1065: Flux Capacitator

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
September 2nd, 2018
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Dueling Funerals
Networks couldn't decide which funeral to follow!!
Rest in peace, Lindsey Graham - The Washington Post
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:50
We lost two mavericks within a week.
On Saturday, we lost the legendary John McCain.
On Tuesday, we lost his loyal sidekick, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham.
Graham remains alive and well, but after serving for two decades as Robin to McCain's Batman, Graham buried whatever remained of his own reputation for iconoclasm even before his partner's funeral.
On Tuesday, Graham took a seat on the couch of ''Fox & Friends,'' President Trump's favorite show, and sealed his transition from apostate to Trump apparatchik.
''Word of caution to the public,'' he said. ''A lot of people try to convict President Trump. Don't be so fast. I have seen no evidence of collusion after two years.'' Having echoed Trump's no-collusion line (as if that were the lone issue), Graham, a former military lawyer, picked up Trump's attack on the justice system: ''Plenty of corruption at the Department of Justice and the FBI. Should be stunning. Not one Democrat seems to care.''
From there, the South Carolina Republican echoed all of Trump's attacks against the Russia investigation: ''They had a bias against Trump for [Hillary] Clinton .'‰.'‰. They gave a politically corrupt document to get a warrant .'‰.'‰. Christopher Steele was on the payroll of the Democratic Party.'' He parroted Trump's line that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help Clinton, not Trump: ''Russia was involved in our election .'‰.'‰. in terms of developing this dossier.''
Incredibly, Graham even joined the ''lock her up'' movement. ''No American would get the same treatment she did. If you were charged or suspected of this kind of misconduct, you would be in jail now.''
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, could not have said it better.
This came after Graham abandoned his previous support of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump wants to fire as a likely precursor to ending special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's Russia investigation. A year ago, Graham declared himself ''100 percent behind Jeff Sessions'' and vowed ''holy hell'' if Sessions was fired.
But now, Graham says ''we need an attorney general that can work with the president.'' This week, he even alleged on CBS News that Sessions ''blindsided'' Trump with ''zero-tolerance'' family separations '-- as though that policy wasn't a Trump signature.
Graham previously described Trump as a ''jackass'' and ''unfit for office.'' He began his pivot after the election, but intensified his embrace of Trump as illness kept McCain from Washington. ''If you don't like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a shit,'' he said on CNN in June. This week, he demurred on renaming a Senate building for his friend, and though displeased by Trump's posthumous insults of McCain, he said it is the president's right ''to feel any way he'd like.''
No longer protected by McCain, he seems to have lost that famous McCain courage. It is difficult to avoid the impression that, since McCain's illness, he has found a new patron. ''I never did anything politically of consequence without John,'' Graham acknowledged this week. ''I mean all of the big stuff, campaign finance, climate change, Iraq, you name it. I was by John's side. I was his wingman.''
Yet, now, he is serving as wingman to a president who takes the opposite view on each of those issues.
McCain's years as a prisoner of war gave him a righteousness perhaps nobody can match. He never forgot that political opponents are not his enemies, and that there are things more important than winning elections. But perhaps Graham could show a little backbone? When CNN's Dana Bash asked him to name new ''wingmen or women,'' Graham mentioned Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) '-- the fierce partisan who blew up Graham's immigration deal, was patently dishonest about Trump's ''shithole countries'' meeting and was dubbed the ''Steve King of the Senate'' by Graham for his anti-immigrant views, in reference to the ultraconservative Iowa representative.
Graham's rationale for courting Trump? '' To be relevant.'' But on the main policy Graham sought to influence '-- immigration '-- he got nothing. I asked Graham's office for presidential actions attributable to Graham's influence. The response listed items '-- Supreme Court appointments, the fight against Islamic State and increased defense spending '-- that were all Trump priorities independent of Graham.
It seems more likely Graham's friendship with Trump has to do with Graham's reelection in 2020. That's understandable. Even McCain had to be delicate about Trump during a 2016 primary challenge. But what happened to cause-greater-than-self?
''I believe there is a little John McCain in all of us,'' Graham said in his touching eulogy on the Senate floor. I saw a lot of McCain in the Graham I met on the Straight Talk Express two decades ago. I saw it again earlier this year when Graham lamented Trump's sudden shift that killed the immigration compromise. ''I don't know where that guy went,'' Graham said of the Trump who, briefly, offered to compromise. ''I want him back.''
I don't know where that Graham went. I want him back.
Read more from Dana Milbank's archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
ShitHole Nation
US cities where jobs are plentiful and business is booming
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:42
Though housing is scarce and wages are stagnant across the country, a lot of American cities are booming: They offer job opportunities, thriving businesses and an abundance of places to live.
Personal finance site MagnifyMoney identified America's biggest "boomtowns" by analyzing how the 100 largest metro areas in the country changed over a five-year period (between 2011 and 2016) across three categories: population and housing; workforce and earnings; and business growth. Cities could earn a possible score of 100 in each category, which were then averaged together for the final ranking. You can read the full methodology here.
The survey took into account factors such as total number of available housing units, unemployment rate, median earnings for workers, number of business establishments and number of employees paid per pay period to determine which metro areas aren't just rapidly expanding but actually sustaining healthy growth over time.
Below, check out the top 15 attractive U.S. cities where jobs are plentiful, salaries are rising and business is good.
15. Des Moines, IowaPopulation and housing score: 59.7Workforce and earnings score: 42.8Business growth score: 52.5
Denis Tangney Jr. | Getty Images
Pioneers of the Territory outside the Iowa Capitol overlooking West Capitol Terrace and downtown in Des Moines, Iowa.
14. Orlando, FloridaPopulation and housing score: 55.7Workforce and earnings score: 39.8Business growth score: 64.2
Corbis | Getty Images
Disney characters perform in front of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida
13. Charlotte, North CarolinaPopulation and housing score: 55.7Workforce and earnings score: 39.8Business growth score: 64.2
Skiserge1 | Getty Images
Charlotte, North Carolina.
12. Ogden, UtahPopulation and housing score: 51.2Workforce and earnings score: 46.8Business growth score: 63.3
Mandicoleman.com | Getty Images
A scene showing 25th Street in Ogden, Utah.
11. Houston, TexasPopulation and housing score: 77.7Workforce and earnings score: 41.9Business growth score: 43.9
Kav Dadfar | Getty Images
Houston, Texas
10. McAllen, TexasPopulation and housing score: 60.3Workforce and earnings score: 62.2Business growth score: 44.3
DenisTangneyJr | Getty Images
McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States, and the twenty-second most populous city in Texas.
9. San Antonio, TexasPopulation and housing score: 57.2Workforce and earnings score: 45.4Business growth score: 64.5
dszc | Getty Images
San Antonio, Texas
8. Boise, IdahoPopulation and housing score: 53.2Workforce and earnings score: 47.8Business growth score: 67
Randy Wells | Getty Images
Boise, Idaho
7. Dallas, TexasPopulation and housing score: 61.4Workforce and earnings score: 48.7Business growth score: 64.4
Matt Nager | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Dallas, Texas skyline
6. Denver, ColoradoPopulation and housing score: 52.2Workforce and earnings score: 58.3Business growth score: 65.3
photoquest7 | iStock | Getty Images
Denver's economy is solid, and it has a strong, educated workforce. It also has the nation's fourth-largest concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employees.
5. Nashville, TennesseePopulation and housing score: 54.5Workforce and earnings score: 54.6Business growth score: 72.9
Davel5957 | Getty Images
Nashville, Tennessee
4. Charleston, South CarolinaPopulation and housing score: 66.9Workforce and earnings score: 60.6Business growth score: 71.7
Sean Pavone | Getty Images
Charleston, South Carolina
3. Raleigh, North CarolinaPopulation and housing score: 84.1Workforce and earnings score: 48.3Business growth score: 70.8
Sean Pavone | Getty Images
Raleigh, North Carolina
2. Provo, UtahPopulation and housing score: 79.9Workforce and earnings score: 52.2Business growth score: 95.1
Bob Weston | Getty Images
Provo, Utah.
1. Austin, TexasPopulation and housing score: 100Workforce and earnings score: 70.3Business growth score: 93
Magalie L'AbbT | Getty Images
"Greetings from Austin" street art mural.
Great Quirky Places to Retire 2012 - Places to Live, Retirement, Cities
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 11:34
Photo by Morgan David de Lossy/Corbis
If you're retiring and looking to move to an area with a different flavor, try these 10 cities.
Have you always thought of yourself as someone who marches to your own drum? Or known that, deep down, you felt most at ease in funky communities filled with creative, free-spirited people?
Now that you're thinking of retiring, it's time to be true to your inner compass and settle in a place where ''eccentric'' is a compliment and where people are free to be whoever they want. Well, we've found 10 perfect places in the United States for people like you. For lack of a better word, call them ''quirky'' '-- towns and villages that dance to their own beat '-- just like you.
Whether that means an annual festival that peaks with the burning of a giant puppet, traffic lights specifically for bicyclists or four-hour barn concerts hosted by 1960s rock legends, we think you'll find a town or two that will quench your thirst for originality.
Of course, as with all our Great Places to Retire lists, we've also factored in cost of living, quality and availability of health care, and crime and safety. Nowhere is perfect, of course, but who ever said perfect was the goal? We'll take the fun of quirky over impossible perfection any day.
Ulster County, N.Y.
Ulster County, N.Y. (population 182,493) is a funky string of artist-haven villages edged by vast swaths of bear-haven mountains. Residents occupy villages and the bears roam the 287,500-acre Catskill Mountains Forest Preserve.
Ulster's villages are strung prettily along the Hudson River. The biggest city is Kingston (population 24,000); the second-biggest is New Paltz, about 13 miles southwest of Kingston, where the 7,000 permanent residents are outnumbered by SUNY-New Paltz's 7,754 students. The tourism-based economy helped keep Ulster County's unemployment rate below the national average for much of the recent recession, but at 9.1 percent it's now slightly higher than the national average.
Photo by J. Dennis Thomas/Corbis
Ulster County villages are spread out along the Hudson River.
Ulster County, N.Y.Nearest major airport: Stewart International Newburgh, 25 miles from New PaltzMean price for a single-family home: $242,100Median household income: $57,584Population: 182,493Percent of residents age 65 and older: 14.8 percentCost of living: Above averageOf special note to retirees: Residents age 59 1/2 and older can take $20,000 a year from qualified pensions free of state income taxes, and all pensions are tax-free for retired military and government workers.
Kingston's historic core is the waterfront Rondout neighborhood, which features brick buildings from the 1800s and a slew of restaurants, galleries and avant-garde venues like the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts and Deep Listening Institute, a center for poets and experimental musicians. Kingston is home to the Ulster Performing Arts Center, a restored 1927 movie palace now lit for touring acts and community productions. The area is also a foodie haven, with many small farms and artisan food makers having settled in the Hudson Valley.
The Kingston Farmers' Market draws thousands downtown on Saturdays between May and Thanksgiving and from December to April. Off season, locals also hit the indoor Adams Fairacre Farms, which is like a farmer's market on steroids.
Student-artists from the SUNY-New Paltz School of Fine and Performing Arts draw enthusiastic crowds, but the big ticket in town is often the Midnight Ramble concerts, four-hour parties in a barn that doubles as the Woodstock recording studio of Levon Helm, the former drummer for The Band.
For outdoor recreation, the area boasts fine golf courses, the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, and extensive options for hiking, camping, canoeing and cross-country skiing on and around Slide Mountain. Shawangunk Ridge is world-famous for both rock climbing and the deluxe accommodations at Mohonk Mountain House.
Crime rates here are very low. The number of doctors and hospital beds per resident is below average but big medical centers are 50 miles away in Albany. The number of smokers is above average, and so is the death rate from cancer. But many people here say that they eat healthy and get regular exercise. No word on how often that exercise involves fleeing from bears.
Photo by J. Dennis Thomas/Corbis
Austin has a rich music and arts scene.
Austin, Texas
The question that free thinkers have about Austin, long a traditional oasis of liberal edginess, is whether or not its soul has grown staid. We think not. Originality remains a badge of pride here, as do progressive political stances (gay rights, for example), green living, large and convenient parks, and artsy festivals.
This metro area of 1.7 million, on the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, sprawls along Interstate 35, about 200 miles south of Dallas. One reason Forbes magazine called Austin ''recession proof'' in 2008 is the job market at the University of Texas (enrollment 50,995), which attracts top talent in fields like medicine, computer science and engineering. UT joins Austin Community College (45,000 students) and Texas State's campus in San Marcos (30,803) to anchor a young metro area that ranks among the most literate U.S. cities.
Austin, TexasNearest major airport: Austin-Bergstrom International, 10 milesMean price for a single-family home: $200,000Median household income: $50,520Population: 790,390Percent of residents age 65 and older: 7 percentCost of living: Below averageAustin's urban design follows Complete Streets, a national network advocating shared roads usage. It is bicycle-friendly and has a high ratio of total parkland per 1,000 residents. One standout is Barton Springs, where the limestone bed of Barton Creek has been quarried to make a large natural swimming pool. It's an essential stop in Austin's scorching summer.
Austin boasts excellent ballet and dance companies, the Austin Museum of Art, and UT's Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, the largest university art museum in the United States. But the real musical action is at Austin's honky-tonks. Texas dance halls and bars like the Broken Spoke, Continental Club and Antone's showcase iconic Texas musicians, including Joe Ely and Asleep at the Wheel, plus up-and-coming acts.
Big annual events include the South by Southwest festival in spring and the Texas Book Festival in late fall, featuring hundreds of authors and panel discussions.
Crime is much lower in Austin than it is in most other Texas cities. Traffic congestion is an issue and feeds the high use of mass transit and foot and bike commuting.
The availability of doctors is below average here, and there are not many hospital beds per capita. But Austinites have low mortality from heart disease and cancer, and low rates of obesity, cholesterol problems and hypertension. Maybe abiding by the unofficial motto, ''Keep Austin Weird,'' also keeps the locals young.
Photo by Ethan Welty/Auror
Boulder's breathtaking scenery draws people from all walks of life.
Boulder, Colo.
Boulder's quirky street cred suffers a little more every year thanks to the classic pattern: Dreamy locale draws lots of people, housing prices skyrocket, eccentric folks are squeezed from the core of town. But in Boulder, quirky and financially successful are not mutually exclusive. The offbeat crowd mixes well with the town's many college kids, and they all enjoy abundant sunshine and proximity to a vast mountain playground.
The pride in originality starts at the top '-- Boulder's government has partnerships with seven sister cities, including Lhasa, Tibet; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; and Jalapa, Nicaragua. From there it extends through the ranks of University of Colorado students and professors, local merchants and small-business owners '-- and a community of elite athletes, who live here so they can train at 5,430 feet above sea level.
Boulder, Colo. Nearest major airport: Denver International, 44 milesMean price for a single-family home: $475,200Median household income: $51,779Population: 97,385Percent of residents age 65 and older: 8.9 percentCost of living: Above averageThe heart of town is Pearl Street, a four-block pedestrian mall lined with cafes, bars, boutiques and more. Take in a show at the Boulder Theater or tap the university's performing arts slate; in town are several art galleries and a large, well-funded public library system.
The city has used tax revenue since the late 1960s to buy land for parks. The result is the Greenbelt, a 45,000-acre oasis cocooning Boulder from Denver's sprawl. The local parks are heavily used, but there is ample room to move '-- and to find your slice of solitude. Even walking the leafy neighborhoods of Victorian homes and bungalows can provide a quick-fix nature lift.
Boulder County (population 294,567) includes Boulder (97,385), Longmont (86,270) and Lafayette (24,453), plus several small hamlets tucked into the mountains. The economy is diverse and strong: Unemployment is only 6.2 percent (February 2012), and the workforce includes a lot of self-employed professionals.
The University of Colorado at Boulder (enrollment 29,884) and Front Range Community College (20,000) welcome students of all ages. Boulder is one of the top-ranked metro areas in the country for the proportion of adults with a four-year college degree, and is also a nexus for alternatives in spirituality, education and medicine. Among other alternative institutes of learning, you can get degrees at Naropa University (Buddhist Studies), the Boulder College of Massage Therapy or the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.
Boulder boasts bike lanes and paths, and mass transit is great. The county has several municipal public recreation centers with pools, basketball courts, extensive weight rooms and more. Locals, unsurprisingly, are extremely fit and healthy overall. If there's a drawback for retirees it might be that relatively few residents are 65 or older, although more move in every year.
Photo by InterNetwork Media/Getty Images
Cape Cod is a 65-mile peninsula that draws tourists from around the world.
Cape Cod, Mass.
If you think Cape Cod is a packed tourist attraction, consider that the heart of the tourist season runs only from July 4 to Labor Day. The rest of the year, this collection of towns offers quietude, seaside living and locals who appreciate '-- and welcome '-- the whimsy of artists.
There's a long history of resident artists on the 65-mile peninsula. The playwright Eugene O'Neill and the painter Edward Hopper had houses on Cape Cod. The novelist Norman Mailer is buried here. The comedian John Belushi held and attended famously wild parties on the cape.
Cape Cod (Barnstable County)Nearest major airport: Boston Logan. Regional airports include Provincetown Municipal, 10 miles from the town center.Mean price for a single-family home: $392,700Median household income: $60,317Population: 215,888Percent of residents age 65 and older: 25 percentCost of living: Above averageCape Cod includes the Upper Cape (Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth and Mashpee); Mid Cape, which has the biggest towns '-- Barnstable and Yarmouth; Lower Cape, which includes Harwich, Brewster, Chatham and Orleans; and the Outer Cape (Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown). Much of the Outer Cape comprises Cape Cod National Seashore.
The proportion of workers who are self-employed (think artists and consultants) is very high. A lot of residents are age 65 and older, and not many are under 35. Massachusetts gives retired public servants something extra: Most payments from public pensions are exempt from the state's notoriously high income taxes.
A lot of Cape Codders have college degrees, and the peninsula has a large, well-funded library system. But there's only one full-service campus here: Cape Cod Community College (enrollment 4,500). Top mariners are drawn to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay and some of the world's best marine biologists hang out at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
You can take classes at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, which also accepts volunteers. Cape Cod has myriad small museums and art galleries and year-round theater companies in Woods Hole, Provincetown and Wellfleet. There's a school for painters in Provincetown and a dance academy in Barnstable.
Outdoor life here is exceptional. Bicyclists can ride the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail or the 10-mile Shining Sea Bikeway. Kayakers can ply the bays, marshes and sea. Sailors can choose between the relative shelter of Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay or venture out into the open ocean. And there are hundreds of miles of great beaches.
Cape Codders have a long life expectancy and low rates of obesity, cholesterol problems and diabetes. Residents are unlikely to smoke, and most locals eat healthy and get regular exercise. There are also a lot of doctors for such a small, isolated place, but not many hospital beds for 200,000-plus people.
Cape Cod is buffeted regularly by Nor'easters and feels the occasional hurricane. That's a good time to close the storm shutters and turn to creative indoor pursuits.
Photo by Morgan David de Lossy/Corbis
New Orleans has recovered since Hurricane Katrina and is now a hotbed for retirees.
New Orleans
New Orleans has long been known as a high-octane party town. But this is also a city of leafy neighborhoods, outdoor cafes, succulent food and perhaps the best concentration of live music in the United States.
The city has clawed back from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina '-- the population is 343,829 versus 484,674 in 2000 '-- and New Orleans no longer has the hobbled-town vibe that followed the 2005 storm. Its post-Katrina economy is stable, thanks to rapid job growth. Louisiana likes retirees: The first $6,000 a year withdrawn from a private retirement plan is free of state taxes, and all withdrawals are free for retired government workers and military personnel.
New OrleansNearest major airport: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, 14 milesMean price for a single-family home: $184,100Median household income: $37,468Population: 343,829Percent of residents age 65 and older: 10.9 percentCost of living: AverageBeyond Mardi Gras and the clubs and restaurants, New Orleans has accessible outdoor play space and a range of educational options. The metro has 534 miles of coastline, plus fishing and boating on Lake Pontchartrain. Audubon Nature Institute, at the west end of Magazine Street, has a complex of museums including a zoo, an aquarium, an ''Insectarium,'' and a nature study center. Schools include the public University of New Orleans (enrollment 11,276), Delgado Community College (19,000), Tulane University (11,464), and smaller private, technical and professional schools.
OK, back to what makes NOLA special: You can experience it at Jazz National Historical Park in the French Quarter (look past the grime to the music and food), the emergent Faubourg Marigny neighborhood and Casamento's restaurant, where an unassuming decor masks the best oysters in the city (really).
In a 2007 CNN poll, Americans ranked New Orleans tops among 25 U.S. travel destinations for flea markets, antique shopping, cheap food, cocktail hour, live music, going out at night, ''wild weekends'' and ''girlfriend getaways.'' Residents of the Big Easy were also ranked the most fun. But New Orleans was also ranked the dirtiest and most unsafe destination, and its residents were judged to be the least athletic.
Fortunately, then, the metro area has a high concentration of physicians, cardiologists and hospital beds. Violent and property crime rates are both very high. More residents are walking, cycling and using mass transit '-- another hopeful sign in a city that often runs on positive emotions.
Photo by Colin Gallagher/Flickr/Getty Images
For outdoorsy types, Ithaca is surrounded by state forests and nature preserves that draw hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers.
Ithaca, N.Y.
It may seem incongruous to call a company town ''quirky.'' But in Ithaca, the ''company'' is Cornell University and the student population of 21,000 roughly equals the number of permanent residents, resulting in an eccentric, hippie haven where it's easy to feel forever young.
Enough Cornell students hail from New York City, 175 miles southwest, to make parts of Ithaca feel like the Upper West Side. Cornell's sprawling campus marches up East Hill and dominates the skyline; Ithaca College (enrollment 6,949) perches on the South Hill; and West Hill is a quiet residential neighborhood. At the northern edge of town is Cayuga Lake, a glacial trough 38 miles long. Downtown Ithaca sits at the south end of the lake and, because of the water, is usually a tad warmer than the hills '-- small consolation in February, when the average high is 34 degrees.
IthacaNearest major airport: Ithaca Tompkins Regional, 6 milesMean price for a single-family home: $171,400Median household income: $30,919Population: 30,014Percent of residents age 65 and older: 5.9 percentCost of living: Above averageThe economy is relatively solid here. At 7.6 percent, unemployment is slightly lower than the U.S. average, but many jobs don't pay well. Retirees have other advantages: You can withdraw $20,000 a year from a qualified private pension without paying New York State tax, and all withdrawals are free for retired soldiers and government workers.
The town's arts and entertainment scene is small but power-packed. The historic State Theatre, a 1,200-seat movie palace downtown that opened in 1928, hosts dozens of musical, theater and community events yearly. Local musicians with New York City and Boston connections keep the stages at local bars hot. Cornell's Johnson Museum of Art (free) has strong collections of Asian and contemporary art. There are also a lot of painters and sculptors working here, plus an Arts Partnership that coordinates studio tours and fairs.
The Ithaca Farmers Market, on the lake shore, is a packed Saturday morning social hour. Fresh produce is big among the region's many wineries, organic farms and talented chefs.
For outdoorsy types, Ithaca is surrounded by state forests and nature preserves that draw hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers. Waterfalls abound.
Ithaca scores well in health and safety, thanks to low crime rates, the highly ranked Cayuga Medical Center and admirable preventive care community programs. Locals enjoy a long life expectancy, in part because of low rates of obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
The bleak weather in this laid-back town can't be too dispiriting: Ithaca boasts a very low score on our stress index, which measures the rates of suicide, divorce, poor mental health, unemployment and crime, among other things.
Photo by Jordan Siemens/Corbis
Portland is known as one of the friendliest cities for bicyclists in the country.
Portland, Ore.
All the accolades, popularity and rising real estate values haven't altered what makes Portland special: The place is quirky to the core. Fueling this extended reign are, foremost, the type of people the city draws '-- creative, free-spirited, stridently alternative '-- and a well-supported slew of edgy local businesses. We'll concede that the Keep Portland Weird campaign lacks originality (Austin launched that one first) but the sentiment pervades, and you are unlikely to feel the walls of conformity close in on you in Oregon's largest city.
PortlandNearest major airport: Portland International, 12 milesMedian price for a single-family home: $292,000Median household income: $48,831Population: 583,776Percent of residents age 65 and older: 10.4 percentCost of living: AverageOn the practical front, Portland serves up organic food in inviting cafes, proximity to coast and mountains, artsy retail stores and well-planned public spaces.
The city is divided into quadrants, with the Willamette River separating the northeast and southeast sections from the northwest and southwest. The heart of downtown is on the west side, with fabulous restaurants, the famous Powell's City of Books, and pedestrian-friendly shopping districts.
Actually, the entire city has similar attributes. The southeast, for example, has more of a middle-class/bohemian feel, with charming old homes, packed coffeehouses and offbeat clothing stores.
Portland wins regular honors for progressiveness. The League of American Bicyclists ranks Portland as the most bicycle-friendly city in America (the city even has bicycle stoplights). The city has a high '-- and growing '-- ratio of parkland per resident, along with a robust public transit system.
The city is so progressive it inspired the self-parody television series ''Portlandia,'' offering residents the chance to squirm uncomfortably as they laugh, sort of, at their collective eccentricities.
For high culture, Portland fields two symphonies and many choral and chamber groups. There are large art and science museums, and a very active arts community. Portland often ranks in the top 10 most literate cities (in an annual study by Central Connecticut State University).
The recession hit Portland hard; the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent (February 2012). Oregon offers residents age 62 or older a substantial tax credit on pension income: Many older residents pay no state income taxes.
The area has an unusually high number of public universities, including a large state university campus and community college in Portland.
The concentration of physicians and specialists in Portland is above average, but the number of hospitals and beds per capita is low. Residents eat healthfully and exercise regularly and have low rates of obesity.
On the downside, the metro population swelled from 1.5 million people in 1990 to 2.2 million today. But if this is stressing everyone out, you wouldn't know it by the hap-hap-happy vibe around town.
Photo by David H. Wells/Aurora
Although Providence continues to recover from the recession, many of the towns and neighborhoods have not lost annual festivals and celebrations.
Providence, R.I.
The salt air may not cure all but it gives people who are prone to whimsy '-- like retirees! '-- an excellent excuse to throw caution to the wind. In Providence, that may mean hoisting a mainsail and clipping out to sea, strolling a beach or dropping into any number of seafood restaurants.
This metro area of 1.6 million takes in the state of Rhode Island as well as Bristol County in southern Massachusetts. Providence (population 178,042) sits at the head of Narragansett Bay.
ProvidenceNearest major airport: T.F. Green, 10 milesMean price for a single-family home: $243,600Median household income: $36,925Population: 178,042Percent of residents age 65 and older: 8.7 percentCost of living: AverageRhode Island's economy was hit hard by the recession and remains stalled. The state's unemployment rate '-- 11 percent in February 2012 '-- is above the national average and job growth is stagnant.
But many towns and neighborhoods are holding up fine. Downtown Providence has done a great job of saving and restoring its historic buildings. You can walk out of a loft carved out of an old warehouse to stroll amid the Victorian buildings and carousels of Roger Williams Park, or hit Brown University (enrollment 13,294) for an independent film or a play. The city has become famous for WaterFire, a celebration where 100 bonfires are set afloat on the three rivers that meander through downtown.
Providence's cultural scene is small but energetic and includes the Rhode Island School of Design, where David Byrne and two alumni formed the Talking Heads, and Johnson and Wales University, a world-renowned culinary school. The Design School has a big museum of contemporary art, and nearby are several major venues for classical music and theater, led by the Providence Performing Arts Center.
There are large community colleges in Warwick and Fall River, the University of Rhode Island in Kingston (enrollment 13,200), and a branch of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth (enrollment 9,432). Roger Williams University (enrollment 4,680) is in the well-preserved waterfront town of Bristol. Newport has Salve Regina University (enrollment 2,584), with its lifelong learning program, and the International Yacht Restoration School.
Crime is low in the Providence area. The availability of doctors and hospitals is adequate, and Rhode Islanders' health is near national averages in most respects.
Still, a high proportion of locals also report that they don't get the emotional support they need. And given the economic problems many face, it's not surprising that they also report being dissatisfied with life. Chances are, if you gave the average local resident enough money to spend a weekend at the nearby beach, he'd buy a week's worth of groceries instead.
Photo by Michael Donnor/Aurora
Santa Fe holds firm to its southwestern roots, but is also home to innovative restaurants, offbeat boutiques and dozens of art galleries.
Santa Fe, N.M.
For anyone who says Santa Fe's quirkiest days are behind it, we offer Zozobra. The 50-foot-high marionette of gloom, constructed anew annually and adorned with residents' written details of their worries, goes up in flames at the yearly Fiesta de Santa Fe, signifying the literal and figurative incineration of all that weighs on the locals.
Then again, it is unclear precisely what concerns one would have in this paradise in the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains. Santa Fe is home to innovative restaurants, offbeat boutiques, dozens of galleries (art and otherwise), spectacular scenery and dry, sunny weather.
Santa FeNearest major airport: Santa Fe Municipal, 14 milesMean price for a single-family home: $311,300Median household income: $49,947Population: 67,947Percent of residents age 65 and older: 17.6 percentCost of living: AverageSanta Fe (population 67,947) is 55 miles northeast of Albuquerque. Half of the metro area's population is Hispanic, some from families that have lived here 10 generations or more.
The city is an epicenter for painting and sculpture. There's also a local symphony, community orchestra, several chorales, the Santa Fe Opera, and annual festivals for chamber music, folk and bluegrass, alternative theater and more. Santa Fe is also a big foodie scene: Trattoria Nostrani has won numerous awards, and other restaurants, including El Farol, employ innovative chefs. You'll find them browsing the Tuesday and Saturday farmer's market for native chilies, mountain apricots, biscochitos (New Mexico's traditional cookie) and more.
On Sundays, walk the craft stalls in front of the city's old plaza, next to the oldest public building in the United States, the Palace of the Governors, built in the early 17th century. Or wander into the myriad shops, galleries, cafes and bars, or the 96,000-square-foot New Mexico History Museum. Gallery Row along Canyon Road was named one of America's Great Streets by the American Planning Association.
In the Sangre De Cristo Mountains surrounding the city, you can walk or mountain bike for days. Need a hiking partner? Call the Trails of Santa Fe Stewardship Coalition. For skiing, hit Ski Santa Fe, just 16 miles from town, or drive 2 1/2 hours to the world-class steeps of Taos Ski Valley.
The local economy is mixed '-- low unemployment, but a growing population and high housing prices that have driven up the cost of living.
Santa Fe made AARP The Magazine's list of the 10 healthiest places in the United States in 2008 due to residents' high life expectancy. But the metro area is near the bottom of the United States in the number of hospital beds per capita, so people often seek major treatments in Albuquerque. Santa Fe does have an ample supply of doctors, so basic medical attention is readily available, as are all manner of alternative healing and holistic medicine practices. Viva quirky!
Photo by Mark Scott/Getty Images
Port Townsend is less than two hours north of Seattle and is a hotbed for retirees.
Port Townsend, Wash.
Looking for a small town with a big sense of adventure, top-shelf boating right from town and majestic mountains a short skip away? If so, Port Townsend is calling. Even after 12.7 percent growth since 2000, fewer than 10,000 people live here year round, although the population swells during summer tourist season. And while Port Townsend is less than two hours north of Seattle by car, the town gets very little rainfall because the massive Olympic Mountains to the west wring the moisture out of Pacific storms. (Full disclosure: While the ''rain shadow'' keeps Port Townsend relatively dry, it doesn't block all the clouds. So overcast is the norm here.)
Port TownsendNearest major airport: Seattle-Tacoma International, 99 milesMean price for a single-family home: $305,600Median household income: $43,597Population: 9,113Percent of residents age 65 and older: 24.5 percentCost of living: Below averageDowntown had the feel of a time warp: Well-preserved and restored Victorian buildings remain from the town's original construction boom, around 1890. When the bust came a year or so later, the town meandered along, essentially frozen in time, for the next 90 years. Had any industry come along during those tough years, Port Townsend most likely would have been razed and rebuilt, like so many former boom towns in the United States. As it stands, today's locals and tourists reap the aesthetic rewards of the century-long stall.
And the pace has clearly picked up: Among myriad annual festivals and side-stream events are a wooden boat festival, kinetic sculpture race, festival of American fiddle tunes, naturalist-led bird-watching walks and traveling exhibits, such as a recent showing of 1960s surf photography. A handful of bars in town keep the live music flowing, augmented by casual and social Thursday-night concerts on the dock at Pope Marine Park during summer. The Saturday farmers market draws chatty crowds from early April to Christmas.
Art lovers have a dozen galleries to browse, and you can sample them with like-minded locals on Saturday gallery walks. All of this has attracted retirees: Almost a quarter of the population is age 65 or older.
Port Townsend enjoys proximity to remarkable outdoor recreation: The Olympic Mountains rise on one side, with trails, streams, lakes and towering, snow-capped peaks. On the other side of town, Port Townsend Bay extends like a silken blanket, beckoning kayakers, sailors and power boaters. The parks in town include two with waterfront access and a third '-- Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park '-- with a sizable lake.
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There are no higher education institutions in Port Townsend, but nearby towns such as Everett, Lynnwood and Shoreline have community colleges. Port Townsend lags the national average in doctors per capita, but residents tend to be healthy, with low rates of diabetes, obesity and hypertension. With so much to do and so little to worry about on this little peninsula, the health numbers aren't surprising.
Paris Bistros Became Symbols of Resilience. But Are They Unesco Worthy? - The New York Times
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:25
Image Parisians quickly returned to the'‹ city's'‹ cafes after the terrorist attacks of 2015 to prove that their way of life could not be threatened. Credit Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times PARIS '-- In the days after terrorists massacred scores of people lounging in Paris cafes on an unseasonably warm November night in 2015, Parisians defiantly returned to their neighborhood bistros in droves to show that they would not be broken.
The hashtags #jesuisenterrace, meaning ''I am outside,'' and #tousaubistrot, or ''Everyone to the bistro,'' exploded on social media, as people gathered to lift a glass of wine under the heat lamps as a way to demonstrate that their way of life would continue.
''It was a sign of their power and resilience,'' said Olivia Polski, an assistant mayor for commerce in Paris.
Now, a coalition of bistro owners, unions and trade organizations is lobbying to get Unesco to grant Paris's sidewalk bistros and cafes official status as France's ''intangible cultural heritage.''
For many tourists and French citizens, Paris would not be Paris without its local bistros and sidewalk cafes. Whether small or sprawling, they are inseparable from the city's iconic image '-- immortalized in Hollywood movies and novels.
But are they among the world's intangible cultural heritage? For Alain Fontaine, a bistro owner and president of the association pushing the Unesco idea, the answer is an emphatic ''yes.''
''For centuries, they have been melting pots, places where people of different ethnicities, professions and social classes mix,'' said Mr. Fontaine, who owns Le Mesturet, an old-fashioned bistro with a zinc bar and chandeliers made of wine bottles.
Support for the cause has come from Parisian actors, writers and residents for whom their local cafes and bistros represent a way of life. Many attended a news conference this past week at Le Mesturet to explain the rationale.
The bistros and cafes are not just places to sip an espresso and people-watch or to have a meal with a glass of wine. They can be arenas for robust debate, offices to seal deals or places to woo a romantic interest.
For many who live in cramped city apartments, the cafes are an extension of home '-- the living room around the corner, a space both public and private.
''I have clients who met their spouses here,'' Mr. Fontaine said. ''I raised my children here.''
The ''intangible cultural heritage'' label is a relatively recent addition to the basket of titles for extraordinary human and natural creations granted by Unesco, the United Nations cultural organization.
Image For tourists and French citizens, Paris would not be Paris without its sidewalk bistros and cafes. Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times The designation was intended to recognize practices, events and crafts that are not physical sites but that are still a unique part of a country's cultural heritage.
Since 2008, when the program started, Unesco has designated some 451 intangible cultural heritage entities in the world, and 15 are in France. Among them: an elaborate lace-making technique in Normandy, the summer solstice fire festivals in the Pyrenees and folk dances in Brittany.
In other countries, the status has been awarded to Kabuki theater in Japan, the manufacture of batik cloth in Indonesia and the pre-Inca tradition in Peru of specialized judges who determine water rights.
But the road to protected status from Unesco can take at least a couple of years '-- sometimes longer. French candidates must be preselected by the Culture Ministry before being passed on to Unesco for review. Those campaigning for the bistros and cafes hope the establishments make the list in 2020.
The Unesco designation has occasionally drawn criticism because of the vagueness of the term and because some say it is used to promote tourism and consumption rather than to encourage the study and preservation of local traditions and practices.
Some recipients of the designation in France have been accused of being so broadly defined as to be almost meaningless '-- as was the case a few years ago, when the ''French gastronomic meal'' was added to the list.
When it comes to the Paris bistros and cafes, it may be hard to explain why they should be designated part of France's cultural heritage but not those on the C´te d'Azur or in the wine center of Bordeaux.
But Mr. Fontaine and his supporters, as well as the Paris mayor's office, which is backing the effort, point to the central role that bistros and cafes played after the 2015 attacks.
People returned to the establishments soon after the assaults, in a demonstration that in times of crisis or celebration, Parisians need their local bistros.
''Bistros were attacked because they are symbols of French culture and life,'' Ms. Polski, the assistant mayor, said. ''It hit us hard, because we all have treasured memories in bistros.''
Mr. Fontaine's group is up against some tough competition in France. The ''bouquinistes,'' sellers of old books and other printed material on the banks of the Seine, are also lobbying for the Unesco designation.
So, too, are the makers of that most recognizable of French bread, the baguette, who say it deserves the title.
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Fecal matter in 60% of Austin freshwater sites tested, group says
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 04:04
A study released Thursday by a Texas environmental group found that 60 percent of Austin waterways tested last year were so contaminated with fecal matter as to be unsafe for swimming.
The ''Swim at Your Own Risk'' study was conducted by the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and took samples from freshwater streams and the Colorado River within Austin's city limits in 2017, including the creeks that flow through Austin parks, green spaces and residential neighborhoods.
The study found 46 of 76 freshwater sites at least once in 2017 had levels of bacteria considered unsafe by the state.
Among the sites tested, Waller Creek, Walnut Creek, West Bouldin Creek, East Bouldin Creek and Blunn Creek frequently had unsafe bacteria levels, the study found. The Colorado River test sites east of Lady Bird Lake also were found to have high levels of bacteria two out of four times they were tested.
Swimming in water contaminated with fecal bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness, respiratory disease, skin rashes and ear and eye infections, health experts say.
The city's more popular waterholes and swimming destinations like Barton Springs Pool, Barton Creek, Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Walter E. Long Lake did not test positive for unsafe bacteria at any point in 2017, the study found.
Environment Texas used test results collected by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and by the city of Austin's Watershed Protection Department.
The study's authors cited stormwater runoff as a cause for some of the biological pollution and recommended that cities require infrastructure improvements to mitigate runoff, such as permeable pavement. They also urged cities to educate residents about bacteria pollution caused by pet waste.
''We should be able to expect that all of our waterways, including those that run through our cities and communities, are clean and free from dangerous pollution,'' Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger said. ''But the fact is that many of the state's rivers, lakes and beaches are sometimes too polluted to go swimming, tubing or wading safely.''
Todd Jackson, a field biologist with the city's watershed department, said Austin conducts extensive water testing, providing about 30 percent of the samples in the state, which means it can capture more information than most places.
He said part of the reason the city does such robust testing is because it considers all water sources places for recreation.
''We have made significant progress and are seeing improvements in water quality over the last 20 years, despite increased development and population growth,'' a watershed department spokeswoman said.
E. coli can be found in Austin creeks, but the department said looking at samples in a single year is not enough. The state requires at least 10 samples over a five-year period to determine if water is safe for recreation.
Jackson said the most likely culprit for bacterial contamination is aging infrastructure, including leaks in private residential and commercial utility lines in some of the city's older, urbanized areas, which are hard to spot.
''We see older pipes that crack and have slow leaks,'' Jackson said. ''It takes more time to track down those.''
The watershed department has been working to identify areas where leaks are by looking at elevated bacteria levels.
Wastewater lines have been updated and moved out of Austin creeks, the city said.
Jackson said homeless camps and uncollected pet waste also contribute to bacterial contamination in some areas.
The study also looked at beaches along the Texas coast and found that 63 percent were deemed unsafe for swimming. The three beaches found unsafe the most frequently were those at Ropes Park, Cole Park and Emerald Beach, all in Corpus Christi. Many beaches along Galveston Bay also had unsafe water on numerous testing days in 2017.
In Houston, 96 of 100 freshwater testing sites had unsafe bacteria levels on at least one day of testing, the study found. At Lake Houston, six out of nine testing sites exceeded safe bacteria levels, as well as at all 44 sample sites from the city's major bayous.
In San Antonio, 12 of 14 sample sites on the San Antonio River, which boasts the popular River Walk tourist destination, had unsafe levels of bacteria, as well as downstream near Goliad State Park, according to the study.
Highlights from the study
A study from the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center found:
' More than half of all Texas beaches tested for bacterial contamination were unsafe for swimming by state standards on at least one day during 2017.
' More than 700 freshwater sites across the state had levels of bacterial contamination to make them unsafe for swimming in 2017.
' Urban and agricultural pollution are often to blame. Runoff carrying pet waste, sewage overflows and septic leaks; agricultural runoff carrying livestock waste; and runoff carrying waste from wildlife contribute to bacterial contamination.
Airbnb and the so-called sharing economy is hollowing out our cities | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 12:13
T he banner hung from a third-floor balcony, unfurling itself almost all the way down to the cobbles of the square. Barcelona no est en venda, it read, in large hand-painted letters: the city is not for sale. It wasn't the first such slogan we'd seen in only an hour or so strolling around the narrow, winding streets of Barcelona's beautiful old quarter last week, and naturally our curiosity was piqued. Something to do with gentrification, or developers maybe? Well, partly. But, disconcertingly, it turned out to have quite a lot to do with people like us, and possibly you too.
Or to be more precise, with the multibillion-pound global phenomenon that is Airbnb. As it happens, I'm boringly old school enough to have stayed in a hotel this time, but the airport bus was full of young families chattering about picking up their flat keys via the site that is famous for letting people rent their houses out to strangers. And Barcelona is far from the only place in which Airbnb is accused of turning summer sour.
Amsterdam is heavily restricting short-term lets by residents after street protests against the swamping of the city by tourists last year. It's the same story from Paris to Berlin, Venice to Lisbon. Even in Cornwall, at the height of this summer's heatwave, tourist chiefs took the unusual step of asking holidaymakers to avoid some popular beaches after coastal roads became gridlocked, leaving locals struggling to get on with their daily lives. People in Cornwall are more than used to being overrun in August, but lately something seems to be upsetting the eternally delicate balance between grockle and local, and chief suspect seems to be an unplanned, somewhat unpredictable explosion in Airbnb lets on top of the longstanding hotel and holiday cottage trade.
At least in the West Country things tend to calm down in September. Barcelona is a city-break destination practically all year round, which means it's struggling with more than just a surfeit of drunken stag parties and queues outside tapas bars. Landlords have realised they can make more money out of short lets to well-off Airbnb users than from renting to conventional tenants who live and work in the city year round, so when contracts come up for renewal it's not uncommon to find the rent suddenly shooting up to levels that young Spaniards can't pay. Once they're forced out of the neighbourhood, the empty flat promptly disappears into what's still sometimes euphemistically known as the ''sharing economy'', although what happens next sounds like the antithesis of sharing. Those lucky enough to own a desirable property get steadily luckier, by pimping it out to the highest bidders. Meanwhile, those who don't have such an asset become ever less likely to get one, as property prices are pushed up across the city. Thus does inequality harden, and resentment deepen, while the failure of mainstream parties to solve the problem drives the young and frustrated ever closer to the political fringes.
The young woman in a Barcelona barber's shop who matter-of-factly explained what the slogans were about, while running her scissors over my husband, had long ago given up on buying in the city where she grew up. But now she's not even sure how long she'll be able to rent. The tourist's dilemma has always been that descending on idyllic places tends to ruin them for people who live there, but what's unusual in this case is that the effects run so deep.
So much for the earnestly hippyish vibe of the original Airbnb model, which was supposed to be all about creating a cosy-sounding ''global community'' by linking up adventurous strangers in search of more authentic, home-from-home travel experiences. And so much, too, for the idea of democratising the travel industry by letting the little guy make a buck on the side. In some tourist hotspots Airbnb is now morphing from an amateur operation into a slick professional one, with landlords amassing multiple properties just as they once did with buy-to-let, and using agencies to manage their burgeoning empires.
The romantic, if sometimes risky, fantasy of swapping lives with a local for a few nights and seeing the city through their eyes is being replaced with a more corporate, impersonal experience. Sign here for the keys; check out promptly in time for the next guest to arrive. Too bad that what could have been a young couple's starter flat is now just another asset to be sweated, and one that probably stands empty half the time.
And if it's uncomfortable knowing that your cheap getaway comes at such a hidden cost, guilt seems unlikely to put many travellers off. After all, pangs of conscience about climate change didn't stop millions of us taking cheap no-frills flights back in the days when it was easyJet that was disrupting the holiday market. But this is about more than what individuals choose to do with their summers. It's about how modern markets function, and what happens when governments either won't intervene or can't quite work out how to do so quickly enough. Along with other Spanish cities, Barcelona has moved to limit the Airbnb effect with licensing schemes and curbs on new rentals in the old town. But if we've learned anything from the Ubers and the Amazons and the Facebooks, it's that by the time the unwanted human consequences of digital disruption become obvious, much of the damage is often already done.
What really struck the Barcelona hairdresser, however, was that when she travelled she heard similar stories. Cities all over the globe seem to be eating themselves, squeezing out the young and the skint and the creative, who are all too often the people who made them achingly hip in the first place. It manifests itself differently in different places, of course: London had a housing affordability crisis before Airbnb was even invented. Soaring prices from Berlin to Vancouver to Sydney have been blamed on everything from cheap borrowing and foreign speculation to changing demographics and government failure to build enough social housing, none of which are remotely the fault of second-home owners turning a quick profit.
But the common thread is a sense that, for whatever reason, markets are not delivering for the young in a post-crash world; that digital disruption only makes things more unpredictable; and that years of politicians earnestly promising to do something about it have come to pitifully little. All of which is a statement of the bleeding obvious now, a truth so universally accepted that it's almost completely lost its power to shock '' until seen from a slightly fresh perspective. But then that's the thing about travel. Sometimes you go halfway round the world only to notice what was under your nose all along.
' Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist
Bird Bikes
Dockless Mobility | AustinTexas.gov - The Official Website of the City of Austin
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:49
Dockless mobility systems consist of devices, such as bicycles or scooters, that do not require fixed docking stations for users to receive or return units.
The City of Austin adopted emergency administrative rules governing dockless mobility technology on May 7, 2018. These rules reflect City Council action at an April 26, 2018, meeting authorizing a dockless mobility operator's license, setting forth key operating criteria and enacting enforcement mechanisms. They also reflect community input that Austin Transportation collected in spring 2018, outlined below.
Take the Community SurveyThe Dockless Mobility Community Survey is open for public feedback through Aug. 31, 2018. Provide your feedback and share the survey widely: bit.ly/docklessatxsurvey. Espa±ol aqu­: bit.ly/docklessatxencuesta
Using Dockless Mobility ServicesPeople who plan to use dockless mobility services should do so in a safe and ethical manner. Please follow these guidelines to help keep Austin moving safely.
Pedestrians First - Yield to people walking on sidewalks.Park Responsibly - Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as furniture zones of sidewalks, public bike racks and other marked parking zones. On sidewalks, give at least 3 feet of clearance for accessibility.Stay on Right of Way - Do not take dockless devices to unauthorized areas, such as private property, parkland, or state-owned land, unless otherwise authorized.Know What You're Sharing - Users have access to dockless mobility services without having to share Personally Identifiable Information and can opt in to data sharing only after getting clear information about what data will be shared.Right and Report - If you see a unit toppled over or parked improperly, help out by righting the unit and reporting the issue to Austin 3-1-1.Current Dockless Mobility Service OperatorsThe following dockless mobility service operators are licensed to operate in Austin's downtown area project coordination zone. Supplemental licenses permit operators to provide additional units in areas outside of the downtown area project coordination zone.
Bird - 500 scooters; and 500 supplemental licenses for scooters (see map for Bird's areas of operation)GOAT - 20 scootersJUMP - 250 bicyclesLime - 500 scooters; and 500 supplemental licenses for scooters (see map for Lime's areas of operation)Pace - 500 bicyclesSpin - 1 scooterVeoRide - 350 bicyclesLicense ApplicationsThe license application and associated documents required for dockless mobility companies to operate in the right of way are available below. If approved, the license will be valid for six months. Please submit signed and completed documents to the Mobility Services Division (1111 Rio Grande, Austin, TX 78701).
License ApplicationTerms and ConditionsPerformance (Surety) BondReport of New or Replacement EquipmentProgram ManagementAustin Transportation is engaging with operators and working concurrently on program elements, including mapping and marking parking zones, and data reporting and management protocols. Austin Transportation is working with dockless mobility operators to continuously improve performance.
Public Input ProcessIn March and April 2018, Austin Transportation held a series of public meetings related to dockless mobility. The feedback gathered at these meetings is compiled in a summary below.
Dockless Mobility Community Feedback - Final Report - May 4, 2018Additional InformationThe following Council Memorandums provide additional information on the dockless mobility process.
April 6, 2018 Memo to Mayor and Council '' Dockless Scooter OperationsApril 16, 2018 Memo to Mayor and Council '' Dockless Mobility Systems UpdateJuly 31, 2018 Memo to Mayor and Council '' Update on Rulemaking Process for Dockless Mobility ProgramOnline Questions, Comments and FeedbackPlease email DocklessMobility@AustinTexas.gov or call 512-974-7633.
Dockless mobility survey closes Friday, city officials say
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:47
Austin residents have one more day to express their views about the city's dockless mobility program, which regulates devices like the stand-up rental scooters spotted around town this summer.
The city is asking for feedback on the dockless devices before it updates regulations for them in the fall, officials said. The survey can be found online at this link here and closes Aug. 31.
Users can rank their familiarity with the dockless mobility devices, which includes scooters and bicycles, and rate their effectiveness at making the city safer, reducing traffic or saving commuters money.
The survey allows user to list what they use the devices for and if they block sidewalks or roadways.
Doctors at Dell Seton Medical Center have treated one to two injuries every day since the beginning of April, when stand-up scooters first arrived in Austin, Dr. Christopher Ziebell, the hospital's emergency department medical director, told the American-Statesman this summer.
The injuries include broken elbows, knees and wrists as well as scrapes and cuts, but at least four serious head injuries and two injuries from a collision with a vehicle have been reported, he said.
More than 2,000 scooters and hundreds of dockless bicycles are permitted to operate in Austin.
Gig Economy
The Hot College Gig: Online Brand Promoter - The New York Times
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:34
Image Annabelle Schmitt, a senior at Pennsylvania State University, is asked to promote a variety of products on her social media accounts. Credit Credit Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times Noah Lamfers, a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, had never tried a 5-Hour Energy drink. But he still signed up to promote the brand online, getting paid to post images of himself and bottles of the product on his personal Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. He tagged each one with #5houruintern.
Elizabeth Gabriel, a recent graduate of the University of Texas, posted a photo on Instagram of herself relaxing in her last year with a glass of wine and gazing at the latest Samsung tablet. It was one of 12 similar photos she posted for AT&T over 12 weeks. Her payment: a Samsung Galaxy smart watch and an Apple TV.
Alana Clark, a 21-year-old senior at Virginia Tech, is one of more than 200 college students across the country using their Instagram accounts to promote Victoria's Secret Pink sportswear and undergarments. She also hands out free underwear on the quad.
Paying college students to push products is nothing new for companies. The exuberant undergraduate wearing a Nike cap and giving out samples is as common on American campuses as football fans tailgating at homecoming.
But now, like so much in the advertising world, the big action is online. As students return to campuses, they're constantly checking their Instagram, Snapchat and other social media accounts '-- so companies are turning to many of them to promote products right alongside photos of family, friends and the new puppy.
For busy students, it is an easy, low-pressure way to make extra money or get free products. For marketers, it is a simple way to reach young people '-- a supplement to their other social media efforts, including hiring full-time promoters.
Image The Virginia Tech senior Alana Clark is one of more than 200 college students across the country whom Victoria's Secret uses to promote its Pink sportswear and underwear.Though there are no comprehensive data for how many college students promote brands online, interviews with university officials, marketing consultants, brand representatives and students make it clear that the social media platform is big business on campus. Many of the deals are for Instagram posts, but some brands also have students posting on other services, like Twitter and Facebook.
Riddle & Bloom, a marketing agency specializing in building ''meaningful relationships with millennial and Gen Z consumers,'' employs students from more than 500 schools in all 50 states, according to its website.
On the Victoria's Secret website, you can search for the names of its representatives at 100 campuses, in schools from Columbia University to Grand Valley State University.
At Virginia Tech, as many as 1,000 of the 30,000 undergrads are being paid to promote products as varied as mascara and storage bins, according to an estimate by Donna Wertalik, director of marketing for the university's Pamplin College of Business.
''We see so many brands that have it,'' Ms. Wertalik said. ''A lot of start-up brands will do it. They'll look for students with credibility and influence to give them credibility and influence.''
Ms. Wertalik oversees a student-run ad agency called Prism. Of the 45 undergrads employed there, she estimated, half are paid to promote products on Instagram.
Companies outline expectations for what the sponsored posts should include, such as specific hashtags or promotions for particular items. Many also ask students to hold or attend events on campus.
Isabel Senior, a student at Duke University, worked for LaCroix, the sparkling water company. Each week for six weeks, she had to post one Instagram photo, one Instagram story and one post on a platform like Facebook or Snapchat. She also gave out cans of LaCroix at campus events like five-kilometer races and university-sponsored concerts.
Every Sunday, Ms. Senior had to send in a form with three photos from her weekly sampling event, along with screenshots of her posts. The company paid her in money and LaCroix products, and if she didn't complete a task, she said, it docked some of the pay.
The job isn't always as simple as it may sound.
''I think the time commitment was what I expected,'' said Annabelle Schmitt, a senior at Pennsylvania State University this fall, ''but how hard it was I did not expect.''
Ms. Schmitt worked for Aerie, a lingerie retailer, along with three other Penn State students during the last school year. The company required that she post at least one Instagram photo, Instagram story and Snapchat post each week using the products, like sweatshirts and lounge pants, sent by the company.
Ms. Schmitt also hosted events like a swimsuit promotion that helped women find the best suit for their bodies, and a screening of a documentary about the singer Demi Lovato followed by a discussion about self-love.
Image Ms. Schmitt said fulfilling her obligations to brands was harder than she expected. Besides posting on social media, she has hosted in-person events.Creating the images took Ms. Schmitt at least two hours each week. She was paid with money and company products.
''Because I take my branding seriously for my personal blog,'' she said, ''I try to work with photographers to get really high quality.''
The payments to the so-called campus influencers appear to vary widely, from cash to merchandise, and brands say little about them.
Riddle & Bloom's website says it pays out a total of $2 million to its campus representatives, but during an interview its president, Darren Ross, would not go into detail or confirm the website's numbers.
Azita Peters's work as a brand ambassador for Alex and Ani, a jewelry company, started off with a perk. Ms. Peters, a student at Virginia Tech, enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to Rhode Island, complete with free jewelry.
She and 12 other women from colleges like the University of Alabama and Ohio State University '-- ''big state schools with football programs,'' she said '-- spent three days at Alex and Ani headquarters there. They toured the work space and received instructions on curating their Instagram feeds.
Under Federal Trade Commission rules, people using their personal social media accounts to advertise products are supposed to disclose on their accounts the brands they represent. For instance, Ms. Gabriel tags AT&T in her posts while also including the hashtags #sponsored, #ad and #att.
But these guidelines are often ignored. In April 2017, the trade commission sent more than 90 letters to influencers and brands reminding them of the guidelines.
Image Azita Peters of Virginia Tech was invited to visit the Rhode Island headquarters of the jewelry maker Alex and Ani when she started working for the company as a brand ambassador.Companies use numerous methods to select campus influencers. Sometimes the students apply directly to the marketing agencies; sometimes the marketers identify the students.
Students can go to the Riddle & Bloom website and apply for one of the 2,000 ''internships,'' which last for a semester.
Some students land the job through old-fashioned networking. Ms. Senior, the student at Duke, heard about Riddle & Bloom through a sorority sister, who had posted a link to the online application in their sorority group chat.
And sometimes, students have no idea how they were selected.
Advertisers hire Riddle & Bloom for access to its database of student applicants. The company says it has a close working relationship with university officials through the National Association for Campus Activities, a trade association, noting that they even share an office in Columbia, S.C.
Representatives from the association say that they do not give out either personal or contact information about students without permission, but that they do steer campus leaders toward Riddle & Bloom.
Ms. Gabriel said she hadn't considered being a brand ambassador until, out of the blue, AT&T reached out to her via direct message on Instagram. She attributed the company's interest to the down-to-earth photos she posts and the number of comments she gets.
''My follower-to-like ratio is probably something that caught their eye,'' she said.
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Their Homework: Pushing Brands Online
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Agenda 2030
Windmills are causing global warming
Climate Change Could Take the Air Out of Wind Farms | WIRED
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 14:42
Big offshore wind farms power Europe's drive for a carbon-free society, while rows of spinning turbines across America's heartland churn enough energy to power 25 million US homes. But a new study predicts that a changing climate will weaken winds that blow across much of the Northern hemisphere, possibly leading to big drops in clean wind energy.
That's because the temperature difference between the North Pole and the equator, which drives atmospheric energy in the form of winds and storm systems, is shrinking as the Arctic warms. A warmer Arctic means less of a temperature difference and therefore weaker winds across the central United States, the United Kingdom, the northern Middle East, and parts of Asia. It's just one of many weather-related effects that scientists forecast are likely to occur as concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide continue to rise in the Earth's atmosphere'--from stronger hurricanes to weaker polar vortexes.
''Our results don't show the wind power goes to zero, it's a reduction of 10 percent over broad regions,'' says Kristopher Karnauskas, a climate scientist at Colorado University Boulder and lead author of the new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. ''But it's not trivial.''
Wind derives its energy from instability between regions of the globe'--in the Northern hemisphere, from instability between the equator and North Pole. "That's why we have a constant parade of weather systems," says Karnauskas. "They are there because of this contrast in energy between the equator and the pole. Because the Arctic is warming so much faster than the rest of the world, you can imagine how it changes the gradient."
Down under, things are likely to be different. Under some climate change prediction models, the Southern Hemisphere will see stronger winds because the difference in southern land and sea temperatures will increase. Changing wind patterns in the Southern hemisphere might have other effects as well, including pushing masses of warm water off the Antarctica coastline and melting glaciers from below at a faster rate.
Karnauskas and colleagues used several climate scenarios from the latest IPCC report and combined them with a formula that the wind industry uses to derive how much electricity a turbine can produce. The study used 10 climate models, each one using a different level of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by 2050 and 2100. Together, those data indicate changing weather patterns will cause an 8 to 10 percent drop in wind across much of the Northern hemisphere by 2050, with a 14 to 18 percent drop by the end of the century. ''Most of the human population and wind farms are in the Northern hemisphere,'' says Karnauskas.
And a small drop in available wind can translate into a bigger drop in the amount of wind energy produced by turbines. ''The total energy from wind farms would drop significantly,'' says Geoff Spedding, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the study. That's because power output is windspeed to the third power'--so Spedding calculates that a 10 percent drop in wind power would result in a nearly 30 percent drop in wind-derived energy.
That doesn't mean the potential for wind power will disappear. Karnauskas says that a changing climate would merely "shift the potential for wind power from the north to the south." The study calculates potential wind power hotspots in places like East Australia, West Africa, and the Brazilian coast, for example. The big losers will likely be the Central US and Scandinavia, places where wind power has surged in recent years. That kind of shift may mean new players in the global wind game, especially if there's an economical and efficient way to store this energy.
Spedding notes that the operators of wind farms are used to dealing with variability in wind speed and direction'--they will likely find ways to compensate for a future with less available wind. That idea is shared by a co-author on the paper who studies the turbulent airborne ''wake'' produced behind the spinning blades of 300-foot tall wind turbines, which reduces the energy available for turbines downwind. Julie Lundquist, atmospheric scientist at CU, says that researchers are considering ways to get the next generation of turbines higher off the ground where winds travel faster. They could put turbines on kites for example, or change the position of individual turbines in order to reduce the wake that flows behind.
''Existing wind farms won't stop working,'' Lundquist says. ''But we should be on the alert to look for indications of change.'' The US currently gets about 5 percent of its power from wind turbines, although five states in the Midwest generate more than 20 percent of their electricity from this renewable source of energy. Hopes for East Coast offshore wind farm were dashed recently when Cape Wind pulled the plug on an operation between Long Island and Martha's Vineyard after strong local opposition. But developers and state officials in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina are hoping that projects in those waters will soon be replacing coal-fired energy with wind power. Of course, if those winds peter out, future wind farms could be left stranded'--or at least in search of new technologies to keep green power flowing.
Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales - BloombergQuint
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 04:19
Aug 30 2018, 7:43 PMSep 01 2018, 2:12 AMAugust 30 2018, 7:43 PMSeptember 01 2018, 2:12 AM
(Bloomberg) -- For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.
But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren't aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That's because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant's strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.
But the deal, which has not been previously reported, could raise broader privacy concerns about how much consumer data technology companies like Google quietly absorb.
"People don't expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,'' said Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). "There's just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they're doing and what rights they have.''
Google paid Mastercard millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked on the deal, and the companies discussed sharing a portion of the ad revenue, according to one of the people. The people asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A spokeswoman for Google said there is no revenue sharing agreement with its partners.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the partnership with Mastercard, but addressed the ads tool. "Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users' personally identifiable information,'' the company said in a statement. ''We do not have access to any personal information from our partners' credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.'' The company said people can opt out of ad tracking using Google's ''Web and App Activity'' online console. Inside Google, multiple people raised objections that the service did not have a more obvious way for cardholders to opt out of the tracking, one of the people said.
Seth Eisen, a Mastercard spokesman, also declined to comment specifically on Google. But he said Mastercard shares transaction trends with merchants and their service providers to help them measure "the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.'' The information, which includes sales volumes and average size of the purchase, is shared only with permission of the merchants, Eisen added. "No individual transaction or personal data is provided," he said in a statement. "We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers."
Last year, when Google announcedthe service, called "Store Sales Measurement," the company just said it had access to "approximately 70 percent" of U.S. credit and debit cards through partners, without naming them.
That 70 percent could mean that the company has deals with other credit card companies, totaling 70 percent of the people who use credit and debit cards. Or it could mean that the company has deals with companies that include all card users, and 70 percent of those are logged into Google accounts like Gmail when they click on a Google search ad.
Google has approached other payment companies about the program, according to two people familiar with the conversations, but it is not clear if they finalized similar deals. The people asked to not be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the matter. Google confirmed that the service only applies to people who are logged in to one of its accounts and have not opted out of ad tracking. Purchases made on Mastercard-branded cards accounted for around a quarter of U.S. volumes last year, according to the Nilson Report, a financial research firm.
Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales.
Google is testing the data service with a ''small group'' of advertisers in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman. With it, marketers see aggregate sales figures and estimates of how many they can attribute to Google ads -- but they don't see a shoppers' personal information, how much they spend or what exactly they buy. The tests are only available for retailers, not the companies that make the items sold inside stores,the spokeswoman said. The service only applies to its search and shopping ads, she said.
For Google, the Mastercard deal fits into a broad effort to net more retail spending. Advertisers spend lavishly on Google to glean valuable insight into the link between digital ads a website visit or an online purchase. It's harder to tell how ads influence offline behavior. That's a particular frustration for companies marketing items like apparel or home goods, which people will often research online but walk into actual stores to buy.
That gap created a demand for Google to find ways for its biggest customers to gauge offline sales, and then connect them to the promotions they run on Google. "Google needs to tie that activity back to a click," said Joseph McConellogue, head of online retail for the ad agency Reprise Digital. "Most advertisers are champing at the bit for this kind of integration."
Initially, Google devised its own solution, a mobile payments service first called Google Wallet. Part of the original goal was to tie clicks on ads to purchases in physical stores, according to someone who worked on the product. But adoption never took off, so Google began looking for allies. A spokeswoman said its payments service was never used for ads measurement.
Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps. Still, the advertiser didn't know if the shopper made a purchase. So Google added more. A tool, introduced the following year, let advertisers upload email addresses of customers they've collected into Google's ad-buying system, which then encrypted them. Additionally, Google layered on inputs from third-party data brokers, such as Experian Plc and Acxiom Corp., which draw in demographic and financial information for marketers.
But those tactics didn't always translate to more ad spending. Retail outlets weren't able to connect the emails easily to their ads. And the information they received from data brokers about sales was imprecise or too late. Marketing executives didn't adopt these location tools en masse, said Christina Malcolm, director at the digital ad agency iProspect. "It didn't give them what they needed to go back to their bosses and tell them, 'We're hitting our numbers,'" she said.
Then Google brought in card data. In May 2017, the company introduced "Store Sales Measurement." It had two components. The first lets companies with personal information on consumers, like encrypted email addresses, upload those into Google's system and synchronize ad buys with offline sales. The second injects card data.
It works like this: a person searches for "red lipstick" on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn't buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads "Offline Revenue" -- only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase. Mastercard's spokesman said the company does not view data on the individual items purchased inside stores.
It's not an exact match, but it's the most powerful tool Google, the world's largest ad seller, has offered for shopping in the real world. Marketers once had a patchwork of consumer data in their hands to triangulate who saw their ads and who was prompted to spend. Now they had far more clarity.
Google's ad chief, Sridhar Ramaswamy, introduced the product in a blog post, writing that advertisers using it would have "no time-consuming setup or costly integrations." Missing from the blog post was the arrangement with Mastercard.
Early signs indicate that the deal has been a boon for Google. The new feature also plugs transaction data into advertiser systems as soon as they occur, fixing the lag that existed previously and letting Google slot in better-performing ads. Malcolm said her agency has tested the card measurement tool with a major advertiser, which she declined to name. Beforehand, the company received $5.70 in revenue for every dollar spent on marketing in the ad campaign with Google, according to an iProspect analysis. With the new transaction feature, the return nearly doubled to $10.60.
"That's really powerful," Malcolm said. "And it was a really good way to invest more in Google, frankly."
But some privacy critics derided the tool as opaque. EPIC submitted a complaint about the sales measuring tack to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year. A report in August that Facebook Inc. was talking with banks about accessing information for consumer service products sparked similar criticism. For years, Facebook and Google have worked to link their massive troves of user behavior with consumer financial data.
And financial companies have plotted ways to tap into the bounty of digital advertising. The Google tie-up isn't Mastercard's only stab at minting the data it collects from customers. The company has built out its data and analytics capabilities in recent years through its consulting arm, Mastercard Advisors, and gives advertisers and merchants the ability to forecast consumer behavior based on cardholder data.
Ad buyers that work with Google insist that the company is careful to maintain the walls between transaction information and web behavior, keeping any info flowing to retailers and marketers anonymous. "Google is really strict about that," said Malcolm.
Before launching the product, Google developed a novel encryption method, according to Jules Polonetsky, head of the Future Privacy Forum, who was briefed by Google on the product. He explained that the system ensures that neither Google nor its payments partners have access to the data that each collect. ''They're sharing data that has been so transformed that, if put in the public, no party could do anything with it,'' Polonetsky said. ''It doesn't create a privacy risk.''
Future Privacy Forum, a nonprofit, receives funding from 160 companies including Google.
Google's ad business, which hit $95.4 billion in 2017 sales, has maintained an astounding growth rate of about 20 percent a year. But investors have worried how long that can last. Many major advertisers are starting to funnel more spending to rival Amazon, the company that hosts far more, and more granular, data on online shopping.
In response, Google has continued to push deeper into offline measurements. The company, like Facebook and Twitter Inc., has explored the use of "beacons," Bluetooth devices that track when shoppers enter stores.
Some ad agencies have actively talked to Google about even more ways to better size up offline behaviors. They have discussed adding features into the ads system such as what time of day people buy items and how much they spend, said John Malysiak, who runs search marketing for the Omnicom agency OMD USA. "We're trying to go deeper with Google," he said. "We'd like to understand more." Google declined to comment on the discussions.
The Purge
How Google does it
ITM Adam,
Heard about the awful experience of the guy assigned to
review Dutch content in the EU for Google.
Figured I should add my experience.
I worked as a Google Search Rater for a few months. The job
required a college degree, but paid about $13/hr working from home. Think the
target was the chronically underemployed, which fit me at the time.
The most common task was: determining if a query is
"looking for porn" or "not looking for porn" (or was
"possibly looking for porn"). Obviously, it's important that if a
user isn't looking for porn that they don't accidentally get it. Else your
product can't be used in a business setting, classroom, etc.
Google's first attempt at solving this problem just
blacklisted certain words (or made them reduce the search score significantly),
explaining why DVORAK UNCENSORED was not a great blog title. (I pray that was
never a query looking for porn.)
Their new approach focuses on training the algos, of course.
I've heard you say on the show that most of these are just
skip logic. Or, alternatively, are human-powered. Both are technically true.
It's really the combination, though. First comes the human input, then the skip
logic. The skip logic is not actually human-powered based on rules, other than
the general rules of how to learn. It's told nothing about the content itself.
To teach an algo to recognize a picture of a dog, you don't
program skip logic saying, "Look for these characteristics in a picture.
For example, a dog has a long jaw like this, and here's some code for how you
identify it."
Instead, you give it thousands of pictures of dogs and say,
"This is a dog." You also give it thousands of pictures of things
that are not dogs, and say, "This is not a dog." The algorithm
analyzes the images and finds similarities in the patterns of the data. We
don't understand anything about how it's identifying what is similar, and it
doesn't understand the concept of eyes, ears, legs, tail and so on, or how to
identify them, but with enough training it's able to accurately predict what we
mean by "picture of a dog."
Same thing with porn: with enough repetition, the algo
learns what humans consider a query that is searching for porn vs one that
isn't. You can test the limits with queries like "big hot mamas covered in
my sauce," which would be rated as "possibly looking for porn."
(Think that gives you food, though changing just one word can net different
But, crucially, once human input is not able to improve the
algorithm any further, that human input is no longer needed. Google Search
Raters no longer rate what is or is not a porn query; that problem is
considered solved. They've moved on to the next one, a much broader problem.
The people reviewing all the horrible online content for
near minimum wage are currently moderating Google, Facebook and so on. The
algorithms are doing relatively little, automatically flagging what they can
and passing it on for human review.
But the human reviewers are simultaneously training the
algo. Like with "This is a dog," they are training it to understand,
"This is objectionable content."
It may take billions of examples (and probably, specific
classifications as to why something is objectionable). But, eventually, humans
will not be required for this task. It will be considered solved, much like
porn queries, and only a few humans will be left to monitor for quality
control. We'll have a near-perfect algo for determining if something is
offensive. PC Bot!
That's when automated censorship by machines will become de
facto law. We will not need to understand why content is considered
objectionable, and the machine won't be able to tell us except in general
If you try to contact the tech giants' basically
non-existent support, you'll receive this reply: "I'm sorry, that content
was determined to be offensive by our algorithm, which has been shown to agree
with real human content reviewers 99.999% of the time. It's infallible. There's
nothing we can do."
Such an algorithm will never be "artificial
intelligence." But it will almost completely replace humans for some tasks
that once required real human intelligence and understanding of nuance. The
machine won't have either of these. But does it matter?
Thanks for your service to the world's slaves.
BUSTED: In 2011, Facebook Promoted Case Study That Bragged "Very Economical" Ads On Social Network "Can Be Used To Change Public Opinion In Any Political Campaign" - GotNews
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:58
Embattled social media giant Facebook actually promoted a case study on its own website in 2011 that praised its usefulness ''as a market research tool and as a platform for ad saturation [that] can be used to change public opinion in any political campaign.''The case study highlighted how a media firm named Chong + Koster was able to successfully sway public opinion against a 2010 Florida ballot measure that would have increased public school class sizes. It noted how Chong + Koster's ''Vote NO on 8'' campaign cleverly ''used Facebook's targeting capabilities to serve a variety of ad messages to Floridians by age groups '' 18 '' 29; 30 '' 44; 45 '' 54; 55 '' 63; 64 and over '' separately for both males and females,'' and ended up scoring an impressive, improbable victory on Election Day.
''The campaign had a very small budget and needed to maximize the effectiveness of its marketing to persuade voters to vote no on the proposition,'' the case study, which is still up on Facebook's Government and Politics page today, notes. ''The backers also knew at the outset that they wanted to find a new model for voter communication. The first goal of the Facebook Ads campaign was to use Facebook as a market research tool to hone the messages identified by a baseline poll specifically for each micro-audience of targeted voters in Florida and for each demographic group. The learnings from this market research would be used across all other media buys. The second goal was to saturate Facebook users in Florida with targeted messages in the month prior to the election.''
The page also states that the most important goal of this Facebook advertisement campaign was to determine whether it could change future political advertising: ''The third, and most important goal, was to measure the impact of the online ad program to assess its viability as a new model for voter persuasion.''
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In addition, it discusses how Chung + Koster utilized Facebook users' locations to perfect its microtargeting. ''The agency relied on Facebook's Location Targeting to reach people in two of the most populated counties in Florida, Dade and Broward, which have a combined population of 4.2 million,'' the case study explains, before quoting a very satisfied Chong + Koster partner named Tyler Davis. ''The methodology for using Facebook as a market research tool is really quite simple and incredibly efficient,'' Davis observes in the case study. ''For each target audience identified by the poll, we ran a set of Facebook Ads that split-tested a variety of messages and imagery. Then, with Facebook's real-time performance reporting, we were able to pinpoint the best message/image for each audience, and move those findings to inform display ad production within a week.''
Another one of the firm's partners, Josh Koster, revealed that the insights his firm gained from its Facebook advertising campaign were so beneficial that it used them to tweak its advertisements on other platforms. ''We used Facebook as the master research tool to help determine the creative for banner ads and TV ads online,'' Koster explains. ''Not only were our display ads based on the results of the Facebook research, but a lot of our ads ran to people who we originally aggregated on a remarketing list through the Facebook acquisition campaign.''
The case study then boasts about the effectiveness of the campaign by bragging about the Facebook advertising campaign's astounding results:
It then concludes with a section titled ''The Future,'' which asserts: ''Chong & Koster believes that the strategy of using Facebook as a market research tool and as a platform for ad saturation can be used to change public opinion in any political campaign. The agency has already applied the model for other campaigns, and is also working with a number of brands that recognize that this could lead to a new model for brand advertising in the digital era.''
That this bold claim is still featured on Facebook's Government and Politics page may come as a surprise in light of Facebook's recent political advertising scandals '' particularly last week's scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm that Facebook suspended after reports of it violating users' privacy by improperly accessing their data. Yesterday, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) repeated his demand that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testify in front of Congress, and today, the FTC announced it has launched an investigation into the Silicon Valley giant over the scandal. But as Facebook tries to downplay its history of sharing massive amounts of data with political advertisers, this case study from 2011 is a good reminder of how the company used to boast about its ability to help sway elections for clients willing to buy advertisements on the site.
Stay tuned for more.
Our researchers shut down Facebook's biased left-wing trending news team. They uncovered never-before-heard audio tapes of establishment Trump-hater John McCain broadcasting communist propaganda in Vietnam. Their research was successfully used in court against Rolling Stone magazine in a $7.5 million judgment. Best of all, Politico revealed that President Donald J. Trump reads printed-out GotNews articles in the Oval Office. If you'd like to hire our research team, email us at editor@gotnews.com.
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Proposed Idaho Anti-social Media Censorship Act | Censorship | Freedom Of Speech
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:46
ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP ACT An act to be entitled the
Anti-social media censorship act
of 2019. Summary: An act that creates a private right of action against social media websites that are open to the public, that were not affiliated with any religious organization or political party at its inception, and that have more than 75,000,000 users that intentionally censures a user's political or religious speech. An act that treats certai n social media websites l ike public utilities by t he State Idaho. Definitions ''Public Utility:'' a business organization performing a public service a nd subject to special governmental regulation. ''Internet:'' the international computer network of both Federal and non-Federal interoperable packet switched data networks. ''Social Media Website:'' a dedicated website or other application that enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc. ''Hate Speech:'' a catch all phrase based on arbitrary standards concerning content that an individual finds personally offensive based on their private moral code. ''Hate speech'' is form of protected speech. ''Obscenity'' (use the same definition under the existing obscenity code). ''Algorithm:'' a set of instructions designed to perform a specific task. ''Political Speech:'' speech relating to the state, government, the body politic, public administration, policy-making, etc. of, involved in, or relating to government policy-making as distinguished from administration or law of or relating to the civil aspects of government as distinguished from the military of, dealing with, or relating t o politics. Political speech includes not just speech by the government or candidates for office, but also any discussion of social issues. ''Religious Speech:'' a set of un proven answers, truth claims, faith-based assumptions and naked assertions that attempt to explain the greater questions like how things were created, what humans should or should not be doing, and what happens after death. Section I. Certain social media websites to be treated as a public utility
: Social media website that is open to the public that has more than 75,000,000 subscribers that was not specifically affiliated with any one religion or political party from its inception shall be construed to be a public utility by the State of Idaho. Section II. A private cause of a ction for intentional political and religious censorship by Social Media Websites
Press Freedom
California man arrested on charges of threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees - The Boston Globe
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:31
By John R. Ellement, Travis Andersen and Milton Valencia Globe Staff August 30, 2018
Robert Darrell Chain.
A California man is facing federal charges for allegedly threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees, whom he called ''the enemy of the people,'' after the Globe's editorial board launched a national newspaper campaign in support of the free press and the First Amendment.
Robert Darrell Chain, 68, of Encino, Calif., was arrested by an FBI SWAT team Thursday without incident at his home. He is charged with a single count of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce.
Chain is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday and will eventually be arraigned in US District Court in Boston at a later date, federal prosecutors said.
A law enforcement official briefed on the case said investigators are searching Chain's home and have found weapons inside.
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According to prosecutors, when the Globe called for newspapers around the country to use their opinion pages to counter President Trump's description of the news media as an ''enemy of the people,'' Chain started calling the Globe and making threats to newsroom employees.
''In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as 'the enemy of the people' and threatened to kill newspaper employees,'' prosecutors wrote in a statement. ''In total, it is alleged that Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and August 22, 2018.''
On Aug. 16 when the Globe and newspapers around the country published their editorial and opinion pieces, Chain allegedly called the Globe newsroom and ''threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head 'later today, at 4 o'clock.''‰''
An affidavit filed in the case said Chain owns several firearms, including a new 9mm carbine rifle that he bought in May.
In response to the threats, Boston police stationed officers at 1 Exchange Place, the downtown office building where the Globe's editorial offices are located.
Chain faces a maximum sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000, according to US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling's office, which is prosecuting.
KABC-TV Los Angeles
A video screengrab shows the home of Robert Darrell Chain.
One of Chain's neighbors in California, who asked that her name not be used so that she can avoid any political attention, said Thursday that the allegations shocked her.
She knew Chain as a gentle neighbor, who liked to garden and fed stray cats in the neighborhood. He lived there with his wife, a lawyer, but he appeared to be retired. She believes he has two adult sons, who do not live there. The woman said Chain would take neighborhood walks because he had a heart condition.
''The person I know is the one who helps you, watches to see if everyone is OK,'' she said, describing a recent incident in which Chain knocked on her door to remind her to move her car before the street cleaners arrived.
They never talked politics, she said, and she did not know he had guns. She was in his living room recently.
''He has been really helpful to us,'' she said. ''I'm in shock right now.''
The woman said she was awoken around 6 a.m. Thursday by what sounded like gunshots and what she believes were smoke bombs. She looked out her window to see FBI agents surrounding the home. They remained there hours later, and TV news trucks arrived.
Pamela Meyer, another neighbor, agreed that Chain was friendly in a neighborly way, but she had also seen him have outbursts that made her feel uncomfortable. Several years ago, he confronted another neighbor who was having a party because one of the party guests blocked in front of his driveway. The neighbor had to pin Chain down to the ground, and police were called.
Other times, Meyer said, she could hear him screaming at the television from his living room window, over issues as mundane as a sports game. He was shouting in celebration the day Trump won the presidential election.
''He rants,'' she said. ''He'll just shout things out, whatever is upsetting him.''
Meyer said Chain never tried to push his politics on other people, and he was never critical. But he was opinionated, she said.
''He just has a trigger, whatever is on his mind at the moment,'' she said. ''I think he was a person prone to excesses.''
She added, ''I've always wondered if there was something a little not-right with him.''
Lelling, a Trump appointee, noted in a statement that his office has already filed criminal charges against a man who threatened to bomb a minority commencement ceremony at Harvard University and a man who separately offered a bounty for the murder of a federal law enforcement officer.
''Anyone '-- regardless of political affiliation '-- who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,'' Lelling said in a statement. ''In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.''
The head of the Boston FBI office, Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw, said Chain's alleged actions should not be dismissed as a harmless prank.
''Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated,'' he said in a statement, adding that the arrest of Chain should be considered a warning.
''Making threats is not a prank, it's a federal crime. All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions,'' he said. ''Whether potentially [a] hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground.''
According to Shaw, Chain's alleged actions were investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force units in the FBI's Boston and Los Angeles offices.
Jane Bowman, a spokeswoman for the Globe, issued a statement:
''We are grateful to the FBI, the US Attorney's Office, the Boston Police, and local authorities in California for the work they did in protecting the Globe while threats were coming in, for investigating the source, and for making this arrest. We couldn't have asked for a stronger response.
''While it was unsettling for many of our staffers to be threatened in such a way, nobody '-- really, nobody '-- let it get in the way of the important work of this institution.''
The affidavit in the case said many of Chain's calls were profane, lewd, and peppered with antigay slurs.
During one call on Aug. 13, he said, ''We are going to shoot you [expletive] in the head, you Boston Globe [expletive]. Shoot every [expletive] one of you.''
He allegedly said on Aug. 16, ''You're the enemy of the people, and we're going to kill every [expletive] one of you. Hey, why don't you call the F, why don't you call Mueller, maybe he can help you out buddy. Still there [expletive]? Alright, why, you going to trace my call? What are you going to do [expletive]? You ain't going to do [expletive]. I'm going to shoot you in the [expletive] head later today, at 4 o'clock. Goodbye.''
The affidavit quoted him as saying during another threatening rant on Aug. 22 that ''you are the enemy of the people, and I want you to go [expletive] yourself. As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threat[en], harass, and annoy the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, the other fake news.''
The New York Times no longer owns the Globe, having sold the paper in 2013.
The affidavit also shed light on how investigators traced the calls to Chain, who court records show lives with his wife.
Chain allegedly made a first batch of threatening calls, totaling about a dozen, to the Globe between Aug. 10 and Aug. 17, and each of those calls was listed on the newspaper's caller identification logs as ''blocked,'' the affidavit said.
However, records obtained from Verizon, the Globe's service provider, and Charter Communications led investigators to Chain's landline, which he's had since November 2000.
''Toll records . . . showed that calls were made from that phone to the Boston Globe main telephone number on the same dates and times as the threatening calls made by the blocked number,'' the affidavit said.
On Aug. 22, the filing said, Chain allegedly made two more threatening calls from his wife's cellphone number, and that number wasn't blocked.
''Toll records from Verizon Wireless [for that number] confirmed two calls placed to the main number of the Boston Globe on August 22, 2018,'' the affidavit said.
''As a result of these threatening calls, Boston Globe employees reported feeling threatened and scared,'' the affidavit said.
''The Boston Globe reported the calls to law enforcement and contracted with a private security firm to protect its employees. In response to the August 16, 2018 call in which CHAIN threatened to shoot Boston Globe employees at 4 p.m. that day, marked law enforcement units from the Boston Police Department came to the Globe's office and patrolled the building to ensure the safety of the occupants,'' the affidavit said.
Chain had some legal problems in the past. He was ordered to pay around $22,000 in 2014 to the federal government in 2012 for failing to pay off his student loans dating back to the 1980s, according to records filed in federal court in California.
He and his wife, Betty, filed for bankruptcy protection three times in the late 1990s, according to court records. Betty could not be reached for comment.
Alexandra Ellerbeck, North America program coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, welcomed the news of Chain's arrest.
''Journalists should never face violence for doing their jobs, yet in the United States multiple news outlets have reported direct threats of violence,'' Ellerbeck said in a statement. ''It is crucial that in this hostile climate, newsrooms and law enforcement take threats against reporters seriously. We are glad that they appear to have done so in the case of the threats against the Boston Globe.''
John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
The Village Voice ceases publication after 63 years | Media | The Guardian
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 05:23
The Village Voice, New York's Pulitzer prize-winning alternative weekly known for its muckraking investigations, brash political reporting, exhaustive arts criticism and anxiety-laden cartoons, is going out of business after 63 years. Last night, New York cultural figures, among them the guitarist Lenny Kaye, came out to salute the publication's passing.
The paper's publisher, Peter Barbey, announced on Friday that the pioneering paper is ceasing publication entirely because of financial problems, a year after it stopped circulating in print.
''This is a sad day for The Village Voice and for millions of readers,'' he said in a statement, released after the closure was announced to the newsroom staff.
The Voice's second, digital death comes three years after Barbey, publisher of a regional Pennsylvania paper, bought the storied publication in the hope of rescuing it from years of management turmoil, circulation and advertising losses that had reduced the original ledger of the counter culture to a condition of grave infirmity.
Sign up to receive the top US stories every morningBarbey tried to stem its losses by abandoning the Voice's print edition last summer and publishing only online '' a move that removed the paper from the sidewalk distribution boxes that were a fixture on New York street corners for generations.
But the switch to digital, as other publications have found, left a publication founded in 1955 by a group of investors including writer Norman Mailer, untethered to the physical world and still incapable of staunching the financial bleeding.
Barbey said on Friday that his optimism that the Voice could be saved was no more than an illusion. ''Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet,'' he said. ''The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.''
The company said it would retain eight of its 18 remaining staff to ensure that the publications' six decades in production would continue to exist online as testament ''to one of this city's and this country's social and cultural treasures''.
The Voice was the country's first alternative news weekly and once had a weekly circulation of 250,000. Along the way, it received three Pulitzers and became known as home for some of New York's best investigative journalists.
But it was most admired for its cultural criticism and as a beacon for bohemian life centered around New York's Greenwich Village. The Voice became widely admired for the music criticism of Robert Christgau and Greil Marcus, who last week published Real Life Rock Top 10: Memories of Aretha, a typically esoteric ramble through the outer reaches of pop culture.
Among the young writers drawn to the intellectual milieu of the Village Voice was Lenny Kaye, periodic music critic and guitarist with the Patti Smith group. Reached yesterday evening, Kaye told the Guardian that the final loss of the Voice meant that a period in New York history had now truly passed.
''For a time in 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s, the Voice was the only voice of the counter-culture. It was a window into an alternative universe that became our universe. In its time it was almost the sole arbiter of culture and taste for the arts, progressive politics and the lifestyle that came attached with them.''
Kaye, who met Smith in 1971 when she tracked him down to a New York record store after reading an article he'd written in Jazz And Pop magazine, said the Voice and its counterpart, The East Village Other, was where they learned about what was going on ''not only in New York, but happenings that were going on under the radar across the country.'' It was, he says, ''the lifeline of the counter-culture.''
It was also where Smith and Kaye found their rhythm guitar player Ivan Krall and where they advertised their upcoming gigs.
Reading the Voice ''was literally how we functioned,'' he adds. ''Of course I feel nostalgia for it because it was so much a part of my growing up, it helped me set my ideals, and introduced me to a cast of characters who I used to make my cultural personality out of.''
One of his favourite columnists, he recalls, was a writer named John Wilcox who wrote a column titled The Village Square about the cafes, the people he met, and the mundane aspects of life in Greenwich Village. ''He gave me a window into a bohemian life I wanted to live.''
Kaye is wary of the nostalgia that customarily envelopes the passing of this or other similar cultural landmarks from a previous era of New York life, like when CBGB, the famous punk venue, was meticulously and lovingly refashioned as John Varvatos clothing and vintage hi-fi store.
Others institutions have been less fortunate but few have been hit harder than New York's free alternative papers. Screw, a weekly pornographic tabloid, closed in 2003. The New York Press, a rival to the Voice, stopped publication in 2011. Circulation drops are threatening New York's two remaining tabloids, The New York Post and The Daily News, which laid off half its editorial staff in July.
''The twenty-first century has started and these are the institutions of the twentieth century,'' Kaye points out. ''It was wild, sure, but the Village Voice was just the banner. It was the people who wrote for it, and the people who interacted within it, that made a difference to the culture.''
In each new era, people find their own new places to rally, Kaye predicts. ''I'm not sure if the brand at this point was so different from a million other things, but people in the present day will find their outlets, too, and get the information out there in a different way.''
London Police Boss Denies 'No-Go Areas' After 'Regular' Attacks on Officers
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:13
The head of London police has been forced to deny parts of the capital are becoming ''no-go areas'' after two shocking recent incidents where the public was filmed cheering as officers were assaulted on the job.The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said she welcomed members of the public filming and scrutinising officers, but insisted it was ''wrong'' for them to cheer on a suspected gun criminal struggling with police.
She appeared to be talking about an incident on the 17 th of August when people in east London were filmed shouting ''go on son!'' and ''look at the strength!'' as the suspect struggled with officers and evaded arrest.
Officers were hospitalised and the suspect was later charged with assault on police, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, obstructing a drugs search, and driving whilst uninsured.
7% of people say that have no respect for the police at all.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick says she wants the Met to be 'the most trusted in the world' and says she will keep working to get people to respect her officers. pic.twitter.com/fAdyml5BVB
'-- Good Morning Britain (@GMB) August 30, 2018
A poll highlighted by Good Morning Britain suggests 7 percent of people have no respect for police and a quarter have less respect for officers than they used to.
Ms Dick told the ITV show: ''A couple of weeks ago officers were under enormous attack and were being filmed and people were screaming and shouting and cheering when somebody got away who appears to have had a gun. This is wrong.''
She added: ''But people I think should understand that most officers, most of the time, don't encounter that. This isn't everybody in Hackney. This isn't the way things are across London.
''There are no 'no-go areas'. Police officers are able to go about their business very well.''
WATCH: Police Arresting Assault Suspect at London McDonald's Attacked by 'Hostile Crowd' https://t.co/z8bclH3MUE
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 28, 2018
She also appeared to reference an incident in Hackney this week when officers were kicked by members of the public as they attempted to make an arrest.
Two officers were later treated for injuries, the Met confirmed, with one suffering an ankle injury and the other sustaining cuts to the face.
The incident appeared to anger officers in London, with the Met's Superintendent Roy Smith claiming attacks are ''happening with alarming regularity'' and questioning if ''society seems to think this is ok?''
This video shows cops being attacked. Again. Police officers are there protecting our communities and yet society seems to think this is ok? It's happening with alarming regularity and it's time for the law abiding majority to make it clear this is not ok. #ourpolice https://t.co/321RDAmVje
'-- Supt Roy Smith (@roysmithpolice) August 28, 2018
Ms Dick added: ''It's completely unacceptable for people to dive in and try to get involved and pull [police officers] off. They are only putting themselves at risk.
''It's utterly unacceptable to kick a police officer in any circumstances'... people need to give us the benefit of the doubt.''
Wilders schrapt cartoonwedstrijd, dit ging eraan vooraf | NOS
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:24
Na dagen van dreiging en protest maakt PVV-leider Wilders bekend de cartoonwedstrijd die draait om de profeet Mohammed af te blazen. "Om het risico van islamitisch geweld te vermijden, heb ik besloten de cartoonwedstrijd niet door te laten gaan. Veiligheid van mensen gaat voor alles", schrijft Wilders. Dit ging eraan vooraf:
Wilders kondigde de tekenwedstrijd in juni aan. Alhoewel het volgens de politicus draait om de vrijheid van meningsuiting, zien anderen de wedstrijd over het bespotten van profeet Mohammed als provocatie.
De cartoonwedstrijd had plaats moeten vinden op 10 november in het streng beveiligde deel van de Tweede Kamer. Iedereen mocht meedoen en spotprenten indienen, zolang het onderwerp maar profeet Mohammed was. De hoofdprijs bedroeg 10.000 dollar (8500 euro).
Protest in PakistanDe aankomende wedstrijd leverde in de meeste islamitische landen weinig problemen op, behalve in Pakistan. Daar weet de relatief kleine streng islamitische partij TLP duizenden mensen op de been te brengen in protest tegen Wilders. De kritiek richt zich bovendien niet alleen op Wilders zelf, maar ook op Nederland. "Geef me een atoombom en ik gooi die op Nederland", zei de TLP-leider in juni.
De protesten in Pakistan nemen alleen maar toe in omvang. Er dreigt een boycot op Nederlandse producten, er volgt een oproep om de Nederlandse ambassade in Pakistan te sluiten en de Pakistaanse premier vraagt Nederland om tekst en uitleg.
Voor minister Blok van Buitenlandse Zaken is het uiteindelijk reden om duidelijk te maken aan Pakistan dat de wedstrijd van Wilders geen idee van het kabinet is. Hij beaamt dat zijn boodschap tweeledig is: die wedstrijd is niet onze smaak, maar valt wel onder de vrijheid van meningsuiting die wij heel belangrijk vinden. "Beide dingen zijn belangrijk. Ze horen bij elkaar."
Wilders bedreigdHet blijkt niet genoeg, want dinsdag wordt op station Den Haag Centraal een Pakistaan opgepakt die in een video dreigde met een aanslag op Wilders. Hij was al in Europa, maar reisde af naar Nederland zodra hij hoorde van de cartoonwedstrijd. De video van de man wordt door zeker 200.000 mensen bekeken, tienduizenden Pakistanen laten steunbetuigingen achter.
Dezelfde dag zet bovendien een Pakistaanse cricketspeler omgerekend zo'n 20.000 euro op het hoofd van "godslasteraar" Geert Wilders. De PVV-leider zegt al honderden dreigementen te hebben ontvangen.
Bekijk hieronder fragmenten van de dreigvideo en de oproep van de cricketspeler:
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Na de arrestatie in Den Haag en de aanhoudende protesten in Pakistan neemt de zorg bij veiligheidsdiensten in Nederland toe. Dat melden bronnen op woensdag aan de NOS. Tegen Wilders is dan ook een fatwa uitgesproken door een Pakistaanse geestelijke.
Diezelfde dag start het grootste protest in Pakistan tot dan. Naar schatting 10.000 aanhangers van de streng islamitische partij TLP krijgen toestemming om een protestmars van Lahore naar Islamabad te houden.
De kwestie heeft ook andere effecten: zo wordt handelsmissie naar Pakistan uitgesteld vanwege de onrust. De missie was speciaal bedoeld voor bedrijven in de haven- en baggersector. In buurland Afghanistan trekt de cartoonwedstrijd de aandacht van de Taliban, meldt Nieuwsuur vandaag. De islamitische terreurgroep heeft een verklaring uitgegeven waarin ze de aangekondigde cartoonwedstrijd een "vijandige actie van Nederland tegen alle moslims" noemt. Het kan de Nederlandse troepen in Afghanistan extra in gevaar brengen.
Punt aangetoondUiteindelijk is het Wilders zelf die besluit de cartoonwedstrijd niet door te laten gaan. Bronnen bij de veiligheidsdiensten benadrukken vooraf niet te zijn gekend in het besluit van de PVV-leider.
"Maar het gaat niet alleen om mij", schrijft Wilders in zijn verklaring. "Inmiddels lopen ook anderen gevaar door alle dreigementen van extreme moslims", vervolgt de PVV-leider. "Mijn punt over het gewelddadige en intolerante karakter van de islam is nu hiermee opnieuw aangetoond."
Niet alleen Wilders heeft zijn punt kunnen aantonen. Ook de felle tegenstanders van de cartoonwedstrijd zien hun gelijk bewezen: hun protest tegen "godslasteraar" Wilders heeft geholpen. De wedstrijd gaat niet door. De protestmars naar het centrum van Islamabad is per direct gestopt.
De Pakistaanse minister van Informatie spreekt over een "overwinning van het Pakistaanse sentiment".
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WikiLeaks on Twitter: ".@JulianAssange associate and author of "Information Security for Journalists" @ArjenKamphuis has disappeared according to friends (@ncilla) and colleagues. Last seen in Bod¸, #Norway, 11 days ago on August 20.'... https://t.co/E4i5
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 14:37
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Sweden: More Cars Torched, Anti-Migration Candidates Attacked
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 14:37
More cars were torched overnight and anti-migration candidates were attacked at a rally in Sweden as tensions run high entering the final days before critical elections, according to reports.
Up to 25 vehicles were damaged or destroyed in approximately 10 different car fires around the country, Fria Tider reports, with a large conflagration taking place in Trollh¤ttan, as well as Malm¶, Helsingborg, Trelleborg, Kalmar and Vellinge.
10 vehicles damaged by fire overnight in Trollh¤ttan- 4 cars completely destroyed
- No arrests made as yet#svpol #sverigePrevious Arson Attacks in #Sweden in August 2018: pic.twitter.com/rc7J0lHlhu
'-- Intelligence Fusion (@IntellFusion) August 31, 2018Last night's blazes are the latest in a string of similar incidents that have unfolded in recent weeks, including a series of seemingly organized firebombings in mid-August which Swedish Prime Minister Stefan L¶fven likened to a "coordinated... military operation."
In Uddevalla, parliamentary candidates from the nationalist-populist Alternative for Sweden (AfS) party were reportedly attacked by leftists and migrants during a town square meeting and rally.
"Representatives of Alternative for Sweden were attacked by an immigrant gang when the party held a square meeting in Uddevalla on Thursday afternoon," Fria Tider reports. "The parliamentary candidates Per Sefastsson and Markus Jonsson were beaten with fists."
A physical altercation takes place at the 43:15 mark in the video below, which allegedly transpired after Jonsson was spit upon by a protester (43:28) -
Invandrarkravaller under Alternativ f¶r Sveriges torgm¶te i Uddevalla!RETWEETA s¥ att alla f¥r se dagens f¶rfall i Sverige!#AfS2018 #svpol #migpol #Uddevalla #val2018 #enhalvmiljon pic.twitter.com/Ozmz6KgWzZ
'-- Alternativ f¶r Sverige (@AfS_riks) August 30, 2018V¤nsterextremist kastade ¤gg - f¶rs¶kte komma undan men flera AfS-aktivister ingrep resolut och h¶ll fast henne till polis tog ¶ver. pic.twitter.com/nCFxwWhaKZ
'-- Alternativ f¶r Sverige (@AfS_riks) August 30, 2018Jonsson asserts that a vehicle containing AfS members was attacked during an emergency exit from the location.
"One of my colleagues from Alternative for Sweden [was] attacked by an immigrant youth who attended the meeting and was screaming and shouting over the meeting," Jonsson told RT. "They threw eggs at our vehicle when we left the scene. They ran after us, and when we had to stop at a red light, they kicked at the car."
A burning cigarette was also thrown in the face of an AfS representative, according to police.
AfS is scheduled to hold a rally on Friday in migrant-heavy Gothenburg, where police have identified many "vulnerable areas" - also known as "no-go zones."
Swedes head to the polls on September 9th.
(PHOTOS: Screenshot | Telefonkiosk / Wikimedia Commons)
Dutch authorities: Stabbing suspect had 'terrorist motive'
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 21:49
Dutch police officers near the scene of a stabbing attack near the central daily station in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Friday Aug. 31, 2018. Police the Dutch capital shot and wounded a suspect Friday following a stabbing at the central railway station. Amsterdam police said in a series of tweets that two people were injured in the stabbing and the suspect was then shot by officers. (AP Photo/Alex Furtula)
(C) The Associated Press
AMSTERDAM '-- A 19-year-old Afghan citizen who was shot and detained after a double stabbing at the Dutch capital's main railway station had a "terrorist motive," Amsterdam authorities said Saturday.
The suspect allegedly stabbed two American tourists Friday at Amsterdam's Central Station before police shot and wounded him. Dutch police said he holds a residency permit from Germany, where his home was searched.
"Based on the suspect's first statements, he had a terrorist motive," Amsterdam's city government said in a written statement that did not elaborate on what the statements were or how they showed intent.
The wounded Americans were recovering in a hospital from what police termed serious but not life-threatening injuries. Their identities have not been released. The suspect, who was identified only as Jawed S. in line with privacy rules in the Netherlands, also remains hospitalized.
Police said in the hours after Friday's attack that they were considering any and all motives. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed on Twitter that the investigation was focused Saturday on extremist ideology.
Amsterdam City Hall said German authorities seized data storage devices from W.'s home that would be analyzed as part of the investigation.
He was scheduled to be arraigned during a closed-door hearing with an investigating judge on Monday. Dutch officials did not disclose the charges he could face.
A statement issued late Friday by Amsterdam's city council said the Americans did not appear to have been victims of a targeted attack. Amsterdam authorities also said Friday that it appeared from initial inquiries that the victims weren't chosen for a clear reason.
The local government said Saturday it had no immediate plans to beef up security in the city, saying the swift action by police "shows that Amsterdam is prepared for this kind of incident."
A passerby's dramatic photo showed two police officers pointing guns at a man in blue jeans and sneakers lying on the ground inside a train station tunnel.
Earlier Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands confirmed that the two people injured Friday were Americans visiting the Netherlands when they were stabbed at the station.
Ambassador Pete Hoekstra issued a written statement saying U.S. Embassy officials had been in touch with the victims or their families.
"We wish them a speedy recovery and are working closely with the City of Amsterdam to provide assistance to them and their families," Hoekstra said.
Central Station is a busy entry and exit point for visitors to Amsterdam, with regular trains linking it to the city's Schiphol Airport. Friday is one of the busiest days of the week for train travel as tourists arrive for the weekend.
The station is patrolled by armed police and other security staff.
US Announces Full Defunding of UN Refugee Agency
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:41
In a statement issued on Friday, the US State Department has announced that the Trump Administration is fully defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the body providing aid to Palestinian refugees.
The administration is citing the UNRWA's recognition of in excess of five million Palestinian refugees, and the belief that this number will continue to rise. It comes amid recent US efforts to strip most Palestinians of refugee status, and a demand that the UNRWA ''cap'' the number of allowed Palestinian refugees in the world to 500,000.
US officials say they believe this is unsustainable, and that the funds provided in January will be the last funding the US provides to the UNRWA. This was cheered by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long demanded the UNRWA shut down outright.
This is just the latest in a series of Trump Administration moves to cut aid to the Palestinians. The rest of the international community doesn't appear to share the US position, and Germany has already announced it intends to boost funding to the UNRWA to sustain aid efforts.
The US is withdrawing $290 million, which will be spent elsewhere by the State Department.
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People Are Calling For An In-N-Out Boycott Because Burger Chain Donated To GOP | HuffPost
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:12
In-N-Out Burger is shaking up social media this week but not in a good way: Its $25,000 donation to the California Republican Party has led some people to call for a boycott of the burger chain.
An image from the California secretary of state's website recording the Aug. 27 donation was making the rounds on Twitter.>>
Not that the contribution should have come as any surprise. The fast food chain previously donated $30,000 in both 2016 and 2017 to the California GOP, according to LA Mag.
The company also gave $30,000 last year and $50,000 this year to a PAC called Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, which supports pro-business Democratic candidates, as Fortune pointed out.
But that show of bipartisanship doesn't appear to have mollified Eric Bauman, chair of the California Democratic Party. He implored those hungry for burgers to take their business elsewhere:
Et tu In-N-Out? Tens of thousands of dollars donated to the California Republican Party... it's time to #BoycottInNOut - let Trump and his cronies support these creeps... perhaps animal style!https://t.co/9zkdFaG5CJ
'-- EricBauman (@EricBauman) August 30, 2018Other people joined in the hashtag campaign:
In-n-Out Burger is financing the Republican Party. Time for a boycott. #boycottinnout
'-- William Schindler (@BrotherWm108) August 30, 2018Sorry, @innoutburger You are my favorite place to eat, but if you are going to give money to the California Republican Party, it isn't going to be MY money. #BoycottInNOut
'-- Greg Sands (@bigblaster22) August 30, 2018I hate that In-N-Out has probably donated to the Republican Party before now and I gave them my business. They are my #1 favorite. No more, though. #BoycottInNOut
'-- Mother Resister 🗽'š–¸''ŠðŸ>> (@MotherResister) August 30, 2018@innoutburger This really bums me out because I'm a regular customer... BUT I cannot spent money with a company that supports the current GOP! #BoycottInNOut https://t.co/XlSdNaGG3D
'-- Danno (@DannoCue) August 30, 2018Well, daym. No more @innoutburger for me. Their fries were bomb too. #BoycottInNOut https://t.co/8K19oEHS0o
'-- Hilary M (@hilarysssss) August 30, 2018In-N-Out representatives did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment on the donation or the proposed boycott.
Facebook Employees Band Together to Fight "Intolerant" Leftism at Work
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 03:56
As if we needed any more confirmation that Facebook was attempting to sabotage the American freedom of speech, a group of the network's employees are now lashing out as well.
Trending: ALL CHARGES DROPPED Against New Mexico Terror Camp Suspects
Given the work being done by Facebook to undermine the nation's conservative viewpoint on the world wide web, the social network has come under rightly fire in recent days from the President and the press alike. Their outright censorship of conservative voices is not unlike the Nazi book burning of the 1930's and 40's, but the left leaning millennials of the nation have fallen under that spell.
Now, a group within the world's most popular website are wising up to the ploy, and vowing to seek justice when it comes to how the network operates.
The post went up quietly on Facebook's internal message board last week. Titled ''We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,'' it quickly took off inside the social network.
''We are a political monoculture that's intolerant of different views,'' Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, wrote in the post, which was obtained by The New York Times. ''We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack '-- often in mobs '-- anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.''
Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Mr. Amerige to form an online group called FB'ers for Political Diversity, according to two people who viewed the group's page and who were not authorized to speak publicly. The aim of the initiative, according to Mr. Amerige's memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.
The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities. One engineer, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said several people had lodged complaints with their managers about FB'ers for Political Diversity and were told that it had not broken any company rules.
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This is certainly not the impression that we have received about life at Facebook in the past, in which Mark Zuckerberg's cultural experiment seemed gung-ho about the idea of purging conservative news from the ''trending topics'' section.
Of course, as that move proved increasingly controversial, Facebook conveniently removed the widget altogether.
TAKE THAT: 'In N Out' Strongly Defends Their GOP Donations In Brand New Press Release
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 14:03
The popular California-based fast-food chain that was targeted by yet another of the left's outrageous cyberbullying campaigns is fighting back.
In-N-Out Burger joined the long list of corporations that have been attacked by authoritarians using weaponized social media platforms after oppo researchers who are all but certainly linked to the Democratic party dug up filings that they made a donation to the state Republican party and immediately took to Twitter to rally the hate mobs.
In-N-Out added a new item to their secret menu. https://t.co/VtaCOuiNRp pic.twitter.com/tCRYqFGDEB
'-- Gabe Schneider 🗞 (@gabemschneider) August 29, 2018
Via The Sacramento Bee, '''Stop eating In-N-Out like yesterday.' California Democrats call for boycott'':
California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman is calling for a boycott of In-N-Out Burger after the Irvine-based fast-food chain this week donated $25,000 to help Republicans this November.
''Et tu In-N-Out? Tens of thousands of dollars donated to the California Republican Party,'' Bauman wrote on Twitter. ''It's time to #BoycottInNOut '-- let Trump and his cronies support these creeps'...perhaps animal style!''
The burger chain started in Southern California decades ago by a Christian family, whose granddaughter Lynsi Snyder still owns the company. It proudly displays its religious views '-- there's a Bible verse on some packaging '-- and has in recent years contributed to Republicans and pro-business causes.
Then something unusual happened.
Unlike the gutless national corporations whose executives' backbones turned into jelly at the slightest suggestion that far-left bullies like David Hogg would single them out, the leadership at In-N-Out dared to defy the mob by not only refusing to buckle but defending the company's record.
'In-N Out-Burger' Defends Their GOP Donations In Strong Statement https://t.co/YrPJuWn6Hm
'-- The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) August 31, 2018
Via The Daily Wire, '''In-N Out-Burger' Defends Their GOP Donations In Strong Statement'':
Soon after, the hashtag #BoycottInNOut began trending on Twitter with the same fire and fury as seen during the Chick-fil-A controversy when CEO Dan Cathy revealed his support for traditional marriage. Even California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman joined in on the boycott. Fortunately, like Chick-fil-A, the burger chain has decided not to cave to the pressure.
In a statement, In-N-Out Burger executive vice president Arnie Wensinger defended the company's donations, noting that the company has given to both parties.
The entire statement from In-N-Out Burger:
In 2018, In-N-Out Burger has made equal contributions to both Democratic and Republican Political Action Committees in the State of California. For years, In-N-Out Burger has supported lawmakers who, regardless of political affiliation, promote policies that strengthen California and allow us to continue operating with the values of providing strong pay and great benefits for our Associates.
It is actually far more important to In-N-Out and our Foundations to support our communities by contributing millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations in California to prevent child abuse, human trafficking and substance addiction.
We have been fortunate to do business in this great state for almost 70 years. While it is unfortunate that our contributions to support both political parties in California has caused concern with some groups, we believe that bipartisan support is a fair and consistent approach that best serves the interests of our company and all of our Customers.
Arnie Wensinger, Executive Vice President In-N-Out Burger
Yes, that's right! In-N-Out Burger also donated to Democrats and liberal causes but like goons named Mao, Lenin, and Stalin, the totalitarian party wants it ALL.
The preferred tactic of the angry socialist left has been to utilize technology to engage in organized social media pogroms to intimidate corporations that they disagree with into caving to their demands. The proper term for this should be ''economic terrorism'' and any future regulation of big tech should address those who use Twitter and Facebook to bully, dox and otherwise coerce victims into surrendering as they are little better than extortionists and should be treated as such.
Three cheers for In-N-Out Burger but this is what's at stake in the next two elections folks.
If the socialist extremists gain political power then they will make your choices for you. Where to eat, what to read, what to watch, what to think etc.
It's going to take a major effort to roll back this menace but all patriotic Americans should look to In-N-Out Burger for inspiration.
Opinion | The Religion of Whiteness Becomes a Suicide Cult - The New York Times
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:22
A wounded and swaggering identity geopolitics puts the world in grave danger.
By Pankaj Mishra
Mr. Mishra is a contributing opinion writer focused on ideas and politics.
Aug. 30, 2018 Image Credit Credit Matt Chase ''White men,'' an obscure Australian academic named Charles Henry Pearson predicted in his 1893 book ''National Life and Character: A Forecast,'' would be ''elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside'' by people they had long regarded as their inferiors '-- ''black and yellow races.'' China, in particular, would be a major threat. Pearson, prone to terrors of racial extinction while living in a settler colony in an Asian neighborhood, thought it was imperative to defend ''the last part of the world, in which the higher races can live and increase freely, for the higher civilization.''
His prescriptions for racial self-defense thunderously echoed around the white Anglosphere, the community of men with shared historical ties to Britain. Theodore Roosevelt, who held a complacent 19th-century faith, buttressed by racist pseudoscience, that nonwhite peoples were hopelessly inferior, reported to Pearson the ''great effect'' of his book among ''all our men here in Washington.''
In the years that followed, politicians and pundits in Britain and its settler colonies of Australia, Canada and the United States would jointly forge an identity geopolitics of the ''higher races.'' Today it has reached its final and most desperate phase, with existential fears about endangered white power feverishly circulating once again between the core and periphery of the greatest modern empire. ''The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,'' President Trump said last year in a speech hailed by the British journalist Douglas Murray, the Canadian columnist Mark Steyn and the American editor Rich Lowry. More recently, Mr. Trump tweeted (falsely) about ''large-scale killing'' of white farmers in South Africa '-- a preoccupation, deepened by Rupert Murdoch's media, of white supremacists around the world.
Image Donald Trump's presidential campaign appealed to those voters with existential fears about endangered white power in 2016. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times To understand the rapid mainstreaming of white supremacism in English-speaking liberal democracies today, we must examine the experience of unprecedented global migration and racial mixing in the Anglosphere in the late 19th century: countries such as the United States and Australia where, as Roosevelt wrote admiringly in 1897, ''democracy, with the clear instinct of race selfishness, saw the race foe, and kept out the dangerous alien.'' It is in the motherlands of democracy rather than in fascist Europe that racial hierarchies first defined the modern world. It is also where a last-ditch and potentially calamitous battle to preserve them is being fought today.
This ''race selfishness'' was sharpened in the late 19th century, as the elites of the ''higher races'' struggled to contain mass disaffection generated by the traumatic change of globalization: loss of jobs and livelihoods amid rapid economic growth and intensified movements of capital, goods and labor. For fearful ruling classes, political order depended on their ability to forge an alliance between, as Hannah Arendt wrote, ''capital and mob,'' between rich and powerful whites and those rendered superfluous by industrial capitalism. Exclusion or degradation of nonwhite peoples seemed one way of securing dignity for those marginalized by economic and technological shifts.
The political climate was prepared by intellectuals with clear-cut racial theories, such as Brooks Adams, a Boston Brahmin friend of Roosevelt, and Charles B. Davenport, the leading American exponent of eugenics. In Australia, Pearson's social Darwinism was amplified by media barons like Keith Murdoch (father of Rupert and a stalwart of the eugenics movement) and institutionalized in a ''White Australia'' policy that restricted ''colored'' migration for most of the 20th century. Anti-minority passions in the United States peaked with the 1924 immigration law (much admired by Hitler and, more recently, by Jeff Sessions), which impeded Jewish immigrants and barred Asians entirely. By the early 20th century, violence against indigenous peoples, immigrants and African-Americans reached a new ferocity, and nativist and racist demagogues entrenched a politics of dispossession, segregation and disenfranchisement.
Image The post-World War I Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Credit Photo 12/UIG, via Getty Images Seeking to maintain white power globally, Roosevelt helped transform the United States into a major imperialist power. Woodrow Wilson, too, worked to preserve, as he put it, ''white civilization and its domination of the planet'' even as he patented the emollient rhetoric of liberal internationalism that many in the American political and media establishment still parrot. At the post-World War I Paris Peace Conference, over which Wilson supervised, the leaders of Britain, the United States, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada not only humiliated the many Asians and Africans demanding self-determination; they also jointly defeated an attempt by Japan, their wartime ally, to have a racial equality clause included in the Covenant of the League of Nations.
The exposure of Nazi crimes, followed by decolonization and civil rights movements, generally discredited quasi-scientific racism and stigmatized overt expressions of white supremacism. In our own time, global capitalism has promised to build a colorblind world through economic integration. But as revolts erupt against globalization in its latest, more disruptive phase, politicians and pundits in the Anglosphere are again scrambling to rebuild political communities around what W. E.B. Du Bois in 1910 identified as ''the new religion of whiteness.''
The intellectual white web originally woven in late-19th-century Australia vibrates once more with what the historians Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds termed ''racial knowledge and technologies that animated white men's countries and their strategies of exclusion, deportation and segregation.'' Mr. Trump, for instance, has chosen Australia's brutal but popular immigration policies as a model: ''That is a good idea. We should do that too,'' he said in January 2017 to Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's prime minister at the time, as he explained his tactic of locking up refugees on remote islands. ''You are worse than I am,'' Mr. Trump told Mr. Turnbull.
If right-wing Australian politicians were among the first to mainstream a belligerent white nationalism, the periodicals and television channels of Rupert Murdoch have worked overtime to preserve the alliance between capital and mob in the Anglosphere. Indulged by Mr. Murdoch's newspapers, writers like Bernard Lewis, Niall Ferguson, David Frum, Andrew Sullivan and Andrew Roberts repeatedly urged American neoconservatives after the Sept. 11 attacks to take up the aging white man's burden and quell mutinous natives.
A broad range of figures in the Anglosphere's establishment, including some of Mr. Trump's most ostentatious critics today, contributed manure to the soil in which Trumpism flourishes. Cheered on by the Murdoch press, Tony Blair tried to deepen Britain and America's ''special relationship'' in Iraq. Leaders of Australia and Canada also eagerly helped with the torture, rendition and extermination of black and brown brutes.
Not surprisingly, these chieftains of white settler colonies are fierce cultural warriors; they are all affiliated with private donors who build platforms where political correctness, Islam and feminism are excoriated, the facts of injustice and inequality denied, chests thumped about a superior but sadly imperiled Western civilization, and fraternal sympathy extended to Israel, the world's last active settler-colonialist project.
Emotional incontinence rather than style or wit marks such gilded networks of white power. For the Anglosphere originally forged and united by the slave trade and colonialism is in terminal crisis today. Whiteness denoted, as Du Bois wrote, ''the ownership of the earth forever and ever.'' But many descendants of the landlords of the earth find themselves besieged both at home and abroad, their authority as overlords, policemen and interpreters of the globe increasingly challenged.
Image Pennsylvanian white supremacists' fear was reflected in this 1866 poster attacking the Radical Republican politician John White Geary for his support of black civil rights. Credit MPI/Getty Images Mr. Trump appears to some of these powerful but insecure men as an able-bodied defender of the ''higher races.'' The Muslim-baiting British Conservative politician Boris Johnson says that he is ''increasingly admiring of Donald Trump.'' Mr. Murray, the British journalist, thinks Mr. Trump is ''reminding the West of what is great about ourselves.'' The Canadian YouTube personality Jordan Peterson claims that his loathing of ''identity politics'' would have driven him to vote for Mr. Trump.
Other panicky white bros not only virulently denounce identity politics and political correctness '-- code for historically scorned peoples' daring to propose norms about how they are treated; they also proclaim ever more rowdily that the (white) West was, and is, best. ''It is time to make the case for colonialism again,'' Bruce Gilley, a Canadian academic, recently asserted and promptly shot to martyrdom in the far-right constellation as a victim of political correctness. Such busy recyclers of Western supremacism, many of whom uphold a disgraced racial pseudoscience, remind us that history often repeats itself as intellectual farce.
The low comedy of charlatanry, however, should not distract us from the lethal dangers of a wounded and swaggering identity geopolitics. The war on terror reactivated the 19th century's imperial archive of racial knowledge, according to which the swarthy enemy was subhuman, inviting extreme and lawless violence. The rapid contraction of suffrage rights witnessed in early-20th-century America is now mimicked by Republican attempts to disenfranchise nonwhite voters. The Australian lawmaker who recently urged a ''final solution'' for Muslim immigrants was only slightly out of tune with public debate about immigration in Australia. Hate crimes continue to rise across the United States, Britain and Canada. More ominously, demographic, economic and political decline, and the loss of intellectual hegemony, have plunged many long-term winners of history into a vengeful despair.
A century ago, the mere suspicion of being thrust aside by black and yellow peoples sparked apocalyptic visions of ''race suicide.'' Today, the ''preponderance of China'' that Pearson predicted is becoming a reality, and the religion of whiteness increasingly resembles a suicide cult. Mr. Trump's trade wars, sanctions, border walls, deportations, denaturalizations and other 11th-hour battles seem to push us all closer to the ''terrible probability'' James Baldwin once outlined: that the rulers of the ''higher races,'' ''struggling to hold on to what they have stolen from their captives, and unable to look into their mirror, will precipitate a chaos throughout the world which, if it does not bring life on this planet to an end, will bring about a racial war such as the world has never seen.''
Pankaj Mishra, a contributing opinion writer, is the author, most recently, of ''Age of Anger: A History of the Present.''
Fact-checking Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman | PolitiFact
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:31
Editor's note: Have you ever wondered if the movie you just saw '-- that claimed to be based on a real story or historical events '-- was really accurate? So have we. Everyone from Cannes to Twitter seems to be talking about BlacKkKlansman, so we wanted to help you sort out the facts from the dramatic liberties. (We've also fact-checked The Post, Darkest Hour and Dunkirk.) Warning, major spoilers and plot points ahead!)
"Dis joint is based on some fo' real, fo' real s---," the title card to BlacKkKlansman reads.
BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee's latest film, tells the tale of a black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan between 1978 and 1979. The detective, Ron Stallworth, strikes up a phone friendship with the local chapter of the Klan and with David Duke himself to discover and thwart cross burnings and a bombing.
The movie is laced with expletives and explosives. But how much of it is based on real events?
It's adapted from Stallworth's memoir, which he published in 2014. The decorated 32-year law enforcement veteran wrote it using the investigation casebook he was ordered to destroy (but didn't) by his sergeant in 1979.
Ron Stallworth now, and at 22 in 1975. (Courtesy of Focus Features.)To fact-check the movie, we relied on his account to verify the conversations between officers and the Klansmen as well as newspaper coverage at the time.
Here's what's real and what's not.
In the movie: Flip's Jewish identity almost compromised the operation.
In reality: Stallworth's sidekick was not Jewish.
The movie kicks into gear when Ron, played by John David Washington, calls the number on a classified ad placed by the Ku Klux Klan in the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. He leaves a detailed message with his real name. Before the length of the message lapses, the phone rings. The Klan calls back.
In real life, time passed a little slower. Stallworth didn't call, but expressed his interest to the Klan in a letter addressed to the post office box listed in a classified ad, according to his memoir. He also mistakenly gave away his real name in the note.
We found a couple of classified Ku Klux Klan ads in the Gazette-Tribune tucked between ads for dating services from that time period. One from Nov. 15, 1978, read, "Ku Klux Klan is forming. For information P.O. Box 4771, Colorado Springs, CO 80930."
The ads began running in June 1978, according to reporting in the Colorado Springs Sun by Nancy Johnson. The chapter leader, remaining anonymous, told Johnson the response had been "super fantastic," although many of the phone calls had come from black people who were worried about the Klan's resurgence.
"They tried to disguise their accent, but even after 200 years of education by the white race, they can't do it," he said, according to Johnson's reporting.
Apparently, their radar was not that sharp.
Kenneth O'Dell and Josef Stewart, the first and second in command of the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, during a Dec. 16, 1978 demonstration. (Photo by Dave Rains, courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette.)
Stallworth got a call back within two weeks, in November 1978. Kenneth O'Dell, the local chapter leader and a soldier stationed at Fort Carson, proposed a meeting. Stallworth described what he would look like with his colleague, Chuck, in mind: "I'm about five foot nine, 180 pounds. I have dark hair and a beard," Stallworth said. His whiteness was implied.
Chuck worked in the narcotics division. Stallworth has declined to disclose his name in both his memoir and interviews with the media.
Chuck's availability was limited "because of both his narcotic workload and department politics," Stallworth writes. So the bulk of the investigation took place over the phone. He ended up being joined by another officer when the Klan insisted members bring recruits.
In the movie, however, Chuck is called Flip, played by Adam Driver, and has a much bigger role.
Here's where the movie and reality begin to diverge. In the movie, Flip is Jewish. The real Chuck was not. Flip's identity creates significant tension as he stands in for Stallworth during meetings with the Klan.
Felix, the second-in-command in the local Klan chapter in the movie, is wary of Flip from the moment they meet. He first accuses him of being a cop, and repeatedly presses him to prove he is not Jewish.
In one particularly tense scene, Felix locks Flip in a den with him in his basement. He tells Flip he has to take a lie detector test to make sure he is not Jewish. At one point, he whips out his handgun and threatens to examine Flip's penis to see if he is "circumstanced."
Ron comes to the rescue, hearing the threat over the microphone in Flip's shirt. He hurls a rock at the window, provoking Felix's wife's screams. Felix rushes to her rescue; Flip follows. They chase after Ron's car, which Felix shoots at. Flip blocks the gun and takes it himself, shooting aimlessly at the road as Ron drives away.
None of that happened.
Stallworth said no guns were ever pointed at him during this investigation, and the Klan never cast doubts on his or his partner's identities.
And no, Felix did not show up at Stallworth's doorstep to discover a black man as he did in the movie.
In the movie: Stallworth reveals his identity to Duke in a phone call.
In reality: The conversation never took place.
O'Dell, the chapter leader, did once pick up on the difference in Stallworth and Chuck's voices.
"The minute he heard my voice on the phone, he said, 'What's wrong with your voice?' So I coughed, and then I said, 'I have a sinus infection.' He said, 'Oh, I get those all the time. Here's what you need to do.' Then he proceeded to describe a remedy for me. That was the only time that my voice was challenged as being different from Chuck's," Stallworth said in a recent interview.
But Stallworth does not recount being too careful in his telephone exchanges. After Duke told him he could tell a person was black by the way he pronounces "are" ("are-uh"), as he did in the movie, Stallworth recalls in his memoir he would always find a way to incorporate that pronunciation of the word into the conversation.
Topher Grace as David Duke in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features.)
That leads us to the poignant conversation at the end of the movie, when Stallworth reveals to Duke that he's been duped by a black detective. The real Stallworth talked with Duke following Duke's visit, but Stallworth never revealed his identity. He cut off communication with the Klan and had his phone line changed when his superiors decide to end the investigation. His story only went public in 2006.
In an Aug. 7, 2018, radio podcast, Duke complained the movie portrayed him as a hateful buffoon. He did not, however, cast doubt on the book, which he said portrayed him as a "genius."
"The film even changes the facts in Ron Stallworth's book, BlacKkKlansman, to demonize me," Duke said. "They brag about how this guy conned me. Somebody calls me on the phone, I tend to trust people, I talk to people I've got nothing to hide. I say the same thing to everybody."
"Spike made him look kind of stupid," Stallworth told Lester Holt in an interview. "But he was stupid in how this whole thing transpired 40 years ago."
In the movie: Stallworth was Duke's bodyguard during his Colorado Springs visit.
In reality: He was.
Duke's visit to Colorado Springs was decked out in the movie. Two fancy black cars and a gang of motorcycles transport Duke to a church then a lodge for an ornate baptism of new Klansmen.
In real life, the baptism happened in one of the member's apartment buildings. Duke did sprinkle holy water on them. Of the 12 new members, three were policemen: one was Chuck, another his partner, Jim, and a third officer from Denver.
They then watched the film Birth of a Nation, as they did in the movie.
The luncheon was the following day, but at a local steakhouse '-- not a fancy lodge. The real Stallworth was also summoned to provide security for Duke.
"There were no more than eight local Klansman at the luncheon," a Jan. 11, 1979, article in the Gazzette-Telegraph reads. "The small group also included two plainclothes policemen from a Denver suburb who were assigned to provide security for Duke and Fred Wilkins, a resident of the Denver suburb and head of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. A Colorado Springs detective sergeant was also assigned to Duke and Wilkins, and two Colorado Springs patrol cars were stationed in the parking lot of the restaurant."
That detective was the real Stallworth, according to his memoir.
In the movie, chants of "America first" hark back a little too conspicuously to the Trump era. Turns out they're a reflection of history, according to the Sun reporter, Nancy Johnson.
"I thought for sure Spike Lee had just thrown that in to make the connection to present times. And I think a lot of people thought so, too," Johnson said. "But there it is in my story!"
Nancy Johnson, reporter at the Colorado Springs Sun, interviews a Klansman in 1978. (Courtesy of Nancy Johnson.)
"The KKK stands for five principles," the June 30, 1978, Sun article reads. "The organization supports the white race, 'America first,' the United states Constitution, free enterprise and Christianity."
In the movie, Stallworth requests a photograph with Duke. He waits until Flip counts to three and wraps his arm around Duke's shoulder, to which Duke reacts violently, and Stallworth warns him that assaulting a police officer could land him in prison.
According to Stallworth's biography, that really happened. But he lost the Polaroid.
In the movie: Three Klansmen die in an explosion and one is arrested.
In reality: No C4 was stolen or set off, and no arrests were made.
The cheeky photograph is the highlight of the luncheon in Stallworth's memoir. In the movie, three deaths and an arrest are the dramatic high point.
Connie, Felix's wife, leaves the lunch abruptly with explosives '-- the same explosives that mysteriously went missing from the local army base. Her plan is to set a bomb off at a Colorado College Black Student Union gathering. She fails, however, because cops swarm the area. So she reverts to plan B: placing the bomb outside the house where Patrice, the BSU president and Ron's girlfriend, lives.
She gets scared as Patrice approaches the house and places the explosives in her car instead. Three Klansmen come to pick her up, believing the C4 is in the mailbox. But it's in the car, which they are idling beside. All three blow up as they flip the switch. After assaulting Ron, in spite of his yells that he is undercover, the police eventually arrest Connie.
None of that happened. No explosives went off, and no arrests were made during the investigation. (The racist cop, based on a real police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department, was not arrested, either.)
There were explosives in real life, however. The Klansmen discussed bombing two gay bars during Stallworth's investigation and in May 1982, the Colorado Springs Police Department made 10 arrests in relation to a ring that was manufacturing bombs and selling explosives. Four of them had ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Patrice's character isn't real, either. In the movie, Stallworth starts a romance with Patrice, whom he meets while being inducted into the investigations unit. In reality, Stallworth started dating his future wife just before his investigative work began..
The Colorado College Black Student Union did participate in protests of the Klan, but the main opposition came from the International Committee Against Racism, a branch of the Progressive Labor Party. Stallworth infiltrated the PLP alongside the KKK, cozying up to organizers and showing up at meetings so he could alert police to marches and potential violence.
In the movie: The Klan burns one cross.
In reality: They denied responsibility.
Stallworth acknowledges the less exciting conclusion of his investigation in his book.
"I have often been asked, 'What did you really accomplish over the course of this investigation without arresting any Klan members or seizing any illegal contraband?'
"My answer is always in this fashion: 'As a result of our combined effort, no parent of a black or other minority child, or any child for that matter, had to explain why an eighteen-foot cross was seen burning at this or that location '' especially those individuals from the South who, perhaps as children, had experienced the terrorist act of a Klan cross burning.' "
Stallworth's investigation prevented three cross burnings, he said in an interview.
In the movie, two North American Aerospace Defense Command officers form part of the Ku Klux Klan. That checks out with Stallworth's memoir. The officers reportedly had top-security-clearance. NORAD discovered their membership in the Klan through Stallworth's investigation, as he acquired a list of all chapter members. He was then told they "would be transferred by the end of the day to the 'North Pole,' the farthest northern military installation in the U.S. command," Stallworth writes. Stallworth, however, never learned their identities.
We were unable to verify that. But the two Klansmen in real life, O'Dell and Josef Stewart, were Army? sergeants at Fort Carson. Both were issued leave in November 1978 following the Colorado Spring Sun's reporting on their military links.
Stallworth's story ends in the movie with a cross burning. A large group of cloaked Klansmen set a towering cross aflame in the middle of a field.
Something similar happened in real life. Stallworth concluded his investigation at the behest of his bosses on March 30, 1979, when the Klansmen insisted that he become their new leader (as in the movie).
20 members of the Colorado Springs Ku Klux Klan marched in protest of Rev. Ralph Abernathy's speech on a black teenager who was convicted for murder on March 30, 1979. (Photo by Dave Rains, courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette.)
That night, five men "dressed in white" lit a cross on fire outside a local nightclub, where a fundraiser for a black teenager who was convicted for murder was taking place, according to an April 1, 1979, Gazette-Telegraph report.
The Klan denied responsibility. O'Dell told the reporter only three members of the Colorado Springs chapter own the traditional white Klan robes, so it couldn't have been them.
Lee ends the film with a montage from Charlottesville, Va.. The footage shows the white nationalists' march on the University of Virginia campus and the street protest that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. That really happened.
Text of H.R. 6691: To amend title 18, United States Code, to clarify the definition of ''crime of ... (Introduced version) - GovTrack.us
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 14:58
2d Session
H. R. 6691
To amend title 18, United States Code, to clarify the definition of crime of violence, and for other purposes.
1.This Act may be cited as the Community Safety and Security Act of 2018 .
2.Section 16 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
16. (a)The term crime of violence means an offense'--
(1) (A)that'--
(i)is murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault, sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, child abuse, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, firearms use, burglary, arson, extortion, communication of threats, coercion, fleeing, interference with flight crew members and attendants, domestic violence, hostage taking, stalking, human trafficking, piracy, or a terrorism offense as described in chapter 113B (other than in section 2332d); or
(ii)involves the unlawful possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction; or
(B)that involves use or unlawful possession of explosives or destructive devices described in 5845(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(2)that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another; or
(3)that is an attempt to commit, conspiracy to commit, solicitation to commit, or aiding and abetting any of the offenses set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2).
(b)In this section:
(1)The term abusive sexual contact means conduct described in section 2244(a)(1) and (a)(2).
(2)The terms aggravated sexual abuse and sexual abuse mean conduct described in sections 2241 and 2242. For purposes of such conduct, the term sexual act means conduct described in section 2246(2), or the knowing and lewd exposure of genitalia or masturbation, to any person, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
(3)The term assault means conduct described in section 113(a), and includes conduct committed recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally.
(4)The term arson means conduct described in section 844(i) or unlawfully or willfully damaging or destroying any building, inhabited structure, vehicle, vessel, or real property by means of fire or explosive.
(5)The term burglary means an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or structure, including any nonpermanent or mobile structure that is adapted or used for overnight accommodation or for the ordinary carrying on of business, and, either before or after entering, the person'--
(A)forms the intent to commit a crime; or
(B)commits or attempts to commit a crime.
(6)The term carjacking means conduct described in section 2119, or the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle from the immediate actual possession of a person against his will, by means of actual or threatened force, or violence or intimidation, or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or fear of injury.
(7)The term child abuse means the unlawful infliction of physical injury or the commission of any sexual act against a child under fourteen by any person eighteen years of age or older.
(8)The term communication of threats means conduct described in section 844(e), or the transmission of any communications containing any threat of use of violence to'--
(A)demand or request for a ransom or reward for the release of any kidnapped person; or
(B)threaten to kidnap or injure the person of another.
(9)The term coercion means causing the performance or non-performance of any act by another person under which such other person has a legal right to do or to abstain from doing, through fraud or by the use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear thereof, including the use, or an express or implicit threat of use, of violence to cause harm, or threats to cause injury to the person, reputation or property of any person.
(10)The term domestic violence means any assault committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.
(11)The term extortion means conduct described in section 1951(b)(2)), but not extortion under color of official right or fear of economic loss.
(12)The term firearms use means conduct described in section 924(c) or 929(a), if the firearm was brandished, discharged, or otherwise possessed, carried, or used as a weapon and the crime of violence or drug trafficking crime during and in relation to which the firearm was possessed, carried, or used was subject to prosecution in any court of the United States, State court, military court or tribunal, or tribal court. Such term also includes unlawfully possessing a firearm described in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (such as a sawed-off shotgun or sawed-off rifle, silencer, bomb, or machine gun), possession of a firearm in violation of sections 922(g)(1), 922(g)(2) and 922(g)(4), possession of a firearm with the intent to use such firearm unlawfully, or reckless discharge of a firearm at a dwelling.
(13)The term fleeing means knowingly operating a motor vehicle and, following a law enforcement officer's signal to bring the motor vehicle to a stop'--
(A)failing or refusing to comply; or
(B)fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.
(14)The term force means the level of force capable of causing physical pain or injury or needed or intended to overcome resistance.
(15)The term hostage taking means conduct described in section 1203.
(16)The term human trafficking means conduct described in sections 1589, 1590, and 1591.
(17)The term interference with flight crew members and attendants means conduct described in section 46504 of title 49, United States Code.
(18)The term kidnapping means conduct described in section 1201(a)(1) or seizing, confining, inveigling, decoying, abducting, or carrying away and holding for ransom or reward or otherwise any person.
(19)The term murder means conduct described as murder in the first degree or murder in the second degree described in section 1111.
(20)The term robbery means conduct described in section 1951(b)(1), or the unlawful taking or obtaining of personal property from the person or in the presence of another, against his will, by means of actual or threatened force, or violence or intimidation, or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or fear of injury, immediate or future, to his person or property, or property in his custody or possession, or the person or property of a relative or member of his family or of anyone in his company at the time of the taking or obtaining.
(21)The term stalking means conduct described in section 2261A.
(22)The term weapon of mass destruction has the meaning given such term in section 2332a(c).
(23)The term voluntary manslaughter means conduct described in section 1112(a).
(c)For purposes of this section, in the case of any reference in subsection (b) to an offense under this title, such reference shall include conduct that constitutes an offense under State or tribal law or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, if such conduct would be an offense under this title if a circumstance giving rise to Federal jurisdiction had existed.
(d)For purposes of this section, the term conspiracy includes any offense that is a conspiracy to commit another offense under State or Federal law, irrespective of whether proof of an overt act is required to establish commission of the conspiracy offense.
Clock changes: EU backs ending daylight saving time - BBC News
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 02:36
Image copyright Getty Images The EU Commission is proposing to end the practice of adjusting clocks by an hour in spring and autumn after a survey found most Europeans opposed it.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said millions "believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that's what will happen".
The Commission's proposal requires support from the 28 national governments and MEPs to become law.
In the EU clocks switch between winter and summer under daylight saving time.
A European Parliament resolution says it is "crucial to maintain a unified EU time regime".
However, the Commission has not yet drafted details of the proposed change.
In a consultation paper it said one option would be to let each member state decide whether to go for permanent summer or winter time. That would be "a sovereign decision of each member state", Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein explained on Friday.
He stressed that the proposal was "to no longer constrain member states into changing clocks twice per year".
The UK is one of the 28 nations, but is due to leave the European Union in March 2019. Any change would be unlikely to happen before then.
Mr Winterstein rejected a suggestion the proposal could cause particular difficulties in Ireland: "I don't see the link between our quest which is undiminished, to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and our proposal, which will come in due course, to no longer constrain member states into changing clocks twice per year.
"One pertains to the internal market once adopted, the other initiative is to ensure the Good Friday Agreement and other safeguards remain in place."
The Commission warns that unco-ordinated time changes between member states would cause economic harm.
In the public consultation, 84% of 4.6 million respondents called for ending the spring and autumn clock change.
By far the biggest response was in Germany and Austria (3.79% and 2.94% of the national population respectively). The UK's response was lowest - 0.02% - but few Italians took part, either (0.04%).
Read more on the world's time controversies:Why do many dislike Europe's daylight saving time?Some studies cited by the Commission point to adverse health impacts from the clock changes.
"Findings suggest that the effect on the human biorhythm may be more severe than previously thought," it says.
Clocks go forward by an hour on the last Sunday in March and switch back to winter time on the last Sunday in October.
Finland called for daylight saving to be abolished EU-wide, after a petition gathered more than 70,000 signatures from citizens calling for such a change.
The EU made the spring/autumn clock change the rule in all member states in 1996, based on the argument that it would reduce energy costs. But the Commission says the data on energy-saving is inconclusive.
There is also no reliable evidence that the clock changes reduce traffic accidents, the Commission says.
What are the EU's current time zones?There are three standard time zones:
Three states apply GMT (the UK, Ireland and Portugal)17 have Central European Time, which is GMT+1Eight have Eastern European Time, which is GMT+2The current seasonal clock changes are controversial partly because there is a big difference in daylight hours experienced by Scandinavia and by southern Europe.
Nordic countries have long, dark nights in winter and short nights in summer. The pattern in the south is more even across the seasons.
There are anomalies too. For example, neighbours Portugal and Spain are in different time zones, as are Sweden and Finland.
What is the situation in the UK?The UK adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1916, along with many other nations involved in World War One, in order to conserve coal.
It followed years of pressure from William Willett, a great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
But the UK has had its own debate about time zones.
In 2011, the government proposed a three-year trial of moving to Central European Time, so the time would be GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer.
The change would have meant lighter evenings but darker mornings, and one of the arguments was that it would reduce accidents. But it was abandoned after opposition from Scotland and northern England, where some areas would not have seen daylight until 10am under the proposal.
Your views from across EuropeEmma in Finland
As a Finn who has lived across Scandinavia I wholeheartedly welcome this initiative.
There have been times that I have fallen asleep at 16:00 in the afternoon or have not seen sunlight for several days due to the times I started and finished work.
Lars in Sweden
It would be a much better idea to keep daylight saving but have the change take place on Good Friday each year because most people would then be off work for four days. This would almost certainly reduce the risks of cardiovascular incidents and tiredness.
For us in northern Europe scrapping daylight saving and using so called summertime all year round would mean the mornings in wintertime would be incredibly dark until 09:00.
Also, using so-called wintertime in summer would mean an end to much of the long, bright summer nights.
Andrew in Denmark
Whilst I can see the advantages in stopping the change from winter to summertime and vice versa, it may create problems.
If Denmark kept summertime in the winter, it would not be daylight in late November-February until 10:00 and beyond. If they keep wintertime in the summer, the sun will rise at about 02:00.
This is not an easy problem to resolve.
Up until 1996, Denmark went to summertime one month after the UK and returned to wintertime one month before, so that for two months of the year they were on the same time as the UK.
Richard in Switzerland
This is a great shame.
Summertime was introduced in mainland Europe because it gave more daylight in the evenings. I was living in France at the time and it was very popular.
Some countries did not follow suit immediately - for example, Italy and Switzerland. This led to a chaotic situation for those close to the borders.
Jessica in Spain
It's about time this was brought up.
I suffer from a vitamin D deficiency and the winter months in particular, are awful.
When I lived in Kent and commuted an hour into London for work, I only saw maybe a half-hour of daylight at lunchtime a day, and that's if I managed to get away from my desk.
I know some people who only see sunlight at the weekends.
If this could be changed so we at least get a bit of sunlight en route to or from work, this would make the tiniest difference but could affect everyone's health in a big way.
Also, everyone knows that people are happier and friendlier in the sunshine.
Graeme in Scotland
I lived through the UK's experiment of having no time change while at school in Scotland. It was almost dark until 10:00 in the winter and that was horrible.
I have since worked in south-west Norway, which has a very similar sunshine period.
The winter in Scotland and Norway is dark and cold. Do not mess with the status quo.
Net Neutrality
California Advances Net-Neutrality Rules in Rebuke to Trump FCC - WSJ
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 15:04
California on Thursday moved to reinstate Obama-era open-internet rules, challenging Trump administration rollback efforts and setting the state on a path to have the strongest net-neutrality rules in the nation.
The California bill would forbid internet service providers from blocking websites, intentionally slowing down a website or app or accepting payments to make online services go faster. Such regulations resemble those adopted by the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission.
The fight over net neutrality has become a rallying cry for Democrats since the FCC, led by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, last year did away with the 2015 rules governing internet service providers.
The bill passed the California assembly Thursday by a preliminary count of 59-18, according to the clerk's office, and now returns to the state senate, which previously passed a similar version. If it passes again there and is then signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, California would have the nation's strongest net-neutrality rules.
Mr. Brown hasn't publicly indicated his position on the bill.
Some experts doubt whether state legislation imposing net-neutrality rules can withstand the eventual legal challenges that are likely to come from telecommunications trade groups. The FCC rollback last year claimed to pre-empt state rules on net neutrality.
An FCC spokesman declined to comment.
If states prove unable to impose their own standards, net-neutrality advocates are hoping the California legislative action will lend support to their current legal challenge against the FCC rollback, which they say was legally flawed. That case is pending in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
Cable and wireless companies lobbied aggressively against the bill. Elizabeth Hyman, executive vice president of the Computing Technology Industry Association, a trade group, said the measure would result in an unworkable patchwork of regulations.
''The internet is not configured to handle geographic boundaries within the country and a system of barriers and levies across the internet will have a crippling effect on commerce and innovation,'' she said in a statement.
The effort in California got a surprise boost last week, when firefighters battling huge wildfires said their commercial cellphone service was slowed dramatically because they had hit a speed cap. The firefighters argued the throttling was a violation of net-neutrality rules, because they had been promised unlimited coverage.
The provider, Verizon Communications Inc., apologized and said the restriction should have been waived because of the emergency circumstances but mistakenly wasn't.
The governors of six states'--Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont'--have signed executive orders reinstating some net-neutrality provisions. State legislatures in Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have also enacted net-neutrality legislation.
But none of those states has gone as far as the California measure would, industry experts say. The bill bans, in certain cases, the increasingly common practice of allowing free content streaming, known as ''zero rating,'' when it gives certain services an edge over others. A typical example is when an internet service provider such as AT&T Inc. doesn't count video it owns against its customers' wireless data plans, giving them a strong incentive to favor AT&T content over competitors'.
The California bill also says interconnection agreements'--in which an online service pays a cable or wireless provider to carry its traffic'--can't be used by companies like streaming video services to circumvent the open internet rules and improperly receive faster speeds.
California Democrats say the legislation is necessary to protect a competitive internet.
''I would much prefer a national standard,'' said state Sen. Scott Wiener, the author of the California bill. ''But the reality is the same ISPs that are complaining about state-by-state patchwork regulation'...are the same companies that asked the Trump administration to get rid of net-neutrality protections.''
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) tweeted support for the bill. '' I urge legislators in Sacramento to take action so that users, not their internet service providers, control their online experience.''
At the national level, Democrats scored a rare win on net neutrality in May, when the U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to repeal the FCC rollback and reinstate the 2015 rules. But the repeal measure has stalled in the House.
Write to Alejandro Lazo at alejandro.lazo@wsj.com and John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com
California net neutrality bill clears key hurdle
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 02:40
Home Technology Telecom September 1, 2018 September 1, 2018 by Jonathan J. Cooper Credit: CC0 Public DomainThe California Assembly voted Wednesday to enshrine net neutrality in state law, delivering a major victory to advocates looking to require an equal playing field on the internet.
In the latest effort by California lawmakers to drive national policy and rebuff President Donald Trump, lawmakers approved one of the nation's most aggressive efforts to revive regulations repealed last year by the Federal Communications Commission. The rules prevented internet companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.
The 58-17 vote Thursday was surprisingly lopsided after the Assembly was seen as a potential barrier to the bill's passage. It returns to the Senate, which passed an earlier version and is expected to sign off on changes from the Assembly before the Legislature adjourns on Friday.
"We all know why we're here. It's pretty clear," said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat. "The Trump administration destroyed the internet as we know it."
The Assembly's vote followed months of intense lobbying from internet companies, which warned that it would lead to higher costs.
California's net neutrality debate is being closely watched by advocates around the country, who are looking to the home of Silicon Valley to pass sweeping net neutrality provisions that could drive momentum in other states or create pressure for Congress to enact nationwide protections.
"Net neutrality is not dead. It's coming back with a vengeance," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, an advocacy group that is pushing to preserve net neutrality.
Internet providers say they've publicly committed to upholding the values of net neutrality, but strict rules like California's would inhibit investment in faster technology. They say it's unrealistic to expect them to comply with internet rules that vary across the country.
"Consumers expect a single, national approach to keeping our internet open, not the confusing patchwork of conflicting requirements passed today, Jonathan Spalter, president & CEO the broadband industry group USTelecom, said in a statement.
The California legislation "keeps the country strapped into a roller coaster ride of state net neutrality regulations," he said.
The measure, if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is likely to face a legal challenge. The FCC has declared that states cannot pass their own net neutrality rules, though proponents of the California legislation say that only Congress can tie California's hands.
"President Trump didn't ruin the internet. President Trump didn't change the internet," said Melissa Melendez, a Republican from Lake Elsinore in Southern California. "You're wading into an area where you have no business being."
Six Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in supporting the legislation.
Net neutrality advocates worry that, absent rules prohibiting it, internet providers could create fast lanes and slow lanes that favor their own sites and apps or make it harder for consumers to see content from their competitors.
That could limit consumer choice or shut out upstart companies that can't afford to buy access to the fast lane, critics worry.
Santiago, who steered the bill through the Assembly, faced a flood of angry calls and online memes when a committee he leads briefly watered down the bill earlier this year. The stronger provisions were later restored.
The bill, written by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, would prohibit internet providers from blocking or slowing data based on its content or from favoring websites or video streams from companies that pay extra.
It also would ban so-called "zero rating," in which internet providers don't count certain content against a monthly data cap. It would prohibit, for example, AT&T from exempting videos from CNN or other outlets it owns from a monthly data cap that applies to competitors.
Critics say the ban on zero rating will raise cellphone bills and make it harder for poor people to access streaming video since it would all count against their monthly data allotment. Wiener says zero rating encourages smaller data allotments and makes it harder for people to access diverse online content.
Explore further: California senators reach agreement on net neutrality bill
School Shootings
The School Shootings That Weren't : NPR
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:34
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?
We should know. But we don't.
This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.
But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.
We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.
"When we're talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful," says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.
The Education Department, asked for comment on our reporting, noted that it relies on school districts to provide accurate information in the survey responses and says it will update some of these data later this fall. But, officials added, the department has no plans to republish the existing publication.
This confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Students around the country are heading back to school this month under a cloud of fear stemming from the most recent mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas.
At least 53 new school safety laws were passed in states in 2018. Districts are spending millions of dollars to "harden" schools with new security measures and equipment. A blue-ribbon federal school safety commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is holding public events around the country, including one in Alabama Tuesday. Children are spending class time on active-shooter drills and their parents are buying bulletproof backpacks.
Our reporting highlights just how difficult it can be to track school-related shootings and how researchers, educators and policymakers are hindered by a lack of data on gun violence.
"I think someone pushed the wrong button"
The Civil Rights Data Collection for 2018 required every public school '-- more than 96,000 '-- to answer questions on a wide range of issues.
It asked what sounded like a simple question:
In the 2015-2016 school year, "Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?"
The answer '-- "nearly 240 schools (0.2 percent of all schools)" '-- was published this spring.
The government's definition included any discharge of a weapon at school-sponsored events or on school buses. Even so, that would be a rate of shootings, and a level of violence, much higher than anyone else had ever found.
For comparison, the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government's, with only eight schools appearing on both.
A separate investigation by the ACLU of Southern California also was able to confirm fewer than a dozen of the incidents in the government's report, while 59 percent were confirmed errors.
The Civil Rights Data Collection dates to 1968. The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights administers the survey every two years. Every public school is required by law to complete it. These findings often drive public conversations.
For example, the CRDC was the source of recent reports that black students were suspended from school at rates much higher than whites '-- information that inspired changes in discipline policy across the country.
The survey has dozens of items, ranging from how many middle schoolers passed algebra I to how many students with disabilities were restrained or secluded. It can be completed by filling out an online form or uploading data.
One item, about "Firearm Use," was required for the first time for all schools in the most recent data collection.
Most of the school leaders NPR reached had little idea of how shootings got recorded for their schools.
For example, the CRDC reports 26 shootings within the Ventura Unified School District in Southern California.
"I think someone pushed the wrong button," said Jeff Davis, an assistant superintendent there. The outgoing superintendent, Joe Richards, "has been here for almost 30 years and he doesn't remember any shooting," Davis added. "We are in this weird vortex of what's on this screen and what reality is."
"We got wind of it and nipped it in the bud"
In other cases, something may have happened, but not the firearm discharge the survey asked about.
The biggest discrepancy in sheer numbers was the 37 incidents listed in the CRDC for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Roseann Canfora, the district's chief communications officer, told us that, in fact, 37 schools reported "possession of a knife or a firearm," which is the previous question on the form.
The number 37, then, was apparently entered on the wrong line.
Similarly, the CRDC lists four shootings among the 16 schools of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California. Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the district, says that "going back 20-plus years," no one can remember any incident involving a firearm. Their best guess, she says, is that there was some kind of mistake in coding, where an incident involving something like a pair of scissors (California Education Code 48915[c][2]), for example, got inflated into one involving a firearm (48915[c][1]).
Ray Poole, the chief of legal services for the Nassau County School District in Florida, told us that at one school where a shooting was reported, Callahan Middle School, on Nov. 21, 2015, a Saturday, a student took a picture of himself at home holding a gun and posted it to social media. "We got wind of it and nipped it in the bud." No shooting.
The CRDC shows seven shootings in DeKalb County, Ga. Police reports provided to us by that district give a sense of more of the many, many ways the data collection may have gone wrong.
At Redan Middle School, there is a report of a toy cap gun fired on a school bus '-- not a shooting.
The CRDC shows a shooting at Stone Mountain Middle School, but a police report shows an incident at Stone Mountain High School instead.
And district officials provided a police report showing that there was a shooting after a McNair High School football game '-- in August 2016, after the time period covered in the survey.
Unacceptable burden
The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights received complaints about the wording and administration of this survey even before it went out.
A June 2014 research report commissioned to improve the CRDC as a whole noted that in previous data collections, districts had experienced "unacceptable levels of reporting burden." They complained that the CRDC asks them to report information that is similar to what states already collect, but in a different format, or at a level of specificity that they don't currently track.
Also at issue, the internal report says, was a "lack of clarity in the definitions of key terms." When it came to "Offenses," the group of questions including firearm use, districts "indicated dissatisfaction with the categories provided, specifically that the CRDC categories did not align with the categories used in state reporting, other federal reporting, and/or their own district databases."
As an example of this lack of alignment, the federal Gun-Free Schools Act requires schools in states that receive federal funds to expel students who bring a gun to school and requires districts in those states to report the circumstances of such expulsions to the state '-- regardless of whether a gun goes off.
The state of Florida asks schools to report "weapons possession," excluding pocketknives. California asks schools to report suspensions and expulsions resulting from "possession, sale, furnishing of a firearm" or "imitation firearm."
And so on.
There's also potential for confusion within the CRDC itself. While this particular item refers clearly to "a shooting," the previous item asks about a long list of incidents, some involving "a firearm or explosive device" and others involving "a weapon."
Temkin at Child Trends, who has long studied bullying and school climate, says this wording "could cause confusion."
"Best practices in data collection are not to include double-barreled items," she says, such as asking about a "firearm or explosive device" in the same question. An explosive device could be something like a pipe bomb or even a firecracker.
NPR submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about problems with the data collection, and we received emails that schools and districts sent as they grappled with this kind of confusion. For example, the Omro school district in Wisconsin wanted to know whether a consensual paintball-gun fight involving several students should be considered an "attack with a weapon" or a "possession of a firearm."
Another reason the shooting data may show these kinds of problems, Temkin adds, is that the item is so new. "Because this was the first year this was asked of all schools, they may not have been as prepared to respond to this item."
And there's another factor at work as well: the law of really, really big numbers. Temkin notes that "240 schools is less than half of 1 percent," of the schools in the survey. "It's in the margin of error."
Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, told NPR that "at least five districts have submitted requests to OCR to amend the school-related shootings data that they submitted for the 2015-16 CRDC." The plan is to issue what is called "errata" to update the data, but the original document will not be republished, Hill said.
Hill made the point that any "misreporting" is the schools' responsibility, not the department's: "As always, data reported by recipients is self-reported and self-certified."
After we contacted the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified district about the four reported shootings, the district emailed the Office for Civil Rights to try to correct the information. No shootings happened, officials said.
The Office for Civil Rights responded on July 25:
"The CRDC accepts correction requests for up to one year from the moment the submission period opens. For the 2015-16 collection, the corrections period closed on June 30, 2018, and for this reason your data correction request cannot be accepted. However, a data note will be included on the data file to ensure users are aware of the errors you are reporting."
NPR's Clare Lombardo contributed research for this piece.
Trump tweets are 'messages from some alternative universe': China Daily | Reuters
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:00
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Twitter comments by U.S. President Donald Trump accusing China of hacking former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email server are an attempt to cast China as a ''scapegoat'', the official China Daily said in an editorial Friday.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the news media during an event at which he announced a grant for a drug-free communities support program in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
The strongly worded editorial also took aim at Trump directly, commenting: ''To the thinking person, there are few things more disconcerting than a tweet by the U.S. president as they initially seem to accord to reality but then quickly turn into messages from some alternative universe.''
Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that China hacked the emails of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton but did not offer any evidence or further information.
China's foreign ministry has denied Trump's allegation and the editorial accused him of ''smearing China's image as he desperately needs a scapegoat in the run-up to the midterm elections, so he can divert public attention from the troubles the White House has become mired in''.
Trump faces potentially difficult mid-term elections in November as his Republican party fights to retain control of both houses of Congress.
State media in China have in recent weeks adopted an increasingly aggressive stance against Trump as the world's two biggest economies have become engaged in an increasingly bitter trade war. That marks a shift from their previous approach of tempering any direct criticism against the U.S. president.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Paul Tait
From Boots on the Ground
Dear John & Adam:
As a venezuelan producer, still living in that hellhole and after hearing
Thursday’s show, I think I’m uniquely qualified to tell you the whole story
(which I’ve tried many times to tell you and warn you about) of what’s really
going on in venezuela. For obvious reasons, I have not being able to donate
anymore. Please, keep my name anonymous.
What you’re seeing is the culmination of a wet dream fidel castro always had of
putting his hands on venezuela (and most importantly, on its oil) to spread his
beloved revolution throughout the Americas. A dream that went as far as making
a military failed disembarkment in Venezuela in the early 60’s. fidel’s
venezuelan bay of pigs.
hugo chavez has always been one of many implanted traitors in the
venezuelan military, since he was a cadet. His brother, adam chavez, was a
member of the venezuelan communist party. That’s were his logistics &
support for the venezuelan coup of 1992 (of which he was not the leader) came
from. The leader of that coup was killed that same night. In fact, hugo chavez
was the most inept of all his comrades because he was the only one who couldn’t
reach his intended target which made the whole coup fail. He did become the
leader of the revolutionaries that night because someone put him on national tv
to call his other brother in arms to give it up. And he was put on tv despite
the fact that the military was ordered by the government not to display him on
Fast forward 5 years and another failed coup to free him, he became a
presidential candidate for his recently created mbr200 party (that’s how they
called their movement when they made the 92 coup). According to venezuelan
laws, he could not be a presidential candidate since anyone charged with an
attempted coup was politically suspended from running for any kind of public
office, but he was surprisingly pardoned by the then president who had won
thanks to a radical left coalition. One of the striking facts about him was
that he had 29 cuban agents to help him with his campaign as bodyguards and
consultants, something that not only was illegal but already gave up what was
really going on (read here. Sorry, could only find Spanish source for most of
my supporting links https://elpais.com/internacional/2014/03/28/actualidad/1396026665_272257.html
He lied to everyone throughout his campaign saying that he was not
a socialist, that he thought the cuban regime was a ruthless dictatorship (but
he had cuban agents with him), etc. The left media (IOW most of the media) was
only praising him. He even had a plant of his in one tv station who had an
opinion show. That guy magically became part of his government once he won.
You could hear the cries coming from the cuban refugees in
venezuela pleading to people not to vote for him, that he was controlled by
havana, but nobody listened and a famous phrase was coined “venezulea? Volverse
cuba? No vale, yo no creo!” (venezuela? Become like cuba? Nah, I don’t think
so!). Many a businessman came to his side offering housing and financing to his
campaign, just like what happened with Bernie and is happening with other lefty
figures in the US.
Most of the rest, is history. What you don’t know is how & why
chavez died and how maduro became his “chosen one” if he were to die.
chavez contracted cancer, that much we know. The actual how is
irrelevant for this discussion. Most everything points at natural factors but
when someone is surrounded by cuban guards and is turned paranoid by fidel
castro not to seek treatment anywhere but in cuba, one has to wonder. He even
rejected an offer from fellow socialist ignazio lula da silva from brazil at
the Sirio Libanes hospital in Sao Paulo (where lula would successfully treat
himself). What we do know is that the cubans were the ones responsible for
chavez’ cancer treatment. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/15/hugo-chavez-cancer-cuba-chemotherapy_n_900477.html
chavez had always been both what fidel always dreamed of having to
get a hold on venezuela but also his newest nightmare because he didn’t wanna
go all the way into fidel’s socialism. He had outlived his usefulness to fidel.
So fidel took the opportunity of the cancer to get rid of chavez and tell him
to put someone who would follow all cuban instructions without hesitation. And
that was maduro. There’s even video of chavez on national tv telling his
followers to vote for maduro shall something happened to him before his last
trip to havana (again, I could only find a Spanish source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XZnWJCvvbM
). Also, bear in mind, chavez had won an election that same year, an election
that he moved forward because he knew he wouldn't live to see the December election.
He didn’t wanna relinquish power for his family’s sake.
Now, who is maduro? I’m not gonna go all the way back to make a
full biography but I will say that before he was chavez’ candidate for
president, he was his exterior minister. His most prominent role was to put
pressure on the Honduran government who had deposed manuel zalaya and the way
he was instructed by havana to do so was to go to nicaragua which was also
under havana’s control and go to the Honduran border. From there, he would make
a PR show calling for the new Honduran “de facto” government to give zelaya
back the presidency. Of course, that was for the media. His real mission was to
procure insurgents and get them into Honduras to wreak havok with pro zelaya
protest, armed incursions to create unrest, try to turn the Honduran military
and try to smuggle zelaya back into Honduras. He failed in most of those things
but the PR campaign.
The highlight of that show was maduro driving a truck near the
Honduran border with zelaya in it, speaking thru a bullhorn ( http://www.jornada.com.mx/2009/07/26/mundo/020n1mun
). After the failure, zelaya would receive “donations” from chavez ( http://www.elheraldo.hn/alfrente/565426-209/100-millones-dono-venezuela-a-zelaya)
and also become part of hugo chavez’ payroll through petrocaribe (the outfit
that uses venezuela’s oil for political support, as well as give oil to cuba
and nicaragua, among others for free http://en.mercopress.com/2010/03/08/chavez-incorporates-ousted-zelaya-to-his-payroll-through-petrocaribe
And that’s where venezuela is now, with full blown socialism, food ration card
and all, installed by maduro on behalf of the cuban regime. The new cuba or as
the new cuban president Diaz Canel said in his visit this last May to the
venezuelan congress to address his nation, diaz canel took maduro’s victory in
the 2018 election as his own ( https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/new-cuba-leader-praises-maduro-in-solidarity-visit-to-venezuela-1.3514237
So why haven’t you heard about all this? Well, you didn’t wanna listen which
was the reason I stopped listening for over a year (I came back again last
year). You had your sources and anything I sent you about venezuela was not
taken that much into account.
Why was it not heard in the m5m? The globalist love what’s going
on in venezuela. fidel has always been their darling, so anything he does is
heavily guarded an defended. And as John finally found out and pointed in
Thursday’s show and I have been trying to tell you for so long, the US media is
controlled by the left, save for Foxnews in the US and occasionally CNN en
espaniol & CNN US, and the dnc have been a supporter of all that’s going on
in venezuela, Bush as well. It’s only Trump and Rubio who have done something
about what’s going on here and news have begun to trickle out. Plus, the huge
amounts of money chavez spent on propaganda has run out, so the positive PR has
begun to dry out. Surprisingly, also the OAS has begun to support venezuelan when
it used to support chavez.
Plus, there were many latin american countries at the time under
cuban control via the Sao Paulo Forum (an outfit castro created to spread his
socialism through latin america and the Non-Alignment Movement countries, I
suggest you read about the Sao Paulo Forum), namely Brazil, Argentina,
Nicaragua Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay and to an extent Chile. So now that
socialists don’t control Brazil, Argentina, Peru & Ecuador anymore, those
countries have finally begun speaking against the venezueln socialism.
In fact, I have a theory that the current venezuelan migrant
crisis has two main objectives, to rid the country of opposition and thus
easily win elections without too much meddling (over 2.4 million have fled
already) and create crisis in all these latin american countries which happen
to be the main destination of the migrants. In other words, create the same
crisis the globalist have created in Europe (I chuckled when you suggested it
was the EU copying venezuela regarding the migrants. You were close to my
theory though)
The reasons why the opposition have not been able to do anything are complex,
but the main factors are that almost all the opposition is socialist as well,
and because the opposition has always been highly infiltrated the chavez’ party
and the cuban intelligence agency, the G2. Venezuela is the country with most
political parties subscribing the International Socialist. In fact, all venezuelan
governments before chavez were socialist. Our two party system back then was a
Christian Democrat party (which is left to center) and an outright socialist
party which was and still is a member of the International Socialist.
Regarding your economic hitman, which I suspect was your main source of
information regarding venezuela, I suspect that he was either receiving money
from the chavez regime just like countless other people around the world, or
his sources where from the chavez government or he is a socialist too. And the
reason he has no info now is that either he has been cut out of that loop or
feels ashamed to talk about venezuela anymore just like other people doing pro
PR for venezuela, like Noam Chomsky and countless others.
At least you’ve finally awaken (woke) to what’s going on in here. And it’s
important because they’re after the US now and sadly you have awoken way too
late. I have seen the parallels between what happened here and what’s going on
in the US. If I have to pinpoint where you’re at compared to us, I’d say you’re
in 1994’s venezuela. If the US doesn’t wise up to all the post modern cultural
marxist taking control, and the left media undermining the American democracy,
and the illiterate masses (mainly the young Berni Bros & Sistahs), the US
will keep walking the same venezuelan path. Trump is only delaying the thing.
Had Hillary won, things would currently be much, much worse.
There’s a big wikileaks trail linking her with the cuban and the venezuelan
regimes and the epicenter of it all was Haiti, but that’s conversations for
another time. There’s one quite hilarious where H is pleased that raul castro
gave his blessing for Obama’s reelection in an ALBA meeting in Haiti. We know
what happened afterwards, Obama lifted many sanctions against cuba and reopened
the borders
Prison Complex
National Prison Strike '' Sawari Mi
Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:19
Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a na tionwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation's penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.
These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called ''ex-felons'' must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
We all agree to spread this strike throughout the prisons of Ameri$$$a! From August 21st to September 9th, 2018, men and women in prisons across the nation will strike in the following manner:
1. Work Strikes: Prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
2. Sit-ins : In certain prisons, men and women will engage in peaceful sit '' in protests.
3. Boycotts: All spending should be halted. We ask those outside the walls not to make financial judgments for those inside. Men and women on the in side will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
4. Hunger Strikes: Men and women shall refuse to eat.
We support the call of Free Alabama Movement Campaign to ''Redistribute the Pain'' 2018 as Bennu Hannibal Ra '' Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray has laid out (with the exception of refusing visitation). See these principles described here:
How You Can HelpMake the nation take a look at our demands. Demand action on our demands by contacting your local, state, and federal political representatives with these demands. Ask them where they stand.
Spread the strike and word of the strike in every place of detention.
Contact a supporting local organization to see how you can be supportive. If you are unsure of who to connect with, email millionsforprisonersmarch@ gmail.com
Be prepared by making contact with people in prison, family members of prisoners, and prisoner support organizations in your state to assist in notifying the public and media on strike conditions.
Assist in our announced initiatives to have the votes of people in jail and prison counted in elections.
Donate to strike's official fundraising page here: https://fundly.com/2018-prisoner-strike
Boycott companies that exploit prisoners' labor listed here: http://sawarimi.org/end-legalized-slavery/exploitative-prison-labor-company-search
For the Media: Inquiries should be directed toprisonstrikemedia@ gmail.com
Register Your Organization in Solidarity Below
Spooky Theory on Ills of U.S. Diplomats in Cuba - The New York Times
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 13:26
Doctors and scientists say microwave strikes may have caused sonic delusions and very real brain damage among embassy staff and family members.
Image U.S. Marines outside the embassy in Havana in February. Diplomats working here reported strange noises and mysterious symptoms that doctors and scientists say may have resulted from strikes with microwave weapons. Credit Credit Adalberto Roque/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images During the Cold War, Washington feared that Moscow was seeking to turn microwave radiation into covert weapons of mind control.
More recently, the American military itself sought to develop microwave arms that could invisibly beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people's heads. The aims were to disable attackers and wage psychological warfare.
Now, doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. The Cuban incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Washington.
The medical team that examined 21 affected diplomats from Cuba made no mention of microwaves in its detailed report published in JAMA in March. But Douglas H. Smith, the study's lead author and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a recent interview that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury.
''Everybody was relatively skeptical at first,'' he said, ''and everyone now agrees there's something there.'' Dr. Smith remarked that the diplomats and doctors jokingly refer to the trauma as the immaculate concussion.
Strikes with microwaves, some experts now argue, more plausibly explain reports of painful sounds, ills and traumas than do other possible culprits '-- sonic attacks, viral infections and contagious anxiety.
In particular, a growing number of analysts cite an eerie phenomenon known as the Frey effect, named after Allan H. Frey, an American scientist. Long ago, he found that microwaves can trick the brain into perceiving what seem to be ordinary sounds.
The false sensations, the experts say, may account for a defining symptom of the diplomatic incidents '-- the perception of loud noises, including ringing, buzzing and grinding. Initially, experts cited those symptoms as evidence of stealthy attacks with sonic weapons.
Members of Jason, a secretive group of elite scientists that helps the federal government assess new threats to national security, say it has been scrutinizing the diplomatic mystery this summer and weighing possible explanations, including microwaves.
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Asked about the microwave theory of the case, the State Department said the investigation had yet to identify the cause or source of the attacks. And the F.B.I. declined to comment on the status of the investigation or any theories.
The microwave idea teems with unanswered questions. Who fired the beams? The Russian government? The Cuban government? A rogue Cuban faction sympathetic to Moscow? And, if so, where did the attackers get the unconventional arms?
At his home outside Washington, Mr. Frey, the scientist who uncovered the neural phenomenon, said federal investigators have questioned him on the diplomatic riddle and that microwave radiation is considered a possible cause.
Mr. Frey, now 83, has traveled widely and long served as a contractor and a consultant to a number of federal agencies. He speculated that Cubans aligned with Russia, the nation's longtime ally, might have launched microwave strikes in attempts to undermine developing ties between Cuba and the United States.
''It's a possibility,'' he said at his kitchen table. ''In dictatorships, you often have factions that think nothing of going against the general policy if it suits their needs. I think that's a perfectly viable explanation.''
Developing a new class of weapons
Image Allan H. Frey, at his home outside Washington. In 1960, he stumbled on an acoustic effect of microwaves that was eventually named after him. Credit Alex Wroblewski for The New York Times Microwaves are ubiquitous in modern life. The short radio waves power radars, cook foods, relay messages and link cellphones to antenna towers. They're a form of electromagnetic radiation on the same spectrum as light and X-rays, only at the opposite end.
While radio broadcasting can employ waves a mile or more in length, microwaves range in size from roughly a foot to a tiny fraction of an inch. They're seen as harmless in such everyday uses as microwaving foods. But their diminutive size also enables tight focusing, as when dish antennas turn disorganized rays into concentrated beams.
The dimensions of the human head, scientists say, make it a fairly good antenna for picking up microwave signals.
Mr. Frey, a biologist, said he stumbled on the acoustic effect in 1960 while working for General Electric's Advanced Electronics Center at Cornell University. A man who measured radar signals at a nearby G.E. facility came up to him at a meeting and confided that he could hear the beam's pulses '-- zip, zip, zip.
Intrigued, Mr. Frey traveled to the man's workplace in Syracuse and positioned himself in a radar beam. ''Lo,'' he recalled, ''I could hear it, too.''
Mr. Frey's resulting papers '-- reporting that even deaf people could hear the false sounds '-- founded a new field of study on radiation's neural impacts. Mr. Frey's first paper, in 1961, reported that power densities 160 times lower than ''the standard maximum safe level for continuous exposure'' could induce the sonic delusions.
His second paper, in 1962, pinpointed the brain's receptor site as the temporal lobes, which extend beneath the temples. Each lobe bears a small region '-- the auditory cortex '-- that processes nerve signals from the outer and inner ears.
Investigators raced to confirm and extend Mr. Frey's findings. At first they named the phenomenon after him, but eventually called it the microwave auditory effect and, in time, more generally, radio-frequency hearing.
The Soviets took notice. Not long after his initial discoveries, Mr. Frey said, he was invited by the Soviet Academy of Sciences to visit and lecture. Toward the end, in a surprise, he was taken outside Moscow to a military base surrounded by armed guards and barbed-wire fences.
''They had me visiting the various labs and discussing the problems,'' including the neural impacts of microwaves, Mr. Frey recalled. ''I got an inside look at their classified program.''
Moscow was so intrigued by the prospect of mind control that it adopted a special terminology for the overall class of envisioned arms, calling them psychophysical and psychotronic.
Soviet research on microwaves for ''internal sound perception,'' the Defense Intelligence Agency warned in 1976, showed great promise for ''disrupting the behavior patterns of military or diplomatic personnel.''
Furtively, globally, the threat grew.
The National Security Agency gave Mark S. Zaid, a Washington lawyer who routinely gets security clearances to discuss classified matters, a statement on how a foreign power built a weapon ''designed to bathe a target's living quarters in microwaves, causing numerous physical effects, including a damaged nervous system.''
Mr. Zaid said a N.S.A. client of his who traveled there watched in disbelief as his nervous system later unraveled, starting with control of his fingers.
Image The high-pitched chirping that diplomats heard while working at the Consulate General of the United States in Guangzhou, China, might be explained by a phenomenon known as the Frey effect '-- radio-frequency hearing. Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times Washington, too, foresaw new kinds of arms.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Air Force scientists sought to beam comprehensible speech into the heads of adversaries. Their novel approach won a patent in 2002, and an update in 2003. Both were assigned to the Air Force secretary, helping limit the idea's dissemination.
The lead inventor said the research team had ''experimentally demonstrated'' that the ''signal is intelligible.'' As for the invention's uses, an Air Force disclosure form listed the first application as ''Psychological Warfare.''
The Navy sought to paralyze. The Frey effect was to induce sounds powerful enough to cause painful discomfort and, if needed, leave targets unable to move. The weapon, the Navy noted, would have a ''low probability of fatalities or permanent injuries.''
In a twist, the 2003 contract was awarded to microwave experts who had emigrated to the United States from Russia and Ukraine.
It is unknown if Washington deploys such arms. But the Pentagon built a related weapon known as the Active Denial System, hailing it in a video. It fires an invisible beam meant to deter mobs and attackers with fiery sensations.
Russia, China and many European states are seen as having the know-how to make basic microwave weapons that can debilitate, sow noise or even kill. Advanced powers, experts say, might accomplish more nuanced aims such as beaming spoken words into people's heads. Only intelligence agencies know which nations actually possess and use such unfamiliar arms.
The basic weapon might look like a satellite dish. In theory, such a device might be hand-held or mounted in a van, car, boat or helicopter. Microwave arms are seen as typically working over relatively short distances '-- across the length of a few rooms or blocks. High-powered ones might be able to fire beams across several football fields, or even for several miles.
The episode in CubaThe Soviet collapse in 1991 cut Russia's main ties to Cuba, a longtime ally just 90 miles from the United States. The shaky economy forced Moscow to stop providing Havana with large amounts of oil and other aid.
Vladimir Putin, as Russia's president and prime minister, sought to recover the economic, political and strategic clout that the Soviets had lost. In December 2000, months after the start of his first presidential term, Mr. Putin flew to the island nation. It was the first visit by a Soviet or Russian leader since the Cold War.
He also sought to resurrect Soviet work on psychoactive arms. In 2012, he declared that Russia would pursue ''new instruments for achieving political and strategic goals,'' including psychophysical weapons.
In July 2014, Mr. Putin again visited Cuba. This time he brought a gift '-- the cancellation of some $30 billion in Cuban debt. The two nations signed a dozen accords.
A Russian spy ship, Viktor Leonov, docked in Havana on the eve of the beginning of reconciliation talks between Cuba and the United States in early 2015, and did so again in subsequent years. Moscow and Havana grew so close that in late 2016, the two nations signed a sweeping pact on defense and technology cooperation.
Image Raul Castro, president of Cuba, with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, at a welcoming ceremony for Mr. Putin in Havana in 2014. Credit Ismael Francisco/Associated Press Image In Havana's harbor, men fishing near the Russian warship, Viktor, Leonov, in 2015. Credit Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press As a candidate, Donald Trump faulted the Obama administration's normalization policy as ''a very weak agreement'' and threatened to scrap it on reaching the White House. Weeks after he won the election, in late November 2016, the American embassy in Havana found itself battling a mysterious crisis.
Diplomats and their families recounted high-pitched sounds in homes and hotel rooms at times intense enough to incapacitate. Long-term, the symptoms included nausea, crushing headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss.
The State Department filed diplomatic protests, and the Cuban government denied involvement. In May, the F.B.I. opened an investigation and its agents began visiting Havana a half year after the incidents began. The last major one hit that summer, in August, giving the agents relatively little time to gather clues.
In September 2017, the Trump administration warned travelers away from Cuba and ordered home roughly half the diplomatic personnel.
Rex W. Tillerson, who was then the secretary of state, said the embassy's staff had been targeted deliberately. But he refrained from blaming Cuba, and federal officials held out the possibility that a third party may have been responsible.
In early October, President Trump expelled 15 Cuban diplomats, producing a chill between the nations. Administration critics said the White House was using the health issue as a pretext to end President Barack Obama's reconciliation policy.
The day after the expulsions, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a closed, top secret hearing on the Cuba situation. Three State Department officials testified, as did an unnamed senior official of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Hypothesis Image Beatrice A. Golomb, a medical doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, here in a beachside office, argues that microwave strikes can explain the diplomatic ills. Credit Tara Pixley for The New York Times Early this year, in January, the spooky impact of microwaves on the human brain never came up during an open Senate hearing on the Cuba crisis.
But in a scientific paper that same month, James C. Lin of the University of Illinois, a leading investigator of the Frey effect, described the diplomatic ills as plausibly arising from microwave beams. Dr. Lin is the editor-in-chief of Bio Electro Magnetics, a peer-reviewed journal that explores the effects of radio waves and electromagnetic fields on living things.
In his paper, he said high-intensity beams of microwaves could have caused the diplomats to experience not just loud noises but nausea, headaches and vertigo, as well as possible brain-tissue injury. The beams, he added, could be fired covertly, hitting ''only the intended target.''
In February, ProPublica in a lengthy investigation mentioned that federal investigators were weighing the microwave theory. Separately, it told of an intriguing find. The wife of a member of the embassy staff, it reported, had looked outside her home after hearing the disturbing sounds and seen a van speeding away.
A dish antenna could fit easily into a small van.
The medical team that studied the Cuba diplomats ascribed the symptoms in the March JAMA study to ''an unknown energy source'' that was highly directional. Some personnel, it noted, had covered their ears and heads but experienced no sound reduction. The team said the diplomats appeared to have developed signs of concussion without having received any blows to the head.
In May, reports emerged that American diplomats in China had suffered similar traumas. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the medical details of the two groups "very similar'' and ''entirely consistent" with one another. By late June, the State Department had evacuated at least 11 Americans from China.
To date, the most detailed medical case for microwave strikes has been made by Beatrice A. Golomb, a medical doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego. In a forthcoming paper to be published in October in Neural Computation, a peer-reviewed journal of the MIT Press, she lays out potential medical evidence for Cuban microwave strikes.
She compared the symptoms of the diplomats in Cuba to those reported for individuals said to be suffering from radio-frequency sickness. The health responses of the two groups, Dr. Golomb wrote, ''conform closely.''
In closing, she argued that ''numerous highly specific features'' of the diplomatic incidents ''fit the hypothesis'' of a microwave attack, including the Frey-type production of disturbing sounds.
Scientists still disagree over what hit the diplomats. Last month, JAMA ran four letters critical of the March study, some faulting the report for ruling out mass hysteria.
But Mr. Zaid, the Washington lawyer, who represents eight of the diplomats and family members, said microwave attacks may have injured his clients.
''It's sort of na¯ve to think this just started now,'' he said. Globally, he added, covert strikes with the potent beams appear to have been going on for decades.
Francisco Palmieri, a State Department official, was asked during the open Senate hearing if ''attacks against U.S. personnel in Cuba'' had been raised with Moscow.
''That is a very good question,'' Mr. Palmieri replied. But addressing it, he added, would require ''a classified setting.''
For his part, Mr. Frey says he doubts the case will be solved anytime soon. The novelty of the crisis, its sporadic nature and the foreign setting made it hard for federal investigators to gather clues and draw conclusions, he said, much less file charges.
''Based on what I know,'' he remarked, ''it will remain a mystery.''
William J. Broad is a science journalist and senior writer. He joined The Times in 1983, and has shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues, as well as an Emmy Award and a DuPont Award. @ WilliamJBroad
Any Collusion?
Dick Morris: Clinton's Ties to the Uranium Scandal Continue To Grow
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 02:32
Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager John Podesta (and his former partner in their lobbying business), was paid $180,000 by the Russian-owned company Uranium One to push for Clinton's approval of its acquisition of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium mines, a project near and dear to Vladimir Putin's heart.
So let's detail Moscow's efforts to get the Clintons to approve the uranium acquisition:
1. The Russians paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to give a speech in Russia a few weeks before Hillary Clinton had to vote on the acquisition.
2. Moscow directed ten spies in America to infiltrate Clinton's political apparatus to push her to back the uranium deal. The operations of these spies, disguised as Americans, are the theme of the TV drama The Americans.
3. Tony Podesta was paid $180,000 by Uranium One to push for the deal.
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4. The New York Times reported that ''in total, $145 million went to the Clinton Foundation from interests linked to Uranium One, which was acquired by the Russian government nuclear agency Rosatom.''
Yet, with all of these connections between Uranium One and the Clintons and all the payments that might have, in fact, been bribes, the Department of Justice's investigator probing the Clintons, John Huber, has yet even to interview Doug Campbell, the FBI undercover informant who had infiltrated Uranium One, according to Campbell's attorney Victoria Toensing.
Huber, an Obama appointee, was tasked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions with investigating the Clinton Foundation and the potential pay-for-play scandals related to Clinton's role as secretary of state.
The fact that he has not even spoken to Campbell may be an indication that Huber is only window dressing, appointed to appease Republicans demanding a special prosecutor to lead the investigation.
Do you think the Justice Department needs to investigate Hillary Clinton?Nor is special prosecutor Robert Mueller rushing to fill the void left by Huber's foot-dragging. Even though Tony Podesta failed to register as an agent of a foreign power under the FARA statute, he has not been indicted or prosecuted for the same crime for which Paul Manafort faces trial later this year.
President Donald Trump's impatient tweets have failed to move Attorney General Sessions off the dime in investigating the Clintons.
It's time for a new attorney general.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Economist Finds Correlation Between Bitcoin Price and Google Searches - BitcoinNews.com
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 02:46
A Dutch economist and policy advisor to the Dutch National Bank believes that he's found an exact correlation to Bitcoin price fluctuation and Google Bitcoin searches.
The period before the flagship digital currency's price crash at the beginning of 2018 demonstrates his theory, states economist Joost van de Burgt. He surmised that regardless of the positivity or negativity of the news, the more the number of Bitcoin searches increased, the more the currency gained.
''If the buzz is everywhere, it doesn't matter exactly what the news is about'... nobody wants to miss out and everybody's trying to get a piece of it,'' said van der Burgt.
The economist is not happy with suggested links to the Hyman Minksy theory in which Minsky postulates that an economic bubble goes through five discrete phases; a theory much bandied about during the last global financial crisis. Minsky suggests that the levels of major financial instability follow a displacement, boom, euphoria, profit taking and panic pattern.
The desire to not ''miss out'', Minsky suggests is the euphoria stage of the pattern. Van de Burgt disagrees suggesting that Bitcoin's fluctuation fortunes didn't constitute a bubble, therefore '... ''It wasn't really panic, it was more of a scare,'' said the economist.
Van de Burgt suggest that a bubble, followed by a subsequent panic was most likely saved by the introduction of Bitcoin futures, which seems to be indicated by the graph showing little correlation after futures to his Google search theory, arguing ''My take on it is that because of the introduction of futures, that might have deflated the bubble before it got to a level where it might burst completely.''
Van de Burgt doesn't buy into the Minsky theory suggesting it may be a mischaracterization arguing,''Then again, maybe Bitcoin is different than anything we have seen before, and maybe a decade from now its market capitalization will be sky-high as it attains the status of a new global currency.''
The researcher found no Google search correlation with the price of gold and other assets.
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VIDEO - Stories Mainstream Media Would NEVER Air: The Biggest Political Scandals in History Part One - YouTube
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 14:26
VIDEO - Lindsey Graham: "I've Seen No Evidence" Of Trump/Russia Collusion, But "Tons" Of Evidence Of Crimes Inside DOJ, FBI | Video | RealClearPolitics
Sun, 02 Sep 2018 13:51
Sen. Lindsey Graham joins 'FOX and Friends' to pay tribute to his late friend, Sen. John McCain, and also comments on what he has seen from the Mueller probe.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don't want to call [Michael Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis] a liar, but the story did not hold water...Word of caution to the public who are trying to convict the president -- don't move so fast. I've seen no evidence of collusion after two years. Mueller is looking at it, we'll see what he says. But plenty of evidence of corruption at the DOJ and FBI, should be stunning. Not one Democrat seems to care.
Just, like, reverse the roles. Imagine if the Republican Party had paid a foreign agent to go to Russia to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, and they used it to get a warrant, never told the court about it, that'd be a front page story everywhere. That's pretty corrupt -- when the U.S. attorney and the DOJ lawyer say 'it's our job to stop Trump.' Could you imagine what would happen if they'd said 'it is our job to stop Clinton'?
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VIDEO - Tom Fitton's Video Weekly Update - IMPORTANT FISA COURT SCANDAL UPDATE - YouTube
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VIDEO - Meghan McCain Rebukes Trump in Powerful Eulogy for Her Father
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 21:45
Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter, delivered a powerful speech at her father's funeral on Saturday, and in a reproach of President Trump, said the ''America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because it was always great.''
Ms. McCain's speech contrasted her father's legacy with the ''opportunistic appropriation'' and ''cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly.''
''He was a fire that burned bright,'' Ms. McCain said. ''A few have resented that fire for the light it cast upon them, for the truth it revealed about their character, but my father never cared what they thought. And even that small number still have the opportunity, as long as they draw breath, to live up to the example of John McCain.''
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Ms. McCain's speech, and her rebuke, came as Mr. Trump, wearing golf gear, a white shirt and a ''Make America Great Again'' hat, left the White House for his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. Mr. Trump, who was not invited to Mr. McCain's funeral, has long mocked and condemned the senator.
Mr. Trump had spent parts of the morning before Mr. McCain's funeral tweeting his anger about the investigation into his campaign's ties with Russia during the 2016 election and highlighting quotes from a mutual critic of the F.B.I. and Justice Department.
During Ms. McCain's speech, she struggled to hold back tears, but appeared to make good on what she said was her father's desire for her to show the world her toughness in her eulogy.
Ms. McCain described how her father instilled that toughness in her '-- by making her get back on a horse that had bucked her off, causing her to break her collarbone.
Slideshow by photo services
But she also described a man who was sculpted by challenges in the Vietnam War and by the brain cancer that eventually took his life.
She said: ''My father was a great man. He was a great warrior. He was a great American. I admired him for all of these things, but I love him because he was a great father.''
She said Mr. McCain was defined by love, especially a love for the country and even stronger love for his wife and children.
''The best of John McCain, the greatest of his titles and the most important of his roles, was as a father,'' Ms. McCain said.
Katie Rogers and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.
VIDEO - Michael Eric Dyson criticizes Barack Obama, Donald Trump at Aretha Franklin's funeral - YouTube
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:31
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VIDEO - Asked if He Could Stop Lying, NY Gov. Cuomo Tells Cynthia Nixon 'As Soon as You Do' - YouTube
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VIDEO - FOX & friends on Twitter: ".@UnhyphenAmerica's Christopher Harris: Aretha Franklin is an icon, and that's how she should be remembered. People shouldn't have used her funeral to take a shot at Trump.'... https://t.co/YF0ZwkqlgV"
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VIDEO - Sununu Sends CNN Host into a Tizzy by Refusing to Bash Trump
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:51
While being interviewed by CNN anchor, Alisyn Camerota, about the late Sen. John McCain, former New Hampshire Governor, John Sununu (R), refused to bash President Donald Trump and instead criticized the press, which visibly upset Camerota.
The amicable interview took a turn when tensions rose after Camerota asked Sununu for his thoughts on Trump initially refusing to release a full White House statement after McCain had passed, opting to send a tweet instead.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
''Look, that [story] was printed in the Washington Post and I have to be honest with you, I don't give much credence to what I read in the Post,'' Sununu said.
''We also have that reporting,'' Camerota interjected.
''Yeah well, heh heh, same thing applies Alisyn,'' Sununu replied.
''Governor, you come on CNN, and we appreciate you coming on CNN and we appreciate your take on it, but I don't appreciate you denigrating our reporting,'' Camerota replied defensively.
When the CNN host pressed Sununu on her question, he stood firm on not wanting to ''comment on a report that I haven't satisfied myself.''
Watch the video below:
When Camerota continued to defend the story, the former White House Chief of Staff reminded her how he came on to talk about McCain.
''I'm not here to talk about the press' handling of a difference between the White House and the press corps at this time,'' he continued.
''It is this effort by the press to accentuate the negative that I think has created the climate that prevents, in the long term, the bipartisanship that John McCain supported,'' Sununu added. ''And I don't want to be apart of rubbing whatever salt there in whatever wound there may be.''
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Lady Gaga's 'A Star Is Born' Gets Eight-Minute Ovation in Venice Following World Premiere Glitch
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 21:53
(Video via Reuters)
The world premiere of ''A Star Is Born'' received a warm eight-minute ovation at the Venice Film Festival after the musical drama's gala screening was marred by a roughly 15-minute interruption due to a technical glitch caused by lightning.
After loud cheers and clapping following the end credits, Lady Gaga smiled and looked relieved and director Bradley Cooper said ''thank you for staying!'' as the Warner Bros. delegation left the Palazzo del Cinema auditorium.
The screening went black about an hour into the movie, just after a burst of clapping greeted the first duet between Cooper and Lady Gaga. When the light was turned back on there was clapping at first, then increasing tension filled the room as a voice said in Italian that the screening would resume as soon as possible. Then Lady Gaga, after sitting very still, began blowing kisses to the audience, which cheered. 'You are amazing!'' said one spectator, which stoked the clamor.
Sources close to the producers said the glitch was caused by lightning during a heavy rainstorm on the Lido which blew out the projector's light bulb.
Though the interruption broke the film's emotive flow, it also created an intimacy of sorts and will certainly go down in the Venice Film Festival's annals.
Earlier, Gaga in a fluffy pink Valentino gown, and Cooper, sent fans and paparazzi into a frenzy under a light drizzle as the aria ''La Donna E' Mobile'' from Verdi's Rigoletto played loudly. Cate Blanchett, Donatella Versace and Spike Lee were also spotted.
Early reviews of Cooper's directing debut have ranged from warm to rapturous. Variety's Owen Gleiberman called it ''A transcendent Hollywood movie.''
Jessica Kiang, writing for the Playlist, said, ''It's going to be a phenomenon, and it's my happy duty to report that it's also very good.''
The film co-stars Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle.
(C) Provided by Variety
California has 129 million dead trees. That's a huge wildfire risk.
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 21:49
(C) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Trees burned by the Mendocino Complex Fire near Lodoga, California. But no one can afford to cut them all down.
California has a problem to the tune of 129 million dead trees, spread across 8.9 million acres. That's 6,450 times the number of trees in Central Park, truly ''astronomical,'' in the words of Heather Williams, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
In dry, hot times like these, the record number of decaying ponderosa pines, sugar pines, and other towering species can become kindling for errant sparks, fallen power lines, cigarette butts, and lightning strikes.
The bumper crop of kindling helps explain why this has been the worst year on record for California wildfires. Already, more than 876,000 acres have burned in California, compared to 228,000 last year at the same time. The Mendocino Complex Fire, now almost fully contained at more than 459,000 acres, is the single largest fire on record in state history. The largest fire before that, the Thomas Fire, was just put out in January this year.
These recent fires have barely made a dent in the glut of dead trees, CalFire says, and peak fire season in Southern California is still to come later this year.
(C) US Forest Service Dead trees in Sierra National Forest. The die-off, meanwhile, that's created so much fuel is a symptom of the years-long drought that has parched the Western United States. With limited water, trees have shriveled up or succumbed to bark beetle infestations, with some of the most severe declines in central California. And as the climate warms and more people move into high-risk areas, the damages from wildfires are projected to increase.
Here is a map of how the die-off has progressed over the last four years:
(C) US Department of Agriculture/US Forest Service State fire officials are well aware that these trees pose an immense fire hazard, but controlling them is not as simple as cutting them all down. For starters, the sheer number of these trees is poses an immense logistical challenge. Nearly 1.3 million trees have been removed so far, but many are in remote areas where it's difficult to bring tree harvesting equipment.
It's also expensive to try to process so many trees. Lumber companies can sell some of the wood to recoup their expenses, but many of the trees are too decayed or structurally unsound to sell. There are jurisdictional hurdles as well, since the forests span federal, state, and private land.
California put together a Tree Mortality Task Force that has awarded millions of dollars in grants to study the problem and to deploy tactics like thinning forests across public and private land. With limited personnel, equipment, and funding, the task force identified several areas as high priorities for management, including Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, and Calaveras counties. These regions face the highest risks to people and property from falling or burning trees.
But that means the vast majority of the dead trees in California will stay in place and continue to pose fire risks. ''There is no way to remove 129 million trees,'' Williams said.
We all share the blame for wildfiresFires are a natural part of the ecosystem in many forests. Blazes clear out underbrush, restore nutrients to the soil, and help some plants germinate. However, the severity and the damage from recent wildfires is due in large part to human activity.
People are moving into areas prone to burning, people ignite the majority of blazes, and people are changing the climate.
How we manage forests is another key factor increasing the dangers of wildfires, from preventing natural fires from burning, to cutting down the wrong kinds of trees, to neglecting pruning in forests near population centers.
However, George Geissler, the Washington State forester, said that this situation arose from many different causes and is too complicated to blame on any individual or group.
Which means forest fires are not due to environmental terrorist groups, as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suggested, nor are they due to logging companies cutting down fire-resistant trees, as some activists have claimed, nor are they due to landowners opposing prescribed burns (and it's definitely not ''water foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean'').
The big failure is that the US has not put in the time and money needed to be able to live next to forests, harvest the trees, and reduce wildfire risks. There is no coherent vision across all levels of government, and conflicting priorities like forest preservation and property protection have exacerbated fire risks. ''The idea of caring for a forest is much like caring for a garden,'' Geissler said. ''You have to invest in it to keep it healthy.''
So in some areas, managing forests requires deliberately igniting fires. In others, it would require clear-cutting. Still other areas demand planting new trees to reduce fire risks.
(C) Jim Bartlett/US Forest Service Firefighters construct fire lines to control the Lions Fire in Sierra National Forest. Doing all this takes money, and bringing down fire risks will take years. Politically, it's easier to muster the resources to put out a fire than it is to prevent one, especially when groups like the timber industry and environmental activists are diametrically opposed on certain kinds of management techniques, like forest thinning. That means states and the federal government will face a slog of litigation and red tape as they try to bring fire risks down.
''It took decades to get to this point, it will take decades to get out of it,'' Geissler said. ''It requires commitment and unfortunately it requires a hell of a lot of patience.''
California is taking some steps to systematically reduce fire hazards. The state legislature on Friday passed a $1 billion fire risk reduction package. It give grants over five years to communities to cut fuel breaks, thin flammable brush, and educate firefighters. The bill also relaxes rules on logging to make it easier to get to some of the most flammable trees.
However, the bill also contains a controversial provision that would allow Pacific Gas and Electric to pass off some its liabilities to customers. The utility is facing billions of dollars in damage payouts after its power lines were blamed for starting some of the fires in California last year. California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill.
Meanwhile, fire officials are still bracing for more blazes this year. ''We're always optimistic that things will stay quiet, but the past two years have shown that is very unlikely,'' Cal Fire's Williams said.
SFO warns cabbies to stop urinating, defecating in taxi lot - by j_rodriguez - August 27, 2018 - The San Francisco Examiner
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 19:56
SFO is cracking down on cabbies who are increasingly urinating and defecating in the airport's taxi parking lot.
The San Francisco International Airport called the conditions a ''health hazard'' in an open email to cabbies.
Seth Morgan, a senior transportation planner at SFO, penned an email notice to San Francisco taxi drivers last Friday, which was posted to a taxi message board and obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.
In the notice, Morgan wrote that the practice has grown worse lately, which will result in additional San Francisco Police Department and SFO security patrols.
''Airport staff have noticed an increased rate of urination and defecation in the rear of SFO Taxi Lot #3 and nearby stairwells,'' Morgan wrote. ''This creates a highly unsanitary condition and a health hazard for SFO custodians and other staff handling the materials stored in these areas.''
Taxis are assigned designated areas at the airport to await passengers heading back to The City. Those rides are widely considered by drivers to be the most lucrative in The City.
Morgan warned ''additional enforcement action'' is on the way for taxi drivers who don't go where they are supposed to go. ''Regular patrols through this area are being added both during the day and overnight, including during open lot hours,'' Morgan warned. He added that there are restrooms nearby that are open ''24/7,'' and that drivers may leave their vehicles in lots 2 and 3.
The email was verified by an SFO spokesperson.
John Lazar, the former owner of Luxor Cab Co., told the Examiner he was shocked to see the email Friday.
''I don't think our cab drivers are that much of a degenerate so they piss and shit on the streets,'' Lazar said. But, he added, SFO lines are money-makers for cab drivers, so it's easy for SFO to enforce the rules.
SFO could ''say if you don't use the bathroom, you lose your place in line,'' he said.
Tariq Mehmood, a taxi driver who often organizes other drivers around industry causes, told the Examiner bathrooms are within 60 feet of the taxi lots.
''The bathroom is close enough,'' he said.
Read the full email from SFO below:
Courtesy SFO
Click here or scroll down to comment
Surprise Poll Shows Trump and DeVos Winning on School Choice with Public School Parents
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:40
New poll results released by the 12th annual Education Next (EdNext) survey of public opinion shows increased support for school choice nationwide.
The findings covered several categories including teacher pay, common core, charter schools and funding approaches. Two key topics showed increased support from previous years: school choice/ vouchers, and tax-credit scholarship programs.
A 54 percent majority supports ''wider choice'' for public-school parents by ''allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition.'' This is a 9-point increase from last year. Opposition to vouchers also fell by 6 points. Approval for vouchers for low-income families remains at 43 percent approval.
The report states that the ''unprecedented media attention'' that school choice receives is due to the election and support of President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
At her 2017 confirmation hearing, DeVos said, ''It's time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve. Parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning meets the needs of every child, and they know other options exist, whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, religious, or any combination thereof. Yet, too many parents are denied access to the full range of options '... choices that many of us '-- here in this room '-- have exercised for our own children.''
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According to EdChoice, an advocacy group in favor of school choice, 15 states have enacted 26 different voucher programs. Fewer than 200,000 students use them.
Nearly 50 million students are attending public school in 2018. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, over 3.2 million students, or fewer than 7 percent, attend one of 7,000 charter schools in 44 states that authorized them.
The poll asked respondents if they favored that ''all (low-income) families with children in public schools a wider choice, by (vouchers) allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition. Would you support or oppose this proposal?''
When asked about ''all'' families (universal choice), the report notes that approval rose by 9 percentage points, increasing from 45 to 54 percent approving.
Do you support school choice?''This is good news. This number has been on the rise. It is consistent with what we have seen at state budget hearings and during candidate forums,'' Julie Underwood, the Susan Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy & Practice at the University of Wisconsin, told Watchdog.org. ''We know most people in Wisconsin understand that education is a crucial investment for our communities, our economy and our democracy.''
Disapproval for school choice fell from 37 percent to 31 percent. Increased support fell across party lines; both Republicans and Democrats approved of school choice. At the same time, the study notes, while charter enrollment has grown, school districts and teachers unions have increased their opposition.
When it comes to tax-credit scholarship programs, 57 percent of respondents favor ''a tax credit for individual and corporate donations that pay for scholarships to help low-income parents send their children to private schools.''
Eighteen states have enacted tax-credit scholarship programs. Depending on state law, the program allows either or both individuals and corporations to donate to a foundation that provides scholarships to low-income children. Private schools tend to favor these programs, the study notes, because they ''generally entail only limited state regulation of the schools.''
Taxpayers like the program, the study notes, ''because the amount of money the state gives up in tax receipts is often less than the cost of educating a child in a public school. This form of school choice is so popular that proponents succeeded in persuading the legislature of deep-blue Illinois to enact a tax-credit program.''
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''The tax credit scholarship programs created through the Illinois Invest in Kids Act provides an opportunity for a better life for disadvantaged students across Illinois,'' Adam Schuster, director of budget and tax research at Illinois Policy Institute, told Watchdog.org. ''Equity in educational opportunity has been an issue in Illinois for years. This new program finally gives students from low-income families the chance to attend the same high-performing schools as students from wealthy homes.
''The best part is, it comes at no cost to the state. Despite claims from opponents of the scholarship program, all of the funds are private donations and taxpayers get to choose how to spend more of their own money on helping kids in need.''
Mark LeBlond, senior policy analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation, said that in Pennsylvania, bipartisan agreement affirms that a student's educational quality ''shouldn't be determined by their zip code. This is why we're seeing major school choice initiatives in blue states like Illinois and red states like Arizona.
''There's a reason the EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) scholarship program is supported by 76 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania. Businesses are incentivized to donate and become more active in their communities, schools are incentivized to offer the best product possible, and, most importantly, students and parents are rescued from educational systems that aren't meeting their needs. The only drawback to these immensely popular programs is that the supply simply can't keep up with the demand, and scholarship applications are being denied in Pennsylvania due to the program caps. The people have already decided these programs are vitally important. We just need the legislation to catch up.''
EdNext's poll represents a sample of 4,601 adults nationwide, which includes an oversampling of parents, teachers, blacks and self-identifying Hispanics.
A version of this article appeared on Watchdog.com.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
'ER' Actress Vanessa Marquez Shot By Police After Brandishing BB Gun CBS Los Angeles
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:39
August 31, 2018 at 12:13 pmSOUTH PASADENA (CBSLA) '' A 49-year-old woman who was shot and killed by South Pasadena police during a welfare check Thursday afternoon has been identified as actress Vanessa Marquez.
An undated photograph of former ''ER'' actress Vanessa Marquez. (NBC)
Marquez pointed what turned out to be a BB gun at South Pasadena police officers Thursday afternoon, prompting them to open fire on her, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reports.
Marquez had suffered seizures prior to being shot, authorities said.
Marquez had an extensive television and movie career. She is best known for playing Nurse Wendy Goldman for the first three years of the hit series ''ER.''While appearing on that series, she said George Clooney had her blacklisted '-- an allegation he denies.
She also appeared in guest roles on ''Seinfeld,'' ''Melrose Place,'' and in the 1988 movie ''Stand and Deliver.''
Marquez was also public about her health issues. On the A&E reality show ''Intervention,'' she talked about an intense addiction to shopping as well as depression and OCD.
CBS2's Amy Johnson spoke to a delivery guy who said he often dropped food off to Marquez' apartment. He said she had boxes all over the place and he thought she had to be a bit of a recluse who didn't go out much.
At about 11:50 a.m. Thursday, South Pasadena police officers were called for a welfare check from a landlord in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue for a female resident who was having a medical issue, according to the sheriff's department. When they arrived on scene, they discovered Marquez suffering seizures and called for paramedics.
At the scene of the fatal shooting in South Pasadena. Aug. 30, 2018. (CBS2)
Officers, firefighters and a county mental health clinician spoke with her for more than 90 minutes, during the course of which she was uncooperative and they realized she was possibly suffering from mental health issues, the sheriff's department reports. An L.A. County Mental Health Clinician was brought to the scene.
As they were speaking with her, a little before 2 p.m., she pulled out what looked like a handgun and pointed it at the officers, prompting them to open fire on her, the sheriff's department reports.
She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died.
The gun was later determined to be a BB gun, designed to look like a replica semi-automatic handgun, LASD reports.
No officers were hurt during the incident.
The sheriff's department is assisting South Pasadena police in the investigation.
On Friday afternoon, CBS2's Johnson spoke to several of Marquez' neighbors.
''This is just so sad,'' said Anita King, ''I'm just heartbroken.''
King dropped off flowers to Marquez' front door.
''I'm so hurt, so sad. She didn't deserve this,'' King said.
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Kino Jimenez Indicted for Theft of Person after Allegedly Stealing 16-Year-Old Hunter Richard's Make America Great Again Hat
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:37
Kino JimenezScreenshot: Kens5We all have ... feelings about the infamous and distinct ''Make America Great Again'' red hat. But one Texas man's particularly strong feelings landed him in trouble after he was indicted by a grand jury on charges of theft after being accused of stealing a teen's branded hat.
Kino Jimenez, 30, is facing charges of theft of person, a state jail felony after a viral video showed him pulling the 16-year-old Hunter Richard's hat off of his head and throwing the teen's drink in his face at a San Antonio Whataburger. The video, taken by the teen, shows Jimenez blasting the teen for his apparent support of the president.
''You ain't supporting shit,'' Jimenez could be heard saying.
Authorities tracked down Jimenez through the video and arrested him on July 6, on a warrant for theft of person. He was booked and released later the same day on $5,000 bond, according to Fox News.
Police did return the teen's hat to him, but he also received another hat that was signed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted about the incident (because of course he did).
Jimenez's trial is scheduled to begin on Oct 19. If convicted, Jimenez could face up to two years in state jail, but would also be eligible for probation or deferred adjudication as he has no prior felony convictions, My San Antonio notes.
Cinderella Broom: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '' Burying the Undead: Sandy Hook was Truly Stranger Than Fiction '' Public Intelligence Blog
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:15
Cinderella Broom: In Solidarity with Alex Jones '' Burying the Undead: Sandy Hook was Truly Stranger Than Fiction
Mr. President:
The story we've been told about Sandy Hook is so laden with anomalies, contradictions and absurdities that, were it proposed as a screenplay, producers would likely reject it as simply ridiculous. One aspect deserving more discussion concerns how the faked deaths involved the fake disposal of bodies. What do you do to cover the disposition of bodies in works of fiction?
A striking case involve the use of a crematorium with a criminal history to handle the remains of the purported shooter, Adam Lanza. In a state with between 200-340 morticians, undertakers and funeral directors, CT settled on an establishment that had been the focus of crime expos(C)s in The Hartford Courant for a solid seven years (2006-13).
Hartford Trade Service, LLC (East Hartford, Connecticut), together with River Bend Funeral Home and Crematorium, LLC, were established by Kevin K. Riley. In 2004, Mr. Riley landed a lucrative contract worth $500K with the state of Connecticut to provide decent burials for people who died with no immediate families to care for them.
Mr. Riley wasted no time in exploiting the opportunity: double-billing, plundering the assets of the dead and using an unlicensed embalmer's services. The list goes on. He even allowed his bookkeeper, Yolande Faulkner, to sell some of the booty.
In February 2010, Riley was charged with 63 counts of 2nd-degree larceny. He was convicted and pled guilty. Upon sentencing, Riley was forced to surrender his funeral director and embalming licenses, yet the establishment stayed open under the license of yet another ''Kevin'''--one ''Kevin Davidson''. And there is evidence that his co-conspirator, Yolande Faulkner, also convicted, continued in the business.
Despite all of the foregoing, when the State of Connecticut decided to cremate (in secret) the remains of Adam Lanza, Hartford Trade Service was selected for the job. The death certificate of the purported shooter clearly names the funeral facility in Box #33 next to an illegible signature and the license number (#2698) of ''Kevin Davidson''.
Ask yourself: Why would Connecticut transport the remains of the alleged Sandy Hook perp to a crematorium of ill repute? Why take such a risk with allegedly the biggest tragedy in the state's history, an incident with such a high profile that sympathy cards and gifts were flowing in from all over the world?
If things had been on the up-and-up, it wouldn't have made any sense. But things were never right with the Sandy Hook story, Mr. President, because it was, in my opinion, a fabrication '' a fiction story with a supporting cast of shady characters '' and not a very convincing one at that.
However, if the Sandy Hook massacre never took place, and Adam Lanza never died (or, as some say, never even existed), what better choice to dispose of his remains than a crematorium with a long rap sheet? A business whose director was an ex-convict would be the perfect candidate to pose as the ''funeral facility'' for a non-existent corpse. Which appears to be what happened here.
Very Respectfully,''Cinderella Broom''
Dr. Eowyn, ''Sandy Hook: The Curious Case of Adam Lanza's Ex-Con Funeral Director'' (27 April 2016),
Articles by Colin Poitra, Dave Altimari, David Owens and Hilda Munoz that appeared in The Hartford Courant between November 2006 and February 2013 (available upon request).
Cinderella Broom has 30 years of experience as a professional writer, including three books of fiction. She holds a master's degree in English from a prominent northeastern university. For nearly three years, Ms. Broom authored articles that appeared on her blog, Cinderella's Broom, until the blog was suspended by WordPress on August 15, 2018 for no stated reason. Research and writings on that blog pertained primarily to the Sandy Hook event on 14 December 2012.
DOC (2 Pages): Cinderella Sandy Hook Buring the Undead
See Especially:
Memoranda for the President on Sandy Hook: Is FEMA A False Flag Fake News Terrorist Node? Should #GoogleGestapo Be Closed Down?
See Also:
Memoranda for the President on 9/11: Time for the Truth '-- False Flag Deep State Truth!
Tech-Support Scams Prompt Google to Act - WSJ
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:11
Alphabet Inc.'s Google is taking action to weed out scam artists who advertise on its platform aiming to defraud customers seeking technical support online.
The move comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation found fraudsters were exploiting Google's advertising system by purchasing search ads and masquerading as authorized service agents for companies such as Apple Inc.
For instance, the first result in a recent Google search for the phrase ''Apple tech support'' showed a link to Apple.com and a toll-free number, with the suggestion: ''Get instant help from our experts.'' The Journal found that the phone number didn't belong to Apple and instead led to a call center that engages in tech-support scams.
Responding to questions about the ads earlier this week, a Google spokeswoman told the Journal the company was committed to removing bad ads, and last year removed more than 100 such ads per second for violating company policies.
On Friday, Google announced a more stringent crackdown on tech-support ads. ''We've seen a rise in misleading ad experiences stemming from third-party technical support providers and have decided to begin restricting ads in this category globally,'' Google's global product policy director David Graffsaid on the company's blog.
Google plans to roll out a verification program ''to ensure that only legitimate providers of third-party tech support can use our platform to reach consumers,'' Mr. Graff wrote.
The company will start implementing the restriction on these adds immediately, but they will take weeks to go fully into effect in all languages and parts of the world, people familiar with the new policy said. They added that the verification process for allowing individual vendors back onto the platform is still being worked out.
Google has instituted verification processes for other types of ads in the past, including local locksmith services and treatment centers, the people said. It has banned ads for bail-bond services and payday loans.
Technical scams have taken billions of dollars from unwitting Americans who handed over their payment information, according to government and industry experts. The issue is particularly acute for scams involving remote technical support, where users searching for computer help are sometimes shown deceptive ads and pop-up messages warning of virus infections.
A 2018 study found 72% of sponsored ads on major search engines related to technical support queries led to scam websites.
These scams are on the rise: Microsoft Corp. , which receives around 12,000 complaints about tech support scams every month, reported a 24% increase in such complaints through 2017. The Federal Trade Commission registered 45,000 complaints about online tech support fraud in 2016, which the agency estimates is only a fraction of the true total.
The scams usually work this way: A person searching for tech help calls the number listed on an online ad. Once connected, the scammers ask for access to their victims' computers, where they run fake virus scanning software and fabricate security threats in an effort to convince users their computers are broken or compromised. Then, the scammers offer to sell what they claim are ''support services,'' often at a cost of hundreds of dollars, the Journal found.
For instance, numerous ads appeared on Google's mobile website for search terms like ''Apple help'' showing what seemed to be official links to Apple's corporate website. But the ads actually lead to tech support scams that have no connection to Apple, the Journal found.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
When a Journal reporter identified himself and called the number displayed on a recent ad for the search term ''Apple tech support,'' a man claiming to be an Apple engineer answered.
The man, who said his name was Sam Daniels, asked the reporter to log in to his email account. When the reporter did so, the man claimed to have been able to remotely monitor the computer via its IP address'--a unique number used to identify computers on the internet.
''We have detected your IP address using your email ID and I can see your laptop is currently affected,'' he said, adding: ''Hackers have put Trojan virus in your Apple device. Now, they will hack your email ID, Facebook ID and then your personal banking information.''
The call was then transferred to another man who said his name was Mark Wallace and claimed to be an ''antivirus hacking specialist.'' He too repeatedly claimed to work for Apple and said that hackers ''can take all of your money with help of the IP address. They can also track your physical location.''
To fix the purported problem, the second man asked the reporter to go to a nearby department store and buy a $100 iTunes gift card. He asked the reporter to then share the alphanumeric code on the back of the card, which he described as an ''antihacking card.''
''The amount is refundable,'' he said.
When the reporter confronted him, he hung up with a final warning: ''If anything happens to your account, Apple is not responsible.''
Independent experts say it isn't possible to remotely access one computer or find its IP address by logging into email on another computer.
Write to Rob Barry at rob.barry@wsj.com
Trump's Twitter blocks raise constitutional questions -- FCW
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 14:34
Social Media
Trump's Twitter blocks raise constitutional questions By Chase GunterAug 29, 2018President Donald Trump's Twitter account has been his favored way to make public statements. Public, that is, except to those he's blocked.
The blocking of certain accounts -- 41, as of Aug. 10, according to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University -- creates a free speech dilemma. In May, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled comments on government officials' Twitter handles were public forums, and blocking Twitter accounts infringed on users' rights to free speech.
Buchwald's decision found "that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment," and she drew a distinction between muting and blocking accounts.
While the decision did not include an order to unblock accounts, Trump's account has since unblocked some, but not all, of the once-blocked users.
Reuters reported that, as of Aug. 28, at least 20 of the blocked users said on Twitter they had been unblocked by Trump.
"If these individuals were blocked on the basis of their viewpoints, it's incumbent on the White House to unblock them immediately," said Katie Fallow, senior staff attorney at the Knight Institute.
The Knight Institute will continue to work with the Department of Justice "to ensure the White House restores access to the @realDonaldTrump account to all individuals who were blocked on the basis of their viewpoints," Fallow said.
What constitutes "viewpoints," though, gets into a broader First Amendment debate.
The Internet Association, a lobbying group representing companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, filed a brief in the case Aug. 14. While not taking a side in the litigation, it referenced past rulings about whether social media sites like Twitter "have a sufficient connection to governmental authority" to be considered public forums.
The brief urged the court to "carefully limit its opinion to the unique facts of this case and expressly make clear" that "only a small portion of Twitter is even arguably a public forum" to avoid a misunderstanding that "Twitter, too, can be subject to First Amendment scrutiny." It also urged the court to make clear Twitter is not a state actor and retains control over its terms of use.
More than 54 million Twitter accounts follow @realDonaldTrump.
In their appeal, Justice lawyers dropped one of their original arguments -- that the president is not subject to injunctive orders -- and now centered their case around the reasoning the @realDonaldTrump account "belongs to Donald Trump in his personal capacity and is subject to his personal control, not the control of the government."
However, in a letter to Justice, a group of attorneys representing the Knight Institute noted the Supreme Court "treated President Trump's tweets as official statements" in the Hawaii v. Trump ruling that upheld the White House's travel ban. The letter also stated that simply unblocking accounts that were blocked based on their viewpoints "would obviate the need for litigation in the district court while defendants' appeal is pending in the Second Circuit."
Justice declined to comment for this story.
The transition of Trump's Twitter account from that of a private citizen to the commander-in-chief, as well as other official digital record-keeping practices, have raised legal questions.
Whether Trump's account has the authority to delete tweets has come under scrutiny, as has government use of messaging applications designed to destroy the contents of communications.
On this front, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive have jointly filed a lawsuit against the president for allegedly violating the Presidential Records Act.
About the Author
Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.
Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.
Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.
Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter
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Europese Commissie: klok niet meer verzetten in Europa | NOS
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 14:02
Als het aan de Europese Commissie ligt, komt er een eind aan het verzetten van de klok. Een woordvoerder van de commissie zegt dat landen straks zelf mogen beslissen of ze de zomertijd of de oorspronkelijke tijd invoeren. Eerder zei commissievoorzitter Juncker nog dat het wat hem betreft altijd zomertijd zou zijn.
De commissie reageert met het voorstel op de conclusies van een Europese zomertijd-enquªte. Daaruit bleek afgelopen woensdag dat een overgroot deel van de deelnemers af wil van het verzetten van de klok. De meesten gaven aan dat ze het liefst het hele jaar door de huidige zomertijd hebben.
"De mensen willen het, dus we gaan het doen", zegt commissievoorzitter Jean-Claude Juncker vanmorgen tegen de Duitse omroep ZDF nog voordat zijn volledige commissie het plan had goedgekeurd. Hij gaf meteen toe dat het Europees Parlement en uiteindelijk de EU-lidstaten het laatste woord hebben in deze kwestie.
Wat de voor- en nadelen van de zomertijd zijn, zie je in deze video die we maakten toen de klok eerder dit jaar een uur vooruitging:
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De discussie over zomer- en wintertijd tijd is al zo oud als het fenomeen zelf. Twee jaar geleden stelde de Europese Commissie nog dat een rondgang langs de lidstaten leerde dat niemand zat te wachten op een einde aan het fenomeen.
Dat weerhield een groep kritische Europarlementarirs er niet van om het onderwerp te blijven agenderen. Dieren en mensen zouden last hebben van de tijdswisseling, terwijl de beoogde voordelen, zoals energiebesparing, er nauwelijks zijn.
Daarom begon de Europese Commissie begin juli een openbare raadpleging, om te onderzoeken wat de EU-burgers precies van het onderwerp vinden. Nadrukkelijk werd toen gesteld dat het niet ging om een referendum en dat de meeste stemmen niet per se hun zin zouden krijgen.
Correspondent Thomas Spekschoor noemt het voornemen van Juncker daarom opmerkelijk. "Maar het past ook wel bij zijn persoon. Op sommige momenten is hij opeens heel daadkrachtig. Dan wil hij iets en doet hij het ook en hoopt hij maar dat de rest van Europa volgt."
Spekschoor verwacht dat het nog wel even duurt voordat er een einde komt aan het verzetten van de klok. "Het moet nog door het Europees Parlement en door alle landen worden goedgekeurd. Dat duurt vaak jaren."
Neil Armstrong's Sons, Damien Chazelle Defend 'First Man' '' Variety
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 13:59
August 31, 2018 2:47PM PTNeil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing.
Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag planting in the movie is unpatriotic.
''We do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest,'' the trio said. ''Quite the opposite. But don't take our word for it. We'd encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves.''
''First Man'' is directed by Chazelle from a script by Josh Singer, based on Hansen's book ''First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.'' The film stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and focuses on the the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. ''First Man'' had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday and hits theaters in the U.S. on Oct. 12.
Gosling has also responded to the criticism, telling reporters when asked about the omission, ''I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that's how we chose to view it. I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.''
Chazelle also stood by the film Friday amid the outcry.
''In 'First Man' I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon,'' he said in a statement. ''To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America's mission to the moon '-- particularly Neil Armstrong's personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.''
''I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil's solitary moments on the moon '-- his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA,'' Chazelle added. ''This was a feat beyond imagination; it was truly a giant leap for mankind. This film is about one of the most extraordinary accomplishments not only in American history, but in human history. My hope is that by digging under the surface and humanizing the icon, we can better understand just how difficult, audacious and heroic this moment really was.''
Armstrong died in 2012 at the age of 82.
Here's the statement from Armstrong's son and Hansen:
We've read a number of comments about the film today and specifically about the absence of the flag planting scene, made largely by people who haven't seen the movie. As we've seen it multiple times, we thought maybe we should weigh in.
This is a film that focuses on what you don't know about Neil Armstrong. It's a film that focuses on things you didn't see or may not remember about Neil's journey to the moon. The filmmakers spent years doing extensive research to get at the man behind the myth, to get at the story behind the story. It's a movie that gives you unique insight into the Armstrong family and fallen American Heroes like Elliot See and Ed White. It's a very personal movie about our dad's journey, seen through his eyes.
This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement ''for all mankind,'' as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon. It is a story about an ordinary man who makes profound sacrifices and suffers through intense loss in order to achieve the impossible.
Although Neil didn't see himself that way, he was an American hero. He was also an engineer and a pilot, a father and a friend, a man who suffered privately through great tragedies with incredible grace. This is why, though there are numerous shots of the American flag on the moon, the filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows.
In short, we do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite. But don't take our word for it. We'd encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves.
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
Neil Armstrong's sons and director Damien Chazelle have defended the absence of a flag-planting scene in the movie ''First Man,'' which details the 1969 moon landing. Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong released a statement jointly with ''First Man'' author James R. Hansen on Friday in the wake of claims that the lack of the flag ['...]
A Die-Hard New Yorker Leaves Manhattan and Embraces the Country Life - Vogue
Sat, 01 Sep 2018 05:39
At the risk of sounding appallingly pretentious, it was Cate Blanchett who made me realize it was time to leave New York City. It was a year ago, last October, and we had just finished a leisurely interview over a late dinner in a London restaurant when we found ourselves standing on a rainy street corner, not quite ready to say good night. She asked what I was doing the next day, and I said I had no plans because I have no friends who live in central London anymore. Like my friends in Manhattan, most of them have moved somewhere less ruinous. Blanchett, who'd left London herself a few years earlier, looked a little wistful and said, ''It's a different place.'' Having recently turned 50, I muttered something about being older'--maybe that's what had changed. ''No,'' she said firmly. ''The world's changed. It's very difficult to know where to be.'' Then she compared giving up one's chosen city to a drunk going dry. ''Because sometimes life is so fast and so absolute that the only way you can change things is by actually shifting your life utterly and totally to a different hemisphere. You can't partially change. There's no semi-revolution.''
That was the moment, right there, the speech delivered toward the end of the story by the passing character in the protagonist's life that turns on the light and shifts everything. As I said goodbye and walked away, my heart pounding, I was filled with a rush of certainty about something I had been puzzling over for years: Where should I be? I hopped in a cab and called my boyfriend, Andy, back in New York: Quit your job, and let's move upstate.
Leaving the life I knew was a terrifying thought, but then again, I'd done it before. When I was 24 and living in Atlantic City, my parents helped me pack up what little stuff I owned into the back of their pickup truck and dropped me off on the corner of One-hundred-second Street and Broadway, where I had found a sublet for $575 a month in the classifieds of The New York Times. I wanted to be a writer, and New York was calling. Never mind that I knew exactly one person in the city, a waitress/actress named Cristine, and she was barely speaking to me.
Twenty-six years, eight apartments, one book, and dozens of magazine cover stories later, Manhattan had become not just the place I'd lived my whole adult life but my identity. My career, my social life, my love life had all taken place within four square miles. And for the better part of two decades, that was good enough for me. But sometime in the last few years I began to hear a faint hissing'--the sound of air leaking out of the dream.
What had changed? New York, for one. Far too much has been written about this already, but suffice it to say that the street I lived on for many years'--once a sublime combination of urban lumberyard, artists' studios, and a fifties diner'--is now a high-end shopping mecca with four-star pizzerias and a Kobe-beef emporium selling Wagyu for $130 a pound. It's the story of so much of Manhattan, but when it happens to your street, it's heartbreaking. My friend Ellen is still the co-op''board president of the loft building Andy and I called home. She emailed me the other day to say that the ground-floor commercial space, once home to a kooky antiques shop run by an eccentric pain in the ass, has been rented out to Phillip Lim, who is opening a new store during Fashion Week with a big party at which Banks will perform. Nothing against Lim or Banks, but who other than a groupie wants to live above that? We sold our loft in that building a few years ago and, in a final attempt to find a place to be in the city, bought another loft in Alphabet City, where I had lived in the late eighties. But I could not shake the feeling that I had become a ghost, wandering around the streets of my salad days, stalking my younger self.
When I told a friend, a grande dame in her 80s, that Andy and I were thinking of leaving Manhattan, she implored me not to tell anyone. They will think you are out of the game, she said. But that's the other thing that's changed: There is no game. The New York media complex has atomized and scattered to the winds. If Glenn Greenwald, the guy who broke the Edward Snowden story, can shake the U.S. security apparatus to its very foundation from the top of a mountain in Rio, it's clear that you can change the conversation from pretty much anywhere. It was time to shove on, and, luckily, we already had a place to go.
About five years earlier, during a rare but keenly felt rough patch in Andy's and my relationship, we made the fairly rash decision to buy a house in Woodstock, one of the most well-known small towns in the world, where the 1969 music festival famously didn't take place. It was rash not just because we had visited Woodstock only once before, in the middle of February, but because we also already owned a country house, a twelve-acre farm in a small town in New Jersey called Wood_bine,_ not far from the horse farm where I grew up. Long story how it came to be ours, but bottom line, it was both a wreck and cheaper than a Porsche Carrera, the monthly mortgage payment not much more than our parking space in Manhattan.
I have a lot of family in South Jersey, and our little farm very quickly became the Van Meter compound. It wasn't until that rough patch that Andy finally told me he wasn't thrilled to be spending his weekends witness to, but never truly a part of, all the highs and lows of a family dynamic that had been playing out for decades before he arrived on the scene. I finally addressed what had, until that moment, been swept under the rug: We needed a place of our own, away from my history and out of the city, with its co-op and condo boards, where ownership still feels like sharing, where nothing is ever truly yours. We needed a place where we could be alone, together, where every decision (and all of its ramifications) would be ours and ours alone.
Manhattan had become my identity. My career, my social life, my love life had all taken place within four square miles.
Jonathan Van Meter
It was right around this time that our friend Abbe, who lived in our building in Manhattan with her husband and eight-year-old son, and who spent her summers in Woodstock, decided that there would be no semi-revolution for her, either. She left her husband for a woman and then pulled up stakes and left New York entirely: Just like that, she was gone. It was jarring, to say the least. I had always thought of Abbe as being more like me than not: hopelessly urban. We were both given to quoting lines from Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing: ''New York, New York . . . if you can make it here, you will fail. every. where. else!'' I needed to investigate what was going on in this little town that had so ensorcelled my friend, so that February, with three feet of snow on the ground, Andy and I drove up to Woodstock to spend the weekend with Abbe, a weekend during which she threw a fortieth-birthday party for herself and nearly 100 people showed up, many of them expats from the city, including a couple dozen happy gay men, and we all danced in her living room until 4:00 a.m. It was the best party I had been to in years. Andy and I both felt something click that weekend, and so we went back and looked at real estate and promptly fell in love with the second house we walked into: a 100-year-old shingle-style cottage on five acres, a half mile up the mountain, just outside town.
The house had only two previous owners. The first was an army nurse who built the original structure herself out of wood from decommissioned barracks in New Jersey that she had shipped up the Hudson River. The second was a woman named Johanna Vos, who bought the place in 1963 with her husband, Aart, and over the years expanded it into a rambling, sneaky-big warren of wonderfully odd proportions; there are four bedrooms, four bathrooms, five porches, an oversize Federal-style fireplace, and three sets of French doors that open out onto a huge, private oasis of a backyard. The writer John Bowe declared the house to be ''nook-tastic'' when he came to visit one day that first summer.
Johanna Vos had worked as a journalist in Paris in the thirties. Living in Holland during World War II, she and Aart rescued 36 Jews, hiding them in their home and in a tunnel that Aart built under their backyard. After the war they moved to Woodstock and started a summer camp for the children of U.N. employees. Aart died in 1990, but Johanna lived until 2007. There was a strange office cubicle in one corner of the living room'--presumably where she wrote her book, The End of the Tunnel. We learned some of this history at the closing from Johanna's daughter and her husband'--and some from her lengthy obituary in The New York Times. When Johanna's son-in-law handed over the keys in the parking lot of the bank, he said, ''Make sure you walk far enough into the woods and find the waterfalls.''
The minute Andy and I got settled into the house, I set about building a trail that begins at the back of our yard and goes deep into the woods, all the way to the big stream that runs down Mead Mountain. The trail ends at three preposterously beautiful waterfalls that have, through centuries of constant splashdown, carved out lovely little swimming holes, just big enough for two people to float around in, which is exactly what Andy and I did every chance we got that first summer. When I built the trail, I did it with such a freaky intensity, such monomaniacal focus, that Andy had no choice but to mock me by naming the path Jonny's Way. I did not stop to think much about why I became so obsessed, what sort of primeval urge was in play, as I raked and mowed and cleared rocks and fallen trees and lopped off branches and plowed through the woods until I made it to the stream. It wasn't until a year later, feeling lonely and bored one day after a relentless 48-hour August rain, when I walked the trail back to the waterfalls and sat on a big rock and stared into the churn, that I stopped to think about it: I was re-creating'--reclaiming'--my most fundamental, and in some ways most complicated, boyhood memories, those middle years between seven and ten when I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods, building a fort, catching frogs and turtles'--lonely and yet somehow exhilarated by a newfound sense of freedom. As I sat there, I realized I had finally found what I had hoped to find on the farm in Woodbine: a place to be.
One day the Woodstock building inspector said to us, ''Mrs. Vos was very frugal.'' Is that why the house wasn't insulated? Was warmth seen as too indulgent? She lived in a cold house for more than 40 years! How could we have known that a year-round home within 30 miles of three ski resorts would have no insulation? For the next five years, we meticulously renovated every square inch: replaced every window (but in the exact six-over-six, mullioned style of the originals), took down and put back up every single wall (replastered just as they were before). For some reason, we felt it was important to hew as closely as possible to her vision'--but warmer.
We quickly discovered that renovating to create the illusion that everything has always been there requires a thesis-like amount of research. One day, while interviewing someone at the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel in the city, I inquired about the beautiful wood covering the walls and discovered that it came from the Hudson Company, a reclaimed-lumber mill not far from our house upstate. If it's good enough for Ian Schrager . . . , I thought. A small fortune later, we have new-old floors and new-old beams in the ceiling that look like they've been in place for 100 years. When we finally found a source for handmade encaustic cement tile for the kitchen and dining room and then fell in love with a pattern that was already in stock (cheaper), we hesitated a moment too long and Zac Posen bought out the entire lot. We eventually swallowed hard and custom-designed our own batch'--and then had to wait three months for it to arrive on a ship all the way from Morocco. When the interior was finally finished, we painted the exterior, trim and all, a spooky gray-green color that looks almost black, called New York Caf(C) Noir (very Woodstock), which, ironically enough, we found at Walmart (not very Woodstock). Our contractor refuses to shop there, so he had it mixed somewhere less offensive to the local anti-corporate sensibility.
Oh, the hippies. It permeates everything here: the endless yoga options, the crystals and healers, the tie-dye shops, the Buddhist monastery on our road at the top of the mountain, the place to get your teeth cleaned called Transcend Dental. It's ripe for mocking, but it's also kind of great. Nobody's trying too hard. It's uncool here, and that's not a complaint. People are nice. At four-way stop signs, no one wants to appear pushy by going first. (As opposed to New York, where everyone has to be first.) I once honked my horn at the proud gray-haired hippie lady in the Subaru station wagon ahead of me at the stop sign in front of the village green. She probably lives in a purple house. I felt guilty for weeks.
Visitors from the city often ask if we ''have any friends'' upstate, which makes us laugh out loud. We've never had more friends! We turn down dinner-party invitations every weekend because we're always booked. Even though most of our friends in the city had moved to big town houses in the New Brooklyn Suburbia'--where they no longer had the excuse of a too-small apartment'--they still weren't exactly fighting over us as guests to all the dinner parties they hoped to have because they're too exhausted from demanding jobs and chasing after five-year-olds. I never thought I'd say this, but we were bored in Manhattan.
We're continually amazed by the oddball menagerie we've accumulated, the unlikely social orbit we've been pulled into. There's Karen, the tennis pro at the Woodstock Tennis Club whom we play with regularly. We call her Vegetable Princess of Ulster County'--for 80 years her family owned Gill Farms, a 1,200-acre produce farm that they just sold to Warren Buffett's son's foundation for $13 million. There's Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge Pierre Leval and his wife, Susana, who was nominated by President Obama to be on the National Museum and Library Services Board. They live nearby on an old bluestone quarry, where they have the best pool parties in town. At one of our earliest gatherings, new friends St(C)phane and Alison, an NYU professor and a family mediator, brought along Alison's mother, the photographer Gay Block, who published a book and had a show at MoMA called ''Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust.'' Sometime in the eighties, Gay had photographed Johanna and Aart's portrait in what is now our living room, and she wanted us to see it. Minus all the macram(C) and spider plants, it looks pretty much the same now as it did then.
We moved into our not-quite-totally-renovated house on April 1, and the digging of the pool began on April 2. The noise and the dust and the carpenters and the painters and the landscapers are all gone now, the house finished, the pool a marvel. Andy does laps in his Speedo every morning. I walk into the woods and out to the waterfalls when I am feeling stuck or bored or anxious. It beats wandering around the East Village, feels easier to hit the reset button, refresh the page. I am not a fool, however. I know that our existential worries follow us wherever we go, though some of them take on a slightly different cast. What was once OMG, what if a bomb explodes on the subway when Andy is coming home from work in Times Square? is now Please let Andy not hit a deer on 375 when he's driving home from getting the groceries.
And, sure, there are things I will always miss about living in Manhattan: barbershops on every other block; Asian delivery that arrives in seven minutes; walking home tipsy through the West Village at midnight after a particularly raucous dinner party; my shrink's couch. But so far, I am mostly getting what I need up here in the Catskills, including, for lack of a better phrase, the occasional sense of well-being that, for whatever reason, seemed to escape me in the city. It's that anxious, bored, alone, but happy thing I felt when I was a kid, on my own, in the woods. My friend Diane recently said to me during one of her weekend visits upstate, ''You are your best self here.'' Isn't that what everyone wants?
I can't explain exactly why I am paying $20 a month to Verizon to hang on to the 212 phone number I had in the city for more than 20 years. Every once in a while, I dial it, just to make sure it's still mine. I find it perversely amusing that it rings forever, into nowhere. A Manhattan friend recently called to chat and as the conversation was winding down asked, ''How's life in the country?'' Well . . . , I said. It's summer. ''You'll be back,'' she said, laughing, and then hung up.
Venezuela Shatters Bitcoin Trading Records With 500,000,000 Bolivars Per Week - cryptoanalytica
Fri, 31 Aug 2018 13:20
Trading between Bitcoin and the Venezuelan Bolivar (VES) has beaten all records to pass 500 million for the first time last week.
7 Days, Half A Billion Bolivars Data from Coin Dance, which tracks volumes on P2P platform Localbitcoins, confirms that the seven days ending August 25 saw BTC/VES achieve volumes never seen before.
The results come the same week Venezuela revalued the bolivar to create the new Sovereign Bolivar, lowering the currency's value by 96 percent in the process.
For the week, Localbitcoins processed 506.3 million VES, a figure which dwarfs the previous all-time high of 175.8 million seen the week before.
In Bitcoin terms, the figure was also the highest ever, at 1143 BTC.
The Venezuelan government has come under extensive criticism for rolling out its Sovereign Bolivar project, which is tied to its national cryptocurrency Petro. As Bitcoinist reported, both Petro and the VES have received broad votes of no confidence, sources describing the latter as a ''scam on top of another scam'' last week.
Following conversion day August 20, the government in the meantime has even released a dedicated app to help citizens calculate how much money they actually own.
Rampant hyperinflation, which Caracas claims the new currency will help calm, is contributing to the confusion and ever-decreasing purchasing power of ordinary Venezuelans.
Government Clampdown 'Will Affect' Bitcoin Users While Bitcoin has been gaining popularity in line with the deteriorating economic situation, the latest decisions by authorities appear to be fuelling interest and uptake.
As Purse.io head of support Eduardo Gomez, who is a Venezuelan national, noted on Twitter August 27, citizens traveling abroad will now have to notify banks of their intention to leave the country. This, according to documents, is a result of the government forcing them to reveal the IP addresses of those who access their banking setup from abroad.
''Many Venezuelans who live outside the country use their national bank accounts to send money to family members and to purchase local currency from traders by selling USD,'' Gomez commented.
''Bitcoin users will be directly affected by this. Many (Localbitcoins) traders live outside the country.''
Many Venezuelans who live outside the country use their national bank accounts to send money to family members and to purchase local currency from traders by selling USD. Bitcoin users will be directly affected by this. Many Localbitcoin traders live outside the country'...
'-- EduardoG"mez (@Codiox) August 28, 2018
What do you think about Venezuela's trading volumes? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
The post Venezuela Shatters Bitcoin Trading Records With 500,000,000 Bolivars Per Week appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.


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All Clips

chlorpyraphos PBS News Hour report.mp3
CNN-Allison Camerota's McCain-gasm-1-Intro to Sununu and set-up.mp3
CNN-Allison Camerota's McCain-gasm-2-McCain question and WaPo rejection by Sununu.mp3
CNN-Allison Camerota's McCain-gasm-3-Exploitation-Press didn't do it boo hoo.mp3
death of football.mp3
devos and teachers killing students.mp3
EPA rollback.mp3
Farage Londons Mayor.mp3
FISA COurt busted by Judicial watch TWO.mp3
FISA COurt busted by Judicial watch.mp3
Get Baptized - ISO.mp3
Graham-Trump complimented me on McCain tribute.mp3
jeff sessions odd approach.mp3
Jime Jordan on Bruce Ohr One.mp3
Manafort juror.mp3
Martha MacCullum with Harf review the Aretha Franklin Funeral Farakahn and horn dogs.mp3
mekbourne has problems with milo.mp3
Michael Eric Dyson criticizes Barack Obama, Donald Trump at Aretha Franklin's funeral.mp3
Michael Palin in North Korea-Edinburgh TV Festival 2018.mp3
money funelling operation ONE.mp3
My Pet Is More Important Than Where I Live.mp3
NA Jingles - Adam Must Leave - 11 - The Gay Aliens.mp3
NA_Hits From the Bong_LONG_STOP-EOS-Billy Bon3s.mp3
NPR-On Point-1-Norm Eisen of CREW-on trumps NORMS.mp3
NPR-On Point-2-Norm Ornstein of AEI-on trumps or Stalin's NORMS.mp3
Red Pill Style-Nothing was Classified - EOS.mp3
Reporter trolled about skydiving plane crash landing-Flux Capacitor.mp3
some fitton background on Ohr.mp3
tesla complainer.mp3
Trudeau on the Renegotiation of NAFTA.mp3
trump versus kocj brothers csb.mp3
UN Makes report on Nicaraugua weirdness.mp3
All Alcohol is bad.mp3
anti-semitism German CBS.mp3
California bail bond change.mp3
Cannabis Overdoses up In Canada.mp3
  • 0:00
    if it is the competition is always a
  • 0:01
    good thing to take it out
  • 0:03
    Adam Curry Jhansi Devorah this is your
  • 0:08
    award-winning divination media
  • 0:09
    assassination episode this is no agenda
  • 0:24
    [Music] episode this is no agenda
  • 0:26
    around here and we're post effort I'm
  • 0:29
    John see if we're not post-racial or
  • 0:35
    post Zephir we're always posting man we
  • 0:38
    just used to be simple you could just be
  • 0:40
    postmodern and that was it even that was
  • 0:43
    kind of it was kind of iffy man we did
  • 0:47
    have dueling funerals I was laughing my
  • 0:51
    butt off
  • 0:53
    yeah to your favorite people no it was
  • 0:59
    it was from a television production
  • 1:00
    standpoint Oh God from the network via
  • 1:04
    the the network producer running the
  • 1:06
    show here's pretty much how it went wow
  • 1:09
    this is great so many celebrities at the
  • 1:12
    Aretha Franklin funeral oh this is
  • 1:14
    fantastic Franklin funeral oh this is
  • 1:15
    oh look there's oh there's Bill yes
  • 1:17
    that's great and whoa wait a minute huh
  • 1:19
    but McCain he's coming off the plane
  • 1:23
    wait a minute but there's celebrities
  • 1:25
    over here but McCain we made him into
  • 1:28
    the heroes let's switch back okay let's
  • 1:31
    do a box in the corner all right and he
  • 1:32
    slipped back over there because a
  • 1:34
    celebrity coming back to McCain and then
  • 1:37
    they're waiting for the McCain's coffin
  • 1:39
    to come out of the plane and there was
  • 1:40
    some malfunction and the the lift
  • 1:44
    elevator didn't work and so now we have
  • 1:47
    no Aretha Franklin celebrities and we're
  • 1:49
    looking at like a skybox up against the
  • 1:52
    plane on a scissor lift for ten minutes
  • 1:55
    if you want to cut away is like the
  • 1:59
    caskets coming down we can't cut away
  • 2:00
    all right did and no commercial breaks
  • 2:03
    whatsoever it was beautiful
  • 2:06
    it was just it they they couldn't yeah
  • 2:08
    it wasn't even the funeral was just the
  • 2:10
    you know just hanging out for a little
  • 2:12
    bit we're looking at the coffin
  • 2:14
    it was a whole day before the before
  • 2:17
    anyone was gonna say anything and they
  • 2:19
    had hyped him up so much as one of the
  • 2:22
    only 31 Americans to ever ever ever get
  • 2:26
    this kind of treatment that they could
  • 2:28
    not go back to the true moneymaker which
  • 2:30
    was obviously a wreath is funeral yeah
  • 2:33
    and again the ariana grande breast rub I
  • 2:38
    have some clips I got some clips for you
  • 2:42
    yeah good yeah you don't well let's
  • 2:48
    start with a little recap then as Martha
  • 2:52
    McCallum really get to play something
  • 2:55
    stupid from Fox because either so stupid
  • 2:59
    or maybe it's true but Martha had a
  • 3:02
    gaggle of women and they were and they
  • 3:04
    were on a remote shoot I'm like I know
  • 3:06
    if they were in Detroit but they were
  • 3:08
    outside and as a part of her Cannell
  • 3:12
    sitting out there in the elements we had
  • 3:14
    Marie harf who was you know she's she's
  • 3:17
    a she's now Fox commentator remember
  • 3:21
    Marie yeah I remember when they brought
  • 3:23
    her over and I've never seen her on Fox
  • 3:25
    she's been on a couple of times well the
  • 3:27
    reason you probably see is because
  • 3:29
    neither you or I ever watched Sean
  • 3:31
    Hannity show I'm sure minute I see that
  • 3:34
    head come on I'm like now he doesn't
  • 3:39
    have the giant head box like on CNN but
  • 3:42
    anyway so they they discussed in an odd
  • 3:46
    way very anti hashtag me too because
  • 3:48
    that did come up as well but there was
  • 3:50
    also a guest that was kind of difficult
  • 3:53
    for the media the guests ranging from
  • 3:55
    world leaders to musical legends and one
  • 3:58
    especially controversial figure who was
  • 4:00
    seated in the front row
  • 4:01
    many people kind of wondering what the
  • 4:03
    unapologetic anti-semite Louis Farrakhan
  • 4:06
    was doing up there I am joined by Kelly
  • 4:09
    grace Torrance Marie harf and Kylie
  • 4:11
    Patterson it was really such a that
  • 4:13
    moving it was really such a that
  • 4:15
    Hudson was amazing and Gladys Knight was
  • 4:18
    amazing but I did keep the comment on it
  • 4:21
    pretty much the way they do about the
  • 4:23
    Oscars the Grammys or any other award
  • 4:26
    show just all the performances were
  • 4:28
    amazing just the performances were
  • 4:30
    amazing by louis farrakhan who was in
  • 4:32
    every single shot i'm thinking what is
  • 4:35
    what was he doing there who won no wants
  • 4:37
    to start there well you know since when
  • 4:39
    you saw him because you know I looked at
  • 4:41
    some of the coverage of this and a lot
  • 4:43
    of outlets variety ABC MSNBC had
  • 4:45
    pictures published on the website
  • 4:46
    cutting him off so they sewed the front
  • 4:49
    row with President Clinton that's your
  • 4:51
    your press freedom right there everybody
  • 4:58
    we can't explain it we don't know what's
  • 5:01
    going on just come on Jackson al
  • 5:04
    Sharpton and they cut Farrakhan off and
  • 5:06
    I you know I thought that was very
  • 5:07
    telling that they did that clearly they
  • 5:10
    thought wow why is this guy there to
  • 5:12
    there they had the same questions we all
  • 5:14
    know what why why was he he's one of a
  • 5:16
    guest of honor it's right near Bill
  • 5:18
    Clinton is something that's supposed to
  • 5:20
    be about Aretha Franklin b-team I
  • 5:21
    thought in many ways about some of these
  • 5:23
    gentlemen who were right behind we
  • 5:26
    forget that she was really at the head
  • 5:28
    of the liberation movement for years I
  • 5:30
    mean she respecting the liberation but
  • 5:34
    does she mean the the women's liberation
  • 5:36
    movement good news to me well she was
  • 5:43
    just about to explain that that's what
  • 5:44
    the song was about you forget that she
  • 5:46
    was really at the head of the liberation
  • 5:48
    movement for years I mean she respect
  • 5:50
    natural woman that was a part of the
  • 5:52
    movement he was there because he's a
  • 6:02
    feminist part of the women's liberation
  • 6:03
    movement and or does she mean the
  • 6:07
    [Music] and or does she mean the
  • 6:09
    history this is her funeral I mean it's
  • 6:15
    her choice so she wants their who she
  • 6:16
    wants no no she didn't leave a will but
  • 6:21
    she knew exactly what she wanted there
  • 6:23
    al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Louis
  • 6:27
    Farrakhan to be up there I think she
  • 6:29
    wanted them at her funeral yes there was
  • 6:31
    also this moment with Ariana Grande
  • 6:33
    she's dancing and then you know these
  • 6:35
    guys are like staring at her from the
  • 6:37
    back now
  • 6:39
    you know they're gonna make light of
  • 6:41
    this situation and I had a conversation
  • 6:45
    with the keeper about it cuz I I saw
  • 6:48
    like no you just just holding on to her
  • 6:51
    but I guess it was too long or if you
  • 6:53
    grab you know hold me here and you'll
  • 6:55
    know that you're touching my breasts I'm
  • 6:56
    like maybe I don't know but regardless
  • 7:00
    it grabbed his hand and Pyke it up I
  • 7:02
    don't think so know why but only
  • 7:07
    speaking when you grab a woman just up
  • 7:08
    you know is you just kind of snuggle
  • 7:11
    with her on the stage for some unknown
  • 7:12
    reason but if you feel like you're gonna
  • 7:13
    do that usually grab by the waist don't
  • 7:15
    you to grab the waist because this with
  • 7:17
    the easiest but I don't know if he mean
  • 7:22
    it's hard to tell short she's four foot
  • 7:25
    nine so that he puts his arm around her
  • 7:27
    you know been and and grabbed an out I
  • 7:30
    didn't I couldn't find the clip anymore
  • 7:32
    of course but grab the shoulder that's a
  • 7:35
    very comfortable thing to do
  • 7:36
    that'sthat's that would have been more
  • 7:38
    appropriate I think but yeah the
  • 7:39
    shoulder yeah but you know he did some
  • 7:42
    where apologize by say if I if I crossed
  • 7:45
    some some some border there or something
  • 7:48
    I guess he did when I searched for
  • 7:51
    caught we're calling her a Taco Bell
  • 7:54
    special here we go he's dancing and then
  • 7:56
    you know these guys are like Syrian her
  • 7:59
    from the back and of course that was all
  • 8:01
    over ladies guys
  • 8:03
    see now it's funny you know now when you
  • 8:06
    have Bill Clinton who actually you know
  • 8:09
    assaulted some women I think is isn't
  • 8:12
    that historical record at this point or
  • 8:14
    raped a couple why I don't want to go
  • 8:17
    that far but now they're just laughing
  • 8:19
    at the guy you know to me he just looked
  • 8:22
    like regular old bill or goofy you know
  • 8:25
    just a mess
  • 8:27
    because that's what he's looked like
  • 8:29
    ever since he ran for president again he
  • 8:31
    just doesn't look very healthy you
  • 8:34
    sitting there but they're not that
  • 8:36
    laughing about it I don't understand
  • 8:38
    that you're confusing this white man if
  • 8:45
    I were ariana grande I would have worn
  • 8:48
    something longer and now it's the
  • 8:52
    woman's fault because she should have
  • 8:54
    worn something more I don't understand
  • 9:02
    it's like a bad version of American Idol
  • 9:04
    that is not appropriate to wear to a
  • 9:07
    funeral even a wreath of Franklin's we
  • 9:08
    know she could have gotten something a
  • 9:09
    little longer with some sequins like I
  • 9:12
    just longer with some sequins like I
  • 9:13
    and that's Marie harf former spokes hole
  • 9:16
    for the State Department
  • 9:18
    I should have sequins a little bit
  • 9:20
    longer slut-shaming her I'm so confused
  • 9:23
    she was wearing black it was fine
  • 9:26
    great it's not her fault that those guys
  • 9:28
    were leering at her they were all
  • 9:31
    leering it's just an awkward the Lance
  • 9:33
    Bass price there's a lot of million but
  • 9:36
    priceless there's a lot of memes online
  • 9:37
    right now about Bill Clinton and Jesse
  • 9:39
    Jackson talking and what they were
  • 9:41
    possibly saying in that moment we're
  • 9:42
    watching it was a great performance
  • 9:54
    we're beautiful but that was like a
  • 9:56
    comedy of errors what it's like a
  • 10:00
    henhouse these women
  • 10:05
    our ESP ICT then we had some of the
  • 10:10
    speeches themselves now missing from the
  • 10:13
    Aretha Franklin funeral because of
  • 10:16
    course he was in Washington DC preparing
  • 10:18
    well let's stop before he go there let's
  • 10:21
    get back to their original moaning and
  • 10:24
    groaning which was Farrakhan why was he
  • 10:26
    there which was Farrakhan why was he
  • 10:26
    did anybody in the media tell from the
  • 10:29
    answer right now
  • 10:30
    no not a single one no and simply ask
  • 10:34
    him say why are you here
  • 10:37
    now you good friends of Aretha with a
  • 10:39
    little interview a little one you know