Sunday, April 06, 2014

“This was such a bad idea Yachnukovy was forced to leave the country. Let's try it here!” (Are Crimean ripples becoming waves of change in Moscow?)
After Ukraine, Russians brace for repressions
Russians are facing a new wave of repressive measures in a Kremlin bid to bolster domestic control after its annexation of Ukraine's breakaway Crimea, say human rights activists.
Several bills proposed by lawmakers here this week seek to prevent the kind of street demonstrations that gripped Ukraine's Kiev earlier this winter, leading to the ouster of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.
… Anti-Kremlin activists say Moscow is introducing the same restrictions on protests that were passed in January by Yanukovych's government and led to an uproar among the people and Yanukovych's ouster.
"This is exactly what caused the protests in Kiev to get violent in January," Ponomaryov said.
"There is nothing good about this," Ponomaryov added. "Lawmakers are scrambling to show the president how loyal and patriotic they are."

I didn't know that the TSA (Coast Guard, actually) had their own (not quite) judges. Perhaps some of my lawyer friends could explain that what I see as bias is in fact objective justice?
Papers, Please! reports:
The TSA has assessed a $500 civil penalty against “Naked American Hero” John Brennan, who removed all his clothes at a TSA checkpoint at the Portland, Oregon, airport in 2012 to show that he wasn’t carrying any weapons or explosives and in protest of the TSA’s practices.
Read more on Papers, Please!
[From the article:
Just as the checkpoint staff the TSA calls “Transportation Security Officers” are not law enforcement officers, so-called “Administrative Law Judges” are not judges or officers of any court. The “formal administrative hearing” was held in a courtroom (rented for the day by the TSA from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court), but it was not a trial and was not a proceeding of any actual court.
ALJ Jordan explicitly recognized that he had no authority to consider whether Mr. Brennan’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment or whether the TSA’s regulations or actions were otherwise invalid.
… We’ve posted our own complete audio recording of the formal administrative hearing, as well as ALJ Jordan’s decision and findings. The rest of the TSA’s records about this case remain secret. On May , 2013, we filed a FOIA request for all TSA or Coast Guard records related to the TSA’s complaint against Mr, Brennan. The TSA denied our request for expedited processing of this request, and to date has provided neither any response nor any estimated date for when it will respond.
ALJ Jordan found, among other things, that Mr. Brennan “was not angry, belligerent or abusive to any TSA officer” or Port of Portland police officer. “He did not use profanity or vulgarity; nor did he try to assault any TSA officer” or police officer. He “was polite and courteous” according to the testimony of both TSA and police personnel.
Mr Brennan “was never ‘ordered’ to put his clothes on,” according to uncontested TSA testimony, and he “was never told that his actions were interfering with TSA officers’ duties… that his actions were interfering with the screening process [or] that his actions were causing TSA to be less efficient in the performance of their duties.”
In spite of this, ALJ Jordan decided that Mr. Brennan had “interfered with screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties” because, he alleged, some TSA staff were “distracted” from their duties by his nudity (although none of them actually testified that they or anyone else were distracted). ALJ Jordan found that Mr. Brennan’s “actions constituted a distraction” and that “TSA screeners do not have to warn someone that their actions are interfering with their duties.”

We discussed this in last Friday's Privacy Seminar. The Panel strongly recommended this site.
HHS has recently added another training module to its offerings. The latest is on EHRs and HIPAA:
OCR has six educational programs for health care providers on compliance with various aspects of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. Each of these programs is available with free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for physicians and Continuing Education (CE) credits for health care professionals. They are available at and on OCR’s Medscape Destination page:

'cause we don't have enough lobbies?
Apple, IBM, others form patent reform lobby
Major US companies including Ford, Apple and Pfizer have formed a lobbying group aimed at pushing back at some changes to the patent system members of Congress have proposed, saying these measures would hinder protection of valuable inventions.
The group is concerned about pending legislation aimed at fighting so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs), companies which produce nothing but instead buy up patents and then attempt to extract licensing fees or sue for infringement.
Called the Partnership for American Innovation, the group warned that steps to stop the PAEs could also hurt truly innovative companies.

For my students, who should be learning to write for today's technology.
How To Write A Great Lede When Writing For The Web
Writing for the Web is a skill that’s easy to learn but difficult to master. One of the hardest elements is concocting a great lede; ledes being the one chance you have of persuading readers to commit to an article in full. Which is exactly what you’re doing in your head right about now.

For my musical students – if they can get those buds out of their ears.
– With MusicBox you’ll get bundles of kickass songs – customized to your tastes – from independent artists delivered straight to your inbox twice per month. The list of participating artists is deep and wide, so you’re going to get exposure to a variety of genres. Hip hop, country, rock ‘n roll, blues, jazz, mash-ups. The Boxes usually consist of 2-3 songs.

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