Disparities

Facebook Live has become the new far-right talk radio; frankly, my dear, Elon Musk doesn't give a damn; and more.


  • Stay vigilant: A bill proposed by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Paul Gosar would “nullify the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation and the Assessment Tools associated with the rule,” the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports. The bill also prohibits the use of federal funds “to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.”

  • Lol no funds for preventing housing discrimination—but please take this weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants! Reporting for Quartz, Annalisa Merelli draws readers’ attention to the similarities with (the Steve Bannon-founded) Breitbart’s “black crime” section.

  • You’ve heard, I assume, that Trump wants to investigate the millions of “fraudulent” voters registered in multiple states? Madeline Farber reports for Fortune that records show Steven Mnuchin, Steve Bannon, and Tiffany Trump are all registered to vote in two states. Tom Bonier adds on Twitter that he has found the same for Reince Priebus and Jared Kushner, too.

  • The Associated Press has reported that the Trump administration will mandate EPA scientific studies and data to undergo review by political staff before public release.

  • Scientists rise, resist: On a related note, a new political action committee has been started to support scientists running for political office, Ed Yong reports for The Atlantic. More than 400 people have signed a recruitment form on the site in just two weeks.

  • There are now more than 40 “alternative” public park or government agency Twitter accounts purporting to speak for the real accounts, which have gone (mostly) silent or at least complacent since the new administration took over.

  • Data for Democracy is planning to back up the datasets at data.gov. This is in addition to a number of projects they are already running since launching just over a month ago, including election transparency, analysis on the extreme right, and campaign spending.

  • This is civic tech: GovTrack announced on Twitter last night that January 2017 is already the highest trafficked month in their history, and it’s not even over yet. “It shows we aren’t even close to living in a post-fact world. 1 million people came to us for facts this month,” GovTrack added in a subsequent tweet.

  • In an interview with State Scoop’s Colin Wood, Civic Hall Labs’ executive director Elizabeth Stewart explains how the BigApps competition is incorporating user-centric design thinking this year. “What BigApps hasn’t done to date is paired design thinking and process with coding apps,” she said. “We’re bringing that element to the competition this year, so we are hosting seven ideation and prototyping networks, which are fancy words for helping people think about good ideas, test them out with users, do user research and use a lot of design tools that folks at big design agencies use before any line of code gets written.”

  • The next DataRescueNYC event on February 4 is already full up, but DataRescuePhilly is working diligently on updating the event toolkit that DataRescueNYC will be using on Feb 4: https://github.com/datarefugephilly/workflow, and in the meantime you can stay in touch via Twitter and Facebook over the next week and ongoing after the event here.

  • Emily Peck and Ryan Grim profile the organizing platform Action Network for The Huffington Post, and explain why it’s superior for organizing than Facebook. “It’s the left’s secret weapon in the continuing resistance,” they write.

  • “Liberals are very good at using technology to organize, but conservatives know how to use it to spread a message,” Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center and author of a book on the history of conservative media, told Backchannel’s Alexis Sobel Fitts for an article on how Facebook Live has become the new Fox News, or perhaps more accurately, the new talk radio.

  • A New York City computer-vision firm is working with police departments with new bodycam programs to analyze hours and hours of video footage, Aleszu Bajak reports for Undark, but the value and accuracy of their work is far from certain.

  • Elon Musk endorsed Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Kate Aronoff reports for In These Times, proving, as Aronoff argues, that Musk doesn’t give a damn about the environment, because “he’s perfectly happy with a scenario under which he and Tillerson’s former colleagues can get rich at the same time.”