Afghanistan: Home to indefinite war

While NATO decreed the “war” in Afghanistan had ended several years ago, Antiwar.com reports NATO’s “military involvement didn’t significantly change on that date,” and NATO involvement was then set to end at the end of 2016. Antiwar.com adds, “No one had any realistic expectation that the 2016 date would be the actual end to the mission.” And sure enough NATO announced on May 20 that NATO forces would remain in the occupied nation indefinitely. Continue reading

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Link to Washington State Presidential Primary Results

Courtesy of Politico, here is a link to the Washington state presidential primary returns. The primaries were held May 24. The Democratic results have no binding effect, because the Democratic Party used caucuses to choose delegates.

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U.S. District Court Hears Arizona Libertarian Ballot Access Case

On May 24, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell, a Bush Jr. appointee, heard Libertarian Party of Arizona v Reagan, 2:16cv-1019. The issue is the new law that sharply increases the number of signatures needed for Libertarian candidates to get on their own party’s primary ballot. For technical reasons, the new law does not affect the ability of Green Party candidates to get on the Green Party primary ballot.

The Libertarian Party is asking for emergency injunctive relief, because the deadline for primary petitions is June 1. However, it is possible that the judge could provide relief, not on the number of signatures needed to get on the primary ballot, but relief on the number of write-ins in the primary needed to be nominated. The primary is in late August. The law that increased the number of signatures to get on the primary ballot also increased the number of write-ins in the primary to be deemed nominated.

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New York Times Says Republican Leaders Likely to Work to Close Republican Presidential Primaries

This New York Times story says there is strong sentiment among influential Republican Party leaders to work to close Republican presidential primaries, so that only party members could participate. The story also talks about party interest in changing the presidential primary calendar. Thanks to Political Wire for the link.

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Dark Android Round-Up: Gello, the Cat S60 Thermal Smartphone, and a Massive Battery Coming to the Galaxy Line

It’s another round-up of news here at the Dark Android Project, much of it being updates to what is the fruition of things we’ve talked about before…but one of these is a stunning and delightful surprise…

GELLO, THE CYANOGENMOD BROWSER

gelloRemember Gello, that neat Android browser based on Chromium code that was teased by the CyanogenMod developer team a little less than a year ago? It looks like the app is finally finished, or at least ready to make a version 1.0 debut. Joey Rizzoli, the CM developer who teased Gello last July, says that it’s ready to go and that managers can begin to incorporate Gello into nightly builds. The browser will be added by the individuals or teams of developers responsible for upkeep on each CyanogenMod device build, so Gello may or may not be immediately on your device’s nightly release.

Though it’s based on the same open source code as Chrome, Gello includes a ton of mobile-focused features introduced by the CM team (and a good bit of which are inspired by competing browsers). Some of the highlights include a “save for offline” function, a desktop-style custom save dialog, easy bookmarks on the homescreen, multiple search engines, power-saving and night reading modes, a built-in ad blocker, and an “immersive” fullscreen option. Below is a video overview of the various features, but be aware that it’s a year old – some of them may look a bit different in the final version.

Gello isn’t available for general Android devices – it requires CyanogenMod 13 (based on Android 6.0) to function. But users too impatient to wait for the nightly device builds to catch up can compile it themselves or download a pre-built version from the CyanogenMod Jenkins server.

And the real beauty here is that there’s a very good chance that Gello is going to be an awesome browser…and you can’t use it unless you have CyanogenMod installed. I doubt that anyone is going to convert over to CM just to use Gello, but I do like the shaft being given to the Google Play Store for once (as much as I prefer things be platform agnostic). Also, I’ll assume there is some pretty heavy demand for this browser, otherwise they would have never developed it (especially in a largely volunteer development community), and it just goes to show that people do see the value in getting away from Google’s products, and it also highlights the CEO of Cyanogen, Inc.’s statement that: “We’re going to take Android away from Google”.

Damn right.

THE CAT S60 THERMAL CAMERA PHONE

catflironeI mentioned this back in February of 2016, and honestly I wasn’t sure if it would actually come to fruition, but it turns out that the CAT S60 tough-as-nails smartphone (with not so terrible specs) and a unique FLIR One thermal camera (you know, so you can see like the Predator) is actually going to get released, and pre-orders start in June. We also now know the price of it: $599. Also they will be releasing a FLIR One thermal camera dongle that you can purchase on its own for $249 that can be connected to the smartphone you likely have already. I’m still baffled as to why this is a thing, especially available to consumers and not just B2B, but hey, bring it. To sweeten the deal, CAT will also be releasing an SDK so that developers can figure out what I can’t…and that’s what to do with this thing.

You can read more about it and my thoughts on it here in my previous write-up.

THE GALAXY S7 IS REAL…WITH A MASSIVE BATTERY

galaxyactives7Just last month I had written about rumors that a Galaxy S7 “Active” smartphone would be hitting the streets soon. I’m a fan of the Active line of Galaxy devices because usually they come without all of the bullshit that Scamsung (spelled intentionally) pushes on consumers (ie: fingerprint readers, etc.). Also, the Active line falls under a prospect that I enjoy at least with Android phones, it’s what I call “toughphones” (and the previously mentioned CAT S60 would qualify as one, too). Devices that are practically indestructible, waterproof, with no bullshit, and built to last.

By now it’s foregone conclusion that AT&T is about to release the ruggedized Galaxy S7 Active. It’s done it for the last few Galaxy flagships–exclusively (though you can check eBay or Amazon for them, too) and the aforementioned leaks already happened. But now, Venture Beat has more detailed specs for the device, and most of it isn’t a surprise. It’s a GS7 with a different chassis and a bigger battery. The size of that battery is the real winner here, though–it’s apparently 4,000mAh. The Active line–meant for the outdoors–generally always comes with a larger battery than its siblings, which is one of the things I like about them, but to have a 4,000mAh is fantastic. Sign me up.

Beyond that, we’re looking at a Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, a 5.1-inch 1440p Super AMOLED, and 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot. That 4,000mAh battery will be 400mAh larger than the one in the GS7 Edge and 1,000 larger than the regular GS7. It’s also only 15g heavier than the regular GS7 (185g vs. 170g). It’ll be 9.9mm thick, compared to 7.9 for the non-Active phone.

With the likelihood of CyanogenMod ROMs getting made for this, the S7 Active could be the phone to beat, in my opinion. Those are some serious specs, and that battery could power them for a while.

AT&T has yet to acknowledge the phone’s existence, but a release date of June 10th is expected (the date on the phone screens). Again, these look pretty good. I’d take an unlocked one if I could find one. Damn.

Carpe lucem!

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538.com Summarizes Recent Polls that Include Gary Johnson

This article at 538.com summarizes recent national presidential polls that include Gary Johnson.

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Colorado Group Formed to Study Whether to Create a Presidential Primary

A group has been formed to study whether Colorado should switch from presidential caucuses to primaries. It includes some state legislators, and has reached out to the Libertarian and Green Parties. See this story.

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SurveyUSA Poll for California U.S. Senate Race

On May 23, SurveyUSA released a new poll for the California U.S. Senate race. Only five of the 34 candidates were listed: Kamala Harris 31%, Loretta Sanchez 22%, Duf Sundheim 9%, Tom Del Beccaro 9%, Ron Unz 7%, other or undecided 22%.

These results, very similar to poll results in April, suggest that the November 8 ballot will list only two Democrats, with no write-in space. This article in the Washington Times suggests that such an outcome will be bad for both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Especially significant are the quotes from Dan Schnur, a well-known Californian who has been active at high levels in state government. He has previously been a supporter of the top-two system, but now seems not to be.

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Missouri Republican Party Endorses Closed Primary for Itself

On May 21-22, the Missouri Republican Party held its state convention. The body endorsed the idea that the Republican Party should seek a closed primary for itself. See this story.

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Washington State Filing for Congress and State Office Closes

On May 23, filing for the Washington state August 2016 primary closed. Here is a list of candidates. Thanks to Kelly Haughton for the link.

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Duf Sundheim, Leading California Republican Politician, Predicts Legislature Will Put a Repeal of Top-Two on the 2018 Ballot

On May 23, Duf Sundheim, speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, predicted that the California legislature will put a repeal of the top-two system on the California ballot in 2018. The top-two system is embedded in the state Constitution, so the legislature cannot repeal it, but can only put a repeal on the ballot for the voters to decide.

Sundheim is a past California Republican Party state chair, and a candidate for U.S. Senate this year. He says he still supports the top-two system. In response to the point that it bars minor party and independent candidates from the November ballot, he said they weren’t winning even when they were on the November ballot. Actually several dozen minor party and independent candidates get elected to state office in every general election, around the U.S. Also his point ignores the fact that voters want a free choice of candidates in the election itself, even if many of those choices are not likely to win.

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California Bill to Let All Cities and Counties Use Instant Runoff Voting for their own Elections Passes Senate

On May 23, the California Senate passed SB 1288 by 23-12. All Democrats who voted, voted “yes.” All Republicans who voted, voted “no” except that one Republican voted for the bill. The bill lets all cities and counties use Instant Runoff Voting for their own officers. Under current law, only charter cities and charter counties have that freedom. Most cities in California are not charter cities.

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Ohio Libertarian Party Asks Sixth Circuit to Place it Back on the Ballot

On May 23, the Ohio Libertarian Party asked the Sixth Circuit to put it back on the ballot. Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted, 16-3537. The party was removed from the ballot in November 2014 because it did not poll 2% for Governor. It couldn’t poll 2% for Governor because its gubernatorial candidate was not on the ballot. He was not on the ballot because the Republican Party of Ohio, and the John Kasich re-election campaign, had challenged his primary ballot status.

The 39-page brief argues that the Republican Party of Ohio was a state actor when it became involved in the challenge. The brief depends on U.S. Supreme Court precedents that say political parties are state actors when they influence who appears on a ballot, either primary or general.

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Alexander Van der Bellen, Member of the Green Party, Elected President of Austria

On May 22, Austria held its run-off presidential election. Alexander Van der Bellen, a member of the Green Party, and the leader of the party in the recent past, won with 50.3% of the vote. His ballot label was “independent”. See this wikipedia article about him.

This is probably the first time a member of the Green Party has won a nationwide vote for any office, anywhere in the world. Here is the wikipedia article about the election. The first round was held on April 24. A runoff was needed because no one got a majority in April. This is the first Austrian election since World War II in which neither major party won the presidency.

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