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State Column

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State Column
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BTB Cowboys Podcast: Breaking Down The Cowboys' Offensive Depth Chart – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

BTB Cowboys Podcast: Breaking Down The Cowboys' Offensive Depth Chart
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Make sure you are following Landon (@mccoolBTB), as well as BTB (@bloggingtheboys), on Twitter, and Like BTB on Facebook (Blogging The Boys). To get easy access to every episode of this BTB podcast and other great Cowboys podcasts from places …

Continue reading, the ambitious project to build a better Twitter, is finally dead

Aiming for the stars and not quite making it, the ambitious has finally officially shut down. Its timely rise and fall comes as highly symbolic asits once rival, Twitter, continues to struggle, years later, withmonetization, content management and harassment.

Todays announcement of its closure isnt hugely surprisingly since had been in maintenancemode since May 2014. CEO Dalton Caldwell and his co-founder Bryan Berg put the social network on autopilot after it failed to generate the revenue necessary to support a full-time staff. Caldwell subsequently tookon a new role as a partner at Y Combinator.


Dalton Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of

To the teams credit, grew organically out of a successful crowdfunding campaign that surpassed $750,000 in pledges.A strong communitybought into thepromiseof an ad-free, subscription-based, Twitter clone that would remain friendly to developers and users, no matter how big it got.

Unfortunately for everyone, the network just didnt make money. By the time got off the ground in 2012, Twitteralready had six years of momentum and user growth.

By 2013, needed institutional capital to make the fight competitive.Andreessen Horowitz bankrolled a $2.5 million venture round for the company on its own. sought to distance itself from Twitter by focusing in onbuilding just the bare bones of a social platform that developers could build on top of.Caldwell and Berg toyed around with a number of different monetization models from slightly free to evenless free.

The company will finally be laid to rest onMarch 15th, 2017, when the ability to signup and renew subscriptions will end.Caldwell did note in a blog post that the code for will be open-sourced. After the 15th, all user data will cease to exist.

Caldwell gave the following reflection on the blog:

Ultimately, we failed to overcome the chicken-and-egg issue between application developers anduser adoption of those applications. We envisioneda pool of differentiated, fast-growing third-partyapplications would sustain the numbers needed to make the business work. Our initial developer adoption exceeded expectations, butthat initialexcitement didn’tultimately translate into a big enough pool of customersfor those developers. This was a foreseeable risk, but one we felt was worth taking.

To onlookers in 2017, the project brings memories of simpler times before the infamy of fake news, before Snapchatselling hardware was cool and before the platformizationof social networks become commonplace.Today, there is still energy in the notion of improving the quality of our social networks. People still want greater privacy and control, but few are willing to pay for it. might have had a better run ifit more fully differentiated itself from Twitter. With so much in common, Twitter suffocated it, leaving almost no room for user acquisition or market cannibalization. With more creative models, Snapchat and Instagram steamed ahead, while didnt.

As content monetization continues to grow in importance for Twitter and others alike, theres perhaps no better time to reflect on the lessons of Now isnt the time to further divide our social networks into paid and unpaid communities, it isnt the time for some folks to have access to vetted content and others to be unknowingly left behind. Its the time for Twitter and the rest of the socialsphere tomake good on what the community wanted from the beginning user-first social networks. Theres no reason to think that wont bring everyone more revenue in the process.

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State Column
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2017 Dallas Cowboys Interactive Roster Builder – Blogging The Boys – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

2017 Dallas Cowboys Interactive Roster Builder – Blogging The Boys
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Many of us take great pleasure in playing GM, constructing our own roster, and making calls on who stays and who goes. Now, you can do just that with our …

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Germany to force Facebook, Google and Twitter to act on hate speech

Justice minister threatens sanctions such as fines on tech companies if they still fail to delete illegal posts by early next year

Germany is to consider new laws that would force social media platforms such as Facebook and search engines such as Google to take a more active role in policing illegal hate speech on their sites.

Measures considered by Angela Merkels coalition government include forcing companies to set up clear channels for registering complaints, to publish the number of complaints they receive and to hire legally qualified ombudsmen to carry out deletions.

Online platforms that fail meet such legal requirements could be hit with fines calculated on the basis of their global annual turnover, or face on-the-spot fines of up to 500,000 if they neglect to remove posts in breach of German hate speech law within 24 hours.

Concerns over social medias power to fire up populist narratives and boost conspiracy theories has increased after Britains vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trumps shock election in November, with politicians across Europe looking anxiously ahead to elections in France and Germany next year.

In Germany, which has some of the toughest laws around hate speech including prison sentences for Holocaust denial and inciting hatred against minorities political frustration with tech companies refusal to take responsibility for content posted on their sites has increased markedly in recent months.

A hate speech taskforce including representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter, set up by German justice minister Heiko Maas in autumn 2015, vowed to aim to delete illegal postings within 24 hours. But a government report published in late September this year found that tech companies were still struggling to react adequately to breaches of law, with Facebook only deleting 46%, YouTube 10% and Twitter 1% of illegal content flagged up by normal, non-privileged users.

According to a investigation by Sddeutsche Zeitung, Facebook currently employs about 600 people via the service provider Arvato to each carry out 2,000 deletions per day on its German-language accounts. But German officials say they have received no such information from the tech companies themselves.

If another report due at the start of next year showed no further improvement, the German government would take steps towards sanctioning companies, Maas told The Observer.

We are already looking in detail at how we can make providers of online platforms criminally liable for undeleted content that breaks German law. Of course, if other measures dont work we also need to think about fines. That would be a strong incentive for quick action.

While German law currently sets an upper limit of 10 million for the amount companies can be fined for criminal offences, the justice ministry is independently looking into whether fines in the future can be calculated on the basis of a companys global annual turnover.

We urgently need more transparency, said Maas, a member of the centre-left Social Democratic party. We could imagine obliging social networks to publish at regular intervals how many complaints they have received about illegal hate speech and how they dealt with them. That way it would be visible for everyone how many complaints there are and how many deletions. That too would increase the pressure on Facebook, Twitter, Google and others.

Companies that make money with their social networks have social obligations it cannot be in any companys interest that their platform is used to commit crimes, he said.

While the debate in Germany has mostly focused on postings on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, such law changes would also have wide-ranging consequences for the Google search engine.

Last Sunday, an Observer article pointed out that the top Google search result for the question Did the Holocaust happen linked to an article on a neo-Nazi website. While typing the same question in German into German Google does not yield this link, the first page of results still includes links to Holocaust-denial articles.

According to Christian Solmecke, a Cologne lawyer specialising in hate-speech offences, such statements are unequivocally covered by section 130, paragraph 3 of the German criminal code, which states that whosoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism […] in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine.

While Google does not have to seek out illegal content out of its own accord, it has to react to any complaint, whether by deletion or by blocking access, Solmecke said: According to German law, a complaint would immediately oblige Google to delete such content and avoid a future repeat of such a violation.

Unlike the three social media sites at the heart of the German governments current investigation Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned Youtube the search engine itself does not offer a prominently displayed channel for lodging complaints, such as Facebooks abuse button.

A send feedback window at the bottom of Googles search page allows ordinary users to message the search engine, but since there is no separate field for contact details, the process is a one-way street. The Guardian used the feedback box to Google about a link to a website by Ursula Haverbeck a prominent German holocaust denier who has been repeatedly sent to prison under the incitement of hatred law but the website was still listed as one of the engines top search results 24 hours later.

Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called on Google and other tech companies to take a more active role in stopping the spread of hate speech online. Websites that deny the Holocaust, stoke antisemitism and resentments against minorities, or spread other inhuman messages, are completely unacceptable, Schuster said.

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A funny thing happens when you visit

Ivanka Trump’s brand may have gained the spotlight, but one clever internet-er has figured out how to redirect that attention — literally
Image: PETER FOLEY/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

While internet users have made a sport of mocking the strange pronouncements of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, one man found a clever way to use her words to benefit others.

Conway kicked up a hornet’s nest when she made a blatant pitch for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during a Fox News interview, a move that some have suggested violates federal code.

During the interview, Conway said, “Go buy Ivankas stuff is what I would tell you. I hate shopping, Im going to go get some myself today.

Enter David Burrows, who turned Conway’s words into a URL:

The positive twist? The URL redirects to Global Girlfriend, a fair trade women’s clothing website that sells apparel, jewelry, and more, all made by women from “over 100 womens artisan organizations in over 30 countries.” The shop also donates a portion of proceeds to Girls’ Right to Opportunity Worldwide (GROW).

When Conway’s words hit Twitter’s trending list, Burrows sought out the URL and was surprised it hadn’t been purchased, so he snatched it up. Burrows, an entrepreneur and marketing professional who also considers himself “a bit of a rabble-rouser and prankster,” says he took a poll on Facebook, looking for suggestions from friends on where he should redirect the URL.

“I wanted to use the URL to direct attention away from the whole Nordstrom deal and that the merchandise was manufactured in China sweatshops,” Burrows said, “and redirect it (literally) to women in 3rd world countries creating their own fashion accessories and clothing for sale.”

That’s where the decision to redirect to Global Girlfriend came in. Burrows, though, was bit nervous: “I panicked a bit thinking what if they didn’t want any attention brought to their organization in this manner.”

In a phone call with the site’s founder, Stacey Edgar, settled his mind as she expressed her full support of the idea. Edgar said her business “does not have any ill will towards Ms. Trump. We dont believe in tearing down other womens businesses.”

But she’s still happy for the recognition for her business and, more importantly, the women who create the products sold on the site: “Im grateful that David Burrows picked Global Girlfriend as the beneficiary of his clever spin on last weeks political hot button issue. The women we work with around the globe definitely deserve a big shout out!”

Burrows says if traffic to the URL keeps up, he could build it out “to be a landing page featuring all types of social entrepreneurial platforms that are showcasing and helping women around the world to make money for themselves and their families.”

He also took inspiration from the recent spate of Super Bowl ads that took a political stand: “I was excited to see other brands during the Super Bowl wade into the political debate and showcase what America really is all about equality, freedom and free speech.”

Despite the humorous motivation, Burrows’ move comes from an inspiring place: “I try to find opportunities to give a voice to those who may not have it or to help bring change to negative events and turn them into positives even in small ways.”

UPDATE (Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, 12:05 p.m. ET): Added comment from Stacey Edgar

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5 practical tips to improve digital marketing –

5 practical tips to improve digital marketing
Content requires continuous hard work to make your efforts successful (unlike pay per click where you simply “feed the beast” spending money on digital ads and growing “Mr. Googles” bank account). … In the digital marketing process, you also need to

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Tips for Budding Bloggers – Business 2 Community (blog)

Business 2 Community (blog)

Tips for Budding Bloggers
Business 2 Community (blog)
Each term, as we discuss the personal and professional aspects of content creation in general, and blogging in particular, I think about my own early days as a blogger, although the social media landscape has changed a lot since 2004. Imagine life

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The Killa in Manila: Dutertes War on Drugs Is Dirtybut Popular

In his first 100 days, the firebrand Philippines president inspired the slaughter of hundreds, jailed thousands, and attacked Obama as the ‘son of a whore.’”>

QUEZON CITY, PhilippinesThe area where squatters live on National Irrigation Authority land is a warren of narrow alleys, shacks improvised from corrugated zinc sheeting and found wood, and dimly lit sari-sari stores selling candy, chips, ice, and loose cigarettes. In Area C women wash clothes in metal bowls and too many teenage mothers heft babies on their hips.

Vicar is one of the informal settlers here. Hes also among thousands of so-called surrenderees who have turned themselves in to avoid becoming casualties in the bloody drug war that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte launched when he took office June 30, and which has slaughtered as many as 3,800 Filipinos.

So egregious are the human rights abuses, and so attached to them is Duterte, that he refuses to accept criticism from his countrys old allies in Washington. He has called President Barack Obama a son of a whore, and he says hes going to make his country a de facto dependency of China, which isnt so finicky.

Duterte continued his broadside against the U.S. on a state visit to Japan. I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out, he said, indicating that he is prepared to revise or abrogate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Manila and Washington. He also condemned America for having lived off the fat of my land. Tokyo was aghast at the insults, not to mention the presidents poor mannersanathema to the uber-polite Japanese.

When he got back to the Philippines, Duterte suddenly announced that God told him to clean up his language. I heard a voice telling me to stop swearing or the plane will crash in mid-air, and so I promised to stop, he told reporters at the airport.

Here in Area C, the impact of this rough populism winds up being very personal.

I was afraid of being killed, the soft-spoken and nervous Vicar says. Who would not be afraid knowing that so many are already in the ground.

Wearing a bandana and dark clothes dusty from his $10-a-day carpentry job, he says he started using marijuana six years ago, then graduated to methamphetamines. He says surrendering was a better alternative than losing his family, which includes a 3-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son, and his life.

In Dutertes merciless crackdown, cops from the Philippines National Police allegedly commit extrajudicial killings, drug bosses whack underlings to save their own skins, and authorities pack thousands of people into jails built for hundreds.

All this as the president threatens to slaughter (his word) three million Filipinos, compares himself to Adolf Hitler, and harasses a sitting senator.

The death toll ranges from 1,300 to almost 4,000, depending on the source. According to The Kill List of the website, 1,338 people had been slain as of Oct. 17. But the police themselves estimate the figure at some 3,800. The office of Philippine Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, which has been investigating the extrajudicial killings allegations, says the number is 1,804.

Any way you cut it the mortality rate is surging upward, and this much is clear: Since the foul-mouthed, tough-talking former mayor of Davao came to power and launched his offensive against drug kingpins, dealers, pushers, and users, hundreds of people have lost their lives at the hands of murderers egged on by the president, who has implied that killing a drug dealer is tantamount to heroism. Shoot him and Ill give you a medal, the president said in June.

Critics say Dutertes recklessness has fueled the killing of scores of citizens, many of them poor and some of them children, who had nothing to do with drugs, were peripherally involved, or were minor figures trying to scratch out a living.Some victims were at best runners and lookouts and others were unlucky folks, like pedicab drivers, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Small wonder that thousands of spooked Filipinos have surrendered to authorities as an act of self-preservation.

Now we have 7,500 people in a jail meant for 800, complains Salvador Capilin, the captain of one barangay, or political ward. People are apprehended without due process of law, and the police recommend no bail. Why? Because the president is telling them to apprehend all pushers. Prosecutors will go alongif you let them [dealers] out youre part of the problem. Judges will convict everyone, since theyre afraid toobecause many judges are involved.

Indeed, Duterte has publicly accused, by name and on national television, scores of judges, politicians, and local executives he claims are involved in the narcotics trade. He also identified five Philippine National Police generals who allegedly were protecting drug lordsand immediately relieved three of duty.

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The president launched his war the day he was sworn in. These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, dont go into that, even if youre a policeman, because I will really kill you, he declared after taking the oath of office.

If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself, as getting their parents to do it would be too painful, he exhorted his audience.

Duterte had spouted similar rhetoric in his run for the Malacaang Palace, but now he was speaking as head of state.

Weve seen Duterte deliver on his campaign promise to use violent, extrajudicial means as a way to solve crime, says Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watchs Asia division. [Victims] never saw a courtroom. They never saw a lawyer. All we have is the police word that these were bad people. The situation now is an utter human rights calamity.

Unfazed, Duterte suggests innocent victims are collateral damage and shrugs off the criticism that has rained down from local and international human rights groups as well as the United Nations, the United States, the Catholic Church, the European Union, and others.

The shrugging came with characteristic defiance and profanity.

Duterte cussed out Obama as a son of a whore in early September, prompting the White House to cancel a bilateral meeting between the two leaders. A month later he said, You can go to hell, Mr. Obama. He told the European Union it had better choose purgatory [because] hell is filled up with the people hed told to go there. He also dismissed Pope Francis and the Philippines Roman Catholic bishops as sons of whoresa particularly incendiary oral assault in a country whose population of 102 million is 80 percent Catholic, and typically devout.

Why such vitriol? And what triggered Dutertes bloodbath?

The presidents past may provide a clue: He has said that he was fondled by a priest when he attended the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao High School in the 1950sand recently suggested to Al Jazeera that the abuse partly inspired his anti-crime campaign.

In August, the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, began an investigation into the allegations of extrajudicial killings. At one sensational hearing, 57-year-old Edgar Matobato testified that as Davao mayor Duterte paid him and other hit men to carry out summary executions.

Spinning a cinematic tale worthy of Martin Scorseses Goodfellas, the shaggy, gray-haired Matobato testified that he was in the Davao Death Squad, which went so far as to feed the bodies of victims to a crocodile and dumped remains into the sea.

The self-described assassin claimed his murderous posse referred to Duterte as Charlie Mike and received hit orders directly from him. He implicated the then-mayor in 1,000 deaths. In the course of the probe, however, Matobato himself was arrested on illegal firearms charges. He was released on bail on Oct. 14.

Meanwhile Sen. de Lima was removed from the chairmanship and replaced by Sen. Gordon, who calls Matobato a Joe Pesci, alluding to the actors roles in Scorsese pictures, and a guy who wants attention; always looking for ways to make money.

Gordon tells The Daily Beast that President Duterte, on the other hand, is the kind of guy who counters violence with violence, was a tough law-and-order mayor, and the kind of person that wants to get the job done whatever it takes. Then cautions, I hope hes not having people killed, because that would be against my own principles. And he adds, If it [the killing] is indeed state-sponsored, I think hes going into the gray area there.

Gordon succeeded de Lima after fellow committee members voted her out. Boxing great Manny Pacquiao, also a senator, made the motion to oust de Lima for not being neutral.

She remains on the justice committee, but since she produced Matobato as a surprise witness shes become the subject of a salacious campaign that includes allegations she had an affair with her driver.

She claims the allegations are retaliation instigated by Duterte. The president says revealing her alleged affair was necessary because it links de Lima to illegal activities in New Bilibid Prison. The Philippine House of Representatives has been investigating alleged proliferation of drug syndicates and illegal drugs at the prison. Meanwhile, Duterte has dismissed de Lima with his patented hard talk: If I were de Lima, ladies and gentlemen, Id hang myself, he said in late August.

De Limas problems got dramatically worse days ago, when she was charged in two cases of receiving money from a top drug lord in Eastern Visayas when she was Philippines justice secretary. The kingpins allegedly gave her millions of pesos for her senate bid in May 2016. One complaint improbably charges that de Lima is the mother of all drug lords.

The senator calls the charges a web of lies, but is being vilified all over social media regardless. In a very brief conversation in the Senate office building in Manila, she explains why she has not been answering her phone: You have no idea about the kind of calls Ive been getting, she tells The Daily Beast.

Her troubles look set to outlive the Senate investigation: Gordon, seen in the Philippines as a Duterte ally, threw out Matobatos testimony as not credible and announced on Oct. 13 that his committee no longer would discuss extrajudicial killings. The panel is poised to officially clear DuterteGordon said last week that he did not believe the killings are state-sponsored. Nothing was proven, he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Filipinos clam up at the mere mention of extrajudicial killings. Barangay Rizal is a hardscrabble district within sight of Makatis shiny skyscrapers and the upscale SM Aura Premier shopping center. Drug addiction and selling is said to be common in the barangay. On a recent evening, dozens of pedicab drivers line up on Sampaguita Street, waiting for customers. Theyre not interested in talking.

A young woman finally allows that there are many drug transactions and some sometimes end in shootings, occasionally fatal. Drug dealers are even using kids to sell to people, she says, noting that neighborhood residents are too scared to report any crimes because the drug gangs will retaliate or just start shooting who they think reported them to the police.

She approves of Dutertes war. Now she can go home late at night with no fear of being confronted by drug peddlers and users.

And thats part of the conundrum of the presidents campaign. Despite complaints from critics at home and abroad, Duterte and his tactics are very popular among Filipinos, most of whom are exhausted by the countrys cycle of drug abuse, crime, and poverty.

A new poll by Pulse Asia puts the presidents approval and trust rating at a whopping 86 percent. We have a president that many people believe in because hes a game changer, says Dr. Mahar Mangahas, president of Social Weather Stations, another well-known polling firm. And fiercely protective Duterte fans on Facebook and Twitter angrily reject international criticism of the president as attacks on Philippine sovereignty and attempts to destabilize the country.

Duterte is getting sympathy just by being known as Mr. Anti-Drugs, says community organizer and columnist Jose Ma. Montelibano.

The president had promised to continue killing drug lords no matter what the Senate justice committee determined. With the panel off his back, he has an even freer hand.

Duterte initially indicated he would take three to six months to end the drugs stranglehold, but now says he will need six more months. As a sign of his confidence and sense of impunity, he has invited Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the United Nations, and the European Union to visit the Philippines to look into the killings.

But even his conciliatory invitation was facetious, truculent, insultingand reminiscent of Donald Trump, who is in many respects his ideological twin.

Im sure they can never be brighter than me, he snarked. Believe me.

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