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Archive for May 30th, 2014

Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’ Translation Published

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’ Translation Published
J.R.R. Tolkien finished a translation of the epic “Beowulf” in 1926, when he was 34, but he put it in a drawer and never published it. Forty years after his death, his son Christopher is releasing it. “[T]here were probably few people better qualified to translate ‘Beowulf’ than J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien,” writes Joan Acocella for the New Yorker. “He had learned Old English and started reading the poem at an early age. He loved ‘Beowulf’ and would declaim passages of it to the private literary club that he had founded with his schoolmates.”

National Spelling Bee: It’s a Tie!
For the first time in 52 years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee crowned two winners Thursday night, after the final two competitors exhausted the word list. The winners were Sriram Hathwar, an eighth-grader from Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe, a seventh-grader from Fort Worth, Texas. “I like sharing the victory with someone else,” Ansun said. “It’s been quite shocking and quite interesting, too. It’s very rare.”


Stephenson says Bird told him to stop the antics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Stephenson says Bird told him to stop the antics
MIAMI (AP) — Larry Bird has a simple message for Lance Stephenson: “Don’t do it again.”

Issa releases Kerry from Benghazi testimony
WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Oversight committee on Friday released Secretary of State John Kerry from his obligation to testify next month about the deadly Benghazi attack, allowing a newly formed select committee to move forward in questioning the top diplomat.

Elon Musk Unveils Spacecraft to Ferry Astronauts
RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — A company that has flown unmanned capsules to the Space Station unveiled a…


VA scandal makes its way into the midterm campaign

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VA scandal makes its way into the midterm campaign
As Democrats and Republicans demand accountability for the VA’s problems, they’re pointing fingers at each other

House votes to protect states’ medical marijuana laws
A measure passed Friday by the GOP-led House would prevent the federal government from interfering with states that allow medical marijuana


Conservative Writer Stephen Hayes Agrees: Critics Mischaracterized Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Conservative Writer Stephen Hayes Agrees: Critics Mischaracterized Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony

Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes broke ranks from his fellow conservatives and colleagues at Fox by agreeing with Hillary Clinton’s assessment that her critics have mischaracterized her congressional testimony on the Benghazi attacks.

On May 30 Politico published advance excerpts from Clinton’s upcoming memoir, Hard Choices, in which she details her time at the State Department during the attacks in Benghazi and criticizes Republican efforts to exploit the tragedy. Writing on her congressional testimony on the attacks, Clinton argued that the controversy surrounding her response to a question from Sen. Ron Johnson is “yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy.” Clinton points out that her”what difference at this point does it make” statement did not “mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi” and that “many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don’t care.”

In a May 30 post at The Weekly Standard, Hayes agreed that Clinton’s critics have “badly mischaracterized the now infamous question.” Hayes went on to correctly note that Clinton’s response was simply “an attempt to redirect the questioning from its focus on the hours before the attacks to preventing similar attacks in the future”:

 Hillary Clinton is right about Benghazi — or at least she’s right about one thing.

According to a story by Maggie Haberman about the Benghazi chapter in Clinton’s forthcoming book Hard Choices, the former secretary of state contends that some of her critics have badly mischaracterized the now infamous question she asked at a January 23, 2012, congressional hearing: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

She’s right, they have. The question, which came in the middle of a heated back-and-forth with U.S. senator Ron Johnson, was not so much a declaration of indifference as it was an attempt to redirect the questioning from its focus on the hours before the attacks to preventing similar attacks in the future.

Hayes has previously defended Clinton from attacks mischarcterizing her exchange. On the April 30 edition of Hannity, Hayes stood up for Clinton against those who labeled her attitude about the attack as indifferent and again corrected the record: 

HAYES: Let me start by actually defending Hillary Clinton, which I don’t do often in the context of Benghazi. You know, that sound bite has been, I think, misinterpreted by some to be a declaration of her indifference as to what had actually happened on the ground in Benghazi when she says, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” She wasn’t saying, basically, I don’t care, you know, we’re beyond it, it doesn’t matter. What she was saying is it doesn’t matter how it happened. 

Despite Hayes’ correction to critics who willfully misinterpreted Clinton’s words, conservatives continue to hold up her remarks as a false indication of indifference.


Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?
Pat Buchanan, RealClearPolitics
With his address at West Point, President Obama succeeded where all his previous efforts had failed. He brought us together. Nobody seems to have liked the speech. A glance shows that the New York Times and Washington Times, the Financial Times and Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal were all disappointed with it. As was said of one of Harding’s addresses, it was “an army of pompous phrases marching across the landscape in search of an idea.” What Obama has is less a foreign policy doctrine than a foreign policy disposition. He is a reluctant interventionist. He got us out of Iraq…


Iraq suspicions may ‘fester’ – Major

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Iraq suspicions may ‘fester’ – Major
Sir John Major says it is a “pity” that conversations between Tony Blair and George Bush about Iraq will remain secret.

Did negative stories put voters off?
Did voters care about negative headlines?


Obama warns of ‘devastating’ hurricanes from climate change

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama warns of ‘devastating’ hurricanes from climate change
The president said storms like Hurricane Sandy will become more common.


Russia and Ukraine Keep Talks Alive in Gas Feud

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Russia and Ukraine Keep Talks Alive in Gas Feud
Negotiators reached a compromise that opens the door to further discussions, mediated by a top European Union official, over what Russia has called late payments.



Iran Hackers Dangle a Familiar Name to Fish for Data
Hackers seeking information about Washington’s elite posed as John R. Bolton, a former American ambassador to the United Nations, to friend online users through social media.



Junta Sets Year’s Goals for Its Rule in Thailand
In a proclamation tightening control, the leader said that if “peace, order and reform” are achieved, democracy could return.



Norway Moves In to Guard Oil Rig From Greenpeace
Oil drillers are moving farther north as the Arctic ice retreats, opening areas that were previously inaccessible and as fields to the south are depleted.




Americans Would Rather Do Business With White People Than Black People

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Americans Would Rather Do Business With White People Than Black People

Black people selling products online get fewer responses and lower offers than white people.

The post Americans Would Rather Do Business With White People Than Black People appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Black business owner

CREDIT: Shutterstock

There is deep racial bias in our economy, as evidenced by the fact that online buyers shy away from doing business with black sellers and offer them less money when they do interact.

In a year-long experiment, researchers posted ads on online marketplaces like Craigslist selling an old iPod with a picture of the seller holding it, with either a black person or white person’s hand pictured. They also posted ads with a white hand that had a wrist tattoo, which the authors posited might experience similar discrimination to black people and could serve as a control group.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 10.25.02 AM

CREDIT: Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein

“Our paper asks the following question,” the authors write. “When the typical person engages in a consumer transaction (usually as a buyer), does he or she try to avoid dealing with minority sellers, and does she treat minority sellers differently?” The answer appears to be yes.

Black sellers got 13 percent fewer responses to their ads than white sellers overall. When they did get responses, they got 17 percent fewer offers. Then the offers were 2 to 4 percent lower, or $1.87 less on average than those made to white sellers. The best offers were also $3.56 lower than for white people.

The researchers also found that buyers were less respectful and more distrustful with black sellers. About 7 percent fewer people signed their names when responding to a black person. They were 44 percent less likely to accept delivery by mail and 56 percent more likely to be concerned about paying long distance, such as through PayPal, both of which include a bit more risk than an in-person hand off.

And even those who weren’t responding treated black sellers differently. Ads on these sites can be flagged as inappropriate and they will be taken down if enough people flag them. And black people’s ads were removed in this way 2.7 percent more often that for white people, so “the likelihood is thus almost twice as high that a black seller’s ad will be removed,” the authors note.

These findings my seem incidental, occurring just between online sellers and buyers, but they indicate something larger. As the authors explain, “First, a large amount of commerce takes places through these kinds of transactions. Second, discrimination by consumers may in fact underlie other forms of discrimination.” Given that most online sales require an eventual real life meet up to complete the transaction, “we expect that our results will be informative about discrimination offline,” they write. And if people shy away from buying things from black sellers, that could shape decisions made by actual retail companies when hiring sales people. One study found that consumer discrimination is the most likely cause of racial differences in the economy.

The results of the study can help illuminate why unemployment has consistently been significantly higher for black people than for white people, both during recessions and boom times. This is true even for college graduates, who have had higher unemployment rates for decades. Even 40 percent of recent college who do get jobs end up working in low-paying positions that don’t make use of their degrees.

Studies have helped to unearth racial bias holding black people back, rather than laziness or lacking a “culture of work.” Companies that drug test employees are more likely to hire black workers because in the absence of tests, employers assume black people use drugs and screen them out. When applications are sent in to postings for entry-level jobs, equally qualified black applications are half as likely as white ones to get a call for an interview or a job offer. But most of the bias that black people face today is subtle, not manifesting in outright hostility but in white people giving favorable treatment to those who look like them.

The post Americans Would Rather Do Business With White People Than Black People appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Lance Stephenson’s Daring, Careless Whispers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 30th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Lance Stephenson’s Daring, Careless Whispers
From: Dave Zirin

In an era of carbon copies, I’m beyond grateful that Lance Stephenson can still exist and remind us of what once was.

Ukraine’s Far Right Loses Big, but Europe’s Russian-Backed Fascists Make Major Gains
From: Bob Dreyfuss

The crisis in Ukraine winds down in the wake of Poroshenko’s chocolate-covered win.

How Local Governments Are Using Their Purchasing Power to End Sweatshop Labor
From: Michelle Chen

With the government's leverage as both a consumer and a steward of the public trust, the public sector can hold the line against the fashion industry’s race to the bottom

Lifton: How and Why the Media Failed on Covering Drone Wars
From: Greg Mitchell

“Drones have entered our consciousness. Suddenly, they seem to be everywhere,” says Robert Jay Lifton. 

The End of US Military Misadventurism?
From: Nation in the News

Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joins the The Diane Rehm Show to assess Obama's vision for America’s role in world affairs.