Georgia man dies in Dominican Republic, bringing US death toll to at least 10

A Georgia man died in the Dominican Republic in March, adding to the list of U.S. tourists who have died in the Caribbean destination this year.       
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Trevor Noah has a blunt message for White House staffers getting big book deals
Written a book about Trump, and the inner workings of the White House? Trevor Noah isn't impressed. In the Daily Show clip above, Noah breaks down some recent examples of Trump administration staffers who have announced book deals — including former national security adviser John Bolton, who apparently has a $2 million deal in the works for a book that will be published in 2020. "The truth is, whether it's Anonymous, Nikki Haley, or John Bolton, beneath it all these books are all trying to do the same thing," says Noah. "Profit off the chaos. Because these books don't help the country — they just trade on rumors and innuendo to make the authors money. If someone has valuable information about the president, they should just tell the American people instead of holding out for a big payday." Read more...More about The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, Entertainment, Politics, and Talk Show
A Virgin in His Mid-20s Starts to Worry
After searching for answers to his bad romantic luck online, one guy hears someone else: an actual woman.
Slate Articles
Rafael Nadal slammed a 'bull-s---' reporter who asked him if his marriage is making him play badly
Eurosport Rafael Nadal slammed a "bull-s---" reporter after he suggested the Spaniard's recent marriage caused him to lose to Alexander Zverev at the ATP World Tour Finals. Nadal married long-term girlfriend Xisca Perello in October, and is playing in just his second tournament since, after having retired from the Paris Masters earlier in the month. Italian journalist Ubaldo Scanagatta asked the 33-year-old if "tennis life" had "been different" since his wedding, adding that marriage can be a "distracting thing." "Honestly? Are you asking me this? Is it a serious question or is it a joke?" Nadal responded. "That's bull-s---." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Rafael Nadal slammed a "bull-s---" reporter after he suggested the Spaniard's recent marriage caused him to lose to Alexander Zverev at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Nadal had just lost to the German in straight sets in his opening group match on Monday when the Italian journalist Ubaldo Scanagatta made the strange accusation.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not knowSee Also:A Japanese 26-year-old is set for superstardom after winning millions of dollars in a career-defining battle against Nonito DonaireCristiano Ronaldo was Juventus' worst player, had a goal stolen by a teammate, and left the pitch subbed off and frustrated in another underwhelming Champions League performanceA stalker who sent a pictures of underage girls and a photo of a coffin to an Italian footballer and his family has been jailed
Business Insider
Two people diagnosed with pneumonic plague in China
Authorities working to contain outbreak of disease that is worse than bubonic plagueTwo people in China have been diagnosed with plague, the latest cases of a disease more commonly associated with historical catastrophe.Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and can arise in three forms – a lung infection, known as pneumonic plague; a blood infection, known as septicemic plague; and a form that affects the lymph nodes, called bubonic plague. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Satoshi Nakaboto: ‘Chicago-based exchange will launch Bitcoin options in January’
Our robot colleague Satoshi Nakaboto writes about Bitcoin every fucking day. Welcome to another edition of Bitcoin Today, where I, Satoshi Nakaboto, tell you what’s been going on with Bitcoin in the past 24 hours. As Satoshi Nakamoto used to say: Peel off the skin of this mystery and eat the tasty fruit inside! Bitcoin Price We closed the day, November 12 2019, at a price of $8,815. That’s a minor 0.63 percent increase in 24 hours, or $55. It was the highest closing price in one day. We’re still 56 percent below Bitcoin‘s all-time high of $20,089 (December 17… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Bitcoin
The Next Web | International technology news, business & culture
Talking Horses: did BHA take Brock's whip case seriously enough?
Racing’s regulator did not seek to persuade a disciplinary panel that elastic bands on the whip flap caused a horse’s injuryWhen we finally reach our deathbeds and are reflecting on all that went before, few of us will be wishing we’d spent more time in the hearings dungeon at the British Horseracing Authority. But I do wish, with the benefit of hindsight, that I’d gone along to the Danny Brock “modified whip” hearing last month which has since become such a hot topic. It’s good of the BHA to open up their hearings to press but unfortunately on this occasion it appears that no one took them up on it.So we’re left to rely on the published reasons for an account of what happened. The detail that jumps out at me is the panel’s conclusion that “the modification of Mr Brock’s whip could not be said to have caused or contributed to the wealing of the horse”. In other words, they punished Brock on the basis that his act of leaving elastic bands on the end of his whip had not caused his mount’s injury. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Video shows New Zealand man accused of murdering 21-year-old backpacker on a Tinder date moving a suitcase said to contain her body
Auckland High Court via MailOnline Warning: This story contains gruesome details. Grace Millane, a British backpacker, died after going on a Tinder date with a man in Auckland, New Zealand, hours before her 22nd birthday last December. Her body was found in woodland near the city around a week after her disappearance. The 27-year-old man, who cannot be named, has denied murdering her but said she died by accident during rough consensual sex, Sky News reported. He also previously told police that he had left Millane at 8:00 p.m. then went out drinking with his friends and blacking out until 10:00 a.m. the next day. But footage shown to an Auckland court this week showed the man buying a new suitcase at 8:00 a.m, and transporting two suitcases out of his hotel that night. Prosecutors say Millane's body was in one of the suitcases. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. A court has been shown surveillance footage of a man, accused of murdering a 21-year-old backpacker in New Zealand, pushing a suitcase that prosecutors say contained her body. Grace Millane, from southeastern England, had been traveling in New Zealand and met up with the suspect in Auckland after meeting on Tinder on December 1, 2018. They met on the night before her 22nd birthday.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from VietnamSee Also:A Hawaiian man trimming branches in his yard died after falling 22 feet into a lava tubeKristen Stewart said slut-shaming was the reason why she wasn't rehired for the 'Snow White and the Huntsman' sequel following her affair with the film's directorA 13-year-old survivor of the attack on Mormons in Mexico hid his siblings in a bush and walked for 14 miles back to his hometown for help
Business Insider
Judi Dench appeals for public help to bring rare Brontë book to UK as auction looms
A miniature book by the teenage Charlotte Brontë could fetch at least £650,000 in Paris next week, and Haworth’s Parsonage museum hopes to buy it with crowdfundingJudi Dench, Jacqueline Wilson and Tracy Chevalier are among several names throwing their weight behind the Brontë Parsonage Museum’s bid to keep one of Charlotte Brontë’s tiny manuscripts from being “shut away in a private collection”, with public donations topping £50,000 with just a week to go before the miniature book is auctioned.Written in 1830 when Brontë was 14, the manuscript measures just 35mm x 61mm and features three hand-written stories, one of which describes a murderer who is driven to madness when he is haunted by his victims. In private ownership since the death of Charlotte in 1855, the last of the famous literary sisters to die, it is one of six tiny booklets produced by the writer at the Parsonage in Haworth. Only five are known to have survived, and the museum owns the remaining four of the “little books”. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Stylish and compact, Hyundai’s next concept is tailor-made for Los Angeles
The yet-unnamed concept car is the next step in Hyundai's design overhaul. It's powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain, though technical details remain under wraps for the time being.
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Love Island star eyes fight with YouTuber KSI
After watching KSI and Logan Paul's debut professional boxing fight, Love Island star and professional boxer Tommy Fury wants in.
Mark Zuckerberg says TikTok is a threat to democracy, but didn't say he spent 6 months trying to buy its predecessor
Samuel Corum/Getty Images Facebook tried to buy, the company which was eventually bought by Chinese tech giant ByteDance and merged into rival social media platform TikTok, according to BuzzFeed and Bloomberg. Sources told BuzzFeed Facebook wasn't able to close the deal, while Bloomberg reports it walked away over's young usership and Chinese ownership. Mark Zuckerberg has been on the offensive against TikTok in recent months, criticizing the platform for reportedly censoring content. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Facebook once tried to buy, the Chinese lip-syncing app which was eventually acquired by Chinese social media giant ByteDance and merged with its app Douyin to form viral video app TikTok, according to reports from BuzzFeed and Bloomberg. Three sources familiar with the talks told BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac that Facebook spent the second half of 2016 trying to buy the Shanghai-headquartered in an attempt to break into the Chinese market. These sources said that while the talks were "serious" they never came to frutition with Facebook unable to close the deal.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.See Also:Teens are finding sneaky and clever ways to outsmart their parents' location-tracking apps, and it's turning into a meme on TikTokClimate groups can't run ads about global warming on Twitter, but Exxon canEU Commissioner Vestager slammed Mark Zuckerberg for allowing lies in political ads: That's not democracy, it's 'manipulation'SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg describes in leaked recording his plan of attack for taking on TikTok, Facebook's newest threat
Business Insider
Alex & Claire Danson: How the sisters are helping each other on road to recovery
Sporting sisters Alex and Claire Danson share their stories and say they are feeding off each other's determination as they plot their respective paths back to competitive sport.
BBC Sport - Sport
Djokovic loses to Thiem to set up showdown with Federer
Novak Djokovic succumbed to the impressive Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals Tuesday as the Austrian became the first man to qualify for the semifinals in London.
Trump impeachment probe goes public as political drama mounts
The impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump will reach a critical juncture on Wednesday when lawmakers launch their first televised public hearings, marking a new, high-stakes phase of a tumultuous presidency.
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Elevate your sound with 30 days of Amazon Music HD for free
TL;DR: Amazon Music HD is available to new subscribers for free for 30 days.  With all the Black Friday fuss lately, the news that you can now get a free trial of Amazon Music HD may have slipped past you. We're here with a reminder. Amazon Music HD offers an extensive catalogue of premium quality lossless audio, and is currently available in the U.S., UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan. You get access to 50 million songs in HD, and millions of tracks in Ultra HD — simply made for the audiophiles out there. SEE ALSO: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019: The best Amazon deals in the UK Amazon is now offering 30 days of Amazon Music HD for free. This offer is only available to new subscribers, and subscription fees apply after the automatic renewal. You have the option to cancel at anytime, so there is no obligation to actually pay anything, though. Read more...More about Amazon, Mashable Shopping, Amazon Music, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals
5 things to know for November 13: Impeachment inquiry, Syria, DACA, Venice
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
Exclusive: U.S. manufacturing group hacked by China as trade talks intensified - sources
As trade talks between Washington and Beijing intensified earlier this year, suspected Chinese hackers broke into an industry group for U.S. manufacturers that has helped shape President Donald Trump's trade policies, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Transcript: Carl Ghattas on "Intelligence Matters"
This week, on "Intelligence Matters," Michael Morell talks with the former head of the FBI's national security division on international and domestic terrorism
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Factbox: Public impeachment hearings shine light on secretive House Intelligence committee
The start of public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump will shine a spotlight as never before on 22 members of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, a panel that typically operates behind closed doors.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
US briefing: Televised impeachment hearings, Erdoğan visit and insect apocalypse
Wednesday’s top story: Democrats prepare to make public case against president. Plus, Disney’s Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian - reviewedGood morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories. Continue reading...
Your stories: Fix America's divide or we're doomed to fail
Hundreds of readers from across the country, espousing views from every point on the spectrum, wrote in to offer their experiences of division. The underlying message is clear: America has a problem, and it's time for a wake-up call.
Factbox: What Wednesday's impeachment witnesses have told House inquiry so far
The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and a senior State Department official testify Wednesday at the first public hearing in the House of Representatives' impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.
Reuters: Top News - powered by FeedBurner
McLaren unveils $1.7 million supercar with no roof and a windshield made of air
The new McLaren Elva supercar costs $1.7 million, not including options like a sound system or exposed carbon fiber body panels. One option you won't be able to get: A roof. - RSS Channel
Helena Gleichen: pioneer radiographer, suffragist, and forgotten hero of WWI
“Women, your country needs you,” Millicent Fawcett, the campaigner for women’s suffrage, proclaimed when war was declared in August 1914. One enthusiastic respondent to the call was Helena Gleichen, a rich aristocrat and a cousin of George V who had dined with Queen Victoria, danced at debutante balls and spent much of her life riding or painting animals. But when the war started, she renounced her Germanic family titles and committed herself to war work. More than 100 years after the armistice was signed, Gleichen has become a forgotten hero of World War I – despite her brave contributions having… This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web | International technology news, business & culture
Nike will no longer sell its shoes and apparel on Amazon
Nike will stop selling its sneakers and clothing on Amazon, ending a pilot program that started in 2017, the company said. The move comes as part of Nike's overhaul of its marketing and retail strategy and the hiring of former eBay executive John Don...
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Robot overlords? More like co-verlords. The future is human robot collaboration
Forget stealing our jobs; the next frontier of robotics is going to help humans by allowing them to carry out a whole host of tasks remotely -- whether it's maintenance or even surgery.
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Where do emojis come from? How the firecracker exploded onto emoji keyboards
You probably send dozens of emojis during any given day -- but have you ever stopped to wonder where emojis come from, or who designs them? Go behind the scenes of the process of building an emoji with the team that created the firecracker emoji, as well as the red gift envelope and moon cake.
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
James Carafano: Don’t bet on a DACA deal
The prospects of the White House and Congress working out a DACA deal now are no better than they were when this all started.
Convoy raises $400 million at $2.75 billion valuation to make freight trucking more efficient
On-demand trucking and freight marketplace Convoy has raised $400 Million in a round of funding from big-name investors including Alphabet's CapitalG.
VentureBeat | Tech News That Matters
A Third Grader’s Guide to Impeachment
On the day public impeachment hearings begin, listen to a conversation with Leo, 8, who’s obsessed with the inquiry and not afraid to ask questions.
NYT > Home Page
Two Cases of Pneumonic Plague in China Sparks Fears of an Outbreak
The deadly pandemic, once known as the Black Death, killed tens of millions across Europe in the Middle Ages.
Slate Articles
Trump impeachment hearings: Schedule, who’s testifying, what to know
The House Intelligence Committee will begin public hearings on the impeachment probe into President Trump beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol. How to watch The committee will stream video on YouTube, and PBS will carry the hearings live, as will C-SPAN3, and C-SPAN Radio. NBC, ABC and CBS plan to interrupt regular...
New York Post
Black Facebook staff describe workplace racism in anonymous letter
A group of Facebook workers say they are treated as if they ‘do not belong’ at the companyOne year after a former Facebook manager accused the company of having “a black people problem” – failing its black employees by allowing the proliferation of a hostile workplace culture — an anonymous group of tech workers at the social media giant have penned a letter in which they argue that the problem has only metastasized.“Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments,” they write. “It’s in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted.” Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
The Tories’ campaign is a mess – their ‘attack’ on Labour spending is the proof | Theo Bertram
The centrepiece of the Conservative election campaign is a flimsy dossier hastily assembled by party staffers• Theo Bertram is a former adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon BrownSomething is wrong with the Tory campaign. It will not have helped that Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrew Bridgen were supremely callous about Grenfell, or that a cabinet minister resigned after becoming embroiled in rape trial allegations – but it’s not these individual errors that suggest the Tory strategy is misfiring. Even the best strategists cannot stop these things from happening during election campaigns. All you can do is close them down fast and move on.But there are signs that all is not well at the very heart of the campaign. Last week, someone in the Tory team briefed journalists that they would publish their economic attack on Labour, based upon Treasury costings of Labour’s spending promises. What happened instead was that Mark Sedwill, the most senior Treasury mandarin, refused to provide those costings, and Tory staffers had to hurriedly scramble together a dossier that was late and flimsy. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Here's what to watch for in the impeachment hearings | Michael H Fuchs
As the impeachment process heats up, Trump and his allies will do whatever it takes to try to muddy the waters. That’s why we need to focus on the facts President Donald Trump withheld US military assistance to Ukraine until it agreed to help Trump’s re-election campaign. That is an abuse of power of the highest order - a corruption of American democracy that undermines national security - and requires that Trump be removed from office.As Congress begins public hearings to determine whether Trump’s actions merit impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate, it’s vital that the process focuses on these simple facts of Trump’s corruption. Over recent weeks the House has conducted depositions of current and former officials, all of which have corroborated Trump’s abuse of power. But since the deposition transcripts from those officials are thousands of pages long, the details can get lost in the endless spin by politicians and the media. Don’t expect much new information from the public hearings because the facts are already clear and conclusive. Rather, this is an opportunity for the public to hear directly from participants in this saga and for the American people to understand just how dangerous Trump’s actions are. Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Why Do I Eat Pigs, and Give My Dog Her Own Cowboy Hat?
The cruel vicissitudes of humanity’s relationship with animals.
NYT > Home Page
Why Diet Research Is So Spectacularly Thin
Most diet trials in the best journals fail even the most basic of quality control measures.
NYT > Home Page
Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet
I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer. So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough). As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
A Bezos-backed trucking startup now valued at $2.75 billion just raised $400 million from Al Gore's fund to dominate the digital-freight market
Mario Tama/Getty Images Convoy just raised $400 million for its freight brokerage and software solution. The Seattle-based trucking tech unicorn is now valued at $2.75 billion. Convoy was unable to share the details of that valuation. Trucking is an $800 billion industry, and one that tech giants like Uber and Oracle are rushing to disrupt.  Sign up for Business Insider's transportation newsletter, Shifting Gears, to get more stories like this in your inbox. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. One of the hottest startups in trucking tech just got a new stack of a cash. Convoy, started by ex-Amazonians Dan Lewis and Grant Goodale in 2015, just raised $400 million in Series D funding.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Here's why in-flight WiFi is so slow and expensiveSee Also:Convoy just got another $400 million to fight Uber Freight for control of the digital-freight market. Its ex-Amazon cofounder revealed to us the next steps for the $2.75 billion company's quest to dominate truck brokerage.Introducing 'Shifting Gears': Business Insider's weekly transportation newsletterBoeing expects to resume delivering 737 Max jets to airlines in December, before the jet carries passengers again
Business Insider
Joe Biden Has a Hillary Clinton Problem
What the Ukraine scandal reveals about Donald Trump is by now well known: He elevated his political interest above the national interest and demanded foreign interference in an American election. What’s received less attention is what the scandal reveals about Joe Biden: He showed poor judgment because his staff shielded him from hard truths. If that sounds faintly familiar, it’s because that same tendency underlay Hillary Clinton’s email woes in 2016. Clinton and Biden differ in many ways. But beneath each candidate’s marquee scandal lies the same core defect: insularity.The Biden campaign would have you believe that only people who wear MAGA hats think it’s a problem that Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father led the Obama administration’s effort to fight corruption in the Ukrainian energy industry. That’s not true. The Obama officials who handled Ukraine thought it was a problem, too. As Glenn Thrush and Kenneth P. Vogel of The New York Times recently reported, “Hunter Biden’s activities struck many of the officials working on Ukraine policy as an unnecessary distraction, or worse.” One of those officials was Obama’s ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt. Another was Amos J. Hochstein, who coordinated international energy affairs at the State Department. Thrush and Vogel write that “Hochstein, reflecting the concerns of State Department officials, including Mr. Pyatt, tried to get several of Mr. Biden’s aides to broach the subject” of Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma with the vice president. Last month, The Washington Post revealed another State Department official’s attempt to get Biden staffers to intervene with their boss. The Post reported that George Kent, then a deputy assistant secretary of state, “raised concerns [with Biden aides] in early 2015 about then–Vice President Joe Biden’s son serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.”But Biden’s aides wouldn’t confront their boss. Kent, notes the Post, “was turned away by a Biden staffer.” When Hochstein “tried to get several of Mr. Biden’s aides to broach the subject” of Hunter Biden’s activities, “they declined.” (Hochstein later went to Biden directly). Biden’s aides knew Hunter’s role at Burisma was a problem. In fact, they “were so worried about the optics,” write Thrush and Vogel, that “they enlisted State Department officials to gather facts to determine how to handle the story.” Nonetheless, “few” Biden aides, “if any, had raised the issue with Mr. Biden directly when it first arose.”[Sarah Chayes: Hunter Biden’s perfectly legal, socially acceptable corruption]What explains the reticence? In part, staffers feared the vice president’s wrath. According to Thrush and Vogel, they didn’t see Hunter’s work at Burisma as “worth risking a scolding from Mr. Biden, who had reacted angrily when Mr. Obama’s aides raised the issue of his son’s lobbying during the 2008 campaign.” In his investigation of Hunter Biden this summer, The New Yorker’s Adam Entous uncovered the same fear. “When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President,” Entous wrote, “several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so.” A former Biden adviser told Entous, “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at.”Biden’s aides also worried that the vice president, whose other son, Beau, died in 2015, was too fragile to handle upsetting news about Hunter. Thrush and Vogel report that “former administration officials” cited the “vice president’s shaky emotional state over Beau’s illness and death” as a reason “for backing off.” In The New Yorker, Entous suggests that aides “were wary of hurting his feelings.” A former Biden associate told Entous that painful family conversations “hurt him terribly.”What’s striking about this dynamic is that it parallels the tug-of-war between career officials and top Hillary Clinton aides over her use of personal email for State Department business. When Clinton began using her private BlackBerry for official communication soon after becoming secretary of state, according to The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow Jr., “State Department security officials were distressed about the possibility that Clinton’s BlackBerry could be compromised and used for eavesdropping.” At a February 2009 meeting, the Post reported,“department security, intelligence and technology specialists, along with five officials from the National Security Agency … explained the risks to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff.” But Mills and other top aides did not forcefully convey those concerns to Clinton. To the contrary, they “focused intently on accommodating the secretary’s desire to use her private email account” and “neglected repeated warnings about the security of the BlackBerry.”[Conor Friedersdorf: If Hunter Biden is fair game, so are Trump’s kids]The reasons Clinton’s aides didn’t challenge her private-email use may not be the same as the reasons Biden’s aides didn’t challenge him over Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma. There’s no suggestion in the reporting that Clinton’s staff feared her anger or viewed her as too brittle to hear upsetting news. But Clinton watchers have long noted her habit of walling herself off from contrary points of view. In his 2007 biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein quotes Mark Fabiani, who worked in Bill Clinton’s White House, as suggesting that “the kind of people that were around her were yes people. She had never surrounded herself with people who could stand up to her, who were of a different mind.” In her 2007 book, For Love of Politics: Inside the Clinton White House, Sally Bedell Smith notes, “Her subordinates were all true believers, so she seldom heard a dissenting view.”One possibility is that Biden’s and Clinton’s stature—as older, long-serving, world-famous politicians—left their younger aides too intimidated to challenge them on sensitive topics. In June, an unnamed Biden campaign staffer complained to the Washington Examiner that, as the publication put it, the former vice president “lacks senior figures inside his campaign who have the authority to tell him what to do.”This insularity doesn’t make Biden and Clinton corrupt or criminal. But each has paid a heavy political price for failing to create a culture where aides could challenge their blind spots. And while Republicans have inflated that price by exaggerating how dastardly the email and Burisma scandals are, nonpartisan career government officials found them disturbing enough.Biden’s staffers have spent recent months berating journalists for digging into the Burisma story. That’s a mistake. His aides don’t need to prove that they can stand up to the press. They need to prove that they can stand up to their boss.
World Edition - The Atlantic
Trump’s Real Offense Was Outsourcing Diplomacy
The House of Representatives begins televised impeachment hearings today, an, if Republicans weren’t so desperate to avoid holding President Donald Trump accountable, they could add their own count to the indictment. Each of the three branches of government—the executive, legislative, and judiciary alike—has vital constitutional duties to perform, and no branch is free to delegate those duties to other branches of government or anybody else. Conservative legal scholars have been trying for years, for instance, to roll back legally binding regulations written by executive-branch bureaucrats rather than Congress.But along came Trump. Overseeing American foreign policy is both the prerogative and the obligation of the president. In outsourcing U.S. policy toward Ukraine to Rudolph Giuliani, a private citizen whose loyalty lies with Trump personally—not to the office of the presidency, the interests of the United States, or the Constitution itself—Trump has been derelict in his constitutional duties.A central question at this week’s hearings is whether Trump offered anything to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for publicly announcing a criminal investigation into matters implicating Joe Biden and his son. By various witness accounts, the carrot dangled before Ukraine was some combination of a White House meeting and, more troubling, the release of $391 million in congressionally authorized but curiously delayed military aid that the beleaguered country needed to stave off Russian aggression.If a president demands something of personal value to himself in exchange for an official act, the transaction can amount to extortion or bribery—the latter of which the Constitution specifically lists as grounds for impeachment. To which Trump’s allies respond: Who cares? If no actual exchange occurred, the argument goes, then attempted bribery can’t give rise to an impeachable offense. This logic runs counter to the standard interpretation of American criminal laws, and it also doesn’t let Trump off the hook for other offenses—including his improper handoff of a major foreign-policy matter to Giuliani.This handoff is of profound constitutional significance because, with rare exceptions, the Constitution does not bind private parties. That’s why neither NFL players’ decision to take a knee nor NFL owners’ icy reaction to it raised First Amendment concerns—the government is not their boss. It’s also why an airline passenger can sue the Transportation Security Administration for constitutional violations if an agency employee groped her during a security check, but not if the worker is a private contractor hired by the TSA.There have been many instances in which private entities have exercised government powers delegated to them, and there are better and worse ways by which those powers can be handed over. When the Obama administration, for example, controversially phased out the Commerce Department’s oversight role in the granting of new names for domains on the World Wide Web—handing that task off to a private nonprofit known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—U.S. officials at least signaled their intentions well in advance. A formal transfer of power occurred when a contract between Commerce and ICANN was allowed to lapse.The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent nonprofit, as well. Although a private entity, the organization helps pass rules that govern the conduct of financial brokers and dealers. FINRA’s role is enshrined in federal securities laws, even though the Constitution arguably gives the job exclusively to Congress and, barring that, to federal agencies accountable to the people through the president. Similarly, consumer-product manufacturers create safety standards that Congress has instructed a federal agency—the Consumer Product Safety Commission—to rely upon, even though the manufacturers’ fidelity is to profit margins and shareholders, not to the American people.These handoffs of government power to private entities at least are transparent to the public and carry some kind of official imprimatur. The Supreme Court has tolerated them on a number of theories, which boil down to the notion that, so long as Congress and the executive branch retain some measure of oversight, the handoffs are constitutionally legitimate. Certain justices on the U.S. Supreme Court—including Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito—have balked at this line of cases, and rightly so. But for now, extra-constitutional exercises of power otherwise lodged in government actors under the Constitution are legally protected.The Giuliani situation is quite different. To the American diplomats who interacted with Ukraine, it was quite clear that the president’s lawyer was in charge of U.S. policy toward that Eastern European nation. Gordon Sondland, the Republican donor whom the president tapped as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified that, in an Oval Office meeting, Trump directed him to ask Giuliani about Ukraine matters. “He just kept saying, ‘Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,’” Sondland said.Congress did not legislate a handoff of foreign-diplomacy power to the president’s personal lawyer. He is not working pursuant to a government contract containing legal remedies for the United States if he breaches the terms of his employment. He did not take an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution—unlike members of Congress, who will have to weigh that oath heavily as the evidence bearing on impeachment mounts in the coming weeks. He is not bound by federal conflict-of-interest, transparency, or ethics laws—including the Freedom of Information Act—passed by prior Congresses to ensure that people entrusted with the American populace’s authority to self-govern do their jobs with integrity to the Constitution, the rule of law, and the norms that undergird our system of justice.As Trump’s personal lawyer, Giuliani’s ethical obligation is solely to his client, Donald J. Trump—the individual, not his office. The Ukraine narrative is plain in this regard. Trump’s interests in tarnishing Biden in furtherance of his own reelection bid were at odds with official U.S. policy toward Ukraine. For decades, the United States has supported the democratization of Ukraine against Russian aggression on the rationale that Ukraine is physically situated as a bulwark for a slew of Western European democracies. Unless we are to believe that Giuliani was acting with zero Trumpian collaboration—a logical impossibility that some of Trump’s most stalwart defenders are nevertheless testing out as an alibi for the president—it appears that Giuliani went rogue on Ukrainian foreign policy at Trump’s personal behest.Past presidents, to be sure, have at times directed private citizens to conduct back-channel diplomacy with foreign governments. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt used Harry Hopkins, a trusted confidant without an official title, as his liaison to other Allied leaders. As William Taylor, a top diplomat in Ukraine, recently testified, “It’s not unusual to ask people outside the government to play a role” in foreign policy, “so long as it’s consistent with and supports the main thrust of U.S. foreign policy.” But Giuliani’s ministrations were at cross purposes with stated American policy. According to Taylor, “The irregular channel seemed to focus on specific issues, specific cases, rather than the regular channel’s focus on institution building … I think under the influence of Mr. Giuliani … irrespective of whether it helped solve the corruption problem” in Ukraine.This is an abuse of power, plain and simple. Trump tapped someone who operated outside the U.S. Constitution and federal law to supplant sworn diplomats and implement a policy that has wholly private objectives aimed at helping Trump personally, to the detriment of the foreign-policy interests of the United States. The role Giuliani has played in matters of state is less Harry Hopkins than Rasputin, the Siberian shaman whose close but amorphous relationship with the Russian royal family afforded him enormous power over matters of church and state.Trump’s willingness to hand over control of American policy toward Ukraine to such a figure is remarkable, especially in light of conservative jurists’ long-standing efforts to hold each branch of government to its duties as formally spelled out in the Constitution. Even if House Republicans can’t justify impeaching Trump for shaking down the Ukrainians, they should at least call him to account for an unconstitutional behavior whose gravity, in all likelihood, would be obvious to them if the president were from the other party.
World Edition - The Atlantic
Tax the Patriarchy
The Rube Goldberg mess of the United States tax code picks winners and losers as it raises trillions of dollars for the federal government. It advantages unearned income over earned income. It advantages big, mortgaged homes over little, rented apartments. It advantages the richest of the rich over the mere rich. And, in many cases, it advantages men over women.That last claim is the contention of three new reports produced by the National Women’s Law Center and several other research and advocacy groups. They analyze the tax code through the lens of gender and conclude that many provisions reflect, amplify, and entrench long-standing disparities between men and women.But it need not be so. The tax code has profound power to close the gender wage-and-wealth gap, as well as to support equality in the workplace and help families thrive at home. As the country debates taxing billionaires out of existence, it might consider taxing the patriarchy out of existence, too.[Annie Lowrey: Cancel billionaires]Ariel Jurow Kleiman, an assistant professor of law at the University of San Diego and one of the authors of the reports, said she and her fellow researchers looked at how the tax code affects women’s work, earnings, entrepreneurship, family formation, and ability to accumulate wealth. The code is progressive, shunting money from rich to poor, and contains many provisions aimed at boosting women’s employment and earnings prospects, she noted. Nevertheless, that close look still showed “a landscape of comprehensive disadvantage,” she told me, one that surprised her in its pervasiveness.For one, the tax code subtly pushes women out of the workforce through the so-called “marriage penalty” and “secondary-earner bias.” Many women are the lower-earning partner in a married couple, thanks in part to entrenched forces that shunt women into less remunerative professions and pay them less for the same work. These married women often pay higher tax rates than they would if they were single, in some cases losing access to lucrative tax credits too. That discourages them from working; indeed studies demonstrate that tax policy is a major reason for the persistence of the gender labor-participation gap and the gender wage gap in the United States. (The Trump tax cuts eliminated many of these penalties and biases, but not all of them.)The tax code also cements existing disparities between men and women through the preferential treatment of investment income and benefits. “Low effective tax rates on the highest-income earners widen the disparities between executives, who are typically white men, and the poorly paid workforce, often made up of women of color,” said Katy Milani, the director of advocacy and policy at the Roosevelt Institute, stressing how important it was to understand intersectional disadvantage in the tax code.The way the tax code treats businesses also disadvantages women, in some ways. For instance, tax policy seems to quietly prioritize male-dominated, capital-intensive businesses, like firms in construction, computing, and robotics, by allowing them to deduct the cost of new machinery. Service-oriented businesses, which women are more likely to start than manufacturing businesses, get less advantage.[Annie Lowrey: The inflation gap]Finally, and perhaps most important, the reports stress that the tax code encourages wealth building among the already wealthy, amplifying existing economic fault lines. And it fails to fund many women’s most urgent priorities, including universal health care, subsidized child care, universal pre-kindergarten, and paid family leave. Those kinds of policies would help keep women in the workforce and eliminate the wage penalties women face when they have kids.The reports’ goal is to highlight gender as an often-overlooked but important heuristic for understanding the tax code, the authors said. “Nowhere in today’s tax code does it explicitly say that women shall be treated differently than men, or Black or brown families treated differently than white families,” one report concludes. “But while the language of our tax laws may be neutral on its face, in many instances, its impact disadvantages women and people of color in practice.”Still, its authors recommend that the government start collecting more data on gender and taxes. “That is one thing that [the Treasury Department] could be doing that would at least inform policymakers and think tanks and advocates as to how these benefits are being distributed,” Jurow Kleiman told me. “It’s a step zero that we should be doing and we’re not doing.”Other steps include taxing investment income like labor income, adding refundable tax credits and other supports for low-income working families, and doing more to support families with young children. Those kinds of provisions would help women. And by helping women, they would help the broader economy, too.
World Edition - The Atlantic
Why the Trolls Booed at Don Jr.’s Event
Donald Trump is 73. Mitch McConnell is 77. Rush Limbaugh is 68. The median Fox News viewer is 65. For good reason, observers of the American right often focus on folks who already qualify for Medicare and Social Security. But anyone wanting to understand the right’s future would do well to study the public-speaking appearance that Donald Trump Jr. made Sunday at UCLA.Don Jr. expected leftist protesters.As it turned out, he and his girlfriend, the former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, were drowned out and forced off stage by chanting alt-right activists.Understanding the unexpected turn requires a bit of background. But the effort is worth it. Few events better illustrate the complex interplay of ideologies, tactics, and hypocrisies that are influencing the right’s youngest activists, who’ll ultimately decide what to do with the Birchers of their generation.[Read: The heir]Many of today’s college students didn’t start paying attention to presidential politics until Donald Trump was vying for the White House. They weren’t even teenagers yet in 2012, when Mitt Romney was the GOP standard-bearer and the populist right organized under the banner of the Tea Party.That same year, Charlie Kirk, then 18, founded Turning Point USA, a nonprofit that aimed to “identify, educate, train, and organize” the campus right. He pitched the organization to wealthy donors, touting his ability to spread free-market ideology, limited-government policies, and movement conservatism. By 2015, no one was a more successful community organizer on the right.Kirk commanded a seven-figure budget, counted a presence at 800 high schools and colleges, sponsored a huge delegation at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and appeared regularly on cable news. Then Donald Trump upended the GOP.Suddenly, the Republican Party’s standard-bearer was promising big deficit spending and protectionist tariffs rather than small government and free markets. Like Mike Pence, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ted Cruz, Hugh Hewitt, Rand Paul, and many other older Republican partisans, Kirk sought to maintain his influence on the Trumpist right––the only right young people now entering college have really known––by setting qualms aside, obscuring divisive contradictions, offering absurd praise (Turning Point once posted to social media that Trump is “on track to be America’s greatest president!”), and emphasizing common enemies, especially “social justice warrior” activists and leftist college professors.As surely as the most illiberal leftists divided the Democratic coalition, they helped unite Republicans, as did propagandistic coverage that fabricated some leftist excesses.“You can’t watch Fox News without seeing five or six segments a day about the nuttiness on college campuses,” Kirk told Politico. “You pair that nuttiness up with people in their 60s and 70s who are beginning to map out where they want a significant portion of their wealth to go, and they’re saying, ‘I don’t want my money to go to my university. It’s not representing my values.’ Then we come along.”Kirk cultivates an image of himself as a clean-cut, respectable man of reason––a man who can laugh it off when leftists try to discredit him with provocative labels, knowing “white supremacist” or “bigot” or “anti-Semite” won’t stick to him.“When we do these events together,” Dave Rubin, the right-wing YouTube personality, once told Kirk, “you always make a point of saying to the audience, if you’ve got questions and you disagree with us, come up first. So we always take questions from people who disagree with us first. And we treat them as respectfully as humanly possible, or at least as respectfully as they treat us. But also me and you have some disagreements and we go up there and talk them out. So how is it that so many people on Twitter see you as a fascist?”Kirk replied: “What a strange concept, to hear the other side, to give people a platform that you totally might fundamentally disagree with, then have a conversation about it, see where you might be able to build consensus, find the disagreements, then find why you disagree, which is super important! Do you disagree because you have different data inputs or because you have different philosophical inputs?”That is the image he wants to project: calm and cool. Never mind that he is often less charitable in practice and seldom engages the strongest views on the other side.Every time Turning Point USA hosts a speaker on campus, Kirk has a double opportunity. At worst, the speaker will get out a right-leaning message. At least one leftist questioner will likely say something facile, affording the opportunity to capture a response on video that ostensibly “owns the libs.” At best, a leftist will try to shut down the event or shout down the speaker, or engage in an unseemly protest, generating video clips that make right-wingers who would’ve been widely ignored into free-speech martyrs or seeming victims.Then: more fundraising!As the sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning observed in their 2015 paper and later book, The Rise of Victimhood Culture, whereas people were once loath to be seen as victims, domination is now “the main form of deviance,” while victimization attracts sympathy, “so rather than emphasize either their strength or inner worth, the aggrieved emphasize their oppression and social marginalization.” Sympathetic dollars can follow––as can political support. From the start, Trump has touted his supposed victimhood as no president has before, confident that his supporters won’t hold self-pitying whines against him.Now his son Don Jr. is out with a new book, released a year ahead of the 2020 election: Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. There was a time when Republicans campaigned on a positive vision for the country. Don Jr.’s book rests on claims of victimhood and partisan conflict.Promoting the book at a Turning Point USA event was a no-brainer, especially given a venue at UCLA, where a “Kayne West theme party” was enough to trigger administrative scolds. Don Jr. must have figured he’d face at least some aggrieved leftists—great fodder for a prime-time segment on Fox News, if he was lucky.[Conor Friedersdorf: The Founders would have called out Trump for bribery]Yet Don Jr. should have anticipated that he would hear from some aggrieved rightists, as well.When Turning Point USA began its multi-college, cross-country Culture War Tour this autumn, Kirk concluded the events with the usual question-and-answer sessions, in which he reiterated his call to hear dissenting views first. Suddenly, however, the dissenters stepping up to the mic weren’t centrists or leftists.They were the sort of Trump supporters who post Pepe the Frog memes in web forums, spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jews, and believe that mainstream conservatives are excessively fond of immigrants and gay people. Most conservatives don’t like to acknowledge those Trump supporters. In turn, those Trump supporters complain that more mainstream conservatives benefited from their memes and votes in 2016, only to undermine Trump’s true agenda.This alt-right faction saw an opportunity in Turning Point USA events, and in Kirk’s supposed openness to dissent. The 22-year-old YouTube personality Nick Fuentes, described by Vox’s Jane Coaston, who delved into his past, as a “white nationalist and an avowed anti-Semite,” urged supporters to show up to Turning Point USA events early, sit respectfully through the live-streamed presentation, line up as early as possible when it comes time for the question-and-answer session at the end, and then use the spotlight to advance suppressed views.“We want them to fear the Q&A,” he said.At recent Turning Point USA events, some hostile questioners have tried to retain a degree of respectability by remaining a quarter step removed from anti-Semitism (if not implied white supremacy). “Why would white Americans send their taxpayer dollars to fund Israel’s health care while our mothers fight cancer, our brothers die of opioid overdoses, and the news of a coming baby brings not joy and happiness, but grave concern over thousands in future medical bills?” one questioner asked at an event held October 29. “How is that ‘America first’?”At that same event, another questioner tried to troll Kirk. “You have multiple times advocated on behalf of accepting homosexuality, accepting homosexual acts, as normative in the conservative movement,” an anti-gay questioner declared. “How does anal sex help us win the culture wars?”A more complicated troll also unfolded at the October 29 event. Questioner: I have a quick and fun, lighthearted question for you, Charlie. So, you gave a speech in Jerusalem earlier this year? Were there any awesome fun dancing parties that you guys hit afterwards? I heard that Israelis are some of the best dancers in the world. I mean, if you don’t believe me, Google ‘dancing Israelis.’ It is insane how good their dancing is. Would you agree or disagree with that? Kirk: Israel is a beautiful country, a great country too. Questioner: It is our greatest ally. Kirk: Correct. Ico Maly, a professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, provided a nuanced analysis of the odd exchange: This Q&A-troll’s offline intervention was set up, stylized, and formatted as a digital practice … he intervened as a troll using irony to mock the adversary and to make him look like an idiot. Even without taking into account the digital culture of trolling, the offline intervention cannot fully be understood from an offline perspective. The troll’s performance was clearly produced for digital uptake and addresses not only Charlie Kirk and the audience in the room but all the viewers of the live stream and the multiple re-mediations of that stream. His suggestion to ‘Google dancing Israelis’ directs the online audience towards a data void filled with extreme right anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. This 18-year-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is built around the idea that ‘4,000 Israelis’ were absent on 9/11 and 5 were spotted dancing. The Groyper troll here reintroduces this conspiracy theory in the context of a culture war to highlight that Charlie Kirk’s pro-Israel stance is against the American interests. This type of message-politics can only be understood and work in the online/offline nexus. Maly calculated that 11 of the 14 people in the audience who asked questions on October 29 were trolls intending to undermine Turning Point USA and its founder.The tactic puts Kirk in a difficult position: He can indulge trolls interested in discrediting him––or he can short-circuit debate in a manner reminiscent of the leftists he criticizes by declaring some views too deplorable to air. It puts Turning Point USA guests in a similarly tough position, especially when they are as closely associated with a political campaign as Don Jr. Team Trump cannot win reelection if its members are associated too closely with alt-right bigots; neither can they win without many voters dubbed “deplorables” by rivals.That’s the context for Don Jr.’s Sunday appearance at UCLA, context that explains what a reporter from The Guardian witnessed while attending the event: Turning Point USA, the organizing group, announced that Trump and his girlfriend, former Fox News Channel host Kimberly Guilfoyle, would not take questions after delivering their remarks. Audience members erupted in rage and began shouting “Q and A” even before the duo began speaking. Their chants began to drown out the speakers as Trump moved to conclude, visibly flustering him. They’d put the event on their calendar, arrived early, and prepared questions to troll Kirk and his guests in a Q&A that was suddenly being denied to them. It isn’t clear if Don Jr. understood what was happening: “We’re willing to listen,” he repeated as jeers and chants filled the room. “You’re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive and discourteous!” Guilfoyle shouted over the din. Eventually the couple, accompanied by Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk, exited the stage to boos. Rude. Discourteous. A disappointment to respectable people. Guilfoyle cast those young people in the same light many in the establishment cast all Trump voters. The irony would barely have been thicker if she’d called them Russian stooges. More attempts to troll conservative events from the right lie ahead.“Youth-oriented conservative groups are likely to face continued heckling in the weeks and months to come,” The Bulwark noted Monday. “Fuentes fans have been compiling a list of upcoming conservative college speeches and have vowed to attend all of them.”With what consequence? “We’re going to see a lot more restrictions where only students can ask a question,” Fuentes, the alt-right YouTuber, predicts. “You have to have a student ID. Only leftists can ask questions. Only Turning Point can ask questions … I’m sure that if you’re a white male, they’ll profile you. If you’re wearing a MAGA, hat they’ll profile you.” In his telling, “They’re literally campaigning for Trump, and they have to discriminate against his voters.”Fuentes is trying to provoke and exploit a dynamic Kirk has used to great effect. Either his supporters will be heard or attempts will be made to shut them up, which is even better, because they can cast themselves as victims of a sanctimonious establishment––victims who’d prevail if only they could speak freely.Kirk and Don Jr. are hardly alone in facing a troll problem. All of us face a troll problem. Trolls seize on that which people rightly value and turn those very values against them in a way that is hard to combat without losing the greater good. Civil libertarians understand that favoring free speech, the presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the provision of an attorney, universal suffrage, or anything else worth fighting for means that the most deplorable bigots invariably benefit along with everyone else.Yet Kirk and Don Jr. are more vulnerable than most to trolls––because their coalitions rely more than most on the continuing support of trolls and on trolling; because theirs is a trolly culture-war coalition masquerading as small-government conservatism; because they denounce the left not only for initiating censorious excesses, but also for overreacting to Trumpist trolls who bait them; because Trump deploys rhetoric as conspiratorial as any alt-right troll; and because one cannot be a Trumpist and (with a straight face) discredit others as too rude.Despite their many faults, neither Kirk nor Don Jr. are alt-right trolls––and Ben Shapiro may be right that drawing that false equivalence is dangerous––but Trumpist politics have done a lot to empower alt-right trolls, a fact that should haunt Kirk and Don Jr. each time they are trolled. The forces of hatred that Trump stoked to benefit himself politically may be spiraling out of anyone’s control.
World Edition - The Atlantic
The Modern Women of Rural America
Along the way of our reporting for American Futures and Our Towns, I ran into the stories of some remarkable women—living and dead. Eliza Tibbets, who planted the first navel oranges in California; Isabella Greenway, who helped shape the entire copper-mining town of Ajo, Arizona, went on to found an airline company and the iconic Arizona Inn, and became the first woman representing Arizona in Congress; Jerrie Mock, a housewife from Columbus, Ohio, who chased the dream of Amelia Earhart to become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe on her own; the Women of the Commons in Eastport, Maine, who are a big part of rewriting the civic, cultural, and commercial story of Eastport, Maine; and Tracy Taft, an educator and organizer who followed Isabella Greenway to Ajo, Arizona, to drive its change from a failing former-mining town to a thriving community based on the arts.Recently, I hit the motherlode, where well over 200 women from rural America met in Greenville, South Carolina for a gathering of the Rural Assembly, a coalition of nationwide organizations that advocates for rural communities. This one was the first ever Rural Women’s Summit. (Okay, I counted on one hand the number of men who were there, too.) They met to talk about civic life, incarceration, health, water, education, poverty, faith, relationships, conservation, family, entrepreneurship, all in the context of women living in rural America. They framed their comments from their experiences as women in the military, as organizers of movements, as filmmakers, journalists, artists, nurses, lawyers, civic leaders, mothers, convicts, politicians, faith leaders, actors, and more.“The diversity of voices and experiences in the room was meaningful and telling,” Whitney Kimball Coe, of the Center for Rural Strategies, told me after the conference, via email. “It pushed back on stereotypes of a monolithic rural America.”My own rural roots dwindled about a century ago, after my family had immigrated from Bohemia and Moravia, in the part of the Austro-Hungarian empire that later became Czechoslovakia, to the Midwest. Most of my relatives had lived in rural areas in Europe. My cousins and I of the American-born generation chanted that our forebears were butchers, bakers, and candy makers. My great-grandfather, who lived and died in the dozen-house village of Mlyny (mills in Czech) was the chief gardener for trees in Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s country estate, Konopiste.I went to see his trees, maybe some had been saplings in his time, about 20 years ago, and then found my way to his village, where an older woman told me the story she heard growing up of the two young boys from Mlyny who went to America to seek a new life. One of those boys was my grandfather.The author’s father (left), aunt (in white), grandfather (the baker), and uncle circa 1928 (Courtesy of Susan Zerad Garau).Mostly from photographs, I remember standing in the fields of tall corn in my great grandmother’s family farm in rural Minnesota. And as clear as it was yesterday, I remember the backyard garden in the West Side neighborhood of Chicago, where my grandparents ultimately moved, and where my grandfather (the baker) grew sunflowers that were twice my height. My rural connections are twice-removed compared with those of my friends from the small Ohio town where I grew up, who actually lived on farms. But I will defend some deep blood-line sense I feel when I see and listen to the stories of rural life in America today. Those are the feelings I took with me to the meeting of rural women. I gleaned a few principles about the lives of rural women that I hadn’t appreciated before.The first is how aggravations from a single issue can quickly cascade into a series of complications that make problems worsen toward intractable.Let’s take water, for example. Martin County, Kentucky, in the coal country of Appalachia is, as one woman described it, a poster child for water crisis. We have all been enlightened by the stories of Flint, Michigan, which would not be public without the women on the front lines there, by the way. The broken infrastructure of water protection and handling in Martin County—cleanliness, safety, delivery, affordability, sewage—in Appalachian coal country is another piece of the troubled water story around the U.S.This story of water there is intimate to the lived experience of the women who tell it and those who report it. By and large, it is the women who open the taps for water they use to cook, to do the laundry, to bathe the children, to drink. If the faucets deliver, which is not a given, the water often runs brown, sulfury, and smelly.Reporting from those who live or spend time in Kentucky, be that in newsletters or rural press, adds a nuance of understanding that delivers insistent stories of a contaminated water supply, leaky and crumbling pipes, wastewater pipe shortages, industrial leaks and spills, declining tax base from mine closures, rising water costs, and all the humanly compelling drama that ensues. Then the cascade begins. The women bathe the babies, who then develop rashes. The women drive them long distances to see doctors, which is costly and time-consuming. Researching medical counsel or the alternatives of telemedicine often demand broadband connections, which are scarce, spotty, or thin in poor, rural America. Navigating coverage of telehealth from insurance companies is, as you’d imagine, complicated. And of course, all these steps require technology, transportation, and bill-paying, not to mention the wherewithal to accomplish them.The problem of rural water into and out of rural homes is a speck in the universe of the bigger forcefield of water, which includes big agriculture, mining extractions, chemical runoffs, big industry, lobbyists, federal regulators, courts, big insurance. Crises like Flint's notwithstanding, those of us who live in non-rural America usually take our water supplies for granted—or we at least trust that if something goes wrong, it will soon be fixed. But that is not necessarily the case in rural America.It seemed clear that the case of bad water was not a one-off but rather an example of a pattern. I heard about other issues where one event cascaded into a flurry of others; violence on Indian reservations and the incarceration of women, especially mothers, were two of the worst. The second thing I learned at this meeting of rural women is the particular way they address their problems and design solutions. It will not surprise you if I say that rural women approach solutions and take action with a driving practicality. Isn’t that how pioneer women and immigrant women and farming women survived?At the Rural Women’s Summit (Courtesy of Shawn Poynter / Poynter Photo Co.)It may surprise you (it did me) that the rural women wrapped this practicality with sentiments that you might link with being too soft, weak, or self-defeating (read: emotional, vulnerable, caring). And that they sought solutions in the places that you might consider unimportant or even a throwback to an earlier pre-feminist era (read: the kitchen, the living rooms). But on the contrary, I heard women suggest that these “women’s ways” (my words), when they emerge comfortably and naturally, are powerful tools to make actions effective and arguments accessible to more people. The message I heard: Do not shy from showing vulnerability, caring, or emotion. Do not apologize for it. Use it. Go into the places that are your comfort zones for work that is uncomfortable and requires you to be brave.At the Rural Women’s Summit (Courtesy of Shawn Poynter / Poynter Photo Co.)Here are a few specific examples for taking action:Run for office: VoteRunLead runs training programs and online tools to encourage women to run for office, and to help them win. A starting point is planting the idea, #runasyouare, for those who may think they’re not up to it and are reluctant to jump in. According to Erin Vilardi, VoteRunLead president, “There are over 1,000 women sitting in elected office through our program. We have rates over 50 percent for first-time candidates winning their races,” adding, “One in five of our alumni are from rural communities.”Practice radical hospitality: People’s Suppers and communal dinners are opportunities for public discourse about fraught issues, like LGBTQ issues, addictions, and arrival of refugees. Sometimes, faith leaders or places of worship step in to bridge gaps. Jennifer Bailey, an ordained itinerant elder at the African Methodist Episcopal Church and director of the Faith Matters Network, said, “Women can turn a box of spaghetti into a feast.”Create safe spaces: Basketball courts on church grounds, daycare centers, quilting clubs in living rooms, shelters, gardens, girls’ night out. Look for activities that build familiarity and trust, and are just nice as a vehicle for discussions, ideas, and actions.Take healthy steps at the source: get rid of deep fryers in hospital cafeterias; provide applications to SNAP and other food programs at food pantries; change the menus in school cafeterias. These are easy wins.South Carolinian Kyshona Armstrong performing at the Summit (Courtesy of Shawn Poynter / Poynter Photo Co.)Tell stories: Use different frames to tell the big stories, in local media or as free-lancers or in entrepreneurial journalistic start-ups. These give (new) voice to issues. There were a number of examples of reporting at the source, like the Daily Yonder, High Country News, Southerly, and 100 Days in Appalachia.More from this series
World Edition - The Atlantic
Dear Care and Feeding: My Daughter Took a Ride With a Kid Who Just Got Her Learner’s Permit
Parenting advice on teen drivers, disrespect from a stepson, and helping a neighbor.
Slate Articles
How to Watch the Trump Impeachment Hearings Today on YouTube, Facebook, and More
The impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump start today in Washington, D.C. at 10 am ET/ 7 am PT. And even if you’re not near a TV, you can watch it all unfold on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more, with our links below.Read more...
Gizmodo - We come from the future.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on why Spectacles are a new kind of camera
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge As long as mobile phones remain our primary computing devices, the balance of power between social networks seems unlikely to shift too much in any direction. New devices have now been in development for several years, but so far nobody has been able to deliver something akin to an iPod: a relatively cheap, beautifully designed, and dramatically useful new gadget that points the way forward. The company that invents a product like that could dominate the next generation of computing the way Apple, Google, and Facebook have dominated the current one. Snap may have gotten the closest. Spectacles, the company’s toy-like video-recording sunglasses, were the subject of intense buzz when they debuted in 2017. And while other companies work on their own version of augmented reality glasses, Snap continues to do its work in public: releasing a sequel to Spectacles last spring, and version 3 today. I wrote about Spectacles 3 in The Verge. This longer-than-usual excerpt gets at why Snap believes they represent a milestone. Now Spectacles 3 have arrived, available exclusively through Snap’s online Spectacles store. They come with a striking new design and a much higher price — $380, up from $150 to $200 for the previous edition. (Spectacles 2 remain on sale.) Snap says the changes reflect its intended audience for the new Spectacles: fans of high fashion and artists who relish new creative tools. It’s also a way of avoiding another big writedown: measuring demand carefully with a single online storefront, then selling each unit at a price that lets the company recoup a bigger share of its investment. And Spectacles 3 are a milestone for the company in another way, too, CEO Evan Spiegel told me in a recent interview. Thanks to a second camera that lets the device perceive depth for the first time, Snap can now integrate its software into the real world using special filters that map to the world captured in a video. “What’s really exciting about this version is that, because V3 has depth, we’re starting to actually understand the world around you,” Spiegel said. “So those augmented reality effects are not just a 2D layer. It actually integrates computing into the world around you. And that is where, to me, the real turning point is.” Spiegel is playing a long game. He often says that AR glasses are unlikely to be a mainstream phenomenon for another 10 years — there are simply too many hardware limitations today. The available processors are basically just repurposed from mobile phones; displays are too power hungry; batteries drain too quickly. But he can see a day where those problems are solved, and Spectacles becomes a primary way of interacting with the world. Spiegel says the glasses will be a pillar of the company over the next decade, along with Snapchat and Lens Studio, the company’s tool for building AR effects. “I do think this is the first time that we’ve brought all the pieces of our business together, and really shown the power of creating these AR experiences in Lens Studio and deploying them through Spectacles,” Spiegel said. “And to me, that is the bridge to computing overlaid on the world.” Later in the piece, I describe how that vision hasn’t translated all the way to reality. The computing is only overlaid on the world after the fact, when you download the snaps onto your phone and edit effects into them. It’s a cumbersome process, and combined with the new glasses’ $380 price tag, it’s hard for me to imagine Spectacles 3 becoming a bestseller. The entire industry is grappling with the technological challenges of making a good AR product, as Nick Wingfield and Alex Heath report in this good piece today in The Information. Even Apple isn’t planning to release a pair of AR glasses until 2023, they reported on Monday. But Spiegel himself acknowledges in that excerpt that mass-market AR glasses could be a decade away. He’s an underrated product thinker — and, thanks to a better-than-expected year for Snap, an increasingly confident CEO. When he talks about AR glasses, he makes them seem inevitable in a way that his peers struggle to do — while also being realistic about the current state of the art. Here’s one snippet that didn’t make it into the final piece. I was complaining that I had abandoned my previous Spectacles because of the friction involved in transferring snaps from the glasses to the phone. Spiegel’s response contextualized the product for me — and the road ahead for Snap — in a whole new way: Evan Spiegel: The way that I would think about it is in terms of the way that cameras overall have evolved over time. So if you look at the [usage of] early cameras, it was very much event-based, right? Event-based maybe even in the sense of like, once in your life, right? And then eventually that became like, during holidays. And then only in the last 10 years has it become, all day every day I use my camera. So I think that’s a very radical transition. Spectacles, because they’re a new type of camera, they’re still event-based in terms of usage. You go on a really cool trip, you’re playing with your kids, whatever it is — and you want to represent that moment in a totally new way, from your perspective in 3D. So for now, I do think it’s going to continue to be an event-based product. But what’s really exciting is that over time, we’ve seen the capacity for these cameras to evolve from event-based products to products that are used all day long. So, I think we’re just on that journey with Spectacles. And we’re fortunate that we can continue to invest along that path to get there. The Ratio Today in news that could affect public perception of the big tech platforms. Trending up: Microsoft announced it will apply the standard set by California’s new privacy law throughout the United States after the law goes into effect on January 1st. The move expands the impact of rules meant to protect consumers and their data. Trending down: Facebook’s decision to allow politicians to lie in political ads is being widely condemned in Sri Lanka. The company has struggled to address anti-Muslim hate speech and incitement to violence in southeast Asia for many years. Trending down: A bug in Facebook’s iOS app activates the iPhone camera when the app is opened. Facebook pushed a bug fix, but not before another news cycle about the company’s privacy problems. (Ben Lovejoy / 9to5Mac) Governing ⭐ Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is questioning the US Army’s decision to try to recruit Gen Z’ers using TikTok, raising concerns about privacy and national security. The congressman wrote a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy requesting he assess the national security risks associated with the platform and its Chinese parent company. Kadia Goba at BuzzFeed tells us more: The Army turned to TikTok and other social media platforms in 2019 after recruiting numbers slumped the year before by more than 6,000 soldiers. “While I recognize that the Army must adapt its recruiting techniques in order to attract young Americans to serve, I urge you to assess the potential national security risks posed by China-owned technology companies before choosing to utilize certain platforms,” Schumer wrote in the letter obtained by BuzzFeed News. In the letter, Schumer also asks if the Army has consulted with the Department of Homeland Security regarding potential security risks and if the Army has considered alternative recruiting methods. Misinformation about the impeachment inquiry is spreading on social media. The posts, which mainly appear on Facebook, contain misleading information about the rules governing the inquiry, which aren’t widely understood and thus easy to lie about. (Daniel Funke / PolitiFact) Twitter added some nuance its political ad ban, telling advertisers that ads that spread awareness about issues of national significance will still be allowed. This exception will likely only apply to issue ads, although Twitter hasn’t confirmed that for sure. Are you confused yet? (Alex Kantrowitz / BuzzFeed) A new coalition of progressive groups is ramping up its fight against Facebook. They’re calling themselves the Campaign to Regulate and Break Up Big Tech, and say they have been unfairly caught up in the company’s efforts to crack down on fake accounts and election manipulation. (Emily Birnbaum / The Hill) Republican-linked PR firms are spending massive amounts of money on Google ads, seemingly to collect voter email addresses. The ads ask people to enter their emails in order vote on political polls. (Sam Baker / Engadget) Several Facebook lobbyists have worked for top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, while none have worked for members of the Republican leadership. The social network has spent nearly $12.3 million this year on federal lobbying. (Alex Kotch / Sludge) Al Jazeera is asking Facebook to crack down on an Emirati-backed disinformation campaign to discredit its reporting. The news outlet says the campaign is a smear job painting them as a dangerous publisher that is inciting violence. (David Uberti / Vice) Industry ⭐ A whistleblower who works on Project Nightingale — Google’s secret healthcare initiative that involves the personal medical data of up to 50 million Americans — raised privacy concerns about the project, reports Ed Pilkington at The Guardian: The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale. The secret scheme, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification. The whistleblower introduces the video with the words: “I must speak out about the things that are going on behind the scenes.” The disclosed documents include highly confidential outlines of Project Nightingale, laying out the four stages or “pillars” of the secret project. By the time the transfer is completed next March, it will have passed the personal data of 50 million or more patients in 21 states to Google, with 10 million or so files already having moved across – with no warning having been given to patients or doctors. Facebook will now you control what shows up in the app’s navigation bar, thanks to a new option called Shortcut Bar Settings. Among other things, the option means you’ll no longer see phony red notification dots for parts of the app you don’t otherwise check. Goodbye Marketplace! (Josh Constine / TechCrunch) Facebook introduced Facebook Pay — a payments service that works across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. It’s rolling out in the US on Facebook and Messenger to start, and will support fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, and person-to-person payments. The timing of the launch makes it look like a backup plan for the collapse of Libra, at least from the outside. Instagram launched a new video editing tool in Brazil called Reels, which copies some of the best-known features of TikTok. It allows users to record 15-second videos, adjust their speed, set them to music, or borrow audio from others’ videos — similar to the “Duet” feature in TikTok. (James Vincent / The Verge) Influencers are opening up on social media, getting real about issues like anxiety and depression, and teens are beginning to follow suit. But while the practice can benefit influencers by getting them more followers, it can make teens targets of harassment. This story also introduced me to the concept of “sadfishing” — pretending to have mental health problems in order to juice engagement on social posts. 2019! (Julie Jargon / The Wall Street Journal) Influential Twitter users in India are starting to move to Mastodon, amid an outcry over Twitter’s moderation practices. The move came after Twitter suspending a leading Indian Supreme Court lawyer’s account twice. (BBC) And finally... The only connection this item has to social media is a semi-viral tweet, but I can’t help but want to share it with you. It looks like a deepfake but it’s really just a wholly unnecessary edit to a classic film. Thank you and subscribe to Disney+ for more wholesale destruction of your childhood memories. In the Disney+ version of Star Wars Greedo now shouts "MACLUNKEY" before getting shot. This is now my favorite version because why the hell not? MACLUNKEY! #starwars #maclunkey— Eric Fell (@ericfell) November 12, 2019 Talk to us Send us tips, comments, questions, and Spectacles reviews: and
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