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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 45,927

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Why This Photo of a Potato Sold for More Than $1 Million

A photo of an Irish potato taken by a world-famous visual artist has sold for more than $1 million.

The photo of the potato against a black background was taken by Kevin Abosch, a visual artist who has photographed Malala Yousafza, Yoko Ono and others.

While Abosch usually gets half a million dollars for his portraits, the photograph of the potato stood out to a European businessman who purchased it after seeing it at the artist’s Paris home.

A spokesperson for Abosch confirmed the photograph was sold for 1 million euros, or $1,086,810 U.S. dollars.

was taken at Abosch's Dublin home. A smaller version of the print is owned by Abosch and an even smaller version is in the Museum of Contemporary Art Novi Sad in Serbia, Abosch's spokesperson said.

Abosch declined to be interviewed by ABC News but said in a statement that he uses the potato “as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience.”

“I see commonalities between humans and potatoes that speak to our relationship as individuals within a collective species,” he said. “Generally, the life of a harvested potato is violent and taken for granted.”


Because ART, goddamnit!

Malaysia prosecutor clears PM Najib Razak of corruption

Source: BBC News

The attorney-general's office said the $681m (£479m) that Mr Najib received in his bank account was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family.

Critics had alleged the money came from state-owned investment fund 1MDB. Mr Najib has consistently denied these accusations, but has faced pressure to resign over them. Anti-corruption officials have previously said he received money as a gift from a foreign funder.

Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said in a press statement on Tuesday that the amount was a "personal donation" from the royal family in Saudi Arabia, transferred between the end of March and early April 2013. He added that anti-corruption officials had met witnesses including the person they identified as the donor to confirm it.

"I am satisfied that there is no evidence to show that the donation was a form of gratification given corruptly," he said, adding that evidence did not show the donation was used as an "inducement or reward" for Mr Najib to do anything in his capacity as prime minister.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35407017

Damn... I wish the Saudis gave me $681 million just for the hell of it...


MILWAUKEE, WIS. — On weekday afternoons, Gaulien “Gee” Smith, a prominent Milwaukee barber and businessman, walks out of the Gee’s Clippers shop on North Doctor Martin Luther King Dr., steps into his shiny new limited-edition pickup truck, and begins the 20-minute drive to a parallel universe.

He heads north. Past vacant lots and vacant storefronts. Past the boundary of the city’s north side, where almost all of his customers and almost everybody else is black. He crosses into the suburb of Glendale. The stares begin.

Glendale is home to an Apple Store and a Brooks Brothers and a Swarovski. And white people. A whole lot of white people. Smith, a charismatic 45-year-old black man with a salt-and-pepper goatee, doesn’t need the probing eyes as a reminder.

The white people are why he’s there in the first place.

Smith makes the trip across the invisible race border to pick up two of his sons, one from a private school and one from an elite public school. He chose the schools, in part, for their whiteness.

“I refused to ever send my child to an all-black school,” he said. “Because I know this is not a black world.”

He has considerable authority on the subject. He has spent his whole life in Milwaukee, the most segregated place in America.

Segregation. The word conjures images of the Deep South, a Jim Crow past of snarling police dogs and whites-only toilets. In fact, it is a national problem that has long outlasted the era of openly racist law. It persists, five decades after the U.S. government passed the anti-discrimination Fair Housing Act. It persists under the country’s first black president. It persists in a place barely farther south than Toronto.

“It feels like sometimes, in some ways, when you come to Milwaukee, you went back in time 60 years,” said Ansaar Gandy, 29, a black bartender and demolition worker.

Milwaukee itself is deeply divided, its road overpasses serving as racial barriers. But the most startling divide is between the city and its suburbs.


Bring back The Ahwahnee – literally

What’s in a name?

Will the Ahwahnee still summon the glory of California if we have to call it – ugh – “The Majestic Yosemite Hotel”?

Dispiritingly, Yosemite National Park visitors from around the world may soon find out, given the National Park Service’s stunning announcement on Thursday that a contract dispute with its outgoing concession company is forcing it to change the names of some of the park’s most venerable landmarks.

On March 1, Curry Village will become “Half Dome Village.” The Wawona Hotel will become “Big Trees Lodge.” Badger Pass will become the “Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area.” And the stately Ahwahnee, whose massive stone fireplace has warmed tourists since 1927, will, incredibly, no longer bear the name given to the mighty Yosemite Valley by the Native Americans who once lived there...

...This came out after the old concession company, Delaware North, was outbid by a new one, and sued. Delaware North claimed that it had been required to acquire Yosemite’s place names when it took over hospitality services at the park in 1993, and now it wants $51 million for them. The concessionaire before it had been there since the late 1800s, and had built and trademarked the Ahwahnee, and Delaware North said its acquisition included the trademarks and other intellectual property.

The Park Service says it assumed, and still believes, that the names and their trademarks go with the buildings, which belong to the public. It claims that Delaware North had no authorization when, in, 2002, it filed applications to trademark everything from the names of Yosemite’s iconic hotels to the very name of the park. Now the Park Service says most of those names have to change or Delaware North could use its trademark claims to shut down park lodgings.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article54966700.html#storylink=cpy

Feds forcibly removed black occupiers from wildlife refuge in 1979

The group's anger was a slow burn.

But after decades of being ignored by federal authorities, its members decided to take a very public stand against what they saw as an unjust land grab by the U.S. government.

Without warning, they started an occupation of a sprawling national wildlife refuge.

The year: 1979.

The drama unfolding with armed occupiers holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns is similar to a standoff that made national headlines 37 years ago in Harris Neck, Ga.

But there are also stark differences, including the race of the Harris Neck occupiers – mostly displaced descendants of West African slaves -- and the tactics used by the FBI to quickly remove what the media casually called "squatters."

Also, the 40 members of People Organized for Equal Rights who set up a camp on the patch of land south of Savannah on April 30, 1979, were unarmed.

Instead of guns, the demonstrators, including prominent civil rights leaders, brought concrete blocks and bags of mortar to build new homes.

Their protest was straightforward and, upon reflection, heartbreaking.

Following the Civil War, a white plantation owner deeded the land on the Georgia coast to a former slave. In the decades that followed, the descendants of slaves moved to Harris Neck to build houses, factories and boats. They fished, hunted for oysters and grazed cattle.

Harris Neck evolved into a thriving community. Its members were recognized as a culturally unique group of African Americans called Gullah.



Witch Casts Viruses Out of Computers With Magic

When nasty viruses infect the computers of folks up in Northern California, Reverend Joey Talley is on it.

The Wiccan witch—who is also an ordained minister through the State of California—not only offers services for people struggling with romantic heartache, depression, and other ailments, she also exorcises viruses from computers.

“No problem is too small, too big, or too weird” is Talley’s motto. Sure, she can do a love spell, but she’d rather face off with ghosts and demons.

To excise such entities out of a machine, she uses a variety of techniques—she might place stones on top of the computer, clear the dark energy by setting an intention with her mind, or cleanse the area around the computer by burning sage. The time it takes to clear these viruses depends on the nefariousness of the entity, she says: sometimes it takes just an hour, other times it can take up to four.

I spoke with Talley to learn more about how she’s used Wiccan witchcraft to build a client base of professionals who want alternative tech support in and around Silicon Valley, and how she silences her critics:


This is what doomed Al Jazeera America

The announcement that the Al Jazeera Media Network was shutting down Al Jazeera America caught many off-guard, but it could not have been a complete surprise. Its struggles were well-publicized. Its ratings were horrifically low. Critics inside and out protested it was boring, tepid, old school, too objective, not objective enough, or way too Americanized to be interesting. Reports of low morale in the newsroom abound. It was also embroiled in numerous lawsuits, including damaging accusations of workplace bias and gender discrimination, and more recently, defaming professional athletes.

What really doomed Al Jazeera America from the beginning was its decision to offer straight, sober journalism via legacy cable and satellite TV carriers, distribution platforms on which such a product is fast becoming extinct. Al Jazeera America was also quasi-commercial at best, but the gatekeeping companies it had to appease are highly commercial.

Al Jazeera America had the unenviable task of marrying Al Jazeera’s self-described mission of subversive journalism that challenges power with being digestible enough to American TV viewers to attract a respectable number on a nightly basis. It would have to be domesticated, yet it was an outwardly foreign brand — one many Americans still unfairly associated with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, even after the channel’s Arab spring coverage was widely hailed.

These were impossible balances, but Al Jazeera America consistently expressed faith in the existence of a large unmet demand for straight news without opinion and sensationalism. That way it could be critical, consistent with its Al Jazeera identity and at the same time relevant to American news consumers.


Too many liberals on DU and elsewhere who maybe watched a total of 10 minutes of AJA are getting all misty-eyed about seeing it go, and making all these imaginary after-the-fact excuses for its demise (The all-knowing Glenn Greenwald who also watched AJA for a grand total of 10 fucking minutes just to see himself on air is inexplicably blaming the oil prices)...

I'm not immune -- I thought Current TV was the greatest idea ever when it was announced, I celebrated when Olbermann got a job there, and I was pissed off to hear about the channel's demise -- But the more upset I became, and the more excuses and cop-outs I invented to explain Current's failure to myself, I took a moment to think -- Yes I was a fan of Current, I supported Current, I told all my liberal friends with DirecTV about Current, but if I'm honest with myself, how much did I really *WATCH* Current?? You can guess the answer...

Citizens United files lawsuit for emails from Chelsea Clinton

The conservative group Citizens United on Thursday filed a lawsuit to gain access to emails between Chelsea Clinton and top aides to her mother, Hillary Clinton, from when the Democratic presidential front-runner served as secretary of State.

The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, first reported by Politico, also requests emails from Clinton Foundation foreign policy chief Amitabh Desai, longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton Justin Cooper, and Oscar Flores, the manager of the Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home. But Citizens United President David Bossie told Politico that Chelsea Clinton is the primary figure targeted in the suit.

“The real interesting person here is of course Chelsea Clinton, who is the lead person,” he said.

“We want to see much more about what Chelsea Clinton was up to because she now has put herself out here on the campaign trail, along with Bill Clinton, as a lead surrogate,” he added.

Asked whether Chelsea Clinton was off-limits in her mother’s White House run, Bossie responded: “Absolutely not.”

“She is somebody who has been a player, a senior adviser to her mother,” he said. “She is an officer, somebody with fiduciary responsibility at the Clinton Family Foundation.”


At least nobody is trying to defend that CU ruling anymore...

How Brazil became a leader in cyber surveillance and censorship

RIO DE JANEIRO — A São Paulo judge sent shock waves across Brazil last month with a ruling that required Brazilian telecommunications operators to block the use of the instant messaging platform WhatsApp for 48 hours. Less than 13 hours later, another São Paulo judge reversed the decision, restoring service. But in the meantime, as many as 100 million Brazilians had been seriously inconvenienced, and civil libertarians around the world looked on with dismay.

Brazilians take their social media very seriously. The country has one of the fastest growing populations of Internet users in the world. Online tools like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are used not only to express opinions; they are an affordable alternative to exorbitantly priced Brazilian telecom providers. One recent study in Brazil found that WhatsApp was used by 93 percent of those surveyed who had Internet access.

The official reason for the judge’s decision to suspend WhatsApp was because its parent company, Facebook, refused to comply with requests to provide personal information and communications records to prosecutors in an investigation into organized crime and drug trafficking. This is not the first time that the Brazilian authorities have jousted with tech companies. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the crimes being investigated, the judge’s action was reckless and represents a potentially longer-term threat to the freedoms of Brazilians.

The ruling was not entirely out of the blue. Brazil’s Congress has been considering legislation that would roll back key provisions of the country’s freshly minted digital bill of rights, known as the Marco Civil da Internet, which was passed in 2014. The new proposal is expected to make it easier for prosecutors to access citizens’ personal information without the nuisance of having to obtain a court order.

Described by critics as “the big spy bill,” it would require Brazilians to register personal details like their home address, telephone number and other private information when accessing websites. It would also expose citizens to possible charges of libel for comments made on social media. At a time when political dissent is vigorous, this bill would surely chill debate...

...These latest efforts to reduce Brazilians’ digital rights are in stark contrast to the country’s former reputation as a champion of Internet freedom. In the wake of scandals over the United States’ National Security Agency’s collection of Brazilian citizens’ communications and phone-tapping of top government officials in 2013, Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, projected the digital freedom agenda onto the global stage — even raising the issue at the United Nations.


As always, Greenwald and Snowden were unavailable for comment...

I told you all a long time ago this Snowald sham existed only to weaken the FVEY while ignoring the rest of the world, and that time would eventually prove me right... So far, slowly but surely, almost every point has been indisputably in my favor...

So -- Any of you Snowdenistas ready to finally admit I was right when I said everybody spies? Oh, of course not! So continue to lob random insults and accusations at me, put me on ignore, and let this thread drop, since that is all you know how to do...

David Bowie - Queen Bitch

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