‘Trump overrules cabinet, plots global trade war’   
COGwriter US President Donald Trump’s trade plans may spark a major trade war: June 30, 2017 Trump overrules cabinet, plots global trade war With the political world distracted by President Trump’s media wars, one of the most consequential and contentious internal debates of his presidency unfolded during a tense meeting Monday in the Roosevelt Room […]
          Serbian politicians elect first female, openly gay prime minister   
Ana Brnabic is Serbia’s first openly gay head of government.
          Health care reform: First, do no harm   

Louisiana’s Republican U.S. Sens. John Neely Kennedy and Bill Cassidy soon must decide how they want to be remembered by future generations: as partisan hacks who put their party ahead of their constituents, or as courageous independents who sought to end America’s bitter political divide.

That’s what’s at stake when the two men vote on the GOP’s latest health care reform bill.…
          Charles Hurt on The Larry O'Connor Show    
Listen as Larry spoke with Charles Hurt, Opinion Editor and a columnist for The Washington Times, regarding his latest column, Mad genius of Trump drives schoolmarms of political press crazy.
          Merkel echa mano del patriotismo para ganar a la derecha   
El uso de los colores nacionales le sirve a la canciller para demostrar que no le asusta anteponer los intereses alemanes. Leer
          Cataluña y las comunidades del PSOE afean a Montoro que negocie con Cs una bajada del IRPF   
Estas autonomías creen que el Estado debe reformar la regla de gasto para que quienes cumplan el déficit puedan destinarlo a gasto social. Leer
          El Rey reafirma su compromiso con Cataluña en la entrega de Premios Fundación Princesa de Girona   
El jefe del Estado ha subrayado también el compromiso de la FPdGi con Cataluña y ha puesto como ejemplo que su patronato ha pasado de los 30 miembros fundacionales de 2009 a los 88 de la actualidad. Leer
          El Gobierno transfiere 10.000 millones para afrontar la extra de las pensiones de julio   
El Estado prestará 5.986 millones a la Seguridad Social y sacará otros 3.514 millones de la 'hucha de las pensiones' para pagar a los jubilados la extraordinaria del mes de julio. Leer
          El Gobierno plantea subir un 1,3% el techo de gasto de 2018 hasta los 119.834 millones   
El Ministerio de Hacienda ha propuesto subir un 1,3% el techo de gasto de 2018 que se aprueba el próximo lunes hasta llegar a los 119.834 millones de euros. Leer
          PSOE, Podemos y ERC abandonan la comisión de financiación del Senado   
PSOE, Podemos y ERC no participarán en la comisión de investigación de financiación de partidos del Senado puesta en marcha por el PP, por entender que es "una farsa" que sólo busca desviar la atención sobre la comisión paralela que funciona en el Congreso. Leer
          Montoro niega ahora que haya dado un "no rotundo" a una bajada del IRPF   
Montoro ha negado hoy que haya dado "un no rotundo" a una bajada del IRPF, tal como pide Ciudadanos para dar el visto bueno a su previsión de déficit y deuda. Leer
          Felipe VI recibirá a Pedro Sánchez el próximo martes   
El Rey Felipe VI recibirá al secretario general del PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, en el Palacio de la Zarzuela el próximo martes, 4 de julio, como motivo de su reciente reelección en el 39 Congreso Federal. Leer
          El PSOE ve posible votar contra las metas de déficit y techo de gasto de 2018   
El secretario de Organización del PSOE, José Luis Ábalos, ha mencionado que ve posible que el partido vote en contra de los objetivos de déficit y deuda pública que acompañarán el techo de gasto de 2018 porque "hay detalles que no presagian nada positivo". Leer
          Los Presupuestos Generales del Estado de 2017 entran en vigor hoy mientras se negocian los de 2018   
Los Presupuestos Generales del Estado de 2017 entra en vigor menos de una semana antes de que el Gobierno apruebe el techo de gasto para 2018Leer
          FDR3729 17 Intelligence Agencies Did Not Say Russia Hacked Election    
After the New York Times issued a retraction to the often repeated claim that 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies claim that the Russian government "Hacked The Election" - the Russia narrative is dead. New York Times Retraction: "A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community."Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/25/us/politics/trumps-deflections-and-denials-on-russia-frustrate-even-his-allies.htmlYour support is essential to Freedomain Radio, which is 100% funded by viewers like you. Please support the show by making a one time donation or signing up for a monthly recurring donation at: http://www.freedomainradio.com/donate
          Trump acepta la invitación de Macron y acudirá al desfile del 14 de julio en París   
El encuentro tiene como motivo la conmemoración del centenario de la entrada de las tropas estadounidenses en Francia en la Primera Guerra Mundial. Leer
          Carmena rechaza la idea de que sus ediles dimitan hasta que no haya una "imputación formal"   
La oposición en bloque ha pedido la dimisión de los dos ediles de Ahora Madrid investigados por malversación y prevaricación al denunciar irregularidades en los contratos del Open de Tenis de Madrid. Leer
          Iglesias dice que el discurso del Rey en el aniversario de las primeras elecciones "no ha estado a la altura"   
Por su parte, Pedro Sánchez ha llamado a los políticos a no conformarse con la democracia actual "por la generación de mis abuelos" y por "el 15M". Albert Rivera ha valorado positivamente el equilibrio del Rey a la hora de defender la unidad y diversidad de España. Leer
          Los diputados de Podemos no aplauden al Rey y el PdeCAT muestra una urna   
Los diputados de Unidos Podemos-En Comù Podem-En Marea se han levantado en el hemiciclo a la entrada de Felipe VI al acto del aniversario de las elecciones de 1977, pero no le han aplaudido, mientras que los del PdeCAT han exhibido carteles con una urna para reivindicar el referéndum. Leer
          Z Live: Off The Record w/ Zhivago Laing – June 30th, 2017   
Z Live is a general interest of soft news talk show featuring first-class economic and political analysis. The show’s mission is “to provide informative and entertaining conversations around general interest soft news, mixing news, public affairs and entertainment around a
          The Revolution w/ Juan McCartney – June 30th, 2017   
The Revolution seeks to inform and engage and electorate that has become jaded by decades of lackluster political performance as our country’s problems get worse in the face of administrations that have left far too many honest, hardworking Bahamians behind.
          Connected w/ Lester Cox – June 30th, 2017   
Connected is a radio talk show that connects difference makers and forward thinkers in conversations about life, politics and pop culture.
          Z Live: Off The Record w/ Zhivargo Laing – June 29th, 2017   
Z Live is a general interest of soft news talk show featuring first-class economic and political analysis. The show’s mission is “to provide informative and entertaining conversations around general interest soft news, mixing news, public affairs and entertainment around a
          Re: Landrieu discusses Affordable Care Act, Trump, presidential ambitions in POLITICO podcast   
MItch the Bitch Landrieu,
You have done such a miserable job with New Orleans, I dont forsee you making it to running for president as we the people of Louisiana are going to shout to the rooftops about how you cant even stop the murders in New Orleans and removing the monuments is your way to disguise what a crappy mayor you are.
Posted by Biker Bob
          Re: Landrieu discusses Affordable Care Act, Trump, presidential ambitions in POLITICO podcast   
I certainly hope this p.o.s. racist runs against President Trump in 2020, he will get his @$$ handed to him, just like his lard @$$ sister got her big @$$ handed to her by Louisiana voters in 2014. These Landrieus are pure trash.
Posted by Brett Duhon
          Re: Landrieu discusses Affordable Care Act, Trump, presidential ambitions in POLITICO podcast   
Wrong most of the time? Mitch, you truly are an insane moron.
Posted by Cowboy
          Brandon Vogt with Larry Schweikart "P.I. Guide to the American Revolution"   
Brandon Vogt with Larry Schweikart "P.I. Guide to the American Revolution" https://www.amazon.com/Politically-Incorrect-American-Revolution-Guides/dp/1621576256/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1498858155&sr=8-3&keywords=larry+schweikart
          Manuela Carmena aboga por "gobernar escuchando" frente al discurso político del "cinismo"   

La alcaldesa de Madrid, Manuela Carmena, ha apostado por "gobernar escuchando" y acabar con "el discurso del cinismo" en la clase política, que hace que las formas de hacer de esta sean cuestionadas por la ciudadanía.


          Manuela Carmena aboga por "gobernar escuchando" frente al discurso político del "cinismo"   

La alcaldesa de Madrid, Manuela Carmena, ha apostado por "gobernar escuchando" y acabar con "el discurso del cinismo" en la clase política, que hace que las formas de hacer de esta sean cuestionadas por la ciudadanía.


          Manuela Carmena aboga por "gobernar escuchando" frente al discurso político del "cinismo"   

La alcaldesa de Madrid, Manuela Carmena, ha apostado por "gobernar escuchando" y acabar con "el discurso del cinismo" en la clase política, que hace que las formas de hacer de esta sean cuestionadas por la ciudadanía.


          Chivite quiere "liderar el nuevo cambio y presidir el Gobierno de Navarra" en "equipo y de la mano de la sociedad"   

La secretaria general del PSN, María Chivite, ha afirmado que tiene la "ambición" de "liderar el nuevo cambio y presidir el Gobierno de Navarra" y ha destacado que "lo haremos caminando juntos, caminando en equipo y de la mano de la sociedad para lograrlo".


          Chivite quiere "liderar el nuevo cambio y presidir el Gobierno de Navarra" en "equipo y de la mano de la sociedad"   

La secretaria general del PSN, María Chivite, ha afirmado que tiene la "ambición" de "liderar el nuevo cambio y presidir el Gobierno de Navarra" y ha destacado que "lo haremos caminando juntos, caminando en equipo y de la mano de la sociedad para lograrlo".


          Moreno afea a Susana Díaz que "agache la cabeza" ante Pedro Sánchez y su "viaje a la izquierda radical"   

El presidente del PP-A, Juanma Moreno, ha afeado este viernes a la presidenta de la Junta, Susana Díaz, que en la primera oportunidad que ha tenido para defender los intereses de Andalucía frente al secretario general de su partido, Pedro Sánchez, "agacha la cabeza" y "en vez de decir que está con Andalucía, dice que no le queda más remedio que tragarse ese sapo y aceptar la actitud absolutamente absurda del PSOE absteniéndose y criticando" el CETA.


          Recession is 'a real risk' Scotland's economy now falling further behind rest of UK   
Recession is 'a real risk' Scotland's economy now falling further behind rest of UK
Scotland plunged into the red in the final three months of last year, and a ... Should the Brexit negotiations go badly or the UK economy slows down ...








          Russia officially suspends Council of Europe fee over PACE spat   
Preview Russia has officially informed the secretary general of the Council of Europe that it will suspend an €11 million payment until the rights of Moscow’s delegation in the council’s Parliamentary Assembly are fully restored.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          It would be stupid to say what's going to happen next in world of politics and it's almost impossible ...   
It would be stupid to say what's going to happen next in world of politics and it's almost impossible ...
- As the First Minister keeps telling us, she wants to give Scots a choice between Brexit Britain and an indy Scotland. So it's clearly not in the interests of ...

          Parliamentary commission selects draft text for Russian oath of allegiance   
Preview Russian lawmakers have selected a preliminary draft for the oath of allegiance to be taken in the process of receiving Russian citizenship.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Interior Ministry seeks to redirect migrant flow towards Russian Far East – report   
Preview The Russian Interior Ministry has prepared a new concept for the policy regulating immigration, intended to boost tolerance and intercultural cooperation, as well as redirecting the major flow of immigrants from European parts of Russia to the Far East.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          CNN’s Van Jones calls Russia ‘nothing burger’ video ‘edited, right-wing propaganda’   
Preview After being secretly filmed by conservative organization Project Veritas, CNN political commentator Van Jones said his words on Russia were taken out of context and called the video a “hoax.”
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Orange County Firefighters Endorse Joe Kerr for Supervisor   
  Brea, CA – The Orange County Professional Firefighters announced their endorsement of Joe Kerr’s campaign for supervisor today. Support from the firefighters represents one of the most sought after endorsements in Orange County politics. Kerr served as the President of the Orange County Professional Firefighters between 1995 and 2012. In announcing the endorsement, Orange…
          Photoshop & phones: Macron’s official portrait making rounds for all the wrong reasons   
Preview Emmanuel Macron often makes headlines for political reasons, but the newest buzz surrounding the French president centers on his official portrait. Claims of Photoshopping and a pose which appears to copy Barack Obama are among the long list of criticisms.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Berlino, no comizi politici Paesi non Ue   
Germania corre ai ripari per evitare 'sortite inopportune'
          Berlino, no comizi politici Paesi non Ue   
Germania corre ai ripari per evitare 'sortite inopportune'
          Prof. Samuel Huntington   
The fundamental source of conflict in this new world
will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic.

The great divisions amoung humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.

The clash of civilisation will dominate global politics

          Comentário em Kathy Griffin – o João Quadros americano foi longe demais por JPT   
Lamento, mas "banir" quem quer que seja por uma anedota, ainda que de péssimo gosto (como a da senhora em apreço), nunca pode ser "libertário". Estes "boicotes à americana" um dia acontecem a quem a gente não gosta - e achamos justo e apropriado - e noutro dia a quem a gente não gosta - e achamos que é a censura do politicamente correcto. É o chamado "raciocínio à Sousa Tavares". Coisa diferente é obrigar os contribuintes a pagar a carreira de humoristas sem talento e/ou de péssimo gosto, como o Quadros, o Nogueira, a Rueff, o Luís Afonso e todos os demais profissionais do frete ao PS para pagar a prestação da casa (todos no "payroll" da RTP, e alguns já no tempo do governo anterior...).
          Comentário em O descaramento não pede desculpa por Rão Arques   
A propósito do almoço Presidente/1º Ministro saiu-me esta reflexão: Que durante o repasto estes dois comparsas tenham um momento de lucidez. Acertem da melhor maneira que entenderem acabar com o martírio a que a Senhora MAI está a ser sujeita que até dá pena. Acaba a inocente ministra por ser grande vitima quando é posta a funcionar como escudo humana na trágica comédia de salvação de um cadáver politico. Se Costa não se disponibilizar a sair pelo próprio pé, o Senhor Presidente tem que assumir com coragem a decisão de o mandar embora. Se não conseguem calibrar a coluna ao menos tenham dó em primeiro lugar de vocês próprios.
          A Fifth-Generation Fight?   
I've been watching the media reports of the rioting in France and reading what analysis I can find. My knowledge of French culture, French law, French economics and French politics might fill a thimble on a good day, so I limit myself to the basic facts and try to take it from there.
          Media of the Netherlands   

Summary:


{{Template}}
'''Media in the Netherlands''' – [[television]], [[radio]], [[newspaper]]s, [[magazine]]s – are characterised by a tradition of politico-denominational segregation ("[[pillarisation]]") on the one hand and an increasing degree of [[commercialism]] on the other.


{{GFDL}}

          Jessica Murphy United States   

 SFL SUCCESS STORY: Jessica Murphy SFL North America Campus Coordinator in Wisconsin gets threatened for speaking out Jessica Murphy, a Campus Coordinator in Wisconsin, recently had a blog post published by the MacIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Wisconsin. In her blog, Jessica highlighted the ‘Top Five Wasteful Classes’ provided by the University of Wisconsin system, which is a system of public universities funded by the Wisconsin taxpayer. One of the classes the blog targeted as wasteful was Teaching for Social Justice, a course whose syllabus specifically aims to instill in the teachers of tomorrow a sensitivity to address injustices viewed through a lens of identity politics giving sex/race/class/sexuality a prominent place in the course’s analysis. As Jessica said in her blog post, “A […]

The post Jessica Murphy
United States
appeared first on STUDENTS FOR LIBERTY.


           Stefano Boeri on Designing the World's First Forest City in China    

I really hope that this experiment will become a reference for many other architects, for many other urban planners, for many other public administrators and politicians, in order to implement, improve and multiplicate the realization of forest cities in China and all over the world.


          Comment on Google On The Verge Of A Major Quantum Computing Breakthrough (GOOG) by John   
Many of the problems this article is claiming quantum computing can solve are problems of will, of the body politic. We can solve them now. People just have to *want* to. Regular computers were going to make life Jim dandy half a century ago too, remember?
          'Indian IT industry has to de-risk itself'   
"Protectionism is not new. The attention that is given is because there is a political and emotional element to it." TCS COO N G Subramaniam tells Aya...
          Hong Kong protesters are fighting for the rights Britain assured them   
Tomorrow marks 20 years since Hong Kong was returned to China under an agreement that allowed the city state to remain independent, but now Beijing is slowly asphyxiating the city's political freedom
          East London acid attack victim and aspiring model Resham Khan receives £30,000 in public donations   
'From a large majority, there will always be a sick and twisted minority. Stop tearing each other down, stop arguing religion and politics. Make peace with each other and the world.'
          Out on the Town: D.C. arts & entertainment highlights, June 29-July 5   

FILM ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN The NoMa BID offers an outdoor screening series with the quintessential Washington theme: “Power, Politics & Popcorn.” Next up: Alan J. Pakula’s film based on a book by the Washington Post‘s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, documenting their work in uncovering the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation. Robert […]

The post Out on the Town: D.C. arts & entertainment highlights, June 29-July 5 appeared first on Metro Weekly.


          GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) | Re: Although it claims to delve into political issues,   
A,D, and B are clearly out.

I too took around 4 minutes to solve this question - though I was not convinced, I found option E better than option C.
C has redundant " three major networks" and "all" also.

Structure of the option E is grammatically correct - here is how.

Although it claims to delve into political issues (modifier DC), television (Main subject being modified by DC)can be superficial, as when the three major networks each broadcast exactly the same statement
...

          HR and Admin Officer Recruitment At International Medical Corps   

International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global, humanitarian, non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training, relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, non-political, non-sectarian organization.International Medical Corps has been operating in Nigeria since November 2013. It currently […]

HR and Admin Officer Recruitment At International Medical Corps


          Ross Douthat on Spotted Toad on Hogwarts as imperial academia   
In the New York Times, Ross Douthat takes a crack at the same Spotted Toad blog post about the roots of Harry Potter worship that I wrote up in my Taki’s column “Hogwash 101” back in April. As you’ve no doubt noticed, it has become common to analyze current politics through the lens of the […]
          The Myth of Proposition 187   
From the academic journal Political Behavior: Reexamining the Effect of Racial Propositions on Latinos’ Partisanship in California by Iris Hui and David O. Sears First Online: 23 March 2017 DOI: 10.1007/s11109-017-9400-1 Many seasoned politicians and scholars have attributed the loss in support for the Republican Party in California to its push for three racially divisive propositions […]
          Week In Politics: Senators Work On Health Care Bill While Trump Tweets   
This week Republican senators postponed a vote on their health care bill but continued to make changes. Also, President Trump received bipartisan criticism for a crude tweet.
          Follow the History of Spider-Man Pt. 9   

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this summer, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of this stories history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

The X-Men’s Iceman clashed with Spider-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #92, but after realizing his mistake, joined forces with our hero to put the kibosh on Sam Bullit, a crooked politician wooing Gwen Stacy following the death of her father. Spidey stood alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes at a charity event in AVENGERS #85, but when Gwen announced a permanent move to London in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #93, he tried to drown his sorrows in a rematch with The Prowler.

After a bout with The Beetle in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #94, and making up his mind to fly to London to bring Gwen back, Peter Parker changed to his alter-ego in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #95 to put down some British criminals. Back home again in CAPTAIN AMERICA #137, the Web-Slinger held off an attack by The Falcon, then teamed with the high-flying hero and Captain America versus Stone Face in CAPTAIN AMERICA #138.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #92

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #92

  • Published: January 10, 1971
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Gil Kane
  • Cover Artist: John Romita
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Peter took a job with Norman Osborn in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #96, but the business tycoon allowed the pressures in his head to explode and reawaken his other self, The Green Goblin. He battled Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #97, while unbeknownst to the two combatants, Norman’s son and Peter’s friend Harry fell under the spell of a drug dealer. The Wall Crawler crashed the pusher’s party in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #98, and made Norman see the light of reason by forcing him to face his son’s pill problem.

Spider-Man helped out Daredevil in a fracas with Namor the Sub-Mariner in DAREDEVIL #77, then broke up a prison riot in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #99. Later, weary of his role as a super hero, Peter concocted a potion to be rid of his spider-powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #100, but instead gave himself an extra four arms. Now sporting as many limbs as an actual spider, the young hero stumbled into the path of Morbius the Living Vampire in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #101, and felt immense relief when his friend Dr. Curt Connors cured him of his multiple arms in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #102.

Desiring nothing more than a chance to get away from it all, Peter flew with Gwen and his boss J. Jonah Jameson to the Savage Land in search of a legendary monster in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #103. When they found the creature, it took the timely intervention of Ka-Zar to unstick them from the web they’d fallen into.


          Lindsey Graham calls Trump tweet 'beneath the office,' Tim Scott tells president not to be distracted   


This morning, someone told the President of the United States that cable news hosts said some things about him and he responded by calling one of them "low I.Q. Crazy" and the other "Psycho," and said he turned them both away from his palatial beachfront resort estate over New Year's.

The president was apparently responding to hearing criticism second-hand by MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of 'poorly rated' "Morning Joe." To cap off the hot take, Trump even mentioned 'low I.Q. Crazy' Brzezinski was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" in the 8:58 a.m. tweet.

The hosts were apparently poking fun at a report this week that Trump has several faked Time magazine covers hanging in properties he owns just before the tweets.

After Trump released his morning affirmation, both of South Carolina's U.S. senators responded:

Lindsey Graham called the president's words 'beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics.'
[embed-1]Tim Scott took no issue with the content of the president's criticism, but urged him not to be distracted from health care and tax reform.[embed-2]


          Snyder vetoes proposed ‘Choose Life’ license plate   
Gov. Snyder said the plate sends a "political message" with the potential to "bitterly divide" millions of residents.
          Analysis: "Bad" foreign firms drive U.S. manufacturing jobs revival   

By Lesley Wroughton and Howard Schneider

SPARTANBURG/CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Years before Donald Trump began promising to bring back good manufacturing jobs by getting tough with U.S. trade partners, such jobs have already been on the rise, largely thanks to foreign companies now cast as villains in Trump's narrative.

Reuters analysis of federal jobs data shows that out of 656,000 new manufacturing jobs created between 2010 and 2014, two thirds can be attributed to foreign direct investment.

More recent jobs numbers are not yet available, but over $700 billion in foreign capital has poured in over the last two years bringing total foreign investment to $3.7 trillion at the end of 2016, a world record. (Graphic: http://tmsnrt.rs/2sWkzTB)

Now foreign companies that have spent billions of dollars on U.S. factories and local leaders who host them worry that global supply networks that back those investments will fray if Trump makes good on his pledge to roll back trade liberalization.

The U.S. president has threatened to tear up North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and slap higher tariffs on nations that run trade surpluses with the United States, such as Germany or China. The administration is also discussing tighter immigration rules and more security screening of investment.

The tough message helped sway swing northeastern and Midwestern Rust Belt states Trump's way in the 2016 election, but puts him at odds with companies and local leaders in the south, which has driven the recent growth in manufacturing jobs.

The southern states have voted for Trump, but have also spent decades wooing foreign companies with flexible labor laws, financial incentives and investment in ports, roads and other infrastructure.

POSTER CHILD AND WHIPPING BOY

The courtship has spawned new auto plants from Kentucky to Georgia, and a new Airbus plant in Mobile, Alabama.

Few places highlight the gap between Trump's rhetoric and local aspirations better than Spartanburg in South Carolina.

German carmaker BMW has invested here $8 billion in a 1.2 million square foot (11.15 hectares) assembly plant, which has become the largest single exporter of cars by value from the United States.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, a Republican and Trump supporter, credits the German automaker for putting his state on the global investment map.

"The presence of this company changed everything in the trajectory of our state," McMaster said on Monday at an event unveiling BMW's newest X3 sports utility vehicle.

Its Chief Executive Harald Krueger said the carmaker would invest additional $600 million in Spartanburg over the next four years, adding 1,000 jobs to the 9,000-strong workforce, and spend further $200 million on employee training and education.

But the poster child of South Carolina's success also doubles as a whipping boy. In January, BMW's plans to build a plant in Mexico drew Trump's ire and last month the U.S. president was quoted as saying Germany was "very bad" on trade and selling too many cars in the United States.

And even as the company highlights its contribution to the U.S. economy and the benefits of free trade, it is hedging its bets by preparing for a possible protectionist backlash.

Outside of the spotlight, BMW is retooling factories in South Africa and China to build volume models like the X3 SUV, reducing its dependence on Spartanburg.

“We have a big footprint here, and we are flexible enough," Oliver Zipse, BMW's board member responsible for manufacturing, told Reuters. "We will build the X3 not only in Spartanburg, we will split it into South Africa and then to China, so we will have some flexibility to produce cars somewhere else,” he said.

“If something happens at the political level - which we don’t know yet - we are able to have a flexible response.”

The Trump administration has said it welcomes foreign investment and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who spoke at an opening of a new Samsung Electronics <005930.KS> plant in South Carolina, said such projects showed that "America is becoming an even stronger destination for global businesses looking to grow.”

The southern U.S. states owe much of their success to coastal port authorities and cities that have invested heavily to make their channels and docks fit for shipments to and from China and Mexico.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has often clashed with Trump, said protectionism would undermine those accomplishments and hurt American workers.

DOOMSDAY SCENARIO

"Negotiate a trade agreement with Europe, modernize NAFTA, don't tear it up," Graham told Reuters at the BMW factory. "We're going in the wrong direction. We need more trade agreements, not less."

Graham noted how low-cost competition from China and Mexico destroyed South Carolina's once thriving textile industry and how the state reinvented itself as a manufacturing hub, bringing the likes of BMW or French tire maker Michelin .

The now humming port city of Charleston has a similar story to tell. When a major navy base shut down in the 1990s wiping out 20,000 jobs, local officials worked to bring foreign manufacturers, which now employ around 10,000 in the three counties around the city and more is set to come.

Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler AG , is adding 1,300 jobs so it can make its Sprinter van here rather than merely assemble it with imported parts, which also means more business for local suppliers.

Up the road, Volvo Car Group, part of Chinese conglomerate Geely, is due to open its first North American plant next year with a target workforce of 2,000.

Local development officials expect more jobs and investment to come, but worry that some steps discussed by the Trump administration could have a chilling effect.

Claire Gibbons, director of global marketing at the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, said the proposed new tariffs, tougher immigration rules and stricter reviews of foreign investment projects would amount to a "doomsday scenario" for the region.

"This is an education opportunity for us all, for the people making the decisions that don't understand the ramifications."

(1 euro = $1.1350)

(Additional reporting by Edward Taylor in Munich. Editing by David Chance and Tomasz Janowski)


          Hefty Politics   
Hefty Politics Beauty is, to some degree, relative. Check out the example of "female intrasexual competition" in this question from the Philip Galanes column in the NYT:
Thin in the Midwest I am a single woman in Manhattan. I was just offered a great job in Chicago. When I went to visit, I was struck by how thin I was there, compared with women in New York. Is this a horrible reason to take the job?

ANONYMOUS

I assume you are joking (sort of). But having come from a spate of New York City meals where women and men seemed to believe that balsamic vinegar and mustard are two of the major food groups, I get it, sister. We all have self-image issues, and you probably won't escape yours by moving to the Windy City. (Off the top of my head, I can think of 50 qualities more important than "thin.") Still, you mentioned that the job in Chicago is "great," and I've always loved visiting. So, you tell us: What have you got to lose?
This isn't a "self-image" issue; it's a possibility of a tradeoff between the place she probably wants to live -- NYC -- and getting a leg up in the mating market by moving to a lesser pond. Would you -- if you were this woman -- make the move? What about if you were a guy writing about going to a place where there's a lot less competition on wealth and achievement? Understanding and being honest about how well you compete in a mating market is the best way to make the most useful decisions -- including, perhaps whether you should move to another area. In short, as I wrote in the column that I sent out earlier this week, "context matters."
          Black Lives Should Matter Long Before They're Lost   
Black Lives Should Matter Long Before They're Lost It's easier to rally people with an injustice and a clear and appealing villain to point to than with prescriptive measures that are likely to help others avoid similar terrible outcomes. This is especially true when prescriptive measures involve advising people to take responsibility and to take a hard look at problems in a community that could be changed, in part, with more responsible behaviors. I've blogged previously about the problem of out-of-wedlock births and single motherhood in the black community. Jason L. Riley at the WSJ takes a different tack, but is still looking at the framework of society for a lot of black people with the question in the subhead of his piece -- "why not focus on bad schools and job-killing regulations?"
On a certain level, the decision by BLM activists to single out policing as a major obstacle to black advancement has always defied comprehension. Police shootings have fallen dramatically in recent decades. In New York City, for example, cops shot 314 people in 1971, 93 of them fatally. In 2015, New York police shot 23 people, killing eight. Which means that police shootings and fatalities in the nation's most populous city have declined by more than 90% over the past 4½ decades. A 2016 paper released by Harvard economist Roland Fryer examined the use of force by police since 2000 in some of the country's largest urban areas and found that "blacks are 23.8 percent less likely to be shot at by police relative to whites." In theory, there is no reason these activists couldn't play a more useful role in helping blacks overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities that were unavailable to previous generations. But that would mean abandoning nonsensical narratives that scapegoat law enforcement for high black crime rates and instead picking more substantive fights with fellow progressives. Why not side with the hundreds of thousands of black children nationwide who linger on waiting lists for charter schools that have a proven record of narrowing the achievement gap? Why side with progressive politicians who stunt the growth of charters out of deference to powerful teachers unions that oppose school choice? ...Of course, improving educational and employment prospects for the black underclass would lower black crime rates and thus go a long way toward reducing encounters with police, the goal that is so near and dear to the Black Lives Matter movement. It's a win-win, but first the activists have to decide whether the real goal is to help black people or to help themselves.
Important point there at the end -- one I think few people consider (thanks to how race issues are now the third rail of discussion and debate today). I sometimes get hundreds of retweets and shares of a blog post, but never those about race. At least a few of those must be at least a little interesting to people, but again, major no-go area. Oh, and on the job-killing regulations, consider how the government is trying to put moms who earn money caring for others' children in their homes out of business. As I blogged previously:
Mothers have taken care of other mothers' children throughout human history, usually without death or horrible things happening. There should be no reason why a mother cannot be the judge of whether the person she wishes to leave her child with is a safe bet, rather than having the state intervene. This regulation also keeps poor women who are mothers from having an income by taking in children and caring for them. Again, women have done this throughout human history. Yes, there's always a chance a child will be injured -- maybe in the parent's own home. But a child can still be injured in that *perfectly regulated* hothouse of government regulation. Regulation is mostly keeping the childcare "industry" safe from those who'd like to enter without going to college and jumping through 26 hoops.

          Lights, camera, action: A midnight to remember   
Bridal finery, expensive Kanjeevarams, traditional dresses, chic Indian wear — all were on display as guests started arriving in Parliament by 9.15 pm.
          GST: Opposition's boycott call aimed at future political positioning ahead of upcoming state, Lok Sabha polls   
JDU breaking ranks on presidential polls and NCP, JDS, SP and BSP deciding to attend the joint sitting demonstrate fault-lines within the Opposition camp.
          Khele India drive across nation soon: PM Narendra Modi   
“We must adopt a culture where sports is appreciated starting from the family,” Modi said adding Khel Mahakumbh has encouraged a sporting culture in Gujarat.
          GST: PMO calls for all-out effort on part of Centre to ensure smooth transition   
Union ministers will be using various public forums and media to assure people that GST is going to benefit them in the long run and they need not have any apprehensions.
          GST: Pranab Mukherjee calls upon Indians to extend full cooperation   
The President reminisced how as finance minister he had introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill on March 22, 2011.
          GST across the political landscape   
Marring the government's celebrations at Parliament was the silent protest by Rajya Sabha MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu at Gandhi statue.
          Manmohan Singh skips GST launch; NCP, SP attend function   
NCP chief Sharad Pawar also attended the event marking India's transition to a new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST).
          Farmers across India unite for common minimum agenda   
Sections of farm leaders trying to come together on a national scale for the first time are doubtful about the response the programme may get.
          PM Narendra Modi's GST is 'Grand Self-promoting Tamasha': Jairam Ramesh   
There are huge transition issues in GST. Small and medium industries and the informal economy have huge concerns. They have to be addressed, said Jairam Ramesh.
          Modi calls GST Good and Simple tax: 11 things prime minister said about India's landmark tax   
In the making since 2000, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) got a big endorsement from PM Modi, who called it India's biggest move since Independence.
          KK Venugopal appointed as new Attorney General of India   
Venugopal's name has been cleared by the office of the President of India. The 86 year old's name will soon be notified by the government.
          86 per cent wages of 1 crore workers paid within 15 days: Government   
Timely payment of wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been a major concern for the government for some time.
          Need to focus on conventional policing and crime management: Assam governor   
Purohit also said that while counter insurgency has remained the primary focus, there is a need to focus on conventional policing and crime management.
          PM Narendra Modi bats for sports as career, hails spirit of athletes   
"There is a mentality among people that sports cannot be taken up as a career. I want to change that thought process," he said.
          GST Mumbai zone to have 21 commissionerates   
There will be 21 commissionerates in the GST Mumbai zone, pared down from the existing 27 under the Service Tax and Central Excise departments.
          Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Get Covered In Sweat   
Jared Kushner may be nimble in the world of politics and business, but his body's flexibility leaves much to be desired in the eyes of his wife Ivanka Trump.
          Macri: "La mayor mafia es aquella donde el Estado es cómplice" (El Cronista)   


El Presidente apuntó hoy contra "las mafias que se creen intocables", al encabezar un acto en la Casa Rosada junto a la gobernadora bonaerense, María Eugenia Vidal.


El presidente Mauricio Macri apuntó hoy contra "las mafias que se creen intocables", al encabezar un acto en la Casa Rosada junto a la gobernadora bonaerense, María Eugenia Vidal.

"Los intermediarios y mafias, afuera", afirmó Macri, en el marco de un acto en el que se presentó información sobre el consumo de sustancias ilegales reunida por la Secretaría de Políticas Integrales sobre Drogas (exSedronar).

En el Salón Blanco de la Casa Rosada y acompañado por la goberndora María Eugenia Vidal, el presidente Mauricio Macri presentó el Estudio de Consumo de Sustancias realizado por la Secretaría de Programación para Prevención de la Drogadicción y la Lucha contra el Narcotráfico.


"Necesitamos hacer más y hablar con la verdad. Hablar con cifras, para mejorar. Para afrontar este problema es necesario poner la verdad sobre la mesa y trabajar juntos. Hay que combatir las redes de narcotráfico, son mafias que operan con total impunidad", sostuvo después y felicitó a las fuerzas de seguridad nacional y provinciales por la "batalla importante frente al futuro".


Después, su mensaje se corrió de lo estrictamente referido al informe del SEDRONAR y retomó el debate sobre el aumento de la litigiosidad laboral. Lo hizo, además, en una fecha relevante: hoy se celebra el día de las Pymes. "Las mafias se consolidan cuando se apropian de parte del Estado. Hace algunas semanas hablé de las mafias de los juicios. Y no estaba defendiendo a las empresas, sino a los trabajadores que por el colapso de los juzgados tardan años en jucios. Y también lo hago por las Pymes". A continuación, leyó una carta del dueño de una Pyme (sin difundir su identidad) afectado por siete jucios laborales que enfrenta, que reflejaba ese mensaje.

"Este cambio lo hacemos juntos. No aflojen. Está en juego si vamos a ser u capítulo más en la frustración o si somos la generación que va a cambiar el país. Este país que queremos se construye con pequeños pasos todos los días. Siempre lo tenemos que hacer juntos", finalizó el Presidente.

Fuente: https://www.cronista.com/economiapolitica/Macri-La-mayor-mafia-es-aquella-donde-el-Estado-es-complice-20170629-0076.html

          I Love a Chiruping Glass, Free from Incursions of State-Politicks   
[Edward Ward (1667-1731),] "Preface" to The Tipling Philosophers. A Lyrick Poem. To which is subjoin'd, A short Abstract of their Lives and most memorable Actions. (London: J. Woodward, 1710):
As Times go, I think it no great Crime to own, that now and then, when Business will permit, I love a chiruping Glass, in the Company of such Friends to whom my own may be acceptable; and the better to prevent all impertinent Chit Chat, and the little Feuds and Controversies that are too apt to arise, at present, about Dukes and Doctors, Dutch Memorials, the Changes of the Ministry, and many other epidemical Fanaticisms, that have wormeaten the Brains of the whole Nation, having a musical Genius, I am seldom unfurnish'd with some Madrigal or other, proper to preserve an innocent Mirth from the modish Incursions of State-Politicks, to which almost every Trading Citizen is become a noisy Pretender...

          Re: The Montana Family Foundation wants to see your kid's bathroom pass. You should wonder why.   
The Montana Family Foundation was started and always controlled by Greg Gianforte and his wife Susan, who was CEO until Greg ran unsuccessfully for Governor. She stepped down then so that she wouldn't have to answer any questions about the MFF and Greg could say "it's just my wife's little hobby."They are very similar to the Westboro Baptist group, except they don't picket soldiers funerals, just advocate politically for denying all rights to all LGBTQ citizens of Montana.
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          The Ultimate Guide to Asset Management for Law Enforcement   

Law enforcement agencies are service organizations with a special set of challenges. They operate in a high-visibility, high-stakes environment. They’re accountable to the public for what they do and for the tax money they spend. And they have to deal with many factors they can’t control, from criminal behavior to social, political, and community issues.

In that kind of climate, organization and management are crucial—especially when it comes to equipment and supplies. Law enforcement professionals need to know they’ll have the right items in the right places, and in sufficient quantities to do their jobs.



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          McDaniel College's Budapest campus caught up in Hungarian political fight   

McDaniel College found itself entangled in an international dispute between billionaire philanthropist George Soros and the Hungarian prime minister that's threatened its 23-year-old satellite campus in Budapest. To extricate itself and comply with new Hungarian law, the president of the small, liberal arts college in Westminster met with members of Gov. Larry Hogan 's cabinet and diplomats from the East European nation.


          As the dust settles: Russian authorities move against protesters and campaigners   

New evidence of police violations against protesters emerges, and regional authorities take aim at Alexei Navalny's campaign offices. 

Conditions for people detained at anti-corruption protests have been poor. Image: Polina Kostyleva.

We continue our partnership with OVD-Infoan NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

We have collected and analysed a large number of reports of violations by Russian police officers at anti-corruption rallies held on 12 June. Now we are able to say with certainty there have been 109 violations. Police officers exceeded the permitted time for administrative detention, wrote official reports with numerous mistakes, and did not allow lawyers to visit those detained. In one of the St Petersburg police stations, a detainee contracted pneumonia after spending the night in a cold cell. This was despite the fact that he had warned the police officers he was in poor health and should not get cold. The list of violations with legal commentaries can be seen here.

This week a number of individuals requested political asylum abroad. Krasnodar artists Lusiney Dzhanyan and Aleksei Knedlyakovsky requested asylum in Sweden. The artists said that their telephones had been tapped, and in 2013 Dzhanyan was dismissed from Krasnodar University of Culture for supporting Pussy Riot and exhibiting in a gallery owned by Marat Gelman. But it’s not only those who create modern art who can fall victim to persecution. Children’s drawings in chalk can also evoke the dissatisfaction of the authorities. Mikhail Petrov, a martial arts trainer from Pskov, has left Russia because he feared persecution by the authorities. It is thought the authorities’ interest in the trainer was related to the fact that he and his students had drawn anti-military drawings on the walls of buildings belonging to a military air assault division. He has requested political asylum in Estonia. 

Supporters of Alexei Navalny continue to be persecuted. In the town of Cherepovets, writer and journalist Elena Kolyadina was dismissed by the newspaper Golos Cherepovtsa for giving a lecture to staff of Navalny’s local election campaign office. In the Siberian city of Barnaul, the coordinator of the campaign office was injured with a knife, while earlier someone set fire to one of the office’s windows. In Vladimir, the local branch of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network asked its chief engineer to resign because he had headed Navalny’s local campaign office. Meanwhile, in Rostov-on-Don a car belonging to the head of Navalny’s office was covered with paint and its tyres were punctured.

The Investigative Committee completed its investigation into one more defendant in the “26 March case”. Dmitry Krepkin is charged with using force against a police officer during the anti-corruption protest in Moscow. Krepkin maintains his innocence. Moreover, he has said that he was himself assaulted at the time of his detention at the 26 March protest. Doctors at the emergency medical centre recorded bruising all over his body. He had been struck at least six times.   

The pre-trial detention of mathematician Dmitry Bogatov was extended until 31 August. Bogatov has been charged with incitement to riot on the grounds that he had posted appeals on the SysAdmins.ru forum to go out on to Red Square on 2 April 2017 under the pseudonym of “Airat Bashirov”. The appeals were sent from Bogatov’s IP address. However, since Bogatov operates a Tor exit node, any user could have posted the materials using his IP.

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For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here

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          Charting Russia’s most dangerous cities for LGBT people   

Here are the towns where it’s dangerous to be gay in Russia. A culture of silence and a law “against propaganda” are keeping them that way. Русский

An LGBT pride parade in St Petersburg, 2014. Photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: Maria Komarova / Flickr. Some rights reserved.

It’s become a tradition across the globe to celebrate LGBT Pride in the last days of June. Usually, such events are held on the weekend closest to the 28 June, as it was on that day that the modern LGBT movement in the USA began in earnest. It was an initiative that inspired strategies and tactics of human rights advocacy in many other countries. Although it takes different forms across the world, LGBT pride raises issues of freedom of expression, human rights, and healthcare for LGBT people. In some cities Europe and the USA it has turned into something of a commercial event or cultural festival for the wider public. In other locations, LGBT people march under the threat of police brutality.

In Russia, the first LGBT pride march was held in 1991 on the square before Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre as part of the Soviet Union’s first LGBT festival. The more modern history of LGBT parades in Russia began in 2006 when LGBT activist Nikolay Alekseyev attempted to officially organise a pride march in Moscow. Years passed, and the city authorities still haven’t found the guts to permit a march for LGBT human rights through the capital’s streets and provide security for its participants. However, other banned marches have been successfully challenged in the European Court for Human Rights and Alekseyev has generated support in other regions of the country. He and his colleagues have applied for permission to hold pride marches in Blagoveshchensk, Cherkessk, Cherepovets, Kazan, and Nizhny Tagil among many other cities across Russia, though they have always been rejected and sued city governments in response. A notable exception came in 2013, when the governor of St Petersburg did not forbid the city’s LGBT pride parade, although it did encounter violently homophobic protesters who tried to obstruct the march.

The metrics of hatred

In fact, these violent far-right groups keep close tabs on LGBT activists in Russia and the events they hold – or try to. While the government fights some homophobic campaigners and inciters of hatred, it supports others. After all, instigating violence against LGBT people is essentially the Russian state’s official policy towards sexuality. For example, the 2013 law banning “propaganda” of “non-traditional sexual orientations” sparked a wave of hatred against LGBT people across the country. As we discovered from court decisions last year, after the “propaganda” bill was signed into law, the number of hate crimes against lesbians and gay men doubled. 

In 2012, we found 33 examples of such hate crimes, while 2013 saw 50 hate crimes against LGBT citizens. By 2015 there were 65. We registered not only a common rise of LGBT hate crimes, but also the rise of homicides: following the enactment of the “propaganda” bill, there were more and more murders of people simply for being LGBT.

The growth in hate crimes against LGBT people across Russia. Image courtesy of the authors.

Of course, these are only the recorded crimes – many LGBT people may not dare approach the authorities after harassment, humiliation, or worse. These data are based on official court statistics, though we had to dig through the results ourselves. Nobody officially collects information on violence against LGBT people in Russia. On the contrary, the authorities pretend that nothing is happening. This attitude sometimes reaches absurd extremes when government officials claim that LGBT citizens simply do not exist.

After facts came to light about the systematic torture of gay men at secret detention camps in Chechnya, the republic’s press secretary immediately retorted that “you cannot repress those who are not and cannot be here in the Chechen Republic.” Despite the justified focus on Chechnya, these claims are hardly specific to one culture or region within the Russian Federation – officials in other regions speak in much the same manner. For example, the mayor of Svetogorsk in Leningrad Region declared his city “free from gays.” He subsequently argued that LGBT issues and rights are irrelevant there, neither an LGBT community nor LGBT people exist in the small city.

This imagined absence of LGBT people constitutes an active policy of silencing and excluding some citizens from the wider national community on the grounds of their sexuality

This imagined absence of LGBT people constitutes an active policy of silencing and excluding some citizens from the wider national community on the grounds of their sexuality. These comments certainly reinforce existing prejudices and reproduce violence against vulnerable groups. But what is the real picture? Let’s say that the authorities of a Russian city actually permitted an LGBT march to go ahead? Would these violent protectors of a false morality then take to the streets to fight those marching, to stop their fellow citizens expressing their point of view and standing up for their rights?

It depends on where you are. In other words, how dangerous is it to be gay in different Russian cities?

A “sexual stratification” of Russian cities

Media doesn’t simply inform society about current affairs; it also provides frames for understanding social problems, rendering some topics more important than others by virtue of generating discussion around them. Violence against LGBT people may be a key cause for concern in the human rights movement, but that urgency is lost in public discussions.

But media can also remedy societies from oblivion by sharing stories which are otherwise forgotten or ignored, and spark positive change. For example, the murder of gay teen Matthew Sheppard was one of the most publicised hate crimes in the US history. The furore in the press eventually led to changes in hate crime law.

One of the effects of Russia’s “propaganda” law was not simply the rise in violence against LGBT people. It also led to more frequent ewspaper publications on LGBT topics, hence public discussion on a topic which still remains taboo for many people. This was not entirely what legislators intended. We benefitted from this situation by researching the details and contexts of violence against LGBT in Russia as they were reported in media. The Sexuality Lab studied almost 4,500 media publications about violence against LGBT people in Russia between 2011 and 2016. We categorised all newspaper articles in accordance with the sexuality of the victims reported and the locations of crimes committed. All cities were then classified by population, making it possible for us to calculate an index of safety for every urban settlement.

The data reveal that the most dangerous places for LGBT people are villages in the countryside and small towns with a population below 100,000: they are characterised by the highest rates of violence against LGBT people per 1,000 persons. The safest locations are the largest cities (Moscow and St Petersburg): despite the greater number of crimes against LGBT in these cities, their relative indexes are actually the lowest. This can be explained by understanding the circumstances of these hate crimes.

Statistically, a gay person is safer in St Petersburg than in a smaller city like Nizhnevartovsk

Very often, hate crimes are committed as soon as perpetrators learn about the victim’s sexuality, which is usually revealed in a conversation in a private space over a drink or meal. These social gatherings occur more frequently in smaller settlements, because that way of life is simply more common there: there are fewer bars to go to, fewer crowds to blend into, and more free time to kill. People drink alcohol and talk about their personal lives as there’s no other way to spend one’s spare time. Alhough many people in Russia actually do not give a damn about LGBT issues, some still react violently to a person’s coming out – and such reactions are more common in smaller towns and cities.

The graph below shows incidents of violence against LGBT people in different towns and cities of Russia. We compare capital cities, big cities (of 500,000 people and above) and smaller cities (of between 100-500,000 people). This graph shows that the smaller a city, the bigger the probability of violence against LGBT people. Statistically, a gay person is safer in St Petersburg than in a smaller city like Nizhnevartovsk. This could explain why the mayor of Svetlogorsk thinks there are no gay men in his town – anybody with half a mind in that position would leave the place as soon as they felt threatened. 

Violence and hate crimes against LGBT people across Russia, by city size. Image courtesy of the author.

These results aren’t surprising; they just prove once again that homophobia is on the rise in Russia and that hate crimes are supported in its remote regions. We have based our claims on a survey of media publications, which limits the whole picture only to material in the public domain. As a result, there will be many hate crimes which went unreported, and some remote regions not covered in our media survey. However, it is no exaggeration to say that there are parts of the country which are simply not safe for LGBT citizens.

One of the ways to protect oneself is to keep silent about one’s sexuality, concealing it from the public in order not to become a victim of violence. So this secrecy around the existence of homosexuals is reinforced not only by political decisions, but also by individual moves as many LGBT people opt to hide their sexuality. While their response contributes to a culture of silence, they cannot and must not be blamed for it – simply put, they fear for their lives.

The LGBT pride parades pursue a radically different approach: a public and full-throated political demand to recognise that LGBT people exist. Do our data confirm that Russian cities are not ready to host such events on their territories? If our goal is to fight the silence, the data show exactly the contrary: as long as anybody suffers and is killed because of their sexuality, it is important to shout at the top of our voices to try and stop the murders and political climate in which they are tacitly tolerated. Human rights marches across towns and cities of all sizes are one way of articulating this; a means to make violence visible and demand that it stop.

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          Four Corners: July 3   
Mark Davis delves into deals between Donald Trump and controversial business & political figures in Indonesia.
          Servant Leadership Trumps Politics as Usual   

SEATTLE – Although the outspoken chairman and CEO of coffee giant Starbucks has dabbled in big issues before—his well-intentioned but quickly abandoned “Race Together” initiative had baristas writing racial harmony messages on cups—Howard Schultz is not running for president.

“Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray,” the chairman and CEO of coffee giant Starbucks said in an op-ed in The New York Times. “I’m not done serving at Starbucks. Although we have built an iconic brand while providing even part-time employees with access to health care, free college education and stock options, there is more we can do as a public company to demonstrate responsible leadership.”

But the fact that Schultz is not running … yet … doesn’t mean he has no opinion on what’s wrong with Washington and how a great leader should operate.

“We cannot afford more false promises, slogans, theatrics and fool’s gold,” he wrote. “Our nation has been profoundly damaged by a lack of civility and courage in Washington, where leaders of both parties have abdicated their responsibility to forge reasonable compromises to expand the economy, rebuild our infrastructure, improve schools, transform entitlement programs and so much more. We have become too desensitized to the horrendous metrics that define today’s America, from student-loan debt to food-stamp dependency to the size of our prison population.”

He continued, “The values of servant leadership—putting others first and leading from the heart—need to emerge from every corner of American life, including the business community.

“While Americans have diverse views in what they want from Washington, I reject the notion that our divided and dysfunctional government is merely a reflection of what the political class calls the red-blue divide. Too many of our political leaders are putting party before country, power before principle and cynicism before civility. The common purpose that created this great nation, which has united us in difficult moments, has gone missing.

“Our country is in desperate need of servant leaders, of men and women willing to kneel and embrace those who are not like them. Everyone seeking the presidency professes great love for our nation. But I ask myself, how can you be a genuine public servant if you belittle your fellow citizens and freeze out people who hold differing views?”

He concluded with a provocative challenge: “Our country deserves a candidate courageous enough to select a member of the other party as a running mate. Our country deserves a president humble enough to see leadership not as an entitlement but as a privilege."

Click here to read the complete New York Times op-ed.

And following on Shultz’s lead, as we head into the next presidential election cycle, what insights can politicians glean from the convenience-store, retail and restaurant industries? Send your ideas and comments to Greg Lindenberg, editor of CSP Daily News, at glindenberg@winsightmedia.com.


          BLOG: Fire starter   
Luke 12:49-53…I came to cast fire… The ministry of Jesus ignites division. It calls for a radical decision to be made, and making this decision will divide families and households. It will be politically incorrect because it doesn’t allow for... [ ... ]
          Reform Roundup: June 30th, 2017   

Catch up on the week’s electoral reform news with our round up of folks across the country writing and talking about FairVote reform vision. This week, Congressman Don Beyer introduced the Fair Representation Act (FRA), H.R. 3057.

  • Congressman Don Beyer wrote for The Washington Post about needing to change how we elect the House of Representatives. “Applied nationally, we would have more moderate Democrats from districts leaning Republican, and vice versa, creating a type of politician — now nearly extinct — known as a ‘bridge builder.’ Many members would share constituents with members of the other major party, creating incentives to work together on legislation affecting the district.”

  • Anita Earls wrote for The Nation about how the Fair Representation Act would put an end to gerrymandering and improve representation for communities of color. “There is a way forward. If we want to stop gerrymandering, and move beyond constant litigation over how lines are drawn, we must rethink the way we do districting itself. That’s why the Fair Representation Act creates such an exciting path forward. In states like Texas, for example, where black and Latino populations live close together, those communities are often pitted against each other for the one majority-minority seat. A multi-winner district, and a genuine multi-racial slate, would decrease tension between racial minorities, while increasing their voice.”

  • FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie and Board Chair Krist Novoselic spoke to Pedro Echevarria of the Washington Journal C-SPAN about FairVote’s 25th Anniversary year and the introduction of the Fair Representation Act. “With multi-member districts, you don’t need to receive 50% of the vote, which is what you do when you’re just electing one person like president. You can lower that share to whatever is proportionate to the number of seats, so if you have 5 seats it will take about a 5th of the vote. And by doing that, it opens up every single corner of every single state to meaningful engagement and participation and representation. One party would not sweep all of the seats anywhere.” 

  • The American Prospect reported on the Fair Representation Act and its potential to end Congressional Dysfunction. "The bill would not only institute nonpartisan redistricting commissions and a new voting system designed to create a proportionally representational Congress, but also aims to dramatically reduce the number of safe seats for each party and eliminate the unopposed re-election of representatives. In 2014, 31 congressional representatives were re-elected unopposed."

  • Lanae Erickson Hatalsky and David De la Fuente of ThirdWay wrote in U.S. News & World Report about why voters need the Fair Representation Act. “If policymakers don’t offer solutions to fix our electoral system and restore faith that our representative democracy is working the way it should, voters will continue to react with anger and deliver wave elections where they “throw the bums out” every other year. As we’ve seen over the past few election cycles, these reactive waves make it even harder to govern, further contributing to the cycle of frustration that led to them in the first place.”

  • The Alexandria News reports on the introduction of the Fair Representation Act, introduced by Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia’s 8th district. “The Fair Representation Act is the most comprehensive approach to improving congressional elections in American history,” said Rob Richie, the executive director of FairVote. “It creates an impartial, national standard that gets at the core of FairVote’s mission: Giving voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans.”

 

 


          The Fair Representation Act has been introduced to Congress   

I’m sponsoring the Fair Representation Act because Congress is broken. It is hyper-partisan. It is far too polarized. The FRA creates a structure where members of Congress are incentivized to work together. This is the right thing to do to give voters the strong voice that they deserve in our elections.

--Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08)

On June 26, 2017, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced H.R. 3057: The Fair Representation Act. He was joined by co-sponsors Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Ro Khanna (D-CA). This is a historic moment. The Fair Representation Act is the most comprehensive approach to reforming congressional elections in United States history. It would truly realize the vision of the House of Representatives as “The People’s House.”

The Fair Representation Act

FairVote has called for expanding the use of multi-winner ranked choice voting in United States elections since its founding 25 years ago. Ranked choice voting can replace the broken, zero-sum, winner-take-all system - in which the biggest group of voters in a district are the only ones earning representation - with fair representation for all. In this era of fierce partisan divisions, nowhere needs this change more than the House of Representatives.

RCV-ballot-09.pngUnder the Fair Representation Act, every state would use ranked choice voting to elect its Representatives. Voters would be free to rank their choices without fear of “spoilers.” Instead of only one candidate winning with the most votes, several candidates would win based on how many votes they earn. For example, in a state like Oklahoma or Connecticut that elects 5 winners, 17% of voters can elect 1 of the 5 winners; 34% of voters can elect 2 of the 5 winners; and so on. A majority of voters can always elect a majority of seats, and everyone earns their fair share.

States that elect up to 5 winners will not need any districts at all. Larger states will use districts, but the districts will elect 3, 4, or 5 winners each. That means that a state like Massachusetts that elects 9 Representatives will divide into equal thirds, with each of the three districts electing 3 winners with ranked choice voting. To adopt a district map, these states will form independent redistricting commissions composed of ordinary state citizens (not politicians or lobbyists) who will operate transparently and hold hearings around the state to find the district map that makes the most sense for their state.

The use of ranked choice voting in multi-winner elections will transform the House of Representatives. The current system only allows the biggest group of voters in each district to win representation, all other voices are silenced. As a result, there are millions of voters who prefer Democrats stuck in safe Republican districts and millions of voters who prefer Republicans stuck in safe Democratic districts, women and people of color are under-represented, and everyone has too few choices. The Fair Representation Act can elevate those voices, giving them more power to elect candidates they support and who will go to Congress to work for them.

A Historic Moment

Under the Constitution, Congress has the responsibility to act when our federal elections are not working. It has acted on that responsibility many times in the past, passing laws changing how we elect Congress in 1842 (requiring single-winner districts), 1872 (equal populations per representative), 1901 (requiring that districts be “compact”), 1929 (repealing the requirement to use districts), and 1967 (re-imposing the requirement to use districts). It has been 50 years since Congress has acted in this arena, even as the current system fails to deliver on the promise of a representative House.

Representative Beyer has shown tremendous leadership in holding Congress to its constitutional responsibilities. The attention it attracted from the public demonstrates the hunger that voters have for a more empowering system. FairVote livestreamed Rep. Beyer’s press conference, which was viewed over 44,000 times and ultimately reached over 554,000 people.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFairVoteReform%2Fvideos%2F1622439381102173%2F&show_text=0&width=560560315border:none;overflow:hiddenno0truetrue

The day after the bill’s introduction, Rep. Beyer published an opinion piece in the Washington Post explaining why he introduced the Act. It begins “Democracy is in crisis. Even as the country is deeply divided along class and ideological lines, it seems to be unified in its frustration with our current brand of politics.” Other voices have also weighed in on the need for the Fair Representation Act, including:

As more media coverage happens in the coming days and weeks, we'll add it to the list on our website.

You Can Help the Fair Representation Act Gain Momentum

Now that the vehicle for transforming elections to the U.S. House of Representatives is a bill in Congress, you can help to move the conversation forward. Contact your Representative today to ask them to support the Fair Representation Act. You can find your Representative here, and email them a letter supporting the Fair Representation Act. A sample letter is provided here. You also could consider calling your Member, which increases their likelihood of responding. Better still would be to form a group to have a meeting with your Member and their district office staff. 

Finally, we want to keep adding names to our petition in support of the Act. We currently have over 1500 signatures. Please consider sharing the petition online and drawing people’s attention to our new video and our public resources, at FairRepresentation.com


          Patricia Arquette tweets cryptic warning to Trump about "gossip on the streets"   

Actress Patricia Arquette reacted to Trump's childish "bleeding badly from a face-lift" tweet yesterday with a cautionary tweet of her own: "Remove this tweet. There is a lot of gossip about you on the streets that hasn't been in the press-yet."

According to The Wrap:

Arquette didn’t elaborate on what gossip she was referring to, beyond saying that it is something other than the “pee tape” that Twitter users have been semi-jokingly speculating about for months.

And Arquette didn't stop there:

The question is, is this just an empty Trumpian James-Comey-better-hope-that-there-are-no-tapes kind of threat? If not, then out with it already.

Image: Tina Franklin

          The Interpreter: Canada’s Comedy, the Voice of a Polite Nation, Rises in the Trump Era   
Political humor, “one of our national pastimes,” is a way of pushing back against America’s dominance. Its changes offer a lens into how Canada is changing, too.
          BoE's Haldane says need to look seriously at rate hike - BBC   

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said on Thursday that the central bank needed to "look seriously" at raising interest rates to keep a lid on inflation which has pushed past the BoE's target and is set to rise further. Last week, Haldane surprised financial markets by saying he was likely to vote for higher borrowing costs this year, adding to speculation about the first BoE rate hike in a decade. "We need to look seriously at the possibility of raising interest rates to keep the lid on those cost of living increases," Haldane told the BBC during a visit to Wales. "For now we are happy with where the rates are, we need to be vigilant for what happens next." British inflation is at its highest level in nearly four years at 2.9 per cent, tightening the squeeze on consumers who now face the added worry of political uncertainty after this month's inconclusive election. The pay of workers has begun to lag behind inflation again after a decade of mostly falling spending power, something BoE Governor Mark Carney has said needs to improve before he would consider a rate hike. Carney also wants to see the impact of the Brexit process on Britain's economy in the coming...
          The Future of Islam in Western Europe   
With the upcoming French Presidential election in France the topic of Islam in Europe has again become central to the political discourse. This is nothing new, we also saw that in the UK, in Holland, in Austria and even in Switzerland where the Muslim communities were banned – by popular referendum - from building minarets...
          Voters 'sick of politics', Turnbull says after days of infighting   

Australians have no time for "wreckers", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says, in a thinly veiled attack on his predecessor Tony Abbott after a week of infighting and division within the Liberal Party.


          Calendar Letters: Bard knew what he was talking about   

Regarding “The Politics of Theater: The Relevance of Shakespeare” [June 25]: Bravo to Charles McNulty for his terrific piece on the relevance of the Bard. To add to McNulty’s perceptive comments, I would like to suggest — obviously in jest — that we should demand all Trump administration members...


          TIBET EQUILIBRIUM – MAN vs NATURE   
TIBET EQUILIBRIUM – MAN vs NATURE Man has been shaping face of Earth by creating political boundaries to define the extent of territory under his domination. Man uses his physical power or military force to subdue his opponents while he expands his territory. Red China describes her military conquest of foreign territory as ‘Liberation’. In […]
          Re: Local Attorney John Schlosser is Pushing a Better Court System for Immigrants   
Paying for an Illegal's attorney with Oregon Taxpayer money is the height of insanity. Let the Mexican Consul pay for it - they are Foreign Nationals here *illegally*.

For Christ's sake, we can't even get the potholes fixed without the politicians demanding a tax increase. We have money to piss away like this?

If this Officer of the Court thinks this work is so vital, let him do it Pro bono publico.
Posted by Jarhead
          Sacramento's sheriff asked Trump's immigration chief for help fighting California's 'sanctuary state' bill   

Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones asked President Trump's immigration chief for help fighting California's so-called “sanctuary state” bill weeks before the two hosted a town hall meeting in March on immigration enforcement that drew hundreds of people and erupted in protests.

In a March 13 email...


          SA bankers and bureaucrats unite for charity sleepout   

The only frostiness between BankSA and the Government was the chilly winter air at the Vinnies sleepout, with the politics of the state's new bank levy left at the gates.


          ABC News Quiz: Planes, buses and hackers   

Plane dramas, political fights and a man hit by a bus. It's been a big week in news and it's time to test your knowledge.


          Pa. Senate reveals budget spending bill, but no revenue plan in sight   
Lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf appear to have come to an agreement on a $32 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts at midnight Friday. That doesn’t mean the budget is done. A revenue package to balance it still isn’t ready, and there are significant disagreements standing in the way of passing it. Still, politicians on both sides of the aisle lauded the spending plan, which passed a late-night Senate appropriations committee meeting with three dissenting votes. The House and Senate…

           Geneva rhetoric, national reality : the political economy of introducing plant breeders' rights in Kenya    
Rangnekar, Dwijen. (2013) Geneva rhetoric, national reality : the political economy of introducing plant breeders' rights in Kenya. New Political Economy . ISSN 1356-3467
           Not just a "second order" problem in a wider economic crisis: systemic challenges for the global trading system    
Higgott, Richard A.. (2009) Not just a "second order" problem in a wider economic crisis: systemic challenges for the global trading system. Business and Politics, Vol.11 (No.3). Article 5. ISSN 1469-3569
          Tlisli and Village Politics   
Tlisli took a moment to thoroughly survey the people. She didn’t see any further weapons, but was extremely conscious of the fact that she had missed the fact that the man she had just defeated was carrying a knife. At the moment, she couldn’t recall whether she had seen the knife, and not categorized it […]
          TS282: Bill O'Reilly, LiveJournal, Guest Michelle Collins   
This week Bryan is fully invested in Radish season, while Erin shares a fight with her grandfather as to why he isn’t watching Feud. Also, The New York Times has uncovered that Bill O'Reilly has paid out millions to settle claims of sexual harassment and the now Russian owned LiveJournal has officially banned political speech and pro-LGBTQ content in what they call “Political Solicitation”. Plus, Guest Michelle Collins is here to discuss Mama Junes weight loss, game shows, and her new job hosting the Little Women: LA live after show. Follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram @michcoll 
          TS274: Ross Cameron, Unchained At Last, Guest Audrey Gibson   
This week Bryan shares his love of gifs and clips from awards shows, while Erin discusses her emotional highs and lows from finally viewing La La Land. Also, former Australian MP Ross Cameron made many explicit homophobic comments during a speech at a conservative fundraiser but now claims it was taken out of context, and a non-profit called Unchained At Last started by Fraidy Reiss has been helping countless women get out of forced or arranged relationships. Plus Erin’s sister, guest Audrey Gibson, is here to discuss Tinder profiles, political yard signage, and the horrors of teaching children. Find Audrey on Instagram @audible80
          Michigan will not have an anti-abortion license plate, thanks to Gov. Snyder   
Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill that would have created a state-issued “Choose Life” fundraising license plate, with proceeds going to the Choose Life Fund.

Snyder said in a statement that he was concerned that “The ‘Choose Life’ license plate is a political message that has the potential to bitterly divide millions of Michiganders." In his view, it is "not appropriate for a state-issued license plate.”

House Republicans approved the bill in May on a near party-line vote, according to the Free Press. Reps. Robert Kosowski of Westland and Brian Elder of Bay City were the only Democrats who supported the legislation.…
          Wimbledon warns supporters against political chants and slogans amid fears of outbreak of Corbynism   
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          TS246: DNC, RNC, Scott Adams, Out Olympic Athletes, Guest Emily Osment   
Well it's been 240 years and we finally elected the first female president, USA USA USA! Wait no that's wrong...it's the first time a woman has been the presidential nominee of a major political party. Half way there America! This week "Dilbert" cartoonist and confused asshole Scott Adams is concerned about men's testosterone levels lowering after watching the DNC; and a record breaking 41 out olympic athletes are competing in Rio this year! Also "Young & Hungry" actress Emily Osment is here to talk about working with Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Miley Cyrus and many future "Sarah, Plain and Tall" projects.
          Academic part-time POLS 2221 - Introduction to Comparative Politics - Mount Allison University - Sackville, NB   
TiaSn hveit Dese paaprptlmiceantito onfs P froolimtic pse arnsdon Ins tienrtneraetisotnedal i Rn etleaatciohninsg a, tb My ostuinpte nAdlliiasroyn (
From Mount Allison University - Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:18:26 GMT - View all Sackville, NB jobs
          UK calls for investigation into murder of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov after five found guilty   
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          Simone Veil, courageous fighter, passes   
Andrew Coates writes: Simone Veil, the revered French politician who survived the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and defied institutional sexism to push through a law legalising abortion in France, has died on June 30th 2017. She was 89. France 24: A widely respected figure across the political divide, Veil was the first female leader […]
          Corbyn’s weakness on Brexit endangers Labour’s revival   
Cartoon: The Economist Corbyn and his team risk jeopardising Labour’s election success because of their backwardness over Europe and de facto commitment to supporting the Tories over Brexit. It was always a fundamental political weakness waiting to be exposed, although during the general election campaign the Corbyn team skilfully maintained a policy of studied ambiguity. Corbyn’s capitulation to the Tories over Brexit and the sacking of […]
          "The Flight" Chapter 2 of Apurvai, a travelogue by P.L. "PuLa" Deshpande   
Many years ago, I translated chapter 1 from the 1960 book. You don't HAVE TO read it to follow this chapter, but it is recommended. Unlike my other translations which were done from audio files of PuLa narrating his work, this one has been done from the actual book. So even Marathis who've never read the book will find something new here. 

To set the stage a little, in this chapter, PuLa describes the experience of his first ever international flight. Based on the references to the Suez Crisis, I'm guessing it happened in 1956 or 1957. So almost 60 years ago! I was surprised to learn of the sheer number of stopovers flights had to make in those days. It is indeed a different era. But so much of what he writes resonated with me in terms of my experiences with international flights. Which is why I chose to translate this although it isn't as ROFLMAO funny as the previous chapter.

Usual caveats - Much of PuLa's humor comes from how he played with the Marathi language, and it can get lost in translation. But his observations and descriptions stay relevant even 55 years later.

Our flight to London from Santa Cruz airport was scheduled for 11 PM on August 20th. It wasn't my first time flying, but it was the first time I was flying to another country, that too on a huge airplane. I had been told to reach the airport about an hour before the flight. Even if I hadn't been told this, I would've gone there two hours before. Because even when I am taking an M.S.M. train (or as you kids today call it, Southern Railway), I go to the station an hour early. Even if I have a reserved seat. 

I find it convenient to allow that buffer for unforeseen but predictable events like getting on the wrong train, not being able to find my compartment, taxi to the station breaking down, heavy rain causing waterlogging, forgetting some important stuff at home and realizing it halfway to the station, forgetting to fill the water bottle, and of course, panicking every few minutes thinking that I have either forgotten the ticket at home or lost it. 

And of course, Indian Railways regularly contributes with unforeseen but predictable events of its own. Just as you've spread out a sheet on your berth and laid down, a railways employee comes and says the compartment has some problems, so we need to shift to another one. It takes about 45 minutes to find a porter, find the replacement compartment, and move all the luggage. It turns out that if you turn the lights on, the fan stops working, and if you turn the fan on, the lights stop working. Finally both are fixed, and when you go to the bathroom, there is no water in the compartment. So you have to stay awake till Lonand to find a guard and complain about it. If you're lucky, it'll get fixed by the time the train reaches Nira. Or then wait till Miraj at 5 AM so you can use the bathroom on the station. 

So even if you go very early to the station, there's no guarantee that your rail journey will be pleasant. I wonder if we are destined to ever get railways that take the responsibility of passenger comfort seriously. Until then, there are only two ways to travel without any problems - on foot like Vinoba Bhave or by air.

Or so I thought.

When I bought my tickets at the Air India office, the lady behind the counter had told me to reach the airport at 9 PM. And then, flashing me a disarming smile, suggested that I call the airline before leaving to make sure the plane wasn't delayed. So just as we were about to leave, I remembered that smile and mentioned this to the huge contingent of friends, family, and neighbors gathered at our house to bid us farewell.

"Haha, don't be an idiot! It's a plane, not an ST bus to be delayed. Airlines operate with second-by-second precision!"

A friend, who had never traveled an inch north of Malad or south of Kala Ghoda, said making me feel like an idiot in front of everyone. This guy has always had this publicly dismissive attitude towards me. I don't know why I am still friends with him. When I told him I was being sent to England by Doordarshan, his first reaction was,

"You??? Why??? Looks like the government has too much money to waste!"

When I first wore the suit mentioned in the previous chapter, he laughed and said I looked like a trumpeter from one of the Dhobi Talao wedding bands. Totally unnecessary snark. But he can't help it. So even though he had no first hand experience on the matter, he stayed true to his nature and ridiculed me for wondering if I should call the airline to check the flight status.

My wife called the airline office anyway. And we came to know that because the incoming plane from Tokyo hadn't reached yet, our flight was delayed by two hours. 

I winced. The idea of sitting in Mumbai's humidity for two more hours wearing a three piece suit, that noose-like tie, those damned expensive Chinese shoes, the nylon socks bought after the Middle East cooled down, and a thick coat meant for England's cold weather, was unbearable. I was tempted to take off all my clothes (except for one) and cal the whole thing off. 

"So....will the plane depart exactly two hours later than scheduled?"

Someone from the annoyingly large farewell contingent asked, and that question suddenly made our house explode into a pointless deliberation that made it resemble a legislative body debating a useless resolution.

"Will the plane leave two hours later or do you go to the airport two hours later?"

"But does two hours really mean two hours?"

"But what does a plane coming from Tokyo have to do with an Air India flight going to London?"

"Let's say the plane reaches earlier than estimated......will it still leave two hours late or earlier than that?"

"Let's say that Tokyo flight is delayed by four hours instead, will your flight leave two hours late or four hours late?"

"Someone told me that last week a flight scheduled for midnight eventually departed after dawn. Is that true?"

"Are you sure it's a plane from Tokyo? Maybe it's Kyoto."

"I just called a friend of mine who works in a restaurant at the airport. He says there is some mechanical problem in this plane, and the Tokyo plane thing is just an excuse."

"So the flight might get cancelled?"

"Do they have a replacement plane? How many planes does All India Radio have anyway?"

"It's Air India, not All India Radio."

"Yeah, same difference."

"Mechanical problems......that's scary!"

"You both have life insurance, right?"

"Remember the plane that crashed at Cairo five years ago? My boss' nephew was on it. His wife got two million as compensation!"

"I've heard you can buy life insurance at the airport."

All this nonsense from people who had nothing to do with our travel whatsoever. I prayed to god to rescue me from this plane chaos by sending the plane he sent for Sant Tukaram. 

"I'm telling you guys. Instead of spending the two hours sitting at home, spend them sitting at the airport. Let's say they repair the plane early and it leaves before time. What are you going to do? It's not like you can catch it on the way. It's not the Barshi-Pandharpur passenger train. Hehehehe!"

So finally, following the over-cautious traditions of my train journeys, we reached the airport at 9:30 PM for a plane that was scheduled to depart at 1:30 AM. Some of my other friends and colleagues were at the airport already to see me off. They either didn't know that the plane was delayed, or even if they knew, they were aware of my over-cautious traditions. 

All my friends at the airport made me feel very awkward and also emotional by showering me with so many garlands and bouquets, that the airport officials thought I was a politician. And I had an epiphany at that moment - the greatest wealth in my life is my friends. If wealth were to be measured in friendships, I am probably richer than Tata-Birla combined. I have so many dear friends in so many walks of life! And so many of them had come late at night and out of the way to the airport to see me off. 

I felt touched but also embarrassed. Firstly, I still wasn't sure I could pull off the suit-boot look. Having such a huge audience for it felt weird. And then there were these garlands and bouquets. I was overwhelmed. I have gotten used to getting such attention at functions and award shows and suchlike. But on this occasion, I was feeling like I had an emotional debt to pay off. Just popping by to say goodbye is one thing, but these guys had come all the way to the airport!

My embarrassment was compounded by the fact that I hadn't really done or achieved anything to deserve all the attention that night. When I get such attention after a successful theater performance, it's okay. At least I gave them some happiness, and they are appreciating it. But that night, my wife and I were just flying to England like thousands of people do everyday. And yet my mob of friends at the airport had made me feel like I was doing something special. With a luggage full of such love and good wishes, I started feeling confident that even if all the engines of the plane failed, I could fly anywhere I wanted. 

The crowd of friends and all the flowers being heaped on me made the press photographers hanging around think that I was some big deal. They suddenly started snapping our pictures like paparazzi. In all this chaos, one of my friends went to the airport officials and convinced them to open a "VIP Lounge" for me. A sturdy fellow in a crisp uniform politely asked us to follow him to the VIP lounge. 

At that moment, my wife looked at me happily with an expression that said - "all these years that I have put up with you are finally paying off!"

As we were led into the imposingly plush VIP lounge, I started feeling even more awkward. Given our colonial history, I know that "England returned" has a certain halo attached to it. But I had no idea that the halo starts appearing even before you leave India. I started feeling worried about the possibility of a real VIP showing up and frowning at how our raucous farewell contingent had made the VIP lounge resemble Khandke's chawl. 

Even in all that chaos, I overheard one of the uniformed guys whispering to the other,

"Nowadays, any random person can become a VIP."

His colleague responded,

"Hoga koi Minister ka baccha nahi toh jamai!"

and walked away.

So I tried to appear and act as VIP-ish as possible. I went around folding my hands and solemnly thanking all the people who had come to see me off. Then I started giving away the garlands and bouquets to kids and being unnecessarily nice to them. Basically, emulating every aspect of VIP behavior that I could remember. 

A few of the professional photographers kept taking pictures of all this, and then offered to send them to me. They helpfully quoted a "professional" rate for it that was ten times what it would cost to get a photo taken in my neighborhood studio. But I was pretending to be a VIP and had to play the part. Once I parted with all the advance payments for the photos, the expression on my face finally came to resemble something that actually deserved to be photographs. I have no idea where those expensive photos are now, by the way.

Eventually there was an announcement that the customs check process had started, and we finally prepared to leave that VIP cell....I mean lounge. While leaving, I handed a generous tip to the uniformed guys standing at the door. The astounded expressions on their faces made me realize that real VIPs probably never hand out any tips. They hand out only two things - promises or threats.

We left the lounge and walked straight to the weighing scales near the customs area. I put our bags on it one by one and felt relieved when each of them were a pound or so less than the 44 pound limit. My wife on the other hand seemed a little disappointed and said,

"Hmpf, I guess we could have taken a few more papads then."

I ignored her and walked to the customs booth, standing in front of the officer with an appropriately guilty expression on my face.

This was the second time in my life that I had faced a customs officer. A few years ago, when returning from Goa (then a Portuguese territory) I stood in front of a customs officer for the first time. Everyone in front of me had been questioned extensively and had their bags checked thoroughly. So I was already terrified. Even though there was no reason to be terrified. In the entire crowd there, we were probably the only ones returning from Goa without as much as a tiny piece of chocolate. But customs booths are one of those weirdly imposing places where I feel nervous by default.

Some people are scared of a dentist's chair. Not me. I have been to dentists many times. One dentist actually turned my simple complaint of an aching tooth into an imperative to extract it with the glee of a professional sadist. It hurt so much, I think I actually saw a few angels waiting to welcome me into heaven. But even then, the next time I went to a (different, obviously) dentist, I went with the ease with which I go to Kulkarni's restaurant to eat bhajiyas. No fear or worries. But put me in front of a custom's officer and my heart starts racing.

There are many random entries in my list of "people I am irrationally scared of". For some reason, I am terrified of every liftman. Not afraid of the actual lift, mind you. It's not like I am scared that the lift will plummet to the basement or anything. I am just scared of the liftmen, at least in Mumbai, where almost all of them seem to have a cold blank expression on their face. I am also terrified of waiters in fancy restaurants. If one is standing next to me, I feel so nervous that I invariably spill something. I was never scared of male teachers, but female teachers always petrified me. And I can slap a doctor on his back and sing songs with him even when he is in the middle of surgery, but when it comes to nurses, my hands start trembling even if I am handing them a note. I have no idea why I carry these bizarre fears in my heart.

That customs officer I encountered when returning from Goa had insulted me rather painfully! I still shudder and shed a tear when I think about it.

When it was my turn, he asked me my name, address, and profession. Those days, I earned my living in a college fostering deep hatred for literature among the students. As soon as I told the officer that I was a Professor, and that too of Marathi, he just looked straight into my eyes, and with an expression conveying immense pity, said,

"You can go."

He didn't ask to search my luggage, didn't ask me if I was carrying any contraband, didn't even ask me if I had anything to declare. With utter conviction that I lacked the ability or the means to smuggle in alcohol, gold, cigarettes, or anything like that, he sent me on my way. I have never felt more humiliated. I would've preferred it if he had instead put me through a two hour long interrogation under a bright lamp.

So that day in Mumbai airport, I was wondering if the customs officer in charge of examining departing passengers would be more respectful. He looked at my bags, then glanced at my face, and then wordlessly made some chalk markings on the bags and waved me through. Rude, isn't it?

Next my wife and I went to Passport Control. Our passports had been issued two years ago and were valid for three more years. But one of my friends in the farewell party had authoritatively said, 

"Ohhhh.....just three years validity left? That might create problems. Good luck!"

I nervously handed over the passports to the officer. He glanced at them for a nanosecond and returned them to me. I was less worried about the validity and more worried about the passport photo. But the officer had evidently discovered some similarity between my passport photo and the way I actually look. Once we were done with that, a health officer quickly made sure we had taken the necessary vaccinations and we were done.

Once we got the "worthy of traveling abroad" certification from Pandit Nehru's people, all we could do was wait for the plane to leave. It was past midnight. The departure area at Santa Cruz is decorated and furnished in a very modern way. There are lots of comfortable couches and chairs for passengers to relax in. But my wife and I were sitting there uncomfortably, feeling out of place.

There was a European couple sitting in front of us. They seemed confused by Indian currency. These were the days when paisa coins co-existed with anna coins and the poor visitors had no idea if the many coins they had were worth five rupees or five annas. Hoping to give them a happy memory of Indian hospitality, I jumped in to offer unsolicited advice and ended up compounding their confusion even more. Finally my better half stepped in, sorted the whole thing out, and informed them that Indian women have a much better understanding of money than Indian men. 

The European couple left for their flight and I started looking around at other fellow-passengers. With a parochial mindset, I went around to see if there were other Marathi folk there, and soon met a man named Patil and a student named Joshi. I was there representing the Deshpande name. All we were missing was a Kulkarni. If we had found one, we would have had Patil-Joshi-Deshpande-Kulkarni, the four pillars of the ancient Marathi administrative set-up. Sadly there was no Kulkarni on that flight, but it did end up having a pilot named Nadkarni. Nadkarni is essentially the South Kannada version of Kulkarni, so I guess we ended up with the full set eventually.

 Around 1 AM, the plane's wings must have fluttered because suddenly, there was a lot of activity around us. The crowd started walking in one direction, and we went along. I looked at the glass barrier at the customs desk and saw our contingent was still patiently waiting. The elders had tears in their eyes and the younger lot looked like they were cracking stale jokes at our expense and passing them off as new. 

When we eventually reached the gate, I confirmed three times that it was the right plane. Or else we'd wake up the next morning in Cochin instead of Cairo. I still carried emotional scars from the night at Pune station that I got on a train to go to Kolhapur and woke up the next morning to find I was in a compartment parked in the Pune railway yard. I have always had the kind of luck where I take a girlfriend to watch a movie on the sly and run into a nosy old relative who decided to come watch the same movie. And I couldn't afford to let that luck mess up international travel. 

There was an air hostess standing at the door, welcoming us with an unnaturally wide smile. The rest of the crew, dressed in crisp dark trousers and skirts and blindingly white shirts, sporting wing shaped lapel pins and painstakingly groomed mustaches, was darting about doing their work. We reached our seats and stared out the tiny oblong window at the terminal, wondering if our friends and family were still there. 

Once I was in the seat, I assured myself that despite all apparent obstacles, it now seemed like I would definitely go to England, and fastened the seat belt around my stomach. The engines started humming and the fans started rotating one by one.   The plane got going. After zooming along the ground for a mile or so, it slowed down and stopped at the other end of the runway. 

As soon as it stopped, I started fearing the worst. The plane had already been delayed by mechanical problems. I wasn't sure if they had fixed the problems completely or had postponed some repairs. Maybe now they'd discover more problems. I also carried emotional scars from bus drivers who'd make passengers board on a scorching hot day, bake them in that tin box for an hour while they waited, and then open the bonnet of the bus to examine what's wrong with the engine. 

Luckily, nothing like that happened. In a couple of minutes, the plane started moving again, then sped up, and eventually left terra firma in a graceful glide. I watched the airport rapidly disappear from my view and before I knew it, Mumbai started resembling a gem-laden ornament below us. In that ornament, four million people were probably dreaming as they slept, while I sat with wide open eyes, realizing my childhood dream of foreign travel. 

And next to me was my soul mate and my life partner accompanying me on this adventure. Over the previous twelve years, we had built many castles in the air together, while never feeling tempted to build a house on the ground. We never stayed in one place for more than 2-3 years anyway. We had in common a huge appetite for new challenges and new experiences. And the latest one was to be living in England for 5-6 months.

Our flight had been in the air for a while, and the plane was completely dark as was the sky outside, but I still couldn't sleep. The plane was completely packed and experienced travelers were already snoring. Our air-hostess was Japanese. She was promptly and efficiently offering candy and nuts to travelers with a studied smile straight out of the training syllabus. Her walk was brisk and her voice had the crispness of springtime. 

I was feeling really hot. That damned suit on my body started feeling like clunky armor and I again cursed myself for wearing it on the plane. I looked around and was taken aback when I noticed at an Englishman sitting in front of me. Here I was, wearing a brand new three piece suit because I was going to his snooty country. And this dude was sitting there looking very relaxed in khaki shorts, a flannel shirt with some twenty five pockets, and a flimsy felt hat that did not match.

So I discreetly looked around at the other white people on the flight. Not a single one of them was dressed even as remotely formally as I was. Sitting there overdressed in that damned suit in the middle of the night, I started feeling like even more of a neophyte than I already was. 

Suddenly the Japanese air-hostess appeared with a small wet towel on a plate. I eyed the towel suspiciously for a second. I had no idea what purpose a wet towel was supposed to serve at two in the morning. But I was brought up never to turn a plate away, so I picked up the towel and thanked her. I looked at my wife to see if she had any suggestions, but she was fast asleep. I slowly glanced across the aisle and saw that the guy there was gently rubbing the towel on his face. I did the same, and the cool cologne scented fabric gave me some relief from the intense heat I was experiencing. 

Our massive jumbo jet was slicing through the darkness leaving cities and mountains behind. I was finally feeling a little drowsy. Almost everyone around me, including my wife, was already asleep. That Englishman with the khaki shorts was in fact trying to drown out the noise of the engine with his own booming multi-octave snores with his mouth open. The ex-subject of Her Majesty's realm inside me felt relieved to observe first-hand that even the English can snore with their mouths open. Because once our travel plans were made, I was a bit worried about that. 

You see, I am one of "those" too. But over the course of my life, I have come across some impressively loud snorers. My grandma says that people with big hearts and minds snore the most. I don't know if there is any correlation between big bodies and big hearts and minds - I won't mind if there is. I started thinking a lot about snoring and hearts and minds. I do remember that I spent a lot of time thinking about it. But I don't know for how long, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up to the dawn's early light.

Our plane was flying over a huge desert. I noted how different this dawn was from any other dawn I had experienced in my life, thousands of miles over a limitless desert. This experience, coming right after I had experienced a darkness so different from any other darkness I had experienced in my life, spurred some philosophical and metaphorical thoughts. It felt like I was witness to the dawn of a new phase of my life. I thought about my recent years and realized that I hadn't really experienced real dawn in years. In Mumbai's fast-paced hectic life, by the time my day ended, it was usually well past midnight. So by the time I usually woke up, dawn would have given up on waiting for me and slid away, making way for harsh sunlight. 

Our Japanese air-hostess, still looking as fresh as a dew-kissed flower, was making the rounds with hot fortifying beverages for the morning. I have never found those beverages particularly fortifying immediately after waking up, so I politely declined her offer of tea or coffee. Instead, I got up and headed to the bathroom. Taking care not to wake up or bump into any of the other passengers, I tiptoed my way to the front, and slowly opened the door to what I thought was the bathroom. Instead I found myself face-to-face with the fine gentlemen flying the plane. It was the cockpit door! I guess the expression on my face gave away what my need was because the co-pilot, without saying anything, pointed me to the correct door. 

I finished my morning ablutions and returned to the seat to find the "fasten seatbelts" sign flashing. By the time I was able to find the belt and buckle it up, the plane had started its rapid descent. I looked out the window and saw that we were headed to a desert island surrounded by more desert. I assumed it was Cairo, our first stopover. I started looking around the landscape in the hopes of spotting some pyramids. By the time I spotted a bump that I thought was a pyramid and was about to point it out to my wife, the plane was touching down, and before I knew it, it was standing stationary in a foreign land.

I looked at the dinky terminal outside the window and was a little disappointed that a city as renowned as Cairo should have an airport that looks more like an ST bus stand. But once we got off the plane, I learned that we were not in Cairo, but in some place called "Bahrain" instead. I felt a bit like Columbus who reached land confident that he was in India but then discovered that he was instead in some strange land he did not know anything about. And I felt relieved that I had not pointed out those supposed pyramids to my wife.

I had never heard of Bahrain before and had no idea where the hell it exactly was or why we were there instead of Cairo. But we walked into the terminal and headed for the restaurant. I learned that there were oilfields nearby and that Bahrain is a small island nation that is known for its oilfields. That was pretty much all we learned about the place. 

We sat in the restaurant, ordered tea, and waited while the plane was refueled. The tea arrived after a long time. One sip of that concoction and I was convinced that in Bahrain, they used dried date palm leaves in lieu of tea leaves and the milk probably came from a camel instead of a cow. Over the course of my life, I have tasted many different kinds of tea......except of course the spilled tea from Mongini's mentioned in the previous chapter. Tea served in small glass tumblers in Mumbai, tea served in mud bowls on the banks of the Narmada, tea served in metallic cups in Madras, masala milk tea, railway station tea flavored with charcoal, tea without milk, tea without sugar, and even Chinese tea made from jasmine flowers. But I will never EVER forget that horrible tea from Bahrain airport. I will happily drink the bitterest castor potion than drink that tea again.

Well, at least the tea was free, because it was paid for by the airline.

Pretty soon, the plane was ready and we all climbed back into its belly. The plane took off soon and headed for Cairo. The flight from Bahrain to Cairo was essentially just desert after desert after desert. Once in a while, just as a change of scenery, there would be a small strip of water. But otherwise, totally barren. Not a single glimpse of green. 

And that's when I really understood why the green flag of Islam came was hoisted in these deserts first. The prophet was very clever in choosing the color green for his flag. It is obvious why millions of Arabs enthusiastically followed that rare pleasant colored flag. I'm sure that the green flag was as instrumental in the spread of Islam as the Koran was. Add to it the moon that the desert dwellers probably equated with the relief provided by night, and I felt I had to applaud the prophet for his grasp of semiotics. 

It was about 8:30 in the morning. I was staring at the desert out the window hoping to spot a camel train. But in vain. I did spot a lot of dry river beds though. Soon the sun got really bright and the glare made it difficult to keep looking outside. Soon our plane moved from the sea of sand to a sea of water. Being geographically challenged, I first decided it was the Red Sea, then the Caspian Sea, then the Black Sea, and then the Dead Sea. I still have no idea which one it was.

A while later, there were murmurs all around that we were flying over the Suez Canal. All passengers looked out the windows, identified the first strip of water they could find, and assured themselves that it was the Suez Canal. Again, no idea if any of those were actually the Suez Canal. From the height we were flying at, every strip of water looked as tiny as the Fergusson College canal in Pune. But in one strip, I spied some dots that seemed like boats and I silently convinced myself that it was indeed the Suez Canal. It was hard to believe that this tiny strip of water was responsible for almost starting World War 3 and almost sinking my travel plans.  

When your plane is flying so high that you can only see the sky and clouds above you as well as below you, you can't help but get philosophical. You forget any fears you have about the plane crashing. Looking at creation from a height that makes even seas look like saucers of water makes you realize how insignificant you are in the whole scheme of things. As our plane flew towards Cairo, I couldn't help but realize that I was looking at the cradle of civilization. These deserts were where the Babylonian, Sumerian, and Assyrian civilizations had once bloomed. Where the library of Alexandria was once home to millions of of books that were burned. I'm assuming some Big Four or Big Five must have had a summit even then and decided that burning books was in the best interests of the world.

As impressive as the sights of great oceans, great skies, and great lands is while flying, one look at the great space when flying above clouds make them all pale in comparison. And you start wondering what the whole point of creation is, and whether you make any difference to it whatsoever. 

Our plane was about to reach Cairo soon and I started thinking about it. Egypt is an ancient civilization, much like India. Historians have discovered that trade and cultural links between Egypt and India date back millenia. This is the land that saw rich culture flourish for millenia even before Christ was born. And when Christ was born, the bright star that shone was above these lands too. This is the land where Jews, Christians, and Muslims found their faiths and then unfurled the blood-soaked flags of those faiths.

I was in the middle of these thoughts and didn't even realize when I dozed off. The next thing I knew, someone was yelling "KAHIRO!!!!", waking me up.

The first sight I saw at Cairo airport was of battle-ready fighter jets. Next to them were imposing anti-aircraft guns with their barrels pointed to the sky. The stage seemed to be set for the next big war. The only question seemed to be which actors would enter the stage first and who the director would be. Actors from dozens of countries seemed to be ready, with war-paint on, or make-up on. Who knew when the final act would start and when it would end.

When I read a big sign that said, "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT", I felt like someone had sprayed a stream of cold water on my face on an oppressively hot day. Why shouldn't all human beings be welcomed heartily all over this little planet of ours? Although as long as there exist things like passports and visas, built on an assumption of distrust of fellow human beings, can we really expect true expressions of such humanity? The sign that said "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT"....to any "you" who reached there, regardless of race, religion, gender, creed.....why shouldn't such signs and more importantly sentiments, be displayed everywhere?

The funny thing is, this "WE WELCOME YOU TO EGYPT" sign was right next to the massive anti-aircraft guns and the irony endemic to human existence tickled me and troubled me in equal amounts.

We headed to the restaurant inside the terminal. The waiters there were very friendly and polite, and served us some divine Egyptian coffee. Compared to Mumbai airport, I thought Cairo airport was small. There was a lot of new construction happening around us though. Egypt is currently in the midst of writing a new chapter in its history. Everybody is watching carefully to see which way their new statesman (Nasser) takes them.

It was in Cairo airport that I first encountered Egyptian people. And as I examined their appearance carefully, I wondered how many Egyptians there might be in Mumbai too. Because in terms of appearance, I didn't really see any major differences between Egyptians and Indians. Beyond the facts I had memorized in my childhood to score 2 marks in the history exam, such as pyramids, mummies, pharaohs, and the Nile river, my knowledge about Egypt was as barren as their desert. I had never even thought about anyone living in Egypt other than Cleopatra, General Najeeb, and now this Nasser fellow.

Suddenly, I was overcome by a profound sense of ignorance and curiosity as a foreigner in a foreign land. And sitting there in the Cairo airport, I started thinking about how day-to-day life in Egypt must be and how I knew nothing about it. How do school teachers, lawyers, and bureaucrats here dress? Is it similar to how those folks dress in India? What is the most popular item in a typical restaurant in Egypt? Do wives here refer to their husbands by name or is there some tactful pronoun that has been coined for the purpose like in India? With each passing second, the expanse of my ignorance about this fascinating culture seemed to exceed the expanse of the desert.

Then I started thinking about the people who worked at that airport. For them, a typical day consisted of interacting with travelers from dozens of different countries, for maybe an hour or two at a time, before they went on their way and were replaced by a different set of foreigners. Do they feel the same sense of curiosity and note their ignorance about other cultures? Or has it become just a mundane feature of their lives by now? Do they actively notice the multi-colored lattice of different races and nationalities or does it just pass by in the blink of an eye like a frame from a cinema reel?

I spent the rest of the time in Cairo thinking about all this before we were called back to the plane. The next stopover was Geneva in Switzerland. As our plane surged through the clouds, we gradually left the desert behind and were soon traveling over Europe. Specifically, Italy, as the pilot informed us.

While I was almost entirely ignorant about Egypt except for its ancient history and contemporary politics, I at least knew more about Italy thanks to all the books I had read. Names like Rome, Venice, and Naples started swimming around in my head. I decided that if the plane had to crash right now, I would want it to do so near Naples. I had read that Naples was home to some of the most awe-inspiring sculptures in the world. So if my plane crashed in Naples, I could drag myself to those sculptures, see them first hand, and then die happy.

Yes, I know it is morbid to keep pondering the possibility of the plane crashing but that's how I am and be honest, aren't you too?

But the plane kept going. I kept looking at the Italian landscape underneath and we didn't see Naples or Venice. But we did fly over Rome. It was hard to miss. As I looked at the distant but clear images of various buildings and cathedrals in Rome, I first felt a great sense of satisfaction at seeing them first hand. Then I compensated for the unfamiliar bliss by berating myself for still not having read Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" even after buying it years ago. I made a mental note to read it as soon as I returned home.

When you're flying over different countries of the world, you think more about what you haven't read about those lands than what you have read. In another hour or so, our plane was flying over the gorgeous alps and I realized we were in Europe's Eden.

Soon the plane touched down in Geneva. I had heard a lot of cautionary tales about how the cold in Europe is way worse than anything I might have experienced in India. I experienced it first hand as I walked into the Geneva airport and felt like I had walked into a massive refrigerator. And this was just August! So I shivered a little and prepared for six more months of this inhumanly cold weather. No wonder these white folks ran away and captured our warmer lands.

As soon as I stepped into the chilly Geneva airport, my brain initiated a flashback from 20 years ago from my college days in Pune. I had grown up in Mumbai, where it never gets even remotely chilly. Then in Pune in the winters, every so often, I would wake up to such a chilly morning. It felt more bracing than oppressive, making me feel like running all the way across the world. I had always thought cold weather would make me feel like a shriveled old man, but instead, it made me feel like a daring young man, ready to achieve anything!

Anyway, we walked into the restaurant at the Geneva airport and it looked more like a flower shop than a restaurant. The faces of all the staff members were fresh and enthusiastic like recently bloomed lilies. There was a spring in their step. It didn't look like anyone could ever age, and everyone looked like they were in their 20s even though they probably weren't. We were served coffee in a very elegantly crafted glass cup. And it tasted divine and almost intoxicating. I wondered that if even the coffee here gets my pulse racing so much, what will stronger beverages do? I had heard that Switzerland is a place where extreme beauty and extreme pleasure is the default and my experiences at their airport confirmed it.

I didn't even realize when that stopover at Geneva ended. It was cold, but I was surrounded by beauty, human and non-human, and I felt more alive than I ever had. Before I got back on the plane, I turned around and took a 360 degree mental picture of all I could see of Switzerland from that terminal. The tall trees sheltering cute little houses, the snow-covered peaks of the Alps kissing the deep blue sky. I promised myself to return for a more leisurely visit. When the plane took off, I was looking at a meandering little river as it flowed through the verdant Swiss countryside, when suddenly, our plane ascended above the clouds. And those fluffy white things that a few hours earlier had seemed gorgeous, now seemed like villains for blocking my view of the Swiss landscape. Our journey continued.

The next stop was to be at Dusseldorf in Germany, It had been over 20 hours since we took off from Mumbai. The hands of my watch had already been rotated many times by then. Every hour, the pilot made announcements about how high we were flying, what the temperature outside was, what the local time was, and so on. Passengers around us were saying random things in response to those announcements like, "Oh! 18,000 feet? That's nice! Very high!"

We were flying through clouds at that moment, so I personally couldn't tell the difference between 18,000 feet and 18 million feet. Honestly, this whole thing of estimating distances has been a challenge for me, whether I am in the air or on the ground. Whenever I read about some witness in court say stuff like "the accused was 19 feet away from me", I feel jealous of his ability to express distance so precisely. Because I absolutely suck at it. I can't even remember the inches in my own measurements for shoes, hats, collars, socks, and so on. When a shoe salesman asks what size I want, I just give him the chappals I am wearing then and ask him to figure it out. I have immense respect for people who go shoe shopping and say stuff like "Bring me Number 8 pairs".

And when someone remembers the precise date on which something happened, I feel overcome enough with admiration to go hug them. When I hear someone say stuff like, "I remember it was July 17th...", I am amazed. I suck at dates too. Which is why I always sucked at history in school. Even now, I remember only three dates - Shivaji Maharaj died in 1680, the 1857 uprising happened in 1857, and using multiple reminder mnemonics, my wife's birthday. Other than these three, I have no idea of any other dates. You can ask me when India gained independence and I will try to hedge between 1947 and 1950.

Anyway, the point is, I am horrible with anything that is expressed numerically. So even before I could figure out how high 18,000 feet exactly is, our plane was touching down in Dusseldorf. Before I knew it, we were surrounded by cries of "Achtung! Achtung!" and "Gut! Gut!". My wife and I walked to the terminal, now sick of this sequence of stopovers. Yes. I was in Germany with its rich history and culture and intriguing contemporary split between East and West, but I didn't give a damn. The aforementioned Joshi and Patil left us here and we sat there hoping that we'd reach London before we died of boredom.

Why does the final stretch of the journey always seem to last the longest? Even when I am traveling from Pune to Mumbai by train, it is the same. The time from Pune to Thane or Kalyan seems to breeze by in a happy procession of vada, omelets, chikki, etc. But from there, Mulund, Bhandup, Vikroli, Dadar, etc seem to take an eternity to pass by. Very annoying! It's the same with other trips too. When you're taking a train from Mumbai to Delhi, everything seems great until you reach Mathura, and then after that, things seem to slow down. If you're going from Mumbai to Nagpur. it is Wardha that is the tipping point after which it is all yawns and polite curses.

The flight from Dusseldorf to London seemed similarly annoying and yawn-inducing. Finally, after about the hundredth yawn, the plane started barreling downwards. All the passengers around us seemed to have perked up as the plane continued descending. Finally there was a bump and the plane started slowing down. And a few passengers around me echoed my thoughts,

"Ah! London!"



          What Jon Stewart Means To Me   
August 2006, I wrapped up my life in India and moved to the United States for a PhD in Marketing.

I left the country I really knew and moved to a strange new land, with its strange new customs, and strange people, and strange grocery aisles! I had a tough time fitting in!

Okay, no I didn't.

The thing is, I moved when I was 26 years old, as opposed to most other Indian grad students who move here right out of college, having not seen any of the "real world". Thanks to blogs and internet forums and American TV shows and second hand stories from close friends who moved there four years before, I more or less knew what to expect from America. To me, almost everything ranging from grocery aisles to the way the people talked and behaved to the local "customs" seemed familiar.

The one thing that wasn't as familiar was the news cycle. I have always been a huge news junkie, especially interested in politics. Although I followed the basics of American politics even when I lived in India, I did not really "know" the scene too well. Sure, I had followed the 2004 primaries, seen Howard Dean's howl, slept through John Kerry's speeches, and more or less knew why Florida or Ohio are so much more crucial in the Presidential race than Tennessee or Indiana.

And I knew America's comedy scene well enough, having been a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, and of course, George Carlin.

And yes, I was vaguely aware of this funny guy called Jon Stewart who combined politics and comedy. When I was in India, CNN used to air a half hour compilation of the best bits of his show once a week. Not quite the "Daily" show but whenever I came across it on TV, I watched it and chuckled. To me, it seemed like a funny enough show with a political context.

And then in August 2006, I moved to America. I fit in quite easily in most ways, ranging from food to socializing to academics to day to day chores. One aspect where I felt lost was the politics. I realized that I knew about American politics only peripherally. So I started reading more blogs, watching the big three cable news channels, reading newspapers, etc.

The first time I watched The Daily Show was due to jet lag a couple of days after I arrived. I had slept through most of the afternoon and evening and in the wee hours of the night, I found myself as alert as a watchdog. While my roommates slept, I plonked myself in front of the TV and started flipping channels. And I came across the slightly familiar face of Jon Stewart. It was 1 or 2 AM so obviously, it was the repeat telecast.

As I watched, I found myself drawn in instantly, maybe because of the Indian connection. The segment was about how Republican senate candidate George Allen had referred to an Indian-American staffer of his opponent Jim Webb as "macaca". What I loved about that segment was that it combined facts, opinion, and humor perfectly without taking cheap shots at anyone. I made a mental note to watch the show again the next night.

And I loved the show again. And then I watched it again. And I kept watching every night. It taught me about aspects of the US "midterm" elections that I had never really fully understood sitting in India. It contextualized the red-v-blue battle in terms more nuanced and pithy than I had ever read on any blog. And of course, it made me laugh, especially with the hilariously quirky George W Bush impression.

I still remember that hilarious song about the midterms

"So just remember this November that your vote will count,
A very very very very very small amount!"

Jon Stewart helped me seamlessly blend into the American political discourse the way thousands of hours of reading blogs and news sites never had. He has that uncanny ability to zero in on the most consequential news items of the day and in 22 short minutes....14 if you omit the interview...present a perfect blend of analysis and irony.

Within a few days, the 11 PM time slot on my daily calendar....or at least Monday-Thursday calendar was earmarked for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He chuckled, he made faces, he did impressions, but above all, he managed to be that guy inside us all who is just utterly baffled with the absurdity and sometimes cruelty of the world around us, but tries to cope with it using humor.

Jon Stewart helped me through American political milestones from the 2006 midterms to the 2014 midterms, not ignoring other events worldwide. One of his and his show's greatest qualities has been the ability to strike the right balance in expressing resentment about something. Many comedians have gotten in trouble for crossing the "line" of tastefulness. Which is why many comedians steer clear of troublesome topics.

But Jon has somehow always been able to address tricky and even tragic topics with the right balance of sensitivity and respectful humor. And occasionally, just straight talk. His post 9/11 speech is the stuff of legend, so I won't talk about it here.

But as a former Bombayite now living in the US, my most memorable and personally relevant example of this uncanny knack of addressing tragedies tastefully is the segment he and John Oliver did after the 2008 Bombay attacks


It was just so perfect!

Watching Jon Stewart has been a part of my life from the very first week I moved to this country 9 years ago. He's been an integral part of my life.

I have attended two of his show's tapings in person and was blown away by how nice he was even off-camera. I went to DC with 250,000 other people for the Rally to Restore Sanity that he and Stephen Colbert organized.

And now he's announced that he's leaving The Daily Show. Given what a permanent fixture he's been in my life in this country, this is a BIG change. But I understand why he needs to do what he needs to do. Rosewater has shown that he's capable of much more and who can fault him for wanting to spread his wings?

I'll miss you Jon, and 11 PM Monday to Thursday just won't be the same after you leave.

          Identity is not always Community   
A few days ago, Rajdeep Sardesai, generally a liberal, reasonable and likable voice in the Indian TV media, tweeted,

Big day for my goa. Two GSBs, both talented politicians become full cabinet ministers. Saraswat pride!! @manoharparrikar and Suresh Prabhu.
I cringed. And not just as someone who, through the random genetic lottery, was born in a family whose caste label reads Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB). I was particularly disappointed that an otherwise progressive voice was echoing such medieval sentiments. I tweeted back my disagreement and gave in to the hashtag impulse, labeling it #SaraswatShame. The hashtag was half in jest, half in disappointment, and not exactly accurate, but we'll come to that later.

I was not the only one who found fault with his tweet. Many people pushed back, with the responses ranging from outright abuse to expressions of disappointment. Rajdeep doubled down, responding,

 proud GSB, proud Goan, proud Indian. No contradiction.
And yesterday, he defended himself at length in a column in Hindustan Times titled Identity is not always destiny.

The title of the column is perfect, because identity may not always be destiny, but identity is not always "community" either. In fact, the core of my disagreement with Sardesai lies in conflating caste with community, and placing caste identity in the same bracket as being from a state or a country.

I hate writing stuff like "Oxford/Webster's dictionary defines community as....." so I'll leave it to you to look up exactly what the definition is. But the way I see it, a community is shaped and defined through some common experience or attitude/outlook.

I consider myself a part of many many communities. I am part of Indian, American, Indian-American, Punekar, Mumbaikar, New Yorker, Maharashtrian, Marathi, etc. communities as a result of sharing geography or language and/or nationality with others in that group. I am part of Engineer, IIM, MBA, PhD, Penn State, Academia, Marketing, etc, communities as a result of sharing my education or career related experiences with others in that group. Thinking test cricket is the best sport ever makes me part of the test cricket puritan community. Loving the Pittsburgh Steelers team and cheering it on every season makes me part of the Steeler Nation.

I am not sure what experience or attitude or outlook would or should make me consider myself (and with unabashed pride) part of the GSB community, at least in the 21st century. I can understand caste being considered a source of community identity a century or two ago, when people lived more or less segregated into those castes. But then we all generally realized that the caste system isn't the best topology to adopt if we want to build a good society, because the system seeded and engendered discrimination on the basis of birth.

Almost all Indians I know think (or at least say) that the caste system is a relic that should be relegated to irrelevance in an ideal society. Then a good start would be to think of caste as irrelevant, not as a specious source of pride. And that's where Sardesai's tweet had a problem - by perpetuating that which should ideally be irrelevant.

Sardesai drops a lot of names, from Sachin Tendulkar to Deepika Padukone, when enumerating the "enormous contributions" of our supposed community. But what exactly do Rajdeep or I as GSBs have in common meaningfully with Sachin Tendulkar as a GSB, that we don't with Ajinkya Rahane, also from Mumbai and not (as far as I can tell) a GSB? What have we as GSBs shared with other GSBs other than simply the label of being called GSBs?

Is it the most commonly defined culinary feature of GSBs - we have religious sanction to eat fish? Heh! We do not have religious sanction to eat steaks but clearly both Sardesai and I enjoy a good slab of succulent cow meat.

I don't really consider myself part of the Saraswat "community" and so don't really feel #SaraswatShame in Sardesai's bizarre views. I know being Saraswat is a tiny irrelevant trivial part of my identity, but it's no more defining of me than my identity as a guy with black hair. And I am surprised that someone like Sardesai is conflating such an irrelevant expression of identity with community.

What is the basis of defining this community other than just the label identifying ourselves as such?

Shared history? I won't go into the specifics of the problems with the history-based argument Sardesai makes in his column, mainly because Kaustubh has done it splendidly already.

But history brings me to the other problem with the "Saraswat Pride" sentiment that Sardesai espouses. And that's the history of the privileged and powerful position that brahmins in general, including GSBs, used to hold in the caste system with legal sanction until recently. We had a monopoly on education and on running the religion. We were the "haves" in a system that perpetrated the vilest atrocities, violent as well as insidious, on a large swathe of the population we defined as lower caste or caste-less.

As Sardesai notes a little fallaciously

In this political milieu, the Brahmins have usually lost out because their numerical strength doesn’t justify greater political representation. Which is why it is significant that Parrikar and Prabhu made the cut.
This is a point on which I recently had an argument with some fellow Marathi Brahmin friends as well. This weird self-pitying victim mentality that many Brahmins have about not being uber-dominant in politics the way we are in almost every other aspect of Indian society, from industry to academia to entertainment. Never mind that the proportion of Prime Ministers, Presidents, Chief Ministers, and Governors over the years from the Brahmin community is probably at least 3 times the proportion of Brahmins in the general population (caveat - I haven't crunched the numbers, but I strongly suspect this to be the case based on what I could remember).

But we still love indulging in this weird victim mentality in the "political milieu". Never mind that both guys Sardesai mentions have held positions of political power in the past. Parrikar was the Chief Minister of Goa and Prabhu was a cabinet minister in the last BJP government as well.

Regardless of all this, even if you grant the factually questionable premise that Brahmins are deprived of political power as a result of caste-based politics prevalent in many parts of the country, this cannot be viewed as divorced from history, especially in a democracy. Autocratic rule allowed higher castes to monopolize power, resources, and education for centuries. If 6 decades of democracy has resulted in a backlash electorally, well, suck it up.

Related to this, someone asked me online, "Why do you have problems with Sardesai touting Saraswat pride but you have no problems with people celebrating historic Dalit or OBC achievements in politics?"

I couldn't believe that I had to actually explain it, but here is what I said. Dalit or OBC leaders achieving a position of power after centuries of discrimination and systematic disenfranchisement is actually bucking the trend of history. Righting old wrongs in a way. In terms of a sports metaphor, it's like cheering the underdog. On the other hand, when people from a caste that held power, enjoyed monopoly over intellectual resources and were complicit in perpetuating discrimination until recently start gloating about their achievements, it almost suggests they are implying supremacy again.

It's like.......so many commentators, black and from other races, expressed pride and satisfaction in a black man becoming President of the United States. In the historic context, it makes perfect sense. Your expressions of community pride, to not seem distasteful, have to gel with the historic context.

Let's say the next President of America is white. What Sardesai tweeted was the equivalent of a white news anchor like Brian Williams tweeting "White pride!" in response. And responding to criticism with "Proud white guy, proud Jersey guy, proud American! No contradictions."

Because identity is not always community.

          Thoughts on Haider   
Watched Haider. Liked it a lot. But it certainly isn't Vishal Bhardwaj's best as some reviewers have suggested. It wasn't a masterpiece like Maqbool and Blue Umbrella were. It had its problems. And the problems weren't fundamental, but cosmetic. Which makes the problems all the more annoying.

It seemed like Michaelangelo's David wearing underwear because its creator didn't want some people to blush. Or the Mona Lisa with eyebrows penciled on at the last minute because Leonardo didn't want to deal with "but where are the eyebrows?" questions.  

You can see that there was a masterpiece hidden in there, but was robbed of its true form due to lack of total conviction or concerns about propriety. Ironically, it seems like Vishal had his own "to be or not to be" struggle about how much to push the envelope. And ended up undermining the end product. Not too much, but just enough to make it fall short of greatness.

Here are some disjointed thoughts about the movie.

1) The "Anti-Army" charges

Many self-proclaimed nationalists on Twitter have been bashing the film as being "anti-army". Haider isn't nearly as anti-army as Maqbool was "anti-police". Vishal cast two corrupt police officers in the role of the witches from Macbeth, and gave them a lot more mischief to do. Heck, Haider isn't even as anti-army as Hum Aapke Hai Koun is "anti-stairs" because if not for those damn stairs, Pooja would've been alive and Nisha and Prem would've gotten married without Tuffy having to exert himself.

A lot of this "nationalist" outrage against Haider is a by-product of the mass delusion that most Indians have willingly been a part of and ardently sought to perpetuate. The delusion that the idea of India is more inclusive and benign than it actually is. That if some folks in Kashmir or in the North-East don't consider themselves Indian, it's just stupid, their fault, and totally the handiwork of Pakistan and/or China. And....most importantly....that our army can do no wrong. It can't do anything dishonorable or horrible.

But our army sometimes.....often.... does dishonorable or horrible things. Mostly because as Shivam Vij explains, that's the army's job in situations like 1990s Kashmir.

If you watch the movie without having this naive hyper-nationalized romanticized notion of what the Indian army is, Haider actually seems to go somewhat out of its way to be respectful to the army and justify its perceived excesses. When a home is blown up, it is because a bonafide terrorist really is hiding in it. People are are tortured either are or are strongly suspected of being terrorists trained by Pakistan. And if innocent people are being incarcerated or killed, it's not the army's fault. It is due to misinformation from the conniving two-faced Ikhwan types.

2) Excessive Soapbox Usage

Vishal has so far occupied a level higher than other Indian directors because of how nuanced, layered, and yet powerful his scripts are. You're not hit over the head with blatant exposition of irony, tragedy, or even humor. 

Haider was a bit too "speechy". And I don't mean the soliloquies that Hamlet is famous for. In fact most of those were excised. I mean speechy in the sense that Vishal and Basharat Peer seeme to be almost compelled to give us a preachy soapbox exposition of almost every political perspective in the Kashmir issue. 

So you have the speech about Nehru's betrayal, and the speech about Kashmiri Pandits, and the speech about how violence isn't the answer, and the speech about how "azadi" is synonymous with joining Pakistan, and the speech about.......about about about......

To make matters worse, not only were the speeches utterly banal, but they also served as speed-breakers in the narrative. They were less Vishal Bhardwaj and more Mani Ratnam or Aaron Sorkin. 

The most poignant points about the whole issue were actually made in several vintage Vishal scenes, either sub-textually or organically. The chutzpah-AFSPA dialog for instance or the scene in which Basharat himself has a cameo. 

All those soapbox scenes, the movie could have done without. I couldn't help but feel that they were there for Vishal to hedge politically. Every one of those scenes was meant to mollify or assuage one of the stakeholders in  the Kashmir issue. It's like Vishal had a checklist and wanted to make sure everyone got their spiel in and nobody felt left-out. The end result ironically is that you will find several Indian nationalists, Pakistanis, pro-freedom Kashmiris, Kashmiri Pandits, and so on who think the movie is unfair to their perspective.  

3) Shahid Kapoor

Shahid put in a solid effort. He tried hard and stretched himself to the maximum. But it simply wasn't good enough. Especially in the second half when Hamlet in the play really comes into his element, Shahid Kapoor seemed instead to be channeling Sridevi from Sadma. 

The movie would've been better served by casting not Shahid, but an actor who won accolades for playing a guy named Shahid - Rajkumar Rao. At several points in the movie when Shahid's earnest but inadequate emoting was making me cringe, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine Rajkumar Rao in the same scene.

          Comment on PLP Acknowledges Paula Cox’s Resignation by Rado   
Frankly, as a politician she is useless. If she had had the nerve to call an election when she became Premier rather than wait, she would have won. When she did call, the campaign she ran was hopeless, in fact an embarrassment - especially that Commando jacket she threw on, what was that about? Then spending an afternoon or two running around St. George's pretending everything was wonderful - Pathetic. The lady needs to go away gracefully and stop harming the party, which through the years has given her every benefit of the doubt, though not this time.
          Antu Barva by P. L. "PuLa" Deshpande   
Fourteen years ago today, Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, arguably the most influential and beloved person from Maharashtra, died at the age of 81. He left behind a gargantuan legacy in the form of his books, plays, songs, movies, essays, social work, but more than that, the lasting impact he has had on Maharashtra. Every couple of years, I translate one of his essays or short stories on this blog. This time, I have chosen Antu Barva, a fictionalized life sketch that he created as an amalgam of several people he knew in Konkan. It is not exactly LOL funny, but is light-hearted while still tugging at your heart-strings. It is meant as a depiction of the tough life in Konkan in the middle of the 20th century, and the sort of complex and poignant characters such a life spawns.

But as somber as the basic subject matter is, PuLa manages to inject humor into it, even if the humor is dark. When I first read Antu Barva, I just read it as a slightly humorous life sketch. As I have re-read it and re-heard its narration over the years, I have come to recognize it as something beyond just that. It is one of PuLa's best allegorical social commentaries in my opinion. He was duly recognized for Vyakti Aani Valli, the book that this sketch appears in, with a Sahitya Akademi Puraskaar. In that book, I think this is THE most impressive and multi-layered sketch.

For years, I considered translating Antu Barva here but was too intimidated given how nuanced it is. PuLa gave Antu a specific Konkani "voice" (in text form as well as when he narrated the sketch for TV) that is impossible to translate. No matter how well I tried, I thought I would end up doing injustice to the original work. This is in addition to the usual difficulties in translating PuLa's wordplay and nuanced observations. So it is with a great sense of trepidation that I am even attempting this today. A LOT will get lost in translation. But I hope PuLa's fans will forgive me any errors. Because I think this particular piece is one of the greatest literary achievements from an Indian and it deserves a wider audience.

Miss you, PuLa. Bhool-chook maaf kara.

Ratnagiri's middle lane has been home to some towering personalities over the years. God used a unique formula when creating these people. These people tend to be a metaphorical amalgam of Ratnagiri's most famous products - sweet mango, rough jackfruit, hard coconut, irritating colocasia leaves, and intense betel nuts whose one bite will make your heart jump up your throat.    

It is in this unique Ratnagiri soil that Antu Barva grew and ripened. Actually, Antu's age doesn't really justify people casually calling him just "Antu". When I first met him 12-14 years ago, not just his stubble, but even the hair on his ears and chest had turned white. His teeth had mostly gone "Annu Gogtya".

Going Annu Gogtya = falling.

This is an idomatic phrase that Antu Barva coined. A lawyer from Ratnagiri named Annu Gogte has been standing in the local elections for many years. Standing and then falling. Repeatedly, without even coming close to winning. So even if a bucket falls in a well, Antu asks "has the bucket gone Annu?"

When someone is talking about old Antu, they just refer to him in the singular casual "Antu". As it is, characters from Konkan are quite singular. But no one calls Antu just "Antu" to his face.  They call him Antu sheth!

True blue Brahmin Antu got this trader caste suffix "sheth" decades ago. After all Antu himself had committed a sin justifying this demotion. During the first world war, Antu started a shop near the docks. It failed spectacularly even before the Treaty of Versailles. But that short-lived stint as a shopkeeper was enough to turn Antu into Antu sheth.

After that, no one remembers Antu doing anything specific to make a living. He manages to somehow score at least two square meals a day from somewhere. He has a little plot of land with a garden that has a couple of dozen coconut and Alphonso mango trees, sprinkled with the odd jackfruit and tamarind tree. He has a little single-room shack on that land. He has the right to draw water from the nearby well. Antu sheth manages to get by on all this.

I first met Antu at Bapu Hegishte's store. I had gone there to buy some cigarettes when Antu's face peered out from behind a newspaper. He slid his reading glasses up his forehead and said,

"You're Lawyer saheb's son-in-law, right?"

"Yes" I replied.

"Ahha! I recognized you right away! Please, have a seat, please. Bapu, some tea for our jawaibapu (a respectful term for son-in-law)!"

I had no idea who this guy was, suddenly acting so familiar. Antu sheth himself explained,

"Your father-in-law is a good friend of mine. Tell him Antu Barva said hello."

"Sure."

"Hmmm....when did you come from Pune?"

"Two days ago."

"Of course....the first Diwali after you got married....haha...ask him for a Ford car!"

"He is your friend. Why don't you tell him?"

"Haha, you're from Pune after all. Can't get the last word with you." he laughed. "So...staying long or just a flying visit?"

"Just a short trip. I'm leaving in a couple of days."

"Excellent! It's always good to keep such visits short. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that. Don't end up like that Kasopkar's son-in-law. He set up camp for six months. Finally Kasopkar lost his patience and made him plow his land! When a son-in-law stays with you for too long, he starts feeling like a pain in the neck, right?"

"You're right." I nodded.

"Bapusheth, I hope you recognized our lawyer's son-in-law. We are both your father-in-law's clients, jawaibapu."

Bapu Hegishte smiled and folded his hands in greeting.

"Welcome. Would you like to have some tea?" he asked.

"No, it's okay. It's really hot right now."

"Of course, it's always going to be hot in Ratnagiri!" Antu jumped in. "You can't sleep in a cowshed and then complain about the stink of cow piss! If Ratnagiri had cool weather, they'd have called it Shimla, not Ratnagiri!"

Before I could say anything, Antu continued,

"But the heat is way worse in your neighborhood with all those houses next to each other. Come to my garden near the beach. My garden is...how do you say...."aircondition"!"

Antu sheth said the last words in English and laughed, and then added,

"That's our country joke, jawaibapu!"

Then he addressed Hegishte again.

"Bapusheth, did you know our jawaibapu here is a writer? Writes plays and movies and what not. Behave properly when he is around or he'll write a hilarious farce about you."

The pride I felt on my fame having spread even to someone like Antu Barva was dashed by Bapu Hegishte's next question. Bapusheth looked me up and down carefully for a few seconds and said,

"What do you do?"

"What the hell do you mean what does he do?" Antu thundered. "Are you insane, Hegishte? Take out that pile of raddi old newspapers and open them. You'll see his name and picture in dozens of places! He makes movies!"

"Movies!!?? Really??" Hegishte's expression changed to one of wonderment and he looked at me as if I was God.

"Jawaibapu, speaking of movies, can I ask you a question if you don't mind?"

I could see the naughty expression on Antusheth's face as he asked me this.

"Sure, go ahead."

"How much money do you make from one movie?"

This wasn't my first trip to Konkan. So by now, I had gotten used to dealing with such intensely personal questions.

"That really varies from movie to movie." I deflected.

"But still....I mean I have read that you get like a million or a million and a half."

"No way! There isn't nearly that kind of money in Marathi films."

"Yeah, but still. Even if you don't get fistfuls, you must be getting at least 2-3 pinchfulls?"

"You get it sometimes, and also lose it sometimes." I stuck to being vague.

"Well of course, it's a business after all. When it comes to business, you win some, you lose some. It's all part of the game."

Antu sheth got philosophical. But only for a moment.

"Can I ask you one more question? Only if you don't get angry."

"What's there to get angry about? Go ahead."

"Well..you know....whatever we read about these film actresses in magazines and all....is that real or is it fake like Gangadhar Basthe's "real" Belgaum butter?"

"What do you mean all this about film actresses?" I kept a straight face and pretended to not get what he was saying.

"Quite a skillful guy you are, jawaibapu. Skillful! You'll make a great witness in court!" Antu sheth was having none of it. "All this about film actresses as in...the whole index finger nostril thing."

I didn't immediately get what he meant by the whole index finger nostril thing. So Antu sheth gently tapped his index finger against his nostril and winked. Fortunately, before I had to say anything, a waiter arrived with the tea Hegishte had ordered.

"Looks like all the cows in Ratnagiri are still pregnant, Jhampya!" Antu made a sarcastic remark to the waiter on the color of the tea. And then he poured the tea in the saucer and started slurping it.

Actually, Antu sheth could have just said to the waiter in plain words that the tea was low on milk. But he preferred the "all the cows are still pregnant" phrasing. Why just Antu sheth? Almost everyone from that middle lane in Ratnagiri spoke in that sarcastic obtuse way.

By now, Antu sheth and I have become good friends. In the last decade or so, whenever I have gone to Ratnagiri, I have spent time with him. He always included me in his group of friends, taught me the ganjifa card games they played. And over the years, I heard a lot monologues on the odd philosophy of life that those men in their 60s had developed.

I even learned all the idiomatic phrases the group had come up with. They all dressed similar. A cotton loincloth from the waist below, a small cotton scarf on the shoulder, worn-out sandals, one hand holding a walking stick, and the other holding a jackfruit. Dressed like that, Antu sheth would roam around in the neighborhood calling his friends to join him every afternoon.

"Govindbhat! Wanna play a couple of hands?"

"Paranjape? Are you awake or have you turned into a python?"

I too became a part of their card game gang. If once in a while, the card game wasn't really panning out well, Antu would put the cards down and say to me,

"Jawaibapu, why don't you sing a Malkauns or something? Godbolya, bash a little tabla with our guest. Khaju sheth, open your decrepit harmonium."

And then we'd have an impromptu jam session for a bit at Antu sheth's orders.

"Jawaibapu, your pipes are kick-ass!" he'd compliment my singing in his unique way.

Every other year or so, I'd visit Ratnagiri and attend Antu sheth's court. But with each visit, the court seemed to be getting smaller.

"Antu sheth, haven't seen Damu kaka around." I asked once.

"Who? Damu Nene? He is living it up! I am told Rambha is rubbing oil on his bald head, and Urvashi is airing him with a fan!"

"What????"

"What do you mean what? Damu Nene got transferred from Ratnagiri!" and Antu Sheth pointed to the sky.

"Oh!" I finally understood what he meant. "I am so sorry. I had no idea."

"Why would you have any idea about it? Do you think that they're going to announce on the radio that Damu Nene has croaked? His family did pay for an obituary in the newspaper though. Heh, they wrote he was loving, caring, friendly, pious, and what not. What do the newspaper folks care? As long as you are paying, they will publish any nonsense."

Antu continued in his characteristic manner.

"Damu Nene and loving? Hmpf! Even when he was lying dead on the pyre, the furrow on his brow was intact! One day he decided to sleep outdoors because it was too hot. They found him dead the next morning. Lucky bugger. Died on Ashadhi Ekadashi too! So there were two processions from Ratnagiri that day. One for Lord Vithoba and another for Damu Nene. Damu died on Ashadhi. And then on Dussehra, Dattu Paranjape crossed the border and did seemolanghan. The first guy croaked, the second guy croaked.....now waiting for the third. They say things happen in three."

Antu looked at me mischievously and shrugged.

And that's the essence of Antu Barva for you. Standing at less than 5 feet, bronze-fair complexion, small pockmarks on his face, small gray eyes, creased skin belying his advanced age, half his teeth fallen....or "gone Annu"...leading to a new habit of poking his tongue through the gaps while talking.... and with all this, weighing in at barely 100 lbs.

Every aspect of Antu Barva's earthly existence was getting worn out with each passing year except for two - the nasal booming voice and the slick intelligence fed by decades of rubbing coconut oil on his head.

It wasn't just Antu sheth. Almost all the men his age from that part of Ratnagiri were of a similar bent....which was a crooked bent. Their language was unnecessarily complex and their attitude exceedingly cynical. They didn't feel happy if someone did well, and didn't feel sad if a tragedy befell someone. There was no joy for births, no mourning for deaths. Most of them apart from Antu didn't really like music, but didn't dislike it either. And when it came to food, the taste and flavors didn't matter, as long as their belly got filled. The engine of their life never really faltered when it ran out of steam, nor did it go fast when it did have some steam. But the road their lives took was like every road in Konkan- serpentine.

That's the hand life had dealt them. Even though their lives were full of the wholesome coconut tree, their fates and thus their tastes leaned less towards the sweet creamy inside of the coconut, and more towards its tough shell.


One summer, a second-rate theater company from Mumbai was touring Ratnagiri staging Ram Ganesh Gadkari's famous play Ekach Pyala. I went to watch it. The production was barely competent in the first act. At intermission, I walked outside to the hissing clinks of soda bottles being opened. Under a Kitson lamp, I saw Antu sheth's diminutive form. He was talking to the fur-cap clad manager of the theater company.

"So....how's the attendance?" Antu sheth asked.

"Not bad." the manager gruffly replied.

"Not bad? Most of the chairs seem empty. Why don't you let me in for half price?"

"No way!" the manager shook his head rudely.

"Why are you brushing me away like a lizard? I heard the first act from out here anyway. The guy playing Sindhu doesn't seem to be very good."

[aside - in the early-to-mid 20th century in orthodox Maharashtra, it was taboo for women to perform on stage. So much like in Shakespeare's days, female parts were usually played by men. The legendary Bal Gandharva excelled at this and one of his most famous roles was playing Sindhu in the first staging of Ekach Pyala.]

"The guy playing Sindhu doesn't seem to be very good." Antu sheth said. "He sang 'lage hridayi hurhur' like a squeaking mouse. Did you ever hear how Bal Gandharva sang it?"

The manager got pissed off.

"I'm not begging you to come watch it!" he thundered.

"But the town is full of your advertising boards begging us to come watch it." Antu sheth instantly replied. "And yesterday your people were going door to door with fliers. As it is, it's mainly empty chairs you are showing this play to. How about four annas?"

"Four annas? What is this? A monkey performing on the street?"

"That's better than this! They perform first and then circulate a plate for money. Why don't you try that? If the next act is better than the first one, I'll pay you an extra four annas!"

The people standing around them started laughing and the manager got even more upset. That's when Antu sheth noticed me.

"Namaskar, jawaibapu! How's it going? How's Ekach Pyala?"

"It's okay." I said.

"I'm sure you got a complimentary pass. You're from the same community. I have heard that barbers don't charge each other for shaves."

"No, nothing like that. See, I bought a ticket."

"Then why a wishy-washy response like "it's okay"? You've paid hard-earned money for this, haven't you? Assert your rights as a paying customer. Call it what it is. Utter crap. Especially that guy playing Sindhu is totally useless!"

"What do you mean the guy playing Sindhu? It's a woman playing the role." I told him.

"WHAT??" Antu sheth looked genuinely shocked. "You're kidding me! That voice and that built! If she decides, she can lift Sudhakar up like a baby! Sindhu indeed.......more like Sindhudurg!"

"So you watched the play after all?"

"For a few minutes. Moved the curtains from the window and had a peek. Hmpf! Even gypsy performers are better than these idiots."

Antu sheth spat out another unsolicited opinion and walked away.

But that's pretty much what his life was - spitting out unsolicited opinions. I knew Antu for so many years, but I never found out much about his family situation. Once Anna Sane from Antu's court had let slip a mention of his son.

"What? Antu sheth has a son?" I asked.

"Of course he has a son. Not only that, his son is a Collector!" Anna Sane nonchalantly said.

"Collector???"

"Yup. He's in charge of collecting tickets on Byculla station." he deadpanned without letting a single muscle move.

"Doesn't look like he helps out his father financially."

"He does sometimes. When he can. He has his own family. Besides, a Western Railway compartment has been attached to a Central Railway train."

A PhD student could do a dissertation on those guys' peculiar idioms and phrases. I was well-versed in the language by now but it took me a few moments to realize that this was code for an inter-religion marriage.

"So you see, Antu sheth has trouble with his post-bath rituals at his son's place. Plus apparently his son is also into some other Anglicized habits if you know what I mean. So how can Antu sheth spend too much time there? Still, once Antu sheth swallowed all the insults and went to Mumbai to see his grandson. Came back looking like he had messed up a math problem."

"Every Dussehra and Diwali, Antu gets his son's love in the form of a money order. Not much, maybe 5-10 rupees. For a few days after that, Antu acts like he's won the lottery and splurges as much as he can. Which isn't much."

"Understandable." I said. "After all, how much can a ticket collector's pay be?"

"Yeah, the pay is pretty meager. But one hears that a ticket collector can also make a little more on the side, especially in holiday season if you know what I mean." Anna said. "Nothing wrong with it of course. If he has an opportunity to make some money, why shouldn't he? You know how it is in this country. If you get caught taking a ten rupee bribe, they put a striped cap on your head and send you to prison. But if you get caught taking a million rupee bribe, they put a Gandhi cap on your head and send you to Parliament! Democraticaly elected people's representative!"

Politics was the most favorite topic for Antu sheth and his buddies to express their unique opinions on. They had profound thoughts on every politician and party. One year, there was a famine in Konkan. Konkan is always facing a famine as it is. But this particular one was so bad that in Antu sheth's words it had "been approved under the Famine Act".

Nehru was touring the famine-hit parts of Konkan. He visited Ratnagiri for a speech and the whole town was caught up in Nehru-mania. One evening, someone asked Antu sheth,

"Antu sheth, I didn't see you at the speech?"

"Whose speech? Nehru's? Hmpf!" Antu sheth's disdain was obvious. "What nonsense. There's a famine here. Stop giving speeches. Give us food! This is like seeing a man drowning and instead of saving him, reading from the Quran to ensure that he doesn't end up in hell. Utterly useless. But everyone else is stupid. Oh, Nehru is here? He is giving a speech? He gives great speeches! Let's go! Bloody lemmings!"

"And now that Nehru is in Ratnagiri, what did they do? Idiots took him to show the house, room, and bed where Lokmanya Tilak was born! Morons. Tell me, did god appear in Gangadhar Tilak's dreams and tell him that your wife is going to give birth to a great leader? How would anyone even remember what bed Tilak was born on? But who cares? They just showed Nehru some random room and bed and bluffed - this is where Tilak first went WAAAAAAAAAA."

"Morons! Where's the proof? Where's the proof? Did they get the midwife from Tilak's birth to certify the bed? Hmpf! Forget Tilak. It's been a 100 years since he was born. You tell me. Can your own mother confidently identify the room and the bed where she gave birth to you? Go ask her and then tell me about Nehru and Tilak."

And so ended the rant.

I always wondered if there was anything or anyone in the world that Antu sheth and his friends had respect for. If they ever had a polite dignified response for anything at all.      

Somebody's son became a Professor. And Antu's response,

"Professor? In a circus?There used to be this Professor Chhatre in circuses performing magic tricks."

Someone opened a new store. And Antu's response,

"Tell him to have a bankruptcy form ready. It'll save time when the inevitable happens."

Who knows what school of philosophy these guys followed. More than half of them survived on money orders from children and relatives. They saved money from that and file lawsuits for the strangest reasons. Every lawsuit is stuck in delayed hearing dates. These guys have a big beautiful sea coast, coconut trees, gardens, everything you could reasonably hope for to be happy. But that apparent prosperity gets punctured by an occasional bout of misfortune and all that remains is an impenetrable shield of gallows humor.

Somehow the topic of Gandhi came up. And Antu sheth got on his soap box.

"Gandhi? What Gandhi? Traveled all over the world, but never came to Ratnagiri! Because he was smart. He knew that here, no one gives a damn about his loincloth or his walking stick. We are all just as naked and just as skinny. And his obsession with spinning khadi. It's all useless. Our own Shambhu sheth. All his life, he followed Gandhi's teachings and spun khadi for his clothes. Forget the British government, even Ratnagiri's Collector Gilligan didn't fear his "civil disobedience". And you're talking about Gandhi."

"Then there are all his hunger strikes and fasts. Half of Konkan is hungry and fasting, and not by choice. Someone who is well-fed will find something remarkable about hunger strikes. What do we care? Don't get me wrong. I am not saying Gandhi wasn't a great man. He was. But in our books, under what column should we make an entry for his greatness? And if you are talking about independence, then that had nothing to do with Gandhi, or Tilak or Savarkar."

"So did independence just fall out of the sky?" I asked him.

"It's up to you to find out where it fell out of." Antu replied. "One thing I am sure of is that the Brits left because they got bored. What more was left for them to loot? Their Raj business started making a loss, so they effectively declared bankruptcy and went home. The potter left with his pottery, and we sit here cradling his leftover broken pieces. This is all just a cycle of life and bigger than anything we can comprehend. It's not British rule, nor is it Nehru's rule, nor people's rule, nor anyone's rule. It's the creator's rule."  

"So how did your creator end up siding with the British?" I asked.

"Don't be silly. The creator is sitting pretty on his throne. He just played a small game."

"A game that translated into 150 years of slavery?"

"It's 150 years for you and me." Antu sheth was steadfast. "The almighty's wrist watch doesn't move forward by even one second unless a thousand years go by for us. In his eyes and on his scale, all this is just a minor game that lasted barely a millisecond."

When these emaciated old men started spouting this philosophy on the front yards of that impoverished middle lane in Ratnagiri, with dark shadows formed by the dim light of their age-worn oil lamps dancing on their wrinkled faces, my heart couldn't help but shudder.

"Socialism? What socialism? All nonsense, I tell you. Not even two mango leaves are alike. And these guys want to pretend all men are equal. In the creator's eyes, each individual is unique. How are they going to have equal opportunities or equal outcomes? But everyone is just blabbering....socialism is coming. Just like that Ratnagiri's legislator is saying...Konkan Railway is coming, Konkan Railway is coming. Sure, Konkan Railway is coming. And it's tracks are going through where one-armed Pandu Gurav's toilet used to be. Even if it does, is it going to make Pandu's shoulder stump sprout an arm? What difference will it make?"

"And without an arm to plow his field or pick his crops, no matter what you do with that damn railway, what good is it going to do him? He is still the same. Just because India became independent, does not mean that Hari Sathe's lazy eye got fixed. Nor did Mahadev Godbole's paunch disappear.  Nothing really changed. Even in the fabled Ram Rajya, Ram didn't uproot Hanuman's tail and attach it to his own ass. No. Ram stayed a man, and Hanuman stayed a monkey."

At such times, it almost seem like the Goddess of Wisdom Saraswati is sitting on Antu sheth's tongue.

"You're right." I said.

"Don't just say I am right for the heck of it to be polite. If I am wrong, say that and correct me. You might be younger than me when it comes to age, but when it comes to education, you are my elder, jawaibapu!"

Once in a while, Antu sheth will say something genuinely from his heart, without any sarcasm. But there is always some burning issue close to his heart underlying what he says.

The last few years, I could not go to Ratnagiri as often as I used to. In the meanwhile, Ratnagiri finally got electricity, its own college, tar roads, and all other features of 20th century life. When I met him after that, I said,

"Antu sheth, your Ratnagiri has now become posh! Electric lights and everything. Did your house get an electric connection?"

"No, not yet. But it's good that it's dark. Tomorrow even if I do get electricity, what is there to look at in that bright light? A penniless life? Who needs electricity to look at chipped walls and leaking shingles? It's better that my poverty stays hidden in darkness."

And then he laughed loudly for a full minute like it was a joke.

This time I saw that his teeth had gone almost completely Annu Gogte. I also learned that a couple of more friends of his had passed on and that the card game court was emptier than ever. For a change, I spotted a sense of love, longing, and kindness in the way Antu sheth spoke. I guess the empty seats at his card games were starting to make a place in his heart.

"Joglekar's son got a big promotion and moved to Delhi!" Antu sheth voluntarily shared some pleasant news without his customary sarcastic rejoinder. "Took his old man to Kashi, Haridwar, Vishweshwar, Hrishikesh and all. Fed a 100 brahmins there. Old man Joglekar was thoughtful enough to get me a small sealed pot with water from the Ganga. When you come visit next time, jawaibapu, you'll probably see that the seal has been broken and the water was poured down my throat if you know what I mean."

The next time I visited Ratnagiri, fortunately Antu sheth's Ganga water pot was still sealed.

"Wow, jawaibapu, wow! Congratulations! I heard you're going to England! Congratulations! Have a great trip. Just one "request" for you. Now I have to speak with you in English. So a "request"."

"What request?"

"Go see the Kohinoor diamond once. For some reason, it's an obsession I have always had, the Kohinoor diamond. I can't go see it, but you do it on my behalf. And then come back and tell me how it looks. See all the sights in London and Paris and everything!"

For some reason, I was overcome with a desire to touch his feet, something I had never done before. Right there on the street, I bent down and touched his feet.

"Live a long life!" Antu sheth touched my head gently. "You are a good person, which is why you are so successful."

I said goodbye and started to leave. I had barely gone four steps when I suddenly heard the familiar

"Jawaibapu!!!"

"Yes, Antu sheth?" I turned around.
  
"Forgot to ask you one thing. Are you going alone or with your wife?"

"Both of us are going."

"That's good. Don't mind me, I just had a nagging doubt, so I asked. You are going far away to learn something new. So I was reminded of Devayani's tale from mythology. Hahaha. Convey my blessings to your wife too. I am telling you, your good fortune is all because of her. That's all life is eventually about - the right woman."

Antu sheth paused and continued.

"Let me tell you something. Just between us. My wife passed away 40 years ago. Since then, the alphonso mango tree near my door has stopped flowering. When she was around, the tree yielded hundreds of mangoes every year. But since she left.....you know....fate can take really strange turns. Sorry, I am rambling. Anyway, safe travels. So when are you leaving from Ratnagiri?"

"Tomorrow morning by bus."

"Direct Ratnagiri to Mumbai?"

"Yes."

"Good call. Once someone completes that journey, then even traveling around the world seems easy in comparison. The other day Tatya Jog made the trip. He is still trying to locate all his bones.  Told me some 7-8 bones are missing!"

And he started laughing hard with his mouth wide open. I noticed that there was only one tooth remaining that hadn't gone Annu Gogte.

The next morning at 5 AM at the bus stand, I again heard the familiar cry,

"JAWAIBAPU!"

Antu sheth approached me and gave me a small paper pouch.

"I know you don't believe in god, jawaibapu, but do me a favor and keep this in your pocket. It is holy ash. It will keep you safe. You are going to London by air, so this small pouch shouldn't add too much weight to your luggage."

I put the pouch in my pocket. As the bus got going, I saw Antu sheth lift his shirt and gently wipe tears from his small blinking gray eyes. In that dim dawn light, seeing his bony chest and his concave stomach which had all but touched his back suddenly tugged at my heart.

Just like Konkan's jackfruit, it's people taste sweet only when they ripen for a long time.

xxxxxxxxxxx

          TS227:Chest Hair,Sexist Politics,Robert Morrow   
2nd week of Max Fun Drive honeybunz! Help support Throwing Shade by donating. This week Bryan sabotages Erins birthday party, contours his body hair and discusses the mistake from Texas named Robert Morrow, while Erin throws down about sexist politics and teaches us a thing or two about statement chokers. Plus our special guest operators Cher and Jenn Bachmann Palin are here to take your calls and donations! www.maximumfun.org/donate
          A David Bowie dance opera, Coco Picard chats, the Sugar Ball, and more things to do this weekend   

Whether you want to unwind with wine and jazz or escape from political turmoil with political comedy, there's tons to do in Chicago this July Fourth weekend:


          More questions than answers in Scottish workforce plan, say nurse leaders   
Detail on funding and implementation are missing, says RCN Scotland

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          Problem with Seth MacFarlane - He Insists Upon Himself   
Last night was Oscar night. For a couple of weeks leading up to it, I was tweeting about how choosing Seth MacFarlane to host the Oscars was a horrible mistake because he was overrated, unfunny, and by and large a talentless hack who just got lucky getting the right breaks when he did. Many people, especially Family Guy fanbois, responded with indignation.

But then, last night was Oscar night. The mainstream press reviews as well as the overall twitter feedback was unanimous - Seth MacFarlane sucked!

And he was bound to suck. Because he is an overrated, unfunny, and a by and large talentless hack who just got lucky getting the right breaks when he did.

Here's the problem with Seth MacFarlane.

Apart from being overrated, unfunny, and a by and large talentless hack who just got lucky getting the right breaks when he did.

His jokes are just a manifestation of his immense self-indulgence and a meta-idea of how funny his jokes are supposed to be seen as.

His jokes aren't funny because of their content or humor quotient. He thinks his jokes are funny BECAUSE he thinks he is being so cool and edgy and counter-cultural by the virtue of the topics he is addressing. So it isn't so much what the joke is saying that is supposed to amused us, but the topic of the joke itself. Seth thinks that we should find any joke he makes about topic X funny only because most straight laced people wouldn't dare joke about topic X, and he was cool enough to do so.

Except, that's not what makes jokes funny. Or that's not all that makes jokes funny. Yes, there is an edgy appeal to tackling subjects that most straight laced people wouldn't dare joke about. But the jokes themselves have to be funny and clever. Let me give you an example from last night.

Talking about Lincoln, Seth said, "”I would argue that the actor who got most inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”

I yawned. And when he got a lukewarm response from the audience, Seth's reaction was "too soon?"

No, Seth, I don't personally think joking about an assassination that happened almost a century and a half ago is "too soon". The problem isn't that your joke was "too soon". It's that the joke was simply way too lazy, pedestrian, and something you expect to hear in 3rd rate comedy clubs with 2-drink minimums. It's an oh-so-predictable use of the "getting into one's head" metaphor and the fact that Booth was an actor.

When I find something funny, it's because someone made an observation and phrased it in a way I never would have thought of myself. And I wish I had. This joke was just lazy and stupid. If MacFarlane chooses to believe that he got a poor response because the joke was somehow edgy, politically incorrect, or whatever, he is just deluding himself.

And that's the problem with Family Guy too. For the first 3 seasons, Family Guy was a reasonably funny show. It had amusing and reasonably novel storylines supported by quirky characters, and frequent pop-culture references.

Then maybe MacFarlane ran out of story ideas. The show just became consumed by those pop-culture references. So just making a joke about topic X was supposed to be the amusing part, forget what the actual joke was. Family Guy decided that it was somehow the premier voice of wise-ass counter-culture. Which, well, it could have been. If it had written funny jokes. But it didn't.

MacFarlane decided that a joke would be funny just because it used a random topical or pop-culture reference. And 4th season onward, you could see these randomly unfunny jokes coming a mile away. The writing process itself got distinctly lazy. Something that South Park accurately spoofed -



To use Family Guy and Peter Griffin's own poorly phrased words, when it comes to making topical or pop-culture jokes, the show "insists upon itself".

And essentially, that's what MacFarlane did at the Oscars. He insisted upon himself. He insisted that by the virtue of who he was and the topics he was tackling, he should be hailed as a comedic genius. It was as if manatees were picking up random supposedly controversial pop culture references, and adding random nouns and verbs to make it a joke. And if we didn't find his jokes funny, we were just moldy curmudgeons who were too stuck up to get the jokes.

Seth MacFarlane doesn't realize that whether someone finds the selection of topics too risque or not (and I never have), his jokes simply aren't funny anymore. And that's what led to him bombing so badly at the Oscars. He thinks his limited fake voices and accents can inject an illusion of humor into his lazy jokes.

But all he does is, he insists upon himself.

          Why I Threw Away My Ferrari Gear   
I used to be an ardent Formula 1 fan. And an ardent Ferrari fan. Over the years, I lost interest in the sport. But occasionally I would still catch portions of a race on TV and in my heart, I was always cheering for a Ferrari win. On a recent trip to Europe, I bought some Ferrari gear to occasionally display my support.

This morning I threw all the Ferrari gear in trash. Because of this.

The background story in a nutshell is this. Two Italian navy sailors killed two innocent Indian fishermen in Indian waters (the Italians dispute the jurisdiction). India arrested and charged the sailors. The Italian government has been supporting these murderers. So has the Italian media. Note that they're not denying that the sailors killed those innocent fishermen. They still want the Indian government to let the sailors go. Why? The reasoning is flimsy and convoluted and in my opinion can be summarized as "Because!". The arrogance and the racist undertones in Italy's stance are obvious to me and many others. To me, the subtext is, "yes, our boys killed two guys by mistake. But they were just a couple of brown fishermen. Let our boys go! Give them back to us and we'll give them a slap on the wrist. You Indians have no right to try someone who killed your citizens". Do you think that if the fishermen had been Americans killed off the coast of America, the Italians would dare be this brazenly arrogant?

And in a sickening display of further arrogance and willful insensitivity, Ferrari decided to inject itself into the situation. The Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix is this weekend. Ferrari has announced it will carry an Italian Navy flag specifically in support of the two murderous sailors. It's not like Ferrari has been carrying the flag throughout the season. They're doing this only in India. They're not even using the pretext of just supporting the Italian navy in general. Their statements specifically mention support for the murderers. To me this is a small scale version of a British team carrying the flag of General Dyer's regiment only in India to express solidarity with his actions in Jalianwala Bag. Or some other European team supporting one of their fellow citizens who has been locked up in Goa for abusing street kids.

Ferrari is wrong for needlessly wading into this debate specifically during the Indian GP. But more importantly, they are absolutely wrong in supporting those two murderers whose crime, I repeat, is not even in doubt.

As an Indian, I find Ferrari's stance reprehensible and I cannot in good conscience support them in the slightest. So I threw away my Ferrari gear. I hope Indian fans who go watch the race on Sunday are not so slavishly beholden to the team and so morally bankrupt and insensitive as to wear caps or t-shirts supporting these proud backers of murderers.


          Translating a Raj Thackeray Speech   
I don't agree with Raj Thackeray's stance against immigrants from UP and Bihar. I can sort of, kind of, see where he is coming from, but I don't agree with the conclusion. And I find his forcible and occasionally violent methods to have his way (especially against powerless shopkeepers and job applicants) abhorrent.

However, as a Marathi person, I find the gap between what he says in Marathi and what is reported in the national media to be suspiciously wide. There are two problems. First, they wrongly translate a lot of what he says. Second, they seem to pick and choose the most provocative bits that can be spun into an attention-grabbing soundbite. I have written about the dangers of this phenomenon before.

Today Raj Thackeray led a rally to Azad Maidan (without permission from the police top brass) as a protest against the August 11 incident. He gave a speech there. Again, I marveled at the difference between what he was saying and what the national media was reporting he was saying.

So I had an idea. I have translated PuLa Deshpande's work before. Surely I can translate a speech. So here it is, the speech in Marathi, and then, what I think is an objective, unbiased, and direct translation in English. This is not an endorsement of what he said. Just a translation for illustrative purposes. I agree with some parts, and disagree with some. I'll leave you to judge it for yourself.

Note - I am translating it in a bit of a hurry. So please forgive any typos or inadvertent grammatical errors.



When it's an institution from Maharashtra, be it a police department, a media company, or anything else.... even just a person from Maharashtra....we should demonstrate the strength to ensure that no one ever looks askance at them again with the intention of harming them.

For the last two days, this has been going on... police officials come to me and ask, how will you take the rally from Girgaum chaupatty? I told them we'll walk.

(crowd laughs)

Then they're like, you can't go from here, you can't go from there...all these efforts at putting obstacles in our way have been spearheaded by Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. I found out the other day..... in fact a few police officials told me this...that they'll try to stop our cars, and try other things to stop us. I called the Chief Minister right away, and asked him, what is this? What happens or doesn't happen (at the rally) is something we can deal with later. But can't we express our protest in a democratic way with a rally?

Why stop us at every point? I assured them at our rally will be a peaceful one, and they still refused us permission for it? And they had no problems giving permission for that Raza Academy rally? But here we are, with a rally to protest what happened the other day right here, and they refuse us permission?

Then there's (Home Minister) R.R. Patil who says - we won't spare anyone who threatens the law and order of the city. Really? So what happened that day? Was his tail between his legs?

(crowd laughs)

The other day he calls up (MNS MLA from Mumbai) Bala Nandgaonkar and says, "What could I do? What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to take a big stick and stand there?"

(crowd laughs)

There is this one boundary line....one border....one line that cannot be crossed. I have never crossed that line, and will never cross that line. Never raise your hands against the police.

(crowd applauds and cheers)

If you demoralize the police to such an extent, then where will the common man go with his problems? Where will he go? If this keeps happening, tomorrow even the police will say "we don't want to get involved here, do whatever you want".

Is this how a state is run? And this Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. The cops caught the guilty people. And what does he say to the DCP who arrested the guilty people? He says, "You bastard, let them go!" He tells him to let the criminals go!

Our policewomen sisters were tormented here... they were pulled aside and beaten up and molested......all these guys, our Marathi police constables, were getting beaten up... and they weren't getting any orders?

Oh, and these (police head honchos) knew everything from the beginning. They knew that there were trains full of these goons coming for the rally. And they had choppers, and rods and everything else... tell me, are there ever any rocks lying around here (in Azad Maidan)? Where did the rocks come from?

These people had advance warning of all these facts, and they still ignored them. And they refuse permission for my peaceful rally? The other day, when some police officials came to meet me, I told them. I told them that the 11th August rally at least had targets. That mob knew that it was supposed to target the police and the media.

Who do we want to target (in this rally)? I have already declared our targets. Arup Patnaik, resign! R.R. Patil, resign! I declared this in the beginning itself.

We have not come here to destroy cars or set something on fire. We don't even wish to do all that. Even if we were to, whose cars would we destroy and whose property would we set on fire? Our own? Those belonging to our citizens from Mumbai and Maharashtra? This rally isn't for such purposes.

But how else are we supposed to express our anger? They won't let us express our anger at whatever happened. And they say, please respect democracy. This is democracy?

Go and look at the track record of Raza Academy and its rallies. A few years ago, this same Raza Academy had a rally in Bhiwandi. This bhadva (translates to 'pimp' but pimp doesn't have the same punch :)) Abu Asim Azmi went to that rally. He gave a speech there, that too an inflammatory speech. And they're sending me notices - "don't make inflammatory speeches". That Abu Azmi went there, made an inflammatory speech in Bhiwandi. You know what happened next?

The mob killed two police constables by bashing their heads in with big rocks. Then they cut off their private parts and threw their corpses into burning buses..... the government had no problems with that. And they refuse me permission for a rally?

Whoever came here (on 11t August) had no connection with Maharashtra. They all came from outside Maharashtra.

(crowd applauds and cheers)

After everything that went down here that day, this passport was found, a Bangladeshi passport...

(shows a Bangladeshi passport to the crowd)

This was found right here. Single entry passport (I assume he meant visa). Needed only to come into India. No intentions of going back, so it was thrown away here...

(throws it away)

There are countless such people coming into Maharashtra... they are all setting up their bases in Maharashtra. Tell me something....they say 'coincidence'....what coincidence?

In 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, where was its retaliation felt instantly? In Mumbai! There was no violence anywhere else in the country (GS: this isn't true...there were riots in many other cities)...only in Mumbai! And when this incident happened during the rally on 11th August, its reaction happened in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. So something happens in Uttar Pradesh, there's a reaction in Mumbai, and something happens in Mumbai, there's a reaction in Uttar Pradesh. Doesn't India have any other states???

The reason is, all these people are coming here from there. All these Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who have infiltrated and set up bases in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and Jharkhand, they're all coming here by the trainfuls. And the bases that they are setting up here in Mumbai, those are going to create trouble for us in the future.

Otherwise tell me, this Abu Azmi is elected from two different constituencies in Maharashtra. Two different constituencies? Should any politician from Maharashtra get elected from two different constituencies? He gets elected from two constituencies because all the people in those two constituencies have all come from outside, and they vote for him.

That day, it finally came to the police (couldn't understand the word he said here despite re-playing it many times, at 12:20)...then they had to do it. While doing that, the guy who died, Abu Azmi announced 1.5 lakh rupees for him. So why not for our policemen?

(crowd applauds and cheers)

Even the state government hasn't announced anything yet. No announcements from the state government that they are going to provide compensation for those who were hurt or troubled in those events. Nothing. Nope, just get beaten up.

Why didn't R.R. Patil speak up then? He threatens us.... anyway, what's the point in threatening us? It's almost time for us (and him...a pun) to leave now.

(crowd laughs)

They don't think about anything that has already happened or what may happen. They don't do anything useful. Just get the cops beaten up. Anyone will come, drag our cops away, and beat them up?

The other day when they had that rally in Uttar Pradesh, rioted, destroyed property and all. The ones who did that were also all from outside - Pakistani Muslims and Bangladeshi Muslims. They all poured out into the streets. And what did they do? They defaced a statue of Gautam Buddha. Everyone saw it. Everyone saw pictures, saw it on TV.

Where is Mayawati? Where is that Ramdas Athavale? Where is R.S. Gavai? Where is Prakash Ambedkar? Why are they all silent? All they're obsessed with, as if possessed by a ghost, is Indu Mills Indu Mills Indu Mills Indu Mills. Don't they have anything else to do? What do they want to build in Indu Mills - a bungalow?

Why aren't they talking now? But no one will talk about these things now. They're not ready to utter a word. It's been so many days since the (11th August) incident. But there has been no statement about it from Ramdas Athavale. No statements from R.S. Gavai or Prakash Ambedkar or Mayawati, or anyone else. Nothing. Cat's got everyone's tongues.

This Mumbai Police Comissioner.....he has a "favorite" (that's the word he used) officer Dhoble. The other day, he takes a hockey stick and goes to that...what was that..juice center bar... juice center something...where did he go?

(crowd prompts)

Yes, Amar Juice Center. Is that a place to take a hockey stick to? Take your wife, your kids, I can understand, but a hockey stick? He takes a hockey stick there and beats up innocent people with that hockey stick? And what's his defense? He found drugs there....then why didn't he shut it down?

And this idiot...Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik....what's his explanation? He says Dhoble was on his way to play hockey and stopped over at the juice center. Tomorrow, if someone has gone for his honeymoon. So will he just turn up there naked?

(crowd laughs and cheers)

So Patnaik will go out of his way to protect Dhoble! Because Dhoble is his "favorite". And here (in Azad Maidan) when cops were waiting for orders to tackle the mob.....if not firing, at least give us orders for a lathi charge.... at that time Patnaik had nothing to say. And when our police officers were catching the guilty culprits, Patnaik abuses the officers, calling them "bastards"? He is demoralizing cops to such an extent?

This won't be allowed to happen in Maharashtra anymore. I only want to say one thing to R.R. Patil and Arup Patnaik. Even if you have a little bit of shame left...even a minuscule amount of shame left.... then resign. If you have even the slightest bit of shame left.

For the last two days, some newspapers have been saying - "Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is now moving towards Hindutva". Whoever raises his hands against a cop, whatever his religion, he should be bashed up wherever he is.

When my own party's MLA was bashed up....Harshavaradhan Jadhav.....is he here?  When Harshavardhan was bashed up.... I gave the orders for him to be bashed up... would he have been bashed up otherwise? When I gave a speech at that time, I said the same thing. Harshavaradhan, no matter what happens, you DO NOT raise your hands against a policeman. Never raise your hands against a cop.

This has nothing to do with religion. All the constables who were here, all my policewomen sisters...the female cops... I consider them all my Marathi brothers and Marathi sisters. I have come out on the streets here for them.

The rally that day (11th August) was organized by Muslims and today I have organized a protest rally against it.... so immediately they're jumping to the conclusion that I am "moving towards Hindutva"? I only understand...this Raj Thackeray only understands one religion...and that is Maharashtra religion. I don't understand any religion except that one. No one dare cross this Maharashtra religion. No one dare think of harming it.

And today's rally is only to boost the morale of the police and to provide wholehearted support to the police.  Along with them, we have people from the media here. Media vans were attacked, burnt, photographers were beaten up.... this rally is to express support for all of them too.

I thank you all for the tremendous response to this rally. If ever such events reoccur, we must stand together in strength like this.

When you're going back...all of you, when you're going back...keep in mind and make absolutely sure that you don't indulge in any sort of untoward activities. Go back in an orderly and peaceful manner to wherever you came from.

I hope that in the future whenever I call upon you, you will return with the same enthusiasm. And now I take your leave.

Jai Hind! Jai Maharashtra!

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          The Indian Collective Conscience's Blind Spot for Racism/Discrimination   
A 2009 issue The latest issue of Outlook has this cringe-inducing article by Diepiriye Kuku, an African American (and presumably gay) PhD student in Delhi. There's nothing new about stories of discrimination faced by Africans or African-Americans or North-East Indians in major Indian cities. These instances are real and shameful. But for me, the most hard-hitting portion was not the one where Kuku describes the specific instances of discrimination he's faced (as shameful as they were), but this

Outside of specific anchors of discourse such as Reservations, there is no consensus that discrimination is a redeemable social ill. This is the real issue with discrimination in India: her own citizens suffer and we are only encouraged to ignore situations that make us all feel powerless. Be it the mute-witnesses seeing racial difference for the first time, kids learning racism from their folks, or the blacks and northeasterners who feel victimised by the public, few operate from a position that believes in change.
Bingo! Kuku has put in words an issue I have been discussing with friends for several years now.

When I tweeted this story, I got a few responses which said "yes, but Indians are also discriminated against in the West" and "Blacks face discrimination even in America, not just India" and "Discrimination is a universal human trait, so why single out India?" That last bit is valid. Discrimination or xenophobia is indeed a universal trait. We have all heard of people discriminating against outsiders or minorities all over the world. India is definitely not unique in that regard.

Where India is unique.....well I shouldn't say unique....but different from societies at least in the West, is the way its collective conscience views racism, or more broadly discrimination against those belonging to groups that aren't part of the "mainstream". We have a major blind spot there.

In the West, yes, everyday there are instances of discrimination on the basis of race and sexuality. But in the West, the collective conscience, or the social discourse recognizes that this is wrong. People use the term "politically correct" like a pejorative. But in the West, it is not considered politically correct by the society to come out and say that some races are inferior. Or that gays are inferior or abominations. Yes, some nutcases say that but in the West, the mainstream collective opinion holds the ideal of equality very dear.

That is largely missing in India. There is no general understanding that saying someone is inferior based on their race or sexuality is wrong. It does exist, in some degree, when it comes to caste. While casteism is still prevalent in India in various forms, the general collective discourse recognizes that saying certain castes are inferior is wrong. The opponents of racism using "merit" is often a code for implied inferiority, but even the use of that code is a "thank heavens for small mercies" byproduct of that Indian collective conscience as least recognizing casteism as wrong.

But when it comes to racism or homophobia, the Indian collective conscience still has a blind spot. Most Indians feel no compunctions in saying that a particular race is inferior or that gays are "unnatural" or "sick" or "disgusting". We humans may never be able to completely rid ourselves of xenophobia and discrimination, the way we may never be able to rid ourselves of murder and rape. But we can take a step in the right direction by at least getting our collective consciences to recognize that xenophobia or discrimination is wrong, just the way murder and rape.

India is yet to take that step. It is lagging behind the West by some decades. The West's conscience wasn't always enlightened. Before the 60s, it was perfectly acceptable to say in public that blacks are inferior and so should be segregated. Even until the 70s and early 80s, it was perfectly acceptable in the West to treat gays as abominations or mutations. But that isn't the case now. The Western conscience has moved and continues to move in the right direction.

I hope India's collective conscience does too. And soon.



          Hari Tatya by P. L. "PuLa" Deshpande   
It's been a couple of years since I translated anything by PuLa. While considering different options about what to translate next, Hari Tatya stood out as a particular appealing candidate. He is so universally identifiable. Hari Tatya - the eccentric but genial family friend with one foot firmly in the distant past that all kids have encountered growing up. Your Hari Tatya might not have been interested in history. Maybe he was into politics, or science, or even astrology. But that does not take away from the HariTatyaness of all Hari Tatyas.
Usual caveats apply - I cannot even pretend to be a good enough translator to keep most of PuLa's magic intact. But even a fraction of the essence of the character sketch should make it readable. And I have changed or omitted some references to make the essay accessible. And used contemporary phrases and expressions.

A couple of days ago, I heard someone use the phrase "irrefutable proof", and I was suddenly reminded of Hari Tatya. I had heard him say "I have irrefutable proof of this!!" hundreds of times during the course of my childhood in Mumbai. So had everyone else who knew him. So much so, that my grandma's nickname for Hari Tatya was "Mr. Irrefutable Proof". 

There was nothing surprising about his penchant for that phrase, because he is always making claims that can't be justified without irrefutable proof. The guy refuses to inhabit the present. And describes the past as if he can see it unfolding in front of his eyes. He's been like that for as long as I can remember. Obviously, I can't remember the first time I saw him. But I am sure he remembers it vividly.

"Purushottam! Come on, son! How can you not remember? It was a Saturday. Late in the afternoon. How can you not remember?"

That's how he's sure to chide me for forgetting the details of my birth.

The remarkable thing about Hari Tatya was how informally he addressed everyone, be they younger or older than him. He is the only person I ever knew who spoke to my generally feared and respected grandpa like an old chum. Of course, we knew him as grandpa's friend. But he was obviously several years younger. Because he generally treated grandpa with respect and veneration. In his own way. He never used the respectful pronoun as is the norm when speaking to elders in India. But whenever grandpa entered the room,  Hari Tatya would sit up straight. Maybe because grandpa gave him some pocket money to tide him over every month. And often provided him with seed funding for his latest entrepreneurial venture.   

No one in the family can remember exactly when this creature named Hari Tatya became a part of our extended household. My grandfather was a very generous man, and a friend to anyone who tried to be his friend. So it was difficult to predict exactly how many people he'd bring home any given evening to have dinner with the family. Of course, in those days of the big joint family, the occasional dinner guest or two didn't really bother those minding the kitchen. In those days, rice, dal, and flour for a meal were measured not by cupfuls, but by fistfuls. The dinner table was populated by not just immediate family, but also uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins once, twice, several times removed. There was also the occasional son or daughter of a family friend studying in the city, in addition to ABC's brother-in-law and XYZ's neighbor's son-in-law. So at pretty much any meal, there were always a few unexpected guests present. I don't recall many evenings when our joint family of 12 had less than 25 plates laid out for dinner.

My grandma seemed to me like Annapoorna (the goddess of nourishment) reincarnated. Her hands were blessed with some magical touch that imparted rich flavor even on a glass of water she served. So you can imagine how tasty and welcoming any dinner table she laid out was. Hari Tatya joined our family by turning up at one such dinner table. After that, he kept turning up. He was there with us at joyous occasions. He was with us at sad moments. 

But all those years, even as I grew up and looked different every year, Hari Tatya always looked the same. A simple cotton shirt, modest dhoti, and a rarely-washed Gandhi cap. We kids referred to his style of wearing the cap as "Compass Fashion". If his nose pointed east, then the two ends of his cap seemed to align with the North-South axis, like a compass needle.   

I never had any idea what Hari Tatya did for a living. I only knew that grandpa kept helping him start some "promising new business" every few months. Grandpa had always had a dream of owning and running his own business. But his stable and respected position in society, the steady income his job brought him, and the large family depending on that income, made taking any big risks all but impossible. So he lived his entrepreneurial dream vicariously through Hari Tatya by funding Hari Tatya's ambitious albeit modestly scaled business ideas. 

I remember one monsoon season when grandpa gave Hari Tatya money to start a business selling umbrellas. For the next couple of years, everyone in the family got a new umbrella for free in the first week of June. But I doubt Hari Tatya's umbrella business was profitable any longer than an umbrella mushroom's lifespan. It seemed like grandpa was more devoted to making the umbrella business succeed. I remember he would come home from work in the evening every day and hand Hari Tatya a sheet of paper,

"Here are orders for some umbrellas. Be sure to deliver them to these addresses right away."

Then we kids would accompany Hari Tatya, brand new umbrellas stacked on our heads, making deliveries to customers that grandpa has managed to canvas during his day job. We kids usually didn't move a muscle for anyone else. We'd disappear if anyone else tried to give us a chore. But for Hari Tatya, we didn't mind looking ridiculous walking the streets with those umbrellas on our heads. We loved his company so much, we'd have walked on coals with umbrellas on our heads if he had asked us to.

Hari Tatya told us absorbing stories and taught us fascinating poems and shlokas as we accompanied him. That too at the top of his voice while walking on the street without any regard to passers by. I remember an anecdote from one of our umbrella sorties. We were all walking with those umbrellas stacked on our heads. Hari Tatya told us to put the umbrellas down, and join him on a stone bench on a street square, and regaled us with the story of Sant Ramdas.

He had a truly unique narrative style. As a result of that narrative style, for many years, we kids were under the impression that Hari Tatya, Sant Ramdas, Moropant, Sant Tukaram, Vaman Pandit, Shivaji Maharaj etc. all once lived together in the same neighborhood. Because no matter how far back in the past the event he was narrating had occurred, he effortlessly injected himself into the proceedings. The way he recounted those stories convinced us that he had seen it all unfold in front of his eyes.

"Kids, I tell you, this Ramdas, even as a kid, was quite the character! He would run away and hide somewhere. We'd keep searching, keep seeking, but couldn't find him! His mother would ask us - have you seen my little Narayan anywhere? We'd say, sorry ma'am, we have no idea. Poor woman, she'd keep looking for him all over the village."

"Once she asked the village chief - have you seen my Narayan anywhere? The village chief had the habit of pouncing on any opportunity to be arrogant. He said - Narayan? Which Narayan? There are hundreds of Narayans in this village! Mother said - Please help me, sir. My Narayan. Narayan Thosar. Have you seen him?"

"Poor lady. There were tears in her eyes. And with good reason. Tell me Purushottam, if you go missing some day. And your mother is looking for you everywhere. Won't she tear up? Tell me, Purushottam! Won't she??"

Hari Tatya would narrate this story with so much pathos, that all our eyes would moisten up as well. Then we'd start walking again to make sure the umbrellas were delivered on time. But as our hands held the umbrellas on our heads, our shirt sleeves would be busy wiping our tearful eyes as Hari Tatya continued with Sant Ramdas a.k.a Narayan Thosar's story.

"Narayan's mother was terrified! Fair good-looking little boy. I tell you guys, this Narayan looked so beautiful as a child. Positively radiant.  Plus he'd just had his threading ceremony, and wore a pearl earring. She was aghast - did those Muslim invaders kidnap him to convert him to Islam??? Oh my god!!!"

"And kids, I tell you....those damned Muslim invaders in those days....they weren't decent like Muslims we know today. No! They were just so damn #$%%*&^$#......"

And he'd unleash a barrage of expletives that any other adult would've deemed inappropriate for our supposedly innocent young ears. Maybe it's because of these expletives he let loose so readily, but to our pre-pubescent minds, Hari Tatya seemed like the epitome of valor and courage. 

"So then, hours ticked by. And soon it was afternoon. Still no sign of Narayan! Mother ran home and spread her arms in front of Lord Ram's idol. Ah, how beautiful that idol was, kids, believe me! So divine...."

And Hari Tatya folded his hands to pay respects to that imaginary idol of Lord Ram floating in the air in front of him. We all were still carrying umbrellas. But still, we did our best to twist our arms and pay our respects to the imaginary idol too.

"She said - Goddess Sita, please find me my Narayan, and I will give you an offering of my best clothes and a coconut! Mother said that, and opened the closet to take out her best clothes to offer to the goddess. And lo! Narayan was sitting in the closet!"

"Mother wailed in delight - NAAARAAYANAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!"

And Hari Tatya yelled so loudly, that everyone around us on the street stopped whatever they were doing and started staring at us.

"Mother took Narayan in her arms and said - My son, I have been looking for you all over the village. What are you doing here? .... Do you know Purushottam, what Narayan's response was?"

I shook my head.

"Yeah, well, it's difficult for you to know. How would you know? An innocent little child like you can't even imagine what the future Sant Ramdas said. Narayan said...get this, kids.... Narayan said - Mother, I was pondering the fate of the world"

"That's what he said - I was pondering the fate of the world."

Hari Tatya finished the story. He blew his nose. Then he wiped his eyes with his shirt sleeves. All us little umbrella carriers, or chhatrapatis, had no idea what to do next. Hari Tatya regained control of his demeanor and said,

"Just think Purushottam.... he was about your age. And what did he say? I was pondering the fate of the world! Unbelievable! Simply divine! Tell me Purushottam, do you have such a boy in your class? A boy who will hide in the closet? And say - I was pondering the fate of the world?? Is there? Tell me!"

I meekly shook my head.

"Yeah! So that was Ramdas! Saintly right from his childhood. I have irrefutable proof of this. He went on to become Ramdas Swami.... Sant Ramdas. But just because he was a Sant, don't think he was a softie. You should've seen him flex his muscles. The way his biceps sprang up, almost jumping out of his skin, I tell you! All he had to do was bend his arm ever so slightly, and his bicep would spring up. If you struck his bicep with an iron bar, the iron bar would bend! But Sant Ramdas would barely notice the blow. Barely...."

Hari Tatya kept staring into nothingness for a couple of minutes as if he had just seen Sant Ramdas in the flesh. He smiled a little and gradually shook his head in admiration. 

Then suddenly, as if waking up from a dream, he shook his shoulders. And in a voice completely devoid of the narration-specific baritone,  he said,

"Umm....Purushottam....tell me...Nerulkar...Nerulkar is the guy who lives around the corner from the grocery store, right? How many umbrellas has he ordered? Three, right? Let me check..."

Hari Tatya fished out the sheet from his pocket, verified the order, and led our umbrella-bearing procession to the Nerulkar residence. 

No one in that procession had yet truly returned to the present, to the real world. One kid was visualizing the full scale and strength of Sant Ramdas' legendary biceps. Another was wondering how a well-built 10 year could fit inside a 17th century closet in a poor Brahmin family's house. Yet another was promising himself that when he grew up, he'd work out so intensely that an iron bar would bend when struck on his biceps. With all these anachronistic thoughts in our minds, dreamy expressions on our faces, and umbrellas on our heads, we were helping Hari Tatya run his business.

It goes without saying that the umbrella business didn't last long. None of Hari Tatya's businesses did. The reason was obvious to me. Hari Tatya aspired to run those businesses. But his passion and dedication towards running them was nothing compared to the passion and dedication grandpa had for those businesses. But grandpa's passion and dedication was moot, since he couldn't practically quit his job. And Hari Tatya, who was supposed to run the business, usually inhabited a completely different reality.

Later, grandpa gave Hari Tatya money to start a business selling agarbattis (incense sticks). So Hari Tatya started walking around with a big bag of agarbattis hanging from his neck. Grandpa and Hari Tatya would discuss the sales of the day every evening. Often, it'd turn out that Hari Tatya had taken 1 rupee from a customer for an agarbatti pack worth 75 paise, and returned 50 paise instead of 25 paise. And on most days, the bag hanging from his neck was as full in the evening as it had been in the morning. 

But still, after all these discussions, on his way out, Hari Tatya would open the door and happily yell at us kids,

"Jai Jai Raghuveer Samartha!" 

That's a line from the Dasbodh - Sant Ramdas' treatise on spiritual and practical matters. It is particularly known among Marathi people for its guidance on practical matters, a ready reckoner for success, if you will. Hari Tatya was a man who kept quoting that practical treatise at every possible opportunity, but remained utterly and truly impractical. He never reached an appointment on time, never left an appointment on time.

Grandpa and Hari Tatya clearly loved each other, cared for each other. But they also spent several nights arguing with each other. Random corners of various rooms in our house were stacked with unsold inventory from Hari Tatya's failed ventures - from umbrellas to agarbattis to books to backpacks. Once in a while, when we eavesdropped on the arguments, what Hari Tatya said was oddly but somehow appropriately unrelated to the business at hand and more relevant to arcane Maratha history,

"Dude, I have irrefutable proof of this! Come with me to Maval right now! I can literally see where that horse Krishna's hooves landed!" 

And truly, Hari Tatya could probably see where those hooves has landed centuries ago. I often wonder if Hari Tatya's default existence was in the distant past, in the golden age of the Maratha empire. The odd occasion when he acknowledged the 20th century was probably like a dream to him.

"So there we all were. Standing in the royal court with Shivaji Maharaj on the throne. And they brought in the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor. Oh wow! She was absolutely gorgeous! A true beauty if I ever saw one! And as the victorious king, Shivaji Maharaj had the right to have his way with her. She was his for the taking. She was so damn beautiful, I tell you guys! And her flawless milky white complexion! She was at least 6 times as fair as this girl Yami everyone thinks is so fair. And I'm not making this up, boys. I have irrefutable proof of this!"

When I was a kid, our neighbor Yami Gokhale was the benchmark of fair complexion. She had the whitest skin we ever saw. The Gokhales were the only Konknastha Brahmin family in our neighborhood, and Konknastha Brahmins are reputed to have fair/white skins. The rest of us were mainly Deshpande-Kulkarni types with wheatish-to-dark skins. Hari Tatya himself was as dark as the iron pillar in Delhi. So when he said "6 times as fair as this girl Yami", we had genuine trouble imagining how fair the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor must have been. But Hari Tatya had no trouble embellishing his story.

"We were all standing there, staring, admiring her beauty. Maharaj himself was stunned by her beauty..... tell me kids.... Maharaj who???"

We had all memorized the answer to this question thanks to several prior lessons from Hari Tatya,

"GoBrahminPratipalakKshatriyaKulavatansaChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaj!!!"

We kids yelled out the official complete title for Shivaji as if we were orderlies in the Maratha court of the 1600s. When we said this correctly, Hari Tatya regally looked at us with an expression of pride and humility, as if he were Shivaji himself!

"Well done, boys! So anyway....where was I?"

"6 times as fair as Yami" one of us piped up.

"Okay, you idiot. Who was 6 times as fair as Yami?"

"The wife of Kalyan's vanquished governor."

"WIFE????????" Hari Tatya screeched.

We all took a step back.

"You idiot! Where did his wife come from? There in Kalyan, the vanquished governor is splayed out dying, yelling YA ALLAH! YA ALLAH!"

And Hari Tatya laid down on the ground with his limbs flailing in the air, invoking the Koranic almighty.

"He is dying! His wife is next to him, crying! The one they brought to Shivaji Maharaj's court was his beautiful daughter-in-law!" 

"6 times as fair as..."

"YES!" Hari Tatya thundered, "Will you stop obsessing over Yami, for crying out loud?"

The boy looked away and Hari Tatya continued,

"So we were all staring at this exquisite beauty that was the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor. And Maharaj was looking at her too. Oh, and how handsome Maharaj himself looked, I tell you, boys! Eyes like an eagle. Sharp straight nose. Thick flowing beard. Rich well-defined sideburns....."

Whenever Hari Tatya narrated a story about Shivaji Maharaj, this effusive description of his appearance was bound to turn up sooner rather than later. As soon as Hari Tatya mentioned the sideburns, we'd complete the remaining description -

"...the regal crown on his head, the divine Bhavani sword at his waist, a pearl necklace hanging against his chest, a tilak on his forehead....."

When we completed this description, Hari Tatya looked at us all with an expression of genuine bliss and satisfaction.

"Well done, boys!" Hari Tatya nodded and continued, "So Maharaj said to the beauty - betaa, pardaa nikaalo, darney ki koi baat nahin (Child, take off your veil. There is no need to be afraid.)"

All of us had heard the story of the daughter-in-law of Kalyan's vanquished governor dozens of times. But every time, this particular line was delivered in Hindi for some reason.

"So that beauty raised her veil. Maharaj looked at her. And said - Wow! Goddess Bhavani has made you extremely beautiful!"

Because of Hari Tatya's numerous renditions of this story, all us kids grew up assuming that the job of making someone beautiful had been assigned to Goddess Bhavani. In fact, we were so convinced of it, that for many years afterwards, whenever I saw a beautiful woman, I'd think to myself - Goddess Bhavani has done a good job on her!

"Maharaj then said - If my mother had been as good looking as you, then maybe I too would have been good looking! Hearing this, I swear you Purushottam, that lady was so touched, tears started flowing from her eyes. Then Maharaj gave her a sari as a gift, and respectfully sent her back to Kalyan, untouched and unmolested. That's how wise and decent our Maharaj was!"

Just as Hari Tatya finished narrating the story, grandpa showed up. Suddenly, Hari Tatya's demeanor changed, and he earnestly said,

"Listen Purushottam, tomorrow morning, we must leave really early to sell those agarbattis, understand? Later on, the streets get so crowded, that it's difficult to move about!"

Of course, all us kids understood the sudden change in Hari Tatya. In fact, we had an unspoken arrangement with him, in which, if we saw grandpa approaching, we would quietly tell Hari Tatya about it.

This arrangement worked great when we were kids. But kids don't always stay kids. They grow up.

We grew up too. Lost our wide-eyes innocence, and developed a healthy sense of cynicism and sarcasm. We went from revering Hari Tatya to poking fun at Hari Tatya. Once we started making fun of the guy, we realized that grandma had been doing it for ages. If he occasionally turned up late for dinner, grandma would say,

"Oh, you still haven't had dinner, Hari Tatya?? When you didn't show up at the usual time, I thought Shivaji Maharaj insisted you stay over at his palace for dinner!"

Hari Tatya would say nothing.

"Or maybe at Peshwa Bajirao's table tonight.... in a silver plate!"

I don't think the ridicule mattered to Hari Tatya. In fact, I am sure that in his mind, he really had dined with Shivaji Maharaj thousands of times. Once he entered the idyllic world of the past, he completely immersed himself in it. 

Once, our entire family went to Pune for a function. Hari Tatya came with us. For him, Pune, steeped in Maratha history, was Valhalla. Not only did he come with us, but he took all us kids for several walks around the city all week, and all but recounted the history associated with every tiny rock we encountered.

When Hari Tatya took us to the bare spartan innards of the historic Peshwa palace Shanivaarvaada, he told us the story of Peshwa Narayanrao's murder. And of course, he ran around the place yelling,

"UNCLE!! SAVE ME!! UNCLE!! SAVE ME!!"

Be it the reign of Shivaji or the reign of Peshwas, this man was always there. 'How was Hari Tatya present at every historic event related to the Maratha empire in the 17th, 18th, and 19th century?' - was a question we never asked ourselves when we were children. And when we grew up, although we poked a little fun at him, we never asked him that uncomfortable question to force him to confront the fact that his fantasy world was just that - a fantasy.

Hari Tatya led us through the streets of Pune, reliving several processions full of elephants and horses. His eyes had apparently seen the first ever public Ganpati, in Kasba. He didn't just know the details of everything that went on at Lal Mahal; he could even identify the window from which Shaistekhan was hanging when he lost his fingers to Shivaji's sword. 

"And the bugger went to the Mughal emperor Delhi and greeted him with his chopped up fingers!" Hari Tatya told us with ill-concealed glee, "The emperor said to Shaistekhan - Sir Uncle, where are your fingers? Khan said to the emperor - that bastard Shivaji, that rat of the hills, he cut them off! Imagine that! This no-good Shaistekhan called Maharaj a bastard! That damn #$%%@#$$#@@@..."

Hari Tatya, in the presence of us kids, fired at Shaistekhan a colorful expletive of such unbridled hostility, that if the Khan had heard it, he would've presented his hands to Hari Tatya and said, "if you want, cut off my remaining fingers, but please, stop with the profanity!"   

Hari Tatya often turned up when least expected. Similarly, he often disappeared when least expected. On Chaturthi (a holy night for Marathis), if Hari Tatya didn't show up for dinner, even grandma would wonder,

"Where the heck is Hari Tatya? Has he gone to Panipat to wage another ill-advised war?"

Hari Tatya was sorely missed on every holy occasion that he didn't show up, solely for his flair at leading aarti (public prayer). He knew hundreds of of aartis. He seemed to know by heart the aarti for every god and goddess in the Hindu pantheon. When a shirtless Hari Tatya, with tilak on his forehead would start the aarti of the Dashaavtaars in his booming voice, everyone's hands instinctively came together in devotion. And when I say his voice boomed, I mean it! Even the person holding the pooja plate would put it down, probably worried about it vibrating because of the voice.

"AAAARTI SAPREM JAIJAI VITTHAL PARABRAHMAAAA....PHAKTA SANKATI NANAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...."

When that "AAAAA" started, all us kids would have bets on who could keep going the longest without stopping for breath.

"PAACHAVE AVATAAR PARICHE DAADHI TISTHASI.....SAHAVAA AVATAAAR..."

By the time he was halfway through the 10 avatars, Hari Tatya's own delirious avatar was worth marveling over. We kids would get caught up in the fervor too. Whenever Hari Tatya became engrossed in the aarti, his right eye developed an odd squint. On such occasions, we kids would turn our back on the holy idols and stare at the divine Hari Tatya instead.

"PINDYA PATAKAA...VAISHNAV NAACHATI..."

At this line, he'd spin on the spot a couple of times. We kids would spin too.

"CHANDRABHAAGE MADHYE SNAAN KARITI"

I can still picture the imaginary dip he would take in the imaginary holy river at this line.

Towards the end of the aarti, his voice got even louder at the DEVAAAA.... and of course, all us kids would join in. That was the only moment in the whole year when we had a license to scream as loudly as we wanted. That's what made Hari Tatya so special to us kids - in his company, we could be what we wished we could be all the time.

Today, after remembering Hari Tatya after all these years, I can't help but get a little choked up. Dozens of people of all ages, appearances, and backgrounds came to visit grandpa when I was growing up. I can remember some of them well, can't even picture the faces of many others. But no one was as memorable as Hari Tatya.

When Hari Tatya walked into the compound of our house, he'd first stop and talk to us kids playing in the yard, and only then go greet the adults. He was popular not only among the kids in my family, but also other kids in the neighborhood, who had no compunctions in calling out his name when they saw him,

"Hariii Taatyaaaaaa!"

Hari Tatya would acknowledge the kid who had called out his name and do his best to entertain. He'd pretend to jump up and down like a monkey, make funny faces, march around like a drummer boy until everyone was laughing. He'd stop whatever he was doing to entertain kids.

Sometimes he'd do this when he was walking with grandpa, engaged in some serious discussion about their latest business venture. Grandpa would discover that he was talking to fresh air, and Hari Tatya had stopped several steps back to make faces at some kid. On such occasions, grandpa scolded him in public, asked him to behave like a grown-up.

But grandpa did love Hari Tatya a lot, like a brother. I never fully understood why the bond between them was so strong, because you couldn't find two men more unlike each other. But the bond was strong. If grandma made some special dessert, grandpa would always remind her to set some aside for Hari Tatya. Not that grandma needed any reminders. She cared about him too. Often she'd tell other women in the kitchen to make sure there's enough food set aside for "that old crow Hari Tatya" in case he dropped by.

Hari Tatya resembled a crow in many ways. When he moved his gaze, he moved not just his eyes, but even his neck, like a crow does. His eyes had a slight squint, like crow's eyes. But his squinted gaze had seen a lot of things that others with a normal gaze missed. He had seen Shivaji's coronation, the third battle of Panipat, the Buradi Ghat skirmish...

"Even if we die, we'll keep fighting on!" Hari Tatya, down on the ground in our front yard with  limbs flailing, hollered Dattaji Shinde's dying words.

Even today when I read Dattaji's tragic death, I see him as Hari Tatya in my front yard. Over the years Hari Tatya got me intimately acquainted with Shivaji, Tanaji, Tukaram, and everyone of any importance in Maratha history.

I never really liked history lessons at school, nor did I fully understand them. School history was infested with dates that had to be memorized. Hari Tatya's history wasn't tangled in the cobwebs of distant dates; it was as alive as he was. And he brought it to life for me.

As a child when I made my first trip to Pune, I was surprised not to see Shivaji or Sambhaji Maharaj there. When the train passed through the Sahyadris, I hoped to catch the glimpse of the Marathi army crossing the hills in full battle gear. Hari Tatya's refusal to think of history in past tense had rubbed of on me. His tendency to inject himself into any event and narrate in first person made it seem like all those events had occurred just before Hari Tatya came to our house.

People often personify History when they say things like "History will remember", "History will note", "History tell us", and so on. Today I realize that the "I" in Hari Tatya's stories was never meant to be Hari Tatya himself, but that personification of History.

"All us soldiers on Sinhagad were terrified by the enemy's swollen ranks, and started running away from battle, when Suryaji stood in our way. WAIT, he shouted at us, I HAVE CUT OFF THE ROPES THAT WE USED TO CLIMB UP. Well, what could we do? There was no way to run. So we turned around and joined the battle again. A sword through an enemy's throat, a spear through another's stomach, we kept going!"

"Tanaji had already been martyred. Shelarmama was wounded, but still fighting. I tell you, Purushottam, I have never seen a man bleed as much as Shelarmama did that night. His clothes were completely red. But oh, when he finally landed a blow on that Udaybhaan.... that was all it tok. Udaybhaan was flat on his back. Soon the tide turned, and we had won. We lit up the signal torches. Shivaji Maharaj saw our signal and reached Sinhagad in an hour."

"When he learned that Tanaji had died, Maharaj started bawling like a baby! Like a baby, I tell you! He said in a broken voice - "I got my gad (fort) back, but I lost my sinha (lion)". Oh, the plaintive voice when he said it, I swear to you Purushottam, I couldn't bear to hear it. I had never and have never since heard Maharaj sound like that. And I have irrefutable proof of this. Not making it up. Even the stones on Sinhagad melted at the intensity of Maharaj's sorrow. That's how Maharaj was. Which Maharaj?"

"GoBrahminPratipalak........" we'd break into our well-rehearsed chant.

As time went by, my childhood too became history. Most of the elders in the family passed away. The house also aged. Maintaining the yard became too much of a hassle, so it was tiled. The little flower garden was gone, as were grandpa, grandma, and dad. I lost touch with most other members of the family as well. There was no way to always keep in touch with Hari Tatya.

Once in a while, the clock turns back, and in the broken glasses of the old house's windows, I see countless reflections from my childhood. Occasionally the scent of an agarbatti, or the first drop of rain on a new umbrella makes me think of Hari Tatya. And his voice starts echoing in my head.

That man, no relation of mine, gave me more than most of my close relatives ever did. He'd take us kids high in the open skies of fantasy on his wings of history. Bring to life everyone from history. He made sure that the roots of the tiny saplings that were our childhoods were buried deep in a glorious past. Hari Tatya never gave us snacks or candy that money could buy, but instilled in us a sense of pride for our heritage that no treasure in the world can.

He strengthened our tiny wrists with the character of the past. I never realized it then, but can see the true value of his efforts now. Those wrists don't always turn the way they are supposed to. But Hari Tatya instilled in us the confidence that if need be, they can turn the course of history.

Now Hari Tatya himself is part of history. Old age made him a shadow of his former self. It was much later, during his last and eventually fatal bout of illness, that I learned Hari Tatya had a grown-up son. He worked in some trading firm in East Africa.

In those final days, when I went to meet him, I couldn't bear to look at what old age had done to him. He was almost fully blind. As he laid there looking weak, his shriveled body didn't even cover half the bed. I sat next to him.

"Hari Tatya, it's me Purushottam."

"Oh Purushotam! Great!" he smiled in the direction of my voice, "As you can see, I am now Surdas! So how have you been? You're in Delhi these days, right?"

"Yes."

"Ah, never got to see Delhi."

"Why don't you come with me?"

"There's no use now. I may be able to visit Delhi, but won't be able to see it, which is the whole point. No, I'll just admire it in my mind."

Hari Tatya felt silent. I felt tempted to gather all my childhood friends, including the 1/6th fair Yami Gokhale, and holler,

"GoBrahminPratipalakKshatriyaKulavatansaChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaj!!!"

Maybe it would have brought life back to his eyes, put some meat on his bones, and maybe he'd have said,

"I tell you, Purushottam! We were all standing there dumbfounded in the court at Delhi. And Sadashivrao Bhau was chipping away at the golden throne! With his bare hands! Pieces of gold flying all around, as the rest of us watched, unable to move!"

Come to think of it, Hari Tatya didn't need to see Delhi for all this. Whatever he had seen of history, he hadn't seen with the eyes he lost to old age. I spent several hours with him and left, aware that this might be the last time I get to meet him.

A few days later, Hari Tatya's obituary appeared in the newspaper with the cliched salutations and praises - affectionate, kind, loved by all, etc etc. As I read the obituary, I realized it didn't even come close to capturing the essence of the man. It was the first and last printed record my old childhood friend, who usually lived in the distant past, having any contact with the present. All it did was offer "irrefutable proof" that a man called Hari Tatya had existed in our times.
  

          On Ad Hominem and Relative Morality   
A few hours back, @riffraaf whom I follow on twitter and have great regard for, and I had a disagreement over the aftermath of the Rosen-Romney episode. We exchanged a couple of emails. She wrote this post.

This is my response

Very well put. I agree mostly.

Here's where I am coming from: Rosen made a stupid comment. Faux outrage about how Ann Romney is such a victim ensued. (never mind our FLOTUS is bashed in ugly ways every day but that's probably the partisan in me talking, you might say).


Oh, Michelle is definitely bashed in the ugliest ways. It is bizarre to me that someone can make combating obesity into some evil plot!

Some of the people I follow on the right started labeling it as #waronmoms. This was a completely cynical response to left's #waronwomen. Now they wanted to beat the left at their own game. I get it.


Yup, they're just being cynical. But being helped by the left propagating articles like the rude pundit's.

But there was more to #waronwomen (though I personally loathe to use this slogan): Most women I know who are not into partisanship in general (because they're too busy raising kids and handling jobs unlike me :) ) got really riled up with a series of events that hurt women's rights: starting from planned parenthood defunding by Komen to birth control access issues to Sandra fluke (and Rush Limbaugh harassing Fluke for 3 entire days calling her a slut, prostitute, how she should put her porn videos online so he can watch it and so on) to ultra sound bills to new arizona laws infringing rights further.


Agree. That's how my wife (Indian-born American-raised) wife is. She is not as much into politics. She does follow it more than others. She is, like me, a fiscal conservative. But for her, this #waronwomen trumps anything else. Anything related to planned parenthood (which she loves) and birth control gets her riled up. So even if Obama raises taxes by gazillion percent (she hates tax raises even on rich folks), the social aspect of it against women's rights will always make her vote democrat.

So it irritates me to no end that suddenly Risen is somehow equivalent of Limbaugh and all the incivilities shown against women in the last year are equivalent to one insensitive remark made by a Rosen who was a nobody until now (even w/ her hillary support in 2008 and apparently having contributed to Obama campaign in 2008).


I don't think Rosen is equivalent of the much much viler and nastier and just plain-worse-human-being Limbaugh. I am not drawing the equivalence, so I am not going to defend the equivalence.

However, on its own, what Rosen said is definitely insensitive and stupid. And undoubtedly ad hominem. That's all that matters to me, as someone who doesn't count himself on the left or the right when it comes to identifying with movements. By saying what she did, Rosen attacked who Ann Romney, not what Ann or Mitt Romney were saying, making it a classic ad hominem attack.

It's politically damaging I agree. But it's a huge fake outrage and no where near what's really happening to women all over the country (whether w/ healthcare, minimum wages, equal pay, infringing on woman's body, unemployment and so on that affect women in REAL ways).

So I know Obama was doing what any Dem politician would do, but I'm still turned off by this whole latest, what I call Faux outrage.


Granted that some of those outraging are just fake-outraging. Just taking the chance to score points against their political opponents. Granted that many of those outraging on the right have possibly said much worse and more misogynist stuff against women.

But what Rosen said was still stupid and insensitive. And IMO, the Obama campaign by denouncing what Rosen said, is doing not just the politically expedient thing, but the right thing. And elements of the left by digging in and writing posts/articles undermining the worth of Ann Romney's life, are doing the WRONG thing, be it politically or morally.
          Woods respond to last year’s presidential election with a message and vibe of love   
Jammy New York band Woods aren’t any sort of a political combo, but that doesn’t mean the members don’t feel the overwhelming weight of last year’s election. In preparing to make their latest album, Love Is Love (Woodist), they made the deliberate choice to respond by embracing the titular emotion rather than the rage that enveloped so many of us.…
          TS181:San Diego, Faith & Flying, Rep. Molly White with Guest Timothy Simons   
This week in "Your Boner is Not My Problem", Erin discusses the problem of Orthodox Judaic men refusing to sit next to women who aren't their wives (so everyone). Bryan reads Molly White, Texas representative and boring name haver, for refusing to speak to her gay constituents. And speaking of politics (segue) Timothy Simons from HBO's "Veep" stops by to talk lobsters, set building, and gambling with dreams. 
          TS173:50 Shades, Alabama Equality Saga, Sen. Tom Corbin, Steel Magnolias   
Erin saw Fifty Shades of Grey! Bryan saw Steel Magnolias! Plus, South Carolina has a huge problem with women in politics and gay marriage in Alabama is a huge mess! M'Lynn would be so sad.  Tweet Us!  @gibblertron & @bryansafi  #tspod  
          TS169:Plastic Wine, Cake, Justice for Men and Boys, Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling   
It's time to sit back, relax, and pop open your very best plastic bottle of Chardonnay. This week, Erin takes a new political party  in Britain called Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB) to task. And Bryan looks at the biggest gay marriage case that the Supreme Court will hear. Will it be the biggest gay decision ever in America? Will Bryan and Erin watch "Cake?" Do either of them know what clam-diggers are? Find out now!  Subscribe and Rate Us! iTunes Tweet Us!  @gibblertron & @bryansafi Use the Hashtag #tspod Email Us! shadethrowing@gmail.com Like Us! Throwing Shade Facebook Page Old School Listen! RSS Feed
          TS132: South Carolina Lesbians, Wall Street Insanity, and Guest Betty Who   
Be all that you can be - when you join the ranks of the US Lesbian Army! Hear about the University of South Carolina Upstate college performance of the satirical "How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days" that tricked super angry state politicians into thinking it was an actual lesbian recruiting center. AND! 50 things that every woman NEEDS to know about men, according to the experts at Wall Street Insanity. PLUS! Betty Who stops by to chat, be charming, and honors us with an acoustic version of "Somebody Loves You" at the end of the episode!    Watch Us!  Every Wednesday on Funny or Die See Us! TSPOD Live shows Subscribe and Rate Us! iTunes Tweet Us!  @gibblertron & @bryansafi Use the Hashtag #tspod Email Us! shadethrowing@gmail.com Like Us! Throwing Shade Facebook Page Old School Listen! RSS FeedProud member of Max Fun Podcasting Network 
          TS130: Earthquakes, Scott Lively, Dress Codes, Guest Susan Orlean   
The big one is coming, and yes we're talking about earthquakes and yes, we're talking about episode 130! Bryan talks about extremely awful anti-gay politician and Orson Welles impersonator Scott Lively, Erin talks about school dress codes for ladies, and they both talk to acclaimed writer (and natural redhead) Susan Orlean.  Watch Us!  Every Wednesday on Funny or Die See Us! TSPOD Live shows Subscribe and Rate Us! iTunes Tweet Us!  @gibblertron & @bryansafi Use the Hashtag #tspod Email Us! shadethrowing@gmail.com Like Us! Throwing Shade Facebook Page Old School Listen! RSS FeedProud member of Max Fun Podcasting Network 
          French politician Marine Le Pen under formal investigation for misuse of EU funds   
Prosecutors have placed French far-right leader Marine Le Pen under formal investigation as part of a probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.
          Comment on Mixtape Podcast: The Politics of Aging by pc games for windows 8   
<strong>pc games for windows 8</strong> [...]usually posts some incredibly fascinating stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]
          TS120: The Bachelor, Senator-Elect Black Dick, Flowers in the Attic, Looking   
This week, Throwing Shade is LOOKING good! (Get it? The tv show "Looking"? Jokes. Funny.) Bryan and Erin also revel in Heather Graham's incredible performance in Lifetime's "Flowers in the Attic" as well as the benefits of swishing coconut oil in your mouth. Bryan throws shade on paid idiot and Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis who said some pretty terrible things about gay people, or as he calls them, "pervert." Then Erin talks about political hopeful Dick Black, who has some truly insane things to say about women.  This week, why not take a bath face-down?  Watch Us!  Every Wednesday on Funny or Die Subscribe and Rate Us! iTunes Tweet Us!  @gibblertron & @bryansafi Use the Hashtag #tspod Email Us! shadethrowing@gmail.com Like Us! Throwing Shade Facebook Page Old School Listen! RSS FeedProud member of Max Fun Podcasting Network 
          California politicians' gun control moves hit by 2 setbacks   
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California politicians&apos; attempts to strengthen some of the nation&apos;s strictest gun laws suffered two setbacks this week - the latest when a federal judge blocked a law set to take effect Saturday barring gun owners from possessing ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets....
          TS90: Throwing Shade Live @ Chop Suey Seattle   
Just like the classic American re-invention of a dish that never existed in China, this show is full of eggs, meat, politics and nonsense.  Listen very closely and you'll hear the Canadians in the audience.  See TSPOD live on our East Coast tour! Buy tickets here Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod shadethrowing@gmail.com Official Max Fun Page Facebook page RSS Feed
          Move to block Nicole’s candidacy   

Legal moves have been initiated against the Congress of the People (COP) giving the party until today to halt the candidacy of Nicole Dyer-Griffith in the party’s July 9 leadership election.

If not, court proceedings will commence to secure this, according to a pre-action protocol letter from attorney Alvin Ramroop to COP↔Leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir and COP↔general secretary Clyde Weatherhead. It was sent on Tuesday. Responses were sought from them by yesterday but a requested extension shifted that deadline to today.

Griffith -Dyer is contesting the poll along with Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan and Sharon Gopaul- McNichol.

However, attorney Ramroop, representing COP member Kirt Francis , a former executive officer, wrote the party regarding alleged unlawful ratification of new members and ineligibility of new members to vote at/ to contest leadership election.

The letter claimed COP’s ratification of Dyer-Griffith’s membership in COP↔was null and void since it didn’t meet party constitutional rules. It called for the party to bar Dyer- Griffith from contesting or voting in the election and to have systems in place for a national executive to be elected.

Mahabir said, “I’m not commenting on any letter or whether we received it..... we have no reason to postpone the election at this time,”

McNichol, who said she’d heard of the legal moves , but was not part of it , said she resigned as COP deputy leader and from the COP’s interim “lead team” on February 13 following concerns on “many matters including unorthodox” procedures.

However ,support for Dyer-Griffith has come from Opposition↔Senator Rodger Samuel who said, Her candidacy brings freshness to the party’s helm and she has the propensity to draw youths.,”

COP’s founder, Winston Dookeran, said Dyer- Griffith contacted him on Tuesday asking to speak with her and he confirmed he would be speaking with her .

On Monday, Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan indicated she had support from Dookeran. He’d endorsed her in the 2014 leadership poll.

Dookeran,who’s working overseas, told the T&T Guardian on Wednesday, “Carolyn did speak to me about her candidacy and I told her that I was happy there is a contest and that she has offered herself to stay in the politics. “

“Yesterday (Tuesday), Nicole e-mailed me a request to talk, and I will be more than pleased to do so. Other than that, I have been very much out of T&T, and do hope that the COP may again initiate a healthy, not fake, political narrative that touches the young persons of our country. Although, I am now far off, my hope is that a ‘team effort’ will emerge in our politics.”

Former leader Prakash Ramadhar said he didn’t think former leaders “should get involved in elections save in extreme circumstances , so if I have personal views, I’m not sharing them. But I won’t allow the party to fall,”

“Many clamoured for leadership for years, but weren’t willing to do the work and criticised without assisting. I saw it fit for those clamouring to take leadership to see what improvements they may or can bring until the next election.”

“ I learned we must always bring together all who are interested in improving citizens’ lives. That includes people you may not wish to befriend, but if we have a common goal, I’m willing to work with anyone on ideals COP espouses. In politics, you have the good, the bad and the ugly and you have to be able to work with as many to achieve power to make the necessary changes.”


          New Senator to focus on taxes   

Newly appointed Government Senator Allyson West says she will focus on tax administration after she is sworn in as Minister in the Finance Ministry today.

West, in her first interview since being appointed, said her ministerial appointment was taking place at “a very difficult time in the country (and) I have a tough task ahead of me.” She said, however, she has “quite a lot of experience in the tax area (and) that will be my focus and I am very hopeful that I can make a positive difference.”

Asked if citizens should be fearful of her appointment because of her focus on taxes, West smiled and said ,”No, my objective would be to ensure that taxes are fairly and properly applied (and) I really want to bring the concept of service to the tax area and ensure that the administration recognises that the taxpayers are our clients, so that we deal with them more efficiently , we give them their refunds but we collect the taxes that are due to the Government.”

She also worked previously at the Board of Inland Revenue as a State Counsel. She said she had “short stints in teaching” and was part of the implementation team for the VAT system- which was introduced under former prime minister Arthur Robinson during the 1985 to 1991 term. She was also a representative on the permanent and negotiating double taxation treaty committees.

West insisted yesterday she remains committed “to the tax system and getting it working properly.”

She said she was not surprised by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint her as minister, adding that she knew the Prime Minister “for quite some time and I do know he appreciates my knowledge in the area (tax administration), so it didn’t shock me .”

She said, however, that she was “hoping to avoid a political post because I have shied away from politics all my life but Prime Minister Rowley said if we need to get it done properly this is how we need to do it , so I accepted the challenge.”

Asked to elaborate, West said she is “happy with the Ministry of Finance but the position of senator is not something I would have gravitated towards but I was called to serve and I have decided to take up the challenge.”

She said her first priority will be to gather information on the BIR. West said she wants “to see where the BIR is at with their challenges to determine what we can do differently as soon as possible.”

She said the establishment of the Revenue Authority is also on the agenda.

West said she “always thought that was the way to go. We have lost too many good people from the BIR because of the inflexibility of the public service, so if we create

some more flexibility in terms of remuneration , hiring and firing people, promotion based on merit rather than seniority , I think we will produce a better organisation.”

West said taxpayers should “recognise that we all have a responsibility , we are placing great demands on the Government and the demands don’t decrease with the government’s revenues.”

She also said: “To enable the Government to meet those demands we need to play our part, and if we all play our part then the burden is spread more evenly and it doesn’t fall on a few of us . So the issue of increasing tax rates should not arise if everybody is paying the correct amount of taxes, so that will be my focus.”


          Salafism Vs. Wahhabism: Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Proxy War Rages In Syria Thanks To US Militarism   

Salafi jihadist scholar Abdullah al-Muhaysini is one of many agents working on behalf of Qatar to combat Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist ideology. Their battleground is Syria, where a so-called “civil war” is covering up a silent fight between competing political movements.
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          Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Goes Into Effect Tonight   

InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips

Pieces of President Donald Trump's revised travel ban will go into effect at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time tonight and guidelines are available.

The post Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Goes Into Effect Tonight appeared first on InvestorPlace.


          Voting Fights in the States   
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, at podium, celebrates Oregon's first year of an automatic voter registration program with a news conference, where she said that in the November election, over 97,000 ballots were cast by new voters registered by the so-called motor voter program. Hazelnuts contained in the bags in the foreground represent the 270,000 Oregonians who were registered to vote by the program. 

The national battle over voting rights and “voter fraud” will play out in Washington over the next months in relation to the Kobach-Pence commission and the resistance to it. But in the meantime, issues have been joined this spring in state legislative sessions around the country. And the resulting scorecard may surprise you.

Back in November, when the dust settled after the election, the numbers on partisan control of legislatures seemed stark and frightening for advocates of voting rights and election reform. Republicans controlled both chambers in 31 states, and had the full “trifecta,” including the governor, in 24. In sharp contrast, Democrats controlled both houses in only 13 states, and had trifectas in a mere six. Looking at these numbers, at the post-Shelby decision absence of Voting Rights Act preclearance protections, and at the radically changed posture of the Justice Department, many feared an onslaught of voter-suppression legislation that would create an even more diminished electorate for the elections of 2018.

Well, it’s now the end of June, and while some legislatures are still in session, the great majority have finished their business for the year. Several states have indeed passed bad bills. But, overall, the results are significantly better, both in staving off voter-suppression efforts and in expanding voting rights and voting access, than one might have expected as the sessions began.

First, A Few Real Successes

Perhaps the most remarkable outcome this year is in Illinois, which has a Democratic legislature and a conservative Republican governor, Bruce Rauner. Last year, the legislature passed an automatic voter registration (AVR) bill with bipartisan support, but Rauner vetoed it. 

Under automatic voter registration, people who go to the DMV, and potentially other agencies as well, are automatically put on the voter roll, unless they opt out. In Oregon, which was the first adopter, AVR has added several hundred thousand voters to the rolls.

In Illinois, an AVR bill was reintroduced this year and, remarkably, passed both chambers with unanimous votes. While Rauner has 60 days to sign the bill, all indications are that he will, joining Illinois with eight other states and the District of Columbia where AVR is being implemented, and showing that maybe, at least in Illinois, encouraging people to register and vote doesn’t seem like a partisan trick.

The victory was also the work of a broad and determined coalition of voting-rights and election-reform advocacy groups, under the rubric of Just Democracy. Brian Gladstein, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois and one of the leaders of the coalition said:

This bill will bring over one million eligible voters into the electoral process in Illinois. During a time of heightened partisanship in Springfield and across the nation, we have demonstrated that breaking down barriers to the ballot box can be achieved and supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

AVR still has a good chance to pass in other states. In Rhode Island, an AVR bill passed the House unanimously and a positive vote in the Senate is expected shortly. Governor Gina Raimondo has said she will sign it if it comes to her desk. In Massachusetts, where the legislative session goes on all year, an AVR bill with 102 legislative sponsors has been heard in committee (23 speakers in favor and none against), and could be before the full legislature in the fall.

In some other states, AVR made headway but was eventually blocked. These include Maine, New Mexico, and Nevada. In Nevada’s case, the bill passed both houses, but was vetoed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. A ballot initiative on AVR now goes to the voters, who will have the chance to approve it in the November 2018 general election.

In addition to automatic voter registration, other real gains were made. Utah expanded opportunities for early voting and absentee voting. New Jersey improved its processes for military voters and Indiana improved its registration process at the motor vehicle department.

Another issue where progress was made, though halting and slow, is restoration of the right to vote for citizens with felony convictions. Forty-nine bills were introduced in 16 states to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated people who have served their sentences. A real victory occurred in Wyoming, which enacted a bill providing that people who completed their sentence after January 1, 2010, do not need to submit an application for restoration of voting rights and will automatically be issued a certificate of restoration.

In Florida, where 1.7 million citizens can’t vote due to the state’s lifetime ban on voting by people with felony convictions (1.5 million have fully completed their sentences), the broad and bipartisan Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has made major strides. The Florida Supreme Court has approved language for a proposed ballot initiative to restore voting rights to ex-felons; now the job is collecting 700,000 signatures on the petition in order to be on the ballot in November 2018.

In Minnesota, the Restore the Vote Coalition got a bill to more effectively restore voting rights through one house of the legislature. And in Nebraska, the state’s conservative unicameral legislature passed a bill to restore voting rights to citizens upon release from incarceration by a 27-13 margin, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Pete Ricketts. (Nebraska voting-rights advocates also derailed a proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter ID.)

Now for the Bad News

To be clear, and clear-eyed, the move to make voting more difficult and restricted continues, and several states enacted laws designed to limit the vote in one way or another. The forces bent on restricting the vote have won significant victories over the last several years, though many of the laws have been successfully challenged in court. In fact, of the worst voter-restriction bills that passed this year, a majority were actually efforts to re-pass laws struck down in court, altered in order to make them more judicially acceptable.

·      Iowa enacted a law, championed by Secretary of State Paul Pate, which includes restrictions on voter-registration drives; hindrances to Election Day, early, and absentee voting; strict voter-ID requirements; and—most troublesome—the right to purge voter rolls of “non-citizen” names without any clarity on who and how such decisions to purge are made. This could lead to significant numbers of eligible voters being disenfranchised.

·      New Hampshire passed a bill restricting registration for students and low-income voters by requiring proof of residency for those who register 30 days before the election, with investigation and criminal penalties for failure to comply. (A component to eliminate same-day registration was dropped from the bill.)

·      In Arkansas, a voter-ID law, modified after courts struck down an earlier, similar law, was passed and signed. The law reinstates the requirement that a voter must provide one of a narrow choice of IDs at the polls. In addition, the legislature put a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID on the 2018 ballot.

·      In North Dakota, the only state that doesn’t require voter registration at all, the governor signed strict voter-ID requirements into law. The bill was softened somewhat, particularly in regard to the Native American community, to avoid the fate of the 2016 version of the law, which was struck down in court.

Why Less Carnage?

No one wants to be naïvely optimistic, or to underestimate how much damage has already been done in states by determined efforts at voter suppression. Racially charged and politically motivated efforts continue at every level to find ways to discourage people from registering and voting. In the wake of Shelby, these efforts have multiplied and will continue to do so.

But, overall, the results in the 2017 legislative sessions were not nearly as bad as seemed likely last November. There was not a deluge of major voter-suppression legislation. Some bad bills were passed, a number were weakened as they made their way through the legislative process, and a significant number were sidetracked along the way. Two main reasons for this seem clear.

First, the courts, both state and federal, have played a significant role in preventing extreme assaults on voting. Prodded by strong litigation efforts from voting-rights organizations, in state after state, courts have found voter-suppression efforts unconstitutional, blocking their implementation. In addition to the direct effects of the cases, their cumulative impact has been to caution and restrain advocates of restrictive legislation from overreaching.

Second, it is deeply encouraging to see the growing power, sophistication, and rapid response capabilities of the movement for an inclusive democracy. In state after state, coalitions were activated, or created, to fight back against the efforts to stifle, shrink, and bleach the vote. 

And the advocates didn’t just play defense. Despite the potentially unfavorable partisan makeup in so many states, the affirmative action for expanding the right and ability to vote continues to make headway—winning in some states, gathering momentum for future victories in others. 

And there is one other cause for optimism worth noting. I recently attended a conference of 200 legislators and election officials from around the country, co-convened by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Democracy Fund. The focus of the event was election technology and administration. There was strong and bipartisan support for improving election machinery, combating the challenges of cybersecurity, and fighting for adequate funding to run elections in the best way possible. This is one of the reasons that online registration and automatic voter registration are making real progress; they are technical improvements as well as access expansions. The election officials take their responsibilities seriously, and if legislators, state and national, would take their cues, bipartisan progress just might become more possible.

Thanks to Cecily Hines for research and perspective for this column.


          LONDON BOROUGH OF BRENT: Political Assistant to the Labour Group   
£34,338: LONDON BOROUGH OF BRENT: We are looking for experience in working – paid or unpaid – in a political environment, a professional approach with the organisational skills. Wembley, London (Greater)
          Trump's Appointment to Gender Equality Office Has Hateful Anti-Trans Record    
PoliticsTransgenderFeminismWomenDonald Trump Tracy E. Gilchrist

Adding to his record of appointing people to posts they are fundamentally unqualified to hold, Donald Trump has named an anti-trans activist as a senior adviser to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Bethany Kozma, who held positions in the White House and Homeland Security under George W. Bush, vehemently opposed guidelines issued by President Obama's administration that advised schools to let trans students use their preferred names and pronouns and use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, Buzzfeed reports. And to Google the woman who will advise on gender equality in the office that is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to uncover a treasure trove of hateful, woefully misguided anti-trans propaganda. 

“A boy claiming gender confusion must now be allowed in the same shower, bathroom, or locker room with my daughter under the president’s transgender policies,” Kozma wrote in a 2016 piece about the Obama administration guidelines. “When I learned that predators could abuse these new policies to hurt children in school lockers, shelters, pool showers, or other vulnerable public places like remote bathrooms in national parks, I realized I had to do something.” 

In a disgusting attempt to equate trans women with sexual predators, Kozma’s story included a video of women sharing their stories of how they were sexually assaulted by cisgender men in spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms. 

While naming Kozma, who clearly doesn’t believe that trans women are equal to cisgender women, as an adviser at the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a slap in the face to all women, her position in the office is further complicated by the fact that USAID has a long history of supporting programs that advance LGBT equality around the world, including a program that leverages financial contributions to support “LGBTI human rights and development in 14 countries around the world,” HIV and AIDS prevention efforts, and an initiative to empower Asia’s LGBT people, according to its website.

A spokesperson for USAID said Kozma’s appointment does not mean there has been a change in policy in terms of its commitment to LGBT rights, according to Buzzfeed. 

"USAID is committed to promoting a work environment that is free from sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination, in accordance with existing federal law," the spokesperson said. 

But Kozma's anti-trans crusade did not end with her campaign to oppose Obama’s protections for trans students in 2016. Earlier this year she wrote a piece for The Daily Signal (part of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation) in which she patted herself on the back for being a part of the movement that she believes helped influence the Trump administration to rescind those protections.  

“Trump’s decisiveness on this issue shows that he cares more about people than political correctness — that all our children deserve a safe and respectful learning environment, not just a very small minority, and that privacy and free speech are rights that American parents hold dear,” Kozma wrote this February. 

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          GOP bill would let churches endorse political candidates   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law that prohibits such outright politicking from the pulpit....
          Study highlights Democrats’ campaign hurdles in 2018   
The Buzz is the Register’s weekly political news column. Ardent opposition to President Donald Trump is motivating veteran and first-time activists in Orange County’s four Republican congressional districts, but unseating the incumbents remains an uphill road. Three of those GOP members won reelection by more than 10 percentage points last year. And while polls show […]
          Who is set to take the lead on Facebook polititions   
Yesterday I was adding my support to a few politician on Facebook and noticed some interesting trends. We all know that Barack Obama is the hands down winner when it comes to Facebook fans and activity, which shouldn’t surprise us. But lets look at the rest of the top lineup of who is being supported, … Continue reading Who is set to take the lead on Facebook polititions
          Before the UK parliament debates the affirmative S...   
Before the UK parliament debates the affirmative SI , would it not make sense for the JCSI to first check whether there is any possibility of the UK staying in the UPC post-Brexit?

Even if one assumes that Gordon and Pascoe are correct and that the UK's continued participation is possible, there are a number of preconditions that must be met. The problem for the government is that some of those preconditions might be (politically or practically) impossible, or inconsistent with the government's Brexit policy in another area.

Problematic areas that immediately spring to mind are the jurisdiction of the CJEU (both Mrs May and, more worryingly, Mr Hunt have said that this must come to an end) and the time that it will take to get all relevant parties to agree upon and ratify a revised version of the UPC Agreement. The latter point is particularly challenging, as I would question whether there is already too little time - and there will certainly be too little by the time that we might actually know what the UK's exit agreement looks like (and so precisely how the UPCA needs to be re-written).

To me, it would seem to be the worst of all possible worlds for the UK to help bring the UPP to life, only then to (shortly afterwards) exit the EU and (likely) both leave the unitary patent system and bring into doubt the continued validity of anything done under the UPC Agreement. That would take the levels of uncertainty for rights holders and third parties to truly stratospheric levels.

Of course, to take any of this into consideration would require joined-up thinking within government... and so I guess that I had better not hold my breath waiting for that to happen!
          Slow Lane   
G#Dur My main profession is work to make the internet faster and users having the best possible experience when consuming digital information. But I fear that all my efforts working with people to achieve this is at risk because of politics. So here is my participation for protesting the deletion of net neutrality and prevent having slow lanes. Enjoy and do not forget to call. (there is also an instrumental available)
          Beyond Inauthentic Opposition   
The really critical thing,” the great American radical historian Howard Zinn once sagely wrote, “isn't who's sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in—in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating—those are the things that determine what happens." However you vote (and I honestly don’t know that my head could ever make my right hand mark a ballot for a Democrat again), the act takes two minutes once every two or four years. What do you do with the rest of your political life? More
          Barbara and Diane Snelling   
Barbara Snelling and her daughter Diane reflect on participating in three decades of Vermont politics, starting with Richard Snelling's first run for Lieutenant Governor.
          Pushing Gaza to Suicide: the Politics of Humiliation   
Mohammed Abed is a 28-year-old taxi driver from the village of Qarara, near the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. He has no teeth. Lack of medical care and proper dentistry work cost him all of his teeth, which rotted and decayed at a very young age. Yet, his dire financial needs prevented More
          How Brexit, Immigration and Housing Became Political Flashpoints   
Britain is experiencing profound political changes, going by the outcome of the general election, but new trends are shadowy, developing below the surface. It may be that Labour’s relative success – achieved amid confident predictions by pundits of annihilating defeat – stemmed from a last-minute change of direction by voters, or simply because pollsters vastly More
          Has “Working Class” Lost Its Meaning?   
Late on the evening of November 8, 2016, Donald Trump made a last-minute campaign stop at the Grand Rapids, MI, convention center to a cheering crowd of over 4,000 supporters.  “The corrupt politicians and their special interests have ruled over this country for a very long time,” he shouted to his enthusiastic supporters.  “Today is our Independence Day.  Today the More
          Deaths in the Amazon: Increase in Indigenous Killings as Brazil’s Political Crisis Deepens   
There has been a significant increase in the number of indigenous people and environmental activists killed over land disputes in Brazil, as human rights experts warn of a dangerous political mood in the nation. New research shared with Greenpeace’s Energydesk by Brazilian human rights NGO Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), shows that 37 people have been killed in More
          Planting “Regime Change” in Venezuela   
The myth of human rights playing a decisive role in the diplomacy of the United States is an important façade to be broken before touching the current political crisis in Venezuela. A noble crusade for democracy and promotion of human rights are applied by the State Department only in times when these enlightening qualities serve More
          The Disputed Election to Head California’s Democratic Party   
Karen Bernal is a movement activist, having worked in labor, progressive Democratic Party politics and social justice issues. She is the newly elected chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, having returned to that post after a four-year hiatus. She was also co-chair of California’s Bernie Sanders delegates to the 2016 Democratic More
          How Alternative Dispute Resolution Promotes Injustice   
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a blanket term referring to non-litigious methods of resolving legal disputes. Mainstream media and legal commentary endorse these alternatives as providing win-win, power balancing situations for all parties involved, whether corporate citizens, or natural persons. Taking into account zealous adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by corporate and political elites it More
          The Poison of Commercialization and Social Injustice   
In cities and towns from New Delhi to New York the socio-political policies that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster in west London are being repeated; redevelopment and gentrification, the influx of corporate money and the expelling of the poor, including families that have lived in an area for generations. To this, add austerity, the More
          From the fireworks guru to the parade queen, meet Baltimore's Fourth of July experts   

From a politician whose July Fourth celebration involves an eight-plus-mile walk along four parade routes to the crew ensuring the Inner Harbor fireworks go off spectacularly, scores of people will be working hard Tuesday to ensure Baltimore-area residents have a Fourth of July worthy of its reputation...


          McDaniel College's Budapest campus caught up in Hungarian political fight   

McDaniel College has become entangled in an international dispute between billionaire philanthropist George Soros and the Hungarian prime minister that threatens McDaniel's 22-year-old satellite campus in Budapest.

The problem? The Hungarian parliament changed its higher education law in a vote...


          1977, il suono della rivoluzione   
Un intero appuntamento di Lezioni di Rock dedicato a un anno di grandi sconvolgimenti politici e sociali, il 1977. Nascono fra i giovani nuove forme di contestazione rispetto ai precedenti movimenti studenteschi. Il movimento del 1977 è caratterizzato dalla dichiarata contestazione al sistema dei partiti e dei sindacati e dalla proposta di tematiche nuove, come la difesa dei diritti umani e civili, la lotta contro l’autoritarismo, il pacifismo, il femminismo, il sostegno alla cultura underground, la controinformazione. Nel ’77 nascono le radio libere che rivoluzionano l’ascolto musicale dei giovani. Ma è anche la stagione della disco music e del celebre film “La febbre del sabato sera”. Inoltre nello stesso anno arriva dall’Inghilterra e dagli Stati Uniti la "prima ondata" di cultura punk. Il panorama musicale rispecchia il fermento della società: Clash, Talking Heads, Ramones, Bob Marley, Sex Pistols, Joy Division sono alcuni dei gruppi che scrivono la colonna sonora di questo anno rivoluzionario.
          Media Recruitment: Managing Director & Group Account Director - GERMANY - Big Brands/Politics   
dependant on experience : Media Recruitment: One of Europe's leading independent PR and advertising agencies, with over 80 branches across five continents, is now looking for a Managing Direct... Berlin (DE)
          Omnishambles   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

While the very fabric of space-time warped and undulated over the Trump-Morning Joe conflict (we’ll get to that), Republicans in the House finance subcommittee worked up a scheme to neutralize the Johnson Amendment. The proposed rule would deny the IRS the funds it would need to investigate Johnson Amendment violations…for churches only. That’s right, no mention of other nonprofits, no mention of other houses of worship. We joined a big coalition of groups opposing the measure, and I did the equivalent of marching up and down, toddler-Bart-Simpson style, making noise about it.

But you know, the fabric of space time. Undulating and whatnot. About that:

After Trump did his dumbass Trump thing that he does, Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to justify the president’s behavior as some kind of proportional response to bullying (????), and when asked who she could point to as a role model, she defaulted to God. That’s fine, but you’d think a couple human role models would be useful in a pinch. Maybe keep a couple of those in your back pocket. Just a thought.

More fun was the op-ed by Mika and Joe themselves, where they threw so much shade it looked like an eclipse. They said Trump wasn’t mentally healthy enough to watch Morning Joe, and made the charge that Trump had blackmailed them with the threat of a negative National Inquirer article.

David Roberts at Vox tries to come to grips with what the hell is wrong with the man, and why it’s so hard to figure it out:

Trump defies our theory of mind because he appears to lack a coherent, persistent self or worldview. He is a raging fire of need, protected and shaped by a lifetime of entitlement, with the emotional maturity and attention span of a 6-year-old, utterly unaware of the long-term implications of his actions. ... Politicos and journalists need a story in which Trump’s stumbling and grasping can be construed as a savvy media strategy, a “distraction” from some other wrongdoing he has going on, or a “pivot” from his current omnishambles. Those are all versions of political maneuvering with which they are familiar. They need for Trump to want things, to be after things, to have a plan. ... But there’s no there there.

CFI Los Angeles chief Jim Underdown recoils at the utter plausibility of The Handmaid’s Tale, and laments that the star of the TV version, Elizabeth Moss, is herself a Scientologist:

What doesn’t fit is that the Church of Scientology could be a central character in The Handmaid’s Tale TV series. For decades we’ve been hearing real-life stories from ex-Scientologists that sound like they could be plots in the series.   

Nikhil Sonnad at Quartz does a great service, cataloguing how Alex Jones’ Infowars store and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop store and the Moon Juice store all sell the same snake oil.

Speaking of Alex Jones (if we must), he had a guest, Robert David Steele, who said this:

This may strike your listeners as way out but we actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20 year ride. So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony.  

Now, Jones does seem to distance himself from this idea a tad (“Well I don’t know about Mars bases”), but don’t give him too much credit! Or any! Because then he says this:

I know they’ve created massive, thousands of different types of chimeras that are alien lifeforms on this earth now. 

Just in case you’re wondering, NASA denies the allegation. Well, of course they would. Pfft.

In Bizarro America, aka Canada, a new survey shows that the electorate would prefer an atheist, gay, or transgender prime minister over an evangelical Christian. 

CFI’s new intern Andy Ngo thinks back to the Orlando massacre one year ago, and how the discourse about it has been too diffuse, asking, “While it is imperative to prevent and condemn discrimination against Muslims, why does that have to come at the cost of speaking openly about religious fundamentalism, particularly Islamism?”

South Africa will no longer have single-religion public schools. (A group lobbying for this change, the Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie, has the greatest acronym ever: OGOD.) 

Australian homeopathics company Brauer is being investigated for promoting an ebook that advocates the use of homeopathy to treat babies and toddlers.  

Theologian and sociologist Peter Berger has died at the age of 88. I don’t know much about most of his work, but his book The Social Construction of Reality blew my mind when I read it in college a million years ago. 

Quote of the Day:

This. This is wonderful. You’re welcome.

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta

 


          You May Wear Pants   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Cardinal George Pell is the third-most powerful official in the Catholic Church as head of the Vatican’s finances. And he’s just been charged multiple sexual assaults in his native Australia. I think it’s time to play this song again.

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky signs into law a bill allowing Bible classes in public schools. I’m sure that not far behind are classes on the Qu’ran, the Bhagvat Gita, Dianetics, and the Books of Bokonon. Any day now.

ProPublica reveals “a trove” of Facebook’s internal documents showing its secret guidelines for determining what is and is not hate speech, and thus able to be censored. And some of it is frankly disturbing:

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men. ... White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected. 

Adi Robertson at The Verge notes that Facebook’s task is more or less impossible:

If the company decides to promote a positive social environment without taking clear political sides, it will trend toward a faux neutrality where “hate” is any negative opinion, punishing people who criticize the status quo. But if it admits to an ideological bent, it will have to start formulating political stances on which groups worldwide deserve the most protection from hate. The more social responsibility it accepts, the more liable it is for failing to police its users, and the more power it has to control speech — not just comments to other users, but personal timeline posts or photographs. 

Oh, hey hey hey, make sure you dig the latest Cause & Effect newsletter. It’s got international news, SCOTUS news, and not all of the news is bad!

CFI’s Benjamin Radford is on the panel for a discussion about psychics (along with a bunch of alleged psychics) on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show.

Another “psychic,” Michelle Marks of Dixon, Illinois, is arrested for “exploitation of an elderly person and multiple weapons charges.” Wow she was busy!

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain wanted to see if atheists in Western Europe were more or less closed-minded than the religious. And that’s what they found, more or less:

Atheists tended to show greater intolerance of contradiction, meaning when they were presented with two seemingly contradictory statements they rated one as very true and the other as very false. They also showed less propensity to be able to imagine arguments contrary to their own position and find them somewhat convincing.

A group of scientists and other figures sign on to an initiative called Mission 2020, intended to get greenhouse gas emissions to “curve downward” by 2020, because failing that, the goals of Paris become unattainable. While it’s noble, I am skeptical. Especially after my Point of Inquiry interview with Elizabeth Kolbert earlier this month.

Undaunted by my kind of despair, a “global covenant of mayors” pledging to meet the goals of the Paris accord has brought on board more than 7400 cities.

Cleve Wootson at WaPo introduces us to Michael Tate Reed, the guy who keeps ramming his car into Ten Commandments monuments, as he did in Arkansas yesterday:

[In 2014] He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and released under an agreement that required him to continue treatment. He sent a rambling letter to the newspaper apologizing and describing the voices in his head and his attempts to recover from mental health issues. 

Speaking of which, Joseph Frankel at The Atlantic looks at how the phenomenon of “hearing voices” in one’s head—which is sometimes what makes people think they’re psychic, and others say they’re psychotic—may be more common than once thought, and also may be more controllable:

These experiments suggest that auditory hallucinations are the result of the mind failing to brand its actions as its own. Watching what the brain does during these hallucinations may clarify how that works, and what differences in the brain create these experiences. ... Drawing a parallel with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the [researchers] are interested in the extent to which the psychics they saw “might occupy the extreme end of a continuum” of people who hear voices. 

The Mormon Church is taking bold strides into the latter half of the 20th century, offering paid maternity or parental leave to church employees and (hold on to your butts) allowing women to wear pants.

A California health department report says that 111 people have chosen to take their own lives in the first six months of the state’s right-to-die law. 

Uranus isn’t just odd because its name makes you chuckle (which is why I must pronounce it “YURen-uss,” not, you know, the other way). It’s on a crazy 98-degree axis, and its magnetic shield is all wobbly.

When there’s somethin’ strange…in the neighborhood…who you gonna call? The Royal Thai Police Force! They ain’t afraid o’no phi pob. 

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is a fun, scientific, educational museum experience for the whole family! Oh wait, the city wants them to pay a “safety assessment fee”? I meant to say, it’s a ministry. So, sorry. Exempt. Phew! I mean, “amen.”

My home state of Maine gets its first case of measles in 20 years. Oh god I hope it’s not me! 

Quote of the Day:

I’m just gonna give this one to Colbert:

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Image by Chris&Rhiannon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta

 


          Germany legalizes same-sex marriage after Merkel U-turn - Salt Lake Tribune   
Berlin • German lawmakers voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, a move widely supported across the country that brings Germany in line with many of its Western peers. Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against the measure, but paved the way for its passage by allowing members of her conservative party to vote according to their conscience. Lawmakers voted 393-226 to legalize “marriage for everybody,” with four abstentions. Underlining the delicate political tightrope that Merkel walked, the “n...
          Serbian politicians elect first female, openly gay prime minister   
Ana Brnabic is Serbia’s first openly gay head of government.
          California politicians' gun control moves hit by 2 setbacks   
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California politicians&apos; attempts to strengthen some of the nation&apos;s strictest gun laws suffered two setbacks this week - the latest when a federal judge blocked a law set to take effect Saturday barring gun owners from possessing ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets....
          Liberal Anonymity   
This blog is not necessarily one that takes a great amount of notice of the internal workings of our country’s political parties. However, as I listened to my daily dose of John Humphries and his Crazy crew this morning I heard that one of today’s ‘highlights’ at the conference would be a speech by the […]
          Politics matters: Teepees, trade and interest rates   
There’s so much red and white on Parliament Hill that when the hundreds of thousands of bleary-eyed partygoers finally finish toasting the country’s 150th birthday this weekend, they will be seeing Ottawa awash in a pink haze. But not everything was rosy on the politics front:  TENSION OVER A TEEPEE The stand-off between police and […]
          Utilities Withdraw Plan for $3 Billion Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion   
From the Boston Globe Pipeline operator Enbridge, together with Eversource and National Grid, said it needs more time to build political support for a proposed tariff on electric ratepayers. The state’s two biggest utilities are shelving a massive $3.2 billion natural gas pipeline project known as Access Northeast until they can find a way to pay for it. Eversource and[Read More...]
          Why Do People Want to Kill Each Other Over Politics?   
A philosophically-trained writer at the Federalist says it's because we view the government's power as far more necessary to life and its goods than it really is.
If government power is the people’s best and only hope, then to deny the use of that power, or even to exercise it in the wrong way, is just like killing people. So you are naturally going to long to see the political malefactors behind such a policy struck down, for the same reasons we love the scene in the action movie when the bad guy finally falls off the skyscraper and gets what’s coming to him.

This attitude is not strictly limited to the provinces of the Left where we currently see it so flamboyantly displayed. As we have recently discovered, some on the Right also look to government for salvation, hoping that the right kind of limits on trade and immigration, the right deals made by the right dealmaker, will solve all of our problems—and anyone who doesn’t support that leader is a traitor.

But the basic idea of government as salvation is associated more with the Left, because expanding the power of government is their primary political cause.
Is he right about that? Vox argues that it's impossible to tell conservatives apart from their caricature of conservatives -- and for them, I don't doubt that this is true. Republicans want to kill the poor in order to provide tax cuts for the rich, and that's the only way to understand the policy they're proposing.

I don't care a bit about tax cuts for the rich, but I'd like to see the government get completely out of health care. My reasoning has two parts: most importantly, because government-run health care poses severe challenges to human liberty; less importantly, because the government's effectively-unlimited money distorts markets and produces runaway price inflation. If the government must be involved at all, it should be on the back end, quietly repaying expenses for qualifying veterans (and potentially certain very poor individuals) so that no one realizes that there's an unlimited pool of money they could chase. Then people's capacity to come up with the money up front would serve as a market brake on the inflation, and yet veterans would be able to pursue the health care they want from the doctors they choose -- not ones imposed on them by an uncaring, massive bureaucracy.

But I suppose that's tantamount to saying that I want people to die.


          Confidence in Institutions Poll   
We look at this poll every year, more or less. This year's results are unexpected: American confidence in institutions is up, at a level not seen since Obama first took office.

More, this poll defies the trendline I've been worried about over previous years. The decline in faith in institutions has chiefly affected the non-coercive institutions: the consistently highly placed winners were the police, the military, and the criminal justice system. Congress, newspapers, churches -- all the non-coercive branches fared worse and worse. This year, that reversed to some degree.

There's a big partisan split in a couple of places, especially faith in the Presidency (swings near fifty points for both parties) and newspapers (way up among Democrats, down somewhat among Republicans). SCOTUS shows a zero shift among Democrats, but a big gain among Republicans -- no doubt the outcome of the Gorsuch fight.

But that doesn't hold everywhere. Many institutions show compatible shifts, including things like organized labor (Republicans up by two, Democrats by a little more), church (1/3), and public schools (9/5). At least some of the ways in which we deal with each other nonviolently are tracking up a bit, and that's kind of surprising given the political climate.
          American Pravda: The KKK and Mass Racial Killings   
Over the last few decades, I doubt that any American political organization has received greater negative attention in our national news and entertainment media than the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK. For example, although white activist David Duke left that group over 35 years ago, the media still often identifies him as one of its...
          Gay marriage on principle   

Eighty-two years ago this month, Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke at the marriage of Hervé de la Goublaye de Ménorval and a fellow palaeontologist, Éliane Basse. Let’s revisit that sermon to see why Archbishop Charles Scicluna is right to speak up against the principle of gay marriage – but also why Catholic politicians would be mistaken to follow him. In English, it’s difficult to capture the special quality of Teilhard’s French. It has a surface tranquillity and an underlying passion. He speaks, as perhaps only the French can, with the ardour of reason and the cool objectivity of non-possessive love. The fire and ice of his prose are trying to capture something essential about his vision of marriage: a rational harnessing of the energies of love that would be, in human history, the second discovery of fire. As both a scientist and a priest, he was interested in human origins. He understood marriage in both biblical and evolutionary terms. In particular, he saw marriage as an integral part of the future of humanity, as an increasingly organised single nervous system with God as its mysterious centre. If you think this is all a bit too intense and poetic for a...
          Death of a political giant   

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers as Helmut Kohl (left) looks on. Photo: Reuters

Political life is a paradox. Politicians seek to achieve results in the short run because electoral success depends on this. However, they are often concerned about how ‘history’ will ‘judge’ them. The nature of their work binds them to act in the present, yet, they often see themselves in a historical time continuum. The late former chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl, understood the significance of ‘history’ in the life of a politician. He was born in 1930 to a conservative Roman Catholic family in the town of Ludwigshafen on the bank of the River Rhine in the Palatinate. The Palatinate was once at the centre of the Holy Roman Empire while the Rhine is the river which both unites and divides, serving as both a transportation link and a natural border between nations and states. Living in such historical crossroads undoubtedly shaped Kohl’s worldview. His life was bound to both the history and the modern development of the Palatinate. His doctoral dissertation in history focused on political developments in the Palatinate after 1945. His first significant political role was that of regional minister-president between 1969 and 1976. Life for the Kohl family was challenging. His...
          Morning Joe hosts: Trump team blackmailed us with a National Enquirer story   

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough described President Donald Trump’s “unmoored behavior” in a Washington Post column where they alleged that “this year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked.” Brzezinski and Scarborough wrote they ignored the “desperate pleas” from the White House.

The Enquirer, which endorsed Trump during the presidential election, frequently smeared his opponents during the presidential campaign with anonymously sourced stories and disreputable claims from Trump confidant Roger Stone.  

The Washington Post column came in response to personal attacks made against the duo by Trump, who wrote yesterday on Twitter: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..” “...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Scarborough discussed the Enquirer incident on the June 30 broadcast of Morning Joe, describing a bizarre blackmail scheme orchestrated by Trump and senior White House officials: “They said if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story. I had, I will just say, three people at the very top of the administration calling me, and the response was like, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” Brzezinski said the calls occurred during the same time period when the Enquirer was harassing her teenage children.

Trump reacted to the Enquirer allegation on Twitter, calling it “FAKE NEWS” and claiming Scarborough called him in an attempt to stop a story from running. Scarborough responded by writing, “Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months.”

In March 2016, the Post reported that Trump has a “very cozy relationship” with the Enquirer and quoted the New York Daily News’ comment that he is “very close” to the tabloid’s chief executive, David Pecker. A business associate of Pecker’s told The New Yorker that Pecker told him “very bluntly that he had killed all sorts of stories for Trump,” and Pecker himself acknowledged that he views potential stories "bashing Trump" as "bashing American Media" -- the Enquirer's parent company -- because Trump is "a personal friend." The profile also reported that Trump has personally provided Pecker with stories.   

Scarborough referenced the friendship between Trump and Pecker on Morning Joe, saying, “What makes it even worse for them is Donald Trump called me during the campaign and bragged about his friend who ran the National Enquirer. He would always say, ‘Have you seen the Ben Carson story? Have you seen the Ben Carson story? Have you seen that story in the Enquirer?’ And then he would talk about it.”

Scarborough added, “There were all these stories that were planted in the National Enquirer for people that Donald Trump wanted to attack and then he would talk about on the campaign trail.”

In one infamous case, the Enquirer published a baseless cover story alleging that the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Trump subsequently promoted the bogus story about his then-primary opponent during a Fox News appearance where he said, “I mean, what was he doing -- what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?” He also complained that not enough people were reporting on the conspiracy theory.

Under fire for advancing the baseless claim, Trump responded by defending the Enquirer’s reputation, saying, “This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected.”

Pecker is reportedly considering a bid to take over Time Inc., which owns Time magazine, Fortune, and other media properties. The move would surely please Trump, who in 2013 repeatedly used social media to boost the idea that Pecker should run the company.

Update:

New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that according to "three sources familiar with the private conversations," Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was in contact with Scarborough about a then-upcoming Enquirer story about Scarborough's not-yet-public relationship with Brzezinski. Kushner reportedly "told Scarborough that he would need to personally apologize to Trump in exchange for getting Enquirer owner David Pecker to stop the story":

According to three sources familiar with the private conversations, what happened was this: After the inauguration, Morning Joe’s coverage of Trump turned sharply negative. “This presidency is fake and failed,” Brzezinski said on March 6, for example. Around this time, Scarborough and Brzezinski found out the Enquirer was preparing a story about their affair. While Scarborough and Brzezinski’s relationship had been gossiped about in media circles for some time, it was not yet public, and the tabloid was going to report that they had left their spouses to be together.

In mid-April, Scarborough texted with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner about the pending Enquirer story. Kushner told Scarborough that he would need to personally apologize to Trump in exchange for getting Enquirer owner David Pecker to stop the story. (A spokesperson for Kushner declined to comment). Scarborough says he refused, and the Enquirer published the story in print on June 5, headlined “Morning Joe Sleazy Cheating Scandal!”


          Did a GOP politician effectively buy Roger Stone’s endorsement against Sen. Elizabeth Warren?   

Roger Stone posted social media endorsements of Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl’s bid to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just days after Diehl rented his email list.

Stone, who contributes to radio host Alex Jones’ Infowars network and will soon host his own Infowars show, has a history of pushing racist, sexist, and conspiratorial rhetoric. Stone has been a longtime adviser to Trump and worked as a paid consultant for Trump’s campaign; he is now reportedly under FBI investigation as part of the agency’s probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Stone announced in May through a marketing company that he’s accepting advertisers for his “online presence,” which includes his email list and "social media posts."

Diehl’s campaign rented Stone’s list on June 16 for a fundraising email. A message accompanying the email stated: “We are excited to share with you a special message from one of our sponsoring advertisers, Diehl For Senate. It is also sponsors like them that help fund Stone Cold Truth. Please note that the following message reflects the opinions and representations of our sponsor alone, and not necessarily the opinion of Roger Stone.”

Endorsements for Diehl subsequently appeared on Stone's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Those posts gave no indication whether they were advertisements.

Stone’s Facebook page posted the following on June 23: “Help Us Fire Elizabeth Warren!!!!! Geoff Diehl: The REAL Deal for Massachusetts Help build our grassroots movement to support the real Diehl for Massachusetts. Stand with Geoff Diehl for U.S. Senate. Your donation will send a loud message that it's time to put Massachusetts first.” Much of that language is taken from Diehl’s website. Diel’s Facebook page subsequently touted the Stone post by writing: “The Stone Cold Truth is that we need a U.S. Senator who will put Massachusetts first. Donate today!” 

On June 24, Stone tweeted a link to a Diehl fundraising page and asked followers to "help us fire Elizabeth Warren."

Diehl retweeted Stone and a supporter who celebrated Stone's tweet:

Stone’s backing of Diehl is at odds with his colleagues at Infowars, which has thrown its support to entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, who is competing against Diehl for the Republican nomination. He appeared on Alex Jones’ program on June 7 and June 25. During the June 7 interview, Jones said it was “really exciting” to have Ayyadurai challenging Warren, gave viewers his campaign website address, and asked the Republican how people can support his candidacy. Ayyadurai responded by asking Jones’ listeners to make donations and to volunteer with his campaign.

He appeared on Jones’ June 25 show with guest host Owen Shroyer for roughly 20 minutes; the video description stated: “Everyone show your support for Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai running against Democrat Elitist, Elizabeth Warren in 2018. https://shiva4senate.com/ https://twitter.com/va_shiva.” During the appearance, the candidate said that “what Alex does is probably, sort of the last sort of beacon of truth that’s out there.”

Requests for comment to Diehl were not returned.


          Vice highlights one hate group’s assault on LGBTQ youth   


Sarah Wasko/Media Matters

A recent Vice report detailed Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) stealth years-long effort to chip away at the separation of church and state in public schools and take away the rights of LGBTQ students. Most recently, as Vice reported, ADF was a “major force” behind the Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Missouri violated the church’s First Amendment rights by denying it access to government grants meant for secular use. Trinity v. Comer was viewed as a “major First Amendment decision” in terms of the separation of church and state.

Media Matters identified ADF as the anti-LGBTQ hate group leading the national campaign against transgender students in November 2015. Since then, ADF has kept up its assault on the rights of transgender students to access a fair and equal education: It has drafted a model policy to deny transgender students equal protection in school, repeatedly sent representatives to testify at school board meetings to advocate against protecting transgender students, and even sued school districts for implementing transgender-inclusive policies.

Vice reported that ADF has “an army of over 2,600 private attorneys and assets of around $40 million” to work on clawing back the rights of LGBTQ youth in schools:

Why has the organization dedicated so much attention to schools in recent years? According to [Angelo] Carusone at Media Matters, maintaining control of the country's education system is part of ADF's long view of the fight to control public policy.

“They see this as a generational fight, and you target kids when you're fighting a generational war,” he said. “They think they can turn the tides of culture, and they're willing to fight this for decades... They're not fighting individual skirmishes over individual policies. They see this as a battle in a decades-long, multi-generational effort to make sure every member of the LGBT community is not just pushed back into the closet, but put in jail.”

The report also highlighted efforts by LBGTQ organizations and coalitions, such as the Eliminate Hate campaign, to push back against ADF’s actions:

That the ADF has taken such an active role in manipulating educational policy has not gone unnoticed by LGBTQ organizations. Recently, a coalition of LGBTQ advocacy groups launched a campaign called “Eliminate Hate,” dedicated to exposing ADF interference in school districts and bringing attention to other anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

“It's bad enough when you're not accepted at home,” said Sara Grossman, communications manager at the Matthew Shepard Foundation (MSF), which advocates for an end to violence against LGBTQ people. “Sometimes school is your safe space. To take that away is atrocious. They're just kids.”

Besides media outreach, coalition partners are also placing op-eds in major news outlets, and working to connect supportive parents with school officials so that their voices can't be ignored.

But it’s going to be difficult to counter the ADF’s vast legal and financial resources, particularly now that they've been successful in the Trinity case. With a sympathetic administration in the White House, it’ll be easier than ever for states to reduce funding for public schools and increase funding for discriminatory private schools.


          Media Matters responds to the latest setback for 21st Century Fox’s bid to take over Sky   

Media Matters for America President Angelo Carusone released the following statement after U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced that she was “minded” to refer 21st Century Fox’s bid to take over Sky PLC to the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority on grounds of media plurality:

The government should not approve 21st Century Fox’s bid to take over Sky. It’s alarming that the company’s demonstrated culture of malfeasance and governance deficiencies borne out of Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s commitment to advancing his personal political agenda has not already been sufficient to warrant outright rejection.

The soft touch to which the government is treating Murdoch’s bid is also revealing -- it seems to come in part because of the disproportionate amount of political power and influence that Murdoch wields. As Secretary Bradley accurately notes, this takeover will give Murdoch even more power and influence. That kind of disproportionate control, especially in the hands of an already destructive entity, is not in anyone’s interest except Murdoch’s.

Beware Murdoch’s promises and assurances. As we have noted, he has made an awful lot of them in the past in order to a secure a deal, only to swiftly disregard his word once the deal was finalized.

In mid-June, Media Matters for America President Angelo Carusone sent a letter to the U.K.'s chief broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, highlighting a number of recent developments -- all of which concern Fox News -- that are pertinent to Ofcom’s investigation into the potential takeover of Sky PLC by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company.

The recent developments detailed in Media Matters' letter to Ofcom further underscore that Murdoch and his sons fail to satisfy the conditions necessary to acquire British satellite broadcasting company Sky in full and expose dangers that the bid for Sky would pose to the British public and media landscape.

The letter from Carusone follows a March 30 report Media Matters submitted in partnership with global activism group Avaaz to Ofcom that detailed the risks Murdoch’s desired takeover of Sky poses to British broadcasting standards.

Before that, Media Matters and Avaaz submitted a report to Secretary Bradley of the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport that demonstrated that the risk of Foxification is too great to simply rubber-stamp a Murdoch takeover. On March 16, Bradley referred Murdoch's takeover bid to Ofcom for a thorough investigation on the grounds of "media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards." The findings of the Ofcom investigation are due by June 20.

21st Century Fox already owns 39.1 percent of Sky. Murdoch abandoned a previous bid for full ownership in light of an investigation into mass hacking at his U.K.-based newspapers. Following an investigation, a parliamentary report found that Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a major corporation and that his son James (who at the time ran the parent company of News Of The World and The Sun; he is now the CEO of 21st Century Fox) showed “wilful ignorance” of the industrial-scale hacking. In September of 2016, it was reported that Fox News had engaged in similar tactics, hacking the phone of Media Matters reporter Joe Strupp.


          Trump's Mika Brzezinski tweets show that he hates women -- especially members of the press   

This morning, the president of the United States used his favorite media platform for addressing the public to remind us of just how little respect he has for women -- especially women in the press.

Shortly before 9 a.m., Trump posted two revoltingly sexist tweets attacking MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski for her appearance and intellect. The leader of the free world called the morning show anchor “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and alleged that she had attempted to visit him at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on New Year’s Eve and was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at the time.

This isn’t the first time Trump’s attacked women media figures -- it’s not even close -- and it’s also not the first time he’s done it on Twitter. In recent years, he has tweeted that:

He and his campaign targeted reporter Michelle Fields (formerly of Breitbart.com and HuffPost) after then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was shown on camera manhandling her at a campaign event.

Trump repeatedly lashed out at Megyn Kelly during the campaign season offline as well, at one point saying in an interview that she had “blood coming out of her wherever.” He also attacked Tur at rallies and in interviews, calling her “Little Katy, third-rate journalist” and “not a very good reporter” and singling her out at press events.

After People’s Natasha Stoynoff reported that Trump had sexually assaulted her in 2005, Trump suggested at a campaign rally that the report was false because Stoynoff wasn’t attractive, saying, "You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so.”

Earlier this week, Trump was openly reducing another professional reporter to her body, pausing an official diplomatic call in the Oval Office to comment on Irish reporter Caitriona Perry’s smile.

This post has been updated to reflect that Michelle Fields no longer works at HuffPost. 


          Watch: 5 Celebs Who Have Lost Credibility As They Were Busy Buttering The Govt.   

Remember the good days when celebrities used to be all charming and well behaved? Well, it is no more the same now thanks to politics and a special mention to the present right wing government. In the past months, we have seen tremendous shifts towards right by people who used to be unbiased and centrist. […]

The post Watch: 5 Celebs Who Have Lost Credibility As They Were Busy Buttering The Govt. appeared first on ED Times | The Youth Blog.


           The Latest: Venezuela VP defends officials in abuse probe    
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - The latest on Venezuela's political crisis (all times local):6:50 p.m.Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami is throwing his...
           California politicians' gun control moves hit by 2 setbacks    
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California politicians' attempts to strengthen some of the nation's strictest gun laws suffered two setbacks this week - the latest...
           Brazil unions protest Temer's reforms amid political crisis    
By Pedro FonsecaRIO DE JANEIRO, June 30 (Reuters) - Labor unions staged a nationwide strike on Friday to protest against legislative changes to Brazil's...
          (DF) Prime Minister Borissov Urges Balkan Political Elites to Rise above History   
June 30 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov attended a meeting of heads of state and government of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), which was held in Dubrovnik on Friday. During his visit to the Croatian city, Borissov was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and the Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council in 2018, Liliyana Pavlova.
          Claire Gastañaga ‘74 Discusses Civil Liberties and Gender Legislation   
Streaming Audio Audio icon 16_10_25_gastanaga_talk.mp3

Claire Gastañaga '74, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, discusses issues ranging from recent "bathroom bills" to abortion regulations and the role of feminism today in the political arena. 


           GOP bill would let churches endorse political candidates    
WASHINGTON (AP) - Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law...
           Court: Democrat can sue Iowa over alleged GOP reprisals    
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Democratic appointee can seek damages for alleged political retaliation he suffered under...
          National Security Law, with UVA Law Professor Ashley Deeks   
Streaming Audio Audio icon 16_01_13_deeks_classroom.mp3

In the her fall National Security Law class, Professor Ashley Deeks discusses military targets and the use of drones, along with other national security law issues. Deeks previously served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S.


          NCR Podcast: Dorothy Day play; Joan Chittister on the state of the nation   
NCR in Conversation

In Conversation: A new Dorothy Day play; Joan Chittister calls for politics for the common good


           N.Irish political paralysis can't last for much longer, Britain warns    
DUBLIN, June 30 (Reuters) - Britain's Northern Ireland minister said he still believes a successful conclusion is possible in talks to restore...
           Simone Veil, iconic European feminist politician, dies at 89    
PARIS (AP) - Simone Veil, a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who spearheaded abortion rights as one of France's most...
          Calendar Letters: Bard knew what he was talking about   

Regarding “The Politics of Theater: The Relevance of Shakespeare” [June 25]: Bravo to Charles McNulty for his terrific piece on the relevance of the Bard. To add to McNulty’s perceptive comments, I would like to suggest — obviously in jest — that we should demand all Trump administration members...


          Sacramento's sheriff asked Trump's immigration chief for help fighting California's 'sanctuary state' bill   

Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones asked President Trump's immigration chief for help fighting California's so-called “sanctuary state” bill weeks before the two hosted a town hall meeting in March on immigration enforcement that drew hundreds of people and erupted in protests.

In a March 13 email...


          Israeli PM delays conversion bill that angered liberal Jews   

A bill that would enshrine ultra-Orthodox monopoly over Jewish conversions in Israel will be postponed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in an apparent attempt to calm tensions with U.S. Jewish groups. The bill, along with a decision to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem's Western Wall this week, has angered liberal American Jewish groups, which have hinted the issues could undermine their longstanding political, financial and emotional support for Israel.


          The power of the personal: what Ireland can teach politicians   
The power of the personal: what Ireland can teach politicians
- Most notably, when they studied how attitudes in Ireland towards the gay community have evolved over the past decade, they realised that one key ...

          The power of the personal: what Ireland can teach politicians   
The power of the personal: what Ireland can teach politicians
- But two years ago, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. And these days, as one of my relatives observed, ...








          Wage growth is good for society, Paschal Donohoe says   
Wage growth is good for society, Paschal Donohoe says
- Principal among those was the possibility that the Brexit outcome could lead to a more sustained negative impact on Irish economic growth than was ...

           UK urges Russia to continue investigation into Nemtsov murder    
LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it wanted Russia to continue investigating the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, saying the...
          Labour are as pro-Brexit as the Tories": what do Sinn Fein's MPs really want from Westminster?   
Labour are as pro-Brexit as the Tories": what do Sinn Fein's MPs really want from Westminster?
- In the meantime, however, its priority is a Brexit deal that gives Northern Ireland – where 56 per cent of voters backed remain – designated status ...

          Aumentan 20% los salarios de las Fuerzas de Seguridad   
Imagen: 
El aumento será similar al que el Gobierno acordó con el gremio estatal UPCN para los empleados públicos, aunque éstos lo perciben en tres tramos (junio, julio y agosto).

El Gobierno fijó un aumento salarial del 20% en dos cuotas para los haberes de julio y agosto que perciben los integrantes de las Fuerzas de Seguridad.

El incremento para los efectivos de la Gendarmería, Prefectura, Policía Federal y Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria se formalizó a través del decreto 463 publicado este viernes en el Boletín Oficial.

El aumento será similar al que el Gobierno acordó con el gremio estatal UPCN para los empleados públicos, aunque éstos lo perciben en tres tramos (junio, julio y agosto).

La primera cuota se verá reflejada en los salarios de julio, que se cobran en los primeros días de agosto; y la segunda, en los salarios de agosto, que se cobran en los primeros días de setiembre.

En la norma, firmada por el presidente Mauricio Macri, se explicó que la medida tiene "el propósito del Gobierno Nacional de reconocer y mantener una adecuada jerarquización en relación con la capacidad, responsabilidad y dedicación que la correcta ejecución de la actividad de los integrantes de las Fuerzas de Seguridad".

El aumento en todas las jerarquías de oficiales y suboficiales de las instituciones de seguridad se aplicará en una primera cuota al 1 de julio y la segunda correspondiente al 1 de agosto.

Además, los incrementos abarcarán los suplementos que perciben los efectivos, como "cumplimiento de tareas específicas de seguridad", "mayor exigencia del servicio", "disponibilidad permanente para el cargo", entre otros.

Enviar alerta como Síntesis
El incremento es para los efectivos de la Gendarmería, Prefectura, Policía Federal y Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria.
Volanta: 
DECRETO
Estado: 
Enviado: 
Titulo Portada Destacadas: 
Aumentan 20% los salarios de las Fuerzas de Seguridad
Marcar como "Tema del día": 
Seccion: 
Marcar como "Ahora": 
Marcar como "Destacada redonda": 
Marcar como "Nota Destacada": 
Marcar como "Destacada en su Sección": 
Marcar como "Destacada Zona Centro": 
Marcar como zona "Videoteca": 
Marcar como "Nota Patrocinada": 
Marcar como Nota En Vivo: 

          La candidata de Cristina ya tiene una denuncia en la justicia federal   
Imagen: 
Fernanda Vallejos, la candidata de CFK para reforzar la crítica a la economía de Mauricio Macri.

Una ONG denunció este viernes a la candidata kirchnerista Fernanda Vallejos por haber acumulado 3 contratos simultáneos con el Estado a pesar de que está prohibido. La presentación fue realizada Ciudadanos Libres por la Calidad Institucional y recayó en el juzgado de Rodolfo Canicoba Corral.

La ONG denunció a Vallejos, primera candidata a diputada nacional de Unidad Ciudadana en la provincia de Buenos Aires, a partir de un artículo publicado en el portal Border Periodismo que reveló que la economista llegó a ser asesora de una senadora, figurar en planta de la Cámara Baja y tener un puesto en el ministerio de Economía.

De acuerdo a la nota, Vallejos logró acumular los 3 cargos porque omitió informar sobre los otros en una declaración juradas. Por esto, la denuncia impulsada por el abogado Josè Mangiocalda denunció a la candidata kirchnerista por "falsedad ideológica", es decir, adulteración de documentos públicos.

Vallejos tomó relevancia pública días atrás luego de que sus primeras declaraciones públicas tras la confirmación de su candidatura fueran una defensa de Amado Boudou, que deberá enfrentar un juicio oral por un resonado caso de corrupción, y la afirmación de que las denuncias sobre la malversación de los recursos públicos "son un invento de los medios".

La nota de Border Periodismo:

"Pero, ¿por qué Vallejos no quiso o no supo tomar distancia de Boudou, en su primera aparición como candidata? Las lealtades, a veces, juegan malas pasadas. La candidata es economista y formó parte de La Gran Makro, una agrupación política creada en 2011 por el ex vicepresidente -entonces con aspiraciones porteñas- y su entonces viceministro en Economía, Roberto Feletti. En esa usina de colegas K, también abrevó Alejandro Robba, ex subsecretario de Coordinación Económica y, según la gacetilla que presentaba el espacio, “enlace entre La Gran Makro y el equipo económico” que comandaba Boudou desde el Ministerio. Vallejos había ingresado en 2010 a la gestión pública K, como asesora de Robba -que dependía de Feletti y, por jerarquía de Boudou-, trabajó en la Dirección de Cuentas Nacionales y se mantuvo hasta 2015, ya bajo la gestión de Axel Kicillof, quien fuera su profesor en la UBA.

Es que Vallejos llegó a contar con tres empleos públicos a la vez, al menos en 2014, lo que las normativas de empleo público prohíben. El segundo trabajo también llegó con la firma de Boudou: fue designada como asesora en el despacho de la entonces senadora por La Pampa, María de los Ángeles Higonet.

El alta de Vallejos en el Senado se hizo mediante un contrato de locación de servicios, “a partir del día 01 de octubre de 2013 y hasta el día 31 de diciembre de 2013, siendo el monto de la cuota mensual a percibir de PESOS SIETE MIL ($ 7.000)”, según reza el decreto 1404/13 de la Presidencia del Senado, con la rúbrica del ex vicepresidente. La designación se renovó con el mismo tipo de contratación y honorarios con los sucesivos decretos 328/14, 853/14, 2017/14 y 985/15, todos contratos semestrales, salvo el último que terminó el 31 de noviembre de 2015, ya veremos, no por casualidad.

La senadora Higonet auspició varias charlas de Vallejos en distintos municipios pampeanos, como su disertación en el “Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres de la línea Compromiso Peronista”, a mediados de 2013, en Toay; u otra titulada “La Economía en el proyecto nacional: Análisis de la coyuntura, Soberanía, Desendeudamiento y holdouts”, en Realicó, en agosto de 2014.

[...]

Higonet cumplió su mandato a fines de 2015 pero generó polémica cuando intentó perpetuarse en el Senado, al lograr que Boudou le creara una dirección especial y a medida: fue designada al frente de la “Unidad de Coordinación con la OIT-Delegación Parlamentaria Argentina ante la OIT” y pudo nombrar su staff, incluso mientras aún cumplía su mandato legislativo. Pero el decreto que perpetuaba a la senadora en la estructura del Senado fue derogado cuando asumió Gabriela Michetti.

Fue curioso que Vallejos no figurara entre los empleados elegidos por Higonet para acompañarla. La economista, sin embargo, tenía una salida mejor: en noviembre de 2015 la nombraron en planta permanente en Diputados. La hoy candidata K había ingresado a la Cámara Baja del Congreso en septiembre de 2014, contratada como planta transitoria y fue traspasada justo antes del cambio de Gobierno. Hasta el día de hoy figura nombrada en la Dirección de Comisiones de la Secretaría Parlamentaria, con la categoría A3 que, según la escala oficial del Congreso, representa un sueldo bruto de 48 mil pesos (37 mil, de bolsillo).

En su Linkedin, Vallejos admite la superposición de dos cargos. No menciona el Senado.

Tanto la legislación sobre empleo público como las normas que comunica la Oficina Anticorrupción prohíben la acumulación de cargos. Vallejos siempre contó con al menos dos, primero en Economía y el Senado, y luego en el ministerio y la Cámara de Diputados, llegando a la paradoja de contar con los tres cargos públicos en 2014. Allí puede explicarse que su método de contratación en el Senado fuera un “contrato de locación de servicio”, tal vez una vía para disimular la superposición. Sin embargo, cuando un empleado asume un puesto en el Estado debe completar una declaración jurada en la que está obligado a explicitar todos sus trabajos, para detectar incompatibilidades.

#BORDER accedió a la DDJJ que Vallejos presentó ante el Senado en 2014. El formulario está en blanco y lleva su firma y la de su jefa, la senadora Higonet. La economista omitió informar su vínculo tanto con Economía como con la Cámara de Diputados. Las declaraciones juradas son documentos públicos y mentir en ellos puede significar un delito".

Enviar alerta como Síntesis
Una ONG denunció este viernes a la candidata kirchnerista por haber acumulado 3 contratos simultáneos con el Estado a pesar de que está prohibido. La acusan de haber adulterado un documento.
Volanta: 
FERNANDA VALLEJOS
Estado: 
Enviado: 
Titulo Portada Destacadas: 
La candidata de Cristina ya tiene una denuncia en la justicia federal
Marcar como "Tema del día": 
Seccion: 
Marcar como "Ahora": 
Marcar como "Destacada redonda": 
Marcar como "Nota Destacada": 
Marcar como "Destacada en su Sección": 
Marcar como "Destacada Zona Centro": 
Marcar como zona "Videoteca": 
Marcar como "Nota Patrocinada": 
Marcar como Nota En Vivo: 

          Campaña: Cristina habló con el panadero que le cantó una canción de amor   
Imagen: 
Cristina compartió un video en el que habla, vía Skype, con un panadero.

Si bien la campaña electoral aún no comenzó oficialmente, en la práctica los precandidatos ya arrancaron hace rato. Cristina Fernández, siempre activa en las redes sociales, parece estar intentando renovar su imagen y este viernes (30/06) utilizó el mismo recurso que Mauricio Macri: filmó la charla que mantuvo, vía Skype, con un 'hombre corriente'.

La ex mandataria publicó un video en HD (alta definición) con la videollamada realizó con Gabriel Etcheverry, un panadero santiagueño que trascendió en las redes por su interpretación de "No hay nada más difícil que vivir sin ti", uno de los temas más populares de Marco Antonio Solís, dedicado a Cristina.

"Te vi, medio país me habló de vos", aseguró la ex Presidente desde el living de su departamento de Recoleta, al iniciar la videollamada.

"Veníamos creciendo y de pronto: ¡pump! Se cayó todo. Aumentó la harina, la luz, el gas. ¿Por qué pensás que te quiero tanto? Vos representás a todos. Vos sos la única que ha venido y le ha puesto un precio al aceite y nadie más lo puede remarcar", recordó el panadero, entre otras cosas.

El video concluye con una especie de reflexión de Cristina al finalizar la comunicación, y visiblemente emocionada dice:"¡Guau! Estas son las cosas que me manda él".

 Para Gabriel, que amasa facturas con amor y con fe, y para su familia, gracias de corazón. pic.twitter.com/ADL65E98f6

 

El video del panadero que se viralizó en las redes:


Cabe recordar que hace dos semanas, Mauricio Macri había realizado algo similar: publicó en su cuenta oficial de Facebook un video en el que se lo ve hablando por teléfono con un hombre que le había enviado una carta planteándole la problemática de los precios por la inflación. En la charla telefónica, ambos dialogaron sobre el tema del consumo de los argentinos, y el Presidente instó a los “empresarios y gremios a que trabajen juntos para que las cosas se produzcan por menor valor”.

 

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Siempre activa en las redes sociales, Cristina Fernández arrancó la campaña intentando renovar su imagen. Y para ello, emuló a Mauricio Macri y compartió en las redes sociales una videollamada que realizó con un panadero santiagueño, quien se hizo conocido por su interpretación de "No hay nada más difícil que vivir sin ti" dedicado a la ex presidente. Hace 2 semanas, Macri había pubicado un video en el que se lo veía hablando por teléfono con un hombre que le había mandado una carta.
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Campaña: Cristina habló con el panadero que le cantó una canción de amor
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          Los de Larreta y Lousteau juntos le ganaron las elecciones al kirchnerismo en Derecho   
Imagen: 
El kirchnerismo perdió en Derecho.
 
La lista Graduados Pluralistas, la unión entre la UCR y el PRO de la Ciudad, logró un triunfo en las elecciones de la Facultad de Derecho de la UBA al ganar tres de los cuatro lugares de consejeros directivos que se pusieron en juego con un 60% de los votos.
 
El kirchnerismo, que se presentó con el nombre Frente de Abogados Populares, quedó en segundo lugar y conquistó un consejero entre los graduados. 
 
El radical que viene de Franja Morada Leandro Martínez y la macrista Silvia Bianco, actual integrante de la Magistratura porteña, junto a Pablo Gianibelli, son los tres consejeros electos por Graduados Pluralistas. Sus votos suman en la elección del futuro rector de la UBA que tendrá lugar hacia fin de año. 
 
En la contienda en la que votaron los abogados egresados de la Facultad de Derecho de UBA, el PRO y Franja Morada llegaron a una lista de unidad.
 
En los tres días que duró la elección que finalizó anoche, se vio votar a dirigentes como Ricardo Alfonsín, Daniel Angelici, Martín Ocampo, Mariano Genovesi, Leandro Halperin, Francisco Quintana, Diego Capuya, Carlos Mas Vélez, Maria Gorbea, Daniel Lipovesky, entre otros tantos. 
 
Según el sitio 'La Política Online', una de las graduadas electas, la consejera Silvia Bianco, remarcó el éxito de la lista que integró y consideró que es el resultado de "trabajar por una facultad pública, democrática, tolerante y de excelencia académica".
 
La votación se llevó adelante desde el lunes y votaron todos los graduados empadronados, en la sede de la Facultad de Derecho. 
 
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Lo que no ocurrió de cara a los comicios legislativos se dio en el ámbito universitario: para enfrentar al kirchnerismo, se formó Cambiemos con el radicalismo y el macrismo, que con candidatos ligados al PRO de Horacio Rodríguez Larreta y dirigentes de la UCR alineados bajo la candidatura a diputado nacional de Martín Lousteau, obtuvieron un contundente triunfo frente al sector del Frente para la Victoria, que se presentó con el nombre de Frente de Abogados Populares.
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Los de Larreta y Lousteau juntos le ganaron al kirchnerismo en Derecho
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          Ricos & Corruptos, así encasilló Massa a sus contrincantes   
Imagen: 
Cristina, Massa y Macri.
 
 
 
El precandidato a senador nacional por la provincia de Buenos Aires del frente '1País', Sergio Massa, minimizó hoy las chances de triunfo de la ex presidenta Cristina Fernández en los comicios legislativos, al afirmar que la gente no votará "un gobierno para ricos" ni uno "de corruptos".
 
En ese marco, volvió a mostrarse como una "alternativa" junto a Margarita Stolbizer, y dijo que la responsabilidad es "construir una cosa distinta de lo que puedan plantear unos y otros".
 
"Estoy convencido de que la gente no va a votar ni un gobierno para ricos ni un gobierno de corruptos. Va a votar una alternativa", resaltó.
 
En declaraciones a radio 'Con Vos', Massa sostuvo que "esa alternativa" la está construyendo "junto a Margarita Stolbizer, y en octubre la gente no va a quedar rehén de la trampa". "Me genera la responsabilidad de construir una cosa distinta a lo que pueden plantear unos y otros", añadió.
 
El ex jefe de Gabinete durante el primer gobierno de Cristina Fernández evitó además responderle a Florencio Randazzo, quien ayer lo tildó de "oportunista" al lanzar su precandidatura a senador nacional.
 
"Si hay algo que no necesita esta campaña, y la gente, es que entremos en el juego de la simple descalificación". 
 
Hay que aprovechar estos meses para contar qué es lo que queremos hacer. Parte de lo que hoy se denomina la grieta es que no se discuten las cuestiones de fondo y terminan siendo discusión banal sobre descalificaciones y cuestiones de vanidad", subrayó.
 
Por otro lado, se mostró abierto a discutir la importancia de las PASO, tal como planteó el jefe de Gabinete, Marcos Peña, ya que "la discusión interna quita la energía y la posibilidad de contarle a la gente cómo resolver los problemas", aunque pidió que el debate "sea en el Congreso y no a través de los medios".
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"La gente no va a votar ni a un gobierno para ricos, ni uno de corruptos", dijo el precandidato a senador nacional por la provincia de Buenos Aires, Sergio Massa, quien volvió a mostrarse como una "alternativa" junto a Margarita Stolbizer, y dijo que la responsabilidad es "construir una cosa distinta de lo que puedan plantear unos y otros". Se refirió a la "grieta" y evitó responderle a Florencio Randazzo, quien lo tildó ayer de "oportunista".
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Ricos & Corruptos, así encasilló Massa a sus contrincantes
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          Randazzo: “Cristina es funcional al Gobierno y la gestión de Scioli fue un desastre”   
Imagen: 
Randazzo, concedió una entrevista después de 2 años

Hacía dos años que Florencio Randazzo no brindaba entrevistas a medios periodísticos. Lo hizo este viernes (30/6) a periodista Marcelo Longobardi en Radio Mitre. Allí, contó cómo fue la reunión que mantuvo con la expresidenta Cristina Fernández antes del cierre de las listas de candidatos y qué le ofrecieron para abandonar su postulación. También criticó con dureza la gestión de Daniel Scioli.

Randazzo dijo que "la decisión que tomó Cristina" de postularse en las próximas elecciones es "funcional al gobierno" de Mauricio Macri y“pone en discusión el pasado, y tenemos que ver qué errores cometimos y ver el futuro".

"Me preocupa que algunos intendentes hayan adherido a la candidatura de Cristina", señaló el precandidato bonaerense del Frente Justicialista.

Además, advirtió que en el sector que lidera la expresidenta "ya habían tomado la decisión de formar un frente y sacar al peronismo para que no participemos" de una primaria.

Por otra parte, cuestionó el "oportunismo" de dirigentes peronistas que, según consideró, estuvieron muy cerca de la expresidenta pero ahora la critican.

Randazzo dio detalles del encuentro reservado con la exjefa de Estado y justificó el desacuerdo con la expresidenta porque las "diferencias eran incompatibles con la posibilidad de acompañarla" en las listas de Unidad Ciudadana, y confirmó que el kirchnerismo le ofreció la postulación como segundo precandidato a senador o como cabeza de la lista de diputados. "Sabía que había muy pocas posibilidades de reparar lo que estaba roto, fundamentalmente por la decisión nuestra de participar en una PASO. La reunión fue muy amable pero yo no estoy de acuerdo con que los candidatos se elijan por el dedo", dijo el exfuncionario.

Por otro lado, definió como "un desastre" la gestión de Daniel Scioli como gobernador y cuestionó al Gobierno nacional porque, según consideró, "agravó los problemas que ya existían y tiene grandes problemas a la hora gestionar".

"La ilusión se transformó en dolor y desilusión", señaló, con respecto a la gestión de Cambiemos, a la vez que evaluó que "el endeudamiento que está haciendo este Gobierno va a hipotecar el futuro".

Para el exministro de Interior, "Macri tiene que tener una actitud diferente con una mirada al futuro" y "no remitirse siempre hacia el pasado".

También se diferenció de la gobernadora María Eugenia Vidal y dijo tener "una visión muy diferente a la que a diario quieren transmitir".

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El precandidato a Senador Nacional por Cumplir Florencio Randazzo, brindó este viernes (30/6) su primera entrevista a un medio de comunicación después de dos años. En declaraciones a Radio Mitre contó cómo fue la reunión que mantuvo con Cristina Fernández antes del cierre de listas y calificó como “desastre” la gestión de Daniel Scioli en la provincia de Buenos Aires. "La decisión que tomó Cristina" de postularse para las próximas elecciones es "funcional al gobierno" de Mauricio Macri, opinó el exministro de Transporte a la vez que reveló que el kirchnerismo le había ofrecido la postulación como segundo precandidato a senador o como cabeza de la lista de diputados pero que rechazó las propuestas porque las "diferencias eran incompatibles con la posibilidad de acompañarla (a Cristina)".
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          Aparecen ‘brotes verdes’, pero la mitad de la gente gana menos de $10.000    
Imagen: 
Hay señales de recuperación, pero no impactan en la gente y la campaña ya llegó.

El Gobierno nacional se entusiasma por dos razones: aparecen datos positivos en la economía y coinciden con el inicio de la campaña electoral. El problema es que esos ‘brotes verdes’ están lejos de aliviar la situación de millones de argentinos que han visto deteriorada su economía personal desde la llegada de Cambiemos al poder. Según el Indec, la mitad de la población argentina gana menos de $10.000 por mes.

Pero volviendo sobre los ‘brotes’, parecen innegables ciertas señales positivas que reflejan los diarios Ámbito Financiero, BAE y Cronista (muy disímiles entre sí en su línea editorial con respecto al Gobierno de Mauricio Macri).

En Cronista se destaca este viernes (30/6) que las empresas que cotizan en Bolsa ganaron 95% más que en 2016 según el Instituto Argentino de Mercado de Capitales (IAMC). Las 87 firmas de origen nacional que cotizan en bolsa tuvieron ganancias por u$s 1400 millones en el primer trimestre, lo que significó un avance del 95% con respecto al mismo período de 2016.

En tanto, de los 25 sectores económicos representados en la bolsa argentina, 19 exhibieron resultados positivos y 15 de ellos mejoraron con respecto a los primeros tres meses de 2016.

En el primer trimestre de este año hubo 6 sectores (transporte de gas, distribución de gas, transporte de energía eléctrica, construcción, manufacturas de origen industrial y agricultura y ganadería) que habían reportado pérdidas entre enero y marzo del año pasado y revirtieron la situación en 2017.

Por su parte, Ámbito Financiero refleja que tras 15 caídas consecutivas, la industria creció un 2,7% en mayo. El dato pertenece al INDEC pero se ubicó en línea con lo esperado por el mercado.

Se trata de la suba interanual del quinto mes del año y el Estimador Mensual Industrial (EMI) cortó una racha de 15 meses consecutivos en baja.

También la Industria alimenticia presentó alzas en casi todos sus componentes, excepto la producción de lácteos que bajó el 1,5% en términos interanuales.

El Diario BAE destaca que el impulso se dio por el repunte en las fábricas automotrices ya que las exportaciones de vehículos de transporte crecieron 30% en mayo.

Otro ‘motor’ de la economía como la construcción también registró un crecimiento del 10,3% en mayo y anotó su tercera suba consecutiva. Consolidó la recuperación del sector y alcanzó un trimestre de crecimiento por encima de los dos dígitos.

La recuperación del sector mostró en mayo un aumento del 26,3% en los pedidos de construcción de emprendimientos privados en los 41 municipios mas importantes del país según el Indec, que es el registro más alto de los últimos tres años. Ese indicador mostró una suba del 20,8% en mayo respecto de abril último.

Y no menos importante: La mejora de la actividad permitió un crecimiento de los puestos de trabajo en abril pasado del 6,3% interanual mientras que en los primeros cuatro meses del año se crearon más de 22 mil nuevos empleos, de acuerdo con los datos de los puestos de trabajos registrados en la seguridad social.

El problema es que los brotes tardan en aliviar la situación social. El Indec también informó que la mitad de la población argentina gana menos de $10.000 por mes. Se trata de una realidad que Cambiemos sabe que debe modificar y que será eje de la campaña opositora.

Según destaca BAE, la desigualdad social casi no se redujo: de acuerdo al índice de Gini, la distribución de la riqueza en el país casi no cambió con respecto al año pasado.

Seis de cada diez habitantes con trabajo no alcanzaban a superar con sus ingresos individuales el costo de la canasta básica total, condición que también enfrentaban el 40% de los hogares, indicó el Indec.

Según el estudio oficial, el 60 por ciento de la población tenía niveles de ingresos promedios de 13.093 pesos, situación en la que se encuentran más de 9,5 millones de personas.

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Este viernes (30/6) los diarios Ámbito Financiero, BAE y Cronista (muy disímiles entre sí en su línea editorial con respecto al Gobierno de Mauricio Macri) destacan que las empresas que cotizan en Bolsa ganaron 95% más que en 2016; que la industria creció un 2,7% en mayo y que la construcción también creció un 10,3% en el mismo mes. Son todos datos positivos que hablan de la existencia real de los denominados ‘brotes verdes’ de los que tanta publicidad viene haciendo el oficialismo. Estas novedades, cerca de la campaña electoral, son otra buena noticia para Cambiemos. Pero hay otra realidad que parece ir paralela: la mitad de la población argentina gana menos de $10.000 por mes, según el Indec.
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          Allanaron el supuesto hotel porteño de Cristina, que funcionaría para lavar dinero   
Imagen: 
La expresidente Cristina Fernández.
 
La Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria allanó el hotel Waldorf para secuestrar los libros de registro de huéspedes del establecimiento luego de que la diputada Margarita Stolbizer atribuyera el inmueble a Cristina Fernández y denunciara que el lugar funciona como una pantalla para lavar dinero.
 
En su presentación, la legisladora del GEN sostuvo que la familiar Kirchner usó a Osvaldo Sanfelice para comprar el Waldorf sin que su nombre figurara y así utilizar el inmueble "como fachada para diversas operaciones de dinero".
 
En otro escrito que acercó a Comodoro Py, Stolbizer y su abogada Silvina Martinez aportaron elementos que a su juicio podrían revelar una de las vías mediante las cuales "se canalizaban el pago de las coimas a funcionarios públicos por parte de la firma Constructora Norberto Odebrecht S.A". 
 
En concreto, Stolbizer detectó que los asientos del libro IVA Ventas del hotel dan cuenta de habitaciones que comenzaron a ser facturadas a la constructora brasileña luego de que Sanfelice adquiriera el inmueble en 2009.
 
Por pedido del fiscal Federico Delgado, titular de la Fiscalía Federal Nº 6, el juez Sebastián Casanello autorizó el allanamiento del hotel, ubicado en Paraguay 450. Actuó en el operativo la Unidad Operacional Control del Narcotráfico y Delito Complejo de la Unidad Regional I Este de la Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria.
 
Stolbizer señaló que a partir de 2012 los pagos realizados por Odebrecht aumentaron considerablemente. Hay períodos en los que el hotel emitió una factura diaria durante meses enteros a la firma brasileña. Esto ocurrió en julio y agosto de 2012; también en mayo, junio y septiembre de 2014. Si se suma la facturación del hotel de Sanfelice, supera la capacidad del establecimiento.
 
Además, la legisladora destacó que el patrimonio de Sanfelice creció en forma injustificada a partir de su vínculo con la familia Kirchner. En este sentido, en 2007 declaró bienes por 1.265.837 pesos. En 2008 los duplicó, al llevarlos a 3.245.081 pesos. Y en 2009 compró el Hotel Waldorf por 6.335.000 pesos, casi el doble de su patrimonio declarado.
 
El Waldorf tuvo un ejercicio negativo en 2009. Pero en 2010 el saldo positivo ascendió a 879 mil pesos. Ya en 2012 ganó un millón de pesos. Según los balances, la facturación creció de manera sostenida. Fueron cuatro millones y medio de pesos en 2009, más de 6 millones de pesos en 2010, casi 8 millones de pesos en 2011 y casi 9 millones de pesos durante 2013.
 
El del miércoles fue el segundo operativo que se llevó a cabo en el hotel atribuido a la ex presidente. 
 
Semanas atrás, personal de la Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos (AFIP) encabezó un operativo en busca de "documentación respaldatoria" para la investigación de "la emisión de facturas truchas y elementos que respalden la teoría de la evasión".
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Tras la denuncia de la diputada Margarita Stolbizer y el pedido del fiscal Federico Delgado, el juez Sebastián Casanello autorizó el allanamiento del hotel Waldorf para secuestrar registros de huéspedes del inmueble que habría sido utilizado por los Kirchner "como fachada para diversas operaciones de dinero", entre ellas "el pago de coimas por parte de Odebrecht".
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Allanaron el supuesto hotel porteño de Cristina, que funcionaría para lavar dinero
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          Tras el incidente con el auto, echaron a los custodios de Casa Rosada   
Imagen: 

Este jueves 29/6, el Gobierno pasó a disponibilidad a todos los policías que estuvieron la noche del 21/6 cuando una persona con trastornos psiquiátricos a bordo de un Renault 19 gris ingresó a la calle Balcarce y chocó frente a las rejas de la Casa Rosada, poniendo en alerta la zona de seguridad presidencial.

Pero pasarlos a disponibilidad no será el único acto a realizar, ya que se elabora un plan para reforzar la seguridad en todo el predio del edificio situado en Balcarce 50. "Se están analizando todas las alternativas posibles para reforzar las medidas de seguridad y de inmediato se evaluarán los pasos a seguir con las herramientas más convenientes", dijo un funcionario cercano al jefe de Estado a diversos medios.

Se evalúan varias medidas: reforzar la cantidad de efectivos, la posibilidad de aumentar los vallados, eliminar la circulación peatonal por la calle Balcarce frente a la Casa Rosada o reforzar las rejas. Pero hasta ahora no se definió nada. También se supo que hoy había mucho malestar en la Casa Rosada por el accionar lento y tardío que se vio por parte de la Policía Federal esa noche, que quedó reflejado en un video que se conoció este jueves 29/6. Además, el juez federal Sergio Torres le pidió al general José Luis Yofre, a cargo de la Casa Militar, la repartición que se ocupa de la seguridad en la Casa Rosada, que establezca un plan a "corto, mediano y largo plazo" para mejorar y reforzar la protección de la Casa de Gobierno.

La cercanía de la cumbre de la OMC en Buenos Aires y la realización de la cumbre de presidentes del G20 en la Argentina el año que viene obligarán también a reforzar medidas de seguridad en edificios públicos, según dijeron fuentes oficiales.

No es la primera vez que la seguridad presidencial se vio afectada. En otros momentos hubo ataques a Macri durante giras y actos que hizo por el interior del país, lo que también generó una fuerte alerta en el Gobierno.

El juez Torres hizo el pedido luego de que el 21/6 sucediera un hecho que no pasó a mayores pero que pudo haber sido gravísimo y que mostró algunas falencias de seguridad en la Casa Rosada. A las 2:44 del miércoles 21 de junio un Renault 19 gris del año 1997 ingresó a la calle Balcarce, que pasa por el frente de la Casa Rosada y está –desde hace años– restringida al tránsito. Se detuvo frente a las rejas ubicadas delante de la entrada principal en Balcarce 50. Allí no había nadie. Chocó con el auto contra las rejas dos o tres veces hasta que venció la resistencia del metal y enfiló hacia adentro de la Casa Rosada por una especie de pasillo delimitado por vallas. A poca velocidad chocó contra el umbral de mármol que hay que pisar para acceder a la mismísima Casa Rosada. Y ahí se detuvo.

El viejo Renault 19 quedó allí, a centímetros de ingresar a la Casa de Gobierno. El conductor bajó del auto. Estaba en estado de shock. Gritaba. Se le acercó un policía, quien ante la extraña situación pidió refuerzos. Mientras llegaban otros efectivos, del Renault 19 descendió en ayuda de su dueño un perro Pitbull bayo atigrado de cuatro años.

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La seguridad presidencial vuelve a estar en discusión. Ocurre que, tras conocerse este jueves 29/6 las imágenes de un auto irrumpiendo en Casa Rosada, el secretario General de Presidencia Fernando de Andreis, decidió desplazar a los uniformados que debían estar en las garitas de ingreso al edificio la noche del choque. El funcionario también pidió que se refuerce la custodia del perímetro de la Casa Rosada.
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Tras el incidente con el auto, echaron a los custodios de Casa Rosada
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Los custodios que estuvieron la noche del 21/6 fueron pasados a disponibilidad y a su vez se refuerza la seguridad presidencial.
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          Everything Turned to Color at Rockwood   

I don’t wanna make this about politics, but after the election, things looked pretty bleak in New York City. Long faces on the subway. ...

The post Everything Turned to Color at Rockwood appeared first on One Track Mine.


          “Es una vida menos que duele y recuerda la negligencia y el maltrato institucional”   
Imagen: 

La diputada nacional del Frente Renovador y especialista en temas previsionales, Mirta Tundis habló este jueves 29/6 sobre el suicidio de un jubilado en la ANSES en Mar del Plata.

“Lo que acaba de suceder era algo previsible. Hay una persecución contra los más vulnerables. Le sacan a los que menos tienen, quitan beneficios a las personas con discapacidad y hasta dudan de los matrimonios de los pensionados por viudez. Este es un gobierno sin pensamiento ni sentimiento”, lamentó Tundis.

Asimismo, la diputada advirtió: “Lo que hizo este jubilado es muy triste, ¿Pero cuántos otros están en la misma situación de no querer depender de sus hijos? Este hombre tenía la necesidad de vivir dignamente y sustentarse con sus propios ingresos después de haber trabajado 30 o 40 años, pero este Estado negligente se lo impidió. Esto es una muestra más de la insensibilidad del gobierno con los que menos tienen”.

“La angustia, la desidia y la persecución llevan a estos desenlaces que no son una tragedia sin causa, sino la consecuencia de la violencia y el abandono que ejerce el Estado sobre las personas mayores. Es una vida menos que duele e indigna, y que recuerda que la negligencia y el maltrato institucional matan”, opinó.

Por último, Tundis afirmó: “Lamentamos profundamente la pérdida de la vida de Rodolfo Oscar Estivill. Deseo que este trágico acontecimiento funcione como un llamado de atención para cambiar las políticas que expulsan y maltratan a los que menos tienen. El Estado está para cuidar y proteger a los ciudadanos, no para abandonarlos. Espero que hoy, por fin, quienes nos gobiernan, tomen nota de ello”.

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En relación al hecho ocurrido esta mañana en las oficinas de ANSES de Mar del Plata, la diputada nacional Mirta Tundis se refirió al tema con preocupación: “Esto que sucedió es lo que venimos advirtiendo sobre el maltrato y la denigración que reciben nuestros adultos mayores. Argentina ratificó su adhesión a la Convención Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos de Personas Mayores, pero la viola sistemáticamente. Tanto ANSES como PAMI ejercen violencia institucional contra nuestros jubilados y pensionados”.
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TUNDIS SOBRE ANSES
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“Es una vida menos que duele y recuerda la negligencia y el maltrato institucional”
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Mirta Tundis se refirió al suicidio del jubilado en ANSES
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          "Los que proponen el diálogo nos hambrean y cagan a palos"   
Imagen: 

En su habitual ronda de los jueves, este 29/6 Hebe de Bonafini criticó duramente al Gobierno por los incidentes ocurridos ayer en la avenida 9 de Julio durante un piquete, al advertir que el Gobierno busca "meter miedo" para que la gente no proteste y admitió que "cuando vos tenés hambre, generás violencia".

"La gente va a pedir comida y todavía se asustan porque vamos con palos y con la cara tapada. La cara se tapa para que no te vayan a buscar tu casa y los palos es la única manera que tiene un pueblo para defenderse", expresó la dirigente por los derechos humanos.

Para Bonafini, "hoy tenemos un Estado represor y ese Estado está deseando intervenir, por eso pusieron a (Patricia) Bullrich" al frente del Ministerio de Seguridad, al tiempo que calificó a los funcionarios como "gente sin corazón, sin alma, ni cabeza tienen". "Ellos generan la violencia porque cuando vos tenés hambre, generás violencia", sentenció en declaraciones a radio FM La Patriada, donde también aseguró que el Gobierno "busca meterle miedo" a la población para que no participe de las protestas.

Bonafini dijo que ayer fue a la comisaría 30 a visitar a los detenidos porque "uno no sabe qué puede pasar en una comisaría", en "cinco minutos te matan". "Si vos agarrás las armas sos un hijo de puta, pero ellos sí pueden tener armas, te cagan a balazos, te cagan a palos", enfatizó la titular de Madres de Plaza de Mayo, quien advirtió que durante los incidentes frente al Ministerio de Desarrollo Social "había muchos policías de civil".

También contó que durante la represión "le dieron una patada en la cara a un pibe" que "lloraba y decía 'no sé por qué vine'". "El pibe era flaquito, se le caía el pantalón, yo le dije 'fuiste porque tenés hambre'", agregó Bonafini, que además reveló que el joven le dijo que fue porque "le prometieron un plan" social. Frente a esta situación, la dirigente remarcó que "ni un pibe más tiene que morir en este país", por lo que cuando pasan este tipo de situaciones "tienen que ir todos" los dirigentes a respaldar a los manifestantes.

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La titular de la Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Hebe de Bonafini, criticó duramente al Gobierno por los incidentes ocurridos en la avenida 9 de Julio durante un piquete, al advertir que el Gobierno busca "meter miedo" para que la gente no proteste y admitió que "cuando vos tenés hambre, generás violencia".
Volanta: 
HEBE DE BONAFINI
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"Los que proponen el diálogo nos hambrean y cagan a palos"
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Hebe de Bonafini criticó duramente al gobierno este jueves 29/6
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          Randazzo debutó con un escrache (Videos)   
Imagen: 
Los manifestantes cantaban consignas contra Randazzo y a favor de Ishii (Foto: captura de video).

El ex ministro Florencio Randazzo dio este jueves (29/06) el puntapié inicial a su campaña con una conferencia de prensa en el hotel porteño NH City, donde dio sus primeras definiciones políticas tras confirmarse su precandidatura a senador nacional.

Pero allí, además, sufrió el primer escrache en la campaña: un grupo de personas se manifestó fuera del hotel, gritando consignas como "Randazzo traidor" o "Sos amigo de Macri".

Este grupo de personas además mostraba cartales improvisados en cartulinas en las que se leía "Randazzo: pedías internas y no las querés dar. Cagón".

Según publica Clarín, desde Cumplir vincularon el escrache a "la gente de Mario Ishii", el intendente de José C. Paz, quien había anunciado que competiría mano a mano con Randazzo desde la lista "Lealtad y Dignidad", pero luego sólo intentó anotar una lista aliada.

"Va a haber quilombo, va a haber quilombo, si lo tiran a Mario al fondo", repetían en los cánticos, dejando en claro que estaba allí para 'bancar' a Ishii.

 

 

# Burlando: "Randazzo no cumple con su palabra"

El precandidato a diputados del PJ, Fernando Burlando, presentó hoy un recurso de apelación frente a la Cámara Electoral para que habiliten la lista que lidera el intendente de José C. Paz, Mario Ishii, "Lealtad y Dignidad", a participar de las PASO y apuntó contra Randazzo y dijo que "no cumple con su palabra", además de acusarlo de "proscribir" su partido para "quedarse con el PJ".

El abogado mediático remarcó que el ex funcionario "siempre reclamó que quería internas y hasta ahora sólo puso trabas formales para que ningún candidato compita con él" y consideró que "no cumple con su palabra, nos proscribe porque quiere quedarse con el PJ y disponer de la plata que le corresponde a todo el partido para la campaña".

La lista "Lealtad y Dignidad" hizo una presentación ante la Cámara Electoral para que le habiliten sus boletas y puedan participar de las Primarias, Abiertas, Simultáneas y Obligatorias del 13 de agosto.

Cabe recordar que por el momento, la lista "Cumplir" es la única que quedó en competencia para el 13 de agosto, luego de que la junta electoral partidaria diera de baja las que habían presentado los dirigentes José Ottavis y Mario Ishii, aunque la última palabra la tendrá la Justicia.

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Florencio Randazo dio hoy (29/06) el puntapie inicial a su campaña con una conferencia de prensa en el hotel porteño NH City. Pero mientras él hablaba, afuera del edificio un grupo de personas gritaba y entonaba cánticos en su contra (y a favor de Mario Ishii).
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CAMPAÑA
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Randazzo debutó con un escrache (Videos)
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          Por la muerte del jubilado, gremio de ANSES lanza paro y denuncia "genocidio": Gobierno "lamenta el uso político"   
Imagen: 
El comunicado de APOP denuncia un "genocidio" de jubilados por parte del gobierno de Macri.

Un jubilado de 91 años se pegó un tiro este jueves en una oficina de la ANSES de Mar del Plata y murió horas después en un hospital de la ciudad balnearia.

A raíz de este traumático episodio, el gremio de trabajadores de la ANSES declaró un paro nacional de 24 para este viernes.

Leonardo Fabré, secretario General de la Asociación del Personal de los Organismos de Previsión Social (APOPS / ANSES), declaró que se trata de la 2da muerte violenta "de estas características" y citó como antecedente el asesinato de un jefe de delegación, también en Mar del Plata, ocurrida en 1996.

Fabré no dudó en convertir el trágico hecho en un alegato político contra el gobierno de Mauricio Macri.

"Hoy son las mismas políticas de los '90, son los mismos que gobernaban en los '90 los que gobiernan hoy" disparó el titular de la APOPS en declaraciones al canal C5N y siguió: "para este gobierno el sistema previsional público es una molestia, es un gasto, no lo ven como lo que es, una cuestión justa a partir de lo que los jubilados se han ganado".

"Se pegó un tiro un jubilado de ANSES en Mar del Plata. Macri y sus políticas es el responsable", disparó más temprano Fabré por Twitter.

Por otra parte, un mensaje de APOPS en las redes sociales denuncia "un genocidio" del que serían blanco los jubilados, víctimas de un supuesto "plan de exterminio de nuestros viejos" por parte del Gobierno.

En este contexto, el titular de la ANSES, Emilio Basavilbaso, denunció el "uso político" de la trágica muerte del anciano a la vez que expresó su pesar por el episodio.

"Dolor y consternación por el lamentable episodio de un jubilado en la oficina de ANSES en Mar del Plata. Acompaño a la familia en este doloroso momento con profundo respeto y comprensión. Esta situación nos afecta a todos. Lamentamos el uso político de una situación tan personal y dolorosa", dijo el funcionario.

La policía identificó al hombre como Rodolfo Oscar Estivill, de 91 años, quien por la mañana había ido a hacer un trámite a la ANSES y se disparó en la cabeza, ante las personas que estaban en el lugar. Estivill fue llevado de urgencia en estado crítico al Hospital Interzonal General de Agudos, pero perdió la vida poco después debido a la gravedad de sus heridas.

Un empleado de la ANSES aseguró que el hombre había ido al lugar a hacer un trámite para cambiar la sucursal bancaria en la que cobra su jubilación y afirmó que el hombre ingresó alterado, incluso se lo escuchó insultar, y gritaba "a las únicas que tengo que darles explicaciones es a mis sobrinas, que son las que me ayudan".

La Anses emitió un comunicado oficial tras la muerte del hombre de 91 años. "La gestión que iba a realizar por cambio de domicilio es un trámite de rutina sin complejidad", aclararon.

El texto completo:

"La ANSES informa que, durante la mañana del día de hoy, un jubilado de 91 años concurrió a una oficina del organismo de Mar del Plata, ubicada en Av. Independencia 3151, para realizar un trámite de cambio de domicilio, acompañado de la sobrina y la hija de ella. Allí, extrajo un arma de fuego y se disparó ante el público presente y el personal del organismo.

La ambulancia llegó inmediatamente y el señor fue trasladado aún con signos vitales al Hospital Interzonal General de Agudos. Lamentablemente, a las pocas horas falleció en el hospital producto de los daños causados por el disparo.

La gestión que iba a realizar por cambio de domicilio es un trámite de rutina sin complejidad.

Testigos que presenciaron el episodio explicaron que el hecho ocurrió pasadas las 10.30 horas cuando el hombre, al utilizar la escalera que conduce hacia el primer piso, arrojó su bastón y se disparó. Ya había concluido el trámite por el que había ido y volvió a ingresar al edificio con el argumento de que iba a saludar a un amigo al primer piso.

La ANSES por medio de la jefa de la Regional Bonaerense II y la gerente de la oficina acompañaron a los familiares presentes durante todo momento y lo seguirán haciendo el tiempo que sea necesario.

La oficina no abrirá sus puertas en el día de mañana y durante el lunes 3 de julio se llevará a cabo una jornada de contención para los empleados que presenciaron el hecho."

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A raíz del traumático episodio, el gremio de trabajadores de la ANSES declaró un paro nacional de 24 para este viernes. El sindicato denunció que el Gobierno lleva adelante "plan de exterminio de nuestros viejos". Leonardo Fabré, secretario general de esa organización, dijo que Macri era "el responsable" de la muerte del hombre 91 "por sus políticas". El titular del organismo previsional lamentó "el uso político de una situación tan personal y dolorosa".
Volanta: 
TRÁGICO EPISODIO
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Por la muerte del jubilado, gremio de ANSES para y denuncia "genocidio": Gobierno "lamenta uso político"
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          CFK se mostró en una fábrica para remontar una campaña que comenzó complicada   
Imagen: 
Cristina Fernández, en San Martín, un distrito que se plegó al randazzismo.

Cristina Fernández encabezó este jueves una visita a una fábrica de artículos de cuero, lo que se convirtió en su 1er acto de campaña tras la confirmación de su candidatura a senadora nacional, el sábado último.

Junto a su compañero de fórmula, Jorge Taiana, la exPresidente visitó la fábrica Cuero Flex, una cooperativa instalada en el municipio de San Martín y que desde el kirchnerismo describieron como "otra de las víctimas del tarifazo".

"Cuero Flex pagaba $50.000 de luz y ahora $500.000. Pagaba $18.000 de gas y ahora $170.000 por medidor", agregan en la cuenta oficial de Unidad Ciudadana, que comparte fotos y videos de la visita de Cristina. Además, aseguran que en los últimos meses la producción de la cooperativa cayó alrededor de un 30% y denuncian la situación con el hashtag #AsíNoSePuedeSeguir.

El lugar elegido no parece inocente: San Martín es el partido que gobierna Gabriel Katopodis que resistió la tentación de saltar a Unidad Ciudadana, el frente K, para quedarse con Florencio Randazzo. La difusión del recorrido de la exPresidente coincidía con el momento de la conferencia de prensa que el exministro brindaba en el centro porteño. Katopodis estaba allí.

Cristina se mostró acompañada además por Hernán Letcher, primer candidato a concejal por su espacio y director del CEPA, uno de los centros de estudios económicos referenciados en el kirchnerismo.

La exPresidente comienza a darle el perfil deseado a su proselitismo -con centralidad en ella y hablando de "los agredidos" del modelo macrista- luego de un comienzo que pareció complicar la campaña, si es que se trata de buscar los votos que faltan.

Las expresiones de Fernanda Vallejos, quien encabeza la lista de Diputados de Unidad Ciudadana, defendiendo a Amado Boudou y asegurando que los casos de corrupción "son un invento de los medios"; el piquete realizado en la 9 de julio por organizaciones identificadas con el kirchnerismo, con militantes capuchas y palos, neumáticos incendiados y una Hebe de Bonafini justificandolo; y el muy viralizado pero conceptualmente pobre episodio de la foto del supermercado La Ánonima marcaron un inicio de campaña poco proclive a cautivar a un electorado que vaya más allá de la base fiel de la exPresidente.

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La exPresidente y su compañero de fórmula, Jorge Taiana, recorrieron una fábrica de artículos de cuero en el partido de San Martín. La exPresidente comienza a darle el perfil deseado a su proselitismo luego de un comienzo que pareció complicar la campaña si se trata de buscar los votos que faltan.
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ELECCIONES 2017
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CFK se mostró en una fábrica para remontar una campaña que comenzó complicada
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          Habló Randazzo: Críticas a Macri, a CFK y un curioso fallido (Video)   
Imagen: 
Florencio Randazzo en la conferencia de prensa que dio este jueves para impulsar su candidatura.

El exministro Florencio Randazzo dio el puntapié inicial a su campaña con una conferencia de prensa en las que dio sus primeras definiciones políticas tras confirmarse su precandidatura a senador nacional.

En el inicio de su alocusión, acompañado de los dirigentes que respaldan su proyecto en el hotel porteño NH Bolivar, el exministro de Transporte calificó de "insensible" al gobierno de Mauricio Macri en términos sociales

"Esa ilusión que había hace 16 meses se transformó en decepción, y la esperanza se transformó en dolor", dijo.

“En un país caracterizado por la enorme desigualdad, cuando el Estado asume un rol secundario abandona los derechos de los que menos tienen”, dijo.

“Estamos en las antípodas de ese pensamiento, pero si hay algo que es imperdonable de este gobierno es que no cumplió ninguna de las promesas de campaña, y no se hace cargo de nada, se comporta como un chico malcriado”, arremetió.

"Queremos conformar una oposición firme, amplia, pretendemos ser una alternativa electoral que le ponga un límite a Macri, sin oportunismo, sin soberbia”.

En cuanto a la postulación de Cristina Fernández, Randazzo sostuvo que la expresidente "cumplió una etapa". "Se privilegió el dedo, la decisión unilateral, creíamos que era necesario hacer una profunda lectura de lo que nos había pasado, pero fue imposible”, dijo sobre la frustrada interna dentro del PJ.

Evaluó que la expresidenta "como todo dirigente político tiene una enorme responsabilidad" y señaló que "puso por encima de un interés colectivo su interés individual de ser candidata".

“Vamos a caminar la provincia cargada de sueños con una propuesta sencilla: mayor sentido común, mayor coherencia y menos marketing”, dijo.

Una perla que dejó la conferencia de prensa fue un acto fallido. El espacio de Randazzo se llama Cumplir, y sobre esa consigna giró su discurso. Pero en un momento, el candidato casi dijo que el representa "la cara del incumplimiento". O sea, todo lo contrario.

"Hay opositores que prometen cosas de imposible cumplimiento. Nosotros somos la cara... perdón, la contra cara del incumplimiento", dijo (video).

Enviar alerta como Síntesis
El exministro, que lanzó su candidatura, ofrecio una conferencia de prensa en la que acusó al gobierno de Mauricio Macri de ser "insensible" y no cumplir "promesas de campaña". Además, dijo que la exPresidente "cumplió una etapa". Tuvo un acto fallido cuando criticó a "opositores que prometen cosas de imposible cumplimiento".
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CAMPAÑA 2017
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Habló Randazzo: Críticas a Macri, a CFK y un curioso fallido (Video)
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           EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks up as oil lifts Petrobras; political woes linger    
SAO PAULO, June 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks rose on Friday as shares of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA followed crude prices...
          Channel 3 premiere video for “The God That You Deserve”, announce album release   
SoCal’s punk legends Channel 3 are back and better than ever with a new video for “The God That You Deserve.” As a politically charged piece, the video covers the importance of overcoming differences and kindness to one another. Through a tracking shot style video (no cuts, no edits) and simply a carefully composed choreographed piece, […]
           Germany's vote to OK gay marriage likely to benefit Merkel    
BERLIN (AP) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has dominated German politics for over a decade thanks to a combination of flexibility, tactical savvy and luck - and...
          Trump Urges GOP To Repeal Obama Law Now, Replace Later   

President Donald Trump urged divided congressional Republicans on Friday to break their logjam over dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law by “immediately” repealing it and replacing it later, a formula that GOP leaders dismissed months ago as politically unwise. Trump’s early-morning tweet embraced a sequential approach favored by only a handful of conservatives eager to take quick action on one of the party’s foremost priorities — repealing Obamacare, something Republicans have long promised to do. But his suggestion threatened to sharpen divisions between conservatives and moderates, who are leery of stripping coverage from millions of constituents without something to substitute for it. “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump tweeted. Supporters of that idea include Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rand Paul, R-Ky. House and Senate leaders long ago abandoned initial thoughts of first erasing Obama’s law, and then replacing it. Such a step-by-step approach would leave Republicans vulnerable to Democratic accusations that they were simply tossing people off coverage without helping them obtain medical care. It could also roil insurance markets by prompting insurers to flee or boost premiums because of worries over whether, when and how Congress would replace the statute. And the idea would leave unresolved the quandary stumping lawmakers today — how to replace Obama’s system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that will get enough Republican votes to pass Congress. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Trump’s tweet. Underscoring the fissures within the GOP, conservative group leaders welcomed Trump’s suggestion but said it didn’t go far enough because it could open the door to a subsequent bipartisan compromise to replace Obama’s law. They accused McConnell of not wanting to go far enough and protecting GOP moderates who want to keep parts of the statute, such as insurance coverage requirements. “It’s distressing to see so many Republicans who’ve lied about their commitment to repeal. Mitch McConnell wants to amend Obamacare,” Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a conference call. Mimicking a southern accent, the New Jersey-born Cuccinelli said, “Root and branch, root and branch,” repeating an expression McConnell once used about how thoroughly he wanted to repeal the Obama law. On Thursday, Senate Republicans were considering breaking a stalemate over what their replacement bill should do by preserving a tax boost Obama’s law imposed on high earners. Keeping that tax increase in place was a bid to woo party moderates and rescue their sputtering push to repeal his health care overhaul. The break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts — and most things achieved by Obama — underscores McConnell’s feverish effort to rescue the Senate legislation from the brink of possible defeat. The money from the tax boost would instead be used to bolster proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people. The change, proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give a more populist flavor to the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that as the legislation now is written, it would boost out-of-pocket costs for many poor consumers and produce 22 million uninsured people while cutting around $700 billion in taxes over a […]

The post Trump Urges GOP To Repeal Obama Law Now, Replace Later appeared first on Yeshiva World News.


          Sessions Hopes Russia Probe Ends ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’   

Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a vote of confidence Friday to former FBI director Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, but he also said he hoped the investigation could “move forward and come to an end sooner rather than later.” The attorney general’s comments during a “Fox & Friends” interview were his most expansive to date on the Justice Department’s appointment last month of Mueller to run the investigation. “Mr. Mueller is someone I’ve known a long time, and I’ve had confidence in him over the years,” said Sessions, an Alabama Republican who served for years on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that oversees the FBI. Those remarks stand in contrast to a drumbeat of Republican criticism of the special counsel’s investigation, including from President Donald Trump, who on the same show last week contended that Mueller was “very, very good friends” with fired FBI director James Comey and characterized that relationship as “very bothersome.” Republicans have also raised conflict-of-interest concerns by noting that some lawyers on Mueller’s investigative team have previously contributed to Democratic candidates, though federal law and department policy does not permit the special counsel to take into consideration the political affiliations of a potential hire. Sessions said he was hopeful the investigation would conclude sooner than later, a point White House staff has repeatedly made, and he did suggest that questions about the composition of Mueller’s staff could be fair game. “We expect integrity from every person involved in this investigation. Mr. Mueller is entitled, lawfully, I guess, at this point, to hire who he desires,” Sessions said, “but I think he should look for people who have strength and credibility by all people.” Mueller was appointed FBI director by Republican President George W. Bush and held the position for 12 years. (AP)

The post Sessions Hopes Russia Probe Ends ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’ appeared first on Yeshiva World News.


           Tight security in Hong Kong as Xi leads celebrations    
Tight security contained protesters in Hong Kong Friday night as China's President Xi Jinping led lavish celebrations to mark 20 years since the politically...
          Famed Punk Artist Winston Smith Unveils 'Calexit' Comic-Con Cover (Exclusive)   

Smith, who created album covers for the Dead Kennedys and Green Day, is lending his talents to the first issue of Black Mask Studio's upcoming political thriller.

read more


          PM's European court stance has 'hamstrung' Brexit negotiations   

Theresa May’s decision to exit ECJ has made David Davis’s job much more difficult, says former chief of staff

Theresa May’s “absolutist” stance on Britain leaving the jurisdiction of the European court of justice has “hamstrung” David Davis in negotiations with Brussels, according to the Brexit secretary’s former chief of staff.

James Chapman, who worked for George Osborne before serving as Davis’s chief of staff until shortly before the election, said May’s insistence that the ECJ must not have oversight once Britain leaves the EU, revealed in her party conference speech last year, had made the negotiators’ task more difficult.

Related: EU states start to examine whether UK is likely to reverse Brexit

Related: May's obsession with ECJ over Brexit 'daft', says former senior judge

Continue reading...
          Years of apathy make Grenfell not a tragedy, but an atrocity | Deborah Orr   

Our society treats those in poverty as moral failures, whose voices of concern are a sign of ingratitude

It remains hard to grasp the enormity of the Grenfell Tower fire. There is the catastrophe itself: Grenfell, quite simply, is the deadliest fire to have raged on our soil in over a century. Even the blitz didn’t start a single fire as hard to escape from as that which began in a single flat in North Kensington on 14 June 2017.

Related: Anger over Grenfell has spilled out across the country - we want answers

Related: Grenfell is political. The right can’t make that fact go away | Suzanne Moore

Continue reading...
          The Guardian view on Grenfell Tower: more heads must roll | Editorial   
Kensington and Chelsea council has failed to manage the fallout of the disaster. Ministers should put the local authority into special measures and send in a new team to take over the running of it

Kensington and Chelsea’s political and administrative leadership failed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. In the days after the deadly fire – which has now claimed 80 lives – so cack-handed and chaotic was the council response that responsibilty for taking care of the survivors was handed over to a central government-appointed team of London’s council chiefs. Kensington and Chelsea’s own chief executive Nicholas Holgate only went after the communities secretary intervened to tell him to go. Mr Holgate seems to have thought he should have been allowed to continue collecting his £15,000-a-month pay cheque despite appearing useless in an emergency. Kensington council leader Nick Paget-Brown disgracefully suggested sprinklers were not fitted during the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower because residents did not want the disruption. His attempt to block journalists from a council meeting which he shut down when the courts forced him to hold it with the media present was shameful. It’s unbelievable it took No 10 to intervene before Mr Paget-Brown went.

Grenfell Tower is a catastrophe at the heart of the country’s capital and after two weeks the council cannot get a grip on the situation. It’s good news that the chief executive of the company that managed the Grenfell Tower resigned – but it should just be a prelude to the removal of the rest of the council leadership on whose behalf he operated. Given the acute need in the borough to heal divisions, reassure residents and provide long-term services to victims, the time has come for central government to relieve Tory councillors of duties they patently cannot fulfil. It seems clear that local politicians, including deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen, who chaired the council’s housing committee and oversaw the refurbishment of the 24-storey block, are perhaps too consumed with the questions of responsibility – such as did cost-cutting play a part in the disaster – that the fire raises. There may be plenty more prodding from a public inquiry, police investigations into potential criminal offences, inquests into the deaths and potentially a slew of civil claims.

Continue reading...
          Why birds of a feather might bicker together | Letters   
Labour rebels | Remoaners | Minimum wage | Loose change | Charcoal toothpaste | Quarrelsome goldfinches

Thanks, Jeremy Corbyn, for making me feel like an utterly naive fool, after urging my first-time-voting twins that it’s worth voting for a party that will oppose a strong Brexit and protect workers’ rights (Report, 30 June). Sacking people for not agreeing: what a strong and stable example.
Elisabeth Young
Whitstable, Kent

• Your orgy of metrocentric remoaning (Letters, 30 June) overlooks once again the precariat, abandoned by socialists and liberals alike, who voted to end the mass free movement into the UK of poor east Europeans. Those leave voters aren’t racist or misinformed – they’re just ignored.
Chris Hughes
Leicester

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          Emily Thornberry accuses Chuka Umunna of virtue signalling on EU vote   

Shadow foreign secretary calls Labour divisions a distraction and claims the manifesto, not the leader, was the real star of the party’s election campaign

Emily Thornberry accused Chuka Umunna and other Labour Brexit rebels of “virtue signalling”, and fighting “faux battles” after three of the party’s frontbenchers were sacked for voting for his amendment.

The shadow foreign secretary said the rebels’ approach had unnecessarily exposed Labour divisions at a time when the party should be presenting itself as an alternative to Theresa May’s minority government.

Related: Corbyn sacks three frontbenchers after single market vote

Continue reading...
          Indie Author Spotlight: Robert Eggleton   


Hello lovelies welcome to a feature I am going to have on La Jersey Chika Reads Indie Books that is called Indie Author Spotlight. Each month I will post an Indie Author Spotlight to help spread word about the works of the fantastic indie authors that are out there!


Today tenth installment and feature is Robert Eggleton author of Rarity from the Hollow



 Robert Eggleton




Author's Bio

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment.



 Robert Eggleton Social Media Sites






Robert Eggleton Book


Rarity from the Hollow

By Robert Eggleton

Genre: Adult Literary Science Fiction

Publication Date: November 3, 2016

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Author Interview


Q. Describe your book in ten words or less.

A. An unlikely savior of the universe -- tragedy, comedy, and satire.


Q. What draws you to this genre.

A. I enjoy reading and writing literary fiction and within most genres. I'm not a big fan of pure escapist novels. I tend to look for the author's hidden metaphors -- meaning behind the superficial and that seems to detract from my enjoyment. So, when I write, my goal is to produce something that will be reflected upon after the last paragraph has been read. I also enjoy reading speculative fiction -- the what if? There are several what ifs in Rarity from the Hollow, but the one that was most fun to write was its political parody. What if some compelling force united extreme capitalism and socialism by a common cause --- saving the universe? While much of the focus of my story was on the prevention of child maltreatment, there are other analogies -- i.e. global warming. Rarity from the Hollow was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power -- parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation; extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few people worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. The political allegory in the novel is obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name. In summary, I am drawn to literary speculative fiction because it is so much fun to write.


Q. Where do you get information or ideas for your book?

A. Much of Rarity from the Hollow is more real than not, and based upon over forty years of my experiences working as a children's advocate. I use Google for research, for example, on updated research on prevalence rates or correlates of child abuse. One interesting element of the story pertains to the ET assistance that helped cure Lacy Dawn's parents -- she begins the story as an eleven year old protagonist, a victim of maltreatment. Her father is a war damaged Vet suffering from PTSD, night terrors, and anger outbursts. Several book reviewers have complimented by imagination when writing the medical intervention element of the story. In reality, humans are living in a very exciting time when computerized diagnosis and intervention of mental health concerns is an emerging science. The fantastical means employed by the alien in my story to treat the parents were based on today’s medical reality. I’ve already mentioned that in the beginning of Rarity from the Hollow, Dwayne, the abusive father was a war damaged Vet experiencing anger outbursts and night terrors. The mother was a downtrodden victim of domestic violence who had lost hope of ever getting her G.E.D. or driver's license, or of protecting her daughter. Diagnosis and treatment of these concerns affecting the parents, as representative of many similarly situated, was based on emerging technologies presented at the 2015 World Medical Innovation Forum: https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/ . Yes, in real life, like in my story, patients have been hooked up to computer technology for medial diagnosis and treatment. Additional exciting research was presented at that Forum and may one day may revolutionize psychiatric treatment. Most relevant to my story were: (1) smart brain prosthetics, wireless devises being tested for potential to relieve depression, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder…neural engineering to manipulate brain signals; (2) sophisticated imaging systems that are minimally invasive to brain circuitry for diagnosis (3) and, healing the brain with neuromodulation and electroceuticals to treat depression and schizophrenia. http://hitconsultant.net/2015/04/30/tech-revolutionize-neurological-psychiatric-care/


Q. How do you select the names of your characters?

A. Typically, I pick names that fit a culture for stories. While I love fantasy, I've found long and unusual first names for characters annoying, thereby sometimes leading to head hopping as I've read the stories. I try to avoid this practice. For example, I recently read a short story involving sisters with unusual but very similar first names. I kept getting the characters mixed up, complicated by their similar voices. The subculture for Rarity from the Hollow is Appalachian, a place where the use of first and middle names is common when addressing the individual, such as Billy Bob, or Robert Thomas. Lacy Dawn was addressed by her first and middle name in the story as a show of love and respect, while the other characters were addressed by their first names only as a sign that their parents did not hold their existences in high regard. As a back story, when pregnant, Lacy Dawn's mother realized that she would not be able to give her daughter beautiful things in life, so she decided to give her a very beautiful name at birth.  


Q. List your top 5 favorite authors or books.

A. Gosh, this is an impossible to answer question. I'm a mood reader, so my favorite books at one time may be entirely different than at another time. Right now: Vonnegut’s anger in Breakfast of Champions helped me stay strong as a children’s advocate and as a writer, and how to experiment with my writing style. Watership Down by R. Adams was such a sweet adventure that some of this element just is a necessary ingredient of even the scariest or saddest story. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is probably on a lot of lists of favorite books. If I feel nostalgic, like now, Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins pushed me into the wilder side of writing regardless of censorship with views on religion and other topics. Last, The Color Purple by Alice Walker remains a role model for using colloquialism to reach mainstream readers. 


Q. What book/s are you reading at present?

A. I'm going to have to pass on this question. I'm reading a second novel by an unknown author and am so disappointed that I don't want to name it. I respected her debut novel and expected this one to be even better. It isn't. When this one was posted on a blog for 99¢ I grabbed a Kindle version. Don't misunderstand. I don't subscribe to the Goodreads rating system based on whether I "liked" a novel or not. If I'm considering writing a review of a novel I would never let my personal taste control such an important task -- my likes are irrelevant to whether a book is great or awful -- so are my comfort zones -- irrelevant. So far, this book has holes in the plot, is so mainstream that it could have been written by a computer program, and was poorly edited. There seems to be no message, but I'm hopeful that the author some how pulls it all together in the last third of the novel. I don't need to like a novel to give it a good rating, but I do have to respect it. Did the story fulfill its mission? It this novel does improve you may see my review on Amazon or Goodreads and you will get my answer to your question if you notice. If the novel does not improve, I may just skip writing a review. The impact of reviews can be so powerful that I wouldn't want to influence the behavior of an author who, based on the debut, has potential but released on perhaps prematurely. If this author was well known, making lots of money, I would have no problem blasting this piece of crap that I'm reading.


Q. What's next for you? What are you working on now?

A. I've been stuck in self-promotion mode for so long that I've neglected the next Lacy Dawn Adventure -- Ivy. I've submitted a couple of short stories to magazines recently but no bites. It seems to me that many magazines either stick very close to the Young Adult genre or are so extreme that my writing seems to have a hard time fitting into content. I don't want to change what I write just to achieve publication, so I'm trying to explore other alternatives. I'm working on a satirical essay, and a couple of poems. One of my poems won first place in an international competition last year, so I have a little name recognition because of that. Ivy, full of metaphors and allegory, is the story of an alien invasion of Earth based in an almost forgotten town. I live in West Virginia, the U.S. state with the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths in the nation. My familiarity with what is happening to my neighbors because of addiction prompted me to ask: how far will a child go to save a parent from addiction? I hope to achieve a similar finding when answering this serious question as I did with Rarity from the Hollow: “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/ I'll let you know when it is released.


Q.  What advice do you have for writers?

A. I don’t feel competent to give advice to other writers, but I will share a little common sense based on my observations of this marketplace. Don’t expect to be discovered overnight like you were Elvis singing on the front stoop of an apartment located in a low-income neighborhood. Before you publish, make sure that your work as been professionally edited, or as close to it as your finances will allow – not by a friend or anybody with whom you have a personal relationship. If published, to the extent possible, prevent generic one line reviews from being posted on Amazon – they always look like they were written by your friends and detract from other reviews that appear more legitimate. Commit to the long haul by keeping in mind that the majority of those entering the world of books stay there briefly and then drop out never to be heard from again. And, last, never buy a book review and don’t invest more than you can afford in anything. I’ve heard of aspiring authors placing themselves and their families at financial risk by becoming over-committed to a book that they had written. Hard work pays off, but working smart has better outcomes.   


Thank You So Much Robert Eggleton For Your Time & Interview.



R. Thank you for the opportunity to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow.




          Ted Cruz Poses With Doppelganger, Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts   
Photo evidence confirms that Ted Cruz and Tom Ricketts are doppelgangers. Here's proof, and here are some other unbelievable celebrity/politician look alikes.
          McCain Postdoctoral Fellow - Mount Allison University - Sackville, NB   
MOUNT ALLISON UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF POLITICS & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The Department of Politics & International Relations at Mount Allison University
From Mount Allison University - Fri, 31 Mar 2017 23:31:00 GMT - View all Sackville, NB jobs
          The NY Fed President Just Admitted Ignoring The Bond Market... I Have A Theory   
In any case, right now we have a Fed that is arguably letting its own parochial political concerns seep into its policy decisions. By raising rates when inflation is nowhere near problematic, they risk tipping the economy into recession.
          How the rise of Canada is in some ways greater than even America’s. By Conrad Black JUNE 30, 2017   
Canada has, as the French say, the fault of its qualities. Because it is always consensual and never revolutionary, it has relatively less drama than have had the other G-7 countries National Archives of Canada-PA-091061/ THE CANADIAN PRESS The countries that are today the G-7 leading democratic economic powers all underwent radical political changes between […]
          Kansas Coach David Beaty to Ban Guns Despite Law Allowing Firearms on Campus   

Kansas head football coach David Beaty is going against a state policy that goes into effect on Saturday which makes it legal for people over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon on campus.

Beaty explained to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd why he will ban his players from carrying concealed weapons on campus:

"It is a deal that I will be very adamant about in a way of banning [guns]. I don't want weapons around for our team. I know it's a bad, bad deal for us. 

"I understand the politics involved in it. I get that. But we're talking about kids with lives and kids getting pissed with each other and kids that are highly competitive with each other. I fear what it could blow into."

The Personal and Family Protection Act was originally approved by Kansas legislators in 2012 and went into effect the following year, but college campuses in the state were given a four-year exemption before students and staff had the right to carry a concealed weapon starting July 1, 2017. 

Jeff Sims, who is the head football coach at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, told Dodd his program has never had an issue with firearms on campus. 

"Guns and weapons have never been our issue on a college campus," he said. "Our issues are alcohol and marijuana."

In an effort to comply with the law, Dodd notes Kansas athletic officials are required to set up "elaborate detection devices" at all the entrances to Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse, as well as having an armed guard present. 

Beaty is entering his fourth season as head football coach at the University of Kansas. He took over the program from interim coach Clint Bowen, who replaced Charlie Weis early in the 2014 season. 

Read more Big 12 Football news on BleacherReport.com


          GOP bill would let churches endorse political candidates   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law that prohibits such outright politicking from the pulpit....
          Mike Smyth: A cliffhanger ending to B.C.’s political soap opera   
NDP Leader John Horgan becomes B.C.'s 36th Premier
          Mike Smyth: NDP-Greens close in on Christy Clark’s Liberals   
It was an all-too-clever attempt by Christy Clark to break up the political bromance between the two guys who want to steal her throne. But NDP Leader John Horgan and Green party Leader Andrew Weaver were having none of it. Horgan and Weaver have vowed to bring down Clark’s minority Liberal government at the first […]
          Mike Smyth: B.C.’s game of thrones enters its final stages   
Columnist Mike Smyth writes about the latest in B.C.'s political drama.
          Then and Now: What the B.C. Liberals promised during the election, and what they’re offering now   
As she has been hinting for the last week, Premier Christy Clark’s throne speech flip-flopped on major issues ranging from social services to transit, abandoning long-held Liberal positions in favour of policies championed by her political rivals. The chart below compares what the Liberals promised during the campaign to what they said in their uncharacteristic […]
          In age of trolls, Twitter launches campaign to promote civility   
Political activists and advocacy groups -- which according to some users cause the maximum nuisance -- are not being reached out as a part of the campaign, she said.
          GOP bill would let churches endorse political candidates   

Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law that prohibits such outright politicking from the pulpit.

Republicans repeatedly have failed to scrap the law preventing churches and other nonprofits from...


          Bridges takes chilled approach in heated political rhetoric   

In this Feb. 22, 2017 file photo, Jeff Bridges attends the Global Green USA 14th Annual Pre-Oscar Party in Los Angeles. Bridges has played a president in the movies.


          Università di Messina. Lezioni di politica   

C’è chi, come l’ex rettore di Palermo Roberto Lagalla, la passione per la politica non l’ha mai nascosta: in questi

L'articolo Università di Messina. Lezioni di politica sembra essere il primo su 100Nove.it.


          Break Up the Banks   
Big banks are bad for free markets. Far from being engines of free enterprise, they are conducive to what might be called “crony capitalism,” “corporatism,” or, in Jonah Goldberg’s provocative phrase, “liberal fascism.” There is a free-market case for breaking up large financial institutions: that our big banks are the product, not of economics, but of politics.There’s a long debate to be had about the maximum size to which a bank should be allowed to grow, and about how to go about breaking up banks that become too large. But I want to focus instead on the general objections to
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          EXCERPT: Hitler in Hell   
An excerpt from Martin van Creveld's new novel, Hitler in Hell. Please note that on the advice of one of our Amazon-bestselling authors, we have removed the book from the Castalia House bookstore for the time being and entered it into the Kindle Select program. It is now available via Kindle Unlimited; if you purchased the book from our bookstore but did not download it, please email us and we will make sure you receive you receive your book. We apologize if this causes any confusion.

Revolution and Collapse

Over the next few years, during which I began my political activity, I had plenty of opportunities to analyze the causes of the collapse. In fact, addressing them in numerous public meetings large and small, I did so until I was blue in the face. Some of my conclusions simply continued thoughts that had been with me during the war and even before it had started. The rest were directly related to our defeat.

The Second Reich, as it was widely known, had been born under an auspicious star amidst the thunder of victorious battle. For that we had Bismarck to thank and, coming right after him, Chief of Staff Helmut von Moltke and Minister of War Albrecht von Roon. Nothing symbolized it as well as the Siegessäule, or Victory Column, in Berlin. Originally sixty-seven meters tall, it was wrapped entirely by captured enemy cannons. In 1939, as part of my plan to renovate the city and to turn it into Europe’s capital, I had its height increased by another seven and a half meters. I also moved it from its original site at the Königsplatz (now misnamed the Platz der Republik) near the Reichstag to the Grosser Stern. But back to the Reich. Over the first forty-three years of its existence it enjoyed immense prosperity and economic growth. Simple people, who always and everywhere form the great majority, were impressed by that prosperity as well as the evident military strength of the Reich, which was put on display on appropriate occasions.

Having done so, they attributed the sudden collapse of the structure solely to the war, which had brought so much misery to them. But this is absurd. In fact, all the collapse did was to expose weaknesses that had long existed. Chief among them were general suffrage which Germany got before England, misleadingly known as the “mother of democracies,” did. On its heels came elections and democracy. All three were non-German elements of government. Initially, they were foisted on us by the professors of 1848, who wanted nothing better than to ape the “ideals” of the French Revolution. Once established, they quickly turned into a morass of useless chatter and corruption.

Next came the failure to properly deal with the liberated provinces, Alsace and Lorraine. As a result, they never truly became an integral part of the Reich. To repeat, Wilhelm II’s foreign policy was essentially misdirected. To add insult to injury it was often weak and vacillating as well.

Finally, there was the tolerance long shown for those vile Marxist traitors, the Social Democrats. Starting long before the war and redoubling their efforts while it lasted, they did whatever they could to foment discontent and to incite the people against the army and the government. Their ability to do so was due to the government’s inability or unwillingness to rein in the press. Not that the non-socialist press was necessarily better. Only parts of it supported the government in its conduct of the war, and much of it did what it could to undermine them.

Though the war was over, the British blockade still continued. Only in the middle of 1919 was it finally lifted, enabling us to resume our imports and exports. But this happened only to a very limited extent. Partly because of carelessness in August 1914, partly because of enemy action, and partly because no new merchantmen were built during the war, we had lost almost our entire merchant navy.
Much of what we still possessed had to be given away gratis as reparations. In any case the enemy had used the war to steal our overseas markets from us. This caused production to come to a halt and unemployment to soar. The demobilization of the armies, which at the end of the war still numbered several million men, added to the problem. That’s to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands maimed and crippled men who had to be taken care of in one way or another.

Determined to avenge themselves on us, our enemies took large parts of Prussia and Silesia, which had been German for centuries, if not longer, away from the Reich. This caused hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, who understandably were unwilling to live under Polish (mis)rule, to leave their homes to migrate to the west, where nothing had been done to receive them. Nor did the process of drawing the borders unfold peacefully. Throughout 1919, in many places, volunteer units known variously as Freikorps, or the Black Reichswehr, fought heroically, if ultimately unsuccessfully, to retain the lands in question.

All over Germany, wherever one looked, people shivered and hungered. It goes without saying that I detest that self-appointed artist and filthy pornographer, Georg Grosz. Luckily for him, he left the country in a hurry in 1933, or else I would have had him thrown into a concentration camp! Still I must concede that many of his sketches, which show starving workers, fat, evil-looking capitalists with heaps of money, and made-up prostitutes presented a true, if one-sided and perverted, picture of reality at the time. Much later, I learned that the origins of this misery had been explored in depth by the English economist John Maynard Keynes in his booklet The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919). He could hardly have done a better job.

Political conditions naturally reflected the economic situation. The new Social-Democratic government was unable to resist the Allied demands. So weak were the “statesmen” whom the so-called “Revolution” had brought to power that they signed the famous Kriegsschuld, war-guilt, article under which Germany assumed responsibility for the war. To be sure, history bristles with occasions when the defeated were not only despoiled but humiliated. However, the Kriegsschuld business was something new and unprecedented. Besides preparing the “legal” basis for extracting reparations, it hit straight at the nation’s soul, which, of course, was just what it had been meant to do.

Internally, the political situation was even worse. The Social Democrats, having successfully undermined public order, were unable to reimpose it. Everywhere workers, incited by their often Jewish leaders, spat on officers, tore the epaulets from their shoulders, and beat them up. So bad were conditions that many places were reduced to anarchy. That specifically included Bavaria and Munich, where I was stationed at the time and where the Jews set up a “Soviet Republic.” The stupidity of these people was truly amazing. During the few days the “Republic” lasted its foreign affairs commissar, Franz Lipp, whose record included several stays in mental hospitals, actually declared war on Switzerland. That was done, he explained, because the Swiss had refused to lend him sixty locomotives! At one point I myself, rifle in hand, had to chase away three scoundrels who had come to arrest me in my quarters.

In the end the Reichswehr, assisted by Freikorps units, re-took Munich and exacted a well-deserved vengeance. Eugene Leviné, the Jewish Communist who had led the uprising, was killed. Not so his uncouth right-hand man and fellow Jew, Erich Mühsam. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. But he did not have to stay there for long; in 1924 an amnesty was granted, and he was released. After the Reichstagbrand on 28 February 1933, I had him arrested and sent to a concentration camp where the boys, seeking their revenge, saw to it that he would expire. Good! As these two gentlemen illustrate so nicely, behind each and every one of these problems stood the Jews.
          Must Read! ‘Obama’s 2nd-term Assault on U.S. Military’   
New Zeal Most American’s fail to realize that the number one goal of both the international and American left, is the destruction of the US military – to be followed by the destruction, physically or politically, of the United States itself. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the Center for American Progress and […]
          Castro’s Puppet Works for ‘Progressive Congress’   
Accuracy in Media A former AFL-CIO political director, who is now running a project to establish a “progressive Congress,” walked away in disgust last week when I tried to question her about a trip she had made to Castro’s Cuba. The exchange, such as it was, occurred at the “Take Back the American Dream” conference […]
          Broken Social Scene grows up   

For Broken Social Scene’s Andrew Whiteman, the political is personal. The multi-instrumentalist is one of the only band members to appear in every one...

The post Broken Social Scene grows up appeared first on Northern Transmissions.


          Body Language Analysis No. 3983: Female Kurdish sniper fighting IS narrowly cheats death - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)   



This sniper, fighting in Raqqa, is a member of a Kurdish YPJ (Women's Protection Unit). Incredibly, less than a second after she pulls her trigger - another bullet (fired by her enemy, the Islamic State, aka IS) narrowly misses her head.

































For a split second afterwards, the female sniper's eyes open very widely. This action is secondary to the adrenaline surge of her near death experience.

Notice also how her tongue rapidly sticks outward. This is known as a "Tongue Jut" - and more specifically, this variation is a "Loose Tongue Jut". A loose tongue jut is an example of nonverbal self-deprecating behavior. It's a way of calling one's self out after a mistake - as if to say, "I've done a foolish thing" or "I've (almost) been caught".

Why did the sniper laugh - and so quickly - after almost being killed?

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 3982: Bangkok Police Officer's De-Escalation Genius

Body Language Analysis No. 3979: Ivanka Trump, "I Try to Stay Out of Politics"

Body Language Analysis No. 3977: Anthony Kennedy - One Signal You Never Want to See From a Judge During Your Testimony

Body Language Analysis No. 3975: Travis Kalanick and Sheryl Sandberg - and Uber's Need for Empathy, Sincerity, and Emotional Intelligence

Body Language Analysis No. 3973: Alex Jones, Megyn Kelly, and a Fundamental Insincerity Tell

Body Language Analysis No. 3939: The Russians are Confident - Sergey Lavrov, Rex Tillerson, and Donald Trump

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3897: Roger Stone, Donald Trump, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3843: 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ad - "The Entire Journey"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3707: The Presidential Debates Part III - Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton and Sniffing


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          The enormous egg by Butterworth, Oliver.   
When Nate Twitchell discovers that one of his family's hens has laid the biggest egg he has ever seen, he is determined to see it hatch. And when it does, neither he nor his parents, the townspeople, the scientists, or the politicians from Washington are prepared for what comes out!
          Like His Father, Donald Trump Jr. Uses Twitter to Target the Media   
The younger Mr. Trump has inherited his father’s passion for Twitter as a weapon against political foes, and conservatives see him as a high-profile torchbearer for their grievances.
          On the Runway: Emmanuel Macron Raises the Presidential Portrait Stakes   
Never, it seems, has a politician been so transparent about the calculation behind an image
          One Network Enterprises Introduces New Business Continuity Solution   

One Network Enterprises (ONE), the leading provider of demand driven supply chain solutions in the cloud, introduced today its Business Continuity solution, a new service to further enhance ONE’s Real Time Value Network (RTVN™). ONE’s Business Continuity solution allows companies to respond quickly to crisis situations that affect supply and demand, such as natural disasters, political upheavals, supplier failures, or transportation disruptions. More than 30,000 companies are already connected to the RTVN for demand driven services that synchronize activities from the point of consumption to raw material supplier, providing a single version of the truth across their entire value network.

(PRWeb June 14, 2012)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/6/prweb9605684.htm


          Trump, continuano le polemiche per i tweet del presidente Usa   

L'attacco ai conduttori di un programma della Msnbc scatena un putiferio ed enfatizza ancora la mancata attitudine alla presidenza

The post Trump, continuano le polemiche per i tweet del presidente Usa appeared first on Wired.


          Kačka z Komjatíc (galek)   
Keď to chodí ako kačka, kváka ako kačka, musí to byť kačka. Keď je to bývalý minister za stranu Smer-SD, súčasný poslanec za stranu Smer-SD, musí to byť politický nominant za stranu Smer-SD.
          PP-A recuerda a Junta que logró un "colchón" de 1.650 millones hasta 2018 y le exige que gestiones y "no confronte"   

La portavoz del PP-A en el Parlamento andaluz, Carmen Crespo, ha recordado este viernes que, el Gobierno andaluz, gracias a las gestiones del Ejecutivo nacional en Europa, logró un "colchón adicional" de 1.650 millones de euros para los años 2016, 2017 y 2018, de más flexibilizacion en el objetivo de décitit para conseguir la consolidacion fiscal, con lo que le ha demandado que se dedique a gestionar y no a confrontar.


          PP-A recuerda a Junta que logró un "colchón" de 1.650 millones hasta 2018 y le exige que gestiones y "no confronte"   

La portavoz del PP-A en el Parlamento andaluz, Carmen Crespo, ha recordado este viernes que, el Gobierno andaluz, gracias a las gestiones del Ejecutivo nacional en Europa, logró un "colchón adicional" de 1.650 millones de euros para los años 2016, 2017 y 2018, de más flexibilizacion en el objetivo de décitit para conseguir la consolidacion fiscal, con lo que le ha demandado que se dedique a gestionar y no a confrontar.


          Germania, approvato il matrimonio gay. Ora è uguale per tutti   

Nella camera bassa del parlamento tedesco arriva la svolta in favore del matrimonio gay. Dibattito veloce e una buona maggioranza a favore

The post Germania, approvato il matrimonio gay. Ora è uguale per tutti appeared first on Wired.


          El PSOE pregunta si Montoro hizo gestiones en el contrato que investiga Anticorrupción de su antiguo despacho   

El PSOE quiere saber si el ministro de Hacienda y Función Pública, Cristóbal Montoro, realizó alguna gestión, consulta o mediación antes de la adjudicación del contrato de su antiguo despacho de asesoría, Equipo Económico, que adjudicó el Consejo Superior de Cámaras de Comercio, operación que investiga la Fiscalía Anticorrupción.


          El PSOE pregunta si Montoro hizo gestiones en el contrato que investiga Anticorrupción de su antiguo despacho   

El PSOE quiere saber si el ministro de Hacienda y Función Pública, Cristóbal Montoro, realizó alguna gestión, consulta o mediación antes de la adjudicación del contrato de su antiguo despacho de asesoría, Equipo Económico, que adjudicó el Consejo Superior de Cámaras de Comercio, operación que investiga la Fiscalía Anticorrupción.


          AHK România: Modelul fiscal propus de noul guvern este dăunător pentru România   
Noul Guvern a anunțat modificări fiscale îndreptate împotriva mediului de afaceri și care constituie un real pericol pentru stabilitatea și predictibilitatea politicilor economice, susține Camera de Comerț și Industrie Româno-Germană (AHK România).
          Hitler contro Martin Gruber: “I politici e gli ebrei avevano tradito la Germania”   

Martin Gruber

Nel corso di M, programma di Michele Santoro, Adolf Hiter torna sul mito della pugnalata alle spalle su cui impostò molti dei suoi discorsi nella fase dell'ascesa. Secondo Hitler la Germania poteva vincere la prima guerra mondiale. Ma i politici tedeschi, sobillati dai francesi e dagli interessi dei potentati ebraici, avevano chiesto un armistizio che umiliava il popolo. "Alla fine della Prima Guerra Mondiale gli ebrei erano gli unici ad aver approfittato dei risarcimenti di guerra per arricchirsi. I tedeschi avevano bisogno di un nemico per riscoprire la loro identità e la forza della nazione. Nessuno prima di me aveva osato mettere in discussione il Trattato di Versailles. Ma io sapevo che nel cuore dei tedeschi rappresentava un'umiliazione. Uno scandalo che gridava vendetta, un ricatto che sottoponeva il nostro popolo a un inaudito saccheggio". In scena irrompe Martin Gruber, direttore del Münchener Post, che fu uno dei più strenui oppositori di Hitler e pagò la sua battaglia con la morte.

Martin Gruber e la "cucina dei veleni"

Martin Gruber era il direttore del Münchener Post. Il giornale che fece tremare Hitler e che i gerarchi del partito battezzarono “la cucina dei veleni”. Il giornale già dagli Venti iniziò a mettere alla berlina gli aspetti più grotteschi di Hitler e del suo partito. I suoi giornalisti sono considerati "i primi interpreti dimenticati di Hitler" perché rimossi dalla storia ufficiale dell'antinazismo. Forse, suggeriscono esperti come Rosenbaum, per i tedeschi e gli alleati è stato più facile raccontarsi che nessuno era stato capace di comprendere la vera natura di Hitler fino al 1933. Piuttosto che fare i conti con le denunce rivelatrici e inascoltate del Münchener Post e di Gerlich.

Il Münchener Post

La battaglia fra il Münchener Post e Hitler durò quasi 12 anni. La redazione sopravvisse al sacco del giornale durante il putsch del novembre 1923. Quando la sede venne assaltata dalle squadracce hitleriane. Ma dovette capitolare dieci anni più tardi. Nel marzo del 1933, infatti, una schiera di uomini del reparto d’assalto Sturmabteilung, le famigerate SA, distrusse completamente la sede del Post arrestando i suoi redattori.

L'articolo Hitler contro Martin Gruber: “I politici e gli ebrei avevano tradito la Germania” proviene da Servizio Pubblico.


          M: Hitler, il partito nazista e la storia di Herbert Hentsch   

Herbert Hentsch

La seconda puntata di M si apre con le parole di Adolf Hitler e la sua concezione del partito: "All'inizio il mio partito contava solo sette membri, ma ognuno pensava di essere il leader. Rischiavamo di perderci in sterili lotte interne. Così quando fui nominato Presidente stabilii che ogni cosa dovesse essere ricondotta a me. Io affidavo gli incarichi. Io li revocavo. Chi non ha obiettivi veramente alti non può capirlo, ma chi ha una meta da raggiungere sa che il partito deve essere uno soltanto, e che uno deve essere il suo capo politico E che a lui la cieca obbedienza della moltitudine attribuirà una forza immensa. E se qualcuno cerca di ostacolare il capo nel suo cammino deve essere considerato un peso morto, e i pesi morti vanno espulsi".
Su queste parole che evocano la violenza entra in scena Katarina, madre di Herbert Hentsch.

Chi è Herbert Hentsch

Katarina è la madre di Herbert, giovane recluta del partito nazionalsocialista di Dreda che scomparve nella notte del 4 novembre 1933. Katarina lancia un'invettiva contro Hitler, accusandolo per la morte del figlio: "Povero Herbert, povero figlio mio. Le squadracce l’hanno ucciso a bastonate come un cane. Gridavano “Heil Hitler!” Era scomparso. Sono andata a chiedere spiegazioni al partito, ma la risposta era sempre la stessa: “Il camerata Hentsch è impegnato in una missione speciale”. Lo trovarono in un sacco, sul fondo di un lago, con delle pietre legate al collo. Lo avevano fatto a pezzi, e quei pezzi erano pieni di lividi.

L'articolo M: Hitler, il partito nazista e la storia di Herbert Hentsch proviene da Servizio Pubblico.


          Gentile su Hitler: “Dopo di lui, tanti altri come lui”   

Gentile su Hitler

Ospite di M, programma sperimentale di Michele Santoro in onda su Rai 2, lo storico Emilio Gentile su Hitler compie un'analisi puntuale: "Uno dei vantaggi che abbiamo è che nessuno più apertamente si richiama a Hitler. Personaggi come Hitler, dopo Hitler, ce ne sono stati diversi però. Capi che hanno deliberatamente condotto politiche di sterminio: i regimi comunisti dopo il 1949, Amin Dada, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein" - spiega - "Hussein è molto simile a Hitler: un partito unico laico, un richiamo all'antica tradizione della Babilonia, l'ebreo d'Israele come nemico principale. Questi però sono tutti fenomeni che sono stati considerati come degenerazioni. Fenomeni poco occidentali".

Gentile su Hitler

Gentile prosegue: "Potremmo dire che in Occidente l'esperienza di Hitler ci ha vaccinati. Ma bisogna anche dire che i campi vennero utilizzati anche prima di Hitler, precisamente dagli inglesi durante la guerra anglo-boera a inizio Novecento. Quello che si è veramente inventato Hitler è la miscela di tanti elementi presenti nella civiltà occidentale e li ha fusi in una grande bomba esplosiva. Un'atomica ideologica, messa in pratica".

 

L'articolo Gentile su Hitler: “Dopo di lui, tanti altri come lui” proviene da Servizio Pubblico.


             
A picture named peasInAPod.jpgBTW, the basic reason to vote against Bush: His is a failed Presidency. That's going to become painfully obvious when they try to hold elections in Iraq in January. The people holding the elections will control none of the country. Meanwhile, the US deficit grows to fund this miserable no-win war, jobs move overseas, the US economy is serving the upper class more and more, and the people who voted for Bush on the ridiculous promise that they too could be part of the upper class, will feel like they screwed themselves. They will have screwed the rest of us too. Never has a ticket had so little to offer as George Bush and Dick Cheney do. They're the shame of this country, and if we re-elect them we totally deserve what we get. IMHO.
             
Another one. Bush disavows any connection with the Swift Boat guys, even though Karl Rove's friends put it together. But how does he explain that Zell Miller made a campaign appearance with the President in West Virginia today. Hard to disavow that.
             
Guardian: Tom's Little Black Blog.
             
Taegan Goddard rounds up opinion on the CBS memos.
          Taylor Wessing reports new financial performance details for 2016/17   
Taylor Wessing has released further details about its 2016/17 financials. Although the firm reported a 1.8% increase in UK revenue, the firm’s profit per equity partner (PEP) fell 6% from £512,000 to £481,000 in the UK. Global revenues rose 6% to £269.8m, while global PEP came in at £405,000.

Global net income was £99.8m, with UK profit accounting for £49.2m. UK managing partner Tim Eyles said the financial year began amid economic and political uncertainty, when clients in certain sectors reacted with increased caution. The second half of the year saw increased activity, helping to boost the firm’s financial results.

          Fostul premier Emil Boc: Mă îngrijorează Guvernul Tudose, tratează brutal politica de susţinere a mediului de afaceri   
Fostul premier Emil Boc s-a declarat îngrijorat de atitudinea Guvernului Tudose, de a ”trata brutal, fără pregătire şi predictibilitate”, politica de susţinere a mediului de afaceri şi a investiţiilor, transmite corespondentul MEDIAFAX.
Citește mai departe...
          Author Rues the “Triumph of Cynicism over Integrity”   

In his book titled Eminent Disdain: The Triumph of Cynicism over Integrity in 21st Century America (AuthorHouse, 2009), businessman and political independent Bromwell Ault takes the politically conscious back to the previous decade, to America's most pressing issues of the time. -   - Eminent Disdain explores the issues that remain persistent challenges for whoever sits in the White House or dominate the Congress: the Iraq War (the most notable error of the younger Bush's presidency), th...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=210312


          Controversial Book Explores “Christianity without God”   

Maguire's approach to the Hebrew Bible is literary, seeing, for example, in the Exodus myth a poetic rendering of a moral and political exodus from the one percent rule of Egypt to the sharing, poverty ending, peace-pursuing model of Sinai.  According to Maguire, it was intellectual integrity that urged him to write this book. The guiding maxim of his intellectual journey, from being a Catholic priest and still teaching in a Catholic university, has been to follow the truth wherever it bec...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=210021


          Varese - Palmisano e Cavalli a Varese per parlare di legalità e partecipazione con Possibile - Politica - Varese News   
I due scrittori interverranno nell’ambito dell’iniziativa “oppure mo(n)di nuovi” prevista sabato 1 luglio dalle 15 alle 19 alla sala Varese Corsi in piazza della Motta
          Складні обставини призначеної у Німеччині першої зустрічі Трампа з Путіним   
Американські та російські офіційні джерела підтвердили, що готують першу зустріч президента Дональда Трампа з президентом Володимиром Путіним, яка відбудеться у Гамбурзі з нагоди зустрічі керівників країн так званої “Двадцятки” 7-8 липня. Агенція Reuters вважає, що “зустріч буде обтяжена труднощами” для американського керівника, 5 місяців президентства якого затьмарені звинуваченнями про зв’язки його виборчої команди з Росією. Видання Politico.eu вважає, що зустріч Трамп-Путін...
          Should We Be Grateful? | educarenow   
Should We Be Grateful? | educarenow:

Should We Be Grateful? 

Image result for thanks for nothing animated gif

In an odd turn of events, and with little explanation, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has decided to return the state’s School Reform Office back to the Department of Education.
Why is this odd? Well, maybe it isn’t odd. What is odd is that Snyder initially removed the SRO from the Department of Education and placed it under the control of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget in March of 2015. And why did he do this? I’m honestly not sure anyone knows. However, the suspicion continues that this move was a means of moving the SRO out of the control of the state superintendent and the democratically elected (meaning accountable to us citizens) state school board. This certainly falls within Snyder’s established pattern of avoiding democracy. (Flint anyone?) He took what was ours.
In today’s statement, Snyder explains in an Orwellian sentence, “Improving our schools and holding them accountable for their performance is critical to Michigan’s students’ success.”
What?
Let’s fact check that. Detroit Public Schools (now named the Detroit Public Should We Be Grateful? | educarenow:

          CT Voices for Children is absolutely right about CT budget situation - Wait What?   
CT Voices for Children is absolutely right about CT budget situation - Wait What?:

CT Voices for Children is absolutely right about CT budget situation

Image result for CT Voices for Children


Statement from CT Voices June 30, 2017;
Connecticut Voices for Children strongly believes that a fiscally responsible and stable state budget is the cornerstone for equitable economic growth. The only way to build a strong foundation for long-term inclusive economic prosperity is having a state government with solid finances that is willing and able to support long-term strategies for economic growth and equitable opportunity.
Connecticut’s current fiscal crisis is the result of years of short-term budget thinking and a failure to address our state’s economic challenges. During the past few months, Connecticut policymakers have struggled with the daunting task of closing a budget gap not of their own making. After years of short-term fixes, they are now confronted with a harsh fiscal reality with no easy solutions.
As the Governor and the Legislature go back to the drawing board this special session, we urge them to ground their work in an understanding of the economic, demographic, and political changes which have created today’s ever-growing challenge.
The state budget is the clearest statement of Connecticut’s policy priorities. Working from our strengths, and with the courage to address our weaknesses, we can build a more inclusive economy that enables all families to thrive, provides quality education for all children from cradle to career, and provides the support services necessary to ensure that no child is left behind.
To achieve these priorities, the Governor and General Assembly must seek a balanced approach that combines smart, strategic spending in key budget priorities with tax reforms that assure fairness, stability, predictability, and adequacy. Connecticut needs a stable, responsible budget, with real structural reforms, rejecting the crisis-driven, short-term approach that has marked state fiscal policy for years. Legislators should create a stable revenue stream by modernizing Connecticut’s tax structure to reflect its changing economy, which is increasingly built on services rather than goods. This will require combining bold revenue reforms with a strategic rethinking of budget priorities that include a renewed willingness for forward-looking investments in education, workforce development, and health.
We understand that this shift will not be easy; Connecticut’s fiscal woes are deep, and fixing them will require making many hard decisions. Connecticut Voices for Children believes, however, that working together we can reach a balanced budget that ensures that our state is an attractive place to find a job, start a business, and raise a family. It is time for everyone that cares about the future of our state to set our differences aside and work towards this common goal.CT Voices for Children is absolutely right about CT budget situation - Wait What?:

          John White’s Teaching Experience with Chicago Public Schools | deutsch29   
John White’s Teaching Experience with Chicago Public Schools | deutsch29:

John White’s Teaching Experience with Chicago Public Schools

It seems that so much surrounding Louisiana state superintendent John White is, well, muddy.
On June 23, 2017, former Louisiana state superintendent Paul Pastorek published an op-ed that the Shreveport Times entitled, “Pastorek: Why John White Should Not Get the Boot.” In his op-ed, Pastorek makes the following comment:
It is the exclusive province of the BESE to select its superintendent and there is a substantial majority of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that support the superintendent. In my view, that’s a good thing.​
Note that the “substantial majority” is at best 7 out of 11 BESE members– not the supermajority of 8 needed to reappoint White.
Note also that in April 2011, Pastorek had brazenly published a press release announcing White as the new Recovery School District (RSD) superintendent before BESE even voted on White’s appointment– which caused some embarrassment for Pastorek when he had to admit his premature maneuverings to Louisiana House Appropriations Committee chair, Jim Fannin.
Still, White became RSD superintendent in May 2011 and then flew to the top seat to replace Pastorek as state superintendent in January 2012. RSD was just a temporary stopping point for White. His planned destination was the state superintendent’s post.
White had been state superintendent in Louisiana for several years when he applied for the Louisiana licensing credentials that would allow him to become a school assistant principal or principal and, beyond that, a district superintendent.
White had never been an assistant principal or principal; as for his seven months as RSD superintendent, Pastorek arranged to have him ushered in absent the required certification.
But by late 2015, facing the prospect of a governor who openly did not support him and a BESE election on which his reappointment rested on securing 8 out of 11 John White’s Teaching Experience with Chicago Public Schools | deutsch29:

          Rachael Stickland testifies before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy   
Rachael Stickland testifies before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy:

RACHAEL STICKLAND TESTIFIES BEFORE THE U.S. HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD, ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy co-chair Rachael Stickland was invited to testify before the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education at a hearing entitled “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.” Rachael testified at a similar hearing in March 2016.
The Subcommittee’s press release can be viewed here and Rachael’s full testimony can be found here (and below).
Webcast of the hearing can be viewed here:
For articles about the hearing, please visit the following:
House Hearing on Education Research and Student Privacy
AACROA, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
June 29, 2017
d
On the Hill Today: Education Research and Student Privacy
Politico Morning Education
June 28, 2017
d
Student Privacy in Education Research: ‘It’s Time’ to Update Federal Laws
Education Week by Sarah D. Sparks
June 28, 2017

 Rachael Stickland testifies before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy:
          AEE 671: How to Use "Lame" Like a Native Speaker + One Important Note on Political Correctness   

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          Independent Candidates Sparse Despite Voter Gains   
Even as California voters increasingly turn away from political party labels, Democratic and Republican candidates dominate elections.
          A thought experiment on how private road owners would deal with the threat of terrorism   

When dealing with complex political issues I often find it useful to ask myself what would happen in the absence of the state. This is not because I think that the glorious libertarian revolution is just around the corner but because such an exercise can at least give us some clues as to what the state should be doing in the here and now.

So, what do I mean by private roads? Roads where the owners may decide who uses them, under what circumstances and have the means to enforce their decisions. The type of ownership could include purely commercial
...continue A thought experiment on how private road owners would deal with the threat of terrorism

          95 year old Turns Tables on Moroun   
‘It’s politics’: Windsor man, 95, sues transit company for bridge project that turned neighbourhood into ‘slum’ Sarah Sacheli, Postmedia News | March 7, 2017 4:33 PM ET More from Postmedia News Jason Kryk/The Windsor Star In a civil trial that epitomizes the … Continue reading
          Obama Defends Himself From Gates Criticism In Book   
President Barack Obama on Monday rejected criticism from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who questioned whether the president ... tags: Barack_ObamaBarack_Obama_foreign_policyConfirmations_of_Barack_Obamas_CabinetGeorge_W_BushLuo_peopleOval_OfficePolitics_NewsObama Defends Himself From Gates Criticism In Book
wochit
          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Conservative groups unleash on Senate Republicans over repeal billPolitico
What exactly does Trump want from this health care bill?CNN
GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch networkLos Angeles Times
ABC News -Breitbart News -The Atlantic -BuzzFeed News
all 148 news articles »

          Why some inside the White House see Trump's media feud as 'winning' - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Why some inside the White House see Trump's media feud as 'winning'
Washington Post
To President Trump, no place is more comfortable than the middle of a fight. This week had it all: Vicious tweets, nasty nicknames, an entrenched foe in the mainstream media and the reprisal by Trump of one of his favorite roles — the victim. Sure ...
'Morning Joe' Hosts and Trump Bring National Enquirer Into Their FeudNew York Times
White House threatened Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski with a National Enquirer story, the two allegeLos Angeles Times
From bullying TV host to obstructing justice, Trump tactics the sameThe Hill (blog)
Salon -HuffPost -Deadline -NBCNews.com
all 1,751 news articles »

          Pence-Kobach voting commission alarms states with info request - CNN   

CNN

Pence-Kobach voting commission alarms states with info request
CNN
Washington (CNN) A Trump administration letter requesting data from all 50 state's voting rolls has put some states and voting rights advocates on edge after many were already wary of the aims of the President's commission on voting. The Presidential ...
Trump's voting commission asked states to hand over election data. Some are pushing back.Washington Post
States and Trump voter fraud commission set for showdownThe Hill
Increasing number of states reject request for personal information on voters from Trump commissionLos Angeles Times
U.S. News & World Report -USA TODAY -The Boston Globe -BuzzFeed News
all 330 news articles »

          Silence over dad's tweets speak to Ivanka Trump's tight spot - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Silence over dad's tweets speak to Ivanka Trump's tight spot
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump has been vocal in using her White House role to advocate for women. But when President Donald Trump lobbed a demeaning attack on a female TV host on Twitter this week, his daughter and senior adviser kept quiet. It was a ...
White House considers eliminating council focused on female empowermentABC News
Gary Cohn Earns $30000 a Year on Trump's Staff of MillionairesBloomberg
Report: Twenty-two White House aides earning maximum salaryCNN
PEOPLE.com -The Hill -CNBC -AOL
all 109 news articles »

          Legacy Projects, Technical Debt and NDepend   

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/mrsteve/archive/2017/06/29/legacy-projects-technical-debt-ndepend.aspx

Unless every project you've worked on has been green field and / or built with no time pressure, you'll have found yourself working on a legacy project at some point. Unwieldy methods, mystery sections of code, ancient technologies, wholesale duplication... it's not much fun, but it's a large percentage of the code that's out there.

Projects to replace or rewrite these systems are commonplace, but where do you begin? What if you want to make a case to the business that such a system needs to be replaced? Technical debt can be a useful metaphor to make that case, but while it's easy to explain in the abstract, it's difficult to come up with anything concrete to justify the expense of an update to someone with an eye on their bottom line.

Thankfully, the folks at NDepend have now built technical debt computation on top of their code analysis tools, giving you a much easier way to have these sorts of discussions. This is doubly powerful - as well as putting a concrete cost on choosing not to refactor, the data it presents has the authority of having been produced by a tool. Tools don't try to get nice, tidy-up projects for academic reasons - they impartially detect problems in code. Someone (I think Erik Deitrich, but I can't find the blog) recently pointed out the advantages of an automated critique of this sort - there's no politics or personal opinions involved, and that automatically means everyone takes it more seriously.

A Real-World Example

I'm currently working with a legacy project, so when I heard about NDepend's new technical debt capabilities, I was eager to fire it up and see what it said. With all the default settings, it said this!

InitialReport

The main takeaways are:

  • Based on the number of lines of code, the project took an estimated 2,536 days of development
  • The code had 19,486 issues (!) of various severity - 2,736 were Major issues or worse
  • Based on the number and types of issues, the project's technical debt will take 944 development days to fix; i.e. we are currently 944 days in the hole if we are going to sort this out completely. That's approximately 3.5 developers for a year!
  • The debt cost was 37.23% (944 technical debt days / 2,536 development days); i.e. 37.23% of the total cost of developing the software now exists as technical debt. Sad face.
  • As it was a legacy project, it predictably had no automated tests, which would have enabled NDepend to more precisely calculate the total annual interest incurred by the debt. Double sad face. You can still see NDepend's total interest calculation in the Debt and Issues explorer, though (see below) - it was 481 development days; i.e. an additional 481 days of development time needed every year the issues in the code base go unfixed - that's about 2 whole developers!

These numbers make a powerful financial argument for refactoring and cleaning up the code. Which is exactly what we're doing :)

But there's more - Debt and Issues

As usual with NDepend, you can explore the issues it finds in great detail. Selecting from the Explore debt menu:

DebtExplorer

...you can check out Debt and Issues on a rule-by-rule basis:

DebtAndIssuesPerRule

The main offenders here are the aforementioned unwieldy methods and direct use of data access code in the UI layer. You see the debt and annual interest here on a per-rule basis, with the annual interest sum in the bottom row.

You can click into a particular rule to see more details, as well as the query used to calculate the debt and interest. For the 'Methods too complex' rule, that looks like this:

MethodsTooComplexRule

Debt is calculated directly from the Cyclomatic Complexity measurement - the number of paths through the method. Interest is calculated as 10 minutes per year if the method is 100% covered by tests, and 2 hours per year otherwise. Again as usual with NDepend, if you think these numbers don't sound quite right, or you'd like a method's complexity to be taken into account when calculating its annual interest, you can tweak the query yourself until you're happy with it - it's just C# Linq in Visual Studio!

Queries, Rules and Issues

The dashboard indicated violation of 8 critical rules - clicking that opens the Queries and Rules Explorer:

RulesExplorer

Our 8 violated rules are listed in the right-hand pane - again, mainly down to unwieldy methods. Clicking into each rule presents the list of offenders with direct access to the code.

Summing Up

Static analysis has always been a very useful tool, but linking it to technical debt is one of those simple, brilliant ideas - bringing issues into the real world, especially for non-technical stakeholders. Compare explaining that the methods in a code base are too big and complex - some with Cyclomatic Complexities in 100s! - verses explaining that the methods in a code base cost 2.5 months of development time every year. The latter is much more visceral. The former sounds academic - the latter sounds expensive. It's indispensable data when talking about legacy systems.


          Chicago police, federal officials to announce gun violence 'strike force' on eve of July 4th weekend - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Chicago police, federal officials to announce gun violence 'strike force' on eve of July 4th weekend
Washington Post
The Chicago police and federal authorities announced Friday an effort aimed at cracking down on gun crimes in the violence-plagued city. Officials say this effort will combine police officers, state troopers, federal agents and state and federal ...
Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violenceCBS News
Chicago PD, ATF team up to stop spread of illegal gunsCNN
Chicago Police and Federal Agents to Team Up on Gun ViolenceNew York Times
New York Daily News -The Atlantic -ABC News -Washington Examiner
all 80 news articles »

          Trump and Moon must unite to send a tough message to North Korea - The Hill (blog)   

The Hill (blog)

Trump and Moon must unite to send a tough message to North Korea
The Hill (blog)
South Korea's new president, Moon Jae In, visited the White House today to seek President Trump's support for his North Korea policies, following visits from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February and China's President Xi Jinping in April. Which ...
Trump just slammed one of America's close alliesWashington Post
Moon Jae-in, Mika Brzezinski, Jay-Z: Your Friday Evening BriefingNew York Times
Trump Ups Trade Tensions With SKorea in Welcoming New LeaderU.S. News & World Report
Miami Herald -NBCNews.com -Reuters -The Weekly Standard
all 1,307 news articles »

          Il ruolo degli ebrei nella formazione della politica di immigrazione statunitense   
Capitolo 7 Oggi… gli immigrati – sopratutto gli immigrati ebrei – sembrano più americani di quanto possa sembrare [il WASP]. Sono loro le facce, le voci e le inflessioni di pensiero che ci sembrano più familiari, letteralmente d’istinto. [Il WASP] è l’eccentrico, lo straniero, il fossile. Gli diamo uno sguardo, un po’ attoniti, e ci […]
          Event: Symposium on Progress towards SDG 7   
This symposium, on 'Progress towards SDG 7 and its Interlinkages with other SDGs in support of First Review of SDG 7 during the 2018 High-Level Political Forum,' is part of a series of meetings and symposia organized by the UN System in 2017 and 2018, in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, to contribute to the first global review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which will take place during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF). These proposed events will provide a platform to discuss major issues related to progress on SDG 7 and its interlinkages with other SDGs, such as health, education, gender, food, water, humanitarian response and climate change. Each symposium is expected to highlight a few of these interlinkages to allow in-depth discussions. Taken together, they will provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange among Member States and the UN system for advancing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through supporting the preparations of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), especially towards HLPF 2018. A synthesis from the discussions from these events this year will be prepared to provide inputs to a Preparatory Meeting in support of the global review of SDG 7, to be held on 7-8 December 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
          Amanda Spielman, chief inspector, Ofsted   
When Amanda Spielman told a packed audience at the Festival of Education that she aspired to be like Bismarck, it was hoped that the chief inspector meant Otto von, the iron chancellor who unified 19th-century Germany through diplomacy, rather than the battleship that was fatally damaged on its first offensive operation. In her first speech since the general election (she’d been stymied by rules stopping the inspectorate from making political points during the campaign), she was ready to land punches. First up: her views in office would be based on evidence “not personal prejudices and hobby horses”. Her predecessor, Sir Michael Wilshaw, must have felt the blow. Her wide-ranging speech touched on data, curriculum, fundamental British values and the need to focus on school leadership as a team effort rather than the work of individual mavericks (another punch for Wilshaw). But there were contradictions. Spielman said that schools had sometimes lost sight of the “real substance of education”. Exam grades or progress scores – though they were important – were not the core “but instead the real meat of what is taught in our schools and colleges: the curriculum”. Focusing on qualifications rather than curriculum was, for her, “a huge...
          GOP bill would let churches endorse political candidates   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Churches should have the right to endorse political candidates and still keep their tax-free status, say House Republicans targeting a law that prohibits such outright politicking from the pulpit....
          Motorsport: Great to see the French GP back   
After a long break with the last event taking place in 2008, the good news story in Formula 1 at the moment, amongst a sea of acrimony after the Azerbaijan GP and normal paddock politics of course, is that the French Grand Prix is...
          Ohio politician: Don’t send medics for third overdose   
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – An Ohio city councilman has suggested a controversial solution to the growing opioid problem in his town: If an addict keeps overdosing, the city won’t dispatch anyone to save their life. Middletown City Council member Dan Picard is proposing to give drug users two chances. Paramedics would respond to an overdose twice, and each time the addict would receive a summons and be required to do community service after being treated. But if they don’t show up […]
          On This Day   
June 30 ...

In 1859 French acrobat Blondin (born Jean Francois Gravelet) crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope as 5,000 spectators watched. In 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act became law. In 1908 the "Tunguska event" occurred when a meteorite exploded over Siberia, completely leveling about 800 square miles of forest. In 1921 President Harding appointed former President Taft Chief Justice of the United States. In 1934 Adolf Hitler began his "blood purge" of political and military leaders in Germany. In 1936 the novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was published in New York. In 1962 Los Angeles Dodger Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets. In 1963 Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1971 a Soviet space mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 11 were found dead inside their spacecraft after it had returned to Earth; also on this day, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the minimum voting age to 18, was ratified when Ohio became the 38th state to approve it. In 1984 John Turner was sworn in as Canada's 17th prime minister, succeeding Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 1985 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days. In 2004 a federal appeals court approved an antitrust settlement Microsoft had negotiated with the Justice Department; also on this day, the Iraqis took legal custody of Saddam Hussein and 11 of his top lieutenants, a first step toward the ousted dictator's expected trial for crimes against humanity; and, after nearly seven years of travel, the international Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn's orbit.
          Comment on Claimant Who Was Left In Own Urine Has Benefits Slashed After Dishonest Assessment Report by PhobosAndDeimos   
True Jeff I've been reporting hate crime and abuse from public sector filth to politicians from all of their gangs for years now. I've only ever had two direct replies, one from Ian Duncan Smiths assistant to tell me that it is no longer IDS's assistant...so it wouldn't do anything (no mention of the messages it ignored when it was IDS's assistant). And one from a local council councilor... but only an auto message to tell me that it was Dead. Plenty of indirect replies... all the hate crime and intimidation from lowlife nonce scum members of their political gangs. :/ >action t4 Does the poison gas released during tower block fires count?
          German Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage, Even as Merkel Votes No, Saying It’s Between Man and Woman   

Berlin (dpa) – Gay marriage is set to become the law of the land in Germany after lawmakers voted in favour of legalization Friday, capping a hectic week that started with the item barely on the political agenda. Of 623 votes cast, 393 people v…
Read

The post German Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage, Even as Merkel Votes No, Saying It’s Between Man and Woman appeared first on Towleroad.


          Comment on Who indeed is afraid of the distant past (and who says it's distant, anyway)? A call to arms. by Women’s History Month - American Historical Association   
[…] Historiann: Ann Little, an associate history professor at Colorado State University, has created a blog that explores History and Sexual Politics, 1492-the present. She offers a Colonial America perspective to the Bennett roundtable. […]
          Life Comes At You Fast   
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Memo to a Donald Trump, The New Muslim Ban, and Greta Van Susteren: YOU ARE DUMB.

Current events! They sure are current, aren't they? They're so current that two thirds of the way through the column, a news story can pop up that changes the course of the column and demolishes any chance at a central theme I could use in an introduction! SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

The harm that Donald Trump can do to me is much, much less than the harm he can do to others. But I hate him just a tiny bit more today for making Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski more sympathetic, and I hate him for what I'm about to say about his two tweets having a central thesis, because holy shit I'm about to talk about two. Trump. Tweets. Having a. Central. Thesis.

Because the central thesis of Trump's tweet, that Scarborough and Brzezinski are starfucking sycophants who jumped on board the Trump Sucks bandwagon pretty late in the game once the wind was firmly blowing in that direction is not without some basis in reality. But Trump's still worse, and in true Awful-Person-Awful-at-His-Job-fashion, executed the premise in the most tactless, offensive way possible. And now we've gotta go through the "pile of shit just vomited more shit and we are surprised" rigamarole. Yay!


In other "it's impossible for them not to be dicks" news, after the Supreme Court ruled that an incredibly narrow version of Muslim Ban 2.0 could go into effect (and, in the process, confirming everyone's suspicion that Gorsuch is a hack), the Trump administration immediately attempted to redefine the narrow version into as broad a version as possible, essentially saying that aunts, uncles, and grandmothers don't have bona-fide connections to their family members and thus can be banned, because there's nothing more dangerous than a brown grandma.

And yes, there's already another lawsuit, and yes, the lawsuit will probably succeed in time, but take this perfidy as yet another reminder that the reason they keep winning is that they never accept a loss. We may think Roe v. Wade is settled law, for example, but they refuse to recognize the very idea of settled law. And when we win a fight and rest, that's how we lose the next three fights and poor women end up giving birth because they can't drive to another fucking state. All victories are temporary. Taking them out of power is the least temporary, but it doesn't seem possible to keep them out of power, so we're stuck with this bullshit.


I need to talk about Greta Van Susteren's shitball Villager MSNBC ad RIGHT NOW. I can't put it off any longer. Mainly because she just lost her show and her job at MSNBC which means the ad won't be run any more either, and that's a good thing, because it was fucking awful. In it, she extolled the virtues of Martin's Tavern in Gerogetown, where politicans sat, talked, drank, schemed, and brokered deals.

It was a perfectly horrible paean to the art of politics as "two old white males setting policy for the common people over drinks" that is at the heart of pure D.C. politics. A world where someone like Van Susteren can bounce around the ideological spectrum of cable journalism and still retain broad support, respect, and cultural cache because she moves in a world where "them" and "us" aren't defined by beliefs or advocacy, they're defined by social circles and acceptability as a dinner party guest. Fuck that noise.


          Political, currency instability strengthens the case for gold   
The volatile geopolitical environment and its effects on currency markets have strengthened the appeal of gold as an investment option and rand hedge for South Africans, says gold investment firm SA Bullion. SA Bullion MD Hilton Davies advises that local retail and institutional investors “seize the moment” and invest in gold, as global economic and political developments have aligned to deliver potentially outstanding returns on gold investment.
          The meaning of freedom   
The celebration of our freedom as a nation is next week. Freedom is an important value in our culture and politics. How often, though, do we pause to think about what it really is? The holiday directs our attention to the most obvious sense of the word: the absence of external coercion. Freedom here means [...]
          Reeling from Horrifying GOP Health Care Bills? Just wait till you lose your Voting Rights, just around the corner.    
While everyone is still wondering how Republicans could ever seriously fix their health care bills that drop 22 to 23 million Americans with a few more insane amendments, voting rights is about to take a huge hit:
The Republican presidential tactic of crippling agencies you don't like by putting either the incompetent or the actively hostile in charge of them (continues) ... Kris Kobach, the godfather of the national movement to suppress the votes of people the GOP would prefer not to exercise the franchise (was) named as vice-chairman of his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a snipe hunt the only apparent purpose of which is maintaining the fiction that masses of people, many of them brown, are gaming our elections. 
Here's the most damning news that might just alert us to specific Republican governors who take the bait:
Kobach wrote a letter to his fellow secretaries of state that left many jaws on the floor. From The Kansas City Star: In a Wednesday letter, Kobach asked the Connecticut secretary of state's office to provide the commission with all publicly available voter roll data, including the full names of all registered voters along with their addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history and other personal information ... he sent similar letters to election officials in every state. 

Quite simply, any secretary of state who complies with this request is either too stupid to hold the job, or is in sympathy with Kobach's goal of whitewashing the electorate.  Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State for California, said, "California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach. The President's Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections."

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill was a bit more discreet: "The courts have repudiated his methods on multiple occasions but often after the damage has been done to voters. Given Secretary Kobach's history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this commission."
BREAKING: Scott Walker gives up voter information to Trump's big government demands. Hey, we just had a recount too. All is well?

Wisconsin elections officials said Friday that they'll sell some voter information to a presidential commission investigating election fraud. Administrator Mike Haas issued a statement Friday saying data is available for purchase and the commission must release it to buyers, adding that the commission routinely sells the information to political parties, candidates and researchers. The commission would charge the presidential panel $12,500 for the data.
Having done a lot of research on "the right to vote," I found that despite the guarantee in the 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments...with help from the Voting Rights Act (now destroyed by activist conservative Justices), voting seems to be the least defended squishy right ever. In fact, I could make the argument that women and African Americans were definitely given the right to vote, but anyone else including white guys...nope.

What if Obama did this? Always the best test against hypocritical Republican policy:
As Vanita Gupta points out in that same K.C. Star report, if someone in the Obama administration had made this request, at the very least, there would be a full week of howler monkeys screaming about federalism from every perch in every conservative think-tank in the jungle. At the most, there would be hearing after hearing about the Obama administration's plan to seed thousands of the president's fellow Kenyans in every crucial precinct in Ohio and Florida. What's more important, though, is that the national campaign to roll back voting rights now has reached the highest levels of government, with the blessing of the president* and the president*-in-waiting. This is the final step backwards across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

          NRA Declares War on Liberals.    
I've been writing about the Republican authoritarian movement for some time now along with their sheepishly devoted voters. They've been vilifying liberals, progressives and Democrats for years. Not coincidentally, I've also noticed my conservative friend in Milwaukee has made the attacks more personal, with an arrogance rooted from one party rule. After all, they "won" and will never lose power again. And according to my friend, with the appointment of conservative judges, liberals will lose in the courts as well.  

NRA Ad Warning: What I've seen from tweets and blog commentary is perfectly summed up in the recent NRA ad. It is literally all there, with the added call to arms of course. Trump's blatant attack on the First Amendments very clear protections of the press, the rise of right wing media, and the many years of vilifying  "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," the NRA ad may be the marker right wing authoritarians have been waiting for. Especially after the way this ad hit the fan:


"They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse “the resistance.”

All to make them march. Make them protest. Make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding — until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.

And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.

I’m the National Rifle Association of America. And I’m freedom’s safest place."
As Vox's Zack Beauchamp put it:
This chilling NRA ad calls on its members to save America by fighting liberals: A liberal insurgency is destroying American society. The “only way” to protect yourself from this surge in left-wing violence (a made-up threat, to be clear) is to donate to the NRA.

In a 2013 op-ed, for example, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre argued that a lawless America was inevitable if the liberals succeeded in their nefarious plan to take your guns … it functions as a kind of anti-politics — casting the NRA’s political opponents as devious enemies who can’t be opposed through normal politics. Republicans control all three branches of government and a large majority of statehouses nationwide. There is literally zero chance that any kind of major gun control passes in America in the foreseeable future.

The threat, instead, is from a kind of liberal-cultural fifth column: People who are acting outside of legitimate political channels to upend American freedoms, through protest and violence. It’s a paranoid vision of American life that encourages the NRA’s fans to see liberals not as political opponents, but as monsters.
The ad features right-wing pundit Dana Loesch, who seems determined to turn everything in our country beet red:


The NRA made the mistake of using "blue" as their background, making it ripe for parody, like this...


          Secret parking perks for pols   
If New York City is going to grant special parking privileges to select insiders, is it really too much to ask that the perk be publicly reported? Politico this week exposed the fact that City Hall won’t reveal which elected officials get placards with what extra parking rights. “It’s the greatest perk in the world,”...
          Peer-Reviewed Research: Penises Cause Warming   


By Professor Doom

     Advanced mathematics is not for the uninitiated. Even with years of training, it’s easy enough to go to a research seminar and have at best merely a basic idea of what the latest findings are about. Experts in the field usually understand completely of course, but even if what’s being said seems incomprehensible to the layman there’s no way you can “fake it” well enough to fool an expert. In short: while both an expert mathematician and a lunatic can spew what looks like mathematical gibberish, only the former can do it in a way that’s still comprehensible to mathematicians. You just can’t fake it well enough to fool an expert.

      I’ve looked at research in other fields, with the belief that I’d only understand only the basics. Thus, I was surprised to find “advanced topics” in Education and Administration are incredibly basic and accessible to anyone, even if other fields (hi Physics!) definitely made me feel quite limited in my understanding of advanced topics.

     I know full well if I tried to imitate writing and research in advanced physics, an expert would casually shred my gibberish. And I’ve demonstrate that with no effort I can emulate “advanced” Education and Administration writing.

      Gender studies and gender related studies are big on campus anymore. Casual inspection on my part led me to believe it was meaningless at best, and ideological indoctrination at worst. I’m hardly the only scholar to make such conjectures, but scholars know that “conjecture” is just a fancy way to say “guess.” A couple of scholars decided to prove this stuff is just plain ol’ crap:


-- Sokal1 refers to a previous hoax played on these guys, years ago.

     The two “researchers” made a point of generating a 3,000 word paper packed with jargon and devoid of any meaning. A sample paragraph will give the gist of it:
Destructive, unsustainable hegemonically male approaches to pressing environmental policy and action are the predictable results of a raping of nature by a male-dominated mindset. This mindset is best captured by recognizing the role of [sic] the conceptual penis holds over masculine psychology. When it is applied to our natural environment, especially virgin environments that can be cheaply despoiled for their material resources and left dilapidated and diminished when our patriarchal approaches to economic gain have stolen their inherent worth, the extrapolation of the rape culture inherent in the conceptual penis becomes clear….

     The whole paper of fake research is much like the above, with the key conclusion:
The conceptual penis presents significant problems for gender identity and reproductive identity within social and family dynamics, is exclusionary to disenfranchised communities based upon gender or reproductive identity, is an enduring source of abuse for women and other gender-marginalized groups and individuals, is the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.

      The entire above paragraph is actually just one sentence, but the reader could be forgiven for not reading it through. Allow me to edit it down to at least a minimal level of comprehensibility (keeping in mind the authors were deliberately trying not to be understood):
The conceptual penis…is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.

      The paper is pure gibberish, little different than simply stringing along a bunch of mathematical symbols and believing it to mean something. The researchers even used a well-known (in the right circles) piece of software to generate the “research.” Yes, this field is so ridiculous (despite the regularly growing departments on campus) that somebody actually wrote a research paper generator for it:
Some references cite the Postmodern Generator, a website coded in the 1990s by Andrew Bulhak featuring an algorithm…that returns a different fake postmodern “paper” every time the page is reloaded. We cited and quoted from the Postmodern Generator liberally;   

      Keep that in mind: not only did they use a gibberish generator for the paper, they used it as a reference, not that anyone noticed—the experts in this field do not even know when they are being mocked! Other references in the paper were likewise questionable (to be generous):

Not only is the text ridiculous, so are the references. Most of our references are quotations from papers and figures in the field that barely make sense in the context of the text. Others were obtained by searching keywords and grabbing papers that sounded plausibly connected to words we cited. We read exactly zero of the sources we cited, by intention, as part of the hoax.


     Of course, the researchers wrote it all under pseudonyms. They then sent it out to peer reviewed journals for publication. I really want to emphasize this: peer review is considered the gold standard of publication, even though time and again it’s been revealed as flawed at best and highly corrupt at worst. Mostly the corruption is by coordinating with the reviewers but in this case the researchers decided to have legitimate experts in the field legitimately review the paper. Why did they even hope that their hoax would possibly work?

That is, we assumed we could publish outright nonsense provided it looked the part and portrayed a moralizing attitude that comported with the editors’ moral convictions. Like any impostor, ours had to dress the part, though we made our disguise as ridiculous and caricatured as possible...


     Identity politics and political correctness is destroying our campuses (and some would say, the country). The researchers are quite justified in wondering if these things are also destroying what we now inaccurately call “science.”

     So, they wrote a gibberish paper with bogus references. That’s the easy part. Next, they sent their paper to journals, and did receive rejections—none of the rejections noted that the paper was pure hokum. But one journal suggested another which might be amenable:

We feel that your manuscript would be well-suited to our Cogent Series, a multidisciplinary, open journal platform for the rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed research across all disciplines.


     Cogent sent it to reviewers:

We took them up on the transfer, and Cogent Social Sciences eventually accepted “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.” The reviewers were amazingly encouraging, giving us very high marks in nearly every category. For example, one reviewer graded our thesis statement “sound” and praised it thusly, “It capturs [sic] the issue of hypermasculinity through a multi-dimensional and nonlinear process” (which we take to mean that it wanders aimlessly through many layers of jargon and nonsense). The other reviewer marked the thesis, along with the entire paper, “outstanding” in every applicable category.


      So, a paper that is unarguably complete gibberish can pass the peer review process in this field. Granted the reviewers did have a few issues even with a paper they loved:

They didn’t accept the paper outright, however. Cogent Social Sciences’ Reviewer #2 offered us a few relatively easy fixes to make our paper “better.” We effortlessly completed them in about two hours, putting in a little more nonsense about “manspreading” (which we alleged to be a cause of climate change) and “dick-measuring contests.”


     Now, the gentle reader might well believe that the journal is just a sham. Not true! Journals have their own accreditation system:

First, Cogent Social Sciences operates with the legitimizing imprimatur of Taylor and Francis, with which it is clearly closely partnered. Second, it’s held out as a high-quality open-access journal by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which is intended to be a reliable list of such journals. In fact, it carries several more affiliations with similar credentialing organizations...


      Much as higher education has serious, grave problems with a bogus accreditation system, so too do journals, apparently. The researchers’ conclusion regarding the field of gender studies is valid:

”…there are significant reasons to believe that much of the problem lies within the very concept of any journal being a “rigorous academic journal in gender studies.”


     I have two conclusions based on this wildly successful hoax:

1)              I often have global warming believers tell me of the hundreds of peer reviewed studies supporting the notion that Earth will boil over any minute now because of humanity’s technology. I have my doubts, and knowing that a complete hoax article supporting such ideas can easily be peer reviewed and published only increases my doubts further. This paper comes as close as possible to literally saying man is responsible for global warming…and is rubbish.

2)              When I was at a community college, I often encountered faculty and administrators who, after even a brief conversation, I simply could not fathom how they made it through a graduate level program. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but after longer conversations, the question kept reverberating in my mind: how? They got their degrees and positions through writing papers much like this hoax paper, and it’s clear we have a whole industry of hoax “science” publishing, doing much to explain the surplus of advanced degrees in these strange fields.


     The two authors set out to create a hoax paper, and succeeded brilliantly. Yes, it was done before nearly 20 years ago by Sokal, but that only serves to demonstrate nothing has changed. At this point, as I’ve told many friends, when it comes to “the latest scientific research,” you may as well flip a coin when it comes to deciding whether it’s true or not.




 1)     In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at NYU, published the bogus paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” in the preeminent cultural studies journal Social Text which is in turn published by Duke University Press. The publication of this nonsense paper, in a prestigious journal with a strong postmodernist orientation, delivered a devastating blow to postmodernism’s intellectual legitimacy.

          ZOPO pronta al lancio di dispositivi con aspect-ratio 18:9   
ZOPO

ZOPO è pronta a rilasciare una serie di smartphone con display che, seguendo l’andamento del momento, sfoggeranno display con aspect-ratio 18:9. La politica di ZOPO seguirà una strada diversa di quella percorsa da LG e Samsung, i primi produttori ad aver presentato, con G6 e Galaxy S8, dispositivi con questo...

L'articolo ZOPO pronta al lancio di dispositivi con aspect-ratio 18:9 sembra essere il primo su TheGeekerz.


          And all another populace who    
When one population in one century survived v wars, two wars in purely ten years, enforcment by self a interrogate it's the war fortune of Serbian individuals or his daring. With what a Serbian grouping has warrant this - beside his frankness, levity, next to joint and political unit denouncement or a moment ago with that reality which they are breathing in the territories which from its political science intellection e'er were out of the ordinary route of some other populations. Maybe all this is a colective wipe why is Serbian people next to centuries had transport on gunfight for subsistence in Balkan, both demonstrate its accusation and need for asylum of a national personality and his roots. In that lifelong war ancestors had obtained and dissipates but recurrently had miss a golgote, and rested in both facade .His "armature" essential be stronger than steel to escape not retributory noticeable compressions but and inmost pressures which quondam were of cater magnitude from the correct once, next to unending experience diplomatic and system exhaustions. Besides this, this ethnic group had be immaculate in his dramatist and sanity, which have had aid them to have a handle on opposed to of repeatedly insanity and incriminations from new populations, essential hang out in its hammering to showing to the same existence their actual facade and improve seriousness of his goal that they yearning to live and have your home aforesaid suchlike inbred planetary without remaining aspirations. Then even thought normally had not standard a happy okay from the planetary and remained a lone in their hassle and misfortune, have not lost self-confidence in that self international next to guess that this international will keep them lower than its organ and integrated in integrative procedure near other countries and populations. , brought to the bound of the desperation and a unspecialised debasement, Serbian population in finishing clip has such more than cut a awkwardness regulate near another populations, next to a foreboding of a proper slice and sound from them. That it was a liberal first-rate peacefulness and discarded its mercy. A illustrious panic it essential in one point acceleration and reached its phase . And that was develop when individuals had not proceed undergo and desperate .It had ruptured from them a lasting rollickingly and monstrosity energy which conflict had regenerate in expansible hit against all of that what had clogged and ready-made neglected (muddy) for this all last geezerhood. In Serbia was fall out population .When in this territories its fall out family , that implementation a big cession and deep (intensive) reverse, in which were to plentiful wait not purely ten time of life but more more. Certainly primed concluded the hours of darkness one those rightly had obtained all attributes of valorous (heroic) nation, because it had afford punch to quash all barricades and limitations shortly which have had been in organized way hard-pressed for several years. Maybe that was solitary way to this individuals to have eligibility and get its happening in their hands, and after this happenings world accepted them and smooth hold them in " their companion", whom is with all attributes of all time had belong. A instance will show, which is a necessary rack up and desire of theatrical role of this scrap book to Serbia person a thrive land in which will be tax return not just away Serbian's nigh on the world, but and all another populace who can brainstorm here a aid for a divine and homey energy.(Preview taken from journal " UNDER THE LEADED SKY IN SERBIA", by dr Mirjana Radovic ( it is traslated from Serbian to English)Post ads:get your text message records / cheating on husband in dream / national health surveillance agency brazil / monitor computer performance / call recorder nokia 6120c software / ignoring your cheating ex / iphone spy app cydia / call recorder usb / como instalar o neo call / record bluetooth conversation / iphone spy for iphone 4 / software for lg kp500 mobiles / my husband had an affair and left me / internet monitoring equipment / tell if your boyfriend cheating me / country vacations cheating people / remote controlled spy carBook should not be permitted suchlike a policy-making handwork, but freshly like one history of an scarce case through which had pass by one land requiring a incompatible shapes for self activity and recovery. Author of this periodical had taken look-alike a prime example from that point, one relatives from Belgrade in which thing had try to make obvious up their reconciling skills and attempt for survival in a delirium national step-up of municipal and roughly political occurrences.
          AEE 302: Why Just Speaking May NOT Be the Best Route to Fluency in English   

Come back and let us know your thoughts on this: http://www.allearsenglish.com/302

Get our FREE IELTS Cheat Sheet: http://www.allearsenglish.com/evaluation

 

Today we have a special guest on the show!

Our guest will challenge your assumption that SPEAKING is the most important part of learning English.

Julian sees learning languages as a simple, two-step process:

Step 1: Learn the language that we need for our specific situation

Step 1: Apply the language and use it

 

 

Julian’s 3 Tips- How to Keep it Practical:

  • Try to do many different kinds of things in the language: English is a process. Spend time with it. You can’t HAVE it. You can’t GET it. You need to constantly maintain it.  Julian says that there is no difference between “experiencing” the language and “learning” the language, as far as your brain is concerned. By experiencing the language in many different ways, we can acquire chunks of English which will help us to sound more native-like. You should try to encounter the language through reading, speaking, listening, writing, etc. Get a more well-rounded experience of the language instead of just focusing on speaking.

 

  • Try to get a balance between intensive activity and relaxed exposure: Some of your work should be deliberate, focused, practical, intensive study. At the same time, some of your work should be a more relaxed encounter with the language. You need to take it in in a way that is enjoyable and easy. You could try listening to music in the language or watching TV. The key is getting a balance between the two forms of learning.

 

  • Focus on things which are useful to YOU: Exclude things that aren’t useful to you. Don’t bother to learn things that you won’t need to use. According to Julian, we don’t become fluent in English. We become fluent in specific topics such as cooking, law, politics, art, etc. Choose your focus and pursue English in that area. Drop the idea of becoming “fluent” in English in general.

 

Julian’s Bio:

Our guest today is an English teacher from England, living in Japan. He is the father of three bilingual children, is halfway through a PhD program in Psycholinguistics and used his insight about language learning to go from speaking poor Japanese in 2008 to being a translator in 2010. Our guest today is Julian from DoingEnglish.com

 

What do you think?

Have you focused down on one specific area of English learning?

What area are you focusing on?

Let us know in the comments!


          AEE 299: 4 Topics that You Should NEVER Discuss in a First English Conversation   

Come back to our blog and leave a comment. Did you bring up one of these topics on a first date? What happened? Tell us your story: http://www.allearsenglish.com/299

Get our free IELTS Chat Sheet at http://www.allearsenglish.com/evaluation

 

Jessica is the author of Hopeful Disasters where she explores dating in New York City.

She is also an ESL teacher in New York City.

Check out her blog here!

 

When you meet someone for the first time in English, whether it’s a date or just a first-time meeting with a friend or colleague, there are certain topics that you should NEVER discuss.

Today you’ll find out what they are with our favorite AEE dating consultant, Jessica Coyle.

A few weeks ago we talked about what four things you SHOULD talk about on a first date in English or at a first meeting but today we’ll show you what you should avoid.

 

4 Topics to AVOID on a first date or first meeting in English:

  • Politics: You can casually mention your political interests but don’t get drawn into a political debate or discussion. Jessica calls this “quicksand” because you can start to sink and you’ll get stuck and you won’t be able to get out of it. It’s better to bring up this topic once you already know someone well and after you know their triggers well.
  • Age:  You should definitely avoid asking the person their exact age. Also, this means that you should not ask people about their timeline in terms of when they want to get married or have kids. It’s too direct and too intense for a first date or first conversation. You might terrify the person if start asking these questions too early.
  • Religion: You probably have a rough idea of your date’s religion and it will be important later but it’s too personal to get into during a first date. It’s ok to share your own religion if you want to but don’t ask the person directly what their religion is.
  •  Education:  This is tricky. Jessica says that the goal in not asking this question is to avoid coming off as arrogant or judgmental. If you ask the person where they went to school or how many degrees they have, it will be clear that you are fishing for information regarding their intelligence or social status. You might make the other person feel bad if you ask this question. Try to figure out if there is an intellectual connection instead.

 

 

 

english native teacher

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 


 


          AEE 291: Crazy? Insane? How to Use English Slang but Stay Politically Correct   

Get 10USD off your second lesson at italki: Go to http://www.allearsenglish.com/italki

Do you use a lot of English slang in your everyday conversations with natives?

In today’s episode you’ll find out how to use the words “crazy” and “insane” as slang words in conversations.

How to use the word “crazy” in a slang form:

 

  • “I know someone who’s totally crazy because he still hitchhikes.”
  • It was crazy for us to hitchhike. Those were my crazy days.”
  • “Are you crazy about your boyfriend?”
  • “What is the craziest thing you have ever done?”

 

The slang words “crazy” and “insane” mean wild and out of control.

They could also mean unexpected or out of control.

The words are also used a lot in song lyrics, especially love songs.

If you use these words in a literal way to describe someone who is mentally ill it is rude.

Instead you could say that they are “mentally disabled” or “mentally handicapped” or “mentally challenged.”

 

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

Have you ever tried using these slang words in your English conversations?

Share your questions with us in the comments below.

Let’s talk!

Come back to allearsenglish.com/291


          A True Clown Doesn’t Need a Rubber Nose   
The other day, perennial political tool Rush Limbaugh was on CNBC defending his now infamous “I want Obama to fail” comment. His argument went something like this (paraphrasing): Yes, I want him to fail. His policies are liberal policies and I want liberal policies to fail. I want conservative policies to succeed. I find this…
          NO B.S. FRIDAY: End of the Secret Fascists   
Populism is on the rise, but I’m not worried. What’s actually wrong with ‘populism’? (Seriously. Asking for a friend.) More and more I’m hearing this term bandied about. It always comes as an insult. But it doesn’t seem to have any consistent political flavour. Supporting gay-marriage? Populist. Being anti-immigration? Populist. Supporting minimum wage increases? Populist. […]
          Comment on AIT Owner, Dokpesi, Forms New Political Party by APDA Is Illegal, Don't Register It, AD Tells INEC   
[…] Plc, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM, Raymond Dokpesi, on Monday launched the […]
          AEE 136: Lisa from English Fluency Now Talks About Pacific Northwest Culture   

Taking IELTS?

Get our free IELTS video training course now

Today we have a great guest! We have Lisa Biskup from English Fluency Now.

Lisa is from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Lisa is going to introduce us to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest and she is going to show us 4 things that are different or unique about her region.

 

4 Things That Are Unique About the Pacific Northwest:

  • People enjoy the outdoors: People are focused on the environment and spending time outdoors. Even though it rains a lot, people like to get out and when it’s nice out, people spend a lot of time sailing, boating kayaking, hiking, etc. The temperatures are mild throughout the year and it’s not “painful” to be outdoors.
  • They value local, organic food: A lot of people in this area value organic and local food, grass-fed beef, etc. There are a lot of farmers’ markets that people go to regularly. There is a huge market for this kind of natural food.
  • A vibrant coffee culture: Starbucks started here! Starbucks brought the coffee culture to Seattle but in Washington there are tons of local coffee roasters and local cafes. The local shops often roast their own blends and have followers. If you are visiting the US, it’s a great idea to go into a cafe or the same cafe every day for several days. You can meet real local people at these places. Try starting a conversation with them.
  • A progressive political culture: A lot of people value things like the environment, gay marriage, and other social issues. Medical marijuana is now legal. The minimum wage has just been increased from $9 per hour to $15 per hour. This is considered a “living wage.”

Visit Lisa’s website at http://www.englishfluencynow.com

 

Bonus vocabulary term: Crunchy

This term can be used as an adjective and it means that people like to spend time in nature.

It’s an American English slang term.

 

Lisa's Bio:

Lisa Biskup is the founder of English Fluency Now, Inc. and the creator of the English Fluency Now podcast.

She works as a private English language coach, helping motivated adult learners reach their fluency goals.

Her audio immersion program "Success with Stories" trains learners to become powerful English speakers, so that they can speak English with confidence and ease. Lisa is a certified Bilingual/TESOL teacher who has enjoyed working with English learners for over 20 years.

Visit Lisa's website at http://www.englishfluencynow.com

 

Have you visited the Pacific Northwest? What did you like about it?

Could you live there? Does the culture match your personality?

Let us know in the comments!


          Rajoy, convencido del triunfo de España en la final del europeo sub 21 antes de viajar a Cracovia   

El presidente del Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, se ha mostrado convencido del triunfo de la selección española en la final del Campeonato de Europa de fútbol sub 21 que medirá este viernes a España y Alemania y que contará con la presencia del jefe del Ejecutivo.


          Breaking: Cooper Says State Board Of Elections Should Not Participate In Controversial Voter Roll Data Request   
Governor Roy Cooper released a short statement this afternoon in response to a controversial new request that states turn over their voter roll data to the White House by July 14. Cooper's statement indicated that he believes the State Board of Elections should not comply with the request, but he did not go as far as some other politicians, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who released a much more harshly worded response.

          Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed   
BergdahlThe military judge overseeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case says prosecutors can try the soldier on a rare charge alleging he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
          The politics of math: Is algebra necessary to obtain a college degree?   
So what's the big debate over algebra?
          Bidemi Babafemi Ojudu Graduates With First Class From The UK (Photos)   

Congratulations are in order for Bidemi, the 20-year-old son of Senator Babafemi Ojudu who recently graduated with First Class Honors in Account and Finance from Durham University UK. The University is A world top 100 University and coming out in First Class puts Bidemi in the group of the best scholars. The distinguished senator is […]

The post Bidemi Babafemi Ojudu Graduates With First Class From The UK (Photos) appeared first on Liveofofo.


          India’s Modi heads to Israel, lifting the curtain on close ties   
The Indian leader will not travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.
          Returning to music, Jay-Z sorry for cheating and loves gay mom   
Releasing an album after a four-year gap, Jay-Z has bared himself like rarely before. He apologizes to Beyonce for cheating and pours out love for his mother whom he reveals to be lesbian, all while taking familiar but timely shots on the politics of race.
          Queen Of England Honours Nasir Yammama, CEO Verdant Agri-Tech   

Congratulations to Nasir Yammama (CEO Verdant Agri-Tech), for yet another recognition.The Katsina indigene was honoured as one of this year’s Queen’s Young Leaders – outstanding and accomplished young leaders across the world.   HRH Prince Harry and celebrities including Liam Payne Mo Farah and Caspar Lee got the opportunity to meet some of the Award […]

The post Queen Of England Honours Nasir Yammama, CEO Verdant Agri-Tech appeared first on Liveofofo.


          Amanah: In Kelantan, we don’t name the MB ahead of polls   
Kelantan Amanah chief Wan Rahim Wan Abdullah says Lim Kit Siang’s proposal that Husam Musa be made MB is his personal view and unlikely to influence the state’s politics.
          Gambia’s democracy survives political turbulence   
English

As the results of The Gambia’s presidential election trickled in last December, incumbent President Yahya Jammeh realised his power was slipping away. Indeed, final results showed that a newcomer, 51-year-old businessman Adama Barrow, had garnered 45.5% of total votes, while Mr. Jammeh received 36.6%. 


          Kiua china pak mn apne fuji adde qaim krne wala haa   
Kiua china pak mn apne fuji adde qaim krne wala haa? Kiua china pak mn apne fuji adde qaim krne wala haa?? Islamabad :- Politicians [...]
          Aik bhar nwaz sharif nain mujhe dex   
Aik bhar nwaz sharif nain mujhe dex. Aik bhar nwaz sharif nain mujhe dex.. Islamabad :- Politicians took to the social media to express their [...]
          国家公務員に夏のボーナス支給、5年連続プラス   
http://www.excite.co.jp/News/politics_g/20170630/Tbs_news_95320.html
 
財政、バランスシートから民間と同様に考えた場合、プラスで良いのか難しい話です。

確かに赤字の原因が社会保障で公務の効率とは別次元で発生しています。

それにしても一部にはこの費用を抑える為に協力を強いて、

年金の減額や負担増額などをしています。

マスコミが単に金額などを発表するのでなく、中小企業のことや上記のような状況を鑑みて

適正なのか考えるべきです。

          Analysis: For GOP Congress, an imperative on health care    
Congressional Republicans are stymied over health care. But after seven years of promising to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's law, they risk political disaster if they don't deliver.
          Blame city leaders for crime surge   

The spike in Baltimore crime rests solely on the politicians of this city (“Don’t fault police union for city’s woes,” June 28)! How sitting in their seats makes them so blind I'll never know.

The biblical proverb states: "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” I’d venture to say the...


          Stop pay-to-play politics in Baltimore County   

Not long ago, Jonathan Herbst wrote a letter stating that Sen. Jim Brochin's proposal to limit campaign contributions from developers was unconstitutional (“Banning campaign contributions from developers is unconstitutional,” June 14). As an attorney, Mr. Herbst ought to know better. In fact, not...


          NO MORE ELECTION IN BIAFRALAND IS A PEACEFUL WAY OF DECLARING POLITICAL OFFICES AND LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIONS IN NIGERIA GOVT VACANT BY BIAFRANS   
NO MORE ELECTION IN BIAFRALAND IS A PEACEFUL WAY OF DECLARING POLITICAL OFFICES AND LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIONS IN NIGERIA GOVT VACANT BY BIAFRANS

By Mazi Onyebuchi Eze
Family Writers

One thing that has seriously baffled many Biafrans is why the IPOB declaration of "No More Election" in Biafra land has continued to be the headache of the people in Abuja, Sokoto and Kano. It is worthy of note that  Biafrans have vehemently vowed that there will be no election again in Biafra land beginning with a plan to resist the conduct of Anambra governorship election billed for November 18, and ultimately boycott it should INEC and Nigeria government defy IPOB declaration and go ahead to conduct the election. Biafrans are making the world to know that by the civil disobedience to be demonstrated with "No Election" arrangement of IPOB Worldwide, they have peacefully wanted to use peaceful means to withdraw all the political office holders serving or representing Biafrans in Nigeria government because they have rejected Nigeria government and everything associated with it.

There will be total rejection, resistance and eventual boycott of all the proposed  elections if Nigeria government fail to organized a referendum for Biafra, there will be nobody elected anymore as a Senator, House of Representative member, Governors and House of Assembly members in Biafra land, because there will be nobody to vote in any election anywhere in the Biafraland. When this arrangement which we are perfecting in Biafra land is completed, Biafra land must have cut off legislative and executive ties with Nigeria government. As for the propaganda of Nigeria government against Biafra agitation with threats of war, IPOB has no business with Nigeria government over the beating of the drums of war because a demand for referendum has never been construed anywhere in the world as a call for war except in Nigeria which is a place of intellectual bankruptcy.

Biafrans want to use the rejection, resistance and outright boycott of the elections to tell the International Community that they are no more interested in Nigeria government and thereby peacefully chose to stop sending representatives in the government which they have rejected because after October 1st, 2017, any government structure of Nigeria in Biafra land as whole will be considered as forcefully occupying the Biafra territory without the approval of the indigenous people because Biafrans will no longer willfully give allegiance to Nigeria government and accord it the deserved respect as their Federal government. This development will be manifesting itself through an unprecedented freestyle of contempt and flagrant disdain against Nigeria government because it will be considered as an empirical alien government of dark ages only obtainable centuries ago during the Roman Empire under Caesar Augustus or Emperor Nero.

It is upon this ugly development coming against Nigeria government within the next few days, that IPOB Worldwide hereby advise Nigeria government not to wait until this ugly development set-in before relevant actions could be taken to remedy the battered image of Nigeria government which must have been seriously made caricature of by Biafrans by that time. Nigeria government should just organize a referendum for Biafra without further delay because there is no more going back on the issue of Biafra restoration struggle. When Biafra eventually exit Nigeria, the new sovereign nation called Biafra and the remaining parts of Nigeria could be good neighbouring countries.

So, why are Nigerians wailing now as we have decided to withdraw our representatives from Nigeria government through the instrumentality of the election boycott all over the Biafra land? For many years now, mischief makers in Nigeria have being challenging Biafrans to withdraw their Senators and House of Reps members from Nigeria National Assembly if they do not want Nigeria any more but truly desire Biafra restoration. As it is at moment, Biafrans have decided to respond to the challenge of Nigerians in withdrawal of their representatives from Nigeria government through direct peaceful election boycott. It is important for Nigerians to know that Biafrans are not terrorists like Arewa people who believe in doing everything in violence but they are civilized people who do things peacefully because Biafrans knew very well that a person must be elected through an election before he becomes a Senator, a House of Representative member, a Governor and a State House of Assembly member. Therefore, Biafrans as peaceful and civilized as they are always, they will never violently remove the serving Senators, House of Representative members or the serving Governors but any time their tenures elapses and Nigeria government yet to organize referendum for Biafra, let it be known to the world that Biafrans will not even allow election again in Biafra land not to talk about electing anybody into any office representing Nigeria government from Biafra land.

In conclusion, let Nigeria government and the world at large be aware that Biafrans have started the process of withdrawal of our representatives from Nigeria government as we were challenged to do by Nigerians months back if we are truly demanding for Biafra restoration. As for Anambra governorship election, we are not only going to boycott it but resist the conduct of it against INEC in totality.

#WeSayNo2ElectionInBiafraland!
          NO ELECTION ORDER: OHANEZE NDIGBO HAS DECLARED WAR AGAINST IPOB AND BIAFRANS DUE TO MONEY COLLECTED FROM OSINBAJO IN ASO ROCK- BIAFRANS GET READY!   
NO ELECTION ORDER: OHANEZE NDIGBO HAS DECLARED WAR AGAINST IPOB AND BIAFRANS DUE TO MONEY COLLECTED FROM OSINBAJO IN ASO ROCK: BIAFRANS GET READY!


By Mazi Onyebuchi Eze
For Family Writers

The information reaching the news room of Family Writers Press has it that Ohaneze Ndigbo political hungry pigs led by the political Chameleon known as Chief John Nnia Nwodo has declared a systematic war against Biafrans all the world in general and IPOB in particular by sabotaging Biafra restoration. The declaration of war was contained in the speech which John Nnia Nwodo of shame delivered in the Anambra State House of Assembly chamber in Awka. In the John "Chameleon" Nwodo's speech, he publicly challenged the authority vested on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (De Great) by Biafrans  which is going to attract serious consequences on John "Chameleon" Nwodo reputation in particular and Ohaneze mushroom organization bereft of membership in general after this showdown with IPOB and Biafrans.

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the Supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (De Great) cannot pretend ignorance of what Ohaneze Ndigbo of shame and John "Chameleon" Nwodo is turning out to become at the moment because their Chameleon-like body language over the months is already a pointer to IPOB that a day will come when they will pitch tent with the oppressors of Biafrans in Aso Rock to fight against the restoration of Biafra. A point to their chameleons disposition is stemmed at their regular attitude of frequent switching from support of Biafra restoration to call for dubious restructuring. But as Ohaneze Ndigbo led by John Nnia Nwodo has openly shown that they are not interested in Biafra restoration, is it not time for Biafran youths to banish the hungry pigs out of Biafra Land to serve as deterrent to many people who may intend to sabotage the restoration of Biafra in the future on a mere Ghana Must Go bags of money?
Chief John Nnia Nwodo

However, whatever eventually happens with John Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze political harlots, it is important for everyone in Biafra land to show these fools that the bags of money given to them by Prof Osinbajo in Aso Rock as revealed by an insider from the presidency to Family Writers investigation department, is not more valuable than the lives of Ezu River Igbo youths killed by Anambra state government with the support of Ohaneze Ndigbo just because of their stand for Biafra restoration.
Family Writers Press want Biafrans of Anambra State to ask Ohaneze Ndigbo the following questions:
1. What did Ohaneze and John Nwodo of shame said when Gov Willie Obiano openly supported the massacre of the same Anambra people  inside St Edmund Catholic Church in Nkpor on 29/5/2016 and bath many bullet wounded people with acid to die slowly by Nigeria Army?
2. What did Ohaneze fickle Chameleons and John Nwodo said when Gov Willie Obiano openly declared before Nigeria Army kangaroo panel that nobody was killed at Nkpor even when the massacre was done in a broad daylight?

3. Is it true that Ohaneze hungry pigs went to Aso Rock only to go and collect Ghana Must Go bags of money and have started to fight against Biafra restoration struggle?
All these questions are begging for answers but must be answered by the Ohaneze Ndigbo fickle Chameleons under the leadership of John Nwodo of disgrace. Presently in the investigation room of Family Writers Press is a revelation still under enquiries that politicians in Biafra land placed a bounty of huge amount of money for Ohaneze Ndigbo and other mushroom numberless organizations in Igbo land to challenge and render IPOB "No more Election" order useless and grab the bounty. It is important for Biafrans to ask Ohaneze Ndigbo, how long will you people continue to trade our collective destiny for peanut's money? How long will you people continue to pitch tent with Fulani Janjaweeds from Aso Rock who kill our people with impunity even inside church at Nkpor?

Haba John Nwodo! Where is your hypocritical singing of Biafra youths as your children since you are now going about collecting bags of money from Prof Osinbajo, Gov Willie Obiano and other governorship aspirants in Anambra State in order to destroy the road map of the Biafra youths in restoring Biafra? As you have declared war against Biafra restoration struggle by openly countering the order of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, be ready to die in shame because Biafrans are going to show you that you are like an ant before Nnamdi Kanu and Ohaneze is like an earth-worm before IPOB. By the time IPOB finish with you and your Ohaneze political hungry pigs, you will bury your head in shame. It is now iron for iron, teeth for teeth and bone for bone with Ohaneze.

As for Anambra governorship election, the battle line has been drawn between IPOB and the political elites in Biafra land who have sucked the blood of our people enough. Biafrans are not even going to allow INEC to anywhere to sit and conduct any election again in Biafra land unless Biafra referendum is conducted by Nigeria government. It is important for John Nwodo to understand that what we are planning against the elections is bigger than a mere boycott of the election but total resistance of the conduct of the election in the first place. The boycott of the election is going to be our final frontier in the framework of NO ELECTION campaign in the designed template of IPOB.
In conclusion, IPOB is calling on Biafrans in Anambra state to disown Ohaneze Ndigbo and John Nwodo because none of those political predators can command even 1000 persons without financial inducement. Then, who and who are the members of Ohaneze Ndigbo? A word is enough for the wise!


          NIGERIA: IT'S TOO LATE TO RESTRUCTURE NIGERIA – Ankko Briggs   
IT'S TOO LATE TO RESTRUCTURE NIGERIA  – Ankko Briggs

Prominent resource control crusader, Ankko Briggs, has backed down on her call for the restructuring of the country.
Briggs said making such move at this time in the life of the nation was too late.

She rather called for the parting of ways by the different sections of the country. In a position made known on Wednesday amid the call for restructuring by several prominent individuals and groups, Briggs said the restructuring of the country should have been long done before the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan or the National Conference held in 2014.
She said at the time, nobody understood why she stood on the side of restructuring the country.
Ankko Briggs

Now Briggs said that call is coming too late. She said what will work for the country at this time is for the different regions to go their separate ways. Briggs said: “Going by the figures, the North is getting over 60 per cent of the total local government allocations and even when we come to the states as well they also receive far more than the Southern states.

“Again, if you go to the National Assembly, they are far more in numbers, especially in the House of Representatives, and so by the time there is a motion or bill, which they are not in support of, ends up being frustrated or not being passed at all.
“A good example is the PIB that had to spent over 10 years in the National Assembly.

“How can this continue?”

According to the renowned advocate for resource control in the Niger Delta, the time for restructuring Nigeria was long gone owing to the fact that it had become another political tool in the hands of the ruling elites, whose plan is to increase revenue allocation to some parts of the country currently agitating, but then retain the same form of governance, which has bred institutional injustice in the country.

Briggs said: “For me, calling for restructuring now is too late we want to go our separate ways because you see what they are calling restructuring is not what restructuring is.
“Restructuring to them is that the status quo should remain and perharps a little increase in revenue to agitating regions, but the real restructuring is when everybody keeps what you have, even if it is only water that you have, and if you can sell it, sell it.

“So anything apart from that is not restructuring.
“What is federalism?
“This is where you have the states, which are the federating units.
“So a federation means that every component is autonomous to itself within that nation.
“So how can the Federal Government be interested in building hospitals in Abia State or building a university in Rivers State?
“Nigeria is a good example of how impossible to run a government.

“How can one man alone, who is of a different culture, language, religion run or oversee the rest of the people of over 400 ethnic groups as if he is overseeing his own personal property or estate?
“He cannot do it right because he doesn’t know my culture and so how can he make decisions that will be 100 per cent appealing to me because the things I would put into consideration if I am to make the same decisions will be totally different.

“People even say that I don’t fight other people’s battle, but that is not true.
“I can fight the Igbo man’s battle because I understand his way of life and culture to a very large extent because my grandmother is Igbo and I can speak Igbo language well too, I can understand them, I can work with them and if I am working with them and I make decisions for my people and Igbo people, I won’t go wrong because I know what to do.

“Now reverse the case and ask me to make decisions for the Hausa-Fulani man or the Muslim man, I will make a terrible decision and this is because I don’t understand them.
“So this is what we are saying that someone who doesn’t understand a people cannot make any good decision for them.

“If this simple conditions are not met, governance will fail and that is what has happened in the real sense, it has failed in Nigeria.
“The then military leadership under General Abdusalami Abubakar had a rare opportunity of gathering Nigerians together to come up with a document meant to be the constitution, but it was bungled because what happened was that one man just sat down and made sure that the document was written to favour a particular section of the country and he called it the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Nigerian constitution is the only constitution in the world that tells a lie against itself and its people, when its first sentence says: ‘We the people.’
“That statement is a lie.

“There was never a gathering of any people or group of persons to discuss any constitution.
“Do you also know that the constitution was designed to work against people who are not Muslims as the word Islam, Muslim, Sharia or Mosque was mentioned over 200 times, while the word Christian or Church was never mentioned in the constitution?
“And you say that same constitution is me
          Nigeria Restructuring: Yorubas Are The Most Ungrateful Backstabbers – Arewa Youth Coalition   
Nigeria Restructuring: Yorubas Are The Most Ungrateful Backstabbers – Arewa Youth Coalition

Published by Family Writers Press

Less than two weeks a quite notice was issued to Igbos living in the North by the controversial coalition of Arewa youth, they have moved south west, stating that, “the Yoruba are the most ungrateful stock in Nigeria”, in a statement signed on behalf of the group by Muhammed Shehu and Tanko Abdullahi, after an emergency meeting called by the coalition in Daura, Katsina State, on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

In what may be the most inflammatory statement of the times, the Northern youth group, which said that they speak for the youth of Northern Nigeria, said “having given power to the Yoruba on a platter of gold in 1999 as a way of compensating them for the June 12 saga, it is quite worrisome and unfortunate that they have lived up to their legendary reputation of backstabbing and betrayal by supporting the divisive calls for restructuring or dismemberment of the nation against the will and desire of the north”.
“We gave the late Chief MKO Abiola the mandate in 1993 but shortly after that, as it is with the Yoruba as a culture, they immediately started circling around Abiola plotting on how to emasculate the north and strip us of every access we had to the politics and economy of this nation,” the Arewa group said.

“They had also raised a secret army of their elites to carry out these sinister plans against the north if Abiola eventually became president. It was this army that was unleashed on the nation in the guise of NADECO during the June 12 impasse.
“May we remind the Yoruba that without the willingness and magnanimity of the north, there was no way Abiola could have purportedly won that election, and that all the Yoruba have now as assets in the south west, especially Lagos, were given to them by our leaders out of our own usual magnanimity. However, time and time again, the Yoruba have always turned their back on us whenever their support is needed. They have chosen to pitch tent with the Igbo this time around just to spite us, but we shall not succumb to their antics.

“We are very much aware that all the attacks against President Muhammadu Buhari were planted in the media by the Yoruba and spread by southerners generally just to discredit the north in order to pave way for their son, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to become president. But their plans will fail insha Allah.
“We shall resist every of such plans and ensure by all means possible, that the north completes its eight-year tenure and possibly even continue after then, and that the federal structure of Nigeria as it currently is, is not tampered with by secession mongers and their collaborators,” the statement concluded.
SOURCE

          NIGERIA: Many Of Those Calling For Restructuring Are Opportunists, Irresponsible – El-Rufai   
Many Of Those Calling For Restructuring Are Opportunists, Irresponsible – El-Rufai
El-Rufai, while speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily said President Buhari’s administration has done far more in practical terms than past administrations and that many of those calling for a restructuring rather see it as a means of opportunism. He stated that some of the practical steps taken towards restructuring included the fact that state governors are now more than ever, involved in economic policy making at the national level. According to him, things that have always been hidden from state governments are now much more open as they are now more involved in investigations of finances of the excess crude account, among other things. “We meet every month under the auspice of the National Economic Council and working together with the Federal Government we chart directions of economic policy and that is part of shifting the federal- state balance. “A lot of the talk about political restructuring is political opportunism and irresponsibility in my opinion “It is popular and people that have presidential aspirations think there is a platform upon which they will exploit this. As I said, if you look at the APC manifesto, all the elements to divulge power to the state to change the balance in the federation are there and we are committed to that as a party. “The National Chairman of our party will restate that commitment and we are discussing it and as I said President Buhari and Osinbajo’s government has taken very concrete steps rather than rhetoric to actually move in that direction and we are going to move in that direction but we do not believe that the basis for it is rhetoric and opportunism, we do not believe that the 2014 CONFAB report is a sensible basis to even begin. “We all know the circumstances in which the so-called CONFAB was put together, we all know the composition, how lopsided it was, how important stakeholders were not taken to account, how even the composition and numbers do not reflect the demographics and the diversity of this country and we took a position as a party not to participate but to encourage our state governors to be there at the table.”

SOURCE


          5 Things To Know Friday   

1. Sales Tax

House Democrats on Thursday unveiled a two-year budget that would increase the state sales tax to 6.99 percent. Lawmakers say the move would help cities and towns. However, much of the state Senate and Gov. Malloy are opposed to any sales tax hike. A vote on the budget is expected...


          Trump Voter Fraud Panel Request For Information Gets Chilly Connecticut Reply   

President Donald Trump's special commission to investigate alleged voter fraud is asking Connecticut election officials for reams of personal data on all registered voters in the state and got a frosty reply from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

"In the spirit of transparency, we intend to...


          The Brutal Truth About Feminism   
Inez Feltscher slams it home: Having been sold a pack of feminist lies that make both men and women unhappier, those of us in the millennial generation who are interested in happy marriages have had to rediscover a lot of politically incorrect truths from scratch. But there’s one truth that is particularly difficult for our […]
          Chronicle AM: SD Sued Over Forced Catheterization of Toddler for Drug Test, More... (6/30/17)   

The ACLU sues South Dakota over the forced drug testing of a toddler, Detroit residents again sue the dope squad for killing dogs in pot raids, Pennsylvania's governor signs an asset forfeiture reform bill, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

EPA Rejects California's Request to Recognize Allowable Marijuana Pesticides. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt last week rejected the state's request to recognize acceptable pesticides for pot crops. Pruitt used the fact of marijuana's continuing illegality under federal law to justify the decision: "Under federal law, cultivation (along with sale and use) of cannabis is generally unlawful as a schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The EPA finds that the general illegality of cannabis cultivation makes pesticide use on cannabis a fundamentally different use pattern."

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Health Department Issues Dispensary Permits. The Health Department announced Thursday it had granted 27 medical marijuana dispensary permits. Each permit holder can open up to three dispensaries. They will be permitted to begin selling medical marijuana in six months. Click on the link for a list of permit recipients.

Asset Forfeiture

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed into law Senate Bill 8 on Thursday. The bill does not end civil asset forfeiture, but does impose a higher burden of proof on law enforcement before forfeitures can take place, mandate a hearing before any seized real property is forfeited, and add protections for third-party property owners.

Drug Testing

South Dakota Sued Over Forced Catherization of 3-Year-Old for Drug Test. The ACLU of South Dakota has filed a pair of lawsuits over the forced use of a catheter to take a urine sample from a three-year-boy to test for drugs as part of a child welfare investigation. The suit comes in the case of a Pierre woman whose boyfriend violated probation by testing positive for illegal drugs. Child protective workers then told the women her children would be taken away if she did not submit them to a drug test. The federal lawsuit names as defendants the state of South Dakota and the hospital whose employees actually performed the procedure.

Law Enforcement

Detroit's Dog Killing Drug Cops Sued for Third Time. A Detroit couple has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Detroit Police alleging officers needlessly and maliciously killed their three dogs during a July 2016 marijuana raid after officers refused to let them retrieve the animals from the back yard. That brings to three the number of active lawsuits filed against Detroit cops for killing dogs during pot raids. The culprit is the department's Major Violators Unit, which conducts hundreds of raids a year in the city, and which has left a trail of dead dogs in its wake. One officer alone has killed 69 dogs.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules County DAs Can't Form Their Own Dope Squads. The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday the county prosecutors cannot form their own policing units to conduct drug interdiction efforts, including traffic stops. The ruling came in a case involving the State Attorney's Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Unit created by the LaSalle County district attorney. The unit operated for five years, mainly stopping cars on their way to and from Chicago. Previously, state appeals courts had ruled that the units were an overreach of prosecutorial authority, and now the state's highest court has backed them up.


          Median: Драгош смог бы обойти Земана во втором туре   

Главными фаворитами предстоящих выборов являются Драгош и действующий глава государства Милош Земан, которые должны выйти во второй тур. Бывший председатель Академии наук ЧР Иржи Драгош пользуется завидной популярностью среди чешского населения и имеет все шансы занять президентский пост. Согласно проведенному в начале июня среди населения опросу, во втором туре выборов Иржи Драгош смог бы заполучить […]

Запись Median: Драгош смог бы обойти Земана во втором туре впервые появилась cznews.info.


          The links between Delta Tunnels and faux "marine protected areas" are deep & alarming   
If you haven't read this article already, I urge you to do so. It is one of the most important pieces on water, the Delta and coastal protection that you will ever read. Everybody who cares about stopping the Delta Tunnels and restoring our salmon and other fish populations MUST read this article and share it with others. You will rarely find deep investigative journalism like this in the mainstream media or most "alternative" media. The deep relationship between the MLPA Initiative and Delta Tunnels is undeniable. In many ways, the neoliberal MLPA Initiative process, completed in December 2012, has served a template for the Governor's campaign to build the tunnels. In spite of some superficial differences, the two processes have been united by their (1) leadership, (2) funding, (3) conflicts of interest, (4) greenwashing goals, (5) racism and denial of tribal rights and (6) junk science. When people educate themselves on the undeniable links between the two processes, I believe they can more effectively wage a successful campaign against the Delta Tunnels and to restore our imperiled salmon and San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries. In spite of massive opposition to the MLPA Initiative by Tribal leaders, fishermen, grassroots environmentalists, the fake "marine protected areas" overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other political hacks went into effect anyway. I fear the same thing will happen in the Delta Tunnels struggle. Over the past week, we have seen two decisions, the Delta Stewardship Council's approval of the Delta Plan amendments and the NOAA Fisheries no jeopardy biological opinion released Monday, that advance the California WaterFix proposal. It's like back in 2011 when after a couple of favorable court rulings, successful direct action protests and growing opposition to the MLPA Initiative, things went bad. The fishing groups lost a major lawsuit, the Fish and Game Commission backed down on their commitment to protect tribal gathering rights, and in spite of the Co-Chair of the North Coast MLPA Science Advisory going to prison for embezzlement of federal money from the Yurok Tribe, the faux "marine protected areas" went into effect anyway. Here's the article:
          The News From Poems: “November Eyes on Main Street”   
Richard Blanco’s poem begins the day after the November election, as he struggles to make sense of a new political mood.
          The News From Poems: “Ode To the Dead of Bowling Green”   
Poet Nick Lantz has been thinking about political spin and how his poems can play off the language of politics. 
          The Mind of a Terrorist   
When suicide bombers blow up crowded marketplaces, or a lone shooter attacks a nightclub, one question we’re always left with is why. What ideology or belief or loyalty would compel someone to do something so horrific? This hour, a look at the underlying psychology of political violence. The Reformed Radical; The Psychology of Terrorism; What Can Americans Learn from a Norwegian Massacre?; Let's Change the Way We Think About Thinking; The Buddhist Master Who Went On A Four Year Wandering Retreat.
          Cleanup continues after ‘fiscal self-starvation’ at Colorado town known as ‘the Evangelical Vatican’   
A new report is grading the policy outcomes of radical experiment with political austerity by a Colorado town known as the “The Christian Mecca” and “Evangelical Vatican.” “The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise” an in-depth look at Colorado Springs, CO...
          Why does Steve Bannon make less per year than Omarosa?: White House publishes list of employee salaries   
On Friday, the White House released a 16-page document detailing the annual salaries paid to White House employees, all of whom are paid from taxpayer funds. Politico published excerpts from the list including key White House employees like Kellyanne Conway ($179,000 per year), former Breitbart.com ...
          Johnson Amendment under fire from House Republicans   
President Trump has promised religious conservatives he will “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” a part of the tax code that bars churches from campaigning for or donating to specific political candidates. In a largely overlooked move, House Republicans have taken the most concre...
          Will Mitch McConnell have enough votes to pass Senate health care bill?   
Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd tells Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will attempt to pass the GOP health care bill by "trying to make a political argument rather than make policy changes." Todd also weighs in on new reports that reveal the Obama administration's struggle to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.
          Simone Veil, French abortion pioneer, Birkenau survivor and former President of the European Parliament dies aged 89 - family   
One of the few French postwar politicians to earn near unanimous respect, Simone Veil, has died aged 89. Deported from France by the Nazis aged 16, she survived Birkenau, although her mother and sister perished. On her return to France she embarked upon a career in the law, becoming a magistrate, and in 1956 became the Director of French prisons. Marking a break with her predecessors, she visited many such institutions personally and railed at the primitive, "medieval" conditions she found there. In 1962 she became Minister of civil Affairs, and took a principled stand on adoptions, becoming a pioneer of the idea that a childs' rights should come first, an idea later amplified by Francoise Dolto in her landmark book "The baby is a person". This was her first experience of the brutality of parliamentary debate, and the ingrained sexism of the legislature. Thirteen years later came the key moment in her political career when she forced through, in the teeth of furious opposition form within her own party, the law allowing abortion for the first time in France. It earned her vilification, with her actions being compared to the Nazis, and her home and husband's car were defaced with swastikas. She became a hate figure for the ultra-Catholic far right, which never forgave her. President Giscard d'Estaing chose his Health Minister to lead the centre-right's list for the 1979 European elections, and this led to her becoming the President of the European Parliament. She sat in the assembly until 1993, when she returned to government in France as Prime Minister Eduard Balladur's Social Affairs Minister. A fervent European, in 1998 she become a member of France's Constitutional Court, a position she held until 2007. In 2010 Veil received the supreme accolade that can be awarded to a French public figure, being elected to the Academie Francaise, and took seat 13, previously held by Racine.
          Il caso Brunello scuote il Vinitaly   
“In gioco c’è il rispetto del disciplinare, non la sofisticazione del vino. Attenti a non creare, con il clamore delle informazioni, un danno grave”. Il ministro delle politiche agricole Paolo De Castro non può sfuggire alle domande sul caso Brunello nel giorno dell’inaugurazione del Vinitaly a Verona. La magistratura di Siena sta infatti indagando su [...]
          A David Bowie dance opera, Coco Picard chats, the Sugar Ball, and more things to do this weekend   

Whether you want to unwind with wine and jazz or escape from political turmoil with political comedy, there's tons to do in Chicago this July Fourth weekend:


          Woods respond to last year’s presidential election with a message and vibe of love   
Jammy New York band Woods aren’t any sort of a political combo, but that doesn’t mean the members don’t feel the overwhelming weight of last year’s election. In preparing to make their latest album, Love Is Love (Woodist), they made the deliberate choice to respond by embracing the titular emotion rather than the rage that enveloped so many of us.…
          Denuncian derrame de sustancias biológicas tras ataque a laboratorios de Inia e Insai - 2001.com.ve   

2001.com.ve

Denuncian derrame de sustancias biológicas tras ataque a laboratorios de Inia e Insai
2001.com.ve
El ministro del Poder Popular para la Producción Agrícola y Tierras, Wilmar Castro Soltedo, informó que ataques provocados por actos vandálicos del pasado martes, en la ciudad de Maracay, provocaron el derrame de sustancias biológicas de alto riesgo.
Denuncian el robo de equipos y sustancias biológicas en Araguaglobovision.com
Piden decretar alerta sanitaria por robo de sustancias biológicas en AraguaEl Universal (Venezuela)
Castro Soteldo alertó derrame de sustancias biológicas de alto riesgo en AraguaMinCI (Comunicado de prensa)
Venezolana de Televisión -El Informador.com.ve -Diario El Siglo -El Impulso (Comunicado de prensa) (blog)
los 27 artículos informativos »

          THIS JUST IN! THE REAL SHADY'S BACK!   
BULLY BOY PRESS &   CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL AID TABLE

PROFESSIONAL CON ARTIST BARBARA LEE IS BACK.


Whoa. My amdt to sunset 2001 AUMF was adopted in DOD Approps markup! GOP & Dems agree: a floor debate & vote on endless war is long overdue.




''WOAH!' INDEED.


A DEBATE IS LONG OVERDUE -- IN PART BECAUSE BARBARA LEE REFUSED TO CALL OUT FORMER CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FOR 8 YEARS.

NOW SHE THINKS SHE CAN SLINK-SLINKY BACK IN WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING.

REACHED FOR COMMENT, LEE INSISTED SHE WAS TOO BUSY TO TALK, SHE WAS A TAG SALE ON CORRINE BROWN'S WIGS BEFORE CONNIE GOES TO THE BIG HOUSE.


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

The truth is the battle continues.

But the truth is tossed to the side by the immature.

That would include those who lap at the crotches of military men (they themselves haven't usually served ever).



MOSUL LIBERATED has fallen in Lions of Iraqi forces retake the city of Mosul from ISIS completely.







Those are the heroes?


I would think the people of Mosul who managed to survive three years of being occupied by the Islamic State would be the heroes.

You know, the people the Iraqi government abandoned for over two years?

The ones the Iraqi government made no effort to assist or help?




Reality: It's day 249 of The Mosul Slog.

It could end today.

It might not.

But as of right now, it continues.



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