Sean Davis writes: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was against government shutdowns before she was for them. Last year, she railed against Republicans and said they wanted to shut down the government in order to prevent food inspections, allow lead into children’s toys manufactured in China, and deform babies through their mothers’ use of unsafe morning sickness pills.
Seriously, she said that:
You’d think that they believe that the government that functions best is a government that doesn’t function at all. So far, they haven’t ended government, but they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down. But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington, behind all that, there’s a reality.
The American people don’t want the extremist Republican’s bizarre vision of a future without government. They don’t support it. Why? Because the American people know that without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American people know that government matters.
The anarchy gang is quick to malign government, but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys? Or for food inspectors…(read more)
My, my, my, how things have changed. Now Warren is suddenly a big fan of government shutdowns. She’s such a big fan that she’s trying to orchestrate one all by herself:
Weird. I was told last year that threatening to block a spending bill over one provision was tantamount to treason. I was told that hostage-taking during the budget negotiation process was downright un-American. Read the rest of this entry »
Edward Kosner writes: Desperate times call forth desperate journalism. Suddenly, what we used to think of as the big-time press is being convulsed by a spasm of amateurism.
Rolling Stone, since the 1960s a paragon of hip investigative journalism and gonzo reportage, finds itself sweatily backpedaling from a single-sourced exposé of gang rape at the University of Virginia, an article that rattled the campus designed by Thomas Jefferson and went viral.
The 30-something Facebook zillionaire who bought the New Republic two years ago decided to convert the century-old journal of political and arts commentary into “a vertically integrated digital media company.” The two top editors quit as they were being pushed—and nearly all their staff and contributors followed them out the door, devastating the magazine.
[Order Edward Kosner‘s book “News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist” from Amazon]
Not long ago, Newsweek resurrected itself in print after a near-death experience. Its very first cover story claimed to identify the mysterious Asian creator of bitcoin, the brave new digital currency—only to have the putative inventor surface to insist persuasively that the magazine had the right name, but the wrong man. And the vastly experienced author of a new 500-page biography of Bill Cosby managed to blow the lead: to leave out detailed accusations by more than a dozen women that the beloved comedian had drugged and raped or otherwise sexually molested them.
Inevitably in any journalistic trend story, there is an element of coincidence in the cascade of these sorry episodes. And, even in the best-run publications, mistakes are as inescapable in journalism as they are in any sustained human activity. But there is an unseen common denominator to all these fiascoes that helps explain why they happened, illuminating both the existential dangers that serious journalism now faces and its fraught future.
“Here was a story made to go viral—doing journalistic due diligence on it might blunt its sharp edges and sap its appeal. As it happened, the Rolling Stone piece was undone by old-school reporting by the Washington Post, which has the resources to do its job…”
Quite simply, print editors and their writers, and especially the publications’ proprietors, are being unhinged by the challenge of making a splash in a new world increasingly dominated by the values of digital journalism. Traditional long-form journalism—painstakingly reported, carefully written, rewritten and edited, scrupulously fact-checked—finds itself fighting a losing battle for readers and advertisers. Quick hits, snarky posts and click-bait in the new, ever-expanding cosmos of websites promoted by even quicker teasers on Twitter and Facebook have broadened the audience but shrunk its attention span, sometimes to 140 characters (shorter than this sentence).
Whether they realize it or not, and most do, print journalists feel the pressure to make their material ever more compelling, to make it stand out amid the digital chatter. The easiest way to do that is to come up with stories so sensational that even the Twitterverse has to take notice. Read the rest of this entry »
Sugar-blasted Breakfast Treat Gets New Life
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — 2006 was the year Twitter debuted and Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status. It was also the last time French Toast Crunch cereal was for sale in U.S. stores.
“Little toast-shaped, maple-flavored bites of deliciousness…”
Now, General Mills has given the sugar-blasted breakfast treat new life, announcing its return to supermarket shelves after an eight-year hiatus.
The distinctive “little toast-shaped, maple-flavored bites of deliciousness,” as General Mills describes them, were survived by their sister cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
General Mills said it was responding to demand by relaunching French Toast Crunch.
But it also wants to ride a wave of nostalgia: Children who ate the cereal in the mid-to-late 1990s are now in their 20s and buying cereal themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
A group of young Muslims launching rocket fireworks at police in Bow, East London. The video was distributed on Facebook by members of the public that were concerned it did not appear in the mainstream media.
Body of missing real estate agent found in shallow grave
(CNN) — The body of missing Arkansas realtor Beverly Carter has been located north of the Little Rock area, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office said early Tuesday.
Her body was found in a shallow grave near Cabot, about 20 miles northeast of central Little Rock.
Arron Lewis, of Jacksonville, will be charged with capital murder, the sheriff’s office said.
The 33-year-old was arrested by authorities Monday.
“Lewis admitted … to kidnapping Beverly Carter, but would not divulge her whereabouts,” the sheriff’s office said. After he was booked into the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility, investigators said they obtained information that led them to the property where the grave was located. Read the rest of this entry »
A new mobile messaging app that enables users to communicate in the absence of cellular or Internet connections is seeing a surge in downloads among Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.
The free FireChat app, which launched in March, was downloaded 100,000 times in Hong Kong between Sunday morning and Monday morning, said Micha Benoliel, co-founder and chief executive of San Francisco-based Open Garden, which developed the app.
“When your smartphone cannot connect to a cellular tower or Wi-Fi it chooses Bluetooth.”
– Benoliel, a 42-year-old France native
It is unclear how many protesters are using it to communicate regularly during the protests, which mark Hong Kong’s most serious confrontation with Beijing in more than a decade. Students and other protesters have flooded the city’s streets in the weeks since Beijing’s decision on Aug. 31 to impose limits on how Hong Kong elects its leader. The protests escalated Sunday, with police using pepper spray and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
[Also see - VIDEO – Aerial Drone Captures Scale of Hong Kong Protests – WSJ VIDEO]
There have been no confirmed cellular network outages in Hong Kong, though some people have complained of sluggish mobile connections, perhaps due to high numbers of people massed together. Read the rest of this entry »
A reminder to iPhone owners cheering Apple’s latest privacy win: Just because Apple will no longer help police to turn your smartphone inside out doesn’t mean it can prevent the cops from vivisecting the device on their own.
“I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage. But it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.”
– iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski
On Wednesday evening Apple made news with a strongly-worded statement about how it protects users’ data from government requests. And the page noted at least one serious change in that privacy stance: No longer will Apple aid law enforcement or intelligence agencies in cracking its users’ passcodes to access their email, photos, or other mobile data. That’s a 180-degree flip from its previous offer to cops, which demanded only that they provide the device to Apple with a warrantto have its secrets extracted.
In fact, Apple claims that the new scheme now makes Apple not only unwilling, but unable to open users’ locked phones for law enforcement. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [your personal] data,” reads the new policy. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
“I can do it. I’m sure the guys in suits in the governments can do it. And I’m sure that there are at least three or four commercial tools that can still do this, too.”
But as the media and privacy activists congratulated Apple on that new resistance to government snooping, iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski offered a word of caution for the millions of users clamoring to pre-order the iPhone 6 and upgrade to iOS 8. In many cases, he points out, the cops can still grab and offload sensitive data from your locked iPhone without Apple’s help, even in iOS 8. All they need, he says, is your powered-on phone and access to a computer you’ve previously used to move data onto and off of it. Read the rest of this entry »
Cop Smear Blowback: Civil Rights Leaders Demand that Actress Daniele Watts Apologize to LAPD for Claiming She was Racially ProfiledPosted: September 19, 2014
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) September 19, 2014
WASHINGTON — Activists who organized the dormant Occupy Wall Street movement are suing another activist for control of the main Twitter account, and one of the plaintiffs says there was no other option but to turn to litigation to solve the dispute.
“We can either go and beat him up or we can go to court.”
– Marisa Holmes, video editor, part of the core organizing team of Occupy
The conflict centers around @OccupyWallStNYC, one of the main Twitter feeds that distributed information during the movement’s heyday in 2011. The OWS Media Group filed a lawsuit against organizer Justin Wedes on Wednesday, which is also the third anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. The group, led by activist Marisa Holmes, is seeking control of the Twitter account as well as $500,000 in damages.
The Twitter account, which used to be shared among several activists, is now under the control of Wedes, who explained his decision to take over the Twitter feed in a blog post in August:
A thread about “self-promotion” became just another shaming session. If we start from a place of assuming bad intentions – i.e. discouraging “self-promotion” over encouraging solid, relevant content – we will end up with rules that shame rather than empower. Group members took on the task of limiting others to “1 to 2 tweets per day” (or week) on a topic, a form of censorship that would never have been allowed in the earlier days of the boat. I had to say enough!
“We can either go and beat him up or we can go to court,” Holmes, a video editor who was part of the core organizing team of Occupy, told BuzzFeed News. “And quite frankly if we go and beat him up then we could end up with countersuits against us, and that puts us in a more damaging position and we don’t really want to do that anyway.” Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) blasted pro-amnesty billionaires whose fondness for open borders ends at the doors of their “gated compounds and fenced-off communities,” noting how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought other four houses surrounding his own just because he wanted “a little privacy.”
“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates.”
Sessions began by rebuking Zuckerberg – one of the billionaire elites he has dubbed “Masters of the Universe” – for going to Mexico City and giving a speech claiming that America’s immigration policy is “strange” and “unfit for today’s world.”
“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates,” Sessions said.
As an example of the hypocrisy of these “Masters,” Sessions then recalled how Zuckerberg bought four houses surrounding his own to keep people from crossing his borders and secure “a little privacy”: Read the rest of this entry »
“In his post, Lo comments in Chinese: ‘A super quick way to wash a dog: soak, clean, and dry. All done. Clean and quick!'”
For South China Morning Post, Hazel Parry reports: A man being investigated over a Facebook post featuring photographs of a dog churning in a washing machine claims to have fled to the mainland. The man, who goes by the name of Jacky Lo, posted a status update yesterday in which he bragged that he was on his way out of Hong Kong as pressure mounted for him to be punished.
“In response to a comment underneath asking if the dog was dead, Lo answers: ‘Yes! Do you want to see it!'”
The post included a link to the online petition urging the police to bring him to justice, with Lo commenting: “Wanted?? This afternoon I’m going back to China. See ya later.”
“His latest remarks have brought more criticism online, with people calling him a ‘weak bully’, ‘shameless’, ‘sick’ and a ‘monster’.”
The pictures, which show a small white dog submerged in water and being spun around helplessly in the washing machine, have sparked outrage, with about 14,000 people signing the petition.
In his post, Lo comments in Chinese: “A super quick way to wash a dog: soak, clean, and dry. All done. Clean and quick!”
He then add a smiley icon and the words “feeling content” in English.
“While my role with NBC News may be coming to an end, I look forward to working with the NBC family well into the future.”
Chelsea Clinton has formally stepped down from her post as special correspondent for NBC News, saying she intends to focus on her work with the Clinton Foundation as well as the baby she is expecting later this year.
Clinton joined NBC News in 2011, a hire that immediately raised eyebrows in journo circles given both her history of avoiding the press and the expected 2016 presidential bid by her mother, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »
An article saying George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin last year, was arrested while in Ferguson is fake, reports Jack Phillips, Epoch Times.
“So George Zimmerman was arrested in ferguson tryin to reenact what he did to trayvon Martin’you lyin.’”
– A person on Twitter
“Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in July of 2013 of all charges related to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, was arrested Wednesday morning in Ferguson, Missouri after an altercation outside of a Dunkin’ Donuts, where Zimmerman allegedly aimed a handgun at two black teenagers who confronted him,” the bogus article reads.
According to a now-removed disclaimer, the National Report doesn’t post real news and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Knapp reports: On Tuesday of this week, a Long March-4B carrier rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, carrying with it China’s Gaofen-2, as well as a Polish satellite as part of the BRITE constellation.
The Gaofen-2 is China’s most powerful imaging satellite in orbit to date. A full color satellite, it’s able to view images to a resolution of one meter, and according to the Chinese government, will be used for geographic surveys, environmental modeling, agriculture, and other applications.
“The goal of the BRITE constellation is to observe some of the brightest stars in the sky in the hopes of learning more about them from their light properties.”
As you might guess by the name, this satellite is the second in China’s Gaofen satellite series. The first, Gaofen-1, was launched in April of 2013. The Chinese government plans to place a total of seven Gaofen satellites into orbit. The first Gaofen satellite has been used for city development and agricultural planning, according to the Chinese government. The satellite was also used to assist the search for the missing Malaysian Airline flight earlier this year. Read the rest of this entry »
Katherine Timpf: ‘Social Media Slacktivists Aim to End Middle East Conflict by Posting Selfies with Hummus’Posted: August 6, 2014
“In the Middle-East, everyone loves hummus, regardless of their religion, origin or nation.”
I grabbed this because I love the headline. Besides being a great hangout, they do great headlines. Above is a screen cap of the Facebook page, click the image to follow the link. Or don’t. Just say you did. Imagine whirled chickpeas.
Supporters of a social-media campaign called “The Hummus Initiative” are aiming to achieve peace in the Middle East by posting pictures of themselves with hummus….(read more)
For the LATimes, Joseph Serna reports: The woman accused of being a high-priced escort who administered a lethal dose of heroin to a former tech executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz will not be charged with murder in the case, but still faces manslaughter, prostitution and drug counts, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“Police identified her as a suspect after learning that she and Hayes allegedly had a relationship that began with the help of Seeking Arrangements, a website that caters to affluent clients seeking ‘sugar babies.'”
“Rather than trying to help or calling 911, police say, Tichelman packed up the drugs and needles and at one point stepped over the body to finish a glass of wine before leaving.”
Tichelman had been booked on suspicion of murder, but on Wednesday, Santa Cruz County prosecutors charged her with eight counts, including manslaughter, prostitution, destroying evidence and several related to administering and possessing heroin.
Tichelman’s arraignment was postponed until July 16, but she remained in custody in lieu of $1.5-million bail.
Prosecutors said the charges could still change as the investigation continues. Read the rest of this entry »
Politico concluded that “Zuckerberg’s immigration reform push had all the capital, connections and star power to merit success,” but “not even Silicon Valley could make this investment — and the Facebook founder’s first foray into national politics — pay off.”
Zuckerberg’s FWD.us reportedly “surpassed its $50 million fundraising goal Zuckerberg set and has almost $25 million still squirreled away.” According to Politico, “much of the money went to media buys,” including a deceptive $150,000 ad buy in North Carolina that declared pro-amnesty Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) was against amnesty to ensure that she would win her primary. But despite some small wins, the group, Politico notes, learned some “sobering lessons” of Washington.
One big lesson is that the record number of Americans who hate Congress also despise the bipartisan “Boomtown” elites Zuckerberg courted to pass amnesty legislation. Read the rest of this entry »