A federal judge this week unsealed the source code for a software
program developed by New York City’s crime lab, exposing to public
scrutiny a disputed technique for analyzing complex DNA evidence.
Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York lifted a protective order in response to a motion by ProPublica,
which argued that there was a public interest in disclosing the code.
ProPublica has obtained the source code, known as the Forensic
Statistical Tool, or FST, and published it on GitHub; two newly unredacted defense expert affidavits are alsoavailable.
“Everybody who has been the subject of an FST report now gets to find
out to what extent that was inaccurate,” said Christopher Flood, a
defense lawyer who has sought access to the code for several years. “And
I mean everybody — whether they pleaded guilty before trial, or whether
it was presented to a jury, or whether their case was dismissed.
Everybody has a right to know, and the public has a right to know.”
Caproni’s ruling comes amid increased complaints by scientists and
lawyers that flaws in the now-discontinued software program may have
sent innocent people to prison. Similar legal fights for access to
proprietary DNA analysis software are ongoing elsewhere in the U.S. At
the same time, New York City policymakers are pushing for transparency
for all of the city’s decision-making algorithms, from pre-trial risk
assessments, to predictive policing systems, to methods of assigning
students to high schools.
They train to fight. They post their beatings online. And so far, they have little reason to fear the authorities.
by A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Ali Winston and Darwin BondGraham for ProPublica
It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.
About two dozen white supremacists — many equipped with helmets and
wooden shields — were battling with a handful of counter-protesters,
most of them African American. One white man dove into the violence with
particular zeal. Using his fists and feet, the man attacked one person
The street fighter was in Virginia on that August morning for the
“Unite the Right” rally, the largest public gathering of white
supremacists in a generation, a chaotic and bloody event that would
culminate, a few hours later, in the killing of 32-year-old Heather
Heyer, who was there to protest the racist rally.
The violence in Charlottesville became national news. President
Donald Trump’s response to it — he asserted there were “some very fine
people on both sides” of the events that day — set off a wave of
condemnations, from his allies as well as his critics.
lawmaker is asking insurers whether their policies have made it easier
for patients to access cheaper, more addictive drugs over less addictive
alternatives. Meanwhile, the insurance industry trade group pledged
additional steps to combat inappropriate prescribing.
A prominent Democratic lawmaker asked major health insurers today
whether their policies and preferred prescription drug lists have made
the nation’s opioid epidemic worse.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote to the companies
after an article by ProPublica and The New York Times
found that insurance companies sometimes favor cheaper, more addictive
opioids over less addictive, but more expensive, alternatives.
“This is not a hypothetical problem,” Cummings wrote. “In my home
state of Maryland, 550 people died of an overdose in the first three
months of 2017 alone. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are driving up the
epidemic’s death toll, but prescription opioids contribute
significantly to this crisis by fostering addiction and causing fatal
Cummings wrote that the industry has created financial incentives
that may “steer beneficiaries to the very drugs that are fueling the
By the authority
vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the
United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50
et seq.), and in furtherance of the objectives of Proclamation
7463 of September 14, 2001 (Declaration of National Emergency by Reason
of Certain Terrorist Attacks), which declared a national emergency by
reason of the terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and
the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United
States, and in order to provide the Secretary of Defense additional
authority to manage personnel requirements in a manner
consistent with the authorization provided in Executive Order 13223 of
September 14, 2001 (Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to
Active Duty and Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of
Defense and the Secretary of Transportation), it
is hereby ordered as follows:
Section1. Amendment to Executive Order 13223. Section 1 of
Executive Order 13223 is amended by adding at the end: "The authorities
available for use during a national emergency under sections 688 and
690 of title 10, United States Code, are also invoked
and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretary
concerned, subject in the case of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and
Air Force, to the direction of the Secretary of Defense."
2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of
the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to
budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not
intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or
procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the
United States, its departments, agencies, or entities,
its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This video was published on YouTube on November 13, 2013.
Vernice Armour is a former United States Marine Corps officer who was the first African American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces.
on a mission in Iraq, Armour was called for an unexpected
rescue mission. With dwindling resources and opposing gunfire, her story
is one of true leadership.
Legislation Could Provide More Funding to Adult Home Care Providers in Exchange for Quality Care Improvements
By Dan Rosenblum
Adult home care providers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill
that would increase subsidies for those who house and care for seniors
and adults with disabilities. Advocates for residents say any subsidy
boost should be tied to additional oversight measures to guard against
excessive salaries for facility managers, poor quality programs and
“One message that I hope the industry will absorb is that one of the
major obstacles to appropriate funding for adult homes is concern about
quality of care at many of them,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who
chairs the health committee, told New York Nonprofit Media. “I think the
higher quality adult homes need to understand that the problems with
many of the other adult homes is holding back their own viability.”
Adult home care providers say that, with few exceptions, they are
managing a chronic existential financial burden resulting from a federal
Supplemental Security Income subsidy that has not increased in line
with overhead expenses, leading to the closure of some facilities and
reduced services at others.
The South Florida congresswoman was in Myeshia Johnson’s car because she had known La David Johnson since he was a schoolboy. She. Is. Not. Lying.
By Joy-Ann Reid
Frederica Wilson is no liar. On Thursday, Gen. John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, confirmed that. Kelly also made clear that he works for a man who has redefined the meaning of shameless.
The Florida congresswoman is the latest—and pointedly, the latest woman and person of color—to be attacked by Trump for daring to tell the truth about him. She joins a roster that includes broadcaster Jemele Hill,
the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and before that, a Latina former
Miss Universe. Now add in Hillary Clinton and the more than a dozen
women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault. Trump has
attacked or threatened a few men too, notably black NFL and NBA stars,
Gold Star father Khizr Khan (along with his wife), decorated Vietnam War
veteran John McCain and other United States senators, but he typically
reserves his greatest vitriol for those who aren’t white and male. We’re
all still waiting for the president’s sure-to-be-blistering response to
Trump on Wednesday used one of his increasingly frequent
press availabilities to essentially call Wilson a liar, after she told
the world what he said to the widow of Staff Sgt. La David T. Johnson;
one of four special forces soldiers killed during a still murky mission
in Niger. Wilson first gave her account to local reporters in Miami who
met the limousine carrying her, Myeshia Johnson and Staff Sgt. Johnson’s
adoptive parents to the funeral home to claim the body of the fallen
soldier. Apparently, the White House had alerted the media that he would
call Johnson’s widow, evidently hoping to reap some rare good press for
the most hated president in modern U.S. history.
She later repeated what she heard to national news outlets and to this reporter.
Promoted tweets and account names are all the social network has handed over. Investigators think that’s just the start of what Twitter has on its servers.
By Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman
When it came time to turn over material critical to the Senate’s Russia investigation, all Twitter initially provided was a batch of tweets that the Kremlin’s English-language news network paid the company to promote, The Daily Beast has learned.
That’s just a sliver of what investigators believe to be Russia’s propaganda campaign on the social network—which helps explain the dissatisfaction that followed those first disclosures.
The already-public tweets, along with a list of 201 suspected Russian-propaganda accounts, represent the sum total of relevant material the social media company has given Senate investigators thus far, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Twitter turned over the promoted tweets, contained on a thumb drive, late last month. It was the company’s first attempt to explain to Congress how the Kremlin used Twitter to push propaganda.
From Planned Parenthood to New York
State Right to Life, from the WFP to the Conservative Party, from the
mountains to the prairies, interest groups from all over the New York
State political spectrum have been frothing, white with foam, in abject
fear about the prospect of a New York State Constitutional Convention.
Conservatives may have legitimate reasons for their concerns.
Writing in the Post, George Marlin, a leader of the NYS Conservative Party (and author of a pretty good book
about the Party’s history), does a nice job of summing up the right
wing’s fears. To Marlin’s credit, almost none of the issues he raises
relate to interest group politics.
By contrast, liberals are scared because liberal interest groups have been running a scare campaign.
implicit and sometimes explicit message of the organized opposition to
the Con-Con is that it is such a threat to public order that one dare
not even speak its name. Typical is the recent forum run by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, which featured only speakers opposed to holding such a convention.
New York City’s private-sector employment is still up in the past year, though there’s been a recent slump in the growth rate.
York City’s private-sector employment is up 1.3% from September of last
year, with 48,100 jobs added, according to the New York State Dept. of
Labor. Statewide, more than 84,000 jobs have been added over the last
year, labor analysts said.
The sectors of leisure/hospitality and education/health services are both up by at least 4% over the year.
Something different is happening now that is very destructive to
communities," he said. "A lot of people are turning to Amazon and other
The comments were made during a town hall in Brooklyn less than an hour after the city released its final proposal.
De Blasio, who famously said this year he's never purchased something from the company, has led a bit of half-hearted play for the company's HQ.
Though the city said it is the "natural choice" for the
company because of its economy and the strength of its
workforce, officials said they would not offer any
city financial incentives. Amazon would still receive incentives from
New York State, though the state did not elaborate.
Six Other Agencies Nominated Officers for the Award
Police Officer Kelsey Francemone is the recipient of the New York State
Police Officer of the Year Award, the first woman to be honored as the
sole recipient of the award in its 33-year history. She was recognized
for her actions on Father's Day 2016, when she disabled a gunman who
began shooting during a large party at the James Geddes Apartments in
Syracuse's Near Westside neighborhood. Francemone, who was patrolling
alone when gunfire erupted, also successfully defended herself when
members of the crowd attacked her as she attempted to secure the area. "Officer
Francemone answered the call and put her own wellbeing on the line in
order to protect her community and prevent others from being harmed by
this gunman," Governor Cuomo said. "Her courage bravery exemplifies the
very best of New York's law enforcement community and she serves as an
inspiration for us all. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I am proud to
honor her with this well-deserved award." Lieutenant Governor
Kathy Hochul presented the 24-year-old Francemone with the award on the
Governor's behalf this afternoon. She was joined by Michael C. Green,
Executive Deputy Commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice
Services and Chairman of the Police Officer of the Year Selection
Committee, and Syracuse Chief Frank J. Fowler. More than 50 people
attended the award ceremony at the Syracuse Police Department, including
Francemone's family members, friends, colleagues from her agency and
law enforcement executives and officers from throughout Onondaga County. "Officer
Francemone is not only a hero, but as the first female recipient of the
Police Officer of the Year Award, is a great role model for women and
girls across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "She
faced up to every officer's worst nightmare and used her training and
incredible bravery to confront it head on. Officer Francemone and the
Officer of the Year nominees represent the strength and courage that
Officers display across New York State every day." A member of
the Syracuse Police Department since 2014, Francemone also is the first
officer from an Onondaga County agency to receive the award. Three other
women - officers with the New York City Police Department, Port
Authority Police Department, and Suffolk County Police Department - were
joint recipients of the award with their male colleagues. Division
of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner and Police
Officer of the Year Selection Committee Chairman Michael C. Green said,
"Officer Francemone put her own safety aside to help countless others
facing a lethal volley of gunfire. While all the nominations received by
the committee include exemplary acts of heroism, the actions of Officer
Francemone truly represent what it means to serve and protect the
public. I am honored to recognize her valor on behalf of the committee." In nominating Francemone for the honor, Syracuse Police provided the following account of the events on June 19, 2016: It
was about 11 p.m. when Francemone - who was 22 at the time - responded
to a report of a man down, not far from where she was patrolling. The
initial call was unfounded, but she heard multiple gunshots originating
from disorderly crowd of several hundred gathered at a large party
nearby at the Geddes Apartments. Without hesitation, she ran toward the
direction of the gunshots as panicked people streamed in the opposite
direction, and confronted an armed man, who was firing a handgun at
other individuals in the crowd. Francemone ordered the individual
to drop his weapon. When he didn't comply with her direction, she shot
him once, wounding him. The man dropped his weapon and fled around a
corner of a building, out of her line of sight. When she attempted
secure the scene and locate the injured man, she was encircled by the
crowd, members of which began to physically attack her. As she
was besieged by punches and kicks, her uniform was ripped by individuals
attempting to take her badge and service weapon. Francemone defended
herself throughout the attack, refusing to relinquish either item.
Officers responding to the scene pulled their colleague from the melee,
but were mobbed by the unruly crowd. The ensuing riot prompted Syracuse
Police to seek mutual aid from police agencies throughout Onondaga
County. After the incident was under control, investigators later
recovered nearly 40 shell casings from the scene and estimated there
were roughly a half-dozen gunmen firing weapons in the officers'
proximity. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said, "If not for
Officer Francemone's quick response and almost unbelievable personal
courage, it is almost certain more people would have lost their lives in
this tragic gunfight. She has brought great credit upon herself and the
Syracuse Police Department as a whole. We are proud to have her among
our ranks." The Police Officer of the Year Award was first
presented in 1984 and recognizes a single police officer, or team of
officers, for an exceptional act of valor symbolizing the service of
police in New York State. A complete list of past recipients can be
found here. Since the award's inception, 111 officers from 18
agencies across the state have received it. Of those police, 69 have
been honored posthumously, including 23 officers from the New York City
Police Department and 37 members of the Port Authority of New York/New
Jersey Police Department killed during the terrorist attack on the World
Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Six other agencies nominated
officers for the award. These 12 officers each will receive a
Certificate of Exceptional Valor from Governor Cuomo: Officers Josef Perez and Danilo Rodriguez of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police On
June 28, at about 2:30 p.m., Officers Perez and Rodriguez observed a
vehicle on fire near the center divider on the Long Island Expressway.
The officers ran to the vehicle, found the operator unresponsive, cut
the seatbelt and pulled the driver from the vehicle. Officer Perez
stayed with the injured driver while Officer Rodriguez used an
extinguisher to extinguish the fire. Officers James Sanford, Matthew Fusaro, Andrew Mirenda, Darnell White and Katy Kalendar of the Nassau County Police Department On
Nov. 4, First Precinct Police Officer Sanford began pursuing a vehicle
on the Southern State Parkway with a potentially armed driver wanted for
a homicide. Officer Fusaro became the lead car in the pursuit with
assistance from Officers Mirenda, Darnell White and Kalendar. The driver
fled into Brooklyn, where he crashed his car into a gas station,
causing a fire at the pumps. He then fled the vehicle and charged at
Officer Fusaro, knocking him to the ground and causing him to suffer a
head injury. Officers Mirenda, White and Kalendar were then able to
subdue the man. Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo of the New York City Police Department On
Nov. 4, Sgt. Tuozzolo and another officer located a suspect who had
held his estranged wife and her family hostage for several hours before
leaving the scene. Sgt. Tuozzolo and another officer located the man and
boxed in his vehicle to prevent him from fleeing again. As Sgt.
Tuozzolo and the other officer exited a patrol car to arrest the
suspect, he opened fire and shot Sgt. Tuozzolo in the head, killing him.
The other officer, who was shot in the leg, survived. Lt. Liza Bobseine of the New York State Environmental Conservation Police On
Nov 29, Lt. Liza Bobseine and Officer James Davey were investigating a
trespassing complaint and reports of illegal hunting and shots fired.
Officer Davey was critically wounded when an individual at the scene
opened fire as the officers approached. Lt. Bobseine called for medical
support and administered life-saving treatment to Officer Davey for more
than an hour. Lt. Bobseine also controlled the scene and took the two
individuals in custody, leading to their arrests. Technical Lt. Peter R. McLain and Technical Sgt. Brian D. Rumrill of the New York State Police On
Dec. 13, Technical Lt. McLain and Technical Sgt. Rumrill braved poor
conditions to fly a helicopter in search of a pair of hikers who had
become lost in Essex County. The man and women had fallen about 100 feet
from the summit of Algonquin Mountain - New York's second highest peak -
and had been stranded for two days. Both hikers were suffering from
frostbite and hypothermia, which made removing them by ground all but
impossible. After forest rangers located the position of the hikers,
Technical Lt. McLain and Technical Sgt. Rumrill used a roughly 45-second
break in the cloud cover to hoist the hikers aboard. They transported
the hikers to an area hospital for treatment and then returned to
extracted a pair of forest rangers who were exhausted from the search. Deputy Nicholas Walter of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office On
Nov. 11, Deputy Walter responded to a vehicle crash in front of a
residence in the town of Pendleton. The impact of the vehicle as it
struck a tree had pushed the engine into the vehicle's passenger
compartment, pinning the legs of the driver. Deputy Walter, along with
one of the neighbors, freed the driver's legs and pulled him from the
vehicle shortly before it erupted in flames. Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
On Sept. 15, nine days before the elections in Germany, the Green
party complained to Facebook about a popular series of attack ads
deriding its stances on gender-neutral bathrooms, electric cars and
other topics. The party accused the advertiser, Greenwatch, of providing
false contact information on its Facebook page and blog, which would
violate a German Media Authority regulation requiring accurate contact information.
But Facebook didn’t take down the ads or trace their origins. And
after the election, Greenwatch disappeared. Its website and Facebook
page were deleted, leaving behind only the nine Greenwatch ads that were
captured by ProPublica’s Political Ad Collector, a tool that enables Facebook users to collect political ads that target them.
The Greenwatch episode illustrates that ads of dubious provenance
aren’t just aimed at Facebook users in the U.S., but in Europe as well.
Facebook’s failure to confront the advertiser — despite repeated
complaints — raises questions about whether and how the world’s largest
social network will deliver on its promise to monitor political
advertising aggressively on its platform.
“I expect from a company that makes a lot of money from advertisement
that they control who is placing those ads,“ said Emily Büning, the
Green party’s executive secretary. “Whoever spreads propaganda with
substantial funding has to be identifiable. Whose opinion it is should
Trump and Governor Richard Rossello of Puerto Rico speak to reporters
following their meeting in the Oval Office about the federal response to
Hurricane Maria. He also gives his administration a "10" for how it
handled the response.
Dolores Hayden, in her books Redefining the American Dream and The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History,
elaborates how conventional ideas of gender, class, and caste influence
the critical evaluation of architectural achievement—a discussion
extremely relevant to the careers of Julian Francis Abele, Hilyard
Robinson, and Paul R. Williams. This trio of African Americans remains
largely invisible within the history of architecture and architects in
the United States, even as their work increasingly becomes known in the
black community. Rectifying this invisibility would surely be consistent
with the current and appropriate emphasis on our society’s
“multicultural” character, if, by that term, we mean to encourage a
fundamental reconceptualization of who we have been and are as a people.
Here's an excerpt from the book on the contributions of Hilyard Robinson.
"In 1996, a made-for-TV movie chronicled the true-life exploits of the
“The Tuskeegee Airmen,” African American fighter pilots who received
segregated training in Alabama at an army base adjacent to Tuskeegee
Institute, and who served with great distinction in the Second World
War. As a child living at Tuskeegee and watching those young men swagger
around the campus, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up—no
matter that many in the military scoffed at the notion of black pilots.
only did one of the airmen, Dr. Roscoe Brown, become the first pilot of
any color to shoot down a Luftwaffe jet, but, unknown to me at the
time, the base where he and the others trained was designed by a black
architect, Hilyard Robinson,6
and built by a black architectural and construction firm, McKissack
& McKissack. (Most of Tuskeegee’s major buildings were also designed
by black architects and built by students, in keeping with the
philosophy of its founder, Booker T. Washington.)"
A public elementary school in Mississippi named after the president
of the Confederacy will be renamed to honor the first black president of
the United States.
Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate
Elementary in Jackson, which is named for Jefferson Davis, will be
renamed Barack Obama Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary
beginning next school year, the school's PTA president, Janelle
Jefferson, said at a Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting
The prospect of changing the name of what
Jefferson called the best elementary school in Mississippi was raised by
a student, she told NBC News.