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Archive for August 10th, 2014

ESPN Suspends Another Host Over Rice Comments

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

ESPN Suspends Another Host Over Rice Comments
ESPN has suspended broadcaster Max Kellerman for his comments related to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and domestic violence, according to the New York Daily News. During a radio interview, Kellerman acknowledged hitting his girlfriend several years ago. He said he and his then-girlfriend, whom he later married, had too much to drink at a party and slapped each other. Kellerman emphasized that they have been happily married for the past two decades. He is a co-host of SportsNation and an HBO Sports boxing analyst.


1 dead, 1 hurt in New Orleans hotel shooting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

1 dead, 1 hurt in New Orleans hotel shooting
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say a 20-year-old man shot and wounded a friend and then killed himself inside a hotel at the edge of the French Quarter.

Turkey evacuates wounded Palestinians from Gaza
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country has started to evacuate wounded people from Gaza to Turkey for treatment.


Obama: Airstrikes in Iraq taking a toll on ISIS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama: Airstrikes in Iraq taking a toll on ISIS
President gives update on American airstrikes ahead of his departure for vacation in Martha’s Vineyard

Obama: Iraq violence should teach Afghanistan’s leaders to be inclusive
President Obama discusses what lessons the U.S. and Afghanistan can learn from the violence plaguing Iraq.

The Scott Walker hypothesis faces a test in Wisconsin
John Dickerson: Can a bold, proud conservative sustain his triumph in a swing state?


Ignoring Experts, CNN’s Gingrich Suggests Potential Immigration Executive Action Is Unconstitutional

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ignoring Experts, CNN’s Gingrich Suggests Potential Immigration Executive Action Is Unconstitutional

From the August 10 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press:

Previously:

What Right-Wing Media Miss In Threatening Impeachment Over Executive Action On Immigration

 


The Fed’s Great ‘Slack’ Debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Fed’s Great ‘Slack’ Debate
Robert Samuelson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Call it the great “slack” debate. For nearly six years, the Federal Reserve has held short-term interest rates near zero to boost the economy. Is it now time to consider raising rates to pre-empt higher inflation? The answer depends heavily on the economy’s slack: its capacity to increase production without triggering price pressures. Although economists are arguing furiously over this, there’s no scientific way of measuring slack. Economic policymaking is often an exercise in educated guesswork, built on imperfect statistics, shaky assumptions, incomplete theories and political…

Obama: Military Operations in Iraq Are Open-Ended
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
President Obama warned Americans Saturday that the U.S. military operation in Iraq is open-ended, and he did not discount that it could be years before the Iraqi government is able to independently thwart terrorists who seek a permanent foothold there. “I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” Obama said. “I think this is going to take some time.” Responding to questions after delivering a statement about Iraq, Obama stressed that U.S. military airstrikes in the near term are protecting American diplomatic and military personnel and…

Obama: U.S. “Here to Help” Iraq as Airstrikes Begin
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
The United States military is back in Iraq. With President Obama’s decision Thursday to authorize airstrikes against a sophisticated terror group wreaking carnage throughout Iraq, a war he told Americans was over flared back to life. Hours after the president’s announcement, the Pentagon reported U.S. military aircraft dropped bombs on artillery used against Kurdish forces that were defending Erbil “near U.S. personnel.” There is no international diplomatic process that can eradicate the terror group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which Obama said aspires…


Figures reveal ward occupancy rates

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Figures reveal ward occupancy rates
Wards in many of Scotland’s hospitals consistently have higher than recommended occupancy rates, according to data obtained by BBC Scotland.

Social recovery ‘matching economy’
The government is matching economic recovery with social recovery, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to say in a speech.


Crash Kills 39, Reviving Questions About Iran-Built Plane

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Crash Kills 39, Reviving Questions About Iran-Built Plane
The passenger plane, which is based on a relatively obscure Ukrainian design, is assembled under license in Iran and has been involved in previous Iranian air disasters.



Iraq Airstrikes May Continue for Months, Obama Says
President Obama sought to prepare Americans for an extended presence in the skies over Iraq, saying the airstrikes he ordered last week, which continued Saturday, could last months.



Taliban Take Responsibility for Bombing in Kabul
While the insurgents have repeatedly fired rockets at the airport and carried out a broad campaign of violence across the country, the suicide attacks that have been a hallmark of the war have been less common in the capital.



44 Dead in Tour Bus Crash in Tibet
A bus carrying about 50 passengers crashed into two vehicles and fell 30 feet off a mountainous highway on Saturday, the state news media said.




The Buy-In: Albany Doubling Down as Casino Boom Fades

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Buy-In: Albany Doubling Down as Casino Boom Fades
New York State is expected to approve four new gambling resorts this fall, leading to thousands of new jobs and millions in state revenue. Critics contend that the state is doubling down just as the Northeast has reached a casino saturation point.




Android Users Flip Out Over New Facebook Messenger Privacy Rules

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Android Users Flip Out Over New Facebook Messenger Privacy Rules

Facebook says stipulations in Messenger app’s terms of service that allow it to “call phone numbers without user intervention” are all Google’s idea.

The post Android Users Flip Out Over New Facebook Messenger Privacy Rules appeared first on ThinkProgress.

facebook_cover4-69

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ ThinkProgress

Users have been denouncing the Facebook’s forced migration to the Messenger app for private conversations since the company announced the move in May. But the seemingly creepy terms to which consumers must agree — such as letting the app make unauthorized calls — has sparked outrage over privacy concerns. And Facebook isn’t taking the blame.

For over a week, Facebook has been pushing users to download the new standalone Messenger app because it is getting rid of the feature in its regular application. Some users were notified that their in-app message function was disabled, and had to download the new app if they wanted to use the private chat service.

But Messenger’s user agreement terms for Android-run devices were seen by many as increasingly invasive and yet another way Facebook was making privacy rights irrelevant. Some of the questionable terms include permitting the app to make calls without the user’s knowledge, take pictures, and record audio and video at any time. The app also reserves the right to scroll through users’ contacts and call logs, as well as glean personal information stored on the mobile devices including data stored in other apps.

However, the social network says its not responsible for the mobile app’s liberal access terms; those came straight from Google. According to a Facebook post on the matter, the company isn’t allowed to write its own privacy terms for Android users.

“Almost all apps need certain permissions to run on Android, and we use these permissions to run features in the app. Keep in mind that Android controls the way the permissions are named, and the way they’re named doesn’t necessarily reflect the way the Messenger app and other apps use them,” Facebook wrote.

Facebook claims it has more freedom to shape policies for Apple’s mobile platform. So far, the app has reached over 4 million Android downloads and hit number one in the iTunes store, while racking up thousands of bad reviews.

One Android user wrote, “Deleting this sh*t Can’t believe fb made me download this infringement on my personal privacy. No way am I keeping this on my tablet after its told me to agree to letting it take audio and video at whatever time? WHAT.”

Backlash against the app’s terms is just the latest privacy controversy Facebook has had to manage. The social network admitted in June that it performed psychological experiments on users by manipulating their timelines. News of the experiments, which tried to alter users’ moods based on what they read, incited public furor over the company’s continuous push of privacy boundaries.

Moreover, Facebook and other tech companies have been under pressure to tighten their privacy policies domestically and abroad in the wake of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s document leaks in 2013. Facebook is currently dueling with European lawmakers, and awaiting a European Union court to rule whether the company broke privacy laws when it gave the NSA access to German citizens’ profiles.

The post Android Users Flip Out Over New Facebook Messenger Privacy Rules appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Dick Pics You Actually Want To See: A Conversation With The Woman Running Penises On Nike Plus

“People are asking why I don’t run a vagina. But dicks are funny. They’re funny to look at. They kind of look like elephants from the front.”

The post Dick Pics You Actually Want To See: A Conversation With The Woman Running Penises On Nike Plus appeared first on ThinkProgress.

clairepic

CREDIT: Claire Wyckoff

What happens when you find out you can make shapes using the Nike Plus running app? If you are Claire Wyckoff, you quickly use this realization as an excuse to run shapes all over your city. It does not take long before you start running in the shape of penises.

I called up Wyckoff, the creator of Running Drawing, to get the backstory on her viral Tumblr. We talked about the subversive appeal of using a big corporation’s technology in a way they would never expect (or even approve of) and also why penises are hilarious.

How did this Tumblr get started?

One day I went for a run and, at the end of it, using the Nike Plus app, I thought it looked kind of like a dog. So my husband and I decided the next day to try to actually do it. I thought it was hilarious to use Nike Plus not as what it was intended for. And people responded on Facebook that it was so great. That’s when I was like, let’s take it to the next comedy level and run something funnier, like a penis.

Did you expect it to catch on like this?

I had one or two friends say that could be a big thing: repurposing or reinventing technology. So I hoped people would pick it up, but I’ve been shocked that it did. I wanted to wait until I had ten runs, so I did, and then I put it on Tumblr four days ago. And that’s how it all began.

How do you feel about the fact that everyone is focusing on the penis pictures?

It’s funny because, of course I did penises, I can’t shy away from what everyone kind of wants now. The pictures are all over the place. I was getting friends who thought penises were funny, and then I got friends who were like, come on, you’re better than that. My dad, for instance. He did not think the subject matter was as amusing as I did. I diversified it a little bit but people keep asking for butts and boobs and penises.

Claire11

CREDIT: Claire Wyckoff

What do you think is the reason this has become so popular?

Some of it is the quirkiness of someone running a penis versus running a flower. And I think there’s also this phenomenon of people nowadays finding remarkable, ridiculous ways to use technology. They create these things, but the true innovation comes when people take it and repurpose it and turn it into art. I think it’s really kind of fascinating these days, how people are finding different ways to use things that were intended for one purpose.

Yes! Like Snapchat art. Have you seen the Tumblr “Casual Bonnie,” of these elaborate drawings done around Snapchats of this tiny dog?

No, and I never would have thought to do that. That’s one of those things I hear, and I think that’s why people get excited: no one would have thought to necessarily put a bikini on a dog. I think it’s going to be really fascinating to see, as technology grows, what people make of it.

clairefinger

What do you do when you’re not running penises?

I’m currently a writer in advertising. Do you watch Mad Men? I’m like Peggy. That’s what I tell people.

It’s funny that you’re in advertising, because this idea of subverting the real intent of a big corporation’s idea reminds me of the way people took that “You’re On: Diet Coke” campaign and made it all about cocaine.

And rightfully so, because I said that when I saw it, too: did they just say, “I’m on cocaine?” I will say, some people in advertising excel at taking something and making fun of it.

Do you think part of the fun of this Tumblr is the idea that Nike is a big corporation, and they’ve decided that users should take this app and only do what Nike tells you to do with it? And what you do really takes control away from Nike’s idea and makes it something they can’t really take credit for, or stop, or anything.

That makes me sound so cool. I’m like an evil scientist. You just made me so happy. That to me is like, if you analyze the humor of it, I personally think so much of the humor is in, Nike does this anthemic advertising: fuel, running, intensity, be the best possible version of you! “Just do it.” It has this product made to get people running. So to use it in a way that’s completely antithetical to the brand, I think there’s a humor to that tension. Penises don’t go with Nike. I hadn’t even thought that I had somehow subverted this brand. But for a week, there’s something super cool about that. For a couple days, Nike isn’t what they say it is. It’s what the media and the public has called it. I’m kind of surprised Nike hasn’t commented.

Do you think they know about it? Would they be happy?

I can’t imagine them saying, “Why don’t you come be our spokesperson and we’ll pay you to run penises!” Maybe they think of it as good advertising? I wonder if a lot of people have been downloading the app now that this happened.

CREDIT: Claire Wyckoff

Oh, that’s a good point. I’m sort of surprised they’ve never utilized this function to have one of their spokespeople run their name or a message through the streets.

It’s funny because it also makes me, now that I’m really analyzing it… be curious if anyone had thought of doing it for them.

Well, like you said, it’s not really tonally in line with Nike’s branding. Nike is more about intensity, everyman-as-Olympian imagery. I don’t think of Nike as something goofy and tongue-in-cheek.

And I think being goofy is what makes this thing so funny. And if I were Nike, I wouldn’t want to talk to me. Maybe if they were Netflix, or Diesel, and were known for being quirky or subversive. I’d be curious to find out if there have been more downloads of the app since the Tumblr launched. I don’t think I’d want to talk to me, either. Now I believe they’re missing a HUGE opportunity not paying me millions of dollars a year. Apparently they don’t like success.

How does thinking about these drawings influence your runs? Are you a better runner when you run pictures, or does it slow you down?

So it goes two different ways. In one way, it’s worse, because I have to run a little bit more slowly at times. Because I have to look at the map while I run, and sometimes you have to stop and look at it and make sure it looks good. People have been commenting that I run slow miles. And at the end Nike averages everything, so you ran an average of 9:58 a mile, but that one mile was 8:58 but I had to slow down to look at something so I was walking for ten feet.

On the other hand, it actually keeps your mind off of the running part. I’m more a comedian than I am a runner. To me, hopefully this is comedy; it’s not about running. That’s not the area of this whole thing that I’m more passionate about. I’m just making jokes. But the running thing, I’m not one of those people who loves running. I run to stay in shape… So normally I’m looking at my phone like, “How much longer, how many more miles, oh God, I wish I were eating a cheeseburger.” But running pictures, I’m just focused on completing the picture, so it takes my mind off whatever I’m actually doing. And I’ll find things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. Like, if a picture requires me to run up a hill, I wouldn’t do that ordinarily, but for a picture, I’ve sprinted up a lot of hills.

clairerun

CREDIT: Claire Wyckoff

Why do you think penises are the funniest body part? Is it because it’s a male thing? Are women’s body parts not as funny?

I have racked my brain for the past few years. People are asking why I don’t run a vagina. But dicks are funny. They’re funny to look at. They kind of look like elephants from the front. They get small when they’re cold. I have nothing on my body that, when I’m happy, it changes size. There is just something inherently funny about penises. I might need to find a psychologist to dive into the psychology of why penises are hilarious.

I feel like at some level it also has to do with men and women and society. I wonder if there’s something funny about it in a predominately male-dominated society, maybe there’s some humor to making fun of the one or two things the patriarchy has that is humorous. This Achilles heel moment. I think there’s something to cracking jokes about the bigger guy. Inherently, I think there’s a little bit of humor in making fun of the one thing on the male body that’s strange. You make more money than me, I’m going to make fun of your dick.

This also reminds me of the Facebook nudity policies involving women and breastfeeding pictures, and the language in this press release about why breastfeeding pictures are now allowed was so precious and patronizing, like, “Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful! This is where life begins!” People talk about women’s bodies in that way all the time. But we don’t apply that second-order significance to men, so it can be a source of comedy.

I never thought about that part either. I’ve always found penises funny, too, because men really have a time bomb between their legs. I would do anything to be a man for one day just to know what it’s like to have to deal with that second brain between your legs dictating half your thoughts. I’ve always found it funny, too, that it’s a part of the body that if they sit wrong, they’re like “AAAH!,” and if they walk the wrong way. And if you’re mad at a guy, there’s a button on his body you can literally push.

And in comedies, it’s such a go-to move, to have a guy get kicked there.

Maybe that’s what’s inherently a little funny about this whole thing, is that it’s humorous, it’s light-hearted, and it isn’t derogatory in any way. And it’s something men and women take a little bit of delight in. That’s the other thing: human bodies are weird.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

The post Dick Pics You Actually Want To See: A Conversation With The Woman Running Penises On Nike Plus appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Why Are We Back in Iraq?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Why Are We Back in Iraq?

Like Nixon, Obama Being Treated Shabbily
John Farmer, NJ Star-Ledger

Carrying a Gun Worse Than Beating Your Wife
Glenn Reynolds, USAT

Obama’s “Lid” Theory of Conflict in Iraq
Byron York, Wash Examiner