30 November, 2013

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. - NYTimes.com:
The agency, using a combination of jawboning, stealth and legal force, has turned the nation’s Internet and telecommunications companies into collection partners, installing filters in their facilities, serving them with court orders, building back doors into their software and acquiring keys to break their encryption.
But even that vast American-run web is only part of the story. For decades, the N.S.A. has shared eavesdropping duties with the rest of the so-called Five Eyes, the Sigint agencies of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. More limited cooperation occurs with many more countries, including formal arrangements called Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes and Nacsi, an alliance of the agencies of 26 NATO countries.

Inside the World of the Double-Crossing Fake Hitman

Inside the World of the Double-Crossing Fake Hitman: Say you want someone, you know, eliminated —a lover, a business partner, a mother-in-law. There are guys out there who will do that. For a price. Then there's another kind of guy. A guy who looks and acts just like a regular hit man. Prison tats, do-rag. But instead of doing the job, he turns sides and then you realize that you were his target all along

One day in the life of Mikhail Khodorkovsky - FT.com

One day in the life of Mikhail Khodorkovsky - FT.com: “Tradition, and the state of people’s minds, and the lack of forces that could support any movement towards the rule of law – everything’s against him,” said Khodorkovsky, his reedy voice sometimes faltering. “So, may God grant him strength. All we can do is hope.”

Khodorkovsky was right. Today, Putin is back as president, pro-democracy protests that flared in winter 2011 have waned; Medvedev is yesterday’s man. Khodorkovsky is still in jail, found guilty of the new charges in 2010. Aleksanyan died in 2011, two years after being released from jail. The rule of law in Russia seems in many ways weaker than ever.

Has ever a businessman experienced such a dizzying ascent to fortune, then such a headlong plunge from grace?

A Yellow Card, Then Unfathomable Violence, in Brazil - NYTimes.com

A Yellow Card, Then Unfathomable Violence, in Brazil - NYTimes.com: The truth seemed far more complicated. It involved two murder victims — a distressed teenager and an older friend with a temper — and interior Brazil’s wider culture of knives and revenge. It touched on hopelessness and rage born of poverty and inequality, and mistrust that seethed from inadequate policing and uneven access to justice. When formal justice seemed weak and unresponsive to one killing, another score was settled as scores have long been settled in this region of Brazil — with private justice, bloodshed trumped by bloodshed.

Entrapment by the FBI, possibly.

To Catch a Terrorist | Harper's Magazine: What made the deal illegal, according to prosecutors, occurred four months into the operation during a meeting in the informant’s office. Pulling back a tarp in his stockroom to reveal a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, the informant told Hossain, “I also do this business for my Muslim brothers.” Prosecutors claimed that Hossain should have been able to deduce that the loan he was receiving might be drawn from proceeds of an illegal weapons sale, and that by accepting the loan he had opened himself to charges of money laundering. Aref himself never saw the weapon. During one of the exchanges of cash—all of which were documented on grainy black-and-white surveillance footage—the missile’s trigger system, which looked not unlike a staple gun, was visible on a table. Prosecutors alleged Aref had seen the trigger and thereby had entered the conspiracy to “assist in money-laundering.”

I Tried to See Where My T-Shirt Was Made, and the Factory Sent Thugs After Me | Mother Jones

I Tried to See Where My T-Shirt Was Made, and the Factory Sent Thugs After Me | Mother Jones: I interviewed her in her room, which was filled with embroidered blankets. It was night, and the stars were as numerous as they are in the big sky of Montana, where I grew up. Through the open windows we could hear a chorus of insects. We took a photograph together, sitting on her cot, and she put her arm around me and grinned. A calico cat jumped from the dirt floor onto the bed. For that second, we were just two young women—unmarried, drinking tea, tired from a long day. But after we stood up, I knew that I would soon get on a plane to Washington, DC, where stores selling cheap leopard-print pumps and skinny jeans line the streets and no one expects me to give my entire salary to my parents for a dowry. And Lakshmi would still be here in this room, knowing—as she told me right after the photo was taken—that "no man is going to marry me now."

Freakonomics � How to Game a Grading Curve

Freakonomics � How to Game a Grading Curve: Students in three of Professor Peter Fr�hlich‘s computer programming classes at Johns Hopkins University recently devised a method to game their final grades. Frolich grades exams on a curve — the highest grade in the class, whatever it may be, becomes 100 percent, and “everybody else gets a percentage relative to it.” So students collectively planned a boycott:

Sex Change for Prison Inmate Michelle Kosilek: Should We Pay? | New Republic

Sex Change for Prison Inmate Michelle Kosilek: Should We Pay? | New Republic: At the age of four, Kosilek announced to his mother, a waitress at greasy spoons, that he was really a little girl. (Kosilek’s father was serving a long sentence in federal prison for mail fraud.) Not long afterward, she abandoned him at an orphanage, only to come back for him six years later, while on an alcoholic bender with another boyfriend. Home was no more welcoming than before: He was frequently punished for dressing as a girl, and his mother’s father began raping him. Gradually, he realized he could earn more with his body than the dollar his grandfather gave him every week, and at the age of twelve, he became a child prostitute on the streets of Chicago.

4 Hypotheses on Why China Suddenly Declared this New Air Defense Zone | Robert Kelly — Asian Security Blog

4 Hypotheses on Why China Suddenly Declared this New Air Defense Zone | Robert Kelly — Asian Security Blog:
SK/BB: Why are the Chinese doing this?
  • 1. Belligerence: the Chinese really are picking a fight with Japan.
  • 2. Blowback: the CCP is doing this for domestic legitimacy purposes.
  • 3. Incompetence: the CCP and PLA didn’t really realize just how sharply locals and the US would react.
  • 4. The Transition: Xi Jinping wants to make a splash as the new boss.
The problem is that Chinese foreign policy decision-making is so opaque, that we have almost no idea which of these options is most accurate – or if it’s something else entirely. My guess is #2, because the Chinese have always struck me as pretty cautious, even crafty, in managing their rise.

29 November, 2013

Disney's 'Frozen' Proves Failure Of PG Rating

Disney's 'Frozen' Proves Failure Of PG Rating: To quote that great, and justifiably PG-rated animated classic The Incredibles, “when everyone’s special, no one is.” When the PG rating is doled out like candy for animated and family features, it becomes the proverbial “G” rating and thus is useless in terms of its stated goal, which is to tell parents, paying moviegoers and the like, whether or not a given family film may be a bit much for their youngest kid. I’ve seen Frozen and if you have any sense you’ll see Frozen when it opens wide over Thanksgiving weekend. Unless your print contains gore or nudity that wasn’t in my cut, it’s as “G” as “G” can be. Yet it still bears the once-scarlet tag of PG. It’s great that PG is no longer than kiss of death for animated features. But how about we reserve that rating for films that actually deserve it.

All NewCos are TechCos & the Implications are Huge | Seth's Blog

All NewCos are TechCos & the Implications are Huge | Seth's Blog: 3. There will be an ever stronger polarization between the haves and have nots in the economy at large. Technology companies are, almost by definition, labor efficient. Those able to work and be productive in technology companies (engineers, product managers, designers, etc) will thrive. Those who are not will find themselves in increasingly commoditized (and therefore lower wage) positions.

The Philippines: One Week After Typhoon Haiyan - In Focus - The Atlantic

The Philippines: One Week After Typhoon Haiyan - In Focus - The Atlantic: It's now one week after Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, wreaking unprecedented damage and killing thousands. The islands of Leyte and Samar were hardest hit, with entire cities and towns reduced to rubble and debris. The past week was a desperate one for survivors as they struggled to find food, clean water, shelter, and security. Widespread destruction left roads impassable, electricity cut, government services in a shambles, and 600,0000 homeless. International aid is only now starting to arrive in significant amounts, and bodies are still being discovered among the debris. See also this earlier post on In Focus. [41 photos]

Hidden demographics of youth sports - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN

Hidden demographics of youth sports - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN: The ubiquity of competitive sports is clearly not a panacea, nor does it last. By 18, the youth-sports pipeline has reached a destination or sorts -- by then Serena Williams had won her first major, Bryce Harper and Kobe Bryant had been drafted and Tiger Woods had teed it up for his first PGA tourney. The players largely have been sorted into their categories: future pros; college athletes; club and rec competitors; and those who give up.

Yet after all is said and done, one fact sticks out: Of all the kids in America, very few have not played sports. In the survey done by Sabo for the WSF, only 13 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls between 8 and 17 had never joined a team or club, had never shared the experience of getting a uniform, practicing with teammates and running onto the field or court to compete.

That's American childhood for you.

Who Becomes a Surrogate? - Leslie Morgan Steiner - The Atlantic

Who Becomes a Surrogate? - Leslie Morgan Steiner - The Atlantic:

CSP is not alone in its strict criterion for surrogates. Ethical surrogacy agencies and lawyers don’t accept two specific categories of potential surrogates. First, they reject women below the poverty level who may be at greater risk for health concerns and coercion, and who probably do not have medical insurance. Second, they reject women who don’t have children. Women who are already mothers have proven they are fertile, and have a more comprehensive grasp of what it will mean to surrender a baby to its legal parents.
Although the money makes a difference, no surrogate signs up just for the money. 
“It would be easier to get a job at McDonald’s,” Sherrie insists. “The money doesn't begin to compensate them for what they do. A surrogate pregnancy means working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a break, for nine months. Pregnancy is risky; pregnancy taxes your body tremendously. Our surrogates come to us because they love children, they want to help people who cannot have them, and they like the feeling of creating a family for other people.”

Women live in a profoundly different, more dangerous world | The Elders

Women live in a profoundly different, more dangerous world | The Elders: One of the most powerful truths in my Christian faith is that I and all other people are equal in the eyes of God. Many believers of all religions – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists – violate this basic premise by claiming that men are exalted at the expense of women.

Several years ago my wife Rosalynn and I decided to sever our ties to the Baptist denomination to which I had given allegiance for seventy years because its leaders decided to depart from this principle and to deprive women of equal rights to serve as ministers, deacons, chaplains, or in other positions of leadership. We continue to worship in our local Baptist church that is served by both a male and female minister, where I teach Bible lessons and Rosalynn is a deacon.

Everything You Know About Black Friday Is Wrong : The New Yorker

Everything You Know About Black Friday Is Wrong : The New Yorker: Black Friday doesn’t even necessarily offer the best discounts, contrary to what retailers want their customers to believe. Rather than selling most merchandise at full price and marking down what doesn’t sell, stores now engineer their prices, so that the “discounted” prices are actually at the level they had wanted all along. Some “door-buster” items, in limited quantities, lure people into stores. Many gifts, though, have lower price tags at other times. The consumer-price research firm Decide Inc. analyzed data for the Wall Street Journal last year and found that Elmo dolls, Ugg boots, Samsung TVs, and KitchenAid stand mixers were less expensive on other days. (Decide closed its services in September, after being purchased by eBay.) Consumer Reports indicates that many home appliances and small consumer electronics are cheapest in December.

Dad hacks wheelchair to let 2-year-old explore the world | Crave - CNET

Dad hacks wheelchair to let 2-year-old explore the world | Crave - CNET: The resulting foot pedal design is uniquely suited to Alejandro's abilities, and he has quickly learned how to operate the wheelchair. "His motivation is amazing. For a kid like Alejandro there is nothing quite like finally being able to explore your environment all by yourself," Shea writes.

J.C. Penney Marking Up Prices Because Customers 'Prefer' Sales and Coupons - ABC News

J.C. Penney Marking Up Prices Because Customers 'Prefer' Sales and Coupons - ABC News: "Last year we created an everyday pricing structure that did not resonate with our core customer," J.C. Penney's statement to ABC News read. "While our prices continue to represent a tremendous value, we now understand that customers are motivated by promotions and prefer to receive discounts through sales and coupons applied at checkout. So we are returning to a promotional pricing model that is commonly used in the industry to give customers the value they are looking for when they shop with us."

28 November, 2013

Pope Francis has a few thoughts about the global economy. We added these 13 charts.

Pope Francis has a few thoughts about the global economy. We added these 13 charts.: "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

Thank an air traffic controller today

Thank an air traffic controller today: Two-and-a-half million people are going to try to fly someplace Wednesday. If you're one of those poor souls, you may be itching to strangle someone by the time you collapse into your shoe box of a seat. But, realistically? Our headaches as passengers — flight delays, long lines at security — mostly get sorted out before we board the plane.

Not so for air traffic controllers, many of whom are preparing for a high-stress day that's even worse this year due to a wintry storm that's battering the East Coast. Even as the rest of us sit down to a big turkey dinner on Thursday, many of the nation's 27,000 air traffic controllers will still be on duty.

Once a plane leaves the airport, responsibility for tracking it gets handed off to a local departure controller — a TRACON facility, for short — that monitors a wider area. There are dozens of these. Then, as the plane leaves the region, another facility, called an area control center (ACC), takes over. The process has to take place in reverse when the aircraft reaches its destination.

23 charts to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

23 charts to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: I sincerely hope all of you have had at least one thing in the past year in your actual life to be thankful for. But in the bleak case that you haven't, fret not. There is a world outside your misery, and stuff here is pretty boss, all things considered.

E Pluribus Turkey - In These Times

E Pluribus Turkey - In These Times: The problem at the heart of the disagreement is that neither the Pilgrims nor the Puritans were celebrating Thanksgiving. They were just giving thanks. The historical facts of their giving thanks have since been rearranged and elaborated to create the story of Thanksgiving. To merely rely on “the facts,” then, won’t help us understand the significance of this story within our national mythology.

One of the most powerful features of the Thanksgiving story is its emphasis on unity—between different cultures, and between humans and God. Significantly, the Thanksgiving story was advanced when it was far from certain that a (re)union of North and South was possible. When Lincoln invited the nation to collectively “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” he not only wanted to bind the nation together, but to bind the nation with the transcendent and eternal God of Christianity— a powerful seal indeed.

What’s wrong with China’s Air Defence Identification Zone (and what’s not)

What’s wrong with China’s Air Defence Identification Zone (and what’s not):
Instead, there are several things wrong with China's declared position:
  • It is a unilateral step, announced suddenly and apparently without consultation with two countries whose civilian and military aircraft will be most affected, the US and Japan.
  • It includes a contested maritime area, notably the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and thus can be seen as a deliberate effort to change the status quo, even a provocation.
  • Its ‘rules’ demanding that aircraft identify themselves and obey Chinese direction on flight paths seem to apply to all aircraft in the zone and not only aircraft en route to China. This conflicts with the basic early warning and air-traffic control purposes of an ADIZ, and with longstanding Pentagon regulations advising US military aircraft to comply with a foreign ADIZ only when they flying on a course into that country’s airspace, not when they are simply in transit or on patrol.
  • It looks like a pretext for one of two undesirable security outcomes. If foreign aircraft now regularly obey the new Chinese rules, we will see precedents set for the unilateral expansion of Chinese authority over contested maritime territory. Alternately, if foreign aircraft contest or ignore the Chinese zone and a dangerous or deadly incident occurs (such as a collision or a forceful encounter), then China will have prepared the way to absolve itself of legal or moral blame, making it easier to use the incident as a justification to escalate the crisis if China so chooses.

Working on Thanksgiving: It could be good!

Working on Thanksgiving: It could be good!: Which is just to say that in a diverse nation with more than 300 million citizens, opinions are going to vary on the pros and cons of extended business hours. How strapped for cash are you? Where does your family live? What's your relationship with them like? How sentimental are you about specific holiday rituals? People will differ. This Thanksgiving there are going to be people with jobs at the Gap who wish they weren't working Thanksgiving but feel that they'd lose their jobs if they weren't willing to take an extra shift. There are also going to be people with jobs at Radio Shack who wish they could earn some extra cash and get out from under that credit card debt. I'm not persuaded that there's a first-order question of social justice here one way or the other.

26 November, 2013

End the N.S.A. Dragnet, Now - NYTimes.com

End the N.S.A. Dragnet, Now - NYTimes.com: The usefulness of the bulk collection program has been greatly exaggerated. We have yet to see any proof that it provides real, unique value in protecting national security. In spite of our repeated requests, the N.S.A. has not provided evidence of any instance when the agency used this program to review phone records that could not have been obtained using a regular court order or emergency authorization.

Despite this, the surveillance reform bill recently ratified by the Senate Intelligence Committee would explicitly permit the government to engage in dragnet collection as long as there were rules about when officials could look at these phone records. It would also give intelligence agencies wide latitude to conduct warrantless searches for Americans’ phone calls and emails.

This is not the true reform that poll after poll has shown the American people want

Pope Francis: No more business as usual – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Pope Francis: No more business as usual – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs: (CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big changes in the Roman Catholic Church – including at the very top – saying the church needs to rethink old rules and customs that are no longer understood or effective for evangelization.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Pope said in a major new statement.

"I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures," Francis added.

Dana Milbank: Republicans mindlessly oppose Iran nuclear deal - The Washington Post

Dana Milbank: Republicans mindlessly oppose Iran nuclear deal - The Washington Post: The opposition in this case is particularly mindless. Certainly there are reasons to be skeptical that Iran will act in good faith. But the deal is temporary — six months — and easily reversible. In the (likely) event that Iran doesn’t agree to a permanent accord to end its nuclear program, the tougher sanctions contemplated in Congress could be applied. Would it be better to go to war now without exhausting diplomatic options? We’ve been there and done that — when Ari Fleischer stood on the White House podium.

Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com

Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a "doomsday" cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.

The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.

The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

The passwords are in the possession of at least three different people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are unknown.

25 November, 2013

An Emmy-Caliber Performance From 'Homeland's' Dana Brody And No, That's Not A Joke - Forbes

An Emmy-Caliber Performance From 'Homeland's' Dana Brody And No, That's Not A Joke - Forbes: In an episode that laid the groundwork for Lewis’s upcoming Emmy campaign, Homeland’s showrunners may have stumbled upon a second Emmy-worthy performance from a most unlikely source. And it probably won’t be enough to silence her critics. Haters gonna hate, Morgan Saylor. Haters gonna hate.

Stories we don't tell

The Misery Of Miscarriage, Ctd � The Dish: This thread took me back to a dark day nearly 30 years ago. I remember so clearly sitting on my living room sofa with an extra-big maxi pad on, while the remains of what would have been my first child lumpily left my body. Then I went on to have two children and, while I grieved the one I lost, I can’t imagine having any other children than the ones I have. I know intellectually that I would have loved that one as much as I love these two adults who have been a part of my life all these years, but my emotions won’t follow my brain there. I just feel as though these particular people were the ones given to me to love. This sounds ridiculous, I know, but I feel as though I would have grieved not knowing them.

When We Lose Antibiotics, Here's Everything Else We'll Lose Too - Wired Science

When We Lose Antibiotics, Here's Everything Else We'll Lose Too - Wired Science: And we’d lose, as well, a good portion of our cheap modern food supply. Most of the meat we eat in the industrialized world is raised with the routine use of antibiotics, to fatten livestock and protect them from the conditions in which the animals are raised. Without the drugs that keep livestock healthy in concentrated agriculture, we’d lose the ability to raise them that way. Either animals would sicken, or farmers would have to change their raising practices, spending more money when their margins are thin. Either way, meat — and fish and seafood, also raised with abundant antibiotics in the fish farms of Asia — would become much more expensive.

The death of the filibuster is bad for centrists and moderates.

The death of the filibuster is bad for centrists and moderates.: Indeed, consensus and unanimity are very attractive voting rules because they ensure that decisions must make everyone better off—otherwise, voters will block them. That is why consensus is the norm for small bodies like the law school faculty I belong to. It’s true that for larger groups, as the scholars James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock pointed out long ago, this rule leads to gridlock. The closer to a simple majority, the easier decision-making becomes. But there is a cost: It also becomes easier for people who manage to form a majority to make decisions that cause significant harm to the minority.

A Gamble in Iran Talks - Easing of the Sanctions - NYTimes.com

A Gamble in Iran Talks - Easing of the Sanctions - NYTimes.com: There are arguments about what all the initial sanctions relief would add up to. The Obama administration has estimated that relief at $7 billion to $10 billion. That is far less than the $30 billion or so Iran will lose over the same period in forgone oil exports, prohibited by sanctions that will remain in place until a broader deal is struck.

24 November, 2013

Stung By Iranian Nuclear Deal, Netanyahu Prepares For Fallout At Home

Stung By Iranian Nuclear Deal, Netanyahu Prepares For Fallout At Home: “There is no doubt that Netanyahu is a big loser in the Iran deal,” said Gil Hoffman, political editor at the Jerusalem Post. “His whole political career is built on two things: number one is that he persuaded Israelis that only he could protect them from Iran, and number two is his image as someone who could speak to the world in his perfect English in a persuasive way better than any other Israelis. And here he failed.”

While Netanyahu could have stressed that the deal reached in Geneva was a six-month interim deal, and that efforts were still being made to secure more of Israel’s demands on the permanent deal, he instead lambasted the entire effort as a “disaster.”

The Problem with Unapologetic and the HPtFTU - PEG 2.0

The Problem with Unapologetic and the HPtFTU - PEG 2.0: One of the central elements of Unapologetic is its discussion of original sin and, in particular, its description of it as the “HPtFTU”, or the “human propensity to [foul] things up.” Spufford’s whole argument for Christianity rests on the HPtFTU. I’ve said that it is genius and I stand by it. It is genius not only because it presents an old, and much-maligned, idea in a fresh new light, and not only because proclaiming God with curse words is sometimes called for.

I think it is genius because it gets at important truths about original sin. Casting original sin as HPtFTU shows how it is something fundamental to who we are. Psychologists will tell you that the most popular way to do wrong is by rationalizing it, and rationalizing it as “I am a good person who happens to have done evil thing X”, but it is the evil thing/circumstances/whatever that is evil, not me. HPtFTU says, no, it is you, or rather it is part of you. And, as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Cord Cutters And The Death Of TV - Business Insider

Cord Cutters And The Death Of TV - Business Insider: This is the macro problem: Ratings are falling across the board. They have been for years.

It's not too surprising that broadcast TV ratings are down. The major networks have faced increasing competition for years from niche-interest cable channels and the better-quality programming on places like AMC and HBO.

But ratings for both cable and the broadcast networks are down.

Mallory Weggeman Speaks About Her Story of Hope "Against All Odds" | Last Word On Sports

Mallory Weggeman Speaks About Her Story of Hope "Against All Odds" | Last Word On Sports:
You know, I think on that day, in all honesty, it was so hard to believe that something like that could happen, and it didn’t seem real. For the first 24 hours or so, we were just waiting; I was told that the medicine would wear off and no one really knew what was going on right away. My family and I knew it was bigger than medicine just waiting to wear off because my mom’s a nurse, and so she understands the medical profession. She knew that it wasn’t right, and that it wasn’t normal. I think it really hit me the morning after, on January 22nd when I woke up, and I still couldn’t move my legs and still had no feeling. I think at that point, it hit me that it was actually happening, that this is real and this isn’t just, you know, it isn’t some crazy nightmare that I just was going to wake up and go home walking. It was real life, and it just started to go from there and it was a big struggle going back and forth for a few months of figuring this out, and why me, and just not understanding how something like that could happen. Also going through the ups and downs of the fears and uncertainties of what this now meant to my life, because I didn’t understand this. Growing up, I didn’t know anybody with a physical disability. So it was a world that not only had I never been exposed to in any degree, but now I was living, and it was a challenge to myself and my family to figure it out, and when it first happened, I didn’t have the core strength to sit up in bed and get in and out of wheelchair on my own. I was being lifted up by machines and devices and nurses, and I was completely dependent on everyone around me, and I didn’t know what that meant for my life moving forward. I think that was the biggest fear for me when this first happened. It was just, “What’s my life going to be like now?”

Heritage Foundation's Michael Needham Tears Apart Right Wing | New Republic

Heritage Foundation's Michael Needham Tears Apart Right Wing | New Republic:
But the elders were wrong to dismiss Needham and Chapman. Between throws of the football, they designed a brutally effective way to activate Heritage’s base of almost 700,000 donors, as well as to harness the diffuse Tea Party fervor across the country. In nearly every congressional district, they recruited Heritage Action “sentinels,” usually ordinary citizens with a surplus of time and enthusiasm, who were trained, outfitted with information kits, and asked to recruit and organize the local faithful. When Needham sounded the alarm, the sentinels and their infantries flooded the offices of their representatives with vitriol.

23 November, 2013

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012 | vizynary

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012 | vizynary: Approximately 7.1 million Americans moved to another state in 2012. That’s over 2.2% of the U.S. population. The United States has a long history of people picking up and moving their families to other parts of the country, in search of better livelihoods. That same spirit of mobility, a willingness to uproot oneself, seems alive and well today based on the visualization of migration patterns above.

22 November, 2013

I Gave Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mother A Ride to Dallas | TIME.com

I Gave Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mother A Ride to Dallas | TIME.com: I answered one and a woman said, “Is there anyone who can give me a ride to Dallas?”

I couldn’t believe it. “Lady,” I replied, “We’re not running a taxi service here. And besides, the President has been shot!”

And she said, “Yes, I heard it on the radio. I think my son is the one they’ve arrested.”

It was Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother.

Kennedy The Conservative? � The Dish

Kennedy The Conservative? � The Dish: I think your correspondent who said Kennedy was undeserving of his spot on the half-dollar coin was right if one looks at Kennedy’s actual achievements, but that’s not why he’s on there. Kennedy made Americans dream. Apollo, Civil Rights, the Peace Corps … those were huge, arguably insane dreams at the time. If he’d lived, I’m not sure either Apollo or the Civil Rights Act would have succeeded when they did. In death, though, he somehow inspired the entire polity to see through what he probably couldn’t have. He reminds me a bit of Thomas Jefferson: a deeply flawed man whose redeeming grace was that he sold a nation on dreams far greater than himself.

Eclipsed in death: We remember JFK, but what about Aldous Huxley, or CS Lewis? - Comment - Voices - The Independent

Eclipsed in death: We remember JFK, but what about Aldous Huxley, or CS Lewis? - Comment - Voices - The Independent: Huxley died at 5:20pm, London time, on 22 November 1963. About ten minutes later, CS Lewis died. Just under an hour after that, of course, JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. There may never have been a deadlier 70 minutes for celebrity, but others have been tied similarly by fatal coincidence (see below).

Of course, this is all trivial on the face of it - as meaningful as coincidental birthdays - but, aside from challenging obituarists, coincidental deaths can also raise awkward questions. Who is more important? Who deserves top billing in the press - and why? And what does it mean for their families?

Kiribati: Climate Change Destroys Pacific Island Nation - Businessweek

Kiribati: Climate Change Destroys Pacific Island Nation - Businessweek: Kiribati is a flyspeck of a United Nations member state, a collection of 33 islands necklaced across the central Pacific. Thirty-two of the islands are low-lying atolls; the 33rd, called Banaba, is a raised coral island that long ago was strip-mined for its seabird-guano-derived phosphates. If scientists are correct, the ocean will swallow most of Kiribati before the end of the century, and perhaps much sooner than that. Water expands as it warms, and the oceans have lately received colossal quantities of melted ice. A recent study found that the oceans are absorbing heat 15 times faster than they have at any point during the past 10,000 years. Before the rising Pacific drowns these atolls, though, it will infiltrate, and irreversibly poison, their already inadequate supply of fresh water. The apocalypse could come even sooner for Kiribati if violent storms, of the sort that recently destroyed parts of the Philippines, strike its islands.

For all of these reasons, the 103,000 citizens of Kiribati may soon become refugees, perhaps the first mass movement of people fleeing the consequences of global warming rather than war or famine.

Media protest White House photo ban - POLITICO.com

Media protest White House photo ban - POLITICO.com: The apparent reason for closing certain events to photographers is that these events have been deemed “private.” That rationale, however, is undermined when the White House contemporaneously releases its own photograph of a so-called private event through social media. The restrictions imposed by the White House on photographers covering these events, followed by the routine release by the White House of photographs made by government employees of these same events, is an arbitrary restraint and unwarranted interference on legitimate newsgathering activities. You are, in effect, replacing independent photojournalism with visual press releases.

Why Do I Always Wake Up 5 Minutes Before My Alarm Goes Off? | Mental Floss

Why Do I Always Wake Up 5 Minutes Before My Alarm Goes Off? | Mental Floss: Because your body’s internal clock is just as good, if not better, than the contraption shrieking atop your nightstand.

At the center of your brain, a clump of nerves—called the suprachiasmatic nucleus—oversees your body’s clock: the circadian rhythm. It determines when you feel sleepy and when you feel bright-eyed. It controls your blood pressure, your body temperature, and your sense of time. It turns your body into a finely tuned machine.

That machine happens to love predictability. Your body is most efficient when there’s a routine to follow. So if you hit the hay the same time each night and awake the same time each morning, your body locks that behavior in. And that’s where things get sciency.

The Other Assassination | The Weekly Standard

The Other Assassination | The Weekly Standard: Kennedy supported the alliance with Diem because he saw no popular alternative. Vice President Lyndon Johnson, though reluctant to join the debate, was also in this camp. Diem had been something of a hero to the nationalist cause in South Vietnam because of his role in opposing the French and establishing an independent national government. Though corrupt and authoritarian in his methods and a Catholic in a country with a majority Buddhist population, Diem had standing that no other potential leader could claim. For this reason, Kennedy was reluctant to throw him over for an untested alternative.

Hear What Happened At Boston's Symphony Hall After JFK's Assassination : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

Hear What Happened At Boston's Symphony Hall After JFK's Assassination : Deceptive Cadence : NPR: But what is most remarkable to me as as listener, hearing the Boston broadcast from Symphony Hall on that Friday afternoon, is the sense of how those people in that time and place — performer and audience member alike — process this shocking event collectively, in a way that is totally unimaginable to us 50 years later, as we learn each minute's news within the weirdly solitary glow of our screens. First, we hear the gasps and shushes after BSO music director Erich Leinsdorf utters the words: "The president of the United States has been the victim of an assassination." Second, a wave of groans and sighs after Leinsdorf continues, "We will play the funeral march from 's Third Symphony" — as if the crowd's shared response is that they couldn't possibly have heard the first part right, but that then the orchestra's change in repertoire confirms the awful, unimaginable truth. And then, for the next 14 minutes ... utter silence, save for the incomparably somber music.

Sex in the Senate - Todd S. Purdum - POLITICO Magazine

Sex in the Senate - Todd S. Purdum - POLITICO Magazine: Russell was the most revered—and feared—senator of his day. But his staunch segregationist views and implacable opposition to civil rights legislation made him anathema to the national Democratic Party…
“Being from Georgia and being much more conservative than the Democratic Party, there was no chance that he would take any position. Had he conceded that the South lost the Civil War, and after the Brown v. Board of Education had he stated that our customs in the South are totally different, but if you’ll go with me, we’ll start in kindergarten and we’ll integrate, he would have been president. He actually could have been president and he wanted to be president. But civil rights killed him, and that’s all he knew, Rule 22 [the filibuster rule.]”

Why Harry Reid Went Nuclear - Molly Ball - The Atlantic

Why Harry Reid Went Nuclear - Molly Ball - The Atlantic: .

Why did Reid pull the trigger? He was tired of making deals with McConnell, only to see their spirit violated by yet more obstruction, allies say. The two reached an informal agreement in January that was supposed to lead to fewer filibuster threats, and another deal in July that paved the way for several executive-branch nominations, including Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Thomas Perez to head the Department of Labor. But none of these bargains affected the overall trend of blockage, and Reid finally had enough.

21 November, 2013

I've Been Called the "Erin Brockovich" of Revenge Porn, and For the First Time Ever, Here is My Entire Uncensored Story of Death Threats, Anonymous and the FBI | xoJane

I've Been Called the "Erin Brockovich" of Revenge Porn, and For the First Time Ever, Here is My Entire Uncensored Story of Death Threats, Anonymous and the FBI | xoJane: I've Been Called the "Erin Brockovich" of Revenge Porn, and For the First Time Ever, Here is My Entire Uncensored Story of Death Threats, Anonymous and the FBI

Senate Republicans: All Obama Judges Are Bad -- Daily Intelligencer

Senate Republicans: All Obama Judges Are Bad -- Daily Intelligencer: This – unlike many of the arguments of convenience deployed in such fights — is a perfectly blunt account of both side’s beliefs. Democrats want to nominate judges who share the Democratic legal philosophy, which tends to treat the Democratic policy agenda as constitutional. Republicans want to keep the courts as Republican as possible, because Republican judges are more likely to strike down laws passed by Democrats.

The bluntness of the account reveals its radicalism. Previous judicial fights have revolved around the question: How personally or ideologically unacceptable must a judge be to merit rejection? Republicans are now arguing that Obama’s nominating judges to vacancies on the court is illegitimate per se.

A Tory Icon Decries Class Privilege in Britain - NYTimes.com

A Tory Icon Decries Class Privilege in Britain - NYTimes.com
In a series of headline-grabbing utterances, Mr. Major has assailed growing imbalances in British society, bemoaning the hardships facing the “silent have-nots” who “work hard, obey the law, hope for a better future” yet fall “behind through no fault of their own.” 

“And how do I know about these people?” he asked, evoking his youthful years living in a rented, two-room apartment in hardscrabble Brixton. “Because I grew up with them.” 

The idea of a former Conservative prime minister, knight of the realm and post-prime-ministerial exponent of private equity investment embracing such egalitarian views seemed somewhat disconcerting to his successors at the helm of Britain’s Tories.

Trey Radel's cocaine arrest: Arbitrary stimulant prejudice begone | The Economist

Trey Radel's cocaine arrest: Arbitrary stimulant prejudice begone | The Economist:
HERE is everything you need to know about the absurdity of America's war on drugs. When Trey Radel, a congressman from Florida, was charged with cocaine possession on Tuesday, he released a statement that began as follows:
I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.
This is a perfectly reasonable and entirely sympathetic statement from somebody with an addiction problem. The queer bit is that in making this plea for understanding, Mr Radel feels on solid ground ascribing his misbehaviour to alcoholism, but isn't willing to talk in the same way about his drug use. Alcoholism, apparently, does not carry the type of stigma that would prevent Americans from empathising with or, potentially, re-electing Mr Radel. He expects that his readers will share his view of alcoholism as a disease. In contrast, he terms his cocaine use "an extremely irresponsible choice." Alcoholism is a disease; cocaine possession is a choice. Because, after all, something can't be evil or criminal if it's involuntary. How can it be a crime to have a disease? Right?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? I voted for him and I'd do it again | Public Radio International

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? I voted for him and I'd do it again | Public Radio International: Like many Etobicoke residents, Venafro has met the mayor. When Ford was a city councillor, he visited Venafro’s street to try to resolve a neighbor's dispute. As a councillor, Ford was known for personally returning constituent calls about everyday issues, like backed up city sewers, a neighbor’s fence that was too high and problems with garbage pick-up. Once he became mayor, he continued the practice, sometimes returning calls late into the night.

Father arrested for odious crime of picking up his kids from school | The Daily Caller

Father arrested for odious crime of picking up his kids from school | The Daily Caller: A Tennessee father was hauled off to jail after he insisted on taking his son home from school on time, rather than waiting for another half an hour under a recently implemented school rule.

Jim Howe, father of two children enrolled in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee, arrived at the school on foot at dismissal time: 2:00 PM. But a new school policy states that students may only leave at 2:00 PM if their parents are picking them up in cars. Walkers must wait until 2:35 PM.

The Eternal, Charming Chatter of the 'Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 2' : The New Yorker

The Eternal, Charming Chatter of the 'Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 2' : The New Yorker: He often had trouble sleeping, and drank to numb his nerves. But he never had trouble talking.

He kept talking until the end. In the last years of his life, when he began writing his autobiography, Twain decided to do it mostly by dictation. He sat in bed, with his head propped up on pillows, and riffed and reminisced for hours at a time, while his stenographer took down everything in shorthand. When he was done, he had more than five thousand pages of typescript.

The result is the “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a monster that has haunted Twain scholars for a hundred years.

20 November, 2013

Oops: Utah Town Forgets To Hold Election | ThinkProgress

Oops: Utah Town Forgets To Hold Election | ThinkProgress: The town of Wallsburg, Utah forgot to announce the fact that candidates for town office should file to do so — and then forgot to make arrangements for an election last November 5th, when Utah voters in the rest of the state cast ballots for municipal offices. As a result, the town of 275 will “have to appoint the current mayor and council for two more years and they’ll advertise and have people elected [in 2015],” according to the county clerk.

This is the second time this has happened. Wallsburg also forgot to hold an election two years ago, forcing the town’s officials to be appointed that time as well.

The Secret Lives of the Vatican’s Gay Cardinals, Monks, and Other Clergy Members | Vanity Fair

The Secret Lives of the Vatican’s Gay Cardinals, Monks, and Other Clergy Members | Vanity Fair: Despite headlines about a powerful “gay lobby” within the Vatican, and a new Pope promising reform, the Catholic Church’s gay cardinals, monks, and other clergy inhabit a hidden netherworld. In Rome, the author learns how they navigate the dangerous paradox of their lives.

Why I Won’t Do the Food Stamp Challenge – Casaubon's Book

Why I Won’t Do the Food Stamp Challenge – Casaubon's Book: When politicians and bloggers do these challenges, they start with a kitchen full of spices and seasonings to make food palatable. They don’t start with a week or two of hunger, depression and misery behind them in which there wasn’t food, so they don’t understand why poor people who finally can eat what they want might consume bad choices. They have a bathroom full of supplies, so they don’t need to use their food stamps to get things like soap.

They also have a kitchen. Many of my foster kids come after living in shelters or motels with a microwave only – no cooking facilities at all. Or after living in rental apartments where gas and electric are regularly turned off for non-payment. Or after squatting in buildings with no services whatsoever. They may have technical kitchen access, but only under limited circumstances – for example, adults only are allowed to cook, so during the long hours when my kids are home alone after school in their motel room, there is no way to heat up a can of soup.

Politico’s Mike Allen, native advertising pioneer

Politico’s Mike Allen, native advertising pioneer: Whatever the explanation, the core softness in “Playbook” and Allen’s news stories counters the public image that Politico’s leadership has promoted for years. This news outlet, VandeHei and others have preached, is a take-no-prisoners operation, forever fighting off complacency and doing gritty work. At the same time, its most famous reporter is dropping puffballs across the Internet. As Executive Editor VandeHei wrote upon being elevated as chief executive officer of Politico, “We are successful because our business and editorial strategies work in perfect synchronicity.”

A precise, and perhaps accidental, description of “Playbook.”

'The Sing-Off' season 4 groups revealed: A very careful aca-sessment | PopWatch | EW.com

'The Sing-Off' season 4 groups revealed: A very careful aca-sessment | PopWatch | EW.com

19 November, 2013

Dear Mouse: I See You | Kimchi Latkes

Dear Mouse: I See You | Kimchi Latkes: You went to a birthday party today and your father’s report was… well, not great. It seems you spent most of the time being a barnacle on your daddy’s leg, despite the kind efforts of other kids to get you to play. In fact, your daddy told me you were pretty unkind to one of the kids, and that hurt my heart a bit.

This is your modus operandi: Somewhere, based on some mysterious something, the social part of you will just shut down. No manner of encouragement and familiarity can crack the shell. In fact, it usually makes it worse. It’ll take you hours to warm up when you get like this, and by then, the event is over. Then you’re sad with very little understanding of how your behavior played a role in your disappointing situation.

Lawsuit Paid In Full: Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins |

Lawsuit Paid In Full: Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins |: This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.

James Surowiecki: Valuing the Free Digital Economy : The New Yorker

James Surowiecki: Valuing the Free Digital Economy : The New Yorker:
“the welfare of a nation . . . can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income.” For instance, most Web sites are built with free, open-source applications. This makes running a site cheap, which has all sorts of benefits in terms of welfare, but G.D.P. ends up lower than it would be if everyone had to pay for Microsoft’s server software. Digital innovation can even shrink G.D.P.: Skype has reduced the amount of money that people spend on international calls, and free smartphone apps are replacing stand-alone devices that once generated billions in sales. The G.P.S. company Garmin was once one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. Thanks to Google and Apple Maps, Garmin’s sales have taken a severe hit, but consumers, who now have access to good directions at no cost, are certainly better off.

Netanyahu’s Empty Bluster | The American Conservative

Netanyahu’s Empty Bluster | The American Conservative: The panic from Netanyahu’s government certainly appears to be self-defeating. The surest way to make the Obama administration ignore its protests and complaints was to engage in a very public at sabotage of ongoing negotiations, which Netanyahu did, and the quickest way to confirm that the practical alternative to a deal is war is to have Israeli officials stating that their government is prepared to attack Iran. Despite Netanyahu’s obvious desire to prevent a deal with Iran, his government’s behavior over the last few weeks seems to have lessened its influence with the administration and has made its complaints about the deal easier to dismiss.

Why Jimmy Kimmel’s Lies Matter

Why Jimmy Kimmel’s Lies Matter: As parents, we must maintain our children’s trust—and the easiest way to lose it is by lying to them. Of course, we should communicate the truth in ways they can handle—and this often demands that we suppress details that would be confusing or needlessly disturbing. An important difference between children and (normal) adults is that children are not fully capable of conceiving of (much less looking out for) their real interests. Consequently, it might be necessary in some situations to pacify or motivate them with a lie. In my experience, however, such circumstances almost never arise.

High Court gives Israel six months to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News | Haaretz

High Court gives Israel six months to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News | Haaretz: The High Court of Justice on Monday gave the state six months to evacuate houses built on private Palestinian land in three illegal West Bank outposts. Court President Asher Grunis and Justice Miriam Naor leveled unprecedented criticism against the state, writing that it was no longer possible to rely on the state’s commitments on such matters.

The houses to be evacuated stand in the illegal outposts of Givat Assaf, Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ma’aleh Rehavam.

Source: Female Marines will graduate enlisted infantry training this week | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com

Source: Female Marines will graduate enlisted infantry training this week | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com: Three women will graduate this week from the Marine Corps’ enlisted infantry training course, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Their successful completion of the program, confirmed Monday by a Marine official with knowledge of ongoing efforts to determine what additional ground combat jobs should open to women, is a historic milestone, one that would suggest at least some female Marines posses both the physical strength and acumen to keep pace with their male counterparts on the battlefield. A graduation ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at Camp Geiger, N.C.

18 November, 2013

USA Today Called "The Best Man Holiday" a "Race-Themed" Film | Awesomely Luvvie

USA Today Called "The Best Man Holiday" a "Race-Themed" Film | Awesomely Luvvie:
The Best Man Holiday was released in theaters this Friday and it beat Thor in ticket sales that day. But Thor came from behind and earned $38 million for the weekend, edging out BHM’s $31 million. I (and people who use logic) expected the film to perform well because there’s been a lot of buzz around it and people made it a group outing and folks have heard just how good it is.
Scott Bowles of USA Today wrote a piece titled “‘Holiday’ nearly beats ‘Thor’ as race-themed film soars” and when outrage poured in, he changed it to “‘Holiday’ nearly beats ‘Thor’ as diverse films soar.” FAIL FAIL FAIL.
The last thing Best Man Holiday was is “race-themed.” Try HOLIDAY-THEMED, FAMILY-THEMED, FRIENDSHIP-THEMED, FORGIVENESS-THEMED, LOVE-THEMED! But race? No.

Sterner Stuff: Why Sansa Stark Is A Political Powerhouse | The Rainbow Hub

Sterner Stuff: Why Sansa Stark Is A Political Powerhouse | The Rainbow Hub: Sansa’s arc is dependent upon her finding her agency and becoming a player in the game of thrones. (Though she may also have potential within the magical arc of the series.) Her passive action is not weakness or stupidity. It is her only option and she is working it to the best of her abilities, toeing the line between survival and destruction, identity and dissociation, self-care and necessary self-denial. From the beginning of this story, she has had every tool she needed to rule. Sansa Stark was a sheltered child thrown into emotional and political turmoil. And despite her grief, her guilt, and her longing, she has carried on, “…to porcelain, to ivory, to steel”. She is a wolf, a Stark, and at home in winter and turmoil, high functioning in peril. Her courtesy is not only armor, it is easily weaponized, she only needs the realization and the opportunity. Sansa Stark is very well the political Chekhov’s gun of this series. Not only will she live through the barbaric and oppressive nature of this society, she will be better than it.

Why Is Childcare Getting So Expensive? - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic

Why Is Childcare Getting So Expensive? - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic: Child care is a carefully regulated industry. States lay down rules about how many children each employee is allowed to watch over, the square footage centers need per child, and other minute details. And the stricter the regs, the higher the costs. If a center is required by law to have 25 square feet of space for every kid in a program, it can't ever downsize its building when rents rise. If it has to hire a care giver for every two children, it can't really achieve any economies of scale on labor to save money when other expenses go up. A comparative case in point: in Massachusetts, where child care centers must hire one teacher for every three infants, the price of care averaged more than $16,000 per year. In Mississippi, where centers must hire one teacher for every five infants, the price of care averaged less than $5,000.

Obamacare's Creative, Or Illegal, Rule-Making - Bloomberg

Obamacare's Creative, Or Illegal, Rule-Making - Bloomberg: But it seems that the administration is looking for ways to sweeten the deal for insurers. Politico reports, “Administration officials say they can take care of that problem. They're going to look at ways to adjust special payment mechanisms built into Obamacare, called 'risk corridors,' that pay health plans if they have higher costs than they expected.”

I’ve been skeptical of the argument that the risk corridors will fix things; they’ll mitigate insurer losses if the patient mix is too sick, but they don’t turn losses into profit. It’s a mechanism meant to deal with individual insurers who miscalculate their actuarial risk, not a whole marketplace filled with sicker and older patients than expected.

But this is a bit different; the administration is clearly looking for a way to increase the payments so that they defray more of the unexpected costs. Only looking at the statute, I don’t see how they can. The language is extremely clear:

Pope Francis Beats All | The American Conservative

Pope Francis Beats All | The American Conservative:
“The only sign of humility is the love of one’s enemies. When one loves his enemies, he says in effect that they are as worthy of life as he is, that the Kingdom of God does not depend upon the vindication of one’s own cause. When one loves his enemies, he has accepted the fact that he is not the center of the universe. He is willing to admit that the grace of God may be at work, even in his own behalf, in the resistance and rejection he encounters from others. By love of enemies and by this standard alone can the humility of Jesus be measured. The ‘humble of heart’ whom Jesus admires are those whose hearts have no hatred for their opponents.”
(“Free to Be Faithful” by Anthony Padovano, page 16)
Humility, I believe, consists of more than loving those who oppose or hurt us, but this act is an acid test of the virtue. Good for the Pope.

More Amazing Photos Taken Throughout History (20 Pics) | Mommy Has A Potty MouthMommy Has A Potty Mouth

More Amazing Photos Taken Throughout History (20 Pics) | Mommy Has A Potty MouthMommy Has A Potty Mouth: Railroad bridge from the years 1901-1904, in the State of Oregon, USA

Using Giant Mirrors to Light up Dark Valleys - In Focus - The Atlantic

Using Giant Mirrors to Light up Dark Valleys - In Focus - The Atlantic: The villages of Rjukan, Norway, and Viganella, Italy, are both situated in deep valleys where mountains block the sun's rays for up to six months every year. To illuminate those darker winter months, the two towns have built gigantic mirrors that track the sun and reflect daylight downwards. Viganella completed its huge computer-controlled mirror in 2006, and Rjukan followed suit just this month, mounting a mirror that will reflect a 600 square meter (6,500 square foot) beam of sunshine into the town square below. [9 photos]

Michael Ferro Isn‘t Worried | Chicago magazine

Michael Ferro Isn‘t Worried | Chicago magazine: Today you don’t even have to be particularly rich to own a big-city paper. At $20 million, Sun-Times Media “cost less than Michael Jordan asked for his house when he first listed it,” points out Mike Conklin, a former writer and editor at the Tribune who now teaches journalism and media at DePaul University.

17 November, 2013

Letters of Note: Your Loving Mother

Letters of Note: Your Loving Mother: He has lived his life; live yours as best you can. Both of my children have loved me so much that there is no need to dwell on it. You have done all you can for me and have given me the greatest love that children can give to parents. Care for your father when he is old, as I cared for my mother. But never let his or anyone else's life interfere with your real life. Goodbye, darling, and if you see me no more then it may be best that you remember me as I was in New York.

Hipster Jesus Is Coming to an Atheist Church Near You | New Republic

Hipster Jesus Is Coming to an Atheist Church Near You | New Republic: I met Jones in the lobby of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where he would lead a service later that evening. He was charismatic enough that I forgave him for turning up to our interview three hours late. Many journalists have noted his resemblance to popular representations of Jesus; with his unkempt beard, imposing height and thick glasses, he really does look like some kind of hipster Messiah. The attention being paid to the Sunday Assembly probably has a lot to do with its founders’ look. Evans, with her big green eyes and mass of blonde hair, looks more like a model than a preacher. The idea of a godless congregation isn’t new, after all, but the fledgling Sunday Assembly has already been written up in The Guardian, The Economist and The New York Times.

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 64, Kurt Vonnegut

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 64, Kurt Vonnegut: I guarantee you that no modern story scheme, even plotlessness, will give a reader genuine satisfaction, unless one of those old-fashioned plots is smuggled in somewhere. I don’t praise plots as accurate representations of life, but as ways to keep readers reading. When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time. One of my students wrote a story about a nun who got a piece of dental floss stuck between her lower left molars, and who couldn’t get it out all day long. I thought that was wonderful. The story dealt with issues a lot more important than dental floss, but what kept readers going was anxiety about when the dental floss would finally be removed. Nobody could read that story without fishing around in his mouth with a finger. Now, there’s an admirable practical joke for you. When you exclude plot, when you exclude anyone’s wanting anything, you exclude the reader, which is a mean-spirited thing to do.


I do not doubt my son and daughter in any negative sense, but at the same time I’m not certain what they’ll face in life and what choices they will make. It is precisely this state of not knowing, of being in the dark about what may come, that lights a fire in my parental heart to raise and rear my children as best as I can.  I believe in them, I believe that they can and will make good choices, but I don’t know that they will. I doubt they’ll always behave wisely. Because I cannot know with certainty that my children will always do what they ought to do, I have to have faith in them. If I assumed that they would never make a bad decision, then I would have no cause for belief or for trust.

Neuroscience: My life with Parkinson's : Nature News & Comment

Neuroscience: My life with Parkinson's : Nature News & Comment: I was diagnosed with Parkinson's more than two years ago. From that day, I have had a different relationship with the brain — my scientific focus for the past 20 years. I now know what it is like to have a brain disorder and can explore its manifestations first hand. Take the very peculiar symptom known as 'freezing'. Occasionally, when I attempt to lift my hand it well ... won't. Notice that I didn't say can't. There is nothing wrong with my arm. It is still strong and capable of moving, but I have to put effort, even focus, into getting it to move — frequently to such a degree that I have to pause whatever else my brain is doing (including talking or thinking). Sometimes, when no one else is around, I use my other hand to move it.

MI6 spy found dead in bag probably locked himself inside, Met says | UK news | The Guardian

MI6 spy found dead in bag probably locked himself inside, Met says | UK news | The Guardian: Last year, a coroner concluded that Williams was probably unlawfully killed and his death the result of a criminal act. Following an eight-day inquest, the Westminster coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, said he was probably either suffocated or poisoned, before a third party locked and placed the bag in the bath.

But Hewitt said Scotland Yard's three-year inquiry had come to a different conclusion and that Williams was "most probably" alone when he died.

"Despite all of this considerable effort, it is still the case that there is insufficient evidence to be definitive on the circumstances that led to Gareth's death," he said.

Mark Bernstein: Shadows: a software allegory

Mark Bernstein: Shadows: a software allegory: But we don’t talk about those around the dinner table or across the conference table. We don’t talk about that stuff; we mostly talk about tabs and icons, bevels and borders, freemium schemes and iOS vs. Android and how about those Cubs.

There’s work to do. It’s not really so difficult to click that tab. There are people to feed, art to make, science to discover, sickness to cure, a climate to preserve, and winter is coming. But here we are again. talking about tabs and shadows.

Healthcare Triage: Sugar doesn’t make kids hyper | The Incidental Economist

Healthcare Triage: Sugar doesn’t make kids hyper | The Incidental Economist: Do you think that sugar makes kids hyper? Well, you’re wrong. Yes, WRONG. How do we know? Randomized controlled trials.

RCTs are pretty much the most robust study design there is, and also the only way to prove causality. This week’s episode of Healthcare Triage explains how randomized controlled trials work, and why they are superior to other types of studies. It also explains how they’ve been used to prove, without a doubt, that sugar doesn’t make kids hyper. Don’t believe it? Watch the video and argue with us in the comments below if you’re still not convinced.

The Republican Party Isn't Really the Anti-Science Party - Mischa Fisher - The Atlantic

The Republican Party Isn't Really the Anti-Science Party - Mischa Fisher - The Atlantic:
There is a second, larger reason why it's important to keep science bipartisan—and why cheap shots about Republicans and science are dangerous. The politics of the immediate will always trump the politics of the long term. So actions like the sequester, which left entitlements untouched but caused furloughs at NASA and the Office of Science, stalled research at the National Institutes of Health, and reduced grants from the NSF and other federally supported research agencies—will happen again and again absent tax and spending reform. If the sequester taught us anything, it's that science will always lose to Social Security, Medicare, and defense when budgets are being cut.

Science's political constituency is too small and the coalition supporting it is not powerful enough to protect research budgets against other priorities. Supporters of federal science funding, a group of which I am a card-carrying member, can ill afford to lose Republican support for science. But if it is perceived as a partisan litmus test, it will not continue to exist in its current state as the government's other financial obligations continue to grow. This may be stupid or petty and perhaps it ought not to matter whether or not it's perceived as a partisan issue, but I've been on the Hill and this is how politics works.
If we do not expand the pro-science coalition, instead of shrinking it, it will be the death knell for American leadership in science. Every American will be worse off as a result. Science funding will not just shrink as a percentage—it will shrink in absolute terms, as it did under the sequester.

Yeah, Alec Baldwin Is a Bigot - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic

Yeah, Alec Baldwin Is a Bigot - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic: This is bigotry. And it is not complicated by the fact that Baldwin supports marriage equality. One need not believe that LGBTQ human beings are equal to support their right to marry, any more than one needed to be an anti-racist to support abolition, or an anti-sexist to support women's suffrage. There any number of self-interested reasons to support the advancement of civil rights. "Let them niggers vote" or "let them fags marry" is actually a politically consistent position. It says, "I don't like you, but I'm not willing to put my tax dollars behind my dislike." Or even, "I don't like you, but I think I can profit from taking this position."

Unification Church Profile: The Fall of the House of Moon
 | New Republic

Unification Church Profile: The Fall of the House of Moon
 | New Republic: In Jin disappeared from public view. She stopped delivering the weekly broadcasts, and even quit showing up at the church’s Manhattan headquarters. After several months passed with no sign of her, some parishioners began pressing for information on her whereabouts. They were blocked at every turn. Even the highest circles of church leadership couldn’t—or wouldn’t—say what had happened to In Jin Moon.

Before long, it became clear that the House of Moon was crumbling and In Jin had become caught up in its downfall. But her disappearance was only one part of a much more complicated saga—one that involved illegitimate children, secret sex rituals, foreign spy agencies, and the family of Vice President Joseph Biden. Even by Moon’s famously eccentric standards, the collapse of his American project would turn out to be spectacular and deeply strange.

The Clermont Sun � SHERROD BROWNStrengthening Social Security for generations yet to come

The Clermont Sun � SHERROD BROWNStrengthening Social Security for generations yet to come: Here’s why this is a moral issue. For nearly two-thirds of seniors, Social Security provides more than half of their cash income. For more than one-third of seniors, Social Security provides more than 90 percent of their income. And for one-quarter of seniors, Social Security is the sole source of income. Think of that. After working hard all their lives, one out of four seniors would be destitute, having no income, without Social Security.

Unsurprisingly, Social Security helps to lift approximately 600,000 Ohioans out of poverty. In fact, if we didn’t have Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for seniors over age 65 would be 48 percent. Because of Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for this group of seniors is 8 percent. The result is that seniors are able to live happier and healthier lives providing them with the time and opportunity to spend more time with their families.

Yet, Social Security is under attack by those who wrongly think it adds to the federal deficit and want to cuts benefits under the false premise of deficit reduction.

Retraction for our 1863 editorial calling Gettysburg Address 'silly remarks': Editorial | PennLive.com

Retraction for our 1863 editorial calling Gettysburg Address 'silly remarks': Editorial | PennLive.com: In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln’s speech delivered Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognize its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error.

Why We Still Talk About JFK - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ

Why We Still Talk About JFK - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ:
We live in now. We live in this world. Right now I can hardly believe it that I am in seat 6B of American Airlines flight 2442, LAX to Dallas-Fort Worth, a few hundred miles west of Los Angeles, mountains and desert stretching below—and I am typing on an iPad, and will press a button, and my editor in New York in just a few seconds will read this and post it on The Wall Street Journal website and you will read it. It still takes my breath away. This is “the age of miracles and wonders.” Some child born now will look back on these days as Camelot. 

16 November, 2013

Lawmaker Wants Library to Lose Funding for Teaching 'Mexicans' English

Lawmaker Wants Library to Lose Funding for Teaching 'Mexicans' English:
Speaking with the Tri-Parish Times, Toups insisted that the library has "too much money," and the so-called "jail tax" proposal allows for the funding of a 540-bed jail without raising taxes on parish citizens.
But for Toups, defunding the library is a necessary measure, irrespective of the rededication of funds.
"They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English," he said, referring to one library's Hispanic-language section, Biblioteca Hispana. "Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico."
"Mexicans" are the only ones "abusing" the system, per Toups.

15 November, 2013


Ariel Levy: “Thanksgiving in Mongolia” : The New Yorker: After several weeks, I was looking at it only once a day. It was months before I got it down to once a week. I don’t look at it much anymore, but people I haven’t seen in a while will say, “I’m so sorry about what happened to you.” And their compassion pleases me.

But the truth is, the ten or twenty minutes I was somebody’s mother were black magic. There is no adventure I would trade them for; there is no place I would rather have seen. Sometimes, when I think about it, I still feel a dark hurt from some primal part of myself, and if I’m alone in my apartment when this happens I will hear myself making sounds that I never made before I went to Mongolia. I realize that I have turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone.

Obama vs. the Generals - POLITICO Magazine

Obama vs. the Generals - POLITICO Magazine::
Dempsey grew more circumspect in subsequent congressional testimony, but “his body language,” says retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Dempsey still suggested he was thinking, “I can’t believe how dumb this is.”
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was explicitly critical in a September speech: “I believe that to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple days, to underscore or validate a point or a principle, is not a strategy.”
According to most of those I interviewed, Gates’s scathing words reflect an unhappiness with the commander in chief that is widely shared in the military. “The military does not take kindly to people asking them to do things without thinking them through,” Eaton observes. “Military guys get kind of bemused when civilians tell them it’s OK to blow people to smithereens using bombs, as long as you don’t kill them with chemical weapons.”

14 November, 2013

A Month After the Shutdown, Republicans Are More Trusted to Govern Than Obama - Businessweek

A Month After the Shutdown, Republicans Are More Trusted to Govern Than Obama - Businessweek: That’s not really so surprising. The shocker is the Quinnipiac University poll released the same day. Again, the headline number—President Obama’s approval rating fell to 39 percent, its lowest ever—is newsworthy, but not out of line with what one might expect. The surprise comes further down. On every issue cited by Quinnipiac’s pollsters, respondents said they trusted congressional Republicans to do a better job than Obama. They preferred the GOP on health care (43 percent to 42 percent), the economy (45 percent to 41 percent), the federal budget (45 percent to 40 percent), and immigration (41 percent to 40 percent).

The Curious Case of Same-Sex Divorces in Missouri Courts � CBS St. Louis

The Curious Case of Same-Sex Divorces in Missouri Courts � CBS St. Louis: ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - By next week, same-sex couples from Missouri could journey to Illinois, as they have journeyed to Iowa for years, to get married. But what happens if it doesn’t work out?

Basically, the once-happy couple is out of luck.

Because Missouri doesn’t recognize gay marriage, the state has no provisions for gay divorce.

The Radical Political Center That Somehow Never Rises

The Radical Political Center That Somehow Never Rises: It's not impossible to be a true moderate on all the major issues of the day, but such people are rare, and the candidate that professes such beliefs will alienate more people than she wins over. In other words, the radical center never rises because, to a large extent, it doesn't exist.

13 November, 2013

A Dish Reader on Contractors

Can Three Geeks Save Obamacare? Ctd � The Dish:
This post hits home. I have worked as a government contractor for over 20 years and the system is broken and wasteful. It’s no surprise to me that the Obamacare website doesn’t work. The bigger the project is, the more money at stake, the more the overpaid and unqualified managers fight for work scope within and between companies and the more bureaucratic gamesmanship within the agency. I’ve been wanting to write an article or call a whistleblower group or stand on the street and scream. Instead, I keep collecting my paycheck waiting for someone else to break the story on this huge example of waste, fraud, and abuse – the legal contracting activity right in front of your nose.

There’s so much wrong, I hardly know where to start. First, the federal staff – the more the government relies on contractors, the less the government employee knows how to DO the actual work. They only “manage” the work. After a few years of this, few have kept abreast of changing industry standards and practices. The experience they may have once had becomes increasingly irrelevant.  They know the jargon and the history of a project(s) but they rely increasingly on contractor managers to develop strategy, budget, and schedules. These contractor managers’ influence over their federal counterparts derives more from their friendship or their powers of persuasion more than actual skill.

Cyber-Pearl Harbor is a myth

Cyber-Pearl Harbor is a myth: More generally, Gartkze’s arguments imply that cyberwar isn’t a weapon of the weak. Instead, it’s a weapon of the strong — it will be most attractive to those who already have powerful conventional militaries. It works best in conjunction with traditional warfare, or, in a pinch, when deployed by states that no one else dares to attack in retaliation. The conventional wisdom among cybersecurity specialists is that cyberwar upsets the balance of traditional power by making it easier for weak states or non-state actors to deploy powerful attacks against countries such as the U.S. If Gartzke is right, this assumption is completely wrong — cyberwar is likely to strengthen the military predominance of the U.S. and other powerful countries rather than undermine them.

A Russian Tour

The Russia Left Behind: Midway through our journey, five golden domes came into view.

Set on an island in a mirror-like lake outside the city of Valdai was evidence, the first we had seen, that someone had cared a great deal about fixing something. The 17th-century Iversky Monastery, used by the Soviets to house tuberculosis patients, has undergone a swift and lustrous renovation, financed by a phalanx of state-connected companies like Sberbank, Gazprom and Russian Railways. Its lawns are velvety, its tower the colors of roses and clotted cream.

On a recent afternoon, a tour guide shared the secret of the monastery’s rebirth: Mr. Putin has a vacation home next door.

Colorful History of a Power Hotel in Beijing - NYTimes.com

Colorful History of a Power Hotel in Beijing - NYTimes.com: To the untrained eye, the Jingxi Hotel, with its box-like, Soviet-style architecture dating to the late 1950s, is just like any number of buildings that line Beijing’s central east-west boulevard. But beneath its deceptively gray and drab exterior, the Jingxi may be the most concentrated unofficial seat of power in China: For the last four days, it was the site of the Third Plenum of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, where Chinese leaders tried to hammer out a reform agenda for the coming decade and beyond.

12 November, 2013

Just Use the Damned Word. Filibuster - James Fallows - The Atlantic

Just Use the Damned Word. Filibuster - James Fallows - The Atlantic: 1) "Necessary 60-vote threshold" implies some regular Constitutional requirement, like the super-majorities necessary for impeachment trials or treaty approval. In fact incessant use of the filibuster is a recent, shift-of-norms phenomenon -- and one of the goals of its practitioners is "defining obstructionism down" precisely so that its abuse will be treated as "necessary" and routine.

2) "Fell short" and "stalled" are intransitive verbs suggesting a weakness, failure, or insufficiency. In fact the nomination received a clear majority of 56 Senators, who as it happens probably represent about two-thirds of the population, but it was actively blocked rather than petering out on its own. To be fair, the headline uses the word "reject."

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Defender of the Constitution - Andrew Cohen - The Atlantic

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Defender of the Constitution - Andrew Cohen - The Atlantic: Even if you have little sympathy for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, you ought to support his lawyers' efforts to curtail the government's sprawling use of so-called "Special Administrative Measures" in his case. Whatever you think of him, and the capital crimes of which he stands accused, he has a right to counsel, a right to counsel who can privately and effectively communicate with him, and the Justice Department's efforts to undermine that right in this instance are unfair and perhaps even unconstitutional.

First employed in 1996, SAMs are designed to prevent criminal defendants— before, during or after their trial—from inciting violence behind bars through secret communications with their lawyers or others. The attorney general may authorize the prison's restrictions on an inmate's mail, on his telephone calls, and on his visits with lawyers or access to media, if he or she finds that "there is a substantial risk that a prisoner's communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons."

Vaccination, and social information networks - Gene Expression | DiscoverMagazine.com

Vaccination, and social information networks - Gene Expression | DiscoverMagazine.com: Over the past few years I’ve become much more aware of cultural streams in public health, and the public’s reaction to that health advice, because I have become a father. More specifically, when my wife was pregnant with my daughter, and after she was born, we encountered major pressure from peer networks to not vaccinate. In the social circles in which we were embedded, “progressive,” “crunchy,” and “alternative,” vaccinating one’s child was the heterodox decision. It was rather obvious to us that one of the major reasons that many people do not vaccinate their children is that many of their friends, and vocal people whom they trust, do not vaccinate their children. We were able to resist and rebuff any peer pressure rather easily because we have a much stronger scientific background than most Americans, but it isn’t hard to imagine being ignorant and trusting those in whom you normally put your trust.

‘Super’ Typhoon Haiyan: Suffering and the sin of climate change denial

‘Super’ Typhoon Haiyan: Suffering and the sin of climate change denial: Christian theology distinguishes between “natural evil,” that is, destruction and suffering that can be caused by natural phenomena like earthquakes or storms, and moral evil, the kind of evils that result from the interlocking effects of human sin.

Is the destructiveness of Typhoon Haiyan a tragedy of “natural evil,” the kind of horrible occurrence that occurs randomly in nature? Or, is it actually moral evil, traceable to human sin?

There is no doubt this storm is a massive evil. Haiyan, with its sustained wind speeds of 150 to 170 mph, is among the strongest storms on record and it has produced mass suffering and death, as well as widespread destruction.

Seeking Mao's Matrimonial Blessing - NYTimes.com

Seeking Mao's Matrimonial Blessing - NYTimes.com: Shaoshan, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, is no stranger to visitors: Last year, 8.5 million tourists journeyed to this small, county-level city in the mountains of Hunan Province. But on the morning of Nov. 10, with just over a month until the highly anticipated 120th anniversary of the chairman’s birth, Shaoshan hosted a new kind of pilgrim: 50 couples from across China who came to the city to participate in a “Collective Red Wedding.”

The slogan of the event: “Have Chairman Mao Bear Witness to Our Love.”

11 November, 2013

Throwing the Constitution Out With the Bath Water | Blog | The Baffler

Throwing the Constitution Out With the Bath Water | Blog | The Baffler: In any case, no one complaining about American gridlock actually means that they hate gridlock. Here’s a deal for you, and it’ll solve the problem of gridlock right now: give the deep red states far more power in the national government. Gridlock will end right away, and government will get busy doing things: banning abortion, banning gay marriage, slashing federal welfare spending, purging the military of gay and lesbian service members, increasing the military budget, expanding American military power, locking Gitmo and the military tribunal into permanent, uncontested features of our national life. Congratulations—no gridlock at all! Government will for sure be busy taking action, and won’t get bogged down at all in partisan obstructionism. What an exciting advance in the science of modern governance.

A How-To Guide to Blowing Up the Constitution - NationalJournal.com

A How-To Guide to Blowing Up the Constitution - NationalJournal.com:

As we've learned what works and what doesn't, constitutions have started to look and more alike. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has one of the world's least generic constitutions. (Djibouti has the most.) American exceptionalism is a fine thing, but there are still things we can learn from other places. "The Founders had only impressionistic, sometimes wrong, assumptions about human behavior," says Ryan Enos, a political scientist at Harvard. "We know a great deal more now, due to advances in psychology and other fields, about the nature of cooperation, group identities, incentives, et cetera."
Take elections, the most basic function of any democracy. We've been doing them the same way since the Progressive era, but instant-runoff voting has become increasingly popular because it allows voters to rank multiple choices instead of picking just one. Australia, India, Ireland, and dozens of other countries have adopted it, as has San Francisco and the Academy Awards. IRV, as it's known, would make room for new parties by allowing people to vote for a third-party candidate first without "wasting" it, and then for a mainstream candidate second. This change would force politicians to compete for everyone's votes, because they would need non-first-choice votes too. Alternately, we could also eliminate party primaries, as California did recently, and replace them with a nonpartisan runoff between the top two vote-getters. These innovations would help reduce one-party monopoly and avoid the radicalizing effects of partisan primaries.

10 November, 2013

Strobist: Pentatonix' Daft Punk Video: Low Budget Meets Awesome Creativity

Strobist: Pentatonix' Daft Punk Video: Low Budget Meets Awesome Creativity:

"We went out an bought black sheets and hung them in the room and covered the ceiling.," Bates said. "We made a 'black box' that was about 20 square feet — if that. And we shot that entire video in that little space in one of their apartments."

For those of you wincing, don't. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, and speaks to a great point: severe restriction may be the absolute best spark for creativity.

When the walls are in close — literally, in this case — the natural reaction is to push against them. Hard.

yodatsracist comments on What in your study of history has most humanized the past and its people for you?

yodatsracist comments on What in your study of history has most humanized the past and its people for you?: Chiune Sugihara is who I always start thinking about. He was the Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Kaunas, Lithuania. Single-handedly (or, more accurately, only with the aid of his wife who helped him copy out papers) he saved thousands of lives. He spent reportedly 18-20 hours a day copying out visas for Jews wishing to escape. Even as he was reassigned away from the city, he continued to hand out visas from the train. After the War, he said almost nothing about it. He left the Japanese foreign service in 1946 and lived after the war a middle class clerk and businessman.