We find the treatment of gays in Russia horrifying. (See attached video.) This is not a civil society. This is a backward-looking society that refuses to accept reality of any kind. It doesn't look like this will change anytime soon. The struggle for equality continues in America, and the gains currently achieved were hard-won. But with proactive government opposition, it seems the struggle will be much harder in Russia. The only recourse may unfortunately be to wait for the culture of the >Russians that champions conformity and nationalism to reach some self-destructive extreme, after which the pendulum of civility can swing back the other way.
This is going to be one *interesting* Olympics.
We call for Coca-Cola, General Electric, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa, all sponsors of the International Olympic Committee, to take a stand against Russian anti-LGBT law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” We praise AT&T for acknowledging that "Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society."
RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. "I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you've got."
And those who don't vaccinate are freeloaders! They selfishly benefit from the effort of othe...original
Non-vaccinators should pay an annual penalty. This issue should be treated the same way healthcare coverage is treated. When individuals choose not to buy healthcare coverage, the odds increase that the public will have to pick up the tab for any healthcare costs they incur (e.g. ER visits) which are usually much higher than if they had preventative care. (This accountability principle was upheld by the right-leaning SCOTUS, so let's not devolve this vox into a conversation about Obamacare.) Along those lines, parents who opt-out of child vaccination would be required to pay a hefty annual penalty approximately equal to the healthcare costs they place on the public. It's only fair and responsible.
We support Dylan Farrow. If the courts won't bring Woody Allen to justice, at least we as a society can remove him from the ranks of film royalty and remember him only with scorn.
We wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Whether or not you're one of the 1.3 billion >Chinese in the world, may your year be filled with good luck all the same! 恭喜发财!
The Keystone XL impact report is a farce! Anything that keeps us hooked on fossil fuels will have a significant, negative impact on the environment in the long term. The government is the only entity capable of impeding this project for the public good, since corporations can be relied on to fight tirelessly and solely for their own profit. Further, the main corporate beneficiary (TransCanada) is not even an American entity! >Americans are selling out their kids for Canada's sake?! (No offense, >Canadians.)
Glad the the stop-and-frisk chapter is closing. It was a shameful stain on this city's multicultural past spilled by this city's xenophobic elite. De Blasio's settlement, along with his pre-K education proposal, advances minority youth two steps forward to Bloomberg's one step back. But, hmm... Now that the police won't be busy stopping random kids of color, we wonder which esteemed NYPD effort they'll be bolstering with their free time: • weekend mounted unit petting zoo (amid rampant crime) in the Lower Eastpacking District, • highly-praised and constructive amateur counter-terrorism research in Afghanistan, or • "undercover" participation in citywide terrorization by motorcycle gangs. Curious indeed. Only time, and the next lawsuit, will tell.
Obama's speech was a joke! He just rattles off a lot of agreeable sounding empty promises tha...original
Obama has no respect for America? Please. A man who has dedicated a large portion of his life to public service and earning the highest position within our democracy. We believe that "rattling" off constructive and beneficial objectives such as equal pay for women, a minimum wage that earns above the poverty line and a fair and accessible health care system is not a "smoke and mirrors campaign". They are are steps in improving the lives of all Americans.
We're getting depressed by all of the gruesome killings so far in the new year. On the 8th, 4-year-old Myls Dobson was found dead, after weeks of starvation and torture. Eleven days later, Deisy Garcia and her two toddlers were found stabbed to death after her husband flew into a drunken jealous rage. And just this morning, Estrella Casteneda and her 24-year-old daughter were found beaten to death by hammer. What the heck is going on? We're more accustomed to intense heat bringing the crazy out of people, but not so much the cold. Either way, we hope this isn't the beginning of a macabre trend.
Obama's speech was a joke! He just rattles off a lot of agreeable sounding empty promises tha...original
You all are out of your minds. Promises he has no intention of meeting? He could meet these things if there was a little more cooperation from Congressional >Republicans. Instead, the last 5 years, Republicans have followed the lead of the >Tea-Party, with their fingers-in-the-ears-"We're not listening" strategy to lawmaking, burning up precious time and opportunities to help the economy. What you call shredding the Constitution, hard-working >Americans call a practical response to an impractical Congress. Executive orders have firm legal precedent, as do rule changes in the Senate. You need to raise your fact-checking standards before tossing around words like "impeach."
We're ready for the SOTU!
"Flipped learning" is an interesting teaching idea that warrants more attention. Making videos available for home study will help in situations where the textbook is too dry or doesn't provide the broader context the teacher desires. This can also justify the tablet investment that administrators seem obsessed with making (mentioned recently by the >parents). While we don't think it can replace in-person lessons, we applaud creative experimentation like this.
We're disturbed by the weekend's violence in Egypt, as documented by many reports of military and mob violence targeted at >egyptians protesting the government, as well as at foreign reporters. It seems to us like the pro-military camp prefers absolute social order to a democratic republic, and we can't help but feel that's a short-term solution with severe long-term costs. We hope trust can be rebuilt so a new democratic attempt can be undertaken.
Drought emergency in California - declared by Governor Brown. This is the driest year on record and we support the conservation efforts proposed by Brown; not only in California but in all areas that face water shortages. Conservation will be easy once we recognize the condition and take responsibility for minimizing waste in our households. Examples include: - Take “navy showers:” get wet, turn off the water, soap up, turn on the water and rinse. - The same method applies for washing your hands: wet your hands, turn off the water, soap up then rinse. - Do not let water run down the drain as you rinse your dishes - rinse over a sink basin then transfer the water to a bucket where it can be used to flush toilets or water plants. - Replace grass lawns with drought tolerant native plants. The single most important thing we can do is to decide to do something about water waste. Once that is done the solutions will follow.
So only now that we're in an election year and Mayor de Blasio wants to increase taxes on $500k+ earners to fund early education, does Governor Cuomo suddenly find an extra $1.5b? We'll take it but that disingenuity doesn't impress us. Keep up the pressure, Mayor!
Should we believe what the chairman of the House of Intelligence Committee is saying? Did Snowden actually end up in the "loving arms of an FSB agent in Moscow?" I don't think so. I smell diversion.
We welcome Obama's remarks but more must be done. His speech struck us, mainly throughout the first half, as cluttered with rhetoric, deflection, and rationalization. Eventually, he rattled off a slew of Presidential directives and orders (more internal oversight and restrictions, annual internal reviews to declassify information and address private and foreign interests, and time limits on NSL gag orders and storage of foreign citizen data). We give him some credit for these executive orders, but they're flimsy. They can be rescinded at any time, by Obama or successive Presidents. So we demand Congress resolve this permanently, and affirm a commitment to prevent similar crises in the future. Our trust in government rests largely on our ability to hold Congress accountable, so we take any action that inhibits accountability as a manipulative, abusive affront to democracy. We want oversight, because oversight motivates restraint. And as technology continues to amplify the effects of these transgressions, in questionable cases we prefer our government errs on the side of transparency rather than secrecy, as we accept that a free and open society fundamentally entails risks to our physical safety. So Obama's most important statements were in this very spirit. We look forward to the replacement metadata collection program he intends to take to Congress, and on his call for them to create an independent civilian panel to argue significant cases in FISC. We expect Congress to go further, not only to strengthen oversight and other checks on existing programs, but also to institute a general oversight framework for *any* secret powers granted now or in the future (we cannot know that all such secrecy has already been made public). An American once wisely said, "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Today, five years later, he outlined a few steps his administration is taking to uphold that.
We're absolutely disgusted by Ohio's execution experiment that led to what can only be described as cruel and unusual punishment. "According to a pool report from journalists who witnessed the execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, McGuire took more than 15 minutes to die and made 'several loud snorting or snoring sounds.”
We >americans all must be tired of hearing revelations about the N.S.A. spying tactics. But, what will it take for us as americans to deny these shadow powers unfettered access with virtual impunity from the public, and the world at large? "The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target."
How many more senseless shootings must occur before we come together to bring responsible measures to gun ownership?
Senators, you need-a calm down. We all remain skeptical of Iran, particularly because it's not clear why, after 30 years of provocation and sanctions, they suddenly want to negotiate. (We'd love from the >iranians about this.) How could things have changed so significantly in the last six months? Their election of a new president would not seem to account for this, since he's still subject to the same Supreme Leader who's been in power for the last 25 years. That said, the diplomatic path is far better than the military path. The threat by most Senators right now to increase sanctions portends violent repercussions. It amounts to spanking a child right after he cleaned up his room. We do not want to see what a nuclear-armed temper tantrum looks like. So, Senators, we appreciate the skepticism but cool your jets. And, President, you must convince us (during your State of the Union?) that you and Kerry understand our deep skepticism and are negotiating with vigilance.
What do you guys think of iPad's in the classroom? Does it really improve or hinder teaching?...original
Classroom iPads will do more harm than good. While we think that it's important to keep pace with technology and to provide a "test bed" for educational software developers, large-scale iPad rollouts are bound to carry impossible expectations and create headaches for educators and students. As a "magical" piece of technology, it would seem the iPad could be the panacea that cures all educational ills. This naive impression can justify enormous capital outlay. But the fact is, they are simply electrified books and pencils. It's on teachers to creatively weave them into lessons, which seems problematic since many teachers barely understand tablets or computers themselves. Students, on the other hand, will never cease to devise ways to break any restrictions on the devices. This will lead to lackluster results and mobs of taxpayers with pitchforks roaming the streets. Physical books and pencils will likely be displaced by electronic devices in the future, so it's important that we consider them in education today. But the magic is in careful, even restrained, integration of their capabilities into the classroom. And much more research into this needs to be done before much can be expected from them. Small experimental classroom rollouts, overseen very closely by teams of educational technology specialists, seem to us to be the appropriate next step.
Gov Christie's seflishness shocks and angers us! It's unbelievable that he would resort to retaliatory behavior that is so childish, unprofessional, and disrespectful (to say the least!) to the public. And we think anyone who thinks this hyper-controlling figure was not privy to the actions of his staff is fooling themselves.
Along with the NSA and the recent federal shutdown, this is yet another sign of a political class that believes it's above public service, and that is consumed with promoting and protecting itself above all else. http://www.nytim
Patient dumping is disgusting. We believe few actions are more despicable than a hospital discharging indigent and/or mentally ill patients by dumping them on city streets; usually skid row. If this is how hospitals treat the helpless what can we expect from Wall Street, banks and other institutions? History shows that corporate corruption goes on for years before the justice system takes action. And what are the penalties? A financial fine, i.e. a slap on the wrist. We want these criminals brought to trial, the way the rest of us are. And the guilty should be imprisoned, the way the rest of us are. Financial fines are no deterrent for the wealthy, perhaps the prospect of ten years hard-time would nudge them towards decency.
Something that has always been said about us New Yorkers is that we take care of each other in times of need. It's therefore disappointing to see that as of January 2nd, New York Cares has received only 20% of the 104,000 coats requested. It's too cold out there , let's pull together and spread some warmth.
Corporations are not people.
We're surprised the >british accept net censorship. It's certainly necessary to take action to reduce child sex abuse and pornography, but the mandatory internet obscenity filter they're implementing seems to vastly overreach. First, it is managed by private corporations without clear transparency controls. Corporate partnerships with government are ominous to begin with, but are much more so when they're charged with enforcing "acceptable behavior standards" (as Commons Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz put it). Second, the content filter is installed at ISPs and enabled by default, requiring customers to opt-out of it to access content that is legal but deemed "obscene and tasteless". In a post-Snowden world, divulging anything to government should spark skepticism, but having to identify yourself as interested in obscene material in order to remove a corporate-managed filter seems to ask for trouble. Third, although supporters have referred to a slippery slope from consuming tasteless material to consuming illegal material, there is also concern for the slippery slope from filtration to protect children to filtration to protect against dissenting views of politicians or the government. In light of recent surveillance abuses, how can one expect anything less than a voracious appropriation of authority from government agencies. The filter's technical infrastructure expands the nanny state, but can be repurposed for a police state. It is easy enough for parents to install (or have installed) content filtering software on their computing devices. And the UK already has the Cleanfeed system for filtering child pornography. So this new content filter, originally sprung from the government's desire to address rising "commercialization and sexualization of childhood" and then expanded in the response to two highly-publicized child murders, is an overreaction that will have harmful consequences. We'd be content to silently observe all of this from a distance. But the American and British governments seem to be of the same mind lately when it comes to digital privacy. And, while more can and should be done to address child sex abuse, we are scared by the basic notion of empowering corporate and political entities to judge for us what information is and is not "acceptable".
Wheeeeeeeeee!!!! (Stay warm and safe!)
Clemency for Snowden! He shined necessary light on unconstitutional & antidemocratic government actions in the only meaningful way possible
Should we be worried about quantum computing technology? Its probably more cost effective for the government to intercept our new technologies before they land in our hands with spy malware than having to dip into its black budget. Oh this make my head spin.
We're relieved the NY SAFE Act was upheld. It brings sensible rules to gun ownership in the wake of recent mass shootings, while respecting the individual's right to self-defense.
Happy New Year, world! May tolerance and understanding of others allow us to leverage our differences to make the most of 2014 and the challenges it holds!
"The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit." I came across this 2012 article today and thought still apropos to the state that we are in. We need to educate ourselves past what politicians and popular news media are telling us to believe.
We support Chiara de Blasio's recovery. The 19-year-old daughter of the mayor elect overcame an alcohol and marijuana dependency she developed last year during her freshman year of college. She's taken a very common issue for college students and become a role model for how to handle it. It's a bit sad that she had to be so public about it, but such is the collateral damage of having a political family. Now that it's off the table, however, we hope her privacy will be respected going forward.
Love Actually blows, actually. Much has been said as of late (see below) of the 2003 film Love Actually, as it assumes the status of "holiday classic." We most certainly dispute that assumption and furthermore do not think it is anything about love as it "actually" exists in the real world. "Love Cinematically" might have been an acceptable title (denigration to the cinema notwithstanding).
The premise of Love Actually is no more than "if and only if a woman waits passively and exerts no control over the course of her romantic life, will she be matched with a charming, powerful man who will find, adore, and love her." It's regressive, chauvinistic, and anti-feminist, and saps one of the ownership they have over their destiny.
A great Christmas video from the ACLU. But we prefer the original version of the song, so let's do what we can to bring transparency and democratic controls to the NSA. (See attached link.)
We're glad the Pussy Riot members were released, despite the political circumstances leading up to the Sochi Olympics. But we continue to remain baffled about why the >russians don't do more to demand greater democratic controls. Is it pride? Fear? Skepticism of democracy? American democracy is admitedly imperfect, but that doesn't mean they should not strive for something better than the stifling, dehumanizing, de facto authoritarianism of Putin.
Google Doodle 12/20/2013 - A real in-browser crossword to celebrate 100 years of their ability to boggle my mind at least. Pretty sick implementation in mostly or all HTMLl5 I'm thinking ? (Ignore my answeres in the picture they are probably wrong...)
What a ridiculous waste of tax dollars by the NSA! We can only imagine the pricetag associated with these whimsical hyper-paranoid pursuits. At a time when Americans are in need of job training, when city infrastructure is in disrepair, when the cost of education has skyrocketed, the NSA's conduct is shameful.
If people of religion have a right to voice their opinion, then so should people of no religion. While incendiary and provocative, the message voiced by the American Atheists is not "hateful", as NY state senator Andrew Lanza said.
Now's the time to reform gun laws. This text message exchange between a father and his son during the Arapahoe High shooting is terrifying and heart-rending. There must be a better way forward, because the status quo is needlessly endangering our children. Regardless of what our politicians would have us believe, we believe it's possible both to respect the 2nd Ammendment and to bring sensible controls to gun ownership. (Even 69% of NRA members believe that gun show sales should be subject to criminal background checks.) We have to press our elected leaders about this, because our children should never have to text us about how well they're hiding from a school shooter.
So Target disclosed that criminals somehow accessed credit/debit card information for as many as 40 million of its Black Friday retail customers. Alright, it's settled. We gotta go back to a cash-only society. But seriously, if you shopped in a brick-and-mortar Target store in between November 27 and December 1, double-check your transaction history. This is the the kind of thing that justifies having a positive brand image. The press coverage of it has been relatively light, but we wonder how such a breach would be reported if it were to happen to more divisive brands like Walmart.
Congratulations to everyone involved with P4A (Project for Awesome) the annual YouTube tradition in which individuals upload fundraising videos to raise awareness of their favorite charities. It's supported by ProjectForAwesom
The sky is falling!! Congress is actually gonna pass a budget without delay or chest-beating brinkmanship! And all it took was Boehner having a spine, and a couple experiments by the to prove the obvious. So kudos to Boehner's nascent spine, and a hearty, forceful pat on the back of the 113th Congress for meeting our minimum expectations. For once.
For a couple days the awesome Instapaper app for iOS is free. This lets you easily save articles from the web for reading later on your mobile device. It's a super productivity enhancer for straphangers. Get it while it's hot!
We believe that the NSA mass data collection program is unconstitutional.
We're excited to see more attention given to diversity in holiday representation.
Miracle on Ludlow Street! The LES was removed from SantaCon's official bar crawl route! Hallelujah! Let the vomit and urine floweth in the streets of other neighborhoods! Thankful NBC-NY for airing our complaints. But other hoods have reason to rejoice too. This miraculous snowfall seems to be keeping the sloppy Santas indoors. God really is merciful!