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I Lost My Sweetheart to Polyamory

May 24, 2013 in Blogs

By David Farley, Salon

Sophia wanted to experiment, so I tried to be game. Then the dominoes started to fall.


Sophia and I were dating a week when we created The List. We had a lot in common — we were both writers, lived in the same neighborhood, and had just gotten out of marriages — but it was our shared desire to be sexually experimental that really defined our relationship. I’m hardly this adventurous on my own, but after being married for 10 years and realizing Sophia had a yen to try just about anything, I felt at ease about traveling out of my comfort zone with her.

One night, while sipping wine in my apartment, we started adding items to the list of lascivious things we wanted to do together:

A shopping spree at a sex shop.

A threesome with another woman.

Sex clubs.

Light S&M.

Role playing.

Orgasm control.

I didn’t even know what “orgasm control” was. It sounded frightening.

“Anything else?” I asked.

There was one other thing Sophia wanted on our compendium of carnal delights: an open relationship. Sophia, who was openly bisexual, was convinced monogamy wasn’t for her, even though she’d never tried polyamory herself.

In theory, I loved the idea of an open relationship. In practice, though, I wasn’t so sure. What would happen, I wondered aloud to Sophia, if one of us starts having an emotional relationship with another person? What would happen to us? We both shrugged. “We’ll just cross that bridge when we get there,” she said.

I’d always been a faithful boyfriend and/or spouse and the idea of being able to openly be with other people while still maintaining a romantic, emotional relationship with Sophia seemed to go against everything I’d ever been conditioned on the subject of love and relationships. I had a feeling this would not end well, but I really liked Sophia and I was intrigued about the idea of this List.

We made rules for our open relationship. And then we’d tweak them if they didn’t work. At first we decided to keep our outside dating activities a secret from each other unless something physical happened with another person. A …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Is Documentary Film Viable in a Sensationalized Media World?

May 24, 2013 in Blogs

By Danny Schechter, Al Jazeera

When the “press” became the “media,” news bookers began to see themselves like big-game hunters on an African safari.


There has been a major shift in media culture as most TV networks have abandoned long-form information programming. In these times, with Twitter playing a big part in disseminating news, TV has to be punchy, quick and visual. The age of media mergers has seen showbiz merging with news biz, and soundbites have become shorter as the newscast story count rises. 

Significantly, the best TV criticism of these trends in the US appears in a nightly programme on the Comedy Central channel. But ultimately, there is nothing funny about the way a media system – intended to bolster a democratic discourse – contributes to its decline. 

News is increasingly becoming more about the image than the information – an approach to “coverage” that is at its core tabloid in its sensibilities, often intended for a memorable emotional impact that will boost media ratings and revenues. The race for “breaking news” is breaking our ability to understand the context of events. 

This all happened as “the press” became “the media” – a time in which branding and on-air personality became paramount. I saw it happening during the 10 years I spent in television news, during which the multi-million-dollar anchors became more newsworthy than what they reported on. 

Soon, the “big names” in media began focusing on the “big names” in politics. Landing hyped-up interviews with newsmakers became known—in insider parlance—as “getting the get.” News bookers began to see themselves like big-game hunters on an African safari. 

Investigative Work 

When I started my career behind the small screen, each of the main TV networks featured a regularly scheduled documentary to expose wrongdoing and offer deeper analysis. CBS Reports was modelled on the tradition established by news legends like Edward R Murrow. NBC White Paper and ABC Close-Up all offered well-made in-depth programming until faster-paced segments on news magazines displaced the documentaries that were often poorly promoted and, as a result, poorly watched. 

As these shows went bye-bye, independent documentary-making drew former journalists like myself, eager to do more …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Does Anthony Weiner's Comeback Mean that the Laws of Scandal Politics Have Changed?

May 24, 2013 in Blogs

By David Rosen, CounterPunch

Time—and changing moral values—has led to the rehabilitation of those formerly brought down by a sex scandal.


 

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is back.  Having given up his House seat following being exposed in a 2011 sexting scandal, Weiner bowed out of politics for the last two years.

On May 22nd, Weiner threw his proverbial hat into the New York City mayoral race, one of a half-dozen Democratic candidates seeking to replace Michael Bloomberg in the upcoming election.  In a well-plotted campaign, he’s back in the game.  He harbors a war chest estimated at $5 million and was required to announce his run or forfeit public matching funds.

In a professionally produced video that launched his campaign, he lays out a profile of his life – his childhood in Brooklyn, his Congressional accomplishments and his “middle class” agenda for the city.  Most telling in terms of the scandal that will likely dog his campaign, Weiner opens and closes the video accompanied with his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton.

Weiner’s reemergence on the political scene comes just a couple of weeks after another political figure who was forced from office following a sex scandal, Mark Sanford.  The former governor of South Carolina won a race for a House seat against Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

These two races — involving a Democrat and a Republican, in a blue and a red state — signal the further erosion of the culture wars.  The Christian right remains absolutist with regard to a woman’s right to an abortion.  But some within the Republican right have given ground with regard to gay rights, immigration, teen sex ed and the morning-after pill.

An increasing number of states have legalized marriage equality and the Senate is advancing a somewhat “bipartisan” immigration bill.  These efforts signal the emergence of a new right-of-center “moderate” faction within the Republican Party.

The new Republican moderates seem to recognize that the 2012 election signed a profound shift in the electoral climate.   They seem to acknowledge that the message of Tea Party activists is getting shriller, more fundamentalists.  More insightful, they see Republicans as …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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10 Crazy Things the Right Did This Week

May 24, 2013 in Blogs

By ThinkProgress

It's been another week of the insane, inane, and outright offensive.


It's been another week of the insane, inane, and outright offensive. Here's your top ten:

  1. Pennsylvania governor can't find any Latinos to work for him. Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) told a Spanish-language newspaper this week that he didn't have any Latinos working for him. There are approximately 18,000 Latinos just in the Harrisburg, PA area alone.
  2. Pennsylvania governor remembers single Latino who works for him. A day after saying he didn't have any Latinos working for him, Corbett suddenly remembered a single Latino appointee working in his administration.
  3. Conservatives freak out over Boy Scouts decision to admit gays. Here'sthe ten best conservative freak-outs over the group's decision to admit gay scouts while maintaining a ban on gay leaders.
  4. Tea Party congressman mansplains his anti-abortion views. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), speaking at a hearing about an unconstitutional ban on abortion after 20 weeks that House Republicans are championing, told a witness that she should've been forced to wait and give birth rather than have an abortion even though her fetus had no brain function.
  5. Top Republican called Obama's national security speech “a victory for terrorists.” The comments were made by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Chambliss defeated a decorated, triple amputee veteran in 2002 by running an ad juxtaposing his opponent with images of Osama bin Laden.
  6. Texas GOP continued its obsession with limiting women's rights. The Texas GOP introduced another 24 anti-abortion bills this year, but thankfullynone of them advanced.
  7. This man could be the next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Virginia Republicans nominated an extremely anti-gay, anti-abortion minister who has a long history of making insensitive and inflammatory comments. Here's his20 craziest tweets.
  8. RNC chair melts down. In an effort to attack the president, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus threw out attacks so over the top that the Morning Joe crew called him out.
  9. GOP senator says implementing Obamacare is just like an illegal coverup. Because of her efforts to implement Obamcare, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) likened Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to convicted criminal Oliver North.
  10. GOP senator defends …read more

    Source: ALTERNET

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Is the Idea of an Intelligent Self-Help Book a Paradox?

May 24, 2013 in Blogs

By Lisa Levy, Los Angeles Review of Books

Popular self-help book series from the 'School of Life' lacks depth and purpose.


This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Is the very idea of an intelligent self-help book a paradox? It is certainly trying to serve two demanding masters: philosophical speculation and practical action. After all, readers don’t pick up self-help books just to ruminate on life’s dilemmas, but to be guided to solutions. The new series of self-help books published by the London-based School of Life, co-founded by the Swiss-born popular philosopher Alain de Botton, echoes the school’s lofty approach to problems, claiming to be “intelligent, rigorous, well-written new guides to everyday living.” Yet to peruse the School of Life’s calendar of classes is to fall into a vortex of jargon pitched somewhere between the banal banter of daytime talk shows and the schedule for a nightmarish New Age retreat: “How to Have Better Conversations,” “How to Realise Your Potential,” “Developing a Compassionate Mind: One Day Intensive,” “Philosophy Slam,” “Learning How to Say No,” “Getting Better at Online Dating,” “Resilience: One Day Workshop.” Before long, I was ready to sign up for “How to Stay Calm.

De Botton himself is a divisive, if not easily dismissed, public intellectual. The author of bestselling books about many of the broad topics the School of Life curriculum covers — love, work, religion, happiness, and philosophy itself — de Botton is often accused of being a purveyor of Philosophy Lite (see, for example, Victoria Beale’s January 3, 2013, attack on him in The New Republic, “How to Be a Pseudo-Intellectual”). His works are securely aimed at the insecure middlebrow reader, the kind of person who knows that Proust can change her life but maybe would rather read about how Proust can change her life than slog through seven life-changing volumes. Indeed, there is something ersatz, if not quite fraudulent, about de Botton’s entire intellectual enterprise: he often seems like a grad student …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Marijuana Reclassification: Removing Marijuana From the Controlled Substances Act

May 24, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

May 24, 2013

No

The current system for classifying illegal (and most legal) drugs is flawed, outdated and unscientific. Marijuana should be reclassified in order to facilitate research, ensure patient access, and permit its legal regulation. Established by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, this system erroneously places marijuana in the most restrictive class, Schedule I, reserved for drugs with a “high potential for abuse”, “no currently accepted medical use” and a “lack of accepted safety.”

…read more

Source: DRUG POLICY

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Finally Talking Terror Sensibly

May 24, 2013 in Economics

By John Mueller, Mark G. Stewart, Benjamin H. Friedman

John Mueller, Mark G. Stewart and Benjamin H. Friedman

In one respect at least, the reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings was commendably restrained. A number of commentators across the political spectrum have tried to put the danger in context and argued that the best way to undermine terrorism is to avoid being frightened by it.

To be sure there were some overwrought responses by public officials. The Federal Aviation Administration established a no-fly zone over the bombing site, San Francisco banned back packs at crowded events, and tourists near the White House were backed off an additional 40 yards.

And a few pundits immediately began making extravagant claims about the relevance of the attacks. The New York Daily News proclaimed that the Boston bombs “once again blew up the idea that any of us will ever be safe again,” and The National Journal’s Ron Fournier claimed that the bombing “makes every place (and everybody) less secure.”

The best way to undermine terrorism is to avoid being frightened by it.”

Yet for pretty much the first time there has been a considerable amount of media commentary seeking to put terrorism in context — commentary that concludes, as a Doyle McManus article in the Los Angeles Times put it a day after the attack, “We’re safer than we think.”

Similar tunes were sung by Tom Friedman of the New York Times, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, David Rothkopf writing for CNN.com, Josh Barro at Bloomberg, John Cassidy at the New Yorker, and Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune, even as the Washington Post told us “why terrorism is not scary” and published statistics on its rarity. Bruce Schneier, who has been making these arguments for over a decade, got 360,000 hits doing so forThe Atlantic. Even neoconservative Max Boot, a strong advocate of the war in Iraq as a response to 9/11, argues in the Wall Street Journal, “we must do our best to make sure that the terrorists don’t achieve their objective — to terrorize us.”

James Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation noted in a radio interview that “the odds of you being killed by a terrorist are less than you being hit …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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McConnell, Paul and Whitfield Respond to DOE Decision on Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

May 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield released the following statement today regarding the Department of Energy’s decision not to approve USEC’s plan to extend operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant:
‘We are disappointed the Obama Administration and DOE were unable to come to an agreement to extend operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant for another four months. We will work to ensure that DOE fulfills its responsibility to sufficiently cleanup the site and determine a long-term solution to utilize the facility and its assets. We believe there are proposals that were submitted to DOE that offer promising economic development and job creation potential for the community and we expect DOE to move quickly on its decision.’
NOTE: McConnell, Paul and Whitfield have requested a meeting with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to discuss the matter. Also, last week, the delegation sent DOE the attached letter urging them to keep the uranium tails in the community and move forward with a long-term solution.
####
…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul on Fox's Hannity with Eric Bolling – 5/23/13

May 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Washington Times Op-Ed: Blocking the pathway to a national ID

May 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

The controversial immigration-reform bill that passed the SenateJudiciary Committee this week is expected to be considered by the Senate in June. Many see measures contained in this bill, such as a strong E-Verify and a ‘photo tool,’ as a means to control unlawful immigrants’ access to unlawful employment. I worry that they go too far.
I think there are better ideas that err on the side of individual privacy while still strengthening our borders. We should scrap a national identification database and pass immigration reform that secures the border, expands existing work-visa programs and prevents noncitizens from access to welfare. These simple ideas will eliminate the perceived need for an invasive worker-verification system and a government citizenship database.
I am against the idea that American citizens should be forced to carry around a National Identification Card as a condition of citizenship. I worry that the Senate is working to consider a series of little-noticed provisions in comprehensive immigration reform that may provide a pathway to a national ID card for all individuals present in the United States – citizens and noncitizens. These draconian ideas would simply give government too much power.

Forcing Americans to carry around an identification card to affirmatively prove citizenship offends our basic concept of freedom. Wanting to avoid a ‘papers please’ culture in our country is also why conservatives oppose federal universal gun background checks. We oppose such measures not because we don’t believe in common-sense rules or regulation – but because we are wary of giving the federal government this kind of centralized power over our daily lives.

I am against government lists of those who own or have transferred a firearm for the same reason I oppose any pathway to a national ID. I don’t think that government should have the awesome power of monitoring the legal activities of American citizens. That is not a proper role of the federal government – or any level of government, for that matter.

I am opposed to immigration reform that contains the photo tool that is contained in the Interior Enforcement and Employment Verification System title of the bill. In the name of preventing the ‘unlawful employment of aliens,’ the Senate legislation has a provision that ‘enables employers to match the photo on a covered identify document provided to the employer to a photo maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services database.’ This, too, is troubling.

This sounds like a national picture …read more

Source: RAND PAUL