Human Rights Watch, North Carolina and other political links

Various updates from Human Rights Watch: the dangerous lack of care for HIV patients in Louisiana jails; whether the US is assisting in Saudi bombing attacks on civilians in Yemen; in Thailand woman faces a sedition trial for a Facebook photo of a red bowl; Christian teens in Egypt get five years for blasphemy.

•You’ve probably heard about North Carolina’s new law blocking local governments from passing protections for LGBT people, raising the local minimum wage or letting trans people use the bathroom of the sex they identify with. Something else it does: while it doesn’t affect the state’s policy opposing workplace discrimination, nobody can sue for discrimination in state courts. People who’ve already filed suits must take them to federal court.

•NC’s attorney general says he will not defend the law against the inevitable suits (one’s already been filed).

•Given North Carolina being such an embarrassment, it’s nice to report that we actually have good laws on debt collection (no judgments just because the alleged debtor didn’t show in court).

•The FTC says one drug company paid off another firm to delay releasing a generic for a couple of years. Result? Consumers pay higher prices, both corporations have fatter bottom lines.

•Is skim milk just “imitation milk?” A court says yes.

•Foz Meadows rips into the bullshit of the friend zone.

•So a company calle Garfum sued a “vote for your favorite photo” website on the grounds it holds the patent on voting for online images. The judge says no, picking your favorite photo is not something you can patent (a prior Supreme Court ruling established you can’t patent concept just because they’re done with software).

•We’d be better off spending money on infrastructure than worrying about the national debt.

Obama created Trump — because he passed major legislation Republicans didn’t support, thereby driving Republicans justifiably insane with his tyranny.

•It’s very, very hard to find out if your doctor’s been disciplined by the state medical board. Some conservatives love to shriek about how malpractice lawsuits are driving doctors out of the medical profession but they don’t acknowledge that a small minority of doctors (2 percent) have been responsible for half the awards. Doctors, like most other groups, are notorious about protecting their own.

•The FCC announces simple labels to explain what you’re buying from your Internet provider — i.e., how much it costs, what the basic rate is and what fees are added, how fast it is. Though as noted at the link, it won’t help if you have nobody else to switch to.

•Corporations paying out: Wal-Mart must pay $151 million for making employees work off the clock (the Supreme Court turned down the company’s appeal) and Wells Fargo is shelling out $203 million over its overdraft policies.

•A problem for self-driving cars: The US infrastructure. If lane marking are faded, for example, the car finds it harder to navigate. And the different ways in which traffic lights, for example, can be positioned (horizontal, vertical, etc.) make it harder for the car to recognize them.

•The Supreme Court has ruled that basing legislative districts on total population stands as the rule. The right-wing alternative in question was to count only those actually eligible to vote (as if nobody else was affected by government decisions).

•Facebook’s WhatsApp bolsters encryption to the point the makers say they can’t crack it themselves.

•We Hunted the Mammoths on some right-wingers’ obsession with the word cuck.


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