Wednesday words and beyond

"Forget Supreme Court. This is the fight to watch," tweets Chetan Sharma after reading CEO Tim Cook's letter to Apple customers (nearing 19,000 shares now) to explain why the tech giant is refusing FBI requests to retrieve data from an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI has asked Apple to disable the security feature that only permits a few attempts to guess the phone’s passcode before all its data gets deleted, but this “backdoor” means Apple engineers must create a brand new version of the phone’s operating system that would do away with important security features. "If you think Apple is wrong to oppose that court order concerning San Bernardino attackers, read this," urges Kate Irby for the Bradenton Herald.  "If you value your privacy, you have to love Apple's stand here," argues Ebenezer Samuel at the New York Daily News. "This defense of encryption by Apple is fantastic. Where are the other tech company statements supporting them?" wonders Trevor Timm with the Columbia Journalism Review and The Guardian. Even Edward Snowden weighed in: "The @FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around." Although MuckRock founder Michael Morisy points out, "Politically, I have a hard time seeing how Apple wins this encryption fight w/o major change to public conversation." Vox's Matthew Yglesias brings things full-circle with this observation: "Good thing we have a fully functioning Supreme Court to sort this out."

Oh, yeah. About that. Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected passing at that luxury ranch in Texas has prompted a debate about who paid for the trip as well as whether Justices should be required to disclose gifts and free trips. "Who justices the justices?" pointedly asks Chicago Tribune's Charles Johnson. "Owner of ranch where Scalia died has a company that makes parts for hearses. Stick that in your conspiracy pipe!" political animator Mark Fiore takes that ball and runs with it straight into the absurd. Meanwhile, here's where every single senator stands so far on nominating Scalia's successor. It' s an "Awesome visualization that leverages the power of calling up powerful people and asking them a question," applauds National Journal's Andrew McGill. And elsewhere in politics, although Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders appear to be in a dead heat for Nevada, Clinton leads in 10 of the 12 early March primaries and appears to be benefiting from overwhelming black support. Here's how Hillary won Harlem.

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