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Nurse says she’s tired of treating ISIL terrorists

Posted on September 19th, 2014 at 21:10 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

A nurse who works at a private hospital in Mersin, a city and province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, has told Turkish authorities and Parliament that she is sick and tired of treating members of the terrorist organization the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now calls itself the “Islamic State.”

The nurse, who was identified only by her initials, E.G., in a news story published by the Taraf daily on Wednesday, said of ISIL militants: “We treat them, and they go on to decapitate people. I am sick of treating wounded ISIL militants.” E.G. has also written a letter to Parliament and the National Police Department, saying she and her colleagues are extremely disturbed by the fact that they have to treat people “who chop off heads.”


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Comments:

  1. If she’s really sick of it, all she has to do is pick up the phone. There are people in the US and UK who will gladly take over that responsibility.

  2. Surely a nurse who doesn’t like nursing is in the wrong profession, this is more than just “bad faith”, I blame poor career advice. What a waste:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmopROxBnBU

  3. Actually, we have some really good medication in the US for ISIL militants.

  4. typically a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution, right?

    Your argument isn’t helping.

  5. Yes John, it’s probably too high tech for them. Actually, I don’t see a solution for the problem. The more we interfere, the worse it gets.

Apple’s “warrant canary” disappears, suggesting new Patriot Act demands

Posted on September 19th, 2014 at 11:58 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

When Apple published its first Transparency Report on government activity in late 2013, the document contained an important footnote that stated:

“Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.”

Writer and cyber-activist Cory Doctorow at the time recognized that language as a so-called “warrant canary,” which Apple was using to thwart the secrecy imposed by the Patriot Act.

Warrant canaries are a tool used by companies and publishers to signify to their users that, so far, they have not been subject to a given type of law enforcement request such as a secret subpoena. If the canary disappears, then it is likely the situation has changed — and the company has been subject to such request.

Now, Apple’s warrant canary has disappeared. A review of the company’s last two Transparency Reports, covering the second half of 2013 and the first six months of 2014, shows that the “canary” language is no longer there.


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Texas Wants to Execute Man Who Killed Home Intruder Who Turned Out to Be SWAT Member

Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 22:43 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

Attempting to serve a search warrant by entering a house through a window got Killeen, Texas, Police Detective Charles Dinwiddie shot in the face and killed last May. It was yet another SWAT raid organized for a purpose other than the reason they were invented. The police had a search warrant looking for narcotics at the home of Marvin Louis Guy, 49. They decided to serve this warrant at 5:30 in the morning and without knocking on his door. He opened fire on them, killing Dinwiddie and injuring three others.

Though they found a glass pipe, a grinder, and a pistol, they did not find any drugs. Former Reason Editor Radley Balko took note of the deadly raid in May at The Washington Post. A police informant apparently told them there were bags of cocaine inside the house, which sounds a lot like another familiar drug raid in Virginia that got an officer killed.

The Virginia case ended with Ryan Frederick in prison for 10 years despite his insistence he thought he was defending himself against in home intruders. He may end up lucky compared to Guy. Prosecutors in Texas are going to seek the death penalty against him. KWTX offers a dreadfully written summary that says next to nothing about the circumstances of the raid but gives Dinwiddie’s whole life story. Guy faces three additional charges of attempted capital murder for shooting the other officers. The story mentions the no-knock raid but fails to explain why it happened or the failure to find any drugs.

Ironic how law enforcement uses no-knock raids for the element of surprise, then claim the victim should have known it was the police.


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Attorney apologizes for ‘harsh’ letter on gay rights

Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 22:19 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

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[Quote]:

A prominent Springfield attorney who came under fire for a letter he wrote about gay rights is now acknowledging the letter was “harsh” and apologizing.

Dee Wampler wrote a letter to several people with the Ozark Fire Department regarding a decision not to extend health benefits for same-sex spouses, including to the female captain who was pushing for benefits for her wife.

This morning, Wampler issued a statement in which he states his support for the state’s law banning gay marriage, but apologizes for the letter.

“My recent words in support of a local fire board decision, expressing that view should have been left unsaid and were harsh and ill-advised,” he wrote. “I did not intend to personally demean, but I am man enough to apologize to all those I have offended, and I ask all to accept my apology.”

I just have to steal a comment from reddit for this:

[Quote]:

He had to send this letter.

Every day, he wakes up thinking about all of those gays. Literally, the moment he emerges from his slumber, in his bed … his warm bed with a down comforter, he is thinking about homosexual acts.

He needs to congratulate people for stopping “the gays”, because he understands just how easy it is for people to be “converted” by “the gay agenda”. You see, it all started when he was a kid in middle school. He was innocently reading through a “muscle” magazine – you know, so he could become a fit and moral person. But something about those oily pectoral muscles made his mind wander. Next thing you know, he realized the “gay agenda” sent that magazine to the bookstore, and it was all a plot – A PLOT, I TELL YA! – to make him “gay”. He narrowly escaped the grasp of the gays.

People need to be protected from that sort of thing, so he started collecting muscle and fitness type magazines, to investigate further. No, never does a single day pass without him concentrating on the evils of two sweaty, oily men, in tip-top physical condition, rutting violently together in homosexual ecstasy. He has been focused on this “scourge” ever since that fateful day of sweaty contemplation alone in his room.

He sees the gay conspiracy for what it is, and he wants someone else to stop the “evil, evil thoughts.”

Any day the “gay agenda” sees a setback, it puts just a little more time and space between him, and that glorious 10 minute pleasure session he delivered to himself, way back when he was a school lad looking at a fitness magazine.


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Comments:

  1. No Virginia, lesbians don’t really want to be crammed down your throat.

  2. “Time and memorial”… I guess it doesn’t take much education to be a prominent Springfield attorney.

Sep 18, 2007, seven years ago

Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 9:27 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft


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Comments:

  1. Of the characters in this wee psychodrama a couple are deceased; Mr. Jobs and Nortel. I guess you could also say that Mr. Ballmer and Microsoft are gone from the game.

  2. 2007?? Now way, this is late ’70s or earyly’80s. Jobs sais Apple has 500 people working. He talks about the Apple II. This is pre Mac (i.e., pre 1984).

  3. Sorry, I must have clicked on some link after the Balmer video. :-) It’s good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxxRKBgos8

  4. @Jan-Mark: Hmm…1970’s…Did Mr. Ballmer have hair?

How the Hobby Lobby ruling is helping a member of Warren Jeffs’ polygamous church

Posted on September 18th, 2014 at 8:26 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

A federal judge has ruled that a member of the Fundamentalist LDS Church does not have to answer questions about child labor violations because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

Vergel Steed refused to answer even the most basic questions in a recent deposition, because he is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“It is clear that Mr. Steed has raised the very defenses available under RFRA,” U.S. District Court Judge David Sam wrote in the order.

The U.S. Department of Labor took action against Paragon Contractors for a 2012 incident where hundreds of children were seen working in a field in Hurricane, picking pecans. In court filings, the Labor Department has suggested that FLDS leaders ordered children to be removed from school to work in the fields.

As part of their case, FLDS members have been deposed — including Steed. In a deposition obtained by FOX 13 on Tuesday, it appears Steed refused to answer many questions.

[..]

Steed’s attorney objected to the questions, saying he “retains a closely held religious belief that requires him not to speak openly about matters regarding the Church organization with anyone outside of his religious affiliation.”

[..]

“It is not for the Court to “inquir[e] into the theological merit of the belief in question,” Sam wrote, citing the Hobby Lobby decision. “The determination of what is a ‘religious’ belief or practice is more often than not a difficult and delicate task …. However, the resolution of that question is not to turn upon a judicial perception of the particular belief or practice in question; religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.”

I’m going to start a new religion, the first tenet of which is “Armed robbery is simply our way of paying homage to our God.”


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Comments:

  1. “Activist” judges are OK when they’re conservatives?

Almost!

Posted on September 17th, 2014 at 11:38 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

XlJAqht


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Comments:

  1. “If you unlock the doors Ms. Smith, I’ll say you passed!”

Cartoons

Posted on September 17th, 2014 at 8:26 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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When mistreating users becomes competitive advantage

Posted on September 16th, 2014 at 20:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected ‘surprise and delight’ was really more like ‘surprise and delete’. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.

Deb Chachra talks about the age of non-consensual technology.
Betsy Haibel explains why companies engage in these practises

Consent-challenging approaches offer potential competitive benefits. Deceptive links capture clicks – so the linking site gets paid. Harvesting of emails through automatic opt-in aids in marketing and lead generation. While the actual corporate gain from not allowing unsubscribes is likely minimal – users who want to opt out are generally not good conversion targets – individuals and departments with quotas to meet will cheer the artificial boost to their mailing list size.


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Comments:

  1. Wow, did they really download the album over wireless against user preference? Was there some agreement with the carriers in place that the bandwidth used wouldn’t count against the user?

  2. They didn’t. Or rather, they didn’t on my devices. Apparently there are some hard to find “always download purchases on all devices” setting somewhere that you need to enable before you get this behaviour. And on top of that allow those purchases to download on 3G as well, which is yet another setting disabled by default.

  3. And even after a few days, on my devices the album shows up on my list of available music, but with a little icon next to it that I need to tap before it downloads a song.

  4. Oh gosh, this is all quite vexing! Annoying, even.

    But to compare the unwanted part of someone’s digital life to non-consexual sex (or even rape) is unworthy of whoever Betsy Haibel is. Do stop pouting and get a grip, madam.

    I shall have to look up “involement” – presumably it has something to do with small grey rodents?

How do launch numbers for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S phones compare?

Posted on September 16th, 2014 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

Some rivalries will never die — chocolate vs peanut butter, Yankees vs Red Sox, and iPhone vs Android, just to name a few. With the announcement of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many Android users took to the Internet to loudly exclaim how underwhelmed they were by the devices. Its new features were things they’d already had for years, except for all the ones that weren’t, of course. Rivalries are fun, but the musings of voices on the Internet aren’t nearly as important as the voices of the buying public. And when you compare the launch numbers of various Samsung Galaxy S phones to the iPhone 6 and earlier iPhones, there’s absolutely no competition.

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And still the overall market share of Android is higher. I think it’s because people who get an iPhone make a conscious choice to do so, and (most) people who get an android do so because they walk into a store and tell the sales rep they want “a phone”. They will make calls, use facebook, make a selfie, and that’s it. They never download an app unless recommended by a friend (“get snapchat!”), and just use the phone as a phone and are very happy with it.


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Comments:

  1. I don’t think that android users are attached to a brand. In my case, I have chosen between several brands before buying the phone, (Samsung, Sony, LG…). In addition, I’ve chosen and “old” model that runs smoothly the latest Android version, I’ve been waiting and studying several models. I would say that buying an iPhone the first day is not a conscious choice but an impulsive one. In addition, just released products have flaws, so buying it the first day is more like being a tester.

    I use several app, all free, among them you can find the “Rain Alert”, Maps (also offline), email, google drive (spreadsheets, documents), games…

    In Android, there are plenty of choices of high-end and other market segments phones. There are a lot app, but I think that Android users usually go for the free ones.

  2. Purchasing of iPhones may be social signalling of wealth and taste for some. Other people are excited by technology and like to try out new stuff. These are conditioned reactions to marketing not actually impulses. All these users are wealthy enough to make that choice and regularly buy new devices. These are nice products for nice people.

    What’s the marketing opposite of the “long tail”?

    Disclaimer: I bought my Android phone from a yard sale. I forgot the brand.

  3. One very simple factor: in the iOS ecosystem, there are 3 viable models right now. How many high-end-ish phones does Samsung have? S4 and S5 in several editions (regular, mini, active); Edge; Note; Duos… AT&T wireless has 10 listed as currently available. Sales in the Android domain are split over more models.

  4. There’s another gotcha in this graph: the Apple numbers are all for the first 1-3 days only, and the Samsung numbers are for 30-60 days. But the numbers are *per*day* sales. So Samsung had those lower numbers consistently over 30 days, and we don’t know what the drop-off was in Apple’s numbers. I don’t doubt that Apple’s numbers are higher, but this chart is deceptive.

  5. No, I don’t think that’s the gotcha. That’s the whole point of the graph. the iPad 3 had 1 mil of sales in 3 days, the S5, in 30 days, has yet to reach that number. Maybe it would have been clearer to have all bars at the same number of days, but then the samsung stuff would be 1 pixel on the left side of the graph..

  6. You are not comparing like with like. It’s a false comparison and the sort of sub high school use of stats that Apple cultists trot out to prove that their gang is the bestest ever, like deranged One Direction fans.

    When I upgraded from my Samsung S3 earlier this year I had a wealth of options to choose from (of which the Iphone was one) offering different combinations of features, allowing me to select the one that best suited me.

    With Apple, an upgrade means a choice of 1. New iphones are an event. So yes, if you are a devotee you are naturally going to want the latest iteration and you will want it as soon as it comes out. With Android there is no such pressure to upgrade to the latest model, as there are new and improved models coming out all the time. A new Samusung simply is not a big thing that will drive people to preorder.

    I can’t wait to find out what is wrong with the new iphone as 4 million people at once find out that holding it the wrong way cuts the signal, or syncing it with the cloud wipes everything or some such.

    For the record I switched to HTC.

  7. @John: The graph clearly says “units/day”. It’s meant to deceive.

  8. Or rather, it says “units/day” once you pay attention. It’s not actually *clear*, which is that makes it deceptive.

I am a 14-year-old Yazidi girl given as a gift to an ISIS commander. Here’s how I escaped.

Posted on September 15th, 2014 at 22:45 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

[Quote]:

This is the story told to me by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl I’ll call “Narin,” currently staying in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I am a Kurdish journalist with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia who covers northern Iraq as a freelancer for several international news outlets. I heard about Narin’s tale through a Yazidi friend who knew her. Aside from translating from Kurdish and excerpting her story in collaboration with Washington Post editors, the only things I changed are all the names, at Narin’s request, to protect her and other victims from reprisal; many of her relatives are still in captivity.


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Minecraft

Posted on September 15th, 2014 at 21:46 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

H4vqsCs


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Matthew 6:5

Posted on September 14th, 2014 at 23:18 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

Oh, Kanye. The acclaimed rapper/self-described Steve Jobs/newly minted Kardashian, who once rapped, “They tryna put me on the schoolbus with the space for the wheelchair,” halted a concert on Friday night after discovering that several audience members weren’t standing up to honor their Lord and Savior.

The setting was the Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney, Australia, and West reportedly announced, “I can’t do this song. I can’t do this show until everybody stand up… Unless you got a handicap pass and you get special parking and shit. ‘Imma see you if you ain’t standing up, believe me, I’m very good at that.” Then came the foot-in-mouth moment. Most of the fans got up and boogied, but soon West spotted a pair of concertgoers who’d remained in their seats, and refused to continue the show until they stood up and danced like the rest. One of those two singled-out fans raised a prosthetic limb, thereby proving that she did in fact “get special parking and shit,” to which West replied, “Okay, you fine.”

West then homed in on Fan No. 2, who was still seated. He stopped performing the tune “The Good Life” and declared, “This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song, it’s unbelievable.” The crowd was reportedly trying to clue Kanye in to his epic blunder, with the entire section making wheelchair signals with their arms. But to no avail. West sent his bulky bodyguard Pascal Duvier into the crowd to confirm that the seated fan was, in fact, in a wheelchair. When it was confirmed, West said, “He is in a wheelchair? It’s fine!”


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Comments:

  1. Some people can only get fame by being extremely stupid or being on reality TV.

  2. I’ve heard of ladies waving their panties at music performances, never their artifical limbs…if he really was that special, perhaps he could have healed them before humiliating them?

  3. Aren’t Kanye fans, by definition, hadicapped?

Prosecutor Will Seek Death Penalty In Police Officer’s Death

Posted on September 14th, 2014 at 21:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man charged in the shooting death of a veteran Killeen police officer.

Marvin Louis Guy, 49, has been indicted for capital murder in the shooting death of police Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, 47, and is named in indictments charging three counts of attempted capital murder, as well.

During a hearing Thursday, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said he’ll seek the death penalty.

The charges stem from a shooting, which occurred as officers served a so-called no-knock search warrant just after 5:30 a.m. May 9 at 1104 Circle M Dr. Apt. 3 in Killeen.

Dinwiddie later died in the intensive care unit of Baylor Scott & White Hospital.

Denton, who was shot in the femur, underwent surgery and was later released from Scott & White.

Two other officers were hit by gunfire, but were spared injury by their protective gear.

The story carefully avoids mentioning no drugs were found. Oh, and it has a picture of MArvin – guess his race without looking.


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Comments:

  1. I guess he can’t claim the “stand your ground” defense?

Comcast Declares War on Tor

Posted on September 14th, 2014 at 20:48 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day.


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Apple Pay Details: Apple Gets 0.15% Cut of Purchases, Higher Rates for Bluetooth Payments

Posted on September 13th, 2014 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

According to a new report from The Financial Times, Apple stands to make quite a bit of money from its payments service. Banks and payment networks will be forking over 0.15 percent of each purchase to Apple, which equates to 15 cents out of a $100 purchase.
They are also paying hard cash for the privilege of being involved: 15 cents of a $100 purchase will go to the iPhone maker, according to two people familiar with the terms of the agreement, which are not public. That is an unprecedented deal, giving Apple a share of the payments’ economics that rivals such as Google do not get for their services

According to bank executives, Apple was able to negotiate with so many partners and receive choice deals because the industry didn’t see anything threatening in Apple Pay. One executive suggested that Apple’s payment model continued to put banks “at the centre of payments.” Apple may also have been able to negotiate better deals due to the tight security it has in place for Apple Pay. Payments will be made via NFC with a one-time token, and also secured with a Touch ID fingerprint.


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Comments:

  1. Whatever threats they saw were probably overcome when they were offered an apparently magical solution to a problem that is considered perpetual, boring and difficult in banking.

  2. Yeah. And let’s see just how fast a man-in-the-middle attack will be successfully made. I would guess less than a month from when the phone is released to the public. 1. Intercept token. 2. Re-vector it to credit the malefactors instead of the real store. Oops – where did my $$ go? Why does the store want their $$? I paid, didn’t I?

  3. It’s cool that they managed to negotiate that, but it’s going to be noise on Apple’s income statements for a looooong time.

‘So Little Compassion': James Foley’s Parents Say Officials Threatened Family Over Ransom

Posted on September 13th, 2014 at 10:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The mother of slain American journalist James Foley said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that the U.S. government threatened her family with prosecution should they raise money to pay her son’s ransom, but she was astounded by how such a devastating message was delivered.

“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”

Earlier this week five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Foley case confirmed the alleged threats were made.

“It was an utterly idiotic thing to do that came across as if [the U.S. official] had the compassion of an anvil,” said a former official who has advised the family.

That’s an insult to anvils everywhere.


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Comments:

  1. Not to mention the hammer… Now, let’s just put these pinheads’ heads on the anvil and apply the hammer a few times to knock some sense into their thick skulls.

  2. I’m guessing tact isn’t government’s strong suit but I’m kind of wondering why the family was warned three separate times. Did the government perhaps think the family was ignoring the warnings and planned to break the law?

  3. @Rob: they had them under surveillance, almost certainly. Intercepted members of the family discussing such things, their houses are bugged, etc.

    Time to crack open the Le Carré for a little refresher?

  4. I get that, Sue. My consternation lies with two traditions in America. One is Civil Disobedience, where you break the law and just accept the consequences. The other is more of a cowboy thing where you beg forgiveness after rather than ask permission before. I’m guessing the Foleys were possibly on one of those paths. If the government adamantly doesn’t want that law broken, is a couple of stern warnings really that severe a course of action?

  5. @Rob: I’m really sorry for these people, btw. Impossible situation, horrible result. And the family.

What do you think of college campus police having military equipment?

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 20:40 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane

[Quote]:

The U.S. Department of Defense has given Northwestern State University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe police departments 12 M-16 weapons each, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The two Louisiana schools are part of a larger group of 117 college and universities that acquired military equipment from the Defense Department.

“Campus police departments have used [a federal] program to obtain military equipment as mundane as men’s trousers (Yale University) and as serious as a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle (Ohio State University),” wrote Dan Bauman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The schools didn’t have to pay a lot for the equipment. The defense department practically gives it away. Due to the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has a lot of surplus gear lying around, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.


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Comments:

  1. If this were the premise for a movie what comes next would be rather obvious.

Star Wars Minus Williams – Throne Room

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 20:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Why the iPhone 6 Plus is the must-have phone for Manchester United fans!

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 12:35 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

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U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 12:21 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications — a request the company believed was unconstitutional — according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program.

The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the NSA extensive access to records of online com­munications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.

The ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review became a key moment in the development of PRISM, helping government officials to convince other Silicon Valley companies that unprecedented data demands had been tested in the courts and found constitutionally sound. Eventually, most major U.S. tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL, complied. Microsoft had joined earlier, before the ruling, NSA documents have shown.


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Comments:

  1. Yahoo didn’t think this through far enough. They should simply have started paying the fine, and announced an expected decrease in income/profits. It would have made for an interesting share holders meeting. “So what is this line item for the 10 million dollar loss?” “Well we can’t tell you.”

  2. Lol…some hope. The company would have known that the government could have just forced them to do it anyway. You can have all the constitutional lawyers on your side (except one) and still wind up out of business (or dead).

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and bomb Iraq.

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 12:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

“Just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait.”

—President George H. W. Bush

January 16, 1991

“Good evening. Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq.”

—President Bill Clinton

December 16, 1998

“My fellow citizens. At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”

—President George W. Bush

March 19, 2003

“My fellow Americans. Tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.”

—President Barack Obama

September 10, 2014

Every American President in the past quarter century has now gone on television during prime time to tell the nation and the world that he has decided to bomb Iraq.


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Comments:

  1. Whatever happened to your “Mess-o-potamia” tag?

  2. They say you’re measured by your enemies.

  3. They also say that you should watch your back.

Gay Teen Commits Suicide After Being Outed And Harassed By Catholic School Officials

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 10:16 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

Sergio Urrego, 16, killed himself after Catholic school’s administrators persecuted the teenager by making his relationship with another young man public then accused him of sexual harassment.

Sergio’s mother, Alba Reyes, has just recently opened up to the media about her son’s suicide in order to clear his name.

Reyes said her nightmare began in May when a teacher at Gimnasio Castillo Campestre school in the Colombian capital Bogotá saw a photo of Sergio kissing his boyfriend of a month and a half on his cellphone. After confiscating the phone, both boys were sent to the school psychologist.

The boyfriend was then forced by the school to tell his parents about his sexuality and was quickly withdrawn from the school.

The Catholic school refused to release Urrego’s academic results and blocked his transfer to another school. He was continuously suspended from classes, send to visit the psychologist, and accused of sexual harassment.

Unable to cope with the betrayal and harassment at the hands of school administrators, Urrego sent his friends goodbye messages and then jumped from the Titán Plaza shopping center on the morning of 4 August. He passed away three hours later at a local hospital.

Dear Catholic Leadership – actions speak louder than words, and the fact that you haven’t at the very least taken away the “Catholic” accreditation from this school leaves me no choice but to conclude you condone this shit.


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Comments:

  1. Vindictive bastards. If there is a hell, it’s been designed for you. Religions tend to empower people to act their worst.

Virologist: Fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia is lost

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 23:51 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

His statement might alarm many people.

But Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told DW that he and his colleagues are losing hope for Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the countries worst hit by the recent Ebola epidemic.

“The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” he said. That time was May and June. “Now it is too late.”

Schmidt-Chanasit expects the virus will “burn itself out” in this part of the world.

With other words: It will more or less infect everybody and half of the population – in total about five million people – could die.


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Comments:

  1. If “this part of the world” includes Nigeria, that might be an understatement. Let’s hope the heroes on the front lines can keep up the fight.

  2. Yeah, the ultimate crowd control.

  3. @chas: Well, it would be better for everyone if they all stayed home (the virus would have to evolve into a less lethal version to survive), but I take it that wasn’t what you meant.

    Let’s also hope that the Boko Haram chaps don’t take it upon themselves to become vectors for the disease.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 21:24 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

What happened in New York 13 years ago deranged a nation that was almost begging to be deranged. The Soviet Union was gone. Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War, the Balkans, in all these places where we made war, we had what were essentially walkover victories. We had no geopolitical enemies, no country strangling our trade, or impressing our seamen, or bombing our Pacific fleet, or pointing nuclear missiles at our cities any more. Then the planes hit the towers, and the towers came down, and we had an enemy again. We declared war on a tactic. We declared war on “terror.” The concept was so patently absurd that dozens of other absurdities naturally flowed from it, the most glaring of which was the preposterous and mendacious case made for our invasion and occupation of Iraq. We jumped at shadows, heard voices in our heads, ducked and covered and lost our minds, and there were people in positions of power who were happy to oblige us for their own political and economic benefit. Then, we elected a new president, and the new president extricated us from the occupation of Iraq, and from whatever the hell we were doing in Afghanistan, which primarily seemed to be keeping the people who live there from slaughtering each other. But the war on the tactic never ended because it cannot end. You cannot defeat “terror,” because it has too many allies, some of them in your own government. It is embedded in the political culture now as deeply as the Cold War ever was — and that is not an accident, either. War against someone, war against something, somewhere, anywhere, is one of the last unifying elements in a country that was encouraged by both its declared antagonists, and by far too many people within its own government, to become deranged


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Apple’s new Identification Revolution

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 17:45 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

But the point here is that yesterday Apple launched the most significant innovation in payments since the credit card itself. Few people have noticed and that includes the market that took Apple stock on its traditional, post-announcement, plunge.

 


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Comments:

  1. The plunge was roughly equal in size to the earlier ~3% run-up during the event. AAPL closed about 0.25% down on the previous day’s close, iirc.

    The big question (in the context of stock price, i.e. of revenue/profit) is whether Apple will see any direct revenue from Apple Pay, i.e. a cut of the transaction fees kicked back by the banks. I haven’t seen ay reliable info on it. My guess is that even Apple does not have enough clout with the banks to negotiate that. The article mentions that Apple might assume the fraud risk on Apple Pay transactions. I highly doubt that. If they are, we should hear about it in the next SEC filings, because that’d be a big change to their business.

  2. It’s probably going to be decided by how many banks they can separate from the herd.

  3. The cash hoard Apple is sitting on would be big enough for them to start their own bank, should they wish to, but it’s not their core business.

    Then there’s also the risk factor. Stores that do their transactions with “card in hand” get a lower transaction fee than those that don’t, such as internet stores. I would expect Apple to *at least* get a “card in hand” transaction fee deal for Apple Pay transactions at their own stores, both online and offline, since the risk involved in Apple Pay transactions is much lower even than “card in hand”.

    What I’m really not seeing is that Apple “has not enough clout” with the banks – their client database and card info for their eco-system (app store, iTunes, apple TV) is immense. If I were a bank CEO I would fear all income from transaction fees to evaporate if I were not on board with Apple..

    Actually, from all the product introductions made, iPhone 6(plus), Apple Watch, and Apple Pay, I’d consider Apple Pay the one with the biggest potential impact.

    The second biggest would be the U2 album they gave away for free. Think about it – how much money would Bono and Co make off CD sales for regular release? Not the T-shirt sales, live shows, etc, just the album? Let’s say somewhere between 10m and 20m. If Apple just gave them that amount upfront, that would be a smart move for U2, a great deal for Apple (who will probably just take it out of the advertising budget, because that’s what this is for them), but not so much for the record industry… If more big names start releasing their stuff this way, they are going the way of the dodo.

  4. par2: I’ve read commentary that claimed that *all* Apple Pay transactions will qualify as card-in-hand. This is speculation by someone familiar with the industry, not based on actual knowledge.

    par3: Sure Apple have a lot of CCs on file. Do you think they’re going to threaten BofA to no longer accept BofA VISA cards on iTunes if BofA doesn’t play along with Apple Pay? I think BofA would happily call that bluff. No, Apple needed to get the top few banks on board with Apple Pay so they could say that AP works with 80% of existing cards. The banks each knew this and knew they had some leverage.

    par4: “I’d consider Apple Pay the one with the biggest potential impact.” Impact on what? Life or Apple revenue/profit?

    par5: The free U2 album might have been better advertising if it weren’t presented the same day at the new phones and the watch. As-is it was completely drowned out in the media. So more than plain advertising, it seems to me like a move by Apple to get people who do not yet have an iTunes account to sign up for one. Can’t say that I understand the value to Apple of iTunes accounts that are not tied to any Apple device, given that they don’t have an iTunes Store app for Android.

  5. > It’s probably going to be decided by how many banks they can separate from the herd.

    Sue: Apple Pay works for the cards used in 80+% of transactions in the U.S. out of the gate. The big banks are all participating and I’d guess the rest are now desperate to join so they don’t lose traffic.

  6. WSJ: “The card-issuing banks have agreed to pay a per-transaction fee to Apple to be included on the phone, according to people familiar with the situation.”

    Hunh.

  7. Banking has a lot of similarities to some other businesses that Apple has built into. Full of complacent incumbents with antiquated systems, horrible customer relations and artificially maintained prices.

    I don’t expect it to happen, but one can hope :-)

  8. par4: both. The second follows from the first. If only because I don’t see google or samsung capable of doing something similar. Or rather, not by themselves.

  9. Yeah, I read up on how Google Wallet works. Google took a go-it-alone approach and was possibly losing money on each transaction plus assuming some transaction risk.

Calm down, America: We’re as safe as we were a year ago

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 15:15 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Unless you’re judging American security by the safety of freelance Syria correspondents, nothing that happened to them proves that there’s any increased danger to Americans. We learned nothing new about the power or reach of ISIS, or its cruelty. The beheadings were designed to make the U.S. overreact, and to draw the country into a one-on-one war with “the Islamic state.” Let’s hope on that count they fail.


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Comments:

  1. The political elite can use those panicked polling numbers quite handily to gather support around the flag while other indicators languish (jobs, wages, equality, education).

    The Empire makes the enemies it needs.

Exodus 11:5, At-Tawbah 9:5

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 13:45 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News

[ Obama addresses nation on fight against IS]:

“No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

I guess he has a different definition of “innocent” than most dictionaries have.


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Comments:

  1. Lol, poor Obama. I didn’t hear the speech or read it, so I know nothing. In his defense, I would say he is a Lawyer not a Theologian.

    Also, interesting choice of verses:

    http://biblehub.com/exodus/11-5.htm

    <>

    Here Hashem (the Jewish god, or actually his Angels) is going to kill the first born because the Pharaoh won’t release the Jews from their slavery. [[One might think that Hashem having infinite powers could think of a better way to do this but gods are sometimes mysterious.]]

    On the other hand:

    http://quran.com/9

    <>

    Here Allah is directing his faithful to kill those who refuse to convert to Islam. [[For some Muslims this includes Christians, because the Quran describes Christians as polytheists.]]

    I wonder if there are any verses from the Gospel (New Testament) promoting killing. Jesus is said to have said:

    http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-9.htm

    <>

    Still as we all know– Islam is the Religion of Peace — http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

  2. Matthew 5:17

  3. Jesus was a jew. His ministry was to the jews. He says this because the jews are to up hold the law.

    The 613 Mitzvos– http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm don’t include Exodus 11-5 because Exodus 11-5 isn’t something Hashem is telling the Jews to do, it is something Hashem did.

    In the end we should be able to agree that religion is a spiritual thing for some people, but for many it is an extension of the state and is used to justify whatever the rulers want to do.

  4. “In the end we should be able to agree that…” suspiciously sounds like you’re trying to get some respect for religion.

    Let me quote Pat Condell on that:

    “If you criticize religion, then, every so often somebody will say to you – quite disapprovingly – ‘you may not have faith in god, but you could show a bit more respect for those people who do’.

    And, you might find yourself thinking ‘well actually, maybe they’re right. It wouldn’t hurt to show a bit more respect – after all, nobody likes to be told point-blank that their religion is a crock of delusional garbage and a force for evil in the world. That, what they call ‘faith’ is merely fear dressed up as virtue. And that their puerile beliefs are a strait-jacket on the whole of humanity.’

    That’s bound to put anybody’s nose out of joint.

    So yes, maybe I could show a bit more respect.

    The only fly in the ointment is – I don’t actually feel any respect. I have tried, I really have, and I feel just terrible about it, but it just isn’t there.

    I suppose I could lie to myself, and pretend for the sake of people’s feelings – because we all know how delicate and tender they can be these days.

    But, the bold truth is, I don’t actually care about their feelings – at all; not even slightly.

    Of course, I realize that should weigh heavily on my conscience – but luckily my conscience knows when it is being bullied and manipulated – so it doesn’t care either.

    My conscience knows that there is no earthly reason for anybody on this planet to respect religion – in any way. Indeed, purely on the evidence religion itself provides, in such regular abundance, there is every reason to actively disrespect it to the point of outright abuse.

    And quite frankly, the fact that religion gets so little abuse, compared to what it really deserves, I can only attribute to the unbelievable tolerance, restraint and plain good manners of atheists and secularists everywhere.

    So, if you are a religious person, and if you’re thinking of demanding more respect for your beliefs, please try to bear in mind that you and your religion are already getting way more respect than you’ve ever deserved. Your faith is a joke. Your god is a joke. He’s so absurd, he’s an embarrassment even to people who don’t believe in him – and he and you still have it all to prove. So far, no proof has been forthcoming, nor is it likely to be; as we all well know – so respect, I’m afraid, is out of the question. The best you can hope for is amused incredulity – and that would be on a good day.

    People say ‘well, you can only truly understand faith when you have faith’ – which I take to mean when you’ve suspended your critical faculties and hypnotized yourself into believing a load of fascist nonsense about your eternal soul, then, you’ll understand faith – well, I can certainly believe that.

    Faith peddlers like to put themselves beyond question by claiming that their faith ‘transcends reason’ – the very thing that calls it to account – how convenient. Yes, faith transcends reason – the way a criminal transcends the law. The word ‘transcendent’ is very popular with religious hustlers because they never have to explain precisely what they mean by it – other than some vague, superior state of understanding, more profound than ‘mere reason’ – which is crude and simplistic next to the subtleties and profundities of belief without evidence.

    If you hear a senior clergyman, and you will, using the word ‘transcendent’ to explain the nonsense he claims to believe, then you know two things: one, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about; and two, he doesn’t want you to know what he’s talking about either.

    Faith doesn’t transcend reason at all; faith sidesteps reason – it runs away from reason because reason threatens its cozy bubble of delusion. So faith disqualifies reason the way a Dutch criminal court disqualifies truth and the witnesses – and for much the same reason.

    If you’re a believer, your faith allows you to adopt a set of beliefs that make absolutely no sense, knowing that you won’t be measured by whether they make sense, but by the level of piety that you exhibit in believing them. In other words, your willingness to deny reality becomes a measure of your virtue.

    No wonder religion is so popular.

    But what a price you pay for this ‘virtue’. You’ve been persuaded that believing in the impossible is your only hope… how did that happen?

    And that your purpose is to worship something beyond your understanding, defined by and only accessible through, self-appointed intermediaries. Your thoughts, your words and your identity, are no longer solely yours to decide; but are subject to the approval of those who have assumed authority over you – through your faith.

    The people who’ve told you that you were born with something wrong with you – c’mon – in a state of ‘sin,’ no less. A condition that can only be cured by complete submission and obedience to them – surprise, surprise – from the moment you’re born ‘til the moment you die.

    And if all this doesn’t exactly flatter your ego – and why should it – Don’t worry, we can give it a special name to make you feel better, and persuade you that you’ve still got some dignity – let’s call it “faith”, and let’s deem it to be the highest and most noble and profound of all virtues; and let’s pretend that it comes from within. When we all know, that nothing about your religion is allowed to come from within – because that would give you strength and freedom – the two things your religion wants as far away from you as possible.

    Faith is the grip that clergy have over you.

    It’s the invisible rope around your neck that pulls you along the road they want you to travel – for their benefit, not yours.

    It’s a dead-end word.

    It’s a word of bondage.

    It’s a word that lets you believe what you’ve been told to believe -without feeling that you’ve been told what to believe, but you have – and you can stop pretending any time you like.

    It’s not a virtue – that’s the last thing it is.

    It’s an abdication from reality.

    It’s a dumb act of self-hypnosis.

    It’s a cowardly copout.

    It’s gullibility with a halo – and hiding behind it is like pretending to be an invalid.

    So, I don’t really understand exactly what it is that I’m supposed to respect.

    It seems to me, I’d need to be some kind of moral contortionist to respect something that noxious – something that depends for its existence on a closed-mind – and it is clearly dragging humanity in the wrong direction; giving us false ideas about ourselves, and about the nature of reality.

    I feel, if I respected that, I’d be needlessly contributing to the stupidity and ignorance of the human race – and that is one thing I don’t want on my conscience; no offense.

    Peace.”

  5. Ah, John…don’t toy with little Joe’s most profoundly held beliefs :-)

  6. In refuting Obama, you should have used Pat Condell instead of the Quran and the Torah, it would have been more direct and to the point.

    PS, Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.

  7. [Quote]:

    The idea that any book was inspired by the creator of the universe is poison—intellectually, ethically, and politically. And nowhere is this poison currently doing more harm than in Muslim communities, East and West. Despite all the obvious barbarism in the Old Testament, and the dangerous eschatology of the New, it is relatively easy for Jews and Christians to divorce religion from politics and secular ethics. A single line in Matthew—“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”—largely accounts for why the West isn’t still hostage to theocracy. The Koran contains a few lines that could be equally potent—for instance, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256)—but these sparks of tolerance are easily snuffed out. Transforming Islam into a truly benign faith will require a miracle of re-interpretation. And a few intrepid reformers, such as Maajid Nawaz, are doing their best to accomplish it.

    Many believe it unwise to discuss the link between Islam and the intolerance and violence we see in the Muslim world, fearing that it will increase the perception that the West is at war with the faith and cause millions of otherwise peaceful Muslims to rally to the jihadist cause. I admit that this concern isn’t obviously crazy—but it merely attests to the seriousness of the underlying problem. Religion produces a perverse solidarity that we must find some way to undercut. It causes in-group loyalty and out-group hostility, even when members of one’s own group are behaving like psychopaths.

    But it remains taboo in most societies to criticize a person’s religious beliefs. Even atheists tend to observe this taboo, and enforce it on others, because they believe that religion is necessary for many people. After all, life is difficult—and faith is a balm. Most people imagine that Iron Age philosophy represents the only available vessel for their spiritual hopes and existential concerns. This is an enduring problem for the forces of reason, because the most transformative experiences people have—bliss, devotion, self-transcendence—are currently anchored to the worst parts of culture and to ways of thinking that merely amplify superstition, self-deception, and conflict.

    Among all the harms caused by religion at this point in history, this is perhaps the most subtle: Even when it appears beneficial—inspiring people to gather in beautiful buildings to contemplate the mystery existence and their ethical commitments to one another—religion conveys the message that there is no intellectually defensible and nonsectarian way to do this. But there is. We can build strong communities and enjoy deeply moral and spiritual lives, without believing any divisive nonsense about the divine origin of specific books.

    And it is this misguided respect for revelation that explains why, in response to the starkest conceivable expression of religious fanaticism, President Obama has responded with euphemisms—and missiles. This may be the best we can hope for, given the state of our discourse about religion. Perhaps one day we will do “everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.” But today, we won’t even honestly describe the motivations of our enemies. And in the act of lying to ourselves, we continue to pay lip service to the very delusions that empower them.

  8. Sounds like you have faith in reason.
    What was it you started to say about that inward something-or-other that sets you free?
    I’m not (believe me, I’m not!) a scholar of the ancient Greeks who wrote about this stuff, but isn’t reason just a construct that beats other decision-making processes?

  9. Sounds like you have faith in reason.

    If with the word “faith” you mean “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence” then the answer is no, I don’t.

#notallslaveowners: the Economist complains that a book on slavery makes white people look bad

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 1:23 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

The Economist has run an extraordinary piece that apparently defends slave owners. Its review of a book on slavery, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist, suggests the book is biased for making white people look bad.

The Economist: panderers to the rich and powerful, finally come out on the side of those woefully misunderstood fellows, decent white slave owners.

Since they never assign an author to any article in their magazine the whole editorial board is er…tarred with the same brush. (They have since retracted the story).

 


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Comments:

  1. The Economist is very far from being the WSJ. They have a pro-business stance, but I don’t find them pandering to much of anyone.

    This incident strikes me as the result of an editor asleep on the job. It’s too predictable that this would produce a big flap for it to have gotten into print intentionally.

  2. I see a lot of articles that make (especially US) rich people feel rather good about themselves. I think they are trying to educate their masters.

    There are a few humanist hand-wringings here and there, so perhaps a bit of balance was needed :-)

  3. I’d be curious what kinds of articles you think make rich Americans feel good about themselves. (Also curious who you think of as “rich”–the top 5%, 1%, 0.1%?)

    (FWIW, I think the Economist has been clear that they think growing inequality in the U.S. is a problem and needs to be addressed.)

  4. I said I thought that they were trying to educate their masters – in general terms their editorial policy is arguably good – encourages reduction of poverty, increasing education for the poor, equality for women, giving everyone a job, available healthcare, against totalitarianism, for legalization of drugs and the sex trade etc.

    However, they pull their punches in direct criticism of policy or political actions, and allow the snug world of the rich (which I define as never really needing to worry about money) to glide on in oblivious contentment. There is usually a patronizing line to soften any bad news – no-one is really to blame, no-one is held to account, no politician is really that bad, aw shucks.

    I think this may stem from having a lot of intelligent and likeable journalists directly interviewing important people. They tend to get a bit too close, imo.

    OTOH, no-one wants to read a bunch of tedious, politically correct moaning from the New Statesman all the time :-)

Patrick Stewart: There’s no such thing as “just a domestic”

Posted on September 11th, 2014 at 1:08 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

Domestic violence takes an enormous death toll. Every week two women are killed by current or former partners in England and Wales. And so, up and down the country, there are thousands of bereaved families struggling to come to terms with the loss of a beloved mother, daughter or sister. In too many of these cases, the police – and other state agencies – have failed to protect women and children at their moment of greatest need.

Timely reminder in light of this AJE report that domestic violence kills more than civil war:

“For every civil war battlefield death, roughly nine people are killed in inter-personal disputes,” said Anke Hoeffler of Oxford University and James Fearon of Stanford University, who wrote the for the Copenhagen Consensus Centre…

Civil wars cost the world economy about $170bn a year.

Illegal killings, mainly of men unrelated to domestic disputes, cost $650bn.

But those figures were dwarfed by the $8 trillion annual cost of domestic violence, mostly against women and children.


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