Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Federal court rules against Kemp in Georgia absentee ballot battle | This is what that means | 11alive.com
Federal court rules against Kemp in absentee ballot battle | This is what that means | 11alive.com
"TOKYO (AP) — The bicultural, newly elected governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa plans to visit the United States with a message to the American people: Stop building a disputed military base and build peace instead.
Tamaki took office Oct. 4 after campaigning for a disputed U.S. Marine air base to be moved off the island and for the American military presence on Okinawa to be reduced. The small island hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan and accounts for 64 percent of the land used for U.S. military bases.
Tamaki plans to visit New York and other U.S. cities in November, although dates and other details are not yet decided, according to the governor’s office.
“I want the American people to understand what has been, what is and what will be, to solve this problem,” Denny Tamaki told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday at the Tokyo office for Okinawa prefecture."
"Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, has made incendiary and racially charged comments for years.Erin Schaff for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — As Pittsburgh began burying the victims of Saturday’s synagogue massacre, the head of the House Republican campaign arm all but jettisoned Representative Steve King of Iowa from the House Republican Conference, declaring, “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms.”
The highly unusual rebuke by Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, came a week before the midterm elections — but after years of incendiary and racially charged comments by Mr. King, capped in recent days by his endorsement of a white nationalist running for mayor of Toronto and a meeting with Austrian white nationalists, which he funded through a trip to visit concentration camps.
Mr. King is also locked in the toughest re-election fight of his eight-term House career.
“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate,” Mr. Stivers wrote on Twitter. “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”
Mr. King fired back with a statement of his own, affirming that Americans of all races and “national origins-legal immigrants & natural born citizens” are created equal. He blamed attacks on him as “orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news,” aided by complicit “Establishment Never Trumpers.”
The public censure is the latest downturn for Mr. King, whose lengthy history of making racially charged remarks has been subjected to closer scrutiny after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. After liberal activists on social media lobbied some of Mr. King’s corporate donors to cut ties with the representative, the Midwestern dairy giant Land O’Lakes withdrew its support, saying in a statement that it wants its “contributions to be a positive force for good.”
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
But if Mr. Trump’s visit was intended to bring healing, it instead laid bare the nation’s deep divisions. Many protesters in Pittsburgh had no doubt of what one called “the dotted line” between presidential rhetoric and violence, though some people in the city have pushed back on the idea that Mr. Trump had fomented the atmosphere of anger. As the president moved around Pittsburgh, a largely Democratic city, the signs of discord were apparent.
The protesters, some praying in Hebrew, others singing and chanting, moved around Squirrel Hill. Hoodie-wearing college students and Orthodox Jews with black hats and long beards walked alongside demonstrators carrying militant signs and middle-aged parents pushing strollers. Signs read “Words matter” and “President Hate is not welcome in our state.” As if to hold up a beloved local figure in contrast to the president, the largest march began on Beechwood Boulevard, where Mr. Rogers, the children’s television figure, used to live, and it ended at the Presbyterian church where he used to pray.
Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Mike Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ - The Washington Post This was ignorant and cruel. OMG.
Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Mike Pence appears with ‘rabbi’ who preaches, ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ - The Washington Post
Monday, October 29, 2018
Former President Jimmy Carter called on gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp to resign from his current role as Georgia’s secretary of state to maintain public trust in the voting process, according to an Oct. 22 letter cited Monday by the Associated Press. “I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process,” Carter wrote. “In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate.” Carter added that “This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections—that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority.”
Carter avoided discussing the other reason advocates have called for Kemp’s resignation: allegations that Kemp is working to rig the election by stymying the voting rights of minority populations. He did, however, implore Kemp “to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election.” Kemp will face off against Democrat Stacey Abrams on Nov. 6.
Deaths of Despair
The American Economy Is Rigged - Scientific American
"Trump has flirted with the deepest racists and Nazis and it has not gone unnoticed, least of all by them.
Oct. 28, 2018
President Trump speaks during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport on Saturday.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Our national dialogue about diversity and inclusion, about acceptance and egalitarianism, is poisoned, and Donald Trump is holding a rather large pouch of poison.
Last week, we saw the arrest of a Trump supporter who sent pipe bombs through the mail to people who were frequent rhetorical targets of the president, many of them prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama.
Then on Saturday came a mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue by a rabid anti-Semite. As NBC reported:
“The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh — in which the death toll now stands at 11 — is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the U.S., the Anti-Defamation League said.”
According to CNN, the shooter, Robert Bowers, was a man who claimed on the social media app Gab, a nest of white nationalists and the ‘alt-right,’ that Jews were behind the migrant caravans. NBC News put it this way:
“Bowers frequently posted about the ‘migrant caravan,’ a group of several thousand refugees walking to the U.S.-Mexico border from Honduras to seek asylum. Preventing refugees in the caravan from entering the U.S. has been a major talking point among both right-wing commentators and President Donald Trump, who has spoken about it in recent pre-midterm election stump speeches.”
There is no way to separate Trump from the fulminating against the caravans.
And yet, even Trump appears to have been too mild a racist and “nationalist” for the synagogue shooter. As CNN notes, “roughly four hours before the shooting, Bowers commented in a post that he did not vote for Trump.” He once posted “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” and he has posted that Trump is surrounded by too many Jewish people.
Therein lies the uneasy alliance: The white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right are energized by Trump’s election, and yet many find his white power positioning falls short of their own.
That doesn’t mean that Trump doesn’t court their support and defend their actions.
After the alt-right staged its deadly march in Charlottesville, in which throngs of marchers with torches chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Trump insisted that there had been “very fine people on both sides” of the protest.
When Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who helped organize the Charlottesville rally, spoke to reporters last year, Business Insider reported:
“Asked whether he considers Trump an ally, Spencer replied that while he didn’t think of Trump as ‘alt-right,’ he considers the president to be ‘the first true authentic nationalist in my lifetime.’ ”
As The Atlantic has reported, Spencer “gained international notoriety just after the 2016 election for giving a speech in Washington, D.C., in which he declared ‘Hail Trump!,’ prompting Nazi salutes from his audience.”
In an interview with Vice, Christopher Cantwell, who was also involved in the Charlottesville march, had this exchange with the interviewer over the issue of white violence:
Cantwell: “I’m here to spread ideas, talk in the hopes that somebody more capable will come along and do that, somebody like Donald Trump who does not give his daughter to a Jew.”
Interviewer: “So Donald Trump, but like, more racist?"
Cantwell: “A lot more racist than Donald Trump. I don’t think that you could feel about race the way I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl.”
That of course was a reference to Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner.
So these folks are emboldened by Trump, but now that they have an inch, they want a mile. Still there is clearly something happening on the ground that is undeniable. As The New York Times reported on Saturday:
“According to an annual report by the Anti-Defamation League issued earlier this year, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged 57 percent in 2017, the largest rise in a single year since the A.D.L. began tracking such crimes in 1979.”
2017, of course, was the first year of the Trump administration.
As always, this cautionary note must be included: Homicidal maniacs are responsible for their own actions. It is almost impossible in most cases to attach the words of one person to the deeds of another.
However, it must also be said that Trump has produced a toxic environment of intolerance in this country that is deep and wide. He has flirted with the deepest racists and Nazis and it has not gone unnoticed, least of all by them.
Last week at a debate, Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum said of his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis: “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
I believe that the same could be said of Trump, although he engages in his own strain of racism."
"A white man who allegedly killed two people at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky tried to enter a predominantly black church nearby minutes before the fatal shooting, police said.
The two people killed Wednesday -- Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones -- were shot in the grocery store and the parking lot, respectively. CNN affiliate WDRB described both victims as black.
Police arrested suspect Gregory A. Bush, 51, shortly after the shooting, which happened in the Louisville suburb of Jeffersontown."
Kroger shooting: Man who killed 2 tried to enter a predominantly black church minutes earlier - CNN
Saturday, October 27, 2018
"Reported hate crimes with racial or ethnic bias jumped the day after President Trump won the 2016 election, from 10 to 27, according to an analysis of FBI hate crime statistics by The Washington Post. Nov. 9 had more reported hate crimes than any other day in 2016, and the daily number of such incidents exceeded the level on Election Day for the next 10 days.
FBI data collected since the early 1990s show that reports of hate crimes typically spike during election years, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino. There was a 21 percent increase in reported hate crimes the day after Barack Obama won his first election in 2008, though hate crime reports remained relatively flat for the rest of the year.
It’s unclear why election years bring an increase in reported hate crimes, particularly in the days following the election of our last two presidents. It could be that people frustrated or energized by the election results take out those emotions on people who are different than them. Or, given that hate crimes are notoriously underreported, the election could embolden victims to report the crimes against them.
New York City police have one of the largest hate crime units in the county, but incident reports from the department offer few clues about what drives the election-year trend. On Nov. 1, 2016, police filed a report about a 63-year-old African American woman in Queens who found anti-black statements written on her door as she was coming home. And on Nov. 18 of that year, a report was filed alleging two African American men approached a white woman and man in Manhattan and yelled anti-white statements, before striking the 61-year-old man with a skateboard. It’s unclear whether these incidents were influenced by the election.
But a conspiracy case in Kansas shows how elections could potentially influence people to turn their political views into criminal acts. A trial began Thursday for three white men accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and a building where many Somali Muslim refugees live in southwest Kansas. Prosecutors say the men planned to detonate the bombs the day after the 2016 election."
Hate crimes rose the day after Trump was elected, FBI data show - The Washington Post
"My mother understood and taught me the proper method as early was 1956, drilling into me the importance of phonics; what is the matter with these people?
"Our children aren’t being taught to read in ways that line up with what scientists have discovered about how people actually learn.
It’s a problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.
How do we know that a big part of the problem is how children are being taught? Because reading researchers have done studies in classrooms and clinics, and they’ve shown over and over that virtually all kids can learn to read — if they’re taught with approaches that use what scientists have discovered about how the brain does the work of reading. But many teachers don’t know this science.
What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.
But talk to teachers and many will tell you they learned something different about how children learn to read in their teacher preparation programs. Jennifer Rigney-Carroll, who completed a master’s degree in special education in 2016, told me she was taught that children “read naturally if they have access to books.” Jessica Root, an intervention specialist in Ohio, said she learned “you want to get” children “excited about what they’re reading, find books that they’re interested in, and just read, read, read.” Kathy Bast, an elementary school principal in Pennsylvania, learned the same thing. “It was just: Put literature in front of the kids, teach the story, and the children will learn how to read through exposure,” she said.
These ideas are rooted in beliefs about reading that were once commonly called “whole language” and that gained a lot of traction in the 1980s. Whole-language proponents dismissed the need for phonics. Reading is “the most natural activity in the world,” Frank Smith, one of the intellectual leaders of the whole-language movement, wrote. It “is only through reading that children learn to read. Trying to teach children to read by teaching them the sounds of letters is literally a meaningless activity.”
These ideas had been debunked by the early 2000s. It may seem as if kids are learning to read when they’re exposed to books, and some kids do pick up sound-letter correspondences quickly and easily. But the science shows clearly that to become a good reader, you must learn to decode words. Many whole-language proponents added some phonics to their approach and rebranded it “balanced literacy.”
But they did not give up their core belief that learning to read is a natural process that occurs when parents and teachers expose children to good books. So, while you’re likely to find some phonics lessons in a balanced-literacy classroom, you’re also likely to find a lot of other practices rooted in the idea that children learn to read by reading rather than by direct instruction in the relationship between sounds and letters. For example, teachers will give young children books that contain words with letter patterns the children haven’t yet been taught. You’ll see alphabetical “word walls” that rest on the idea that learning to read is a visual memory process rather than a process of understanding how letters represent sounds. You’ll hear teachers telling kids to guess at words they don’t know based on context and pictures rather than systematically teaching children how to decode.
Many teachers learn these approaches in their teacher preparation programs. Publishers perpetuate these ideas, and school districts buy in. But colleges of education — which should be at the forefront of pushing the best research — have largely ignored the scientific evidence on reading.
The National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed the syllabuses of teacher preparation programs nationwide and found that fewer than four in 10 taught the components of effective reading instruction identified by research. A study of early-literacy instruction in teacher preparation programs across the University of North Carolina system found that instructional strategies based on research were mentioned “in a cursory way, if at all, on most syllabuses.” (Some instructors required students to write their “personal philosophies” about how to teach reading.) Kelly Butler of the Barksdale Reading Institute in Mississippi interviewed more than 100 deans and faculty members of schools of education as part of a study of teacher preparation programs in the state and found that most of them could not explain basic scientific principles about how children learn to read.
It’s not just ignorance. There’s active resistance to the science, too. I interviewed a professor of literacy in Mississippi who told me she was “philosophically opposed” to phonics instruction. One of her colleagues told me she didn’t agree with the findings of reading scientists because “it’s their science.”
There is no excuse for this. Colleges of education have to start requiring that their faculties teach the science of reading. Children’s futures depend on it."
Trump Made 2 Big Moves This Past Week To Reshape The Affordable Care Act : Shots - Health News : NPR
"In a span of less than 24 hours this past week, the Trump administration took two seemingly contradictory actions that could have profound effects on the insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act.
Health analysts say that at least one of the efforts, coupled with previous changes initiated by the administration, could help transform the insurance market to be much more like it was before the 2010 federal health law took effect — when regulation, coverage and consumer protections varied widely across the United States.
The week's first move came on Monday morning, when Trump's health officials issued guidance that could undercut the exchanges set up for people who buy their own health insurance. The administration's guidance makes it easier for states to get around some ACA requirements, Trump's guidance would allow the use of federal subsidies for skimpier plans that can reject people who have pre-existing medical conditions.
By the next day, the administration had made a second move with a proposed rule that could bolster the health of the ACA marketplaces by sending millions of people who now have job-based coverage into the exchanges, armed with tax-free money from their employers to buy individual plans.
Both efforts play into the parallel narratives — one from Republicans and the other from Democrats — that are dominating the parties' bitter political debate over the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
Frustrated that a Republican-controlled Congress has been unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act outright, the Trump administration has continued to work to undermine that law by weakening the marketplaces and the law's consumer protections, some critics and health policy specialists say.
Trump's efforts make it easier for insurers to offer skimpier policies that bypass the law's rules, such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions or a ban on annual or lifetime limits on what insurers will pay.
Congress also zeroed out the tax penalty on Americans who don't sign up for health insurance, effective next year. Combined, these moves could reduce enrollment in ACA health plans — potentially driving up premiums for those who remain.
The administration and Republicans in Congress say they are looking to assist those left behind by the ACA — people who don't get subsidies to help them buy health insurance and who are desperate for less expensive options — even if that means allowing these people to purchase less robust coverage
Even without repealing the ACA, the Republican efforts are shifting control of health insurance policy decisions back to the states, say policy analysts.
"Some states will do everything they can to keep individual markets strong and stable. Others won't," says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University.
So what expectations should consumers have? Analysts say there are three key takeaways:
Protections for pre-existing health problems are uncertain
Polls show that keeping the ACA's guarantees of coverage for people with medical problems is a top concern for Americans, and Democrats have made their defense of the health law a key part of their midterm election campaigns.
Republicans have gotten that message; even those who voted to repeal the ACA or joined a lawsuit by 20 red states to overturn the federal law now say they want to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Still, GOP lawmakers have not introduced any plan that would be as protective as the current law.
In August, the administration released a rule allowing expanded use of short-term health plans, which are less expensive than ACA policies. To get those lower prices, most of these plans do not include insurance coverage for prescription drugs, maternity care or mental health or substance abuse treatments.
The move is unlikely to benefit people who have chronic health problems, because short-term plans are allowed to reject people with pre-existing conditions or decline to cover care for those medical problems.
Under the rule, insurers can sell these short-term policies (which may be sold as soon as next month) to last for up to a year's duration, with an option to renew for up to three years. That reverses an Obama-era directive that limited the length of such policies to a maximum of 90 days.
Administration officials estimate such plans could draw 600,000 new enrollees next year, and others have estimated the numbers could be far higher. The concern is if many healthy people in 2019 switch out of the ACA market — now estimated to have about 17 million enrollees — and choose short-term plans instead, premiums will rise for those who remain in the ACA market. That would hike premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. It would also make the ACA market less attractive for insurers and could lead them to stop offering plans on the exchange.
Which state you live in matters
One of the biggest changes ushered in with the ACA was a standard set of rules across all states.
Before the law took effect, consumers buying their own coverage saw tremendous variation in what was offered and what protections they had depending on the state where they lived.
Most states, for example, allowed insurers to reject applicants who have medical conditions — such as diabetes, cancer, depression, Down syndrome or asthma.
A few states required insurers to charge similar premiums across the board, but most allowed wide variation in the size of the premium a customer might be charged, based on age, gender or health. Some skimpy plans didn't cover prescription drugs, chemotherapy or other medical services.
By standardizing the rules and benefits, the ACA barred insurers from rejecting applicants who have medical conditions and from charging these applicants higher premiums. The ACA guarantees that women cannot be charged more than men for the same health policy, and insurers are permitted to charge older people no more than three times what they charge younger applicants.
But under the new guidance issued this week that gives states more flexibility on what is offered, consumers could again see a wide variation in coverage, premium rules and even subsidy eligibility.
"It shifts pressure to state politicians," says Caroline Pearson, a senior fellow at NORC, a nonpartisan research institution at the University of Chicago. "You risk making some [constituents] worse-off by threatening those markets," says Pearson. "That is always going to be hard."
Millions more are likely to join the 'buy-your-own' ranks
The proposed rule released Tuesday allows employers to fund tax-free accounts — called health reimbursement arrangements, or HRAs — that workers can use to buy their own coverage on the ACA marketplaces.
The administration estimates about 10 million people will do so by 2028 — a substantial boost for federal and state ACA exchanges, which policymakers say never hit the enrollment numbers needed to attract enough insurers and hold prices down.
John Barkett, senior director of policy affairs at Willis Towers Watson, a benefits consulting firm, says he expects some employers to now "seriously consider" relying on a state or federal health insurance exchange to furnish health insurance to their workers. And if they do, the infusion of workers will improve options within those insurance exchanges by attracting more insurers, Barkett says.
"These people coming in will be employer-sponsored, they'll have steady jobs," Barkett notes, and will likely stick with coverage longer than those typically in the individual market.
Currently, about 17 million people buy their own health insurance, with about 10 million of those using federal or state ACA marketplaces to do so. The others buy private plans through brokers.
Trump's proposed rule won't be finalized for months, but it could result in new options by 2020.
If these workers seeking coverage are generally healthy, the infusion could slow premium increases in the overall ACA marketplace because it would improve the risk pool for insurers.
However, if employers with mainly higher-cost or older workers opt to move to the marketplaces, it could help drive up premiums.
Curiously, the administration notes in its proposed rule that the ACA has provisions that could protect the marketplace from that type of adverse selection, which can drive up prices. But most of the protective factors cited by the rule have expired or been weakened or removed by Trump or the Republican-controlled Congress — such as the tax penalty for being uninsured and the federal subsidies to insurers to cover lower deductibles for certain low-income consumers.
Benefits consultants and health policy specialists are skeptical about how many companies will move to an HRA plan, given the tight labor market. Continued uncertainty about the fate of the ACA marketplace may keep them reluctant to send workers out on their own to find health insurance, these analysts say.
The health benefits package a company offers its employees is now a big factor in its ability to attract and retain workers, says Chris Condeluci, a Washington attorney. He previously worked for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and served as counsel to the Senate Finance Committee during the drafting of the ACA.
"Most employers believe their group health plan will provide better health coverage than an individual market plan," Condeluci says."
Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Suspect Robert Bowers Has Long Trail Of Anti-Semitism | Bowers, an avowed anti-Semite, allegedly shouted “All Jews must die!” before killing at least eight people at the Tree of Life Congregation. HuffPost
Pgh Public Safety
City of Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich has just addressed the media on this terrible tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. This shooting will be prosecuted as a Hate Crime and the FBI will be leading the investigation.
1:52 PM - Oct 27, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
"I was still in pigtails and barrettes when my mother told me the rules of shopping.
Don't touch anything. Don't put your hands in your pockets. When you get old enough to carry a purse, don't dig through it while you're in the store. Always get a receipt. Always get a bag.
I thought she was overreacting. I just wanted to get a Berenstain Bears or Little Critterbook from the magazine-and-school-supply aisle at Kroger, or a Barbie from the Toys R Us on our end of town. I knew I wasn't supposed to misbehave in public, especially when we were in a store, or I wouldn't get a special treat during our shopping trips. But I was too young to realize that my mother wasn't paranoid; she was just trying to protect me from a world that isn't always kind to black people.
This conversation about how I was supposed to conduct myself in stores is one that has taken place in many an African-American household. It's a similar version of the talk we have with our children about how to conduct yourself during interactions with police. I learned at an early age that I would be perceived as a thief the moment I walked into an establishment, and the onus was on me to mitigate the situation by policing my own behavior.
The lessons my mother taught me boiled down to a simple objective: Don't give retail employees any more reason to suspect you of stealing than they already have, because if they do think you've stolen something, even if they're wrong, no one will believe you. My mother didn't have the phrase "implicit bias" to explain how people could have biases against me that are so deeply rooted in the subconscious that they don't even realize that they're prejudging me. Yet she knew that these attitudes existed and that it was her job to protect me from harassment, arrest or worse.
This isn't paranoia: shopping while black is real. We get profiled as soon as the door chimes and announces our arrival in a store. Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker was once falsely accused of shoplifting and patted down in a store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A store associate in Switzerland wouldn't let Oprah, the billionaire media mogul, see a handbag because she thought Oprah wouldn't be able to afford it. Ninety-two percent of African-Americans said discrimination against black Americans exists today, according to a 2017 study commissioned by NPR.
And with black people being harassed, attacked and killed for doing regular stuff -- having a barbecue, sitting in a car, chilling in their own apartment -- it's not too wild of a notion to believe that shopping can be dangerous, too. (I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that two black people were killed in a Kroger in Louisville, the city in which CNET Smart Home is based, in an attack that could be racially motivated.)
There are no cashiers at Amazon Go stores -- you just walk out with your stuff, and the store charges you through an accompanying app.
I've carried this fear of unjust prosecution while shopping into my thirties. It was the only thing I had to counter the shop owners who pay more attention to me than any other customer, who keep an eye on every trinket I pause to examine or piece of clothing I hold up to my frame. But one thing that has changed since my youth is technology that can eliminate the implicitly biased middle man.
In January, megaretailer Amazon opened its first cashierless convenience store in Seattle called Amazon Go. You use the Amazon Go app (which is connected to your Amazon account) to scan yourself into the store, grab what you want (be it a bottle of wine or premade sandwich) and walk out without needing to check out at a register. That's because a combination of algorithms and computer vision-enabled cameras keep track of what you're grabbing off the shelves as you shop, and automatically charges your Amazon account for what you took out of the store. There are now six stores open to the public: three in Seattle, two in Chicago and one in San Francisco.
I was dubious at best when I first heard about Amazon Go, and not just about the technology. The idea of walking into a store, taking an item or several off the shelves and strolling right back out again boggled my mind. It ran counter to everything I had learned about being black and shopping. Technology is great and all, but could I really put aside my decades of baggage and become comfortable enough to just literally grab and go?
I hesitated to accept the idea of Amazon Go for me, because it would force me to trust a system I couldn't see. I would have to believe that I had the freedom to take things, even though it's completely legit, and leave without fear.
So I decided to give Amazon Go a try during a recent work trip to Seattle for the Smart Kitchen Summit. I visited the original store on the bottom floor of Amazon's Seattle headquarters. I knew a little bit of what to expect from my colleague Shara Tibken, who got a first look at the store in January. I downloaded the Amazon Go app and connected it to my Amazon account. With the app open and a QR code ready, I held my phone to the turnstile's scanner and let myself into the store.
Though Amazon Go's concept is all about not having cashiers, there were still plenty of Amazon employees in the store, easy to spot in their orange shirts. Their presence initially made me pause. Would they give me the stink eye as I walked through the store putting bottles of water and bags of chips into my bag?
I grabbed one of the orange Amazon Go bags and began to make my way around the perimeter of the store. I was studying the various bottled waters and debating whether to get fizzy or still, or a bottle of kombucha, when I realized what I was really doing: I was stalling. The fear I had carried with me for decades reared its head as I stood in front of the refrigerated display. I was afraid to make a choice, remove it from a shelf and put it in my bag. I was afraid someone would pop out from behind a display of Amazon-branded merch and scream, "Get your hands off that!" And I was mad that this fear couldn't even let me fully enjoy an experience that's designed for everyone to grab and go, no questions asked.
Eff this, I thought. I'm getting some Vitamin Water.
Once the plastic bottle hit the bottom of my reusable bag, I glanced around to see if anyone noticed. The Amazon employees shuffled around the small store and restocked shelves. Tourists chatted in small groups as they pointed and looked for the sensors that were keeping track of our every move. One guy with his phone on a selfie stick recorded himself as he selected snacks. And then there were the folks for whom the novelty had worn off and just wanted a vegetarian banh mi sandwich.
No one cared what I was doing. Is this what it feels like to shop when you're not black?
I went on to buy a weekend's worth of hotel room snacks -- a meat and cheese plate, some pretzels and almond butter, two cans of wine. It was the wine that prompted my only human interaction in Amazon Go: An employee who stood in front of the shelves of alcohol asked to see my ID before I could get my hands on my rosé. He warned me that my license was about to expire, then stepped aside so I could continue shopping. No hassle.
Amazon Go isn't going to fix implicit bias or remove the years of conditioning under which I've operated. But in the Amazon Go store, everyone is just a shopper, an opportunity for the retail giant to test technology, learn about our habits and make some money. Amazon sees green, and in its own capitalist way, this cashierless concept eased my burden a little bit. "
In Amazon Go, no one thinks I'm stealing - CNET:
"CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — The long line of men and women waded into the muddy waters of the Suchiate River. Holding onto a rope, they pulled themselves over the invisible line dividing Guatemala and Mexico. Others crossed with their babies and young children on crowded rafts built with tires.
I watched this flood of humanity on Oct. 20, and by the time the sun set, thousands had made it over the border to continue the march northward. Even more crossed in the following days, reinforcing the caravan of the desperate and determined that is shaking governments from Honduras to Washington.
Donald Trump has used the caravan — a group of thousands of Central Americans who’ve joined together to make their way toward Mexico and the United States and escape violence and desperate poverty — as a political tool. “I think the Democrats had something to do with it,” he said Monday, calling it “an assault on our country” that includes “some very bad people.”
He’s claimed “Middle Easterners” are in the group, while admitting there is no proof of this. Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, announced Thursday that he would send at least 800 troops to the southern border to block the migrants, which would prevent them from seeking asylum.
The migrant caravan is more than fodder for misleading claims and overreactions, and more than a tool to stoke voters’ fears just before midterm elections. It’s a blaring reminder that Latin America is suffering a prolonged refugee crisis that demands solutions.
The vast majority are from Honduras, although some Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans have joined them. Since the caravan first formed in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Oct. 13, it has grown from hundreds to thousands. Its scale reflects how much Hondurans are suffering from incessant violence, political turmoil and brutal poverty.
“This is not a normal action,” declared a migrant activist, Rubén Figueroa, in the Mexican city of Tapachula. “It’s an exodus.”
The way so many have banded together — using strength in numbers as a way to defend themselves from criminals, who could kidnap them, and policemen, who could detain and deport them — is remarkable. But Mexico is the site of only one of the several swelling corridors of people fleeing their homes in the hemisphere. Costa Rica is handling thousands running from Nicaragua, where hundreds have been killed in a government crackdown on protests. Colombia, Brazil and Peru are all dealing with a huge influx of Venezuelans.
There are three distinct phenomena forcing people to move. The first is criminal violence, with murder rates at catastrophic levels, and gangs committing extortion and kidnapping. The second is a return to authoritarianism, accompanied by the use of deadly violence by security forces against those protesting autocratic rulers. The third is economic failure that has pushed people into extreme poverty. Some countries are facing all three of these at the same time.
When I interviewed members of the caravan here, many, including an 18-year-old student named Daniel Martínez, said they were running from criminals; in his case, gang members in San Pedro Sula demanded that he work for them. He knew that refusal would earn him a death sentence.
Back in June, in the Mexican city of Tenosique, I met Francis Gusmán, 32, who was disabled after being shot in the spine in the Honduran city of Yoro. Her husband and a friend had taken turns carrying her over 36 miles from the Guatemalan border to a shelter. She was in Tenosique with her 12-year-old son and 13-year-old niece, left orphaned when Ms. Gusmán’s sister was shot dead in February.
These many individual tragedies are reflected in the surging numbers looking for refugee status in Mexico. Last year, there were more than 14,000 applications — a sevenfold increase from the 2,000 in 2014. Some in the caravan say they want to stay in Mexico and seek refuge, while others say they want to go to the United States.
People who flee poverty are considered economic migrants rather than refugees. However, in some parts of Latin America the economic pressures motivating people move are extreme. In Honduras, about two-thirds of people live in poverty, which has been made worse by drought and political turmoil. In Venezuela, people have been forced to search in garbage for food.
The desperation can be seen in the caravan among the families with small children sleeping in crowded plazas. People described to me how they simply saw news of the caravan on television and, within hours, decided to join it. Many are traveling with no possessions or money. Many are wearing clothes handed out on the way. Many don’t know for sure where they’ll end up, but are simply hoping for anywhere that can offer a better life.
When it comes to the forces contributing to the refugee crisis, there are no easy solutions. Governments of the region should be meeting to discuss the refugee crisis — with, or without, the United States. Aid needs to be channeled more effectively to actually reach the poor. There must be real efforts to stop the flow of guns to the gangs terrorizing communities.
Mr. Trump’s call to turn away from internationalism hasn’t helped. But this is an issue that will go beyond his presidency. Unless the core problems are dealt with, the lines of people wading through border rivers could grow even longer."
Below are screen shots of the two tweets as they appear in Trump Jr.’s “likes” list:"
Donald Trump Jr. Has Been Liking Twitter Conspiracy Theories About The Pipe Bombs | HuffPost
Thursday, October 25, 2018
"The president has blamed the media for the ‘bad and hateful’ atmosphere – but has failed to acknowledge his own rhetoric
Amanda HolpuchLast modified on Thu 25 Oct 2018 16.55 EDT
Donald Trump said political figures “must stop treating political opponents as morally defective” as he condemned the attempted bombings of prominent liberals this week. But his own language towards the targets of the bombs has been unusually coarse for a modern US president.
“Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself,” Trump told a rally on Wednesday, encouraging unity. He continued: “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as morally defective.”
He went on to blame the media for incivility – but he failed to acknowledge his own rhetoric. On Thursday morning, he stood by those comments. Trump tweeted: “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
So far, the named targets of the attempted bombings by mail are people Trump has publicly attacked.
Robert De Niro
De Niro has long been critical of Trump, and said on stage at the Tony awards in June: “I’m gonna say one thing. Fuck Trump.”
He continued: “It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s fuck Trump.”
Trump responded, calling De Niro “a very Low IQ individual”.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.” I guess he doesn’t...
June 13, 2018
Trump also called representative Waters, a Democrat from California, “an extraordinarily low IQ person” in a tweet that ended: “Be careful what you wish for Max!”
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!
June 25, 2018
Waters has said people have threatened to assassinate, hang and lynch her because of her criticism of Trump.
In a tweet earlier this month, Trump baselessly accused Soros of paying protesters. He failed to provide evidence.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
October 5, 2018
Soros backs progressive causes, which puts him squarely against Trump’s agenda. Soros has also criticized the president in the past.
Trump threatened the former attorney general after Holder said Democrats need to be more confrontational at a campaign event for Georgia candidates in the midterms.
“Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high,’” Holder said. “No. When they go low, we kick ’em.”
Holder was criticized for advocating violence, which he later said was not his intention. In response to Holder’s remarks, Trump told Fox & Friends: “He better be careful what he’s wishing for.”
Trump frequently criticizes the former CIA director on Twitter.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)Has anyone looked at the mistakes that John Brennan made while serving as CIA Director? He will go down as easily the WORST in history & since getting out, he has become nothing less than a loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country!
August 18, 2018
Brennan suggested he may have been targeted because of his past criticisms of Trump. “His rhetoric, I think, too frequently fuels these feelings and sentiments that now are bleeding over into, potentially, acts of violence,” Brennan said at an event in Austin, Texas.
This weekend, the former vice president mocked Trump as an egotist destroying time-honored and American values. Trump, meanwhile, mocked Biden as “1% Joe.”
In March, Biden threatened to fight Trump if they were still in high school. Trump responded:
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
March 22, 2018
Shortly after, Biden said: “I shouldn’t have said what I said.”
Trump has been tweeting criticism of Biden since 2011.
Two years after defeating Clinton in the presidential election, Trump still attacks Clinton at rallies while supporters chant “lock her up” and regularly complains about her on Twitter and in interviews.
As of January, he had mentioned her at least 229 times since taking office, according to an analysis by the Daily Beast.
Clinton has been critical of Trump in interviews, speeches and her book What Happened.
Speaking at an event in Florida on Wednesday, Clinton said the US was in a “troubling time” and condemned divisive rhetoric by politicians. “We have to do everything we can to bring our country together,” said Clinton. “We also have to elect candidates who will try to do the same.”
Trump criticizes his predecessor frequently, as he did when Obama was in office.
Obama has been critical of Trump’s actions and rhetoric, but rarely mentions his name. He has not tweeted directly about Trump.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
So far, no packages are known to have been addressed to the Democratic congresswoman from Florida, but her office is the return address on some of the packages.
Her office was evacuated on Wednesday after one of the packages was redirected there because of the return address.
Wasserman Schultz has repeatedly criticized Trump’s policies.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Wasserman Schultz and first tweeted about her in 2012, when she was chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)Debbie Wasserman Schultz is hard to watch or listen to--no wonder our country is going to hell!
February 24, 2012
Megyn Kelly Out At NBC's 'Today' Show, Source Says : NPR. MSNBC should have not hired this ignorant racist in the first place. "Over the past two days, Kelly has unsuccessfully sought to contain the damage from several statements she made on her hour on Today defending the desire of white people to dress up in blackface costume for Halloween."
New Farm Bill may undercut chemical safety measures inspired by West explosion - HoustonChronicle.com
"WASHINGTON — A little-known provision tucked into the Farm Bill could exempt the entire chemical manufacturing industry from key workplace safety rules and jeopardize workers’ health, according to one of the government agencies charged with overseeing safety in the chemical industry.
Officials from the Department of Labor say the provision would create a broad exemption from Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for managing highly hazardous chemicals, and could have “the unintended consequence” of allowing a large chemical facility to skirt the rules by claiming to be a retail store.
“This could effectively eliminate the entire chemical manufacturing sector from coverage of the (OSHA) standard, jeopardizing the safety and health of chemical facility workers,” Labor Department officials wrote, in documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News."
New Farm Bill may undercut chemical safety measures inspired by West explosion - HoustonChronicle.com: