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2014-07-09
R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

2013-11-28
Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

2013-09-30
Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

2013-09-29
An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

2013-08-26
Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

2013-04-21
Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

2013-04-19
Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2013-04-15
2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

2013-01-03
The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

2012-12-30
CBS News - Year In Review 2012

Nature.com - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

2012-12-25
Happy Holidays

2012-12-21
Welcome To A New Era!

2012-12-16
An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

2012-11-17
Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

2012-11-15
December 21, 2012

2012-11-11
If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

2012-11-10
CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

2012-11-07
Thank you for voting.

2012-11-06
Live Election Results

2012-09-30
FIP In Hiatus

2012-09-18
U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

2012-09-17
President Obama Says China Trade Practices Harm American Auto Parts Workers



Free Internet Press - News Aggregator
Updated every 10 minutes.
The NFL is Finally on YouTube
2015-01-26 04:51:16 (8 minutes ago) 
A
 
Europe Markets: Greek stocks hit as anti-bailout party Syriza marks election victory
2015-01-26 04:50:46 (8 minutes ago) 
Greek stocks drop, under pressure following the victory of the anti-bailout Syriza party in Greece’s general election.
 
Alleged murderer Leo Barnes found dead in prison cell
2015-01-26 04:50:35 (8 minutes ago) 
Barnes was on trial in Wolverhampton for the murders of Cynthia Beamond, 80 and Philip Silverstone, 67

An alleged killer who was accused of murdering two pensioners has been found dead in his prison cell. It is thought he killed himself.

Leo Barnes from Balsall Heath was on trial for the murders of Cynthia Beamond and Philip Silverstone.

Continue reading...
 
China: Mother sells newborn boy for $7,000
2015-01-26 04:50:23 (9 minutes ago) 
 
Kylie to headline Hyde Park festival
2015-01-26 04:50:10 (9 minutes ago) 
Pop star Kylie Minogue will headline the third and final night of the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park in June.
 
Gothenburg recovers after mystery oil spill
2015-01-26 04:40:48 (18 minutes ago) 
A major oil spill occurred overnight in Gothenburg, with officals still unclear of the source on Monday morning.
 
Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2014!
2015-01-26 04:40:41 (18 minutes ago) 

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!

It's that time of the year, where we count down the Top 100 songs of the year just gone. If you're in Australia, please kick it old school with an FM radio. For overseas listeners, you can tune in live online. It's the worlds biggest music poll, let's do it!

EDIT: THANKS FOR THE GOLD!

THE FULL PLAYLIST - YouTube - Spotify

100: Tkay Maidza - Switch Lanes

99: Ball Park Music - Trippin' the Light Fantastic

98: Bombay Bicycle Club - Luna

97: Japanese Wallpaper - Between Friends ft. Jesse Davidson

96: SAFIA - Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds

95: Thelma Plum - How Much Does Your Love Cost?

94: Sticky Fingers - Liqourlip Loaded Gun

93: Vance Joy - Georgia

92: One Day - Love Me Less

91: Meg Mac - Bridges (Like a Version)

90: Thundamentals - Got Love ft. Solo

89: Cold War Kids - First

88: DZ Deathrays - Gina Works at Hearts

87: Briggs - Bad Apples

86: Sticky Fingers - Just For You

85: CHVRCHES - Get Away

84: Foo Fighters - Something From Nothing

83: British India - Wrong Direction

82: Hopium - Dreamers ft. Phoebe Lou

81: The Avener - Fade Out Lines

80: Rise Against - I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore

79: Jack White - Lazaretto

78: Thundamentals - Quit Your Job

77: Highasakite - Since Last Wednesday

76: Kingswood - Micro Wars

75: 360 - Live It Up ft. PEZ

74: Duke Dumont - I Got U ft. Jax Jones

73: Röyksopp & Robyn - Do It Again

72: Run the Jewels - Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) ft. Zach De La Rocha

71: The Amity Affliction - The Weigh Down

70: Odd Mob - Is It A Banger

69: The Smith Street Band - Surrender

68: Bring Me The Horizon - Drown

67: Jungle - Busy Earnin' #1 in my heart

66: clipping. - Work Work ft. Cocc Pistol Cree

65: Allday - Right Now

64: The Amity Affliction - Don't Lean On Me

63: The War on Drugs - Red Eyes

62: Angus & Julia Stone - Heart Beats Slow

61: Andy Bull - Talk Too Much

60: Childish Gambino - Sweatpants ft. Problem

59: Röyksopp & Robyn - Monument (The Enevitable End Version)

58: Ball Park Music - Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You

57: Hilltop Hoods - Walking Under Stars

56: Kingswood - I Can Feel That You Don't Love Me

55: CARIBOU - Can't Do Without You

54: CHVRCHES - Do I Wanna Know? (Like a Version)

53: Kendrick Lamar - i

52: Flight Facilities - Sunshine ft. Reggie Watts

51: Courtney Barnett - Pickles From the Jar

50: Vance Joy - First Time

49: TV On The Radio - Happy Idiot

48: DMA's - Delete

47: Lorde - Tennis Court (Flume Remix)

46: Meg Mac - Grandma's Hands

45: FKA Twigs - Two Weeks

44: Milky Chance - Flashed Junk Mind

43: Jamie T - Zombie

42: Kim Churchill - Window To The Sky

41: Carmada - Maybe

40: Broods - Mother & Father

39: Flight Facilities - Two Bodies ft. Emma Louise

38: First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining

37: Alison Wonderland - I Want U

36: Hilltop Hoods - Won't Let You Down ft. Maverick Sabre

35: Allday - You Always Know The DJ

34: SBTRKT - New Dorp. New York ft. Ezra Koenig

33: San Cisco - Run

32: Lana Del Rey - West Coast

31: Childish Gambino - Sober

30: Thundamentals - Something I Said

29: The Preatures - Somebody's Talking

28: The Griswolds - Beware the Dog

27: Banks - Beggin For Thread

26: alt-J - Hunger Of The Pine

25: Bluejuice - I'll Go Crazy

24: Meg Mac - Roll Up Your Sleeves

23: Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)

22: The Amity Affliction - Pittsburgh

21: Chet Faker - Lover (Like a Version)

20: Sticky Fingers - Gold Snafu

19: Ball Park Music - She Only Loves Me When I'm There

18: Lorde - Yellow Flicker Beat

17: Illy - Tightrope

16: alt-J - Left Hand Free

15: The Kite String Tangle - Arcadia

14: alt-J - Every Other Freckle

13: Vance Joy - Mess Is Mine

12: Glass Animals - Gooey

11: ZHU - Faded

10: Ásgeir - King And Cross

9: Sia - Chandelier

8: Chet Faker - 1998

7: Chet Faker - Gold

6: Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars

5: Peking Duk - Take Me Over ft. SAFIA

4: Milky Chance - Stolen Dance

3: Hilltop Hoods - Cosby Sweater

2: Peking Duk - High

Which means, the number one track of 2014, as voted by you is....

1: Chet Faker - Talk Is Cheap

That's all folks! Congrats to Chet, see you all next year!

submitted by xzion to Music
[link] [560 comments]
 
King Tut's mask repaired after 'close shave'
2015-01-26 04:40:16 (19 minutes ago) 
Was the priceless funeral mask of King Tutankhamun damaged and hastily glued back together? CNN's Amir Daftari reports.
 
AP PHOTOS: Editor Selections From Asia
2015-01-26 04:40:02 (19 minutes ago) 
AP PHOTOS: A selection of our favorite images from Asia last week
 
Should Google play carriers at their own game? There's never been a better time
2015-01-26 04:31:11 (28 minutes ago) 
 
Search called off for surfers
2015-01-26 04:31:03 (28 minutes ago) 
Police have called off the search for two surfers reportedly swept out to sea near Lawyer's Head, Dunedin.
 
Video: Holocaust Survivor Gena Turgel Recounts Horror of Auschwitz
2015-01-26 04:30:47 (28 minutes ago) 

Gena Turgel was 21-years-old when she was herded into a gas chamber at Auschwitz with hundreds of others. (NBC News)


 
Asia Markets: Japanese stocks retreat amid Greek concerns, while Chinese market gains
2015-01-26 04:30:39 (28 minutes ago) 
Japanese stocks pull back as investors worry about Greece remaining in the eurozone after an anti-austerity party won Sunday’s general election.
 
David Cameron: Greek election result will increase economic uncertainty
2015-01-26 04:30:27 (29 minutes ago) 
PM’s comment comes as UK chancellor signals that leftwing party’s demands will require exit from eurozone Continue reading...
 
Why Labour opposes this fanatical faith in shale gas
2015-01-26 04:30:26 (29 minutes ago) 

We will vote to prevent any developments of shale gas in the UK unless the Tories and Lib Dems concede to reforms of the regulatory regime

There are two fundamental principles that have to underpin any debate about shale gas development in the UK. The first is that fracking cannot go ahead without proper environmental safeguards in place. The second is that the development of shale gas, cannot come at the expense of meeting our legally binding obligation to avoid dangerous climate change.

No sensible government can govern in these challenging times without putting climate change at the core of what they do. That’s why Labour has committed to a 2030 decarbonisation target for our power sector and pledged to make climate adaptation a national priority to protect the country from extreme weather caused by climate change. David Cameron however has gone from promising to lead the “greenest government ever”, to ditching the “green crap”. Now he is pursuing shale gas development at any cost. Labour will take a different approach.

Continue reading...
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:30:10 (29 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Michael Moore Tells Fox News ‘Quit Making Shit Up About Me’
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
Moore confronts the smear artists.

Filmmaker Michael Moore went on offense on Facebook today, pushing back at the attacks upon him over a comment he made on Twitter about military snipers by listing the multitude of ways he has supported veterans, before calling on Fox News to “quit making sh*t up about me.”

Moore has become the target of conservative fans of the film American Sniper who have claimed he attacked the subject of the film, Chris Kyle, when he tweeted: “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Since that time Fox News hosts, television commentators Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, and other celebrities have hammered Moore, calling him “Un-American,” while pointing out that he never served in the military.

On Facebook, Moore detailed his extensive history of support for veterans, saying those who supported sending the troops into a “senseless war Iraq in the first place,” are the ones who should be apologizing.

“I would like to address this one insane mantra that the right-wing has twisted my tweet into: ‘Michael Moore hates the troops,’ ” Moore wrote. “Well, who would know better about hating our troops than those who supported sending them into a senseless war Iraq in the first place? And, for 4,482 of them, a senseless, unnecessary and regrettable death.”

He continued, “Republicans and Democrats who backed this war, then you are the ones who have some ‘splainin’ to do. Not me. You.”

Moore went on to explain that the U.S. propped up Saddam Hussein in the years prior to the invasion and that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

He  wrote “… only “haters” of our brave young men and women would recklessly send them into harm’s way for something that had absolutely nothing to do with defending the United States of America.”

Moore then called out Fox News specifically, writing, “I’M the one who has supported these troops – much more than the bloviators on Fox News,” before listing support he has extended to veterans through the years; pushing businesses to hire veterans like he has done, raising money for wounded veterans, offering free admission to veterans and their families at the theaters he owns in Michigan, and allowing his theaters to be used free of charge to veterans groups counseling those suffering from PTSD.

Moore also noted that he is showing American Sniper at one of his theaters, writing, “I am currently showing “American Sniper” at my theater that I helped restore and that I program and help run in Manistee, MI. Not because I like it, but because, unlike the other side, I’m not a censor. I trust smart people and people of good heart will know what to do. ”

He then concluded by calling Fox News and other media outlets “cowards” hiding behind “falsehoods.”

“So, Fox News and the other lazy media — quit making shit up about me! You look ridiculous. If you want to have a debate with me about the ISSUES and the POLICIES, then let’s have it. If you want to debate a movie that’s trying to rewrite history, then let’s have that,” he wrote. “But when you hide behind falsehoods and then use them to try and manipulate the public, then all you are is afraid. Afraid of me, an unarmed American, and the truth I bring along as my sidekick. Only cowards have to lie.”

“Be brave. Report the truth. It will feel good.”

 Related StoriesBill Maher Takes a Shot at ‘American Sniper’ for Glorifying ‘Psychopath Patriot’ Chris KyleFox News Is Already Having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 2015American Sniper: Anti-Muslim Threats Skyrocket in Wake of Film's Release
 
The Killing of America's Creative Class
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
A review of Scott Timberg's fascinating new book, 'Culture Crash.'

Some of my friends became artists, writers, and musicians to rebel against their practical parents. I went into a creative field with encouragement from my folks. It’s not too rare for Millennials to have their bohemian dreams blessed by their parents, because, as progeny of the Boomers, we were mentored by aging rebels who idolized rogue poets, iconoclast cartoonists, and scrappy musicians.

The problem, warns Scott Timberg in his new book Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, is that if parents are basing their advice on how the economy used to support creativity – record deals for musicians, book contracts for writers, staff positions for journalists – then they might be surprised when their YouTube-famous daughter still needs help paying off her student loans. A mix of economic, cultural, and technological changes emanating from a neoliberal agenda, writes Timberg, “have undermined the way that culture has been produced for the past two centuries, crippling the economic prospects of not only artists but also the many people who supported and spread their work, and nothing yet has taken its place.”

 

Tech vs. the Creative Class

Timberg isn’t the first to notice. The supposed economic recovery that followed the recession of 2008 did nothing to repair the damage that had been done to the middle class. Only a wealthy few bounced back, and bounced higher than ever before, many of them the elites of Silicon Valley who found a way to harvest much of the wealth generated by new technologies. InCulture Crash, however, Timberg has framed the struggle of the working artist to make a living on his talents.

Besides the overall stagnation of the economy, Timberg shows how information technology has destabilized the creative class and deprofessionalized their labor, leading to an oligopoly of the mega corporations Apple, Google, and Facebook, where success is measured (and often paid) in webpage hits.

What Timberg glances over is that if this new system is an oligopoly of tech companies, then what it replaced – or is still in the process of replacing – was a feudal system of newspapers, publishing houses, record labels, operas, and art galleries. The book is full of enough discouraging data and painful portraits of artists, though, to make this point moot. Things are definitely getting worse.

Why should these worldly worries make the Muse stutter when she is expected to sing from outside of history and without health insurance? Timberg proposes that if we are to save the “creative class” – the often young, often from middle-class backgrounds sector of society that generates cultural content – we need to shake this old myth. The Muse can inspire but not sustain. Members of the creative class, argues Timberg

depend not just on that original inspiration, but on an infrastructure that moves creations into the larger culture and somehow provides material support for those who make, distribute, and assess them. Today, that indispensable infrastructure is at risk...

Artists may never entirely disappear, but they are certainly vulnerable to the economic and cultural zeitgeist. Remember the Dark Ages? Timberg does, and drapes this shroud over every chapter. It comes off as alarmist at times. Culture is obviously no longer smothered by an authoritarian Catholic church.

 

Art as the Province of the Young and Independently Wealthy

But Timberg suggests that contemporary artists have signed away their rights in a new contract with the market. Cultural producers, no matter how important their output is to the rest of us, are expected to exhaust themselves without compensation because their work is, by definition, worthless until it’s profitable. Art is an act of passion – why not produce it for free, never mind that Apple, Google, and Facebook have the right to generate revenue from your production? “According to this way of thinking,” wrote Miya Tokumitsu describing the do-what-you-love mantra that rode out of Silicon Valley on the back of TED Talks, “labor is not something one does for compensation, but an act of self-love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, it is because the worker’s passion and determination were insufficient.”

The fact is, when creativity becomes financially unsustainable, less is created, and that which does emerge is the product of trust-fund kids in their spare time. “If working in culture becomes something only for the wealthy, or those supported by corporate patronage, we lose the independent perspective that artistry is necessarily built on,” writes Timberg.

It would seem to be a position with many proponents except that artists have few loyal advocates on either side of the political spectrum. “A working artist is seen neither as the salt of the earth by the left, nor as a ‘job creator’ by the right – but as a kind of self-indulgent parasite by both sides,” writes Timberg.

That’s with respect to unsuccessful artists – in other words, the creative class’s 99 percent. But, as Timberg disparages, “everyone loves a winner.” In their own way, both conservatives and liberals have stumbled into Voltaire’sCandide, accepting that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. If artists cannot make money, it’s because they are either untalented or esoteric elitists. It is the giants of pop music who are taking all the spoils, both financially and morally, in this new climate.

Timberg blames this winner-take-all attitude on the postmodernists who, beginning in the 1960s with film critic Pauline Kael, dismantled the idea that creative genius must be rescued from underneath the boots of mass appeal and replaced it with the concept of genius-as-mass-appeal. “Instead of coverage of, say, the lost recordings of pioneering bebop guitarist Charlie Christian,” writes Timberg, “we read pieces ‘in defense’ of blockbuster acts like the Eagles (the bestselling rock band in history), Billy Joel, Rush – groups whose songs…it was once impossible to get away from.”

Timberg doesn’t give enough weight to the fact that the same rebellion at the university liberated an enormous swath of art, literature, and music from the shadow of an exclusive (which is not to say unworthy) canon made up mostly of white men. In fact, many postmodernists have taken it upon themselves to look neither to the pop charts nor the Western canon for genius but, with the help of the Internet, to the broad creative class that Timberg wants to defend.

 

Creating in the Age of Poptimism

This doesn’t mean that today’s discovered geniuses can pay their bills, though, and Timberg is right to be shocked that, for the first time in history, pop culture is untouchable, off limits to critics or laypeople either on the grounds of taste or principle. If you can’t stand pop music because of the hackneyed rhythms and indiscernible voices, you’ve failed to appreciate the wonders of crowdsourced culture – the same mystery that propels the market.

Sadly, Timberg puts himself in checkmate early on by repeatedly pitting black mega-stars like Kanye West against white indie-rockers like the Decembrists, whose ascent to the pop-charts he characterizes as a rare triumph of mass taste.

But beyond his anti-hip-hop bias is an important argument: With ideological immunity, the pop charts are mimicking the stratification of our society. Under the guise of a popular carnival where a home-made YouTube video can bring a talented nobody the absurd fame of a celebrity, creative industries have nevertheless become more monotonous and inaccessible to new and disparate voices. In 1986, thirty-one chart-toppers came from twenty-nine different artists. Between 2008 and mid-2012, half of the number-one songs were property of only six stars. “Of course, it’s never been easy to land a hit record,” writes Timberg. “But recession-era rock has brought rewards to a smaller fraction of the artists than it did previously. Call it the music industry’s one percent.”

The same thing is happening with the written word. In the first decade of the new millennium, points out Timberg, citing Wired magazine, the market share of page views for the Internet’s top ten websites rose from 31 percent to 75 percent.

Timberg doesn’t mention that none of the six artists dominating the pop charts for those four years was a white man, but maybe that’s beside the point. In Borges’s “Babylon Lottery,” every citizen has the chance to be a sovereign. That doesn’t mean they were living in a democracy. Superstars are coming up from poverty, without the help of white male privilege, like never before, at the same time that poverty – for artists and for everyone else – is getting worse.

Essayists are often guilted into proposing solutions to the problems they perceive, but in many cases they should have left it alone. Timberg wisely avoids laying out a ten-point plan to clean up the mess, but even his initial thrust toward justice – identifying the roots of the crisis – is a pastiche of sometimes contradictory liberal biases that looks to the past for temporary fixes.

Timberg puts the kibosh on corporate patronage of the arts, but pines for the days of newspapers run by wealthy families. When information technology is his target because it forces artists to distribute their work for free, removes the record store and bookstore clerks from the scene, and feeds consumer dollars to only a few Silicon Valley tsars, Timberg’s answer is to retrace our steps twenty years to the days of big record companies and Borders book stores – since that model was slightly more compensatory to the creative class.

When his target is postmodern intellectuals who slander “middle-brow” culture as elitist, only to expend their breath in defense of super-rich pop stars, Timberg retreats fifty years to when intellectuals like Marshall McLuhan and Norman Mailer debated on network television and the word “philharmonic” excited the uncultured with awe rather than tickled them with anti-elitist mockery. Maybe television back then was more tolerable, but Timberg hardly even tries to sound uplifting. “At some point, someone will come up with a conception better than middlebrow,” he writes. “But until then, it beats the alternatives.”

 

The Fallacy of the Good Old Days

Timberg’s biggest mistake is that he tries to find a point in history when things were better for artists and then reroute us back there for fear of continued decline. What this translates to is a program of bipartisan moderation – a little bit more public funding here, a little more philanthropy there. Something everyone can agree on, but no one would ever get excited about.

Why not boldly state that a society is dysfunctional if there is enough food, shelter, and clothing to go around and yet an individual is forced to sacrifice these things in order to produce, out of humanistic virtue, the very thing which society has never demanded more of – culture? And if skeptics ask for a solution, why not suggest something big, a reorganization of society, from top to bottom, not just a vintage flotation device for the middle class? Rather than blame technological innovation for the poverty of artists, why not point the finger at those who own the technology and call for a system whereby efficiency doesn’t put people out of work, but allows them to work fewer hours for the same salary; whereby information is free not because an unpaid intern wrote content in a race for employment, but because we collectively pick up the tab?

This might not satisfy the TED Talk connoisseur’s taste for a clever and apolitical fix, but it definitely trumps championing a middle-ground littered with the casualties of cronyism, colonialism, racism, patriarchy, and all their siblings. And change must come soon because, if Timberg is right, “the price we ultimately pay” for allowing our creative class to remain on its crash course “is in the decline of art itself, diminishing understanding of ourselves, one another, and the eternal human spirit.”

 

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Kylie to headline British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park
2015-01-26 04:20:34 (38 minutes ago) 

With special guests Grace Jones and Chic, the Aussie pop star will top the bill at the third date of the annual outdoor show

Kylie Minogue is to headline Hyde Park in London on 21 June, as part of the British Summer Time festival. The Australian pop icon will enlist the funk force of special guests Grace Jones and Chic, who will open for her at the show.

Following her lavish Kiss Me Once European tour last year, the singer will this summer take her stage show to the annual outdoor event. “I’m so excited to perform at Hyde Park this Summer,” Kylie said. “I have great memories of playing shows there and am looking forward to doing it all again! Given the amazing artists performing and that it will be the longest day of the year, I can’t wait!”

Continue reading...
 
Football transfer rumours: Aleksandar Dragovic to Manchester United?
2015-01-26 04:20:34 (38 minutes ago) 
Today’s tittle-tattle is suited, booted and on parade below for your reading pleasure

After the surreality of the weekend’s FA Cup action, it seems weirdly fitting that tonight’s draw for the last 16 will take place on the strangely entertaining but often downright weird BBC television programme that is The One Show, with warmly grinning hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones poised to invite Gary Lineker and the Football Association tombola into their eclectic domain of ... whatever. Whether or not the national broadcaster’s bearded face of football will be joined by Donny Osmond, an elderly Tarot card reader from Cheltenham and consumer champion Matt Allwright blowing the lid off a possible timeshare scam in the Outer Hebrides remains to be seen, but the Rumour Mill will certainly be tuning in to find out.

But before all that there’s work to be done, with no shortage of potentially baseless speculation to report on the penultimate Monday of the transfer window. Having almost certainly failed in their bid to bring Gabriel Paulista to Old Trafford, Manchester United appear to have fended off interest from Liverpool, West Ham, Zenit St Petersburg, Roma and Juventus in their quest to sign Austria skipper Aleksandar Dragovic. Dynamo Kiev are rumoured to have accepted a bid of £15m for a central defender who once cited his ambition “to retrace the steps and the career of my model Nemanja Vidic”. Here’s hoping he has a happier time of it when he eventually moves on to Inter.

Related: Football transfer window news – live! | Gerard Meagher

Continue reading...
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-01-26 04:20:16 (39 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Officials say 2 sons of Egypt's Mubarak freed from prison
2015-01-26 04:20:05 (39 minutes ago) 
CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian security officials say two sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been released from prison, nearly four years after they were first arrested along with their father....
 
Officials Say 2 Sons of Egypt's Mubarak Freed From Prison
2015-01-26 04:20:02 (39 minutes ago) 
Egyptian officials say 2 sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been freed from prison
 
Snow Starts to Fall in Western Pennsylvania
2015-01-26 04:10:51 (48 minutes ago) 
Allegheny County braces itself as snow starts falling in what is expected to be a major storm dumping several feet of snow across the northeast.
 
Guantánamo Diary: Brian Eno reads an extract – podcast
2015-01-26 04:10:27 (49 minutes ago) 
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-01-26 04:10:19 (49 minutes ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:10:10 (49 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
New Scottish women's prison scrapped
2015-01-26 04:10:08 (49 minutes ago) 
Plans for a new £75m women's prison in the west of Scotland have been scrapped, the Scottish government confirms.
 
Officials say 2 sons of Egypt's Mubarak freed from prison
2015-01-26 04:10:06 (49 minutes ago) 
CAIRO (AP) - Egyptian security officials say two sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been released from prison, nearly four years after they were first arrested along with their father. The officials said the two, wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak's one-time heir apparent Gamal, walked free from Torah Prison in a southern Cairo suburb shortly after daybreak on Monday and were believed to have headed to their respective homes in the capital....
 
Plan to bolster levee encourages Zoar residents
2015-01-26 04:00:33 (58 minutes ago) 
ZOAR, Ohio — Residents of a nearly 200-year-old community in northeastern Ohio are hopeful about a plan to fix the aging levee that protects their village from flooding from the Tuscarawas River.
 
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2015-01-26 04:00:27 (59 minutes ago) 
submitted by LegendaryGinger to gifs
[link] [500 comments]
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:00:08 (59 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
China's leaders show listening ear on trash but not politics
2015-01-26 04:00:05 (59 minutes ago) 
BEIJING (AP) -- To help sell the public on the need for one of the world's largest trash incinerators in the mountains in west Beijing, Communist Party officials bused in hundreds of people for special tours. They held talks with residents and handed out questionnaires....
 
Russian Ruble Tumbles After Violent Weekend in East Ukraine
2015-01-26 04:00:02 (59 minutes ago) 
Russian ruble tumbles after violence in eastern Ukraine escalates and oil continues to drop
 
[Ticker] ECB 'cannot create growth', warns top official
2015-01-26 03:50:48 (1 hours ago) 
The ECB has "done its part" by promising to buy government bonds but can do "nothing" to lift the European economy in a "lasting way". Speaking at the World Economic Forum Saturday, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure added that governments needed to "do their part" to kick-start economic activity.


 
What you need to know about the snow headed to the Northeast
2015-01-26 03:50:44 (1 hours ago) 

The busy Northeast corridor prepared for a winter wallop that was expected to bring up to 2 feet of snow from northern New Jersey all the way up to Massachusetts. Here's what residents of the big cities in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic need to know about the coming storm:

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Campbell Newman's lawyers tried to delay deadline for defence of libel claim
2015-01-26 03:50:28 (1 hours ago) 

Queensland premier’s legal team tried to have deadline for lodging his defence in a $1.2m defamation lawsuit pushed back to the day before the state election

The Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, delayed lodging his defence in a $1.2m defamation lawsuit brought by criminal lawyers, with his legal team trying to have the deadline pushed back to the day before the state election, Guardian Australia can reveal.

Newman’s taxpayer-funded lawyers last week tried to have the deadline for his defence of a libel claim by solicitors Chris and Daniel Hannay, who claim to have been defamed by the premier in comments about bikies, postponed to Friday.

Continue reading...
 
What you need to know about the snow headed to the Northeast
2015-01-26 03:50:24 (1 hours ago) 

The busy Northeast corridor prepared for a winter wallop that was expected to bring up to 2 feet of snow from northern New Jersey all the way up to Massachusetts. Here's what residents of the big cities in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic need to know about the coming storm:

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...
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 03:50:11 (1 hours ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Woman's body found in Glasgow park
2015-01-26 03:50:09 (1 hours ago) 
Police say the death of a woman whose body was found in a Glasgow park on Sunday is currently being treated as "unexplained".
 
Endurance medicine offers long-distance athletes specialized care
2015-01-26 03:40:38 (1 hours ago) 
After a year off, Tony Benishek is ready to compete in another triathlon. His left knee? Time will tell.
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-01-26 03:40:15 (1 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Syrian President Dismisses Talks With 'Puppets' in Interview
2015-01-26 03:40:02 (1 hours ago) 
In interview, Syrian president dismisses negotiations with 'puppets' as Moscow talks to begin
 
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launches PAC
2015-01-26 03:31:07 (1 hours ago) 

New Jersey governor takes first concrete step toward a 2016 White House bid

       
 
[Ticker] EU ministers to discuss increased aid package for Ukraine
2015-01-26 03:30:46 (1 hours ago) 
EU finance ministers will Tuesday discuss whether to increase aid to Ukraine to €2.5 billion, Reuters reports. Ukraine is reliant on loans from the International Monetary Fund to stay afloat, but still faces a large funding shortfall of up to $15 billion (€13 billion) this year.


 
Trial to begin in Boy Scout sex abuse civil case
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Previously sealed Boy Scouts "perversion" files spanning 16 years could soon be in the public eye as part of a negligence lawsuit set for trial Monday in California that was filed against the organization by a victim of sex abuse.

Opening statements were set in Santa Barbara, where a man who is now 20 and was molested by a Boy Scout volunteer in 2007 is seeking punitive damages after claiming the Scouts failed to educate and warn parents and volunteers about the dangers of sex abuse.

 
AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCENE: NFL talk, Serena's free advice
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 03:30:11 (1 hours ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
'Disgusting' banner prompts anger
2015-01-26 03:30:09 (1 hours ago) 
Anderlecht's Steven Defour is sent off on his return to former club Standard Liege as fans unfurl an offensive banner.
 
Flashy balconies force Swedes to wear sunglasses indoors
2015-01-26 03:20:43 (2 hours ago) 
The balconies on a new apartment block in Sundbyberg in Stockholm are reflecting light in a way that is dazzling neighbours and forcing them to wear sunglasses.
 
Federal judge stays Ala. gay marriage ruling 2 weeks, will clarify marriage license issue
2015-01-26 04:51:08 (8 minutes ago) 
 
Bali Nine: Indonesia will not execute Australians in next week
2015-01-26 04:50:35 (8 minutes ago) 

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will not face firing squad until after previous executions are ‘evaluated’

Continue reading...
 
SSE cuts household gas cost by 4.1% and freezes prices until July 2016
2015-01-26 04:50:35 (8 minutes ago) 
Reduction would save £28 per year to standard household bill but critics call for deeper cuts branding it another move in ‘a phoney price war’

SSE has become the latest of the large energy suppliers to cut its prices by reducing the cost of household gas by 4.1%.

It said the cut would save £28 a year on the typical gas bill. SSE has also pledged not to increase prices for 7m customers, until July 2016 at the earliest by extending the freeze it introduced last year by six months.

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Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:50:13 (9 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Too much useless CCTV, says watchdog
2015-01-26 04:50:10 (9 minutes ago) 
Too many CCTV cameras are ineffective and the public does not have a true understanding of them, the surveillance commissioner warns.
 
Family pay tribute to Gloucester machete victim
2015-01-26 04:40:47 (18 minutes ago) 
Zac Evans, 19, was killed in attack on Friday night, apparently as he tried to protect a group of young women outside a pub

The family of a teenager who was killed in a machete attack, apparently as he tried to protect a group of young women outside a pub, have paid tribute to a brave and talented young man who they said would help anyone who was in trouble.

Zac Evans, 19, who ran his own business as a painter and decorator, was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack in Gloucester in the early hours of Saturday. Detectives are questioning a 44-year-old local man on suspicion of murder.

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These Snowfall Records Could Be Buried This Week
2015-01-26 04:40:37 (18 minutes ago) 
A storm system is expected to pummel the Northeast with potentially "historic" snow accumulations into Tuesday night.






 
Kurdish fighters turn back ISIS
2015-01-26 04:40:16 (19 minutes ago) 
Kurdish fighters are claiming progress in their fight against ISIS and now control at least 90% of the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, a monitoring group said Monday.
 
A Prank Caller Got Through to British Prime Minister David Cameron
2015-01-26 04:31:15 (28 minutes ago) 
A
 
Official: Whiteboxer Super Micro is a $2bn server company
2015-01-26 04:31:11 (28 minutes ago) 
 
Trouble in New Orleans: Crime on rise in Quarter, police ranks depleted and Mardi Gras is here
2015-01-26 04:31:03 (28 minutes ago) 
 
Snow Starts to Fall in Western Pennsylvania
2015-01-26 04:30:42 (28 minutes ago) 
Allegheny County braces itself as snow starts falling in what is expected to be a major storm dumping several feet of snow across the northeast.
 
Experts: Ocean Acidification Should Be Included in the Climate Change Discussions
2015-01-26 04:30:31 (28 minutes ago) 

Monaco – Actions to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification in a future global climate deal could make the agreement stronger and facilitate its implementation.

 
David Cameron: Greek election result will increase economic uncertainty
2015-01-26 04:30:27 (29 minutes ago) 
 
Mock my Nokia all you like – I’m happier since ditching my smartphone
2015-01-26 04:30:26 (29 minutes ago) 
I was addicted to my smartphone, but withdrawing from social media has calmed my mind and made me a better real-life friend

Towards the end of 2014 I was burned out, for a variety of reasons. My job at the time involved working in a busy open plan office, with constant interruptions and competing demands. Like most of my colleagues, I spent my breaks checking social media, email and YouTube or playing Candy Crush. Yes, I was as addicted as the next person, and yes, I probably did send you those annoying Facebook requests. Guilty as charged.

The defence for the screen-addicted is simple: according to Daniel J Levitin’s latest book, The Organized Mind, replying to texts, emails and Facebook messages delivers a shot of dopamine straight to the brain, which makes us feel good. That cute sneezing panda takes our minds off our troubles, and makes us feel connected. Levitin says we also feel as if we are accomplishing something every time we hit send. Not only do we have to be productive at work, we also need to be sufficiently productive in our virtual lives. Nobody wants to feel irrelevant.

Continue reading...
 
Sakho 'sadness' at injury criticism
2015-01-26 04:30:08 (29 minutes ago) 
West Ham and Senegal striker Diafra Sakho is "saddened" and "angered" by criticism of his Africa Cup of Nations absence.
 
Why Aren’t We Using This Gun Technology That Could Save Hundreds of Children’s Lives?
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
Every year in the U.S., more than 7,000 children and teenagers are involved in shooting accidents. 3,000 of them die.

Every year in the United States, over 7,000 children and teenagers are involved in shooting accidents. 3,000 of them die. These numbers—taken from a recent study by the journal Pediatrics—are horrific, but they’re unlikely to change any time soon. Children have access to guns in their own homes, in the homes of their friends and families, and even, in some states, at shooting ranges. More than one third of all U.S. households have guns, and a study published in the Journal of Trauma found that “children 5-14 years old were more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries, suicides and homicides if they lived in states with more rather than fewer guns.” Put simply: access and exposure to firearms increases the chances that a kid or teen will be involved in an unintentional shooting incident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children between the ages of 1-14.

As I started writing this post, a news item scrolled across the top of my Facebook feed: ELMO, MISSOURI: ‘5-Year-Old Boy Kills Infant Brother With Revolver, Police Say.” Alone in a bedroom with his baby brother, the 5-year-old found a loaded .22 caliber revolver lying on the bed and shot him once, boring a hole through his brother’s skull above the right ear. Thanks to social media and a 24-hour news cycle that needs to be fed, these tragic, everyday stories that would once have been confined to local papers now end up on the national radar. There was the toddler who shot and killed his mother at an Idaho Walmart on New Year’s Eve day. The 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her shooting instructor with an Uzi at a gun range in Arizona. The mom in Tulsa who was killed by her 3-year-old while changing her baby’s diaper. So what we can do besides watch these headlines pile up?

Keeping guns in the hands of their owners is one crucial tactic, according to gun control advocates. In his column this week, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof profiles Kai Kloepfer, a Colorado teen who developed a “smart gun” that can only be fired by an authorized user. The model relies on biomestric user authentication, meaning it only fires when it recognizes the finger holding the trigger. If a child stumbled upon a parents’ firearm, he or she would not be able to use it. According to Kristof, “over 1,000 fingerprints can be authorized per gun, and Kloepfer says the sensor is 99.999 percent accurate.”

Kloepfer’s design, which he made for a science fair project, is impressively sophisticated. But smart gun technology has existed for decades. Some models rely on proximity sensors, some on magnets, and others, like Kloepfer’s, on biometrics. In one version, the iP1, the gun owner wears a radio-frequency identification watch that communicates with the pistol. An internal tracking device prevents the gun from firing if it is away from the owner. Smart guns have been praised by New York congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Attorney General Eric Holder for “decreasing the misuse of weapons.” The executive director of the American Association of Suicidology has also voiced support for the technology, saying that it would lower the rate of shooting suicides, especially among male teens. So why haven’t smart guns caught on?

The principal reason—as is so often the case when it comes to gun safety measures—is the virulent opposition of the gun lobby. The National Rifle Association has spoken out against smart guns, claiming that they rely on expensive, unreliable features and are prone to failure. The organization, like other gun rights advocates, fears that the technology could become mandatory. As USA Today reported, gun-store owners are similarly suspicious, insisting that there is no market among their customers for these sorts of firearms. But coercive measures have been used to keep them off the market entirely.

As of now, no gun dealer in the U.S. sells smart guns. Last year, Armatrix, the German company that developed the iP1, convinced two American gun dealerships to offer its model. Second Amendment advocates promptly launched a media attack on the gun-shop owners, and one of the owners, Andy Raymond, received phone calls from people threatening to burn his store down if he sold the iP1. Ultimately, both owners reversed course and decided against selling the gun.

There are some legitimate concerns about smart guns, which are still a developing product, but they have been blown wildly out of proportion by gun rights proponents. They say it’s a mistake to rely on a battery-powered device in the case of emergency, but designs like Kai Kloepfer’s only require a battery charge once a year. They fear that the technology is vulnerable to hacking, but we rely on user authentication software on our smart phones, which contain our most private information, and the odds of someone hacking into the handgun a family owns for self-defense seem remarkably slim. In an interview with Tech Crunch, Kloepfer said that in his model, all user data is kept right on the gun and no information is uploaded elsewhere, rendering it quite difficult to hack.

The real problem with smart guns speaks to our real problem with guns in general. Many Americans own firearms in order to protect themselves and their loved ones in the case of a home invasion. This is where Stand Your Ground laws come from—the idea that the family home is a sacred space that is to be defended by any means necessary. But it is a paranoid, unfounded fear. Harold Pollack, Co-Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, explains why in the Nation, “Having guns around bring risks. Practically speaking, it’s not the incredibly rare risk of mass homicide, but the everyday risks of injury, accident, domestic altercations, and suicide….The fact is: lethal home invasions and burglaries are incredibly rare.”

The odds of being shot, intentionally or accidentally, by your partner—or your toddler—are much higher than those of a complete stranger breaking into your apartment and murdering you. The Bureau of Justice reports that every year, around 100 homicides happen during household burglaries, making up under 1 percent of all U.S. homicides.

Being permanently at the ready to shoot a potential burglar carries significant risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families that own guns keep the weapons locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. But in a 1994 RAND-UCLA study, only 39 percent of parents reported doing so. This means they have easy access to their firearms in case of emergency, but it also means their children have access to them most of the time. In the light of these statistics, gun ownership in the name of protecting the family starts to seem ludicrous.

Still, this is the argument most often made by Second Amenment advocates and their supporters. In a Forbes column that lists red herring after red herring about the safety of smart guns, Joseph Steinberg plays off of this fear. “Lawfully armed citizens protecting themselves and/or their families could be killed if their weapons malfunction during a home invasion or attempted rape,” Steinberg writes. 

Instead of inventing hypothetical situations in which smart guns could fail, we should be working on refining the technology behind them, making them cheaper, more widely available, and consistently reliable for users. It makes no sense to maintain the status quo, which we know isn’t working, because a new technology may not work. The biggest hurdle will be convincing parental gun owners to purchase smart guns instead of standard-issue firearms. In a 1,200-person survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 74 percent of respondents said that they would not buy a smart gun. And in an interview with USA Today, Illinois gun-shop owner Brent Ball told the reporter, “I think it is the stupidest thing ever made. Nobody who is a gun person will ever ask for that.”

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How Israeli High-Tech Firms Are Turning the U.S.-Mexico Border into a New Kind of Hell
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
U.S. borderlands are laboratories for nightmarish innovations.

To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

 

It was October 2012. Roei Elkabetz, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was explaining his country’s border policing strategies. In his PowerPoint presentation, a photo of the enclosure wall that isolates the Gaza Strip from Israel clicked onscreen. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”

Elkabetz was speaking at a border technology conference and fair surrounded by a dazzling display of technology -- the components of his boundary-building lab. There were surveillance balloons with high-powered cameras floating over a desert-camouflaged armored vehicle made by Lockheed Martin. There were seismic sensor systems used to detect the movement of people and other wonders of the modern border-policing world. Around Elkabetz, you could see vivid examples of where the future of such policing was heading, as imagined not by a dystopian science fiction writer but by some of the top corporate techno-innovators on the planet.

Swimming in a sea of border security, the brigadier general was, however, not surrounded by the Mediterranean but by a parched West Texas landscape. He was in El Paso, a 10-minute walk from the wall that separates the United States from Mexico.

Just a few more minutes on foot and Elkabetz could have watched green-striped U.S. Border Patrol vehicles inching along the trickling Rio Grande in front of Ciudad Juarez, one of Mexico’s largest cities filled with U.S. factories and the dead of that country’s drug wars. The Border Patrol agents whom the general might have spotted were then being up-armored with a lethal combination of surveillance technologies, military hardware, assault rifles, helicopters, and drones. This once-peaceful place was being transformed into what Timothy Dunn, in his book The Militarization of the U.S. Mexico Border, terms a state of “low-intensity warfare.”

The Border Surge

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration reform. Addressing the American people, he referred to bipartisan immigration legislation passed by the Senate in June 2013 that would, among other things, further up-armor the same landscape in what’s been termed -- in language adopted from recent U.S. war zones -- a “border surge.” The president bemoaned the fact that the bill had been stalled in the House of Representatives, hailing it as a “compromise” that “reflected common sense.” It would, he pointed out, “have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.”

In the wake of his announcement, including executive actions that would protect five to six million of those immigrants from future deportation, the national debate was quickly framed as a conflict between Republicans and Democrats. Missed in this partisan war of words was one thing: the initial executive action that Obama announced involved a further militarization of the border supported by both parties.

“First,” the president said, “we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over.” Without further elaboration, he then moved on to other matters.

If, however, the United States follows the “common sense” of the border-surge bill, the result could add more than $40 billion dollars worth of agents, advanced technologies, walls, and other barriers to an already unparalleled border enforcement apparatus. And a crucial signal would be sent to the private sector that, as the trade magazine Homeland Security Today puts it, another “treasure trove” of profit is on the way for a border control market already, according to the latest forecasts, in an “unprecedented boom period.”

Like the Gaza Strip for the Israelis, the U.S. borderlands, dubbed a “constitution-free zone” by the ACLU, are becoming a vast open-air laboratory for tech companies. There, almost any form of surveillance and “security” can be developed, tested, and showcased, as if in a militarized shopping mall, for other nations across the planet to consider. In this fashion, border security is becoming a global industry and few corporate complexes can be more pleased by this than the one that has developed in Elkabetz’s Israel.

The Palestine-Mexico Border

Consider the IDF brigadier general’s presence in El Paso two years ago an omen. After all, in February 2014, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency in charge of policing our borders, contracted with Israel’s giant private military manufacturer Elbit Systems to build a “virtual wall,” a technological barrier set back from the actual international divide in the Arizona desert. That company, whose U.S.-traded stock shot up by 6% during Israel’s massive military operation against Gaza in the summer of 2014, will bring the same databank of technology used in Israel’s borderlands -- Gaza and the West Bank -- to Southern Arizona through its subsidiary Elbit Systems of America.

With approximately 12,000 employees and, as it boasts, “10+ years securingthe world’s most challenging borders,” Elbit produces an arsenal of “homeland security systems.” These include surveillance land vehicles, mini-unmanned aerial systems, and “smart fences,” highly fortified steel barriers that have the ability to sense a person’s touch or movement. In its role as lead system integrator for Israel’s border technology plan, the company has already installed smart fences in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

In Arizona, with up to a billion dollars potentially at its disposal, CBP has tasked Elbit with creating a “wall” of “integrated fixed towers” containing the latest in cameras, radar, motion sensors, and control rooms. Construction will start in the rugged, desert canyons around Nogales. Once a DHS evaluation deems that part of the project effective, the rest will be built to monitor the full length of the state’s borderlands with Mexico. Keep in mind, however, that these towers are only one part of a broader operation, the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan. At this stage, it’s essentially a blueprint for an unprecedented infrastructure of high-tech border fortifications that has attracted the attention of many companies. 

This is not the first time Israeli companies have been involved in a U.S. border build-up. In fact, in 2004, Elbit’s Hermes drones were the first unmanned aerial vehicles to take to the skies topatrol the southern border. In 2007, according to Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine, the Golan Group, an Israeli consulting company made up of former IDF Special Forces officers,provided an intensive eight-day course for special DHS immigration agents covering “everything from hand-to-hand combat to target practice to ‘getting proactive with their SUV.’” The Israeli company NICE Systems evensupplied Arizona’s Joe Arpaio,“America’s toughest sheriff,” with a surveillance system to watch one of his jails.

As such border cooperation intensified, journalist Jimmy Johnson coined the apt phrase “Palestine-Mexico border” to catch what was happening. In 2012, Arizona state legislators, sensing the potential economic benefit of this growing collaboration, declared their desert state and Israel to be natural “trade partners,” adding that it was “a relationship we seek to enhance.”

In this way, the doors were opened to a new world order in which the United States and Israel are to become partners in the “laboratory” that is the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Its testing grounds are to be in Arizona. There, largely through a program known as Global Advantage, American academic and corporate knowhow and Mexican low-wage manufacturing are to fuse with Israel’s border and homeland security companies.

The Border: Open for Business

No one may frame the budding romance between Israel’s high-tech companies and Arizona better than Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “If you go to Israel and you come to Southern Arizona and close your eyes and spin yourself a few times,” he says, “you might not be able to tell the difference.”

Global Advantage is a business project based on a partnership between the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona and the Offshore Group, a business advisory and housing firm which offers “nearshore solutions for manufacturers of any size” just across the border in Mexico. Tech Parks Arizona has the lawyers, accountants, and scholars, as well as the technical knowhow, to help any foreign company land softly and set up shop in the state. It will aid that company in addressing legal issues, achieving regulatory compliance, and even finding qualified employees -- and through a program it’s called the Israel Business Initiative, Global Advantage has identified its target country.

Think of it as the perfect example of a post-NAFTA world in which companies dedicated to stopping border crossers are ever freer to cross the same borders themselves. In the spirit of free trade that created the NAFTA treaty, the latest border fortification programs are designed to eliminate borders when it comes to letting high-tech companies from across the seas set up in the United States and make use of Mexico’s manufacturing base to create their products. While Israel and Arizona may be separated by thousands of miles, Rothschild assured TomDispatch that in “economics, there are no borders.”

Of course, what the mayor appreciates, above all, is the way new border technology could bring money and jobs into an area with a nearly 23% poverty rate. How those jobs might be created matters far less to him. According to Molly Gilbert, the director of community engagement for the Tech Parks Arizona, “It’s really about development, and we want to create technology jobs in our borderlands.”

So consider it anything but an irony that, in this developing global set of boundary-busting partnerships, the factories that will produce the border fortresses designed by Elbit and other Israeli and U.S. high-tech firms will mainly be located in Mexico. Ill-paid Mexican blue-collar workers will, then, manufacture the very components of a future surveillance regime, which may well help locate, detain, arrest, incarcerate, and expel some of them if they try to cross into the United States.

Think of Global Advantage as a multinational assembly line, a place where homeland security meets NAFTA. Right now there are reportedly 10 to 20 Israeli companies in active discussion about joining the program. Bruce Wright, the CEO of Tech Parks Arizona, tells TomDispatch that his organization has a “nondisclosure” agreement with any companies that sign on and so cannot reveal their names.

Though cautious about officially claiming success for Global Advantage’s Israel Business Initiative, Wright brims with optimism about his organization’s cross-national planning. As he talks in a conference room located on the 1,345-acre park on the southern outskirts of Tucson, it’s apparent that he's buoyed by predictions that the Homeland Security market will grow from a $51 billion annual business in 2012 to $81 billion in the United States alone by 2020, and $544 billion worldwide by 2018.

Wright knows as well that submarkets for border-related products like video surveillance, non-lethal weaponry, and people-screening technologies are all advancing rapidly and that the U.S. market for drones is poised to create 70,000 new jobs by 2016. Partially fueling this growth is what the Associated Press calls an “unheralded shift” to drone surveillance on the U.S. southern divide. More than 10,000 drone flights have been launched into border air space since March 2013, with plans for many more, especially after the Border Patrol doubles its fleet.

When Wright speaks, it’s clear he knows that his park sits atop a twenty-first-century gold mine. As he sees it, Southern Arizona, aided by his tech park, will become the perfect laboratory for the first cluster of border security companies in North America. He’s not only thinking about the 57 southern Arizona companies already identified as working in border security and management, but similar companies nationwide and across the globe, especially in Israel.

In fact, Wright's aim is to follow Israel’s lead, as it is now the number-one place for such groupings. In his case, the Mexican border would simply replace that country’s highly marketed Palestinian testing grounds. The 18,000 linear feet that surround the tech park’s solar panel farm would, for example, be a perfect spot to test out motion sensors. Companies could also deploy, evaluate, and test their products “in the field,” as he likes to say -- that is, where real people are crossing real borders -- just as Elbit Systems did before CBP gave it the contract.

“If we’re going to be in bed with the border on a day-to-day basis, with all of its problems and issues, and there’s a solution to it,” Wright said in a 2012 interview, “why shouldn’t we be the place where the issue is solved and we get the commercial benefit from it?”

From the Battlefield to the Border

When Naomi Weiner, project coordinator for the Israel Business Initiative, returned from a trip to that country with University of Arizona researchers in tow, she couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about the possibilities for collaboration. She arrived back in November, just a day before Obama announced his new executive actions -- a promising declaration for those, like her, in the business of bolstering border defenses.

“We’ve chosen areas where Israel is very strong and Southern Arizona is very strong,” Weiner explained to TomDispatch, pointing to the surveillance industry “synergy” between the two places. For example, one firm her team met with in Israel was Brightway Vision, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems. If it decides to set up shop in Arizona, it could use tech park expertise to further develop and refine its thermal imaging cameras and goggles, while exploring ways to repurpose those military products for border surveillance applications. The Offshore Group would then manufacture the cameras and goggles in Mexico.

Arizona, as Weiner puts it, possesses the “complete package” for such Israeli companies. “We’re sitting right on the border, close to Fort Huachuca,” a nearby military base where, among other things, technicians control the drones surveilling the borderlands. “We have the relationship with Customs and Border Protection, so there’s a lot going on here. And we’re also the Center of Excellence on Homeland Security.”

Weiner is referring to the fact that, in 2008, DHS designated the University of Arizona the lead school for the Center of Excellence on Border Security and Immigration. Thanks to that, it has since received millions of dollars in federal grants. Focusing on research and development of border-policing technologies, the center is a place where, among other things, engineers are studying locust wings in order to create miniature drones equipped with cameras that can get into the tiniest of spaces near ground level, while large drones like the Predator B continue to buzz over the borderlands at 30,000 feet (despite the fact that a recent audit by the inspector general of homeland security found them a waste of money).

Although the Arizona-Israeli romance is still in the courtship stage, excitement about its possibilities is growing. Officials from Tech Parks Arizona see Global Advantage as the perfect way to strengthen the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.” There is no other place in the world with a higher concentration of homeland security tech companies than Israel. Six hundred tech start-ups are launched in Tel Aviv alone every year. During the Gaza offensive last summer, Bloomberg reported that investment in such companies had “actually accelerated.” However, despite the periodic military operations in Gaza and the incessant build-up of the Israeli homeland security regime, there are serious limitations to the local market.

The Israeli Ministry of Economy is painfully aware of this. Its officials know that the growth of the Israeli economy is “largely fueled by a steady increase in exports and foreign investment.” The government coddles, cultivates, and supports these start-up tech companies until their products are market-ready. Among them have been innovations like the “skunk,” a liquid with a putrid odor meant to stop unruly crowds in their tracks. The ministry has also been successful in taking such products to market across the globe. In the decade following 9/11, sales of Israeli “security exports” rose from $2 billion to $7 billion annually.

Israeli companies have sold surveillance drones to Latin American countries like Mexico, Chile, and Colombia, and massive security systems to India and Brazil, where an electro-optic surveillance system will be deployed along the country’s borders with Paraguay and Bolivia. They have also been involved in preparations for policing the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The products of Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries are now in use from the Americas and Europe to Australia. Meanwhile, that mammoth security firm is ever more involved in finding “civilian applications” for its war technologies. It is also ever more dedicated to bringing the battlefield to the world’s borderlands, including southern Arizona.

As geographer Joseph Nevins notes, although there are many differences between the political situations of the U.S. and Israel, both Israel-Palestine and Arizona share a focus on keeping out “those deemed permanent outsiders,” whether Palestinians, undocumented Latin Americans, or indigenous people.

Mohyeddin Abdulaziz has seen this “special relationship” from both sides, as a Palestinian refugee whose home and village Israeli military forces destroyed in 1967 and as a long-time resident of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. A founding member of the Southern Arizona BDS Network, whose goal is to pressure U.S. divestment from Israeli companies, Abdulaziz opposes any program like Global Advantage that will contribute to the further militarization of the border, especially when it also sanitizes Israel’s “violations of human rights and international law.”

Such violations matter little, of course, when there is money to be made, as Brigadier General Elkabetz indicated at that 2012 border technology conference. Given the direction that both the U.S. and Israel are taking when it comes to their borderlands, the deals being brokered at the University of Arizona look increasingly like matches made in heaven (or perhaps hell).  As a result, there is truth packed into journalist Dan Cohen’s comment that “Arizona is the Israel of the United States.”

 

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9.09am GMT

Firstly, a recap of the events over the weekend …

And a DONE DEAL to bring you up to speed with. Shaun Maloney, he of free-kick fame, has completed a move to the MLS and Chicago Fire for an undisclosed fee. The 31-year-old, whose Magnus Opus with Wigan came in the FA Cup triumph in 2013, has been described by Fire gaffer Frank Yallop as “a hard-working, attack-minded player”.

In reality it means we can get money for Fabian in the summer. Proper money.

9.00am GMT

Good morning! Well, what a weekend of FA Cup drama that was – banana skins have not been so perilous since the all-night Bowser Castle Fest of ‘97. And what better way to heal the bruised egos of those toppled big guns than to delve into the transfer market. There are only seven days to go until the window slams shut* and that means that by now even Daniel Levy, the baron of brinkmanship, will have a dialling finger as twitchy as Louis van Gaal’s backside.

Do get in touch with any transfer talk you want to get off your chest, via email, Twitter, carrier pigeon etc. Who do you want your club to sign? Who do you not want your club to sign? Who is going to make a move today?

9.00am GMT

Gerard will be here shortly with all the latest transfer window news. In the meantime, here’s news of an ongoing Arsenal signing:

Villarreal have announced they have reached agreement in principle with Arsenal for the sale of the centre-back Gabriel Paulista, with the forward Joel Campbell heading to the Spanish club on loan for the rest of the season.

The La Liga side confirmed on Twitter that a deal had been agreed shortly before their Primera División match against Levante kicked off at the Estadio El Madrigal. “Transfer agreed in principle with Arsenal for Gabriel, who will bid farewell before the game. Much luck!” the club posted. “Welcome joel-campbell12! Agreement reached with Arsenal until the end of the season.”

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• Defending champion will play Kei Nishikori in the next round

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Musician and producer is first artist since Miley Cyrus in 2013 to top both album and single charts simultaneously


Mark Ronson has scored the first UK charts double in 2015, with both his Uptown Funk single and Uptown Special album taking the top spot simultaneously.

The musician told the Official Charts Company that he was shocked at the achievements of his fourth album and his hit single. “This is absolutely incredible. I want to thank Jeff Bhasker, Michael Chabon and Emile Haynie who were there since the very beginning of this record - as well as Alison Donald, Mark Terry and Jason Iley at Sony UK. And finally, thank you to everyone who went out to the shop and bought the CD or pointed and clicked on Uptown Special this week - I really can’t believe it.”

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Greece Elections: Anti-Austerity Syriza Party Sweeps to Stunning Victory
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
A big victory in the fight against foreign banks.

Syriza, the radical leftists who have pledged to roll back austerity and renegotiate Greece’s mammoth debt, swept to a stunning victory in the country’s elections on Sunday – but looked like falling agonisingly short of an outright majority.

With more than 70% of the results in, official interior ministry results put Alexis Tsipras’s party on 36%, eight points clear of their chief rivals, the conservative New Democracy of outgoing prime minister Antonis Samaras, on 28%.

But even with the 50-seat bonus awarded to the winning party, that translated to 149 seats – two less than Syriza needs to govern alone in the 300-seat parliament. The extreme-right, anti-immigrant, Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn, several of whose 18 MPs are in jail awaiting trial for membership of a criminal organisation, clinched third place ahead of the new, centrist To Potami party.

In front of an ecstatic crowd of cheering, flag-waving supporters outside Athens university, Tsipras said that “today, the Greek people have made history. Hope has made history.”

The Greek people, he said, had “given a clear, strong, indisputable mandate. Greece has turned a page. Greece is leaving behind destructive austerity, fear and authoritarianism. It is leaving behind five years of humiliation and pain.”

Tsipras, 40, will lead the first eurozone government to openly oppose bailout conditions imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, seemingly setting Athens on a collision course with Brussels and particularly Berlin. The result had “made the Troika [the EU, IMF and European Central Bank] history,” he said.

Criticism was not slow in coming. The president of Germany’s Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, said Greece should stick to its budget commitments. “I hope the new government won’t call into question what is expected and what has already been achieved,” he told ARD television.

After five brutal years of austerity and recession, Greece’s 9.8m voters went to the polls under clear skies. Looking confident and relaxed, Tsipras cast his ballot in a primary school in the Kipseli district of Athens, saying the day represented the Greek people’s “last step towards regaining our dignity”.

Voters there said the poll felt like the most important in Greece’s recent history. “I just voted for the party that’s going to change Greece – in fact, the party that is going to change the whole of Europe,” said Panagiotis, 54, a self-employed electrician.

“There has to be change, big change. The economy has collapsed. Poverty has reached proportions … People, ordinary people like you and me, are poking around in dustbins to get food to eat. The young can only find work abroad. Syriza is Greece’s hope.”

Maria, 78, a lifelong conservative, said she had voted Syriza for the first time because she had “no confidence left in anyone, any party, who has governed us up until now”.

She added: “Things are in a very bad way here. But at least Syriza seem to care. My grandson – he’s seven – said to his mother, just now: ‘Vote Tsipras, mummy. He talks about the poor people.’”

Samaras appeared on national television to concede defeat, saying he had “assumed charge of a country that was on the brink of collapse … and restored its international credibility.” But he said the Greek people had spoken and the country must respect their decision.

Tsipras’s fierce anti-austerity, anti-bailout message has found an enthusiastic audience across a now visibly strung-out and worn-down country. Since 2009, Greece’s GDP has plummeted by a quarter and its household income by more than a third, while joblessness has trebled, to 26%.

Swingeing spending cuts and soaring unemployment have seen about 3.1 million people, or a third of the population, lose their social security and health insurance, leaving the country on the brink of humanitarian crisis. Almost third of Greece’s population now lives below the poverty line, while 18% are unable to afford basic food needs.

If Syriza does need a coalition partner, its choices are limited. Golden Dawn is clearly not an option and the Communist party has refused all cooperation with Syriza. Possible allies could include To Potami, whose leader said he was willing to talk, or the populist Independent Greeks, who agree with Syriza that austerity has to end, but disagree on almost everything else. Neither alliance would be easy.

The prospect of a Syriza victory spooked creditors who worry that Athens will seek a write-off of at least part of its €320bn debt. Some analysts fear that a tough Syriza approach to negotiations could push Greece out of the eurozone, although Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, insisted on Friday that this was not what she wanted.

Tsipras’s line has softened markedly in recent weeks, but several EU capitals are still alarmed by promises to cancel the most draconian budget cuts imposed as part of the country’s €240bn bailout package.

“We will start with the things we can easily do, that we can afford, but will make a difference,” said Gabriel Sakellaridis, a young Syriza candidate in central Athens.

“We don’t have a magic wand; people know that. But we can take simple steps to restore some social justice: raise the minimum wage and pension, abolish the most unfair new taxes.”

Above all, he said, Syriza could “restore the hope that has been missing from the Greek people through the past five years of fear, anxiety, despair. Syriza has convinced them we not just that we want to change things, but that we can.”

 
The True Cost of Citizens United: The Roberts Court’s Darkest Hour Revisited
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
Five years ago, conservatives on the high bench changed American elections forever. Here's what happened next.

It’s been five years since the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, which allowed unlimited corporate money into the political system and increased the domination of democracy by the wealthy elite. Money has indeed overwhelmed the system since 2008. This rise of big money in politics has endangered democracy and emboldened those who want to put democracy up for sale to aggressively attack the modest campaign spending regulations that still remain.

A recent Demos report explores how, since Citizens United, the following have occurred:

In the 2012 election .01 percent of all Americans contributed more than 28 percent of all individual contributions.In the 2012 election, Sheldon Adelson spent an estimated $150 million, $98 million through dark money channels. In 1980, by contrast, the largest donor gave $1.72 million (inflation-adjusted).A 2013 study finds, “millionaires receive about twice as much representation when they comprise just 5 percent of the district’s population than the poorest wealth group does when it makes up 50 percent of the district.”Another 2013 study finds that the richest 1 percent of Americans are “extremely active politically and that they are much more conservative than the American public as a whole with respect to important policies concerning taxation, economic regulation, and especially social welfare programs.”In the 2014 midterms, in the most competitive races, candidates got 86 percent of individual contributions from donors giving more than $200.

Americans are increasingly skeptical of claims that democracy by the wealthy is compatible with their interests. In a recent study commissioned by CNBC and Burson-Marsteller, 73 percent of American consumers believe that the government is more on the side of corporations than average citizens. Research by Pew suggests that trust in government has reached an almost record low, and the most recent ANES data find that 63.4 percent of Americans earning less than $30,000 agree (24.5 percent “strongly agree”) that public officials don’t care what people think.

As Jedediah Purdy notes in Dissent, “Unlike early Americans, who were obsessed with the decline and fall of republics, the justices seem to suppose that, once established, democracy cannot fail. This view flies in the face of history. It also suggests why the justices seem so complacent about the danger that their own rulings will erode democracy.” Purdy is correct, and the evidence is strong the dominance of money in politics has already overpowered the voices of middle-class Americans and Americans of color. As the evidence above suggests, Americans have very little voice in democracy, and increasingly feel that their government is not responsive. Low voting rates, particularly among the poor (far below average among OECD countries), are a symptom of our crisis of democracy. A recent poll finds that 54 percent of Americans who don’t vote say they don’t pay attention to politics because the political system is too corrupt.

But this is not the end of the story. Although a small group of unelected justices has attempted at every turn to weaken democracy — since 2006 the Roberts Court has struck down every money-in-politics law it has considered and removed critical protections for voting when it gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act —  it’s up to Americans to take it back.

Here are some proposals:

Public Financing

To counter the influence of big money in politics we need structures that encourage small donors to get involved. Such a system would mean that politicians would be dependent on, and thus responsive to, their constituents, not just rich donors. Connecticut is a great example of public financing. In Connecticut, 90 percent of legislative candidates and both gubernatorial candidates participated in that state’s clean elections program. Thesecandidates report being able to spend more time with their constituents. Once candidates were no longer exclusively dependent on wealthy donors and businesses, the influence of lobbyists decreased, which has been cited as an important step in guaranteeing paid sick leave to workers and raising the minimum wage.

Disclosure

In Citizens United, the justices upheld the constitutionality of disclosure, and in fact assumed that all the new money allowed into our politics would be transparent to voters,writing, “prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.” But an effective disclosure system does not yet exist, and our political system is awash with undisclosed political contributions (see chart). Disclosure of political spending serves voters’ interests in knowing who is funding a political message and about a candidate’s financial allegiances; protects against corrupt political deal-making; and prevents circumvention of campaign finance protections such as contribution limits by allowing monitoring. In the current system, corporations and unionsface different disclosure regimes, with unions required to disclose their political spending. The FEC should update their rules, which a federal judge found created an “easily exploited loophole.”

Legal Reframing

It is key that the Court recognize a more commonsense standard for corruption (one supported by a majority of Americans). Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, “if there is one decision I would overrule, it is Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.” Leading First Amendment scholar and former University of Chicago Law School dean Geoffrey Stone writes “that these five justices persist in invalidating these regulations under a perverse and unwarranted interpretation of the First Amendment is, to be blunt, a travesty. These decisions will be come to be counted as among the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court.” That’s quite a feat for our Supreme Court, given its ugly history.

Getting money out of politics should not be a partisan issue – a recent survey of likely voters finds that likely voters (including Republicans) are more apt to support than oppose public matching funds for small donations and public funding for elections. Majorities from both parties support disclosing corporate spending (see chart) and more than a million people have signed a petition supporting a proposed SEC rule to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending.

The problem, of course, is that the same people who benefit from money in politics are pulling the strings right now. The American citizens are united in opposing money in politics. Now, we need a mass movement from ordinary Americans to take back our democracy.

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Super Bowl for the Rich: Upper-Class 91, Middle-Class 9
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
Making money is all a game to the super-rich.

Just 10% of Americans own 91 percent of the nation's stocks and mutual funds, according to economist Edward Wolff (Table 7). Most of the remainder is held by a "middle class" that is steadily losing ground. The bottom 60% is almost entirely shut out (Table 2). 

Stock owners, some of whom made billions of dollars last year, can defer their income taxes indefinitely, pay a reduced capital gains tax when they decide to cash in, or pass on the capital gainstax-free to their heirs. 

Making money is all a game to the super-rich -- redistribution toward the top, trickle-down delusions, tax avoidance, and even, for some of them, dabbling in criminal activities. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) once said, "It's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally...It's a game we play...I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game." Here's part of their game plan: 


Blitz 

$2 of every $5 owned today was created in the last five years, most of it from the financial markets, and almost all of it going to the richest 10%. 

Unfathomably, the richest 1% took anywhere from 95 percent to 116 percent of the new income gains after the recession. Yes, 116 percent, because almost everyone else went backwards. Median wealth dropped about 40 percent from 2007 to 2013. 


Taunting 

JP Morgan CEO Jaime Dimon said, "I am not embarrassed to be a banker." On the contrary, he and his banking buddies can sit back and gloat, knowing that not a single Wall Street banker has been prosecuted for the financial collapse, and that the little fines they pay for their misconduct simply amount to the cost of doing business. 

Their crimes include faulty mortgages, lying to the U.S. Senate, and conspiring to hide billions of dollars of trading losses from regulators. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission used variations of the word 'fraud' over 150 times in describing the buildup to the crisis. 


Piling On 

The superrich team tries to convince us that all is well. From the Wall Street Journal: The U.S. economy is on a tear. From a Moody's analyst: Our economy is firing on most cylinders. And fromPresident Obama himself: Tonight, we turn the page. 

People with stocks are happy, but the news is a lot different for middle America, which has seen itspay drop a stunning 23 percent since 2009, and its median wealth plummet by about 40 percent. 


Holding 

Even though corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years, corporations aren't pumping it back into the economy. Instead they're holding it. S&P companies last year spent an incredible 95% of their profits on stock buybacks to enrich executives and shareholders. 

Meanwhile, as the rest of us dutifully pay our taxes, we get blind-sided by wealthy individuals and corporations who defer their taxes, stash income in tax havens, enjoy a special capital gains tax rate, invest their money in tax-free foundations, or simply don't pay. Boeing, Ford, Chevron, Citigroup, Verizon, JP Morgan, and General Motors, with a combined income last year of $74 billion,paid no taxes, and instead received a combined refund of nearly $2 billion. 


And the Middle Class Keeps Losing 

This is the middle class of a nation in which over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies. 

It is a middle class so poor that almost two-thirds of polled Americans said they didn't have enough money to cover a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit. 

The only hope of the middle class may be for someone like Elizabeth Warren to lead it against the team of Wall Street bankers who keep winning year after year. 

 

 Related StoriesWhy the Toxic Myths Rich People Believe About the Poor Are So DangerousWhy the Toxic Myths Rich People Believe About the Poor Are Not Only Wrong but DangerousPaul Krugman: How Austerity Killed Europe's Recovery—And America Somehow Squeaked Through
 
Why Labour opposes this fanatical faith in shale gas
2015-01-26 04:20:34 (38 minutes ago) 

We will vote to prevent any developments of shale gas in the UK unless the Tories and Lib Dems concede to reforms of the regulatory regime

There are two fundamental principles that have to underpin any debate about shale gas development in the UK. The first is that fracking cannot go ahead without proper environmental safeguards in place. The second is that the development of shale gas, cannot come at the expense of meeting our legally binding obligation to avoid dangerous climate change.

No sensible government can govern in these challenging times without putting climate change at the core of what they do. That’s why Labour has committed to a 2030 decarbonisation target for our power sector and pledged to make climate adaptation a national priority to protect the country from extreme weather caused by climate change. David Cameron however has gone from promising to lead the “greenest government ever”, to ditching the “green crap”. Now he is pursuing shale gas development at any cost. Labour will take a different approach.

Continue reading...
 
Mock my Nokia all you like – I’m happier since ditching my smartphone
2015-01-26 04:20:34 (38 minutes ago) 
I was addicted to my smartphone, but withdrawing from social media has calmed my mind and made me a better real-life friend

Towards the end of 2014 I was burned out, for a variety of reasons. My job at the time involved working in a busy open plan office, with constant interruptions and competing demands. Like most of my colleagues, I spent my breaks checking social media, email and YouTube or playing Candy Crush. Yes, I was as addicted as the next person, and yes, I probably did send you those annoying Facebook requests. Guilty as charged.

The defence for the screen-addicted is simple: according to Daniel J Levitin’s latest book, The Organized Mind, replying to texts, emails and Facebook messages delivers a shot of dopamine straight to the brain, which makes us feel good. That cute sneezing panda takes our minds off our troubles, and makes us feel connected. Levitin says we also feel as if we are accomplishing something every time we hit send. Not only do we have to be productive at work, we also need to be sufficiently productive in our virtual lives. Nobody wants to feel irrelevant.

Continue reading...
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:20:08 (39 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Egyptian Officials Say 2 Sons of Ousted President Hosni Mubarak Have Been Freed From Prison
2015-01-26 04:20:02 (39 minutes ago) 
Egyptian officials say 2 sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been freed from prison
 
Wrestling Fans Lash Out With ‘#CancelWWENetwork’
2015-01-26 04:11:22 (48 minutes ago) 
A
 
London Markets: U.K. stocks fall as investors absorb Syriza win
2015-01-26 04:10:49 (48 minutes ago) 
Stocks pull lower in London, alongside other European equity markets, as investors assess the victory of the leftist Syriza party in Greece’s general election.
 
Football transfer rumours: Aleksandar Dragovic to Manchester United
2015-01-26 04:10:27 (49 minutes ago) 
Today’s tittle-tattle is suited, booted and on parade below for your reading pleasure

After the surreality of the weekend’s FA Cup action, it seems weirdly fitting that tonight’s draw for the last 16 will take place on the strangely entertaining but often downright weird BBC television programme that is The One Show, with warmly grinning hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones poised to invite Gary Lineker and the Football Association tombola into their eclectic domain of ... whatever. Whether or not the national broadcaster’s bearded face of football will be joined by Donny Osmond, an elderly Tarot card reader from CHeltenham and consumer champion Matt Allwright blowing the lid off a possible timeshare scam in the Outer Hebrides remains to be seen, but the Rumour Mill will certainly be tuning in to find out.

But before all that there’s work to be done, with no shortage of potentially baseless speculation to report on the penultimate Monday of the transfer window. Having almost certainly failed in their bid to bring Gabriel Paulista to Old Trafford, Manchester United appear to have fended off interest from Liverpool, West Ham, Zenit St Petersburg, Roma and Juventus in their quest to sign Austria skipper Aleksandar Dragovic. Dynamo Kiev are rumoured to have accepted a bid of £15m for a central defender who once cited his ambition to “to retrace the steps and the career of my model Nemanja Vidic”. Here’s hoping he has a happier time of it when he eventually moves on to Inter.

Continue reading...
 
Northeast braces for "crippling and potentially historic" storm
2015-01-26 04:10:12 (49 minutes ago) 
Blizzard warnings for 250 mile stretch; airlines cancelling flights, residents preparing homes, stocking up on food
 
Bronte table brought back 'home'
2015-01-26 04:10:08 (49 minutes ago) 
A table at which Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights and her sister Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre is returned to the family home.
 
Redmayne win raises Oscars chances
2015-01-26 04:10:08 (49 minutes ago) 
Eddie Redmayne wins best actor at the Screen Actor's Guild awards while Birdman and Downton Abbey win ensemble awards.
 
The sound of Africa in 2015
2015-01-26 04:00:36 (58 minutes ago) 

Eromo Egbejule picks five acts set to dominate the continent’s music scene this year

A protégé of iconic Nigerian producer OJB Jezreel, Yemi Alade has grown in leaps and bounds since winning a talent show as a teenager in 2009.

Continue reading...
 
3-year-old Palmdale boy shot in back while sleeping
2015-01-26 04:00:27 (59 minutes ago) 

PALMDALE >> A 3-year-old boy was shot in the back while he slept in his Palmdale home, but the wound was not believed to be life-threatening, a sheriff's lieutenant said today.

The shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. on Sunday at an apartment or motor home in the 38000 block of 65th Street East, according to Lt.

 
'Crushed With Snow': Monster Blizzard to Bomb Northeast
2015-01-26 04:00:23 (59 minutes ago) 
The New York City area was placed under a 35-hour blizzard warning beginning Monday, with as much as 3 feet of snow expected.






 
China's leaders show listening ear on trash but not politics
2015-01-26 04:00:06 (59 minutes ago) 
BEIJING (AP) -- To help sell the public on the need for one of the world's largest trash incinerators in the mountains in west Beijing, Communist Party officials bused in hundreds of people for special tours. They held talks with residents and handed out questionnaires....
 
Japan Seeks Jordan's Help on Gaining Hostage's Release
2015-01-26 04:00:02 (59 minutes ago) 
Japan seeking help from Jordan, other countries, to gain release of Islamic State hostage
 
PM defends Prince Philip knighthood
2015-01-26 03:51:06 (1 hours ago) 
TONY Abbott has dismissed social media scorn about his captain’s call as “electronic graffiti”.
 
[Ticker] Euro and shares slide on Syriza win
2015-01-26 03:50:48 (1 hours ago) 
The euro weakened to a new 11-year low and shares fell across Asia on Monday morning as traders reacted to Syriza's victory in Sunday's Greek elections. Stocks had rallied last week following the European Central Bank's decision to launch a €1.1 trillion money-printing programme last Thursday.


 
The Wall Street Journal: ECB’s Coeure: Greece must repay debt
2015-01-26 03:50:40 (1 hours ago) 
Anti-austerity party Syriza must respect Greece’s commitments, says European Central Bank executive board member Benoît Coeure, adding that talks on a debt-maturity extension are possible.
 
Mark Ronson scores UK chart double with Uptown album and single
2015-01-26 03:50:27 (1 hours ago) 

Musician and producer is first artist since Miley Cyrus in 2013 to top both album and single charts simultaneously


Mark Ronson has scored the first UK charts double in 2015, with both his Uptown Funk single and Uptown Special album taking the top spot simultaneously.

The musician told the Official Charts Company that he was shocked at the achievements of his fourth album and his hit single. “This is absolutely incredible. I want to thank Jeff Bhasker, Michael Chabon and Emile Haynie who were there since the very beginning of this record - as well as Alison Donald, Mark Terry and Jason Iley at Sony UK. And finally, thank you to everyone who went out to the shop and bought the CD or pointed and clicked on Uptown Special this week - I really can’t believe it.”

Related: Mark Ronson – Uptown Special: Exclusive album stream

Related: Björk: Vulnicura review – heavy yet compelling

Continue reading...
 
Stunning blue hue as algae lights up Hong Kong
2015-01-26 03:50:16 (1 hours ago) 
 
In pictures: Saudi King Abdullah mourned
2015-01-26 03:50:09 (1 hours ago) 
Ceremony hours after Saudi King's death
 
COTA seeks to fix Downtown bus backups
2015-01-26 03:40:38 (1 hours ago) 
COTA’s plan to revamp Downtown bus routes should mean that fewer buses will be clogging traffic on High Street and fewer people will be lingering at Broad and High. But some Downtown stakeholders, including one Central Ohio Transit Authority board member, say the plan doesn’t go far enough to fix longstanding problems and complaints.
 
Seekers of the Hollywood Sign disrupt nearby neighborhood
2015-01-26 03:40:34 (1 hours ago) 

LOS ANGELES >> Like pilgrims flocking to a holy shrine, they come from all over the world to pay homage, not to a deity but to something similar -- the people they see on TV and in the movies.

They are the seekers of the Hollywood Sign, that symbol of the Land of the Rich and Famous. And just like those on pilgrimages to St.

 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 03:40:07 (1 hours ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Shiite Rebels Violently Disperse Demonstrators in Yemen
2015-01-26 03:40:02 (1 hours ago) 
Armed with knives and batons, Shiite rebels violently disperse protesters in Yemen's capital
 
How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?
2015-01-26 03:30:56 (1 hours ago) 
StartsWithABang writes The history of the Universe happened in a well-known order: inflation ends, matter wins out over antimatter, the electroweak symmetry breaks, antimatter annihilates away, atomic nuclei form, then neutral atoms, stars, galaxies, and eventually us. But scientists and science magazines often publish timelines of the Universe with incredibly precise times describing when these various events occur. Here's how we arrive at those values, along with the rarely-publicized uncertainties.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
2015-01-26 03:30:21 (1 hours ago) 
Sandwiches account for one-fifth of total sodium intake, with nearly half of American adults consuming them on any given day, according to new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
 
Juror questioning to resume in Boston Marathon bombing trial
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 

BOSTON — Jury selection is set to resume Monday in the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv).

 
Bring on the quarterfinals: What to Watch at the Aussie Open
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 
 
Poland-Russia row over Auschwitz
2015-01-26 03:30:09 (1 hours ago) 
Poland and Russia quarrel over Auschwitz liberation
 
Super Bowl host city still reeling over sports deals
2015-01-26 03:30:06 (1 hours ago) 
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The entire world will be watching Glendale on Sunday as it hosts the Super Bowl and the legions of fans who are shelling out big bucks to see the big game. What may be not visible amid all the hoopla is a sobering reality about the Super Bowl host city: Glendale is suffering deep financial issues over its troubled effort to become a sports destination....
 
Spoon me: how cutlery design can blow your tastebuds away
2015-01-26 03:20:42 (2 hours ago) 
Zinc for fizz, steel for saltiness, gold for mango sorbet … the right type of spoon can make a meal, finds Oliver Wainwright as he wraps his chops round the future of cutlery design

Seven metal teaspoons are set out on a table in front of me, neatly lined up on a white napkin, as if awaiting the arrival of Uri Geller, or a banquet consisting only of boiled eggs. Thankfully, neither of these scenarios turn out to be the case. I’m at the Science Museum, surrounded by experts in spoon science, here to enlighten me on the future of the most shapely member of the cutlery family, in advance of a forthcoming exhibition on the science of taste.

“My ambition is to make the best spoon in the world,” says Zoe Laughlin, director of the Institute of Making, a research group at University College London, who made my seven-spoon place setting. “The first question is, what would it be made of?” As the gaggle of cutlery experts look on, it feels a little like I’m being inducted into a secret spoon society, or else I’ve wandered into an interview for Private Eye’s satirical column, Me and My Spoon.

Continue reading...
 
After Victory at Greek Polls, Leftist Politician Begins Coalition Talks
2015-01-26 04:50:57 (8 minutes ago) 
Alexis Tsipras, who swept to power on Sunday, entered discussions on Monday morning to form a coalition government that would determine how his Syriza party will start to reverse wrenching austerity policies.
 
Family pay tribute to Gloucester machete victim
2015-01-26 04:50:35 (8 minutes ago) 
Zac Evans, 19, was killed in attack on Friday night, apparently as he tried to protect a group of young women outside a pub

The family of a teenager who was killed in a machete attack, apparently as he tried to protect a group of young women outside a pub, have paid tribute to a brave and talented young man who they said would help anyone who was in trouble.

Zac Evans, 19, who ran his own business as a painter and decorator, was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack in Gloucester in the early hours of Saturday. Detectives are questioning a 44-year-old local man on suspicion of murder.

Continue reading...
 
Kurdish fighters claim gains in Kobani, Syria
2015-01-26 04:50:23 (9 minutes ago) 
 
Kylie to headline Hyde Park festival
2015-01-26 04:50:10 (9 minutes ago) 
Pop star Kylie Minogue will headline the third and final night of the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park in June.
 
Federal Judge Stays Alabama Gay Marriage Ruling for 2 Weeks
2015-01-26 04:50:02 (9 minutes ago) 
Federal judge stays Ala. gay marriage ruling 2 weeks, will clarify marriage license issue
 
SSE cuts household gas cost by 4.1% and freezes prices until July 2016
2015-01-26 04:40:47 (18 minutes ago) 
Reduction would save £28 per year to standard household bill but critics call for deeper cuts branding it another move in ‘a phoney price war’

SSE has become the latest of the large energy suppliers to cut its prices by reducing the cost of household gas by 4.1%.

It said the cut would save £28 a year on the typical gas bill. SSE has also pledged not to increase prices for 7m customers, until July 2016 at the earliest by extending the freeze it introduced last year by six months.

Continue reading...
 
Australian PM: Twitter fuss like 'electronic graffiti'
2015-01-26 04:40:16 (19 minutes ago) 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has shirt-fronted the Australian public by awarding a Knighthood to a foreigner who already has a lot silverware in the pool room: Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:40:11 (19 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
India Pulls Out All the Stops for Obama at Republic Day Parade
2015-01-26 04:31:15 (28 minutes ago) 
A
 
Official: Whiteboxer Super Micro is a $2bn server company
2015-01-26 04:31:10 (28 minutes ago) 
First $500 million quarter

+Comment Commodity server vendor Super Micro has reached a $2bn run rate with its latest quarters results.…

 
After Victory at Greek Polls, Leftist Politician Begins Coalition Talks
2015-01-26 04:30:50 (28 minutes ago) 
Alexis Tsipras, who swept to power on Sunday, entered discussions on Monday morning to form a coalition government that would determine how his Syriza party will start to reverse wrenching austerity policies.






 
Northeast braces for "potentially historic" storm
2015-01-26 04:30:40 (28 minutes ago) 
Tens of millions in areas with blizzard warnings; airlines cancelling flights, residents preparing homes, stocking up on food
 
Greek election: your questions answered
2015-01-26 04:30:27 (29 minutes ago) 

Post your questions for our experts on Syriza’s victory in Greece. What does this mean for the country and for Europe?

Continue reading...
 
Guantánamo Diary: Brian Eno reads an extract – podcast
2015-01-26 04:30:26 (29 minutes ago) 
Our series of extracts from Mohamedou Ould Slahi's account of his ongoing internment continues as he reviews the questions he has been asked over and over Continue reading...
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:30:10 (29 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Are You Living in a "Bible-Minded City?"
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
A scary report shows the purported Christian religiosity of American cities.

Ever wonder what makes a city bible-minded? According to an annual list put together by the American Bible Society (ABS) and the Barna Group (a Christian-based polling outfit), a Bible-minded city is made up of "Individuals who report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded."

The list of the most, and the least, bible-minded cities, is based on interviews with over 60,000 people from across the country.

So, which cities topped the list & which cities bottomed out and remain biblically-challenged?

According to a story posted at the Barna Group's website, while "Hollywood has been betting big money that America still loves the Bible. From Noah to Exodus to the forthcoming Last Days in the Desert, a fictional look at Jesus' temptation in the desert, Scripture has returned to the screen.

"But what is America's relationship with the Bible? In the annual 'Bible-Minded' cities report, Barna Group explores how Bible engagement plays out regionally in the United States. The study, based on interviews with 62,896 adults over a 10-year period, shows how people in the nation's 100 largest media markets view and use the Bible."

Most of the top spots are held by cities in the South -- Birmingham, AL, tops the list "with 51% of its population qualifying as Bible-minded" --  while most of the most biblically-challenged cities are in the North -- Providence, RI/New Bedford, MASS were the least bible-minded, registering a scanty 9%.

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Your Exercise Equipment Is Lying to You About the Calories You're Burning
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
Americans spend a fortune on high-tech products to track their progress, but many fudge the numbers.

After a workout, it’s a great feeling to check the calorie counter on your machine and see how many you’ve burned off. But that killer workout might not have been as successful as you thought. Recent studies have shown that cardio machines and fitness trackers aren’t completely accurate and some may even be way off the mark.

In testing performed at UC San Francisco's Human Performance Center, researchers found that cardio machines overestimated calorie burn by 19% on average. The elliptical was the biggest culprit, overestimating calorie burn by a whopping 42%. The treadmill overestimated burned calories by 13% and the stair climber by 12%. The stationary bike had the lowest margin of error, but even that machine overestimated calorie burn by 7%.

The machines are inaccurate because most only account for age and weight. Georgie Fear, a registered dietitian for Precision Nutrition, says, "estimating calorie output can be an inexact science" because other factors like body fat, body temperature and hormonal changes come into play. These components are very difficult to track because they are always fluctuating. Fear says that machines become less reliable as they get older, and calorie burn readout is less accurate at higher intensities.

According to Christine Luff, running and jogging expert at About.com, calorie counts on treadmills don’t account for your form and running efficiency. For example, a new runner will burn more calories than an experienced runner because the new runner hasn’t perfected her form. “The beginner's inefficient side-to-side movement and bouncing up and down expends more energy than the experienced runner's efficient stride,” Luff says.

As a rule, Luff says a person with less body fat and more muscle mass burns more calories per workout. Therefore, a 160-pound woman with 35% body fat will actually burn more calories than a 160-pound woman with 20% body fat, even if they both run at the same pace on a treadmill. However, the calorie counter will erroneously display the same number of calories burned for both women.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the option of using a new machine that might work better; we are at the mercy of whatever equipment is available at our gyms. Use the calorie counter on cardio machines as a benchmark and always factor in a margin of error. Don’t base your calorie intake or consume extra calories based on the number provided.

For a more accurate assessment of calorie burn, fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Jawbone are a much better option. Not only do they gauge how many calories are burning during a single workout, they can be worn all day to measure overall energy expenditure.

But don’t just buy any old fitness tracker without doing your homework. Finding the ideal fitness tracker varies depending on the type of exercise you do and your specific goals. According to both ConsumerSearch and Consumer Reports, the clip-on Fitbit One is one of the best fitness trackers for tracking activity that involves stairs. This particular device performed well in side-by-side testing, accurately measuring calories and counting steps. ConsumerSearch says the Fitband Flex is “one of the most accurate fitness trackers on the market,” but unlike the Fitbit One, it doesn’t track stairs climbed because it doesn’t contain an altimeter. However, the Fitband Flex can track basic steps, calorie burn and the length of cardio-related activities. The Jawbone UP24 also falls within the best-reviewed category. Although it can’t count stairs either, experts say the UP24 is very accurate at tracking calories, steps, distance and active time.

But the question remains, are fitness trackers—even those that earn the best reviews—completely accurate or should we still allow for some margin of error? According to a New York Times article, a study conducted by Azusa Pacific University showed that fitness monitors—worn on both the hip and wrist—accurately measured energy expenditure during higher-intensity activity, such as walking briskly on a treadmill. The devices were not so reliable when tracking lower-intensity tasks like cleaning a simulated kitchen or standing, falsely gauging them as physical immobility. On the flip side, the armband monitor significantly overestimated the energy expenditure on those same, less strenuous tasks.

Another study, conducted by Arizona State University, involved 74 adult participants of various ages who wore an armband accelerometer and a portable oxygen-consumption gauge while engaging in cardio exercises like walking and jogging and performing everyday tasks such as lifting boxes and sweeping. Once again, the armband measured more intense cardio exercise, like jogging, far more accurately than domestic tasks like sweeping. This study also found that the armband was totally off when measuring bicycle pedaling because no arm movement is involved.

John Jakicic, director of the physical activity and weight management research center at the University of Pittsburgh, further explains why activity trackers aren’t entirely accurate. First the science behind many of these products remains a mystery to the public. "Most brands of trackers use proprietary algorithms and formulas that haven't been independently tested in the lab and they aren't available to the public so it's impossible to know how they are capturing their information," Jakicic says.

Trackers that rely solely on an accelerometer aren’t completely accurate because estimations of calories, steps and mileage will fluctuate depending where the device is worn on the body. A tracker worn on the wrist will monitor walking or running fairly accurately because there is wrist movement involved. However, it won’t be helpful to someone using a stationary bike with his hands resting on the handlebars.

Jakicic recommends using a more advanced tracker. Whereas an accelerometer is often imprecise because it gathers data based on movement and direction, “a device that incorporates information about say, GPS, body heat and heart rate, is probably smart enough to know the difference between sitting in a chair and cranking away on a cycle,” Jakicic says.

Even if fitness trackers aren’t entirely accurate all the time, they are still worth using, particularly during high-intensity cardio activity because they generally excel at correctly estimating calorie burn, distance and energy expenditure in that capacity.

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John McCain: The Most Hypocritical, Opportunistic and Untrustworthy Senator
2015-01-26 04:30:05 (29 minutes ago) 
A career filled with scores of flip-flops continues.

Just days after he took the helm of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-AZ, stood next to several hawkish Republican senators and attacked President Obama in typical McCain fashion.

He slammed the White House for releasing prisoners from the military’s Guantanamo Bay prison, even though McCain held that very position for a decade, from 2003 to 2013.

“The prison is a symbol of torture and justice delayed,” McCain said in November 2013, reading from a letter from 38 retired military officers on the Senate floor. “More than a decade after it opened, Guantánamo remains a recruiting poster for terrorists, which makes us all less safe.”

As late as mid-December, McCain had been saying he backed Obama’s effort to close the prison. But last week, McCain abruptly announced that he and other Senate hawks would be co-sponsoring a bill to bar the White House from releasing prisoners who have never been charged and the military had cleared for release.

“This administration never presented to the Congress of the United States a concrete or coherent plan,” McCain said, offering a thin rationale because he knew that congressional Republicans have been blocking Obama's efforts to close Gitmo for years.

This about-face was merely the latest example from McCain in a long career that has been marked by an astounding record of what pundits call flip-flops, the polite word for opportunism, hypocrisy and outright back-stabbing.   

“What the heck has happened to John McCain,” CNN.com’s Sally Kohn wrote last July, in another high-profile example. “First he flip-flopped on immigration reform…Then he flip-flopped on legislation meant to address the dangers of climate change… And now we have Bowe Bergdahl.” McCain, who is granted too much deference because he endured years of captivity in the Vietnam War, was all for bringing the captured soldier home in a prisoner swap with the Taliban—until he wasn’t, which the Washington Post derided, earning him an “upside-down Pinocchio, constituting a flip-flop.”

Longtime McCain watchers are used to shaking their heads. Those covering his 2008 presidential campaign, which was mislabeled the “Straight Talk Express,” compiled lists of dozens and dozens of flip-flops that traced an ever-accelerating turn to the right.

“In theory, John McCain’s right-wing madness could come to an end on Tuesday, when he is expected to prevail over former Rep. J.D. Hayward in Arizona’s Senate primary,” MotherJones.com wrote in 2010, when he beat a Tea Party challenger. “In fact, his transformation from aisle-crossing, party bucking maverick to cookie-cutter conservative has been years in the making.”

MotherJones focused on four issues illustrating McCain’s high-level hypocrisy: he was for comprehensive immigration reform before he wasn’t; he was an advocate for stricter gun controls before he wasn’t; he wanted to end the military’s ban on gay soldiers but then didn’t; and he backed a cap-and-trade system for climate change emissions before he changed his mind.

“His choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was the final blow for some of his truest believers, who saw it as political pandering at its worst,” MoJo's Suzy Khimm wrote, referring to to his supposed political independent streak. “But the failed White House run was just the beginning of McCain’s transformation into an ideologue.”  

Today, with McCain chairing the Senate Armed Services Committee—which writes much of the Pentagon budget, and boosts his power and influence—McCain is poised to wreak real havoc. The day after the president’s State of the Union speech, he went after Obama’s claim that America has emerged from crisis. Of course, Obama was talking about the domestic economy, but McCain seemed to take it as an invitation to rechallenge the Democrat who stopped him from becoming president in 2008.

That year, Steven Benen, who is now with MSNBC, listed 61 flip-flops by McCain on almost every issue in an extensively documented AlterNet report. Of these, 18 concerned national security policy, foreign policy, and military policy—all areas that are touched by the Armed Services Committee.

On national security, McCain was against warrantless wiretapping until he was for it. He said Gitmo prisoners deserved some kind of trial, until he changed his mind. He opposed indefinite detention by the military until he didn’t. The Vietnam War prisoner of war who was tortured wanted to ban waterboarding—until he changed his mind. He slammed the White House’s use of military drones in Pakistan until decided to support it.

On foreign policy, McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 economic club until Obama pushed for that after war broke out in Ukraine. He supported normalization of relations with Cuba but now opposes it. He believed the U.S. should engage with Hamas and with Syria’s dictator, but no longer. He backed the Law of The Sea convention but now opposes it. He was against divestment from South Africa but now says backed it.

On military policy, he claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Iraqi policy, until he reversed course a year later. He has been on both sides of the fence with a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Before the Iraq invasion, he predicted the war woud be short and easy, but now it is hard and unending. He said repeatedly lambasted Obama’s announcement of troop withdrawals, but then took credit that most troops would be home by the end of 2013. He opposed expanding veterans benefits in the GI Bill before he reversed course.

These examples have special salience because of McCain’s new Senate chairmenship. They are augmented by many others—remember him slamming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s “wacko bird” efforts to derail Obamacare, before he favored its repeal? Or his flip-flops on reproductive choice (pro-Roe v. Wade before favoring repeal), or on the environment (against offshore drilling before being pro-drilling), or on tax cuts for the rich (opposing them before they passed under George W. Bush and then rejecting repeal).

This is a dizzying array of political about-faces. They more than suggest that McCain’s judgment is as opportunistic as it is unreliable. It is astounding that a senator who is this fickle is now one of America's top civilian military commanders.

The Associated Press reported that McCain said his new Senate role was to educate the chamber—of “which 46 of 100 members are in their first term, some with little foreign policy experience.” He plans to bring in a parade of hawks to testify at his committee.

“He’s an anarchist,” Glenn Back, the rightwing talk show host said a year ago, after he changed his Obamacare stance. “I’d like to call him the good senator from Arizona, [but] I think he’s a lousy senator from Arizona – when the lousy senator from Arizona decides, ‘Oh, wait a minute. Now the political winds have changed, now he wants to jump on [whatever bandwagon presents itself].”

Whether the correct word describing McCain is opportunist, hypocrite, or anarchist—and perhaps with Beck, it takes one to know one—it’s clear that a newly empowered McCain is as unpredictable as he is dangerous. And now he has a Senate chairmanship podium and the power of the Pentagon purse at his disposal.   

 

      

 

 

 Related StoriesWATCH: Jon Stewart Decimates Tea Party Response to Obama's State of the UnionThe Terrible GOP Policy That'll Kick Thousands More Mentally Ill Homeless People Out on the StreetsMitt Romney 'Considering' 2016 Presidential Run Despite Two Previous Losses
 
Stanislas Wawrinka defeats Guillermo Garcia-López in Australian Open
2015-01-26 04:20:34 (38 minutes ago) 
• Wawrinka beat Garcia-López 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8)
• Defending champion will play Kei Nishikori in the next round

The Australian Open defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka has lined up a quarter-final showdown with Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Wawrinka keep his title defence on track with a hard-fought win over Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-López with the fourth-seeded Swiss saving four set points in the fourth set to triumph 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8).

Continue reading...
 
This is just beautiful
2015-01-26 04:20:28 (39 minutes ago) 
submitted by Lordpwner to gaming
[link] [116 comments]
 
Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:20:07 (39 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Toll of Filipino Commandos Killed in Rebel Clash Rises to 43
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Toll of Filipino commandos killed in rebel clash rises to 43; terror suspect possibly killed
 
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Argentine journalist explains why he fled the country
2015-01-26 04:10:28 (49 minutes ago) 

Reporter tells of ‘crazy’ incidents after breaking story of prosecutor’s death

A reporter who fled Argentina after breaking a story about an Argentine prosecutor’s death has been talking about the reasons for his flight.

Damian Pachter, who flew to Israel, had reported that the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, had died with a bullet to the head in his Buenos Aires home on 18 January.

“On Friday, I was working at the Buenos Aires Herald newsroom when a colleague from the BBC urged me to look at the state news agency’s story on Nisman’s death.

The piece had some serious typos but the message was even stranger: The agency quoted a supposed tweet of mine that I never wrote.

“I have no idea when I’ll be back in Argentina; I don’t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about...

Argentina has become a dark place led by a corrupt political system. I still haven’t figured out everything that has happened to me over the past 48 hours”.

Continue reading...
 
Football transfer window news – live!
2015-01-26 04:10:27 (49 minutes ago) 
Latest transfer window updates Email gerard.meagher@theguardian.com | Tweet: @gerard_meagherAll the latest transfer rumours

9.00am GMT

Good morning! Well, what a weekend of FA Cup drama that was – banana skins have not been so perilous since the all-night Bowser Castle Fest of ‘97. And what better way to heal the bruised egos of those toppled big guns than to delve into the transfer market. There are only seven days to go until the window slams shut* and that means that by now even Daniel Levy, the baron of brinkmanship, will have a dialling finger as twitchy as Louis van Gaal’s backside.

Do get in touch with any transfer talk you want to get off your chest, via email, Twitter, carrier pigeon etc. Who do you want your club to sign? Who do you not want your club to sign? Who is going to make a move today?

9.00am GMT

Gerard will be here shortly with all the latest transfer window news. In the meantime, here’s news of an ongoing Arsenal signing:

Villarreal have announced they have reached agreement in principle with Arsenal for the sale of the centre-back Gabriel Paulista, with the forward Joel Campbell heading to the Spanish club on loan for the rest of the season.

The La Liga side confirmed on Twitter that a deal had been agreed shortly before their Primera División match against Levante kicked off at the Estadio El Madrigal. “Transfer agreed in principle with Arsenal for Gabriel, who will bid farewell before the game. Much luck!” the club posted. “Welcome joel-campbell12! Agreement reached with Arsenal until the end of the season.”

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Of SNOWTRON and Snowzilla: How Boston Removed Snow From Its Streets Throughout History
2015-01-26 04:10:11 (49 minutes ago) 
From horses to highways, how Boston kept its streets clear of the white stuff.






 
Redmayne win raises Oscars chances
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Theft adds to turmoil at Logan County Humane Society
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BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — The Logan County Humane Society is in turmoil after the director was fired, three employees quit and more than $1,300 turned up missing in the past week.
 
TIFU by translating a lesbian's tattoo for her
2015-01-26 04:00:27 (59 minutes ago) 

Several years ago, my wife and I were visiting a friend and her girlfriend for the weekend. On Saturday night they threw a party with all of their friends, most of whom were also lesbian couples. I saw that one girl had Chinese characters tattooed on her forearms, so I asked to see them, as I had recently been living in China. She was like, "Oh, they're actually Japanese characters. This one (万) means 'man,' and this one (女) means 'woman.' Basically, I'm trying to describe how all of us exist on a gender continuum between the two and integrate parts of both into our identities to different degrees."

I responded, "Actually, Japanese characters (kanji) and Chinese characters (hanzi) are really the same thing. And I don't think that one (万) means 'man.' It actually means 'ten thousand.' The correct character for man is 男. 万 and 男 aren't that far off, but the calligraphic style on it would make it hard to replace..."

I look up and this poor girl is literally in tears. The entire party had come to a standstill as I pompously embarrassed this kid in front of all her friends. She had had the tattoo done two or three years earlier and no one had ever caught it.

I had to add, "On the bright side, Chinese doesn't really have a plural, so 万女 is a perfectly grammatical way of saying 'ten thousand women.' Make it a life goal!"

Crickets...

EDIT, courtesy of /u/Snumpler:

TL;DR: Lesbian didn't check her facts and I gave her a life goal.

submitted by Oakland_Facet to tifu
[link] [97 comments]
 
Sandwiches Are a Major Contributor to Dietary Sodium Intake
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China's leaders show listening ear on trash but not politics
2015-01-26 04:00:06 (59 minutes ago) 
BEIJING (AP) -- To help sell the public on the need for one of the world's largest trash incinerators in the mountains in west Beijing, Communist Party officials bused in hundreds of people for special tours. They held talks with residents and handed out questionnaires....
 
Philippine Police Say Death Toll of Commandos Killed in Clash With Muslim Rebels Rises to 43
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Philippine police say death toll of commandos killed in clash with Muslim rebels rises to 43
 
Saudis Expand Regional Power as Others Falter
2015-01-26 03:50:50 (1 hours ago) 
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[Agenda] Greece and Ukraine top EU agenda this WEEK
2015-01-26 03:50:48 (1 hours ago) 
EU finance chiefs will this week digest Syriza’s victory in Greece, while top diplomats attend an emergency meeting on Ukraine.


 
Obama, India's prime minister face cold rain in effort to warm relations
2015-01-26 03:50:40 (1 hours ago) 
President Obama joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a lengthy celebration of India’s Republic Day on Monday in a symbolic series of events summarized by a long parade in cold rain.
 
The sound of Africa in 2015
2015-01-26 03:50:27 (1 hours ago) 

Eromo Egbejule picks five acts set to dominate the continent’s music scene this year

A protégé of iconic Nigerian producer OJB Jezreel, Yemi Alade has grown in leaps and bounds since winning a talent show as a teenager in 2009.

Continue reading...
 
Australian Open: Stan Wawrinka's escape act
2015-01-26 03:50:16 (1 hours ago) 
 
In pictures: Australia Day 2015
2015-01-26 03:50:09 (1 hours ago) 
The country celebrates its official national day
 
Toxic emissions decreasing in Franklin County
2015-01-26 03:40:38 (1 hours ago) 
Industrial emissions of some of the most-toxic chemicals seem to be decreasing in Franklin County, according to new federal data. Lead emissions dropped about 21 percent from 2012 to 2013, the most recent year available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory. Manganese emissions decreased about 7 percent over the same period.
 
San Fernando Valley weather forecast: Cooler, showery for Monday
2015-01-26 03:40:34 (1 hours ago) 

The San Fernando Valley on Monday will see mostly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of showers and 15 mph local northeast winds in the afternoon. Highs will be in the mid to upper 60s.

Monday night will be cloudy with light winds and a 60% chance of showers. Lows will be in the mid 40s to low 50s.

 
Super Bowl host city still reeling over sports deals
2015-01-26 03:40:05 (1 hours ago) 
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The entire world will be watching Glendale on Sunday as it hosts the Super Bowl and the legions of fans who are shelling out big bucks to see the big game....
 
Northeast braces for monster storm
2015-01-26 03:31:07 (1 hours ago) 

Parts of New England could see as much as two feet of snow, according to forecasts.

       
 
Airlines canceling flights ahead of East Coast storm; Cleveland Hopkins affected
2015-01-26 03:30:50 (1 hours ago) 
At least 20 flights leaving Hopkins International Airport and 17 scheduled for arrival have been canceled.
 
Elrey and June Runion: Police identify suspect
2015-01-26 03:30:17 (1 hours ago) 
 
Dwindling group of survivors to mark Auschwitz 70 years on
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 
 
Super Bowl host city still reeling over sports deals
2015-01-26 03:30:13 (1 hours ago) 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The entire world will be watching Glendale on Sunday as it hosts the Super Bowl and the legions of fans who are shelling out big bucks to see the big game.

What may be not visible amid all the hoopla is a sobering reality about the Super Bowl host city: Glendale is suffering deep financial issues over its troubled effort to become a sports destination.

 
Daley axes 'demon dive' for Olympics
2015-01-26 03:30:09 (1 hours ago) 
Tom Daley swaps his "demon dive" for a new "firework" routine as he attempts to win gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
 
Panic Attack, Bad Back: Theater Shooting Brings Jury Excuses
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Panic attacks, bad backs: Theater shooting brings out jury excuses, shows hardships of service
 
Syriza holds coalition talks after Greek election victory– live updates
2015-01-26 03:20:42 (2 hours ago) 

Rolling reaction to Syriza’s historic success in the Greek elections, which opens up a new chapter in Europe’s debt crisis

Alexis Tsipras to meet Independent Greeks this morning
Results table
Osborne: It’s not a rejection of austerity

8.09am GMT

The London stock market has fallen at the start of trading, but it’s a muted reaction.

The FTSE 100 is down just 28 points, or 0.4%, at 6804.

8.07am GMT

Events are moving fast in Greece. Alexis Tsipras is due to meet with the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos, at 10.30 a.m local time (or 8.30am GMT).

Tsipras should also receive a mandate from president Karolos Papoulias to form a government today.

Including the Independent Greeks in the coalition suggests we can expect dangerous brinkmanship in the Greek govt's negotiation w the troika

8.00am GMT

Britain’s chancellor has denied that austerity has been defeated in the voting booths of Athens.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told BBC Radio that:

“People get tired of economic failure, they tired of rising unemployment ... what you see is not a defeat of austerity, it is a defeat of economic plans that don’t work and in Britain we have got an economic plan that is working,”

“I hope that both sides now act responsibly....It is certainly in the United Kingdom’s interests that we have stability, that we have a proper dialogue here between members of the euro.”

The Greek election will increase economic uncertainty across Europe. That's why the UK must stick to our plan, delivering security at home.

7.54am GMT

Priti Patel, Conservative MP in Westminster, just told Sky News that Greece’s economic problems are “a stark reminder that we should never join the euro”.

7.51am GMT

Syriza’s victory should energise the battle against austerity across Europe, argues the Green Party.

MEPs Keith Taylor and Molly Scott Cato just issued a statement, saying:

Greens share the view of the new government that austerity is a failed model which has piled misery on the poorest while making the wealthiest even richer.

This result shows that challenging business as usual politics can win the support of the people. In the UK we are witnessing a Green Surge, in no small part due to our anti-austerity agenda, and we hope the Greek election result marks the beginnings of ordinary people standing up to a discredited economic model and failing Governments across Europe.”

7.47am GMT

News of Syriza’s victory has pushed the euro to an 11-year low.

The single currency hit $1.1098, for the first time since September 2003, as investors anticipate clashes between Alexis Tsipras and the EU.

7.41am GMT

(via the eKathimerini newspaper)

7.37am GMT

Good morning.

The people of Greece have spoken, demanding an end to the austerity that has gripped the country since the debt crisis began.

The verdict of the Greek people ends, beyond any doubt, the vicious circle of austerity in our country,”.

“The verdict of the Greek people, your verdict, annuls today in an indisputable fashion the bailout agreements of austerity and disaster. The verdict of the Greek people renders the troika a thing of the past for our common European framework.”

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