E3 2022 Has Officially Been Canceled

After previously canceling its in-person E3 2022 event, the ESA has now informed its partners that there will be no digital event equivalent this year either - meaning E3 2022 has fully been canceled. IGN reports: The news broke via a tweet from Razer PR lead Will Powers, who said that an email had been sent out announcing the cancellation of a digital E3 event. IGN has independently verified the contents of the email as well. The ESA had initially planned for an in-person E3 event this year after having no event in 2020 due to COVID-19 and a digital one in 2021. "We will devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer," said the Entertainment Software Association in an official statement to IGN. "Whether enjoyed from the show floor or your favorite devices, the 2023 showcase will bring the community, media, and industry back together in an all-new format and interactive experience." "We look forward to presenting E3 to fans around the world live from Los Angeles in 2023."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russia’s Site-Blocking System Isn’t Performing and Could Even Collapse

Blocking access to internet resources requires lots of hardware but due to sanctions, there are fears in Russia that a breakdown in systems operations may be just months away. Andy Maxwell, reporting for TorrentFreak: Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than a month. It isn't going to plan. In parallel with the terrible images being shared around the world, Russia is using its infamous site-blocking systems to deny access to websites that dare to challenge the Kremlin's narrative of Putin's 'Special Operation.' Telecoms regulator Roscomnadzor is working harder than ever to maintain its blockades against everything from Google News, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, to the thousands of pirate sites and other resources on the country's blacklists. But, like the invasion itself, things aren't going to plan here either. A little over a week ago, local telecoms operators supplying internet access to Russian citizens were ordered to carry out "urgent checks" on their ability to continue blocking sites deemed illegal by the state. ISPs were required to carry out an audit and liaise with telecoms regulator Roscomnadzor. Today is the reporting deadline but according to several sources, problems are apparent in the system. With accurate and critical reporting being all but strangled by the state, it is not absolutely clear who or what ordered the review but the consensus is that prescribed blocking standards aren't being met. As previously reported, local torrent site RuTracker suddenly found itself unblocked earlier this month, reportedly due to issues at an ISP. Problems are also reported with the Roscomnadzor-controlled 'TSPU' Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) system embedded into the networks of around 80 local ISPs and recently used to restrict Tor, VPNs and Twitter traffic.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Proposal To Sanction Russian Cybersecurity Firm Over Ukraine Invasion Splits Biden Administration

The Biden administration is divided over whether to impose sanctions on Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity giant that officials warn could be used by the Kremlin as a surveillance tool against its customers, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The White House's National Security Council has pressed the Treasury Department to ready the sanctions as part of the broad Western campaign to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, according to officials familiar with the matter. While Treasury officials have been working to prepare the package, sanctions experts within the department have raised concerns over the size and scope of such a move. The company's software is used by hundreds of millions of customers across the world, making it difficult to enforce the sanctions. In addition, some officials in the U.S. and Europe fear sanctioning Kaspersky Lab will increase the likelihood of triggering a cyberattack against the West by Moscow, even potentially leveraging the software itself. It wasn't clear whether the sanctions would go forward, and one official said the idea had been put on hold for now. The debate reflects how agencies within the Biden administration are weighing in real time options to deliver more economic pain to the Russian economy in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

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Thursday Evening Open Thread: Lil Nas X Is A Good Man

If a bit of a troll, in a good cause…

Backstory (see also):

The post Thursday Evening Open Thread: Lil Nas X Is A Good Man appeared first on Balloon Juice.

EU Lawmakers Set To Tighten Up on Crypto Transfers

European Union lawmakers were set on Thursday to back tougher safeguards for transfers of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, in the latest sign that regulators are tightening up on the freewheeling sector. From a report: Two committees in the European Parliament have thrashed out cross-party compromises to be voted on. Crypto exchange Coinbase has warned the rules would usher in a surveillance regime that stifles innovation. The $2.1 trillion crypto sector is still subject to patchy regulation across the world. Concerns that bitcoin and its peers could upset financial stability and be used for crime have accelerated work by policymakers to bring the sector to heel. Under the proposal first put forward last year by the EU's executive European Commission, crypto firms such as exchanges would have to obtain, hold, and submit information on those involved in transfers. That would make is easier to identify and report suspicious transactions, freeze digital assets, and discourage high-risk transactions, said Ernest Urtasun, a Spanish Green Party lawmaker helping to steer the measure through the parliament. The Commission had proposed applying the rule to transfers worth 1,000 euros ($1,116) or more, but under the cross-party agreement this 'de minimis' rule has been scrapped -- meaning all transfers would be in scope.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA Says Russia is Still ‘Moving Toward’ Extending the Space Station Through 2030

Despite the United States and Russia's deteriorating relationship here on Earth, Russia is still considering extending its participation on the International Space Station through 2030, according to NASA. However, it could be a few months before there is a solid update on Russia's official stance. From a report: NASA and Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, have been the two largest partners on the International Space Station for the last three decades. The two organizations have agreed to work together on the ISS through 2024, but at the end of last year, the Biden administration announced its intentions to extend the space station program through 2030. Russia has not formally agreed to the extension yet. Roscosmos's participation in the extension started to seem unlikely after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In response to the war, the United States sanctioned Russia's major industries, which triggered outrage from the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. On Twitter, Rogozin made wild threats about the future of the ISS, insinuating that the station could come crashing down on the United States if Russia withdrew prematurely from the program. He has also hinted at revisiting the partnership with the US in light of the sanctions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Crypto Miners in Texas Need ‘Approval to Energize’ in New Grid Hurdle

Texas has started requiring new large-scale cryptocurrency miners to seek permission to connect to the state's power grid in anticipation of a flood of requests expected to drive up electricity demand. From a report: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is requiring utilities to submit studies on the impact of miners and other large users tapping the grid before they can get "approval to energize," according to a March 25 notice from the state's main grid operator. Ercot members voted Wednesday to form a task force to hash out details of an interim plan that's ultimately meant to protect the grid from being overwhelmed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Two-Thirds Of Americans Want KBJ Confirmed. Guess Those GOP Attacks Worked Just Great!

A new national poll from Marquette University Law School found that two-thirds of Americans — a nice round 66 percent — support the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Thirty-four percent were opposed, and we guess the poll rounded off the "no opinion" option since that's not listed.

Also too, the pollsters say that Jackson is seen as “very qualified” by 46 percent of respondents, and as “somewhat qualified” by 42 percent, although 12 percent see her as “not qualified,” and we're going to be generous and assume that's because they think no Biden nominee could be, instead of the real reason, which is "because racist."

Jackson had near-unanimous (95 percent) support from self-identified Democrats, while Republicans opposed her by 71 percent to 29 percent. Independents tracked pretty closely to the overall results, with 67 percent supporting her nomination, and 32 percent opposed.

And here's an infonugget that we fully expect rightwing Republicans to either rationalize away or ignore altogether:

Those interviewed after the Senate confirmations hearings began were somewhat more likely to say they supported her confirmation: Jackson was supported by 64% of those interviewed before the hearings and by 72% after hearings had begun. Prior to the hearings, 44% said Jackson was very qualified, while after hearings began 52% said she was very qualified.

Guess all those screamy distortions of Jackson's record as a judge in child pornography cases didn't swing opinion against Jackson, although the poll didn't ask respondents specifically why they supported or opposed her; we can imagine that the attacks may well have riled up the Republican base in ways that didn't show up in this data set.

Also interesting: For all the rightwing fulminations that it was terribly horribly unfair of Joe Biden to say he was following through on his campaign pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Court, including a mention of Jackson's race and gender tended to elicit more support:

To test the connection of race and gender with views of Jackson, a random half of respondents were asked a question that described her as “nominated to be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court,” while the other random half were asked a question that described her as “nominated to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.”

When Jackson’s race and gender were mentioned, 69% supported her confirmation, compared to 62% when race and gender were not mentioned.

However, the pollsters add the caveat that the difference is "not statistically significant, given the size of the difference and the sample size." A similar question that attempted to see whether mentioning Jackson's race and gender affected perceptions of her qualifications for the Court showed even less difference.

Not too surprisingly, Jackson had the highest level of support — 86 percent — from Black respondents, although 76 percent of Hispanics and 59 percent of white respondents also supported her.

Women (69 percent support) were more likely to support Jackson's confirmation than men (61 percent support), too.

In terms of political outlook, the results seem a little surprising. As you'd expect, folks who say they're "very conservative" strongly opposed Jackson (27 percent support, 72 percent oppose). But those who describe themselves as "somewhat conservative," while mostly opposing her confirmation, were a bit more evenly split, with 45 percent supporting Jackson and 54 percent opposing her. The diehard wingnuts will no doubt call for a purge.

Moderates supported Jackson by 69 percent to 30 percent, while there was almost no difference between "somewhat" and "very" liberal respondents, who supported her by 92 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

Charles Franklin, director of the poll, told USA Today that the high level of bipartisan support for Jackson was a contrast to polling on actual issues coming before the Court, where partisan differences tend to be much sharper. With nearly a third of Republicans supporting Jackson, Franklin said, "Joe Biden would love to get 29 percent of the Republican Party." Well, heck, man, not if you say it out loud like that.

In a different poll, taken prior to Jackson's confirmation hearings in the Senate, the Gallup Organization found that Jackson tied for the highest initial support for a Supreme Court nominee, with 58 percent of those polled saying they'd vote in favor of her nomination, 30 percent saying they'd vote against, and 12 percent having no opinion.

Wait, who did she tie with for that high level of initial support? Weirdly, that'd be John Roberts, who garnered 59 percent support back in 2005. Go figure! More recently, Roberts had the highest job approval of anyone in government, too.

America is a weird place.


[Marquette Law School Poll / USA Today / Gallup Poll]

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Horse Paste Officially Horse Sh*t — Science

Put down that horse paste, Meemaw! Turns out, that stuff has no effect on coronavirus, it just makes you shit out the lining of your intestines. Womp womp!

A large-scale study done in Brazil and published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that treatment with the anti-parasitic medicine popularized by professional dipshits like Joe Rogan had zero effect on disease progression in coronavirus patients.

"Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of Covid-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of Covid-19," the study concluded.

After a solid year of bullshit about the Biden administration trying to keep this supposedly life-saving wonder drug away from Americans, while the Right pretended masks and vaccines were somehow the real danger, it turns out that the damn sheep dip never did anything anyway.

And we'd roll our eyes and say, "Great job, America!" except these motherscratchers are still at it!

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is out with a story today on Karen Mueller, a lawyer from Chippewa Falls who's running for Wisconsin state attorney general on a platform of doing LOCK HER UPS to doctors who murder their patients by depriving them of horse paste. The paper reports that Mueller has a naughty list of six hospitals she plans to investigate for failing to treat patients with totally ineffective veterinary medicine, although she won't be naming and shaming until after the inauguration.

"I am running for Attorney General because of potential homicides in hospitals, because of vaccines — so-called vaccines," Mueller told the Journal-Sentinel.

"What I would do if I became Attorney General is I would open investigations into those deaths and if the facts were substantiated, I would probably bring charges against the people that were responsible for this," she said, referencing testimony by a Dr. Pierre Kory to the US Senate's Homeland Security Committee that taking ivermectin prophylactically could ward off COVID. After which testimony, Dr. Kory ...

... guess ...

... no, you'll never guess ...

... came down with COVID.

Mueller is familiar to election watchers in the Badger State thanks to her shenanigans during the 2020 election, including filing a lawsuit in which her husband Dean, the only named plaintiff, demanded that the state's highest court decertify the election because the use of ballot drop boxes made the vote UNLEGAL.

Here's a fun little snippet, in case Wisconsin voters need a little reminder of what an awesomely excellent lawyer candidate Mueller is.

On the other hand, negative traits such as unfairness, bias, insecurity, chaos, secretiveness and deception in elections destroys trust and truth by any insertion or presence of these negative traits into the election process. Throughout human history it has often been true that unfair and fraudulent elections have ensnared and enslaved people by essentially destroying their ability to make the correct and wise choice. It becomes extremely difficult to do so when TRUTH is hidden and people can no longer discern what to believe. At that point in time reality is bathed in chaos and darkness . .. then freedom and liberty can be destroyed.

Amazingly, the court declined to hear the case.

Mueller continues her, umm, advocacy from her position at the Amos Center for Justice and Liberty, a for-profit company which will nevertheless happily accept your contribution.

Asked about the medical consensus that ivermectin doesn't do diddly, Mueller responded that the CDC and FDA were "liars" and pointed to families "begging for help, trying to figure out what to do because their loved ones were in hospitals and the families believed that those loved ones were basically being murdered. And they had the drugs withheld from them."

Well, bless her heart.


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Biden Admin’s ONE WEIRD TRICK To Get Health Care $$$ Around Red State Govs!

Last May, the Montana state Legislature passed a bill (HB 620) barring the state from entering into a contract with any entity that performs an abortion, or provides "abortion referrals, or counseling in favor of abortion." This was likely in anticipation of the Biden administration doing away with Trump's domestic gag rule, which barred any entity that referred or counseled abortions from receiving Title X funds. The Biden administration did indeed trash Trump's gag rule in October, after clearing the necessary administrative hurdles.

The Montana bill, authored by Republican Amy Regier of Kalispell, went into effect this month and would apply "to Title X grant funds received after March 31, 2022."

Except it won't. Because the state's Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is no longer in charge of distributing federal Title X funds, which go to reproductive health care. The state's DPHHS lost out to Bridgercare, which is not a historical drama about Regency Era health care, but rather a nonprofit reproductive and sexual health care clinic. Under that new Montana law, Bridgercare would likely have lost its funding because it does refer patients for abortions; now ... not so much!

"Bridgercare had serious concerns about the impact of new state restrictions on Title X funding and services. These concerns spurred us to develop an alternative to the Title X program that would exclude Bridgercare and other providers," Bridgercare's executive director Stephanie McDowell said in a press conference Wednesday.

Title X funds in a majority of states are actually distributed by non-profits rather than the state's Department of Health. Any public or private non-profit entity that wishes to be in charge of distribution must submit an application to be reviewed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"A competitive funding announcement was published at Grants.gov announcing the competition. Eligible applicants were reviewed by a panel of independent reviewers and evaluated based on criteria in the Title X regulations," a US Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Helena Independent Record.

When asked why she thought Bridgercare won the grant over the state, McDowell suggested that it could have been that, with the new law in effect, five of the largest cities in Montana would have been without Title X services.

“With the state application, they did not include those five large population areas. So I would anticipate that that would not do well in their mapping of service delivery,” McDowell explained, according to Montana Public Radio.

That does sound like it was probably it.

The state health department indicated in an email to the Helena Independent Record that they were less than thrilled with the decision and somewhat confused about what Title X is for.

"DPHHS is disappointed with the Biden administration's refusal to renew funding for this longstanding, successful state program," a spokesperson said.

"We recognize, however, that recent pro-abortion federal rule changes have distorted Title X and conflict with Montana law, as well as the Gianforte administration's priority of expanding primary care. The department will provide a transition and continuity for Title X-funded clinics and their clients."

The department said it was unable to answer further questions Wednesday "due to the recent nature of this news."

Since the very beginning, the whole purpose of Title X has been to fund comprehensive family planning and reproductive care. It's really hard to see how changing the federal rule back to what it was before two years ago would be "distorting it." Though it's equally hard to see how the state of Montana intended to distribute funds towards "natural family planning," as the rhythm method is as free as it is ineffective.

Given that there are other states that have passed similar bills, this could serve as a blueprint for ensuring that people in all states retain access to the reproductive health care to which they are entitled.

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