You are browsing the archive for 2018 March 24.

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Trump’s Motorcade Drove Out of Its Way to Avoid Seeing Children Protest Gun Violence

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Martin Cizmar, Raw Story

Trump is scheduled to stay at Mar-A-Lago and has “no public events” for the rest of the day.


Donald Trump is in Florida to play golf this weekend, which puts him in uncomfortable proximity to the #MarchForOurLives protest scheduled in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

The president went out of his way to avoid the protesting children today, the Palm Beach Post reports, with his motorcade taking a detour.

The 1.5 mile “scenic” route to Mar-a-Lago allowed Trump, his wife and son to avoid the children and an pro-impeachment billboard erected by Democratic fundraiser and activist Claude Taylor.

Trump  is scheduled to stay at Mar-A-Lago and has “no public events” for the rest of the day.

It was unclear whether he would remain at Mar-A-Lago tomorrow to watch the Stormy Daniels interview with his wife Melania.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Monsignor Romero’s Lesson for Today’s Students

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Jefferson Morley, AlterNet

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The assassination of a Salvadoran priest in 1980 is a story of American gun violence.


On March 24, 1980, Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero was celebrating mass in the open-air chapel of a hospital in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. A red Volkswagen pulled up outside. A man in the car raised a rifle and took aim through an open door. He fired one shot striking Romero in the chest. The priest died at the altar. 

Thirty-eight years later, on March 24, 2018, thousands of young people will converge on Washington for the March for Our Lives calling for real actions to curb gun violence. In Romero, they will find an urgent lesson about what can happen when justice is denied and gun violence runs rampant.

The assassination of Romero, a gentle and fearless champion of the poor who persisted in his work despite savage, U.S.-sponsored military repression, set off the Salvadoran civil war, which raged from 1980-1992.  

Martyrdom was an unexpected role for this modest cleric, whose friends were street vendors and whose hobby was photography. The conservative Catholic hierarchy welcomed his appointment as archbishop of El Salvador in 1975. They assumed his mild manner would lead him to bless the oligarchic status quo in a country dominated by 14 wealthy families.

Romero surprised his colleagues. As spiritual leader of the overwhelmingly Catholic country, he did not espouse the “liberation theology” of the country’s more radical priests. But he dedicated his ministry to the poor majority and did not hesitate to denounce the country’s armed forces, which defended the country’s largest landowners with assassinations and massacres.

Romero knew his nationally broadcast calls for soldiers to disobey orders to kill made him a threat to the Salvadoran military and its CIA advisers.

“If they kill me,” he said, “I will rise again …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Have People Really Sworn Off Internet Porn for Lent?

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

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Add a new popular pleasure to the penance list.


Since Lent kicked off on Ash Wednesday, February 14, millions of Catholics have given up their favorite thing for the 40 days of penance before Easter weekend. Chocolate, booze, swearing: these are the sorts of pleasures that are typically abandoned for the duration of the observance. But in the digital age, another apparent favorite might be making its way onto the list of things Christians are temporarily denying themselves: Internet porn.

In fact, a new survey suggests, the number of Lent observers giving up virus-laden internet porn may be so large it’s made a measurable dent in the number of infections plaguing America’s computers. According to Enigma Software Group, which conducted the survey, “[m]alware infections have dropped 17 percent in the United States since the start of the Lenten season.”

Of course, that could just mean people are going on a tech-fast as part of their religious experience, and going online less than they normally do. But considering that hackers often target porn sites and users, the malware decline seems to point to Lent observers shying away from specific online materials.

“It's very common for people who participate in Lenten activities to curtail usage of things like social media and technology in general in the weeks leading up to Easter,” ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding said in a statement about the findings. “They may also reduce the amount of time spent on adult websites, which are common sources of malware infections. We think all of those activities together help to explain why infections are dropping during Lent.”

Gerding noted that malware infections similarly declined 14 percent during Lent last year. “In 2017, infections jumped back up to pre-Lent levels within a couple days of Easter Sunday,” ESG pointed …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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It’s Not Cambridge Analytica We Need to Worry About, It’s Our Minds

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Marty Kaplan, The Forward

We're more susceptible to online propaganda than we want to admit.


The Cambridge Analytica furor, like the uproar over Russian penetration of Facebook that preceded it, has painted a bullseye on Mark Zuckerberg.

I get why he and other social media CEOs are waffling about testifying at congressional hearings: They’re afraid that pictures of their oath-taking will remind people of the tobacco company executives in the ’90s who raised their right hands and swore that cigarettes don’t cause cancer.

It’s not a huge leap from nicotine addiction to the dopamine habit of the 2 billion of us hooked on “likes” by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Joe Camel’s customers pay cash; Facebook users pay attention, which Zuckerberg sells to advertisers, who crunch the personal data Facebook purloins from us to determine whose minds will be most susceptible to their messages.

The premise of advertising, whether it’s selling soap or Senator Soap, is the vulnerability of audiences to influences. Media moves us. And today, thanks to our “social graphs” — the profiles that Facebook, Amazon, Google et al assemble from our histories of browsing, searching, buying, friending, tweeting, liking, linking — audiences can be segmented into tribes and sub-tribes whose characteristics maximize their malleability to particular messages.

We Need To Change the Internet So It’s Better for Jews — and Everyone Else

Russian trolls bet their bots on the belief that hateful memes spread on Facebook by fictitious friends could widen the cracks in American society into crevasses, and they turned out to be right. Fox News bet on conspiracy-mongers and anchor-bullies to pull viewers in, and they were right, too. Sinclair Broadcasting’s local TV stations, now on the verge of reaching 70% of American households, is also aiming at cultivating an audience avid for Trump propaganda. They wouldn’t try to sell it if they didn’t think their right-wing content could grow …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Faces Of the #MarchForOurLives

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Susie Madrak, Crooks and Liars

“No one should have to go to school in fear.”



My heart is so full today, to see these kids stand up and speak out. … , a celebrity who's notorious for avoiding political stands, announced a donation today to March for Our Lives and said, “No one should have to go to school in fear.” The kids are our hope for the future … Read the rest of this entry →

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Study Shows Our Job Market Actually Punishes Women With Great Grades in College

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Mehreen Kasana, AlterNet

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Men with average grades win more job market attention than high-achieving women.


In a study titled “Punishing Women for Being Smart,” the website Inside Higher Ed showed that women with higher grades in college aren't given the same level of preference, responses and attention that their male peers get. The gender disparity is most evident in interview calls, according to the study, as male graduates received offers to discuss job opportunities two times more than female graduates.

The lead researcher, assistant professor of sociology Natasha Quadlin of Ohio State University, conducted an audit study in which she sent 2,106 job applications for different roles. According to Inside Higher Ed, Quadlin created a differentiated pool of applicants based on their gender, grades and the majors they studied in college.

Quadlin found out several things. For one, male graduates' grades were not as consequential in scoring job market attention as she expected them to be. Secondly, women applicants seemed to be punished for having impressive graduate grades. In fact, she noted that women stood more of a chance to hear back from job interviews if they had “moderate” grades. Furthermore, she noticed that while men were judged on the basis of functionality like dedication to the job role and metrics like efficiency, women applicants were gauged on more sociological criteria like “perceived likeability.”

Countless studies have confirmed that women tend to face much more emotionally taxing and less financially rewarding conditions in various professional fields. Research shows that women are expected to wear makeup in order to look “competent.” Academic research shows that female professors are expected to field special requests from “entitled” students and carry more workload compared to their male peers. A study on open-source project applications showed that women’s acceptance rate …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Could the Fossil Fuel Industry Start Drilling for Oil in Your Local Park?

March 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Chelsea Batten, AlterNet

A fight between Big Oil and local residents in Kalamazoo serves as a cautionary tale.


After eight years on the Kalamazoo County Parks Commission board, board member and local activist Matt Lechel had never encountered an issue like the one that confronted the board last January: a proposal to drill for oil in one of Kalamazoo's community parks.

The proposal came from a representative of Wolverine Gas and Oil, a Michigan corporation that had distinguished itself in 2004 with the largest continental U.S. oil discovery in 30 years. The representative provided handouts for his presentation, which proposed to lease land within Kalamazoo's Scott's Mill County Park for the purpose of drilling for oil.

Lechel was flabbergasted that the parks commission was hearing the proposal at all. In 2010, the area suffered the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history when Enbridge Line 6B burst and flooded the Kalamazoo River Valley. The scars of this disaster run deep in the community, leaving great sensitivity around the intersection of public land and the oil industry. Plus, the noise and upheaval of oil drilling would hurt the public's enjoyment of the space. How, he asked, did an oil rig fit in with that?

At least half the board disagreed with him, resulting in a tie vote on the measure. But the following month, the Wolverine representative was back with the same presentation, the same handout and a slightly modified proposal. This time, the company wasn't asking for drilling rights to the park. It just wanted to excavate, using seismic testing, to see if there was oil there.

Lechel wondered what was so important about this small parcel of land that Wolverine wouldn't take their initial no for an answer. Why were board members who took public pro-environment stances arguing in favor of the measure?   

Most of the board saw the proposal as an economic boon. Across the country, similar deals have brought millions of dollars to state and county governments. Along with the five-county Huron-Clinton Metroparks system in southeastern Michigan, Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, North Dakota's Mountrail County and Ohio's …read more

Source: ALTERNET