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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Sanders on billionaire class: ‘I welcome their hatred’

BOONE, Ia. – Sen. Bernie Sanders borrowed from Franklin Delano Roosevelt Saturday morning and echoed the 32nd president’s disdain for the mega-rich who seek personal gain over the common good.

After delivering an hour-long stump speech, Sanders opened the floor up to questions at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

“I want to know if you are the next coming of FDR. We will fight for you if you will fight the Republicans in Congress,” asked one man in the crowd of about 400 people. “I voted eight years ago for hope and change, and I’m still waiting.”

Sanders, an independent, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. On Saturday, the second day of a three-day Iowa swing, pointed out how FDR called the wealthy protectors of the status quo “economic royalists.”

“He said, ‘They hate my guts. Never have they hated someone as much as they hate me. And I welcome their hatred,’” Sanders said.

“And let me echo that today: If the Koch Brothers and the billionaire class hate my guts, I welcome their hatred. Because I am going to stand with working families.”



Sunday's Doonesbury-Teaching Texas History

Sunday's Non Sequitur- Metaphor

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is worried net neutrality might help the terrorists

By Russell Brandom

In a remarkable feat, internet providers have apparently succeeded in making the net neutrality fight about terrorism. In a newly-published letter delivered to the Federal Communications Commission in May, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) raised concerns that the new net neutrality rules might be used to shield terrorists. In particular, Feinstein was concerned that Dzhokar Tsarnaev had studied bomb-making materials on the internet — specifically, online copies of AQAP's Inspire magazine — and that many broadband providers had complained to her that net neutrality rules would prevent them from honoring any orders to block that content.

It's quite a bind, and in the letter, Feinstein entreats FCC chair Tom Wheeler to assure providers that it isn't true. The senator acknowledges that there are laws against material support for terrorism, and Title II only applies to legal web traffic, but "nonetheless, there is apparently confusion among at least some broadband providers on whether they may take such actions in order to promote national security and law enforcement purposes."

This argument is nonsense for at least three different reasons. For one, there's no current effort to wipe Inspire off the internet entirely, nor is it clear what those grounds would be. If law enforcement agencies do want to take down a network of sites as a result of criminal activity, there's a clear process for them to do so. In fact, this happens all the time! Here's one example; here's another. This is not a real problem facing law enforcement agencies, and even if it were, it has nothing to do with Title II. The same Title II regulations have applied to landline telephones for years, and that hasn't stopped cops from singling out specific phone numbers for wiretaps or more drastic measures. Fast lane or no, you can still pull someone over if you've got the evidence to justify it.

In other words, this isn't about terrorism; it's about broadband providers doing whatever they can to throw a wrench in the FCC's net neutrality proposals. After countless ill-fated lawsuits, providers seem to have decided that making a counter-terrorism case is their best bet, and Senator Feinstein, never one to back down from a counter-terrorism fight, seems to have taken the bait. Of course, it's alarming to see the specter of recent terrorist killings being used to cynically further an unrelated domestic policy agenda, but hopefully this is just a one-off kind of thing.


Oliver Sacks: Sabbath

MY mother and her 17 brothers and sisters had an Orthodox upbringing — all photographs of their father show him wearing a yarmulke, and I was told that he woke up if it fell off during the night. My father, too, came from an Orthodox background. Both my parents were very conscious of the Fourth Commandment (“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”), and the Sabbath (Shabbos, as we called it in our Litvak way) was entirely different from the rest of the week. No work was allowed, no driving, no use of the telephone; it was forbidden to switch on a light or a stove. Being physicians, my parents made exceptions. They could not take the phone off the hook or completely avoid driving; they had to be available, if necessary, to see patients, or operate, or deliver babies.

We lived in a fairly Orthodox Jewish community in Cricklewood, in Northwest London — the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the greengrocer, the fishmonger, all closed their shops in good time for the Shabbos, and did not open their shutters till Sunday morning. All of them, and all our neighbors, we imagined, were celebrating Shabbos in much the same fashion as we did.

Around midday on Friday, my mother doffed her surgical identity and attire and devoted herself to making gefilte fish and other delicacies for Shabbos. Just before evening fell, she would light the ritual candles, cupping their flames with her hands, and murmuring a prayer. We would all put on clean, fresh Shabbos clothes, and gather for the first meal of the Sabbath, the evening meal. My father would lift his silver wine cup and chant the blessings and the Kiddush, and after the meal, he would lead us all in chanting the grace.

On Saturday mornings, my three brothers and I trailed our parents to Cricklewood Synagogue on Walm Lane, a huge shul built in the 1930s to accommodate part of the exodus of Jews from the East End to Cricklewood at that time. The shul was always full during my boyhood, and we all had our assigned seats, the men downstairs, the women — my mother, various aunts and cousins — upstairs; as a little boy, I sometimes waved to them during the service. Though I could not understand the Hebrew in the prayer book, I loved its sound and especially hearing the old medieval prayers sung, led by our wonderfully musical hazan.

much more (about life and love)


Toon: The Big Tent and The Freakshow

Weekend Toon Roundup











The Price We Pay

Rand Paul Is Losing His Own Flame War

It's a bad sign when your campaign is starting to resemble a comments section flame war. Especially when you're doing it wrong. And Rand Paul — the sort of young, sort of hip, sort of libertarian presidential candidate with a campaign that likes to think it's sort of good at the Internet — is doing it wrong.

Paul isn't just screwing up; he's screwing up comprehensively. His attacks on Donald Trump this last week have been an effete shitshow. He's drawing negative attention back on his own campaign, and he's undermining his default brand – that of the semi-cool academic type who can't be bothered with how wrong everyone is. He's coming off as the thirstiest dude in a field of candidates whose thirst baseline already looks like a bunch of guys who got stranded in the desert after going to town on a salt lick.

To really get a sense of Paul's faltering, let's go to the tapes. Forget the one where Paul conveys the sobriety of his campaign by sawing apart the tax code with less seriousness than a Frank Black video. There's another one, released Wednesday, titled, "Rand Paul: Telling It Like It Is" – it features ominous (and old) footage of Donald Trump saying the economy performs better under Democrats, and that he's met Hillary Clinton and thinks she's a nice person. The Paul campaign followed the video up with a statement: "Rand is running to fight the big business, big government establishment. Donald Trump already represents one end of that problem. Now he wants to represent the other."

Paul's ad and response is basically an unforced error layer cake.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/rand-paul-is-losing-his-own-flame-war-20150814#ixzz3iq7EZEzO

Bernie Sanders Is A Digital Marketing Powerhouse

The dog fight for Democratic Party presidential nomination between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton should be on the radar of anyone who’s interested in modern marketing and advertising. If you live outside the US or aren’t familiar with the two candidates, they have taken very different approaches to solving the same problem – Bernie does not accept ‘donations’ from billionaires and is basically bootstrapping his campaign, while Hillary has a much larger war chest to draw from. Essentially we are seeing user-driven, content lead marketing vs. a big budget traditional approach to brand building. Politics aside, you can see how this battle could generate insights for anyone trying to grow their reach.
Lets start with the the head to head search volume data:

More people were searching for Hillary before her campaign began, we can assume this is because she was a more prominent public figure, Bernie starts from behind. Once the campaign started there was a huge spike from Hillary then a precipitous drop off, showing a PR push, ad buys – traditional ad campaign stuff. For Bernie, there’s a gradual rise until he’s actually generating more searches per month and climbing. Anyone who has worked on brand that doesn’t have a huge ad budget can appreciate this kind of incremental growth, it’s a very healthy sign.

Social performance reveals even more about the story. Hillary is out performing Bernie from a pure numbers game (followers, mentions) but Bernie has the quality.

Lets not forget, Hillary has been accused of the cardinal mistake that many big brands make all the time – sources say she bought over 2 million fake followers. If true, this would explain the high follower numbers but low quality engagement. Meanwhile, Bernie has been sticking with his slow and steady strategy. Either out of desperation or just poor direction, Hillary is starting to go off-brand with polarizing content, such as the infamous Kardashian selfie.



Would Jesus Vote for Bernie Sanders?

With the decline of culture war issues and the rise of crises like climate change, Bernie might actually be able to win over young evangelicals.

If evangelicals do give Bernie a fair hearing, they might discover that they have far more in common with the democratic socialist than they had ever imagined. More than that: They might actually give him their vote.
The first presidential debate in early August should worry Republicans, but not because of any memorable gaffes. It was the deafening silence—begging to be filled by Bernie Sanders—that signals trouble on the GOP’s horizon.

Plenty of hot air and bluster circulated in the debate, to be sure, but one of the key culture war issues that has stoked so much anger and passion since the 1980s—gay rights—was notably absent. The most notable comment on the subject came from Ohio governor John Kasich, who said that “I’m going to love not matter what they do” in response to a question about same-sex marriage. “God gives me unconditional love” Kasich added. “I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.”

We are a long way from Patrick Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, in which he declared that “there is a religious war going on in this country … for the soul of America”—and thus unofficially launched the culture wars that have dominated our politics for a generation.

The issue that sparked the most passion among the 10 candidates was the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, and the tone and quality of that “debate” were summed up by Mike Huckabee’s cri-de-coeur that “when somebody points a gun at your head and loads it, you need to take it seriously. And by God, I take it seriously.” Meantime, he and the other candidates showed little seriousness about economic inequality. Nor did they meaningfully address the subject of climate change.

The candidates’ silence on the latter subjects plays well among many Republican voters, but it threatens to erode their appeal among a key segment of the GOP base: young evangelical Christians who are uncomfortable with party’s denialism on climate change and its inattention to inequality.


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