It Might be Time to Start Fireproofing the Reichstag

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s absence signals our last line of defense is in peril.

t’s time for everyone to start getting used to the fact that, unless some massive legal apocalypse intervenes, the president* is going to get at least one more nominee for the United States Supreme Court and that, barring a sudden desire to keep the republic from turning entirely to guacamole, the Senate is going to rubber-stamp Justice Wingnut McWingnutty onto the Court for the next 40 years. That’s not the bleakest speculation. The bleakest speculation is that he gets more than one.

Happy Monday!

The most recent speculation was prompted by the fact that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed oral arguments on Monday for the first time since she’s been on the Court. From CNN:


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Newly Declassified Documents Shed Light on Gina Haspel’s Involvement at Guantanamo

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

ast week, the Central Intelligence Agency declassified what at first glance appears to be an innocuous transcript of a request for discovery and witnesses made by Guantánamo defense attorneys during a hearing in the “trial” of 9/11 suspect Khalid Shaikh Muhammad. In the transcript, the attorney complains to the judge that the defense team has not been able to interview the witnesses they want and need, and that they are not receiving the discovery necessary to mount an adequate defense. I say the transcript is innocuous because, while much of it is redacted, including entire pages, what is left is generally pro-forma back-and-forth between the judge and the attorneys. I learned nothing — until, that is, I got to the bottom of page 22,088. That’s right, page 22,088. Read more

Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Julia Rohrer wants to create a radical new culture for social scientists. A personality psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Rohrer is trying to get her peers to publicly, willingly admit it when they are wrong.

To do this, she, along with some colleagues, started up something called the Loss of Confidence Project. It’s designed to be an academic safe space for researchers to declare for all to see that they no longer believe in the accuracy of one of their previous findings. The effort recently yielded a paper that includes six admissions of no confidence. And it’s accepting submissions until January 31.

“I do think it’s a cultural issue that people are not willing to admit mistakes,” Rohrer says. “Our broader goal is to gently nudge the whole scientific system and psychology toward a different culture,” where it’s okay, normalized, and expected for researchers to admit past mistakes and not get penalized for it.

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Where’s the Line on State-Sponsored Censorship?

By John Kiriakou, Courtesy Reader Supported News

mericans have a Constitutional right to freedom of speech. Right? That’s what we’re taught in school, at least. That’s what a lot of us believe. But we don’t really have a completely uninhibited right to freedom of speech. The conventional wisdom is that Americans are free to say anything they want (short of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater) except with very specific exceptions. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that one exception is “advocacy of the use of force when it is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action.” You can thus advocate violence, just not violence to begin right now. Other exceptions include obscenity, child pornography, encouraging suicide, and (commercial) speech owned by others.

What happens, then, when a person vents on Facebook or in the comment section of a newspaper’s website? There’s no threat of immediate violence, so it’s legal, right? It’s not legal, according to two of America’s police departments.

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