Another year of major championship golf has passed without Tiger Woods hoisting the trophy above his head. It has been four years now, and he has to be getting anxious to get one to reaffirm his standing.Last weekend, Woods crumbled over the weekend – again — after leading the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island after two rounds. Saturday is called “Moving Day” in golf, and Woods moved in reverse, while eventual champion Rory McElroy took leaps forward.Remarkably – remarkable in an unbelievable way — Woods said he falter on Saturday because “I came out with probably the wrong attitude,” Woods said after a final-round 72 left him 11 shots back of McElroy, tied for 11th place. “I was too relaxed, and tried to enjoy it, and that’s not how I play. I play intense and full systems go. That cost me.”Not saying that’s a bunch of hogwash, but that sounds like a bunch of hogwash.It wasn’t as if Woods was out there slapping high-fives with folks in the gallery or chatting it up with his playing partners. What, exactly, does “too relaxed” mean in Tiger Woods world?“I was trying to enjoy it, enjoy the process of it,” Woods said. “But that’s not how I play. I play full system go, all out, intense, and that’s how I won 14 of these things. That’s something I rectified (Sunday) and I played a lot better because of it.”Better was only even par, which was hardly enough to challenge for his 15th major. Woods began the fourth round five shots behind McIlroy and finished 11 shots back. You do the math.He shot 74 Saturday and 72 Sunday, meaning this year he did not break 60 on any of eight weekend rounds of the majors. That’s so unTiger-like.Woods has four top-five finishes in majors; he’s played well enough ot contend, not well enough to win.“The thing is to keep putting myself there,” he said. “I’m not going to win them all and I haven’t won them all. I certainly have lost a lot more than I’ve won. But the key is putting myself there each and every time and I’ll start getting them again.”
If you want to reach Thomas Fox-Brewster, you’d best be prepared to download new software. In his Twitter bio, Fox-Brewster — a security reporter for Forbes — lists a series of codes which will allow anyone with a tip to covertly reach out through an encrypted channel. It might seem inconveniently picky, even a potential obstacle to reaching sources, but Fox-Brewster is among the growing ranks of journalists who have ditched insecure communication techniques in favor of tools like Signal and Ricochet. Signal is a secure call and messaging app, run by volunteers and grant-funded programmers under the moniker Open Whisper Systems. It’s open source and free to use. SecureDrop was first conceived in 2011 by famed programmer and activist Aaron Swartz at the request of Kevin Poulsen, an editor at Wired. “There’s a growing technology gap: phone records, e-mail, computer forensics, and outright hacking are valuable weapons for anyone looking to identify a journalist’s source,” Poulsen wrote in 2013. “With some exceptions, the press has done little to keep pace: our information-security efforts tend to gravitate toward the parts of our infrastructure that accept credit cards.” Sources are given a random code name which acts as a passcode. They can use this name to reaccess messages at a later date. This code name is different than the name that appears for the journalists on the other side. Contacts are added through a specific serial code which is visible and shareable with other users. However, contact relationships are device specific and don’t run through servers or networks. Since SecureDrop is open source (and therefore free), newsrooms can conceiveably set up the system themselves, even using repurposed hardware. For these companies, the Foundation offers a year of support and training for $5000. Michael Luo, editor of NewYorker.com and a former investigative editor at The New York Times, says that while he’s a big fan of the system, it has yet to pay off. Eric Lach, the site’s deputy news editor, checks the system every few days, but it hasn’t led to any stories. One of the difficulties with SecureDrop is that it requires more work on behalf of the source than just downloading an app, or picking up a phone. Encryption has become increasingly common for journalists hoping to get the next big story by ensuring sources that their identities stay secret while their secrets go public. There are many options to choose from, some open source and others proprietary, with no consensus on any standard. This leaves newsrooms to fend for themselves as they try to protect people with secrets without making it too difficult for such whistleblowers to come forward. “In an age of pervasive internet surveillance, traditional tools like email and phone calls are no longer enough to safely link reporters and their contacts. The most sensitive sources need a more secure channel, one that’s encrypted and anonymous by default,” senior writer Andy Greenberg wrote in last week’s announcement about Wired adopting SecureDrop. A SLOW START With SecureDrop, there’s nothing to identify. Journalists are as ignorant of their sources as the Department of Justice itself. While this creates its own issues in terms of authentication, it frees up reporters from external pressure to reveal sources. This is in contrast to a phone call, which can be tapped or traced through phone companies, or apps like Facebook Messenger; Facebook is explicit in its willingness to reveal the content of messages when faced with a valid search warrant. While many publications embrace the publicity as a means of coaxing tipsters, others prefer to keep their use, well, anonymous. The perils of an open inbox might include an influx of bizarre messages, or in the case of The New Yorker, endless poetry and cartoon submissions, according to Holmes. Though SecureDrop was built by and for the magazine industry, several other pieces of software are popular with journalists due to their differing levels of security and ease of use. To discreetly share documents or messages with a participating newsroom, tipsters must download Tor, a software program which allows users to circumvent existing tracing mechanisms that reveal location and other information. Tor is best known as an entry port for the “Dark Web” — a difficult-to-access set of websites which sometimes facilitate illegal activities, such as the hiring of hitmen. For-profit institutions are asked to pay $10,000 for a year of support, which covers installation — performed in office by Freedom of the Press Foundation staff — the training of journalists and IT, and the set up of a SecureDrop landing page, in accordance with the Foundation’s best practices. This contract also covers ongoing support. Media organizations are expected to pay the Foundation’s travel expenses as well. Signal INSIDE THE MACHINE Compared to applications like Signal and Ricochet, which are used in conjunction with smart phones and personal computers, SecureDrop might be the most secure way to leak documents. But its set up is complex and its yield so far has been low — a steep consideration as some news organizations spend up to $3,000 in new hardware, and $10,000 in support contracts with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which manages the SecureDrop project. A fully functioning newsroom setup requires a server to run the application itself; a server to monitor the health of the first server; a dedicated firewall to keep SecureDrop separate from the rest of the newsroom’s traffic; computers with the operating system Tails, on which the reporters can view the documents securely; a separate computer — generally “well-guarded” — which hosts a user interface on which a specific set of editors (usually only one or two) can review submissions; and USB sticks to transfer the documents from the well-guarded computer to the viewing station, and from the viewing station to a normal computer, where the journalist eventually prepares the documents for publication. Not everyone seeking anonymity is a murderer, however. Tor is often seen as the best bet for sources inside the government or corporations who wish to share information which is of public interest, but puts the source at risk in their personal or professional lives. The New Yorker was the first magazine to publicize its use of the system in 2013, then under the name “Strongbox.” It’s since been followed by The Intercept, ProPublica, and The New York Times — publications known for their extensive investigative reporting. The Nation will also join later this year. For the newsroom, however, things are more difficult to set up. The Foundation combats this flaw with a sliding pay scale for technical support and training. “We know that not every news organization that wants to support public interest journalism is going to be as well funded as The Washington Post,” says Holmes. THE MOTHER OF INVENTION “The proposals came during an apparent phone conversation that was captured on video and provided to Gizmodo via SecureDrop, a portal permitting whistleblowers and sources to reach us while remaining anonymous,” the article reads. Ricochet Last Thursday, Wired became the latest magazine to publicize its use of SecureDrop, which allows whistleblowers and leakers to anonymously send documents and messages to media organizations without identifying or traceable information. This comes one month after Forbes adopted the program, and four years after The New Yorker took the technology public. “SecureDrop is notoriously challenging to use and takes dedication within a newsroom to check it diligently and respond. But it’s pretty good now for what we’ve got, and it’s only going to get better,” Holmes says. Open PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a non-proprietary email encryption software which can be used in conjunction with Windows, Mac and Android mailbox tools, as well as many others. Like the other services, Open PGP uses end-to-end encryption, which makes it difficult for emails to be read if they are intercepted. Open PGP “SecureDrop can be a little bit intensive,” Harlo Holmes, director of newsroom digital security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, tells Folio:. “Source protection is really difficult to begin with…This is one way that is addressing that problem head on.” Signal is like WhatsApp for the fearful. Users download an app, which then uses the phone’s existing number and contact book. All messages are encrypted on both sides, which means that Open Whisper Systems can’t see your messages, though communication is not anonymous between users. The good news is, with end-to-end encryption, Open Whisper Systems has nothing to share with law enforcement should they request message transcripts. The tool has seen a resurgence since the election of President Donald Trump, who has publicly threatened to prosecute government employees who leak documents to the press. However, the origins of SecureDrop harken back to WikiLeaks and Obama-era strong-arming by the Department of Justice to get journalists to identify confidential sources. Ricochet is a machine-specific instant messaging system which operates through Tor. The free and open-source software is encrypted end-to-end, and anonymized, which means your computer does not know where the messages are coming from. “We’re certainly getting tips, but nothing incredibly useful,” Luo tells Folio:. “Why is that? I guess I feel like, at this point, The New Yorker is not necessarily the front-of-mind outlet for those kinds of leaked documents and data, in the way that The Times and ProPublica, for example, are.” While it doesn’t matter which specific hardware is used, the Foundation provides recommendations in the range of $2000–$3000 per set up. Elsewhere in the mediasphere, however, stories are trickling in. Last week, Vice’s Motherboard published a story about people who spy on their loved ones, informed by data obtained through SecureDrop. In February, Gizmodo published a recording of Trump discussing trade tariffs with Wilbur Ross, a then-nominee for Secretary of Commerce.
Dan Cohen AUTHOR The congressional ban on earmarks has not stopped Washington lobbyists from continuing to work on appropriations bills but it has changed their focus.Now lobbyists are pressing the Appropriations panels to include policy language or establish funding targets, rather than earmarks for specific projects.Clients, for example, may want to make sure certain agency programs are adequately funded so there would be money available for a competitive grant program, Jim Dyer, a lobbyist at the Podesta Group and former staff director on House Appropriations, told CQ Roll Call. In that case, Dyer would ask a committee to set guidelines for the program that are aligned with his clients’ capabilities. “Obviously, it’s a different world than it was 10 years ago,” he said.Republicans have banned earmarks since 2011 through caucus rules that have been renewed in each Congress, while Democrats have adopted a voluntary earmark ban.Jim Richards, a partner at Cornerstone Government Affairs, echoed Dyer’s remark, noting that clients now focus on programmatic funding. “Your first priority is ‘do no harm,’” Richards said, meaning no cuts to a particular program. “But you’re still scrambling for any type of increase once you do no harm.”One consequence of the earmark ban has been a shift from cities and municipalities seeking funding for specific projects to corporations looking for favorable language in committee reports. Despite the changes, appropriations and federal budget issues remain the top target in the lobbying world, according to the story.
Budget carrier IndiGo on Sunday admitted that it had not passed on all the benefits arising from lower fuel prices to passengers. The acknowledgment resulted from the concerns of rising airfares despite slump in oil prices.A slump in global crude oil prices over the last few weeks has boosted airlines, as aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices account for 40 percent of an airline’s operating costs. IndiGo President and Whole-Time Director Aditya Ghosh said the carrier continues to use lower ATF rates as an opportunity to reduce flight ticket rates and thereby increasing passenger numbers, Press Trust of India reports.He also admitted that the entire benefit from the lower fuel prices have not been passed on to the passengers.”If you look at the fourth quarter (January-March 2016), then fuel prices came down 29.5 percent whereas the average fares came down I think above 15.2 percent. So clearly, we are not passing on all to the customers, but of course the lower fuel prices and the lower average fares also has a positive effect on our load factors,” Ghosh was quoted by PTI as saying during a conference call last week when IndiGo’s Q4 results were announced.In addition, Ghosh said IndiGo was not driving down fares, but there was some amount of competition from other aircraft carriers such as Spicejet, GoAir, Jet Airways and Air India.There have been rising concerns that airlines are not passing on benefits to their passengers.According to reports, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked some airlines to provide details of the number of tickets they sells in the “highest fare bracket” and their share in the revenues earned.InterGlobe Aviation, which owns budget-carrier IndiGo, reported a 0.30 percent growth in net profit to Rs. 579 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2016, despite a 14.75 percent decline in aircraft fuel expenses. The net profit was Rs. 577.30 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.[1 lakh = 100,000 | 1 crore = 10 million | 100 crore = 1 billion]
Eddie Seal for The Texas TribuneDanielle Hale and her son, Conner, 8 help friends rebuild their home damaged by Hurricane Harvey, on August 11, 2018.Danielle Hale had been working 18-hour shifts for a few days already when her son Conner, then 7, called.It was August 2017 and she was stationed in a conference room at the Port of Corpus Christi, where she’s the manager of safety and emergency planning. Days earlier, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, shaking the coastal communities of Rockport and Port Aransas before traveling further up the Gulf Coast to stay put over Houston.Hale’s son — along with her husband and two other children — evacuated to her in-laws’ home near Lake Corpus Christi. She stayed behind to run the port’s emergency operations center.“Mommy, I don’t want to go home,” Conner told her over the phone. “There are no leaves on the trees.”The Category 4 hurricane had blown through Rockport — where the Hales live — with winds on the verge of 130 miles per hour. Conner had overheard the grown-ups talking about the destruction left in Harvey’s wake.The eye of the storm passed right over Rockport, destroying countless homes and businesses. The Hales’ home was among those lost.A year later, Hale and her family continue to help rebuild Rockport, where residents are still repairing damaged homes and City Hall remains closed. In nearby Corpus Christi, the port continues to fine-tune its emergency preparedness plans. Earlier this year, Hale was named a StormReady Community Hero by the National Weather Service for her work at the port and also for her contributions to the community in the months after Harvey. She is the seventh to receive the award since it was created in 2002, and the first for actions related to a hurricane.“She was very diligent and worked really hard on staying on the designated course,” said Rosie Collin, director of community relations at the port. “She had her family back home and personal challenges, but you wouldn’t have known it had you seen her. She was so poised and dignified at a time that taxes you because you’re so tired. A remarkable, resilient woman.”As the sun came up the morning after the storm made landfall, Hale’s husband, Micah, got word that everything in their coastal neighborhood was destroyed.With the help of family and friends, the Hales have been able to transition from being displaced to living in an RV to finally moving into a new home.At the same time, the Port of Corpus Christi has continued to hone its emergency preparedness plans under Hale’s leadership, training more staff to fill a variety of emergency response roles, and ensuring plans for other types of disasters are thoroughly vetted.“As we plan for the future, we’re highly cognizant of the fact that during hurricane season, we have to be prepared,” Collin said.As manager of the emergency operations center, Hale ensures that the port’s incident management team stays on schedule and follows emergency procedures, while coordinating with different departments at the port. After Harvey, she stayed at the port until Aug. 31 before regrouping with her family.Through it all, coworkers at the port kept asking her, “How are you here? Go home and be with your family.”But Hale chose to stay. It was her job, but it was also an outlet to keep her mind busy.“No, this is the place. This is what I was made for,” she would tell people. “One of these days, there’s going to be other members of that team who are going to go through what I’ve gone through. And they have to know it’s going to be OK.”Always preparedHale “accidentally” found a career in emergency response when she moved back to Rockport after graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001. After watching her mother work as an EMT, and surviving the Aggie bonfire collapse of 1999, she felt instilled with a desire to help. So, she took a job as a 911 dispatcher.From there, she expanded her skills to work as an EMT, volunteer firefighter and paramedic. She started teaching courses at regional fire safety schools. Interested in how to make the emergency response system better, she made the jump from providing one-on-one treatment to emergency management. After about 15 years of working throughout the Coastal Bend, she started at the port in October 2016.The Port of Corpus Christi is a key shipping access point on the Gulf, handling commodities like petroleum and grain. It is the fourth largest port by tonnage in the country.In early August, just as Harvey was forming off the coast of Africa, the port was recognized as “StormReady,” as part of the National Weather Service’s community preparedness program. By then, Hale and her team were already keeping tabs on the storm’s movement. They activated the emergency operations center before Harvey made landfall.Hale had handled hurricane response before, managing emergency operations during Katrina and Ike. But Harvey was her first Category 4 storm.Harvey was also the first major storm for Hale’s team at the port. With no hurricanes hitting Corpus Christi since the 1970s, all they had to rely on was past planning and training.“These folks are being asked to do something that is not part of their day job,” Hale said. “But there was no problem that came into the [emergency operations center] that we couldn’t handle. What they lacked in emergency experience they made up for in positive attitude and professionalism.”For days, Hale coordinated between different port departments and first responders. After six days, the port was able to re-open with no casualties or environmental incidents.As operations at the shipping hub returned to normal, it was time to assess the damage to the community. For Hale, that not only meant figuring things out for her family, but for friends in the area as well.Eddie Seal for The Texas TribuneDanielle Hale (pink shirt) is joined by her family (left to right) Gillian Hale, 14, Wyatt Hale, 17, Micah Hale and Conner Hale, 8, in Rockport’s Historic District on August 11, 2018. Hale was named a StormReady Community Hero by the National Weather Service.“My family is extremely resilient. They know what Mommy does,” Hale said. “My entire family rallied and said, ‘How can we help?’ You have an opportunity to go prop people up that need the help, and later you can go back and take care of yourself.”Hale knew of generations of families in her community who had lost their homes at once. She would ask friends questions like, “What can you do today until dark to be successful? What can you do this week?”“None of that’s amazing or earth-shattering,” she said. “It’s just what people do to help each other.”She and her family organized meals on their property and connected people with clean clothes. She still organized the Aransas County 4-H Club’s annual fundraiser in the months after the storm, even though the club had lost most of its resources.Hale was surprised to see these details mentioned in the nomination for her StormReady Hero award.It shouldn’t be about her, she said. Rather, her award is a chance to remind people to gear up for hurricane season and reflect on the progress her community has made.“I don’t want the people away from this area to lose sight of the fact that there are still a lot of people rebuilding,” Hale said. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity here to help us continue in that. Keep us in your thoughts. If you get a weekend, come down and go fishing if nothing else.”Disclosure: Texas A&M University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here. Share
Airlines in the U.S. expecting 4% increase in passengers this spring The Canadian Press DALLAS — Coming off another highly profitable year in 2016, U.S. airlines expect traffic this spring to increase 4% over last year, and they are adding seats to handle the crush.The trade group Airlines for America forecast Monday that a record 145 million U.S. passengers will fly between March 1 and April 30.The group’s chief economist says traffic will rise because airfares have been falling while economic indicators such as household wealth and job creation are rising. Tags: America Posted by Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Friday, September 15, 2017 Tags: Hawaii Hotels facing US$10,000 fines for hidden resort fees HONOLULU — Resort fees are now rampant in top tourism destinations like Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas and parts of the Caribbean, however a consumer protection agency in at least one state is pulling out all the stops to bring hidden fees to light, in a move that could drive a hidden fee crackdown in other destinations.The Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection says it’s investigating resort fees charged by hotel operators as part of a nationwide effort to curb hidden industry fees.Hawaii News Now reports that state and federal regulators are cracking down on hotels that charge resort fees without fully disclosing the charges to visitors.The resort fees cover costs of hotel amenities ranging from use of hotel gyms, telephone services, access to business centres and other amenities.Resort fees at Hawaii hotels typically range between US$10 and $40 a night and aren’t usually included in the standard room rate online.Stephen Levins, the Office of Consumer Protection’s executive director, says a hotel operator can be fined up to $10,000 per violation if the resort fees are found to be unfair or deceptive. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Travelweek Group