29 October, 2014

In Cable Ebola Coverage, It’s the Story vs. the Facts | TIME

In Cable Ebola Coverage, It’s the Story vs. the Facts | TIME:

So Thursday night, the facts were: Someone in New York City had Ebola.
Dr. Craig Spencer, who had been volunteering with Doctors Without
Borders treating patients in Guinea, had come back to Manhattan. He’d
followed the accepted guidelines for self-monitoring, checking his temperature twice daily, and watching, per the medical organization’s guidelines,
for “relevant symptoms including fever.” When he detected a fever that
morning–before which, he would not have been infectious–he went to the

But then there’s the story! The story was that the day before Spencer
went to the hospital, he went bowling! He rode in an Uber vehicle! He
went jogging and ate at a restaurant and walked in a park. He rode the
subway–the crowded subway! None of this, according to medical science on
Ebola, presented a danger from a nonsymptomatic person. But it felt wrong in people’s guts. And that makes a better story.

'Wasn't He Gay?': A Revealing Question About Mister Rogers�|�Michael G. Long

'Wasn't He Gay?': A Revealing Question About Mister Rogers�|�Michael G. Long:

At last, perhaps we should turn the camera lens toward
ourselves and assure Fred Rogers that we like him just as he was: the
opposite of machismo, a loving husband and father, a close friend and
employer of gays, a man who grew to support at least one friend's desire
for an openly gay relationship and, above all else, a compassionate
human being who assured each of us that, no matter who we are or what we
do, we are always and everywhere lovable and capable of loving...


Just as they are.

The Suit Is The Greatest British Invention | New Republic

The Suit Is The Greatest British Invention | New Republic: We have to thank the members of the Romantic movement for the sober colors of suits. It was their love of the Gothic that put us in grey and black but the suit stuck. It said something and it meant something to men around the world; it said and meant so much that they would discard their local dress, the costumes of millennia, their culture and their link to their ancestors, to dress up like English insurance brokers. There is not a corner of the world where the suit is not the default clobber of power, authority, knowledge, judgement, trust and, most importantly, continuity. The curtained changing rooms of Savile Row welcome the naked knees of the most despotic and murderous, immoral and venal dictators and kleptocrats, who are turned out looking benignly conservative, their sins carefully and expertly hidden, like the little hangman’s loops under their lapels.

A Declaration Of War On Francis � The Dish

A Declaration Of War On Francis � The Dish: But, of course, the Catholic church is not a democracy, so the analogy won’t work. But neither is it a dictatorship – least of all under this Pope who, from the very beginning, insisted that he was merely a bishop among bishops. And in Ross’s column, there is a clear assumption that his side of the debate owns the church, that any contrary views to his are an outrageous, treasonous and unprecedented attack on the institution itself, that any accommodation of mercy for those caught in the cross-hairs of the teachings on sex and marriage and family is somehow a “betrayal” of the core faith. Not a misguided idea – but a betrayal.

28 October, 2014

Wage disclosures for public officials lead to salary cuts, high turnover rates

Wage disclosures for public officials lead to salary cuts, high turnover rates: In the era of big data, transparency has become a popular policy tool for addressing potential problems. But publicly disclosing personal information — such as government officials' income — may result in unintended consequences.

Using California as a case study, a researcher from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs shows that city managers — typically the highest-paid city employees — saw an 8 percent reduction in pay after their salaries were disclosed to the public. These cuts also triggered a 75 percent increase in the quit rate among city managers.

The findings, released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest that top salaries are cut because they appear excessive, regardless of whether the reductions in pay are good policy. Additionally, the research suggests that media exposure restrained high wages in cities where the top salaries were already disclosed.

"On the surface, transparency seems unambiguously good. Why wouldn't we have transparency?" said Alexandre Mas, professor of economics and public affairs and author of the paper. "This paper shows that there may be unintended effects from these policies. If the public has an averse response to large salaries, regardless of whether these salaries are justified, there might be adverse consequences."

Ebola Quarantines ‘Not Grounded on Science,’ Say Leading Health Groups | TIME

Ebola Quarantines ‘Not Grounded on Science,’ Say Leading Health Groups | TIME: APIC believes that quarantining healthcare professionals returning from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa will deter potential healthcare volunteers and lead to increased difficulty in assembling care teams in West Africa and the U.S. Forced quarantines of healthcare workers with no symptoms of Ebola who have risked their lives to protect others, are unnecessarily harsh and are not aligned with scientific evidence. Quarantines may affect the healthcare worker’s ability to make a living and may also have negative emotional and social consequences as a result of being stigmatized for their service.”

27 October, 2014

A Message to the 21st Century by Isaiah Berlin | The New York Review of Books

A Message to the 21st Century by Isaiah Berlin | The New York Review of Books: So we must weigh and measure, bargain, compromise, and prevent the crushing of one form of life by its rivals. I know only too well that this is not a flag under which idealistic and enthusiastic young men and women may wish to march—it seems too tame, too reasonable, too bourgeois, it does not engage the generous emotions. But you must believe me, one cannot have everything one wants—not only in practice, but even in theory. The denial of this, the search for a single, overarching ideal because it is the one and only true one for humanity, invariably leads to coercion. And then to destruction, blood—eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs.

Going It Alone on Iran

Going It Alone on Iran: Facing a complex and difficult task in negotiating an agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, the Obama administration is beginning to leak what many observers have long understood -- that it sees no point in trying to obtain Congressional approval for any nuclear deal with Iran.

26 October, 2014

Why I left | Dave McKinney's blog

Why I left | Dave McKinney's blog: Readers of the Sun-Times need to be able to trust the paper. They need to know a wall exists between owners and the newsroom to preserve the integrity of what is published. A breach in that wall exists at the Sun-Times.

It’s had a chilling effect in the newsroom. While I don’t speak for my colleagues, I’m aware that many share my concern. I’m convinced this newspaper no longer has the backs of reporters like me.

Organized Crime Pays | VICE United States

Organized Crime Pays | VICE United States: In the American imagination, being involved in organized crime means living in beautiful mansions, having beautiful cars, and being surrounded by beautiful women. Nothing could be further from the truth. The life of a mafioso is horrendous, bleak, and almost monastic. What people don’t realize is that being a mafioso, even a boss, means living like a rat in a sewer. They are forced to hide the riches they have earned, risking their own lives and those of their relatives. They become fugitives, dwelling in tiny underground bunkers just a few square feet in size, and rarely see daylight or their loved ones. They understand, from the moment they go down that road, that it ends in two possible ways: Either they’ll be in prison, or their enemies will murder them.

White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report

White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report:

 WASHINGTON -- White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is personally negotiating how much of the Senate's so-called torture report, a probe into the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, will be redacted, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

McDonough's leading role in the redaction discussion has raised eyebrows in the Senate, given that his position comes with a broad array of urgent responsibilities and that the Obama White House has a team of qualified national security advisers.

Quote For The Day II � The Dish

Quote For The Day II � The Dish: With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about “Yankee imperialism,” “exploitive capitalism,” “war-mongering,” “monopolists,” in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people… I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere,” – Harry Truman, December 22, 1963.

What Francis means for the orthodox

The Pope and the Precipice - NYTimes.com

is charismatic, popular, widely beloved. He has, until this point,
faced strong criticism only from the church’s traditionalist fringe, and
managed to unite most Catholics in admiration for his ministry. There
are ways that he can shape the church without calling doctrine into
question, and avenues he can explore (annulment reform, in particular)
that would bring more people back to the sacraments without a crisis. He
can be, as he clearly wishes to be, a progressive pope, a pope of
social justice — and he does not have to break the church to do it.

if he seems to be choosing the more dangerous path — if he moves to
reassign potential critics in the hierarchy, if he seems to be stacking
the next synod’s ranks with supporters of a sweeping change — then
conservative Catholics will need a cleareyed understanding of the

can certainly persist in the belief that God protects the church from
self-contradiction. But they might want to consider the possibility that
they have a role to play, and that this pope may be preserved from
error only if the church itself resists him.

25 October, 2014

How American parenting is killing the American marriage - Quartz

How American parenting is killing the American marriage - Quartz: To understand the frightening power of the parenthood religion, one need look no further than the 2005 essay in The New York Times by Ayelet Waldman, where the author explained that she loved her husband more than her four children. On “Oprah Where Are They Now,” the author recently reaffirmed the sentiments reflected in her New York Times article, and she added that her outlook has had a positive impact on her children by giving them a sense of security in their parents’ relationship. Following the publication of her essay, Waldman was not only shouted down by America for being a bad mother; strangers threatened her physically and told her that they would report her to child protective services. This is not how a civil society conducts open-minded discourse. This is how a religion persecutes a heretic.

Speed Kills - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Speed Kills - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education: Contrary to expectation, the technologies that were supposed to liberate us now enslave us, networks that were supposed to unite us now divide us, and technologies that were supposed to save time leave us no time for ourselves. Henry Ford’s adoption of the policy of eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, eight hours of rest seems a quaint memory of a bygone era. For individuals as well as societies, these developments reflect a significant change in the value and social status of leisure. During the era Thorstein Veblen so vividly described in The Theory of the Leisure Class, social status was measured by how little a person worked; today it is often measured by how much a person works. If you are not constantly connected, you are unimportant; if you willingly unplug to recuperate, play, or even do nothing, you become an expendable slacker.

22 October, 2014

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement: A comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program will be a catalyst for change in the ever-turbulent Middle East. The United States has vital national interests at stake throughout the region and will need to develop strategies to face the latest threats to its security. This may involve new forms of cooperation—even with unusual bed-fellows. Each player involved will react differently to a nuclear accord, which will in turn affect overlapping and diverging interests with Iran. This report examines these dynamics and the implications they will have for American policy in both the short and long term.

21 October, 2014

Obama Is a Republican | The American Conservative

Obama Is a Republican | The American Conservative: In my opinion, Obama has governed as a moderate conservative—essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today. (Ultra-leftist Noam Chomsky recently called Nixon “the last liberal president.”)

US ordered to explain withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan torture photos | US news | theguardian.com

US ordered to explain withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan torture photos | US news | theguardian.com: At issue is the publication of as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse, although the government continues not to confirm the precise number. Said to be even more disturbing than the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs that sparked a global furor in 2004, the imagery is the subject of a transparency lawsuit that both the Bush and Obama administrations, backed by the US Congress, have strenuously resisted.

19 October, 2014

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back � The Dish

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back � The Dish: The true headline of this past remarkable week is therefore: the Vatican hierarchy cannot find a consensus on the question of pastoral care for gays, the divorced and the re-married, and the Pope is happy for this fact to be very, very public. These remain open questions for a year of continued debate and discussion before the second stage of the Synod this time next year and the Pope’s subsequent summary. That these are open questions is the real result of this Synod.

I also think its worth reading Pope Francis’ concluding speech to the Synod, which was granted a four minute standing ovation. It is a beautiful text – certainly more so than the unavoidable consensus-speak of what might be called the interim communiqu�

Tell Me a Story with a Happy Ending, Part II - The New Yorker

Tell Me a Story with a Happy Ending, Part II - The New Yorker: In short, Etgar, it really, really scares me. I know that in Israel people shout and carry on, How dare you compare us to South Africa? But what’s going on in the territories is separation based on race. The fact is, a settler can vote, move around freely, get Social Security and medical insurance, and a Palestinian can’t— that is separation based on race. And it’s not only in the territories but also inside the 1948 borders, when we’re talking about Arab citizens like me. How can you read in the papers this week that the Supreme Court has rejected a petition against the Admissions Committees Law, which is aimed at preventing Arab citizens from gaining access to state lands—state lands that were owned by Arabs not too long ago. (This has been happening for a long time, but now the practice has legal authority.) Is there any word but racist to describe the fact that a citizen can’t live wherever he wants in his own country, that an Arab citizen has no access to more than eighty per cent of the territory of his own country?

16 October, 2014

Our Lives are Hell - Esquire

Our Lives are Hell - Esquire: "Our Venn diagram," says Derek Kilmer, Democrat of Washington State, "is two circles, miles apart. Just after we got here, a group of us, Democrats and Republicans, were at a burger joint talking, and after about forty-five minutes, I said, 'We have to be able to get our act together and figure some of these things out. And across the table, one of my colleagues said, 'Derek, I like you, but you have to understand that I won my seat by defeating a Republican incumbent in my primary, and I campaigned against him for not being conservative enough. The first vote I cast when I got here was against John Boehner for Speaker, and I put out a press release that I had voted against him because he was too compromising. I like you, but I have zero interest in compromising with you or anybody else. My constituents didn't send me here to work with you; they sent me here to stop you.' I left there and called my wife and said, 'Oh, my God!' "

Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves? | Vanity Fair

Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves? | Vanity Fair: The blockage of the pitot tubes led to an old-fashioned indication failure, and the resulting disconnection of the autopilot was an old-fashioned response: trust the pilots to sort things out. There were definitely automation complications in what followed, and to that mix one can add the design decision not to link the two control sticks. But on Air France 447, the automation problem ran still deeper. Bonin and Robert were flying a fourth-generation glass-cockpit airplane, and unlike the pilots who think they know more than they do, these two seemed to fear its complexities. The Airbus was reacting in a conventional manner, but once they ventured beyond the routine of normal cruise they did not trust the nature of the machine. It is hard to imagine that this would have happened under the old Clipper Skippers, the stick-and-rudder boys. But Bonin and Robert? It was as if progress had pulled the rug out from beneath elementary aeronautical understanding.

Sinquefield Cup: One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

Sinquefield Cup: One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.: Together, these institutions have made St. Louis the new center of American chess. Susan Polgar, among the best female chess players ever, relocated here to coach the Webster team. Hikaru Nakamura, the current U.S. No. 1, and No. 7 in the global rankings, moved from Seattle to join the scene. And now the Sinquefield Cup has become the premier North American chess event, this year attracting one of the strongest tournament fields in the game’s modern history.

15 October, 2014

Rachelle Cohen: Here’s how hurtful cartoon made it into Herald | Boston Herald

Rachelle Cohen: Here’s how hurtful cartoon made it into Herald | Boston Herald: For two weeks I have remained silent. And that was just plain dumb. Oh, not THE dumbest thing — not by a long shot. The dumbest thing I’ve ever done was without a second thought to give my approval to a cartoon — we all know which one — that has proven hurtful to so many people — people I care about. It has also proven hurtful to an institution I love and to colleagues who are blameless.

And that, in the end, is what forces me to break this utterly uncharacteristic silence of mine.

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now - CityLab

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now - CityLab: It's time to push this discussion to its logical conclusion. Until conflicting evidence can be mustered, the burden of proof now rests with the DOTs. Until they can document otherwise, every urban 12-foot lane that is not narrowed to 10 feet represents a form of criminal negligence; every injury and death, perhaps avoidable, not avoided—by choice.

In the meantime, I welcome evidence to the contrary. We've shown them our studies; now let them show us theirs. Unless, of course, they've thrown them out.

Income is more predictive than race for early college success | Fredrik deBoer

Income is more predictive than race for early college success | Fredrik deBoer: There’s a lot of meat in the 2014 High School Benchmarks Study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and I encourage you to dive in yourself. I’m just digging into it now. I want to flag something fairly simple: in terms of both college enrollment rates immediately following high school graduation and the crucial question of first-to-second year persistence, income level is more important than high- or low-minority status across all three identified locales (urban, suburban, and rural).

14 October, 2014

Feminists, You Can't Pick Your Battles - Bloomberg View

Feminists, You Can't Pick Your Battles - Bloomberg View: Here’s what feminism actually means, or should: Women -- all women -- are just as entitled to hold opinions as anyone else. And here’s the really crazy part: They’re entitled to hold opinions that are completely different from yours, even if you are also a woman. And while you are absolutely entitled to argue that those ideas are immoral, impractical, befuddled, benighted, unscrupulous, intolerable and downright wrongheaded, you should not make disparaging remarks about the speaker's sex life. If you do, you should feel ashamed of yourself. And in this case, so should any feminists who manage to call out every third-tier state Republican campaign worker for misogynist comments but don’t find the time to condemn one at one of their own Internet homes.

British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state – Mondoweiss

British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state – Mondoweiss: Turning to the substantive motion, to be a friend of Israel is not to be an enemy of Palestine. I want them to find a way through, and I am delighted by yesterday’s reconstruction package for Gaza, but with a country that is fractured with internal rivalries, that shows such naked hostility to its neighbour, that attacks Israel by firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately, that risks the lives of its citizens through its strategic placing of weapons and that uses the little building material that it is allowed to bring in to build tunnels, rather than homes, I am not yet convinced that it is fit to be a state and should be recognised only when there is a peace agreement. Under normal circumstances, I would oppose the motion tonight; but such is my anger over Israel’s behaviour in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the Government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.

‘Earthquake’: Vatican Synod mid-term report suggests emphasizing ‘positive’ aspects of cohabitation, homosexuality | News | LifeSite

‘Earthquake’: Vatican Synod mid-term report suggests emphasizing ‘positive’ aspects of cohabitation, homosexuality | News | LifeSite: ROME – The Vatican’s interim report on the debates at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, released in Rome this morning, includes a range of controversial proposals that are eliciting strong reactions, including a statement from the Voice of the Family coalition charging that it amounts to a “betrayal” of the Catholic faith.

13 October, 2014

Scots town Dull joins forces with Bland and Boring - The Scotsman

Scots town Dull joins forces with Bland and Boring - The Scotsman: The Scottish town of Dull, which is partnered with Boring in the United States, has entered into a banal axis with Australian town Bland.

The Perthshire village is already unofficially twinned with the American town of Boring, in Oregon, 5,542 miles away however now the residents of Bland Shire in New South Wales want to cash in on humorous publicity by creating a trinity of tedium with Dull and Boring.

api comments on Walmart proving once again that they are the worst company in the world.

api comments on Walmart proving once again that they are the worst company in the world.: Wal Mart is really a product of the mid-American conservative business culture from which it came -- and is still headquartered. That business culture is all about... well... thrift. You make everything as cheap as you can: wages, supplies, operations, and so on, and you do volume. You go for areas like commodity retail and you dominate them and do lots and lots of volume.

It's the complete opposite of the bicoastal business culture of places like New York, Massachusetts, and California. That business culture is about leverage and growth. You pay high salaries, spend a lot on technology, and you do margin. You go for areas like high tech or finance where the margins are high, do equity plays, etc. Think Silicon Valley and Manhattan-- "profit, not thrift, is the engine of business" as John Maynard Keynes said.

‘A teenage girl bled to death over two days’: Ebola nurses describe life and death on the frontline | World news | The Guardian

‘A teenage girl bled to death over two days’: Ebola nurses describe life and death on the frontline | World news | The Guardian: I am worried about the backlash against healthcare workers who are responding to the crisis in West Africa. I have heard media reports calling for people such as me who have been treating Ebola patients to be quarantined for 21 or even 42 days. These ideas are not based on the medical facts. People only need to be quarantined if they are showing symptoms and if you do not have a fever, there is no risk of you transmitting Ebola to someone. We work really hard here, the hours are long and the work is physically and emotionally tiring. When we get time off every six weeks, I would like to think I can travel anywhere I want to but I suspect we are reaching a situation where I am not going to be welcome in many places.

spouse of the holy - bookforum.com / current issue

spouse of the holy - bookforum.com / current issue: Faced with this estrangement, Robinson’s characters digress, in search of meaning and moments of connection, seeking however they can “to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.” Love is one reply to this predicament—a senseless quantity, “the eternal breaking in on the temporal,” a parable of “an embracing, incomprehensible reality.” The same might be said of the novel, an attempt to bridge, through loving effort, the unbridgeable. Robinson’s genius is for making indistinguishable the highest ends of faith and fiction, evoking in her characters and her readers the paradox by which an individual, enlarged by the grace of God, or art, acquires selfhood in acquiring a sense of the world beyond the self—the sublime apprehension that other people exist.

11 October, 2014

Dissents Of The Day � The Dish

Dissents Of The Day � The Dish:

It cannot be ignored that the Middle East is a broiling mess in large degree because the West made it so, not because of Islam.
The West found and exploited oil in the region. The West carved up the
territory in ways that made sense only to the colonizers. Outright
colonization ended only with installation of Western-friendly,
oil-pumping despots who enriched themselves while feeding their people
religion as a substitute for agency. Western Jews emigrated to escape
Western brutality and the West granted their desire for an ancient
homeland there. It is indeed rich to hear Westerners decry Islam as the proximate cause of dysfunction in the area while absolving ourselves of any role.

Laura Poitras’s Closeup View of Edward Snowden

Laura Poitras’s Closeup View of Edward Snowden:

But Snowden also created a problem for Poitras.
Having received e-mails and documents from him, she had entered the
story, and she knew that the audience needed to understand her
participation. She had, reluctantly, become a public figure, if far less
famous than Snowden and Greenwald. This year, after the N.S.A.
disclosures, she and her collaborators won a Pulitzer Prize and other
journalism awards. Bonnefoy thought that Poitras should appear on camera
doing further reporting on the N.S.A., but Poitras rejected the idea as
alien to her style. She liked Michael Moore, but she could never be a
character in her own work. She knew that Snowden’s e-mails would become
part of the film, and for a long time she intended to ask him to record
himself reading them, but in the end she didn’t. “It would be asking him
to play himself,” she said. “I’m interested in how people understand
things in present tense, and not how they tell the story back to
themselves in the past. That’s why I’m not that interested in
interviews. People create these narratives of themselves, and it becomes
a kind of locked path. All the uncertainty and danger and risk and
decision-making are ripped from the telling.”

09 October, 2014

Foxhall police encounter caught on video and the interaction is fascinating - The Washington Post

Foxhall police encounter caught on video and the interaction is fascinating - The Washington Post: If the police were on your front lawn, questioning someone you know about a call they received, what would you do? If you’re Jody Westby, you defend your people. And you do it sternly, with an air of authority only reserved for people who perceive themselves as having as much power as the police.

Yemen’s fragile truce in tatters | Al Jazeera America

Yemen’s fragile truce in tatters | Al Jazeera America: The continuing cycle of protest and government reshuffles is clearly destabilizing. While it is difficult to envision a return to some modicum of stability without elections, it is equally difficult to imagine free and fair elections when the key political actors cannot agree on a new prime minister. As it is, elections planned for 2014 have been postponed until a constitution can be written and put to referendum. As old and new political actors vie for greater influence, Yemen’s once celebrated transition to democracy appears to be on hold.

08 October, 2014

Same-sex couples receive marriage licenses in Virginia

Same-sex couples receive marriage licenses in Virginia:

Norfolk Clerk George Schaefer denied London and Bostic a marriage
license a year ago. But on Monday, Schaefer was there congratulating
them along with the couple's attorneys and close friends.

"Thank you so much. It was a pleasure suing you," said London. "I enjoyed being sued," Schaefer replied.

"I don't think [Schaefer] ever took it personally," said London.

and neither did we. I mean everyone was doing their jobs. They were
fulfilling the roles they were required to fulfill by the laws of the
state. And that's what they did. And no where along the line, and I try
to be clear about this, has anyone been disrespectful. And even those
that opposed us, they didn't attack us, they attacked the issue," said

No one knows exactly how bad West Africa's Ebola epidemic is - Vox

No one knows exactly how bad West Africa's Ebola epidemic is - Vox: Imagine being the mother of a son who you think might have Ebola. You know your child might die, and you know that if you call authorities, he will most certainly die alone, far away from you, in an isolation ward where you can't console him. Do you call that hot-line? "Communities are so afraid, so distrustful about what's going on," says Moses. "It's hell. It's devastating to the social fabric in communities, in towns and villages."

Beijing blames Hong Kong protests on United States: Why dictatorships blame uprisings on foreign conspiracies.

Beijing blames Hong Kong protests on United States: Why dictatorships blame uprisings on foreign conspiracies.:

To the truly authoritarian mind,
“spontaneity” is impossible. The state can and should control all
organizations. There is no such thing as a self-organized crowd. If
people are sleeping in tents in Hong Kong’s central business district or
Kiev’s Maidan, somebody must be paying them and directing them, and if
it isn’t our state, then it must be someone else’s.

I don’t know whether those who talk like this necessarily believe it
(for the record, I’m guessing Vladimir Putin does but Hong Kong’s
leaders don’t). The vision of foreign conspiracy is self-serving: If
there is a foreign power directing the protest, then the government can
legitimately destroy it. The conspiracy narrative has an explanatory
purpose, too. If the Hong Kong protests are an American plot, then
mainland Chinese can safely ignore it.

Deciding on Silence on Gay Marriage - Bloomberg View

Deciding on Silence on Gay Marriage - Bloomberg View: Many people are stunned by the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review any of the recent lower-court decisions requiring states to recognize same-sex marriages. They shouldn’t be. The court’s silence is a fresh tribute to what Yale law professor Alexander Bickel, writing in the early 1960s, called “the passive virtues.” For the Supreme Court, not to decide is often the best course, especially when the nation is sharply divided.

Syrian Kurds say air strikes against Isis are not working | World news | The Guardian

Syrian Kurds say air strikes against Isis are not working | World news | The Guardian: US-led air strikes in northern Syria have failed to interrupt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) fighters closing in on a key city on the Turkish border, raising questions about the western strategy for defeating the jihadi movement.

Almost two weeks after the Pentagon extended its aerial campaign from Iraq to neighbouring Syria in an attempt to take on Isis militants in their desert strongholds, Kurdish fighters said the bombing campaign was having little impact in driving them back.

The Man Who Saves Cranes | Audubon Magazine

The Man Who Saves Cranes | Audubon Magazine: Whooping cranes were in dire trouble. The remaining population was well below 100 birds. Tex's genes could play an important role maintaining some genetic diversity in the increasingly small whooping crane population, if she would breed in captivity.

Her captors just wanted Tex to live a happy crane life--pair with a mate, build a nest, have some chicks. But, no. Tex was having none of that.

So ornithologist George Archibald stepped in. That is, the Cornell Ph.D. graduate decided he would have to woo the whooping crane. Archibald's logic was simple. If Tex fell for him--or, in his words, "formed a pair bond"--it would trigger ovulation, and then his colleagues could artificially inseminate her.

07 October, 2014

What 50 Years of Bullet Trains Have Done for Japan - The Atlantic

What 50 Years of Bullet Trains Have Done for Japan - The Atlantic: What they concluded is that one of the bullet train’s key benefits to companies is its ability to unite firms and suppliers. In Japan, the median distance between a firm and its supplier or customer is about 20 miles, and usually, only the most profitable companies can afford to invest in scouting out suppliers across the country. Fast trains can level out that advantage, allowing even small firms to make deals with faraway suppliers and still be assured of quality. In other words, it might be the difference, at least for a Japanese food company, between sourcing eel from Tokyo’s enormous Tsukiji fish market and getting it from the smaller town of Hamamatsu, where it’s a local specialty.

06 October, 2014

Cohen on Distracted Driving, Distracting Data, and the Dangers of Driving � The Editors' Desk

Cohen on Distracted Driving, Distracting Data, and the Dangers of Driving � The Editors' Desk: This whole situation reminds me of a thought experiment Joseph Gusfield posed in his brilliant, if under-appreciated 1981 book on drinking driving and the culture of public problems (a book, not incidentally, I have chosen for my “great books” graduate seminar this fall). Gusfield asks his readers to imagine that some all-powerful god has come to America and offers to give us a new technology that will make our lives immeasurably better by allowing us to go wherever we want, whenever we want, faster than we have ever gone before. The only catch? The god demands that we as a society sacrifice 5000 of our citizens every year for the privilege of this great technological innovation. Do we take that bargain? Would you? With our reliance on the automobile, Gusfield says, we already have. In rejecting the conventional wisdom and moralistic outrage about texting and bringing new data to bear on the dangers of just being in traffic on the roads, I think Cohen is just trying to force us to grapple with this consequences of this collective decision more honestly and directly.

04 October, 2014

End-of-life care: Helping hands | The Economist

End-of-life care: Helping hands | The Economist: Rightly, doctors have abandoned the paternalism that used to lead them to conceal terminal prognoses. But they have failed to find a voice and the courage to guide their patients through the various treatments between which they are supposed to choose, too often hiding behind “informed consent”. That too few geriatric specialists are being trained has not helped; in America only 300 graduate every year. Meanwhile, for those people who live long enough to become frail before dying, a nursing home that puts safety before anything that might make their final days worth living awaits. “Our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged”, says Dr Gawande, “is the failure to recognise that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer.”

This is How You Do “Common Core” Subtraction

This is How You Do “Common Core” Subtraction: I’m hardly a champion of Common Core, but I’m telling you, kids who are able to figure out this “new” math will be better off in the long run. This isn’t a liberal conspiracy. It’s just a more effective way to teach the subject.

03 October, 2014

N.C.A.A. Fan Map: How the Country Roots for College Football - NYTimes.com

N.C.A.A. Fan Map: How the Country Roots for College Football - NYTimes.com: The most consistently loyal fans in America live in Wisconsin. More than 87 percent of fans in some Wisconsin ZIP codes support the Badgers, a level that isn't reached anywhere else, our estimates show. That's why the red in the map is so dark. Though the numbers aren't nearly so high elsewhere, Wisconsin territory also stretches into Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.