30 September, 2018

Judge's ruling may force Kansas Army officer's adopted Korean daughter to leave US

A retired Kansas Army officer has lost his fight in federal court over his adopted daughter’s citizenship status, meaning she may have to return to her native South Korea.
Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber of Lansing sued after federal immigration authorities rejected visa and citizenship applications for his legally adopted daughter Hyebin, a Korean-immigrant niece legally brought to the U.S. by Schreiber and his spouse in 2012, when the girl was 15.
Schreiber’s service the following year in Afghanistan caused the couple to put off Hyebin’s Schreiber’s legal adoption until she was 17. An adoption lawyer had advised that, under Kansas law, that was OK as the cutoff date to complete the process was Hyebin’s 18th birthday.
But under immigration law, foreign-born children must be adopted before reaching 16 to derive citizenship from their American parents.

23 September, 2018

Saudi Arabia is at its least stable in 50 years Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/saudi-arabia-stability-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman.html#ixzz5RzQIZtlC

For the last half century the stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never been seriously in doubt. After King Faisal removed his incompetent and corrupt brother Saud from the throne in 1964, the line of succession has been clear and uncontested. Under Faisal’s rule the economy grew, especially when his 1973 oil embargo jacked prices up significantly. His assassination did not disrupt the stability nor did the 1979 takeover of the great mosque in Mecca by a handful of fanatics. Early in this century the kingdom faced a determined assault by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda but the efficient security services, led by Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, turned back the threat.
Even the Arab Spring had little tangible impact on the kingdom’s stability. King Abdullah spent over $130 billion in salary increases and other benefits to buy off any dissent. Trouble was possible but the royal family was united behind Abdullah. The Saudis intervened in Bahrain to ensure the Gulf states were quiet; the kingdom's troops are still on the island.
The ascension of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was smooth in 2015 and the line of succession was left to Prince Muqrin, the king's half brother. Now both Muqrin and Mohammed bin Nayef have been removed from the line of succession with no explanation. The king’s young son is next in line with no deputy crown prince in place as the No. 3. The changes are alienating significant parts of the family.

20 September, 2018

The opioid crisis hits home. Mine.

Picture an NFL stadium holding a capacity crowd of 72,000.
That number, according to a preliminary estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is about how many Americans died last year from drug overdoses. An entire stadium full of people.

19 September, 2018

BLOG | Dear Super Bowl committee, what happened with representing Atlanta in Atlanta?

After reports surfaced that Maroon 5 would perform at the Super Bowl in Atlanta in February many people had strong reactions. Here's mine.
So, Maroon 5 is the selection? Is this true y’all? Of all the Atlanta artists in the hip-hop capital of the South ... none of them were willing to perform the halftime show at the Super Bowl? None of them? Ah yes, Maroon 5 is the most QUALIFIED choice to represent Atlanta’s historic music legacy on a world stage... Um, how? In a city that gives a major economic boost to a multi-billion dollar music industry, that’s the final option?

16 September, 2018

A fresh look back at 2016 finds America with an identity crisis

In 2016, Clinton should have done a bit worse than Obama across the board. Instead, in some states — Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Texas — she did better. In others she did about the same. And in some, Ohio and Iowa among them, she did “substantially worse.”
Oddly, she did better, comparatively, in red states — such as Georgia and Texas — than she did in a swing state like Iowa.
The cause for this was a divide among white voters, well documented during and since the election, a division that saw those with college degrees moving one way and those without college degrees the other. Sides, Tesler and Vavreck go step by step through the reasons for what they call the “diploma divide” among white voters.

What About “The Breakfast Club”?

And yet I have been told more times than I could count, by both friends and strangers, including people in the L.G.B.T. community, that the films “saved” them. Leaving a party not long ago, I was stopped by Emil Wilbekin, a gay, African-American friend of a friend, who wanted to tell me just that. I smiled and thanked him, but what I wanted to say was “Why?” There is barely a person of color to be found in the films, and no characters are openly gay. A week or so after the party, I asked my friend to put me in touch with him. In an e-mail, Wilbekin, a journalist who created an organization called Native Son, devoted to empowering gay black men, expanded upon what he had said to me as I had left the party. “The Breakfast Club,” he explained, saved his life by showing him, a kid growing up in Cincinnati in the eighties, “that there were other people like me who were struggling with their identities, feeling out of place in the social constructs of high school, and dealing with the challenges of family ideals and pressures.” These kids were also “finding themselves and being ‘other’ in a very traditional, white, heteronormative environment.” The lack of diversity didn’t bother him, he added, “because the characters and storylines were so beautifully human, perfectly imperfect and flawed.” He watched the films in high school, and while he was not yet out, he had a pretty good idea that he was gay.

I spoke to hundreds of American men who still can’t find work


Whatever the cause, non-working men are an important problem for society

Did these men drop out, or were they pushed out of the workforce? This is hotly debated. Progressives cite stagnant male wages, automation, and outsourcing “pushing” them out. Conservatives tend to see a moral dimension: The work ethic has declined, men have “dropped out,” and they turn to government benefits, wives, and families to support them. Both explanations are partly correct, although the degree to which one or the other is the major factor differs among individual men.
Regardless of the reasons, having one of the lowest male labor force participation rates among developed countries has many consequences. Given traditional beliefs about “masculinity,” men who fail to “provide” too often suffer a host of psychological ills. Non-working men are much more likely to overdose on drugs — men account for two-thirds of the three-quarters of a million deaths from all types of drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They’re more likely to die by suicide too. More than 33,000 men died by suicide in 2014, a nearly 50 percent increase since the late 1990s and 3.5 times the number of women who died by suicide in the US, the CDC reported.

14 September, 2018

Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore

Democracy is a most unnatural act. People have no innate democratic instinct; we are not born yearning to set aside our own desires in favor of the majority’s. Democracy is, instead, an acquired habit.

Like most habits, democratic behavior develops slowly over time, through constant repetition. For two centuries, the United States was distinguished by its mania for democracy: From early childhood, Americans learned to be citizens by creating, joining, and participating in democratic organizations. But in recent decades, Americans have fallen out of practice, or even failed to acquire the habit of democracy in the first place.

Two Chinese retirees win hearts on epic American road trip

There was the teen who scrawled his name on a 3,500-year-old Egyptian relic, the passenger who threw hot water on a flight attendant, and countless airport and in-flight brawls.
The vast majority of China’s more than 100 million outbound tourists are not like this. There are over-privileged plutocrats, sure. But there are many more weary office workers and well-meaning first-timers taking a chance on something new.

12 September, 2018

Saved on 9/11, by the Man in the Red Bandanna

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/nyregion/welles-crowther-man-in-red-bandanna-911.htmlTwo months after that recovery, on Memorial Day 2002, she read a lengthy New York Times article on the chaos inside the towers before they collapsed, which included eyewitnesses describing an unnamed rescuer: a coolheaded office worker who appeared in the Sky Lobby on the South Tower’s 78th floor.
“A mysterious man appeared,” who managed to locate the only passable stairwell and began marshaling down groups of injured and dazed people, according to the article, which also gave a telling detail about the rescuer that floored Ms. Crowther. He wore a red bandanna over his face to keep out smoke and debris.

“Oh my god, Welles,” she gasped. “I found you.”

10 September, 2018

Syrian Propaganda

A big part of the Russian-led disinformation campaign surrounding Syria is psychological warfare designed to condition people not to care when Russian/Syrian forces slaughter civilians. One of the main ways this is accomplished is by portraying those targeted as terrorists.

09 September, 2018

The YouTube stars heading for burnout: ‘The most fun job imaginable became deeply bleak’

“Human brains really aren’t designed to be interacting with hundreds of people every day,” he says. “When you’ve got thousands of people giving you direct feedback on your work, you really get the sense that something in your mind just snaps. We just aren’t built to handle empathy and sympathy on that scale.” Lees developed a thyroid problem, and began to experience more frequent and persistent stretches of depression. “What started out as being the most fun job imaginable quickly slid into something that felt deeply bleak and lonely,” he says.

05 September, 2018

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel stated this summer that “when the generation that survived the war is no longer here, we’ll find out whether we have learned from history”. As a Polish Jew born in 1925, who survived the Warsaw ghetto, lost my family in the Holocaust, served in a special operations unit of the Polish underground, the Home Army, and fought in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, I know what it means to be at the sharp end of European history – and I fear that the battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.
Now 93 years old and living in Tel Aviv, I have watched from afar in recent years as armchair patriots in my native Poland have sought to exploit and manipulate the memories and experiences of my generation. They may think they are promoting “national dignity” or instilling “pride” in today’s young people, but in reality they are threatening to raise future generations in darkness, ignorant of the war’s complexity and doomed to repeat the mistakes for which we paid such a high price.

04 September, 2018


The little-known, 100-year-old Diplomatic Courier Service works like your interoffice mail system, but on a planetary scale, with complex protocols and security measures that ensure the reliable transport of sensitive material by land, air, and sea. Though most communication is digital in the 21st century diplomatic world, physical objects—vital supplies of all sorts—still have to move by secure channels. (Though in fact, with the ever-present threat of hacking, very rare communications might indeed still be delivered via orange pouch.) Employing 103 couriers at 12 hubs around the world, the DCS boasts a delivery success rate that would be the envy of FedEx and UPS. Last year, the service transported 116,351 items weighing approximately 5,353,000 pounds. Snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night? Try war, ebola, diplomatic ejection, or military coup.

01 September, 2018

From Mollie Tibbetts' father: Don't distort her death to advance racist views

Given that, to knowingly foment discord among races is a disgrace to our flag. It incites fear in innocent communities and lends legitimacy to the darkest, most hate-filled corners of the American soul. It is the opposite of leadership. It is the opposite of humanity. It is heartless. It is despicable. It is shameful.

Reddit comment on Net Neutrality

Imagine if your utilities were not regulated, allowing, for example, your electric company to provide shitty, spotty service. And this is at sky high prices. But you have to pay because you need electricity.
Even worse, now imagine your electricity company decided to make AC, TVs, and refrigerators. Imagine if they cut power to any AC, TV, or refrigerator that was not of their brand. You're a captive audience now, you think their brand of TV (or whatever) is going to be quality?
Alternatively, they don't go into the appliance industry. They extort GE: if you don't pay us we'll intermittently turn off power to GE fridges and your customers will blame it on poor manufacturing. GE has no choice but to pay... and now you pay more for GE fridges.

Mourning a patriot whose politics you hate

It’s true, the world would be far worse if John McCain had his way. But it would be far better if more politicians had a shred of his character. And that ought to be mourned. That ought to be grieved. And if he is not an adversary to celebrate in death, if he is not an opponent to pause and appreciate, then none can be. Maybe that’s how you feel. Maybe now, at this moment, you see the Manichean stakes, you see the wretchedness of this administration and those who compromise with it, you feel the assault, you know the pain and loss that the Washington class does not care to see, and it all rings tinny and false. But if you can’t in your own inventory find some love alongside the genuine anger at the celebration of a man whose politics you despise, that doesn’t make you a better partisan; it makes you a harder person. It’s sourness, not purity. No one is above grief. But there is plenty of space beneath it.