Apple to FBI: Drop dead

Feb 17, 2016

Apple, now embroiled in a high-stakes national security dispute, refuses to comply with a federal order to unlock the cell phone used by one of the terrorsts during the December 2015 San Bernardino attack.


Ellen Nakashima in The Washington Post: "Tech giant Apple and the FBI appeared headed for a deepening confrontation Wednesday after the company’s chief pledged to fight federal demands to help mine data from an iPhone used by one of the shooters in December’s terrorist attacks in San Bernardino."


"The clash reflects wider debates in the United States and elsewhere over security measures used by companies to protect users of devices such as smartphones — and how much leverage authorities should have to gain special access."


“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a strongly worded open letter posted late Tuesday on the company’s website."


Covered California, the mechanism by which the Affordable Care Act is implemented in California, is in the crosshairs for allegedly using an illegal procurement process  in awarding its contracts. 


From Christopher Cadelago in The Sacramento Bee: "A new audit slams Covered California, the agency tasked with enrolling state residents in Obamacare, for not following rules when awarding lucrative contracts without a competitive-bidding process."


"The report discovered nine out of 40 justifications given for the sole-source contracts were insufficient based on the agency’s own standards. Covered California’s policy at the time allowed sole-source contracts, but generally only when timeliness or unique expertise were required for the job."


“In some instances the justifications asserted reasons that the board had not approved for using a noncompetitive procurement process,” the report from state Auditor Elaine Howle stated."


“In other instances the justifications failed to explain why Covered California was using a sole-source contract at all.”


Meanewhile, lawmakers in the Capitol are calling for greater transparency from those who lobby the California Coastal Commission.


John Myers with The L.A. Times: "Interest groups seeking to influence members of the California Coastal Commission would have to disclose the use and payment of professional lobbyists under legislation introduced at the state Capitol on Tuesday."


"There's a loophole in current law," Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said at a news conference with a group of colleagues."


"The legislation would make the 44-year old coastal agency subject to the same reporting requirements as those that already exist for lobbying the Legislature or other government agency." 


"Under current rules, there is only limited disclosure of paid lobbyists who meet with the panel's appointed commissioners."


The F.B.I. and local prosecutors in San Francisco are publicly launching their anti-corruption taskforce in the wake of Sen. Leland Yee's scandal.


From the Chronicle's Vivian Ho: "The San Francisco district attorney’s office is teaming up with the FBI to investigate public corruption in the wake of the sprawling, multi-year federal probe that snared former state Sen. Leland Yee, Chinatown crime boss Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and others."


"The new task force, announced Tuesday by District Attorney George Gascón and David J. Johnson, the leader of the FBI’s office in San Francisco, seeks to tap federal resources and investigators to look further into possible wrongdoing by the city’s public servants."

“We as San Franciscans can no longer blame the lack of resources for systemic problems that cause the public to lose faith in local government,” Gascón said at a news conference. “This today is the beginning of a process to try to short-circuit that. The good old boys, the pay-to-play system that has worked in San Francisco so well for so long, has to end.”


Speaking of good old boys, Gov. Jerry Brown removed the topic of climate change from his clean energy policy in an effort to lure Republicans to his cause.


David R. Baker with The Chronicle: "California Gov. Jerry Brown may have found a way to get some of his Republican counterparts to sign on to the clean energy revolution — drop all mention of climate change."

"Brown and a bipartisan group of 16 other governors announced an agreement Tuesday to increase renewable power, integrate electricity grids across state lines and boost the number of cars running on alternatives fuels."

"The accord they signed touts clean energy as a way to boost state economies, cut pollution and improve public health. And nowhere does it discuss climate change, renewable power’s main raison d’etre. (The accord, dated Tuesday, does include one brief mention of sea-level rise, which it lumps in with other “extreme weather events.”)

And now, from a day in the life of a modern-day Sysiphus: If you think you're having an uphill battle, Alun Miles might have some choice words for you when he braved the cold and ice to put out the trash. Check out the video

"Putting out the bins is a task many of us try to get out of, particularly when it’s cold."


"But Alun Miles understands the pain and frustration of it more than anybody else."


"Like most other people he left it to the last minute to put the bins out with the bin collection lorry visible and beeping in the background."


Meanwhile, his family watched and laughed happily ... 

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