Words tell you…

Aug 19, 2019

The Conversation – Fatemeh Torabi Asr
The language gives it away: How an algorithm can help us detect fake news

Here is an explanation of how computers can detect fake news using algorithms which Simon Fraser University suggests is a way to determine if any particular headline is true or fake news.  The link allows you to test a headline as well.  “One approach finds relevant sources of information, assigns each source a credibility score and then integrates them to confirm or debunk a given claim. This approach is heavily dependent on tracking down the original source of news and scoring its credibility based on a variety of factors… A second approach examines the writing style of a news article rather than its origin. The linguistic characteristics of a written piece can tell us a lot about the authors and their motives. For example, specific words and phrases tend to occur more frequently in a deceptive text compared to one written honestly.”  The links within the article offer other supporting links in the thesis.  https://theconversation.com/the-language-gives-it-away-how-an-algorithm-can-help-us-detect-fake-news-120199

National Newswatch – Mia Robson, Canadian Press
Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

The chill that once stalked anti-poverty registered charities is back in a new application.  Elections Canada is suggesting that because Maxime Bernier and his political party are candidates and at once climate deniers, any exposé or advocacy for the environment in the coming election may well be seen as partisan activity and limited to a total expense of $500.  At risk, says Elections Canada, is the charitable status of any group violating the ban.  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/08/18/environment-groups-warned-saying-climate-is-real-could-be-seen-as-partisan-2/#.XVqVoHt7k2x

San Francisco Chronicle (US) – Phil Matier
SF Board of Supervisors sanitizes language of criminal justice system

Present realities have created repeated opportunity to question whether or not words matter.  The Board of Supervisors, San Francisco’s version of municipal government, has decided to end the use of certain words associated with the justice system, including “the words “felon,” “offender,” “convict,” “addict” and “juvenile delinquent”.”  The concerns stems from the alarming number of citizens who have had an encounter with the justice system and who may suffer from the secondary punishment of stigma.  There are other terms to be used which are thought less offensive.  https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/philmatier/amp/SF-Board-of-Supervisors-sanitizes-language-of-14292255.php?__twitter_impression=true

CBC News (NB) Connell Smith
Former nurse practitioner at Saint John jail suspended

Though the case is shrouded in secrecy, CBC says that the suspended nurse practionner was a long time worker in the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre and was fired after the Nurses’ Association Disciplinary Committee found “incompetence, professional misconduct and disregard for the safety and welfare of patients.”  John Howard Society is raising related cases in Alberta and Ontario, one in which an inmate was removed from medications, to question how institutional rules impact health care and to whom are the prison health staff accountable.  Justice critics have long insisted that health care, especially mental health care, is and continues to be deficient in federal prisons.   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/jail-health-correctional-inmates-care-mental-health-addiction-1.5250526?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar   John Howard Twitter thread:  https://twitter.com/JohnHoward_Can/status/1163058339724574721?s=03

CBC News – The Associated Press (US)
Immigrant children have a right to soap in detention: U.S. appeals court –   U.S. government argued that immigrant children may not need certain accommodations for short stays

The headline says it all – we have reached the point of the ridiculous in our partisan bickering.   The federal government lost a case in the lower courts about what ‘safe and sanitary’ means for children in immigration detention and whether the detention facility must provide soap to the children.  The feds appealed and the case went to the Appeal Court where a panel of three judges refused to over-rule the lower court and dismissed the appeal.  “Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” the panel wrote.”   https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/migrant-children-court-appeal-soap-food-1.5248398

Medium.com (US) – Susan Vivian Mangold
Suicides of Young People Who are Incarcerated Also Demand Attention

The recent suicide of Epstein is offering some momentum to the notion of more understanding and greater information on suicides among youth in jails and prisons – an immediate failure of the primary duty of care to keep safe those in custody.  Suicide by youth incarcerated is “two to five times the rate of the general population.”  “The recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, The Promise of Adolescence, provides additional explanation for the high rate of suicide among teens who are incarcerated: abusive conditions — particularly solitary confinement — and disproportionate levels of incarceration of youth who identify as LGBTQ and who are already at heightened risk of suicide.”  https://medium.com/@susanvmangold/suicides-of-young-people-who-are-incarcerated-also-demand-attention-cc9e393129e5

Daily Mail (UK) – Harry Cole
ISIS fighter Jihadi Jack is stripped of his UK passport sparking furious diplomatic row with Canada where he has joint citizenship

Jihadi Jack, aka Muslim convert Jack Letts, 24, is a UK citizen but born of a Canadian father and holds dual British / Canadian citizenship.  Canadian officials are angry that Britain’s Home Office has stripped him of the UK citizenship, likely prompting more quickly the question of what Canada is to do with its own citizens previously involved in ISIS and now held by international authorities pending resolution of their cases.    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7367565/ISIS-fighter-Jihadi-Jack-stripped-UK-passport-sparking-furious-diplomatic-row-Canada.html   Related article: Canada.com – Jesse Snyder   ‘Naïve and dangerous’: Conservatives blast Liberal policy after U.K. strips ‘Jihadi Jack’s’ citizenship  https://o.canada.com/news/naive-and-dangerous-conservatives-blast-liberal-policy-after-u-k-strips-jihadi-jacks-citizenship/wcm/4644c606-b76a-4dcc-a65a-e87110b9fd0f

CTV News – Cillian O’Brien
Scuffles break out in Toronto over Hong Kong protests

After almost two months of protests in Hong Kong, Canadian protestors of support for either side of the Hong Kong actions have emerged in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary demonstrations.  So far the two distinct groups in Canada, those in favour of the protests in Hong Kong and those in support of Mainland China, have only scuffled in their public appearances and police have managed to keep the two groups separated in the demonstrations.  https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/scuffles-break-out-in-toronto-over-hong-kong-protests-1.4554231   Related article:  Global TV News – Sean Boynton   Duelling Hong Kong protests in Vancouver shut down major intersection near city hall   https://globalnews.ca/news/5779842/vancouver-hong-kong-protests/   Related article: CBC News – Sarah Rieger   Police step in as pro-Beijing protesters show up at Calgary rally in support of Hong Kong   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/hong-kong-protest-calgary-1.5251291    Related article: CBC News – Thomson Reuters   ‘We have no other choice’: Hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong join anti-government rally   https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hong-kong-anti-government-rally-sunday-1.5251356

Injustice Watch.com (US) – Emily Hoener
Prosecutors nationwide join fray over St. Louis case of potential wrongful conviction

In the light of the frequency with which wrongful convictions are surfacing in the justice system, prosecutors are beginning to set up “conviction integrity units,” or systemic review of convictions for integrity at all stages of the system but especially prompted by tainted police witnesses and unscrupulous prosecutors.  This link illustrates some of the resistance and internal obstacles to the system correcting itself, even in the face of overwhelming concessions of wrong.  https://www.injusticewatch.org/news/2019/prosecutors-nationwide-join-fray-over-st-louis-case-of-potential-wrongful-conviction/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Reading lists for summer: 

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  ~Frederick douglass

Marshall Project (US) recommendations:  https://www.themarshallproject.org/books?list=4

Obama’s recommended list: https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/8/15/20807162/barack-obama-2019-summer-reading-list

Princeton Book Review list:  http://www.princetonbookreview.com/blog/summer-reading-list-2019-what-books-will-you-read-this-summer/

Opera’s New Book Club pick:  http://www.oprah.com/app/books.html

Lifers on Life:  Ted Gray, Richard Mireles, Jason Byrant, and Matthew Braden Edited by Kail Cohen    Men Built for Others  (Top Leaders Publishing Inc, Granada Hills, CA) 2018  (available on Amazon)