924: Golden Bozos

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 2m
April 27th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Anonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Kris Rose

Cover Artist: Dennis Cruise


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Billionaires Ensnared by 'Hamilton' Scam - Bloomberg
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:49
Actor Leslie Odom, Jr. performs on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance.
When U.S. authorities busted a Ponzi scheme that centered on marked-up tickets to the hit Broadway musical ''Hamilton'' last month, prosecutors described phone calls about a ''big name'' investor who'd demanded his money back.
As it turns out, there were several big names -- including billionaires Paul Tudor Jones and Michael Dell, as well as an executive at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group -- among the more than 125 people who had unwittingly poured cash into the sprawling scam, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
The ringleaders would approach people and encourage them to put money in a pool to buy blocks of tickets for the hottest concerts and plays, the government said. The most prominent was ''Hamilton,'' whose popularity pushed prices to the highest in Broadway history. Victims were promised their money back and at least a 10 percent profit.
It's rare that any Ponzi scheme ensnares business luminaries so highly skilled in the art of scrutinizing investment pitches. But to veteran securities lawyers, the case has some of the hallmarks of an affinity fraud like Bernard Madoff's -- in which a con man's familiarity can help instill trust, even with a pitch that sounds too good to be true.
Hamilton Tickets a 'Giveaway'''When the promise of a quick buck is being made by someone you socialize with, it's all the more tempting.'' said Paul Ryan, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement attorney now in private practice. Still, ''the idea that there were blocks of Hamilton tickets available for purchase should have been a giveaway.''
Three men have been charged. One is Joseph Meli, a New York event promoter and Hamptons socialite who once ran a $3,000-a-ticket concert series in the enclave, featuring Billy Joel, Prince and James Taylor. Photos show him partying with executives and celebrities including Renee Zellweger. His co-defendant, Steven Simmons, was allegedly the middleman tasked with raising money from investors for hedge funds. Both appeared in court on Jan. 27 and remain free on bail.
A third, Mark Varacchi, pleaded guilty to fraud on Wednesday and was released on $250,000 bail. Varacchi was an investment fund manager whose firm was based in Connecticut. He turned to Meli to help repay $4.2 million he'd taken from investors, according to prosecutors. It isn't clear how he met Meli or the others. Meli and Simmons haven't entered pleas yet. Meli's lawyer called the allegations untrue while Simmons' lawyer declined to comment.
Hedge Fund InformantThe criminal complaint described an informant who contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation through his attorney late last year, saying he'd conspired with Meli and others to raise money under false pretenses to pay off an earlier investor. He offered to help in the investigation and became an informant, according to the complaint. The informant was Varacchi, according to people with knowledge of the case.
The scam went on at least two years, according to a parallel civil case the SEC filed against Meli and Matthew Harriton, Meli's business partner. Harriton couldn't be reached for comment, and the men's companies didn't respond to requests for comment. Harriton wasn't named in the criminal case.
Meli, 42, used his music connections to ingratiate himself with Wall Street traders, according to one of the people with knowledge of the case. He hung out at the exclusive Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club and he'd get tickets to ''Hamilton'' and other shows for his friends, the person said.
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Meli lied to at least one victim, claiming he had access to another 35,000 tickets for ''Hamilton'' and could sell them at a markup, according to authorities. He really did contact the show's producer to resell bulk tickets but was rebuffed, they said. In August 2015, when the show moved to Broadway, they said Meli talked to the ''big name'' investor, offering to introduce him to the show's producer. He repeatedly put it off and while the meeting never happened, the investor sent $3.5 million to Meli's company after several weeks to help buy tickets.
Och-Ziff as BaitMeli also lured potential victims by claiming other high-profile investors including Och-Ziff had bought in, according to people who said he approached them. One said he was shown a contract with the hedge fund's name on it. Executives there considered investing on behalf of clients but passed, according to a person with knowledge of the firm.
However one Och-Ziff executive, Boaz Sidikaro, was friends with Meli and invested personally, according to people familiar with the case. Sidikaro didn't respond to a request for comment. According to his LinkedIn profile, he's an executive managing director at the firm, where he's worked for almost 20 years.
To be sure, not every investor was necessarily pitched a chance to profit on ''Hamilton.'' The SEC says Meli and Harriton gathered money for four investment vehicles. The first promised to resell tickets for a variety of ''high-profile events,'' the agency said without identifying them. But the musical featured in at least some pitches for the three other vehicles, it said.
Dell has a net worth estimated at $19.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, and the company he founded, Dell Technologies, is the world's largest closely held tech company. Jones runs the $11 billion Tudor Investment Corp., one of the oldest hedge funds. He helped start the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity whose goal is to end poverty in New York City.
Shell GameThere's no indication the investors were aware of a scam and their spokesmen declined to comment. Jim Margolin, a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment on the case.
While Ponzi schemes can last years or even decades, they can't go on forever. According to prosecutors, Varacchi recorded calls in December in which Meli said he was running a ''shell game,'' taking money from new investors to pay off old ones. Meli said he'd just gotten another $7 million from one, enough to pacify the big investor so he wouldn't raise alarms.
''I was able to avoid it by shell-gaming it,'' Meli said, according to prosecutors. ''But I'm running out of that game too.''
Ministry of Truthiness
Two Editions of 'Wall Street Journal' Bear Opposite Headlines About Trump
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:30
CLAIM The Wall Street Journal ran a Donald Trump story with different headlines in different markets in order to sway voters. See Example(s)
EXAMPLES Collected via e-mail, September 2016
I saw this claim on Facebook that the Wall Street Journal ran different headlines in different markets to sway voters. Is this true?
mixture RATING mixture WHAT'S TRUE An image showing two editions of the same day's Wall Street Journal with opposing headlines about Donald Trump's immigration stance is real.
WHAT'S FALSE The Wall Street Journal did not publish different headlines in different markets in order to sway voters away from Trump.
ORIGIN On 1 September 2016, a photograph purportedly showing two editions of The Wall Street Journal with markedly different front page headlines regarding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's stance on immigration was circulated on social media:
This image was passed around on the Internet accompanied by the claim that the Wall Street Journal had deliberately published one headline, ''Trump Softens His Tone,'' in a pro-Trump market area in an attempt to sway readers away from the the GOP nominee, and the other headline, ''Trump Talks Tough on Wall,'' in a non-Trump market area to bolster support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
However, these opposing headline editions were not distributed to different political or geographic markets, nor were they intended to influence voters.
This picture shows two editions of the Wall Street Journal published at different times of the day. The paper on the left came off the press early in the day, while the paper on the right was produced later in the day. Print newspapers sometimes undergo revisions throughout their daily runs and typically employ marks to distinguish the various editions '-- in this case the differing WSJ editions are distinguishable by the number of stars displayed in the masthead:
Colleen Schwartz, the Vice President of Communications at The Wall Street Journal, confirmed that these editions were printed at different times, not in different markets. The edition on the left was published after Trump met with Mexican president Enrique Pe±a Nieto early in the day (and referenced the seemingly cooperative tone of their discussion), and the edition on the right was published after Trump delivered a speech on immigration later in the day (and referenced Trump's reasserting his stance that he would force Mexico to pay for the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border):
Yes, the images represent two different editions, published at different times, and the headlines represent the news at the time of publication '-- before and after his speech.
Snopes Delivered to Your Inbox:Sources: Partlow, Joshua. ''After subdued trip to Mexico, Trump talks tough on immigration in Phoenix.''
Washington Post. 31 August 2016.
Langley, Monica. ''Donald Trump Revised Immigration Speech After Mexican Leader's Tweet.''
Wall Street Journal. 1 September 2016.
Google Retools Search Engine to Demote Hoaxes, Fake News - WSJ
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:42
Google is retooling its powerful search engine to prevent sites peddling fake news, hoaxes and conspiracy theories from appearing in its top results.
Ensuring that fake news doesn't surface in search requires ''more structural'' changes to the way search works, including tweaks to the algorithm that determines which search results appear on top, Google said in a blog post announcing the changes Tuesday. Google gave few details on the...
Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales creates news service Wikitribune - BBC News
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:12
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jimmy Wales hopes to get enough donations to hire a team of journalists Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales is planning a news service that combines the work of professional journalists and volunteers.
His goal is for Wikitribune to offer "factual and neutral" articles that help combat the problem of "fake news".
The service is intended to be both ad-free and free-to-read, so will rely on supporters making regular donations.
One expert said it had the potential to become a trusted site, but suggested its influence might be limited.
Wikitribune shares many of the features already found in Mr Wales's online encyclopaedia, including the need for writers to detail the source of each fact and a reliance on the public to edit articles to keep them accurate.
However, while anybody can make changes to a page, they will only go live if a staff member or trusted community volunteer approves them.
The other big difference is that the core team of writers will be paid, although there may also be instances in which a volunteer writes the initial draft and then a staff member edits it.
Regular donationsA demo version of the site, seen by the BBC, declared "the news is broken and we can fix it".
Mr Wales explained that he believed the advertising-based model used by most of the media had led it to "chase clicks", which affected standards.
"I think we're in a world right now where people are very concerned about making sure we have high quality fact-based information, so I think there will be demand for this," he told the BBC.
"We're getting people to sign up as monthly supporters and the more monthly supporters we have the more journalists we can hire.
"In terms of minimums, if we could only hire two journalists then it would be a blog and not really worth doing.
"But I would love to start with a lot more - 10 to 20."
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lily Cole is serving as an adviser to the news site The director of Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab, however, suggested Wikitribune's crowdfunded model might limit its potential.
"There are a variety of people who - if it does this right - will view it as a trusted platform," commented Joshua Benton.
"But another 10 to 20 people are not going to 'fix the news'.
"There's certainly a model for non-profit news that can be successful if it's done on a relatively small scale and produces a product that is unique enough.
"But I have a hard time seeing this scale up into becoming a massive news organisation."
Mr Wales said he would be "100% hands-on" with the project in its early stages and would be likely to serve as Wikitribune's chief executive for at least a year.
Image copyright Wikitribune Image caption Journalists must link to the source of a fact or provide full transcripts and recordings of their interviews Other advisors to the scheme include:
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy KawasakiJournalism lecturer Prof Jeff JarvisUS law professor Larry LessigModel/actress Lily ColeAlthough staff members will decide the topics that get written about on a day-to-day basis, funders will get to influence the contents.
"If you can get together a certain number of people who are interested in Bitcoin [for example] and you flag that when you sign up as a monthly supporter, then we'll hire a Bitcoin person to do the beat full-time," Mr Wales explained.
"So, it's the monthly supporters who will be able to determine what are the topics we are going to cover.
"But it is going to be neutral. They can't pick their favourite hack, who pumps forward their agenda.
"That's part of the editorial control."
AnalysisImage copyright PA By Amol Rajan, Media editorJimmy Wales's interest in news media is nothing new. For years he has expressed concern about how to guarantee the future of quality journalism, and even been talked of as a potential investor in existing media companies.
But when I spoke to him yesterday, it was clear that there was something new - or rather three things - that finally turned his long-standing interest into the reality of Wikitribune.
The first is what we call fake news. Fake news is a multi-faceted thing, and not altogether new; but it is undoubtedly the case that the deliberate, viral spreading of misinformation, either for commercial or political ends, has radically spiked around some of the big news events of the past year. Moreover, efforts to tackle it have often been pathetic thus far, and less often successful. This really irks Wales, and quite right too.
The second recent development is the radical shift in online advertising, where the strength of Facebook and Google - who are gobbling up ever more digital advertising dollars - is creating a race to the bottom. "I'm very concerned by the advertising-funded model, which is creating a lot of clickbait", he told me.
And third, mounting evidence that people are willing to pay for high-quality news. Wales cited New York Times subscriptions and Guardian membership. He might also have mentioned the Financial Times.
To address the first two of these developments, Wales is looking to the third: he wants to get users to pay for news, and then play a hugely active role in determining its focus.
I argued recently that charity is a poor basis for journalism; much better to get users to pay. Wales agrees. He thinks by asking users to invest financially, they are more likely to invest emotionally too. I think he's onto something - but it depends on whether what they get as a result is worth investing in.
And here's the rub.
Nobody, but nobody, has as much credibility as Jimmy Wales when it comes to proving the wisdom of crowds exists online, or that the sheer scale of the open web allows knowledge to be shared and chronicled. But can the spirit of public participation that drove an online encyclopaedia also drive online news?
We don't know, because the fascinating thing about Wikitribune - whose name is redolent of old newspapers - is that it isn't just reinventing the commercial model for journalism: it's reinventing the editorial one too.
The function of an editor is mainly to select what to put in and what to leave out. News has traditionally been selected by editors, who are gatekeepers and curators. But Wales, who is the founding editor of this publication, doesn't see it like that. "It's more a management role than editorial vision or pursuing an agenda," he told me.
This is fascinating, and sounds very similar indeed to the arguments Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed, deployed when he published a dossier on Donald Trump.
It is a curious fact that while setting out to save journalism, Jimmy Wales is abolishing one of its most traditional roles. He would argue, of course, that he is giving power back to the audience in a way they have never had before: letting them be the editors, rather than pompous blowhards who think they know best.
This might discomfort many a grandee in the news profession; but if the man from Wikipedia provides a business model that sustains top notch reporting, they might thank him eventually.
New York Times scraps 'female genital mutilation' for being 'culturally loaded' term | Fox News
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:50
A top New York Times editor decided the paper shouldn't use the term ''female genital mutilation'' because the phrase is too ''culturally loaded'' and widens a divide between the Western world and ''people who follow the rite.''
Health and Science editor Celia Dugger said she came to the conclusion to refer to the act of removing the female genitalia of young girls as ''genital cutting'' during a trip to Africa in the 1990s. She spoke about her decision in a Times mailbag article in response to a reader's question.
''I never minced words in describing exactly what form of cutting was involved, and there are many gradations of severity, and the terrible damage it did, and stayed away from the euphemistic circumcision, but chose to use the less culturally loaded term, genital cutting,'' Dugger wrote. ''There's a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm.''
The term ''female genital mutilation'' has actually been used by the Times in six articles in 2017, according to a website search; however, the instances are extremely restricted. For instance, two of the mentions occur in the context of a quoted speech or statement, two were in opinion columns, one in a book review and one in the mailbag explanation of why the Times didn't use the term. The abbreviation ''FGM'' appeared this year only in stories taken from wire services such as The Associated Press and Reuters.
The Daily Caller was one of the first organizations to draw attention to the Times' practice; however, groups as ideologically opposite as the United Nations Population Fund have also written about the potential danger in referring to genital mutilation as ''cutting.''
''UNFPA embraces a human rights perspective on the issue, and the term 'female genital mutilation' more accurately describes the practice from a human rights viewpoint,'' a question-and-answer section of the UNFPA website says.
UNFPA estimates some 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, and though the procedure is typically practiced in African or Middle Eastern cultures, it's spreading westward. Nearly 6,000 reported cases occurred in Britain from April 2015 to March 2016, according to the Health and Social Care Information Center, and, in the U.S., an Islamic doctor in Michigan was charged earlier this month with performing the procedure on a pair of 7-year-old girls.
The New York Times said the doctor had been ''accused of performing genital cutting'' in its version of the story.
FB nudity email
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:53
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:41
BackgroundSootheTM is a Chrome extension made to help people browse the web without seeing malicious content. Our main goal is to prevent online harassment and help users avoid seeing triggers while they browse the web. We strongly believe that no one online should have to worry about this.
The process is simple and subtle: check off the type of content you want to avoid and let us handle the rest! Questionable content is blurred out, if you wish to see it nonetheless you can click to reveal the text.
We developed Soothe in Ottawa, Canada as part of the #HackHarassment challenge sponsored by Major League Hacking. Make sure to join our mailing list to get the latest updates!
YouTube restores 'wrongly blocked' LGBT videos - BBC News
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:05
YouTube has modified its content filter after complaints it had blocked political and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) videos.
Restricted mode is an optional filter designed to hide content that may be judged unsuitable for children.
But many prominent LGBT video-makers said their videos had been targeted.
YouTube said it had fixed an error and made more than 12 million "unintentionally filtered" videos available again.
The platform was criticised in March after several video-makers noticed a drop in advertising revenue and realised their content was being blocked in restricted mode.
The wide-reaching filters appeared to block videos referring to sexuality and gender identity, even if the content was not explicit.
"YouTube's restricted mode has blocked a poem I wrote for a gay friend," tweeted musician Bry O'Reilly.
Author Tyler Oakley added: "One of my recent videos 'Eight Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me' is blocked because of this, I'm perplexed."
YouTube said it had identified that its systems "were not working as intended".
"We want to clarify that restricted mode should not filter out content belonging to individuals or groups based on certain attributes like gender, gender identity, political viewpoints, race, religion or sexual orientation," it said in a blog post.
The company also said it would let people report videos they believed had been unfairly restricted and said it would offer more transparency about the types of content that would be filtered.
It said it would continue to restrict:
Discussion of alcohol or drugs, or videos showing alcohol consumptionDetailed conversations about sex Music videos with adult themes including sex and drugsGraphic depictions of violence, even in news videos"Mature subjects" such as terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts"Mature language""Though Restricted Mode will never be perfect, we hope to build on our progress so far to continue making our systems more accurate and the overall Restricted Mode experience better over time," it said.
In Spite of Local Law Limiting Investigations of First Amendment Assemblies, DC Police Infiltrated Organizing Group for Inauguration Protests - Defending Rights & Dissent
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:29
Before the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had arrested a single protester at Trump's inauguration, undercover agents had infiltrated one of the main groups organizing protests according to court documents.
On Inauguration Day, MPD engaged in a mass arrest of over 200 protesters and in an unprecedented move charged 214 people with felony rioting. To sustain such a charge will require individualized proof that each of the defendants specifically engaging in illegal conduct, a daunting task for the prosecution. As part of their attempt to build a case against 214 people, MPD received a warrant to search the home of Dylan Petrohilos, who has not been charged with a crime. According the Washington Post, police broke through his front door and ''seized cellphones, computers and a black 'anti-capitalist, anti-fascist' flag from Petrohilos's front lawn['...]''
The affidavit outlining the MPD's probable cause to support the warrant shows that the MPD sent undercover officers to infiltrate meetings held by Disrupt J20, including one chaired by Petrohilos.
Following a series of mass arrests during the early 2000s, the MPD was subject to a number of lawsuits contesting their illegal, unconstitutional actions. The DC City Council responded by attempting to rein in the police by passing the ''First Amendment Assemblies Act of 2004'' and ''Police Investigations Concerning First Amendment Activities Act of 2004''
These two laws affirmed the people's right to hold a spontaneous demonstration, forbade the MPD ffrom arresting protesters for parading without a permit, and put limitations on infiltration of First Amendment protected activity.
According to DC statute, any investigation or preliminary inquiry involving First Amendment activities must be conducted for legitimate law enforcement purposes only. Additionally:
MPD members may not investigate, prosecute, disrupt, interfere with, harass, or discriminate against any person engaged in First Amendment activity for the purpose of punishing, retaliating, preventing, or hindering the person from exercising his or her First Amendment rights.
Under the statute, MPD officers may, without authorization, open a preliminary inquiry into a First Amendment assembly for public safety purposes. However, such inquiries are limited to reviewing public information and overt communicationswith the assemblies organizers about such things as expected number of participates or information regarding the time, place, and manner of the assembly.
Given that the agent in question was undercover this would not be an overt communication with organizers, nor could they be said to be merely gathering public information.
An investigation or preliminary investigation that goes further than that would require prior written authorization from ''from the Commander, Office of Superintendent of Detectives, or such other MPD commander of similar rank designated by MPD regulations.'' For a criminal investigation, the MPD would need reasonable suspicion ''to believe that the persons, groups, or organizations are planning or engaged in criminal activity, and the First Amendment activities are relevant to the criminal investigation.''
However, a preliminary investigation requires a much lower burden of proof. Such an inquiry is meant to ''to obtain sufficient information to determine whether or not an investigation is warranted'' and requires ''allegations'' that require ''further scrutiny'' that does not meet the standard of reasonable suspicion. Such an inquiry must be reauthorized every 60 days and can only continue beyond 120 days with the authorization of the Chief of Police.
Based on the information revealed by the Washington Post it is unclear what authorities the MPD cited to justify their infiltration of Disrupt J20, if they were conducting a criminal investigation or a preliminary inquiry, and if so what supporting evidence was purported to exist to justify either. Regardless, Defending Rights & Dissent has long documented the shocking regularity with which law enforcement at all levels government infiltrate and have promoted legislation and model ordinances at both the local and federal level to attempt to check these abuses of authority. We are deeply disturbed by revelations about the use of police infiltrators to gather information on the planning of anti-Trump protests. We equally concerned by the MPD's decision to return to tactic of mass arrests during demonstrators, their use of felony rioting charges, and their searching of electronic devices, including those belonging to a party not charged with a crime, as they attempt to find individualized suspicion against the victims of a mass arrest.
We had hoped that the MPD had learned some lessons from the early 2000s, when MPD lawlessness resulted in deprivations of Constitutional rights, and significant monetary penalties against the city.
FaceApp sorry for 'racist' filter that lightens skin to make users 'hot' - BBC Newsbeat
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:39
The makers of a face-morphing app have apologised after users accused them of creating a "racist" filter.
FaceApp can change portraits to make people look older, change gender or become "more attractive".
But when users with darker skin tones apply the "hot" filter to pictures, they say the app lightened their faces.
https://twitter.com/tweeterrance/status/854766266094985216Reviews online also suggested users had seen their skin become lighter when trying this option.
"On a picture of a friend of mine it lightened her skin, took away her glasses, and changed all of her features so that she was unrecognisable," one reviewer wrote.
"Overall, this app only fully works for white men who don't wear glasses."
https://www.instagram.com/p/BTB2xC7A32c/https://twitter.com/Caitofthenorth/status/856667071060385792Yaroslav Goncharov, CEO and founder of the company which makes the app, has issued an apology.
"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue," he said in a statement given to Newsbeat.
"It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour."
The "neural network" is a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system.
https://twitter.com/RealMoseby96/status/855165277985804289FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to morph faces by merging facial features.
"To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it," said Mr Goncharov.
"We are also working on the complete fix that should arrive soon."
The "hot" filter is now known as "spark" on FaceApp, however it still has the effect of lightening the skin.
Other apps have been criticised in the past for filtering skin colour.
A controversial Snapchat face filter drew outrage from thousands of users, who described it as a "racist" caricature of East Asians.
Described as "yellowface" by angry users, it contorted facial features and gave users the appearance of slanted eyes.
Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat
Down's syndrome dancer Mikayla Holmgren enters Miss USA pageant - BBC News
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:43
Image copyright Mikayla Holmgren/Facebook Image caption Mikayla Holmgren has entered the Miss Minnesota contest Being crowned Miss USA is a dream Mikayla Holmgren shares with thousands of young women around America.
And so, like many before her, she has entered her state competition - taking the first step towards that final, glittering ceremony.
The only difference between Mikayla and the other women that she has Down's syndrome.
Not that she is letting that worry her.
"Beauty is from the inside out. I'm happy and joyful, it's like beauty inside out. It's almost gorgeous," she told local television channel Fox9 after revealing her bid to win the Miss Minnesota USA tiara.
It is thought Mikayla, a university student from Marine on St Croix, is the first young woman with Down's syndrome to enter Miss USA, which sees girls from every state across the country compete for a chance to reach the final pageant, shown live on national television.
Denise Wallace, executive co-director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, described the 22-year-old student as a "trailblazer" - but then she, and the Miss Minnesota USA organisers, are used to that label.
Mikayla's determination has seen her pursue her love of dance, speak to her State House and Senate and become a mentor to other young women.
The Miss Minnesota USA pageant, meanwhile, hit the headlines last year after Halima Aden - who spent her first years living in a refugee camp in Kenya - competed wearing a hijab and full-body burkini, another first for the Miss USA contest.
Mikayla is hopeful her place on stage next to the other contestants this November will break down more barriers- and even the prospect of walking in heels, the swimsuit section and her mother's jitters are not going to dent her enthusiasm.
"I want the world to know that Down Syndrome does not define me," she wrote on a crowdfunding page, set up to help with the pageant's costs.
"With your help, I can help break through walls."
New Audit Reveals Secret $175 Million Stashed Away by California Universities
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 02:21
A report released by state auditor Elaine Howle on Tuesday revealed that the University of California amassed over $175 million in secret funds.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the exorbitant sum was acquired in part by overestimating the amount the university system needed and then spending less than budgeted from 2012 to 2016.
Fox News reported that the audit also revealed the system tampered with confidential surveys. Howle reportedly said answers that were critical of university president Janet Napolitano were deleted or changed. She said:
''I've never had a situation like that in my 17 years as state auditor. My attorneys are looking at whether any improper government activities occurred.''
Before assuming her position as university president, Napolitano served as secretary of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013.
Jim Watson/Getty Images
In a statement, she denied the $175 million amount and claimed it was closer to $38 million, which she categorized as a ''modest amount'' considering the size of the organization.
The statement explained that the $38 million, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the budget, is set aside for ''unexpected expenses.'' Unexpected expenses like ''support for undocumented students.''
However, since the funds were accrued at the cost of tuition hikes and taxpayer money, the board of regents doesn't seem to care whether it was $38 million or $175 million.
As Fox News reported, the board voted in January to increase the cost of tuition and fees from $12,294 to $12,630, the first spike in six years.
David McNew/Getty Images
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is a member of the board and said in a statement:
It is outrageous and unjust to force tuition hikes on students while the UC hides secret funds, and I call for the tuition decision to come back before the Board of Regents for reconsideration and reversal.
In addition to an upset board of regents, California's employees don't seem pleased, either.
Kathryn Lybarger, president of California's largest employee union, blasted the university president's office for ''operating a slush fund'' that hides ''hundreds of millions of public dollars from public scrutiny.'' A statement posted on the website said:
UCOP's interference in the State Auditor's investigation is like trying to keep two sets of books '-- and reflects a continuing pattern of deception towards the Legislature in order to justify tuition hikes, skyrocketing executive pay, and continued exploitation of low wage contractors.
According to USA Today, the audit revealed that after adjusting for the cost of living, Napolitano's top 10 executives earned $700,000 more than their highest-paid counterparts statewide.
Lybarger expressed gratitude to the state auditor and demanded ''real reform'' because ''our students, patients, and colleagues deserve better.''
Napolitano's statement said that her office has "taken [the] recommendations seriously and are committed to their implementation.
However, according to Fox News, Howle claimed the office's interference with the audit ''cast[s] doubt on whether it will make a genuine effort to change.''
Hate Trumps Love
Donald Trump has 'dangerous mental illness', say psychiatry experts at Yale conference | The Independent
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:39
Donald Trump has a ''dangerous mental illness'' and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.
Mental health experts claimed the President was ''paranoid and delusional'', and said it was their ''ethical responsibility'' to warn the American public about the ''dangers'' Mr Trump's psychological state poses to the country.
Speaking at the conference at Yale's School of Medicine on Thursday, one of the mental health professionals, Dr John Gartner, a practising psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said: ''We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump's dangerous mental illness.''
Donald Trump responds to Paris shooting: 'It looks like another terrorist attack'
Dr Gartner, who is also a founding member of Duty to Warn, an organisation of several dozen mental health professionals who think Mr Trump is mentally unfit to be president, said the President's statement about having the largest crowd at an inauguration was just one of many that served as warnings of a larger problem.
''Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking and he proved that to the country the first day he was President. If Donald Trump really believes he had the largest crowd size in history, that's delusional,'' he added.
Chairing the event, Dr Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, said: ''As some prominent psychiatrists have noted, [Trump's mental health] is the elephant in the room. I think the public is really starting to catch on and widely talk about this now.''
James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, told the conference he had worked some of the ''most dangerous people in society'', including murderers and rapists '-- but that he was convinced by the ''dangerousness'' of Mr Trump.
''I've worked with some of the most dangerous people our society produces, directing mental health programmes in prisons,'' he said.
''I've worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognise dangerousness from a mile away. You don't have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.''
Dr Gartner started an online petition earlier this year on calling for Mr Trump to be removed from office, which claims that he is ''psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President''. The petition has so far garnered more than 41,000 signatures.
It states: ''We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.
''And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is 'unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office'."
The claims made in the conference have drawn criticism from some in the psychiatric establishment, who say they violate the American Psychiatric Association's ''Goldwater rule,'' which states psychiatrists are not to give professional opinions on people they have not personally examined.
They have also been condemned by Republicans, including Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano, who accused the group of ''throwing ethical standards out the window because they cannot accept the election results.''
Responding to the criticism, Dr Gartner said: ''This notion that you need to personally interview someone to form a diagnosis actually doesn't make a whole lotta sense. For one thing, research shows that the psychiatric interview is the least statistical reliable way to make a diagnosis.''
A spokesperson for Yale University told The Independent the panel at the conference abided by the Goldwater rule during the discussions, but that the organiser was "troubled" by the "silencing of debate".
''The panel at Yale School of Medicine abided by 'the Goldwater rule'. Eminent psychiatrists were invited to speak about whether there are other ethical rules that override it, as in ordinary practise," said the spokesperson.
"The organiser, Dr Bandy Lee, agrees with the Goldwater rule but is troubled by its recent expansion (as of March 16, 2017) and the silencing of debate. She hopes that the public and politicians will understand that mental health issues are not to be used as a weapon, just as other health issues are not.
"Dr Gartner was invited as an activist and was not on the actual panel. The organiser emphasises that the event was independently organised and did not represent the views of Yale University or Yale School of Medicine.''
The doctors have said that even if it is in breach of tradition ethical standards of psychiatry, it was necessary to break their silence on the matter because they feared ''too much is at stake''.
It is not the first time Mr Trump's mental health has been called into question. In February, Duty to Warn, which consists of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, signed an open letter warning that his mental state ''makes him incapable of serving safely as president''.
The letter warned that the President's tendency to ''distort reality'' to fit his ''personal myth of greatness'' and attack those who challenge him with facts was likely to increase in a position of power.
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'Weirdness' factor clouds White House correspondents' dinner weekend | TheHill
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:54
If one asked a Magic 8-Ball to describe the mood in Washington just ahead of the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner, it might read: outlook hazy.
With just days to go before the annual dinner, D.C. is usually dusting off the red carpets for a flood of VIPs about to descend on the nation's capital. But with President Trump declining to attend this year's 103rd installment, the star power largely MIA and several news outlets nixing their usual bashes, regulars say the ''weirdness'' factor surrounding the black-tie dinner is high.
''There's a lot of uncertainty'' about the Saturday event at the Washington Hilton, says Julie Mason. The SiriusXM ''The Press Pool'' host and former WHCA board member calls the feeling in the District before the dinner ''way more subdued.''''I think maybe a lot of people came to Washington during Obama's administration and don't have anything to compare it to,'' Mason tells ITK. ''But when you go back through the years, especially during Republican presidencies, it really wasn't this star-studded celebrity power bash. And there weren't all these exclusive parties. That really mushroomed during the Obama years, because celebrities love Democrats and big party-givers love celebrities.''
George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington and Kevin Spacey are some of the Hollywood heavy-hitters who attended the correspondents' dinner in recent years.
This year, some of the stars in town for the weekend-long festivities include actress Alyssa Milano, ''Pretty Little Liars'' actor Chad Lowe and Matt Walsh from ''Veep'' '-- all expected at the Creative Coalition's ''Right to Bear Arts'' gala. Also expected are Elvis Costello, who's slated to play some tunes at TBS's ''Full Frontal'' after-party, and actor Billy Bob Thornton, who will be performing alongside Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell at Mother Nature Network's White House Correspondents' Jam.
''I don't honestly think anybody knows what to think of it,'' CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman says when asked about the vibe in D.C. Liesman, who will take the stage at the third annual Jam with his band, The Mooncussers, and ''Shark Tank'' investor Kevin O'Leary, says he's not sure Trump's decision to break with tradition and skip the dinner is ''the smartest move.''
''I think the president should go,'' Liesman says. ''I think that there's historically been one night of the year of detente, and that's a good and healthy thing for both sides.''
Trump, who has an often toxic relationship with the press and has called ''fake news'' the ''enemy of the American people,'' announced in February that he'd be forgoing the correspondents' dinner. ''Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!'' Trump tweeted last week.
''I feel bad, because a lot of White House reporters are going to have to go and cover that and not come to our own dinner,'' Mason says. ''It's one thing for him to stay home, and that was fine. And he can just tweet about us and be mean, and that would be kind of funny, and it would feel right. But for him to stage a competing event '-- we just can't even have our dinner? We just can't even do that?''
Susanna Quinn, the founder of the on-demand luxury lifestyle app Veluxe, is one of several hosts of Thursday's ''Bytes & Bylines'' party.
''Any event that the president regularly attends '-- no matter who the president is '-- there's going to be a sense of disappointment if he doesn't go,'' she says.
''If Trump were going, there would be much more attention focused on it, whether good or bad,'' Quinn adds. But she doesn't think Trump's presence would be likely to up the star power, which is what draws a lot of attention.
''Washington gets so excited about Hollywood. Even the wonkiest people in D.C. get star-struck,'' Quinn says with a laugh.
Several media outlets '-- including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, People and Bloomberg '-- scrapped their annual correspondents' dinner-related shindigs this year.
But others are carrying on with ''Nerd Prom'' plans.
Samantha Bee is hosting a ''Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner'' comedy special the same day as the WHCA event, Independent Journal Review is holding its ''Golden Age of Journalism'' party on Thursday and Capitol File magazine's celebration is among a crowded field of Friday-night gatherings. Tammy Haddad's annual Garden Brunch is on for Saturday, and CNN and Thomson Reuters will both host brunches on Sunday, the morning after the dinner.
Despite there being ''lots of uncertainty and weirdness surrounding it, for sure,'' as Julie Mason puts it, WHCA President Jeff Mason tells ITK that the soiree is once again sold out this year. ''The Daily Show'' correspondent Hasan Minhaj is poised to headline the event, which raises money for journalism scholarships.
Mason says he wouldn't use ''weird'' to describe the mood ''at all.''
''I think people are interested to see how it's going to work without the president of the United States attending, because it's the first time that we've had a dinner without the president since 1981,'' he says.
Then-President Reagan missed the 1981 dinner as he recovered from an assassination attempt.
''Clearly it's a different kind of dinner without [Trump] in attendance, but it's also been a great opportunity to make clear that this dinner is about celebrating the press, not the presidency. And that's what we'll be doing,'' Mason adds.
''Jeff Mason, the president, keeps promising surprises,'' says Julie Mason, who's not related to the WHCA head and Reuters White House correspondent.
''No one knows what that might be. Will there be strippers? What kind of surprises? No one knows what to expect from the vibe,'' she says with a big laugh.
''There may be a couple of surprises. But the main thrust of the dinner is focusing on the First Amendment and highlighting our scholarship winners and our award winners,'' Jeff Mason says. Veteran journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will present awards at the event.
Julie Mason laments that none of the changes are likely to appease the annual dinner's constant critics.
''A new way to be mean about the dinner '-- they can look forward to that,'' she says. ''A new way to feel superior, and be snide, and be disgusted and indignant on Twitter. People can really, really look forward to that. It's gonna be big for the haters.''
All events listed are invitation-only.
Thursday, April 27
Washingtonian and Story Partners' Washington Women in Journalism Awards
Hosted by Gloria Story Dittus and Catherine Merrill Williams
6''8:30 p.m.; Home of Gloria Story Dittus
''Bytes & Bylines''
Hosted by Allen Gannett, Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy and Susanna Quinn
7''10 p.m.; DTR Modern Gallery
Independent Journal Review's ''Golden Age of Journalism'' party
8''11 p.m.; Carnegie Library
Friday, April 28
Creative Coalition's ''Right to Bear Arts'' Gala
8 p.m.; Flavio
Expected celebrities: Tim Daly, ''Madam Secretary''; Justin Bartha, ''The Hangover''; Sarah Wayne Callies, ''Prison Break''; Kathrine Herzer, ''Madam Secretary''; Keegan-Michael Key, ''Key & Peele''; Chad Lowe, ''Pretty Little Liars''; Wendi McLendon-Covey, ''The Goldbergs''; Alyssa Milano, ''Mistresses''; Denis O'Hare, ''American Horror Story''; Nick Sandow, ''Orange is the New Black''; Aaron Staton, ''Mad Men''; Matt Walsh, ''Veep''
Capitol File Reception
6''9 p.m.; British Ambassador's Residence
RealClearPolitics, Distilled Spirits Council, National Restaurant Association and Beer Institute's ''A Toast to the First Amendment''
7''10 p.m.; National Restaurant Association
Mother Nature Network's White House Correspondents' Jam
7''11 p.m.; The Hamilton Live
Expected celebrities: Billy Bob Thornton, ''Bad Santa''; Chuck Leavell, The Rolling Stones; Kevin O'Leary, ''Shark Tank''
Voto Latino and The Young Turks' ''Our Voices''
7 p.m.; WeWork White House
WeWork's New Media Party
8:30 p.m.''12 a.m.; WeWork White House
United Talent Agency and Mediaite's ''The First Amendment and Excellence in Journalism'' party
Hosted by Jay Sures and Dan Abrams
9 p.m.; Fiola Mare
Saturday, April 29
Garden Brunch
Hosted by Tammy Haddad, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Constance Milstein, Mark and Sally Ein, Kelley McCormick and Franco Nuchese
11 a.m.''2 p.m.; home of Constance Milstein
''Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner''
Hosted by ''Full Frontal With Samantha Bee''
1 p.m.; D.A.R. Constitution Hall
Expected celebrities: Kal Penn, ''Designated Survivor''; Padma Lakshmi, ''Top Chef''; Keegan-Michael Key, ''Key & Peele''; Gloria Steinem, activist; Matt Walsh, ''Veep''
CBS News/Atlantic Media's pre-dinner reception
6 p.m.; Washington Hilton, Courtyard & Gardens
Thomson Reuters pre-party/after-dinner drinks
6''7:30 p.m., until 12 a.m.;
Washington Hilton, Georgetown Room
''Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner'' after-party
Hosted by TBS, New York magazine and Vulture
7 p.m.''12 a.m.; W Hotel
Expected celebrities: Elvis Costello & The Imposters
White House Correspondents' Association Dinner
8 p.m.; Washington Hilton
BuzzFeed's ''Red, White, & Banned''
8 p.m.''12:30 a.m.; Brixton
MSNBC and NBC News's ''The After Party''
10:30 p.m.; The Organization of American States
CBS News's ''The After Party''
Sette Osteria
Sunday, April 30
CNN's ''Political Hangover'' brunch
10 a.m.''2 p.m.; Longview Gallery
Thomson Reuters brunch
11 a.m.''2 p.m.; Hay Adams Hotel
Celebrities expected: Contestants from Bravo's ''Top Chef''
Hillary's HitList
Despite Reports, Fmr Fox Guest Now Claims She Was Never Sexually Harassed by Sean Hannity
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:58
Obama talks youth leadership post presidency
SCOTUS will not review Houston police shooting "waistband" defense
(C) Provided by Mediaite, LLC Debbie Schlussel, a former Fox News guest, appeared on a local radio show on Friday and recounted an incident where Sean Hannity purportedly asked her to a hotel, and when she rebuffed his advances, she claims, she was ostracized by the network star. The story has since gone viral garnering headlines like ''Sean Hannity Accused of Sexually Harassing Fox News Guest'' in publications like The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post. Now, in an interview with LawNewz.com on Monday morning, Schlussel is denying that she was ever sexually harassed by Sean Hannity. While Schlussel stands by her description of the incident, Schlussel told us that she doesn't believe what happened between the two amounted to sexual harassment by any legal definition.
''I would never accuse him of that. Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law, and I would never accuse him of that,'' Schlussel, an attorney herself, said. Schlussel said the interaction happened in the early 2000's when Hannity was in Detroit taping a show.
''He tried to get me to go back to the hotel after the show after he and his executive producer Bill Shine treated me horribly,'' she said on the radio program. Schlussel later clarified that it wasn't his hotel room, but rather his hotel. She told LawNewz.com that she did go on the show following the incident, but after that was ''banned from Fox News.''
''I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, I thought he was weird and creepy not someone I liked,'' Schlussel said.
Following the radio interview on Friday, Hannity issued a strongly worded statement denying Schlussel's claims, and says he plans to take legal action against Schlussel for possible libel.
''LET ME BE CLEAR THE COMMENTS ABOUT ME ON A RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK by this individual ARE 100% false and a complete fabrication,'' Hannity said in a statement obtained by LawNewz.com. ''This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation. The individual has not just slandered me over the years but many people who this individual disagrees with.''
Schlussel responded to Hannity's legal threats, telling LawNewz.com she believed they were ''laughable,'' and that she is also contemplating countersuing him based on his statements on Sunday in which he called her a ''serial harasser.''
''It's defamatory,'' Schussel said, ''Everything I said was true, and truth is an absolute bar to defamation. He on the other hand has a murky record on truth.''
The accuser has a history of making allegations against Hannity. Back in 2010, Schlussel, who Gawker claimed at the time was a ''crazy birther blogger,'' wrote a blog post claiming that the ''Freedom Alliance,'' a war veteran charity, which is supported by Hannity, was skimming donations, and was all a ''huge scam.''
According to a 2010 letter obtained by LawNewz.com, Thomas Kilgannon, the charity's founder and president, fired back in a note to donors: ''the blog posting accuses our friend Sean Hannity of personally benefiting from Freedom Alliance. This is FALSE. Freedom Alliance has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean. Sean gets nothing from Freedom Alliance except our gratitude for his personal generosity and for all he has done to help the troops and our organization.'' Hannity has reportedly donated more than a million dollars to the charity over the last several years.
On Schlussel's blog, she has garnered a reputation for making sensational statements, including calling Robin Wiliams ''selfish'' for committing suicide.
[image via youtube]
Join the conversation More from LawNewz In New York Times Op-Ed, English Professor Apparently Thinks Limiting Free Speech is Good Idea LawNewzDr. Dao's Attorney Moves Sights from United to American Airlines over Stroller Fight LawNewzWATCH LIVE: Juan Rosario on Trial for Alleged Murder of 83-Year-Old Neighbor LawNewz LawNewz
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Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:55
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Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:57
Ms. Christensen has featured in many prominent newspaper articles, including but not limited to, The Guardian newspaper, the Daily Mail, The Recorder, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC, ABC.net, CNET, the Chicago Tribune, Times of India, Reuters, and Time Magazine.
Conspirators Unmasked in the Strauss-Kahn Drama: New DSK Charge: Attempted Rape of His Daughter's 23-Year-Old Friend - By Pam Martens - The eXiled
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:05
This article was first published in Counterpunch .
The political theorists in France and Russia may be correct: Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have enemies that want to end his political career for nefarious agendas. If that is the case, it will certainly be discovered by the legions of former CIA operatives, former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and private investigators on his or his heiress wife's payroll.
One could even proffer a whole new conspiracy theory: it's really Anne Sinclair that's the target. Forbes magazine estimates her net worth at $100 to $200 million. That can buy a lot of intelligence from former CIA agents who previously kept our secrets on this side of the pond. Ms. Sinclair has her own blog, penned in French but focused on the U.S. She spent the days of May leading up to the arrest of her husband, writing not so pleasant critiques of the Obama administration executing Osama bin Laden rather than taking him to trial (as a proper democracy would) and making sport of the infamous White House photo of Hillary Clinton looking shocked with her hand over her mouth as she sat with national security staff during the bin Laden mission.
But a careful assessment of the three well documented cases against Strauss-Kahn by reproaching women, spanning two continents, three countries, and eight years reveal a conspiracy of the man against himself in serial feats of self destruction, each time, up to now, remedied by his coterie of enablers. The actors in this epic tragedy are: Strauss-Kahn, Anne Sinclair, the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and global public relations handlers. There is also a subplot that draws in the print dailies of New York City which are, like the U.S. economy, locked in a financial race to the bottom on a failed business model. (Similar to the complaint of Ms. Sinclair on the execution of bin Laden without a trial, first her husband and now his housekeeper accuser have been alternately tried and convicted, not in a courtroom in front of a jury armed with fact and law and first-hand testimony, but in a reckless form of front page newsprint paintball that elevates to almost civilized the bygone era of city stocks in the town square. And the public feels it is further from the truth in this case than we were two months ago.
For those who rigidly cling to the belief that the conspirators are the female accusers, a close review of the timeline and publicly available documents are in order. Surprisingly, much of this information has not been heretofore disclosed; ostensibly lost in the competitive pursuit of ''hooker'' and ''Le Perv'' bold headlines.
A talented journalist and novelist in France; a brilliant Hungarian economist now in London who is an expert on African poverty; and an immigrant from that very poverty in Guinea working as a hotel housekeeper in New York City; all have one thing in common: they think the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and aspiring occupant of the Elysee Palace is a sexual predator.
Let's start with the first acknowledged incident. Tristane Banon is now a 32 year old journalist with three published novels to her credit. In a February 2007 French television program, Banon recounted how Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her in Paris in 2003 when she met him for a professional interview at what turned out to be an empty apartment with little more than a bed. He told her the apartment belonged to a friend. The television program bleeped Strauss-Kahn's name when the show aired. According to Banon, at the time of the attack, she immediately reported it to her mother by phone from her car. Her mother is Anne Mansouret, a successful business woman and a colleague in Strauss-Kahn's own Socialist Party. Her mother urged Banon not to file charges at the time of the incident. Mansouret now says she regrets that decision and has publicly urged Strauss-Kahn to seek treatment.
At the time of the alleged attack, Banon was 23; Strauss-Kahn was more than twice her age; and Banon was the close friend of Strauss-Kahn's daughter, Camille. (Pause for a moment and reflect on what you might do if you learned that a middle-aged man had sexually attacked your young daughter's girlfriend. Anne Sinclair did learn about this episode and defended a politician's need to be a good ''seducer.'')
Banon has recently filed criminal charges of attempted rape with law enforcement in France and has given over five hours of testimony. Her mother has given a reported six hours of testimony. Strauss-Kahn's French lawyer, Henri Leclerc, has just filed slander charges against Banon. Strauss-Kahn has publicly called Banon's charges ''imaginary.'' Banon, who appears disturbingly thin in recent photographs, told the French publication L'Express: ''My only way forward, to not collapse completely, is that justice may know that I am the victim.''
Is there a basis for anything suggesting a U.S. inspired conspiracy against Strauss-Kahn in this episode? This is a French journalist who says the act occurred in 2003 on French soil. Her mother was immediately told of the event eight years ago and is a member of the same political party of Strauss-Kahn. Banon recounted her story on television in 2007, four years before the hotel housekeeper came forward in the U.S. with a new charge of attempted rape by Strauss-Kahn. The only pattern emerging here is Strauss-Kahn being charged with jumping petite women for sexual pleasure and then smearing their name through high-powered lawyers.
The next acknowledged episode in time sequence order, and perhaps the most revealing, occurs in 2008. Peroski Nagy is currently a Senior Advisor at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development but worked at the IMF when the incidents occurred.
When Strauss-Kahn arrived at the IMF in 2007, Nagy had worked there for more than two decades. On October 20, 2008 these are some of the written statements Nagy made to the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP as it conducted an investigation for the IMF on Strauss-Kahn having an affair with Nagy, his subordinate:
''Despite my long professional life, I was unprepared for the advances of the managing director of the IMF. I did not know how to handle this; as I told you, I felt 'I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't.' ''
''Because I did not fully trust the internal processes at the [International Monetary] fund, I declined to cooperate with the fund's initial investigation'...''
''I believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn abused his position in the manner in which he got to me'...''
''I provided you the details of how he summoned me on several occasions and came to make inappropriate suggestions'...''
''I fear that he is a man with a problem that may make him ill-equipped to lead an institution where women work under his command.''
Just to recap: Anne Mansouret, a colleague of Strauss-Kahn's in the French Socialist Party, thinks he has a sex problem and needs ''treatment''; Nagy, his colleague at the IMF, thinks he has a ''problem'' and ''abused'' his position. These written statements were made three years prior to the hotel housekeeper charges in New York City. In fact, they raise the serious question as to whether a woman was sexually assaulted in a hotel in 2011 because of a lax investigation at the IMF in 2008.
Despite these powerful written statements by Nagy, five days later when the report was issued by the law firm hired by the IMF, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, it made no mention of Nagy's letter and fully exonerated Strauss-Kahn. The report flatly stated that the IMF, based in Washington, D.C., ''is not governed by domestic employment laws.''
Whether a woman working on U.S. soil could be summarily barred from the protection of U.S. law is likely debatable, but it's a handy statement by Morgan Lewis, carrying the imprimatur of a firm with over $1 billion in revenues and just under 1300 attorneys spanning the globe. What is beyond debate is that Morgan Lewis knows what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace under U.S. law and how to put sound anti-harassment policies in place. In 1996, the firm represented the City of Boca Raton in a landmark appellate decision, Faragher v. City of Boca Raton. The case went on to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and the decision exquisitely defines what constitutes a sexually hostile work environment and tangible employment action in retaliation for complaining, e.g. firing, demotion, etc.
Since the United States is a major financial supporter of the IMF, our Congress should investigate why the IMF effectively exonerated its chief from hitting on a subordinate and left him at the helm while she was sent on her way with a severance package.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is one of Wall Street's favorite law firms. Like Wall Street, the IMF has adopted the code words ''Best Practices,'' a euphemism meaning if your competition is getting away with something, you should be able to do the same. In many cases, ''Best Practices'' bear little differentiation from ''Worst Practices.''
The Morgan Lewis report goes on to note that ''During the course of the investigation, independent counsel [Morgan Lewis] reviewed other allegations involving the MD [Managing Director] raised by witnesses during the investigation. The investigation did not find any evidence to support other allegations of improper conduct by the MD.'' Unfortunately, like the report failing to mention the smoking gun letter from Nagy, the public is deprived of knowing what these allegations were and how they were disproved. What we do know is that three years later, a lot of taxpayer money that New Yorkers can ill afford to spend is being devoted to investigating another charge of sexual misconduct by Strauss-Kahn.
When the Morgan Lewis report was released on a Saturday, October 25, 2008, the IMF held a conference call with the press. A. Shakour Shaalan, Dean of the Executive Board of the IMF, made the following remark, the last sentence being regrettably non-clairvoyant: ''I'll have to agree with you that there is a number of staff, particularly the female members, who are not at all happy and do not approve of the Managing Director's behavior. The Managing Director as Mr. Masood Ahmed has said has expressed his regrets and I don't think we can ask him to do more at this time other than publishing the statement that we have published'...The effectiveness of the Managing Director has been proven, we will continue to work with him, and there is little doubt in my mind that while there is some confidence that may have been lost, he will regain it very soon.''
The Morgan Lewis report was called an ''independent investigation'' by the IMF and carries that title on its cover page. But Morgan Lewis is a corporate law firm that almost exclusively litigates against the employee on issues of workplace harassment and sexual misconduct on behalf of the corporation, municipality or organization. The firm also represents some of the largest Wall Street firms which benefit from privatization efforts imposed by the IMF.
The final case of 2011 is, of course, that of the housekeeper at the ritzy Sofitel Hotel in New York City who claims she entered the room to clean it after assurances by a coworker who had removed a room service cart that it was empty. She further claims Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom, jumped her, attempted to rape her and then forced her to perform oral sex. The housekeeper had the sympathy and support of the press while she was being represented by her first lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro. But that suddenly changed when she changed law firms.
In a matter of weeks, the housekeeper went from being a pious religious woman in the pages of the New York Times to a ''hooker'' on the front page of the New York Post. Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, the lead prosecutor for the New York County District Attorney, told the New York Times that she did not have one ''scintilla'' of evidence to support the hooker accusation. Her new lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the New York Post for libel. Equally troubling, her new attorneys are not making her available to the District Attorney for questioning, and bad mouthing the DA to the press.
There's an old saying in legal circles: to find the culprit, ask who benefits. If the housekeeper is discredited and the DA is discredited, the defense team and Strauss-Kahn benefit.
Despite repeated attempts to get an answer, the new law firm, Thompson Wigdor, will not say how they came to represent the housekeeper. But one thing is beyond dispute: all three partners who started this firm, Kenneth P. Thompson, Douglas H. Wigdor, and Scott Browning Gilly sprang from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, the firm that exonerated Strauss-Kahn in the Nagy matter at the IMF. (Mr. Gilly left Thompson Wigdor this year.)
This article was first published on theCounterPunch website, Martens' journalistic home base. Read Martens' previous article on the DSK rape scandal about how sleazeball Alan Dershowitz smeared the Guinean rape victim's character, ''Dershowitz Promotes Settlement for Strauss-Kahn As Hotel Housekeeper Lawyers Up.''
Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years, retiring in 2006. She has been writing on public interest issues for CounterPunch since that time. She has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article. She can be reached at pamk741@aol.com
For Many Big Law Trump Donors, 'Stigma' Kept Support Below the Radar | Law.com
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:02
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Bill Nye Makes A False Claim About The US Constitution '-- Again | The Daily Caller
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:10
Bill Nye the ''Science Guy'' tried to claim the Constitution supported the concerns of thousands of scientists and environmental activists who took to the streets on Earth Day to protest the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts to federal agencies.
''If you suppress science, if you pretend climate change isn't a real problem, you will fall behind other countries that do invest in science, that do invest in basic research,'' Nye told CNN Saturday as the ''March for Science'' took place.
The march took place in dozens of cities across the world, and the main march took place in Washington, D.C., Saturday. Nye spoke at the rally where thousands carried signs deriding skeptics of global warming and cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other bureaucracies that fund or conduct scientific research.
''And it is interesting to note, I think, that Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution refers to the progress of science and the useful arts,'' Nye said.
''Useful arts in 18th Century usage would be what we call engineering or city planning or architecture,'' Nye said.
Nye's used the argument before to underscore how ''unpatriotic'' it is to not have the federal government hand out billions of taxpayer dollars to universities, corporations and research institutions.
''Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says the government shall 'promote the progress of science and useful arts,''' Nye told Vox in 2015 '-- Vox didn't correct him or fact check his claim.
''So if you're a politician looking to derail the progress of science, I think you're not doing your job,'' Nye said.
And, like last time, he's 100 percent incorrect.
Nye is referring to the Constitution's Copyright Clause. The clause is one in a laundry list of Congress's enumerated powers.
It reads: ''To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.''
The Copyright Clause has nothing to do with government-funded science, but everything to do with establishing a legal framework to protect intellectual property rights.
This is why Nye is not known as the ''Constitution Guy.''
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107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud | Ars Technica
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:44
Enlarge/ Pictured: Probably an editor who peer-reviewed stuff for Tumor Biology.The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn't the journal's first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals'-- 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason.
It's possible to fake peer review because authors are often asked to suggest potential reviewers for their own papers. This is done because research subjects are often blindingly niche; a researcher working in a sub-sub-field may be more aware than the journal editor of who is best-placed to assess the work.
But some journals go further and request, or allow, authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. If the editor isn't aware of the potential for a scam, they then merrily send the requests for review out to fake e-mail addresses, often using the names of actual researchers. And at the other end of the fake e-mail address is someone who's in on the game and happy to send in a friendly review.
Fake peer reviewers often ''know what a review looks like and know enough to make it look plausible,'' said Elizabeth Wager, editor of the journal Research Integrity & Peer Review. But they aren't always good at faking less obvious quirks of academia: ''When a lot of the fake peer reviews first came up, one of the reasons the editors spotted them was that the reviewers responded on time,'' Wager told Ars. Reviewers almost always have to be chased, so ''this was the red flag. And in a few cases, both the reviews would pop up within a few minutes of each other.''
It's not always the authors providing the reviews. "There is some evidence that so-called third-party language-editing services play a role in manipulating the reviewing process,'' said a spokesperson for Springer, the company that published Tumor Biology until this year. Scientists who work in a language other than English may use editing services to polish their papers before submitting to a journal, and some of these services can be unethical and predatory, says Wager.
It might be naive, she says, but ''if the authors didn't realize that this is what the editing company was doing, then I feel the authors should have a fair chance. There's probably nothing wrong with the research; it just hasn't been peer reviewed.'' But of course, it's difficult to assess whether the authors knew about it. ''It is unclear whether the authors of the manuscripts were aware that the agencies were proposing fabricated reviewer names/e-mail addresses,'' the Springer spokesperson told Ars.
This most recent avalanche of fake-reviewed papers was discovered because of extra screening at the journal. According to an official statement from Springer, ''the decision was made to screen new papers before they are released to production.'' The extra screening turned up the names of fake reviewers that hadn't previously been detected, and ''in order to clean up our scientific records, we will now start retracting these affected articles...Springer will continue to proactively investigate these issues.''
It's best for editors not to rely on the contact details submitted by authors, but rather search for proper academic e-mail addresses themselves, said Wager. Some journals include this in their editorial guidelines, and other institutions recommend it as best practice. But there are other ways to game the system.
Tumor Biology changed hands in January, and the new publishers, SAGE, were aware of the problems when they took over. ''[Springer] were open about the past instances of peer review fraud, and as part of the relaunch they wanted to address the underlying reasons,'' a SAGE spokesperson told Retraction Watch. ''The Tumor Biology editorial team have already introduced new robust peer review practices expected from all SAGE journals.'' However, this doesn't necessarily mean no more retractions for the journal, since investigations like this recent one may turn up more dirt from the past.
Wild boars overrun Islamic State position, kill 3 militants
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:57
A bunch of boars attacked ISIS militants, and actually managed to kill a few. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) explains. Buzz60
A pack of Wild boars at the wildlife park Grafenbergerwald in Duesseldorf, Germany (Photo: Horst Ossinger, AP)
Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in a bitterly contested area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of stampeding boars, local leaders say.
Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told The Times of London the militants were hiding on the edge of a field about 50 miles southwest of Kirkuk when the boars overwhelmed them Sunday. Five other militants were injured, al-Assi said. He said the group was poised to attack a band of local tribesmen who had fled to nearby mountains since militants seized the town of Hawija three years ago.
''It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,'' he said.
Al-Assi said the militants had summarily executed 25 people attempting to flee the militant's would-be caliphate in the three days before the boars attacked. Hawija, about 100 miles south of Mosul, sees dozens of residents flee to Kurdish Kirkuk daily, and the Iraqi military has planned to launch an offensive in the region after a laborious effort to liberate Mosul is completed.
''We know that a massacre took place in Hawija district through our sources," al-Assi told the Times. "This will not be ISIS's last massacre against citizens."
Read more:
Iraqi forces now attacking ISIS militants with drones in Mosul
Iraqi troops capture largest neighborhood in western Mosul
Hawija is strategically located east of the road from Mosul to Baghdad, on the edge of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. U.S.-backed troops launched the effort to drive the militants out of Mosul in October. Eastern Mosul was liberated in January, and the Iraqi military claimed Tuesday it had taken control of the al-Tanek neighborhood, the largest on the western side of the city.
Kirkuk Gov. Najmaldin Karim renewed calls to the Iraqi army and government to free Hawija.
''The suffering of the people of Hawija and its surrounding areas is intolerable,'' he told The Times.
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As Zika Season Nears, States Brace for an End to CDC Funding | The Zika Outbreak | FRONTLINE | PBS
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:16
State programs that track Zika infections and Zika-related birth defects around the country are in jeopardy as public health officials have been told not to count on federal funds for those efforts after July.
In meetings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta last week, federal officials told state health departments that Zika funding initially envisioned to last five years will likely run out this summer instead, according to representatives of six states that attended the meetings. State health officials say this could harm their ability to prepare for an inevitable wave of new infections, or to provide services for babies already struggling with Zika-related birth-defects.
The potential loss of federal funding comes as health officials are bracing for this summer's mosquito season, and as the dangers associated with the mosquito-borne disease are finally becoming clearer. After the disease erupted in Brazil in 2015, it was discovered that the otherwise mild virus caused neurological defects in developing fetuses. A CDC report released this month concluded that one in 10 pregnant women with Zika gave birth to a child with serious birth defects. Another CDC study found that a Zika infection increased the chances of delivering a baby with certain birth defects 20-fold.
Over the course of 2016, the virus spread to at least 58 countries and territories; outbreaks occurred in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Florida and Texas, and pregnant women infected with the disease during travel were identified in 44 states. Last year in the U.S., 77 Zika babies died in the womb, while 51 babies were born with Zika-related birth defects. Each of the surviving children will cost an estimated $10 million to care for during their lifetimes.
Money problems have troubled the public health response to Zika since last February, when the Obama administration asked Congress for an emergency infusion of $1.9 billion for the crisis. But the plan languished after Republicans inserted a provision blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving money from the bill and Democrats balked. Congress finally approved a $1.1 billion package in September after removing the Planned Parenthood language.
That money was divvied up between several federal agencies. Some of it funded vaccine research, some helped Puerto Rico with mosquito control and some was sent abroad for international response. Nearly $400 million was sent to CDC, and the bulk of that went to public health departments around the country.
But the money earmarked for the CDC was a one-time infusion and is now nearly spent, according to to state health officials who say they've been told by the agency to not count on new money for Zika. State labs, which ran 60,000 Zika tests in 2016, were told they should expect CDC support for mosquito-borne disease testing to return to pre-Zika levels.
That level of funding ''is really small, and in most cases funds a half of an employee and no supplies,'' said Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs for the Association of Public Health Laboratories, who attended last week's meetings.
CDC officials declined to comment on the meetings or any proposed funding cuts, noting that no budget has been finalized. But officials from several state health departments described the meetings. In some, they said, the funding news was delivered by PowerPoint.
Tracking Birth DefectsAmong the programs potentially affected by cuts is one that aimed to track Zika-associated birth defects, educate women and doctors about them, and follow up with families of Zika babies after their birth. Before Zika emerged, only a handful of states actively tracked microcephaly '-- a condition in which improper brain development leads to an abnormally small head '-- and the other neurological conditions now associated with the disease. This paucity of data has made it difficult to parse which cases are triggered by Zika and which may be attributable to other causes.
To solve this problem, the CDC last year funneled money to states to create or bolster birth defect registries. The funding was structured as a five-year grant, predicated on future congressional appropriations. However, at last week's meeting, CDC officials advised states to prepare for the grant to end in July '-- after just one year.
An early end to the grant would deal a major blow to many states' efforts to track Zika's impacts and help families affected by it.
Some states, like Pennsylvania, had never tracked birth defects until now. The $669,000 they received from the CDC allowed them to do so, said the state's health secretary, Karen Murphy. Murphy hesitated to predict what will happen with the federal budget, but she acknowledged that without CDC funding, ''we would have no way to track birth defects.''
Texas, which has the nation's fourth highest number of confirmed Zika cases, has long tracked birth defects. But the size of the state made it a time-consuming process, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen, who was briefed on the meetings. CDC funding helped Texas speed up the time it takes to register a birth defect from two years to three months. This, in turn, helped the state provide services to the families of Zika babies, Van Deusen said.
In California, federal funding expanded surveillance for Zika-related birth defects from 10 counties to 19. The state now tracks all counties infested with Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that primarily spreads Zika, as well as the five counties with the highest numbers of pregnant women with infections. In an emailed statement, a California Department of Public Health spokesman said department officials attended the meetings in Atlanta and were advised the surveillance funding may end this year. ''Changes to the funding stream will directly affect surveillance efforts,'' the statement said.
In Louisiana, which counts among the states most at risk of Zika due to its climate and mosquito population, federal funding has helped the state transition from a passive birth defect tracking system '-- in which birth defects are noted on birth certificates and voluntarily reported by doctors '-- to an active one, where health officials seek out information from birthing centers, said Dr. Frank Welch, medical director for community preparedness at the Louisiana Department of Health.
''You can imagine it's much better reporting because it's closer in time. People don't have to remember back two or three years,'' he said.
Losing funding, he said, could make them revert to a passive system, as well as jeopardize educational outreach for women and doctors, the distribution of Zika prevention kits and follow-up for pregnant women exposed to the virus. ''What we heard last week was very disappointing, especially after all the work we've done to prepare for and to coordinate these grants,'' he said.
The state hasn't been officially informed of any final funding decisions, Welch said, and he remains hopeful the CDC will find a way to continue funding the grants. If not, he doubts the state could pick up the tab. ''Louisiana is a very poor state,'' he said. ''Unfortunately there's not a whole lot of extra money sitting around.''
Tracking Pregnant WomenFederal grants also established a second tracking system called the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, which tests and tracks pregnant women in the U.S. who live in or have traveled to Zika-infected areas. To date, the testing has revealed evidence of a Zika infection in more than 5,000 pregnant women in the U.S. About two thirds of them are in Puerto Rico, where the disease erupted last year. If no more money is budgeted for it, the funding for the program will end next July.
State labs will also soon be in a precarious position, Wroblewski said. Federal grants last year helped them get set up for Zika testing. But grantees were told in Atlanta not to expect new Zika-specific funding once their current money is spent. Instead, they should expect the same amount of money for testing mosquito-borne diseases that they received before the Zika outbreak.
Many previous health crises have been responded to with similar one-time bullets of funding, Wroblewski said. But unlike the 2014 Ebola outbreak or the 2009 swine flu epidemic, which came and went, Zika is likely to persist. Like its mosquito-borne cousins dengue and West Nile Virus, Zika may pop up every year.
''Zika is not something we can respond to this year and then move onto the next crisis,'' she said. ''It's going to be something we pay attention to every mosquito season '-- and in travelers in the off season. We need more of a sustained response.''
It's unclear whether the CDC will have much wiggle room in their budget in the coming year. The budget blueprint presented by President Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget in March proposed a 17.9 percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services, which CDC falls under. The OMB did not return requests for comment.
Lori Freeman, executive director of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, said she is in constant communication with federal and state health officials about how to plan for all potential fiscal scenarios. Funding is a perennial problem in public health, she said, and it distracts from efforts to keep the nation safe and healthy.
''In an ideal budget there would be funding built in for emergent infectious diseases. If you don't use it, great, but just so we're not constantly trying to figure out how to fund this surge capacity,'' she said.
Chris Whelen, administrator of Hawaii's state laboratory, said his lab, which has been handling Zika testing for his state as well as several U.S. territories, has enough remaining funding to continue that work through this year '' as long as infections don't spike and ''there's not much else going on.'' Then he laughed.
''But there always is,'' he said. ''There's always something going on. Usually multiple things going on. It's a balancing act''
NA-Tech News
Afghanistan, China To Connect Through Fiber Optic Network | TOLOnews
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:37
Nearly 480km of fiber optic cable will connect Afghanistan to China's fiber optic network and the project will be completed by 2018.
Sayed Ahmad Shah Sadaat, acting Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT), on Friday said a fiber optic cable network project will connect Afghanistan to China through Wakhan port.
He said once the project has been launched, Afghanistan stands to earn up to $60 million USD annually by being a conduit for China's data to countries around the world.
According to Sadaat, nearly 480km of fiber optic cable will connect Afghanistan to China's fiber optic network and the project will be completed by 2018.
''Afghanistan's direct connection to China's fiber optic network is very important for us and we will be able to buy internet services at a cheaper price,'' said Sadaat.
The fiber optic cable project manager, Ikramuddin, meanwhile said the project will cost $50 million USD and will be paid for through aid provided by the World Bank.
''It is very difficult to cross the cable through this way (Wakhan port), but the project is funded by the World Bank and up to $50 million USD is allocated for this project,'' said Ikramuddin.
According to Ikramuddin, good internet services at cheaper prices and promoting internet services in 34 provinces of the country are other benefits of expanding the fiber optic network.
Reports say that currently Afghanistan has been connected to five neighboring countries through fiber optic networks, but technical problems in Afghanistan are blamed for slow internet services and high consumer prices.
Stop Using Unroll.me, Right Now. It Sold Your Data To Uber.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:01
Tucked away in a rollicking New York Times profile of amoral Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a tidbit about Unroll.me, a popular service that aims to rescue your email inbox from unwanted newsletters and promotional messages with an easy automated unsubscribe service. The problem is, they've been selling you out to advertisers, and you should stop using it immediately.
The Kalanick profile says that Uber previously used Unroll.me data to gauge the health of archrival Lyft:
Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers' emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft's business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)
Slice confirmed that it sells anonymized data (meaning that customers' names are not attached) based on ride receipts from Uber and Lyft, but declined to disclose who buys the information.
This is a capability it's safe to wager virtually none of Unroll.me's users are aware of, let alone comfortable with. Indeed, the company's CEO and co-founder, Jojo Hedaya, immediately penned a pro forma apology blog for the ages, in which he says he and his staff ''weren't explicit enough'' about terms that allow, as Unroll.me's privacy policy puts it, the company to ''collect, use, transfer, sell, and disclose'... transactional or relationship messages.'' Hedaya joins a historic chorus of Silicon Valley executives who say what they always do when they've been found out: ''We Can Do Better,'' as the title of the CEO's blog post declares:
I can't stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only. To get a sense of what this data looks like and how it is used, check out the Slice Intelligence blog.
This is by all evidence false: If your privacy were important to Jojo Hedaya, the contents of your email, even if anonymized, would not be for sale. Were he ever serious about keeping your inbox private, an apology blog wouldn't have been needed to begin with. (Hedaya and his co-founder could not be reached for comment.)
At Hacker News, a sort of virtual startup water cooler, a former web developer named Karl Katzke has further alleged in a series of comments that Unroll.me also secured customer emails poorly and that a company for which Katzke worked declined to acquired Unroll.me due in part to concerns over executives' honesty. In an email to The Intercept, however, Katzke said that while he stands by those comments, ''my information is, at best, third person hearsay based on a rumor that was based on hearsay.''
Still, even just based on the facts Hedaya has openly acknowledged, you shouldn't trust him or his company, and should remove Unroll.me's unfettered access to your Google account immediately, because that's just what you gave them when you signed up:
Here's how to remove Unroll.me (you can also delete your account following the company's instructions here):
From your Gmail inbox (or any Google page), click the button with your face on it in the top-right corner, then ''My Account.''
Under ''Sign-in & security,'' click ''Connected apps & sites,'' then ''manage apps.''
Find Unroll.me, click it, and then click remove. You might also want to take a very, very close look at any other apps that have been granted the ability to ''Read, send, delete, and manage your email.'' Do you have a clear assurance that they won't leverage their access to make money from the likes of Uber? Probably not.
Update: April 24th, 2017, 12:48 p.m.
This post had been updated with a link to instructions for those who wish to permanently delete their Unroll.me account.
Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Victory for Rights of Rideshare Customers and Drivers - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:56
The Supreme Court today declined to take up the case Illinois Transportation Trade Association v. City of Chicago.
That's great news for Americans who want more choice and opportunity in both using and operating rides-for-hire, both in Illinois and nationwide.
Timothy Neesam (GumshoePhotos)/Foter
The trade association of Illinois cabbies was appealing an important decision from last October from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In that decision, as I reported at the time, Judge Richard Posner wrote eloquently that the trade association for traditional cabs failed to make the case that Chicago's failure to regulate e-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft the same way they regulated cabs rose to the level of a violation of the cabbies' constitutional rights.
The cabbies made seven distinct claims that their constitutional rights were being violated, all of which were in Judge Posner's eyes "weak."
"Were the old deemed to have a constitutional right to preclude the entry of the new into the markets of the old, economic progress might grind to a halt," Posner wrote in that decision. "Instead of taxis we might have horse and buggies; instead of the telephone, the telegraph; instead of computers, slide rules."
The cabbies also tried to argue their constitutional right to equal protection under the law was violated by the differential regulatory treatment of cabs and e-hailing services. In response to that claim Posner wrote that "The proper question to ask regarding equal protection is whether the regulatory differences between Chicago taxicabs and [e-hailing services] are arbitrary or defensible, and the City makes a compelling case that they're the latter."
Posner went on to explain some of the relevant differences, such as the fact that customers of Uber and similar services "must sign up...before being able to summon it, and the sign up creates a contractual relationship specifying such terms as fares, driver qualifications, insurance, and any special need of the potential customer owing to his or her having a disability" and that "unlike taxicab service [an e-hail company] assumes primary responsibility for screening potential drivers and hiring only those found to be qualified, and the passengers receive more information in advance about their prospective rides'--information that includes not only the driver's name but also pictures of him (or her) and of the car."
"The Constitution does not require governments to stick with outdated protectionist regulations in the face of technological innovation." said attorney Renee Flaherty in a press release from the Institute for Justice (I.J.) today when news of the Supreme Court's declining the case broke.
The Institute, as it noted in that press release, "represented ridesharing drivers who intervened in the lawsuit to make sure that their competitors did not succeed in using the courts" to shut them down and damage both them and would-be rideshare customers.
And, as I.J. notes, this decision of the Supreme Court's to let the 7th Circuit's decision stand has ramifications beyond Illinois. It "has cleared the way for transportation freedom across the country," said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Anthony Sanders. "In city after city, we are seeing lawsuits like these filed by incumbent businesses that want to freeze the current regulatory environment in amber. And these lawsuits, rightly, are failing. Consumers and entrepreneurs, not lawyers and bureaucrats, should decide what transportation options are available."
Study of alternative networks to Twitter
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:41
Fibreculture, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2015
University of Utah - Department of Communication
Date Written: April 16, 2015
AbstractDrawing on interviews with developers and close readings of site interfaces and architectures, this essay explores four Twitter alternatives: GNU social, Twister, rstat.us and Quitter. The interviews and analyses of these Twitter alternatives reveals how these developers relate their projects to mainstream social media architectures and cultures; how they conceive of Twitter's development over time; how they think about legal issues as they make their alternatives; and whether or not they conceive of their work as activism. In sum, I explore how these developers are critically reverse engineering Twitter and how that process intersects with multiple concerns and tensions, and how these tensions are generating new ways to think about what it means to 'do' microblogging.
Keywords: alternative social media, critical reverse engineering, Twitter, Twister, rstat.us, Gnu social, Quitter
Suggested Citation:Suggested Citation
Gehl, Robert W., Building a Better Twitter: A Study of the Twitter Alternatives GNU Social, Quitter, rstat.us, and Twister (April 16, 2015). Fibreculture, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2595247
Amazon Echo Look privacy issues
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:09
Amazon's newest version of its Echo smart-home device, the Look, boasts a built-in video camera that can capture your outfits and provide fashion recommendations.
That's a big step toward a lifestyle of the future.
But it also creates some important privacy issues that are worth keeping in mind if you're considering buying the $199 Echo Look.
As with any connected device '-- and particularly an internet-connected camera '-- there are valid concerns about privacy: Is the device always listening? Who can see the photos and videos it takes?
The most important thing to know is that the Echo Look has an on/off switch. If you don't want the device watching or listening to you, you can turn the camera and microphone off by pressing a button on the side of the device.
That's nice. But hackers have a long history of using malicious tools to hijack PC webcams, allowing them to spy on people. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg covers his laptop's camera with tape, as does FBI Director James Comey.
And when it comes to internet-connected devices like webcams, it can be tricky to secure them properly, if at all.
The Echo is different, Amazon says, because it uses the retailer's time-tested security systems to protect your privacy. That means it's backed by the same security Amazon uses to protect its services, which ideally protects it against the vast majority of hackers.
Of course, nothing is bulletproof.
When the Echo Look is turned on, it can detect only a special "wake" word, Amazon says, which means it's not always listening to you. When the device hears the word, a light ring on the Echo Look will turn blue so you know it's saving audio to the Amazon Web Services cloud, an Amazon spokeswoman told Business Insider.
That brings us to the photos, videos, and audio the Echo Look is capturing when it's on '-- this is a bit more complicated than an on/off switch.
The Echo Look has an accompanying app that saves all your outfit photos locally rather than clogging up your camera roll. But be advised that the photos are also stored in the AWS cloud until you manually delete them, an Amazon representative told Motherboard. This means that every time you say, "Alexa, take a photo," that image is immediately saved to Amazon's cloud until you go in and delete it yourself.
It's worth noting that storing images in the cloud is something that services like Google, Dropbox, and Apple's iCloud already do. By uploading your images to Google Photos, for example, you're allowing Google to use machine learning to create customized albums and GIFs of your content.
Just remember that the photos and video that get captured while you're in your bedroom could contain more private information, whether in the foreground or background, than the photos you take with your phone while you're out and about.
Amazon did not comment on whether it had any plans to use the photos and videos you capture with the Echo Look for its other platforms, such as for tailoring shopping suggestions on Amazon.com. But since Amazon is making a commitment to growing its fashion business, it's not hard to speculate how the Echo Look could be used to expand its current offerings.
War on Drug$
Mixing energy drinks, alcohol may affect adolescent brains like cocaine - Purdue University
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:31
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Drinking highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages triggers changes in the adolescent brain similar to taking cocaine, and the consequences last into adulthood as an altered ability to deal with rewarding substances, according to a Purdue University study.
Richard van Rijn, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, looked at the effects of highly caffeinated energy drinks and highly caffeinated alcohol in adolescent mice. These alcohol studies cannot be performed in adolescent humans, but changes seen in mouse brains with drugs of abuse have been shown to correlate to those in humans in many drug studies.
These energy drinks can contain as much as 10 times the caffeine as soda and are often marketed to adolescents. But little is known about the health effects of the drinks, especially when consumed with alcohol during adolescence.
Van Rijn and graduate student Meridith Robins published results in the journal Alcohol that showed adolescent mice given high-caffeine energy drinks were not more likely than a control group to drink more alcohol as adults.
But when those high levels of caffeine were mixed with alcohol and given to adolescent mice, they showed physical and neurochemical signs similar to mice given cocaine. Those results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behavior and changes the neurochemistry in their brains," van Rijn said. "We're clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other."
With repeated exposure to the caffeinated alcohol, those adolescent mice became increasingly more active, much like mice given cocaine. The researchers also detected increased levels of the protein Î--FosB, which is marker of long-term changes in neurochemistry, elevated in those abusing drugs such as cocaine or morphine.
"That's one reason why it's so difficult for drug users to quit because of these lasting changes in the brain," van Rijn said.
Those same mice, as adults, showed a different preference or valuation of cocaine. Robins found that mice exposed to caffeinated alcohol during adolescence were less sensitive to the pleasurable effects of cocaine. While this sounds positive, it could mean that such a mouse would use more cocaine to get the same feeling as a control mouse.
"Mice that had been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults," van Rijn said. "Mice that were exposed to highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks later found cocaine wasn't as pleasurable. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect."
To test that theory, Robins investigated if mice exposed to caffeinated alcohol during adolescence would consume higher amounts of a similarly pleasurable substance - saccharine, an artificial sweetener. They predicted that if the mice exhibited a numbed sense of reward, they would consume more saccharine. They found that the caffeine/alcohol-exposed mice drank significantly more saccharine than mice exposed to water during adolescence, confirming that the caffeine/alcohol-exposed mice must have had a chemical change in the brain.
"Their brains have been changed in such a way that they are more likely to abuse natural or pleasurable substances as adults," van Rijn said.
Van Rijn plans to continue studying the effects of legal, available psychostimulatory substances that may be harmful to adolescent brains. His next project involves investigating ethylphenidate, a drug similar to methylphenidate, the drug used for attention deficit disorder and most commonly known as Ritalin. The latter requires a prescription, while the former can be purchased without one, often online. His research group also works on finding new treatments for alcohol use disorder.
Van Rijn's research is supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation/Foundation for Alcohol Research and the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust.
Writer: Brian Wallheimer: 765-532-0233, brian.wallheimer@gmail.com
Source: Richard van Rijn, 765-494-6461, rvanrijn@purdue.edu
Unique Behavioral and Neurochemical Effects Induced by Repeated Adolescent Consumption of Caffeine-Mixed Alcohol in C57BL/6 Mice
Meridith T. Robins1, Julie Lu2, Richard M. van Rijn1'—
1Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States
2Department of Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94158, Unites States of America
'— Corresponding author. Permanent address: Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, 575 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, 47907 IN, United States. E-mail address: rvanrijn@purdue.edu (R.M. van Rijn).
The number of highly caffeinated products has increased dramatically in the past few years. Among these products, highly caffeinated energy drinks are the most heavily advertised and purchased, which has resulted in increased incidences of co-consumption of energy drinks with alcohol. Despite the growing number of adolescents and young adults reporting caffeine-mixed alcohol use, knowledge of the potential consequences associated with co-consumption has been limited to survey-based results and in-laboratory human behavioral testing. Here, we investigate the effect of repeated adolescent (post-natal days P35-61) exposure to caffeine-mixed alcohol in C57BL/6 mice on common drug-related behaviors such as locomotor sensitivity, drug reward and cross-sensitivity, and natural reward. To determine changes in neurological activity resulting from adolescent exposure, we monitored changes in expression of the transcription factor Î--FosB in the dopaminergic reward pathway as a sign of long-term increases in neuronal activity. Repeated adolescent exposure to caffeine-mixed alcohol exposure induced significant locomotor sensitization, desensitized cocaine conditioned place preference, decreased cocaine locomotor cross-sensitivity, and increased natural reward consumption. We also observed increased accumulation of Î--FosB in the nucleus accumbens following repeated adolescent caffeine-mixed alcohol exposure compared to alcohol or caffeine alone. Using our exposure model, we found that repeated exposure to caffeine-mixed alcohol during adolescence causes unique behavioral and neurochemical effects not observed in mice exposed to caffeine or alcohol alone. Based on similar findings for different substances of abuse, it is possible that repeated exposure to caffeine-mixed alcohol during adolescence could potentially alter or escalate future substance abuse as means to compensate for these behavioral and neurochemical alterations.
Ted 2017: The woman who wants China to eat insects - BBC News
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:29
Image copyright Ryan Lash/Ted Image caption Matilda Ho is a Ted Fellow, an award given by the conference to young entrepreneurs making a difference A Chinese entrepreneur is promoting edible insects and online farmers' markets in a campaign to improve eating habits in the country.
Matilda Ho spoke at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference about the need to spread the message about healthy eating.
She is backing a range of start-ups, including one that offers protein made from silkworms.
China has a growing problem with obesity and diabetes.
"China has 20% of the world's population but only 7% of land is arable," Ms Ho told the BBC.
"One in four diabetics is now Chinese and one in five obese people."
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Matilda Ho suggests silkworms could serve as a source of protein for humans Ms Ho began tackling the issue with an online farmers' market which now supplies 240 types of new produce from 57 farmers.
It has gained 40,000 subscribers since it was launched 18 months ago.
"I wanted to use technology to shorten the gap between growers and consumers," Ms Ho told the BBC.
"It is a right to know where your food comes from and it empowers consumers."
The food is delivered to customers via electric vehicles and in biodegradable boxes to keep the carbon footprint low.
China has a rapidly rising middle class and a culture where it is polite to over-order food for guests in restaurants.
Ms Ho realised that one online start-up was not enough and has now launched an accelerator to promote a range of food tech firms.
It includes a start-up that uses silkworms as a sustainable source of protein.
"In China, silkworms are by-products of the textile industry so they are affordable and accessible," explained Ms Ho.
"They also don't sound like a bug so it doesn't sound as yucky as an insect. As kids we raised silkworms at school."
There is a history of insect eating in China but silkworms are the only insect currently legal in China to use as an ingredient in food.
There is a push to legalise crickets too but that is likely to take three to five years to become law.
VIDEO - Nancy Pelosi garbles words, mispronounces countries in short speech - YouTube
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:40
VIDEO - Macron jeered, Le Pen acclaimed at troubled French factory | Euronews
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:27
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VIDEO - Trump: Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil - YouTube
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:22
VIDEO - TMZ Founder Slams Media for Criticizing His Meeting With Trump - YouTube
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:16
VIDEO - Seattle Mayor Underage Sex Abuse Allegations Plot Thickens! - YouTube
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:10
VIDEO - Matthews Strongly Defends, Re-Ups Comparing Trump Family to Romanovs, Saddam's Children | MRCTV
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 03:09
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Showing that he's somewhat incapable of shame, MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews re-upped and defended on Tuesday night his comparisons of the Trump family to the ultimately-slaughtered Romanovs and Saddam Hussein's murderous sons Uday and Qusay.
Matthews was discussing First Daughter/Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump's visit to Germany with NBC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace and Salon's Joan Walsh when he briefly suggested that Ivanka was only 27 years old getting prime seating at events like dinner with the Chinese president.
VIDEO - Nets Hype Ivanka Getting Booed at Women's Summit in Germany | MRCTV
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 03:01
***To read the full blog, please check out the complete post on NewsBusters***
Ivanka Trump was embracing her role as adviser to the president on Tuesday when she was representing the United States at a women's summit in Berlin, Germany. While on stage, she stated that her father has ''been a tremendous champion of supporting families.'' And with that, the European audience ''hissed'' and ''jeered.'' The liberal Big Three networks were more than happy to pounce on the incident and replay it that evening.
''Well, first daughter Ivanka Trump went to Germany for a meeting of women in business and government, but it didn't go as well as planned,'' hyped Anchor Scott Pelley during CBS Evening News. He handed the story off to reporter Mark Phillips, who's not her father's biggest fan.
He started off his segment by mocking the first daughter, chiding that ''Ivanka Trump had come to a high-powered conference in Berlin to champion the cause of working women, but she came with baggage-- her father's baggage.'' And again a few seconds later:
Might the audience's skepticism, the moderator asked, stem from the attitude towards women Donald Trump had displayed in the past. Alluding, it seemed, to the well-known tape in which he bragged about groping women. The response? Blamed the media.
VIDEO - The View Excitedly Asks Caitlyn Jenner to Run for President | MRCTV
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 02:46
Former Olympian and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner was on The View Wednesday to talk about their new book and how they felt about Donald Trump. While criticizing Trump's record on transgender issues, Jenner said they still identified as a conservative for issues like national security. Jenner's answer prompted one host to excitedly ask Jenner to run for political office.
VIDEO - Nancy Pelosi garbles words, mispronounces countries in short speech - YouTube
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:46
VIDEO - Federal Authorities Present at Public Buildings
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:03
Posted: Wed 12:36 PM, Apr 26, 2017 |
Updated: Wed 12:43 PM, Apr 26, 2017
LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) - The Federal Bureau Investigation and Department of Public Safety are lawfully present at four public buildings on Wednesday morning: City Hall, City Hall Annex, Public Works and a Webb County building.
(Viewer-Submitted Photo)The FBI confirms law enforcement activity is going on, and assure the public there is no threat to public safety.
They say certain areas within each department will not be accessible to the public. Several city and county employees were told to leave.
The following offices will be closed until further notice:
- Auditor's Office
- Engineering Office
- I.T. (Internet Technology)
- Precinct Four Office
In addition, the County Judge's Office has released the following statement:
"The FBI is lawfully present at the Commissioner's Court Building. The only area that is being affected is Precinct 4, no other offices in this building have been affected. While we cannot discuss the nature of the work that they are doing, there is no public safety threat at the locations where they are present."
KGNS News Anchor Jerry Garza has more information in the interview above.
VIDEO - Caitlyn Jenner talks about life as a transwoman and why she prefers being single. - BBC News
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:48
Caitlyn Jenner has released a memoir entitled The Secrets Of My Life. She talks to Women's Hour about the journey she has been on since her transition two years ago.
Caitlyn Jenner has released a memoir entitled The Secrets Of My Life.
She talks to Women's Hour about the journey she has been on since her transition two years ago.
VIDEO - Why America's Enemies Especially North Korea Should Still Fear the B 1B Bomber 1 - YouTube
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:16
VIDEO - BREAKING: ICBM launch to hit Pyongyang in 30 minutes - US Troops THAAD ready at border for attack! - YouTube
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:17
VIDEO - Extortion 17 Tragedy Covered Up By Obama Administration And Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz - YouTube
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:39
VIDEO - Russia may be aiding Taliban, US general in Afghanistan says - ABC News
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:32
Russia is believed to be the source of an influx of weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a press conference on Monday.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who appeared with Nicholson at Resolute Support headquarters, said the U.S. would have to "confront Russia" over "denying the sovereignty of other countries," including Afghanistan.
"For example, any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law," said Mattis.
Asked if he would refute claims that Russia is providing weapons to the Taliban, Nicholson answered definitively.
"Oh no, I'm not refuting that," the general said.
Nicholson said the U.S. has continued to receive reports of Russian assistance to the Taliban.
While Mattis said that the U.S. would "engage with Russia diplomatically," he spoke in stronger terms about the threat of the Taliban and of ISIS in Afghanistan and expressed confidence about his ability to advise President Donald Trump on U.S. policy in the region upon his return.
''We are under no illusions about the challenges associated with this mission,'' said Mattis, who called the Taliban a "barbaric enemy" as he referenced an attack Friday that killed more than 100 at an Afghan military base.
On ISIS, Nicholson issued a warning to the terrorist organization that is currently centered within Iraq and Syria.
"If they come here to Afghanistan, they will be destroyed. In keeping secretary's intent, they will be annihilated," said Nicholson, who noted that ISIS attempts to gain a foothold in the country have been mostly repelled.
"We're going to keep going until they're defeated in 2017," said Nicholson. "Now they have an aspiration, I think, to move fighters here from Syria. We haven't seen it happen. And, in fact, by reducing their sanctuary here, by annihilating them here, it should very clear to ISIS main there is no space to come to in Afghanistan.''
VIDEO - Bill Nye Destroys Trump Adviser William Happer, Scolds CNN over Climate Change - YouTube
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23
VIDEO - A Talk with Dr. Jordan Peterson - YouTube
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:08
VIDEO - IT'S OVER! Newt Gingrich Just Went on Live TV & ENDED The Mainstream Media - Subject: Politics
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:14
Newt Gingrich is on FIRE as of late. First, he exposed the media last week for inviting terrorism with their political correctness. Now, he just went on ABC and ended the mainstream media's credibility once and for all!
While Newt was a panelist on ''This week with George Stephanopoulos,'' the entire liberal panel AND the host did nothing but TRASH President Trump. WELL, NEWT HAD FINALLY HAD ENOUGH!
Newt interrupted and called out these liberal ''reporters'' face-to-face! He looked right at Stephanopoulos and told him he's been wrong about Trump since day one, and that he's lost all credibility. Newt told them they all live in an alternate universe, divorced from reality!
WATCH this then SHARE on Facebook if you stand with Gingrich and Trump against the LYING media!
Here is the transcript of the exchange:
NEWT GINGRICH: ''You guys all collectively lived through Trump knocking off the Republicans, Trump knocking off Hillary, being wrong about all of it at every stage. And you turn around and play the same old conventional wisdom. Donald Trump is the most divisive president since Abraham Lincoln. He represents an alternative world so that's why you have riots at places like Berkeley, he '-- you have two parallel universes here. There's actually a very funny Megyn Kelly interview I did two weeks before the election, she's giving me all this polling data. And I said, look, there are two universes.
Now if your universe is right, Hillary Clinton's president. If our universe is right, Donald Trump is president.''
STEPHANOPOULOS: I completely take that point. That's how he's being seen out in the country, in parts of the country right now. But how does it affect the governing? Can you govern effectively '-- with 40 percent?
GINGRICH: Sure. Well, first of all, as you know, because you've done it, presidents are really powerful. Presidents who are willful and strong-willed and focused have enormous capability to move the system.
VIDEO - Pizzagate Pedogate Dutch Whistleblower Real Big Money Revelations by an Insider - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:39
VIDEO - What Grinds My Gears: Furry SJW - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:31
VIDEO - Lecturing White People on Cultural Appropriation - Bill Nye Saves the World - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:15
VIDEO - '268th caller in the queue': Immigration bureaucrats struggle with citizenship chaos
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:31
Turkey boosts security for Gallipoli ...Turkey boosts security for Gallipoli ceremonyTurkish officials say they have responded to Australian's warnings about a potential attack on this year's Anzac Day ceremony at Gallipoli by boosting the number of security personnel. Matt Brown reports.
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NZ PM 'disappointed' in citizenship changesNew Zealanders will now have to wait longer to obtain Australian citizenship, prompting criticism from PM Bill English.
It comes after the Turnbull government announced a major overhaul of the citizenship test on Thursday, including the addition of a "values" test, tougher English language requirements and a four-year wait as a permanent resident.
"Due to very high demand we are unable to take your call at this time," worried callers are being told by a machine. "The department apologises for any inconvenience and we thank you for your patience. Please call back later."
Immigration chaos: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced a major overhaul of the citizenship test. Photo: SupppliedThe high call volume is affecting callers inquiring about matters unrelated to citizenship '' such as holidaying in Australia, employer-sponsored migration and humanitarian visas '' who are being told to try again later.
One caller on Monday, who managed to reach the call menu and dial "four" for citizenship, was then placed in a queue of 268 people.
"We appreciate your patience. You are currently the 268th caller in the queue," the client was told, before he ended the call.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection acknowledged the "significant" spike in calls and said it had devoted extra resources to handling the influx.
"Since the announcement from the government last week, the department has seen a significant rise of inquiries to its service centre," the spokesman said.
"This spike in call volumes resulted in delays for clients calling the department's service centre.
"The department has put in place contingency measures to address the high volumes of calls at this time, including devoting information officers solely to answering citizenship calls."
The department did not answer questions about its average wait times and call duration, or about the average delay faced by customers on Monday.
Announcing the changes on Thursday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said they would be "empowering" for citizenship applicants.
"This will be good for the applicants, good for the nation," he said.
The elimination of the 457 visa, to be replaced by two types of temporary work visas with new and tougher rules, has led to a flood of inquiries to the department since it was announced last week.
Henry Sherrell, an immigration researcher at the ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy and a former DIBP employee, said it was unsurprising the department and migration agents were feeling the heat.
"There's not much information available so a lot of people are concerned and confused," he said.
VIDEO - (203) Mika Brzezinski Learns About 'Furries' | msnbc - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:32
VIDEO - Macron emerges on top as France urged to reject Le Pen - CNN.com
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:59
As Le Pen continued to celebrate the highest-ever voting tally for her Front National party, French President Francois Hollande joined candidates knocked out in the first round in endorsing Macron, who ended his insurgent campaign with a result that confounded expectations.
The result amounted to a comprehensive rejection of traditional politics in France. It is the first time since the establishment of the fifth French Republic in 1958 that no candidate from the two main political parties of the left and right has made it into the second round of the presidential vote.
Macron goes through to the second round as the clear frontrunner, with most voters expected to switch to him from mainstream defeated candidates. Le Pen, meanwhile, faces an uphill struggle.
The French stock markets rose on Monday morning, and the euro jumped to its highest level since November against the dollar as investors bet against the chances of Le Pen winning.There was relief in Europe, too: Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, described Macron as a "patriot".
The chief of staff for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the result showed France and Europe could "win together" and added: "The center is stronger than the populists think."
Hollande -- whose ratings have been in the doldrums for several years now -- said on Monday he would vote for Macron.
"(Macron) will allow all the French to come together, to rally around in this most precarious difficult moment of the history of France."
He added that voting for Macron would signify unity in the country and an acceptance of France's place in the world and its role in Europe. A vote for Le Pen would be a "risk," he said.
Francois Fillon, the mainstream Republican candidate whose campaign foundered amid corruption allegations, emerged swiftly from his defeat with words of support for Macron."I promise you, extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France," he said, describing the National Front as a party of "violence" and "intolerance."
Posters of the French presidential candidates on Sunday.
"We have to choose what is preferable for our country, and I am not going to rejoice. Abstention is not in my genes, especially when an extremist party is close to power," he said. "There is no other choice but to vote against the far right."
He argued that Le Pen's economic and social programs would bankrupt the country, particularly if France dropped the euro as its currency, as the far-right leader has threatened.
The Socialist Party's candidate, Benoit Hamon, also warned against a Le Pen victory. "I appeal to you in the strongest terms to beat the National Front by voting for Emmanuel Macron, even though he is not part of the Left," Hamon wrote on Twitter.
Hamon secured just 6.4% of the vote, a disastrous showing for the Socialist Party, whose candidate Francois Hollande won the presidency in 2012 but whose popularity has sunk during his term.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted his support for Macron, calling on voters to back him in the second round "to combat the National Front's disastrous project to take France backwards and to divide the French people."
But far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has refused to say who he would back, criticizing both candidates for having "no stance on the environment or the future of civilization, and who both challenge the welfare and social accord of the country."
France: Open or closed?
French voters made it clear Sunday that they were ready for change -- neither candidate hails from the establishment parties that have dominated the country for decades.
In the next two weeks, Macron will build on his pro-European, centrist message while Le Pen made it clear she would intensify the nationalist, anti-Islamist rhetoric that propelled her into the second round.
Sunday's first round contest was held under tight security after a terror attack in Paris Thursday night disrupted the final day of campaigning Friday. And the Paris attacks in November 2015, in which 130 people were killed, saw Hollande's popularity plunge into the doldrums.Le Pen, 48, told supporters her first move as president would be to impose a temporary ban on legal immigration to France. She has also vowed to take France out of the EU.
"The French people must seize this opportunity, because the enormous challenge of this election is the wild globalization that puts our civilization at risk," Le Pen said at Henin-Beaumont, a National Front stronghold in northern France.
"Either we continue to disintegrate without any borders, without any controls, unfair international competition, mass immigration and the free circulation of terrorists, or you choose France with borders," she added.
Macron, 39, has warned against nationalism and has attracted support from the left and right for his more moderate stance, promising to boost the economy and improve security.
"I will be the president of the patriots against the threat of the nationalists. There is only one France, France of the patriots in a protective Europe. The fight to be trustworthy to run our country starts tonight and we will win it," he said Sunday night.
His party, "En Marche!" which was only created in September, now has more than 200,000 members and his meetings have attracted vast crowds.
Le Pen, Macron supporters rejoice
Le Pen's advancement to the second round is not without precedent -- her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, made it to a runoff against the then-incumbent Jacques Chirac in 2002, only to suffer a devastating loss when anti-extremist voters rallied against the National Front leader.But it was not the comprehensive breakthrough for the far right that some had predicted.
Nonetheless, supporters at the National Front's headquarters responded to the results with songs and dance through the night, waving Le Pen flags.
"Marine Le Pen -- liberty!" shouted one woman, who gave her name as Valerie.
"Immigrants, terrorism, killing police officers -- I can't bear it. I don't want to see that kind of thing anymore. I want to live in a free country," she told CNN.
A huge cheer erupted at Macron's headquarters after the results emerged, his supporters waving the French Tricolour flag, and those of the EU.
"I'm actually quite happy because I voted Emmanuel Macron yesterday," Roman Maison, a 27-year-old banker, told CNN in Paris on Monday.
"I think it's a big great message for Europe, this is a great message for all around the world that populists are not winning."
The result mirrored others -- such as the British vote to leave the European Union and the US election of Donald Trump -- where voters have rejected traditional elites.
"It's a political earthquake in this country and in Europe," veteran French journalist Christine Ockrent told CNN.
Voters react to early results of the French presidential election first round.
Fillon was an early favorite for the presidency, but his campaign suffered from allegations that he paid his wife and children for work they never carried out. He denies any wrongdoing.
Far-left firebrand M(C)lenchon, whose popularity surged in the final weeks of the race following impressive performances in the television debates, has so far refused to concede defeat, but said he would accept the final results when they came in."We do not recognize the score announced on the basis of opinion polls," he wrote on Facebook. "The results of the larger towns and cities are not yet known," he added, calling for "restraint" and urging commentators to "be cautious."CNN's Hilary Clarke, James Masters, Saskya Vandoorne, Hilary McGann, Oceane Cornevin, Carol Jordan, Stephanie Halasz and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.
VIDEO - My Sex Junk - Rachel Bloom - Bill Nye Saves The World - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 07:13
VIDEO - My Sex Junk - Rachel Bloom - Bill Nye Saves The World - YouTube
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:43
VIDEO - Sean Hannity the Latest Fox News Host to Be Accused of Sexual Harassment - Story
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:11
Tulsa, OK - Columnist, attorney, and former Fox News contributor Debbie Schlussel appeared on today's Pat Campbell Show and accused Fox News Prime Time Host Sean Hannity of the same type of behavior that lead to Bill O'Reilly leaving the beleaguered network earlier this week.
Among the allegations, Schlussel claims that while at an appearance in Detroit which they both attended, Hannity invited her back to his hotel room.
Schlussel says that after she turned down his advances, she was not invited back on his program.
''This kind of stuff is all over the place at Fox News and anything that has to do with Sean Hannity,'' Schlussel said.
Click here to listen to the complete interview:
Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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