16 October, 2017

Mike Pence’s “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner” | Craig Fehrman

Mike Pence’s “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner” | Craig Fehrman: "Second, a campaign ought to be about the advancement of issues whose success or failure is more significant than that of the candidate. Whether on the left or the right, candidates ought to leave a legacy — a foundation of arguments — in favor of policies upon which their successors can build. William Buckley carries with him a purposeful malapropism. “Don’t just do something,” it says, “stand there.”

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You’ve Probably Never Heard of America’s Most Popular Playwright, Lauren Gunderson | The New Yorker

You’ve Probably Never Heard of America’s Most Popular Playwright, Lauren Gunderson | The New Yorker:

Increasingly, theatres are banking on Gunderson, who, at thirty-five, has already had more than twenty of her works produced: among them witty historical dramas about women in science (“Emilie,” “Silent Sky,” “Ada and the Engine”), giddy political comedies (“Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” “The Taming,” “The Revolutionists”), and wildly theatrical explorations of death and legacy (“I and You,” “The Book of Will”). According to American Theatre magazine’s annual survey, released last month, Gunderson will be the most produced playwright in the country for the 2017–18 season. Her plays are staged almost twice as often as anyone else’s on the list, far ahead of venerated figures like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson, who edged her for the top spot last year. (The survey excludes Shakespeare, America’s perennial favorite.) Although men still write three-quarters of the plays that get produced, Gunderson has built a national reputation with works that center on women’s stories. And, though most playwrights also teach or work in television, she has managed to make a living, in San Francisco, by writing for the stage.



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Why I’ve Started to Fear My Fellow Social Justice Activists by Frances Lee — YES! Magazine

Why I’ve Started to Fear My Fellow Social Justice Activists by Frances Lee — YES! Magazine:

Callout culture. The quest for purity. Privilege theory taken to extremes. I’ve observed some of these questionable patterns in my activist communities over the past several years.
As an activist, I stand with others against white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism. I am queer, trans, Chinese American, middle class, and able-bodied.
Holding these identities scattered across the spectrum of privilege, I have done my best to find my place in the movement, while educating myself on social justice issues to the best of my ability. But after witnessing countless people be ruthlessly torn apart in community for their mistakes and missteps, I started to fear my own comrades.
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What if the right-wing media wins? - Columbia Journalism Review

What if the right-wing media wins? - Columbia Journalism Review: "“Journalistic integrity is dead,” he declared. “There is no such thing anymore. So everything is about weaponization of information.” Standing behind a mahogany podium in a baggy dark suit, Boyle preached with the confidence of a true believer. In a stuttering staccato, he condemned the nation’s preeminent news outlets as “corrupted institutions,” “built on a lie,” and a criminal “syndicate that needs to be dismantled.” Boyle and his compatriots were laboring to usher in an imminent—and glorious—journalistic apocalypse. “We envision a day when CNN is no longer in business. We envision a day when The New York Times closes its doors. I think that day is possible.”

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15 October, 2017

Air quality on cruise ship deck 'worse than world's most polluted cities', investigation finds | The Independent

Air quality on cruise ship deck 'worse than world's most polluted cities', investigation finds | The Independent:

Directly next to the funnels on the deck, the numbers rocketed to 144,000 with a peak at 226,000. 

This is more than double the average found in central London's Piccadilly Circus, where using the same device, the Dispatches team recorded 38,400 ultra-fine particulates per cubic centimetre. 
While the deck is popular with sun-bathers, passengers are likely to be breathing some of these particulates, which are harmful for health and the environment. 
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(1) Wine Country Fire - Fire Engine response and firefight, Stopping the Flames (Firefighter view) - YouTube

(1) Wine Country Fire - Fire Engine response and firefight, Stopping the Flames (Firefighter view) - YouTube:





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Wallofwillow comments on Drivers who kill will now face life sentence - Dangerous drivers who cause death while using their mobile phones or speeding will face life in prison, ministers have confirmed. Drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face a life sentence.

Wallofwillow comments on Drivers who kill will now face life sentence - Dangerous drivers who cause death while using their mobile phones or speeding will face life in prison, ministers have confirmed. Drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face a life sentence.:

Time spent in prison simply isn't part of the equation of decision-making when committing a serious crime. What has a MUCH LARGER impact on how people behave is the certainty of arrest, the speed of the trial process (this one is key and always overlooked), and perceived feeling of a just system in combination with everything else. This generally means they were arrested, they went to court quickly, they went to jail/prison quickly, and got what they perceived was a fair punishment. The link between the crime and the consequence has to be rapid and direct. Short sentences generally work just as well and obviously cost way less money from the incarceration standpoint.



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As the 747 Begins Its Final Approach, a Pilot Takes a Flight Down Memory Lane - The New York Times

As the 747 Begins Its Final Approach, a Pilot Takes a Flight Down Memory Lane - The New York Times: "For pilots, crew members and passengers who love the 747, it’s easy to forget that the airliner was first of all a business proposition, one that aimed to harness economies of scale and a raft of new technologies to cut the seat-per-mile cost of air travel by about 30 percent. Yet on a planet that previously only the richest could cross at will, the 747’s most lasting impact may have been on everyday notions of distance and difference. Having inaugurated the “age of mass intercontinental travel,” wrote the scholar Vaclav Smil, the 747 “became a powerful symbol of global civilization.” The writer J.G. Ballard compared the jet to nothing less than the Parthenon — each the embodiment of “an entire geopolitical world-view.” Juan Trippe, Pan Am’s legendary founder, called the 747 “a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind’s destiny.”

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14 October, 2017

Hurricane Ophelia: Ireland braces for worst Atlantic storm in almost 60 years | The Independent

Hurricane Ophelia: Ireland braces for worst Atlantic storm in almost 60 years | The Independent:

Ireland is bracing itself for what could be the worst storm since 1961, according to Met √Čireann, the country’s national meteorological service.



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N.C.A.A.: North Carolina Will Not Be Punished for Academic Scandal - The New York Times

N.C.A.A.: North Carolina Will Not Be Punished for Academic Scandal - The New York Times:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The N.C.A.A. did not dispute that the University of North Carolina was guilty of running one of the worst academic fraud schemes in college sports history, involving fake classes that enabled dozens of athletes to gain and maintain their eligibility.
But there will be no penalties, the organization said, because no rules were broken.
In a ruling that caused head-scratching everywhere except Chapel Hill, the N.C.A.A. announced on Friday that it could not punish the university or its athletics program because the “paper” classes were not available exclusively to athletes. Other students at North Carolina had access to the fraudulent classes, too.


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13 October, 2017

20 of America's top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They're scared. - Vox

20 of America's top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They're scared. - Vox:\

Adam Przeworski, a democratic theorist at New York University, suggested that democratic erosion in America begins with a breakdown in what he calls the “class compromise.” His point is that democracies thrive so long as people believe they can improve their lot in life. This basic belief has been “an essential ingredient of Western civilization during the past 200 years,” he said.
But fewer and fewer Americans believe this is true. Due to wage stagnation, growing inequalities, automation, and a shrinking labor market, millions of Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future: 64 percent of people in Europe believe their children will be worse off than they were; the number is 60 percent in America.
That pessimism is grounded in economic reality. 


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Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Hypocrisy & Mitt Romney’s “Binders Full of Women” | National Review

Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Hypocrisy & Mitt Romney’s “Binders Full of Women” | National Review:

During the second presidential debate in 2012, Romney was asked about pay equity. In the course of his answer, he said: I had the chance to pull together a cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men . . . I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks?” and they brought us whole binders full of women. Now, I’ll happily grant that the phrase “binders full of women” is an awkward one. It sounds like the menus they bring out on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane when Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein settle in for a weekend getaway. 



But here’s the thing: What Romney did was exactly what feminist groups insist elected politicians should do. He saw that there were “too many” men in the applicant pool, so he reached out to some feminist groups and asked for help. Some feminist groups reached out to him — and he listened to them, too. And then he hired more women.
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School district pulls 'To Kill A Mockingbird' from reading list; 'makes people uncomfortable,' official says | AL.com

School district pulls 'To Kill A Mockingbird' from reading list; 'makes people uncomfortable,' official says | AL.com: "The Sun Herald reports that Biloxi administrators pulled the novel from the 8th-grade curriculum this week. School board vice president Kenny Holloway says the district received complaints that some of the book's language "makes people uncomfortable."

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12 October, 2017

(1) Take On Me - a-ha - Brooklyn Duo at Carnegie Hall - YouTube

(1) Take On Me - a-ha - Brooklyn Duo at Carnegie Hall - YouTube:




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The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About

The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About:



I bet you never heard about it. I keep an eye on these types of incidents closely and I didn’t hear about it. Someone who follows me online who happens to live in Asheville sent me the story this morning — shocked that it hadn’t gotten any play at all beyond a few mentions in the local paper and some isolated pickup by a few national outlets.
As soon as I clicked on the article, it all made perfect sense.
The story didn’t go viral and Trump didn’t tweet about it because the bomb was not placed by an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Mexican. It was placed there by a good ol’ white man, Michael Christopher Estes. Unlike the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, whose motive is still hard to discern, Estes wanted to be very clear that his ultimate goal was to accelerate a war on American soil.


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Lorpius_Prime comments on What if Afghanistan was never invaded by the United Front and the Taliban regime continued to conquer all of Afghanistan?

Lorpius_Prime comments on What if Afghanistan was never invaded by the United Front and the Taliban regime continued to conquer all of Afghanistan?: "Try to wrap your head around what something like a war seems like to people from places like that. Wars are when your distant cousins from two valleys over, whom you've seen maybe once every ten years, come and say they need help to fight foreign barbarians. A handful of young men from your village--because a handful is all who live there--leave with them to join the fight, because that's what young men do for family. It's what your village has always done all the way back to when it was the Mongols that threatened to loot your homes rather than the Russians or Americans, and you know so because your grandparents still tell stories about it that they heard their own grandparents tell. They don't go fight for any high ideals, the very concept of philosophy isn't something they'd be familiar with. They might have heard talk of things like "freedom" in news broadcasts from the village's one radio, but to them "freedom" simply means not having to worry about foreigners burning down your village.
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Facing Down the Network That Protected Harvey Weinstein - The New York Times

Facing Down the Network That Protected Harvey Weinstein - The New York Times:

It is far worse for the victims of those in power, who are all too aware that speaking up may lead to stalled careers and ruined reputations. Many women who have fought back against sleazy, powerful men by filing lawsuits against them often end up with the consolation prize of an out-of-court settlement that comes complete with a nondisclosure agreement dictating that they must remain silent on the matter forevermore or face a steep financial penalty.
In this climate, breaking a story that includes tough accusations against those in high places requires more than a scrappy reporter with a notebook. It means having the resources to work the story exclusively for months. It means withstanding any legal challenges that may come. It means coaxing understandably reluctant victims to speak out against those who have the means and motivation to crush them.
In the days since The New York Times first published an article on Mr. Weinstein that named names and included details of at least eight settlements, a number of reporters and editors have spoken of their own missed chances to write the story earlier. For many journalists, Mr. Weinstein was the white whale that got away.


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The American Alliance With Turkey Was Built On a Myth – Foreign Policy

The American Alliance With Turkey Was Built On a Myth – Foreign Policy: "So much analysis and commentary about Turkey over the last decade has emphasized Erdogan’s consolidation of his personal political power. Although this work has been generally accurate, it tends to obscure three important factors in Turkish politics and foreign policy. First, for all that Erdogan is the central decision-maker, his ideas about Turkish power and mistrust of the West have broad support among Turks — and with good historical reasons. Second, the United States and Turkey share neither values nor interests. Finally, the world has changed a lot since the heyday of the U.S.-Turkey alliance, over a quarter century ago."



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11 October, 2017

reefer-madness comments on Attacus atlas: The largest moth in the world

reefer-madness comments on Attacus atlas: The largest moth in the world: "Pandas breed just fine in the wild. Wild female pandas produce healthy, living cubs like clockwork every two years for their entire reproductive careers (typically over a decade). Pandas also do just fine on their diet of bamboo, since that question always comes up too. They have evolved many specializations for bamboo eating, including changes in their taste receptors, development of symbiosis with lignin-digesting gut bacteria (this is a new discovery), and an ingenious anatomical adaptation (a "thumb" made from a wrist bone) that is such a good example of evolutionary novelty that Stephen Jay Gould titled an entire book about it, The Panda's Thumb. They represent a branch of the ursid family that is in the middle of evolving some incredible adaptations (similar to the maned wolf, a canid that's also gone mostly herbivorous, rather like the panda). Far from being an evolutionary dead end, they are an incredible example of evolutionary innovation. Who knows what they might have evolved into if we hadn't ruined their home and destroyed what for millions of years had been a very reliable and abundant food source.
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Hollywood’s Most Decent Fella on Weinstein, Trump and History - The New York Times

Hollywood’s Most Decent Fella on Weinstein, Trump and History - The New York Times:

“Let me just read you one thing,” he says, getting up to go into the other room and coming back with “April 1865: The Month That Saved America,” a book by Jay Winik about the closing weeks of the Civil War: “‘And where abolitionists preached slavery as a violation against the higher law, Southerners angrily countered with their own version of the deity, that it was sanctioned by the Constitution. In the vortex of this debate, once the battle lines were sharply drawn, moderate ground everywhere became hostage to the passions of the two sides. Reason itself had become suspect; mutual tolerance was seen as treachery. Vitriol overcame accommodation. And the slavery issue would not just fade away.”’
He looks up. “Somehow, sometime in the last 20 years of our generation, that’s re-emerged. So, yes, this is the calm before the storm.”


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10 October, 2017

Three Chinese women stuck at South Korea airport unable to confirm identities after plastic surgery: Shanghaiist

Three Chinese women stuck at South Korea airport unable to confirm identities after plastic surgery: Shanghaiist:

Over the Golden Week holiday, three Chinese women flew to South Korea to go under the knife; however, they're having some trouble getting back home again after the operations went a bit too swell.
On Sunday, Jian Huahua, a Chinese TV anchor shared a photo on her Weibo account of the three women sitting at a South Korea airport, passports in hands, with their post-plastic surgery faces wrapped up in bandages and extremely swollen.
According to the Jian, the poor women looked so completely different from their passport photos that they were barred from taking their flight back home, detained and questioned by authorities.


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Gretchen Mol Breaks Silence on Harvey Weinstein and Misogynistic Rumors (Guest Column) | Hollywood Reporter

Gretchen Mol Breaks Silence on Harvey Weinstein and Misogynistic Rumors (Guest Column) | Hollywood Reporter:



For 10 years or so, I’ve been aware of rumors that I had some kind of transactional relationship with Harvey Weinstein. They seemed to start on a gossip website that made money by peddling ‘blind’ items. A few facts had been taken from my Wikipedia page, were combined with stories about a movie mogul who was known for harassing women, quotes from “reliable sources” were added and a malicious, viral rumor was born.
Over the years, it was gleefully embroidered, becoming increasingly bizarre and baroque — but the salacious, slut-shaming and misogynist message to the fable remained the same: In Hollywood, a young woman must build her career by humiliating herself and sleeping with powerful men. 


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