31 December, 2015

Barrack Obama - Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee : television

Barrack Obama - Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee : television: "I can't imagine the amount of exasperation he's dealt with the last 8 years. I'm going to remember him as the guy (according to Game Change) who said during the 2008 elections, "This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."
"



'via Blog this'

30 December, 2015

The Laws Of The Public Policy Process

The Laws Of The Public Policy Process:

38. In politics, nothing moves unless pushed.
39. Winners aren't perfect. They made fewer mistakes than their rivals.
40. One big reason is better than many little reasons.
41. In moments of crisis, the initiative passes to those who are best prepared.
- See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/writings/?ID=30#sthash.MHlxdtJs.dpuf



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Let's Go Exploring | RedState

Let's Go Exploring | RedState: "We all grow up. Our views are allowed to change. We start with burning passion, but temper that passion with life over time. Compare St. Paul writing Galatians to St. Paul writing Ephesians. It is the same man with the same beliefs, but his tone is different, his emphasis is different, and the burning zeal of Galatians is tempered by a pastor who has pastored through more storms. We are all like that. We all have different emphases and passions and life experiences that will shape us, mature us, and grow us. We should not be held down by the past for fear that someone might point out we’ve changed. Life is supposed to change us. That does not mean it will change our core beliefs. It does mean it can change our priorities or how we view our beliefs.

"



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In Defense Of George Lucas | Birth.Movies.Death.

In Defense Of George Lucas | Birth.Movies.Death.: "(It’s worth taking a sidebar here to note that while Star Wars was pure George Lucas, it was George Lucas working with many restrictions, often budgetary. With those restrictions gone we got The Phantom Menace, a movie that is totally uncut, un-stepped on Lucas. This is as good an example as any in the history of art that limitations often help artists.)

"



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The Tipping Point · Maptia

The Tipping Point · Maptia: "We were fewer than 500 miles from the North Pole. There was no snow. It was, most days, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no ice, so polar bears roamed the land, so hungry that they just went from nest to nest eating the eggs of birds that had traveled thousands of miles to lay their eggs and raise their chicks. I watched as one bear, in a couple of hours, destroyed an entire generation of eggs. Glaucous gulls, kitty wakes, eider ducks, king eider ducks. It was a devastating scene.

"



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Eleven Things Americans Should Do — Medium

Eleven Things Americans Should Do — Medium:

If a family is driving down the road and the car gets stuck in a ditch, we would be ashamed of a father who said, “I am the strongest, so I shouldn’t have to push as hard as the rest of you.” But that is precisely what rich people do when they exert their influence not to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes — they are the strongest but refuse the push the hardest.
But after the car is out of the ditch, the family needs to say, “Thanks, Dad, glad you were here — without you, we would probably still be in the ditch.” Many rich people never, ever hear that. Nobody ever tells them “Thank you for paying your taxes!”


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Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home - The Washington Post

Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home - The Washington Post: "Last week, U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims. Lungstrum found that sending a SWAT team into a home first thing in the morning based on no more than a positive field test and spotting a suspect at a gardening store was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. He found that the police had probable cause for the search, and that the way the search was conducted did not constitute excessive force. He found that the Hartes had not been defamed by the raid or by the publicity surrounding it. He also ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate, nor were they obligated to wait for the more accurate lab tests before conducting the SWAT raid. The only way they’d have a claim would be if they could show that the police lied about the results, deliberately manipulated the tests or showed a reckless disregard for the truth — and he ruled that the Hartes had failed to do so.

"



'via Blog this'

Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home - The Washington Post

Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home - The Washington Post: "Last week, U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims. Lungstrum found that sending a SWAT team into a home first thing in the morning based on no more than a positive field test and spotting a suspect at a gardening store was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. He found that the police had probable cause for the search, and that the way the search was conducted did not constitute excessive force. He found that the Hartes had not been defamed by the raid or by the publicity surrounding it. He also ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate, nor were they obligated to wait for the more accurate lab tests before conducting the SWAT raid. The only way they’d have a claim would be if they could show that the police lied about the results, deliberately manipulated the tests or showed a reckless disregard for the truth — and he ruled that the Hartes had failed to do so.

"



'via Blog this'

29 December, 2015

The Limits of Empathy

The Limits of Empathy: "
Split up the work.
You might start by asking each employee to zero in on a certain set of stakeholders, rather than empathize with anyone and everyone. Some people can focus primarily on customers, for instance, and others on coworkers—think of it as creating task forces to meet different stakeholders’ needs. This makes the work of developing relationships and gathering perspectives less consuming for individuals. You’ll also accomplish more in the aggregate, by distributing “caring” responsibilities across your team or company. Although empathy is finite for any one person, it’s less bounded when managed across employees.

"



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Larry Summers: Here’s what Bernie Sanders gets wrong – and right – about the Fed - The Washington Post

Larry Summers: Here’s what Bernie Sanders gets wrong – and right – about the Fed - The Washington Post: "Second, the Balkanized character of U.S. banking regulation is indefensible and would be ended. The worst regulatory idea of the 20th century—the dual banking system—persists into the 21st. The idea is that we have two systems — one regulated by the states and the Fed and the other regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — so banks have choice. With ambitious regulators eager to expand their reach, the inevitable result is a race to the bottom.

"



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Abusive parents: What do grown children owe the mothers and fathers who made their childhood a living hell?

Abusive parents: What do grown children owe the mothers and fathers who made their childhood a living hell?: "There is no formula for defining one’s obligations to the parents who didn’t fulfill their own. The stories of famous people with abusive parents reveal the wide range of possible responses. Abraham Lincoln couldn't stand his brutish father, Thomas, who hated Abraham’s books and sent him out as a kind of indentured servant. As an adult, Lincoln did occasionally bail out his father financially. But during his father’s final illness, Lincoln ignored letters telling him the end was near. Finally, he wrote not to his father, but his stepbrother to explain his absence: “Say to him that if we could meet now, it is doubtful whether it would not be more painful than pleasant.” Lincoln didn’t attend his father’s funeral.

"



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U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress - WSJ

U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress - WSJ: "Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.

"



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Wrong — This is Hard. — Medium

Wrong — This is Hard. — Medium: "Selecting anyone else, besides the CEO, to run Diversity and Inclusion in the current tech environment is just another half-assed diversity initiative. Selecting a white guy that’s not the CEO for that role? That’s a signal from Twitter that they’re incapable of hiring anything but white men, even at the top of the organization, even in a role where having the experience and viewpoint of someone other than a white man is critical. That sends a message to everyone at Twitter that though leadership talks a good diversity game, they aren’t capable of or don’t care to put it into action. Nobody but the CEO is going to be able to fix that."



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For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions - The New York Times

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions - The New York Times: "The impact on their own fortunes has been stark. Two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.



The ultra-wealthy “literally pay millions of dollars for these services,” said Jeffrey A. Winters, a political scientist at Northwestern University who studies economic elites, “and save in the tens or hundreds of millions in taxes.”"



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San Francisco's Housing Activists Are Making the City More Expensive - The Atlantic

San Francisco's Housing Activists Are Making the City More Expensive - The Atlantic: "“The eviction song killed. Everything killed, which was strange, given something I haven't mentioned til now. Maybe half the parents in the auditorium worked in tech,” Mooallem wrote. “And now they were watching their own children spear them as cartoon villains, literally cackling and throwing money over flutes of champagne, as they plotted the eviction of all those nice people. No one in the audience booed, of course, or huffed or stamped out. We were watching our kids perform. But I can't imagine what it must have been like to keep smiling along as you suddenly realized that for weeks after school, your own son or daughter had been rehearsing songs that mocked both you and the job you were off working, which is why you'd been forced to entrust your kids to the after-school program in the first place.”

"



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Flirting With a Chaotic GOP Convention - WSJ

Flirting With a Chaotic GOP Convention - WSJ: "When reports of a closed-door meeting surfaced in early December, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus ridiculed the chances of a deadlocked convention but insisted that they “prepare for everything.” Indeed, no planning would border on malpractice. The 2016 convention begins five weeks earlier than the previous three. It takes considerable time to plan sessions, slot roll-call votes, find speakers if there’s no clear nominee, and be sure that the arena and hotel rooms are available if the convention goes more than four days.

"



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The Ferguson Report - The Atlantic

The Ferguson Report - The Atlantic: "Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue...
"



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The Ferguson Report - The Atlantic

The Ferguson Report - The Atlantic: "Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue...
"



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28 December, 2015

NorthBus comments on Prosecutor says officers won't be charged in shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland

NorthBus comments on Prosecutor says officers won't be charged in shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland:

But in this case, the Prosecutor (Timothy McGinty) not only failed to do his job, he worked to actively sabotage the Grand Jury process. Remember, in this trial, the officer is the defendant and is being prosecuted by the state. However, rather than putting prosecutorial evidence before the Grand Jury like he was supposed to do, McGinty instead brought forth evidence against his own side to the Grand Jury. He hired and brought in numerous "experts" to give testimony in support of the defense, allowed the defendant to give statements on his own behalf, vigorously cross-examined the other witnesses who actually agreed with his side, etc.



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The quiet impact of Obama’s Christian faith | The Washington Post

The quiet impact of Obama’s Christian faith | The Washington Post: "He has repeatedly said in recent months that one of his biggest regrets is that he will leave behind a country that has grown more polarized and distrustful during his two terms in the White House. “There’s all this goodness and decency and common sense on the ground, and somehow it gets translated into rigid, dogmatic, often mean-spirited politics,” Obama said in a recent interview.

"



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Big Short Genius Says Another Crisis Is Coming -- NYMag

Big Short Genius Says Another Crisis Is Coming -- NYMag: "The enablers for this crisis were varied, and it starts not with the bank but with decisions by individuals to borrow to finance a better life, and that is one very loaded decision. This crisis was such a bona fide 100-year flood that the entire world is still trying to dig out of the mud seven years later. Yet so few took responsibility for having any part in it, and the reason is simple: All these people found others to blame, and to that extent, an unhelpful narrative was created. Whether it’s the one percent or hedge funds or Wall Street, I do not think society is well served by failing to encourage every last American to look within. This crisis truly took a village, and most of the villagers themselves are not without some personal responsibility for the circumstances in which they found themselves. We should be teaching our kids to be better citizens through personal responsibility, not by the example of blame."



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T.S.A. Moves Closer to Rejecting Some State Driver’s Licenses for Travel - The New York Times

T.S.A. Moves Closer to Rejecting Some State Driver’s Licenses for Travel - The New York Times: "But some states have bitterly opposed these requirements out of privacy concerns, and more than a dozen have passed laws barring their motor vehicle departments from complying with the law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new standards require more stringent proof of identity and will eventually allow users’ information to be shared more easily in a national database.



 Privacy experts, civil liberty organizations and libertarian groups fear the law would create something like a national identification card."



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27 December, 2015

Why Do Rituals Grow as a Year Dwindles? - WSJ

Why Do Rituals Grow as a Year Dwindles? - WSJ: "But why all the ritual? For anthropologists, rituals are defined by certain qualities: They are repetitive, prescribed, compelling to our attention, reproduced in time and space, costly in resources and effort, and filled with actions that have no practical purpose. They often occur when people feel threatened—by drought, illness, engagement with an enemy—and at life transitions like birth, initiation, marriage and death. In our own culture, secular rituals also include graduation, retirement, championships and New Year’s Eve.

"



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Star Wars and the Critical Benefit of Low Expectations - The Atlantic

Star Wars and the Critical Benefit of Low Expectations - The Atlantic: "But The Force Awakens is a film—something that the last three offerings from Lucas were not.  Indeed, I walked out of the movie theater amazed that I now actually thought less of the prequels, then when I walked in. Everything—save special effects—is wrong the last three iterations of Star Wars. The plotting is indecipherable. The dialogue is painful. Otherwise good actors struggle under Lucas’s direction.  Also, Jar-Jar Binks. (What? Ain’t no more.) That this horribleness was strapped to an incredible hype machine only made matters worse.

"



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In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared - The Washington Post

In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared - The Washington Post: "
The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, released a study in September that confirmed what many Flint parents had feared for over a year: The proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source, in 2014.

The crisis reached a nadir Monday night, when Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency."



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City of Fear | Vanity Fair

City of Fear | Vanity Fair: "The day after the attacks suddenly stopped, word spread through São Paulo that the state had agreed to provide the P.C.C. with 60 flat-screen televisions for enhanced viewing of the upcoming World Cup soccer matches. A prison official later told me that the televisions in question already belonged to the P.C.C., that they were part of a hijacked load, and that the P.C.C. had wanted—and now received—the right to bring them in as a jailhouse boast. And okay, in Brazil soccer really does matter. But no such petty purpose can explain an assault on an entire city, nor can superficial political theories, of which there are several. Clearly, something much larger was going on. What is certain is that the assault was a demonstration of strength, an act of self-affirmation, and a measured blow against the rule of law. Some of the attacks were so brazen as to be nearly suicidal. The point being made was not that they could be carried out, but that they could be sustained. The lack of serious demands added a vicious twist. It denied the government the power even to concede, and allowed the P.C.C. to script the drama from beginning to end. Moreover, because the P.C.C. leaders were already in prison, they had little to fear of punishment. They could taunt the state from within the very walls it had built to contain them. Ah, the art of war.

"



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In Celebration of Modest Christmases Past - WSJ

In Celebration of Modest Christmases Past - WSJ:

Here is a friend of mine, from a large Irish Catholic family in New Jersey—seven kids, no money. She is in her 60s now, but still shy about revisiting those days. She doesn’t recall any specific gifts she received—“It wasn’t like we were going to get a smartphone, it wasn’t like that”—but she remembers the time the baby of the family, Cathy, age 5, let everyone know Santa was going to give her something very special.
But Cathy wouldn’t tell anyone what it was. On Christmas Eve, her resourceful mother finally told her to write Santa a thank-you note and put it under the tree. She did, and later her mother peeked at the note: Cathy thanked Santa for the “bride doll” that he had hidden for her in the bookcase. But it was Christmas Eve—the stores were closed. After Cathy went to bed, one of my friend’s other sisters remembered a pile of old dolls down in the basement. “We found a doll, cleaned it, found a dress, washed and ironed,” my friend recalls. “We combed the hair, we gave it earrings and jewelry.” At dawn, Cathy ran down the stairs and found in the back of the bookcase the beautiful doll she knew would be there.


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Stephen Colbert on Face the Nation

Stephen Colbert on Face the Nation: "You can't laugh and be afraid at the same time. It's like physiologically impossible to laugh and be afraid at the same time. So I'm very grateful for my job. Because we think about things like the things we are talking about but at the end of the day we have to find some way to laugh about it that is not disrespectful of people's experience of it. And that's an odd little balance to walk but hopefully we do it sometimes."



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Obama’s team says the GOP earned Donald Trump - POLITICO

Obama’s team says the GOP earned Donald Trump - POLITICO: "According to people in the White House, Obama doesn’t talk about Trump much. When he does, it’s with a combination of amusement and disgust at the rhetoric, occasionally mentioning his amazement at GOP leaders’ inability to understand Trump’s supporters and the long-term damage the president thinks Trump is doing to the party with the groups of voters who will decide future elections.

"



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26 December, 2015

Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election? - The Atlantic

Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election? - The Atlantic: "What set them apart from other Republicans was their economic insecurity and the intensity of their economic nationalism. Sixty-three percent of Trump supporters wished to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil—a dozen points higher than the norm for all Republicans. More than other Republicans, Trump supporters distrusted Barack Obama as alien and dangerous: Only 21 percent acknowledged that the president was born in the United States, according to an August survey by the Democratic-oriented polling firm PPP. Sixty-six percent believed the president was a Muslim.

"



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We need to talk about Kurdistan

We need to talk about Kurdistan: "I am sure you will know the old Kurdish saying that the Kurds have no friends but the mountains. We are pleased that this has been changing over the last 25 years and we now have firm friends in Britain, America, German and France among many other so-called imperialist nations.

"



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Cracks in the Liberal Order - The New York Times

Cracks in the Liberal Order - The New York Times: "It’s still wise to bet on the current order, in other words, and against its enemies and rivals and would-be saboteurs.

But after liberalism’s year of living dangerously, for the first time in a long time it might make sense to hedge that bet."



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24 December, 2015

A Dream of Secular Utopia in ISIS’ Backyard - The New York Times

A Dream of Secular Utopia in ISIS’ Backyard - The New York Times:

Mirza, 29, had sad, drowsy eyes and wore thick spectacles perched low on his nose. He hadn’t noticed the commotion. ‘‘I’m used to the sound,’’ he said. Unlike other students at the academy, Mirza grew up outside Syria in a small village in western Iraq. He is not a Muslim or an atheist but a Yazidi, part of an ethnic and religious minority that practices a modern form of Zoroastrianism. He hadn’t heard of Abdullah Ocalan until recently. In August 2014, ISIS extremists attacked his village, near the city of Sinjar, and butchered as many as 5,000 of his neighbors. While Mirza and his family were trapped on a mountain for four days, waiting to die, a battalion of women — Y.P.J. soldiers — fought through the ISIS lines and created a path for them to escape. Mirza, severely dehydrated and on the verge of collapse, fled.
‘‘The battle made me think of women differently,’’ he told me. ‘‘Women fighters — they saved us. My society, Yazidi society, is more, let’s say, traditional. I’d never thought of women as leaders, as heroes, before.’’


'via Blog this'

Merry Christmas - Erick on the Radio

Merry Christmas - Erick on the Radio: "Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

"



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23 December, 2015

Falcon 9's Second Stage Restart was Just as Important as Sticking the Landing - SpaceNews.com

Falcon 9's Second Stage Restart was Just as Important as Sticking the Landing - SpaceNews.com: "​PARIS — SpaceX’s successful deployment Dec. 21 of 11 Orbcomm machine-to-machine messaging satellites and the apparently clean return and landing of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage also validated the ability of the redesigned second-stage propulsion system to restart in orbit after a coast phase, SpaceX said.

"



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Star Wars and Skellig Michael

Star Wars and Skellig Michael: "None of this tiresome and contrived nonsense justified the use of Skellig Michael. Bizarrely, the site itself appears only for a few minutes in the closing of a production that heavily relies on cosmetic and visual effects throughout. The argument that Skellig Michael’s inclusion then, and for the future, has merit on the premise that it will generate more tourism is belied by ignorance of the typical US Star Wars fan – a badly ageing character without a passport and whose range of movement consists of an assisted toddle no further than from the couch to the car."



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22 December, 2015

Moldova's Drama on the Dniester | The National Interest

Moldova's Drama on the Dniester | The National Interest: "Moldova’s problem is not that it’s a failed state. It’s a state where almost nothing has ever actually worked. In 2013, forty EU judges journeyed to Chișinău to observe how different state institutions functioned. They didn’t. Jobs that ought to be off-limits to political appointments—heading the banks, overseeing the police—are the specialty of political appointees. Four in five Moldovans profess no faith in the rule of law. Ninety percent of judges may be convicted of corruption when tried, but only last year, for the first time in Moldovan history, did one go to jail. Moldova is a state that cannot even pretend to control the real estate it calls its own. Roads are in disrepair if they’re paved at all. The national rail system is single-track—two trains cannot simultaneously operate in opposite directions. The complete lack of national interconnectedness is most evident in the presence of the notorious baroni locali, the “local bosses” who govern largely beyond Chișinău’s reach. Justice in Soroca, a town in the north, is meted out by a bulibaşa, a gypsy king called Artur. Oleg Bădărău, the mayor of a village called Bahmut, was hauled to trial in 2012 when he was discovered to have raised his own private militia."



'via Blog this'

21 December, 2015

Background on Tonight's Launch | SpaceX

Background on Tonight's Launch | SpaceX: "In the case of the Falcon 9 rocket, the boost stage is able to accelerate a payload mass of 125 metric tons to 8000 km/h and land on an ocean platform or to 5000 km/h and land back at the launch site. The second one is lower because the rocket is moving super fast away from the launch site, so it has to do a screetching U-turn with nitrogen attitude thrusters, then fire the engines to create a reversed ballistic arc, then reorient again for atmospheric entry and have the engines pointed in the right direction for the landing burn. Since the propellant is liquid, it wants to centrifuge out during these maneuvers, so there has to be a system of baffles and internal holding tanks to keep it in place. It also needs three axis control surfaces that don't melt easily and work well from hypersonic through subsonic speeds.

"



'via Blog this'

20 December, 2015

Black, autistic, and killed by police | Feature | Chicago Reader

Black, autistic, and killed by police | Feature | Chicago Reader: "
"When you deal with a child with autism, you don't come at it with guns blazing," said Wayne Watts, Stephon's uncle, his voice wavering at a Burger King in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. "There is no reason that child should not be sitting here today."

Steven said he's exhausted himself trying to understand why police didn't use de-escalation techniques with his son that day.

"Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they were in fear of their lives, and they took their weapons out and they shot him," Steven said. "My problem with that is they didn't try to stop him; they tried to kill him.""



'via Blog this'

Why ISIS has the potential to be a world-altering re...

Why ISIS has the potential to be a world-altering re...: "Civilisations rise and fall on the vitality of their cultural ideals, not their material assets alone. History shows that most societies have sacred values for which their people would passionately fight, risking serious loss and even death rather than compromise. Our research suggests this is so for many who join ISIS, and for many Kurds who oppose them on the frontlines. But, so far, we find no comparable willingness among the majority of youth that we sample in Western democracies. With the defeat of fascism and communism, have their lives defaulted to the quest for comfort and safety? Is this enough to ensure the survival, much less triumph, of values we have come to take for granted, on which we believe our world is based? More than the threat from violent jihadis, this might be the key existential issue for open societies today.

"



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18 December, 2015

Hagel: The White House Tried to ‘Destroy’ Me | Foreign Policy

Hagel: The White House Tried to ‘Destroy’ Me | Foreign Policy: "The 69-year-old former Nebraska senator and Vietnam War veteran, speaking for the first time about his treatment by the Obama administration, said the Pentagon was subject to debilitating meddling and micromanagement by the White House — echoing criticism made by his predecessors, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.

"



'via Blog this'

Cruz rivals see an opportunity in his criticism of the NSA - The Washington Post

Cruz rivals see an opportunity in his criticism of the NSA - The Washington Post: ""We still hold that it's necessary to rein in the NSA's collection of bulk data," said Josh Withrow, the legislative director at FreedomWorks. "When it comes to Rubio, I think what he says about the diminishing effect on NSA reform on our ability to catch terrorism is demonstrably false. The government has repeatedly said that bulk data collection was not helping them catch terrorists; that it got in the way by making the haystack larger."

"



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17 December, 2015

FBI on San Bernardino massacre: Alleged shooters did NOT post support for jihad on social media - Salon.com

FBI on San Bernardino massacre: Alleged shooters did NOT post support for jihad on social media - Salon.com: "FBI Director James Comey told the media in a news conference that “We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them,” according to NBC journalist Bradd Jaffy.

14 people were killed and 22 were injured in the shootings in the southern California town on December 2, 2015."



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15 December, 2015

Native Intelligence | History | Smithsonian

Native Intelligence | History | Smithsonian: "The Pilgrims’ lack of preparation was typical. Expeditions from France and Spain were usually backed by the state, and generally staffed by soldiers accustomed to hard living. English voyages, by contrast, were almost always funded by venture capitalists who hoped for a quick cash-out. Decades after first touching the Americas, London’s venture capitalists still had not figured out that New England is colder than Britain despite being farther south. Even when they focused on a warmer place like Virginia, they persistently selected as colonists people ignorant of farming; the hope of fleeing religious persecution uppermost in their minds, the Pilgrims, alas, were an example. Multiplying the difficulties, the would-be colonizers were arriving in the middle of a severe, multiyear drought. Jamestown and the other Virginia forays survived on Indian charity—they were “utterly dependent and therefore controllable,” Karen Ordahl Kuppermann, a New York University historian, has written. The same held true for the adventurers in Plymouth.

"



'via Blog this'

How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives - ProPublica

How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives - ProPublica: "Lost in the debate is that even in high-crime cities, the risk of gun violence is mostly concentrated among a small number of men. In Oakland, for instance, crime experts working with the police department a few years ago found that about 1,000 active members of a few dozen street groups drove most homicides. That’s .3 percent of Oakland’s population. And even within this subgroup, risk fluctuated according to feuds and other beefs. In practical terms, the experts found that over a given stretch of several months only about 50 to 100 men are at the highest risk of shooting someone or getting shot.
"



'via Blog this'

14 December, 2015

The sad economics of being famous on the internet | Fusion

The sad economics of being famous on the internet | Fusion: "The disconnect between internet fame and financial security is hard to comprehend for both creators and fans.



But it’s the crux of many mid-level web personalities’ lives. Take moderately successful YouTubers, for example. Connor Manning, an LGBT vlogger with 70,000 subscribers, was recognized six times selling memberships at the Baltimore Aquarium. Rosianna Halse Rojas, who has her own books and lifestyle channel and is also YouTube king John Green’s producing partner, has had people freak out at her TopMan register. Rachel Whitehurst, whose beauty and sexuality vlog has 160,000 subscribers, was forced to quit her job at Starbucks because fans memorized her schedule.

In other words: Many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to."



'via Blog this'

13 December, 2015

U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia

U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia:

Within the overarching need for a U.S. comprehensive strategy, Russia poses four distinct, but related problems for U.S. policy:
  • First, Putin’s Russia is a regime that combines a lack of respect for political, civil, and economic rights with a dysfunctional economy.
  • Second and most dangerous for the United States, Russia poses a series of worldwide strategic and diplomatic challenges, including buildup of its nuclear arsenal and military.
  • Third, Russia poses threats to discrete U.S. friends, allies, and interests around the world.
  • Fourth, Russia’s cooperation with bad actors and its increasing tendency to play a spoiler role pose another set of threats.
This report addresses all four problems in turn after setting out the comprehensive strategy on which the U.S. should base its response.


'via Blog this'

One more quote

How to Beat Islamic State - WSJ: "Counterinsurgency rests on the assumption that the enemy has significant support in the communities from which it recruits. The aim of counterinsurgency strategy is to deny the enemy any propaganda victories that can further fuel its recruitment. Insurgents must be isolated from their targeted host communities. This requires a combination of psychological, physical and economic warfare, all with the aim of undermining the insurgents’ ideological, operational and financial capabilities.

"



'via Blog this'

How to Beat Islamic State - WSJ

How to Beat Islamic State - WSJ: "Islam is a religion, and like any other faith, it is internally diverse. Islamism, by contrast, is the desire to impose a single version of Islam on an entire society. Islamism is not Islam, but it is an offshoot of Islam.



It is Muslim theocracy.

In much the same way, jihad is a traditional Muslim idea connoting struggle—sometimes a personal spiritual struggle, sometimes a struggle against an external enemy. Jihadism, however, is something else entirely: It is the doctrine of using force to spread Islamism.



 President Barack Obama and many liberal-minded commentators have been hesitant to call this Islamist ideology by its proper name. "



'via Blog this'

I’m with You — Medium

I’m with You — Medium: "To my friends at the Islamic Society in Milwaukee, Masjid Ibrahim in Coachella, Al Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia, the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, or anywhere people are feeling alone and vulnerable: I can’t tell you Islamophobia will go away. But I can tell you that I’m with you, my friends and family are with you, and we are not going away.
"



'via Blog this'

"Lika Ah Boss" / BP Renegades Steel Orchestra / International Panorama Competition - YouTube

"Lika Ah Boss" / BP Renegades Steel Orchestra / International Panorama Competition - YouTube: ""




'via Blog this'

Lists of Note

Lists of Note: "60 years ago, on December 1st, 1955, the course of history was changed when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger and was subsequently arrested. For the next year, until racial segregation was deemed unconstitutional by the federal courts, a boycott of the public transport system, headed by Martin Luther King, took place. On December 19th of 1956, the eve of a historic victory for those opposed to such segregation, King prepared a list of guidelines for those soon to be re-boarding the buses.



 Transcript follows. "



'via Blog this'

Sony employees on the hack, one year later.

Sony employees on the hack, one year later.: "The telephone directory vanished. Voicemail was offline. Computers became bricks.  Internet access on the lot was shuttered. The cafeteria went cash-only. Contracts—and the templates those contracts were based on—disappeared. Sony’s online database of stock footage was unsearchable. It was near impossible for Sony to communicate directly with its employees—much less ex-employees, who were also gravely affected by the hack—to inform them of what was even happening and what to do about it. “It was like moving back into an earlier time,” one employee says. The only way to reach other Sony staffers was to dial their number directly—if you could figure out what it was—or hunt them down and talk face to face.
"



'via Blog this'

Holiday at the Dictator’s Guesthouse — The Atavist Magazine

Holiday at the Dictator’s Guesthouse — The Atavist Magazine: "Jeffrey Fowle appeared last, his demeanor a strange contrast with the two men who preceded him. He appeared relaxed, spoke calmly, and even smiled. His oversize metal glasses frames seemed to magnify the twinkle in his eye; he seemed too youthful to be 56 years old. “I’ve been treated well,” he said. Foreign missionaries working inside North Korea have faced detainment, imprisonment, and execution, yet Fowle apologized for his actions with a smirk hiding in the corner of his mouth. He looked like a man interviewing for a job, not pleading for his freedom. I didn’t know what to make of his easy manner. Confidence, naivety, and insanity all seemed like possibilities.
"



'via Blog this'

Tragic deaths connect high school linebacker Cody Seward and former NCF running back Brad Gaines

Tragic deaths connect high school linebacker Cody Seward and former NCF running back Brad Gaines: ""I don't know," Gaines says, even though he does in fact know. There is no going back. He has come to think about his life in two chapters, a before and after, and the dividing line is the hit. Mullins' former teammates became some of Gaines' closest friends. He chose health care for his career and named his first business after Mullins' jersey number, 38; he still hopes to open a medical center for athletes with head and neck trauma. His own son, 11, begged to play football, and Gaines spent months debating the conflicting influences in his life before allowing it. "You have to understand the rewards and the risks," Gaines told his son, and to prove he did, his boy chose to wear No. 38.

"



'via Blog this'

Still Life - Texas Monthly

Still Life - Texas Monthly: "THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO DALLAS—AND THE COUNTRY—WAS GRIPPED BY THE TRAGIC STORY OF JOHN MCCLAMROCK, A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER PARALYZED DURING A VIOLENT TACKLE. BUT AFTER THE NEWSPAPERS MOVED ON, ANOTHER STORY WAS QUIETLY UNFOLDING, ONE OF COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, AND A MOTHER’S FIERCE LOVE.

"



'via Blog this'

The #Blessed Life Of Kaskade, EDM's Voice Of Reason

The #Blessed Life Of Kaskade, EDM's Voice Of Reason: "When it comes to his own career, he’s similarly frank. “Look, my music has to be at or near its peak in popularity,” Raddon says. “I still feel like I’m right there,” he crooks his right hand and raises it to eye level. “I haven’t hit it yet, and there’s still another 10, 15, 20% to go before things kind of level off. But whether that happens or not, I have no complaints. I was comfortable 15 years ago playing for $500 and a cheeseburger. I was completely satisfied at that point. It was ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve made it! I can pay my rent doing what I love!’ For me, it wasn’t about fame and fortune. I got into it because I loved it. As a kid growing up in Chicago I got into house music, and it happened to be at the right place at the right time. I never imagined that it would become a worldwide phenomenon.”
"



'via Blog this'

12 December, 2015

It’s actually open source software that's eating the world | VentureBeat | Enterprise | by John Vrionis, Lightspeed Venture Partners

It’s actually open source software that's eating the world | VentureBeat | Enterprise | by John Vrionis, Lightspeed Venture Partners: "Open source software is clearly growing in popularity. In the past five years the number of dollars invested in OSS companies has increased by almost a factor of 10 compared to the previous five years. But it’s not just VCs and entrepreneurs that are chasing OSS companies; companies of all types and sizes are using OSS in record numbers. This year’s annual Future of Open Source survey, which featured 1,300 respondents, revealed that 78 percent of companies queried are currently running open source software internally. Today, 64 percent say their organizations currently participate in open source projects, up from 50 percent in 2014. This increase begs the question, “Why?”

"



'via Blog this'

The Crisis of Republican Authority - The New York Times

The Crisis of Republican Authority - The New York Times: "But just as the younger Nixon tangled with Joe McCarthy only on Eisenhower’s express orders, Cruz seems content to wait for Republicans with more seniority and authority to tear down Donald Trump.



 Except that on the issues where Trump is making hay right now, no such authority exists."



'via Blog this'

A Rash Leader in a Grave Time - WSJ

A Rash Leader in a Grave Time - WSJ: "A Paris here would change everything, transposing a detached debate about strategy into a hot and immediate political exigency. There is the real danger events will outstrip sober decision making. The smartest thing I’ve heard the past few weeks was the suggestion that America figure out the most effective and constructive things it could do after a Paris-style attack, and start doing them now. I hope everyone who runs the country is thinking about this. They’d better have a plan.



[..]



All of this forced us into the nonsensical but at this point compulsive media cycle in which Mr. Trump says something rash, the media pounce, and Republican contenders are told they must denounce him or forfeit their place among the just and the good. Mr. Trump then announces he is misunderstood—that in fact he loves women, Mexicans, Muslims, whoever he has offended this week. Oddly enough, I think he is sincere about this and feels genuinely injured. But one thing an effective leader must always do is know what can be misunderstood and guard against it, what can be misconstrued and used to paint you—and your followers—as bigoted. Leaders try hard not to let that happen. It is the due diligence of politics."


'via Blog this'

Trumpism After Trump - The New York Times

Trumpism After Trump - The New York Times: "
America is living through an era of dramatic changes: its demographics shifting, its middle class contracting, its institutions grappling with the pressures of the networked age. Trump isn’t winning those Americans who tend to experience this change as a tailwind. But he has enthralled millions who experience it as a headwind, and his relentless campaign against “political correctness” has given voice to their fears: about terrorism; about a country passing into new hands, with the attendant loss of privileges and certainties; about a democracy that will never solve problems if we cannot call radical Islam radical Islam. This anti-P.C. sentiment, so vital to Trump’s brand, is often minimized on the left as simple intolerance. But the longing for less-muzzled debates is to many on the right what campaign finance is to many on the left: the issue we must solve to be able to solve any other issue.



 This is how Trumpism might outlast Trump — by gelling this anxiety and longing into a movement, by giving a new permission to question who is American, by redrawing the borders of respectable debate."



'via Blog this'

The Rights of Refugees Who Do Wrong - The New Yorker

The Rights of Refugees Who Do Wrong - The New Yorker: "In 1998, after Kargbo had been with the rebels for nearly three years, he contracted malaria. On the way to a village on the border of Sierra Leone and Guinea, where the older soldiers said that there would be cows to steal, Kargbo was too sick to aim his gun from the back of the pickup truck. When the rebels passed close to Kamalo, Kargbo’s village, Mosquito stopped the truck and told Kargbo to get out. Kargbo wasn’t sure if Mosquito was being cruel to him, since he’d become useless as a fighter, or merciful. He was left at a roundabout without weapons or food.

"



'via Blog this'

An Ad

• Never let fear drive us and divide us.
• Do not seek a quick fix where there isn't one.
• Never allow lies to be rewarded.
• Ask questions and be wary of easy answers.
• Accept diversity as our forefathers were themselves
accepted in this new world.



'via Blog this'

Let’s not let fear defeat our values — Medium

Let’s not let fear defeat our values — Medium: "And it’s not just about opportunity. The open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance of new Americans is one of the country’s greatest strengths and most defining characteristics. And that is no coincidence — America, after all, was and is a country of immigrants.



That is why it’s so disheartening to see the intolerant discourse playing out in the news these days — statements that our country would be a better place without the voices, ideas and the contributions of certain groups of people, based solely on where they come from, or their religion."



'via Blog this'

Discrimination by Airbnb Hosts Is Widespread, Report Says - NYTimes.com

Discrimination by Airbnb Hosts Is Widespread, Report Says - NYTimes.com: "Last July, the researchers sent housing requests to roughly 6,400 hosts across five cities: Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington. Renters with names that sounded African-American got a positive reply about 42 percent of the time, compared with roughly 50 percent for white guests.

The results “are remarkably persistent,” the researchers wrote, with whites discriminating against blacks, blacks discriminating against blacks, and both male and female users displaying bias."



'via Blog this'

11 December, 2015

The Secret History of Star Wars

The Secret History of Star Wars: "The Death Star trench run was originally scripted entirely different, with Luke having two runs at the exhaust port; Marcia had re-ordered the shots almost from the ground up, trying to build tension lacking in the original scripted sequence, which was why this one was the most complicated (Deleted Magic has a faithful reproduction of the original assembly, which is surprisingly unsatisfying). She warned George, "If the audience doesn't cheer when Han Solo comes in at the last second in the Millennium Falcon to help Luke when he's being chased by Darth Vader, the picture doesn't work." [lxvii] One curiosity of note is that she was one of the few people who was in favor of the Jabba the Hutt scene (before the Greedo dialogue was re-written), and initially argued in favour of keeping it in the film. She describes:

"



'via Blog this'

10 December, 2015

The absolutely epic trolling letter Jeb Bush’s leadership PAC sent to Donald Trump’s lawyer - The Washington Post

The absolutely epic trolling letter Jeb Bush’s leadership PAC sent to Donald Trump’s lawyer - The Washington Post: "In addition, although RTR has no plans to produce any advertisements against your client, we are intrigued (but not surprised) by your continued efforts to silence critics of your client's campaign by employing litigious threats and bullying. Should your client actually be elected Commander-in-Chief, will you be the one writing the cease and desist letters to Vladimir Putin, or will that be handled by outside counsel? "



'via Blog this'

07 December, 2015

I wish we could know what % of people who wear niqub are oppressed like this

(19) Noel Rosario's answer to What do uncovered Western women think of when they see us Muslim women who wear a niqab and are covered from head to toe? - Quora:


I didn't tell people that I chose to wear hijab because my husband was such a controlling misogynist, that he didn't want other men to "know my body" as he'd always say. He was very possessive.

The Quran does not tell women to wear hijab, let alone niqab. It simply states to cover your boobs and lower your eyes, whatever that means. I guess I could walk out naked save for a khimar and I'd be all good in the eyes of Allah...(sarcasm)

I think women in full niqab are likely every bit as oppressed as I was, whether they realize it or not.



'via Blog this'

Obama's Terrorism Speech: Does the President Take the ISIS Threat Seriously? - The Atlantic

Obama's Terrorism Speech: Does the President Take the ISIS Threat Seriously? - The Atlantic: "The other unforced error America must avoid, according to Obama, is “letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want.” Because the GOP candidates see violent jihadism as a powerful, seductive ideology, they think that many American Muslims are at risk of becoming terrorists, and thus that the United States must monitor them more aggressively. Because Obama sees violent jihadism as ideologically weak and unattractive, he thinks that few American Muslims will embrace it unless the United States makes them feel like enemies in their own country—which is exactly what Donald Trump risks doing.

"



'via Blog this'

Business | Pearl Harbor: 16 Days To Die -- Trapped By The Memories -- Few Knew The Secret Of The Sunken Battleship; Families Weren't Told Of Sailors' Lingering Deaths | Seattle Times Newspaper

Business | Pearl Harbor: 16 Days To Die -- Trapped By The Memories -- Few Knew The Secret Of The Sunken Battleship; Families Weren't Told Of Sailors' Lingering Deaths | Seattle Times Newspaper:

Bang. Bang.

The Marines standing guard covered their ears. There was nothing anyone could do.
When salvage crews raised the West Virginia six months later, they found the bodies of three men huddled in an airtight storeroom: Ronald Endicott, 18; Clifford Olds, 20; and Louis "Buddy" Costin, 21.
But the most haunting discovery was the calendar.
Sixteen days had been crossed off in red pencil. The young sailors had marked their time, not knowing what had happened to their ship or that their country was at war.


'via Blog this'

06 December, 2015

Why Obama gave an Oval Office address on terrorism without saying anything new - Vox

Why Obama gave an Oval Office address on terrorism without saying anything new - Vox: "A mid-November poll found that Obama's approval rating on fighting ISIS was dismal — 57 percent of Americans disapproved of his performance, and only 35 percent approved. And between the media (appropriately) focusing on the specifics of the San Bernardino and Paris attacks, and Republican presidential candidates' constant criticism that Obama hasn't done enough to fight terror, the administration likely feels that its message hasn't cut through the fog of news.

"



'via Blog this'

With his speech on San Bernardino, Obama is confronting a problem he's long feared - Vox

With his speech on San Bernardino, Obama is confronting a problem he's long feared - Vox:

Many senior administration officials at this point are part of the permanent national security apparatus, but the core group of real "Obama people" has a surprisingly dovish self-conception, where they see themselves operating in a world in which demands for military intervention are constant and endless— from the media, from congressional Republicans, from foreign governments and their allies in Washington, and from the permanent security bureaucracy itself — but America's actual ability to engage in non-counterproductive interventions is quite limited.



The Oval Office address represents Obama's best effort to meet the psychological needs of a frightened nation under attack while sticking on a policy level with a restrained policy that Obama recognizes is emotionally unsatisfying but that he regards as offering the best chance for success.
'via Blog this'

05 December, 2015

Dear San Bernardino, on Your Day After - The Daily Beast

Dear San Bernardino, on Your Day After - The Daily Beast: "I’m not going to pretend that I have any idea what the more than one dozen families in California are dealing with right now. Each life lost is its own story and each name deserves to be known and spread.



 But for me, as the early days wore on, the realization my girlfriend was now a statistic, a case out of hundreds now part of one of the truly unnecessary narratives of this generation, put a tight burning sensation around my chest I feel each time I read reports of another person killed with a gun."



'via Blog this'

therealhuthaifa comments on San Bernardino shooting: Attacker pledged allegiance to ISIS, officials say

therealhuthaifa comments on San Bernardino shooting: Attacker pledged allegiance to ISIS, officials say: "
Muslim here. One of the injured victims of the ‪shooting was a Muslim social worker who was active at the Riverside Mosque. She was shot multiple times by Farook, who knew her, but thankfully survived. But that'll be ignored as the magnifying glass is going to be focused solely on American Muslims now. You might not want to hear this, but the ones who end up suffering the most from these kind of radical attacks, after the victims and their families of course, are everyday American Muslims like me who just want to live our life normally.
We didn't create ISIS. We didn't create the circumstances that gave birth to ISIS. We're just stuck in the middle where both sides of the argument are pointing to us and saying, "You're not a real Muslim".



A year ago, a man walked up to my mother who was with my two younger sisters at Subway and said, "You people should be beheaded." You think I want this? You think I want to live in a world where I'm at one end of the country and my mother and siblings are at the other end receiving death threats from someone who gets all his information off of Fox and CNN?"



'via Blog this'

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? - The New York Times

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? - The New York Times: "If Republicans don’t want Trump the phenomenon to turn into an actual movement, if they don’t want the intimations of fascism in his appeal to cohere into something programmatically dangerous, then tarring his supporters with the brush of Mussolini and Der Führer right now seems like a shortsighted step — a way to repress the problem rather than dealing with it, to dismiss discontents and have them return, stronger and deadlier, further down the road.



 The best way to stop a proto-fascist, in the long run, is not to scream “Hitler!” on a crowded debate stage. It’s to make sure that he never has a point."



'via Blog this'

NASA astronauts performing gymnastics on board of the Skylab - YouTube

NASA astronauts performing gymnastics on board of the Skylab - YouTube:



'via Blog this'

The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971) - film began with the intention of portraying Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party. During production, Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department. : Documentaries

The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971) - film began with the intention of portraying Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party. During production, Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department. : Documentaries: "We talked about the Mississippi rights' workers murders, as this shocking, aberrant act of violence, but we never talked about Emmitt Till, or George Lee, or Herbert Lee, or Louis Allen, or the tuskegee experiments, or the (earlier) tulsa riots, or ANY of the serious, regular, oppression that actually necessitated, at the very least, a threat of armed response. We didn't talk about cointelpro, and herbert hoover's absolutely insane determination to not only brand the black pathers as a racist hate organization, but to actually make them one by hook or crook. We didn't talk about how the FBI seeded agents into their ranks with the express purpose of driving them into violence (and succeeded). How the police engaged in murderous, unprovoked attacks on black panther centers, such as the one that killed Fred Hampton.
"



'via Blog this'

04 December, 2015

Nicolas Henin: The man who was held captive by Isis for 10 months says how they can be defeated | Middle East | News | The Independent

Nicolas Henin: The man who was held captive by Isis for 10 months says how they can be defeated | Middle East | News | The Independent: "s an example of how the international community had responded well, he described the recent escalation of the refugee crisis – and corresponding offers from Europe of homes to fleeing Muslims – as “a blow to Isis”.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of refugees, fleeing this Muslim land that is like a dream for Isis – that is supposed to be their Israel? And fleeing that land to go to the land of the 'unbelievers'?



 “This is why they probably tried to manipulate the public during the Paris attacks,” he said. “To make us close our borders, and maybe even more importantly, close our minds.”"



'via Blog this'

In Translation - The New Yorker

In Translation - The New Yorker: "I write in a terrible, embarrassing Italian, full of mistakes. Without correcting, without a dictionary, by instinct alone. I grope my way, like a child, like a semiliterate. I am ashamed of writing like this. I don’t understand this mysterious impulse, which emerges out of nowhere. I can’t stop.



 It’s as if I were writing with my left hand, my weak hand, the one I’m not supposed to write with. It seems a transgression, a rebellion, an act of stupidity.



 During the first months in Rome, my clandestine Italian diary is the only thing that consoles me, that gives me stability. Often, awake and restless in the middle of the night, I go to the desk to compose some paragraphs in Italian. It’s an absolutely secret project. No one suspects, no one knows."



'via Blog this'

[NYT Gun failure | National Review Online

[NYT Gun failure | National Review Online: "The Peace of Versailles, Buck v. Bell, the Great Depression, the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Ukrainian famine, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Tuskegee experiments, the Holocaust,  McCarthyism, the Marshall Plan, Jim Crow, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy Assassination, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Kent State, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Watergate, withdrawal from Vietnam, the Killing Fields, the Iran hostage crisis,  the Contras, AIDS, gay marriage, the Iran nuclear deal: These are just a few of the things The New York Times chose not to run front page editorials on.



 But, the “Gun Epidemic” in America? That deserves a front page editorial. Not only that, it deserves to be bragged about that this is the first time since 1920 they’ve run a front page editorial. "



'via Blog this'

29 November, 2015

Republic of Indian Stream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Republic of Indian Stream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The establishment of Indian Stream as an independent nation was, essentially, the result of the ambiguous boundary between the United States and Canada as defined in the Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where "the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River" might be. As a result, the area (in and around the three tributaries that fed into the head of the Connecticut River) was not definitively under the jurisdiction of either the United States or Canada.

"



'via Blog this'

27 November, 2015

"Cabinet Battle #1," explained - Vox

"Cabinet Battle #1," explained - Vox: "But one of its iconic tunes — "Cabinet Battle #1" — depicts the argument over one of Hamilton's most significant legislative initiatives without really explaining its content. In part, that simply reflects the inherent limits of musical theater as a venue for policy analysis. But it's also the product of artistic choices that reflect Miranda's larger project. Hamilton is the most prominent element of an even larger ongoing historiographical revolution in the United States — and, given the show's emphasis on questions of legacy, self-consciously so.



'via Blog this'

Terrorism in the Age of Trump -- NYMag

Terrorism in the Age of Trump -- NYMag: "The tea-party movement had initially fashioned itself as wildly anti-statist. Now its advocates have veered into wild authoritarianism. None of this requires intellectual justification in lizard-brain America, and Trump, for now, is the Lizard King.

"



'via Blog this'

26 November, 2015

Republicans need to stand up to Trump’s bullying - The Washington Post

Republicans need to stand up to Trump’s bullying - The Washington Post:

These are not random errors. All of them appeal to the basest instincts in supporters; they reinforce fears and prejudices. All of them, Mr. Trump knows by now even if he did not know when he first stated them, are false, but he does not care. The amplification of the lies is accompanied by growing intolerance in his campaign, with Mr. Trump praising supporters for beating a protestor, crudely denigrating anyone who challenges him and penning reporters into designated zones so that they cannot speak with his followers. And all of this matches the brutality of his policies: mass deportation of longtime U.S. residents, torture of foreign detaineesexpulsion even of refugees who are here legally .


'via Blog this'

24 November, 2015

Tales of the Super Survivors - The New York Times

Tales of the Super Survivors - The New York Times: "There are some foreground factors, too, traits super survivors tend to have that enable them to come back stronger then ever. These people are often deluded in good ways about their own abilities, but completely realistic about their situations. That is to say, they have positive illusions about their own talents, and an optimist’s faith in their own abilities to control the future. But they have no illusions about the world around them. They accept what they have lost quickly. They see problems clearly. They work hard. Work is the reliable cure for sorrow.

"



'via Blog this'

23 November, 2015

Why is English so weirdly different from other langu...

Why is English so weirdly different from other langu...: "But language tends not to do what we want it to. The die was cast: English had thousands of new words competing with native English words for the same things. One result was triplets allowing us to express ideas with varying degrees of formality. Help is English, aid is French, assist is Latin. Or, kingly is English, royal is French, regal is Latin – note how one imagines posture improving with each level: kingly sounds almost mocking, regal is straight-backed like a throne, royal is somewhere in the middle, a worthy but fallible monarch.

"



'via Blog this'

22 November, 2015

Conversion via Twitter - The New Yorker

Conversion via Twitter - The New Yorker: "Fred Phelps died in March, 2014, at the age of eighty-four. Former members of the church told me that Fred had had a softening of heart at the end of his life and had been excommunicated. (The church denies these claims.) Zach Phelps-Roper, Megan’s younger brother, who left the church later that year, said that one of the precipitating events in Fred’s exclusion had been expressing kindness toward the Equality House. At a church meeting, Zach recalls, members discussed the episode: “He stepped out the front door of the church and looked at the Rainbow House, the Planting Peace organization, and looked over and said, ‘You’re good people.’ ” ♦

"



'via Blog this'

I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died. - Vox

I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died. - Vox: "With online streaming, we don't decide — we settle. And when we aren't grabbed immediately, we move on. That means folks are less likely to engage with a film on a deep level; worse, it means people stop taking chances on challenging films. Unlike that DVD they paid for and brought home, a movie on Netflix will be watched only so long as it falls within the viewer's comfort zone. As that comfort zone expands, the desire to look outside of it contracts.

"



'via Blog this'

21 November, 2015

The Suicide Clusters at Palo Alto High Schools - The Atlantic

The Suicide Clusters at Palo Alto High Schools - The Atlantic: "In the late 1990s, when she was an assistant professor in Yale’s psychiatry department, Suniya Luthar was doing research at an inner-city school in Connecticut. She wanted to know whether misbehavior correlated more with poverty or with a stage of adolescence. She needed a second school to use as a comparison. An undergraduate student she worked with had connections at a school in a Connecticut suburb that was more upscale, and Luthar got permission to distribute her surveys there. The results were not what she expected. In the inner-city school, 86 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches; in the suburban school, 1 percent did. Yet in the richer school, the proportion of kids who smoked, drank, or used hard drugs was significantly higher—as was the rate of serious anxiety and depression. This anomaly started Luthar down a career-long track studying the vulnerabilities of students within what she calls “a culture of affluence.”"



'via Blog this'

Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone | Middle East | News | The Independent

Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone | Middle East | News | The Independent: "What really manifested itself that year, I now believe, was a much more deeply held Arab conviction; that the very institutions that we in the West had built for these people 100 years ago were worthless, that the statehood which we had later awarded to artificial nations within equally artificial borders was meaningless. They were rejecting the whole construct that we had foisted upon them. That Egypt regressed back into military patriarchy – and the subsequent and utterly predictable Western acqiescence in this – after a brief period of elected Muslim Brotherhood government, does not change this equation. While the revolutions largely stayed within national boundaries – at least at the start – the borders began to lose their meaning.

"



'via Blog this'

19 November, 2015

My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up. - The Washington Post

My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up. - The Washington Post: "I’m heartbroken that his careless assessment of me, based on skin color, could endanger my life. I’m heartbroken by the sense of terror I got from people whose job is supposedly to protect me. I’m heartbroken by a system that evades accountability and justifies dangerous behavior. I’m heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe. I’m heartbroken that no matter how many times a story like this is told, it will happen again.

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17 November, 2015

Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview | GQ

Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview | GQ: "That military exercises we were doing in Texas were designed to begin martial law so that I could usurp the Constitution and stay in power longer. Anybody who thinks I could get away with telling Michelle I’m going to be president any longer than eight years does not know my wife.

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The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees - The Washington Post

The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees - The Washington Post: "The strategy is explicit. The Islamic State explained after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine that such attacks “compel the Crusaders to actively destroy the grayzone themselves. . . . Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize . . . or they [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens.” The group calculates that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves. Through this provocation, it seeks to set conditions for an apocalyptic war with the West."



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16 November, 2015

Fearing Fear Itself - The New York Times

Fearing Fear Itself - The New York Times: "The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

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From_Ancient_Stars comments on My buddy had one of the best responses to the recent IsIS attacks I've seen so far. Please share. Vive Humanisme.

From_Ancient_Stars comments on My buddy had one of the best responses to the recent IsIS attacks I've seen so far. Please share. Vive Humanisme.:


If you believe that the attack on Paris - or any other terrorist act - justifies closing our borders to refugees, deporting Muslim or Arab Americans, or (and I can't believe I have to say this) using anything even remotely resembling the strategy of Internment we used against Japanese Americans during WWII....you're a coward.
Let me repeat that, so there can be no misunderstanding. YOU ARE A COWARD.
To imply or champion any of those ideas is to say that you are so scared of the potential harm that could befall you or yours, that you would rather allow children and innocents to suffer the worst indignities a human being can suffer. You are saying that you are so piss scared that you would see these people raped, maimed, tortured, and butchered by the thousands every single day, rather than take even an iota of risk.


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