Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal
Posted: October 18, 2017
Could Finally Probably Won’t Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy
Brent Lang and Elizabeth Wagmeister report: Harvey Weinstein’s implosion has been cathartic for Lauren Sivan, one of the dozens of women who have come forward in recent days alleging that the once-celebrated mogul was a serial sexual harasser and abuser. It’s a moment of justice and public condemnation that seemed all but impossible to imagine mere weeks ago when Weinstein enjoyed a position as one of the most powerful figures in media, a skilled operator whose connections stretched from Capitol Hill to Wall Street and whose sense of entitlement knew no bounds.
“You reap what you sow,” says Sivan. “I know that he believed for years that he was untouchable, and a lot of people helped him be untouchable.”Weinstein’s precipitous fall has been stunning, if not a long time coming. He’s been fired from his own company, ostracized by his longtime friends and collaborators in the entertainment industry, transformed from power player to butt of late-night talk-show jokes, ditched by his wife and abandoned by the Democratic political leaders who once coveted his endorsement. The Weinstein Co. is weighing a sale to Colony Capital.
Along with Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and L.A. Reid, Weinstein is a sign that the old methods that stars and top executives used to cover up their sins isn’t working. Their praetorian guards of lawyers and spin-makers, their penchant for paying hush money to victims and making them sign draconian nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from going public, can no longer buy silence.
Hollywood’s veil of secrecy has been pierced, and such complicity and enabling may no longer be tolerated in a company town that has long protected its own.
“We are shining a bright light on aggressors and powerful offenders as an example to every other employee out there,” says TV commentator Wendy Walsh, one of O’Reilly’s accusers.
As the chorus of accusers grows daily and as Weinstein finds himself isolated and abandoned by the A-list stars and directors he once claimed as friends, the conversation in Hollywood is pointing to a major shift. The hope in the industry is that the alleged abhorrent behavior by Weinstein and the other perpetrators will trigger some genuine soul-searching across the entertainment business and beyond.
Instead of simply inspiring big names in the industry to release anodyne statements that are light on substance and heavy on synonyms for deplorable, there’s an urge to have a deeper conversation about how to improve the climate and culture in Hollywood so whistle-blowers are supported and predators aren’t rewarded with corner offices, private jets and a license to operate with impunity. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Miller TKOs Jim Acosta
Rich Lowry writes: When Donald Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller stepped to the podium of the White House briefing room on Wednesday to defend a plan for reducing levels of legal immigration, Jim Acosta of CNN was aghast and let everyone know it.
Put aside that Acosta believed it was his role as a reporter to argue one side of a hot-button political issue (this is how journalism works in 2017). The exchange illustrated how advocates of high levels of immigration are often the ones who—despite their self-image as the rational bulwark against runaway populism—rely on an ignorant emotionalism to make their case.
At issue is the bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia to cut legal immigration by half. The legislation would scale back so-called chain migration—immigrants bringing relatives, who bring more relatives in turn—and institute a merit-based system for green cards based on the ability to speak English, educational attainment and job skills.
Offended by the idea of putting a priority on higher-skilled immigrants, Acosta wanted to know how such a policy would be consistent with the Statue of Liberty. When Miller pointed out that Lady Liberty was conceived as a symbol of … liberty and the famous Emma Lazarus poem added later, Acosta accused him of “national park revisionism”—even though Miller was correct.
Stephen Miller is living rent free in Acosta’s head. pic.twitter.com/WR2AMEmDGW
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) August 3, 2017
At the dedication of the statue in 1886, President Grover Cleveland declared that the statue’s “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world.” His soaring oration did not include the admonition that so-called comprehensive immigration reform would henceforth be considered the only acceptable immigration policy for the United States.
Lazarus’ poem was added in a plaque in 1903. The words are not, as Acosta and so many others believe, emblazoned on the statue itself—the plaque is now displayed in an exhibition within the pedestal.
All of this might seem pedantic, but the underlying debate is over the legitimacy of reducing levels of immigration and whether it is appropriate to craft a policy mindful, above anything else, of the national interest. Miller clearly has the best of this argument.
One, making 21st policy in accord with late-19th century poetry makes no sense. We don’t ask, say, whether the naval appropriations bill is in keeping with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Building of the Ship” (“Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong and great!”)
Two, the cap on refugees in the Cotton-Perdue bill of 50,000 a year is in the ballpark of recent annual refugee numbers. We actually admitted fewer than this in the late-1970s and early-2000s, and the Statue of Liberty still stood … (more)
Source: POLITICO Magazine
CNN’s Jim Acosta claims victory in briefing beef with Stephen Miller: ‘He couldn’t take that kind of heat’
“I think what you saw unfold in the briefing room is that he [Miller] really just couldn’t take that kind of heat and exploded before our eyes,” Acosta said in an appearance on CNN Wednesday night, hours after the face-off.
Miller spoke to members of the White House press corps about a revised bill from Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas that would implement a merit-based point system for immigrants applying for legal permanent status. President Trump endorsed the immigration plan during a ceremony at the White House earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Multiple people were shot by a man wearing a doctor’s coat inside a New York City hospital Friday afternoon, sources say, and the shooter is deceased, police said.
The rifle-wielding gunman at Bronx Lebanon Hospital was dressed in a white doctor’s-type coat when he shot at least three people shortly before 3 p.m., sources tell News 4.
The suspect is dead, NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald said in a tweet around 4 p.m. Multiple senior NYPD officials tells NBC News the suspect is a former employee at Bronx Lebanon.
Police response remains heavy and cautious as authorities make sure he was a lone actor.
A sea of police cars line the street outside Bronx Lebanon Hospital Friday amid reports of shots fired within the hospital.
As members of the NYPD’s most-armed units responded to the then-active shooter situation, a sea of patrol and tactical vehicles gridlocked the streets around the hospital on Grand Concourse, and police surveyed the roof of the building with their guns drawn, Chopper 4 over the scene shows.
A staff member at the hospital tells News 4 it was under lockdown as police helped to bring people out floor by floor. Read the rest of this entry »
Kelly isn’t a pushover, and proves that Jones is newsworthy because of his connections to President Trump. But that’s it.
The past week has been a tumultuous one for NBC News’ new star. Kelly is attempting to make an impression with NBC’s audience this summer in advance of the September debut of her 9 a.m. morning show. Jones, the founder and chief mouthpiece of the Infowars radio program and online channel, is an unstable right-wing provocateur who may be most notorious for his steadfast insistence that the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was a hoax. His attention-getting assertion has convinced enough others that the bereaved parents have received death threats from angry Infowars viewers. This, in turn, has so horrified many Americans that Jones’ appearance on “Sunday Night” prompted outcry: In addition to a heated conversation about the role of journalism and freedom of speech, JP Morgan Chase withdrew its advertising, and the NBC-owned station in Connecticut opted not to broadcast the interview. Jones, in response, took matters into his own hands — distancing himself from the interview and leaking his recording of one of his conversations with Kelly.
Entirely on its own — aside from Jones’ prevarication, the chummy behind-the-scenes photos of Jones and Kelly that surfaced, the multiple third-party opinions on the topic, and the leaked audio — “Sunday Night’s” segment on Jones is mostly notable for how empty it is. The interview portion, where Kelly is actually sitting opposite Jones, is minimal — perhaps just a few minutes of footage when pieced all together. Read the rest of this entry »
Maybe Doomsday preppers aren’t so crazy after all.
Journalist Garrett Graff takes readers through the 60-year history of the government’s secret Doomsday plans to survive nuclear war in his painstakingly researched book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die (Simon & Schuster), out now.
He focuses on the Cold War-era government bunkers across the country that were built to house the President and various Washington elites — members of a so-called “shadow government” in the worst nuclear Armageddon scenario.
Since September 11, 2001, Congress has intensified their interest in and funding of top secret “Continuity of Government” (COG) in ways not seen since the Cold War. With hundreds of newly declassified documents, the book, currently in development with NBC as a TV show, includes never-before-heard intel on the country’s top secret bunkers — mythical places like Raven Rock and Mount Weather.
Here’s the low down on some of these bunkers down below…
Lillington, NC • For military
Built near Camp David to house the military, as a backup for the Pentagon — and perhaps even the President — during an emergency, Raven Rock has retained an air of secrecy ever since construction started in 1948.
Not that it could remain completely clandestine, given the 300-person team (including miners poached from theLincoln Tunnel dig) who carved a 3,100-foot tunnel out of granite in Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.
“There were very few engineers with the expertise to hollow out a mountain and build, in essence, a free-standing city inside of it. The US government turned to the construction firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which had developed unique tunneling expertise working on the New York City subway,” Graff told The Post.
Locals caught on and word spread to the media, who dubbed the project “Harry’s Hole,” after President Truman who greenlit the project.
Opened in 1953 and designed “to be the centerpiece of a large military emergency hub,” Raven Rock provided 100,000 feet of office space (not counting, Graff writes, “the corridors, bathrooms, dining facility, infirmary or communications and utilities areas”) that could hold about 1,400 people comfortably. Two sets of 34-ton blast doors and curved 1,000-foot-long tunnels reduce the impact of a bomb blast. The compound has undergone several rounds of upgrades — new buildings were added as well as updated technology and air filtration systems. Read the rest of this entry »
The financial company that installed the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street to help market a female mutual fund originally wanted to commission the bronze in the shape of a cow, according to an email exchange between the company’s rep and City Hall obtained by The Post.
Moo-cifully, three months before having it cast and installed opposite the existing “Charging Bull” sculpture for International Woman’s Day, it dawned on State Street Global Advisors a heifer might be misconstrued as sexist. Read the rest of this entry »
The network made the announcement via Twitter Wednesday morning.
“CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program,” the CNN Public Relations account tweeted.
CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR)
The termination comes one day after the comedienne posted a photo and video of her holding a fake severed head of President Donald Trump. She later apologized for the photo, saying it went too far, and removed it.
Trump tweeted about the photo early on Wednesday, writing that Griffin “should be ashamed of herself.”
“My children, especially my 11-year-old son Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
CNN issued a statement on Tuesday night, condemning Griffin’s video and saying that they were evaluating New Year’s Eve plans. Read the rest of this entry »
Gee whiz, artists are so sensitive!
Nick Fugallo and Max Jaeger report: City sculptor Alex Gardega — seething over the “Fearless Girl” statue being placed across from Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” — has decided to retaliate with a work of his own.
Gardega created a statue of a small dog, titled “Pissing Pug,” and his sloppily crafted pooch takes direct aim at “Fearless Girl” — or, at least, at her left leg.
“This is corporate nonsense,” Gardega told The Post of “Fearless Girl,” saying it was put opposite artist Arturo Di Modica’s famed bull as a publicity stunt by a Boston-based financial firm.
“It has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespect to the artist that made the bull,” he said. “That bull had integrity.”
The Upper West Side artist sniffed that he even made his dog particularly poorly just to stick it to “Fearless Girl” even more.
“I decided to build this dog and make it crappy to downgrade the statue, exactly how the girl is a downgrade on the bull,” said Gardega, who has never met the other statues’ creators. Read the rest of this entry »
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” with increased enforcement operations in an effort to pressure those jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration agents, a senior US immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions told CNN.
A sanctuary city is a broad term applied to states, cities and/or counties that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation or involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration operations. More than 100 US jurisdictions — among them New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — identify as such.
High-ranking ICE officials have discussed in internal meetings carrying out more raids on those locations, said the source.
This week, a federal judge in Texas seems to have confirmed that tactic. US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin revealed during an immigration hearing Monday that a mid-February raid in the Austin metro area was done in retaliation for a local sheriff’s recent decision to limit her department’s cooperation with ICE.
“There’s been questions about whether Austin is being targeted. We had a briefing…. that we could expect a big operation, agents coming in from out of town. There was going to be a specific operation, and it was at least related to us in that meeting that it was a result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen,” Austin says in audio of the proceedings provided by the court.
The judge’s comments came as he questioned an ICE agent about a recent unrelated arrest.
Austin said that in a late January meeting, local ICE officials told him and another federal judge that an upcoming enforcement operation was being done in direct response to Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s adoption of a sanctuary policy in Travis County.
Earlier this year, Hernandez announced that beginning in February, her department would no longer honor ICE detainers unless the individual was arrested for murder, sexual assault or human trafficking, or a warrant had been issued. A detainer is a 48-hour hold request placed on suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails until federal agents can come in and take over the case.
A showdown in Travis County, Texas
It is a significant shift in the county’s immigration enforcement policy that has put the newly elected Democratic sheriff at odds with pro-enforcement local and state officials, including the Texas Senate, which recently passed a bill that withholds state dollars from sanctuary cities and Gov. Greg Abbott, who cut $1.5 million in funding to the county. Read the rest of this entry »
If so, the joke’s on you. If there’s any ancient tale that presaged the start of the Trump Era, it’s the Voyage to Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels.”
Gulliver-like, Trump finds himself tied down by a thousand tiny strings, paralyzed by micro-people he can barely detect. Because of their combined power, he can’t do much of anything. If it’s the system vs. Trump, the system is winning, bigly. But it isn’t Berserkeley radicals or marching feminists in pussy hats who are leading the charge to #resist. Resistance to change is as natural in Washington as cherry blossoms in spring.
Since being promoted from private citizen to president, the only thing Trump has exercised undisputed authoritarian control over has been his Twitter account. And even that mysteriously seems to go silent at the exact times his aides are being badgered with questions about his latest tweet.
Thanks to two judges (Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland) who didn’t star in a hit reality TV show, aren’t the most famous dudes on Earth and don’t have 27 million Twitter followers, Trump’s latest executive order restricting immigration from six countries with major terrorism problems is on hold.
The judiciary is a check on the president. Trump’s predecessor found that out, too, when the Fifth Circuit court upheld a lower court order that blocked Obama’s immigration plan (which would have shielded 5 million illegal aliens from deportation). There’s no such thing as doing an end-around the system (or, if you like, the Swamp).
Even with his party in control of both houses in Congress, Trump is finding major limits to what he can do legislatively. The American Health Care Act is not going to pass (without major changes) because, as Trump himself so memorably put it, health care is “an unbelievably complex subject.” The Jenga game that is ObamaCare is so wobbly that removing a single block could cause the health-care system to come crashing down. Which is why Republicans can’t agree on whether AHCA leans too far in the direction of the free market, or not far enough.
Passing a budget? Hey, guess what? The president can’t spend a dime without Congress. As Marco Rubio so cruelly, but accurately, put it: “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.” Marco may still be little. But Congress is still big.
Liberals should have had more respect for our national institutions than to think that one man could simply have trashed them all. Yet The New York Review of Books called Trump an autocrat in a Nov. 10 story that warned, “Institutions will not save you” and said Trump was the new Vladimir Putin. Read the rest of this entry »
“The time for small thinking is over,” he said in the Capitol Hill speech. “The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.”
“I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding ObamaCare disaster.”
Trump emphasized his effort to rework ObamaCare with a new plan he hoped would “expand choice, increase access, lower costs and, at the same time, provide better health care.”
“I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding ObamaCare disaster,” said Trump. Read the rest of this entry »
Written and produced by Austin Bragg. Performed by Andrew Heaton and Austin Bragg
Trump v. the Border-less Left
Seth Barron writes: From illegal aliens who have committed crimes, to all immigrants, to “people of color” generally: the circle of Trump’s victims widens by orders of magnitude in de Blasio’s fantasy of total persecution. Even to ask a question about whether illegal aliens should be regarded in the same way as legal immigrants betrays an “ideological bent”; on the other hand, it is perfectly straightforward to read a legal challenge to sanctuary cities as all-out race war.
“The Left’s favorite cliché: ‘I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.'”
The mayor’s expansive definition of victimhood was echoed this weekend by Governor Cuomo, who repeated the Left’s favorite cliché: “I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.” This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word “I.”
“This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word ‘I’.”
Last Friday, Trump announced that he would extend and expand the visa restrictions that Obama established in the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, impose a 90-day moratorium on travel from seven countries with links to organized terror, and put a halt to the Syrian-refugee resettlement program.
These policies fulfill campaign promises and have been clearly stated as temporary measures in order to make sure that migrants are being accurately screened. Read the rest of this entry »
NYU Steinhardt Jazz Interview Series with Dr. David Schroeder interviews legendary guitarist, composer and bandleader John McLaughlin. December 5, 2016
It has been a particularly embarrassing week for the press, and it’s only Saturday.
There’s no room for error, especially now that there’s a subgenre of “news” that has zero basis in fact, and is created from thin air for the sole purpose of generating cash.
But learning to be more careful and even-handed is apparently difficult for much of media, and this week was especially rough for newsrooms that are already struggling to regain credibility.
In no particular order, here are some of the most embarrassing media moments from this week:
The New York Times reported this week that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry agreed to be energy secretary without knowing the department oversees and maintains the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The story is written in such a way that Perry comes across as a bumbling bumpkin who’s in way over his head.
The problem with the report – well, there are many problems – the main problem with the story is that it hinges entirely on a bland quote from a GOP energy lobbyist. That source, Michael McKenna, has disavowed the story, and he says the Times took him out of context.
Other problems with the article include that McKenna was booted from the Trump transition team in early November, while Perry was nominated in mid-December.
Nevertheless, the paper’s editors say they stand by the story, “which accurately reflected what multiple, high-level sources told our reporters.”
This is a particularly interesting defense, considering there is nothing in the article to suggest the authors had more than one source.
In my story this week on the Times’ unsubstantiated hit on Perry, I included a link to USA Today’s Dec. 14 report on the former governor accepting the position at the Department of Energy. I included the link for one purpose: To provide citation for Perry’s acceptance remarks, which were published originally in a joint statement with the president-elect.
What I didn’t notice until later was that the linked USA Today report also included a bogus reference to the North Koreans.
The Dec. 14 article read, “The Twitter feed of the nuclear-armed dictatorship said, ‘Donald Trump minister of nuclear weapons Richard Perry known as governor of Texas province, famed for its production of tacos and bumpkins.'”
Unfortunately for USA Today, the North Korean government did no such thing. Like many others in media, the widely circulated newspaper fell for a parody Twitter account created and maintained by members of the libertarian-leaning website, Popehat.com. I removed the USA Today hyperlink from my article debunking the Times, and I updated with a link to a source that doesn’t include an embarrassing mistake. Read the rest of this entry »
Media artist Akinori Goto designed this fun 3d-printed zoetrope that when lit from the side reveals walking people. The piece was just on view at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival where it won both the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Video above from Tokyo Art Beat. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)
Ayako Mie reports: Miyu Toyonaga was thrilled when she discovered who had visited her Instagram account last April. It was Ivanka Trump, her fashion icon, and she had liked a photo of Toyonaga with a leather clutch purse from Ivanka’s namesake brand.
“In a way I aspire to be like her. I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”
— 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan
The 32-year-old Toyonaga, who works at the Tokyo office of an Australian commercial real estate firm, said she was struck by the elegant style and successful career of the model-turned-business executive when she first saw her Instagram pictures two or three years ago.
“In a way I aspire to be like her,” said the 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan, who is preparing to set up a fashion e-commerce site like Ivanka. “I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”
Toyonaga’s views are unlikely to be embraced by those Americans still depressed about the stunning victory of her father, Donald Trump, in the U.S. presidential election in November.
Less than two weeks before he takes office, Ivanka has come under fire for her political ambitions and influence over the president-elect.
“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful. But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting…men too much. That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”
–Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!
Donald Trump’s favorite child is also rumored to be replacing her media-shy stepmother, Melania, as a de facto first lady, as the former Slovenian fashion model stays in New York while her husband moves into the White House this month.
But some 10,800 km away from her glamorous Upper East Side apartment, Ivanka might find more supporters like Toyonaga.
For some Japanese women who struggle to juggle demanding jobs as working professionals, mothers and wives, America’s next “first daughter” might offer her own “Ivanka-ism” or post-feminist wisdom on how to survive in a male-oriented society.
The suave fashion entrepreneur appears to have mastered a successful career and picture-perfect family life with a millionaire husband and three children, without launching an all-out feminist war against what her father represents — a white, male-dominated, capitalist system.
Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old girl, said she believed Ivanka was the opposite of failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has often antagonized men in her efforts to climb the corporate and political ladder.
It was clear from her Instagram pictures, Shinzato said, that Instagram-savvy Ivanka marketed her image as a daughter, wife and mother, while finding success in her career.
“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful,” said Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!
“But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting . . . men too much.
“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”
Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for tapping more female talent, the environment for female working professionals has not improved significantly in Japan.
There remains a massive shortage of nurseries, and incidents of pregnant women being harassed in the workplace still surface. Read the rest of this entry »
Game Change: After 8 years of Obama, the press is so used to passive-aggressive, they forgot what aggressive looks like.
With Trump looking to call on other reporters, Jim Acosta yelled out, “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”
“Not you,” Trump said. “Your organization is terrible!”
Acosta pressed on, “You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” Trump countered by telling him “don’t be rude.”
“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!” Read the rest of this entry »
Why do people talk to themselves, and when does it become a problem?
Jerome Groopman writes: “Talking to your yogurt again,” my wife, Pam, said. “And what does the yogurt say?”
She had caught me silently talking to myself as we ate breakfast. A conversation was playing in my mind, with a research colleague who questioned whether we had sufficient data to go ahead and publish. Did the experiments in the second graph need to be repeated? The results were already solid, I answered. But then, on reflection, I agreed that repetition could make the statistics more compelling.
“Fernyhough concludes that ‘dialogic inner speech must therefore involve some capacity to represent the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the people with whom we share our world.’ This raises the fascinating possibility that when we talk to ourselves a kind of split takes place, and we become in some sense multiple: it’s not a monologue but a real dialogue.”
I often have discussions with myself—tilting my head, raising my eyebrows, pursing my lips—and not only about my work. I converse with friends and family members, tell myself jokes, replay dialogue from the past. I’ve never considered why I talk to myself, and I’ve never mentioned it to anyone, except Pam. She very rarely has inner conversations; the one instance is when she reminds herself to do something, like change her e-mail password. She deliberately translates the thought into an external command, saying out loud, “Remember, change your password today.”
Verbal rehearsal of material—the shopping list you recite as you walk the aisles of a supermarket—is part of our working memory system. But for some of us talking to ourselves goes much further: it’s an essential part of the way we think. Others experience auditory hallucinations, verbal promptings from voices that are not theirs but those of loved ones, long-departed mentors, unidentified influencers, their conscience, or even God.
“Verbal rehearsal of material—the shopping list you recite as you walk the aisles of a supermarket—is part of our working memory system. But for some of us talking to ourselves goes much further: it’s an essential part of the way we think.”
Charles Fernyhough, a British professor of psychology at Durham University, in England, studies such “inner speech.” At the start of “The Voices Within” (Basic), he also identifies himself as a voluble self-speaker, relating an incident where, in a crowded train on the London Underground, he suddenly became self-conscious at having just laughed out loud at a nonsensical sentence that was playing in his mind. He goes through life hearing a wide variety of voices: “My ‘voices’ often have accent and pitch; they are private and only audible to me, and yet they frequently sound like real people.”
Fernyhough has based his research on the hunch that talking to ourselves and hearing voices—phenomena that he sees as related—are not mere quirks, and that they have a deeper function. His book offers a chatty, somewhat inconclusive tour of the subject, making a case for the role of inner speech in memory, sports performance, religious revelation, psychotherapy, and literary fiction. He even coins a term, “dialogic thinking,” to describe his belief that thought itself may be considered “a voice, or voices, in the head.”
Discussing experimental work on voice-hearing, Fernyhough describes a protocol devised by Russell Hurlburt, a psychologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A subject wears an earpiece and a beeper sounds at random intervals. As soon as the person hears the beep, she jots notes about what was in her mind at that moment. People in a variety of studies have reported a range of perceptions: many have experienced “inner speech,” though Fernyhough doesn’t specify what proportion. For some, it was a full back-and-forth conversation, for others a more condensed script of short phrases or keywords. The results of another study suggest that, on average, about twenty to twenty-five per cent of the waking day is spent in self-talk. But some people never experienced inner speech at all.
“People in a variety of studies have reported a range of perceptions: many have experienced ‘inner speech,’ though Fernyhough doesn’t specify what proportion. For some, it was a full back-and-forth conversation, for others a more condensed script of short phrases or keywords. The results of another study suggest that, on average, about twenty to twenty-five per cent of the waking day is spent in self-talk. But some people never experienced inner speech at all.”
In his work at Durham, Fernyhough participated in an experiment in which he had an inner conversation with an old teacher of his while his brain was imaged by fMRI scanning. Naturally, the scan showed activity in parts of the left hemisphere associated with language. Among the other brain regions that were activated, however, were some associated with our interactions with other people. Fernyhough concludes that “dialogic inner speech must therefore involve some capacity to represent the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the people with whom we share our world.” This raises the fascinating possibility that when we talk to ourselves a kind of split takes place, and we become in some sense multiple: it’s not a monologue but a real dialogue.
Early in Fernyhough’s career, his mentors told him that studying inner speech would be fruitless. Experimental psychology focusses on things that can be studied in laboratory situations and can yield clear, reproducible results. Our perceptions of what goes on in our heads are too subjective to quantify, and experimental psychologists tend to steer clear of the area.
Fernyhough’s protocols go some way toward working around this difficulty, though the results can’t be considered dispositive. Being prompted to enter into an inner dialogue in an fMRI machine is not the same as spontaneously debating with oneself at the kitchen table. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: New York Post
Heather Mac Donald writes: Donald Trump’s promise to restore law and order to America’s cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric.
“Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias.”
The rising violence in many urban areas is driven by what candidate Trump called a “false narrative” about policing. This narrative holds that law enforcement is pervaded by racism, and that we are experiencing an epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black men.
Multiple studies have shown that those claims are untrue. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. Yet President Obama has repeatedly accused the police and criminal-justice system of discrimination, lethal and otherwise. During the memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down in July by an assassin who reportedly was inspired by Black Lives Matter, Mr. Obama announced that black parents were right to “fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door”—that the child will be fatally shot by a cop.
The consequences of such presidential rhetoric are enormous, especially when amplified by the media. Officers working in high-crime areas now encounter a dangerous level of hatred and violent resistance. Gun murders of officers are up 68% this year compared with the same period last year.
“The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias.”
Police have cut way back on pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement in minority neighborhoods, having been told repeatedly that such discretionary activities are racially oppressive. The result in 2015 was the largest national homicide increase in nearly 50 years. That shooting spree has continued this year, ruthlessly mowing down children and senior citizens in many cities, along with the usual toll of young black men who are the primary targets of gun crime.
To begin to reverse these trends, President Trump must declare that the executive branch’s ideological war on cops is over. The most fundamental necessity of any society is adherence to the rule of law, he should say. Moreover, there is no government agency today more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.
“But this analysis ignores the large racial differences in offending and victimization rates. Policing today is data-driven: Cops go where innocent civilians are most being preyed upon—and that is in minority neighborhoods. Under a Trump administration, police activity should be evaluated against a benchmark of crime, not population ratios.”
The nationwide policing revolution that originated in New York City in 1994—based on proactive enforcement—saved thousands of minority lives over 20 years, and provided urban residents with newfound freedom. While police agencies and their local overseers must remain vigilant against officer abuses, the federal government will no longer deem cops racist for responding to community demands for public order.
Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias. The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias. Read the rest of this entry »
Baruch College student Yasmin Seweid, we now know, was not herself the victim of a hate crime. She made it all up. But by telling the tale of her attack by men shouting “Trump,” ripping at her hijab, while a trainful of New Yorkers sat silent, she victimized many others.
First on the list: the New York Police Department, which spent precious resources chasing a fabricated assault. Cops tried to track down witnesses — there were none. They reviewed video for clues — there were none.
Next: her fellow New Yorkers, who did not in fact stand idly by while watching a woman be attacked because of her faith. We are not the city of Kitty Genovese; that story of passive witness to horror, so many years ago, was itself a myth. But the image persists that New Yorkers are a can’t-be-bothered-even-if-you’re-in-danger lot. It’s a lie.
What Happens When You Don’t Mix The Obama Kool Aid With Water, and Eat the Powder Directly from the PackagePosted: December 15, 2016
Andrew Sullivan’s Most Insane Quotes About Obama From the New Republic Interview
Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.
The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself, by James Grant, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Joseph Calandro Jr. writes: To better understand the current economic environment, financial analyst, historian, journalist, and value investor James Grant, who is informed by both Austrian economics and the value investing theory of the late Benjamin Graham, analyzes the Depression of 1920–1921 in his latest work, The Forgotten Depression: 1921 — The Crash That Cured Itself.
Grant understands that despite the pseudo-natural science veneer of mainstream economics the fact remains that economic value is inherently subjective and thus economic measurement is also subjective. Mr. Grant confronts the subjectivity of economic measurement head-on in his book in an enlightening discussion of whether the 1921 depression was, in fact, a depression at all.
Was It a Depression?
Grant concludes it was a depression, but mainstream economist Christine Romer, for example, concludes it was not a depression. As Grant observes, Ms. “Romer, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, presented her research, titled ‘World War I and the Postwar Depression,’ in a 1988 essay in the Journal of Monetary Economics. The case she made for discarding one set of GNP estimates for another is highly technical. But the lay reader may be struck by the fact that neither the GNP data she rejected, nor the ones she preferred, were compiled in the moment. Rather, each set was constructed some 30 to 40 years after the events it was intended to document” (p. 68).
In contrast, Mr. Grant surveys economic activity as it existed prior to and during 1920–21 and as it was evaluated during those times. Therefore, five pages into chapter 5 of his book, which is titled “A Depression in Fact,” we read that:
A 1920 recession turned into a 1921 depression, according to [Wesley Clair] Mitchell, whose judgment, as a historian, business-cycle theorist and contemporary observer, is probably as reliable as anyone’s. This was no mere American dislocation but a global depression ensnaring nearly all the former Allied Powers (the defeated Central Powers suffered a slump of their own in 1919). “Though the boom of 1919, the crisis of 1920 and the depression of 1921 followed the patterns of earlier cycles,” wrote Mitchell, “we have seen how much this cycle was influenced by economic conditions resulting from the war and its sudden ending. … If American business men were betrayed by postwar demands into unwise courses, so were all business men in all countries similarly situated.”
So depression it was … (p. 71)
- War finance (the currency debasement and credit expansion associated with funding war) has long been associated with economic distortion including World War I, which preceded “The Forgotten Depression.” Such distortions unfortunately continue to the present day.
- Scandal is also associated with booms and busts; for example, the boom preceding “The Forgotten Depression” had Charles Ponzi while the boom preceding “The Great Recession” had Bernie Madoff.
- The booms preceding both financial disruptions also saw governmental banking regulators not doing a very good job of regulating the banks under their supervision.
- Citibank famously fell under significant distress in both events.
- Both eras had former professors of Princeton University in high-ranking governmental positions: Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States at the beginning of “The Forgotten Depression” while Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Fed during “The Great Recession.”
- On the practitioner-side, value investor Benjamin Graham profited handsomely from the distressed investments that he made during “The Forgotten Depression” while his best known student, Warren Buffett, profited from the distressed investments that he made during “The Great Recession.”
The Crash That Cured Itself
Despite similarities, there are noteworthy differences between these two financial events. Foremost among the differences is the reason why “The Forgotten Depression” has, in fact, been forgotten: the government did nothing to stop it. Not only were interest rates not lowered and public money not spent, but interest rates were actually raised and debt paid down. The context behind these actions is fascinating and superbly told and analyzed by Mr. Grant. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama-era techies weigh staying under Trump
An impassioned debate is raging among software engineers, designers and other techies as to whether they want to stay in Washington under Donald Trump.
While some high-ranking tech staffers in the federal ranks say they’re not going anywhere, others worry that staying could put them in a tough spot, especially if the new administration asks them to work on projects at odds with their values.
It’s “a brutal line for some of us to walk,” said one senior tech specialist in the federal government, who would only speak without being named. The specialist said staffers are caught between “serving the public in ways that are obviously still very much needed,” versus “serving a person — and a ‘regime’ — who, for some of us, is fundamentally disrespectful of our existence.”
“The arguments are really clear,” says Anil Dash, a New York City entrepreneur whose commentary is widely followed in the tech industry. “The one side is, ‘You came to serve and there’s still a need.’ The other is, ‘Do we legitimize this administration?'”
Dash says he has stopped recommending that people in tech join the U.S. Digital Service, but that he also sees little upside to those already on the federal payroll leaving now.
People open to staying include Rob Cook, a former Pixar executive who just three weeks ago began a three-year appointment as the head of the Technology Transformation Service, a branch of the General Services Administration created this summer to reinvent how the federal government buys and builds technology. “If it’s important, it’s important for all administrations,” Cook says.
Cook’s view that civil servants serve regardless of who occupies the Oval Office has its adherents. But among the rank and file in the federal tech service, conversations are swirling. They’re weighing whether those who joined the Obama administration to apply the thinking of the so-called civic tech movement — the idea that modern digital tools can create a government more responsive to citizens — would be guilty of aiding a president whose policies and politics many of them utterly oppose.
Obama created the Digital Service as what he called a tech “SWAT team” after being burned by the failed launch of HealthCare.gov. He has tapped that team of technology experts to execute some of his policy priorities, such as making it easier for would-be immigrants to the U.S. to track their applications online. Read the rest of this entry »