AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 952930 times)

Offline knarf

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Jupiter’s stunning storm clouds captured in latest Juno flyby
« Reply #10650 on: January 20, 2018, 04:45:13 AM »


 The NASA space probe Juno has once again captured the jaw-dropping beauty of Jupiter in another breathtaking image of the gas giant posted to the space agency’s Twitter feed Thursday.

The picture, which has been color-enhanced, was snapped by the Juno probe during its 10th flyby of the gas giant on December 16. The spacecraft was positioned just above the planet’s south pole, meaning it effectively recorded the different strata of the planet from the bottom up.

The largest body in our solar system is mostly made up of gaseous hydrogen and helium. Colorful bands are arranged in dark belts and light zones, created by strong east-west winds in the planet’s upper atmosphere. Blue clouds, such as those seen in the image above, are visible at the deepest levels.

Jupiter’s size is such that up to 11 Earths could fit inside its clouded disc. The bright oval features, which appear so small on its face, are actually vast cyclones which can measure up to 600 miles (1,000kms) in diameter. Juno has captured a number of similarly fascinating images in recent days.

 NASA's Juno Mission‏Verified account @NASAJuno

High Above the Jovian Clouds: This image of colorful, turbulent clouds in #Jupiter’s northern hemisphere was captured during my latest flyby of the planet https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/news/high-above-jupiters-clouds



https://www.rt.com/usa/416482-jupiter-image-south-pole/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Can you hear me now?:NSA can find & track people with ‘voice-matching technology
« Reply #10651 on: January 20, 2018, 04:51:10 AM »


 Declassified documents reveal the National Security Agency has been using secret “speaker recognition” technology to identify people by their unique “voiceprint” for more than a decade.

The NSA has been recording and gathering private phone calls for years, but it used to be difficult for the agency to identify unknown speakers. In the past, signals intelligence (SIGINT) transcribers worked on the same targets for years before they became familiar enough with a speaker’s unique voice to be able to verify their identity.

Now, the NSA is using more advanced computational systems developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in order to catch spies and terrorists, according to a declassified NSA document obtained by media outlet the Intercept.

The document describes how the NSA used the technology during Operation Iraqi Freedom to match an audio recording to former leader Saddam Hussein’s “voiceprint.” The NSA also used the technology to compare the voice of a captured suspect with previous audio recordings from terrorist Abu Hakim to confirm that the suspect was not a match.

In order to test their technology, analysts at the NSA compared old intercepts and audio files relating to Ron Pelton, a former NSA analyst who sold details about several secret US programs to the Soviet Union. At the time, the agency failed to identify Pelton through human voice identification. However, in 2006, the agency was able to automatically match Pelton’s voice using the technology.

“Had such technologies been available twenty years ago, early detection and apprehension could have been possible, reducing the considerable damage Pelton did to national security,” the document states.

Jake Laperruque
😒‏ @JakeLaperruque

Remember that scene in The Dark Knight where Batman makes a hyberbolic crazy surveillance system that uses all phones to find the Joker based on his voice? That could actually happen 5/10



According to the classified document, the NSA was able to automatically identify a Chinese speaker when they were speaking in English. The document states that voice recognition technologies were “rapidly becoming the standard in the Intelligence Community” more than a decade ago.

Civil liberties advocates are concerned that the technology could make it easier for the NSA to violate the privacy rights of American citizens.

“This creates a new intelligence capability and a new capability for abuse,” Timothy Edgar, a former White House adviser to the Director of National Intelligence, told the Intercept. “Our voice is traveling across all sorts of communication channels where we’re not there. In an age of mass surveillance, this kind of capability has profound implications for all of our privacy.”

 Edward Snowden

@Snowden

Here's the (new) report describing how NSA is laying the groundwork to track people down through the microphones around us every day (your phone calls, a friend's laptop, the phone next to you on the train, that Amazon Echo on the shelf...): https://theintercept.com/2018/01/19/voice-recognition-technology-nsa/https://twitter.com/JakeLaperruque/status/954403265747259393
1:55 PM - Jan 19, 2018



Since a “voiceprint” is nearly impossible to change or disguise, privacy advocates also fear the NSA would be able to instantly locate and track anyone who can be heard by a microphone.

“There are microphones all around us all the time. We all carry around a microphone 24 hours a day, in the form of our cellphones,” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told the Intercept. “And we know that there are ways for the government to hack into phones and computers to turn those devices on.”

Former NSA intelligence analyst, Edward Snowden added that the technology could even be used to track people down through other kinds of listening devices, including “a friend's laptop, the phone next to you on the train, that Amazon Echo on the shelf…”

Although the NSA has kept their voice-matching technology a secret, the Associated Press reported that Turkcell, the largest mobile phone company in Turkey, used a popular speech recognition technology to collect voice data from approximately 10 million customers in 2014.

In October, Human Rights Watch reported that the Chinese government has been gathering tens of thousands of “voice pattern” samples to establish a national voice biometric database and a program that can automatically identify voices in phone conversations.

Interpol also recently announced the Speaker Identification Integrated Project (SIIP), a speaker identification technology funded by the European Union, had passed its final field test.

The program, which began in 2014, was finally able to identify unknown speakers talking in different languages in November of last year.

The Senate recently voted to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), permitting electronic surveillance of non-Americans. However, it has been shown that the NSA has also collected data on Americans during their surveillance.


https://www.rt.com/usa/416470-nsa-technology-classified-voice-recognition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Russian combat engineers test new advanced assault suit
« Reply #10652 on: January 20, 2018, 04:55:10 AM »

Soldiers of the assault engineer battalion of the Russian Armed Forces take part in the exercises in Russia's Vladimir region.

 An advanced battle suit has been put to the test by a new unit of the Russian Engineering Corps. The contingent is tasked with carrying out engineering functions and be a formidable fighting force at the same time.

The full body armor suit is specifically designed to protect soldiers in intense urban warfare. It's made from composite materials that provide a decent level of protection without impairing combat mobility. But it is more than just armor – the suit is equipped with a body camera and even a built-in cooling system, while weighing only 10 kilograms (22 pounds).

The state-of-the-art equipment was designed for a new type of Russian trooper – the assault engineer. Recruits to the new unit are expected to be a versatile force, capable of carrying out specific engineering tasks and functioning as an effective attack unit as well.

“Flexibility is one of the most important qualities of the assault engineering units,” the head of the Russian Engineering Corps, Lieutenant General Yury Stavitsky, told the Izvestia daily. The new troops can both carry out “mine clearing [operations], as well as crush an enemy in a fortified combat emplacement.”

The drills that were held in Russia’s Vladimir region, simulated a combat operation against a group of militants entrenched in a fortified building in an urban terrain setting. In the final part of the exercise, the assault engineers went through a fire assault obstacle course.

The units, which were first formed in 2014, are now wrapping up their training and are expected to start active duty later this year. “By the end of 2018, we expect each [engineering] brigade and regiment to have at least one such ‘strike force’,” Stavitsky said.

These developments form part of a major overhaul of the Russian Engineering Corps, with that process drawing from the combat experience gained during the anti-terrorist campaign in Syria.

The combat engineers are now receiving the most advanced equipment and adjusting their tactics for the new challenges ahead, the Lieutenant General told Izvestia.

Russian combat engineers discovered and defused “one of the largest jihadist arsenals” while working in Palmyra in April 2016. It involved more than 12,000 explosive devices, after they cleared an impressive 234 hectares of land, 14 miles of road, and 10 historical structures at the UNESCO World Heritage site located near the city.

In December 2016, Russian bomb disposal teams also worked in Aleppo after it was wrested from militant control. There, they cleared 2,149 buildings in and around the city, including 44 schools, 38 mosques and 10 medical facilities, according to a Russian-Syrian Reconciliation Center report issued at the time. In 2017, Russian sappers equipped with the latest demining technology found and destroyed over 1,500 explosives in the city of Deir ez-Zor.

https://www.rt.com/news/416461-russia-combat-engineers-suit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Donald Lauppe Obituary
« Reply #10653 on: January 21, 2018, 04:09:59 AM »
The juggling world has lost another well known figure. Donald Lauppe, the son of well known jugglers Gus and Ursula Hill Lauppe, passed away last week. He performed with his parents for many years and was a very talented juggler in his own right.


Donald, Ursuala, and Gus Lauppe

Donald was born on April 12, 1952 and grew up in show business. Below you can see him with his parents and the legendary comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy.


Gus and Ursula with their son Donald and famed comedians Laurel and Hardy

You can see the young family in Homer Stack’s backyard in the following rare photos.





Donald joined the act in 1967. He did ball and mouthstick work, juggled up to 7 rings, did ball spinning, and juggled up to five large balls like his father.












Donald doing a head to head balance with Gus





Donald’s friend, famed juggler Michael Chirrick, reports the following about some of his memories of Donald.

“The first time I remember meeting Gus, Ursula, and Don was around 1963, when they would be in the N.Y / New Jersey area. Don and I were about 12 or 13 years old. They would come to our place from time to time. Gus would drop Don off at our place and he would spend the night. In 1971, my mom (Lottie Brunn), myself and Gus, Ursula, and Don were booked for a 10 day contract in Cincinnati with the Shrine Circus. My mom in the center ring, me on one end, and Gus and Ursula and Don on the other. My Mom came up with the idea to have Don go into my act to even out the display and at the end we all join up in the center ring to do our last trick. It worked really well and the juggling display turned out to be a highlight of the show.”


Donald Lauppe, Lottie Brunn, Gus, Ursula, and Michael Chirrick – 1971


Michael Chirrick, Donald, and Gus

In 1976, the Lauppe Family bought an animal park in Maine, where the couple lived the rest of their lives. Donald decided not to continue as a solo act. For the last several years he had been working in retail in Brunswick, Maine.

Below are two videos of Donald performing with his parents.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/I9LOu0sPdy4&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/I9LOu0sPdy4&fs=1</a>

Click the following link to see video of Gus, Ursula, and Donald taken in the 1970s. http://juggling.tv/5462

The Museum of Juggling History has a ball used by Donald on display. You can see them below.


Ball juggled by Donald Lauppe

Our condolences go out to Donald’s friends and family. His passing is a loss for the juggling community.

https://www.juggle.org/gus-ursula-donald-lauppe-2/


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My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choice
« Reply #10654 on: January 21, 2018, 04:12:58 AM »


 The federal government says grass and guns don't mix, and that is putting gun owners who use marijuana — and the strongly pro-gun-rights administration of President Donald Trump — in a potentially uncomfortable position.

As gun-loving Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to operate a medical marijuana program, with the first dispensary on track to begin sales next month, authorities are warning patients that federal law bars marijuana users from having guns or ammunition.

"They're going to have to make a choice," said John T. Adams, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. "They can have their guns or their marijuana, but not both."

That's the official line, but the reality of how the policy might be enforced in Pennsylvania and other states is a little muddier. That includes the question of whether people who already own guns might have to surrender them, instead of just being prohibited from making new purchases.

The political sensitivity was underscored Friday when Pennsylvania regulators reversed themselves and announced its registry of medical-pot patients will not be available, as was previously planned, through the state's law enforcement computer network.

Phil Gruver, a professional auto detailer from Emmaus who received a state medical marijuana card in mid-December, is weighing what to do with his .22-caliber rifle and a handgun he keeps for home defense.

"It's a violation of my Second Amendment rights," Gruver said. "I don't know of any time anyone's been using marijuana and going out and committing acts of violence with a gun. Most of the time they just sit on their couch and eat pizza."

State laws allowing medical or, more recently, recreational use of pot have long been at odds with the federal prohibition on gun ownership by those using marijuana. But the government has traditionally taken a hands-off approach. Since 2014, Congress has forbidden the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute people who grow, sell and use medical pot.

The picture has become murkier under Trump, a Republican whose attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has long denounced the drug. Sessions recently rescinded a Barack Obama-era policy that was deferential to states' permissive marijuana laws. Now, federal prosecutors in states that allow drug sales must decide whether to crack down on the marijuana trade.

It's not clear what impact the new policy will have on gun owners who use cannabis as medicine, or even how many people fit the bill. Nor is it clear whether any people who use legally obtained medical marijuana have been prosecuted for owning a gun, although the existence of medical marijuana registries in some states, including Pennsylvania, has some patients concerned.

More than 800,000 guns are sold or transferred in Pennsylvania annually, and more than 10,000 people in the state have signed up for medical marijuana. The registry change on Friday makes it much less likely the state's medical marijuana users will be flagged when going through a federal gun sales background check.

A spokeswoman for Dave Freed, the new U.S. attorney in Harrisburg, said only that criminal investigations and prosecutions "will be based on a fair and transparent fact-intensive inquiry of individual cases." State police said it's up to prosecutors to decide when to bring a case.

The Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has left no doubt where it stands. Last year, the ATF spelled out the marijuana prohibition in boldface type on gun purchase forms.

"Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes ... is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition," ATF spokeswoman Janice L. Kemp said in an email to The Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department referred questions about medical marijuana and guns enforcement to local federal prosecutors and a recent memo from Sessions that does not specifically address the issue.

In Ohio, which has authorized a medical marijuana program, the office of the U.S. attorney for the northern part of the state, Justin Herdman, has said Sessions' guidance won't change his case-by-case approach.

The gun-ownership ban has withstood at least one legal challenge. An appeals court in San Francisco, rejecting a challenge on Second Amendment grounds, said in 2016 that Congress reasonably concluded marijuana and other drugs raise the risk of unpredictable behavior.

Meanwhile, some state and local officials, particularly in law enforcement, have sought to crack down.

William Bryson, chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council, told state lawmakers in December that people who use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes should be required to have a designation on their driver's licenses. That would make it easier, he said, for police to enforce the ban.

And last month, a police chief in Hawaii publicized and then quickly rescinded a directive that medical marijuana patients had to give up their handguns. Two people turned in their weapons.

But marijuana activists predict a backlash should federal prosecutors begin going after gun owners who use legally obtained medical marijuana.

The issue has been largely theoretical, but there would be quick pushback if the federal government took a more aggressive stance, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Between 1998 and 2014, nearly 100,000 prospective gun purchasers went home empty-handed because they were flagged as using illegal drugs, according to the ATF. But the agency could not say how many of those used medical or recreational marijuana.

Dean Hazen, an Urbana, Illinois, businessman who helps broker online gun purchases, said a 75-year-old client with a medical marijuana card was turned down when his state firearm-owner identification card was run through the federal background check system.

"He's got a collection of guns at home," Hazen said, "and he's a model citizen."

Even before his administration took the medical marijuana registry off the Pennsylvania law-enforcement computer network, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, sought to assure people the state has no plans to take their guns. And last week, state House Republican Leader Dave Reed urged residents to call their congressional representative and "urge them to make gun ownership legal for medical marijuana card holders."

Kim Stolfer, head of the Pennsylvania organization Firearms Owners Against Crime, pointed out that people who drink heavily or use potent but legal drugs such as opioids or antidepressants can still own a gun.

"You have people that are advancing up in age that need medical marijuana and might have, say, 50 firearms and just realized they sacrificed all of those," Stolfer said. "Where are they going to turn them in and how are they going to get rid of them?"

http://abcnews.go.com/amp/Health/wireStory/guns-ganja-firearm-owning-pot-fans-face-choice-52341084
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Offline knarf

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Man who travels with goat named Deer in Detroit viciously attacked
« Reply #10655 on: January 21, 2018, 04:27:15 AM »
















A man who travels conspicuously with a horned, black goat named Deer in an old school bus he purchased in Kentucky was viciously attacked and robbed in his Detroit home Tuesday.

Erick Brown, 31, says he tried to help a couple of homeless travelers and their dog, whom he met on the internet, before they turned on him, beat him savagely with a Ryobi cordless drill, ordered their dog to attack him, tied him up and stole his bank cards.

Friends and family say Brown's weakness is his seemingly unending generosity, openness and kindness, the same traits they say endear him to so many.

Looooooong Article....read more at


http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2018/01/man_who_travels_with_a_goat_na.html


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7 People Charged in Opioid Trafficking Scheme That Left 700 People Dead
« Reply #10656 on: January 21, 2018, 04:29:13 AM »
(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — Two people in Italy and five U.S. residents have been charged in a fraud and drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute opioids in Florida and Tennessee, leading to hundreds of deaths, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The indictments were unsealed by federal officials Friday in Knoxville but handed down earlier. They allege the defendants were involved in a widespread scheme to operate “pill mills” in the U.S.

Prosecutors say defendants ran the Urgent Care & Surgery Center Enterprise, which distributed enough oxycodone, oxymorphone and morphine to generate clinic revenue of at least $21 million.

About 700 center patients are dead, prosecutors said. A Justice Department news release says a “significant percentage of those deaths, directly or indirectly, were the result of overdosing on narcotics” prescribed by the center. The scheme involved illegal kickbacks and money laundering, prosecutors said.

“Throughout this country, and certainly in Tennessee and Florida, the illegal and unconscionable mass-distribution of prescription opioids through the operation of illegal pain clinics has taken a heavy toll on our citizens, families and communities,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the news release. “This sort of profiteering effectively trades human lives for financial riches.”

Two Italians, Luca Sartini and Luigi Palma, were arrested Friday in Rome by Italian authorities. U.S. officials are seeking extradition. Federal court records posted online do not show if they have lawyers.

Also charged were Benjamin Rodriguez of Delray Beach, Florida, and four Knoxville residents: Sylvia Hofstetter, Courtney Newman, Cynthia Clemons, and Holli Womack.

Rodriguez is set to surrender to authorities. Court records do not show if he has a lawyer. Lawyers for Hostetter, Newman and Womack did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Clemons’ lawyer, Randall Reagan, said she has pleaded not guilty and has a trial scheduled in October. He declined to comment on details of the case.

Sartini, Palma, Rodriguez, Hofstetter and a co-conspirator charged in another indictment, ran the center’s opioid-based pain management clinics from about April 2009 to March 2015, prosecutors said.

The defendants hired medical providers with Drug Enforcement Agency registration numbers, which would allow the providers to prescribe drugs. The clinics did not accept insurance and ordered unnecessary drug screenings defrauding Medicare, the indictments said. Meanwhile, shell companies were set up to launder proceeds, prosecutors said.

Many patients arrived in groups and were sponsored by drug dealers who paid for the clinic visits and prescriptions to get the opioids, prosecutors said. Patients would receive a portion of prescribed narcotics for free in return.

The Justice Department said about 30 drug traffickers have been charged and convicted and about 80 to 90 smaller narcotics distributers have also been charged and convicted as part of the investigation by the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Task Force Initiative. The superseding indictment announced Friday is among 35 related indictments charging about 140 people, including medical providers who worked at the pill mills.

http://time.com/5110570/opioid-trafficking-pill-mill-arrest/
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Re: Donald Lauppe Obituary
« Reply #10657 on: January 21, 2018, 04:29:31 AM »
I wonder if Ray Jason of Sea Gypsy Philosopher will write a requiem for DL? ???  :icon_scratch:  RJ made his living before putting to sea permanently as a Street Juggler, and performed regularly during the halftime show for the San Francisco 49ers in the 70s-80s.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline knarf

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The very American myth of 'exceptional immigrants'
« Reply #10658 on: January 21, 2018, 04:35:57 AM »

Haitians gather outside the US embassy in Port-au-Prince to protest against reported comments made by Donald Trump against the countries of the Caribbean and Africa

For most immigrants in the United States, the year that has passed since President Donald Trump's inauguration has been one in which their new country has become an increasingly frightening place to live.

Those of us who are visible as an "other" - having black or brown skin, bearing names that show we are Muslim or Hispanic, wearing clothing that mark us as somehow "different" - are repetitively evoked (in both veiled and vulgar language) in the president's public speeches, private policy meetings, and barrages of tweets.

Trump tweeted earlier this month that he plans to make immigration more "merit-based" to attract "highly skilled" workers and followed these plans up by calling potential and existing immigrants from Haiti and all of Africa, in particular, people from "shithole countries" during a policy meeting.

Part of why Americans are susceptible to this violent, xenophobic, and nativist rhetoric is not because they are exceptionally thick, but because of how the national mythology of the US  - one constructed on Puritan ideals of egalitarianism, "hard work" and perseverance against adversity - is constructed.

Americans are told, since childhood, that hard work and perseverance not only build character, but allow them to overcome obstacles, and achieve their goals and dreams. Because this powerful myth is repetitively drummed into their heads - be it through apocryphal narratives of kids who came from impoverished backgrounds who went on to become multimillion-dollar earning athletes, or women who beat the odds and attained positions of leadership in fields dominated by men - they learn to believe that their country is a meritocracy.

    These experiences of failure and not-making-it are true, unexceptional, and the norm; yet, they are unincorporated into America's popular narrative.

     

Anyone who has gone thorough the immigration process here knows that US immigration is not only class-based, but underhandedly racist, too: after all, Trump himself remarked, in that same infamous policy meeting, that immigrants from Asia should be favoured over those from Haiti and Africa.

So it baffles me why legislators and pundits are suddenly calling on immigration reforms to reflect the desire for skilled workers, when it is clear, from even a cursory glance at H1B and Greencard application documents, that it is already so.

As an immigrant who was born in a small island in South Asia (Sri Lanka) and grew up in a Southern African country (Zambia), and who now lives and teaches in the US, I make a point of incorporating my own narrative of immigration - the cost, the paperwork, the lawyers' fees, the networks of fellow immigrants who helped me, and the (often difficult to identify) factors and existing privileges in my personal history that allowed me to be a "successful" immigrant - into how I teach my global literature classes.

"It's about money and existing privilege," I laugh. "America sure didn't want any tired and poor immigrants." Most of my American students are surprised - unless they, too, have come from recent-immigrant families.

We all know this to be true, if we are recent immigrants to the US. But we become defensive against racism, and prefer to align ourselves with American rhetoric of being exceptional. And because US immigration policy already selects immigrants who come from privileged social class, caste, and educational backgrounds, this group is used to being seen as elite; certainly, these immigrants do not want to align themselves with workers in the service industries or the undocumented.

I was dismayed, but not surprised, therefore, by the defensive rhetoric used by my fellow immigrants when "Shithole-gate" hit the national and international fans. On Twitter and Facebook, immigrants brought out the weaponry of respectability to prove that racists were wrong about them. Since Haiti and Africa were on the "shithole" list this time, they listed the exceptional African and Haitian immigrants who invented amazing things and discovered incredible surgical techniques that no doubt saved the lives of countless American racists who hated immigrants.

Others touted how so few immigrants, statistically, are involved in any crimes. Articles, like this one in the LA Times, rushed to assure frightened Americans that while many are refugees, and "beneficiaries of the 'diversity visa programme' aimed at boosting immigration from underrepresented nations…African immigrants are better educated than people born in the US or the immigrant population as a whole".

The African Studies Association's Board of Directors released the following statement:

"[In the] US Census Bureau report, Africans account for only 4 percent of the total foreign-born population in the United States, but the educational attainment of that 4 percent far exceeds the average of all of those born outside of the US. Indeed, 41 percent of African residents in the US hold bachelor's degrees or higher. Nigerians, who have been singled out by the president on previous occasions, are among the most educated group in the US, with some 61 percent holding bachelor's degrees and 17 percent masters degrees."

All this is true. But this rhetoric only serves to boost the myth of merit, and further the erroneous belief that only the "deserving" and exceptional - who are mostly exceptional because of existing class, family, political, and educational privileges - should be in the US.

As critic Steven Salaita explained in a Facebook post, cases like that of 57-year-old Palestinian-American business owner, Amer Othman Adi - who has been unjustly held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is currently on hunger strike, "gives lie to the conservative (and often liberal) narrative that 'good' immigrants are welcome … By all accounts, including those of a mayor, a business community, and a congressman, Adi was the ideal arrivant. So, even by the insidious standards of model minority discourse (fuelled by anti-Black racism and Native dispossession), Adi isn't worthy of freedom and dignity. What is left to conclude? That people from certain countries - shitholes - are never acceptable no matter how much they conform to the state's chauvinistic mythologies."

    It is time that Asian immigrants in particular ... also stop imagining themselves as more special and deserving than US minorities of non-recent immigrant backgrounds.

     

In my university classes, I make sure that I stress that all but the most privileged had to almost bend God's will to be here, and stay here. I make sure that I include immigrants who are both documented and undocumented in this narrative.

We are nearly all exceptional in many ways, but not because we have class privilege and exceptional jobs - but because of the inventiveness of our hustle, the "I can't go on/I'll go on" ideology, evocative of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett's beautiful, painful writing.

We internalise that struggle, steel, and vulnerability in the face of immigration officials at airports, border checkpoints, local immigration offices, and the everyday racism we encounter. When I read French existentialists, I actually laugh: if they actually wanted to know what it is like to face insurmountable obstacles, they should have first spoken to a black or brown immigrant in the US (or France) first.

It is true that many of the first friends I made in the US were in college because they did have something exceptional about them that parents and teachers recognised; a slew of people - school administrators, guidance counsellors, a friend in the neighbourhood who had an aunt who went to college - helped get them into university by helping them fill out paperwork, write entrance essays, and generally navigate the difficult US tertiary education system and immigrate into the lower rungs of the US middle class.

But I also pose this question: what happens if you are exceptional, but a queue of terrible and overworked educators dismiss or simply do not see your ability? What happens if you are not exceptional, but simply ordinary, and poor, and immigrant?

While the ordinary middle and upper-middle class kid will often have parents and educators advocating for them - protecting the young person from learning difficult lessons even at the cost of their character and skills development - the poor and the immigrant in the US rarely have the benefits of that invisible, protective shield. These experiences of failure and not-making-it are true, unexceptional, and the norm; yet, they are unincorporated into the US's popular narrative.

Those who have gone through this expensive and Faustian processes of an H1-B application, Permanent Residency or "Greencard" process, and eventually, US citizenship, know how ludicrously and nakedly class-based, racist, and violent it is towards immigrants. It is especially so for women of colour.

This system clearly favours those with existing economic, class, gender, and privileges that pipeline them into college educations. Those of us from urban centres, rather than rural areas, from nations with thriving education systems, from families with existing wealth and political power, and those from ethnic groups that are in ascendancy get ahead.

US visas and immigration processes favour those with money in hand, to pay for those exorbitant application fees, a requirement at every step of the immigration and naturalisation process. Yet, if I suggest that the US is not a meritocracy, my students react in disbelief, and many sweetly try to convince me otherwise, using the examples of the miraculous achievements of the authors we read in class.

When I point out that the problem with a meritocracy is that only those who are truly exceptional - like the authors we read - who will "make it" out of dire circumstances, there is silence. When I point out that none of us would have a chance, should we have been born in more dire circumstances, since no one in class (including me) is truly as exceptional as any of the authors we read, there is more silence.

These are some of the few moments in which I have felt that I have communicated something of importance about how structures in the US work - creating at least some doubt about powerful and pervasive mythologies that serve only to blame those who cannot claw their way out of circumstances meant to make them fail.

The truth is, anyone who plots, schemes, saves, and works to the point of exhaustion - sometimes only with the hope that the next or even the third generation will benefit - in an economically and politically powerful nation like the US has to be exceptional, in some way.

It is obvious that (white) Americans need to be disabused of the notion that the US's white population is special, and deserving, somehow, of privilege; it is time to get over the belief that they only received their privileges from having worked for it.

But just as importantly, those immigrants of more privileged backgrounds - those who are currently touting the percentage of people from their national group who have college and post-graduate degrees, as if waving these statistics and their material possessions are ways of proving that they are not, in fact, deserving of Trump's racism - also need an antidote for their misplaced smugness.

It is time that Asian immigrants in particular - who benefit from the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of African Americans towards changing and challenging racist immigration laws that excluded Asians, and who have, as a group, been favoured since American immigration began moving towards a merit-based system - also stop imagining themselves as more special and deserving than US minorities of non-recent immigrant backgrounds.

Our class snobbery, carried over from our old countries, and defensive superiority, developed against the racism of our new country, has only aided white supremacists who couldn't care less about how exceptional we are.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/american-myth-exceptional-immigrants-180119124728058.html
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Offline Surly1

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Re: My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choice
« Reply #10659 on: January 21, 2018, 04:43:28 AM »


 The federal government says grass and guns don't mix, and that is putting gun owners who use marijuana — and the strongly pro-gun-rights administration of President Donald Trump — in a potentially uncomfortable position.

I remember when the mouth-breathers insisted Obama was coming for their guns. Now, in the fullness of time, it's Dolt 45 and Jeffy Bo.
You couldn't make this up.
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Offline knarf

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Attacks on Donald Trump have been fast and furious, but some appeared to be so cheap, ridiculous or hurtful that even the man himself was too embarrassed to list them in his "Fake News Awards." Are they credible? You be the judge.

‘Donald Trump is illiterate’

While previously thrown around as a vague insult, this accusation has been recently used more literally, with such impartial president-watchers as Joe Scarborough and Michael Wolff listing incidents of Trump’s reluctance to talk about reading and claims by unnamed White House insiders that the president is “no more than semi-literate.”

#Resistance Youtubers seized on the idea, and started meticulously picking apart “evidence” in Trump’s body language and behavior to reinforce the idea that his reading skills are rudimentary.

There is a basic implausibility of a silver-spoon heir going from an elite military school; to Wharton; to concluding billion-dollar-deals; to signing acts as the president; without knowing what is written, but perhaps that would fit in with an image of Trump as a maverick savant.



Just thinking more day-to-day... Could Trump send his uncensored and eccentrically-spelt tweets without knowing how to read? Would an illiterate person even know how Twitter works? Would he bother to attack the “failing” New York Times?

Trump often has to deliver lengthy speeches, whose contents are known in advance. To assume that he can memorize them perfectly without notes in hours would really make him a “stable genius” of the oral tradition.

Now, whether Trump is a lazy reader or dyslexic are more relevant – if presumptuous – concerns, but less interesting for a five-minute TV slot.

‘Donald Trump is textbook generic sex pensioner/watersports-loving sex fiend’


Adult film actress Stormy Daniels

Trying to nail the thrice-married serial cheater, who was elected despite epic prior coverage of his ‘locker-room talk’ audio, on grounds of morality, is harder than it looks.

Here, the media has either overshot or undershot the public revulsion target.

The Christopher Steele dossier image of Trump marshaling compliant Russian prostitutes to defile the bed Barack Obama had slept on was too lurid, cartoonish and cheaply satirical.

Meanwhile, the much-touted Stormy Daniels revelations of Trump as a “one-position” superannuated gallant, “obsessively” watching Shark Week in his hotel room and complimenting the porn star with awkward comparisons to his daughter, came off more tame and pathetic than explosive. The fact, that in the context of the #MeToo campaign, professing that women had to be believed, Daniels’ denials of the story – whether or not paid for with hush money – were batted away for the sake of attacking a political opponent, also flavored the affair with an aftertaste of hypocrisy.

‘Melania hates Donald, and is a hostage in the White House’

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/tErSdg6WZJU&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/tErSdg6WZJU&fs=1</a>

She wouldn’t move from New York, she doesn’t want to hold his hand, she keeps a separate bedroom from the president in the White House – speculation about marital strife has provided air support for every accusation of Trump’s infidelity and overall insufferability.


U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the Liberty Ball in Washington DC, January 20, 2017.

All this may well be true, but there is one problem – Melania remains mum. In the absence of personal disclosure, the media has made a skin-flaying pivot from portraying the First Lady as an Eastern European Robo-Ice Queen on the make, to Bluebeard’s wife. But after years of snooty jibes and unfavorable comparisons, the new-found concern for Melania, who has never been coy about her attraction to Trump’s status and wealth, seems a touch insincere. Why didn’t anyone warn her before?

‘Donald Trump is suffering from a degenerative neurological condition’

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/lmk6oC2CuT0&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/lmk6oC2CuT0&fs=1</a>

The occupant of the White House disintegrating in full public view would create unprecedented upheaval and embarrassment, and it is imperative that such a scenario must be stopped, or at least prevented, if it appears likely in 2020 and beyond.

There is valid, if likely inconsequential research to be done from afar for example, comparing the deterioration of Trump’s vocabulary over the past several decades, and whether it is likely to prevent him from performing his job well over dozens of other counter-indications for presidency.



But the way the anti-Trump media brigade has gone about this has been petty, scientifically illiterate and stigmatizing. Opponents have repeatedly jumped on isolated incidents – holding a glass with two hands, the “slurring” during that Jerusalem speech – and mixed up psychiatric and neurological diagnoses, making the whole enterprise seem more like 25th Amendment-targeting political point-scoring than ethics-guided insight into a man allegedly in the grasp of devastating conditions.

For someone with a supposedly loosening grip on reality, Trump managed to astutely neutralize the narrative, when he reportedly volunteered to take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and achieved a perfect score, which of course, then led to the next line of attack.

‘Girtherism’

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/fySNo__152c&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/fySNo__152c&fs=1</a>

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson tended to George W. Bush, and was the personal physician of Barack Obama, before continuing in the same post for Donald Trump. Which is the exact background for a man that would then subtract several pounds from the current president’s weight so that he would be classified as “overweight” and not “obese.”

Whatever the cathartic properties of such diatribes, Trump's critics are their least appealing when they mock the color of his skin, give a blow-by-blow description of his scalp surgery, or repeat innuendo about the size of his hands – behaviors they would condemn in almost every other context.

Also, if you let the hate flow through you, do not also pretend that you are humbly serving the cause of truth, as the New Yorker did earlier this month claiming that “the allure of girtherism isn’t simply the prospect of an easy joke… But the idea that, in seizing upon the plain facts about his body, we might somehow force the President an inch or two closer to the truth.”

‘Trump is afraid of stairs’


https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.01/original/5a63d3b3fc7e933d458b4567.jpg
How did he get up there?

f you can successfully accuse Trump of this, you can accuse him of anything.

There are several hundred separate videos and photos of the US president both ascending and descending staircases of various widths, inclines, and materials, unsupported, holding on to the railings, holding on to Theresa May. Not a single named source has ever alleged this fear, yet now there are numerous articles containing the words “Trump” and “bathmophobia” (don’t worry they had to look it up too, before writing them).

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/1vdk09KRnAM&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/1vdk09KRnAM&fs=1</a>

In any case, what is that story even trying to say? Why would Trump be afraid of stairs? A psychological condition? Poor balance? Vanity? Wooden leg? Just fill in the blanks, it doesn’t matter, because it’s made up anyway.

Even in the above catalog of inanity, it is hard to imagine a more textbook example of Donald Trump’s detractors providing endless distraction from substantive issues, and perfect ammunition to be shot down as irrelevant purveyors of falsehoods.

https://www.rt.com/usa/416527-trump-attacks-stairs-illiterate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Offline RE

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Re: My guns or my ganja? Firearm-owning pot fans face a choice
« Reply #10661 on: January 21, 2018, 04:52:10 AM »
I wonder which one Eddie would give up first? ???  :icon_scratch:

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline knarf

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JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon

Chief Executive of US banking giant JPMorgan Jamie Dimon has received a 5.9 percent increase in his earnings, despite profits falling by one percent. The bank’s workers got no raise.

Dimon now earns around 240 times the average pay of JPMorgan’s 250,000 employees, TheStreet reports. The CEO’s earnings are comprised of a $1.5 million salary and $28 million in "performance shares" linked to profitability. Dimon was rewarded for "strong performance in 2017 and through the cycle." The average pay of the bank’s employees was not increased.

The bank’s net income fell one percent to $24.4 billion, while revenue climbed four percent last year.

Last week, Dimon announced that the company expects to save $3.5 billion from the new tax law, and may share the proceeds with employees. "We think it's time that all of America share broadly, and we're going to have things that we think are good for some employees," Dimon said.

"That's what we're supposed to do. We're a bank. We're supposed to help support and grow communities. And it will enhance our growth in the future, too."

Jamie Dimon hit the headlines in various media last year when he said that bitcoin is good only for drug dealers and murderers. Last week, he said he “regrets” disparaging bitcoin.

https://www.rt.com/business/416521-jamie-dimon-pay-raise/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Offline knarf

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Asteroid the size of Burj Khalifa skyscraper heading for Earth
« Reply #10663 on: January 21, 2018, 05:05:32 AM »


 A “potentially hazardous” asteroid, larger than the world’s tallest building, is heading towards Earth at a speed of 76,000 miles per hour.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will fly past Earth on February 4, coming within 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) of our planet, according to NASA.

Although this is the equivalent of ten times the distance between Earth and the moon, it falls within the parameters of “potentially dangerous” – a classification applied to any asteroid within 4.6 million miles of the Earth.

The impressive rock measures up to 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) wide and will reach a velocity of 76,000 mph at its closest approach – greater than the majority of near-Earth objects during an Earth flyby.

The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid's orbit, which edges very close to the sun. Despite this, NASA states categorically that there is no threat of a collision with our planet.

"We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately," said Paul Chodas from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance – zero – of colliding with Earth on February 4 or any time over the next 100 years."

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/gcf4XOKAhRQ&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/gcf4XOKAhRQ&fs=1</a>

This is good news for all inhabitants because if the giant rock did hit it would cause some serious, long lasting damage.

Research from 2016 estimated that such a strike could cause a "a very severe global impact" for several years, heralding a mini ice age.

Charles Bardeen, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, who lead the modelling experiment said, “These would not be pleasant times." 

On a more positive note, however, the team says an asteroid would have to be at least 10 times bigger than this one to wipe out the entire planet. The asteroid believed to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago was about 6 miles (10 km) wide.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will safely pass Earth at 21.30 UTC on February 4 and will not come in proximity of the planet again until 2172.

https://www.rt.com/news/416518-asteroid-burj-khalifa-earth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS
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Offline knarf

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At the end of Trump's first year, I pray for revolution
« Reply #10664 on: January 21, 2018, 05:12:43 AM »


I woke up. Fear had nested in my bones. I couldn't see. There was something downstairs. The words penetrated the darkness. "Trump" and "win" repeated incessantly on the forgotten radio. Shock exploded. Audio of the vulgar and profane utterances filled my ears. I was terrified for the marginalized and oppressed. Their lives were already tough.

Now, things were going to get much worse. In the darkness, my soul cried out for the strength to stand with the forgotten. I stumbled. Immediately, I got back up. There would be no rest. In the light of the election, I knew that I must learn to walk anew.

Even though I didn't believe it possible, I still prayed that he would change. I don't pray like that anymore. I pray for revolution. I pray for the swift and immediate removal of the president of the United States.

I am a Baptist minister. For centuries, my forebears have carried the torch of religious liberty. We are firm believers in the separation of church and state. Local Baptist minister and religious tyrant Robert Jeffress does not behave like a Baptist; he behaves like a joke. He speaks evil to be seen favorably by our president.

Since the election, I've started to realize that the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of conscience and hate. This is not about politics. This is about responding to evil for what it is: evil. These are desperate times. To not revolt against our president now is a sin that futures generations surely will not be forgive. I believe revolution is the only path to God.

Jeff Flake's policies and politics always reminded me of a popular bully in high school. Then, something happened. Frightened by the actions of our president, Flake began to revolt. Most Republicans have sought to distance themselves from his actions. Flake doesn't seem fazed at all.

With boldness, Flake recently rose on the floor of the Senate to deliver a withering critique of our president's consistent denial of truth. At one point, he even compared Trump to Joseph Stalin. I couldn't believe it. He has joined the revolution. There was one line of the speech that has stuck with me more than all the others:

"Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler."

Our president might be the greatest liar of our age. Such a title would also make him the greatest oppressor of our age. Truth is the great leveler. It is the only thing that can set the captives free.

The verbalization of words does not create truth. Our president says he loves all people. He is lying.

Our president has mocked the disabled.

Our president has denigrated women.

Our president has shunned black people.

Our president has stolen from the poor.

Our president has bullied Muslims.

Our president has robbed native populations.

Our president has ignored the homeless.

Our president has endangered LGBT folk.

Our president has terrified Latinos.

Our president has tricked the worker.

Our president has cursed the condemned.

Our president has destroyed the environment.

The evil doesn't stop.

Our president's verbalization of words has not created truth. Our president says he loves all people. He is lying.

Revolution is a peculiar word. For many, it's terrifying. For others, it's exciting. For us, it must be our reality. Evil controls our present. It doesn't have to control our future.

HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com