Patterico's Pontifications

6/14/2019

African-American Lawmaker Removed From Keynote At Black Hat Cybersecurity Conference

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:42 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Last month I posted about the mind-boggling selection of Hillary Clinton giving the keynote speech at the 2019 Cyber Defense Summit.

Untitled

Still mind-boggling.

And now this: Just one day after it was announced that Rep. Will Hurd would be a featured keynote speaker at this year’s Black Hat cybersecurity conference, Black Hat caved to pressure, and ungraciously dumped him because he he thinks for himself, and doesn’t walk in lockstep with conference attendees and supporters:

Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer and an advocate for cybersecurity on Capitol Hill, was invited to speak at Black Hat, one of biggest cyber security conferences in the country, being held in Las Vegas in August. But Tech Crunch security editor Zach Whittaker highlighted on Thursday what he described was Hurd’s “terrible voting record on women’s rights.” It includes voting against funding for Planned Parenthood, programs supporting women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, and his support on restricting late-term abortions.

Black Hat initially defended its decision to invite Hurd, saying in a statement “Hurd has a strong background in computer science and information security and has served as an advocate for specific cybersecurity initiatives in Congress,” adding that he will offer a “unique perspective” at the conference.

That did not, however, halt the uproar from the cybersecurity community, with some threatening to pull their involvement in the conference.

Ironically, participants were concerned about his lack of concern for women, as evidenced by his votes to protect unborn women, as well as citing his lack of support for minorities*:

One person who we asked for permission to quote said Hurd’s voting record was “simply awful” for women’s rights.

Others in tweets said the move doesn’t reflect well on companies sponsoring the event.

Kat Fitzgerald, an infosec professional and regular conference speaker, told TechCrunch that Hurd’s choosing was a “painfully poor choice” for a keynote speaker. “Simply put, in 2019 women and *minorities continue to be ignored,” she said.

Although abortion rights and cybersecurity may seem like unrelated topics, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate social issues from technology and gatherings. It’s also valid for attendees to express concern that the keynote speaker at a professional security conference opposes what many will consider a human right.

(*Psst: Will Hurd is an African-American male.)

Hurd’s office eloquently set the record straight in response to the decision to disinvite Hurd:

“Representative Hurd was honored to be invited and hopes that the Black Hat Conference is a success,” said Katie Thompson, Hurd’s communications director, via email.

“Congressman Hurd has always sought to engage groups of people that don’t necessarily agree with all of his votes or opinions. That’s why Rep. Hurd is one of the loudest voices for bipartisanship in Congress.”

She continued: “This Congress alone he voted for equal pay for equal work, for the Violence Against Women Act and the Equality Act.”

Hm, given the obvious lack of self-awareness, the email response may have sailed right over all the black hats involved:

Black Hat vowed that the conference is “still fully dedicated to providing an inclusive environment and apologize that this decision did not reflect that sentiment.”

Because dumping an independent, free-thinking African-American from a keynote is reflective of an inclusive environment, am I right?? Idiots. I’ll say this though: They’re absolutely right that their decision does not reflect their claimed sentiment.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Irony: Oberlin College, This Week

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:49 pm



[Headlines from DRJ]

Earlier this week in punitive damages hearing:

The defense then argued that notwithstanding the Form 990, the college had cash flow and liquidity issues that would make a large punitive award difficult for the college. The defense compared the relatively poor financial condition of Oberlin College to other colleges and universities in Ohio. The defense argued that students would be harmed by a large verdict because the college might have to cut back on grants given to students.

Public statement after punitive damages verdict:

By now many of you will have heard about the latest development in the Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit, a jury’s declaration of punitive damages against Oberlin. Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome. This is, in fact, just one step along the way of what may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process. I want to assure you that none of this will sway us from our core values. It will not distract, deter, or materially harm our educational mission, for today’s students or for generations to come.

— DRJ

Lineup For First 2020 Democratic Debate

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:17 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Debate season is just about upon us. Hoo boy, anything is possible in the Thunderdome.

Of the 20 qualifying candidates, these are the top five contenders at this point in time: Biden, Sanders, Harris and Buttigieg and Warren. The two nights of debate will be held in Miami.

Here is the lineup for June 26:

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan

Here is the lineup for June 27:

Former Vice President Joe Biden
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
California Sen. Kamala Harris
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
Author Marianne Williamson
California Rep. Eric Swalwell
Businessman Andrew Yang
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

How disappointing that Sanders and Warren won’t be on stage together to entertainingly try and out-socialism each other. Of course, his “Americans would be delighted to pay more taxes” silliness is still fresh in people’s minds, and her American Indian issues are still making the news. They’ve got problems. Clearly front-runner Biden will be the main target of the other contenders on the second night. And boy, has he given them some stuff to work with: flip-floppingon abortion, finger-wagging condescension toward women, flip-flopping on China threat, etc. I’m surprised that “spirituality guru” Marianne Williamson made the cut while Governor Bullock of Montana didn’t. Bullock being the only candidate to win a statewide election in a state won by Trump…But then again, we’re talking California and Montana.

Here is some background on how the matchups were decided:

According to NBC, the media sponsor for the first debate, a representative from NBC News Standards & Practices conducted the drawing.

Each campaign was invited to send one representative to NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York for the noon drawing. According to people in the room, the names were drawn and then NBC determined which set of Democratic hopefuls would debate on either night.

NBC announced that candidate podium placements would be based on polling and announced closer to the debates.

Candidates had to qualify for the first debate by either receiving at least 1% support in three polls from an approved list of pollsters or received campaign contributions from 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors each from 20 different states.
Three Democratic hopefuls — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam — did not qualify for the first contest.

Let the games begin.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

A Good Day for Good Cancer News

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 6:52 am



[Headline from DRJ]

CBS DFW — Cancer Vaccine Developed In North Texas Could Be ‘As Simple As A Flu Shot’:

CARROLLTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Tucked away in Carrollton, biotech company, Gradalis, could soon transform the way cancer is treated worldwide.

The cure could be about a simple as a flu vaccine.

The CBS 11 I-Team has been following the development of this clinical trial for more than a decade, and it’s now in the final stages of the Food and Drug Administration approval process, a place few drugs or clinical trials get to.

It sounds like immunotherapy, a recent trend in cancer treatment. Immunotherapy doesn’t work for everyone but this sounds promising.

The American Cancer Society has this fact page on immunotherapy.

UPDATE: Just when it was looking like a good day, DISASTER: Whataburger sells majority ownership stake to Chicago investment firm.

— DRJ

Trump Taunts Iran

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 6:29 am



[Headline from DRJ]

Daily Mail — Trump says Iran DID attack tankers in the Gulf and warns it will ‘not be taken lightly’ as he mocks Tehran for not knowing about night-vision cameras that caught Revolutionary Guard Corps moving mines:

He advised Tehran the U.S. could see evidence of the attack and cited a video released Thursday by the American military that claimed to show grainy footage of Iranian vessels retrieving an unexploded mine from one of the damaged ships.

‘You saw the boat, one to have mines didn’t explode and it has Iran written all over it. Successfully took the mine off the boat and that was exposed. They didn’t want the evidence left behind. They don’t know that we have things that we can detect in the dark that work very well. We have that. It was them that did it,’ Trump said.

They know now, don’t they?

— DRJ

Trump Administration Plays the Tariff Game

Filed under: Economics,Politics — DRJ @ 6:11 am



[Headline from DRJ]

ReutersWhy one U.S. can-maker avoids Trump’s tariffs while rivals pay up:

One of the largest U.S. producers of aerosol cans, Colorado-based Ball Metalpack, has laid off 91 of its 500 U.S. workers since President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel that abruptly hiked the firm’s raw materials costs.

At a chief competitor, DS Containers, the story is different. The subsidiary of Japan’s Daiwa Can Co has added more than 80 workers over 18 months at its two Illinois plants, bringing employment to 232.

Rivals of the Japanese-owned firm say the reason for its success is simple – it’s not paying the tariff, allowing the firm to snatch business from competitors who have been forced to raise prices to cover their higher materials costs. The U.S. Commerce Department granted DS Containers an exemption from the import tax because it uses a raw material, plastic-laminated steel, that isn’t produced by U.S. steelmakers.

Firms that use standard tin-plated steel, including Ball Metalpack and Mauser Packaging Solutions, have seen their exemption applications denied or delayed by Commerce after U.S. steelmakers objected to them, arguing the material is available domestically. Executives from the can makers counter that domestic steelmakers can’t produce nearly enough tinplate to meet their needs – forcing them to keep importing and paying tariffs.

I think Patterico is right about tariffs. Picking winners and losers is what Trump does when he uses tariffs.

— DRJ


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