30 December, 2018

I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America.

For 10 years, I worked as a cable tech in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Those 10 years, the apartments, the McMansions, the customers, the bugs and snakes, the telephone poles, the traffic, the cold and heat and rain, have blurred together in my mind. Even then, I wouldn’t remember a job from the day before unless there was something remarkable about it. Remarkable is subjective and changes with every day spent witnessing what people who work in offices will never see — their co-workers at home during the weekday, the American id in its underpants, wondering if it remembered to delete the browsing history.

Duterte says Christian belief in Trinity is ‘silly’

Before attacking the Holy Trinity doctrine, Duterte said Jesus Christ is “unimpressive” because he had allowed himself to be nailed on the cross.
“‘Yong Diyos mo, pinako sa krus. Tangina. Nakakawala ng bilib. Ako ang Diyos, tapos ipako mo ako? Putangina. Sabihin ko, ‘Lightning, ubusin mo ito. Sunugin mo lahat ng mga erehes,'” said Duterte.
(Your God was nailed on the cross. Fuck. How unimpressive. I’m God and you will crucify me? Motherfucker. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers.')

27 December, 2018

He Drew His School Mascot — and ICE Labeled Him a Gang Member

He ran back into his room and lay on the bed, holding his breath. He hoped the men would go away if they thought no one was home, but a half-hour passed, and he could still hear their muffled voices and steps. He told himself there was no reason to be afraid — his immigration case was moving forward, and he hadn’t committed any crime. So he put on flip-flops and went outside. One of the men asked his name and told him they had a warrant for his arrest. He was too stunned to protest as they cuffed his hands behind his back, loaded him into an S.U.V. and drove off, with a second car in front and a third behind. A neighbor watched between the curtains as the convoy disappeared. She called his parents. They rushed home and found his keys, wallet and cellphone laid out neatly on the kitchen table.

24 December, 2018

I did not know this story; it's absolutely nuts

Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember? To have one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American history play out before the country while nobody’s paying attention? In her first original podcast, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes back 45 years to dig into a story that got overshadowed in its day.

McCain: The Moment I Came to Love My Enemy

As I was looking at the heavens, I became aware of him as he walked near me and then, for a moment, stood very close to me. He did not speak or smile or look at me. He just stared at the ground in front of us, and then, very casually, he used his foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We both stood looking at his work for a minute until he rubbed it out and walked away.

For just that moment I forgot all my hatred for my enemies, and all the hatred most of them felt for me. I forgot about the Jerk, and the interrogators who persecuted my friends and me. I forgot about the war, and the terrible things that war does to you. I was just one Christian venerating the cross with a fellow Christian on Christmas morning.

21 December, 2018

What Is Glitter?

The jovial Mr. Shetty told me over the phone that people have no idea of the scientific knowledge required to produce glitter, that Glitterex’s glitter-making technology is some of the most advanced in the world, that people don’t believe how complicated it is, that he would not allow me to see glitter being made, that he would not allow me to hear glitter being made, that I could not even be in the same wing of the building as the room in which glitter was being made under any circumstance, that even Glitterex’s clients are not permitted to see their glitter being made, that he would not reveal the identities of Glitterex’s clients (which include some of the largest multinational corporations in the world; eventually, one did consent to be named: thank you, Revlon, Inc.), and that, fine, I was welcome to come down to Glitterex headquarters to learn more about what I could not learn about in person.

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted

Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship. Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.
This, despite the fact that reviews, critiques and essays over the decades say that is precisely what it is all about. Even Bradbury’s authorized biographer, Sam Weller, in The Bradbury Chronicles, refers to Fahrenheit 451as a book about censorship.
Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.

17 December, 2018

Poland Reverses Supreme Court Purge, Retreating From Conflict With E.U.

The Parliament approved the bill reinstating the Supreme Court judges three weeks ago, after less than four hours of debate. But President Andrzej Duda — who had been the face and force behind the court purge — waited until the last hours before his formal deadline Monday night to sign the bill into law.
Michal Wawrykiewicz, a lawyer from the Free Courts Initiative and Committee for Defense of Justice, called the reversal “a failure of the ruling camp, and victory of the rule of law.”
“Signing it must have been very uncomfortable for the president,” Mr. Wawrykiewicz said. “He waited until the last minute when he knew his voters had Christmas, and not the rule of law, on their minds.”

16 December, 2018

MEDITATION for A Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols by Rev. Dr. Richard Spalding, Chaplain, Williams College

            Nothing really goes very well in this story.
It begins with a young family nearly torn apart by the intense shaming that goes along with pregnancy outside the boundaries of “propriety” (or, for that matter, explanation).   It continues with the harsh dislocation of a whole population to feed the empire’s appetite for revenue, and with the particular hardship imposed on vulnerable people who need shelter in a crowded, preoccupied town.  

The police officer who arrested a president

West replied: “I want to inform you, Mr. President, that you are violating the law by speeding along this street. Your fast driving, sir, has set the example for a lot of other gentlemen."
The president apologized, promised it wouldn’t happen again, and galloped away.
But Grant could not curb his need for speed.
The next evening, West was patrolling at the corner of 13th and M streets when the president came barreling through again, this time speeding so fast that it took him an entire block to stop.
Now Grant was cocky and had a “smile on his face,” the Star article said, that made him look like “a schoolboy who had been caught in a guilty act by a teacher.”

12 December, 2018

He Helped Build an Artists’ Utopia. Now He Faces Trial for 36 Deaths There.


Max Harris did chores and collected rent at the artists’ warehouse where he lived. Now he faces trial for the deaths at a concert there — including some of his close friends.

Mr. T on the origins of his name


I think about my father being called 'boy', my uncle being called 'boy', my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy'. So I questioned myself: "What does a black man have to do before he's given the respect as a man?" So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T so the first word out of everybody's mouth is "Mr." That's a sign of respect that my father didn't get, that my brother didn't get, that my mother didn't get.

10 December, 2018

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?

Millions of women mobilized against gender inequality and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. But only four of them ended up at the top—and the consequences have been enormous.

06 December, 2018

13 of Vox’s best podcast episodes of 2018

This holiday season, you might find yourself traveling to visit family or spend time with friends. Or you might decide to stay home and use some of your holiday time to organize your spice rack. Either way, you’ll need several hours of stimulating podcasts to help get you through to the New Year, and Vox has you covered. We’ve created the perfect playlist to get you over the river, through the woods, and into 2019.

Insurance company overwhelmed by cost of California wildfire, goes out of business

The devastating California Camp Fire has caused such widespread damage that it has put at least one insurance company out of business.
The local Merced County Insurance Company — whose client base is overwhelmingly located in the wildfire-prone Sacramento Central Valley area — announced this week that it was closing shop because it can’t pay out the expected fire-related insurance claims.

The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read

https://www.texasobserver.org/the-jim-hightower-column-they-dont-want-you-to-read/But local ownership matters, as some 1,500 of our towns have learned after Wall Street’s corporate demigods of greed have swept in without warning to seize their paper, gut its journalistic mission, and devour its assets. For example, Digital First, a huge private-equity profiteer, snatched the St. Paul Pioneer Press and, demanding a ridiculous 25 percent profit margin from its purchase, stripped the newsroom staff from a high of 225 journalists to 25!
As Robert Kuttner reported, these tyrannical private equity firms are paper constructs that produce nothing but profits for faraway speculators. He notes that the blandly-named entities only exist “thanks to three loopholes in the law” – the first lets them operate in the dark, the second provides an unlimited tax deduction for the massive amounts of money they borrow to buy up newspapers, and the third allows them to profit by intentionally bankrupting the paper they take over.

05 December, 2018

I Was Houston's Mayor. Here's Why I Was Proud George H.W. Bush Called This City Home

The contradictions can be puzzling – a man who secured enormous gains for one marginalized community ignored another in a time of crisis – but like all great men, he should be remembered for the totality of his record, the accomplishments as well as the blemishes. The assumed hostility toward LGBTQ people was absent from his interactions with me – an out lesbian mayor – and his skydiving note indicated more openness than his record suggests. It would only be speculation, but perhaps his attitudes changed over the decades, as did the attitudes of so many Americans.
When I was mayor, I learned the city held detailed plans and protocols for when the former president or his first lady passed. I’m glad I didn’t have to act on those instructions, but I would have been honored to ensure his final wishes were carried out to their fullest – no matter the closed airport runways, freeways or roads.

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s aides and advisers have tried to convince him of the importance of tackling the national debt.
Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off, implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors—currently about $21 trillion—because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes even more untenable.
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.

04 December, 2018

American-born citizen sues sheriff after he was nearly deported to Jamaica

Peter Sean Brown was born in Philadelphia.
But when he showed up at a Florida sheriff’s office for violating probation after testing positive for marijuana, he was told he would be detained and flagged for deportation — to the island of Jamaica — based on a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
Brown repeatedly told officers at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Florida that he was a U.S. citizen, and even offered to show his birth certificate, according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Brown, 50, had been living in Florida for the last decade, according to the suit.
"Despite his repeated protests to multiple jail officers, his offer to produce proof, and the jail’s own records, the sheriff’s office held Mr. Brown so that ICE could deport him to Jamaica — a country where he has never lived and knows no one," the complaint said.

03 December, 2018

Rest in Peace: Andrew H. Gee, Pastoral Counselor

Cherished and Revered Teachers, Therapists, Supervisors, Pastors, and Mentors over the years include: J.B. Carr, Beth Wright, Opal Outlaw, Robert Miller, James M. Howard, Rosemary Robertson, Joyce Trentham Doyal, Wm. Barry Jones, Thomas Gooden, Everett O'Neal, Ercelle Snyder, Elmos Benefield, William R. Stafford, Sue Stafford, Robbie Robertson, Marshall Gupton, Mickey Johnson, Danny D. Prior, Patricia Prior, Waunell Benefield, J. David Davis, Elmer Keller, Wymal Porter, Sam Clyatt, Robert Miller, Leldon "Buddy" Nichols, Clarence Berry, Arthur Ittermann, Elmer Delancy, Paul Martin, Nat & Dolores Phillips, Jacob Gartinhouse, Lee Roberson, J.R. Faulkner, Cliff Robinson, John R. Rice, Warren Wiersbe,  Ed Ballew, Bobby Grubbs, Paul DeVivo, Ferd White, Stan Fjeld, Ralph Hood, Stan Speal, Jack McEwen, Don McCary, Joseph Callaway, E. Glenn Hinson, Bill Leonard, Glenn Stassen, Eric Rust, Dale Moody, Frank Tupper, Frank Stagg, David Garland, James Blevins, Harold Songer, George R. Beasley-Murray, Wade Rowatt, Andrew Lester, Edward Thornton, William J. Sullivan, Bill Wadsworth, John Reed, Carlisle Driggers, Cecil Etheredge, Bill Slagle, Victor Glass, Warren Woolf, E. Augustus (Gus) Verdery, Jim Martin, Jack Harwell, Russ Barker, T. Melvin Williams, Beth Brown Shugart,  Nancy Sehested, Walker Knight, William C. Jackson, Don Cabaniss, Edwin Nash, Tom Conley, Don Saliers, Timothy Albrecht, Steven Darsey, Derrell Ray, Lorraine Wheeler, Mary Erickson, Joy Wilson, Diane McMullen, Larry Ashley, Walter Evans Smith, Bandupriya Vidanagama, Ross Hightower, Eugene Robinson, O.L. "Zeke" DeLozier, John Patton,  David M. Moss III, Ed Rascoe, David Barstow, Julian Gomez, Hugo Zee, Kingsley Weathersly, Mickey Nardo, Gene & Sarah Martin, Wayne Grinstead, Leigh Conver, Charles (Chuck) Gerkin, Gary Myers, Gerald Jenkins, Robert Schwinn, Albert Davis, Ramon Ganzarain, Frank Weathersby, Lanny Peters, Melanie Vaughn-West, Franklin Duncan, Wayne Oates, Billy Nimmons, Larry Flanagan, Tolly Williamson, Robert Alpern, George Ganaway, Kathy Barnes, Carl Johnson, Gloria White, Robert Shaw, Ann Howard Jones, Norman Mackenzie, David Morrow, Fred Craddock, Karen Shipp, Dwight Andrews, David Hilton, my colleagues, my friends, my clients, and many others -- a cloud of witnesses.

01 December, 2018

On Being Accused

For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s “me-too” climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion. Emotions bypass due-process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.
In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.
I’ve recently been publically accused of sexual misconduct. These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past forty-eight hours, unaccompanied by my reactions. In many cases, it’s not the media’s fault. I declined comment on the grounds that serious accusations should not be adjudicated in the press. But clearly I cannot continue to stay silent. So below I offer my account of each accusation.

A High School Newspaper Was Suspended For Publishing An Investigation Into Football Players' Transfers

An Arkansas school district suspended its high school newspaper and threatened to fire the teacher who advises it after student journalists wrote a story criticizing the transfer of five football players to a rival high school.
“They are like ‘well you raised an uproar, we’re going to try and silence you,’” Halle Roberts, 17, the editor-in-chief of The Har-Ber Herald, told BuzzFeed News.

30 November, 2018

George Bush, 41st President, Dies at 94

Mr. Bush was never a man comfortable with self-examination, but in an interview with Mr. Meacham, his biographer, he evinced some insecurity about how history might judge him. “I am lost between the glory of Reagan — monuments everywhere, trumpets, the great hero — and the trials and tribulations of my sons,” Mr. Bush said.
At another point, he asked of those who would examine his career, “What if they just find an empty deck of cards?”
But the 41st president may have best summed up his talents and ambitions in a diary entry on the last day of 1989, as the first year of his presidency drew to a close.
“I’m certainly not seen as visionary,” Mr. Bush wrote. “But I hope I’m seen as steady and prudent and able.”

Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality.

BREAUX BRIDGE, La. — Bryson Sassau’s application would inspire any college admissions officer.
A founder of T.M. Landry College Preparatory School described him as a “bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well-rounded” student whose alcoholic father had beaten him and his mother and had denied them money for food and shelter. His transcript “speaks for itself,” the founder, Tracey Landry, wrote, but Mr. Sassau should also be lauded for founding a community service program, the Dry House, to help the children of abusive and alcoholic parents. He took four years of honors English, the application said, was a baseball M.V.P. and earned high honors in the “Mathematics Olympiad.”
The narrative earned Mr. Sassau acceptance to St. John’s University in New York. There was one problem: None of it was true.
“I was just a small piece in a whole fathom of lies,” Mr. Sassau said.

Paul Fanlund: UW-Madison’s Kathy Cramer turns the page on the ‘politics of resentment’

In a nutshell, the concept is to host scores of listening sessions with small groups of people who know one another using a new-age recording device they call a “hearth.”
Technology behind the hearth will extract recurring themes and phrases and aggregate results to help journalists, candidates, and members of the public determine what is on the minds of many, not just an anecdotal interview subject or a handful of the loudest and most politically connected people.

29 November, 2018

‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year.

A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic.
New numbers Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, a record. Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks.

My Prayer for Health and Healing

Rest in Peace, Andrew.

Holy One,
Loving Creator and Sustainer of all that is,
  Source and Ground of the Sacred in all things,

We come to you in thanksgiving and celebration
  of the interconnected whole of which we are a part,
and the wholesomeness we have tasted in the communion 
    of our hearts, in relationship, family, community, and nature.

Having tasted also the bitterness
  of inner turmoil, physical illness, relational conflict,
  social injustice, ecological pollution, and war,
We come to you seeking healing of Mind, Body, and Spirit,
   healing of heart, relationship, family, community, and nature.

Relieve us of our illusions.
Help us to recognize whatever may be our contribution, however obscure,
  to the disease, the division, and the chaos-- and to repent.
Allay our pride and fear, and help us seek help from the resources all around us.
Comfort us in our inevitable, necessary, and wholesome grief.

Heal us, we pray. Turn vinegar into wine.
Grant us recovery, reconnection, restoration, resurrection, and joy.
Make us whole and hale, whatever the limitations that may remain.

Help us to be agents of your comfort and care,
  Wounded Healers, offering your healing and wholeness.

Hallow our common lives and our life in common.
And make us Holy as, indeed, you are Holy.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a Wounded Healer,
And the Holy Spirit, who is our breath.

Armor by Sara Bareilles


Consider investment banker Bowen McCoy’s “The Parable of the Sadhu,” published in Harvard Business Review in 1977, and again 20 years later. It addressed what seemed, at least to the H.B.S. crowd, to be an ethical dilemma. McCoy was on a trip to the Himalayas when his expedition encountered a sadhu, or holy man, near death from hypothermia and exposure. Their compassion extended only to clothing the man and leaving him in the sun, before continuing on to the summit. One of McCoy’s group saw a “breakdown between the individual ethic and the group ethic,” and was gripped by guilt that the climbers had not made absolutely sure that the sadhu made it down the mountain alive. McCoy’s response: “Here we are . . . at the apex of one of the most powerful experiences of our lives. . . . What right does an almost naked pilgrim who chooses the wrong trail have to disrupt our lives?”

28 November, 2018

How to Salvage Congress

I have come to believe that the problem is not the people. The problem is a defective process and a power structure that, whichever party is in charge, funnels all power to leadership and stifles debate and initiative within the ranks. Your average member of Congress, far from being drunk on power, actually has very little of it outside a cable-news studio.

25 November, 2018

China’s Tactic to Catch a Fugitive Official: Hold His Two American Children

WASHINGTON — When Victor and Cynthia Liu landed with their mother on a tropical Chinese island in June to visit an ailing grandfather, they thought they would soon be on a plane back to their East Coast lives — he to start his sophomore year at Georgetown University, and she to work at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in New York.
Instead, within days, police officers detained their mother, Sandra Han, who, like her children, is an American citizen. They moved her to a secret site, commonly known as a black jail. The children discovered at the airport that they could not leave China, even though the police had said they were not being investigated or charged with a crime, the children told American officials and family associates.
By holding the family hostage, they said, the police are trying to force the siblings’ father to return to China to face criminal charges. The father, Liu Changming, a former executive at a state-owned bank, is accused of being a central player in a $1.4 billion fraud case.

The Steward of Middle-earth

“The value of myth,” C.S. Lewis wrote in an essay defending The Lord of the Rings, “is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’” In this, fantasy did precisely the opposite of what its critics alleged—it did not represent a flight from the real world but a return to it, an unveiling of it. A child, Lewis wrote, “does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods,” but “the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”

Academia is a cult

Exploitative labor practices occupy the ground floor of every religious movement, and adjuncts, like cult members, are usually required to work long and hard for little remuneration, toiling in support of the institution to prove their devotion to academia itself. Contrary to stereotypes of professors as contemplative eggheads at best and partisan layabouts at worst, many academics use their summers and sabbaticals as opportunities to catch up on articles and book projects held over from previous academic years, overworking as many as 60 hours per week. The cliche “publish or perish” belies a constant demand to prove one’s commitment and worth, amounting to a crippling fear of being “intellectually pantsed,” as a mentor of mine once said. It’s difficult not to see these abuses as rites of passage in the service of some higher cause. Academics may cast themselves as hardened opponents of dominant norms and constituted power, but their rituals of entitlement and fiendish loyalty to established networks of caste and privilege undermine that critical pose. No one says it aloud, but every graduate student knows: This is the price you pay for a chance to enter the sanctum of the tenure track. Follow the leader, or prepare to teach high school.

Good riddance: Americans need to set aside icons like Robert E. Lee to live up to our potential.


War is often subjected to this tendency to clean up, or at least oversimplify. It is hard to discuss the periodic incompetence, cowardice and criminality that are associated with every military campaign in history without seeming to detract from the very real courage and sacrifice of the vast majority of soldiers. And nothing is more difficult than portraying war in its gritty, brutal reality, or the darker side of soldiers, without the risk of confusing Americans about whether our cause is just or our nation a force for good in the world. As Pericles and others have taught us, we must honor the kinds of service that we seek to have repeated in the future. We must salute and remember the veterans who stepped forward to serve while admitting the complexity of the environment in which they had to operate.

21 November, 2018

Ben Sasse: By the Book

Which books do you think capture the current social and political moment in America?
I’ve been aching over Robert Putnam’s “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” for two years straight. It was widely praised, but still not enough. We ought to be talking constantly about the troubling data Professor Putnam has uncovered. There really are “two different Americas,” but not in the way the phrase lingers in our ears because of how John Edwards’s presidential campaign in 2004 branded the 1 percent and the 99 percent. Putnam shows that the troubling resurgence of socioeconomic class in America centers primarily around the divide between the mobile educated elite (31 percent of our neighbors, according to Putnam) and the majority of America — the 69 percent of kids he says are born into a house with no college graduates. These children have collapsing family structures, decreasing socioeconomic mobility and rapidly thinning networks of kith and kin. I like J. D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy,” but Putnam’s work is, I think, the big backdrop for understanding the vicious cycle of how declining economic opportunities for the non-educationally credentialed and family and neighborhood collapse are becoming mutually reinforcing for broad swaths of America.

About attention theft

Almost every time I write or speak about civic technology, I talk about an over-arching design value: respect for people’s time, dignity, and abilities. (In a 2015 report, California’s Little Hoover Commission adapted this to “respect people’s time, ability, and means”, which also works.) This is critically important for life-impacting services like those government provides, and that goes for education and medicine as well. But I’m ready to propose that we apply it more broadly, and think about how it fits into the developing practice of design ethics: as a first principle, respect your users’ capacities, including the right to direct their own attention.
I’ll go further: designers, technologists, please protect your users’ capacities as seriously as you protect your own. As much as you guard your calendar from frivolous meetings so you can keep enough stretches of maker-time to achieve flow, as much as you turn off your phone for one-on-ones, or whatever you do as a high-capacity knowledge worker to preserve your attention for the tasks that need it most, practice the same respect for your users’ attention:

20 November, 2018

The Second Half of Watergate Was Bigger, Worse, and Forgotten By the Public

“For the first time in the history of the world, a measure for bribery was introduced into law that was universal as far as those subjected to the law were concerned. For the first time, a country made it criminal to corrupt the officials of another country,” John T. Noonan writes in his exhaustive work on the subject, Bribe: The Intellectual History of a Moral Idea. Noonan’s point is that for more than three hundred years, corporate bribery has endured as an inevitable global evil. It was no small feat the United States took it upon itself to prohibit bribery, at a time when other governments essentially looked the other way regarding kickbacks and their impact.

12 November, 2018

Observations of age cohorts in a call center, from reddit

Born after 1985? Call will be fine. Quick, polite, and understanding that you are not the company. Not demanding or rude about things.
1985-1965? 50/50. Good chance of getting yelling and anger. But usually not directed at you personally.
Born 1965-1945? May God have mercy on your soul. Holy s*** the amount of entitlement, and condescention from this group was insane. No concept that the person on the phone doesn't make or have any control over company policy. Will not admit to any ignorance.
Born before 1945? Call will be fine. Person will be very nice, but possibly confused and need extra explanation. Will generally tell you when they don't know somthing. Will talk to you forever, best small talk.

10 November, 2018

Why Does It Take So Long To Count Ballots?

Many people across Arizona, in the media, and across the United States are wondering why it takes so long to count ballots. So we wanted to take the time to explain the process.

In Arizona, there are 15 elected County Recorders and their elections divisions tabulate the ballots and upload them to the Secretary of State’s website.
The Secretary of State’s only role in this process is to display the results once they are uploaded by each county.

One of the major reasons it takes time to count ballots is that there are hundreds of thousands of early ballots dropped off at the polls on election day – approximately 320,000 statewide this time. The counties are currently working to verify the signatures on each and every one of those early ballots before they can be tabulated. Once the county election officials verify the signature on each of those ballots (which is no small task!), they then make sure that a voter didn’t cast an early ballot AND vote in person at a polling location. All of these processes take a little bit of time and is done to ensure that voters can trust the outcome of their elections.

The Sound of Silence

08 November, 2018

Sprint Is Throttling Microsoft’s Skype Service, Study Finds

Sprint Corp. has been slowing traffic to Microsoft Corp.’s internet-based video chat service Skype, according to new findings from an ongoing study by Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts.
More than 100,000 consumers have used the researchers’ Wehe smartphone app to test internet connections. Information from those tests are aggregated and analyzed by the researchers to check if data speeds are being slowed, or throttled, for specific mobile services.

05 November, 2018

Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink

ARMENIA, Wis. — The groundwater that once ran cool and clean from taps in this Midwestern farming town is now laced with contaminants and fear. People refuse to drink it. They won’t brush their teeth with it. They dread taking showers.
Rural communities call it their own, private Flint— a diffuse, creeping water crisis tied to industrial farms and slack regulations that for years has tainted thousands of residential wells across the Midwest and beyond.

31 October, 2018

This Is What It Looks Like When A Political Movement Gets Desperate

ANN ARBOR, Mich. ― A radio ad getting wide play in Michigan offers a vivid example of the kinds of lies circulating all over the country in advance of next week’s midterm elections ― and who is primarily responsible for telling them.
The subject is Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that would set up a bipartisan commission to draw district lines for seats in the state Legislature and Congress. The measure’s goal is to end partisan gerrymandering, but the ad barely mentions that. It focuses instead on the commissioners and their supposed ability to raid the state treasury.
“The only guarantee is that it will cost you an insane amount of money,” the ad’s narrator warns. “Proposal 2 writes a blank check to 13 new ‘commissioners’ for a new bureaucracy, and they can spend whatever they want. No limits on staffing, lawyers, or consultants. Or themselves. Unlimited pay and perks.”
Just in case the prospect of greedy bureaucrats isn’t enough to scare off voters, the ad also claims that the money would divert funds from vital state needs: “Your taxes won’t be fixing roads or teaching children,” the narrator warns.
The bit about the roads is a nice touch, because Michigan’s roads are famously among the worst in the countryBut the claims in the ad are absurd.