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Here's Why John Kelly Reportedly Said Trump Is Becoming 'Unhinged'

April 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Multiple reports Monday paint a picture of an unraveling relationship between the president and his chief of staff.


Shortly after NBC News reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had called President Donald Trump an “idiot” multiple times in recent months, CNN's Jim Acosta and Jeremy Diamond followed up with news that Kelly has reportedly told colleagues he believes Trump is becoming “unhinged.”

It's a frightening way from a chief of staff to be describing the most powerful person in the world, but Acosta reports that Kelly's disparaging assessment came after Trump made comments that many in the country found jarring.

“My colleague Jeremy Diamond has made these comments in reference to a couple of things,” Acosta told Wolf Blitzer on CNN Monday. “One being after the president said he wanted to start pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, my colleague Jeremy Diamond hearing from a senior administration official, that after that discussion took place, the chief of staff believed the president was becoming unhinged.”

Many observers noted at the time that the president's remarks were extremely bizarre given what was publicly known about U.S. policy in Syria.

Acosta added: “I talked to an administration official earlier today who said the president was the target of some 'salty language' by John Kelly after the two men clashed over who would replace John Kelly at Homeland Security.”

Kelly also reportedly talked to Trump about some of these reports Monday and denied that he called the president an “idiot.” Acosta also noted that Kelly has publicly joked that God was punishing him for something by forcing him to work at the White House.

Watch the clip of Acosta's reporting below:

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'People Were Laughing': Juan Williams Explains What Conservatives Don't Get About Michelle Wolf's Hilarious WHCD Speech

April 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

“She was picking on the press — a lot. She was picking on Democrats”


Conservatives and many in the media were still outraged Monday over comedian Michelle Wolf's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner over the weekend, saying her jokes were overly harsh, particularly about press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Juan Williams, a panelist on Fox News' “The Five,” agreed that it was uncouth to target Sanders while she was sitting so close to the speaker, but he argued that conservatives entirely missed how funny and wide-ranging Wolf's speech was.

“She was was hilarious. I think she was genius funny. You don't understand: She was picking on the press — a lot,” he said. “She was picking on Democrats. She said of the idea that Al Franken is gone, Ted Kennedy probably says 'Hey, I murdered a girl! And when I sit here with all you guys, you talk about 'liberal intolerance,' for a variety of voices and speech. Well, gee! Here's a different perspective.”

He added: “She said: 'You guys in the press, you created this monster! And now you're all making your books, your podcasts, your TV shows, making money.'”

He noted that nobody walked out in disgust and that, “Where I was sitting, people were laughing.”

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Skeletons of 140 Children Discovered at Archaeological Dig

April 30, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Preserved in dry sand for more than 500 years, more than a dozen children were revealed over the course of a day by archaeologists. The majority of the ritual victims were between eight and12 years old when they died. The work is supported by grants from the National Geographic Society. (Credit: Gabriel Prieto/National Geographic)

Northern Peru is known for its pre-Columbian ruins and its sunny beaches. A recent archaeological discovery combines both—in the most grisly way imaginable. At a dig in a shantytown near Trujillo, Peru, archaeologists have located the bodies of hundreds of children and llamas, preserved in sand for more than 500 years.

It’s thought to be evidence of the largest child sacrifice ever uncovered by archaeologists, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic.

Researchers discovered the remains of 140 children and 200 llamas at Las Llamas, an archaeological site in Huanchaco, Peru near what is now Trujillo. The skeletons were in the sand near the Pacific Ocean. Nearby preserved footprints seem to indicate that adults and dogs drove the children and llamas to the edge of a bluff, then killed and buried them.

The children’s bodies showed head trauma; their ribs had been cut and their chests torn open. The efficient, similar cuts hint to the killings being sacrificial; they are thought to have taken place during a single event between 1400 and 1450.

It isn’t the only time children were sacrificed in the area. In 2011, archaeologists found the bones of 42 children and 72 animals—probably llamas—near the site.

Preserved in dry sand for more than 500 years, more than a dozen children were revealed over the course of a day by archaeologists. The majority of the ritual victims were between eight and12 years old when they died. The work is supported by grants from the National Geographic Society. (Credit: Gabriel Prieto/National Geographic)

The deaths occurred near what was then the capital of the Chimú Empire in northern Peru. Chimú was the second-largest empire in the Andes region and at one time, it dominated much of the northern Peruvian coast with its urban, agricultural and military might. The Chimú died out after around 1470, when their ruler was captured by the Inca Empire.

Without contemporaneous records of the grisly events, historians can’t be certain the site was dedicated to ritual sacrifices. But the way the children died—and the mud in which their footprints were preserved—suggests they may have been sacrificed.

Researchers think that the group of children and animals …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Here Are the Ways to Tell How Much Your University Education Is Actually Worth

April 30, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

There are three primary metrics.


Editor’s note: Today we begin a new series in which we ask the leaders of our country’s colleges and universities to address some of the most pressing issues in higher education.

The past several years have seen increased calls for colleges and universities to demonstrate their value to students, families and taxpayers. And the pressure has come from both sides of the political spectrum. Barack Obama, for example, didn’t mince his words when he spoke a few years ago on the University of Michigan campus: “We are putting colleges on notice…you can’t assume that you’ll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can’t stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down. We should push colleges to do better.”

So how is a would-be student or a tax-paying citizen to decide the value of a given university or degree? There is certainly no shortage of tools that have been developed to help in this regard.

The federal College Scorecard, for example, is meant to “help students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and is consistent with their educational and career goals.”

Various magazines put together college rankings. There have been efforts at the state level to show what graduates of a given institution or program can expect to earn. And some colleges and universities are working to provide those data themselves.

So we asked our panel of presidents – from the University of Michigan, University of Oregon and The Ohio State University: If you had to devise just one tool or metric to help the general public assess the value of a particular college or degree, what would it be and why?

Greater life expectancy

Michael Drake, president of The Ohio State University

When I ask individuals if they want their own children to attend college, the answer is, overwhelmingly, yes. The evidence is clear. College graduates are more likely to be employed and more likely to earn more than those without degrees. Studies also indicate that people with …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Explains New Defamation Lawsuit: Trump Basically Accused Her of 'Committing a Crime'

April 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Michael Avenatti filed a new defamation lawsuit on behalf of Daniels against the president for calling her claims of being threatened a “con job.”


President Donald Trump's Twitter account is causing him legal trouble — again.

He's now facing a lawsuit for defamation over a tweet he sent about Stephanie Clifford, who is better known as porn star Stormy Daniels, and her claim that she was threatened by an unidentified man to stay quiet about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006.

In a tweet on April 18, Trump said of a sketch of the man who allegedly threatened her, “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said Monday on MSNBC of the president: “He effectively accused my client… of conning the American people, lying to the American people, about the incident, about the sketch, about the man that approached her at the car door. And [he] basically accused her of committing a crime, in that she's reporting some criminal activity, and he's claiming it never happened.”

Some legal experts say, though, that Avenatti will have a hard time making the defamation claim stick.

Watch the clip below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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We Need to Talk About the Emotional Tax Black Employees Pay in the Service Industry

April 30, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Being a black service provider requires routinely putting forth more emotional effort.


The arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Starbucks in Philadelphia have raised questions about how race determines how customers are treated.

But does race also affect how the employees are treated within the service industry?

Prior research shows that black workers in people-oriented occupations – health care, service and sales – are rated lower by customers and supervisors than are white workers, even when their performance is objectively the same. Because of this, black workers have a harder time obtaining competitive raises or promotions. But it is unclear why or what workers can do about it.

In the U.S. workforce, blacks are disproportionately represented in low-paying service jobs like cashiers, call center employees and food service workers compared to higher-status jobs. So this issue has serious implications for the financial and professional lives of a large segment of black workers.

Race impacts perception of performance

Friendliness is key to performing well in the service industry. My colleagues Lawrence Houston III, Derek R. Avery and I found that negative stereotypes about blacks – that they are unfriendly, hostile or rude – explain lower performance evaluations of black service providers compared to white service providers.

We found that in order for the performance of black service providers to be rated equivalent to whites, blacks had to amplify and fake positive emotions to override those negative racial stereotypes. In other words, to be seen as good as white employees, black employees need to perform more “emotional labor,” a concept introduced by sociologist Arlie Hochschild.

Perhaps just like the two men at Starbucks, black service employees are assumed to have hostile intentions unless they put in extra effort to put forth a smile and show they are not a threat.

Across three studies

We drew these conclusions from a series of studies we conducted over several years.

In our first study, we asked a representative sample of people for their impressions of an employee described as holding an emotional labor job, a hotel desk clerk. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why Andrew Jackson’s Legacy is so Controversial

April 30, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Andrew Jackson's grave, seen prior to the vandalism during a visit from President Donald Trump to the Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, March 15, 2017. (Credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times/Redux)

Should the seventh president be revered or reviled? The question of how to grapple with Andrew Jackson’s tarnished reputation has existed since Old Hickory’s contested lifetime.

Known as strong-willed, argumentative and combative in his day, Jackson’s critics point to his harsh treatment of enslaved workers and his forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands as reasons why valorizing him is offensive. His fans, on the other hand, cite him as a populist hero who challenged the political establishment and ushered in a new era of exploration and American expansion. Jackson is considered so influential that his face is on the front of the $20 bill—a fact that has inspired controversy in recent years as consecutive Secretaries of the Treasury tussle over whether it’s appropriate to keep him there.

Now, news that Jackson’s grave was vandalized at The Hermitage, his plantation in Nashville, has breathed new life into the debate. Here’s what happened at Jackson’s tomb—and how it fits into the ongoing argument about his legacy. 

Andrew Jackson’s grave, seen prior to the vandalism during a visit from President Donald Trump to the Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, March 15, 2017. (Credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times/Redux)

Jackson’s tomb was spray-painted with profanities

Jackson’s tomb was defaced by an unknown vandal who painted the stone that covers his grave and that of his wife, Rachel, with the word “killer,” anarchist symbols and profanities, the Associated Press reports. The vandalism was discovered by the Andrew Jackson Foundation on April 27, 2018.

“This is the first time in the history of the home that something like this has happened,” wrote the foundation in a Facebook post. “It’s a sad day for all of us.”

Howard Kittell, the foundation’s president and CEO, told WSMV that restoring the monument “will be incredibly difficult.” He said new security cameras will be installed on the property.


The Hermitage near Nashville, Tennessee. (Credit: Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection)

Critics point to Jackson’s strong support for slavery

During his lifetime (1767-1845), Jackson went from poverty to wealth because of his slave ownership. Enslaved workers grew his cotton, built and tended his house, and helped him gain a social foothold in Southern society. Jackson owned as …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How Photography Defined the Great Depression

April 30, 2018 in History

By Annette McDermott

'Fleeing a Dust Storm,' photographed by Arthur Rothstein. (Credit: Farm Security Administration/The Library of Congress)

During the 1930s, America went through one of its greatest challenges: the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to relieve the dire economic situation with his New Deal programs. To justify the need for those projects, the government employed photographers to document the suffering of those affected and publish the pictures. Their efforts produced some of the most iconic photographs of the Great Depression – and all of American history.

Photos showed ‘the city people what it’s like to live on the farm.’

The Resettlement Administration, later replaced by the Farm Security Administration (FSA), was created as part of the New Deal to build relief camps and offer loans and relocation assistance to farmers impacted by the Depression and the Dust Bowl, which wreaked havoc on the Great Plains. But the programs weren’t cheap and required significant government funding to maintain.

Former Roosevelt advisor Rex Tugwell headed up the department and soon hired Columbia University professor Roy Stryker as Chief of the Historical Section in the Division of Information. Stryker also led the agency’s Photographic Unit.

Stryker was tasked with documenting the need for government assistance by taking photographs of rural farmers at work and at home in their small-town communities, of migrants looking for work and of the effects of the Great Depression on everyday life in rural America. “Show the city people what it’s like to live on the farm,” Tugwell reportedly told Stryker.

‘Fleeing a Dust Storm,’ photographed by Arthur Rothstein. (Credit: Farm Security Administration/The Library of Congress)

The FSA photographs galvanized Americans into action.

Stryker created a team of “documentary photographers.” They didn’t want to just churn out propaganda photos of bread lines, vacant farmhouses and barefoot children caked with dust. They also wanted to capture the raw emotion behind the drudgery and bring empathy to the suffering of ordinary Americans.

The first photographer Stryker chose for his team was Arthur Rothstein. During his five years with the FSA, his most noteworthy contribution may have been, “Fleeing a Dust Storm,” a (supposedly posed) photo of an Oklahoma homesteader and his two young sons trudging through swirling layers of dust towards a dilapidated shack.


‘Migrant Mother,’ photographed by Dorothea Lange. (Credit: Farm Security Administration/The Library of Congress)

New Jersey-born portrait photographer Dorothea Lange also worked for the FSA. She took many photographs of poverty-stricken families in squatter camps, but was best …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The VA’s Biggest Problem Isn’t Who’s in Charge–It’s Centralized Government Control

April 30, 2018 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon

The Department of Veterans Affairs is really hard to
staff.

Its Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has 30,000 vacant clinical positions.
Eligibility-claims processers are in such short supply, there
remains a waiting list 75,000 veterans long.
Appeals of eligibility denials have a backlog of more than
300,000 and take an average of 2.5 years to resolve. The VA even
lacks undersecretaries to supervise those areas.

To top it all off, President Trump ousted former Secretary David Shulkin over
differences about whether to pay for veterans to receive care from
private providers, and his pick to succeed Shulkin—Rear Adm.
Ronny Jackson, M.D.—recently withdrew his name from
consideration over allegations of on-duty drunkenness, harassing
female coworkers, and such and such.

This ongoing soap opera, however, keeps anyone from asking the
right questions or proposing the right reforms.

Shortages and waiting lists at the VA are hardly surprising. Its
health care system, the VHA, is the United States’ version of the
U.K.’s single-payer National Health Service. It is an entirely
socialist enterprise, where the government owns the means of
production (hospitals, clinics, CT scanners, bedpans), employs the
workers, decides how much everyone gets paid, and generally chooses
how to allocate all those capital and human resources.

With Trump’s nominee
Ronny Jackson out, here’s how to fix veterans health
care.

In other words, it’s a system without true prices—and
that’s why it doesn’t work.

The purpose of the price mechanism is to get the right amount of
stuff to the right place at the right time. Instead of
using prices to allocate resources within the VA, Congress relies
on its own wisdom and that of VA bureaucrats. So it’s no surprise
that thousands of veterans die waiting for eligibility-appeals rulings, and
others kill themselves while waiting for mental health
services.

As is the case in Britain, Canada, and all other countries where
government runs health care, in some regions the VA has too much
stuff and not enough patients. In other areas, it has too
many patients and not enough stuff.

Some complain the problem is not misallocation of resources but
garden-variety underfunding. It’s hard for the VA to hire doctors
when it pays so much less than the “private” sector, where doctors’
main source of income is, well, other government programs that pay
more. Perhaps government should overpay VA clinicians as much as it
overpays non-VA clinicians.

It’s impossible, absent a price mechanism, to know whether VA
salaries (prices) and overall spending are too low, but there is
reason to think they might be. Sub-optimal access to care may be a
durable political equilibrium in a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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‘Time For Me to Lawyer Up’: Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer Begs For Money to Pay His Legal Bills

April 29, 2018 in Blogs

By Martin Cizmar, Raw Story

Activities such as the Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally have taken their toll on Spencer.


White Nationalist Richard Spencer is begging for money to hire an attorney as his legal and financial woes continue to grow.

Spencer is asking for $25,000 to defend himself in a federal lawsuit over the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Right Wing Watch reported.

“I am under attack and I need your help,” Spencer said in a public appeal. “Some of the biggest and baddest law firms in the United States are suing me, along with some other prominent figures, in civil court.”

Spencer recently had a falling out with his longtime lawyer, Kyle Bristow.

“This case is a conspiracy theory in the truest sense of that term,” he argued. “This is a mockery of justice.”

“Put simply, they want to shut me — and all of us — down,” Spencer claimed.

He argued the goal of the lawsuit is to “take down the alt-right’s most prominent spokesman, that is me.”

“It is now time for me to lawyer up,” he said in a public YouTube video.

Spencer, who has been banned from 26 countries, has been punched on the street for his views.

In October, three men were arrested for attempted homicide following a Spencer speech in Gainsville, Florida. Spencer's National Policy Institute bounced a $10,564 check to the University of Florida to rent the auditorium for his speech.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET