Shared posts

31 Oct 19:25

Court Rules Police Can Force Users to Unlock iPhones With Fingerprints, But Not Passcodes

by Juli Clover
iphone_5s_touch_idA Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.
Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.
The ruling stemmed from a case involving David Baust, who was accused of strangling his girlfriend. Prosecutors believed Baust may have stored video of the attack on his phone, and requested that the judge force him to unlock it. If protected by a passcode, Baust will not be required to unlock his phone under the Fifth Amendment, but if protected with a fingerprint, he could potentially be forced to unlock the device.

If Baust's phone is an iPhone that's equipped with Touch ID, it's very likely that it will be passcode locked at this point and thus protected by law. Touch ID requires a passcode after 48 hours of disuse, a restart, or three failed fingerprint entry attempts, and the device has probably been in police custody for quite some time. It is unclear if the judge's ruling will have an impact on future cases involving cellular devices protected with fingerprint sensors, as it could be overturned by an appeal or a higher court.

31 Oct 15:50

Drupal sites had “hours” to patch before attacks started

by Robert Lemos

Nearly a million websites running the popular Drupal content management system had only hours to update their software before attacks likely compromised the systems, thanks to a widespread vulnerability, the Drupal security team warned this week.

On October 15, the security team for the Drupal content management system announced the discovery of a critical security flaw that could allow attackers to steal data or compromise vulnerable sites. Within seven hours of the announcement, attackers had begun broadly scanning for and attacking Drupal sites, according to the project’s security team, which provided the details in an October 29 public service announcement.

“Systematic attacks were launched against a wide variety of Drupal websites in an attempt to exploit this vulnerability,” the group stated in its update. “If you did not update your site within < 7 hours of the bug being announced, we consider it likely your site was already compromised.”

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

29 Oct 18:16

TBRC Talks: A Rule Based Tagger for Classical Tibetan, Tuesday 11/4

by Devin Zuckerman

Wish I was in Cambridge for this talk.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 3.22.46 PM

TBRC Talks Presents: Tibetan in Digital Communication

A Rule Based Tagger for Classical Tibetan: Negation and Verb Stems Classification

With Dr. Nathan Hill, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Dr. Hill is engaged in building a 1,000,000 syllable part-of-speech tagged corpus of Tibetan texts spanning the language’s entire history. In addition to the corpus, Dr. Hill is developing a number of digital tools that allow for the corpus to be employed in many areas of humanities research, and enable other researchers to more easily develop their own corpora of software tools. The corpus will itself be a powerful resource for scholars working with Tibetan language materials in a wide range of disciplines –including history, religion, literature and linguistics–since it offers ready access to, and comparison across, texts from different time periods, regions and genres. It will also provide an important foundation for subsequent work on a historically comprehensive, lexicographically rigorous dictionary of Tibetan, akin to the Oxford English Dictionary.
By building this corpus for Tibetan, the cost of developing language technologies, such as text messaging, spellcheckers and machine-aided translation will be reduced. These technologies would give Tibetans the choice to use their language as they see fit in a world that is increasingly shaped by digital communication.

Tuesday, November 4th,

12:00 – 2:00

Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
1430 Massachusetts Avenue, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
28 Oct 19:37

Charles Duhigg’s 2012 Report on Target’s Customer Data Collection

by John Gruber

Worth a revisit — Charles Duhigg’s 2012 report on Target’s customer data collection:

Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?” […]

The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.

This is what retailers like Target want to preserve, or even improve upon, with CurrentC. And this is exactly the sort of thing that Apple Pay, with its per-purchase unique tokens — is designed to prevent.

28 Oct 17:01

More than 2,500 protest Bill Maher’s speech at Cal

by Frances Dinkelspiel
More than 2,500 people have signed a petition protesting Bill Maher's appearance at Cal's December commencement. Photo: Bill Maher

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition protesting Bill Maher’s appearance at Cal’s December commencement. Photo: Bill Maher

The selection of TV host Bill Maher to deliver a December commencement address at UC Berkeley has come under fire from people who believe his views on Islam are racist.

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition on asking that the university withdraw its offer. The petition also suggests people boycott the address, now scheduled for Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. in Haas Pavilion.(...)

Read the rest of More than 2,500 protest Bill Maher’s speech at Cal (536 words)

By Frances Dinkelspiel. | Permalink | 69 comments |
Post tags: Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Gina Hwang, Khwaja Ahmed, Marium Navid, Real Time with Bill Maher, Religulous, The Californians

27 Oct 18:27

High fiber chicken


Next time use Wheaties or All-Bran in the fry batter instead of Corn Flakes, dude.

My fiber is low, which was surprising because I ate chicken, which I thought would take care of that. 

25 Oct 19:28

★ Retailers Are Disabling NFC to Block Apple Pay

by John Gruber

Eric Slivka, reporting for MacRumors:

Earlier this week, pharmacy chain Rite Aid shut down unofficial support for the Apple Pay and Google Wallet mobile payments systems, resulting in an outcry from users who have been testing out Apple’s new system since its launch on Monday. Rite Aid was not an official Apple Pay partner, but the payments system generally works with existing near field communications (NFC) payment terminals anyway, and many users had had success using Apple Pay at Rite Aid stores early in the week.

It now appears that fellow major pharmacy chain CVS is following suit and as of today is shutting down the NFC functionality of its payment terminals entirely, a move presumably intended to thwart Apple Pay. Google Wallet services are obviously also being affected by the move.

These retailers are part of a group (Merchant Customer Exchange, “MCX”) working on an upcoming mobile payment system called CurrentC. Here’s an article about CurrentC by Debbie Simurda, writing for Mainstreet Inc., a point-of-sale provider:

CurrentC mobile payments platform by Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is a mobile wallet being developed by a group of major retailers who want greater control of payments, their mobile brand and mobile customer experience. They want to keep more of their customer data, rather than ceding to technology companies. MCX was established in 2012 and currently consists of 59 participating retailers, many large Tier 1 merchants, across all segments. […]

[Update: Not sure why, but Mainstreet Inc. took down the original article. I’m now linking to Google’s cached version of it.]

Here’s how it’s supposed to work:

The application can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play Store. Available for both iOS and Android devices, it is designed to ‘simplify and expedite the customer checkout process by applying qualifying offers and coupons, participating merchant rewards, loyalty programs and membership accounts, and offering payment options through the consumer’s selected financial account, all with a single scan.”

  • Using CurrentC mobile payments the point-of-sale displays a QR code for the customer to read with their phone.

  • The QR code generates the payment token on the smartphone which verifies the shopper’s presence, identity and initiates the transaction between the merchant and the bank.

  • The phone connects with the cloud for authorization and sends the approval to the merchant.

CurrentC doesn’t support the contactless Near Field Communications (NFC) used by Apple Pay.

QR codes. Good luck with that. Plus, CurrentC doesn’t even work with credit cards — it only works with prepaid store cards and debit cards tied directly to your bank account. Apple Pay is built atop the credit card system; CurrentC is a (futile, I say) attempt to eliminate credit card.

What Apple gets and what no one else in the industry does is that using your mobile device for payments will only work if it’s far easier and better than using a credit card. With CurrentC, you’ll have to unlock your phone, launch their app, point your camera at a QR code, and wait. With Apple Pay, you just take out your phone and put your thumb on the Touch ID sensor.

Tim Cook was exactly right on stage last month when he introduced Apple Pay: it’s the only mobile payment solution designed around improving the customer experience. CurrentC is designed around the collection of customer data and the ability to offer coupons and other junk. Here is what a printed receipt from CVS looks like. It looks like a joke, but that’s for real. And that’s the sort of experience they want to bring to mobile payments.

If I’m reading this right, and I think I am, these retailers who are shutting down their NFC payment systems are validating that Apple Pay is actually working, that people are actually using it. And remember, it only works with the month-old iPhones 6. Think about what happens a year or two from now when a majority of iPhones in use are Apple Pay enabled.

Think about what they’re doing. They’re turning off NFC payment systems — the whole thing — only because people were actually using them with Apple Pay. Apple Pay works so well that it even works with non-partner systems. These things have been installed for years and so few people used them, apparently, that these retailers would rather block everyone than allow Apple Pay to continue working. I can’t imagine a better validation of Apple Pay’s appeal.

And the reason they don’t want to allow Apple Pay is because Apple Pay doesn’t give them any personal information about the customer. It’s not about security — Apple Pay is far more secure than any credit/debit card system in the U.S. It’s not about money — Apple’s tiny slice of the transaction comes from the banks, not the merchants. It’s about data.

They’re doing this so they can pursue a system that is less secure (third-party apps don’t have access to the secure element where Apple Pay stores your credit card data, for one thing), less convenient (QR codes?), and not private.

I don’t know that CVS and Rite Aid disabling Apple Pay out of spite is going to drive customers to switch pharmacies (Walgreens is an Apple Pay partner), but I do know that CurrentC is unlikely to ever gain any traction whatsoever.

27 Oct 15:18

Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Detailed as Convoluted System With Minimal Consumer Benefit

by Kelly Hodgkins

Wow does this look horrible

With recent moves by pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid to disable Apple Pay or even NFC payments entirely at their stores, a separate mobile payments initiative backed by these and other major retailers is gaining significant attention. This consortium of merchants, which includes Best Buy, Walmart, Lowe's, and many more, is known as Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) and is developing a mobile payments solution known as CurrentC.

Though it is supported by major retailers attempting to work around the credit card swipe fees charged by banks and card issuers, CurrentC may be hindered by a complicated user interface and security concerns as detailed in a report by TechCrunch.

Unlike Apple Pay, which uses NFC to process payment wirelessly, the CurrentC system uses a dedicated app and relies on QR code scanning to process a consumer's payment. The app stores receipts as well as provide access to loyalty accounts, which can be used to apply discounts at participating retailers.

To use CurrentC, consumers must have an active account that requires them to set up a bank account as a payment source and confirm their identity by providing their driver's license and social security number. This sensitive information is stored in the cloud and not on the phone.
When you sign up for CurrentC, you’re supposed to add your bank account. This lets CurrentC process payments for you without retailers having to pay the steep credit card processing fee. You can also add retailers’ loyalty credit cards or gift cards as payment methods.
Payments are pulled automatically from the bank account linked to the user's account via Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, a system adopted as a way to help merchants avoid paying the approximately 2-3 percent fee levied by credit card companies. MCX also provides retailers with consumer intelligence information, allowing them to send targeted ads and discount offers to consumers based on their purchase history.

CurrentC notes it may share info with your device maker, app store, or developer tool makers. Oddly, it will collect health data. Precise location information is used to verify you’re at the retailer where you’re making a transaction, and if you opt in it can be used for marketing or advertising. CurrentC notes that you can opt in to be able to capture and store photos in the app for a hypothetical visual shopping list or other features down the road.
In 2012, MCX reportedly ramped up its efforts to entice retailers to join its mobile payments system., asking participating merchants for an upfront fee of up to $500,000 and requiring them to sign three-year exclusivity deals. These deals appear to be the reason Rite Aid and CVS disabled unofficial access to Apple Pay in their stores, although it is unclear why they waited until after the service went live and customers were using it before disabling their systems.

CurrentC is currently in beta testing and on target for a 2015 launch, which positions it behind Apple's already existing Apple Pay system. It is reportedly being pilot tested in Minnesota at select retailers before rolling out nationwide next year. Because the payments do not require NFC or Bluetooth LE, the system will be compatible with a variety of Android and older model iPhones.

Adoption may be slow as retailers must modify their point of sales systems to accept these payments. Consumers may also balk at a system that requires the cloud storage of sensitive information and a cumbersome checkout process that relies on QR codes accessed through a separate app and tied to direct bank withdrawals. To compensate for these detractors, MCX reportedly will push retailer discounts and loyalty purchases to entice consumers to adopt this upcoming mobile payments system.

24 Oct 19:36

Boss Burgers opening soon in Albany; commits to using tallow for all fried foods

by Ethan Fletcher

upload-2334687021136867021Boss Burgers is opening soon—likely within the next two weeks—near owner Jon Guhl’s Little Star Pizza location on Solano Avenue in Albany.

The menu features the kinds items you might expect from a burger joint in a family-oriented neighborhood: Shake Shack–style kid-friendly burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, soft serve ice cream, and, of course, French fries. (CLICK HERE to check out the preliminary menu.) However, Guhl is likely setting himself apart from the typical burger crowd with his commitment to quality ingredients, and one in particular.

Yes, Boss will source pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, organic free-range chicken, and organic dairy—not exactly headline news anymore around the Bay Area these days. But in what might be a first for a local burger restaurant, it’ll fry all its food, including fries and chicken, entirely in beef tallow.

Using tallow—essentially lard or rendered fat—rather than vegetable oil is something about which Guhl is passionate and has fought hard to institute on the new Boss menu. Guhl believes that using lard, despite some general conceptions of it being unhealthy, is in fact better for the body than ingesting manufactured vegetable-based oils heated (and often reheated) at super high temperatures.

“Rendering animal fat is something that we’ve been able to do from the beginning of time, versus using high temperatures and chemicals to extract oils out of plant tissues,” he says. “It’s a nasty process; it’s hard on the environment and it’s hard on us. We’re trying to get back to things that are traditional, before food became so compromised with all kinds of fake bullish*t.”

He’s so committed to it, in fact, that he’s willing to risk alienating a portion of his customer base that may still be skittish about eating animal fat, not to mention vegetarians for whom fries are normally a safe options. He’s also willing to pay a higher price for tallow, which is difficult to source and therefore around four times as expensive as most vegetable oils.

“I don’t normally like to hoist my personal beliefs on people, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” Guhl says. “And I think there are enough people out there who feel the same way that will jump on board with this. Plus, I figure if anyone’s ready for this message, it’s the Bay Area.”

Boss Burger: 1187 Solano Avenue, Albany,

24 Oct 17:06

This is serious.



The main reason that I am against gay marriage is a scientific reason.  Science shows that gay people turn their children into homosexuality.  If that keeps happening, then over time, slowly but surely, more homosexuals will occur, and reproduction will die off.  Homosexual people will literally end humanity.  This is serious.  

24 Oct 12:48

You Don’t Come into My Journal, Drop a Causal Inference Challenge, and Leave

by tompepinsky

Excellent use of _Karate Kid_.


Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page have a major new piece on the nature of American democracy in the latest issue of Perspectives on Politics. Perspectives comes straight to my mailbox so I always browse it, but this article caught my eye because (1) it’s important and (2) its finding that economic elites and interest groups explain policy action accords with my own subjective beliefs about “how American democracy really works.” From the abstract:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

Yet what caught my eye and sponsored this post is a quote on pages 572-3.

As noted, our evidence does not indicate that in U.S. policy making the average citizen always loses out. Since the preferences of ordinary citizens tend to be positively correlated with the preferences of economic elites, ordinary citizens often win the policies they want, even if they are more or less coincidental beneficiaries rather than causes of the victory. There is not necessarily any contradiction at all between our findings and past bivariate findings of a roughly two-thirds correspondence between actual policy and the wishes of the general public, or of a close correspondence between the liberal/conservative “mood” of the public and changes in policymaking. Our main point concerns causal inference: if interpreted in terms of actual casual impact, the prior findings appear to be largely or wholly spurious.

What motivates this comment is their finding that mass public opinion predicts policy change in a bivariate regression-type analysis, but when controlling for the preferences of the richest people and of narrow interest groups, that relationship disappears.

I believe that the relationship they report is accurate, and moreover, that their description of the underlying structure politics that that relationship suggests is actually correct (more or less). But I do not think that this kind of statistical analysis shows it, or that the causal inference language that I bolded above is appropriate.

Why? Because these correlations do not correspond to causal questions of the type “what is the effect of an change in mass public opinion on the likelihood that a bill is passed?” Think about it: just what does “actual causal impact” mean? It cannot mean conditional correlation, which is what we are seeing. It must mean something counterfactual. The authors are presumably alluding to the possibility that there is a complex, perhaps unobservable, relationship between mass public opinion and elite opinion/interest group behavior. Perhaps “in the wild” there is little independent variation between mass opinion and the other two, so that it’s unrealistic to think that we could conceptually separate the two. Throughout the text they suggest this is true. But we cannot back out from what they have shown here any conclusion about the causal impact of mass public opinion.

As a further note: even if we didn’t care about causal inference, we should not test competing hypotheses—be they nested or non-nested—through big multiple regression models. We have a range of better procedures for doing that.

23 Oct 22:04

The Mission’s Lexington Club announces closure, cites ‘a neighborhood that has dramatically changed’

by Paolo Lucchesi
Lexington Club is one of the last remaining lesbian bars in San Francsico. Photo: Kurt Rogers

Lexington Club is one of the last remaining lesbian bars in San Francisco. It has occupied the corner of 19th and Lexington for 18 years. Photo: Kurt Rogers/The Chronicle

Lexington Club. Photo: Kurt Rogers

Lexington Club. Photo: Kurt Rogers/The Chronicle

After nearly two decades of business on the corner of 19th and Lexington, in the heart of the Mission District, lesbian bar Lexington Club has been sold, according to an announcement by owner Lila Thirkield on Facebook.

According to sources at the bar, they’ve entered into a contract to sell the bar. There is no timeline yet for a closure, only that it is slated to happen sometime in 2015.

Here is Thirkield’s eloquent goodbye letter:

To My Dear Community –

It is with a heavy heart, great thought and consideration that I have made the very difficult decision to sell The Lexington Club.

Eighteen years ago I opened The Lex to create a space for the dykes, queers, artist…s, musicians and neighborhood folks who made up the community that surrounded it. Eighteen years later, I find myself struggling to run a neighborhood dyke bar in a neighborhood that has dramatically changed. A few years back my rent was raised to market rate, and though it was difficult, we seemed to weather it at first. But as the neighborhood continued to change, we began to see sales decline, and they continued to do so. We tried new concepts, different ways of doing things, but we were struggling. When a business caters to about 5% of the population, it has tremendous impact when 1% of them leave. When 3% or 4% of them can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood, or the City, it makes the business model unsustainable.

Please know that if I thought The Lexington Club could be saved, I would not be writing this. I understand what a huge loss this is to the community. It is difficult and painful to lose our queer spaces. However, my faith in queer San Francisco still runs deep. It is the best place in the world and dykes and queers are still an integral part of this city. They always will be. I have spent the better part of my adult life facilitating and creating community among dykes and queers in SF and I will not stop. The Lexington Club had an incredible eighteen-year run. It will forever live on in my heart, as I’m sure it will for many of you. To all who were a part of it – thank you for your contribution to a great chapter in San Francisco and a great chapter in my own life. And, of course, a huge thank you to my amazing staff. We made some incredible memories, and we will make more.

Lila Thirkield (Lexington)

No word yet on the identity of the buyers. Updates as warranted.

Update: Thirkield speaks to 48 Hills about the closure: “It turned us into a sort of community center for what was going on in the city and we were happy to let someone know where they could go dancing with a bunch of hot girls that night. It really helped create a sense that there was a vibrant and cohesive queer community here in SF and I think there still is.”

Lexington Club: 3464 19th Street, between Mission and Valencia, San Francisco. (415) 863-2052 or

23 Oct 18:15

American delicacy

Bacon contributed to the satisfaction of millions. It is now included in stuffed crust at Pizza Hut as an american delicacy.

23 Oct 16:17

[Bookplate of Frederic Remington] (LOC)

by The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress posted a photo:

[Bookplate of Frederic Remington] (LOC)

Remington, Frederic,, 1861-1909,, artist.

[Bookplate of Frederic Remington]

[between 1880? and 1909]

1 print : lithograph ; bookplate 11.4 x 7.6 cm, on mount 22.8 x 15.2 cm.

Title devised by Library staff.
On verso: Frederick Remington, 1861-1909, author, artist, sculptor. This plate is scare, very few were printed. Designed by the owner.
Print showing a cow skull.
Forms part of the Ruthven Deane Bookplate Collection.

Remington, Frederic,--1861-1909--Associated objects.

Format: Bookplates--1880-1910.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 1935:144.4527 [item]

23 Oct 16:17

[Bookplate of Charles Chaplin] (LOC)

by The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress posted a photo:

[Bookplate of Charles Chaplin] (LOC)

[Bookplate of Charles Chaplin]

[ca. 1918?]

1 print : lithograph, offset ; bookplate 11.8 x 6.4 cm.

Inscription on back: By R. Wagner, del.
Typescript correspondence from Frances Kallam (Charlie Chaplin Film Co.) to Ruthven Deane dated 1918 and portrait of Chaplin attached to bookplate mount.
Title devised by Library staff.
Forms part of the Ruthven Deane Bookplate Collection.

Chaplin, Charlie,--1889-1977--Associated objects.

Format: Bookplates--1910-1920.
Offset lithographs--1910-1920.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 1935:144.3232 [item]

23 Oct 16:21

Edward Penfield, his book (LOC)

by The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress posted a photo:

Edward Penfield, his book (LOC)

Penfield, Edward,, 1866-1925,, bookplate designer.

Edward Penfield, his book

[between ca. 1900 and 1925]

1 print : woodcut, two colors ; bookplate 7.5 x 7.6 cm.

Exhibit caption (2014): Artist Edward Penfield carved this elegant bookplate for himself during the heyday of the medium. Bookplates, were not only pasted into books, they were actively collected and traded. Ruthven Deane, a lawyer by trade, and bird watcher and bookplate collector by hobby, assembled a fine collection of approximately 15,000 plates. That, in combination with plates donated by the American Society for Bookplate Collectors and Designers, still an active organization, makes the Library a destination for researching and enjoying these small prints. DLC
Title devised by Library staff.
Bookplate shows a cat looking at an open book.
Forms part of the Ruthven Deane Bookplate Collection.

Penfield, Edward,--1866-1925--Associated objects.

Format: Bookplates--1900-1930.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 1935:144.4519 [item]

23 Oct 04:34

Meet the Lord High Badass of Canada

by Josh Marshall

As you have no doubt heard a member of the Canadian military and an attacker were killed today in the Canadian Parliament complex in Ottawa in what appears to be the second ISIL-inspired 'lone wolf' terrorist attack in Canada this week. Amidst all the other details and repercussions of this incident, there's one detail that I didn't fully grasp until this evening. And that is that the guy who shot and killed Michael Abdul Zehaf Bibeau, thus ending the attack, wasn't just someone from the Sergeant-at-Arms office but the actual Sergeant-at-Arms, 58 year old Kevin Vickers - the holder of an office that is largely ceremonial in nature.

Read More →
22 Oct 21:43

Red Army soldiers in Stalingrad, 1942. 

Red Army soldiers in Stalingrad, 1942. 

22 Oct 23:10

Kurdistan Workers’ Party training camp in the Beqaa...

Kurdistan Workers’ Party training camp in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanese Republic. Photo by Nikos Economopoulos, 1991.

22 Oct 07:03

Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?

by Kali Handelman

An interview with Professor Josef Sorett on the occasion of the upcoming conference “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?”

Professor Josef Sorett

Professor Josef Sorett

Josef Sorett is Assistant Professor of Religion and African-American Studies and Associate Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University (IRCPL). He is also the founding director of the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARRS), which is located within Columbia’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS). He is an interdisciplinary scholar of religion and race in America who employs primarily historical and literary approaches to the study of religion in black communities and cultures in the United States. His latest book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics is forthcoming next year from Oxford University Press. Spirit in the Dark will “illumine how religion has figured in debates about black art and culture.”

Editor of The Revealer, Kali Handelman, interviewed Prof. Sorett about his work and the upcoming conference IRAAS is hosting, which will also launch the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice, Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality: Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics and will take place October 23-24, 2014 at Columbia University in New York.

This interview has been edited and condensed for publication.

Revealer: Tell me about the new Center for African American Religion, Sexual-Politics and Social Justice that you’re launching this fall?

Sorett: The center is the latest iteration of work that began in 2008 when I was invited to serve as a researcher on a project that engaged, via interviews and focus groups, roughly 100 clergy and lay people who were connected to African-American churches around the country. This was in the immediate wake of the first go-round of Proposition 8 in California in 2008. The study was not initially an academic project, it emerged out of research I was doing in partnership with several organizations in the not-for-profit world. If you recall, in the aftermath of Obama’s election there was a narrative concerning the passage of Prop 8 that basically surmised that the legislation passed largely because of African-American opposition to same-sex marriage and was then attributed to an ethos of presumed uncritical religiosity. The impetus for the study was to turn that narrative into a question. We asked, basically, “What truth is there in this claim, in this narrative, of a religious-motivated black (hyper) homophobia?”

As academics, we’re often suspicious of exit polls, and rightfully so. In this case, of course, evidence confirmed that such suspicion was warranted. Certainly there is ample evidence of homophobia in some black churches, as is the case in American Christianity and Christianity more generally; but things are also much more complicated than the logic that was being supported by those exit polls.

Once that study was completed, it challenged the funder of the study, the Arcus Foundation, to think about what possibilities there might be for them to be working with African-American communities to advance a more progressive agenda around sexuality. After that study, with continued support from the Arcus Foundation, I worked for about three years to convene a group of scholars, activists, and religious leaders for a couple of purposes: the first, to survey how African-American communities were engaging broader social debates concerning sexuality (i.e. marriage equality) and, second, to think about potential spaces and structures for more inclusive and generative conversations.

At the end of a series of three convenings, we presented Arcus with several recommendations for thinking about how they might do that work of advancing a more progressive agenda around sexuality. One of the first steps that Arcus took in response to these recommendations was to provide seed funding for the launch of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice (CARSS) and to, thus, play a particular role—as a site of intellectual leadership—in relationship to a broader funding strategy for engaging religious leaders, denominations, and the like.

That was about a year ago, since then CARSS also received another significant grant from the Carpenter Foundation. Carpenter has been a driving force behind helping the academic study of religion and theological study think about sexuality, so, we’re really excited about have their support. And now, this conference, Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality: Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics, which is both IRAAS’ major Fall event as well as CARSS’ public launch! For the past year in our programmatic efforts we’ve been doing things on a small scale to lay the center’s foundation. Now, this conference is the public launch which will go along with the establishment of the Center’s virtual presence (, which should go live on the web around the time of the conference.

Revealer: Where did the conference’s title come from?

Sorett: A few years ago, there was an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “Who’s Afraid of Black Sexuality?” that called attention to the way in which sexuality was still often a taboo topic within African-American Studies. In unpacking an observed anxiety in relationship to sexuality, scholars usually invoked the “politics of respectability;” a term tied to the scholarship of historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (who happens to have been my dissertation advisor). She coined this term in her study of black Baptist women, and her arguments reveal the significance of black churches as incubators of a politics of respectability even as those politics were part of a deliberate political strategy for achieving racial equality.

The conference aims to bring together an interest in engaging a variety of issues pertaining to sexuality while also addressing the way in which religion often still remains marginal. Whether because of a sort of secular orthodoxy associated with the founding of Black Studies, or because religion is assumed to be so central to black culture that it’s often marginal, Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality? aims to hold together concerns with both religion and sexuality with an eye toward the broader project of African American Studies.

Revealer: When you say “religion often still remains marginal” do you mean that, in some way, people think it’s too obvious to need to get talked about?

Sorett: Exactly! “The black church” is taken for granted as historically central. And black life is often assumed to be saturated by spiritual concerns even in the face of secularizing forces. 

Revealer: Do you think that there’s already a shared vocabulary for people coming in to this conference, then? Or is this an exercise of building a shared vocabulary? In other words, how much inter-disciplinary translation will be necessary?

Sorett: I would say, probably, no. For me that’s more exciting than anxiety producing. I think that if we do have a shared language – and I think this is what foregrounds the relationship between scholarship and activism – it is a sort of awareness, an impossibility of ignoring the dominant language that has shaped recent public debates; namely, the popular opposition of “gay vs. black.” So there’s a whole host of assumptions we have to work through. For example, I’ve been asked on several occasions both, “Is this just a conference about LGBT stuff?” and “Will this conference address LGBT concerns?” So, one of our aims has been to make a claim about the centrality of questions of sexuality to the study of religion and African American culture in general, and invite folks to the table who don’t necessarily think of themselves, right out of the gate, as scholars of gender and sexuality. At the same time we want to account for (rather than obscure or elide) the asymmetries of power and inequality that are still mapped on non-normative sexualities, especially black LGBTQ folks.

Revealer: What’s gained by engaging religious leaders, activists, and scholars all on this equal footing? And what about the idea of scholarship as activism?

Sorett: That’s a broader meta interest of my own. We’re familiar with the implicit, if not explicit, academic orthodoxy of activism and scholarship as mutually exclusive, as one necessarily being divorced from the other; perhaps less so in African-American Studies, but often all the more so in Religious Studies. You know, we start putting preachers in the room and it reminds religious studies scholars of their field’s Protestant, colonial, missionary past in a way that is rightfully unsettling. In Religious Studies, activism has a different sort of theological anxiety attached to it that I recognize and respect, given the privileges still attached to Protestantism. At the same time, I think that we can consider religious leaders in a sort of Gramscian sense, as “organic intellectuals.” To think about religious practitioners as intellectuals and also to own the fact that, as scholars, whether we name them or not, we all come with a host of commitments that might also identify us as activists or as practitioners.

AreTheGodsAfraid_WebBanerRevealer: How is the conference being organized? Is there anything different about it?

Sorett: There’s a narrative arc to the conference. The first day begins with a plenary that aims to simply put a host of issues on the table. There are folks on the plenary panel representing activism, African-American Studies, philanthropy (philanthropy with the question of resourcing this sort of work), writing, journalism, and religious leadership. The first day will then be about attending in really close ways to the historical and cultural narratives that we inherit, so panels two and three serve to interrogate and unearth the categories at hand. So, the first day lends itself more to what is traditional academic conference fare, although, all presenters have been invited both to think about their own work and to gesture toward connections to contemporary debates. In this way they have been encouraged to move outside of their disciplines. Day one ends with a public conversation at a church in Harlem, on the sexual politics of sacred music, which also signals the direction of day two.

When we come back the following day, the keynote conversation and morning panel will foreground the intersection of scholarship and activism; both in the academy and beyond. Then there’s a film festival of sorts which will attend to the ways in which these narratives, vis a vis media representations, are always a part of our everyday experiences. Lastly, there is a final plenary that aims to redirect the conversation back outwards as we close. We didn’t ask people to write manuscripts, we’re inviting them to make their presentations more conversational. Hopefully they’ll take us up on the invitation to conversation and the presentation style will lend itself to what we might call accessibility for a range of audiences.

Revealer: Can you tell me more about the Keynote Conversation, “Queering Racial Justice”?

Sorett: We decided we wanted to use the keynote to put forward an example of a conversational model. We’re interested in it being a conversation about the larger theme of scholarship and activism, but in a way that was organized around issues of race and gender, religion and sexuality, in tandem. We decided to feature Emilie Townes, an ordained Baptist clergy person, former faculty at Union Theological Seminary, and then Yale where, I believe, she was the first African American woman Dean at the Divinity School. She’s trained as a Christian ethicist and theologian, but her scholarship has always been interdisciplinary, reflecting as much on African-American history as on these larger ethical questions around race, gender, and sexuality.

We wanted to make sure that we brought in someone who knew Emilie well enough to have a rich conversation with her. Alondra Nelson was most recently the director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality at Columbia and is now the Dean of Social Science here. Before their most recent appointments at Columbia and Vanderbilt, though, Alondra and Emilie were colleagues at Yale. So there are both intellectual and personal connections that should help to make this a compelling conversation.

Revealer: The conference call for papers said that religion and sex are “marginal within the broader discourses of African-American Studies.” It seems as though the mission of your conference is to change that, to make them more central or get them circulating within the larger conversations already happening. Why is doing that so important?

Sorett: It’s important in doing this to insist both that religion has to be taken seriously, regardless of whether one’s religious or not, and also that there is no investment in converting anybody. Not taking religion seriously is often the default progressive position when religion is seen as synonymous with the moral majority and religious right. We need to invite more critical thinking about the role of religion in society. I think that shift is already taking shape.

There’s an intersectional approach that holds in African-American Studies, which has developed a discourse that accounts for race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and age, but which often says little engagement about religion. There’s a way in which Christian privilege is also so taken for granted, it is assumed or unquestioned. So we want to invite folks to think critically about how religion matters with in that intersectional frame.

Revealer: What do you mean by “taking religion seriously”?

Sorett: I mean recognizing, as I think we already have, the myth that is secularization. It means understanding that belief – or whatever other more precise term you want to use to locate or identify religion – is still very central to how human beings organize themselves and think about themselves. To study human experience and social life and not take seriously how human beings think of themselves as religious (under a variety of rubrics) is to miss a significant dimension of what we claim to be doing in the humanities and social sciences.

Revealer: So, if we are interested in race, class, gender, etc. and don’t consider religion, we miss a big part of what’s going on? 

Sorett: Yes, and moreover, we need to recognize that whether or not we do much talking about religion, our intellectual frameworks, whether we recognize them as such or not, are deeply indebted to very modern, most often Protestant categories. 

Revealer: Right, and that intellectual genealogy has often been one of making claims about who “has religion” and who doesn’t. The people who we study “have religion,” but we don’t.

Sorett: Yes. In some form or another, we are all wrestling with a religious inheritance.

Revealer: Is part of this idea of taking religion seriously also a kind of push back against narratives about secularization and presumed secularity?

Sorett: Before I knew anything about recent secularism debates this was the meta question in all of my research. There’s a default white normativity within secularism debates. Because, even when secularization narratives were in vogue, it was assumed that this didn’t so much hold in relationship to African-American communities. Which, again, is the same narrative behind the whole Prop 8 story, right? “Oh, you know, these folks are not fully modern, rational citizens.”

Revealer: Right, some idea that they are being “kept behind be their beliefs.” Which, of course, is somehow different from how those beliefs function for white members of the Christian Right…

Sorett: Yes, maybe it’s because of the way in which narratives around American blackness were so fraught, they assumed hyper-religiosity. African-American Studies has often, to my mind, taken for granted that secularist narrative and assumed it for itself. This is the argument in my own book, Spirit in the Dark, which places African-American literary history in conversation with American religious history and pushes back against the prevailing idea that takes for granted that twentieth-century African-American literature was a modernist, and therefore secular, project. There’s a certain secular, and secularizing narrative assumed of that literary history in way that does not bear out in the literary texts that populate that history.

In some form or another, we are all wrestling with a religious inheritance.

Revealer: That’s where African-Americans become secular, in modern literature?

Sorett: Right, and writers were often presumed to replace black preachers. Richard Wright more or less argued as much as early as 1938, with his “Blueprint for Negro Writing.” And Wright, is invoked by a whole host of writers in the 1960s when Black Studies is being formed. It’s almost as though Black Studies, in certain quarters, is understood as an, albeit secularized, sacred project. Sexuality is certainly one of the registers in which that secularizing argument was made. Part of the argument for, and evidence of, black people’s primitive ways was not just their religiosity but also their sexuality. These stereotypes went hand-in-hand. Blackness as other in its hyper-religious and hyper-sexual character.

Revealer: How do you capture what’s different in the assumptions made about black Christianity and white Christianity and how they’ve come to be thought about so differently and as having such different politics?

Sorett: One has to think about American evangelicalism more broadly, before evangelicals got flattened out to be just the Religious Right, there were also abolitionists and early feminists. Many of them were evangelical. It’s that genealogical question, it’s not just about who has it, who gets it, who believes it, but this is the story of the “New World.” Whether we name it as such. This is where someone like James Baldwin, one of many black modernist writers to bring together religion, race gender and sexuality, was spot on in talking about the intersection of Christianity and colonialism and its gendered and sexualized discourses.

Revealer: What are the short term and long term goals are for the conference and the center? What are you hoping folks take back to their respective scholarly, activist, and religious communities from this experience?

Sorett: The dialogue between scholars, activists, and religious leaders around the nation that the conference aims to foster is certainly consistent with aspects of the center’s work. We’ve just begun a series of what will in the next three or four years be a total of about twenty local closed-door conversations with scholars, activists, and religious leaders thinking about how questions around sexuality are hitting the ground. Those conversations both allow us to conduct research (i.e. collect data), but they also to help establish spaces for language to develop by inviting local actors to think together about a set of related issues. One of the center’s goals is also to support these kind of structures and spaces and build capacity for such conversations.

Then, in addition to the closed-door sessions, we will help host a series of public conversations, which will be more like academic panels geared to a broader audience. We envision these as following up on the smaller conversations, organized around the issues and concerns that were identified as significant in specific local contexts.

Revealer: I’m sure each place will have their own unique conversations that they need and want to have.

Sorett: Absolutely! In each instance, we’ll be partnering with local organizations in ways that are consistent with our research goals, but also address real questions and concerns as they emerge on the ground. To me, this work presents a really exciting, if intellectually challenging, intersection of scholarship and public engagement.


22 Oct 17:44

Berkeley ballot snafu, more money in for 2014 election

by Frances Dinkelspiel
Alameda County officials are mailing out postcards to alert voters that the date of the election printed on mail-in ballots is wrong. It reads Nov. 5, 2014, when it should read Nov. 4, 2014. Photo: KQED

Alameda County officials are mailing out postcards to alert voters that the date of the election printed on many mail-in ballots is wrong. It reads Nov. 5, 2014, when it should read Nov. 4, 2014. Photo: KQED

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has sent out 27,000 postcards to Berkeley voters informing them that the date of the election printed on their mail-in ballots is wrong. The date reads Nov. 5, when of course the actual date is Nov. 4.

“This is an unfortunate error on some vote-by-mail envelopes sent to voters in Berkeley, and we deeply regret any confusion this may be causing,” Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis said in a press release.

Read all you need to know about local elections on our Election Hub page

A printer used by Alameda County and other California counties has accepted responsibility for the error, said Dupuis.(...)

Read the rest of Berkeley ballot snafu, more money in for 2014 election (335 words)

By Frances Dinkelspiel. | Permalink | 14 comments |
Post tags: Alameda County Registrar of Voters, Berkeley Police Officers Association PAC, Berkeley politics, District 7, District 8, George Beier, Jacquelyn McCormick, Kriss Worthington, Landmark Theaters, Lori Droste, Measure D, Measure R, Michael Alvarez Cohen, National Association of Realtors, Sean Barry, Tim Dupuis

22 Oct 15:18

This is Amazing

by Josh Marshall

Martha Coakley's loss to Scott Brown, bringing the accidental Senator to national prominence, almost upending Obamacare and in many ways drawing open the curtain on what would become the 2010 blow out is an almost iconic event. This year Massachusetts Dems gave her a shot at Governor. And it looks like she may be on a course to blow this one too. Check out this chart.

21 Oct 17:19

Axiomatic CSS and Lobotomized Owls

by overbey

* + *

At CSS Day last June I introduced, with some trepidation, a peculiar three-character CSS selector. Called the “lobotomized owl selector” for its resemblance to an owl’s vacant stare, it proved to be the most popular section of my talk. I couldn’t tell you whether the attendees were applauding the thinking behind the invention or were, instead, nervously laughing at my audacity for including such an odd and seemingly useless construct. Perhaps I was unwittingly speaking to a room full of paid-up owl sanctuary supporters. I don’t know. The lobotomized owl selector looks like this: * + *
21 Oct 04:14

Big Soda Is Totally Freaking Out About This Local Ordinance | Mother Jones

by overbey

I have my reservations about Measure D., but I’ll probably vote for it on the general principle that anything CocaCola hates this badly is probably a good thing.

21 Oct 11:44

Peak PRC

by Josh Marshall

‘“If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you’d be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month,” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in a joint interview with the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Financial Times.’

True, Hong Kong has a separate political system from the mainland. But a special moment when the region's leader says they can't allow the public to vote on who should lead Hong Kong because poor people wouldn't totally dominate the election.

21 Oct 03:22

Yosemite, Spotlight, and Privacy

by John Gruber

What’s most interesting is that the Preference Pane itself has a prominent button about Spotlight and Privacy, and clicking it gives a detailed explanation of how the feature works and how to disable it.

Russell Brandom, writing for The Verge, responding to a mostly-wrong piece in The Washington Post on Yosemite Spotlight and privacy:

But on closer inspection, many of the claims are less damning than they seem. There’s already a public privacy policy for the new feature, as well as a more technical look at the protections in the most recent iOS security report. That document breaks down five different kinds of information transmitted in a search: the approximate location, the device type, the client app (either Spotlight or Safari), the device’s language settings and the previous three apps called up by the user. More importantly, all that information is grouped under an ephemeral session ID which automatically resets every 15 minutes, making it extremely difficult to trace a string of searches back to a specific user. That also makes the data significantly less useful to marketers, since it can’t track behavior over any meaningful length of time. And most importantly, the data is transmitted over an HTTPS connection, so it can’t be intercepted in transit.

I’m not sure how anyone would think these suggestions would work if information weren’t being sent back to Apple. The only thing Apple could do differently is make this another one of the you-have-to-explicitly-opt-in stages when you first upgrade to Yosemite or create an account on a new Mac. But there are a lot of those on-boarding screens already — to Apple’s credit! — and in this case, even if you are using the feature, Apple has seemingly gone out of their way to protect your privacy.

20 Oct 14:42

Fix Mac OS X Yosemite

by overbey
If you've upgraded to Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) and you're using the default settings, each time you start typing in Spotlight (to open an application or search for a file on your computer), your local search terms and location are sent to Apple and third parties (including Microsoft). Mac OS X has always respected user privacy by default, and Mac OS X Yosemite should too. Since it doesn't, you can use the code to the left to disable the parts of Mac OS X which are invasive to your privacy.
20 Oct 18:24

Sleater-Kinney - Bury Our Friends (feat. Miranda July) - YouTube

by overbey
20 Oct 15:07

Chinese Authorities Allegedly Harvesting iCloud Logins Using Redirected Dummy Site [iOS Blog]

by Kelly Hodgkins
Chinese authorities allegedly are using a man-in-the-middle attack to harvest Apple ID information from Chinese users visiting Apple's iCloud service, reports web censorship blog Great Fire (via The Verge). A similar attack reportedly targets Microsoft's website.

According to Great Fire, Chinese users trying to access are redirected to a fake site that resembles Apple's iCloud website. While some browsers will issue a warning, popular Chinese browser Qihoo gives no indication users are entering their Apple credentials into a dummy site. Users fooled by the site may be putting their personal information at risk as attackers can then use these login details to access contacts, messages and more stored in iCloud.
This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc. Unlike the recent attack on Google, this attack is nationwide and coincides with the launch today in China of the newest iPhone. While the attacks on Google and Yahoo enabled the authorities to snoop on what information Chinese were accessing on those two platforms, the Apple attack is different. If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their username and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities.
This attack follows the Chinese launch of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and may be related to the encryption options and increased security of Apple's iOS 8. It is possible Chinese authorities are using this hack to penalize Apple for taking extra measures that would prevent the government from snooping on phones.

Great Fire advises Chinese users to switch to a trusted browser such as Firefox and Chrome, which will warn users when they access an illegitimate site. Apple owners also can use a VPN to bypass this redirection and connect directly to Two-factor authentication may also prevent attackers from accessing an iCloud account using a compromised username and password.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

17 Oct 23:02

Percy Harvin trade: Seahawks made trade to preserve locker room chemistry, per multiple reports

by Danny Kelly

The Seahawks had Percy Harvin on the trade block for the past couple of weeks, according to's Ian Rapoport, and finally moved the mercurial receiver to the Jets Friday afternoon for a conditional draft pick. The speculation for why Seattle would trade a supremely talented player a year and a half after trading a first round pick, a third round pick, and a seventh round pick for him all kind of hit on the same point: Harvin was just too much of a distraction off the field.

A few examples:

.@LanceZierlein on @Softykjr: sources tell him Percy had a confrontation with Russell Wilson after RW called him out for bad attitude

— Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) October 17, 2014

.@LanceZierlein heard from other sources that Percy punched Golden Tate in the face last year. Golden just IG'd this:

— Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) October 17, 2014

I was told "Harvin's anger issues are just too much to deal with and he could single handedly bring down team chemistry". Wow. Unreal.

— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) October 17, 2014

The Seahawks moved Percy Harvin before he poisoned the locker room. Without doubt.

— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) October 17, 2014

From @RapSheet: Harvin not the easiest player to deal with in locker room. OC Bevell struggled to integrate him into game plans.

— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) October 17, 2014

Harvin was more difficult to deal with last year than anybody knows. He has real trust issues with people. No getting it back once lost.

— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) October 17, 2014

Seahawks team source: "It was time for a change. It's that simple. We got a good deal. He's happy, we're happy."

— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 17, 2014

Seahawks team source: "Percy didn't want to be here. We accommodated him."

— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 17, 2014

Percy Harvin's anger management issues have followed him, and I'm told that was part of the problem in Seattle.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 17, 2014

Just talked to a league source on Percy Harvin...

— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) October 17, 2014

Told me #Seahawks coaches were tired of his attitude. Even in game toward Russell Wilson. Didn't like how it impacted the offense and team.

— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) October 17, 2014

Bottom line, it seems pretty clear that something major was going on behind the scenes with respect to Harvin's ability to get along with key members of the coaching staff, front office, or players.