ISIS Is NOT at the Mexican Border

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Idiot conservatives are fear mongering with an outrageous lie about ISIS agents preparing to launch car bombing from Mexico. People should be jailed for such spreading such crap.

U.S. Pushes Back Against Warnings That ISIS Plans to Enter From Mexico

By Michael S Schmidt

Militants for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have traveled to Mexico and are just miles from the United States. They plan to cross over the porous border and will "imminently" launch car bomb attacks. And the threat is so real that federal law enforcement officers have been placed at a heightened state of alert, and an American military base near the border has increased its security.

As the Obama administration and the American public have focused their attention on ISIS in recent weeks, conservative groups and leading Republicans have issued stark warnings like those that ISIS and other extremists from Syria are planning to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But the Homeland Security Department, the F.B.I. and lawmakers who represent areas near the border say there is no truth to the warnings.

"There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border,"
Homeland Security officials said in a written statement, using an alternative acronym for the group.

Adrian Peterson on Exempt List

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Finally,,,It's called doing the right thing.

Vikings Reverse Course on Peterson

by Curtis Crabtree

The Minnesota Vikings have reversed course on Adrian Peterson's reinstatement to the team and have placed him on the exempt/commissioner's permission list, which will require Peterson to remain away from all team activities until the resolution of his legal proceedings.

The Vikings released a statement early Wednesday morning that announced their decision regarding Peterson. The pressure was building on the organization after their decision to reinstate Peterson on Monday. Sponsors were beginning to speak up and politicians called for Peterson to remain suspended.

Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf finally elected to alter their decision and found a mechanism to keep Peterson away from the team indefinitely while his legal matters are addressed. The lengthy statement from the team is as follows:

"This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday's news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team's decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

"We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role -- and the responsibilities that go with it -- as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.

"While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.

"We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision


The Vikings did make an admirable move in getting ahead of the story when they deactivated Peterson for last week's game against the New England Patriots. However, they made a misstep in bringing him back to the team so quickly while this matter hangs over Peterson.

They have now realized their error and corrected it. With Peterson's first court hearing not scheduled until October 8, it certainly doesn't appear he'll be playing for the Vikings again any time in the near future.

Why Am I a Socialist?

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Not that we choose the socialist option every time but we do consider socialism a reasonable option under certain circumstances; in fact, under many circumstances. As any introductory economics course can tell you, there is no capitalist economy anywhere in the world, and there is no socialist economy anywhere in the world, not even Cuba. We are all mixed economies; that is, mixes of capitalism and socialism, and we all vary that mix in different ways.

China has more capitalism, and a lot more capitalism, than has Cuba, but it also has a lot more socialism than we [the United States] do. Our socialist programs include the biggest government spending programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as welfare, and the socialist program I hate the most, agriculture subsidies.

Yes, I'm a socialist, but I hate bad socialism, and there is plenty of bad socialism out there, just like there is plenty of bad capitalism out there, like the capitalism that pollutes our rivers or makes health care too expensive for so many people.

I can argue this because every side of this is true: capitalism is good, capitalism is bad; socialism is good, socialism is bad; all of those things are true at the same time. That's why we have a mixed economy, an economy in which we are trying to use the best, most efficient forms of capitalism, and the best, most efficient forms of socialism, where necessary.

So my full truth is I am as much a capitalist as I am a socialist; but since we live in the only mature country in the world where "socialist" is considered such a dirty word that no one would dare admit to being one,

I feel more compelled to stand up for the socialist side of me than the capitalist side of me.

Lawrence O'Donnell

Why Some Defend Peterson Floggin His Son

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Personally, I find the whole episode of beating a 4 yr old with a stick to the point of scarring and leaving cuts and bruising a week after the fact appalling...but ...

Chris Hayes examines why people are using the Adrian Peterson case as an opportunity to debate the idea of child discipline.

Adrian Peterson the Abuser

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We have a "lovely" culture which celebrates violence as a means of solving all sorts of problems and Peterson's abuse of his kid is a piece of it all.

We have all heard the phrase "Spare the rod and spoil the child" as a justification for spanking your kids.

However, a religion major told me a while back that the "rod" being referred to was actually a shepherd's crook, which is used to gently nudge and guide the sheep, rather then striking them. So the point of the phrase it that you need to provide guidance to your kids, rather then spanking them.

Peterson is a physical narcissist whose job is inherently physically violent and grew up with violent punishment as a behavioral corrective in a culture that celebrates violence and has created a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry around the idea that he would expose his son to the same is not a surprise. I've witnessed male parents beat their kids for no other reason than to toughen them up.

The man: peterson_build.jpg

The evidence of abuse on a 4 yr old:

peterson_abuse03.jpgpeterson_abuse 02.jpgpeterson_abuse 01.jpg it goes.

Time to Change the Rules of the Game

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Reconceiving Change in the Age of Parasitic Capitalism

By C.J. Polychroniou

We live in critical times. That much is admitted by almost everyone - economic analysts, political commentators and investors alike. But we also live in dangerous times, and this is something that far fewer members of the chattering classes are willing to admit. Aside from the increasing number of potentially explosive hotspots across the world (Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Gaza, Iraq, Nigeria, the China Sea), the Western neoliberal order of the past 35 years is pushing advanced liberal societies to a breaking point, with the global financial crisis of 2008 representing so far the deadliest twist in the evolution of an otherwise highly irrational and ultimately predatory socioeconomic order in which the main objective is to make the rich even richer at the expense of the rest of the members of society.

wall st bldg.jpgIf governments continue to be proxies of finance capital and aspiring political leaders, cheerleaders for their financial backers, another catastrophic economic scenario is not really as farfetched as some might like to think. Many governments, industries and households are under debt bondage, with the result that societies are being drained of valuable resources to support and sustain the financialization of the economy.

On the basis of what criteria was the international investment community lending such huge sums of money to a national economy that was highly uncompetitive, maintained huge debt-to-GDP ratios, faced deep-seated structural economic problems and was notorious for its corrupt political culture?

Sure, there was a mood prevailing not long ago - especially in the United States - that everyone could strike it rich simply by borrowing or making highly speculative investments, but this in itself becomes a serious problem when financial scams and economic policy making join hands to dictate the rules of the game and the structure and operation of any given economic environment. In the 17th century, people used their life savings to purchase tulip bulbs in the belief that they would become rich overnight; more recently, individuals, households, industries, localities and even governments, took part in various mysterious financial schemes and instruments with the aim of a better future, but instead wound up bankrupt simply because the financial system had been structured to operate in this manner.

Wealth creation through heavy borrowing (by consumers and homeowners urged to take on more debt in order to maintain their living standards in an age of stagnant wages) and excessive debt leverage (which ended up destroying even great companies) was the way to go - even though the officials involved knew the game was rigged. But in a way, the financial institutions themselves were vulnerable to the very system they had created. Greece, for example, was able to borrow over $500 billion prior to being shut out of international markets in early 2010, and private lenders ended up with a substantial haircut on the Greek sovereign debt they held. German, French, Swiss and American banks would have lost billions, and some of them would have definitely collapsed,

if Greece hadn't been bailed out in 2010, and then again in 2012, by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - the twin monsters of global neoliberalism. By putting the country and its people under a state of peonage, the EU and IMF ensured that the banks would get back the money they had so imprudently lent to Greece in the years leading to the explosion of the Greek debt crisis.

So the question needs to be asked: On the basis of what criteria was the international investment community lending such huge sums of money to a national economy that was highly uncompetitive, maintained huge debt-to-GDP ratios, faced deep-seated structural economic problems and was notorious for its corrupt political culture?

Perhaps on the idea that, in the age of the financialization of the economy, governments would be compelled to bail out major financial institutions and banks at taxpayers' expense if trouble arose? This is certainly what happened in the United States in 2008 and in many other peripheral nations of the eurozone (Ireland, Portugal, Spain) following the collapse of Greece. The public sector stepped in and bailed out collapsing banks and financial institutions while passing on the cost of the bailout programs to average citizens. In turn, austerity policies went into effect in order to reduce the deficits and the debt ratios caused by the bailouts of the private financial sector, causing a major economic slowdown and inflicting huge pain on great segments of the population, especially on the less disadvantaged ones such as the working poor and the lower-middle classes.

Under financial stress, many governments are forced to implement decisions that lack democratic legitimacy and work against the interests of the working populations, setting the stage for the emergence of highly dangerous political currents.

Diabetics and Inflamation

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Why Inflammation Matters for Diabetics

Mandy Oaklander

Anti-inflammatory medications might someday be used to lower the risk of certain kinds of disease among diabetics, found a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2014.

In the laboratory, the researchers studied cultured cells from a human aorta, the blood vessel that comes out of the heart and goes to the rest of the body. They put the cells in a high-glucose environment--similar to a what happens inside a diabetic body--and found that without inflammation present, sugar didn't enter the cells. And even when glucose was forced into the cells, the cells weren't damaged.

But inflammation changes everything. When researchers added an inflammatory protein called interleukin-1--a common marker for inflammation in the body, whether you are diabetic or not--the cell did metabolize the glucose, which kicked off a cycle of inflammation. Those effects were blocked once the researchers gave the cells a certain type of anti-inflammatory drug.

"What [the study authors] said was, you need the inflammation in order for the glucose to do the damage to the cells," explained Mary Ann Bauman, MD, a primary care internist at INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma City and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. (Dr. Bauman was not an author on the study.) "That could be one of the reasons why in a diabetic, if we can get them to exercise and lose weight, they will have less damage to their blood vessels."

In diabetes care, doctors and patients often focus on reducing blood sugar levels, and though this preliminary research occurred only in cells, it shows how inflammation might play a role, Dr. Bauman said.

That means that controlling blood sugar isn't always enough to avoid the cardiovascular disease that sometimes stems from diabetes, and anti-inflammatory drugs may one day be able to help, said study author Carlos Sánchez-Ferrer, professor of pharmacology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, in a press release. Lifestyle changes can help, too. "We need to reduce the inflammatory environment associated with diabetes," Sánchez-Ferrer said. "Changes in lifestyle, such as physical exercise and weight reduction, are important not only because they reduce blood sugar but because they reduce inflammation."

North Carolina Country Store 1939

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Hat tip to sweet pal Yvonne P for cluing me into a series of colorized photos - others of which can be found here.

I especially liked this one because of the immediate information about the complex nature of race relations in the south 75 years ago. It's interesting that these Black men portrayed were likely late teens to early 20's and if they are alive still, that would make them in their 90's.

(click on pic to enlarge)

How to Dig Our Way Out of the War on Drugs

The global war on drugs is the reason the US holds a quarter of the world's prisoners but accounts for just five percent of the population. It is the reason millions of innocent people in Latin America have been killed and displaced by violent, powerful cartels. It is the reason marijuana remains illegal and demonized while science and reason tell us it's safer than alcohol and has powerful medical value.

There are many disturbing characteristics of the war on drugs, but the worst is probably the fact that more than 40 years of dumping extreme amounts of money and law enforcement into criminalizing drugs has been ineffective. The use and distribution of illegal drugs remains steady, or climbing, worldwide. The war on drugs has failed

For this reason, past and present leaders from 20 nations gathered in New York City on September 9 to release a new report calling for changes in global drug policy. The leaders make up the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Among the long list of members are former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the former presidents or prime ministers of Brazil, Switzerland, Colombia, Chile, Portugal, Poland, Greece and Mexico. Their report Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Workcalls for the decriminalization of all drug use and possession, and the legalized regulation of now-illegal drug markets. It calls for putting public health and human rights ahead of crackdowns and law enforcement. 

Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso spoke first at the conference, highlighting the "enormous" waste of money and resources that have gone into the failed global drug war. He estimated the monetary costs to be around $100 billion each year, while rates of drug use and dealing remain steady.

"In Colombia, for instance, the amount of cocaine especially is almost the same over time," he said. "For each... drug lord who is killed, there are several others to replace, because the market is so favorable."

Since it first met in 2011 the commission's work has created a global context for a debate in which even some current  presidents are beginning to speak out against prohibition. Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in February for his decision to legalize marijuana nationally in order to combat cartels.

The commission's initial  report in 2011 took the drug policy debate global, calling into question the effectiveness of drug prohibition.

"We could not imagine ... the consequence, not of what we did, but of the transformations that have since occurred around the globe," Cardoso said.

The new report was compiled in anticipation of a 2016 United Nations meeting that will reassess both global drug control policies and policies within individual nations (the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs, or UNGASS).

The report's authors point out that the upcoming UNGASS meeting is an "unprecedented opportunity to review and re-direct national drug control policies and the future of the global drug control regime." They urge UN diplomats to consider human health first and foremost for the future of drug policy:

"... the UN global drug control regime has the 'health and welfare of mankind' as its ultimate goal. But overwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies."

The beginning of the report details the failure of the drug war, which continues to waste hundreds of billions of dollars annually, criminalizes drug users and fails to address the root causes of drug abuse.

Don't Burgle at the End of Your Meth Run

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Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Why Does the Universe Exist?

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That old thing?

Philosopher and writer Jim Holt
follows this question toward three possible answers. Or four. Or none.

By Kathryn Schulz

moonearth.jpgLet's take stock of the universe, shall we? From my immediate perspective, there is -- well, me, of course. Also: laptop, ear buds, Arcade Fire, coffee. As it happens, I'm on an airplane, so: wing, lift, engine, window, clouds. Below that ... where to start? Tides, deserts, Damascus, Dubrovnik, spruce trees, refugee camps, tapestries of unicorns, ice cream, the Internet, home. Beyond that: sun, moon, planets, exoplanets, the starry @ sign of the Milky Way. And then, for most of us, things do get milky, murky--what's out there, exactly? Black holes, red dwarfs, cosmic background radiation, the rest of the universe, other universes, who knows? And I've left out nearly everything: most of creation (human and otherwise), all of time (past and future), all abstract concepts (pi, e, Beauty), and that strange unthinglike thing that is both component and agent of this cosmic inventory: human consciousness.

Mind, matter, abstract ideas: Where does all this stuff come from? Why is the universe characterized by such abundance and complexity? Why does it exist at all? How did it come into being? Could there have been something else instead? Could there have been nothing else--that is, nothingness--instead? Is the human mind capable of resolving these matters? Can anyone do justice to all this in a 279-page book?

Chuck Todd Interviews Obama

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It blows me away that I am just discovering this magnificent woman...

If you like Gospel, Blues, Soul Rock & Roll or any other form of classic American music, you have got to watch this. A huge influence on many who came after her, yet largely forgotten, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is mind-blowingly great!

The Story Of Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Part 01)

The Story Of Sister Rosetta Tharpe 02

The Story Of Sister Rosetta Tharpe 03

The Story Of Sister Rosetta Tharpe 04

California Drought: How Dry Is It?

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What losing 63 million gallons of water looks like


When Whites Just Don't Get It

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It truly astonishes me how many Whites I know and meet cannot fathom the oppressive realities of White privilege and the systemic racism that engenders it. Fish and water.

After Ferguson, Race Deserves More Attention, Not Less


Nicholas Kristof

Many white Americans say they are fed up with the coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A plurality of whites in a recent Pew survey said that the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

Bill O'Reilly of Fox News reflected that weariness, saying: "All you hear is grievance, grievance, grievance, money, money, money."

Indeed, a 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

Yes, you read that right!

So let me push back at what I see as smug white delusion. Here are a few reasons race relations deserve more attention, not less:

• The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)

• The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.

• A black boy born today in the United States has a life expectancy five years shorter than that of a white boy.

• Black students are significantly less likely to attend schools offering advanced math and science courses than white students. They are three times as likely to be suspended and expelled, setting them up for educational failure.

• Because of the catastrophic experiment in mass incarceration, black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned.

All these constitute not a black problem or a white problem, but an American problem. When so much talent is underemployed and overincarcerated, the entire country suffers.

Some straight people have gradually changed their attitudes toward gays after realizing that their friends -- or children -- were gay. Researchers have found that male judges are more sympathetic to women's rights when they have daughters. Yet because of the de facto segregation of America, whites are unlikely to have many black friends: A study from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that in a network of 100 friends, a white person, on average, has one black friend.

That's unfortunate, because friends open our eyes. I was shaken after a well-known black woman told me about looking out her front window and seeing that police officers had her teenage son down on the ground after he had stepped out of their upscale house because they thought he was a prowler. "Thank God he didn't run," she said.

One black friend tells me that he freaked out when his white fiancée purchased an item in a store and promptly threw the receipt away. "What are you doing?" he protested to her. He is a highly successful and well-educated professional but would never dream of tossing a receipt for fear of being accused of shoplifting.

Some readers will protest that the stereotype is rooted in reality: Young black men are disproportionately likely to be criminals.

That's true -- and complicated. "There's nothing more painful to me," the Rev. Jesse Jackson once said, "than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

All this should be part of the national conversation on race, as well, and prompt a drive to help young black men end up in jobs and stable families rather than in crime or jail. We have policies with a robust record of creating opportunity: home visitation programs like Nurse-Family Partnership; early education initiatives like Educare and Head Start; programs for troubled adolescents like Youth Villages; anti-gang and anti-crime initiatives like Becoming a Man; efforts to prevent teen pregnancies like the Carrera curriculum; job training like Career Academies; and job incentives like the earned-income tax credit.

The best escalator to opportunity may be education, but that escalator is broken for black boys growing up in neighborhoods with broken schools. We fail those boys before they fail us.

So a starting point is for those of us in white America to wipe away any self-satisfaction about racial progress. Yes, the progress is real, but so are the challenges. The gaps demand a wrenching, soul-searching excavation of our national soul, and the first step is to acknowledge that the central race challenge in America today is not the suffering of whites.

Why Fox News Needs to Be Dismantled

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Fox News is Tearing Us Apart

Race Baiting and Divisiveness Hits a Disgusting New Low

The continuing right-wing effort to make a hero out of Michael Brown's killer, Darren Wilson, may not turn out so well, if the past is any guide. Remember Cliven Bundy? Donald Sterling? George Zimmerman?

Just because liberals don't like someone doesn't mean he should automatically be a hero to conservatives. There was a point when even the National Review seemed to recognize this -- editor Rich Lowry once wrote a column titled " Al Sharpton Is Right," about the need for charges to be filed against George Zimmerman, when Florida officials were dragging their heels.

oreilly.pngBut that time is long gone, apparently. And as a result, the right seems well on its way to aligning with the reemergence of a 21st century form of lynching, even while furiously insisting that they are totally post-racial. Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling -- the more readily and thoroughly renounced -- didn't kill anyone, of course. But Zimmerman and Wilson both did, and both, to varying degrees, acted under color of law, which is precisely how plain old-fashioned lynching used to work, in a shadow realm that would not have allowed the killing of whites (except, of course, for "race traitors" who allied with blacks).

It didn't take long for people to start rallying to Darren Wilson's defense. In less than a week, several hundred thousand dollars had been raised on his behalf -- with a healthy smattering of hateful racist messages in support, such as "I would have donated double this amount, but you missed his accomplice" -- and Fox News had run a flood of false, unsourced stories, claiming that Wilson's eye socket had been broken, implicitly "proving" that he had been in a heroic struggle for his life.

It was the overnight creation of what Joan Walsh called "a thriving franchise of the nation's booming white grievance industry." In contrast, things moved more slowly when it came to making George Zimmerman a hero. Fox News and most of the rest of the right virtually ignored Trayvon Martin's killing for months, and even when they suddenly snapped to, it took a while for them to adopt Zimmerman as one of their own. Now, in contrast, it's all happening at warp speed.

Two decades ago, the acquittal of the officers who beat up Rodney King touched off the most widespread urban riot in a generation, but there was nothing similar in that coverage to the way that first Zimmerman, and now, apparently, Wilson are being treated as heroic figures. Given the role right-wing media plays in hero creation, it was only natural to turn to Media Matters for some perspective, and senior fellow Eric Boehlert made several points to Salon, to describe how we got here.

First, Boehlert reminded us, today's conservative media were unlike anything in existence in 1992; second, that it was Obama's relatively benign comments that led conservatives to politicize the killing of Trayvon Martin; and third, that conservative media's 16-month involvement in smearing Trayvon Martin and defending George Zimmerman had created a new narrative niche, which was now readily filled with similar attacks on Michael Brown and defense of Darren Wilson. (Though Boehlert was describing the broad sweep of developments, one Media Matters blog post highlighted Geraldo Rivera's virtually identical pattern of victim-blaming in both cases.)

Finally, more broadly, Boehlert noted that white victimization -- and thus rallying around victim/heroes -- is the cornerstone of Fox News' programming, even as it's embraced the ideology that racism has been eradicated ( never mind the actual facts), and concluded that the real racists are those who still talk about race.

Rest of article

What Really Matters in the End?

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Selfless Heart.

Sermonette #231 Sharing

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Age Old Question Answered

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How Do Lizards Regrow Their Tails?


Lizards, when confronted by hawks or sadistic children, have a neat trick for escaping: they can lose their tail and then regrow a new one. Scientists now think they have the "genetic recipe" for how lizards do this, a development that could one day help humans regrow things like muscle tissue and spinal cords
The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE, looked at the tail of the green anole lizard. While other animals, like salamanders, frog tadpoles and fish, have the ability to regrow their tails just at the tip, lizards can have satellite cells throughout their entire tails that can regrow into skeletal muscle.

Scientists removed the tails from five lizards, chopped them into sections, as they are wont to do, and identified 326 genes in each section committed to regrowing the tail. The hope is that by discovering the exact mixture and amount of the genetic ingredients in lizard tails, researchers can discover new treatments for a plethora of human diseases, injuries and birth defects.

Poem of Centuries

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A Century of Disaster: Riddles, Lies and Lives -- from Muhammad Ali to Barbie

by Eduardo Galeano



He learned to write in the language of Georgia, his homeland, but in the seminary the monks made him speak Russian.

Years later in Moscow, his south Caucasus accent still gave him away.

So he decided to become more Russian than the Russians. Was not Napoleon, who hailed from Corsica, more French than the French? And was not Catherine the Great, who was German, more Russian than the Russians?

The Georgian, Iosif Dzhugashvili, chose a Russian name. He called himself Stalin, which means "steel."

The man of steel expected his son to be made of steel too: from childhood, Stalin's son Yakov was tempered in fire and ice and shaped by hammer blows.

It did not work. He was his mother's child. At the age of 19, Yakov wanted no more of it, could bear no more.

He pulled the trigger.

The gunshot did not kill him.

He awoke in the hospital. At the foot of the bed, his father commented:

"You can't even get that right."

The Ages of Josephine

At nine years old, she works cleaning houses in St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi.

At 10, she starts dancing for coins in the street. At 13, she marries.

At 15, once again. Of the first husband she retains not even a bad memory. Of the second, his last name, because she likes how it sounds.

At 17, Josephine Baker dances the Charleston on Broadway. At 18, she crosses the Atlantic and conquers Paris. The "Bronze Venus" performs in the nude, with no more clothing than a belt of bananas.

At 21, her outlandish combination of clown and femme fatale makes her the most popular and highest-paid performer in Europe.

At 24, she is the most photographed woman on the planet. Pablo Picasso, on his knees, paints her. To look like her, the pallid young damsels of Paris rub themselves with walnut cream, which darkens the skin.

At 30, she has problems in some hotels because she travels with a chimpanzee, a snake, a goat, two parrots, several fish, three cats, seven dogs, a cheetah named Chiquita who wears a diamond-studded collar and a little pig named Albert, whom she bathes in Je Reviens perfume by Worth.

At 40, she receives the Legion of Honor for service to the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation.

At 41 and on her fourth husband, she adopts 12 children of many colors and many origins, whom she calls "my rainbow tribe."

At 45, she returns to the United States. She insists that everyone, whites and blacks, sit together at her shows. If not, she will not perform. At 57, she shares the stage with Martin Luther King and speaks against racial discrimination before an immense crowd at the March on Washington.

At 68, she recovers from a calamitous bankruptcy and at the Bobino Theater in Paris she celebrates a half-century on the stage.

And she departs.

Photograph: Saddest Eye in the World

Princeton, New Jersey, May 1947.

Photographer Philippe Halsman asks him: "Do you think there will be peace?"

And while the shutter clicks, Albert Einstein says, or rather mutters: "No."

People believe that Einstein got the Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity, that he was the originator of the saying "Everything is relative," and that he was the inventor of the atom bomb.

The truth is they did not give him a Nobel for his theory of relativity and he never uttered those words. Neither did he invent the bomb, although Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have been possible if he had not discovered what he did.

He knew all too well that his findings, born of a celebration of life, had been used to annihilate it.

Father of the Computer

Alan Turing was sneered at for not being a tough guy, a he-man with hair on his chest.

He whined, croaked, stuttered. He used an old necktie for a belt. He rarely slept and went without shaving for days. And he raced from one end of the city to the other all the while concocting complicated mathematical formulas in his mind.

Working for British intelligence, he helped shorten the Second World War by inventing a machine that cracked the impenetrable military codes used by Germany's high command.

At that point he had already dreamed up a prototype for an electronic computer and had laid out the theoretical foundations of today's information systems. Later on, he led the team that built the first computer to operate with integrated programs. He played interminable chess games with it and asked it questions that drove it nuts. He insisted that it write him love letters. The machine responded by emitting messages that were rather incoherent.

But it was flesh-and-blood Manchester police who arrested him in 1952 for gross indecency.

At the trial, Turing pled guilty to being a homosexual.

To stay out of jail, he agreed to undergo medical treatment to cure him of the affliction. The bombardment of drugs left him impotent. He grew breasts. He stayed indoors, no longer went to the university. He heard whispers, felt stares drilling into his back.

He had the habit of eating an apple before going to bed.

One night, he injected the apple with cyanide.

Cat Trap

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So while you are loving the silly antics of cats on youtube, hackers are gaining access to your computer and personal information or just turning your computer into a robot to serve the hacker's ends no matter what they might be.

Watch This Cat Video (or Anything on YouTube) and Get Hacked

On an Internet in which large flows of traffic and information remain unencrypted, seemingly harmless activities like watching YouTube videos can allow security and intelligence agencies and well-funded private parties total access to a person's computer.

Morgan Marquis-Boire, a senior researcher and technical adviser at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs who published a new study on the topic, describes in an article in The Intercept on Friday how such hacking can happen:

Companies such as Hacking Team and FinFisher sell devices called "network injection appliances." These are racks of physical machines deployed inside internet service providers around the world, which allow for the simple exploitation of targets. In order to do this, they inject malicious content into people's everyday internet browsing traffic. One way that Hacking Team accomplishes this is by taking advantage of unencrypted YouTube video streams to compromise users. The Hacking Team device targets a user, waits for that user to watch a YouTube clip like the one above, and intercepts that traffic and replaces it with malicious code that gives the operator total control over the target's computer without his or her knowledge. The machine also exploits Microsoft's web site in the same manner.

Read more here.

A Plutocrat Dreams of Pitchforks

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Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist -- and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats:

Wake up!

Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity ... and prevent a revolution.

Questionable thinking

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A question:

So do you tell him.... or just stand back and watch what happens??


Oliver on Pay Day Loans

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Not Just Ferguson


by Alex Kane

The "war on terror" has come home -- and it's wreaking havoc on innocent American lives. The culprit is the militarization of the police.

The weapons that destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq have made their way to local law enforcement. While police forces across the country began a process of militarization -- complete with SWAT teams and flash-bang grenades -- when President Reagan intensified the "war on drugs," the post-9/11 "war on terror" has added fuel to the fire.

Through laws and regulations like a provision in defense budgets that authorizes the Pentagon to transfer surplus military gear to police forces, local law enforcement agencies are using weapons found on the battlefields of South Asia and the Middle East.

A recent New York Times article by Matt Apuzzo reported that in the Obama era, "police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft." The result is that police agencies around the nation possess military-grade equipment, turning officers who are supposed to fight crime and protect communities into what looks like an invading army. And military-style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year.

In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought more attention to police militarization when it issued a comprehensive, nearly 100-page report titled, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. Based on public records requests to more than 260 law enforcement agencies in 26 states, the ACLU concluded that this police militarization "unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion."

The information contained in the ACLU report -- and in other investigations into the phenomenon -- is sobering. From the killing of innocent people to the almost complete lack of debate on these policies, police militarization has turned into a key issue for Americans. It is harming civil liberties, ramping up the "war on drugs," impacting the most marginalized members of society and transforming neighborhoods into war zones. Here are 11 important -- and horrifying -- things you should know about the militarization of police.

1. It harms, and sometimes kills, innocent people. When you have heavily armed police officers using flash-bang grenades and armored personnel carriers, innocent people are bound to be hurt. The likelihood of people being killed is raised by the practice of SWAT teams busting down doors with no warning, which leads some people to think it may be a burglary and try to defend themselves. The ACLU documented seven cases of civilians dying in these kinds of raids, and 46 people being injured. That's only in the cases the civil liberties group looked at, so the true number is actually higher.

Take the case of Tarika Wilson, which the ACLU summarizes. The 26-year-old biracial mother lived in Lima, Ohio. Her boyfriend, Anthony Terry, was wanted by the police on suspicion of drug dealing. So on January 4, 2008, a SWAT team busted down Wilson's door and opened fire. A SWAT officer killed Wilson and injured her one-year-old baby, Sincere Wilson. The killing sparked rage in Lima and accusations of a racist police department, but the officer who shot Wilson, Sgt. Joe Chavalia, was found not guilty on all charges.

2. Children are impacted. As the case of Wilson shows, the police busting down doors care little about whether there's a child in the home. Another case profiled by the ACLU shows how children can be caught in the crossfire -- with devastating consequences.

In May, after their Wisconsin home had burned down, the Phonesavanh family was staying with relatives in Georgia. One night, a SWAT team with assault rifles invaded the home and threw a flash-bang grenade -- despite the presence of kids' toys in the front yard. The police were looking for the father's nephew on drug charges. He wasn't there. But a 19-month-old named Bou Bou was -- and the grenade landed in his crib.

Bou Bou was wounded in the chest and had third-degree burns. He was put in a medically induced coma.

Another high-profile instance of a child being killed by paramilitary police tactics occurred in 2010, when seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones died in Detroit. The city's Special Response Team (Detroit's SWAT) was looking for Chauncey Owens, a suspect in the killing of a teenager who lived on the second floor of the apartment Jones lived in.

Officers raided the home, threw a flash-bang grenade, and fired one shot that struck Jones in the head. The police agent who fired the fatal shot, Joseph Weekley, has so far gotten off easy: a jury trial ended in deadlock last year, though he will face charges of involuntary manslaughter in September. As The Nation's Mychal Denzel Smith wrote last year after Weekley was acquitted: "What happened to Aiyana is the result of the militarization of police in this country...Part of what it means to be black in America now is watching your neighborhood become the training ground for our increasingly militarized police units."

Bou Bou and Jones aren't the only cases of children being impacted.

According to the ACLU, "of the 818 deployments studied, 14 percent involved the presence of children and 13 percent did not." It was impossible to determine whether children were present in the rest of the cases studied.

Snowden Still Wants to Come Home

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Edward Snowden may have recently received a three-year extension of his stay in Russia, but the former National Security Agency contractor says in a new interview with WIRED magazine that he still clings to hope of returning home to the United States, even if it means living behind bars.


Edward Snowden: 'I'd volunteer for prison' to return to US

"I told the government I'd volunteer for prison, as long as it served the right purpose," Snowden said the article released Wednesday. "I care more about the country than what happens to me. But we can't allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights, no matter how good the deal. I'm not going to be part of that."

Described by WIRED as "the most wanted man in the world," Snowden is being sought for leaking top-secret documents that unveiled widespread surveillance programs overseen by the federal government. He currently is hiding out in an undisclosed community in Russia, where he says he goes mostly unrecognized

Best Way to Die

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I don't why this struck me as so funny;;;


Robin Williams Sheds His Coil

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One of my favorite performers and human beings has succumbed to his latest bout with depression.