1086: Shark Hole

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 49m
November 15th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Kevin Brockman, Baronet Sir Warren Carroll

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Kris, Baron of Carson Valley, Michael Hager

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill


Start of Show
California on Fire
Dutch Court Rules Black Pete is Allowed on National Television
IAmsterdam Letters Removed from Museumplein in Amsterdam
EU Proposes 'Take it or Leave it' Brexit Deal
Militarization of Europe
Producer Note: 100th Anniversary of the End of WWI Rundown
Macron and Trudeau Address Nationalism
Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism
Marcia Fudge Challenges Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Appears at Climate Change Protest at Nancy Pelosi's Office
Agenda 2030 Regulations in The Netherlands
Crazy SJW at Dinesh D'Souza Event
U.C. Berkeley Student Senator Told to Resign After Abstaining From Pro-LGBTQ Vote
Hollywood, Health & Society Screening for Madam Secretary Finale
Michael Avenatti Arrested After Domestic Violence Allegations
Amazon Selects Long Island City for New Headquartes
Congressional Progressive Caucus Shifts Priorities From Abolishing ICE
6000 Dogs at Amazon Headquarters
Amazon Ordered to Provide Echo Recordings in Murder Investigation
FaceFirst Face Recognition Software for Retail Stores
JCD Disturbed by Local Crows
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis by The New York Times
Birthdays & Title Changes
Lion Air Claims Boeing Withheld Information About Crashed Airplaine
JCD's List of Best Programmers by Nationality Teaser
CBS Reports US Army Could Lose War From China or Russia
Violence Rises After Ebola Outbreak in The Republic of Congo
Canadian Cop Gets High After Stealing Pot During Pot Shop Raid
Unisom SleepTabs Advertises Falling Asleep 33% Faster
Baraboo High School Students Go Viral After Nazi Salute Photo
End of Show
Suggest a new chapter
Agenda 2030
IPCC report is working in the EU!
Pandora's Promise removed from Dutch Netflix
Paris WWI Event Boots on the Ground-Producer Bob
was hating the ceremony - with good reason (but the two way arm slap with Putin
was interesting)
a 3rd rate production;
Trump/Putin were late so they missed the 11am time (pretty serious)
Macron mic didn't work - so had to go to a backup handheld
- Yo
Yo Ma? (did a double)
background of main shot had all empty chairs (maybe due to rain - but still -
worldwide audience)
singer from Africa? Why?
music playing was the Bolero - yikes.
Had the teenagers do most of the ceremony where there was one speaking in
Mandarin - why oh why? and dressed like going out to the market.
Macrons speech (forget the content) went on and on and on...Youtube video of it
goes for 19min.
the world leaders were pissed off, they had to stand too long, it looked cold
for them (I couldn't see heaters) and they were subjected to this misery.
Macron trying to make up for the disaster with kisses and slaps on the back
with anyone that would take it.
to the UK one.
sunny day helped.
solemn, full pageantry (Brits always do it well)
the band played amazingly well and last post with multiple buglars
Royal family all in full military dress and everyone took it seriously
- it
went pretty quickly and was respectful
think Trump would've much preferred to be there than in Paris (if they had
invited him).
watched the raw feed of both - and whilst you can fast forward much of it - it
was a great comparison. Also, how close the crowds were in London vs Paris, and
just the whole event was far superior.
the UK feed showed all the major UK cities holding their own ceremonies was
very well done as well.
Politicians saying: PREPARE for customs, IT etc, but no one knows what to do exactly
Cruise Ship Gigs
Balloon Animals
My mom has take a
number of Royal Caribbean cruises in exchange for 4 or 5 30min sessions of
making balloon animals. About equivalent to $400 worth of gigs. I imagine
you’ve got the contacts, but if you want me to get you in touch with her agent
I can. I doubt it’d work well with the show schedule though so don’t do it!
Sir Ryan of the Gettys Rebel Faction
Boeing creates new in-house avionics unit, reversing years of outsourcing | The Seattle Times
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:20
Boeing has set up a new in-house unit called Boeing Avionics to pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems. It's a reversal of a strategy of outsourcing avionics controls that began with the 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing, on a new drive to boost substantially its income from aftermarket services, is actively reversing its yearslong course of extensive outsourcing.
In the latest sign of a new approach, Boeing announced internally Monday it is setting up an in-house unit called Boeing Avionics to ''pursue the development and production of avionics and electronics systems.''
Avionics are the core electronics used to manage aircraft systems including flight controls, communications, navigation, sensors and warning systems, and flight-deck displays.
In a company memo to employees, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg referred to the move as a ''strategy to build targeted vertical capability.''
That's business-speak for a company doing more of the work itself rather than handing it off to outsiders, and a term that must worry current systems suppliers such as Rockwell Collins and Honeywell '-- which may get less avionics work on Boeing's next new airplane.
Setting up Boeing Avionics is tantamount to an admission that Boeing made a mistake 14 years ago as the 787 Dreamliner program was launched.
That's when Boeing dissolved an in-house organization created in the 1980s called Boeing Commercial Electronics (BCE), dispersing 1,200 engineers in Everett who designed electronic controls for all its airliners and selling off a plant in Irving, Texas, where another 1,200 people built the hardware.
The move, part of a broad handoff of control to airplane-systems suppliers, was intended to cut Boeing's costs.
Dwight Schaeffer, a former senior manager at BCE, said Boeing tried on the 787 to cut the one-time cost of developing its new airplane by outsourcing work to ''get someone else to pay for it.''
The result was ''a disaster,'' he said.
Schaeffer and other former BCE managers traced some of the early systems problems on Boeing's 787 '-- including the overheated batteries that grounded the fleet worldwide in 2013 '-- to a loss of control of systems design and the disbanding of BCE.
But for future airplanes, Boeing is now hungrily eyeing the profits made by its systems suppliers, who collect money long after an airplane leaves Boeing's factory by maintaining and updating the avionics throughout the jet's service life.
The launch of Boeing Avionics signals the jet maker wants a bigger piece of that aftermarket pie.
It's one more step toward Muilenburg's stated goal of growing the company's overall services business from $14 billion today to $50 billion within five to 10 years.
According to the internal Boeing announcement, the new avionics unit will develop systems for all of Boeing, not just the commercial side.
It will ''focus on avionics systems such as those designed for navigation, flight controls, information systems and other core avionics'' and will develop such systems for future airplanes, targeted for entry into service in the next decade.
So look for more in-house avionics on the so-called middle-of-the-market airplane, already referred to by many in the industry as the 797, that Boeing is expected to launch within a year for entry into service in 2024.
Ironically, although Boeing shut down BCE to supposedly save costs, on Monday Muilenburg touted the cost savings that may be possible from the new Boeing Avionics.
''Our new enterprise avionics team will take advantage of our depth of knowledge as the original equipment manufacturer in leading commercial aviation, defense, space and security systems,'' he said. ''We can further drive cost down and value up for our customers, in all phases of a product's life cycle.''
Boeing said it has 120 employees in the enterprise avionics organization, with plans to go up to around 600 when the team is fully staffed in 2019.
Of course, that's just a portion of the capability Boeing discarded in 2003.
The new organization is led by Allan Brown, a vice president who previously was program director for the Missile Defense National Team. He reports to Boeing's chief technology officer, Greg Hyslop.
Schaeffer said he'll ''wait and see'' if the announcement of the new avionics unit represents a smart and substantive shift.
He wonders if Boeing will go further in its strategy reversal and begin again to build electronics hardware too, either by setting up or acquiring a plant.
He cautioned that the new Chicago-based avionics unit can succeed only if it forms close partnerships with Boeing's product-design teams, such as the engineers who will design the 797.
He recalled that toward the end of BCE's run, some Boeing organizations treated his organization like an external supplier, insisting that it needed to compete with outsiders to bring down costs.
He said Boeing Avionics instead needs to develop products that leverage its main advantage in being inside Boeing '-- its ability to work with designers to produce innovation.
Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema to be first openly bisexual U.S. Senator
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:16
Arizona Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema makes a victory speech on Nov. 12, 2018 at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. David Wallace, Arizona Republic
Kyrsten Sinema speaks to supporters after the Associated Press declared her the winner of the U.S. Senate race against Martha McSally. (Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)
Kyrsten Sinema is getting national attention as the first openly bisexual candidate elected to the U.S. Senate.
Now characterized by some as a standard-bearer for LGBTQ people, Sinema's sexual orientation was barely mentioned during her hard-fought campaign against Republican Martha McSally for the seat.
That it wasn't even an issue reflects of Arizona's long libertarian tradition emphasizing individual rights that stretches back at least to the Barry Goldwater era of politics.
''It's not a front-and-center part of Kyrsten's identity, although she lives with great authenticity '-- she always has,'' said Neil Giuliano, the nation's first directly elected, openly gay mayor.
Giuliano, a former mayor of Tempe, now is president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership, a business leadership organization.
KYRSTEN SINEMA: The congresswoman who grew up in a gas station
At her core, Sinema would support federal policies that protect LGBTQ people against discrimination in employment, no matter her orientation, he said.
''Here's what we know about politics: If you're not at the table, you're on the menu,'' Giuliano said. ''So it's very important that she is at the table as a voice that comes from the LGBTQ community, openly, honestly and proudly. I think that's tremendous.''
Sinema, 42, identified publicly as bisexual early in her political career at the state Capitol, where she served in both chambers. During her time at the Arizona Legislature, she fought for marriage equality, namely against a ban on marriage between same-sex couples.
She led the unsuccessful campaign in 2008 to defeat a proposed state constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Court decisions in 2014 overturned that voter-approved ban.
MORE: No LGBT history in Arizona? Think again
Sinema has never played identity politics, and her orientation has never been front-and-center in any of her campaigns. She was first elected to Congress in 2012, becoming its first openly bisexual member, a title she carries with her to the U.S. Senate.
Sinema is the second person to identify as LGBTQ in the Senate. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is lesbian.
"Very happy to say I'm no longer the *only* openly LGBTQ U.S. Senator," Baldwin wrote on Twitter Monday evening, as Sinema delivered her victory speech. "Congratulations to @kyrstensinema on a well-deserved victory. The upper chamber is lucky to have your steady leadership."
Very happy to say I'm no longer the *only* openly LGBTQ U.S. Senator.Congratulations to @kyrstensinema on a well-deserved victory. The upper chamber is lucky to have your steady leadership.
'-- Tammy Baldwin (@tammybaldwin) November 13, 2018Sinema will be sworn into office Jan. 3.
The progressive Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group, poured money into Arizona to try to flip it blue. The group's strategy centered on drawing attention to candidates' support or opposition to equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Arizona is one of six target states where the HRC is spending heavily for the midterms and through the 2020 presidential election as it tries to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates.
The Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect LGBTQ candidates, called Sinema's win a "game changer" on its website.
Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston and the CEO of Victory Fund, told The Arizona Republic that Sinema's win represents the highest-profile win for the group.
Sinema has been involved in the group for years, participating in training and in a leadership-development program.
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
Last SlideNext Slide"The world is changing, but there are many states in the country where you can be fired simply for being LGBT," Parker said. "There's a growing trend to try to allow ... sanctioned discrimination."
She added, "As we see those things, it makes it more important to have those who are from the community advocating in the halls of power."
Chad Campbell, who served with Sinema in the state legislature and is a longtime friend, said in Arizona, sexual orientation was a non-issue for candidates across the board. Arizonans judge candidates most on their ability to perform in elected office and less about their personal lives.
RELATED: Phoenix debuts rainbow crosswalks to celebrate LGBT residents
"The majority of Arizonans have changed their views on how they view LGBT issues and marriage equality, so it's not really a hot-button issue," he said. "It's just who she is. It's not a thing.
"We're more of a libertarian state."
In 1996, Jim Kolbe, then a 12-year Republican congressman representing a Tucson-area district, disclosed that he was gay. He said to the Tucson Citizen he felt forced to reveal his sexual orientation because a national gay magazine was going to disclose his status in a forthcoming article.
And Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee and five-term U.S. senator from Arizona, famously penned an op-ed in 1993 calling on the military to lift its gay ban.
"You don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country," Goldwater wrote in The Washington Post. "You just need to shoot straight."
Follow the reporter on Twitter and Facebook. Contact her at yvonne.wingett@arizonarepublic.com.
Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2018/11/14/arizona-kyrsten-sinema-first-openly-bisexual-u-s-senator/1993251002/
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Met Police 'Hamstrung' As Knife Crime Epidemic Fuels Calls For Facial Recognition
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:13
Police officers search near where a 16-year-old boy was killed, on November 07, 2018 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Getty
Bleak headlines in London last week, where five people were killed by knives in five separate incidents over the course of six days. Three of the five were teens, growing up in a city where for increasing numbers of kids, carrying a knife has become as normal as carrying a cell phone.
Stabbings will always cede the global headlines to the relative efficiency of gun crime. And, the same week, the latest mass shooting in the US claimed many more lives. But it is the relentless normality of knife crime amongst elements of London's young that is the story here. Teens killing teens outside fast food joints in a city where the advice to under-16s is that the most dangerous time of day is the journey home from school.
For London's Metropolitan Police Service, the new normal is reassuring a city frightened by escalating violence, whilst engaging with politicians distracted by Brexit and factional infighting, and doing so with tighter budgets, translating to fewer officers out on the street. The inevitable answers are active intervention and new technology, but that prompts sensationalized headlines and even a legal challenge from a privacy lobby that wants the public to be kept safe (one assumes) but remain unwatched. And so the capital's knife crime epidemic has become the embodiment of its thin blue line, stretched ever thinner by increasing workloads, decreasing resources and politics.
The Reality Of The Situation
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has been impressive and forthright in her response, promising to pursue the 190 plus gangs in London behind the worst of the violence. She has not shied away from discussing, frankly and unsettlingly, the realpolitik of the situation. Unclear direction and lack of leadership from lawmakers. Political hand-wringing. Budget decisions taken in recent years, which now hang in the air, awkwardly and provocatively. Unsurprisingly, Home Secretary Sajid Javid's call for police to ''step up'' did not land well, set against this backdrop of police cuts and priority stretch.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick during a visit to Brixton, South London. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)Getty
If you want to tackle knife crime, you really need to stop and search those you suspect might be carrying knives, and thousands of potential weapons have been pulled from the streets in this way. But 'stop and search' fosters controversy: go to any major city in the world, and targeted policing will always risk the accusation of some form of bias or discrimination.
Beyond counter-terrorism, which has its own legislation, UK police can stop and search a person they suspect to be carrying drugs or weapons or both, or they can stop and search a person in a location where there have been or are considered likely to be ''incidents involving serious violence.'' Searches, where a person is thought to be carrying an item, have fallen in recent years, but locational searches are on the rise. The fact is that much of the knife crime epidemic is localized, territorial and gang-related.
Cue Facial Recognition
This is where facial recognition comes in. Systems that can memorize the faces of persons of interest. Networks of gang members. Wanted criminals. Those suspected of involvement in serious violent crimes. Systems that don't need prior personal engagement to recognize an individual. Systems that don't rely on context, that can be set up to deliver specific operational outcomes, that can be localized and needs based, that can continually improve. This is not simply software. This balances the delivery of successful outcomes with the technology platforms that underpin it. People are in the loop every step of the way, the final decisions are taken by those people, not by their machines.
The best facial recognition systems can be tailored to meet specific requirements, operating in real-time on connected cameras, as opposed to offline on recorded surveillance footage. Operating live, meaning networking instant watchlist updates and results. And operating across multiple platforms at the same time: this allows for verification of results and a significant increase in effectiveness. Imagine the potential of a network of CCTV, vehicle cameras and bodycams, all updating their watchlists and enrolments in real time as an intelligence picture changes after a serious incident. Imagine verifying results on a second platform, or even with a second and third AI engine, all in real-time. The technologies are built around machine learning platforms. What they can do today will be materially surpassed in weeks, never mind months and years.
Automated facial recognition system. (Photo credit should read MARKUS SCHREIBER/AFP/Getty Images)Getty
Earlier this year, Cressida Dick told a London Assembly committee that facial recognition ''is getting better and better and better by the minute'... if there is a technology that we can use lawfully'... to identify against a small list of wanted offenders for serious violence, I think the public would expect us to be thinking about how we can use that technology and seeing whether it is effective and efficient for us.''
The Met is currently trialing facial recognition, assessing its effectiveness in ''the prevention and detection of crime by identifying wanted criminals.'' The trials have been extensively covered in the media. They have been structured to encourage public feedback and debate. As Ms. Dick told the same committee meeting, ''it is a really useful function for the Home Office to make sure the Government is engaging in debates with the public about the balance between privacy and security in the light of changing technologies. That needs to be done dynamically and quite quickly.''
A Serious Need For Clarity
But it hasn't happened dynamically or quickly. And at the end of last week, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Ms. Dick described her officers as being ''hamstrung'' by the lack of political regulation and direction for the ''much-needed use of facial recognition'' on the frontline. The vacuum left by this lack of regulation is critical because it is being filled by misleading claims about the way the technology works and how it is being used.
This testing, and similar trial deployments by other police forces in the UK, without the regulatory or legal frameworks the police have asked the government to produce, has fueled a backlash from the privacy lobby. The campaign groups have described facial recognition surveillance as ''an inherently authoritarian tool for population management,'' as threatening ''privacy, freedom of expression and right to protest,'' as ''checking millions of people against police databases,'' and as ''dystopian policing.'' In June, two of the lobby groups, Liberty and Big Brother Watch, launched a legal challenge against the use of facial recognition by two police forces: the Met and South Wales. The challenge remains ongoing.
These same debates are taking place worldwide. Also last week, Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, defended the company's controversial facial recognition technology in an internal meeting, where there had been discomfort amongst employees around sales to law enforcement agencies. He said: ''Rekognition is actively used to help stop human trafficking, to reunite missing kids with parents for educational applications, for security and multi-factor authentication.''
The leading versions of facial recognition, when properly trained and deployed, are exceptionally accurate. That is not up for debate. The real debate should be the usage of the technology. Who is on a watchlist, and why? What regulatory framework is in place? The lobby groups' scaremongering prevents just such a constructive debate taking place. And that is dangerous. Facial recognition should not be everywhere, nor should it look for everyone. It should be deployed only where it is appropriate and proportionate to do so. One can assume that most Londoners value the lives of the city's kids highly enough that if a technology can make a tangible difference, it should be trialed and adapted to see how it can be used most effectively.
Tackling The Knife Crime Epidemic
Behind the testing and development of facial recognition is the opportunity to deploy a technology ecosystem that can provide new capabilities to frontline policing in a manner that society deems right. Let's remember, these same biometric technologies are being used to tackle international and domestic terrorism, people and drug trafficking, pedophile networks and their victims, children and vulnerable adults missing from home. How many missing kids in the UK pass through one of London's main rail or bus stations each month? Facial recognition with a watchlist of missing kids could be deployed for just such a use case.
Crime hotspots, known networks of gangs and affiliates, wanted criminals, persons of interest seen by CCTV in the vicinity of a violent crime, targeted operations to take knives from the street, all can be supported by a consistent use of facial recognition. A stop and search, where the police officer has access to a connected mobile device or bodycam with a facial recognition capability, can only help support the justification for such operations and their effectiveness. Again, secondary verification, appropriate use of watchlists, regulations around data retention, and a final decision on any engagement or intervention taken by a person, not by a machine, should all be part of the operating model.
The scene where 15-year-old Jay Hughes was stabbed and killed, on November 06, 2018, in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Getty
It is 2018, the era of AI and intelligent video. And in London, we have a situation where lives can be saved by these technologies. Facial recognition works. It can make people safer. And so it's time to set some regulations and start making use of it. The Met Commissioner has shown commendable leadership in setting out requirements to move past the endless hand-wringing and tortuous debate; in essence: don't plead with me to solve the problem, whilst tying one of my hands behind my back.
Real reason for CA fires? : conspiracy
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:11
The population of Paradise is 27,000. The most recent estimate of evacuated people is 52,000. That includes, Paraide, Magalia, Concow, Pulga, Stirling City, Inskip and Berry Creek. As for Helltown, at it's height in the 1800's it's population was 2,000.
The town aradise is the biggest of all of the areas mentioned. This is nowhere near 1/4 of a million people .
Now Chico, is a city. It's population of 93,000. Though that population fluxuates with the college students.
The population of the entirety of Butte County is 229,000. Which still does make 1/4 million people. I guarantee you, the entire population of Butte County is not homeless, permanently or temporarily.
Additionally, there are 29 known dead. An additional 228 have been reported missing.
If you're going to report numbers, report correct numbers.
Why is Kansas City government pouring bleach on food for homeless people?
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:56
Do better, KCMO.
Free Hot Soup Facebook
People standing in line awaiting a hot meal at four Kansas City locations Sunday got bleach instead. More precisely, they got to witness city health inspectors dump hot food into plastic bags and pour bleach over it '-- just to make sure nobody sampled the ruined fare.
Once word got around, the Health Department seemed stunned that these brutish actions upset people. Director Rex Archer had to interrupt his vacation the next day to deal with media inquiries. Employees reported receiving angry messages. Archer said he couldn't believe a volunteer at one of the parks threw food at his inspector.
What were they expecting '-- smiles and cups of coffee? Ruining food is gross. Dumping food in front of hungry people is cruel. The bleach is an especially dehumanizing touch. This was city government at its worst.
Archer tried to frame his department's actions as a good deed. Who knows what horrors could be lurking in those pots of chili that volunteers from the group Free Hot Soup cooked up in their uninspected kitchens and brought to the park in non-insulated vehicles. With the TV cameras rolling, the man known around City Hall as Doctor Doom ticked off the possibilities: listeria, salmonella, e coli.
Threats like that could put people in hospital emergency rooms, Archer warned. People might even die.
On and on he went, as though homelessness was not a hazardous lifestyle to start with. Denied a bowl of hot soup, would the city prefer these people dive in dumpsters?
Archer used the same scare tactic a few years ago when the City Council considered an ordinance regulating ''food sharing'' programs like Free Hot Soup. He gravely cited the cholera epidemic that swept parts of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there as an example of what can happen when food isn't prepared properly. Except: this isn't post-earthquake Haiti. In fact, when the council debated and ultimately rejected the food-sharing ordinance, no one could cite any incident of food-borne illnesses in Kansas City caused by acts of charity.
But the city isn't really worried about the health of the homeless population. The weekend crackdown was a response to neighborhood complaints about the growing crowds of ''guests'' who gather in parks for meals served by Free Hot Soup.
While the group contends it is merely gathering with friends for a meal, the city's interpretation is that Free Hot Soup is serving food to the public and therefore needs a permit. The Health Department will issue one for free, Archer said, and the department issued a list of more than 30 organizations that have a permit.
But those are mostly well-established groups with industrial-sized kitchens, like the Salvation Army and Operation Uplift. For many groups, a ''free'' permit could easily involve shelling out thousands of dollars to pass a food preparation inspection.
If neighbors object to needy people congregating near their homes, the city already has ordinances regulating loitering and littering. Rather than enforcing them, it chooses to limit good works.
Mayor Sly James stuck to the hard line this week in a tweet for which he was justly and brutally ratioed: ''Regarding the incident involving Free Hot Soup & @KCMO Health Dept: Rules are there to protect the public's health, and all groups must follow them, no exceptions.''
Good luck with that. People take to the streets and parks to feed the hungry because they are called to by their consciences, or their spiritual traditions, or because, in a world of need, it is one thing they can do. You can't bleach out good intentions, and Kansas City only stains itself by trying.
On Twitter: @bshelly.
The Woolsey Fire Tore Through a Nuclear Testing Site ~ Doctors Sound Alarm on Possible Air Contamination ~ L.A. TACO
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:45
T he Woolsey Fire ripped through the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a Cold War-era rocket testing site and nuclear research facility, alarming community members and physicians. The site in the hills between Chatsworth and Simi Valley survived a partial meltdown , in one of the worst nuclear accidents in the country's history.
Activists claim the fire could have burned through toxins already known to have contaminated the soil and vegetation around the site, and possibly released them into the air with smoke and ash. The 2,800-acre facility is also known as Rocketdyne.
The state agency in charge of responding to toxic substance accidents issued a statement Friday at 1:30 am, claiming that the Santa Susana Field Laboratory did not pose any immediate dangers. '' There is no evidence that smoke from the area around the SSFL is any more dangerous than other wildfire smoke,'' said the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, or DTSC .
The statement said L.A. and Ventura county fire department hazardous materials experts confirmed there is no risk.
But DTSC also implied that state inspectors also have not gone in and done full testing because the Woolsey Fire is still an active evacuation zone. ''As soon as access is open we will evaluate the site, the air monitoring stations, and available data,'' the state added.
The agency did not respond to calls and requests for comment on Monday. More than 91,000 acres have burned and an estimated 370 structures have been destroyed, according to the latest Cal Fire update on the Woolsey Fire .
RELATED: How to Stay Informed and Be Ready as Wildfires Burn in Southern California
The Santa Susana Field Laboratory/Via Google Maps.
O nce the earliest reports on the Woolsey Fire indicated that it began at or near the Santa Susana site, and while the extent of the damage is not fully know, a non-profit local doctors group sounded the alarm.
''Given the extent of contamination in the site's soil and vegetation, it is indeed possible and likely that contamination from the site was spread further from the fire in smoke, dust, and ash,'' said the L.A. chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
The DTSC is a controversial agency. It's notorious for slowly addressing contamination concerns in the San Fernando Valley and another environmental catastrophe 30 miles south '-- the Exide contamination zone of East Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles County.
''DTSC is widely known throughout the state to let down communities, they've broken so many promises, this clean-up was supposed to begin in 2017, but it hasn't,'' said Denise Duffield, an organizer with the PSR group, in an interview with L.A. Taco. ''A lot could go wrong, toxic chemicals could go airborne and people could inhale it.''
SEE NOV 13 UPDATE: 'No Radiation' at Testing Site Where Fire Started
A view of the entrance to the Rocketdyne site/Via Google Maps.
The Santa Susana Field Laboratory also has a troubled history. For a week and half in 1959, radioactive emissions were intentionally released into surrounding areas to keep a nuclear explosion from happening. For decades, community members have reported high rates of cancer and chronic illnesses, many of which they blamed on the testing site.
A coalition of physicians and parents fought to have the surrounding contaminated area cleaned after documenting 50 children living with cancer within a 20-mile radius. The contaminated land has yet to be cleaned , with clean up efforts facing delay after delay over the past decade.
''People that are impacted nearby or smell smoke should use a N-95 or higher-rated face mask. A HEPA filter is always a good idea,'' Duffield added.
Currently, focus on the cause of the fire has turned to a substation on the Santa Susana site, and on SoCal Edison.
RELATED: Record-Breaking Settlement in Aliso Canyon Methane Leak ~ Are We Safe from 'Routine' Toxic Leaks?
* Story updated, 8:21 pm.
* Story updated, 4:21 pm, Nov 13, 2018: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health tested the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and found no discernible level of radiation in the tested area. See related story.
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Angela Merkel calls for the creation of a 'real, true' European army
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:44
By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline and Wires 14:47 13 Nov 2018, updated 01:27 14 Nov 2018
The German Chancellor called for EU army in speech to ministers in StrasbourgHer remark drew widespread applause but some boos from the lawmakersComes after Emmanuel Macron put forward the same idea on French television Also comes after President Trump joked that the French 'were learning German before the US came along' and called on leaders to pay their way in NATOAngela Merkel called for the creation of a 'real, true' European army during a speech to EU ministers on Tuesday in a rebuke to President Trump.
The German Chancellor also called for a European Security Council that would be responsible for coordinating defence policy across the continent.
Merkel spoke out after French President Emmanuel Macron floated the same idea last week, and hours after Donald Trump lambasted him for it on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Trump joked that Parisians 'were starting to learn German before the U.S. came along' and liberated France during the Second World War - and told EU leaders to pay their fair share to NATO.
Angela Merkel called for the creation of a European army and Security Council during a speech to ministers in Strasbourg on TuesdayShe spoke hours after Trump lashed out at Emmanuel Macron for the same idea on Twitter, telling European leaders to pay their fair share of NATO first In her speech, which was about the future of the EU, Merkel said: 'What is really important, if we look at the developments of the past year, is that we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European army.
She said the new army would work in conjunction with NATO, but added that 'only a stronger Europe is going to defend Europe.'
'Europe must take our fate into our own hands if we want to protect our community,' she said.
The remark drew widespread applause and a smattering of boos from watching lawmakers.
Macron made the same suggestion last week in an interview with TV station Europe 1 when he spoke about Russian aggression and Trump's decision to withdraw from a key Cold War missile pact.
Emmanuel Macron first put forward the idea of a European army last week, saying it was necessary to 'protect ourselves when it comes to China, Russia and even the United States of America'He said: 'I believe in the project of a sovereign Europe. We won't protect Europe if we don't decide to have a true European army.
'We have to have a Europe that can defend itself alone - and without only relying on the United States in a more sovereign manner.
'We should protect ourselves when it comes to China, Russia and even the United States of America.'
That last remark angered Trump, who met with Macron on Friday last week and tweeted before the meeting: 'President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia.
'Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidizes greatly!'
The French government insists that Macron meant Europe needs to protect itself from decisions the US makes - such as withdrawing from the missile treaty - and not from an invasion, though Trump seems to have interpreted it differently.
Shortly before Merkel spoke, Trump rekindled the feud on Twitter, writing: 'Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia.
Trump lashed out at Macron's comments on Twitter last week, calling them 'very insulting' ahead of a meeting between the pairTrump and Macron's spat marks a significant falling-out for the two world leaders, who had shared a cordial friendship despite their differing views'But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.
'Pay for NATO or not!'
Trump also bashed Macron for his low approval rating in France and being unfair to the U.S. on trade.
The spat marks a major falling-out for the two world leaders, who had previously shared a friendship which made Macron Trump's closest ally in Europe.
Trump also bashed Macron for his low approval rating in France and being unfair to the US on tradeShortly before Merkel spoke, Trump rekindled the feud on Twitter, writing: 'Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia'Trump said afterwards that European leaders had caved in to his demands to meet a 2 per cent spending minimum quicker than planned, amid denials from others, including MacronMacron and Merkel's comments come against a backdrop in which Trump has questioned the purpose of NATO and stoked fears that America might fail to honour its key common defense clause.
At times during his Presidency, Trump has hinted that America could renege on the pledge, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all.
His most recent comments came in July this year, shortly after a summit with Putin in Helsinki, in which he bemoaned Montenegro becoming part of the alliance.
Speaking to Fox News's Tucker Carlson, he said: 'Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people... They're very aggressive people.
Trump said afterwards that European leaders had caved in to his demands to meet a 2 per cent spending minimum quicker than planned, amid denials from others, including Macron'They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III.'
Just before the Putin summit, Trump had attended a NATO summit in Brussels in which he arrived late, left early, and refused to sign a joint statement with the rest of his allies.
He also blasted leaders for failing to meet spending targets while suggesting a January deadline for doing so, with possible U.S withdrawal if they failed.
Trump said afterwards that European leaders had caved in to his demands to meet a 2 per cent spending minimum quicker than planned, amid denials from others, including Macron.
Trump also complained today about tariffs on U.S. wines sold in France and appeared to take a snipe at Macron's low public approval rating.
The president tweeted that French tariffs on American wine were, 'not fair, must change!'
'On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!'
Nearly all U.S. wine exports to major markets, including the European Union face tariffs, according to the Wine Institute, which represents American winemakers in Washington.
Trump himself opened a winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2011.
His comments came amid a series of twitter outbursts where Trump also accused Macron of trying to divert the public's attention away from his poor approval rating.
Trump wrote: 'The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!.......MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!' he said.
American troops are pictured liberating Paris in 1944, after Trump joked that Parisians 'were starting to learn German before the US came along'Chief UK Eurosceptic Nigel Farage, who is a member of the EU parliament, also attacked Mrs Merkel's speech on Tuesday.
Speaking to the parliament, he said: 'The European project was set up to stop German domination, and what you've seen today is a naked takeover bid.'
Referencing remarks by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, he added: 'This is a European Union that wants to become an empire, a militarized European Union.
'An undemocratic European Union, a European Union that seeks to continually expand to the east, a European Union that has launched a new Cold War against the United States of America'.
Merkel announced her retirement from politics earlier this month, but will remain as Chancellor - and de-facto head of Europe - until her current terms ends in 2021.
How Paris was liberated by the U.S. (with help from the French) Paris fell to Hitler in June 1940, a month after the Nazis invaded France in a blitzkrieg attack that saw the country capitulate in just six weeks.
Hitler loved the city and visited a day after armistice was signed with France's puppet government, calling it 'the greatest and finest moment of my life'.
He even took architect Albert Speer along to make notes on the buildings, so that Berlin could be remodelled to make it superior.
Parisian women and boys celebrate alongside American soldiers following the liberation of the city on August 25, 1944When the Allies invaded mainland Europe in 1944, they brought along French General Charles de Gaulle at the head of the French 2nd Armored Division which had formed in London with the express purpose of liberating the city.
In August, he arrived at the borders of Paris under the command of General George S. Patton's 3rd Army and were keen to get to work.
Patton's original plan called for the city to be surrounded but not liberated for fear it would slow the Allied advance down and be too costly.
However, de Gaulle insisted that his men be allowed to lead the charge, telling Patton that he would give the order himself if necessary.
Patton conceded, and in the end his fears proved ill-founded.
Despite Hitler giving orders to defend Paris 'to the last man', resistance was weaker than expected.
Many Nazi guards abandoned their posts as they came under attack from both outside the city and from resistance fighters within.
General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison, also disobeyed Hitler's orders to blow up Paris's landmarks as the Allies advanced, refusing to be responsible for levelling the so-called City of Light.
French and US troops entered the city on August 24, and fearful that the Americans would beat him to the city centre, De Gaulle ordered his men to fight through the night.
By the morning of August 25, his 2nd Armoured Division had reached the centre, and by the end of the day - fighting alongside the Americans - Paris was free of Nazi rule.
Helen Thomas, veteran reporter: why she had to resign | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:41
Fidel Castro was once asked to define the difference between democracy in Cuba and the United States. "I don't have to answer questions from Helen Thomas," the old revolutionary replied.
The grand dame of the White House press corps, who outlasted nine American presidential administrations '' and Castro's rule '' was finally forced to halt her determined, often opinion-laden questioning and into retirement this week over comments on the issue closest to her heart, the Middle East.
There were no fond farewells for the 89-year-old reporter remembered as a trailblazer for women in journalism but also as a grumpy old contrarian. Her front-row seat in the White House briefing room, in recent years uniquely tagged with her own name rather than that of an organisation, was left empty.
Reporters who variously described Thomas as cranky, stubborn and opinionated said they weren't surprised she'd finally overstepped the mark when she told a rabbi that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany. But the torrent of anger and criticism was tempered by Thomas' lofty status.
By the time of her resignation she had clocked up many firsts: first female officer of the National Press Club and first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association. She worked as a White House reporter for far longer than any other '' for half a century. She was probably also the first White House correspondent to have a birthday cake delivered by a president, when Barack Obama arrived bearing cup cakes (they share a birthday).
Thomas joined United Press International in 1943 when it was still a major force in American journalism. She was 23 and had not long left Detroit, where she grew up to Lebanese immigrant parents. Her first job for UPI was reporting on women's issues. She wrote a celebrity column then moved to cover the justice department, FBI and other federal agencies.
She was assigned to cover then President-elect John F Kennedy in late 1960 and so began a reputation for relentless questioning that exasperated American leaders. Kennedy said of her: "Helen would be a nice girl if she'd ever get rid of that pad and pencil."
It was a sentiment echoed down the decades. "Isn't there a war somewhere we could send her to?" Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, once asked.
Thomas's determined questioning and forthright reporting chipped away at what had long been an all-male and all-white club of reporters that was often regarded as far too cosy with the officials they were writing about, and still is. For many years she was frequently the only woman in the room.
In a photograph of White House correspondents questioning President Lyndon Johnson, Thomas is the only female face. She was also the only female print reporter among the journalists accompanying President Richard Nixon on his historic visit to China in 1972. Barbara Walters was there as part of the NBC television news team.
She became one of the instantly recognised faces on television at presidential press conferences. She was so well known that she played herself in two films, Dave and The American President.
Thomas quit UPI in 2000 after it was bought by the Moonie leader, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. She called the purchase "a bridge too far". She had worked for the agency for 57 years, nearly half of them as UPI's White House bureau chief. That might have been the end of her career. She said she had planned to "hang up my daily news spurs" at the time. But she was approached by Hearst newspapers with an offer to become a columnist.
"I gratefully said, why not? After all those years of telling it like it is, now I can tell it how I want it to be. To put another point on it, I get to wake up every morning and say, 'Who am I mad at today?'" she wrote in her memoir Thanks For The Memories, Mr President. Many of her colleagues were surprised to hear that she regarded herself as having held back until then.
But first there was the question of her seat in the front row of the White House briefing room. Technically it should have gone to someone from one of the major news organisations. But Sam Donaldson, the boisterous former White House correspondent for ABC news, said she kept it because no one could imagine asking her to move to the back of the room. That marked another first for Thomas '' an opinion columnist in a reporter's seat in the White House briefing room. Her colleagues noticed an even more strident and opinionated tone to her questioning.
President George Bush had just taken power in a disputed election. In the coming years, Thomas made no secret of her opposition to the war in Iraq, offering a determined line of questioning that some of her colleagues appeared to shy away from in the post 9/11 atmosphere in America.
In 2002, she asked a question that few others at the White House would have dared: "Does the president think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal military occupation and suppression?"
Her questions were sometimes deemed to be so laden with hostile opinion that one of Bush's press secretaries, Ari Fleischer, once said: "We will temporarily suspend the Q&A portion of today's briefing to bring you this advocacy minute."
But she has not been averse to giving liberal presidents a hard time too. Scott Wilson, White House correspondent for the Washington Post, said Thomas did not go easy on Obama. "She did have a knack for trying to hold this administration accountable, particularly for its Middle East policy. She asked the question about which countries in the Middle East have nuclear weapons," he said "They couldn't not take her seriously. Her questions demanded an answer."
Mostly they didn't get one, but that was no less frustrating for those on the receiving end. "What's the difference between your foreign policy and Bush's?" she asked the presidential press secretary, Robert Gibbs.
A fortnight ago she challenged the president over what is increasingly known as "Obama's war". "When are you going to get out of Afghanistan?" she asked. "Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism, 'If we don't go there, they'll all come here'."
She was no less forthright in offering her opinion on the recent Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla, calling it a "deliberate massacre and international crime". The New York Times said in its story about her resignation that two sets of rules applied to reporters covering the president: "those for the regular White House correspondents, and those for Helen Thomas."
But an alternative view might be that Thomas was a courageous voice in an often craven White House press corps.
Even if White House correspondents sometimes grew exasperated with her, some said they respected her pedigree and generally put her shortcomings down to age. She grew so frail that other reporters had to help her walk from her desk to her chair in the briefing room, and she would sometimes fall asleep. She appeared less and less at the daily briefings.
Perhaps the best evidence that Thomas had lost touch was her failure to understand the consequences of saying that Israel's Jews should go back to Poland and Germany to a rabbi with a video camera at a White House event to mark Jewish heritage month. It is possible that given her Lebanese background, that is what she has thought all along. But she should not have been surprised at the storm of protest.
Donaldson, who describes Thomas as a friend, said that while he would not defend her comments they probably reflect the views of many people of Arab descent. He then called her a "pioneer" for women. "No one can take that away from Helen," he said.
Police Professional | Dutch police admit accessing criminal chats by intercepting encryption server
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:08
Dutch police admit accessing criminal chats by intercepting encryption server Police in the Netherlands have revealed they were able to intercept and read more than 250,000 encrypted messages sent by members of various criminal gangs after gaining control of a key server used by a company that allegedly offered to provide individuals with secure communications to help carry out illegal acts.
Nov 13, 2018
By Tony Thompson
Officers were forced to reveal what they had done earlier this week after users of the service began to suspect one another of providing information to the authorities after a number of individuals were arrested.
According to senior figures in the Dutch police, the operation began after an investigation into a money laundering scheme led to the discovery that the gang members were using ''cryptophones'' manufactured by a company called BlackBox.
The devices, known as IronPhones, look like regular smartphones but have greatly reduced functionality; they can only send and receive messages and images, and only with other cryptophones using an end-to-end encryption service known as IronChat. The devices are fitted with a panic button which instantly deletes all the information on the handset. Subscriptions for the service cost more than £2500 each year.
Officers did not manage to break the actual encryption protocols, but rather, were able to compromise the implementation of encryption by seizing the BlackBox server that routed the messages which contained the keys required to encrypt the content.
''We had sufficient evidence that these phones were used among criminals,'' said a Dutch police spokesperson. ''We have succeeded in intercepting encrypted communication messages between these phones, decrypting them and having them live for some time. This has not only given us a unique insight into existing criminal networks; we have also been able to intercept drugs, weapons and money.''
The investigation has already allowed the authorities to raid a drugs lab and make 14 arrests, including a 46-year-old man who is suspected of running the cryptophone company. Around £80,000 in cash has been seized along with automatic weapons and drugs, including large amounts of MDMA and cocaine.
''This operation has given us a unique glimpse into a criminal world in which criminal acts were openly discussed,'' said Aart Garssen, head of the Regional Investigation Service in the Eastern Netherlands.
Mr Garssen said police had decided to reveal their operation to forestall violence, after BlackBox users started to voice suspicions about each other '' which police learned about thanks to monitoring the IronChat message traffic '' following a series of arrests.
''They suspected each other of leaking information to the police,'' said Mr Garssen. ''This mistrust among the users of the phones toward each other can lead to reprisals. Now, we're making it clear that the police intervened by using intercepted communications.''
The BlackBox IronPhone takedown is not the first time that police have taken action against a cryptophone service with alleged criminal ties. In March, the US Department of Justice charged five individuals with running a secure smartphone service called Phantom Secure that was designed and marketed to help criminals evade law enforcement agencies.
Authorities charged the men with providing the phones to individuals who used them to ship cocaine and MDMA from the US to Australia and Canada. Six-month subscriptions for the devices cost around £2,000 and the FBI said users of the service included a known member of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.
Can the White House Revoke a Reporter's Credentials? '' Foreign Policy
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:06
Today, after 50 years of covering the White House, Hearst newspapers columnist Helen Thomas announced her retirement after the widespread outrage that followed the release of a video in which she says that Jews in Israel should "go back to Germany and Poland." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Thomas's remarks "offensive and reprehensible." But if the 89-year-old Thomas had insisted on remaining, could the White House have forced her out of the press corps?
Probably not. To get accredited for the White House, a reporter first needs to be approved for a congressional press pass by the Standing Committee of Correspondents, elected by accredited reporters. (A notable exception to this rule was Jeff Gannon of the conservative website Talon News, who was repeatedly allowed to ask '-- usually friendly '-- questions during the George W. Bush administration's White House press briefings despite never being given a congressional pass. Gannon's presence in the press room became a minor scandal when liberal bloggers revealed that he had posted X-rated pictures of himself on the Internet and had worked as a gay escort.)
Among other requirements, congressional reporters must demonstrate that they work for a publication whose "principal business is the daily dissemination of original news and opinion of interest to a broad segment of the public" and is "editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government." The White House also requires an additional Secret Service background check. The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA), a professional association of journalists who cover the president, is not involved in the credentialing process, and White House reporters are not required to be WHCA members.
Once you've got the pass, you can renew it every year without additional scrutiny. More than 2,000 reporters have "hard passes" to the White House, though the vast majority don't work out of the building every day and the briefing room seats just 50 people, with standing room for about another 30.
Because administrations generally don't want to be seen as deciding who is or isn't a qualified journalist, it's unheard of for a reporter to be suspended for the quality of his or her reporting or behavior, though there are a few notable cases of reporters being barred for security reasons.
The Nation's Robert Sherrill was denied Secret Service clearance during Lyndon Johnson's administration on the grounds that he posed a physical threat to the president. (He had gotten into a few fistfights with government officials earlier in his career.) Sherrill went on to cover the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations as the Nation's White House correspondent despite being barred from the building. Even after the American Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged Sherrill's barring in federal court, he didn't bother to get a pass, saying he had better things to do than "sitting around for some dumb [expletive] to give a press conference."
Another reporter who fell afoul of White House security rules was Trude Feldman, a longtime freelancer for a number of mostly Jewish newspapers who covered every president from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. Feldman was famous for her softball interview style '-- she irritated other correspondents by scoring a rare interview with Bill Clinton at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and asking him such probing questions as, "How will you strive to be a better president as well as a global leader?" Feldman was suspended from the White House for 90 days in 2001 after security cameras caught her rifling through a press aide's desk late at night. Feldman returned, eventually retiring in 2007.
The White House may frown on trespassing, but assaulting fellow reporters is apparently tolerated. Notorious press room eccentric Naomi Nover inherited a hard pass from her husband, a former Denver Post reporter, in 1973 and paid her own way on nearly every presidential trip abroad until her death in 1995 despite never actually doing any reporting. Once, during the Carter administration, she began swinging her handbag at Baltimore Sun correspondent Carl Leubsdorf, whom she thought had been laughing at her. Some years later, the 4'11'' Nover whacked Los Angeles Times photographer Bernie Boston, who was blocking her view of Ronald Reagan and Mother Theresa, with an umbrella.
Other dubious press corps veterans include Baltimore radio host Les Kinsolving, who covers the White House for the conspiratorially minded website WorldNetDaily. On the rare occasions when he gets called on, Kinsolving is known for launching into opinionated diatribes that only occasionally take the form of questions. Lately he has become fixated on the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Kinsolving bills himself on his own website as "one of the few who has the guts to ask probing questions and even providing [sic] comic relief."
Another unusual fixture is Indian journalist Raghubir Goyal, who reports on the White House for the India Globe, a publication whose website contains no content. Goyal is known for asking lengthy questions about India policy, particularly on Kashmir, no matter what else is going on in the world. He became known as "Goyal the Foil" during the Bush administration because of Press Secretary Scott McClellan's habit of calling on him when facing tough questions from other reporters. Goyal recently raised some eyebrows by asking Gibbs about the Obama administration's stance on yoga.
Thanks to the White House Correspondents Association
Got a question for the FP Explainer? Email explainer [at] foreignpolicy.com.
How Google is slowing innovation | The JotForm Blog
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:04
It was 1995 and the universe was deep in battle'...
A fearsome empire was striving for world domination and crushing their competitors with an iron fist.
Their strategy?
Embrace, extend, extinguish.
Meanwhile, an impertinent upstart was lurking in the wings'Š'--'Šone that would eventually bid to overcome the empire.
The upstart's motto?
Don't be evil.
Ok, this might sound like the intro to a superhero movie.
But it's the tale of two of the mightiest corporations of all time: Microsoft and Google.
The killer twist?
The good guys turned to the dark side.
They took Microsoft's rallying cry and made it their own.
Standards exist for a reasonI'm sitting in my favorite coffee shop as I write this. Their lattes are strong and the wifi is speedy.
Of course, once in a while, I have login problems, or poor data speeds'Š'--'Šbut it's rare.
It's rare because hardware manufacturers and software developers have agreed on a standard. In fact, a few of them: as Andy Tanenbaum said,
''the nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from.''
Our modern world relies on people agreeing to work by common rules. And in the online sphere, this begins with open standards. As the principles state:
Open standards make it possible for the smallest supplier to compete with the largest. They make data open for any citizen to audit. They unlock the transformative power of open source software.
Think of good old plain text files.
For the English-speaking world, the underlying standard is ASCII, which sets down the rules for encoding the alphabet as 0s and 1s.
Now, imagine a universe in which you had to pay a $1 licensing fee every time you wanted to read or write a text file in ASCII. It would be a nightmare, right?
Luckily, that would never happen. Because we have rules.
But sometimes, people try to game the systemTake HTML, the standard language for writing web pages, invented in the '90s by Tim Berners-Lee.
The HTML specification has evolved over the years, and the W3C acts as a forum for gaining specification consensus from large players such as Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft.
But there's been a history of skirmishes, with different companies proposing their own variants. During the first browser wars, Netscape proposed a <blink> tag, while Microsoft came up with <marquee>, which was meant to cause text to scroll in various directions.
There's no problem with that (apart from lousy aesthetics), right? Wrong. Because only Netscape Navigator knew what to do with <blink>, and only Internet Explorer knew what to do with <marquee>.
They were modifying a standard so that it would only run with their software.
They were trying to build a monopoly.
The quest for dominationMicrosoft famously coined the phrase ''embrace, extend, extinguish'' to describe their strategy for dominating markets where competitors benefited from open standards.
Here's an example of how it played out.
Back in the day, the most powerful PC software package was Lotus 1''2'' 3. It was the classic killer app for the IBM PC and Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system.
To overcome Lotus, Microsoft knew it had to embrace what made the product unique. This meant it had to load Lotus files and the macros that came with them. Enter Excel, a spreadsheet program that initially ran on Macs.
The functionality of Excel was as similar to Lotus as it could be without being a blatant rip-off. So close, in fact, that people could switch from Lotus to Excel with minimal pain.
What's more, Microsoft used the graphics capabilities of Macs to equip Excel with a cool GUI. This was a leap ahead of standard MS-DOS packages like Lotus 1''2''3.
Next, Microsoft extended by creating Office: the holy trinity of Excel, Word, and Powerpoint, all running together on Windows. By 1995, these programs were working together well, and although there were a number of word processors to choose from, there weren't any compelling competitors for Excel on Windows.
Microsoft sharpened their competitive edge with company discounts and clever Office 95 marketing, and as a result, most major businesses were adopting it as their standardized software suite'Š'--'Šand Excel was part of the bundle. No need to buy a standalone package like Lotus 1''2''3.
Meanwhile, Symphony'Š'--'Šthe Lotus integrated package for MS-DOS that aimed to compete with Office'Š'--'Šnever prospered and was eventually abandoned. Microsoft had officially extinguished Lotus 1''2''3.
They wanted Office to become the gold standard for productivity software. And they succeeded. But not long after establishing the dominance of their desktop operating system, Microsoft realized that another challenge was looming.
The World Wide Web was becoming wildly successful, to an extent that few people had foreseen.
Not only could people browse websites that were outside Microsoft's control, but Netscape introduced the JavaScript scripting language which allowed developers to write code that ran in the browser. In effect, Netscape was inventing a new operating system, distributed between the client-side browser and the remote server.
Even worse, content on the web was platform-agnostic: browsers worked just fine on Macs and Unix as well as Windows, so an application that ran in the browser would rip open the Microsoft business model.
In order to get a piece of the action, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer (IE) in 1995 as a direct competitor to Netscape Navigator. Initially, it only had a tiny market share: less than 10% by the close of 1996. So this was more of an air kiss than a full embrace of the internet.
Things heated up with the release of IE3, bundled as a free component of Windows in 1996, and integrating a number of apps that were part of the Microsoft ecosystem: an internet mail client (later to become Outlook Express), an address book, and the Windows Media Player. IE4 continued the extend theme by bundling programs for the chat and video conferencing.
At the same time, Microsoft re-engineered the Windows desktop look and feel to make it more like browsing a web page. How did Netscape Navigator fit into this cozy set up?
Not at all'Š'--'Šit functioned increasingly worse on the Microsoft operating system. By the end of the decade, Internet Explorer had 86% of the browser market.
'' Game over for Netscape.
Today, Microsoft is working hard to shed its 'evil' reputation, contributing to open source and supporting open standards.
But we may have a new villain on our hands'...
Google: the new king of Embrace, Extend, ExtinguishIt was March 31, 2004.
The headlines were in a frenzy:
Google, the dominant Internet search company, is planning to up the stakes in its intensifying competition with Yahoo and Microsoft by unveiling a new consumer-oriented electronic mail service.
At the time, the news seemed outrageous. A search engine company? Launching a free email service? With an alleged storage capacity of 1GB'Š'--'Š500 times bigger than what Microsoft's Hotmail offered?!
In fact, when April 1st rolled around and Google issued a press release officially announcing Gmail, most people took it as a far-fetched hoax.
But Gmail was no April Fool's Day joke.Boasting massive storage, a slick interface, instant search, and personalization options, it was real'Š'--'Šand revolutionary.
Not only did Gmail blow Hotmail and Yahoo Mail out of the water, but it was also the first app with the potential to replace conventional PC software.
According to Georges Harik, who was responsible for most of Google's new products at the time:
''It was a pretty big moment for the Internet. Taking something that hadn't been worked on for years but was central, and fixing it.''
Google had officially extended email. And, while they didn't extinguish other email providers entirely, they certainly came close.
Then there's AMP. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is a technology that enables web pages to load more rapidly on mobile devices.
AMP was originally targeted at news publishers, to compete with Facebook's Instant Articles, but it has now far outstripped the latter, after being adopted by platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn
As a strategy, AMP is Google's most brazen. It serves as a vehicle for routing users through the Google Content Delivery Network even if they're reading content from other websites. Sites that don't adopt AMP get pushed out of Google mobile search results and into oblivion.
Or, extinguished.
There's also the infamous case of Google Reader, which dug the grave for RSS (Rich Site Summary).
RSS's decline was evident before Google axed it, but killing Reader dealt a massive blow to any of RSS's remaining momentum. Google said themselves they wanted to consolidate users onto the rest of their services'Š'--'Šnone of which support any open syndication standards.
Tech writer Ed Bott summarizes eloquently:
''The short life and sad death of Google Reader tells a familiar story of how Google swept into a crowded field, killed off almost all credible competition with a free product, and then arbitrarily killed that product when it no longer had a use for it.''
Last but not least, there's PDF.
To recap:
PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe until it was released as an open standard in 2008. When it was published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000''1:2008, control of the specification passed to an ISO Committee of volunteer industry experts. In 2008, Adobe published a Public Patent License to ISO 32000''1 granting royalty-free rights for all patents owned by Adobe that are necessary to make, use, sell, and distribute PDF compliant implementations.
PDFs have a feature that allows forms to be submitted. This feature previously worked on all PDF viewers (such as Adobe Acrobat and Apple Preview). That is until Chrome started their own viewers for PDF files.
As Google's browser gained market share (now hitting over 60% in the usage stakes), most people began viewing PDFs in Chrome's native PDF reader. But, here's the kicker: Chrome doesn't support all of PDF's features.
For example, my company, JotForm, has a feature called fillable PDF Forms. It lets you create PDF forms, which you can submit.
So, forms created with Adobe or JotForm's PDF tool often don't work on Chrome. We have to instruct people to use Adobe Acrobat instead, which creates needless friction.
In a nutshell, Google's behavior prevents us from investing more deeply in the PDF Forms.
Our feature is being extinguished before our eyes.
So all of this begs the question:
Does Google really support open source?
Google vs. AppleIn 1995, it was Microsoft vs. Netscape.
In 2018, it's Google vs. Apple.
The only difference lies in strategy. Google is playing the long game to take Apple down.
Rather than create products that are a dramatic improvement on Apple's, they make them almost-as-good, or equally good'Š'--'Šand cheaper.
Take Chromebooks. They aren't as slick and speedy as Macbooks. But they offer similar usability'Š'--'Šand you can buy three for the cost of one iPad. Plus, they're brilliantly marketed.
Or Android. It's as close a replica to iOS as you can imagine.
Or Pixel. Compared to the iPhone, it has a better camera, faster charging, smoother performance, and a more useful digital assistant, for a lower price.
G oogle is extending with their growing selection of products, including an Amazon Echo competitor, a smart router, TV, a VR headset, and a list of nest devices. Although these products will work mostly with iOS devices, they will work better with Android phones, and/or the Pixel.
All of these factors make migration look increasingly more promising. Apple has been cutting manufacturing costs while pricing its products ever higher, which means the user experience has plummeted.
Not to mention the scandal that erupted when we learned that Apple deliberately slows older products in a bid to encourage users to upgrade.
All of these factors lay fertile ground for Google to overtake Apple.
In fact, Apple customer loyalty is arguably the only real obstacle in Google's way. But if enough people get frustrated with Apple's pricing strategy, it could signal the end of Apple's reign as we know it.
The drive for innovationTwenty years ago, the browser wars were raging.
There was stiff competition'Š'--'Šand that was a good thing because it prevented a monopoly.
With competition comes innovation. In fact, this period of intense rivalry led to the web we have now.
But today? The startup culture is less ''what can we build next?'' and more ''what's our exit strategy?''
The Big Tech Five continue to swallow up smaller companies. And as their monopoly grows, I'd argue that innovation is dwindling.
Openness and added value are being sacrificed at the altar of revenue and market share. And Google is at the forefront of this. Most recently, Chrome announced their ''most controversial initiative yet'': fundamentally rethinking URLs across the web. Without a URL, the only way to access a page is via Google.
Ed Bott compares Google to Godzilla:
'''... sweeping through the landscape and crushing anything in its path because few startups can compete with a free product from Google.''
And he's right. Google's convenience and power are overwhelming. But we can't let that blind us to the reality of what they're doing.
However you look at it, embrace, extend, extinguish is pivotal to Google's strategy. Granted, no one in Google is sending explicit instructions as Bill Gates once did, but they don't need to'Š'--'Šthe end result is the same.
EEE certainly looks different today than it did in 2000; it's subtler, friendlier, more politically correct.
But it's just as dangerous. The war isn't over. We must fight to diversify the internet, uphold open standards, and stamp out monopoly.
Migrant Caravan Developments: LGBT Splinter Group The 1st To Arrive In Tijuana : NPR
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:00
A group of mostly LGBT Central American migrants are the first to reach northern Mexico. On Sunday about 80 of them arrived in Tijuana. They plan to apply for asylum as early as Thursday. Rodrigo Abd/AP hide caption
toggle caption Rodrigo Abd/AP A group of mostly LGBT Central American migrants are the first to reach northern Mexico. On Sunday about 80 of them arrived in Tijuana. They plan to apply for asylum as early as Thursday.
Rodrigo Abd/AP A group of LGBT migrants who were part of the massive caravan slowly marching toward the U.S. made it to the coastal border city of Tijuana on Sunday. They are the first of more than 3,600 Central Americans to reach the northern border of Mexico.
About 80 migrants, the majority of whom identify as LGBT, splintered off from the larger group in Mexico City after weeks of what they say was discriminatory treatment by local residents and other travelers, Honduran migrant Cesar Mejia told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.
"Whenever we arrived at a stopping point the LGBT community was the last to be taken into account in every way. So our goal was to change that and say, 'This time we are going to be first,' " Mejia said.
Members of the group in Tijuana include Honduran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan and Salvadoran men and women, including transgender men and women, and also a handful of children. They are weeks ahead of the thousands who are on foot; the largest group of migrants is in Guadalajara, Mexico '-- nearly 1,400 miles south of Tijuana.
Most plan to use their status as members of a persecuted class to request asylum in the U.S. as early as Thursday.
"We are fleeing a country where there's a lot of crime against us," an unidentified transgender woman, told reporters.
The LGBT migrants gravitated toward one another within the caravan and began organizing en route. An internal count revealed there were more than 120 LGBT people among them, Voice of San Diego reported. Their number emboldened the collective to forge their own path northward, which they did after linking up with an assortment of U.S. and Mexico-based LGBT groups that paid for the asylum-seekers to travel by bus, Univision said.
"When we entered Mexican territory, those organizations began to help us. We did not contact them; they learned from our group thanks to the media and decided to help us," Mejia said.
On Sunday the group arrived at an upscale neighborhood called Coronado in Playas de Tijuana just a few miles from the San Diego port of entry. They were dropped off in the tony enclave in small groups by Mexican immigration officials who had been alerted of the migrants' arrival in nearby Mexicali. But upon their arrival they were met with anger from local residents who said they should have been warned by local authorities that LGBT people would be renting the four-bedroom house.
"This is a peaceful neighborhood and we don't want any trouble," Jose Roberto Martinez told Mejia. He said he lived in the neighborhood and that families in the area had survived terrible violence that plagued the region in the early 2000s '-- a result of the vicious drug wars in Tijuana.
"We aren't safe here," a woman who lives in the neighborhood said. "There could be someone within your group that could hurt us."
Another woman demanded to know how the group had come up with the money to pay the rental fee for the expensive house. Mejia assured the community they were not backed by narcotraffickers.
Mejia spoke with reporters about the arduous journey that began on Oct. 12, recounting instances in which many LGBT migrants were denied food and access to showers by other members of the caravan or local groups providing aid.
"There was no physical abuse but there was plenty of verbal abuse," a transgender woman told reporters, although she added it was nothing compared to the reality of living as a transgender woman in her home country of Honduras.
Erick Dubon told Telemundo 20 that he was forced into prostitution in Honduras. With no options for any other type of work, he said, he had to choose between becoming a thief or sleeping with men for money. He chose the latter and that made him vulnerable to attacks. Telemundo reported Dubon's body is covered in scars from a violent assault.
Nehemias de Leon shared similar stories about living in Guatemala. He said the trip north was difficult and frightening, and that the chances of obtaining asylum are slim in light of the Trump administration's rhetoric regarding the caravan and immigrants in general. But Leon said he'll never go back. "It would be a death sentence," he said.
Among the few possessions Leon has carried with him along the 2,400 mile journey are documents he said are proof of the danger he faces living as a gay man in his country of origin.
"We want to do things in order, in the right way," Mejia told reporters. He said the LGBT group plans to request asylum at the San Ysidro or Otay Mesa ports of entry. "We are waiting for our representatives," he added.
C(C)sar Palencia, the head of migrant services for Tijuana's municipal government, told Univision there are more than 2,000 people already waiting for an interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. He anticipates anyone who applies now will have to wait until the end of the year for an interview.
Amazon Alexa microwave review
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:58
Tech Guide The Amazon microwave with an Amazon Echo Plus on top, which controls it.
Amazon is now selling a $60 microwave that you can talk to through Amazon Alexa, as long as you already own an Amazon Echo speaker.
That means you can ask it to cook you stuff, instead of fiddling with microwave controls and digging through cooking pre-set menus. It's good, and I think I'll replace my aging home microwave with it.
Here's what you need to know:
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Amazon Basics Microwave
Look, I get how silly of an idea this is. Have we as a civilization become so lazy that we can't just tap a couple of buttons to cook a bag of popcorn? Yeah, maybe we have. At least if you're like me and don't fancy yourself much of a conquistador of the kitchen.
I really liked using Amazon's microwave, since I'm squarely in the target audience. Amazon told me that it found most people keep tapping the "add 30 seconds button" on microwaves and don't ultimately know how long to cook something. So, the thing you're trying to cook, maybe a refrigerated cheeseburger, ends up being too cold or too hot.
I started my morning off asking Alexa to reheat my coffee. I should have asked to heat up a cup, because Amazon then asked me "how much volume?" The proper question should have been "Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee." When I said that, Alexa automatically set the timer for 1:15 and started the microwave. There are dozens of presets like this available at launch, like for my coffee or reheating soup or apple cider.
It thawed this frozen chicken. (This was before I cooked it.)
You can also defrost some foods, such as vegetables or meat. It's a good idea: Normally I have no idea how to cook things without a label.
I asked Alexa to defrost what I guessed was 12 ounces of frozen chicken, and it set the timer for 8:48. It worked!
Amazon told me it worked with a food science lab to get the proper timings for all of these food items.
All of this is really easy to set up.
You just open the Alexa app on an iPhone or Android device, tap an icon for "devices," then choose to add a microwave. The app walks you through the rest of set-up and even connects to your Wi-Fi automatically if you've already set it up with an Echo or Amazon Fire TV product.
As I mentioned before, you need to have an Amazon Echo if you want to give the microwave instructions by voice '-- there isn't a speaker built into the microwave '-- but any model will do. Once I connected it to the Echo through the app, I was able to talk to the microwave through the Echo.
There's also a button on the microwave that automatically activates the Echo you have paired up if you don't want to say "Hey Alexa" every time.
Stephen Brashear | Getty Images
An 'Amazonbasics Microwave,' which can be controlled by Alexa, is pictured at Amazon Headquarters shortly after being launched, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington. Amazon launched more than 70 Alexa-enabled products during the event. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
The Echo that connects to the microwave can be used for anything else, too. So I used it to play music in the kitchen, to hear how the New York Giants were playing on Monday night and more.
I had to manually cook this frozen dinner. Oh no!
It's a pretty small microwave at 0.7-cubic feet, so you can't toss a bunch of slices of pizza into it as you might with a bigger one. But Amazon told me that the size and the power (700 watts) are the most popular it sells online, so I guess people like these smaller microwaves.
Also, there are some things Alexa doesn't know how to do, and that can occasionally cause confusion.
I couldn't ask it to cook up a frozen dinner of beef teriyaki I had sitting in the freezer by voice. The frozen dinner said to cook it in an 1100-watt microwave for up to 4 minutes and 30 seconds, but I had no idea how long to cook it in this less-powerful microwave.
The microwave is kind of small, but Amazon said it's the most popular size and power it sells.
Amazon said it's adding other presets in the future, but it's still kind of limited. But this was really not a big deal. I just entered the time and power setting in manually like I normally would on any other microwave.
It's just not that smart ... yet.
Some other things to know There's an Alexa button which activates a nearby Echo (you need to own an Echo also.) Or you can say "Hey Alexa.."
It's also important to understand that Amazon wants to use the microwave to help sell you things.
The company says that's not the end goal of the microwave '-- rather it just wants to make things easier for consumers '-- but it's definitely an added convenience that some people could find off-putting. For instance, you can automatically have it reorder popcorn when it knows you're out. That means I could enter in that I had 3 bags of popcorn left and the microwave would count how many times I microwaved popcorn, then automatically order more. I didn't set this up, particularly because I rarely eat popcorn and don't need bulk re-orders of it.
That's part of a bigger story at play here: The microwave is a proof-of-concept for something called Amazon Alexa Connect Kit. This is a hardware development kit it's giving to partners such as Procter & Gamble, Hamilton Beach and others, so that they can build this functionality into other devices. That means someday Amazon may be able to track how much soap you use in a future Alexa-connected dishwasher, coffee you drink from a coffee machine, and detergent you use in a washing machine. Then, it could reorder all of that for you directly from Amazon when you run out '-- if you want it to.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Amazon introduces an Alexa-connected microwave oven on Sept. 20, 2018.
Do you need a microwave you can talk to? You probably don't.
But if you're fascinated with the smart home and using your voice to control everything, even down to warming up a cup of coffee, then sure, the Amazon Basics Microwave works well. College kids would probably love it, if you need ideas for the holidays, and it's only $60, although that assumes you already have an Echo handy. If not, you can pair it with the Echo Dot for another $40 or even less (since the Dot is often on sale).
I'm redoing my kitchen at home, though, and I need something much larger and maybe a little better looking. Amazon's microwave is as plain as can be, with a glossy black surface and old-school green clock interface (which, by the way, updates itself so you never get a blinking clock when the power goes out).
But, ultimately, it works, it's cheap and it's cool. Plus, it's a taste of what Amazon's working with other partners to build. Expect to see a lot more of these sorts of home appliances in the near future.
Amazon selects New York City and Northern Virginia for new headquarters
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:53
Amazon to invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters, and announces Nashville as new Operations Center of Excellence with more than 5,000 jobs.
Amazon today announced that we have selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for our new headquarters. Amazon will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees each in New York City and Arlington. The new locations will join Seattle as the company's three headquarters in North America. In addition, Amazon announced that it has selected Nashville for a new Center of Excellence for its Operations business, which is responsible for the company's customer fulfillment, transportation, supply chain, and other similar activities. The Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville will create more than 5,000 jobs.
The new Washington, D.C. metro headquarters in Arlington will be located in National Landing, and the New York City headquarters will be located in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. Amazon's investments in each new headquarters will spur the creation of tens of thousands of additional jobs in the surrounding communities. Hiring at both the new headquarters will begin in 2019. The Operations Center of Excellence will be located in downtown Nashville as part of a new development site just north of the Gulch, and hiring will also begin in 2019.
''We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,'' said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. ''These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.''
Amazon in Long Island City in New York CityLocated just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan and the Upper East Side, Long Island City is a mixed-use community where arts and industry intersect. It is a diverse community with a unique blend of cultural institutions, arts organizations, new and converted housing, restaurants, bars, breweries, waterfront parks, hotels, academic institutions, and small and large tech sector and industrial businesses. Long Island City has some of the best transit access in New York City, with 8 subway lines, 13 bus lines, commuter rail, a bike-sharing service, and ferries serving the area, and LaGuardia and JFK airports are in close proximity.As part of Amazon's new headquarters, New York and Long Island City will benefit from more than 25,000 full-time high-paying jobs; approximately $2.5 billion in Amazon investment; 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space with an opportunity to expand to 8 million square feet; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years as a result of Amazon's investment and job creation.Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion based on the company creating 25,000 jobs in Long Island City. This includes a refundable tax credit through New York State's Excelsior Program of up to $1.2 billion calculated as a percentage of the salaries Amazon expects to pay employees over the next 10 years, which equates to $48,000 per job for 25,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000; and a cash grant from Empire State Development of $325 million based on the square footage of buildings occupied in the next 10 years. Amazon will receive these incentives over the next decade based on the incremental jobs it creates each year and as it reaches building occupancy targets. The company will separately apply for as-of-right incentives including New York City's Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) and New York City's Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP). The community will benefit from New York City providing funding through a Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) program based on Amazon's property taxes on a portion of the development site to fund community infrastructure improvements developed through input from residents during the planning process. Amazon has agreed to donate space on its campus for a tech startup incubator and for use by artists and industrial businesses, and Amazon will donate a site for a new primary or intermediary public school. The company will also invest in infrastructure improvements and new green spaces.''When I took office, I said we would build a new New York State '' one that is fiscally responsible and fosters a business climate that is attractive to growing companies and the industries of tomorrow. We've delivered on those promises and more, and today, with Amazon committing to expand its headquarters in Long Island City, New York can proudly say that we have attracted one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history,'' said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. ''With an average salary of $150,000 per year for the tens of thousands of new jobs Amazon is creating in Queens, economic opportunity and investment will flourish for the entire region. Amazon understands that New York has everything the company needs to continue its growth. The State's more than $100 billion transportation infrastructure program '' the most ambitious in our history '' combined with our education initiatives like K-12 tech education and the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship program, will help ensure long-term success and an unrivaled talent pool for Amazon.''
''This is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind. We are thrilled that Amazon has selected New York City for its new headquarters,'' said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. ''New Yorkers will get tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs, and Amazon will get the best talent anywhere in the world. We're going to use this opportunity to open up good careers in tech to thousands of people looking for their foothold in the new economy, including those in City colleges and public housing. The City and State are working closely together to make sure Amazon's expansion is planned smartly, and to ensure this fast growing neighborhood has the transportation, schools, and infrastructure it needs.''
Amazon in National Landing in Arlington, VirginiaNational Landing is an urban community in Northern Virginia located less than 3 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. The area is served by 3 Metro stations, commuter rail access, and Reagan National Airport '' all within walking distance. The community has a variety of hotels, restaurants, high-rise apartment buildings, retail, and commercial offices. National Landing has abundant parks and open space with sports and cultural events for residents of all ages throughout the year. As part of Amazon's new headquarters, Virginia and Arlington will benefit from more than 25,000 full-time high-paying jobs; approximately $2.5 billion in Amazon investment; 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space with the opportunity to expand to 8 million square feet; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of $3.2 billion over the next 20 years as a result of Amazon's investment and job creation.Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of $573 million based on the company creating 25,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000 in Arlington. This includes a workforce cash grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia of up to $550 million based on $22,000 for each job created over the next 12 years. Amazon will only receive this incentive if it creates the forecasted high-paying jobs. The company will also receive a cash grant from Arlington of $23 million over 15 years based on the incremental growth of the existing local Transient Occupancy Tax, a tax on hotel rooms. The community and Amazon employees will benefit from the Commonwealth investing $195 million in infrastructure in the neighborhood, including improvements to the Crystal City and the Potomac Yard Metro stations; a pedestrian bridge connecting National Landing and Reagan National Airport; and work to improve safety, accessibility, and the pedestrian experience crossing Route 1 over the next 10 years. Arlington will also dedicate an estimated $28 million based on 12% of future property tax revenues earned from an existing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for on-site infrastructure and open space in National Landing.''This is a big win for Virginia '' I'm proud Amazon recognizes the tremendous assets the Commonwealth has to offer and plans to deepen its roots here,'' said Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia. ''Virginia put together a proposal for Amazon that we believe represents a new model of economic development for the 21st century, and I'm excited to say that our innovative approach was successful. The majority of Virginia's partnership proposal consists of investments in our education and transportation infrastructure that will bolster the features that make Virginia so attractive: a strong and talented workforce, a stable and competitive business climate, and a world-class higher education system.''
''We are proud that Amazon has selected National Landing for a major new headquarters. This is, above all, a validation of our community's commitment to sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and diversity,'' said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. ''The strength of our workforce coupled with our proximity to the nation's capital makes us an attractive business location. But Arlington's real strength is the decades of planning that have produced one of the most vibrant, civically engaged communities in the world. Those plans have paved the way for this investment, and we look forward to engaging the Arlington community about Amazon's plans and how we can grow together.''
Amazon's new Operations Center of Excellence in NashvilleDowntown Nashville, along the Cumberland River, is the heart of the city just north of the Gulch and is home to urban living, retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, hospitality, open green spaces, and offices. The area is served by commuter rail, more than a dozen bus routes, and is a 15-minute drive to Nashville International Airport.As part of Amazon's investment, Tennessee, Davidson County and the city of Nashville will benefit from 5,000 full-time, high-paying jobs; over $230 million in investment; 1 million square feet of energy-efficient office space; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $1 billion over the next 10 years as a result of Amazon's investment and job creation.Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000 in Nashville. This includes a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee of $65 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs over the next 7 years, which is equivalent to $13,000 per job; a cash grant from the city of Nashville of up to $15 million based on $500 for each job created over the next 7 years; and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state of Tennessee of $21.7 million based on $4,500 per new job over the next 7 years. ''We want to thank Amazon for its continued investment in the state of Tennessee and are excited about the additional 5,000 corporate jobs they will be creating in Nashville,'' said Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee. ''It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents.''
''Amazon's decision to expand its presence in Nashville is a direct result of the talented workforce and strong community we've built here,'' said Mayor David Briley of Nashville. ''These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premiere location for business investment. We thank Amazon for investing in Nashville, and we look forward to welcoming them to this community.''
With more than 610,000 employees worldwide, including over 250,000 in North America, Amazon ranks #1 on American Customer Satisfaction Index, #2 on Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies, #1 on The Harris Poll's Corporate Reputation survey, and #1 on LinkedIn's U.S. Top Companies, a ranking recognizing the most desirable workplaces in the country. Amazon was also recently included in the Military Times' Best for Vets list of companies committed to providing opportunities for military veterans.
All economic impact and incentive figures are best estimates calculated by relevant entities in each of the selected communities based on current information.
1. Why did Amazon pick more than one location for its new headquarters?We can recruit more top talent by being in two locations. These are fantastic cities that attract a lot of great talent.
2. What differentiates the two new headquarters locations from the corporate offices and development centers Amazon has across the U.S. and around the world?Amazon's biggest office outside of Seattle in the U.S. has 3,100 employees '' we are planning to grow both these new headquarters to over 25,000. These headquarters locations will have far more employees, senior leaders, and we will do more cross-company meetings and events at these headquarters, including company-wide All Hands meetings, Shareholder Meetings, Board of Directors meetings, and more.
3. How did you pick New York City and Northern Virginia as headquarters?We were looking for a location with strong local and regional talent'--particularly in software development and related fields'--to continue hiring and innovating on behalf of our customers.
4. Where will the headquarters be located in New York City and Arlington? Amazon in Northern Virginia is in National Landing in Arlington
Download the map here.
Amazon in New York City is in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens
Download the map here.
5. What is the Operations Center of Excellence and where will it be located in Nashville?Our Retail Operations division handles customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, and supply chain, amongst others. The Operations Center of Excellence will be the Eastern U.S. regional hub for the tech and management functions of this division. It will be located in downtown Nashville just north of The Gulch.
Amazon Operations Center of Excellence is north of the Gulch in downtown Nashville
Download the map here.
6. What role did economic incentives play in Amazon picking these locations and what incentives have been agreed?Economic incentives were one factor in our decision'--but attracting top talent was the leading driver. Our agreements with each location may be downloaded:New York City, New York hereArlington, Virginia here and hereNashville, Tennessee here and here
7. Are you continuing to hire in the Seattle area? Yes. We currently have more than 8,000 positions open and over 45,000 Amazonians in the Seattle area.
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BitChute's Immediate Removal from PayPal '' BitChute
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:38
A few hours ago BitChute received a notice that our PayPal account has been permanently limited, with immediate effect, and that we will no longer be able to accept or send payments.
The notice included the following information: ''The User Agreement for PayPal Service states that PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to limit an account for any violation of the User Agreement, including the Acceptable Use Policy.'' This decision seems to be final although we will try to appeal.
PayPal's acceptable use policy can be found here: https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/ua/acceptableuse-full?locale.x=en_GB
BitChute has had a Paypal account since 2016, we have used it to settle payments and to receive subscription payments from supporters along with other discretionary payments. It's our belief that it is our stand against the current trend in censorship that has resulted in this action.
BitChute is politically neutral and we have a diverse community in interests and backgrounds. We require that users only upload legal content that complies with our terms and community guidelines. We carry out moderation to remove all content that breaches our terms and community guidelines, including but not limited to videos from terrorists, child abuse or pirated video. For more details please see our terms and community guidelines:
BitChute is pro-free expression which is a universal human right. Furthermore, censorship and deplatforming are poor ways to tackle societal problems as they merely create echo chambers that can lead to bigger problems in the long run. It's important to platform all idea's as this exposes them to immediate opposition and allows for a public deconstruction of any flaws they may contain. If you are against bigotry or racism or hateful ideologies, you should be pro-free expression.
What's Next?We are working to get a replacement credit card payments processor and will keep all our supporters updated on our progress. In the meantime if you are a supporter, your support level will be held in place on the site with all benefits intact, you needn't make any changes. The reward tiers that include mugs and t-shirts will be made available once the payments have resumed.
If you are able to support us in some other ways in the meantime I have provided a link to our help us grow page.
https://www.bitchute.com/help-us-grow/. Any support you can provide will be most appreciated.
Ray Vahey
BitChute Founder and CEO
Podcast #167 - Alternative Histories of Podcasting - Radio Survivor
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:24
Do you remember audioblogging? Prof. Andrew Bottomley does, and he's here to tell some alternative histories of podcasting. From ''Geek of the Week'' to Odeo, he illuminates many more bygone shows and platforms from the 1990s and early 2000s that gave rise to what we've now settled on calling ''podcasts,'' for better or worse.
Bottomley is assistant professor of Communication and Media at SUNY Oneonta.
Podcast: Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | More
Radio Survivor is a listener-supported podcast. You can support us two ways:Make a monthly contribution through our Patreon campaign.Make a one-time or recurring donation with any major credit card via PayPal.Show Notes:From the Internet Archive:Carl Malamud's Internet Talk RadioAudioblog.com Audioblog founder Noah Glass' first audioblog postWikipedia: OdeoJournalist Ben Hammersley's first use of the word ''podcasting'' in The GuardianWikipedia: The Daily Source Code podcastPodcast #160 '' Marking a Quarter-Century of Internet RadioAbout Paul RiismandelPaul Riismandel is co-founder and operations director of Radio Survivor. He is also Director of Marketing and Insights for Midroll, a Stitcher company. Paul has more than 25 years of experience in non-commercial radio and instructional media.
Subscribe & ConnectSubscribe to the free weekly Radio Survivor Bulletin:
audioblogging, featured, Odeo, Podcasting
Birth control shortage impacting northern pharmacies | The Northern Times
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:21
A shortage of birth control pills means that a particular version of the pill will be hard to come by in the north for the time being.
Translation by Traci White
Fiona Westerhof, the spokesperson for the Groningen Pharmacists Union, told Dagblad van het Noorden that a number of regional pharmacies are running out of Microgynon 30 and non-name brand versions of the same medication.
The shortage is only impacting this specific type of pill, but switching from one type of birth control medication to another is not so simple due to the hormonal composition of the pills and their side effects.
The companies that produce the components of the pill are located in Asian countries such as China, India and Turkey. A large batch of Microgynon 30 was recently rejected, which means that Dutch pharmacies are not getting a shipment they were counting on. Pharmacies are working through their remaining stocks at the moment, and the shortage is not expected to last very long.
Dagblad van het Noorden writes that the Dutch market is traditionally less attractive for large pharmaceutical companies due to the country selling drugs for unusually low prices. The low prices are dictated by strict health insurance policies in the Netherlands.
Photo source: Wikipedia
Migrants fill Tijuana shelters, more on way to US border
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:14
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) '-- The first members of a caravan of Central Americans to reach the U.S. border slept in overcrowded shelters and in tents with a view of armed U.S. Border Patrol agents, with many saying they will wait for other migrants to join them before making their next moves.
Hundreds of migrants have arrived by bus in Tijuana since Tuesday, occupying the little space still available in the city's shelters and spilling onto an oceanfront plaza sandwiched between an old bullring and a border fence topped with recently installed concertina wire.
Some men climbed up on the fence to take a look at the other side Wednesday. Women and young children sleeping in tents on the plaza could see Border Patrol agents carrying machine guns in camouflage gear with San Diego's skyline in the distance.
The Juventud 2000 shelter squeezed in 15 women and their children, bringing occupancy to nearly 200, or double its regular capacity. Others were turned away. Several dozen migrants, mostly single men, spent the night at a beach that is cut by the towering border wall of metal bars
The first arrivals generally received a warm welcome despite Tijuana's shelter system to house migrants being at capacity. Migrants lined up for food while doctors checked those fighting colds and other ailments.
Mexican authorities said 398 Central American migrants travelling in caravan, arrived in the border city of Tijuana on Wednesday. (Nov. 14)
Some migrants said they would seek asylum at a U.S. border crossing, while others said they might attempt to elude U.S. authorities by crossing illegally or perhaps settle in Tijuana. But all of about a dozen people interviewed Wednesday said they would first wait for others from the migrant caravan to arrive and gather more information.
''We have to see what we're offered, just so they don't send us back to our country,'' said Jairon Sorto, a 22-year-old Honduran who arrived by bus Wednesday.
Sorto said he would consider staying in Tijuana if he could get asylum from Mexico. He said he refused to consider Mexico's offer of asylum in the southern part of the country because it was too close to Honduras and he felt unsafe from his country's gangs.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, visited U.S. troops posted at the border in Texas and said the deployment of military personnel ordered by President Donald Trump provides good training for war, despite criticism that the effort is a waste of taxpayer money and a political stunt. Most of the troops are in Texas, more than 1,500 miles from where the caravan is arriving.
On Wednesday, there was no evidence of caravan members at Tijuana's main border crossing to San Diego, where asylum seekers gather every morning. The San Ysidro port of entry, the busiest crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border, processes only about 100 asylum claims a day, resulting in waits of five weeks even before migrants in the caravan began to arrive.
The first wave of migrants in the caravan, which became a central theme of the recent U.S. election, began arriving in Tijuana in recent days, and their numbers have grown each day. The bulk of the main caravan appeared to still be about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) from the border, but has recently been moving hundreds of miles a day by hitching rides on trucks and buses.
Mexico has offered refuge, asylum and work visas to the migrants, and its government said Monday that 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them during the 45-day application process for more permanent status. Some 533 migrants had requested a voluntary return to their countries, the government said.
The Central Americans in the caravan are the latest migrants to arrive in Tijuana with the hope of crossing into the United States. Tijuana shelters in 2016 housed Haitians who came by the thousands after making their way from Brazil with plans to get to the U.S. Since then, several thousand Haitians have remained in Tijuana, finding work. Some have married local residents and enrolled in local universities.
Claudia Coello, a 43-year-old Honduran, said she was exhausted after four days of hitchhiking and bus rides from Mexico City with her two sons, two daughters-in-law and 1-year-old grandson. As she watched her daughter-in-law and grandson lying inside a donated tent, she said she would wait for caravan leaders to explain her options.
A few people pitched tents at the Tijuana beach plaza while most, like Henry Salinas, 30, of Honduras, planned to sleep there in the open. Saying he intended to wait for thousands more in the caravan to arrive, Salinas said he hoped to jump the border fence in a large group at the same time, overwhelming Border Patrol agents.
''It's going to be all against one, one against all. All of Central America against one, and one against Central America. ... All against Trump, and Trump against all,'' he said.
On Wednesday, buses and trucks carried some migrants into the state of Sinaloa along the Gulf of California and farther northward into the border state of Sonora. The Rev. Miguel Angel Soto, director of the Casa de Migrante in the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan, said about 2,000 migrants had arrived in that area.
Small groups were also reported in the northern cities of Saltillo and Monterrey, in the region near Texas.
About 1,300 migrants in a second caravan were resting at a Mexico City stadium where the first group stayed several days last week. By early Wednesday, an additional 1,100 migrants from a third and last caravan also arrived at the stadium.
Like most of those in the third caravan, migrant Javier Pineda is from El Salvador, and hopes to reach the United States. Referring to the first group nearing the end of the journey, Pineda said, ''if they could do it, there is no reason why we can't.''
Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat reported in Tijuana, Mexico, and AP writer Maria Verza reported from Escuinapa, Mexico.
Obama made progress on criminal justice reform. Will it survive the next president? | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:10
Wayland Wilson could have been out a quarter-century earlier if he had pleaded guilty.
''I couldn't plead to something I didn't do,'' he said. ''That's why we ended up going to trial.''
It was 1993, and the drug war catalyzed by Ronald Reagan in the 80s was in full swing. The nation was in hysterics about the threat of crack cocaine, and politicians of all stripes were running on a platform of ''tough on crime''.
Wilson, a husband and a father of two, was implicated in a crack-related drug conspiracy on a tip from an informant bargaining with prosecutors for less time. He was pressured to take a plea deal that could have gotten him out in 11 years, but he elected to take his chances. A mostly white jury convicted Wilson, a black man, on all charges. Thanks largely to federal mandatory minimum sentencing, Wilson, a first-time nonviolent offender, was given 37 years. ''I had never even had a parking ticket. Now they had me locked in highly secure facilities,'' Wilson said.
This May, more than two decades into his sentence, Wilson became one of the lucky ones. He was one of 58 federal prisoners granted an early release by Barack Obama as part of a pronounced late-presidency focus on criminal justice reform.
''It really touches you to have the commander-in-chief reach down and correct what was wrong,'' Wilson said. ''And yet, people still don't want to see that it was a mistake to lock people up and throw away the key for a nonviolent crime.''
Obama's presidency has taken place in an era of unprecedented national attention on the inefficiencies and inequities of the US criminal justice system. From pop culture phenomena such as Orange is the New Black to political movements such as Black Lives Matter, issues largely ignored by the public for decades have moved dramatically to the fore, and support for reform has begun to engender rare bipartisan support.
On the surface, Obama's legacy appears to reflect this shifting zeitgeist. He was the first sitting president to visit a federal corrections facility, the first president to oversee a sustained reduction in the incarceration rate in a half century, and has issued clemency to nearly 1,000 inmates over his time in office, more than his last three predecessors combined.
Commuted the sentences of a record number of federal prisoners
Made it illegal for most federal agencies to ask job applicants if they have been convicted of a crime
Ended the practice of placing federal juvenile prisoners in solitary confinement
Reduced the crack cocaine/powder cocaine sentencing disparity
Launched more civil rights investigations into police departments than the previous two administrations combined
Began phasing out use of private prisons for federal inmates
Launched nitiatives promoting community policing and alternatives to incarceration
Launched a pilot program to track police use of force nationwide
Commissioned a task force on policing reform
But even as the Obama administration has looked to address criminal justice policy at all levels, from policing and prosecution to sentencing, incarceration and re-entry, the US remains an extreme outlier among the world's developed countries. On matters of police violence, incarceration and draconian punishment for nonviolent crimes, the country remains unmatched.
And now, as the nation prepares for President Donald Trump, who ran a campaign openly hostile to the prospect of progressive criminal justice reform, there's ample reason to fear that whatever progress has been made could be lost in the blink of an eye.
A nation of second chances?In his second term, Obama hasn't been shy about using his executive power to push some limited reforms around the mostly gridlocked US Congress. Through his Department of Justice and the use of executive orders, Obama has made moves on reducing the use of solitary confinement, phasing out private prisons and scaling back federal drug prosecutions.
But because Obama had to work around Congress, much of this work could be easily reversed or abandoned. .
For the most part, Trump's plans for criminal justice remain opaque. He did not make the matter a major campaign issue, aside from making vague promises to be a ''law and order candidate'', but has been critical of several of Obama's initiatives, specifically his embrace of clemency for long-serving nonviolent drug offenders.
''We don't know what it's going to mean, but the likelihood is we're in a much worse place,'' said Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity.
Jessica Jackson-Sloan, the national director for #cut50 '' an advocacy group which seeks to cut the US prison population by 50% over the next 10 years '' said part of the impact Obama's actions have is reminding people just how little power the president has to draw down mass incarceration.
''He can commute sentences but he cannot change the laws on the books,'' Jackson-Sloan said. ''The president and the DoJ can do quite a bit, but Congress really holds the keys to this car.''
Indeed, if there is one theme that unites nearly all of Obama's steps towards reform on criminal justice, it's the limited reach of nearly all his initiatives. Virtually every step the administration has taken either exclusively applies to federal prosecutions and inmates '' a small fraction of cases nationwide '' or came in the form of non-binding suggestions and support, like the recommendations and resources provided by his taskforce on 21st century policing in 2015. That's because most of the criminal justice system lies far outside of presidential authority, in the hands of 50 states, 18,000 law enforcement departments and tens of thousands more local judicial jurisdictions.
''If, for example, the president were to let go of every federal prisoner '' and that's not smart criminal justice reform in all likelihood '' he'd be handling just 1/11th of the total number of people who are incarcerated,'' Goff said. ''This is not and cannot be a federal problem only, but what the president has provided is leadership. He's said, here's a model you can follow, and he deserves credit for that.''
Fixing a broken systemFor much of Obama's first six years, criminal justice remained largely out of the spotlight. The president campaigned broadly on some generic reforms, like prison work and education programs, but expended most of his political capital on other priorities such as passing and defending the Affordable Care Act.
''Criminal justice reform was treacherous waters in the first term,'' said Van Jones, who served in the Obama administration in 2009 and went on to co-found #cut50. ''Pre-Trayvon [Martin] and Black Lives Matter, these issues were considered to be ultra-liberal and African American.''
Obama was, according to Jones, maintaining hope that he could build bridges across race and party under his presidency and ''did not want to be seen as excessively black or liberal in his agenda''.
But ultimately, ''the African American community got more insistent in its claims, and the Republicans got more reasonable in their own critique and set of concerns about criminal justice'', Jones said, opening the door to more direct engagement from the president.
In July 2015, in front of an NAACP convention audience in Philadelphia, Obama delivered his first major speech focused on criminal justice reform. ''Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it,'' Obama said, as he noted the bipartisan support for reform and put forward some his plans for the rest of his term, such as the aggressive use of commutations.
The president's administration also found plenty of less visible ways to tinker around the edges of mass incarceration. In 2010, Obama made good on a campaign promise to reduce the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. This relic of the ''crack boom'' is one that had been maligned by activists as racist for decades. Since Obama lobbied for and signed the bill, federal prosecution of crack offenders has been cut in half. This mirrors drops in drug prosecution across the board after Holder's DoJ announced ''smart on crime'' reforms in 2013 that expanded so-called compassionate release, and guided prosecutors away from seeking maximum punishments for smaller-scale drug crimes.
Through executive orders, Obama has also ended the practice of placing federal juvenile prisoners in solitary confinement and made it illegal for most federal agencies to ask job applicants if they have been convicted of a crime, part of a broader movement known as ''ban the box''.
The president commissioned the 21st Century Task Force on Policing in the wake of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and followed up by hosting more than one roundtable bringing together activists and law enforcement officials in an effort to try and bridge divides between the two.
His White House has also promoted collaborative programs such as the Data-Driven Justice Initiative, which encourages cities, towns and counties to share strategies for cutting unnecessary arrests and holding fewer suspects pre-trial when they do not pose a threat to public safety.
A city like a powder kegIn 2014 the high-profile police killings of several unarmed black Americans led to wholesale changes in the national consciousness on the nexus between race and policing. And nowhere was this more true than the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the enduring days of protest and unrest.
In the aftermath, The Obama-Holder DoJ produced two sets of investigative findings. The first broadly refuted many of the lingering accusations about what transpired that August day between Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and the 18-year-old Brown, including whether his hands were up in surrender.
But the second report, which focused on the police department as a whole, took the unprecedented step of delving into the ways the department was operating as a de facto revenue agency for the municipal government. ''Ferguson's law enforcement practices are shaped by the City's focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs,'' the report read, adding that the city's ''police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias'', including a reliance on racial stereotypes.
''That's the exact right level of analysis to get into,'' said Goff. ''If you compare that to anything the civil rights division did in the prior administration, they are from different planets.''
The law that gives the department the authority to conduct broad, sweeping analysis like what was done in Ferguson traces to another flashpoint moment of police violence in the nation's history: the 1991 LAPD beating of Rodney King. The following year, a statute was added to the federal books giving the DoJ the authority to obtain ''relief to eliminate the pattern or practice'' of civil rights violations by law enforcement agencies.
But power was used sparingly until Obama deployed it to make ''federal engagement around civil rights issues involving policing more robust'', Smith said. Under Obama's justice department these ''patterns and practices'' interventions increased more than 50% over the Clinton and Bush years. Obama's administration used these investigations to impose federal oversight on eight large police departments over its two terms. In their 16 years combined, Clinton and Bush oversaw just six.
''There was a moribund civil rights division that was rejuvenated like Lazarus when Obama took office in 2009,'' Goff said.
Jones said this reborn civil rights division had served a crucial role during a period in which frustration with the system had boiled over in cities and towns across the country.
''Even where there hasn't been redress, it's at least been addressed,'' Jones said. ''The quickness with which the DoJ has said 'we're going to investigate' '' it signaled to people that there's somebody in DC who believes that their concerns were worthy of real attention.''
Irreversible actionThe president's most direct contribution to the rolling back of mass incarceration has been his aggressive use of the executive power to grant clemency to federal prisoners, especially during his final year in office. More than 700 of the 1,014 pardons and commutations granted under Obama, including Wilson's, have come in the past 10 months.
The spike follows the DoJ's 2014 clemency initiative, which encouraged federal prisoners meeting certain criteria to submit petitions for commutations. As a result, the department has processed more than 20,000 petitions over these past three years. By comparison, during Ronald Reagan's entire eight years in office, his justice department processed just over 1,300 applications and granted a total of 13.
But while the number of accepted petitions under Obama is unprecedented, it is also underwhelming, in part because the federal government has not been able to keep pace with the tens of thousands of applications.
While most of Obama's executive actions could be undone by Trump, cutting short the sentences of inmates like Wayland Wilson will have a permanent impact for those people.
''My big hope is that this clemency campaign now really breaks through in Obama's final days,'' Jones said. ''That's the last thing he can do to really cement his legacy: send home folks who have served more than a fair amount of time and let them return to their families.''
Airbnb Facing Tighter Rules in Prague to Combat Towering Rents - Bloomberg
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:53
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Face Recognition Software for Retail Stores: #1 Biometric Surveillance for Loss Prevention
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:25
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Trump names his inauguration day a 'National Day of Patriotic Devotion' | Stuff.co.nz
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:12
President Trump has officially declared the day of his inauguration a national day of patriotism.
Trump's inaugural address on Friday frequently referred to patriotism as the salve that would heal the country's divisions.
"When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice," Trump said from the steps of the Capitol after being sworn in as president.
President Donald Trump delivering his speech at the inauguration ceremonies as the 45th president of the United States.
Later that day, Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, said that naming a national day of patriotism was among the executive actions that Trump took in his first few hours as president.
READ MORE* Donald Trump inauguration speech dark, dangerous and dystopian '‹* Revolution, ritual and pomp: Inauguration is pure political theatre * Where are all the supporters? Sparse turnout for Donald Trump's inauguration * President Trump's inauguration speech
On Monday, the paperwork was filed with the federal government declaring officially that January 20, 2017 - the day of Trump's inauguration - would officially be known as the "National Day of Patriotic Devotion".
"Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country - and to renew the duties of Government to the people," the order says.
"Our Constitution is written on parchment, but it lives in the hearts of the American people," the order continues.
"There is no freedom where the people do not believe in it; no law where the people do not follow it; and no peace where the people do not pray for it."
Iconic 'I amsterdam' letters to be banned from Museumplein | DutchAmsterdam.com
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 06:09
The I amsterdam letters'' I am sterdam'' is Amsterdam's hugely successful marketing slogan.
Yes, a capital 'I' and a lower caps 'a'.
And no, there is no 'I amsterdam' or 'I love Amsterdam' sign.
We'll explain the meaning of the sign. But first:
The main I amsterdam letters at the back of the Rijksmuseum. Photographed in the winter, when the reflection pool is used an an ice skating rink.
Iconic sign banned from MuseumpleinUpdate: Thursday, November 8, 2018 '-- It's official: the iconic 'I amsterdam' sign, which features in hundreds of thousands of tourist photos and selfies '-- is history.
The set of huge letters will be removed from Museumplein after a majority of city council members voted in favor of a GreenLeft motion.
GreenLeft politicians targeted the marketing slogan as part of their response to overtourism. (Oddly, they also claimed that the slogan was a ''symbol of increasing individualism.'' Weirdness and politics go hand-in-hand, after all).
No word yet on what will happen with the smaller sets of letters that often pop up in various spots around town.
The large 'I amsterdam' sign
Too Successful '-- Letters May Be Gone SoonUpdate: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 '-- It looks like the letters will soon be gone '-- and, Amsterdammers think, none too soon.
Like many other cities throughout Europe, Amsterdam has in recent years been suffering from over-tourism. This city of 850.000 people is currently visited by 8 million tourists a year. That is simply too much of a good thing.
A majority of Amsterdam City Council members now wants to get rid not just of the letters, but also of the marketing campaign they stood for.
Mind you, for now this is just a 'motion' '-- suggested by Groenlinks, the current majority party in Amsterdam. Or, depending on your perspective, 'political symbolism'. That is what Frits Huffnagel, who in 2004 as alderman for Economic Affairs commissioned the letters.
According to GroenLinks the slogan has become a symbol for mass tourism and individualism in a city which stands for solidarity and diversity.
''Iamsterdam stands for individualism while we want a city which stands for solidarity and diversity,'' said Femke Roosma, leader of the GroenLinks group on the city council. ''In addition, the slogan reduces the city to the backdrop of a marketing story.''
The motion was accepted by the full city council, and it may well turn out that the letters will be removed within weeks.
A final vote will be held in November 2018.
Update: October 28, 2018
The letters are still there. Though the push to remove them finds some support from those who are (rightly) concerned about overtourism, many Amsterdammers want the letters to remain.
Launched in September, 2004, the sign '-- at the back of the Rijksmuseum '-- has become one of the city's most photographed icons. You rarely see the letters without people in front, behind, or on top of the slogan '-- taking photos and selfies which help market the city through social media.
Amsterdam Marketing happily estimates the letters are photographed some 6.000 times a day. 'Happily,' because the original intention '-- marketing Amsterdam abroad in the wake of the financial crisis '-- has worked far beyond expectation.
In fact, now that (according to a growing number of locals) Amsterdam is ''overrun'' with tourists, many Amsterdammers believe the sign has worked too well, and has overstayed its welcome.1
The marketing folks, meanwhile, have changed their focus from attracting tourists to promoting the city as an ideal place to do business, organize international conferences and congresses, and locate or relocate company headquarters or satellite offices.
Taking a photo of the I amsterdam sign without anyone in front or on top of it is, well, quite a challenge.
What is the meaning of the I Amsterdam sign?The sentiment behind the slogan was, ostensibly, to make Amsterdammers feel good about themselves:
Amsterdam's strongest asset is its people.The people who live here, who work here, who study or visit here.The people of Amsterdam are Amsterdam.We are Amsterdam.I amsterdam '' Amsterdam Partners2
The larger message (intended or not): Amsterdammers are happy. Tourists are happy. Expats are happy.
Indeed, Quality of Life surveys '-- used by international companies to decided where to locate their offices '-- generally rank Amsterdam highly.
Where is the I Amsterdam sign?The I amsterdam sign and its shadow, as seen on the 3D version of Google Maps
The main set of letters is located at the back of the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands' premier art museum '-- just a stone throw from the Van Gogh Museum (which houses the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in the world).
Take trams 2, 3, 5 or 12 to get there (stops listed on the map).
A second set of the I Amsterdam letters is found at the plaza of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Meanwhile a third, smaller version travels around the city. It pops up at events '-- such as fashion shows, fairs, festivals and congresses '-- but also at museums, along the river IJ, or just about anywhere else.3
No joke: On April 1, 2016 the move-about sign was decked out in rainbow colors to celebrate the fact that the Netherlands was, 15 years earlier, the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage. The first weddings were held in Amsterdam.
Finally, a scaled-down version lives in the courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum (a must-see, by the way).
And of course you'll find the I am sterdam phrase printed on every imaginable souvenir.
I Amsterdam Letters Trivia The main sign is 2 meters (6.5 feet) high and 24 meters (26 yards) long On average each letter weighs about 250 kilo (551 pound) Nevertheless, one night in February 2010, two of the letters 'went missing.' Warning stickers on the side of the sign state that the letters are not meant to be climbed on. Countless people do so anyway. The letter 'D' is the most popular letter with climbers, since it is tall (and easier to climb on the the stand-alone letter 'i') The sign features in an average 6000 selfies a day. The I amsterdam motto was designed in 2004, by advertising agency KesselsKramer Two years earlier designer Vanessa van Dam created and printed an 'IAmsterdammer' postcard with an accent on the first three letters. Though it was determined her design was not plagiarized, the City bought the right to her logo for '‚¬ 20.000 Cities and countries around the world have shamelessly copied Amsterdam's slogan in one form or another The I amsterdam City Card is a really good deal Original content (C) Copyright DutchAmsterdam.nl Do not republish or repost.
Lilium | Press
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:42
For any press related inquiries, please contact us in english at press@lilium.com and get our Press Kit
Lilium makes a series of key hires from Airbus and AudiLilium, the disruptive aviation startup developing a revolutionary on-demand air mobility service, has announced today a series of key appointments. Mirko Reuter, formerly Head of Automated Driving at Audi AG, is joining the team as Head of Autonomous Flight at Lilium. Jakob Waeschenbach, formerly Head Of Equipment Installation at Airbus, is joining the team as Head of Aircraft Assembly, and, Rochus Moenter, former Vice President Finance & Lease at Airbus, is joining as General Counsel & Head of Legal at Lilium.
Lilium appoints Yann de Vries as VP Corporate DevelopmentLilium GmbH, the disruptive aviation start-up developing a revolutionary on-demand air mobility service, is further strengthening its senior team by appointing Yann de Vries as VP Corporate Development.
Lilium appoints Arnd Mueller to lead marketingLilium, the aviation start-up developing the world's first electric vertical take-off and landing jet, is further strengthening its senior team by appointing Arnd Mueller to lead global marketing.
Frank Stephenson joins Lilium as Head of Product DesignFrank Stephenson, the designer of some of the world's most iconic cars, is joining aviation startup Lilium as Head of Product Design. The American-Spanish designer - famous for his work at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren - will lead the design of all aspects of Lilium services.
Lilium wins ''Early Stage Company of the Year'' at Global Cleantech 100 AwardsLilium, the German start-up developing the world's first all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet, has won the 2018 Early Stage Company of the Year award at the Global Cleantech 100 Awards produced by CTG (Cleantech Group).
Lilium secures $90 Million Series B Funding RoundLilium, the German aviation company developing the world's first all-electric jet capable of vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), has announced a $90 million Series B funding round. The aviation start up developing an all-electric air taxi with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities has now raised more than $100 million overall.
Lilium recruits senior leaders from Gett, Airbus and TeslaFollowing our exciting announcement back in February that Meggy Sailer, Head of Recruitment for Tesla EMEA, would be joining Lilium we are very excited today to announce two more senior hires joining the team - Dr. Remo Gerber as CCO and Dirk Gebser as VP of Production. Both have a proven track record of success and leadership in their fields of expertise at Gett and Airbus respectively.
Lilium celebrates successful flight tests of world's first electric VTOL jetLilium Jet, the first zero-emission electric plane capable of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), has completed a series of rigorous flight tests in the skies above Germany. The two-seater prototype executed a range of complex maneuvers, including its signature mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.
Meggy Sailer joins Lilium from Tesla to lead recruitmentLilium is very pleased to welcome Meggy Sailer as Head of Recruitment. Meggy brings rare experience of staffing a cutting-edge transportation company, joining Lilium from Tesla after more than 5 years.
Lilium raises '‚¬10m in Series A round with AtomicoLilium, the pioneering developer of electric planes capable of Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL), has raised a '‚¬10m Series A funding round with Atomico, the leading global venture capital firm based in London.
In Shift, Justice Dept. Says Law Doesn't Bar Transgender Discrimination - The New York Times
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:23
Image The Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is redefining civil rights enforcement as it moves to support lawsuits like one brought by Asian-Americans against race-based college admissions. Credit Credit Carlos Barria/Reuters WASHINGTON '-- Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to take the position in court cases that transgender people are not protected by a civil rights law that bans workplace discrimination based on sex. The move was the Trump administration's latest contraction of the Obama-era approach to civil rights enforcement.
The dispute centers on how to interpret employment protections based on ''sex'' in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In December 2014, the attorney general at the time, Eric H. Holder Jr., ordered the Justice Department to view ''sex'' as encompassing gender identity, extending protections to transgender people.
But in a two-page memo to all United States attorneys and other top officials, Mr. Sessions revoked Mr. Holder's directive. The word ''sex'' in the statute, Mr. Sessions said, means only ''biologically male or female,'' so the Civil Rights Act does not ban ''discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.''
He added that the department ''will take that position in all pending and future matters,'' except in cases in which a controlling lower-court precedent dictated otherwise, in which case it would reserve the option to revisit the issue on appeal.
The policy change comes as the Justice Department is trying to get out of an employment discrimination lawsuit in Oklahoma that it filed alongside a transgender plaintiff, noted David Lopez, a former general counsel to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A judge appointed by President George W. Bush had previously ruled in that lawsuit that the Civil Rights Act does cover gender identity, agreeing with the department's Obama-era interpretation.
Federal appeals courts have reached varying views on whether the Civil Rights Act's ban on sex discrimination extends to gender identity, but five circuits have ruled that it does, said James D. Esseks, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project.
Mr. Sessions's move means the Justice Department will no longer side with transgender plaintiffs in workplace discrimination lawsuits invoking the Civil Rights Act. It will either stay on the sidelines or tell courts that the law should not be interpreted as banning discrimination by the employers.
That position is not just a reversal from the Obama-era stance, but it would also put the Justice Department at odds with the view of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, another part of the federal government that deals with discrimination in the workplace.
''Jeff Sessions's D.O.J. has made it its mission to oppose, rather than enforce, civil rights law,'' said Sharon McGowan, a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer who is the director of strategy for Lambda Legal, which advocates civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. ''But no matter how many memos he issues, the law is on our side. And so are the courts increasingly.''
Mr. Sessions's move came three months after the Justice Department, without being asked for its opinion, filed a brief before an appellate court in a private workplace discrimination lawsuit, taking the position that the Civil Rights Act's ban on sex bias does not cover sexual orientation.
While that move was also greeted with dismay by civil rights advocates, it was less of a reversal than Mr. Sessions's memo on Thursday, because the Obama administration never took the position that the bar to ''sex'' discrimination should be interpreted as extending to sexual orientation. Instead, it tried to avoid the question, while welcoming the prospect that the law might ''continue to evolve'' in that area.
The Supreme Court has not resolved the question of whether ''sex'' can mean sexual orientation or gender identity. But in a 1989 case, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban on ''sex'' discrimination does encompass discrimination against people who fail to conform to gender stereotypes. That case involved a woman who was deemed insufficiently feminine, not a transgender person.
Mr. Sessions's policy directive was the latest in a series of steps the Justice Department has taken since he became attorney general to curtail the reach of civil rights laws. On his watch, the Civil Rights Division has also changed its position on whether Texas' strict voter identification law was discriminatory, pulled back from using consent decrees to reform troubled police departments, and began a project to scrutinize affirmative action practices in university admissions.
''It's striking to see the Justice Department argue again and again to take civil rights protections away from people,'' Mr. Esseks said. ''When else have they reached out affirmatively, not because they are involved in a case, to say, 'We think the world is a better place if civil rights laws don't cover this community?'''
But in a statement, Devin O'Malley, a Justice Department spokesman for civil rights issues, framed Mr. Sessions's decision in terms of obeying the rule of law.
''The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided,'' he said. ''Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated today's action. This department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals, and will continue to enforce the numerous laws that Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.''
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Title IX - Wikipedia
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:08
Foundations and hearings Edit Title IX was enacted as a follow-up to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1964 Act was passed to end discrimination in various fields based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the areas of employment and public accommodation.[2][3] The 1964 Act did not prohibit sex discrimination against persons employed at educational institutions. A parallel law, Title VI, had also been enacted in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in federally funded private and public entities. It covered race, color, and national origin but excluded sex. Feminists during the early 1970s lobbied Congress to add sex as a protected class category. Title IX was enacted to fill this gap and prohibit discrimination in all federally funded education programs. Congressman John Tower then proposed an amendment to Title IX that would have exempted athletics departments from the scope of Title IX's coverage.
The Tower amendment was rejected, but it led to widespread misunderstanding of Title IX as a sports-equity law, rather than an anti-discrimination, civil rights law.[4] While Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no explicit mention of sports. The United States Supreme Court also issued decisions in the 1980s and 1990s, making clear that sexual harassment and assault is a form of sex discrimination. In 2011, President Barack Obama issued guidance reminding schools of their obligation to redress sexual assaults as civil rights matters under Title IX. Obama also issued guidance clarifying Title IX protections for LGBT students through Dear Colleague letters.[5][6] Under U.S. President Donald Trump, this guidance has been rescinded.[7][8]
The precursor to Title IX was an executive order, issued in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson, forbidding discrimination in federal contracts. Before these orders were issued, the National Organization for Women (NOW) had persuaded him through successful lobbying, or influencing, his personal aides or Members of Congress to include the addition of women.[4]Executive Order 11375 required all entities receiving federal contracts to end discrimination on the basis of sex in hiring and employment.[9] In 1969, a notable example of its success was Bernice Sandler who used the executive order to retain her job and tenure at the University of Maryland.[10] She utilized university statistics to show how female employment at the University had plummeted as qualified women were replaced by men.[4] Sandler then brought her complaints to the Department of Labor's Office for Federal Fair Contracts Compliance, where she was encouraged to file a formal complaint; later citing inequalities in pay, rank, and admissions, among others.
Sandler soon began to file complaints against the University of Maryland and against other colleges while working with NOW and the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL). Sandler later filed two hundred and sixty-nine (269) complaints against colleges and universities, which led to the events of 1970.[4] In 1970, Sandler joined U.S. House Representative Edith Green's Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Education and Labor Committee, and observed corresponding congressional hearings relating to women's issues on employment and equal opportunity. In these hearings, Green and Sandler initially proposed the idea of Title IX. An early legislative draft was then authored by Representative Patsy Mink with the assistance of Representative Edith Green.[11] At the hearing, there were mentions of athletics. The idea behind the draft was a progressive one in somewhat instituting an affirmative action for women in all aspects of American education.[4]
Steps from a draft to legislative act to public law Edit Mink's initial draft of Title IX was formally introduced in Congress by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana in 1971 who then was its chief Senate sponsor with respect to congressional debate. At the time, Bayh was working on numerous constitutional issues related to women's employment and sex discrimination'--including but not limited to the revised draft of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA attempted to build "a powerful constitutional base from which to move forward in abolishing discriminatory differential treatment based on sex".[12] As he was having partisan difficulty in later getting the ERA Amendment out of committee, the Higher Education Act of 1965 was on the Senate Floor for re-authorization; and on 28 February 1972, Bayh re-introduced a provision found in the original/revised ERA bill as an amendment which would become Title IX.[13] In his remarks on the Senate Floor, Bayh stated, "we are all familiar with the stereotype [that] women [are] pretty things who go to college to find a husband, [and who] go on to graduate school because they want a more interesting husband, and finally marry, have children, and never work again.
The desire of many schools not to waste a 'man's place' on a woman stems from such stereotyped notions. But the facts absolutely contradict these myths about the 'weaker sex' and it is time to change our operating assumptions."[14] He continued: "While the impact of this amendment would be far-reaching, it is not a panacea. It is, however, an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs'--an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want, and to apply those skills with the knowledge that they will have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work".[15] Title IX became public law on 23 June 1972.[16][17] When U.S. President Nixon signed the bill, he spoke mostly about desegregation busing, and did not mention the expansion of educational access for women he had enacted.[12][18]
Implementation Edit Senator Bayh exercises with female athletes at Purdue University, ca. 1970s.
Title IX's statutory language is brief. U.S. President Nixon therefore directed the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to carry publish regulations clarifying the law's application.[4] In 1974, U.S. Senator John Tower introduced the Tower Amendment which would have exempted revenue-producing sports from Title IX compliance.[19] Later that year, Congress rejected the Tower Amendment and passed an amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Jacob Javits directly HEW to include "reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports" adopted in its place.[4] In June 1975, HEW published the final regulations detailing how Title IX would be enforced.[4] These regulations were codified in the Federal Register in the Code of Federal Regulations Volume 34, Part 106 ( 34 C.F.R. [https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/34/106 106] 34 C.F.R. 106 34 C.F.R. 106). Since 1975, the federal government has issued guidance clarifying how it interprets and enforces those regulations. [20]
Further legislation Edit Representative
Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Title IX co-author, for whom the law was renamed in 2002
The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 is tied to Title IX which was passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1984 ruling Grove City College v. Bell.[21] The Court held that Title IX applied only to those programs receiving direct federal aid.[22] This case was initially reached by the Supreme Court when Grove City College disagreed with the Department of Education's assertion that it was required to comply with Title IX. Grove City College was not a federally funded institution; however, they did accept students who were receiving Basic Educational Opportunity Grants through a Department of Education program.[21] The Department of Education's stance was that because some of its students were receiving federal grants, the school was thus receiving federal assistance and Title IX applied to it. The Court decided that since Grove City College was only receiving federal funding through the grant program that only this program had to be in compliance. This ruling was a major victory for those opposed to Title IX as it then made many athletic programs outside the purview of Title IX, and thus reduced its scope.[4]
Grove City's victory, however, was short-lived. The Civil Rights Restoration Act successfully passed in 1988, which extended Title IX coverage to all programs of any educational institution that receives any federal assistance, both direct and indirect.[16] In 1994, the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Cardiss Collins required that federally-assisted educational institutions disclose information on roster sizes for men's and women's athletic teams; as well as budgets for recruiting, scholarships, coaches' salaries, and other expenses, annually.[19] In October 2002, less than a month after the death of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution to rename Title IX the "Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act," which President George W. Bush signed into law.[23] On November 24, 2006, Title IX regulations were amended to provide greater flexibility in the operation of single-sex classes or extracurricular activities at the primary or secondary school level; this was largely to introduce federal abstinence-only programs, which may have been a partial basis for the support of President Bush.[24]
Equity in athletics Edit Though views differ as respects the impact of Title IX, discussion typically focuses on whether or not Title IX has resulted in increased athletic opportunities for females, and whether and to what extent Title IX has resulted in decreased athletic opportunities for males.[by whom? ] In addition, the legislation had impacts on aspects other than athletes. The increased exposure of female sports led to increased dominance by males of the governance of female athletics. For example, the male-dominated NCAA, which had been content to let the female-dominated AIAW run female championships, decided to offer female championships, leading to the eventual demise of the AIAW.[25]
Advocates of Title IX's current interpretation cite increases in female athletic participation, and attribute those increases to Title IX.[26][27][28] One study, completed in 2006, pointed to a large increase in the number of women participating in athletics at both the high school and college level. The number of women in high school sports had increased by a factor of nine, while the number of women in college sports had increased by more than 450%.[29] A 2008 study of intercollegiate athletics showed that women's collegiate sports have grown to 9,101 teams, or 8.65 per school. The five most frequently offered college sports for women are, in order: (1) Basketball, 98.8% of schools have a team; (2) Volleyball, 95.7%; (3) Soccer, 92.0%; (4) Cross Country; 90.8%, and (5) Softball; 89.2%.[30]
At the same time, many contend that the current interpretation of Title IX by the OCR has resulted in the dismantling of men's programs, despite strong participation in those sports.[31] For example, though interest in the sport of wrestling has consistently increased at the high school level since 1990,[32] scores of colleges have dropped their wrestling programs during that same period.[33][34] The OCR's three-prong test for compliance with Title IX often is cited as the reason for these cuts.[34][35] Wrestling historically was the most frequently dropped sport,[35] but other men's sports later overtook the lead, such that according to the NCAA, the most-dropped men's sports between 1987 and 2002 were as follows: Cross country (183), indoor track (180), golf (178), tennis (171), rowing (132), outdoor track (126), swimming (125) and wrestling (121).[33]
Some believe that the increase in athletic opportunity for girls in high school has come at the expense of boys' athletics. For example, the College Sports Council has stated, "Nationwide, there are currently 1.3 million more boys participating in high school sports than girls. Using a gender quota to enforce Title IX in high school sports would put those young athletes at risk of losing their opportunity to play."[36] High school participation rates from the National Federation of High School associations report that in 2010''11, there were 4,494,406 boys and 3,173,549 girls participating in high school athletics.[37]
There have been different interpretations regarding Title IX's application to high school athletics. The American Sports Council sued the Department of Education in 2011 seeking a declaratory judgment that its policy interpreting Title IX's requirement for equity in participation opportunities is limited to colleges and universities.[38] The American Sports Council argued that "The three-part test and its encouragement of quotas, has no relevance to high schools or high-school sports, and no federal regulation or interpretation has ever said that high schools must abide by the three-part test".[36] On the other hand, the Department of Education insists that Title IX is a "valuable tool" for ensuring a level playing field for all students" and "plays a critical role in ensuring a fundamental level of fairness in America's schools and universities".[38]
Between 1981 and 1999 university athletic departments cut 171 men's wrestling teams, 84 men's tennis teams, 56 men's gymnastics teams, 27 men's track teams, and 25 men's swimming teams.[39] While some teams'--both men's and women's'--have been eliminated in the Title IX era, both sexes have seen a net increase in the number of athletic periods[clarification needed ] over a similar time period as the above quote,[40] and by studies including more recent data, though when total enrollment which had likewise increased is controlled for, only women had an increase in participation.[41]
Because teams vary widely in size, it is more appropriate to compare the number of total participation opportunities. Additionally, the total number of college participation opportunities has increased for both sexes in the Title IX era, though solely for women when increased enrollment is accounted for, as men's participation remained static relative to university enrollment, and men's opportunities outnumber women's by a wide margin.[42]
The Women's Sports Foundation reported in a 2007 study of athletic opportunities at NCAA institutions that over 150,000 female athletic opportunities would need to be added in order to reach participation levels proportional to the female undergraduate population.[43] The same study found that men's athletics also receives the lion's share of athletic department budgets for operating expenses, recruiting, scholarships, and coaches salaries.[40]
Sexual harassment and sexual violence Edit Title IX applies to all educational programs and all aspects of a school's educational system. In the 1990s, the U.S. Supreme Court issued three decisions clarifying that Title IX requires schools to respond appropriately to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence against students. Civil rights activists and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) likewise maintain that "when students suffer sexual assault and harassment, they are deprived of equal and free access to an education."[44] Further, according to an April 2011 letter issued by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, "The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students' right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime."[45]
The letter, named the Dear Colleague Letter, states that it is the responsibility of institutions of higher education "to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence."[46] The letter illustrates multiple examples of Title IX requirements as they relate to sexual violence, and makes clear that, should an institution fail to fulfill its responsibilities under Title IX, the Department of Education can impose a fine and potentially deny further institutional access to federal funds.
On March 15, 2011, Yale undergraduate student and alleged sexual violence survivor Alexandra Brodsky filed a Title IX complaint along with fifteen fellow students alleging Yale "has a sexually hostile environment and has failed to adequately respond to sexual harassment concerns."[47]
In October 2012, an Amherst College student, Angie Epifano, wrote an explicit, personal account of her alleged sexual assault and the ensuing "appalling treatment" she received when coming forward to seek support from the College's administration.[48] In the narrative, Epifano alleged that she was raped by a fellow Amherst student and described how her life was affected by the experience; she stated that the perpetrator harassed her at the only dining hall, that her academic performance was negatively affected, and that, when she sought support, the administration coerced her into taking the blame for her experience and ultimately institutionalized her and pressured her to drop out.[49]
The fact that such a prestigious institution could have such a noxious interior fills me with intense remorse mixed with sour distaste. I am sickened by the Administration's attempts to cover up survivors' stories, cook their books to discount rapes, pretend that withdrawals never occur, quell attempts at change, and sweep sexual assaults under a rug. When politicians cover up affairs or scandals the masses often rise up in angry protestations and call for a more transparent government. What is the difference between a government and the Amherst College campus? Why can't we know what is really happening on campus? Why should we be quiet about sexual assault?"[48]
When the Amherst case reached national attention, Annie E. Clark and Andrea Pino, two women who were allegedly sexually assaulted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill connected with Amherst student, Dana Bolger, and Brodsky to address the parallel concerns of hostility at their institution, filing Title IX and Clery Act complaints against the university on January 2013, both leading to investigations by the U.S. Department of Education.[50]
Following the national prominence of the UNC Chapel Hill case, organizers Pino and Clark went on to coordinate with students at other schools; in 2013, complaints citing violations of Title IX were filed by Occidental College (on April 18), Swarthmore College and the University of Southern California (on May 22).[51][52] These complaints, the resulting campaigns against sexual violence on college campuses, and the organizing of Bolger, Brodsky, Clark, Pino and other activists led to the formation of an informal national network of activists.[53][54] Bolger and Brodsky also started Know Your IX, an organization of student activists focused on legal education and federal and state policy change.
In addition to its use within formal complaints submitted to the Department of Education, Title IX has been utilized in civil litigation. In 2006, a federal court found that there was sufficient evidence that the University of Colorado acted with "deliberate indifference" toward students Lisa Simpson and Anne Gilmore, who were sexually assaulted by student football players. The university settled the case, promising to change its policies and pay $2.5 million in damages.[55] In 2008, Arizona State University was the subject of a lawsuit that alleged violations of rights guaranteed by Title IX: the university expelled a football player for multiple instances of severe sexual harassment, but readmitted him; he went on to rape a fellow student in her dorm room. Despite its claim that it bore no responsibility, the school settled the lawsuit, agreeing to revise and improve its official response to sexual misconduct and to pay the plaintiff $850,000 in damages and fees.[56]
The Trump administration has made changes to guidelines that were implemented during the Obama administration. These changes shift the determination of sexual assault from "preponderance of the evidence" to a "clear and convincing" evidence standard, which is typically used for civil cases in which serious allegations are made (as opposed to the standard of beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases).[57] On September 22, 2017, US Secretary of Education Secretary Betsy Devos rescinded the Obama-era guidelines which had prodded colleges and universities to more aggressively investigate campus sexual assaults.[58]
Transgender students Edit Between 2010 and 2016, under the Obama administration the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance explaining that transgender students are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX. It instructed public schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in academic life. A student who identifies as a transgender boy, for instance, is allowed entry to a boys-only class, and a student who identifies as a transgender girl is allowed entry to a girls-only class. This also applies to academic records if that student is over the age of eighteen at a university.[59] The memo states in part that "[a]ll students, including transgender students, or students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX. Under Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender, or gender non-conforming, consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes."[59]
However, starting in 2017 with the Trump administration, several of these policies have been rolled back. In February 2017, the Departments of Justice and Education withdrew the guidance on gender identity.[60] The Education Department headed by Betsy DeVos announced on 12 February 2018 that Title IX did not allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identities.[61]
In October 2018, The New York Times obtained a memo issued by the Department of Health and Human Services that would propose a strict definition of gender for Title IX, using the person's sex as determined at birth and could not be changed, effectively eliminating recognition of transgender students and potentially others. The memo stated that the government needed to define gender "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable".[62] The news brought immediate protests in several locations as well as online social media under the "#WontBeErased" hashtag.[63]
Title IX has been a source of controversy in part due to claims that the OCR's current interpretation of Title IX, and specifically its three-prong test of compliance, is no longer faithful to the anti-discrimination language in Title IX's text, and instead discriminates against men and has contributed to the reduction of programs for male athletes.[31][64][65]
Critics of the three-prong test contend that it operates as a "quota" in that it places undue emphasis on the first prong (known as the "proportionality" prong), which fails to take into account any differences in the genders' respective levels of interest in participating in athletics (in spite of the third prong, which focuses on any differences in the genders' respective levels of interest in participation). Instead it requires that the genders' athletic participation be substantially proportionate to their enrollment, without regard to interest. Prong two is viewed as only a temporary fix for universities, as universities may only point to past expansion of opportunities for female students for a limited time before compliance with another prong is necessary. Critics say that prong three likewise fails to consider male athletic interest in spite of its gender-neutral language, as it requires that the university fully and effectively accommodate the athletic interests of the "underrepresented sex", despite the fact that ED regulations expressly require that the OCR consider whether the institution "effectively accommodate[s] the interests and abilities of members of both sexes". As such, with a focus on increasing female athletic opportunities without any counterbalance to take male athletic interest into consideration, critics maintain that the OCR's three-prong test actually operates to discriminate against men.[31][65]
Defenders of the three-prong test counter that the genders' differing athletic interest levels are merely a product of past discrimination, and that Title IX should be interpreted to maximize female participation in athletics regardless of any existing disparity in interest. Thus while defenders argue that the three-prong test embodies the maxim that "opportunity drives interest",[66] critics argue that the three-prong test goes beyond Title IX original purpose of preventing discrimination, and instead amounts to an exercise in which athletic opportunities are taken away from male students and given to female students, despite the comparatively lower interest levels of those female students. Author and self-described women's rights advocate John Irving opined in a New York Times column that on this topic, women's advocates were being "purely vindictive" in insisting that the current OCR interpretation of Title IX be maintained.[64]
On March 17, 2005, OCR announced a clarification of prong three of the three-part test of Title IX compliance. The guidance concerned the use of web-based surveys to determine the level of interest in varsity athletics among the underrepresented sex.[67] Opponents of the clarification '' including the NCAA Executive Committee, which issued a resolution soon afterward asking Association members not to use the survey '' claimed the survey was flawed in part because of the way it counted non-responses.[68] On April 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights abandoned the 2005 clarification that allowed institutions to use only Internet or e'‘mail surveys to meet the interests and abilities (third prong) option of the three-part test for Title IX compliance.
In February 2010, the United States Commission on Civil Rights weighed in on the OCR's three-prong test, offering several recommendations on Title IX policy to address what it termed "unnecessary reduction of men's athletic opportunities".[69][70] The Commission advocated use of surveys to measure interest, and specifically recommended that the Department of Education's regulations on interest and abilities be revised "to explicitly take into account the interest of both sexes rather than just the interest of the underrepresented sex", almost always females.[70]
'Transgender' Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration - The New York Times
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:34
Image People protesting the Trump administration's policies toward gender and gay rights in New York last year. Credit Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual's choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.
Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.
The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined ''on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.'' The agency's proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one's sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
''Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,'' the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. ''The sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person's sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.''
The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves '-- surgically or otherwise '-- as a gender other than the one they were born into.
''This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients '-- what people understand about themselves '-- is irrelevant because the government disagrees,'' said Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights in the Obama administration and helped write transgender guidance that is being undone.
The move would be the most significant of a series of maneuvers, large and small, to exclude the population from civil rights protections and roll back the Obama administration's more fluid recognition of gender identity. The Trump administration has sought to bar transgender people from serving in the military and has legally challenged civil rights protections for the group embedded in the nation's health care law.
Several agencies have withdrawn Obama-era policies that recognized gender identity in schools, prisons and homeless shelters. The administration even tried to remove questions about gender identity from a 2020 census survey and a national survey of elderly citizens.
For the last year, the Department of Health and Human Services has privately argued that the term ''sex'' was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.
Image Roger Severino, now at the Department of Health and Human Services, was among the conservatives who blanched at the Obama administration's expansion of sex to include gender identity. Credit Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the department, declined to answer detailed questions about the memo or his role in interagency discussions about how to revise the definition of sex under Title IX.
But officials at the department confirmed that their push to limit the definition of sex for the purpose of federal civil rights laws resulted from their own reading of the laws and from a court decision.
Mr. Severino, while serving as the head of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, was among the conservatives who blanched at the Obama administration's expansion of sex to include gender identity, which he called ''radical gender ideology.''
In one commentary piece, he called the policies a ''culmination of a series of unilateral, and frequently lawless, administration attempts to impose a new definition of what it means to be a man or a woman on the entire nation.''
''Transgender people are frightened,'' said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, which presses for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. ''At every step where the administration has had the choice, they've opted to turn their back on transgender people.'' After this article was published online, transgender people took to social media to post photographs of themselves with the hashtag #WontBeErased.
[Read more about the L.G.B.T. community's reaction to the proposal.]
The Department of Health and Human Services has called on the ''Big Four'' agencies that enforce some part of Title IX '-- the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor '-- to adopt its definition in regulations that will establish uniformity in the government and increase the likelihood that courts will accept it.
The definition is integral to two proposed rules currently under review at the White House: One from the Education Department deals with complaints of sex discrimination at schools and colleges receiving federal financial assistance; the other, from health and human services, deals with health programs and activities that receive federal funds or subsidies. Both regulations are expected to be released this fall, and would then be open for public comment, typically for 60 days. The agencies would consider the comments before issuing final rules with the force of law '-- both of which could include the new gender definition.
Civil rights groups have been meeting with federal officials in recent weeks to argue against the proposed definition, which has divided career and political appointees across the administration. Some officials hope that health and human services will at least rein in the most extreme parts, such as the call for genetic testing to determine sex.
After more than a year of discussions, health and human services is preparing to formally present the new definition to the Justice Department before the end of the year, Trump administration officials say. If the Justice Department decides that the change is legal, the new definition can be approved and enforced in Title IX statutes, and across government agencies.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the draft health and human services proposal. The Justice Department has not yet been asked to render a formal legal opinion, according to an official there who was not authorized to speak about the process.
But Attorney General Jeff Sessions's previous decisions on transgender protections have given civil rights advocates little hope that the department will prevent the new definition from being enforced. The proposal appears consistent with the position he took in an October 2017 memo sent to agencies clarifying that the civil rights law that prohibits job discrimination does not cover ''gender identity, per se.''
Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group, called the maneuvering ''an extremely aggressive legal position that is inconsistent with dozens of federal court decisions.''
Image A transgender flag outside a bar in Brooklyn. The agency's proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with. Credit Annie Tritt for The New York Times [Two weeks before the midterms, transgender people say they feel like 'pawns.']
Health and human services officials said they were only abiding by court orders, referring to the rulings of Judge Reed O'Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, Tex., a George W. Bush appointee who has held that ''Congress did not understand 'sex' to include 'gender identity.'''
A 2016 ruling by Judge O'Connor concerned a rule that was adopted to carry out a civil rights statute embedded in the Affordable Care Act. The provision prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in ''any health program or activity'' that receives federal financial assistance.
But in recent discussions with the administration, civil rights groups, including Lambda Legal, have pointed to other court cases. In a legal memo presented to the administration, a coalition of civil rights groups wrote, ''The overwhelming majority of courts to address the question since the most relevant Supreme Court precedent in 1998 have held that antitransgender bias constitutes sex discrimination under federal laws like Title IX.''
Indeed, the health and human services proposal was prompted, in part, by pro-transgender court decisions in the last year that upheld the Obama administration's position.
In their memo, health and human services officials wrote that ''courts and plaintiffs are racing to get decisions'' ahead of any rule-making, because of the lack of a stand-alone definition.
''Courts and the previous administration took advantage of this circumstance to include gender identity and sexual orientation in a multitude of agencies, and under a multitude of laws,'' the memo states. Doing so ''led to confusion and negative policy consequences in health care, education and other federal contexts.''
The narrower definition would be acutely felt in schools and their most visible battlegrounds: locker rooms and bathrooms.
One of the Trump administration's first decisive policy acts was the rescission by the Education and Justice Departments of Obama-era guidelines that protected transgender students who wanted to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
Since the guidance was rescinded, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has halted and dismissed discrimination cases filed by transgender students over access to school facilities. A restrictive governmentwide definition would cement the Education Department's current approach.
But it would also raise new questions.
The department would have to decide what documentation schools would be required to collect to determine or codify gender. Title IX applies to a number of educational experiences, like sports and single-sex classes or programs where gender identity has come into play. The department has said it will continue to open cases where transgender students face discrimination, bullying and harassment, and investigate gender-based harassment as ''unwelcome conduct based on a student's sex'' or ''harassing conduct based on a student's failure to conform to sex stereotypes.''
The Education Department did not respond to an inquiry about the health and human services proposal.
Ms. Lhamon of the Obama Education Department said the proposed definition ''quite simply negates the humanity of people.''
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What the new Trump administration proposal on Title IX means for my transgender child
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:25
It's institutionalized meanness. A man holds up a sign supporting North Carolina's anti-transgender bathroom law at a Trump campaign rally in August 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters) Julie Klam is a writer in New York.
October 26I am the mother of a transgender child, a child who does not identify with the sex on his birth certificate, and I can't begin to tell you how terrified I am by this week's news about the Trump administration's proposed reinterpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded schools.
The Department of Health and Human Services is considering a new rule that ''would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,'' according to a summary of the proposal in the New York Times.
Since this administration has taken over, it has tried to systematically strip away the rights of transgender people '-- and succeeded on some fronts. Trump officials have sought to ban them from the military and are no longer recommending that schools support trans kids using the bathroom of their choice (or that schools provide gender neutral bathrooms).
Already, in many states and municipalities, discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not explicitly prohibited in most contexts.
The proposed revisions of the Title IX law would set transgender rights back in one of the few places it has seen advances '-- educational settings.
The government is basically signaling it's okay to discriminate against trans people in their workplace, housing, medical facilities, and, now, schools.
The civil rights laws that protect cisgender people (the ones who identify with the sex that they are born with) will not be afforded trans people. To achieve that end, the new interpretation defines them out of existence. If you're thinking of the Nuremberg Laws, you're not alone.
[I'm a transgender Republican. My party has betrayed me.]
When Violet came out to me as transgender and gay, at 13 years old, I had a little panic attack '-- or not so little. I didn't care that I would never go wedding-dress shopping with my daughter (I've been married twice; it ain't that fun), but I worried about the world's response. Trans people struggle in big and small ways every day. My own kid, who exists in a pretty accepting and loving family and community, had two years of never using public bathrooms. (This is physically uncomfortable and medically unhealthy.)
He didn't want to use the girls bathroom because it felt wrong, and when he used the boys' bathroom kids yelled at him. He failed gym in ninth grade because in his first semester he didn't know where to change. Only later in the year did the school create a transgender locker room (which was actually the visiting team's locker room).
That's exactly that kind of accommodation, however imperfect, that the proposed new rule will make less likely.
And the psychological effects of this policy shift could be far worse. Some 80 percent of transgender people report having been harassed as children. In 2017, 29 transgender people were murdered in the United States, the most ever recorded. (Hmm '... what changed about 2017, can't put my finger on it.)
In addition, trans teens are far more likely to attempt suicide than cis gender teens. Roughly 50 percent of trans boys and 30 percent of trans girls have attempted suicide at least once. And exactly what those kids do not need to hear is that their government doesn't believe they exist '-- or that the government wants to erase their identity from federal law, which sounds like a science fiction nightmare.
Beyond the legal issues '-- the potentially lost services for trans students, such as health programs, support groups and specialized activities '-- immense emotional and psychological damage comes along with the knowledge that the government has the power to either sanction or obliterate your existence.
What possible reason could they have for this? This isn't about tax cuts for rich people. I get what they're going for with that, but this? I want to sit down and introduce them to my kid and say, ''Really? This is a threat to you?'' This is institutionalized meanness.
The first election Violet was conscious of was 2008. We went to vote together, that tiny little 5-year-old hand pulled the lever for Barack Obama. The next morning I said, incredulously, ''Violet, Barack Obama won!'' But Violet was unfazed. Obama was the good man who was supposed to win. (His administration would go on to issue a 25-page document detailing policies and practices to support transgender students in schools, colleges and universities across the country.) In all of the stories we read, the kind, brave, principled people triumphed. The wicked and hurtful people went away or learned their lesson. In today's world, Cruella de Vil would have a thriving coat factory.
[How the psychology of public bathrooms explains the 'bathroom bills']
When Violet was in second grade, I introduced him to ''Free To Be You And Me,'' a hugely important album for me as a kid. If you don't know it, the message is basically that boys and girls can do anything they like. Boys can play with dolls, girls can win races, it's all right to cry, you shouldn't dress your cat in an apron just because he bakes.
Violet liked it okay but didn't marvel at the messages. We knew a little boy who wore princess costumes, and we socialized with gay mixed-race couples with kids. I took great joy in the fact that my 5-year-old took it for granted that he'd be allowed to do anything in his life. And if he realized, nine years later, that his gender at birth didn't have to be his gender for life '-- that was okay, too.
That world is not the world of my 15-year-old '-- Violet's age today '-- and I am brokenhearted. But the struggle is long from over. No one, not this government or anyone else, can erase my or anyone's child by reinterpreting a statute.
The arc of the moral universe is being mercilessly bent in grotesque directions. But it's not broken, yet.
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College student reinstated after 18-day exile from Christianity class for gender speech | Fox News
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:12
Lake Ingle, a religious studies major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was kicked out of Christianity class earlier this month for saying there are only two genders. He is now allowed back in.
IUP President Michael Driscoll announced at a press conference Monday his decision to go against Professor Alison Downie's controversial request to ban Ingle from class for ''disruptive behavior."
Ingle told Fox News he was booted out of Downie's classroom for challenging the feminist theology professor on the biology of males and females and the gender wage gap during a Feb. 28 lecture in which she allegedly asked only women to speak following a TED Talk by transgender ex-pastor Paula Stone Williams. Williams discussed the ''reality'' of ''mansplaining,'' ''sexism from men,'' and ''male privilege.''
Downie kicked him out of class and asked him not to come back, which would have postponed his graduation if not for the college president's decision.
Driscoll said he is ''disappointed'' in how the university handled the situation, adding it had ''fallen short'' of devotion to the First Amendment.
Ingle considers the end to his 18-day exile a victory.
''I'm happy I can get back to class and graduate on time,'' Ingle told Fox News. ''I was surprised the president stepped in before the ruling but glad he made the right choice.''
Ingle was supposed to receive a ruling from the Academic Integrity Board Monday on whether he would still be barred from Downie's upper level ''Christianity 481: Self, Sin, and Salvation'' class, but Driscoll said he paused the formal process indefinitely without any consideration from AIB's ruling.
Dr. Alison Downie referred student, Lake Ingle, to IUP's Academic Integrity Board, to banish him from class. IUP President Michael Driscoll reversed the decision Monday in a press conference. (Lake Ingle)
Driscoll notified the IUP community that specialized faculty members '' including Assistant to the President for Social Equity Dr. Pablo Mendoza '' will be facilitating Ingle's return to class, but ''if these steps do not yield positive results, I reserve the option to restart the university's formal processes.''
The IUP president also took the opportunity to address another issue on campus '' how one student group, Turning Point USA at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was attacked for inviting a conservative speaker to the campus.
Driscoll said students labeled invited speaker, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and their campus chapter members as ''Nazis'' and ''fascists.''
''In a free society, people with opinions you don't like are allowed to exist, are allowed to speak, and can call you names,'' he said. ''People are even allowed to write essays that use violent metaphors to describe their feelings about a challenging situation without fear of punishment.''
Driscoll hopes both issues can be resolved, in what he calls, the ''IUP Way.''
''I am hopeful that what we all learn in the weeks ahead will inform a thorough review and revision of the underlying university policies to make sure that we are meeting our educational mission in the IUP Way, while complying with the law of the land,'' he said.
Ingle is now set to graduate and hopes to one day become a professor.
''When you see that kind of misuse of intellectual power, you want to be the person that comes back and does it responsibly and with morals,'' Ingle said. ''Instead of being the purveyor of your ideology, you can be an educator.''
Downie did not respond to request for comment.
Christian student senator at UC Berkeley harassed for abstaining from pro-LGBTQ vote | Fox News
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:06
A student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, who was kicked out of her own party and is being pressured to resign or face a recall because of her religious views, says she won't back down.
Isabella Chow, a daughter of Malaysian-Cambodian immigrants and a junior double majoring in business administration and music, told Fox News she abstained from a largely symbolic student vote Oct. 31 because she did not fully agree with certain clauses, not the majority of the pro-LGBTQ+ bills, which passed from the support of 18 of the 20 senators (another being absent). She was labeled ''homophobic'' and ''transphobic'' and within two days felt like the whole campus was against her.
Two weeks ago, the Queer Alliance Resource Center (QARC) reportedly asked the student body to condemn the Trump Administration's ''proposed definition of sex under Title IX'' defining individuals as being male or female as fixed from birth. The student government bills argued the definition is ''trans-exclusive,'' rolling back the Obama Administration's added protections for individuals who identify as transgender from ''harassment, denial of access to the student's preferred restroom, and requirements regarding medical documentation.''
Chow's former party, Student Action, left her with the decision to fully support the bills and the LGBTQ lifestyle or get ousted.
''No matter how difficult this has been, if I don't represent the Christian perspective '' the minority perspective '' there won't be anyone to represent these views,'' Chow said. ''I'm doing this for the Christian community. I know that I was called for such a time as this'...backing down is not an option, especially when backing down means giving in to political pressure and political correctness.''
In her statement, Chow said discrimination is ''never, ever Ok'' and condemned Christian bullies and bigots, calling the LGBTQ community valid and loved, even if their views were different.
''That said, I cannot vote for this bill without compromising my values and my responsibility to the community that elected me to represent them,'' Chow said. ''As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain acts and lifestyles conflict with that is good, right, and true. I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman. For me, to love another person does not mean that I silently concur when, at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual.''
The bill crossed the line for Chow in promoting a choice of identities she doesn't agree to be right or best for an individual in addition to promoting organizations contrary to those of her community.
She concluded by saying she affirms that each person in the room deserves respect, acknowledgment, legal protection, and love. She asked them to extend the same respect to her community but was quickly met with backlash.
Around 300 people gathered at UC Berkeley's student government meeting to voice opposition or support for Senator Chow. (Isabella Chow)
Several groups on campus issued statements condemning her, demanding she resign or face a recall, and the groups she aligned with disassociated from her '' all except the Christian groups.
Then at last Wednesday's meeting, hundreds gathered in the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) chambers, the majority '' one by one '' telling Chow to resign with a large banner reading ''Senator Chow resign now'' taped to the back wall.
Leading up to the meeting, the Daily Californian ran an editorial criticizing her, but when Chow offered her defense and a statement, the student newspaper refused to run it, and instead condemned her in an editorial calling for her to resign and accusing her of creating a ''toxic space for LGBTQ+ communities.''
Teddy Lake, the student senator who sponsored the bill, labeled her a bigot, claiming Chow's comments were ''disturbing and irreconcilable,'' ''hateful prejudices,'' and ultimately deny Lake's very existence as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Over a thousand student signed a petition from QARC accusing Chow of hatred and violating the ASUC constitution, being unfit for office, and called her comments ''violent, hypocritical, and bigoted.''
Regan Putnam, the Queer Alliance Resource Center (QARC) Director, condemned Chow during a UC Berkeley student government meeting. (Isabella Chow)
''Tonight is not about dismissing Christianity as universally toxic, but about validating the experience of those at the hands of bigots who have cowardly hid behind religion to justify their actions,'' QARC Director Regan Putnam said to a room full of finger snaps.
Former ASUC presidential candidate, Gia Cordova, said he hopes Chow asks for forgiveness, before warning he ''won't be f***d around with'' and is ''down to fight.''
Chow told Fox News she now has her friends walk with her to class for fear of safety amid the backlash, but she doesn't plan on resigning.
''It was absolutely difficult to hear 'f*** you Isabella' and 'see you in Hell' and difficult words that I don't want to relive, but beneath all the anger and hurt are wounded hearts and broken narratives that we as a church need to address with utmost love and utmost truth spoken in love,'' Chow said.
During the three hour meeting that ended just before midnight, three students did voice support for Chow.
One of Chow's supporters, Matt Ronnau, was laughed at after he commented that Christians and conservatives are ''marginalized groups'' on campus.
Another supporter, Daniel Frise, criticized the student senate of imposing a "religious litmus test" and said Chow never intended harm to the LGBT community.
Chow, who identifies as an independent moderate and has interned for Democratic representatives in Congress, said while it felt like everyone on campus was against her, she has received supportive messages from people across the country.
''I'm reminded the rest of the world is not a bubble the way Berkeley is, and honestly that gives me hope,'' she said.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: 'Facebook is the new cigarettes'
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:47
Katie Kramer | CNBC
Marc Benioff
In a wide-ranging interview, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff compared using Facebook to nicotine addiction.
"Facebook is the new cigarettes," Benioff told journalist Kara Swisher for an MSNBC special, "Revolution: Salesforce Changing the World," which will air on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.
"You know, it's addictive. It's not good for you. There's people trying to get you to use it that even you don't understand what's going on. The government needs to step in. The government needs to really regulate what's happening," he said.
Benioff is not known to shy away from clashes with fellow tech leaders. Most recently, he successfully advocated for San Francisco to pass Proposition C, a tax on the city's biggest businesses meant to raise funds for the homeless. This put him in direct opposition to several of his peers, including Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who argued the tax would disproportionately impact financial services companies like Square.
Benioff expressed concern over Facebook's impact on children in particular. When Swisher pushed back on the comparison of Facebook to deadly cigarettes, Benioff stood by his assessment.
"Well, I think this is ... the right comparison that we can see that, you know, Facebook can have very serious effects on society the same way that cigarettes can," he said.
It's not the first time Benioff has compared Facebook to the tobacco industry. In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" in January, Benioff said Facebook should be regulated, just like tobacco.
"I think that you do it exactly the same way that you regulated the cigarette industry. Here's a product: Cigarettes. They're addictive, they're not good for you," Benioff said at the time. "I think that for sure, technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and that product designers are working to make those products more addictive and we need to rein that back."
(3) Kate Aurthur on Twitter: "Why do CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News not broadcast 24-7 fire coverage in the same way they do hurricanes? Why isn't Anderson Cooper in a windbreaker walking around the remains of Paradise, CA? I think it's East Coast bias, but ple
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:42
@ KateAurthur Why do CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News not broadcast 24-7 fire coverage in the same way they do hurricanes? Why isn't Anderson Cooper in a windbreaker walking around the remains of Paradise, CA? I think it's East Coast bias, but please convince me otherwise. (Don't be annoying, though!)
crysta timmerman @ crystatimmerman
Nov 13 I'm probably wrong here, but I think they're simply more practiced at hurricane coverage than any other natural disaster, so they stick with what they know. They don't cover often nor'easter blizzards, tornados, or other big weather events on the east coast either.
View conversation ·
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook's Leaders Fought Through Crisis - The New York Times
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:20
Image Facebook has gone on the attack as one scandal after another '-- Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech '-- has led to a congressional and consumer backlash. Credit Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times Sheryl Sandberg was seething.
Inside Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company.
But it wasn't the looming disaster at Facebook that angered Ms. Sandberg. It was the social network's security chief, Alex Stamos, who had informed company board members the day before that Facebook had yet to contain the Russian infestation. Mr. Stamos's briefing had prompted a humiliating boardroom interrogation of Ms. Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, and her billionaire boss. She appeared to regard the admission as a betrayal.
''You threw us under the bus!'' she yelled at Mr. Stamos, according to people who were present.
The clash that day would set off a reckoning '-- for Mr. Zuckerberg, for Ms. Sandberg and for the business they had built together. In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world. Along the way, Facebook accumulated one of the largest-ever repositories of personal data, a treasure trove of photos, messages and likes that propelled the company into the Fortune 500.
But as evidence accumulated that Facebook's power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.
Image Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, has overseen an aggressive campaign to fight critics and ward off regulation. Credit Joshua Roberts/Reuters When Facebook users learned last spring that the company had compromised their privacy in its rush to expand, allowing access to the personal information of tens of millions of people to a political data firm linked to President Trump, Facebook sought to deflect blame and mask the extent of the problem.
And when that failed '-- as the company's stock price plummeted and sparked a consumer backlash '-- Facebook went on the attack.
While Mr. Zuckerberg conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook's critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
In Washington, allies of Facebook, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, intervened on its behalf. And Ms. Sandberg wooed or cajoled hostile lawmakers, while trying to dispel Facebook's reputation as a bastion of Bay Area liberalism.
This account of how Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg navigated Facebook's cascading crises, much of which has not been previously reported, is based on interviews with more than 50 people. They include current and former Facebook executives and other employees, lawmakers and government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, were not authorized to speak to reporters or feared retaliation.
Facebook declined to make Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg available for comment. In a statement, a spokesman acknowledged that Facebook had been slow to address its challenges but had since made progress fixing the platform.
''This has been a tough time at Facebook and our entire management team has been focused on tackling the issues we face,'' the statement said. ''While these are hard problems we are working hard to ensure that people find our products useful and that we protect our community from bad actors.''
Even so, trust in the social network has sunk, while its pell-mell growth has slowed. Regulators and law enforcement officials in the United States and Europe are investigating Facebook's conduct with Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that worked with Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign, opening up the company to fines and other liability. Both the Trump administration and lawmakers have begun crafting proposals for a national privacy law, setting up a yearslong struggle over the future of Facebook's data-hungry business model.
''We failed to look and try to imagine what was hiding behind corners,'' Elliot Schrage, former vice president for global communications, marketing and public policy at Facebook, said in an interview.
Mr. Zuckerberg, 34, and Ms. Sandberg, 49, remain at the company's helm, while Mr. Stamos and other high-profile executives have left after disputes over Facebook's priorities. Mr. Zuckerberg, who controls the social network with 60 percent of the voting shares and who approved many of its directors, has been asked repeatedly in the last year whether he should step down as chief executive.
His answer each time: a resounding ''No.''
'Don't Poke the Bear' Image Joel Kaplan, right, Facebook's vice president for corporate public policy, attended an April Senate hearing where a coached Mark Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive, largely eluded tough questions. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times Three years ago, Mr. Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in 2004 while attending Harvard, was celebrated for the company's extraordinary success. Ms. Sandberg, a former Clinton administration official and Google veteran, had become a feminist icon with the publication of her empowerment manifesto, ''Lean In,'' in 2013.
Like other technology executives, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg cast their company as a force for social good. Facebook's lofty aims were emblazoned even on securities filings: ''Our mission is to make the world more open and connected.''
But as Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform. When researchers and activists in Myanmar, India, Germany and elsewhere warned that Facebook had become an instrument of government propaganda and ethnic cleansing, the company largely ignored them. Facebook had positioned itself as a platform, not a publisher. Taking responsibility for what users posted, or acting to censor it, was expensive and complicated. Many Facebook executives worried that any such efforts would backfire.
Then Donald J. Trump ran for president. He described Muslim immigrants and refugees as a danger to America, and in December 2015 posted a statement on Facebook calling for a ''total and complete shutdown'' on Muslims entering the United States. Mr. Trump's call to arms '-- widely condemned by Democrats and some prominent Republicans '-- was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, an illustration of the site's power to spread racist sentiment.
Mr. Zuckerberg, who had helped found a nonprofit dedicated to immigration reform, was appalled, said employees who spoke to him or were familiar with the conversation. He asked Ms. Sandberg and other executives if Mr. Trump had violated Facebook's terms of service.
The question was unusual. Mr. Zuckerberg typically focused on broader technology issues; politics was Ms. Sandberg's domain. In 2010, Ms. Sandberg, a Democrat, had recruited a friend and fellow Clinton alum, Marne Levine, as Facebook's chief Washington representative. A year later, after Republicans seized control of the House, Ms. Sandberg installed another friend, a well-connected Republican: Joel Kaplan, who had attended Harvard with Ms. Sandberg and later served in the George W. Bush administration.
Some at Facebook viewed Mr. Trump's 2015 attack on Muslims as an opportunity to finally take a stand against the hate speech coursing through its platform. But Ms. Sandberg, who was edging back to work after the death of her husband several months earlier, delegated the matter to Mr. Schrage and Monika Bickert, a former prosecutor whom Ms. Sandberg had recruited as the company's head of global policy. Ms. Sandberg also turned to the Washington office '-- particularly to Mr. Kaplan, said people who participated in or were briefed on the discussions.
In video conference calls between the Silicon Valley headquarters and Washington, the three officials construed their task narrowly. They parsed the company's terms of service to see if the post, or Mr. Trump's account, violated Facebook's rules.
Mr. Kaplan argued that Mr. Trump was an important public figure and that shutting down his account or removing the statement could be seen as obstructing free speech, said three employees who knew of the discussions. He also said it could also stoke a conservative backlash.
''Don't poke the bear,'' Mr. Kaplan warned.
Mr. Zuckerberg did not participate in the debate. Ms. Sandberg attended some of the video meetings but rarely spoke.
Mr. Schrage concluded that Mr. Trump's language had not violated Facebook's rules and that the candidate's views had public value. ''We were trying to make a decision based on all the legal and technical evidence before us,'' he said in an interview.
In the end, Mr. Trump's statement and account remained on the site. When Mr. Trump won election the next fall, giving Republicans control of the White House as well as Congress, Mr. Kaplan was empowered to plan accordingly. The company hired a former aide to Mr. Trump's new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, along with lobbying firms linked to Republican lawmakers who had jurisdiction over internet companies.
But inside Facebook, new troubles were brewing.
Minimizing Russia's Role Image At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in November 2017, Facebook and other tech giants were asked about Russia's election meddling. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times In the final months of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, Russian agents escalated a yearlong effort to hack and harass his Democratic opponents, culminating in the release of thousands of emails stolen from prominent Democrats and party officials.
Facebook had said nothing publicly about any problems on its own platform. But in the spring of 2016, a company expert on Russian cyberwarfare spotted something worrisome. He reached out to his boss, Mr. Stamos.
Mr. Stamos's team discovered that Russian hackers appeared to be probing Facebook accounts for people connected to the presidential campaigns, said two employees. Months later, as Mr. Trump battled Hillary Rodham Clinton in the general election, the team also found Facebook accounts linked to Russian hackers who were messaging journalists to share information from the stolen emails.
Mr. Stamos, 39, told Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, about the findings, said two people involved in the conversations. At the time, Facebook had no policy on disinformation or any resources dedicated to searching for it.
Mr. Stamos, acting on his own, then directed a team to scrutinize the extent of Russian activity on Facebook. In December 2016, after Mr. Zuckerberg publicly scoffed at the idea that fake news on Facebook had helped elect Mr. Trump, Mr. Stamos '-- alarmed that the company's chief executive seemed unaware of his team's findings '-- met with Mr. Zuckerberg, Ms. Sandberg and other top Facebook leaders.
Ms. Sandberg was angry. Looking into the Russian activity without approval, she said, had left the company exposed legally. Other executives asked Mr. Stamos why they had not been told sooner.
Still, Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg decided to expand on Mr. Stamos's work, creating a group called Project P, for ''propaganda,'' to study false news on the site, according to people involved in the discussions. By January 2017, the group knew that Mr. Stamos's original team had only scratched the surface of Russian activity on Facebook, and pressed to issue a public paper about their findings.
Image Alex Stamos, Facebook's former security chief, met with criticism as he investigated Russian activity on the platform. Credit Steve Marcus/Reuters But Mr. Kaplan and other Facebook executives objected. Washington was already reeling from an official finding by American intelligence agencies that Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, had personally ordered an influence campaign aimed at helping elect Mr. Trump.
If Facebook implicated Russia further, Mr. Kaplan said, Republicans would accuse the company of siding with Democrats. And if Facebook pulled down the Russians' fake pages, regular Facebook users might also react with outrage at having been deceived: His own mother-in-law, Mr. Kaplan said, had followed a Facebook page created by Russian trolls.
Ms. Sandberg sided with Mr. Kaplan, recalled four people involved. Mr. Zuckerberg '-- who spent much of 2017 on a national ''listening tour,'' feeding cows in Wisconsin and eating dinner with Somali refugees in Minnesota '-- did not participate in the conversations about the public paper. When it was published that April, the word ''Russia'' never appeared.
Ms. Sandberg's subordinates took a similar approach in Washington, where the Senate had begun pursuing its own investigation, led by Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican, and Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat. Throughout the spring and summer of 2017, Facebook officials repeatedly played down Senate investigators' concerns about the company, while publicly claiming there had been no Russian effort of any significance on Facebook.
But inside the company, employees were tracing more ads, pages and groups back to Russia. That June, a Times reporter provided Facebook a list of accounts with suspected ties to Russia, seeking more information on their provenance. By August 2017, Facebook executives concluded that the situation had become what one called a ''five-alarm fire,'' said a person familiar with the discussions.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg agreed to go public with some findings, and laid plans to release a blog post on Sept. 6, 2017, the day of the company's quarterly board meeting.
After Mr. Stamos and his team drafted the post, however, Ms. Sandberg and her deputies insisted it be less specific. She and Mr. Zuckerberg also asked Mr. Stamos and Mr. Stretch to brief the board's audit committee, chaired by Erskine Bowles, the patrician investor and White House veteran.
Image Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, learned in 2016 that suspicious Russian activity on the social network had been detected internally. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times Mr. Stretch and Mr. Stamos went into more detail with the audit committee than planned, warning that Facebook was likely to find even more evidence of Russian interference.
The disclosures set off Mr. Bowles, who after years in Washington could anticipate how lawmakers might react. He grilled the two men, occasionally cursing, on how Facebook had allowed itself to become a tool for Russian interference. He demanded to know why it had taken so long to uncover the activity, and why Facebook directors were only now being told.
When the full board gathered later that day at a room at the company's headquarters reserved for sensitive meetings, Mr. Bowles pelted questions at Facebook's founder and second-in-command. Ms. Sandberg, visibly unsettled, apologized. Mr. Zuckerberg, stone-faced, whirred through technical fixes, said three people who attended or were briefed on the proceedings.
Later that day, the company's abbreviated blog post went up. It said little about fake accounts or the organic posts created by Russian trolls that had gone viral on Facebook, disclosing only that Russian agents had spent roughly $100,000 '-- a relatively tiny sum '-- on approximately 3,000 ads.
Just one day after the company's carefully sculpted admission, The Times published an investigation of further Russian activity on Facebook, showing how Russian intelligence had used fake accounts to promote emails stolen from the Democratic Party and prominent Washington figures.
A Political Playbook Image Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner introduced legislation last fall to force Facebook and other tech companies to disclose who bought political ads on their sites. Credit Al Drago for The New York TimesTimes The combined revelations infuriated Democrats, finally fracturing the political consensus that had protected Facebook and other big tech companies from Beltway interference. Republicans, already concerned that the platform was censoring conservative views, accused Facebook of fueling what they claimed were meritless conspiracy charges against Mr. Trump and Russia. Democrats, long allied with Silicon Valley on issues including immigration and gay rights, now blamed Mr. Trump's win partly on Facebook's tolerance for fraud and disinformation.
After stalling for weeks, Facebook eventually agreed to hand over the Russian posts to Congress. Twice in October 2017, Facebook was forced to revise its public statements, finally acknowledging that close to 126 million people had seen the Russian posts.
The same month, Mr. Warner and Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat, introduced legislation to compel Facebook and other internet firms to disclose who bought political ads on their sites '-- a significant expansion of federal regulation over tech companies.
''It's time for Facebook to let all of us see the ads bought by Russians *and paid for in Rubles* during the last election,'' Ms. Klobuchar wrote on her own Facebook page.
Facebook girded for battle. Days after the bill was unveiled, Facebook hired Mr. Warner's former chief of staff, Luke Albee, to lobby on it. Mr. Kaplan's team took a larger role in managing the company's Washington response, routinely reviewing Facebook news releases for words or phrases that might rile conservatives.
Ms. Sandberg also reached out to Ms. Klobuchar. She had been friendly with the senator, who is featured on the website for Lean In, Ms. Sandberg's empowerment initiative. Ms. Sandberg had contributed a blurb to Ms. Klobuchar's 2015 memoir, and the senator's chief of staff had previously worked at Ms. Sandberg's charitable foundation.
But in a tense conversation shortly after the ad legislation was introduced, Ms. Sandberg complained about Ms. Klobuchar's attacks on the company, said a person who was briefed on the call. Ms. Klobuchar did not back down on her legislation. But she dialed down her criticism in at least one venue important to the company: After blasting Facebook repeatedly that fall on her own Facebook page, Ms. Klobuchar hardly mentioned the company in posts between November and February.
A spokesman for Ms. Klobuchar said in a statement that Facebook's lobbying had not lessened her commitment to holding the company accountable. ''Facebook was pushing to exclude issue ads from the Honest Ads Act, and Senator Klobuchar strenuously disagreed and refused to change the bill,'' he said.
In October 2017, Facebook also expanded its work with a Washington-based consultant, Definers Public Affairs, that had originally been hired to monitor press coverage of the company. Founded by veterans of Republican presidential politics, Definers specialized in applying political campaign tactics to corporate public relations '-- an approach long employed in Washington by big telecommunications firms and activist hedge fund managers, but less common in tech.
Definers had established a Silicon Valley outpost earlier that year, led by Tim Miller, a former spokesman for Jeb Bush who preached the virtues of campaign-style opposition research. For tech firms, he argued in one interview, a goal should be to ''have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that's being pushed out about your competitor.''
Facebook quickly adopted that strategy. In November 2017, the social network came out in favor of a bill called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which made internet companies responsible for sex trafficking ads on their sites.
Google and others had fought the bill for months, worrying it would set a cumbersome precedent. But the sex trafficking bill was championed by Senator John Thune, a Republican of South Dakota who had pummeled Facebook over accusations that it censored conservative content, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and senior commerce committee member who was a frequent critic of Facebook.
Facebook broke ranks with other tech companies, hoping the move would help repair relations on both sides of the aisle, said two congressional staffers and three tech industry officials.
When the bill came to a vote in the House in February, Ms. Sandberg offered public support online, urging Congress to ''make sure we pass meaningful and strong legislation to stop sex trafficking.''
Image Cutouts of Mr. Zuckerberg during a protest outside the United States Capitol in April. Credit Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters In March, The Times and The Observer/Guardian prepared to publish a joint investigation into how Facebook user data had been appropriated by Cambridge Analytica to profile American voters. A few days before publication, The Times presented Facebook with evidence that copies of improperly acquired Facebook data still existed, despite earlier promises by Cambridge executives and others to delete it.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg met with their lieutenants to determine a response. They decided to pre-empt the stories, saying in a statement published late on a Friday night that Facebook had suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform. The executives figured that getting ahead of the news would soften its blow, according to people in the discussions.
They were wrong. The story drew worldwide outrage, prompting lawsuits and official investigations in Washington, London and Brussels. For days, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg remained out of sight, mulling how to respond. While the Russia investigation had devolved into an increasingly partisan battle, the Cambridge scandal set off Democrats and Republicans alike. And in Silicon Valley, other tech firms began exploiting the outcry to burnish their own brands.
Image Alexander Nix, former chief executive of the Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook came under fire after revelations that it had allowed the firm access to the personal information of tens of millions of people. Credit Tolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images ''We're not going to traffic in your personal life,'' Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. ''Privacy to us is a human right. It's a civil liberty.'' (Mr. Cook's criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones, since the operating system has far more users than Apple's.)
Facebook scrambled anew. Executives quietly shelved an internal communications campaign, called ''We Get It,'' meant to assure employees that the company was committed to getting back on track in 2018.
Then Facebook went on the offensive. Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company's American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.
On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians' use of Facebook.
The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company's political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients' enemies. While the NTK Network does not have a large audience of its own, its content is frequently picked up by popular conservative outlets, including Breitbart.
Mr. Miller acknowledged that Facebook and Apple do not directly compete. Definers' work on Apple is funded by a third technology company, he said, but Facebook has pushed back against Apple because Mr. Cook's criticism upset Facebook.
If the privacy issue comes up, Facebook is happy to ''muddy the waters,'' Mr. Miller said over drinks at an Oakland, Calif., bar last month.
In public, Facebook was more conciliatory. Mr. Zuckerberg agreed to testify on Capitol Hill. The company unveiled a gauzy advertising campaign, titled ''Here Together,'' to apologize to its users. Days before Mr. Zuckerberg's appearance in Congress in April, Facebook announced that it was endorsing Ms. Klobuchar's Honest Ads bill and would pre-emptively begin disclosing political ad buyers. It also informed users whose data had been improperly harvested by Cambridge Analytica.
But Mr. Zuckerberg's good-will tour was bumpy. Thanks to intensive coaching and preparation, the company's communications team believed, he had effectively parried tough questions at the April hearing. But they worried he had come off as robotic '-- a suspicion confirmed by Facebook's pollsters.
Image Mr. Zuckerberg spoke with Representative Greg Walden during a break in an April hearing, telling him he was surprised at the tough line of questioning. Credit Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock Mr. Zuckerberg's political instincts were no more well-tuned. During a break in one hearing, he buttonholed Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican who leads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to express his surprise at how tough on Facebook Democrats had been.
Mr. Walden was taken aback, said people who knew of the remark. Facebook's leader, Mr. Walden realized, did not understand the breadth of the anger now aimed at his creation.
Personal Appeals in Washington Image Ms. Sandberg, center left, has wooed or cajoled lawmakers in Washington. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images Ms. Sandberg had said little publicly about the company's problems. But inside Facebook, her approach had begun to draw criticism.
Some colleagues believed that Ms. Sandberg '-- whose ambitions to return to public life were much discussed at the company '-- was protecting her own brand at Facebook's expense. At one company gathering, said two people who knew of the event, friends told Ms. Sandberg that if Facebook did not address the scandals effectively, its role in spreading hate and fear would define her legacy, too.
So Ms. Sandberg began taking a more personal role in the company's Washington campaign, drawing on all the polish that Mr. Zuckerberg sometimes lacked. She not only relied on her old Democratic ties, but also sought to assuage skeptical Republicans, who grumbled that Facebook was more sensitive to the political opinions of its work force than to those of powerful committee leaders. Trailing an entourage of as many as 10 people on trips to the capital, Ms. Sandberg made a point of sending personal thank-you notes to lawmakers and others she met.
Her top Republican target was Mr. Burr, whose Senate committee's Russia investigation had chugged along. The two spoke by phone, according to a congressional staff member and a Facebook executive, and met in person this fall. While critics cast Facebook as a serial offender that had ignored repeated warning signs about the dangers posed by its product, Ms. Sandberg argued that the company was grappling earnestly with the consequences of its extraordinary growth.
She made the same case in June at a conference of the National Association of Attorneys General in Portland, Ore. At the time, several attorneys general had opened or joined investigations into the company. Facebook was eager to head off further trouble.
The company organized several private receptions, including what was billed as a conversation with Ms. Sandberg about ''corporate citizenship in the digital age'' and a briefing on Cambridge Analytica.
While Facebook had publicly declared itself ready for new federal regulations, Ms. Sandberg privately contended that the social network was already adopting the best reforms and policies available. Heavy-handed regulation, she warned, would only disadvantage smaller competitors.
Some of the officials were skeptical. But Ms. Sandberg's presence '-- companies typically send lower-ranking executives to such gatherings '-- persuaded others that Facebook was serious about addressing its problems, according to two who attended the conference.
Facebook also continued to look for ways to deflect criticism to rivals. In June, after The Times reported on Facebook's previously undisclosed deals to share user data with device makers '-- partnerships Facebook had failed to disclose to lawmakers '-- executives ordered up focus groups in Washington.
In separate sessions with liberals and conservatives, about a dozen at a time, Facebook previewed messages to lawmakers. Among the approaches it tested was bringing YouTube and other social media platforms into the controversy, while arguing that Google struck similar data-sharing deals.
Image Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy, testifying before Congress in July. Demonstrators held up signs with octopus imagery that a company official flagged as anti-Semitic. Credit Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg By then, some of the harshest criticism of Facebook was coming from the political left, where activists and policy experts had begun calling for the company to be broken up.
In July, organizers with a coalition called Freedom from Facebook crashed a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, where a company executive was testifying about its policies. As the executive spoke, the organizers held aloft signs depicting Ms. Sandberg and Ms. Zuckerberg, who are both Jewish, as two heads of an octopus stretching around the globe.
Eddie Vale, a Democratic public relations strategist who led the protest, later said the image was meant to evoke old cartoons of Standard Oil, the Gilded Age monopoly. But a Facebook official quickly called the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish civil rights organization, to flag the sign. Facebook and other tech companies had partnered with the civil rights group since late 2017 on an initiative to combat anti-Semitism and hate speech online.
That afternoon, the A.D.L. issued a warning from its Twitter account.
''Depicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope,'' the organization wrote. ''Protest Facebook '-- or anyone '-- all you want, but pick a different image.'' The criticism was soon echoed in conservative outlets including The Washington Free Beacon, which has sought to tie Freedom from Facebook to what the publication calls ''extreme anti-Israel groups.''
An A.D.L. spokeswoman, Betsaida Alcantara, said the group routinely fielded reports of anti-Semitic slurs from journalists, synagogues and others. ''Our experts evaluate each one based on our years of experience, and we respond appropriately,'' Ms. Alcantara said. (The group has at times sharply criticized Facebook, including when Mr. Zuckerberg suggested that his company should not censor Holocaust deniers.)
Facebook also used Definers to take on bigger opponents, such as Mr. Soros, a longtime boogeyman to mainstream conservatives and the target of intense anti-Semitic smears on the far right. A research document circulated by Definers to reporters this summer, just a month after the House hearing, cast Mr. Soros as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement.
He was a natural target. In a speech at the World Economic Forum in January, he had attacked Facebook and Google, describing them as a monopolist ''menace'' with ''neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions.''
Definers pressed reporters to explore the financial connections between Mr. Soros's family or philanthropies and groups that were members of Freedom from Facebook, such as Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, as well as a progressive group founded by Mr. Soros's son. The research documents also highlighted those groups' unrelated criticisms of Mr. Trump. (Definers also circulated research about other critics of Facebook, such as Diamond and Silk, the pro-Trump social media stars who had claimed they were treated unfairly by Facebook.)
In at least one instance, the company also relied on Mr. Schumer, the New York senator and Senate Democratic leader. He has long worked to advance Silicon Valley's interests on issues such as commercial drone regulations and patent reform. During the 2016 election cycle, he raised more money from Facebook employees than any other member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Image Mr. Zuckerberg speaking with Senator Chuck Schumer in July. The lawmaker, whose daughter works at Facebook, has intervened on the company's behalf. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images Mr. Schumer also has a personal connection to Facebook: His daughter Alison joined the firm out of college and is now a marketing manager in Facebook's New York office, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In July, as Facebook's troubles threatened to cost the company billions of dollars in market value, Mr. Schumer confronted Mr. Warner, by then Facebook's most insistent inquisitor in Congress.
Back off, he told Mr. Warner, according to a Facebook employee briefed on Mr. Schumer's intervention. Mr. Warner should be looking for ways to work with Facebook, Mr. Schumer advised, not harm it. Facebook lobbyists were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer's efforts to protect the company, according to the employee.
A Senate aide briefed on the exchange said that Mr. Schumer had not wanted Mr. Warner to lose sight of the need for Facebook to tackle problems with right-wing disinformation and election interference, as well as consumer privacy and other issues.
The War Room Image Ms. Sandberg with Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in September. Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times One morning in late summer, workers layered opaque contact paper onto the windows of a conference room in Facebook's Washington office. Not long after, a security guard was posted outside the door. It was an unusual sight: Facebook prided itself on open office plans and transparent, glass-walled conference rooms.
But Ms. Sandberg was set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee '-- a pivotal encounter for her embattled company '-- and her aides were taking no chances.
Inside the room, they labored to prepare her for the hearing. They had assembled a binder-size briefing book, covering virtually every issue she might be questioned about, and had hired a former White House lawyer who specialized in training corporate executives.
Facebook lobbyists had already worked the Intelligence Committee hard, asking that lawmakers refrain from questioning Ms. Sandberg about privacy issues, Cambridge Analytica and censorship. The argument was persuasive with Mr. Burr, who was determined to avoid a circuslike atmosphere. A day before the hearing, he issued a stern warning to all committee members to stick to the topic of election interference.
In the committee room the next day was an empty chair behind a placard labeled ''Google.'' Facebook had lobbied for the hearing to include a Google emissary of similar rank to Ms. Sandberg. The company won a partial victory when Mr. Burr announced that Larry Page, a Google co-founder, had been invited, along with Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive.
Mr. Dorsey showed up. Mr. Page did not.
As the hearing unfolded, senators excoriated Google for its absence, earning a wave of negative news coverage for Facebook's rival.
Image Ms. Sandberg's notes from the September hearing. Facebook lobbyists had worked hard to limit the range of questions Ms. Sandberg would face. Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times Ms. Sandberg spread neatly handwritten notes on the table before her: the names of each senator on the committee, their pet questions and concerns, a reminder to say thank you.
In large letters were her stage directions: ''Slow, Pause, Determined.''
(2) NewsGuy on Twitter: "And this is how Amazon joins the Deep State. https://t.co/NQGUGZ4r63" / Twitter
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:19
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Lame Cherry: The Puzzling Death of John McCain in Vietnam
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:16
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.I make it a point to rarely publish the discoveries of others, but in this case, I can not help it, as what can one do when their Siam Sensation friend, Châm Biếm, asks a favor of her favorite popular girl as she simply adores me. In that, the following is more of the strange photos that keep cropping up concerning the deceased John the hero McCain. In background in this, Châm was on vacation with her lovely husband, Lén Lút in the highlands of Vietnam, and on an outing stopped off in Hanoi for a day of relaxation and fun.  Châm Biếm One of the stops they of course made was to the Hall of Heroes, which is a must for every tourist, as who would not dream of spending hours looking at the history of the War of  Liberation, inside one of the most prominent and lovely architectural triumphs in south Asia. Hall of Heroes  So Châm and  her lovely husband entered the Hall, and were rolling on their smart phones video of all the features in the noted heroes, when they happened to capture a most strange doppleganger of John the hero McCain posing in front of what is a bust of John the hero McCain with the caption, "LIBERATOR COMRADE". Châm tried to ascertain who the individual was, but the crowds of course were so large that it was impossible. Fortunately there was a kind communist political officer observing all of this and was most helpful in leading them outside and pointing to this sign. Châm Biếm and her lovely husband, Lén Lút attempted to ask what exactly "with John McCain" meant, but the political officer only smiled and returned to her post. As  Châm and Lén stopped for some tea, they happened to look down the street and saw another sign which really puzzled them as there was a place called The McCain House. As it was only 14 kilometers away they decided to take a drive and see if the McCain House was open to the public.   Châm  said the road was  one of the best in Vietnam. It was concrete and looked newly constructed. As they gained though the frontier regions with China, they stopped and took another photo of another sign on the way, which stated the McCain House was a compound. As they rounded a curve in the road though, they were immediately met by this platoon of crack Vietnamese Guards with their weapon's drawn and pointed at them. Châm got out and asked if she could take some photos, and the boys gladly posed for her, as they said guarding an old white guy was really boring.   While the guards said Châm and Lén could go any closer, they did allow them through the mine field and razor wire for these photos. They explained that they did not have any problem showing them around, but referred to the old white guy as, người khốn kiếp, as that Grumpy Old Bastard and he would set a caged tiger loose in the compound to make a point, whenever the guards did something the grumpy old bastard did not like. It was not that the tiger was a problem in getting back in the cage, but they just hated listening to that old man scream at them over a loudspeaker. Of course John the hero McCain is dead and I do not think any of us will get over the grief and recover, but time and again these photos and odd anomalies keep popping up which look like John the hero McCain fakes his cancer, faked his own death, and like Elvis went to live in the land of McCain's best part of his life in captivity with his friends, the communist North Vietnamese. agtG
Fox News backs CNN's lawsuit against Trump administration
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 22:14
(C) Greg Nash The White House revoked CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass. Fox News announced Wednesday that it would back rival CNN's lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement that the network intends to file an amicus brief with a U.S. District Court in the lawsuit.
CNN filed suit against the White House on Tuesday seeking the return of correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials, which were revoked last week after a testy exchange with President Trump during a press conference.
"FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter's press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized," Wallace said.
"While we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people."
CNN has argued that the Trump administration violated Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights of free speech and due process. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and is being overseen by Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, who scheduled a hearing in the case for Wednesday.
The White House dismissed CNN's lawsuit on Tuesday, accusing the network of "grandstanding." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Acosta "is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment."
The White House has argued that it was justified in suspending Acosta's hard pass after he did not allow a White House intern to take the microphone from him during a press conference when Trump cut him off after he asked several questions about the migrant caravan and the federal Russia probe.
"After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions '-- each of which the President answered '-- he physically refused to surrender the White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions," Sanders said in a statement Tuesday.
Boeing's automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots - Leeham News and Comment
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 21:05
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 14, 2018, (C) Leeham News.: The automatic trim Boeing introduced on the 737 MAX, called MCAS, was news to us last week. Graver, it was news to the Pilots flying the MAX since 18 months as well.
Boeing and its oversight, the FAA, decided the Airlines and their Pilots had no need to know. The Lion Air accident can prove otherwise.
The background to Boeing's 737 MAX automatic trimThe automatic trim we described last week has a name, MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Automation System.
It's unique to the MAX because the 737 MAX no longer has the docile pitch characteristics of the 737NG at high Angles Of Attack (AOA). This is caused by the larger engine nacelles covering the higher bypass LEAP-1B engines.
The nacelles for the MAX are larger and placed higher and further forward of the wing, Figure 1.
Figure 1. Boeing 737NG (left) and MAX (right) nacelles compared. Source: Boeing 737 MAX brochure.
By placing the nacelle further forward of the wing, it could be placed higher. Combined with a higher nose landing gear, which raises the nacelle further, the same ground clearance could be achieved for the nacelle as for the 737NG.
The drawback of a larger nacelle, placed further forward, is it destabilizes the aircraft in pitch. All objects on an aircraft placed ahead of the Center of Gravity (the line in Figure 2, around which the aircraft moves in pitch) will contribute to destabilize the aircraft in pitch.
Figure 2. The 737-800 (yellow) overlaid on the 737 MAX 8 (purple), with the line denoting the CG in pitch. Source: Leeham Co. and 737 ACAP.
The 737 is a classical flight control aircraft. It relies on a naturally stable base aircraft for its flight control design, augmented in selected areas. Once such area is the artificial yaw damping, present on virtually all larger aircraft (to stop passengers getting sick from the aircraft's natural tendency to Dutch Roll = Wagging its tail).
Until the MAX, there was no need for artificial aids in pitch. Once the aircraft entered a stall, there were several actions described last week which assisted the pilot to exit the stall. But not in normal flight.
The larger nacelles, called for by the higher bypass LEAP-1B engines, changed this. When flying at normal angles of attack (3° at cruise and say 5-8° in a turn) the destabilizing effect of the larger engines are not felt.
The nacelles are designed to not generate lift in normal flight. It would generate unnecessary drag as the aspect ratio of an engine nacelle is lousy. The aircraft designer focuses the lift to the high aspect ratio wings.
But if the pilot for whatever reason manoeuvres the aircraft hard, generating an angle of attack close to the stall angle of around 14°, the previously neutral engine nacelle generates lift. A lift which is felt by the aircraft as a pitch up moment (as its ahead of the CG line), now stronger than on the 737NG. This destabilizes the MAX in pitch at higher Angles Of Attack (AOA). The most difficult situation is when the manoeuvre has a high pitch ratio. The aircraft's inertia can then provoke an over-swing into stall AOA.
To counter the MAX's lower stability margins at high AOA, Boeing introduced MCAS. Dependent on AOA value and rate, altitude (air density) and Mach (changed flow conditions) the MCAS, which is a software loop in the Flight Control computer, initiates a nose down trim above a threshold AOA.
It can be stopped by the Pilot counter-trimming on the Yoke or by him hitting the CUTOUT switches on the center pedestal. It's not stopped by the Pilot pulling the Yoke, which for normal trim from the autopilot or runaway manual trim triggers trim hold sensors. This would negate why MCAS was implemented, the Pilot pulling so hard on the Yoke that the aircraft is flying close to stall.
It's probably this counterintuitive characteristic, which goes against what has been trained many times in the simulator for unwanted autopilot trim or manual trim runaway, which has confused the pilots of JT610. They learned that holding against the trim stopped the nose down, and then they could take action, like counter-trimming or outright CUTOUT the trim servo. But it didn't. After a 10 second trim to a 2.5° nose down stabilizer position, the trimming started again despite the Pilots pulling against it. The faulty high AOA signal was still present.
How should they know that pulling on the Yoke didn't stop the trim? It was described nowhere; neither in the aircraft's manual, the AFM, nor in the Pilot's manual, the FCOM. This has created strong reactions from airlines with the 737 MAX on the flight line and their Pilots. They have learned the NG and the MAX flies the same. They fly them interchangeably during the week.
They do fly the same as long as no fault appears. Then there are differences, and the Pilots should have been informed about the differences.
Stock Market Slump Could See Bitcoin Price 'Make New All-Time High' - Bitcoinist.com
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 00:00
Cryptocurrency inventor, fund partner and advocate Max Keiser is predicting new all-time Bitcoin price highs as the stock market tumbled again this week.
Bitcoin to 'New All-Time High' as Stock Market Slumps A drop in share prices for both Goldman Sachs and Apple has equated to an approximately 160-point loss for the Dow Jones November 12, leading Keiser to suggest the index could collapse to below the significant 10,000 barrier in future.
''10 (years) of cash transfusions from central banks '' masking the globe's economic death in 2008 '' hasn't worked,'' he wrote on Twitter.
''Dow 10,000 here we come. (Bitcoin) will make new (all-time high).''
10 yrs of cash transfusions from central banks '' masking the globe's economic death in 2008 '' hasn't worked. Dow 10,000 here we come. #Bitcoin will make new ATH.
'-- Max Keiser, tweet artist (@maxkeiser) November 12, 2018
The Dow last saw 10,000 during the banking crisis a decade ago, having hovered around 25,000 for most of 2018.
Anticipation Of Crypto Awakening Grows While Keiser like many other well-known commentators has long heralded a return to form for Bitcoin price 0 0 , cryptocurrency markets have yet to signal their bear market is over this year.
As Bitcoinist has frequently reported in recent months, the anticipation of institutional investor money buoying sideways prices continues to run high. Major crypto assets themselves, however, continue to trend slowly downwards.
Big money remains faithful to the optimistic narrative on Bitcoin, however. Last week, billionaire investor Tim Draper took to the stage at Europe's largest fintech conference Summit 2018 to double down on his prediction the largest cryptocurrency would hit $250,000 per unit by 2023 at the latest.
He was joined by Blockchain wallet CEO Peter Smith and Managing Capital co-founder Garry Tan. While both stopped short of endorsing the quarter-million figure, there appeared to be unanimous agreement that Bitcoin would be worth more in USD terms by this time next year.
'''...My prediction for $250,000 by 2022 '' maybe 2023 but in that range '' is absolutely solid, but I'm not so sure how we're going to get there,'' Draper said.
What do you think about Max Keiser and Tim Draper's predictions? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
Years After States Adopt Common Core, 2018 Sees Worst ACT Scores in over a Decade
Tue, 13 Nov 2018 23:48
After years of Common Core standards, Americans students math skills are eroding, according to a new report.
ACT, which administers standardized exams used for college entrance, said that students who took the 2018 exam had the lowest readiness for college math since 2004.
Only 40 percent of high school students met the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math. That's down from an ACT high of 46 percent in 2012, and the lowest mark since 2004, the ACT report noted.
It gets worse.
The report said the average math ACT score has hit its lowest level '-- 20.5 '-- in 20 years. The average score has also been falling since 2012.
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Common Core '-- a national effort to standardize curriculum '-- was launched in 2010 during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Politicians and states continue to pour more money into education for political leverage. The return on investment is abysmal. K-12 education in America has turned into LABORATORIES of LIBERAL INDOCTRINATION and SOCIAL JUSTICE GARBAGE instead of learning. https://t.co/PI7paeL0Bx
'-- David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) October 18, 2018
Ohio State Rep. Andrew Thompson said Common Core does not deserve all the blame for the falling scores, but called it ''a significant factor.''
''I think testimony we took during our attempts to eradicate Common Core showed the dumbing down of curriculum, the social justice indoctrination, the emphasis on social-emotional learning, reduced quantity and quality of reading, emphasizing screen time rather than classroom instruction,'' Thompson said, according to PJ Media. ''Destruction of proper math has also been a contributing factor.''
Do these results alarm you?Common Core proponents, he said, ''place a higher priority on indoctrination than education.''
The results are a cause for concern.
''Math specifically concerns me in a society that's becoming more and more technological,'' said ACT Chief Executive Marten Roorda, according to The Wall Street Journal. ''The economy needs more students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and good math skills are vital to the STEM orientation. There is a high risk for the U.S. economy coming to a slowdown or a standstill.''
In the ACT report, Roorda called the results ''a red flag for our country, given the growing importance of math and science skills in the increasingly tech-driven U.S. and global job market.''
A leading math teacher said the changes needed must take place in the classroom.
RELATED: Federal Government Targets Transgender Policy After 5-Year-Old Gets Sexually Assaulted
''We should be concerned as a country,'' said Matt Larson, immediate past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. ''There's a need to restructure how high-school mathematics teaching and learning is done in the United States.''
The report also noted that high school graduates college readiness in English is also slipping. The report said 60 percent were considered ready, based upon their scores, a drop from 64 percent in 2015. The 2018 level was the lowest since current benchmarks began to be used, ACT said.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
George Clooney Uses Nespresso Money for Satellite to Spy on Sudan Dictator
Tue, 13 Nov 2018 19:06
By Vi-An Nguyen Parade @vian_nguyenMore by Vi-An 15 Long-Lasting Celebrity Marriages5 Apps You Should Download Before Hurricane Florence Hits10 Things You Didn't Know About the Statue of Liberty (She Was Almost Gold!)George Clooney is a well-known activist, but this takes things to the next level. At a Nespresso event in Paris on Wednesday, the Oscar winner revealed the curious way he spends the money he earns from starring in the coffee commercials.
''Most of the money I make on the [Nespresso] commercials I spend keeping a satellite over the border of North and South Sudan to keep an eye on [Sudan President] Omar al-Bashir,'' Clooney said, referring to his spy program, the Satellite Sentinel Project. The surveillance program tracks Sudan's vicious army in an attempt to warn civilians before attacks occur.
Clooney has been a longtime advocate against violence in Sudan. Last year, he was arrested in Washington, D.C. at a protest he organized outside the Sudan embassy.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir (Getty Images)The actor, 52, said it's only fair to turn cameras on the Sudanese dictator. ''[Omar al-Bashir] puts out a statement saying that I'm spying on him and how would I like it if a camera was following me everywhere I went,'' Clooney said Wednesday. ''And I go, 'Well, welcome to my life Mr. War Criminal.' I want the war criminal to have the same amount of attention that I get. I think that's fair.''
Al-Bashir has been charged with war crimes for leading genocide in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, and human rights activists are currently calling for his arrest.
In a 2011 interview with Parade, Clooney discussed what drives him as a humanitarian. ''Maybe there's some of this fame spotlight I've got that I can use elsewhere,'' he said. ''I find it's liberating to do those kinds of things and not have to worry about my career anymore.''
The brutality in Sudan drew his attention in particular. ''Two million people were killed in the north-south war in Sudan before 2005,'' he said. ''I wasn't going to stand on the sidelines and not participate.''
The satellite spy progam, he said, helps to shed light on human rights violations happening overseas. ''I set up this satellite system on the border of Abyei, and we've had incredible success in photographing mass atrocities,'' he said. ''The idea is, we're just going to keep the pressure on. Turning the lights on doesn't mean anything stops. But it makes it harder, and that's our job.''
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Ocasio-Cortez, Dems build coalition to block Pelosi's bid for Speaker '' True Pundit
Tue, 13 Nov 2018 01:11
Rep. Nancy Pelosi is ''100 percent'' confident she will be the Speaker of the House in January, but several members of her own party are saying otherwise.
Last Tuesday, Democrats picked up enough seats in the midterms to take back control of the the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the following days, Pelosi made several comments about how confident she is that she'll become the party's next Speaker. But given Democrats slim majority in the House, there may already be enough ''no'' votes to block her bid for the speakership.
Ten Democratic congressmen, including New York congresswoman-elect Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez, told Politico that they would vote against Pelosi for House Speaker.
In order for Pelosi to get her hands back on the gavel, she will need 218 votes in the House. Democrats are estimated to have picked up roughly 31 seats and believe they'll gain at least six more seats once additional races are called.
If that holds, Pelosi could only afford to lose votes around 14 members. '' READ MORE
Volgens Christophe Guilluy weet de elite het diep van binnen al: ze legt het af tegen het populisme | TROUW
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 21:22
Zijn favoriete caf(C) voor werkafspraken is een ouderwetse Parijse bar tabac, een pretentieloze kroeg met stamgasten van het soort dat zich erop beroept dat ze zeggen wat ze denken. Onder intellectuelen is dat allang niet meer zo eenvoudig, zegt Christophe Guilluy (54). ''Het is lastig om een etentje een beetje leuk af te sluiten sinds cultuur, immigratie en Trump problemen zijn geworden.''
Lees verder na de advertentie De onderkant van onze samenleving is in economisch, cultureel en politiek opzicht afgehaakt, betoogt GuilluyGrote kans dat het er niet gezelliger op wordt met Guilluy's vorige maand verschenen boek 'No Society'. Onze samenlevingen kennen alleen nog een boven- en een onderkant. Die laatste is in economisch, cultureel en politiek opzicht afgehaakt, betoogt hij. En dat is vooral de schuld van de beter gesitueerden.
Volgens u heeft het populisme een duidelijke oorzaak: het afkalven, of zelfs verdwijnen van de middenklasse.''Ik onderzoek sinds twintig jaar hoe Fransen met bescheiden inkomens verdeeld zijn over de ruimte. Zo zag ik dat de lagere middenklasse - arbeiders, kleine zelfstandigen en gepensioneerden - zich heeft verwijderd van de vijftien grote steden. Voor het eerst in de geschiedenis wonen ze in meerderheid - 75 80 procent - niet meer in die gebieden waar het geld echt wordt verdiend. De logica van de economie en de huizenprijzen heeft ze naar de periferie verdreven.''
En daarom heeft 'middenklasse' geen betekenis meer?''Precies. In het economische model dat we kenden tot halverwege de jaren zeventig, was iedereen opgenomen. En omdat alle sociale categorien economisch meededen, hoorde iedereen er ook politiek en cultureel gesproken helemaal bij. 'Twee op de drie Fransen horen nu bij de middenklasse', zei president Val(C)ry Giscard d'Estaing (1974-1981). Nu is de boel herschikt tot een boven- en een onderkant. De oude lagere middenklasse werd de onderkant. De veel kleinere upper-middleclass vormt met de oude elite de bovenkant.''
Hoe werden de kaarten opnieuw geschud?''Door de globalisering. Toen de mijn- en staalindustrie werden opgedoekt dacht men: laat dat de Chinezen maar doen, wij gaan ons specialiseren in arbeid met hoge toegevoegde waarde. Maar er verdween veel meer industrie dan de bedoeling was, en ook de landbouw en de dienstensector kwamen onder druk. Nu kan onze geglobaliseerde economie het eigenlijk best zonder de periferie af. De achteruitgang raakt niet alleen de oude industriegebieden zoals in Noord-Frankrijk, maar zie je ook in kleine en middelgrote steden en op het platteland. Het electorale aandeel van Le Pen schiet omhoog in de marges van de Parijse regio, hetzelfde geldt voor de stem op Trump in de staat New York en de stem voor Brexit in Groot Londen. Het verhaal gaat zelfs op voor Scandinavi, dat toch heel welvarend en egalitair is. In Stockholm zijn de mensen, net als in Parijs, Amsterdam, New York of Londen, allemaal heel vriendelijk en erg voor de open society. Maar ga je naar het zuiden, dan stuit je al snel op Zweedse 'deplorables' (sneue types, zoals Hillary Clinton ze noemde, red.) die de pest hebben aan Stockholm.''
Maar de welvaart nam de laatste veertig jaar toch toe?''Ja. En toch drijft het huidige model ons uit elkaar. In Frankrijk verdient de helft van de beroepsbevolking nu minder dan 1750 netto per maand. De helft van de pensioneerden ontvangt nog geen 1100 euro. Dat wordt door de globalisering alleen maar erger. Er zijn vooral goedbetaalde banen voor hoogopgeleiden en er is steeds meer laagbetaald werk. Ertussenin zit weinig meer, dat werkt polariserend. Je ziet het ook in Duitsland, de VS en Groot-Brittanni. Die landen hebben minder werkloosheid dan Frankrijk, maar de sociale structuur is hetzelfde.''
U rekent meer dan de helft van de bevolking in het Westen tot de verliezers van de globalisering. Overdrijft u niet?''Bij verliezers moet je niet denken aan zwervers die de vuilnisbakken afgaan, maar aan mensen die economisch zijn verzwakt, geografisch werden gemarginaliseerd en die geen uitzicht hebben op verbetering. In de kleine en middelgrote steden in Frankrijk is de sociale mobiliteit vrijwel nul; kinderen uit gewone gezinnen zullen het niet beter krijgen dan hun ouders. Sinds 2006 neemt het aantal studenten uit gewone milieus in het hoger onderwijs af.''
De sociale kwestie beperkt zich dus niet tot de achterstandswijken in de steden.''Nee, dat zijn we gaan denken door de obsessieve aandacht van politiek en media voor die buurten. Het is waar dat de combinatie van immigratie en gentrification - economische, sociale en culturele opwaardering - resulteerde in steden met enorme contrasten. Maar hier liggen veel kansen, ook voor arme immigranten.''
Is het toch niet ingewikkelder? In de periferie wonen niet alleen maar armlastige boze burgers, en in de steden is niet iedereen hoogopgeleid en rijk.''Zeker, maar het gaat mij om de dynamiek, de grote lijn. De ongelijkheid neemt toe en precies op dat moment gaat overal de verzorgingsstaat op de schop en ontstaat een identiteitscrisis door de immigratie. Want sociale onzekerheid gaat vaak samen met culturele onzekerheid. Voor een populistische stem heb je altijd beide ingredinten nodig.''
Christophe Guilluy, geograaf, schrijver (C) Bart KoetsierU bent erg hard voor de bovenkant, die zich zou hebben afgekeerd van de samenleving.''Vroeger bracht de elite politici en intellectuelen voort die zich richten tot het volk en spraken namens het volk. Maar adel verplicht niet meer. De band die nodig is voor een gezonde democratie is doorgesneden. There is no society, zei Margaret Thatcher; ze bedoelde dat iedereen zijn eigen broek moet kunnen ophouden. Dat was niet tegen dovemansoren gezegd. De bovenkant heeft geen interesse meer voor de onderkant die op zijn beurt helemaal niets wil horen of aannemen van de wereld van boven. Behalve de individualisering, de erfenis van de sixties, heeft ook de minachting voor de lagere klassen een grote rol gespeeld bij het uiteenvallen van de samenleving. Gewone mensen worden weggezet als zure, racistische losers. Op de Franse tv is het belachelijk maken van ploucs (tokkies) een heel genre. Dat heeft grote gevolgen.''
De open samenleving is de grootste vergissing van de laatste decennia, schrijft u.''Ja, want de bovenkant leest de onderklasse de les over openheid en diversiteit, maar preekt vanuit steden die zo duur zijn dat de onderklasse er geen toegang meer toe heeft. Ze prijzen de multiculturele samenleving aan, terwijl ze de nadelen ervan ontlopen en een school voor hun kinderen uitzoeken waar ze er geen last van hebben. Dat is toch hypocriet? Iedereen begrijpt dat de nieuwkomers niet in de open samenleving terechtkomen maar in de wijken die al problemen genoeg hebben, problemen die gek genoeg zelden in verband worden gebracht met eerdere immigratiestromen.
''Het toneelstukje van No Pasarn en 'nationalisme is oorlog' zal straks voor de Europese verkiezingen opnieuw worden opgevoerd, maar het werkt niet meer. Dat is naar voor de leden van de nieuwe bourgeoisie. Want opeens zien ze er niet meer zo cool uit. Onder het vernis zit het ware gezicht van de heersende klasse, en dat is sociaal behoorlijk hard.''
Komt alles goed als we maar naar het volk luisteren dat altijd gelijk heeft?''Ik wil niet beweren dat het volk moreel op een hoger plan staat en dat de elite door en door slecht is. Het verschil is alleen dat de gewone mensen lijden onder het model en in de meerderheid zijn. Vanuit democratisch oogpunt is het een groot probleem om ze te negeren of te demoniseren. Scepsis over de EU wordt geduid als een gebrek aan beschaving, de roep om een immigratiestop zou een aanwijzing zijn dat de donkerste dagen uit onze geschiedenis herleven. Terwijl deze kiezers alleen maar vaststellen dat zij er op achteruit zijn gegaan met open grenzen, en dat zij geen minderheid willen worden in hun eigen omgeving. Met xenofobie heeft dat niets te maken.
''Fransen met een immigratieachtergrond zijn net zo goed vaak tegen meer immigratie. Want zij staan in het ziekenhuis in de rij met mensen die er nog maar net zijn en met wie ze ook moeten concurreren om een woning. De onderkant heeft al lang begrepen dat de verzorgingsstaat niet houdbaar is als het zo doorgaat.''
In Frankrijk is Macron, vertegenwoordiger van de bovenkant, tot president gekozen. Is dat geen bewijs dat als het er echt om gaat, men geen populisme wil?''Dat is een geruststellend idee, van dezelfde orde als dat de Brexit en de verkiezing van Trump eigenlijk ongelukken zijn, de laatste oprisping van gefrustreerde oudere blanke mannen of anders wel het werk van de Russen. Maar diep van binnen weet de elite best dat het gedaan is met haar hegemonie, dat we aan het begin staan van nieuwe krachtsverhoudingen, van een wisseling van het paradigma. Het populisme is geen koortsaanval, maar de politieke uiting van een grootse economische, sociale en culturele omwenteling.''
''Salvini, Trump en anderen hebben die ontwikkeling niet in gang gezet, ze zijn er een uiting van. Populisten zijn geen ideologen, ze passen hun aanbod simpelweg aan aan de vraag. Dat zou iedereen moeten doen. Mensen zijn niet per se anti-Europa, anti-globalisering of anti-vreemdeling, ze vragen eenvoudige dingen: werk, een redelijk inkomen en bescherming van hun culturele kapitaal. Het is eigenlijk heel gek dat het laatste in West-Europa niet vanzelf spreekt, want dat is in de rest van de wereld wel zo.''
Eigenlijk zouden we allemaal populist moeten worden?''Iedereen zal een echt antwoord moeten geven op de oorzaken van het populisme. De populistische golf is alleen maar het zichtbare deel van de soft power, de zachte kracht die de onderkant uitoefent en die de bovenkant dwingt tot koerswijziging. De lagere klassen laten zien welke kant de samenleving werkelijk opgaat, de elite kan zich daarbij aansluiten, of verdwijnen. Nu komen populisten uit (extreem-)rechtse hoek en zijn het vaak rare figuren; maar dat gaat veranderen, dat zie je nu al in Duitsland met Sarah Wagenknecht van Die Linke. De traditionele linkse en rechtse partijen zullen volgen, ze moeten wel. Zij richten zich op een middenklasse die nauwelijks meer bestaat en overleven alleen nog dankzij de steun van gepensioneerden en ambtenaren. Die verkeren nu nog in de luwte, maar door de verbouwing van de verzorgingsstaat zijn dit de volgende groepen die dreigen af te zakken naar de onderkant.''
Sociaal geograaf Christophe Guilluy (Montreuil, 1964) hekelt met 'La France p(C)riph(C)rique' (2015) de tweedeling in Frankrijk. Ooit uitgesproken links is hij nu naar eigen zeggen zonder ideologie, maar in zijn analyses staat 'klassenstrijd' nog steeds centraal - tussen de winnaars en verliezers van de globalisering. Guilluy introduceerde veelgebruikte concepten als 'culturele onzekerheid' en 'periferie'. De presidenten Nicolas Sarkozy en Emmanuel Macron vroegen hem om advies.
Christophe Guilluy No Society. La fin de la classe moyenne occidentale Flammarion; 242 blz. '‚¬ 18,- (e-book '‚¬ 12,99)
Lees ook: Eelco Runia zoekt de oorzaak van het populisme: 'We zitten opgesloten in het heden' Vergeet links versus rechts, vergeet identity politics. Wat er tegenwoordig politiek het meest toe doet is of u op het verleden, het heden of de toekomst georinteerd bent, stelt historicus Eelco Runia. Volgens hem is het de hoogste tijd om weer vooruit te kijken.
Wat is populisme? Populisten die aan de macht komen, binden niet in, zoals vaak wordt gedacht. Ze proberen dan juist de basale democratische rechten in te perken, waarschuwt populismekenner Jan-Werner M¼ller.
1 million Americans live in RVs. Meet the 'modern nomads.' - SFGate
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 18:02
Chip Litchfield and his partner, Penni Brink, enjoy lunch in their RV at the Interstate 24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Chip Litchfield and his partner, Penni Brink, enjoy lunch in their RV at the Interstate 24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer Penni Brink, left, and Chip Litchfield pose for a portrait outside of their RV at the I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn., on Sept. 20.
Penni Brink, left, and Chip Litchfield pose for a portrait outside of their RV at the I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn., on Sept. 20.
Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer Robert and Jessica Meinhofer and their two children in front of the RV.
Robert and Jessica Meinhofer and their two children in front of the RV.
Photo: Courtesy Of Meinhofer Family. For Use Only With RVS. Joyce Ann Seid, left, poses for a portrait with her husband, Steve, 77, outside of their RV at the I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Joyce Ann Seid, left, poses for a portrait with her husband, Steve, 77, outside of their RV at the I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Richard Booher, 58, of Dade City, Fla. poses for a portrait with his five children outside of their camper at I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Richard Booher, 58, of Dade City, Fla. poses for a portrait with his five children outside of their camper at I-24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer Seriously, these abodes will make any suburb-dweller want to cut out the clutter and downsize.
Seriously, these abodes will make any suburb-dweller want to cut out the clutter and downsize.
Enviresponsible ShelterDesigned by Broadhurst Architects, this prefab corn crib-inspired structure takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn. The chic, modern 250-square-foot structure is delivered and assembled on-site, and includes a sleeping loft, an expandable kitchen wall, a bathroom, and living room. An insulated glass garage door opens to a small deck, connecting the interior space to the landscape beyond. Made of sustainable and recyclable materials, the structure can be dismantled and relocated to another site. '--ESNLook inside the Crib at Strathmore.Read more: Inside the happiest little 1,375-square-foot cottage
Enviresponsible ShelterDesigned by Broadhurst Architects, this prefab corn crib-inspired structure takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Transforming A-FrameDiedricksen of RelaxShacks.com and built by Joe Everson of Tennessee Tiny Homes, this transforming micro A-frame cost only $1,200 to construct. One roof/wall is made of Tuftex polycarbonate roofing: Not only is it translucent to allow in natural light, the lightweight material is attached to the structure with hinges so it easily can be raised and propped on legs to expand the space from 80 square feet to 110. On the other side of the A, the purlins supporting the roof sheathing are placed horizontally to serve double duty as shelves. Two daybeds offer additional storage, a kitchen wall features a sink and space for a mini fridge, and a micro loft has a hinged "sunroof" for ventilation. Architect duo David and Jeanie Stiles drafted the build-it-yourself plans for this A-frame, which are on sale for $30. '--ESN Designed by Derek "Deek" Look inside the transforming A-frame.Read more: 28 rustic bathroom ideas
Transforming A-FrameDiedricksen of RelaxShacks.com and built by Joe Everson of Tennessee Tiny Homes, this transforming micro A-frame cost only $1,200 to construct. One roof/wall is made of Tuftex polycarbonate
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Dream BungalowThe 204-square-foot "Wind River Bungalow" is the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of tiny house enthusiasts Travis and Brittany Pyke, who started Wind River Custom Homes to help others fulfill their dreams of living simply in mini dream homes. Constructed of rain-screen cedar and hardy siding for extreme durability, the bungalow is full of custom features, including a pine and cedar interior, polymer concrete counters, and a loft ladder integrated into the shelving system. '--ESNLook inside the Wind River Bungalow.Read more: 10 ways add colorful vintage style to your kitchen
Dream BungalowThe 204-square-foot "Wind River Bungalow" is the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of tiny house enthusiasts Travis and Brittany Pyke, who started Wind River Custom Homes to help others fulfill their
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Living Large With LessThis is the Olympia, Washington home of tiny house pioneer Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, a memoir that details her decision to downsize to an 84-square-foot house that she built from the ground up after a near-death experience. Constructed atop a metal truck trailer, the super-small pine-and-cedar bungalow houses a kitchen counter with a propane one-burner, a sleeping loft, solar-powered lights, a composting toilet, and a sink (but no running water). To help others realize their tiny house dreams, Dee also founded Portland Alternative Dwellings, a tiny house education, resource, and consulting company.
Look inside Dee's home
Living Large With LessThis is the Olympia, Washington home of tiny house pioneer Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, a memoir that details her decision to downsize to an 84-square-foot house that she built
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Floating Tiny HouseThis floating 240-square-foot cabin is an off-the-grid summer escape for Maine couple Foy and Louisa Brown. Assembled onshore, a foundation of plastic floatation tubs, Styrofoam, and pontoons was then towed to sea, and the cottage was built above it, using mostly pine shiplap. Louisa carries water out daily via canoe for a tank that fills the shower and kitchen; at night, candles, oil lamps, and solar lights illuminate the home.Look inside Foy and Louisa's floating home
Floating Tiny HouseThis floating 240-square-foot cabin is an off-the-grid summer escape for Maine couple Foy and Louisa Brown. Assembled onshore, a foundation of plastic floatation tubs, Styrofoam, and pontoons
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Oceanside RetreatThis darling red-roofed cottage sits in a grove of leafy trees near the water's edge in Freeport, Maine. Designed by Mac Lloyd of Creative Cottages, the environmentally sensitive abode packs in a full kitchen, bathroom, living space, sleeping quarters, gas fireplace, laundry, and a loft space, while still managing to seem airy and spacious.Look inside the Oceanside Retreat.
Oceanside RetreatThis darling red-roofed cottage sits in a grove of leafy trees near the water's edge in Freeport, Maine. Designed by Mac Lloyd of Creative Cottages, the environmentally sensitive abode packs in
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Photo: Trent Bell, CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Rolling Luxury CabinAt first glance, the 400-square-foot Wedge, designed by Wheelhaus, appears to be a tiny luxury cabin but it's actually a mobile Park Model RV. Lofty 17-foot ceilings and a large sliding glass window at the front give an open feel to the rustic yet modern dwelling, which features a bedroom, bathroom, and combined kitchen/living room area. A 100-square-foot deck offers additional entertaining space. The Wedge is one of six turn-key models offered by Wheelhaus that start from $82,000. Not looking to buy? The Wedge is also available to rent at Fireside Resort at Jackson Hole Campground.Look inside the Wedge
Rolling Luxury CabinAt first glance, the 400-square-foot Wedge, designed by Wheelhaus, appears to be a tiny luxury cabin but it's actually a mobile Park Model RV. Lofty 17-foot ceilings and a large sliding
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Cozy Chicago CottageIt's hard to believe this cute-as-a-button 780-square-foot historic cottage sits in the middle of a bustling metropolis. The house, owned by David Hawkanson, the executive director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater Company, was built a few years after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when the Chicago Relief and Aid Society began offering so-called fire-relief cottage kits that included pre-cut wood, a door, a chimney, and a room partition. While historians believe more of these tiny cottages exist in Chicago, all but a couple of examples (like Hawkanson's) have become unrecognizable thanks to extensive renovations over the years.Read more about this tiny Chicago dwelling.
Cozy Chicago CottageIt's hard to believe this cute-as-a-button 780-square-foot historic cottage sits in the middle of a bustling metropolis. The house, owned by David Hawkanson, the executive director of
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Tiny Texas LakehouseTalk about a picture perfect country getaway: This custom built 336-square-foot cabin sits on 24 sprawling acres in West Point, Texas'--just steps from its own four-acre constant flow lake, tiny lakehouse, and wooden pier. The rustic wood-paneled interior features a living space, full kitchen, bathroom, and two lofted bedrooms, all housed under a corrugated metal roof. The property, including the cabin and open-plan lakehouse (pictured), are on the market for $434,900.Look inside this rustic lakeside cabin
Tiny Texas LakehouseTalk about a picture perfect country getaway: This custom built 336-square-foot cabin sits on 24 sprawling acres in West Point, Texas'--just steps from its own four-acre constant flow lake,
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Photo: Jeff Harris Photography, CountryLiving.com Mid-Century RetreatSet in a wooded area, this 300-square-foot studio retreat in Chappaqua, New York, is nestled between two rock outcroppings'--one is used as a backdrop and the other as a bookend to the deck. The design team at Workshop/apd chose Dark Ipe siding and decking and walnut interiors for a natural mid-century modern look that connects the structure to its wooded surroundings. Windows wrapping the western facade frame the scenery and visually enlarge the intimate space. '--ESNFind out more about the Studio Retreat.
Mid-Century RetreatSet in a wooded area, this 300-square-foot studio retreat in Chappaqua, New York, is nestled between two rock outcroppings'--one is used as a backdrop and the other as a bookend to the deck.
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Quaint CabinOne of 14 tiny cabins at the Blue Moon Rising ecotourism retreat in McHenry, Maryland, the 250-square foot Kaya has a rustic reclaimed metal and wood exterior. Built by the folks at Hobbitat, the quaint interior features a living space, queen-bed nook, bathroom, and kitchen with a view of nature, all under a curved, corrugated metal ceiling. Rental rates per night range from $249 to $349. '--ESNLook inside the Kaya.
Quaint CabinOne of 14 tiny cabins at the Blue Moon Rising ecotourism retreat in McHenry, Maryland, the 250-square foot Kaya has a rustic reclaimed metal and wood exterior. Built by the folks at Hobbitat, the
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Mobile Ski Chalet This 112-square-foot mobile cabin belongs to extreme skier Zac Giffin, the host of FYI's Tiny House Nation, a show that features people from across the country who are living the tiny house lifestyle. The tiny abode is home to Giffin and his girlfriend, skier Molly Baker. Built on a trailer, the house features a little wood stove, living space, and a lofted guest bedroom and storage area accessed by a floating staircase. Built by Giffin for almost $25,000, the structure took seven weeks to complete.Look inside Zac's home.
Mobile Ski ChaletThis 112-square-foot mobile cabin belongs to extreme skier Zac Giffin, the host of FYI's Tiny House Nation, a show that features people from across the country who are living the tiny house
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Photo: Michael Dyrland, CountryLiving.com Wild West WagonLocated near Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England of all places, the Sundance, a Wild West-themed wagon-style dwelling, is available to rent through Unique Homestays. Decorated with a "saloon chic" aesthetic (think wagon wheel art and sheepskin throws), the quaint interior features a wood-clad master bedroom, a bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, and a full kitchen. After a day riding horses on the nearby beach, relax with a glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair on the lantern-lit front porch. Rental rates are about $800 for a three-night stay.Look inside the Sundance.
Wild West WagonLocated near Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England of all places, the Sundance, a Wild West-themed wagon-style dwelling, is available to rent through Unique Homestays. Decorated with a "saloon chic"
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Photo: TonyTimmington, CountryLiving.com Tiny House HotelOne of six tiny houses'--each built on wheels and outfitted with a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping loft'--at Caravan'--The Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon, the Skyline cabin is one of the newest additions to the hotel. The 160-square-foot structure is constructed of mostly salvaged materials and houses two queen beds. Rental rates are $125 per night.Look inside the Skyline.
Tiny House HotelOne of six tiny houses'--each built on wheels and outfitted with a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping loft'--at Caravan'--The Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon, the Skyline cabin is one of the
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Country ShackDesigned by Broadhurst Architects as a weekend retreat for a family from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., The Shack at Hinkle Farm sits on the southern slope of South Fork Mountain in West Virginia. With no electricity, the family relies on oil lamps for light and a small wood stove for heat; rain water is collected from the roof for the outdoor shower. An aluminum and glass garage door opens to a cantilevered wooden deck, where a removable canvas awning offers shade and shelter.Look inside The Shack at Hinkle Farm.
Country ShackDesigned by Broadhurst Architects as a weekend retreat for a family from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., The Shack at Hinkle Farm sits on the southern slope of South Fork Mountain in West
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Well-Appointed CottageInspired by and built by the team responsible for the gorgeous cottages at the Canoe Bay resort in the woods of Wisconsin, the 392-square-foot Escape looks like a high-end cabin but is actually a 28- by 14-foot Park Model RV on wheels. Vaulted ceilings and a large window wall give an airy feel to the cottage, which includes a living room with fireplace and kitchen wall and a separate bedroom and bath. Large French doors open to a screened porch that can be used as an extended living room, sleeping porch, or a dining area. The red-striped chaise lounge doubles as a bed with heated coils, perfect for naps on chilly days. Escape is available to rent at Canoe Bay, or can be custom-built for buyers and delivered ready to live-in. Prices start at $79,900. '--ESNLook inside the Escape.
Well-Appointed CottageInspired by and built by the team responsible for the gorgeous cottages at the Canoe Bay resort in the woods of Wisconsin, the 392-square-foot Escape looks like a high-end cabin but is
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Luxury TreehouseWith its 1920s cabins and vintage Boy Scout tents, Camp Wandawega, located in Elkhorn Wisconsin, evokes the set of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. But the camp's most charming feature is its three-level treehouse, built around a massive elm tree and outfitted with Pendleton blankets, tree swings, and Mason jar light fixtures. Used as a common space, guests can read a book in the treehouse's library on a rainy day or spend a lazy afternoon on the bottom-level hammock.Take a look inside Tom's Treehouse.
Luxury TreehouseWith its 1920s cabins and vintage Boy Scout tents, Camp Wandawega, located in Elkhorn Wisconsin, evokes the set of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. But the camp's most charming feature is its
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Clothesline Tiny HomesCarrie and Shane Caverly built their 200-square-foot house in the spring of 2012 after growing tired of paying mortgages and rent. Built on a trailer, the house features a low-maintenance steel roof, an on-demand hot water heater, an incinerating toilet, and a passive solar design. Carrie, an architectural designer, and Shane, a custom builder, now run Clothesline Tiny Homes, offering downloadable tiny house plans, design consulting, and custom building. After living in their tiny house for 20 months in New Mexico, the couple has now moved to Colorado, where they're building a 1,000-square-foot home. (Their tiny house will serve as a guest cottage.)
Look inside Carrie and Shane's tiny home.
Clothesline Tiny HomesCarrie and Shane Caverly built their 200-square-foot house in the spring of 2012 after growing tired of paying mortgages and rent. Built on a trailer, the house features a low-maintenance
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Luxury Farmhouse on WheelsWith authentic country character and hand-crafted, farmhouse-inspired details, Tiny Heirloom Homes makes it easy to downsize and upgrade at the same time. This 192-square-foot luxury farmhouse is outfitted with a sleeping loft, kitchen, bathroom, living space, and even a laundry machine. The base model, similar to the one shown here, starts at $65,000 and includes delivery plus a one-time trip out to the company's Oregon City headquarters to see its construction.Look inside this tiny luxury farmhouse.
Luxury Farmhouse on WheelsWith authentic country character and hand-crafted, farmhouse-inspired details, Tiny Heirloom Homes makes it easy to downsize and upgrade at the same time. This 192-square-foot luxury
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Rural RetreatThis serene tiny house in rural California is home to web designer Alek Lisefski, his girlfriend, Anjali, and their dog, Anya. Built on an 8- by 20-foot trailer, with three feet added for the back porch, the house features 10 windows and an all-glass door to opening up the small interior space to the outdoors to feel less claustrophobic and more connected to the surroundings. Designed and built by Alek himself for about $30,000, he is now selling construction plans so others can can build a house of their own to the same specs. '--ESNSee more of Alek's house.
Rural RetreatThis serene tiny house in rural California is home to web designer Alek Lisefski, his girlfriend, Anjali, and their dog, Anya. Built on an 8- by 20-foot trailer, with three feet added for the back
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Countryside HideawaySurrounded by peaceful, bucolic farmland in Somerset, England, the Shepherds Hut Retreat is comprised of four tiny "huts" available for rent. Each structure overlooks a nearby pond, and includes its own private deck and fire pit. Inside the 20- by eight-foot huts, you'll find a fully functioning kitchen, a bathroom, a dining area, and a built-in bed. Rental rates start from around $243 per weekend.Look inside the huts.
Countryside HideawaySurrounded by peaceful, bucolic farmland in Somerset, England, the Shepherds Hut Retreat is comprised of four tiny "huts" available for rent. Each structure overlooks a nearby pond, and
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Vintage Sheep WagonThis fully restored 1920s sheep wagon sits on the 30,000-acre Heward family ranch in Shirley Basin, Wyoming. The tiny wagon is outfitted with a full-size bed, two built-in cold boxes, a folding table, and a wood burning stove. Accommodating up to four people, the wagon can be moved around the property depending on the renters' recreational interests (fly fishing, stargazing, and hiking are just some of the many options). Rental rates are $100 per night.Look inside the 1920s Sheep Wagon.
Vintage Sheep WagonThis fully restored 1920s sheep wagon sits on the 30,000-acre Heward family ranch in Shirley Basin, Wyoming. The tiny wagon is outfitted with a full-size bed, two built-in cold boxes, a
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Hidden StorageThe "Writer's Block" cabin designed by Cheng + Snyder features storage for a canoe under its bed and workbench space. Located in Westport, Maine on the banks of the Sheepscott River, the 190-square-foot hideaway features windows arranged to maximize views and allow for passive heating and cooling.Look inside the Writer's Block cabin.
Hidden StorageThe "Writer's Block" cabin designed by Cheng + Snyder features storage for a canoe under its bed and workbench space. Located in Westport, Maine on the banks of the Sheepscott River, the
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Northern California CottageThough it clocks in at just 260-square-feet, this cottage's bright and colorful design exudes a cheery atmosphere from all corners. Designed by Richardson Architects, the tiny structure is situated on a dairy farm near the Northern California coastline and was constructed using non-corrosive and wear-resistant materials. The exterior features a large wraparound porch, a chalkboard, and ample seating, while the interior is filled with bright red and yellow hues.Look inside this cheery Northern California cottage.
Northern California CottageThough it clocks in at just 260-square-feet, this cottage's bright and colorful design exudes a cheery atmosphere from all corners. Designed by Richardson Architects, the tiny
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Photo: Jeff Zaruba, CountryLiving.com The MatchboxThe Matchbox (pictured, right), designed by Jay Austin, lives at Boneyard Studios, a tiny house community founded in 2012 in Washington D.C. with a mission to promote the benefits of small house living and support the tiny house community. Clocking in at 140 square feet, the carbon-neutral, self-sustaining house features skylights and wide windows for passiving cooling and earthen plaster for humidity control.Look inside the Matchbox.
The MatchboxThe Matchbox (pictured, right), designed by Jay Austin, lives at Boneyard Studios, a tiny house community founded in 2012 in Washington D.C. with a mission to promote the benefits of small house
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Photo: Jay Austin, CountryLiving.com Agricultural ArchitectureThe Yolo County Cabin, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, sits on a 400-acre farm in the rural Northern California town of Winters. With a structure inspired by the local water towers and lean-to sheds that dot the area's surrounding agricultural landscape, the home's elevated viewing terrace offers a 360-degree view of the land.Look inside the Yolo County Cabin.
Agricultural ArchitectureThe Yolo County Cabin, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, sits on a 400-acre farm in the rural Northern California town of Winters. With a structure inspired by the local water
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Tropical TreehouseSet in a lush tropical paradise, the 250-square-foot Sunset Beach Treehouse Bungalow in Haleiwa, Hawaii overlooks one of the North Shore's most famous surf spots. Renters climb a 100-step stone path to reach the structure, nestled among black lava rocks and a leafy canopy of Banyan, avocado, and mango trees. Featuring a full-size bed as well as a lofted sleeping area, the treehouse sleeps as many as three people, and includes a kitchenette and bathroom. Rental rates start from $1,200 per week.Look inside the Sunset Beach Treehouse Bungalow.
less Tropical TreehouseSet in a lush tropical paradise, the 250-square-foot Sunset Beach Treehouse Bungalow in Haleiwa, Hawaii overlooks one of the North Shore's most famous surf spots. Renters climb a 100-step
... more Photo: CountryLiving.com Refined Woodland CabinThis 400-square-foot cabin with a refined decor sits nestled among fir, cedar, and madrone trees on the East Sound of Washington state's Orcas Island. Designed by architect David Vandervort, the cross-shaped floorplan creates distinct alcoves for the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, while a ladder provides access to the loft bedroom above the central living room. French doors lead out to a patio of flagstone, which is also used at the cabin's entrance. (Building plans of a prototype of this cabin are available for purchase from Vandervort.) '--ESNLook inside the Orcas Island Cabin.
Refined Woodland CabinThis 400-square-foot cabin with a refined decor sits nestled among fir, cedar, and madrone trees on the East Sound of Washington state's Orcas Island. Designed by architect David
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Victorian FarmhousePainted with six colors, The Painted Lady is an intricately designed micro farmhouse in Round Top, Texas, from Tiny Texas Houses. With a Victorian style exterior, the interior measures 12- by 26-feet and features a built-in couch, full kitchen, Murphy bed, sleeping loft, and bathroom with a glassed-in shower with a river rock floor. The home is 99 percent pure salvage, including the beams, floor joists, studs, windows, doors, and interior and exterior skins. '--ESNLook inside The Painted Lady.
Victorian FarmhousePainted with six colors, The Painted Lady is an intricately designed micro farmhouse in Round Top, Texas, from Tiny Texas Houses. With a Victorian style exterior, the interior measures 12- by
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Tiny Texas HousesBuilt from salvaged materials, no two of the homes from Luling, Texas-based Tiny Texas Houses, which start at 120 square feet, are alike.
Tiny Texas HousesBuilt from salvaged materials, no two of the homes from Luling, Texas-based Tiny Texas Houses, which start at 120 square feet, are alike.
Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-45', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 45', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Charming Florida CottageNearly every surface in Fifi O'Neill's Sarasota, Florida, home displays some sort of collection: weathered accessories, antique linens, white pottery, vintage enamelware, more pottery'--you get the picture. And yet, at only 1,375 square feet, the two-bedroom, two-bath cottage feels cheerful and open, not cluttered or over-crowded. Her secret? Putting her favorite finds to work, not just up on a shelf to be admired.Look inside Fifi's cottage.
Charming Florida CottageNearly every surface in Fifi O'Neill's Sarasota, Florida, home displays some sort of collection: weathered accessories, antique linens, white pottery, vintage enamelware, more
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Little House on the PrairieThis 336-square-foot original WeeHouse from Alchemy Architects was built in 2003 to house a family off the grid on the Minnesota prairie near Lake Pepin. With floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides, the modern micro home is flooded with light. The interior is completely wrapped in douglas fir and features Ikea built-in cabinetry and kitchen elements. '--ESNSee more of the original WeeHouse.
Little House on the PrairieThis 336-square-foot original WeeHouse from Alchemy Architects was built in 2003 to house a family off the grid on the Minnesota prairie near Lake Pepin. With floor-to-ceiling windows
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Gingerbread CottageThe historic community of Wesleyan Grove in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard is well known for its hundreds of adorable, colorful gingerbread cottages. The community began as a Methodist Church campground in the 1860s, where open air revival meetings were held during the warmer months. Church members eventually began building summer cottages, many of which feature ornate Victorian details and colorful trim. Wesleyan Grove is now designated as a National Historic Landmark District. While the cottages are privately owned, several are available to rent.See more photos of the Wesleyan Grove cottages.
Gingerbread CottageThe historic community of Wesleyan Grove in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard is well known for its hundreds of adorable, colorful gingerbread cottages. The community began as a
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Quaint Bungalow Armed with plenty of curb appeal, the Loring is a prefab small bungalow from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. With a ceiling measuring almost 17 feet tall, the model comes in 261-square-foot and 356-square-foot versions. The plans cost $759.Look inside the Loring.
Quaint BungalowArmed with plenty of curb appeal, the Loring is a prefab small bungalow from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. With a ceiling measuring almost 17 feet tall, the model comes in 261-square-foot and
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-50', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 50', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Bayside BungalowBrittany Yunker built her 160-square-foot home, located on the shores of the Puget Sound in Olympia, Washington, using Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's Cypress 18 Equator building plans, one of the company's most popular designs. The house-on-wheels, which is available to rent, sits on an 18-foot flatbed and is equipped with electricity and a small RV-style hot water heater for the sink and shower.Look inside the Bayside Bungalow.
Bayside BungalowBrittany Yunker built her 160-square-foot home, located on the shores of the Puget Sound in Olympia, Washington, using Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's Cypress 18 Equator building plans, one of
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Tumbleweed Tiny House CompanyOne of the first tiny house manufacturers, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company now offers travel trailers and prefab cottages starting at 117 square feet. Pictured here is the company's Harbinger model, which features a bump-out in the front that can be used as a sitting or sleeping area.Look inside the Harbinger.
Tumbleweed Tiny House CompanyOne of the first tiny house manufacturers, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company now offers travel trailers and prefab cottages starting at 117 square feet. Pictured here is the company's
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Rustic Salvage CottageMade from 95 percent salvaged materials, the Arched Zebu is a tiny prairie house from Texas Tiny Houses. Measuring 12- by 18-feet, the house is built from materials that are close to 200 years old. Featuring beautiful arched windows, the cottage includes a lofted sleep area, kitchen, and shabby chic details.Look inside the Arched Zebu.
Rustic Salvage CottageMade from 95 percent salvaged materials, the Arched Zebu is a tiny prairie house from Texas Tiny Houses. Measuring 12- by 18-feet, the house is built from materials that are close to 200
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Southern CharmDesigned by Katrina Cottages, this compact two-bedroom cottage has a 544-square-foot living area and a charming little porch big enough for several rocking chairs. The plan set and and building license are available for $850, while the company estimates that the cost to construct this model will range between $65,280 to $76,000.Learn more about the KC 544.
less Southern CharmDesigned by Katrina Cottages, this compact two-bedroom cottage has a 544-square-foot living area and a charming little porch big enough for several rocking chairs. The plan set and and building
... more Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-55', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 55', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Katrina CottagesDesigned as an affordable solution to the housing crisis after Hurricane Katrina, Katrina Cottages start at 308 square feet.
Katrina CottagesDesigned as an affordable solution to the housing crisis after Hurricane Katrina, Katrina Cottages start at 308 square feet.
Photo: CountryLiving.com Charismatic DwellingOne of the largest homes from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, the two-story Sebastarosa model can be built as a two-bedroom (750 square feet) or three-bedroom (847 square feet) home.Read more about the Sebastarosa.
Charismatic DwellingOne of the largest homes from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, the two-story Sebastarosa model can be built as a two-bedroom (750 square feet) or three-bedroom (847 square feet) home.Read more
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Micro FarmhouseTumbleweed Tiny House Company's Bodega model features a fireplace, a full bath, and a kitchen, with the optional addition of a bedroom that would take the space to 356 square feet. Designed to keep construction costs low, the plans cost $759.Look inside the Bodega.
Micro FarmhouseTumbleweed Tiny House Company's Bodega model features a fireplace, a full bath, and a kitchen, with the optional addition of a bedroom that would take the space to 356 square feet. Designed to
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Photo: CountryLiving.com Cheerful Yellow CottageDesigned by Katrina Cottages, this charming little one-bedroom house measures 14-feet wide and 30-feet long, including a miniature front porch. The house plans and building license can be purchased for $575, and the company estimates it will cost between $38,000 and $46,000 to complete..Learn more about the KC 308.
Cheerful Yellow CottageDesigned by Katrina Cottages, this charming little one-bedroom house measures 14-feet wide and 30-feet long, including a miniature front porch. The house plans and building license can be
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Photo: CountryLiving.com window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-60', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 60', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer
Chip Litchfield and his partner, Penni Brink, enjoy lunch in their RV at the Interstate 24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Chip Litchfield and his partner, Penni Brink, enjoy lunch in their RV at the Interstate 24 Campground in Smyrna, Tenn.
Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By William DeShazer When Robert and Jessica Meinhofer told friends they were moving into an RV in 2015, most thought they were crazy.
The questions poured in: How could they go from living in a 2,000-square-foot home to living in a 250-square-foot trailer? What would they do with their stuff? What would their children, ages 6 and 9, do for school? Was this a midlife crisis? The hardest people to convince were Jessica's parents, who grew up in an impoverished Latino neighborhood in the Bronx and worked hard so their daughter could have a better life. They couldn't understand why the couple wanted to live like migrant laborers.
The Meinhofers are doing this by choice, not financial desperation. They are part of a movement of people ditching "sticks and bricks" homes that have long embodied the American Dream and embracing a life of travel, minimal belongings and working when they want.
"We're a family of four redefining what the American Dream means. It's happiness, not a four-bedroom house with a two-car garage," said Robert Meinhofer, who is 45.
The Meinhofers and a dozen others who spoke with The Washington Post about this modern nomadic lifestyle said living in 200 to 400 square feet has improved their marriages and made them happier, even if they're earning less. There's no official term for this lifestyle, but most refer to themselves as "full-time RVers," "digital nomads" or "workampers."
Most modern nomads need jobs to fund their travels. Jessica Meinhofer works remotely as a government contractor, simply logging in from the RV. Others pick up "gig work" cleaning campsites, harvesting on farms or in vineyards, or filling in as security guards. People learn about gigs by word of mouth, on Workamper News or Facebook groups like one for Workampers with more than 30,000 members. Big companies such as Amazon and J.C. Penney even have programs specifically recruiting RVers to help at warehouses during the peak holiday season.
A million Americans live full-time in RVs, according to the RV Industry Association. Some have to do it because they can't afford other options, but many do it by choice. Last year was a record for RV sales, according to the data firm Statistical Surveys. More than 10.5 million households own at least one RV, a jump from 2005 when 7.5 million households had RVs, according to RVIA.
Interest in "RVing" - either full time or on weekends - appears to be picking up, especially among young couples. Half of new sales are going to Americans under 45, and purchases by people of color are rising, RVIA found in its 2016 surveys, a change from the 20th century, when white retirees dominated campsites.
Below, four families - with members ranging in age from 2 to 84 - share their experience of life on the road.
1. Penni Brink, 62, and Chip Litchfield, 59, have a "Welcome to Margaritaville" sign outside their RV and the kind of easygoing spirit that immediately draws you in. The couple met in the late 1980s when they were working in the same business complex in Vermont, but Chip was married to someone else at the time. Their paths crossed again a few years ago at a craft fair and as their relationship blossomed, Chip suggested they travel in an RV. Penni was apprehensive at first.
Current location: Tennessee.
Vehicle: 2004 Tiffin Phaeton (They bought it used for $67,000).
"I made it clear I needed a big fridge in the RV because I like to cook," Penni said. "And I needed more than a tiny little bathroom."
Chip took Penni to a used RV lot just to "check it out" in 2015, but they ended up buying a 395-square foot camper they call "Daisy." They say they love this lifestyle now and have no plans to return to a typical home. Penni is selling her condo in Montpelier because they don't think they'll need it anymore. They track how many states they have been to on a map on the side of their RV. The current tally is 25.
"Our goal is to be able to travel and work at the places we travel to so we can stay in areas long enough to get to know a place and see America," Chip said. "There is so much work out there for us, and we don't have to make a lot of money."
Penni hung a "less is more" sign in the RV and has become an expert at cooking on a stove top that's about a third the size of a typical range. She used to run a small business in Vermont making drapes, blinds and other home decor and still does some work for clients in the RV. She sets up a folding card table for her sewing machine and sends Chip outside to clean the vehicle so she can have more space.
As they travel, they often pick up jobs to earn money since they don't want to tap their modest retirement savings, which they dipped into to buy the RV. Right now, they are working in the Amazon CamperForce program that hires about 700 people for warehouse jobs and pays their campsite fees. It's hard labor - they often go to bed rubbing each other's feet - but the money they earn from September to Dec. 23 is enough to allow them to take the winter and spring off. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
"Being able to travel in my 60s and see all the things I missed in my younger years is the best part of this lifestyle," Penni said.
2. Robert Meinhofer, 45, and Jessica Meinhofer, 40, have been living in their RV for three years and don't have any plans to return to their old life in suburbia.
Current location: Georgia. (Last year they traveled from Maine to Florida for six months).
Vehicle: 2016 Forest River Grey Wolf 26DBH Travel Trailer. (They bought it for $22,000 and tow it behind a truck).
As they started having kids, Robert and Jessica wanted more time with them than a typical day job would allow. They watched a YouTube video of a family that traveled the country in an RV and thought, why not us?
"We both had full-time jobs. We were doing the 9 to 5 grind. We had the house, but it just didn't fit us quite right. We were just working, working working," Jessica said. "We were longing for freedom."
When Robert was offered a job in Atlanta working for an airline, they didn't think they had enough money to buy a "proper house" for their two kids, their dog and their cats. So they decided to take the plunge on the RV lifestyle. Jessica convinced her company to let her work remotely so she could home-school their children and work in the RV anywhere in America. Robert works four days at the airline and then gets four days off, which he spends with his family in the RV.
Jessica warns it's not all fun on the road. "Instead of mowing the lawn, we do maintenance on the RV. Things don't last as long as they do in a house. The level of chores is about the same," she said, adding that they have to go to the laundromat now. "But it gives us the freedom to be by the beach one day, a mountain the next or a lake. It's made all the difference for us."
The Meinhofers have met a lot of families with kids on the road, but they haven't encountered many other Latinos. They think there's a perception in some communities of color that doing this means you are destitute. They are trying to inspire others to join them with their YouTube channel, Exploring the Local Life, which has become so popular it is making them money.
3. Joyce Ann Seid, 84, and Steven Seid, 77, bought their first RV in 2001 to travel on weekends to see the grandkids and visit casinos and parks. By 2010, they moved into the RV full-time. "We rented our house and wound up getting a bigger RV and then we wound up living in it because we liked it so much," Steven said. "If we don't like our neighbors, we just pack up and leave."
Current location: Wichita
Vehicle: 2012 Tiffin Allegro RED Diesel. (They paid $150,000 at an RV show in 2014).
The couple drive around the country in the warm months and spend the winter in Arizona where they own a lot in a gated RV community.
Steven wanted to go on the road for years, but Joyce said she wouldn't do it unless he made her a home office where she could write a book. Steven gutted the little room in the RV that had a bunk bed and turned it into an office for Joyce that even has a sliding door. Together they remodeled much of the interior, adding sunflowers, a reminder of Joyce's home state of Kansas, and their RV has a washer and dryer.
They mostly live off their retirement money, but they pick up various jobs to help pay for vehicle insurance and RV repairs. Steven worked several years in the Amazon CamperForce program, priding himself on being one of the oldest in the warehouse.
"We're old people, but we hate being retired. We like working," Steven said.
Joyce, a retired professor, jokes that her husband is earning her "Bingo money." She's played - and won - plenty of games in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and is quick to point out there is free parking, even for RVs, at many casinos.
The Seids say they love it on the road. When Joyce had a stroke two years ago, friends in the campsite pitched in immediately to help and they were able to get to a hospital quickly.
"This is a great life. We meet the nicest people," Steven said.
4. Richard Booher, 58, and Miranda Booher were debating doing the "small home" lifestyle when a friend advised them, "you don't want a small home, you want an RV." They had never even been in an RV before, but they bought a Hitchhiker in 2016 that attaches to their pickup truck and took their family - five kids and a 10-year-old dog - on the road.
Current location: Tennessee.
Vehicle: 1999 NuWa Hitchhiker Premier (Bought for $10,000).
"It's been awesome," Richard said as he watched his 5-year-old son Teddy bike around the campsite waving at new neighbors. Later the kids, ranging from 2 to 10, went to the campsite pool and quickly made friends with other families.
The Boohers wanted to show their kids more of America and get closer as a family. Accumulating stuff stopped mattering to them. Instead, they wanted to accumulate experiences. Miranda teaches the kids and is a coach for a Christian organization called Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) that helps bring moms of young children together for support and fellowship. The Boohers get plugged into a church wherever they go and find lots of activities for the kids between church and the campsites. Teddy and Amy, 7, are eager to show off the Macarena dance skills they picked up at a recent kids party at a campsite.
Richard is working at with the Amazon CamperForce program for the second year. He'll be at the warehouse from September to December. It's very different from his career in IT, but the income allows the family to live this nomadic lifestyle. He earned $11.50 an hour at a fulfillment center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., which went to $15 an hour in November.
When the job ends on Christmas Eve, the family heads to Dade City, Fla., to be near old friends for a few weeks before figuring out their next steps. Earlier this year, Richard had a job offer to work at an Amazon return center in Kentucky, so they headed there for a few months.
"The kids have so many friends everywhere we go," Richard said. "You can definitely do this with kids."
Amazon's HQ2 Spectacle Should Be Illegal - The Atlantic
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 17:56
Was this national auction nothing more than a scripted drama to raise the value of the inevitable winning bid? And did the retailer miss an opportunity to revitalize a midwestern city by choosing to enrich the already-rich East Coast?
All good questions. But here's the big one: Why the hell are U.S. cities spending tens of billions of dollars to steal jobs from one another in the first place?
Every year, American cities and states spend up to $90 billion in tax breaks and cash grants to urge companies to move among states. That's more than the federal government spends on housing, education, or infrastructure. And since cities and states can't print money or run steep deficits, these deals take scarce resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for, such as schools, roads, police, and prisons.
In the past 10 years, Boeing, Nike, Intel, Royal Dutch Shell, Tesla, Nissan, Ford, and General Motors have each received subsidy packages worth more than $1 billion to either move their corporate headquarters within the U.S. or, quite often, to keep their headquarters right where they are. New Jersey and Maryland reportedly offered $7 billion for HQ2, which would be the biggest corporate giveaway in American history.
You might think, Don't blame the companies. These businesses have a fiduciary obligation to make money, and it's negligent to leave cash piles on the table while their competitors are raking it in. And you might even think, Don't blame the local governments. Not bidding on an exciting new project feels akin to unilateral disarmament in a war for talent and business. Sometimes a big new firm can revitalize a downtown area and become a magnet for new firms.
Read: I delivered packages for Amazon and it was a nightmare.
But there are three major problems with America's system of corporate giveaways.
First, they're redundant. One recent study by Nathan Jensen, an economist at George Washington University, found that these incentives ''have no discernible impact on firm expansion, measured by job creation.'' Companies often decide where they want to go and then find ways to get their dream city, or hometown, to pay them to do what they were going to do anyway. For example, Amazon is a multinational company with large media and advertising divisions. The drama of the past 13 months probably wasn't crucial to its (probable) decision to expand to New York City, the unambiguous capital of media and advertising.
Second, companies don't always hold up their end of the deal. Consider the saga of Wisconsin and the Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn. Several years ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lured Foxconn with a subsidy plan totaling more than $3 billion. (For the same amount, you could give every household in Wisconsin about $1,700.) Foxconn said it would build a large manufacturing plant that would create about 13,000 jobs near Racine. Now it seems the company is building a much smaller factory with just one quarter of its initial promised investment, and much of the assembly work may be done by robots. Meanwhile, the expected value of Wisconsin's subsidy has grown to more than $4 billion. Thus a state with declining wages for many public-school teachers could wind up paying more than $500,000 per net new Foxconn job'--about 10 times the average salary of a Wisconsin teacher.
Real reason for CA fires? : conspiracy
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:42
Abortions In America
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:22
' A total of 699,202 abortions were reported to CDC for 2012, the most recent year numbers are available. (Reporting is voluntary and not 100%.)
' In 2012, the total number of abortions decreased by 4.3% over 2011 numbers. In 2011, the total number of abortions decreased by 5% over 2010 numbers.
' The Associated Press reported in June, 2015, that nationwide the number of abortions decreased by an average 12% since 2010.
' CDC showed that 3,988,076 babies were born in the U.S. in 2014, the most recent year numbers are available.
' In the United States, about half of all pregnancies are unintended.' Of all unintended pregnancies, 4 in 10 are aborted.
' Twenty-one percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion (not including natural miscarriages).(2011 numbers)
View abortion victim photos and a video of an actual abortion. (Warning: Some may find the images disturbing.)
' There has been a steady decline in abortions since 1980.
' Each year, about 1.7% of all women aged 15-44 have an abortion.
' Of the women obtaining abortions in any given year, about half of them have had at least one previous abortion.
' By age 45, one third of American women will have had at least one abortion, although this figure is now in dispute and may be much lower.
' Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011, down from 1.21 million abortions in 2008, a decline of 13%.
' The U.S. abortion rate in 2011 was 13.9 abortions per 1,000, down from 19.4 per 1,000 in 2008.
' 88.7% of all abortions take place by the twelfth week of pregnancy.
' 12% of abortions in the U.S. occurred in teenagers.
' Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011, down from 1.21 million abortions in 2008, a decline of 13%.
' Women who have never been married account for one-third of abortions in America.
' Less than 1% of all abortions take place because of rape and/or incest.
Women give an average of 3.7 reasons why they are seeking an abortion including the following:
' 21% Inadequate finances' 21% Not ready for responsibility' 16% Woman's life would be changed too much' 12% Problems with relationships, unmarried' 11% Too young and/or immature' 8% Children are grown; she has all she wants' 3% Baby has possible health problems' <1% Pregnancy caused by rape/incest' 4% Other
Of all abortions at 8 weeks or under, 71.2% are surgical procedures while 28.5% are medication abortions.
Read: Number of Late-term Abortion Facilities in the USA May Surprise You
View an Archive of Documented Abortion Patient Death Reports by Operation Rescue
' Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions.
' Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.
' 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while that number is 54% among Hispanics and 40% of pregnancies among Whites.
' Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the United States, has located 80% of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, disproportionally targeting minorities for abortion.
Read Report: ''Racial Profiling and Population Control,'' by Mark Crutcher, Life Dymanics.
' As of September 2016, there were 730 outpatient abortion facilities in the U.S.' Of those, 515 were surgical abortion facilities and 215 offered only medication abortions.' Since 1991, 81% of all surgical abortion facilities in the U.S. have closed.
Read about the Late-Term Induction Abortion Method
Read Special Report: Late-Term Abortion Facilities
Read documents related to every abortion facility in the U.S. at AbortionDocs.org.
Archive of Reports on Abortion Clinic Closures 2014-2016
Read ''Underground Abortions: Beware of Alarming New Trend''
Since the election of President Barack Obama, Americans have experienced a shift in how they view abortion. In the spring of 2009, several polls showed that for the first time, the majority of Americans identified themselves as ''pro-life.''
CNN, Jim Acosta might be suing the White House over revoked press pass - Business Insider
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:22
CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta and President Donald Trump. AP Photo/Evan Vucci; Al Drago/Getty Images
Longtime ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson said Sunday that CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and the network were suing the Trump administration over Acosta's revoked press credentials. Donaldson told CNN host Brian Stelter that he had been asked to prepare an affidavit ahead of a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday, which Stelter said he hadn't heard. Acosta's press pass was revoked hours after he was part of a tense standoff with President Donald Trump during a press conference, which was broadcasted live. A CNN spokesperson told Business Insider that "no decisions have been made" on suing yet. Longtime ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson said Sunday that CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and the network were suing the Trump administration over Acosta's revoked press credentials.
Donaldson told CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter that he had been asked to sign an affidavit for the lawsuit, and a court hearing was slated for Tuesday.
"I hope I'm not mistaken but it's my understanding that CNN and have sued and there will be a court hearing on Tuesday on this very matter," Donaldson said.
"Not that I know of, but you may be ahead of me," Stelter said.
A CNN spokesperson told Business Insider: "No decisions have been made. We have reached out to the White House and gotten no response."
The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday evening that Acosta's press pass would be revoked.
Read more:Trump administration accused of behaving like authoritarian regime after revoking CNN reporter Jim Acosta's credentials and sharing suspicious video
The decision came hours after a tense standoff between Acosta and President Donald Trump during a press conference that ended with the administration accusing Acosta of "inappropriate behavior" after a White House intern tried to grab a microphone out of his hand.
In the same exchange, Trump lashed out at Acosta, ignoring his question about an immigrant caravan headed for the border to call him a "rude, terrible person."
CNN stood by the correspondent in a statement, saying the president's "ongoing attacks on the press" have become "not only dangerous, [but] disturbingly un-American."
On Friday, Trump called Acosta an "unprofessional guy." "I don't think he's a smart person, but he's got a loud voice," the president told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.
More: CNN Jim Acosta White House
Amazon Is Kicking All Unauthorized Apple Refurbishers Off Amazon Marketplace - Motherboard
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:16
John Bumstead is a computer refurbisher who, every year, saves thousands of laptops from the shredder. He buys MacBooks en masse from electronics recyclers, fixes them, then sells them on Amazon Marketplace or wholesales them to vendors who do the same.
Friday morning, Bumstead got an email from Amazon informing him that he'd no longer be allowed to sell Apple computers on the platform, thanks to a new agreement between Apple and Amazon that will only allow ''authorized resellers'' to sell Apple products.
''As part of a new agreement with Apple, we are working with a select group of authorized resellers to offer an expanded selection of Apple and Beats products, including new releases, in Amazon's stores,'' the email says. ''You are receiving this message because you are currently selling, or have previously sold, Apple or Beats products. Your existing offers for those products will soon be removed from Amazon's online store in the United States. Please contact Apple if you would like to apply to become an authorized reseller on Amazon.''
As the email notes, this is part of a new agreement between two of the largest companies in the world that will allow Amazon to sell new Apple products around the world; in exchange, Amazon agreed to let Apple pick-and-choose who is allowed to sell Apple products on the site.
It's the latest in Apple's long-running list of business decisions that allow it to lock down the repair, refurbishment, and end-of-life of its products.
[Will this affect your business? Reach out to the reporter of this article on Signal at 347-513-3688]
When I originally met Bumstead a few years ago, he described the prospect of being kicked off Amazon as a ''nightmare scenario'' for his business and for other independent computer refurbishers and resellers. Bumstead says that Amazon Marketplace is by far the best platform for his business because Amazon has become so pervasive and is the first place that consumers think to buy things online. eBay and Craigslist are alternatives, but Amazon's popularity with customers and centralized shipping services have made it much easier for resellers to use it (Bumstead can ship 100 laptops to an Amazon fulfillment center, which then handles shipping them to individual customers.)
''This is what every Amazon seller has been dreading,'' Bumstead told me on the phone. ''There are hundreds if not thousands of small businesses that do repair and refurbishing, so they're going to take the biggest hit.''
"Amazon is leveraging its power over its marketplace to give Apple power that the courts and Congress never have and never would"
Apple will ultimately make the decisions about who will be allowed to become "authorized resellers" and what the requirements will be, according to the email that it sent to Bumstead. Apple did not respond to a request for comment, so for now we don't know how it is going to decide who can be an ''authorized'' reseller on Amazon. It's worth noting, however, that Apple places many restrictions on its ''authorized'' service providers, who it grants permission to repair Apple devices. They are only allowed to work on certain devices, are only allowed to do certain repairs, and have to pay Apple to be accepted into the program.
Aaron Perzanowski, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University and coauthor of The End of Ownership, told me in an email that this decision is a dangerous infringement of ownership rights.
''Wow. This is a very troubling development,'' he said. ''Given Amazon's dominance as an online retail marketplace, its decision to disregard the first sale rights of resellers will significantly limit consumer choice. The fact that this move was demanded by Apple makes it even more problematic. What we see here are the world's two most valuable companies engaging in a coordinated assault on the lawful resale of consumer devices.''
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that people who legally own a product may legally resell it, and federal law protects that right under something known as the ''first sale doctrine,'' which says that copyright holders give up their copyright to individual copies of a work once it is sold: ''the first sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109, provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display, or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner,'' the US Department of Justice explains.
''The first sale doctrine has never required an owner to get permission to sell their property,'' Perzanowski added. ''But Amazon is leveraging its power over its marketplace to give Apple power that the courts and Congress never have and never would.''
"It's kind of mind boggling to think that a brand would be able to restrict sale of used products"
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told me on the phone that his company's iPhone replacement parts have been getting periodically removed from Amazon because of what he said were trademark enforcement claims by Apple. So far, he has been able to get them relisted after undergoing a lengthy dispute process with Amazon.
''The idea you have a retailer that if they can strike a deal with the most profitable company in the world and lock out independent resellers is concerning for the future of commerce,'' Wiens said. ''It's kind of mind boggling to think that a brand would be able to restrict sale of used products. This is exactly the kind of control Apple wants to exert over the marketplace.''
Bumstead focuses on selling older MacBooks and MacBook Pros because they are generally easier to repair and acquire from recyclers. But his business likely has an expiration date: Apple's newest computers have a built-in software kill switch that prevents independent repair. On these models, which include the new MacBook Air and new MacBook Pros, the computers won't work unless Apple authorizes the repair via proprietary software on its servers.
Bumstead buys his computers from small electronics recyclers, (large recyclers are often required by Apple to shred Apple products as part of a contract they have with the company.) These old computers, which would otherwise be bound for a shredder still clearly have resale value, regardless of whether they look pristine when he resells them. Bumstead says that Amazon has always taken a ''customer is always right'' approach to repaired and refurbished goods, so the quality of repairs is presumably not a major concern for the company (Amazon did not tell me why it's making this change but said in an emailed statement that it is part of the new agreement with Apple.)
Unlike eBay, where sellers create listings and then describe the quality and condition of the product, Amazon creates its own listings and sellers must meet the requirements of those listings. Bumstead said that there are ''grades'''--A, B, C, D, or ''refurbished,'' very good, used good, and used acceptable. ''You designate the quality by one of those four grades, and then you can specify if there's, for example, a dent on the corner,'' he said. ''There's an unconditional 30 day warranty on every Amazon product, it has to be fully functional regardless of grade.''
Amazon currently has its own ''certified'' refurbisher program called ''Amazon Renewed'' that will be unaffected by the new deal with Apple. But the requirements to sell Apple products under that program are impossible to hit for any small business: They must prove to Amazon that they spend at least $2.5 million dollars every 90 days buying Apple products ''directly from a national wireless carrier or retailer with over $5 billion in annual sales (Example: Verizon, AT&T, or Target) or the manufacturer (Apple.)'' This means that only big companies with direct relationships with corporate giants can meet the requirements.
''Who can meet that requirement except the top 5 massive companies that Apple has decided to work with?'' Bumstead said.
The new authorized reseller program will be separate from Amazon Renewed, and the requirements for the new program are not yet public. Amazon has told sellers that they can continue to sell Apple products on the site until January 4. After that, ''Amazon will reimburse you for the return or disposal fees through February 4, 2019.''
''As part of a new agreement with Apple, we are working with a select group of authorized resellers to offer an expanded selection of Apple and Beats products, including new releases, in Amazon's stores,'' an Amazon spokesperson told me in an emailed statement. ''Sellers are incredibly important to Amazon and our customers, and we are notifying them now so they can prepare for this change.''
The Cleaner'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:13
There are ongoing consequential election battles taking place in multiple states that are far more urgent than my meager outlines; and it is not my intent to distract from the more pressing matters of our political surrounding. However, there is a strong possibility the current election events are symptoms of a larger battle within government.
An enigma:
You see, there's a bunch of 'unofficial' evidence, or data-points, that no-one can explain how or why they came to be visible. The data did not surface sequentially; but it surely surfaced purposefully from within the apparatus of government. Putting the evidence into a sequence that clarifies the picture is not easy. As a respected person recently shared:
''It's almost like a separate discipline, sort of like textual forensics or document historiography; I don't know how to describe it yet.''
In an earlier outline I shared the following questions:
How do we find out about the Mark Warner text messages?Who publicly released the Carter Page FISA application?Where did the four day flood of information (Dec 1st '' 4th, 2017) about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok come from?Who released that Page/Strzok information to the media? Why?Who made the decision not to indict James Wolfe for leaking classified information?Why be so specific details within the Wolfe indictment; then dismiss them?Who made the decision NOT TO redact the key FISC clerk stamp?Where is all of this ''unofficial'' evidence coming from?Well, here's my answers.
In the James Wolfe indictment, released June 8th, 2018, we find out the Senate Select Committee on intelligence was sent the FISA application on Carter Page. We don't find out from the indictment, we only see a description: [Source Link]
Now, keep in mind this indictment as written ends without any charges of leaking classified documents. The indictment [Read Here] ends with three counts of giving ''false statements to a government agency'', ie. lying to the FBI [18 USC 1001 violation]
If you read the indictment, and the subsequent charges within the indictment, there is absolutely NO REASON, for the extent of the specificity within page #6, lines 17 through 20. As pictured above. Wolfe was not charged with leaking ''classified information'', yet the specific details describe the ''top secret'' document that was leaked.
A month later, on a Saturday, July 21st, 2018, the redacted FISA Title-1 application used against U.S. person Carter Page is released. At the time of its release, no-one was looking for it and no-one was requesting the release.
On page #54, 63, 65, 66, and 83 of the heavily redacted FISA application '' the FISC Clerk copy stamp appears, drawing attention to the date of distribution, March 17th, 2017. [Source Link]
All dates within the FISA application are redacted, except for the FISC Clerk stamp dates. Curiously, this March 17, 2017, clerk stamp date is what connects that document to the description of the ''top secret'' document outlined in the Wolfe indictment.
Against the refusal of the DOJ and FBI to declassify supporting documents to the Nunes memo, this unanticipated weekend release of the FISA application was that much more interesting. FISA documents are not foia-able; consider the painstaking effort to get the Nunes memo released; in essence this FISA application would have been the easiest document to keep hidden. Yet, it appeared.
Additionally, another curious unanticipated and never explained document release from February 9th, 2018, overlays with both the Wolfe indictment and the Carter Page FISA application.
In February, 2018, someone, for some reason, released the text messages between Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, and a lobbyist/lawyer named Adam Waldman. [Source Link] The resulting sunlight showed Senator Warner seeking Waldman's assistance in setting up a private meeting/interview with Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.
On page #5 of the Warner text messages, we see the date March 17th, 2017, again. The same date the Senate received the FISA application. This time we see that Warner was going into the Senate ''skif'' (SCIF) shortly after 4:00pm; (presumably to review the document):
Using 2018 hindsight and putting together the three documents, released six months apart [Feb (Warner), June (Wolfe), July (FISA)] the picture emerges that the Senate Intelligence Committee received the Carter Page FISA application on March 17th, 2017, delivered to James Wolfe and reviewed by Vice-Chairman Mark Warner. From the indictment, we discover the content of this document production was leaked by James Wolfe, to his reporter/girlfriend, Ali Watkins the same day.
The important notations here are: (1) two of the three sets of data were released without any specific purpose (FISA App and Warner texts); (2) no-one knows why two data points were released; (3) no-one knows who released them; (4) the FISC Clerk Stamp appears to have been intentionally left unredacted; (5) the specificity within the page #6 data within the Wolfe indictment was unnecessary for the direct purpose, yet important for the indirect purpose of connecting the data; (6) the Wolfe indictment was unsealed six months after the fact; and (7) NONE of these three sets of data were essential information at the time they were released.
This tells me, someone wanted this information into the bloodstream of public knowledge; yet non of this information was part of an official release; except the Wolfe indictment '' yet it too contained unnecessary specificity within the page-6 details when unsealed.
This brings us to the critical question: Who? Who wanted this out there?
The answer to that question, is uniquely narrow when you think about the documents and the position the person would have to hold in order to influence the release.
Because of the documents in question, the person would need to be inside the DOJ. Because of the content of the documents, the person would have to be important enough to have access and knowledge of the bigger dynamic at play. This person would also need to be high enough in the food chain to authorize the FISA release and have some control over the redaction process (leaving the FISC Clerk stamp date visible). This person would have to be high enough to 'unofficially' release the Warner text messages, and yet not be in fear after doing it.
In my opinion, that describes Matt Whitaker '' AG Jeff Sessions Chief of Staff.
Additionally, when considering another set of unsourced and very consequential data that followed the plea of Michael Flynn as demanded by the prosecution from Robert Mueller November 30th, 2017. The public releases on December 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, immediately following the Flynn plea (Strzok FISC buddy Judge Rudolph ''Rudy'' Contreras), were massive in consequence, and appeared reactionary.
Those early December 2017 releases revealed: the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok removals and suspensions; the text messaging; the connections to Bruce Ohr activity (demotion 1); and the connections to Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS. No-one ever asked who was the source of that mountain of evidence against the conspiracy group.
Again, in my opinion, that information could only come from someone with deep knowledge of what was going on; and tends to point toward Matt Whitaker.
In short, I think Matt Whitaker was our behind-the-scenes 'deep throat'; pushing information into the public consciousness that would paint a picture being hidden by opposing voices within the administrative state. All of the countermeasures became visible after Whitaker was hired in October 2017.
Again, apply common sense, what interests were served; and whose interests were undermined by this information being released?
Whitaker joined Sessions in October 2017; immediately before the FBI investigators zeroed in on the SSCI leaking [See Indictment].
Whitaker came in after the leak task force was in place and investigating. I believe it was Matt Whitaker who left the disparate breadcrumb trail for us to follow.
Given the nature of how hard Rosenstein and Mueller are/were working to block sunlight and the release of information, as evidenced within their recent threats against declassification by President Trump, these data/evidence points certainly did not come from their collective DOJ camp or the 'small group' within the Special Counsel. Factually the sunlight from the mysterious media information was adverse to their interests.
So here's my summary:
How do we find out about the Mark Warner text messages? '' Matt WhitakerWho publicly released the Carter Page FISA application? '' Matt WhitakerWhere did the four day flood of information (Dec 1st '' 4th, 2017) about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok come from? '' Matt WhitakerWho released that Page/Strzok information to the media? '' Matt WhitakerWhy? '' Push back against the sketchy Mueller framework within the Flynn plea.Who made the decision not to indict James Wolfe for leaking classified information? '' Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in an effort to protect the interests of corrupt elements within the SSCI. [ Despite the leak task force identifying the leaker, the content of the Wolfe leak meant Sessions could not be the decision-maker; the recusal firewall was crossed.]Who wrote the initial Wolfe indictment to contain such specific evidence as to outline how he had leaked classified information? '' The task force [Whitaker allies].Who made the decision NOT TO redact the key FISC clerk stamp? '' Matt Whitaker as push-back against, and evidence toward, the corrupt elements within the SSCI.Where did all of this ''unofficial'' evidence come from? '' Matt Whitaker, current Acting Attorney General.Additionally, the Office of the President is not an individual, it is an institution. There are people, mostly lawyers, responsible for the office of the president who are there specifically to protect the executive office and not necessarily the person within it. By protecting the Office of The President, they protect the president.
Part of that protection involves NOT allowing the President to posses information that could put him in a position of compromise or legal jeopardy. Therefore, in my opinion, President Trump does not have direct knowledge, nor has he been informed, of any of this.
In my humble opinion, those near the President are telling him to keep publicly expressing his distance from Matt Whitaker specifically because Whitaker is ''the cleaner'' for the DOJ and FBI. That's why we are seeing this:
The President needs factual and honest deniability of knowledge, and or any involvement, in what Matt Whitaker has done (as CoS) and/or will do (as AAG) internally.
That scenario doesn't make former AG Jeff Sessions out to be good or bad, just recused and unable to deal with the issues over the past 20 months '' prior to exit.
The conflict and compromise carried by Rod Rosenstein makes him a risk to the office; that's why Whitaker was recommended as the 'cleaner'.
I suspect one of Whitaker's key tools will be to oversee and then utilize the IG report on FISA abuse to expel those within the DOJ and FBI who participated. [See Here]
The deepest elements of the DC swamp will go bananas to get rid of Whitaker specifically because he is positioned to be the cleaner.
Who has given Whitaker counsel? Likely Senate Judicary Chairman Chuck Grassley.
Will this effort work? I have no idea.
There you have it. That's my take.
''Matthew Whitaker''
Graphic = h/t Rosie
'So many bears:' Draft plan says Nunavut polar bear numbers unsafe | CTV News
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:05
There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn't yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.
The proposed plan -- which is to go to public hearings in Iqaluit on Tuesday -- says that growing bear numbers are increasingly jeopardizing public safety and it's time Inuit knowledge drove management policy.
"Inuit believe there are now so many bears that public safety has become a major concern," says the document, the result of four years of study and public consultation.
"Public safety concerns, combined with the effects of polar bears on other species, suggest that in many Nunavut communities, the polar bear may have exceeded the co-existence threshold."
Polar bears killed two Inuit last summer.
The plan leans heavily on Inuit knowledge, which yields population estimates higher than those suggested by western science for almost all of the 13 included bear populations.
Scientists say only one population of bears is growing; Inuit say there are nine. Environment Canada says four populations are shrinking; Inuit say none are.
The proposed plan downplays one of the scientific community's main concerns.
"Although there is growing scientific evidence linking the impacts of climate change to reduced body condition of bears and projections of population declines, no declines have currently been attributed to climate change," it says. "(Inuit knowledge) acknowledges that polar bears are exposed to the effects of climate change, but suggests that they are adaptable."
Environment Canada's response says that's "not in alignment with scientific evidence." It cites two studies suggesting the opposite.
Andrew Derocher, a University of Alberta polar bear expert, is blunter.
"That's just plain wrong," he said. "That's been documented in many places now -- not just linked to body condition but reproductive rates and survival."
The government of Nunavut declined an interview request.
Its position is strongly supported by the 11 Inuit groups and hunters' organizations that made submissions.
"(Inuit knowledge) has not always been sufficiently incorporated by decision-makers," says a document submitted by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Inuit land-claim organization. "The disconnect between the sentiment in certain scientific communities and (Inuit knowledge) has been pronounced."
Pond Inlet wants to be able to kill any bear within a kilometre of the community without the animal being considered part of the town's quota. Rankin Inlet simply wants to lower bear populations.
In its submission, the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board expresses frustration with how polar bears are used as an icon in the fight against climate change.
"This is very frustrating for Inuit to watch ... We do not have resources to touch bases with movie actors, singers and songwriters who often narrate and provide these messages," it says.
"We know what we are doing and western science and modelling has become too dominant."
The management plan doesn't propose to increase hunting quotas immediately. It contains provisions for increased education and programs on bear safety for hunters and communities.
It does say hunting bans would no longer be automatically applied to shrinking populations and that "management objectives ... could include managing polar bears for a decrease."
Derocher doesn't dispute potentially dangerous bear-human encounters are becoming more frequent. But he, and other southern scientists, insist that's happening as climate change reduces sea ice and drives bears inland.
"They will move into communities seeking food. There's lots of attractants around northern communities."
Places where attacks have occurred are not areas with the highest bear densities, he said.
The plan reflects Nunavut's desire to control its own wildlife resources, Derocher suggested.
"They don't ask for input from southern scientists. The less input from the south is where it seems to be moving."
Derocher said the Inuit's ability to export polar bear hides -- or the ability of their hunter clients to take such items home with them -- depends on whether the rest of the world trusts the animals are being well-managed.
"If the stated goal is to have fewer polar bears, that may be the tripping point whereby polar bear management in Canada comes under renewed scrutiny."
Canada has fought off two international attempts to ban the trade of polar bear products.
The territory's wildlife management board will take what it hears at the public hearings and include it in a final document, which will go before the Nunavut cabinet for approval.
Hillary Clinton will run for president again in 2020, former adviser says
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:04
| November 11, 2018 07:38 PM
H illary Clinton will run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, according to a former adviser and a top Democrat in New York.
Mark Penn, a pollster and senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 1995-2008, and Andrew Stein, a former Manhattan Democratic party figure and New York City Council president, wrote Sunday in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee would not let "two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House."
"Mrs. Clinton has come unbound. She will not allow this humiliating loss at the hands of an amateur to end the story of her career," Penn and Stein wrote of President Trump, explaining how Clinton would re-package herself as a more liberal "Hillary Clinton 4.0." "You can expect her to run for president once again. Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing."
"Mrs. Clinton has a 75% approval rating among Democrats, an unfinished mission to be the first female president, and a personal grievance against Mr. Trump, whose supporters pilloried her with chants of 'Lock her up!' This must be avenged," the pair continued.
[Read more: Michelle Obama 2nd in 2020 poll, twice as popular as Hillary Clinton]
Penn and Stein recommended basing a strategy for Clinton's do-over on former President Richard Nixon's second tilt at the White House in 1968 after losing to the late President John F. Kennedy in 1960. The duo also said potential Democratic presidential candidates were "bungling amateurs" in their handling of the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh's confirmation hearings.
"She will enter through the front door, mobilizing the army of professional women behind her, leveraging her social networks, and raking in donation. She will hope to emerge as an unstoppable force to undo Mr. Trump, running on the #MeToo movement, universal health care and gun control. Proud and independent, this time she will sideline Bill and Mr. Obama, limiting their role to fundraising," they wrote of Clinton.
Penn and Stein's op-ed follows Clinton herself vaguely hint she was considering another presidential run.
"Well I'd like to be president. I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there's going to be so much work to be done," Clinton told Recode in October.
Penn has gained a reputation for being critical of Democrats and special counsel Robert Muller's federal Russia investigation, despite still considering himself a member of the party. He additionally has argued that Democratic voters largely lean toward the center of the political spectrum, rather than to the far-left.
''I haven't flipped at all,'' he told Politico in August. ''I'm not in politics. If my goal was to please people in politics, it would have been easy as pie to go out there and get some talking points every day about why we should be impeaching the president. Those aren't my values, and they aren't how I got my job with the Clintons in the first place.''
Debra Messing Joins Alyssa Milano in Denouncing Women's March
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:03
Who else will come down against the Women's March leaders and their support of Louis Farrakhan?
November 09 2018 1:33 PM EST
Will & Grace star Debra Messing is the latest to speak out against the Women's March and the fact that its leaders, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, refuse to distance themselves from the vitriolic anti-Semitic, homophobic, and transphobic Louis Farrakhan.
Thursday night, Messing tweeted out an article from The Advocate in which #MeToo activist Alyssa Milano said she would not speak at the next Women's March as long as its leaders refuse to condemn Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan's anti-Semitism.
I stand with you @Alyssa_Milano https://t.co/FKN31ApXnU
'-- Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) November 9, 2018
''Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I'm disappointed in the leadership of the Women's March that they haven't done it adequately,'' Milano told The Advocate last week when asked if she would speak at the next Women's March, given leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour's association with a man who warrants his own page from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. ''I would say no at this point. Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him at this point. Or even given a really good reason why to support them."
Farrakhan's hatred of Jewish and LGBTQ people is well documented.
Farrakhan is an admirer of Adolf Hitler, having called the genocidal dictator "a great man." In a 2006 speech, Farrakhan said, "It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality." In 1996, he told a Kansas City crowd, "God don't like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female. ... If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you're out of your damn mind."
Just a week before the shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Farrakhan tweeted out a speech in which he announced, "I'm not an anti-Semite. I'm anti-Termite." The Southern Poverty Law Center has condemned the Nation of Islam as an anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ hate group,
Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory sat in the audience while Farrakhan gave a hateful speech in March in which he said, "The powerful Jews are my enemy," She also received a shout-out from him and posted about the event on social media.
Mallory has posted pictures with Farrakhan on Instagram, with captions such as "Thank God this man is still alive and doing well. He is definitely the GOAT [greatest of all time] Happy Birthday @louisfarrakhan!"
Sarsour strongly defended Mallory against accusations of being complicit in bigotry. "I don't think these people have our best interests at heart to make us better people or to disrupt misconceptions or anti-Semitism because trashing a strong black woman and holding her accountable for the words of a man is not the way to bring people together," she said.
When criticized about her relationship with Farrakhan, Mallory refused to directly condemn his words or his history of hatred. Instead, she tweeted what many perceived as dog whistles that targeted LGBTQ people and Jews as "enemies of Jesus."
If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader! Study the Bible and u will find the similarities. Ostracizing, ridicule and rejection is a painful part of the process...but faith is the substance of things!
'-- Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) March 1, 2018
Messing, who is Jewish, has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ people. She attended the Women's March in 2017 and was a big supporter of the protest.
Flight attendant's cheeky response to passenger demanding window seat | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 15:31
Moaning passenger is left stunned by flight attendant's cheeky response to his demand to have a window seatPassenger had requested a window seat but ended up sat next to a blank wall He asked the flight attendant if he could be moved to be given a window seat But she responded by drawing a picture of a window and stuck it next to him ByJennifer Newton for MailOnline
Published: 07:52 EST, 12 November 2018 | Updated: 08:06 EST, 12 November 2018
When a moaning airline passenger demanded he have a window seat he probably thought the cabin crew would arrange for him to swap seats.
But one flight attendant came up with a much more cheeky response - by drawing a picture of a window on a piece of paper and sticking it on the wall next to him.
The incident happened on a flight in Japan when the unhappy passenger, who had requested a window seat, ended up sat in a row without a window.
When a passenger demanded he be moved to a window seat on a flight after being placed in a row without a window, a cheeky flight attendant drew a picture of a portal with some scenery and stuck it to the wall
A fellow passenger called @koo_TmS_suke noted on Twitter that when the crew on the unknown airline came around during the drinks service, the man in question blurted out 'give me a window seat.'
According to the Twitter user, the flight attendant walked away before rushing back with a piece of paper and stuck it to the blank canvas wall next to the man.
And on closer inspection, it turned out that the cabin crew member had actually drawn a picture of a window featuring blue sea and white clouds, to give the impression of scenery.
A picture of the flight attendant's artwork was then posted on Twitter gaining almost 8,000 retweets and 15,000 likes.
The picture of the window was posted to Twitter, where it was retweeted almost 8,000 times and got 15,000 likes
And according to Sora News 24, other Twitter users found the drawing hilarious and praised the flight attendant's response.
One wrote: 'That's really clever', and another said: 'Great thinking by the attendant.'
While one sarcastically remarked: 'How lucky he must be to be gifted with a such a unique scenery.'
$20 Trillion US Debt Will Inevitably Lead to Big Crypto Boom: Voorhees
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 15:15
ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees has said that the growing debt of the US, which hovers at around $21.7 trillion as of November, will inevitably cause a big spike in crypto.
''When the next global financial crisis occurs, and the world realizes organizations with $20 trillion in debt can't possibly ever pay it back and thus must print it instead, and thus fiat is doomed. Watch what happens to crypto.''
Voorhees suggested that to repay the national debt, the government and the federal reserve will be forced to print more fiat money, leading to inflation and a decline in the purchasing power of the US dollar.
Major Financial Institutions Including BlackRock WorriedBlackRock, the world's largest asset manager with more than $6.317 trillion in assets under management, is the latest major financial institution to express concerns regarding the rapidly increasing national debt of the US.
The conglomerate's CEO, Larry Fink, stated that the US government is heading towards a supply problem due to the country's increasing budget deficit. Beginning next year, Fink noted that the US could be forced to borrow $1 trillion a year.
The rising inflation rate of the US dollar, as shown by the growing interest rates of the Federal Reserve, has become too high to sustain the economy.
''That could be the real issue related to everything: where we have interest rates becoming too high to sustain the economy with its growth rates,'' BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said.
US Debt Clock | Source: National Debt ClocksNouriel Roubini, a professor at NYU Stern School and a cryptocurrency skeptic, echoed the sentiment of Fink, emphasizing that the interest rate has increased to a point in which the US economy cannot match it with its growth rate.
''Second, because the stimulus was poorly timed, the US economy is now overheating, and inflation is rising above target. The US Federal Reserve will thus continue to raise the federal funds rate from its current 2% to at least 3.5% by 2020, and that will likely push up short- and long-term interest rates as well as the US dollar,'' Roubini said, predicting a major financial crisis by 2020.
If a financial crisis is to occur by the end of 2020 as predicted by many economists in the US primarily due to the overly high-interest rate set forth by the Federal Reserve, then the US dollar could drop substantially in value and open up investors to stores of value such as gold and cryptocurrencies whose value is not dependent of the global economy.
Next 10 Years Will be InterestingVinny Lingham, the founder of Civic and a partner at Multicoin Capital, said that more wealth would be created in crypto in the next 10 years than the past ten years, despite several large corrections the market faced and will continue to experience in the years to come.
''More wealth will be created in crypto over the next 10 years, than over the prior 10 years. But remember, like any success story, it's not going to be a straight line up. Keep believing and just be patient.''
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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Some at Web Summit seek 'Contract for the Web' to protect user privacy
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:04
Rob Pegoraro, Special for USA TODAY Published 5:54 a.m. ET Nov. 12, 2018
Former Cambridge Analytica researcher Christopher Wylie testified before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as they seek answers into how the London-based firm misused Facebook data during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (May 16) AP
A city beneath a web of connected lines. (Photo: Getty Images)
LISBON'--Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie had some harsh words at the Web Summit conference here for the business he had chosen and the company whose data he had once helped exploit for that now-bankrupt research firm.
"Facebook, it has so much power at its disposal, it is making a digital clone of our society,'' he said to British newscaster Krishnan Guru Murthy in a panel last Tuesday afternoon. He compared Facebook's conquest of social media to European colonizers' conduct across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, calling it ''our generation's East India Company."
Wearing an ''Arrest the President'' hoodie, Wylie demanded regulations for social media.
"If we can regulate nuclear power, why can't we regulate some [expletive] code?" he asked as the audience cheered.
That was a common sentiment at Web Summit. For instance, United Nations secretary general Ant"nio Guterres warned in a speech last Monday night that "the weaponization of artificial intelligence is a serious danger."
More: Apple CEO Tim Cook supports stricter data privacy laws, warns of 'data industrial complex'
More: Americans are more concerned with data privacy than job creation, study shows
More: UK watchdog fines Facebook $644,000 over users' data breach in Cambridge Analytica scandal
But Summit speakers also had suggestions about what to do to fix things. Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, for example, used the Berners-Lee keynote that opened the conference Monday night to call for companies, governments and Internet users to unite around a ''Contract for the Web.''
Its nine principals call for meeting such goals as protecting privacy, providing universal Internet access, keeping the Internet open and universal (Berners-Lee has called for net-neutrality protections before), and building online social systems that impede harassment and hate speech but promote constructive conversations.
"As an individual, you need to hold those companies accountable,'' Berners-Lee said. ''You need to hold those governments accountable."
The U.S. government may not lead on those issues, but the European Union seems prepared to. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a keynote Wednesday.
''There's no need to ask people to give up values like privacy, democracy, fairness in the name of innovation,'' she said. "The real guarantee of an innovative future comes from keeping markets open.''
In a press conference afterwards, she defended the EU's sweeping General Data Protection Regulation, which requires companies to let their customers see, edit or delete most data collected about them. Vestager said the GDPR's principles, if not its extensive details, continue to draw interest on the other side of the Atlantic.
"I find that there is sort of an increased questioning and curiosity on what we're doing in Europe,'' she said.
And even if this debate does not yield a new law, many U.S. firms have decided to extend some GDPR privacy protections to U.S. users. In a Web Summit talk, Google product-management vice president Tamar Yehoshua said the GDPR "has helped us focus our work'' of providing clearer and more comprehensive privacy controls.
Microsoft president Brad Smith, meanwhile, used a Wednesday evening keynote to call for "a digital Geneva Convention'' to end state cyberattacks against civilians and asking for support for the company's Digital Peace campaign.
"The tools that we've created, the tools often times that you've created, have been turned by others into weapons,'' he said, citing in particular last year's international ransomware attacks. "We need governments to do better."
(Disclosure: Pegoraro moderated four panels here, in return for which the organizers covered most of his travel costs.)
Rob Pegoraro is a tech writer based out of Washington, D.C. To submit a tech question, e-mail Rob at rob@robpegoraro.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/robpegoraro.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2018/11/12/support-regulating-social-media-facebook-privacy-surfaces-web-summit/1947813002/
Valse meesters bij Sotheby's - De Standaard - Blendle
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:59
Eerste zaak van Ruffini-schandaal voor de rechtbank afgesloten
Geert Sels
De kunstwereld vreest dat er vervalste 'oude meesters' in omloop zijn. Schilderijen van Hals, Cranach en Velzquez worden tegen het licht gehouden. De zaak van een Parmigianino is beslecht: een verzamelaar moet veilinghuis Sotheby's 1 miljoen euro terugbetalen.
Facebook 'bug' stopped it removing terrorist content
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:49
F acebook failed to delete posts promoting terrorism because of a "bug" in its systems, the company has admitted.
The social network, which has been under mounting pressure to police extremist material, blamed a technical glitch for a huge rise in the length of time it took to take down the posts.
Some of the posts could have been up for several weeks or even months before they were deleted, the Telegraph understands.
The revelation raises more questions about Facebook's ability to police the content on its own website, even as it has invested in tools to automatically spot and delete terrorist images.
Facebook said the average time to take action on posts recently uploaded to the site leapt from less than a minute to 14 hours between April and July, because it fixed a bug which had previously prevented it from removing older posts.
''The increase was prompted by multiple factors, including fixing a bug that prevented us from removing some content that violated our policies, and rolling out new detection and enforcement systems,'' said Monika Bickert, Facebook's global head of policy management, and Brian Fishman, its head of counterterrorism policy.
The median time dropped again to less than two minutes in the third quarter of the year.
Facebook said that new technologies used to take down terrorist material ''improve and get better over time, but during their initial implementation such improvements may not function as quickly as they will at maturity".
"This may result in increases in the time-to-action, despite the fact that such improvements are critical for a robust counterterrorism effort," the company added.
The site also said it took down 2.2 million newly-uploaded posts that its technology had found in the second quarter of the year, compared to 1.2 million in the first quarter.
So far this year, it has taken down 14.3 million terrorist-related posts. That includes newly-uploaded posts it has found itself, older posts it has found, and those reported by users.
Facebook is using AI to spot potentially harmful posts which look like they express support for Islamic State or al-Qaeda, with an automated tool giving each post a rating to show how likely it is to contain support for terrorism.
Human reviewers then prioritise the items with the highest scores, and some posts with a very high score are automatically removed if the technology indicates that there is a very high likelihood that they contain terrorist content.
Facebook said the machine learning had helped reduce the average amount of time taken to remove posts reported by users from 43 hours in the first quarter to 18 hours in the third.
The site is among social networks which has faced criticism for its role in allowing terror groups to spread propaganda and recruit new members.
It has also faced questions over its use of human content reviewers who must view videos and images which contain violent and unsettling content in order to determine whether they should be removed from the site.
In September the European Commission said Facebook, Google and other tech companies could face fines if they did not remove terrorist content within an hour of being notified about it by the authorities.
Zegt er hier nog iemand dat iets niet mag? - Het Parool - Blendle
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:43
De stad waar alles kan: De handhavingscrisis van Amsterdam
Fietsers die door rood rijden, coke op scholen, dronken toeristen... Wie doet er wat tegen? We zitten, zegt de ombudsman, in een handhavingscrisis. 'Mensen denken: ik ben gekke henkie niet.'
Dorp in dubio - Trouw - Blendle
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:39
azc - Geen kwaad woord over het azc zelf, maar Ter Apel wordt zo langzaamaan wanhopig van de groep asielzoekers die overlast veroorzaakt. Het dorp kijkt naar Den Haag voor een oplossing. 'De irritatie groeit, het ongenoegen groeit. Er moet iets gebeuren.'
Why Did Facebook Fire a Top Executive? Hint: It Had Something to Do With Trump
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 06:11
(C) David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News Facebook Inc. executive and virtual-reality wunderkind Palmer Luckey was a rising star of Silicon Valley when, at the height of the 2016 presidential contest, he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group.
His donation sparked a backlash from his colleagues. Six months later, he was out. Neither Facebook nor Mr. Luckey has ever said why he left the social-media giant. When testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier this year, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg denied the departure had anything to do with politics.
Mr. Luckey, it turns out, was put on leave, then fired, according to people familiar with the matter. More recently, he has told people the reason was his support for Donald Trump and the furor that his political beliefs sparked within Facebook and Silicon Valley, some of those people say.
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Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mr. Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey's yearslong support of Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations and internal emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Luckey's ouster from Facebook was a harbinger of battles that have broken out over the past year over the overwhelmingly liberal culture of Silicon Valley, which has given the tech industry public-relations headaches and brought unwanted attention from Washington.
Executives from Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., have had to answer questions from lawmakers about potential bias in their treatment of conservative viewpoints. Tech executives concede that Silicon Valley is predominantly liberal'--Mr. Zuckerberg said in Senate testimony that it is ''an extremely left-leaning place'''--yet they have steadfastly maintained that politics doesn't play a role in how they police content on their sites.
Mr. Luckey, who is 26 years old, hired an employment lawyer who argued to Facebook that it had violated California law, according to people familiar with the conversations, in pressuring the executive to voice support for Mr. Johnson and for punishing an employee for political activity.
Then Mr. Luckey and his lawyer negotiated a payout of at least $100 million, representing an acceleration of stock awards and bonuses he would have received through July 2019, plus cash, according to the people familiar with the matter. The stock awards and bonuses were a result of selling his virtual-reality company, Oculus VR, to Facebook in 2014 for more than $2 billion, a deal that netted him a total of about $600 million.
A Facebook spokeswoman said in an email: ''We can say unequivocally that Palmer's departure was not due to his political views. We're grateful for Palmer's contributions to Oculus, and we're glad he continues to actively support the VR industry.''
Some people at Facebook say it is too simplistic to say Mr. Luckey was fired over his politics, and that his lack of candor during the episode involving the donation and his diminished role in Oculus operations were larger factors.
Mr. Luckey, in an emailed statement, described the episode as being in the past. ''I believe the team that remains at Oculus is still the best in the VR industry, and I am rooting for them to succeed.''
Mr. Luckey started Oculus in 2012, while still a teenager, with a $2.4 million crowdfunding campaign. He dropped out of the journalism program at California State University, Long Beach, to work on the company, along with co-founder Brendan Iribe. When they sold to Facebook, Mr. Luckey became the face of the virtual-reality industry, appearing on a Time magazine cover saying the technology was ''about to change the world.''
Mr. Luckey, a Long Beach native who was home-schooled by his mother, has sometimes been out of step with the largely liberal culture of Facebook. A fan of big cars and military gear, he drove a giant tan Humvee with machine-gun mounts and orange toy guns. He once was forced to move it from the Facebook parking lot after someone called the police in to investigate, according to people familiar with the episode.
Mr. Luckey has been a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump and wrote a letter to the then-reality-television star in 2011 urging him to run for president. Mr. Luckey has told friends that reading Mr. Trump's book ''The Art of the Deal'' at age 13 sparked his entrepreneurial imagination.
Mr. Luckey's fallout with Facebook began in September 2016, when the Daily Beast revealed his $10,000 donation to NimbleAmerica, a pro-Trump group that paid for advertising mocking Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. At least one billboard paid for by the group featured a picture of Mrs. Clinton and the phrase ''Too Big to Jail.''
In one post on a Reddit chain dedicated to supporting Mr. Trump, the author, called ''NimbleRichMan,'' said he was donating to the group so it could spread unflattering memes about Mrs. Clinton. In the same post, the author professed to support Mr. Trump's campaign, saying ''Hillary Clinton is corrupt, a warmonger, a freedom-stripper. Not the good kind you see dancing in bikinis on Independence day, the bad kind that strips freedom from citizens and grants it to donors.'' The Daily Beast wrote that Mr. Luckey had said he used the pseudonym NimbleRichMan.
Mr. Luckey's donation and the perception he might be leading a pro-Trump online campaign ignited a firestorm. Facebook employees expressed anger about Mr. Luckey on internal message boards and at a weekly town hall meeting in late September 2016, questioning why he was still employed, according to people familiar with the complaints.
''Multiple women have literally teared up in front of me in the last few days,'' an engineering director, Srinivas Narayanan, wrote in one internal post following the meeting. Mr. Narayanan didn't respond to requests for comment.
Some virtual-reality-game developers said they wouldn't work with Oculus in the future.
In an apology posted on Facebook that month, Mr. Luckey denied writing the NimbleRichMan posts and said he ''contributed $10,000 to NimbleAmerica because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards.''
The post said Mr. Luckey is a libertarian and planned to vote for Mr. Johnson in the election.
''I need to tell you that Mark [Zuckerberg] himself drafted this and details are critical,'' Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote to a lawyer for Mr. Luckey in a September 2016 email, attaching an early draft of the statement, according to the emails reviewed by the Journal. The draft said Mr. Luckey wouldn't be supporting Mr. Trump in the election.
Mr. Luckey has told people he did vote for Mr. Johnson, but only to avoid having his credibility questioned if he was asked about the issue under oath in unrelated litigation.
The apology went through many drafts, and Mr. Luckey ultimately approved changes suggested by Facebook, according to people familiar with the process. The statement didn't include a public disavowal of Mr. Trump, but did say he would support Mr. Johnson. Mr. Luckey has supported libertarian candidates in the past.
The Facebook spokeswoman said that throughout the process, ''we made it clear that any mention of politics was entirely up to him.''
Soon after the apology was posted, a writer at the Daily Beast posted on Twitter emails he had received from Mr. Luckey in which he said he made at least one post attributed to NimbleRichMan'--a contradiction of his public statement. Mr. Luckey has since told people he wasn't the author, but took responsibility because the post reflected his views.
Facebook executives were irate about the conflicting statements, with some believing that Mr. Luckey had lied to them, according to people familiar with the matter.
Facebook launched a human-resources investigation, which in 2016 found that Mr. Luckey hadn't violated internal policies, say people familiar with the investigation. His performance reviews were consistently positive, including his last in June 2016, those people say.
Amid the uproar, Facebook placed Mr. Luckey on paid leave, the people say. After Mr. Trump won the election in November, Mr. Luckey donated $100,000 to his inaugural committee. By December 2016, he had returned to work to prepare for and testify at a trial, although he was only on campus for a couple of days.
A videogame publisher, ZeniMax Media Inc., had sued Facebook shortly after it purchased Oculus, contending that a ZeniMax employee took proprietary code when he joined Oculus. After a trial, a judge ordered Facebook to pay $250 million, plus interest. Facebook has appealed.
After the verdict, Mr. Luckey got a call from a Facebook executive asking him to resign, according to people familiar with the call. He declined, seeking instead to get reinstated. Facebook said no.
Ultimately, Mr. Luckey was fired. His last day was March 30, 2017.
After the incident, Mr. Luckey became more, not less, political. One month after he left Facebook, he hosted a fundraiser for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. He has since founded Anduril, an Orange County-based tech company focused on using artificial intelligence to protect troops, performing search-and-rescue missions and bringing ''Silicon Valley thinking and funding to defense,'' according to its website.
Recently, Mr. Luckey came as close as he has ever come to publicly divulging the circumstances of his Facebook departure. At Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles last month, he told CNBC that ''it wasn't my choice to leave.''
Write to Kirsten Grind at kirsten.grind@wsj.com and Keach Hagey at keach.hagey@wsj.com
Hillary Will Run Again - WSJ
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 06:02
Get ready for Hillary Clinton 4.0. More than 30 years in the making, this new version of Mrs. Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle'--back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994. True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won't let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.
It's been quite a journey. In July 1999, Mrs. Clinton began her independent political career on retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's farm in upstate New York. Her Senate platform included support for a balanced budget, the death penalty and incremental health-care reform. It was a decisive break from her early-1990s self. Hillary Clinton 2.0 was a moderate, building on the success of her communitarian ''It Takes a Village'' appeals and pledging to bring home the bacon for New York. She emphasized her religious background, voiced strong support for Israel, voted for the Iraq war, and took a hard line against Iran.
This was arguably the most successful version of Hillary Clinton. She captured the hearts and minds of New York's voters and soared to an easy re-election in 2006, leaving Bill and all his controversies behind.
But Hillary 2.0 could not overcome Barack Obama, the instant press sensation. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton held fast to centrist positions that would have assured her victory in the general election. But progressive leaders and donors abandoned her for the antiwar Mr. Obama. Black voters who had been strong Clinton supporters in New York and Arkansas left her column to elect the first African-American president. History was made, but not by Mrs. Clinton. Though she won more delegates from Democratic primaries, activists in caucus states gave Mr. Obama, who had called her ''likable enough,'' the heartbreaking win.
Licking her wounds, Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state while she planned her comeback. It was during this time that the more liberal Hillary 3.0 emerged. She believed she could never win a primary as a moderate, so she entered the 2016 primary as a progressive like Mr. Obama. Then she moved further left as Sen. Bernie Sanders came closer to derailing her nomination. This time she was able to contain her opponent's support, crucially by bringing African-American voters into her camp.
But Mrs. Clinton's transformation during the primaries, especially on social and cultural issues, cost her an easy win against Donald Trump. As Hillary 3.0 catered to the coastal elites who had eluded her in 2008, Mr. Trump stole many of the white working-class voters who might have been amenable to the previous version. Finally she had the full support of the New York Times and the other groups that had shunned her for Mr. Obama'--but only at the cost of an unforeseen collapse in support in the Midwest.
Claims of a Russian conspiracy and the unfairness of the Electoral College shielded Mrs. Clinton from ever truly conceding she had lost. She was robbed, she told herself, yet again. But after two years of brooding'--including at book length'--Mrs. Clinton has come unbound. She will not allow this humiliating loss at the hands of an amateur to end the story of her career. You can expect her to run for president once again. Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.
Mrs. Clinton has a 75% approval rating among Democrats, an unfinished mission to be the first female president, and a personal grievance against Mr. Trump, whose supporters pilloried her with chants of ''Lock her up!'' This must be avenged.
Expect Hillary 4.0 to come out swinging. She has decisively to win those Iowa caucus-goers who have never warmed up to her. They will see her now as strong, partisan, left-leaning and all-Democrat'--the one with the guts, experience and steely-eyed determination to defeat Mr. Trump. She has had two years to go over what she did wrong and how to take him on again.
Richard Nixon came back from his loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and won the presidency in 1968. He will be the model for winning again. Mrs. Clinton won't travel the country in a van with Huma Abedin this time, doing small events and retail politics. Instead she will enter through the front door, mobilizing the army of professional women behind her, leveraging her social networks, and raking in donations. She will hope to emerge as an unstoppable force to undo Mr. Trump, running on the #MeToo movement, universal health care and gun control. Proud and independent, this time she will sideline Bill and Mr. Obama, limiting their role to fundraising.
The generation of Democrats who have been waiting to take over the party from the Clintons will be fuming that she is back and stealing their show. But they revealed themselves to be bungling amateurs in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight, with their laughable Spartacus moments. She will trounce them. Just as Mr. Trump cleared the field, Mrs. Clinton will take down rising Democratic stars like bowling pins. Mike Bloomberg will support her rather than run, and Joe Biden will never be able to take her on.
Don't pay much attention to the ''I won't run'' declarations. Mrs. Clinton knows both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama declared they weren't running, until they ran. She may even skip Iowa and enter the race later, but rest assured that, one way or another, Hillary 4.0 is on the way.
Mr. Penn was a pollster and senior adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton from 1995-2008. Mr. Stein is a former Democratic Manhattan borough president and president of the New York City Council.
Is Another Universe Sitting too Close to us on the Multiverse Bus? '-- Universal-Sci
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 06:00
Map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) sky produced by the Planck satellite. The Cold Spot is shown in the inset, with coordinates and the temperature difference in the scale at the bottom. - Image Credit: ESA/Durham University.
Since the 1960s, astronomers have been aware of the electromagnetic background radiation that pervades the Universe. Known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, this radiation is the oldest light in the Universe and what is left over from the Big Bang. By 2004, astronomers also became aware that a large region within the CMB appeared to be colder than its surroundings.
Known as the ''CMB Cold Spot'', scientists have puzzled over this anomaly for years, with explanations ranging from a data artifact to it being caused by a supervoid. According to a new study conducted by a team of scientists from Durham University, the presence of a supervoid has been ruled out. This conclusion once again opens the door to more exotic explanations '' like the existence of a parallel Universe!
The Cold Spot is one of several anomalies that astronomers have been studying since the first maps of CMB werecreated using data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). These anomalies are regions in the CMB that fall beneath the average background temperature of 2.73 degrees above absolute zero (-270.43 °C; -460.17 °F). In the case of the Cold Spot, the area is just 0.00015° colder than its surroundings.
And yet, this temperature difference is enough that the Cold Spot has become something of a thorn in the hip of standard models of cosmology. Previously, the smart money appeared to be on it being caused by a supervoid '' and area of space measuring billions of light years across which contained few galaxies. To test this theory, the Durham team conducted a survey of the galaxies in the region.
This technique, which measures the extent to which visible light coming from an object is shifted towards the red end of the spectrum, has been the standard method for determining the distance to other galaxies for over a century. For the sake of their study, the Durham team relied on data from the Anglo-Australian Telescope to conduct a survey where they measured the redshifts of 7,000 nearby galaxies.
Based on this high-fidelity dataset, the researchers found no evidence that the Cold Spot corresponded to a relative lack of galaxies. In other words, there was no indication that the region is a supervoid. The results of their study will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) under the title ''Evidence Against a Supervoid Causing the CMB Cold Spot''.
As Ruari Mackenzie '' a postdoctoral student in the Dept. of Physics at Durham University, a member of the Center for Extragalactic Astronomy, and the lead author on the paper '' explained in an RAS press release:
''The voids we have detected cannot explain the Cold Spot under standard cosmology. There is the possibility that some non-standard model could be proposed to link the two in the future but our data place powerful constraints on any attempt to do that.''
The 3-D galaxy distribution in the foreground of the CMB Cold Spot, where each point is a galaxy. - Image Credit: Durham University.
Specifically, the Durham team found that the Cold Spot region could be split into smaller voids, each of which were surrounded by clusters of galaxies. This distribution was consistent with a control field the survey chose for the study, both of which exhibited the same ''soap bubble'' structure. The question therefore arises: if the Cold Spot is not the result of a void or a relative lack of galaxies, what is causing it?
This is where the more exotic explanations come in, which emphasize that the Cold Spot may be due to something that exists outside the standard model of cosmology. As Tom Shanks, a Professor with the Dept.of Physics at Durham and a co-author of the study, explained:
''Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble Universe. If further, more detailed, analysis of CMB data proves this to be the case then the Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse '' and billions of other Universes may exist like our own.''
Multiverse Theory, which was first proposed by philosopher and psychologist William James, states that there may be multiple or an even infinite number of Universes that exist parallel to our own. Between these Universes exists the entirety of existence and all cosmological phenomena '' i.e. space, time, matter, energy, and all of the physical laws that bind them.
Whereas it is often treated as a philosophical concept, the theory arose in part from the study of cosmological forces, like black holes and problems arising from the Big Bang Theory. In addition, variations on multiverse theory have been suggested as potential resolutions to theories that go beyond the Standard Model of particle physics '' such as String Theory and M-theory.
Another variation '' the Many-Worlds interpretation '' has also been offered as a possible resolution for the wavefunction of subatomic particles. Essentially, it states that all possible outcomes in quantum mechanics exist in alternate universes, and there really is no such thing as ''wavefunction collapse'. Could it therefore be argued that an alternate or parallel Universe is too close to our own, and thus responsible for the anomalies we see in the CMB?
As explanations go, it certainly is exciting, if perhaps a bit fantastic? And the Durham team is not prepared to rule out that the Cold Spot could be the result fluctuations that can be explained by the standard model of cosmology. Right now, the only thing that can be said definitively is that the Cold Spot cannot be explained by something as straightforward as a supervoid and the absence of galaxies.
And in the meantime, additional surveys and experiments need to be conducted. Otherwise, this mystery may become a real sticking point for cosmology!
Source: Universe Today - Further Reading: Royal Astronomical Society, arXiv
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BOMBSHELL: Fulton County Numbers Show Massive Duplicate Ballots, Rejected Ballots, Non-Citizens Trying To Vote - Big League Politics
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 05:57
Bombshell numbers out of Fulton County, Georgia show that a vast amount of the provisional ballots submitted in the Democrat stronghold were rejected for being duplicate ballots.
Now, the Democrat Stacey Abrams campaign is pushing on Fulton County, running an entire campaign-style operation with phone banking, texts and email blasts to reach out to people who allegedly cast provisional ballots on Election Day.
Abrams' search for provisional ballots may yield fruit, but her search for credible provisional ballots that can be counted in this election will prove futile. Why?
A full 1,811 provisional ballots in Fulton County were duplicates (49 percent), and 1,556 of them (42 percent of the total provisionals) were rejected.
Latest: ARIZONA: Democrat Donor Counting Ballots Has a History of Bad Practices, Discrepancies
Three of the individuals were not citizens, 581 were not registered to vote, and 972 did not live in that county.
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China Expected to Expand Budget Deficit Amid Trade War Risks - Bloomberg
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 05:54
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Brian Roemmele on Twitter: "Nikola it works! 100 years after Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe tower was demolished a company in Milford, Texas Viziv Technologies demonstrated sending a Zenneck Surface Wave around the world. Literally transmitting wireless po
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 05:38
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Emmanuel Macron on Twitter: "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thi
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 03:24
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VIDEO - Amazon Lessons From Seattle : NPR
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:03
Amazon's hometown, Seattle, has lessons to teach about what happens when the tech giant sets up shop in your town.
What lies ahead for Arlington, Va., and New York City now that they will be home to new headquarters for Amazon? One way to find out is to study the city that has been headquarters for Amazon up to now. Carolyn Adolph reports from member station KUOW in Seattle.
CAROLYN ADOLPH, BYLINE: Seattle city planners thought they'd get 18,000 workers when they signed up to put Amazon in a neighborhood north of downtown. They got 45,000 people and 6,000 dogs.
ADOLPH: And that's just the headquarters. People here cross the street in packs. The Whole Foods at noon rivals Grand Central Station, and lunch is a huge affair.
ADOLPH: Workers in this restaurant are frying up a mountain of meat. Kamala Saxton is one of the owners.
KAMALA SAXTON: You know, the hope is it's less than half an hour 'cause we know that people don't have lunch hours. But it's booming. It's busy.
ADOLPH: Just outside of Washington, D.C., Arlington is planning for at least 25,000 Amazon jobs. New York City is doing the same, where Amazon will set up shop in Queens. But here's the thing. Amazon calculates that in Seattle, another 50,000 jobs were created. More tech companies, as well as more pet spas and coffee shops. The Seattle region gained 300,000 people in the last four years.
DOW CONSTANTINE: You know, we didn't realize what was going to happen.
ADOLPH: Dow Constantine is county executive here.
CONSTANTINE: And this is the first time Amazon happened. And (laughter) so we were, I think, asleep at the switch a little bit.
ADOLPH: The speed of Amazon's growth caught Seattle by surprise. Demand for apartments swamped neighborhoods near the headquarters, pushing people out. Bidding wars doubled home prices, triggering tax increases. And traffic congestion stepped on Seattle's last nerve.
CONSTANTINE: Those are all things that we should have anticipated.
ADOLPH: Arlington says it has planned for decades for this kind of opportunity. A New York tech executive said the city can easily absorb the headquarters of Amazon's size. But some locals in these places disagree, and Seattle found that it struggled with homelessness. As Amazon grew, people started sleeping in tents and vehicles all over Seattle, and the cost of services to them was exploding.
UNIDENTIFIED DEMONSTRATORS: (Chanting, unintelligible).
ADOLPH: Last spring, the city council decided to tax Amazon and other employers to raise money for shelters. At a neighborhood meeting, Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien explained why.
MIKE O'BRIEN: When I look at Amazon's profits in the first quarter of last year where they made more than $2 billion and I look at the folks that are doing well in this environment, that seems like a fair system to me.
ADOLPH: It was a tax the council passed and quickly repealed. But other tech towns already know Seattle's pain. Voters in San Francisco and Mountain View, Calif., just passed corporate head taxes of their own. In Arlington and New York, it's the reverse. Instead of fighting a tax, Amazon negotiated incentives that add up to $2 billion in the company's favor. In Seattle, King County executive Dow Constantine says beware.
CONSTANTINE: All of this prosperity, all this business success brings some unintended consequences.
ADOLPH: Seattle found those consequences expensive.
CONSTANTINE: Plan ahead for housing. Recognize that housing is going to become more expensive, and protect the people who already live in the communities.
ADOLPH: Amazon says it will start hiring in New York and D.C. as early as next year. For NPR News, I'm Carolyn Adolph in Seattle.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Leave.EU on Twitter: "WATCH | @Nigel_Farage's epic response to Merkel's call for a militarized European Union: "The European project was set up to STOP German domination. What you've seen today is a naked takeover bid! Brexit becomes a necessity a
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:39
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VIDEO - Andrea Mitchell Falsely Claims Broward County's Brenda Snipes Is A Republican | The Daily Caller
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:34
5:15 PM 11/12/2018 | MediaVirginia Kruta | Associate Editor
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell mistakenly labeled Brenda Snipes a Republican on her show Monday.
Snipes, Broward County's embattled Supervisor of Elections, may have been appointed by former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, but when she ran for re-election in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, she ran as a Democrat. (RELATED: Media Dismisses Florida Election Misconduct As Conservative Conspiracy Theory)
Mitchell appeared to be steering the narrative away from the concern that Snipes might be intentionally tipping the scales in favor of Democrats, saying, ''We should also point out that Brenda Snipes in Broward County is a Republican appointed by former governor '... Jeb Bush. So she was put in by a Republican governor after the mess that we all remember from 2000. And she's hardly a Democratic official, or someone doing the bidding of the Democratic candidates there.''
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush listens to a question from the audience during a town hall meeting campaign stop at the Medallion Opera House in Gorham, New Hampshire July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Bush appointed Snipes in 2003 after her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, was removed from office. Oliphant had removed a number of experienced election officials and replaced them with friends and family members, resulting in polls opening late and closing early.
Following multiple discrepancies under Snipes' watch in Broward County, however, a ruling that found Snipes guilty of not disposing of ballots properly in 2016 and the confusion still surrounding the 2018 midterm elections made Bush reconsider his position.
There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians' confidence in our electoral process. Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts.
'-- Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 12, 2018
#Broward Elections Supervisor #BrendaSnipes has a history of destroying ballots and violating Florida election laws.
How can she not know 40+ hrs later how many votes are outstanding?? pic.twitter.com/PpQmRbTZe4
'-- Michael Ahrens (@michael_ahrens) November 9, 2018
President Donald Trump has also weighed in several times on the subject, accusing officials in Broward County of trying to ''steal'' the election for the Democrats.
Thank you @marcorubio for helping to expose the potential corruption going on with respect to Election Theft in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The WORLD is now watching closely!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
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VIDEO - Over 100 Public Comments over Sen. Chow's anti-LGBTQ rhetoric - YouTube
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:25
VIDEO - After arrest, Michael Avenatti denies LA domestic violence
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:12
LOS ANGELES (AP) '-- Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, has denied allegations of domestic violence after his arrest near his ritzy Los Angeles skyscraper apartment.
''I have never struck a woman, I never will strike a woman,'' Avenatti told reporters Wednesday after being booked and posting $50,000 bail.
Avenatti said he has been an advocate for women's rights his entire career and is confident that he will be exonerated.
Police didn't immediately disclose details about the arrest incident but Officer Tony Im, an LAPD spokesman, said the victim has visible injuries.
Earlier, he released a statement through his law firm slamming the allegation as ''completely bogus'' and intended to harm his reputation.
Avenatti became famous representing Daniels, the porn actress who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and has sued to invalidate the confidentiality agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election that prevents her discussing it. She also sued Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, alleging defamation.
Avenatti, who has said he's mulling a 2020 presidential run, pursued the president and those close to him relentlessly for months, taunting Trump in interviews and baiting him and his lawyers in tweets.
Attorney Michael Avenatti has been released from police custody following his arrest on a felony domestic violence charge in Los Angeles. (Nov. 14)
The Vermont Democratic Party canceled events planned for Friday and Saturday, where Avenatti was scheduled to speak, and is refunding ticket sales.
Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Trump backs sentencing reform bill he says will give ex-inmates 'a second chance at life' | Fox News
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:08
President Trump threw his support behind a bipartisan bill to reform federal sentencing guidelines Wednesday, which he said would "reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption."
"We're all better off when former inmates can receive and re-enter society as law-abiding, productive citizens," Trump said in brief remarks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. "And thanks to our booming economy, they now have a chance at more opportunities than they've ever had before."
The so-called First Step Act, the first major rewrite of the nation's criminal justice sentencing laws in a generation, will boost rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners and give judges more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses. In particular, the bill lowers the mandatory minimum sentence for non-violent repeat drug offenders from 25 to 20 years, reduces mandatory minimums for other crimes from 20 to 15 years, and makes no distinction between powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
"Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption," said Trump, who at one point joked: "Did I hear the word bipartisan? Did I hear that word? That's a nice word."
Trump singled out his son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, for special praise during his remarks and noted that he had "worked very hard" and "feels very deeply" about the issue.
"It's my honor to be involved, and it'll be an even greater honor to sign it," said the president, who urged Congress to pass the measure quickly during the lame-duck session of Congress, proclaiming: "I'll be waiting with a pen."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. was cautious about the bill's prospects Wednesday. He told reporters that GOP leaders would do a whip count to gauge the bill's support once they have a final proposal in hand.
Still, he noted the Senate has other things it needs to accomplish in the final weeks of the year, including funding the government and passing a farm bill. He said Republicans would have to see how the criminal justice bill "stacks up against our other priorities" once a final agreement is reached.
"We don't have a whole lot of time left, but the first step is to finalize what proponents are actually for," McConnell said. "There have been a lot of different versions floating around. And then we'll whip it and see where the vote count is and then see how it stacks up against our other priorities going on here to the end of the session."
The Senate package overhauls some of the mandatory sentencing guidelines that have been in place since 1994 legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. Trump made a point of mentioning that fact in his remarks Wednesday, adding that the Clinton-era guidelines "disproportionately hurt the African-American community." He also noted that several law enforcement organizations supported the effort, saying: "In many respects, we're getting very much tougher on the truly bad criminals, which, unfortunately, there are many. But we're treating people differently for different crimes."
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called Trump's endorsement "an important step in our shared effort to promote safe communities and improve justice." Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, have led the bipartisan effort to overhaul the guidelines. The bill has also attracted support from a coalition of liberal and conservative groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and groups backed by the political donors Charles and David Koch.
The House approved a prison reform bill in May, but the Senate package makes additional changes and adds the sentencing component.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called Trump's announcement "an encouraging sign that we can achieve substantive reforms to our criminal justice system in this Congress."
"Redemption is at the heart of the American Idea, and that's what this is about," he said.
The Senate approach would allow thousands of federal prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses before August 2010 the opportunity to petition for a reduced penalty. It would also lower mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses. The life sentence for some drug offenders with three convictions, or "three strikes," would be reduced to 25 years.
Roughly 90 percent of prison inmates are held in state facilities and would not be affected by the legislation.
All but two Republicans voted for the House bill when it was overwhelmingly approved in May, 360-59. Democratic lawmakers supported the bill by about a 2-to-1 margin, but opponents voiced concerns that it did not go far enough in giving judges more discretion to make the punishment fit the crime.
The House bill directs the Bureau of Prisons to conduct assessments for every offender once he or she is sentenced and to offer rehabilitation plans designed to lower the chance of recidivism. The plans would include vocational training, education, counseling and substance abuse treatment.
The federal inmate population has been on the decline since 2013, when it peaked at just more than 219,000. The total now stands at about 181,400, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Still, that's about triple the number of inmates in federal detention 30 years ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO - VP Pence Argues For Free Press As White House Defends Itself In 1st Amendment Lawsuit : NPR
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:51
Vice President Pence defended press freedom in a meeting with Myanmar's leader. His defense of press freedom is in stark contrast to President Trump's confrontational tone with the media.
And today in a Washington, D.C., courtroom the Trump administration was defending itself in a First Amendment lawsuit. CNN and its correspondent Jim Acosta sued the administration to restore Acosta's access to the White House. The White House had revoked his access last week. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence was in Asia arguing for press freedom. NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: In Singapore for a regional summit, Vice President Mike Pence met with Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During the polite photo op part of the meeting, with American reporters in the room, Pence made a point of emphasizing the importance of press freedom.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: The arrest and jailing of two journalists last fall was deeply troubling to millions of Americans. And I look forward to speaking with you about the premium that we place on a free and independent press.
KEITH: For more than a year, Myanmar has held two Reuters journalists on charges of obtaining state secrets. Senior administration officials told reporters traveling with Pence that, behind closed doors, the vice president pressed Suu Kyi to pardon and release the journalists. The officials said he brought up the matter repeatedly during the meeting and explained that a free press is a key part of what it means to be an open and democratic nation.
This comes in stark contrast to the rhetoric employed by his boss, President Trump, while on foreign soil. There was the press conference in Canada where Trump objected to a question by asking the reporter where he works.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Who are you with, out of curiosity?
TRUMP: I figured - Fake News CNN.
KEITH: And there was also a press conference in England with Prime Minister Theresa May where Trump sparred with CNN's Jim Acosta.
TRUMP: CNN's fake news. I don't take questions...
JIM ACOSTA: Well, sir...
TRUMP: I don't take questions from CNN.
KEITH: Acosta is the reporter who is now battling Trump in court, trying to get his access to the White House grounds restored. And this very public fight, in addition to the president's regular verbal lashing of journalists, has consequences says Brett Bruen He was a longtime diplomat and worked in President Obama's National Security Council. Bruen says it makes it a lot harder for people like Vice President Mike Pence to make a case about democratic values and the importance of press freedom.
BRETT BRUEN: When our ambassadors, when our Cabinet members go overseas and now try to press countries on some of these fundamental freedoms, what they're hearing is - get your own house in order, and then come back and we'll talk.
KEITH: Bruen says dictators and leaders with authoritarian tendencies have always looked for examples of American hypocrisy, at times digging around for instances of reporters in small towns getting pushed around. But now they don't have to search very hard. These leaders, he says, are parroting language used by President Trump to justify mistreatment of journalists in their own countries.
BRUEN: I know from friends who are serving in embassies overseas that, right now, articulating America's support for a free press is more difficult than it has ever been.
KEITH: But at the Trump White House, they keep trying to bat down the argument that the president is anti-press or doesn't respect the First Amendment. This was counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway last week on Fox News.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: President Trump answered 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the span of 90 minutes. That's pro-press. That's transparent. That's accountability.
KEITH: If the past is any guide, this splitscreen will continue. Pence will keep defending press freedom overseas, and President Trump will keep bashing the press at home and abroad. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.
Copyright (C) 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - 'Worst' Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: 200 deadly cases in three months - YouTube
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:36
VIDEO - MassPrivateI: National facial recognition database to use loyalty rewards to identify American shoppers
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:25
VIDEO - Brexit: What does the draft withdrawal agreement reveal? - BBC News
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 08:15
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption The Brexit agreement summarised in two minutes The draft withdrawal agreement is all about how the UK leaves the European Union. It's not about any permanent future relationship.
It's a long read - 585 pages long - and we've just had a first look at the text. There will be plenty more to say in the days ahead.
But what's in this draft document, that some people thought might never materialise?
Well we've known about a lot of the content for some time.
There are details of the financial settlement (often dubbed the divorce bill) that the two sides agreed some months ago: over time, it means the UK will pay at least £39bn to the EU to cover all its financial obligations.
Transition periodAnd then there's the legal basis for a transition (or implementation) period, beginning after Brexit is due to happen on 29 March 2019. It would be 21 months during which the UK would continue to follow all European Union rules (in order to give governments and businesses more time to prepare for long term change).
That means that during transition, the UK would remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (in fact, the ECJ is mentioned more than 60 times in this document).
The transition period is also designed to allow time for the UK and the EU to reach a trade deal. The draft agreement says both sides will use their "best endeavours" to ensure that a long term trade deal is in place by the end of 2020. Significantly, if more time is needed, the option of extending the transition appears in the document (although, it makes it clear that the UK would have to pay for it).
Northern Ireland If there was no long term trade agreement and no extension of the transition, that's when the so-called "backstop" would kick in. It's the issue that has dominated negotiations for the last few weeks and months: how to ensure that no hard border (with checks or physical infrastructure) emerges after Brexit between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Both sides agreed back in December 2017 that there should be a guarantee to avoid a hard border under all circumstances. That guarantee came to be known as the backstop, but agreeing a legal text proved very difficult.
So what exactly does this draft agreement say about the border, the backstop and the legal guarantees that underpin it?
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Media caption Confused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics.If a backstop is needed, it will - as expected - take the form of a temporary customs union encompassing not just Northern Ireland but the whole of the UK.
The draft agreement describes this as a "single customs territory".
Northern Ireland, though, will be in a deeper customs relationship with the EU than Great Britain, and even more closely tied to the rules of the EU single market.
One policy area is excluded from these potential customs arrangements: fishing.
That's because the trade-off between access for UK fish produce to EU markets, and access for EU boats to UK waters, is too controversial. The draft agreement simply states that "the Union and the United Kingdom shall use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify" an agreement "on access to waters and fishing opportunities".
The way out?There are also details of one of the last issues to be negotiated - the terms on which the UK may be able to leave this temporary customs arrangement in the future.
If either party notifies the other that it wants the backstop to come to an end, a joint ministerial committee will meet within six months to consider the details.
But the backstop (referred to in the text as the Protocol on Northern Ireland) would only cease to apply if "the Union and the United Kingdom decide jointly" that it is no longer necessary. In other words, the UK will not have a unilateral right to bring those arrangements to an end.
For some Brexiteers, that is simply unacceptable.
But, don't forget, other countries will also have their concerns.
They too will focus on the language surrounding a temporary customs union, to ensure that nothing is hidden there which could, in their view, give the UK rights without responsibilities; and - potentially - a competitive advantage.
The EU insists the draft agreement "includes the corresponding level playing field commitments and appropriate enforcement mechanisms to ensure fair competition between the EU27 and the UK."
So, it's not just in London that this document will be closely scrutinised.
Finally one big question: to what extent could these temporary customs arrangements form the basis for a permanent future relationship, which can only be negotiated formally after Brexit has actually happened?
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VIDEO - Election coverage MVP? Hands down it's Mollie Hemingway for THIS comment '' twitchy.com
Wed, 14 Nov 2018 00:01
During last night's election coverage on Fox News, The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway dropped an ''orange man bad'' line while discussing Dems and Trump Derangement Syndrome and folks loved it:
BOOM: @MZHemingway just said ''Orange Man Bad'' on live tv!
'-- David Reaboi (@davereaboi) November 7, 2018
''Orange man bad.''
I'm calling it the political catchphrase of 2018.
'-- Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 7, 2018
Video: Fun from @MZHemingway on @FoxNews as she noted that Democrats "are united in their belief that Orange Man bad" #Midterms2018 #ElectionDay2018 pic.twitter.com/KOIgS2PaN9
'-- Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 7, 2018
This term is going to stick (background here on the NPC meme from the NYT):
That was me LOL. It's what truly unites Democrat-NeverTrump coalition. Although they also are now sharing many political views, of course. https://t.co/9bBZi9YEvU
'-- Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 7, 2018
More Mollie, please:
My one beef with Fox New's Election Coverage: not enough @MZHemingway. #orangemanbad
'-- Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) November 7, 2018
Straight-up REKT: Mollie Hemingway DRAGS WashPost for infuriating front page (hint, blame Trump!) https://t.co/nhyzrk6Aeh
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) October 28, 2018
'You're REALLY BAD at this'! Mollie Hemingway RIPS the media a new one for 'misunderstanding' Trump (again) https://t.co/3y7sLPHXW5
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) October 15, 2018
Hey THANKS Sen. Feinstein! Mollie Hemingway highlights Kavanaugh 'side effect' that should TERRIFY Dems https://t.co/EueSPhCIgZ
'-- Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) October 8, 2018
Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:44
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