s New York City or pick up a sparkling history of 1950s comedy, we’ve got some recommendations for you."
"Amid America’s reckoning with sexual harassment and violence, gender inequity, and discrimination, sex education is as fraught as it’s ever been."
"Bimbo Bakeries USA, which produces the Arnold, Sara Lee, Stroehmann and Freihofer brands, to remove certification, says exploring ‘alternative solutions’"
"Changes in colony behaviour due to past events are not the simple sum of ant memories, just as changes in what we remember, and what we say or do, are not a simple set of transformations, neuron by neuron."
"The Harry Potter series is a work of fiction. So, maybe we should just put the witchcraft debate aside and read it from a different perspective... there are a lot of lessons we can learn from the series that we also see in the Torah."