Category Archives: american way


Lipstick feminism is a school of third wave feminism in which women support the belief that it is possible to be a feminist while also displaying femininity, being sex positive, or engaging in other displays of sexuality which earlier generations of feminists once condemned. In the literal sense, lipstick feminists believe that it is possible to wear lipstick and still be called a feminist, since feminism is about much more than how you dress. Some feminists have criticized the lipstick feminism movement because they believe that it is contradictory to engage in displays of sexuality while advocating for equal rights for women.

Makenzie Schultz

Makenzie Schultz1
Makenzie Schultz2
So here’s the deal. Our service tonight sucked. Took 20 minutes to get water, 40 minutes for an appetizer and over an hour for our entree. People all around us were making fun of the restaurant & how bad the service was. Yeah, it was pretty terrible. But, it was very obvious that the issue was being short staffed, not the server. He was running around like crazy and never acted annoyed with any table. At one point we counted he had 12 tables plus the bar. More than any one person could handle! As I sat there and watched him run back & forth and apologize for the wait, I said to Steven… Wow, this used to be us. Waiting tables. I don’t miss it at all and I never loved that job. I did it for the tips. Steven and I agreed it would feel good to make this guys night when he would probably be getting minimal to no tips due to slow service. We walked out before he saw this and I’m not posting this for a pat on the back. I’m just sharing this as a friendly reminder to think of the entire situation, before you judge. And always always always remember where you came from.
— with Steven Schultz.

Charleston Voice, Wikipedia

reagan greets prince bandar ibn saudBandarBush2a-332x345Wright-US-SaudiArabia-2-690

Bandar bin Sultan has formed close relationships with several American presidents, notably George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, the latter giving him the affectionate and controversial nickname “Bandar Bush”. His particularly close relationship with the Bush family was highlighted in Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. He was reportedly so close to George H. W. Bush that he was often described as a member of the former president’s family. He advocated Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in Iraq in March 2003. He encouraged military action against Iraq and supported Dick Cheney’s agenda for “The New Middle East”, which called for pro-democracy programs in both Syria and Iran. Additionally, Prince Bandar’s children supposedly attended the same school where Cheney’s grandchildren were enrolled.

image001-715475Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan is the head of al-Qaeda terrorist group and the founder of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in Syria.
Before ISIS even surfaced publicly this Arabian article from Alalam was written pointing out Bandar not only pulled the strings for Al-Qaeda, but ISIS as well.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is blaming a woman for getting raped by an inmate while at work at a state prison, saying she should have locked the door to her office. The prisoner has a history of rape, including of a woman at another jail.


Time Out editors

NY150 reasons fall in New York is the best

  1. Central Park is suddenly a magical, multicolored wonderland of crunchy-underfoot, leaf-throwing shenanigans.
  2. It’s finally cool enough to drink proper beer again instead of the generic watery crap we’ve been hosing our insides off with all summer.
  3. The color the sky turns right before the sun completely sets.

The New York Times

05EXILE-master675At the Smorgasburg food fair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mikheil Saakashvili motored in fluorescent green sneakers among bearded men with tattoos and women in revealing overalls. They lined up for Cheese Pops, Dun-Well Doughnuts and other local delicacies. He ordered a fresh coconut.
“My friend, one of the biggest sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates, gave Georgia 20,000 palm trees,” Mr. Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, said as he dropped a straw in the machete-opened fruit and emptied its water with a few deep pulls. “As a personal gift.”
Mr. Saakashvili is in self-imposed exile on North Seventh Street — plotting a triumphant return, even as his steep fall from grace serves as a cautionary tale to the many American government officials who had hoped he would be a model exporter of democracy to former Soviet republics.

James Bamford

In Moscow this summer, while reporting a story for Wired magazine, I had the rare opportunity to hang out for three days with Edward J. Snowden. It gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding of who he is and why, as a National Security Agency contractor, he took the momentous step of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom

Matthew M. Burke, Chiyomi Sumida

Once an independent kingdom, the island was occupied by the Chinese, the Japanese and the U.S. Many still harbor resentment for civilian casualties at the end of World War II and the Japanese decision to abandon the island and fortify the mainland after America’s decisive victory there in 1945. Okinawa was reverted back to Japanese control in 1972.
The relocation of Marines from the densely populated center of the island was first advocated in the late 1990s over fears of aircraft crashes. But the plan really gained momentum after the 2004 crash of a CH-53D Sea Stallion into Okinawa International University.
The protesters said the November governor’s election would act as a referendum on the project and let their voices be known to the world. Nakaima is running against Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga and former state minister under the Democratic Party-led government Mikio Shimoji.
Nakaima has drawn fire as of late for signing off on the project in December.
Onaga is adamantly against it, and Shimoji has called for prefectural referendum.
There is also an ongoing lawsuit in U.S. federal court over the effects the runway would have on the dugong, a large sea mammal that uses the bay as a feeding ground.

Central Park Conservancy

strawberry-fields-lStrawberry Fields is a living memorial to John Lennon. This tranquil section of Central Park was named after one of Lennon’s favorite songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The black-and-white mosaic was created by Italian craftsmen and given as a gift by the city of Naples. Based on a Greco-Roman design, it bears the word of another of Lennon’s songs: Imagine.

David Autor, Melanie Wasserman

It is widely assumed that the tra­di­tional male dom­i­na­tion of post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, highly paid occu­pa­tions, and elite pro­fes­sions is a vir­tu­ally immutable fact of the U.S. eco­nomic land­scape. But in real­ity, this land­scape is under­go­ing a tec­tonic shift. Although a sig­nif­i­cant minor­ity of males con­tin­ues to reach the high­est ech­e­lons of achieve­ment in edu­ca­tion and labor mar­kets, the median male is mov­ing in the oppo­site direc­tion. Over the last three decades, the labor mar­ket tra­jec­tory of males in the U.S. has turned down­ward along four dimen­sions: skills acqui­si­tion; employ­ment rates; occu­pa­tional stature; and real wage levels.

  • …these profound changes in family structure reinforce and exacerbate the divergent educational and economic trends of males and females.
  • …the absence of stable fathers from children’s lives has particularly significant adverse consequences for boys’ psychosocial development and educational achievement.
  • …the female advantage in educational attainment is substantially more pronounced in female-headed households and in households where the father is less educated than the mother.

Claire Cain Miller

Things that you can now rent instead of buying: a power drill, a song, a tent, an office for an hour, a Prada handbag, a wedding dress, a painting, a dog, your neighbor’s car, a drone.
This new way of consuming — call it the Netflix economy — is being built by web start-ups that either rent items themselves or serve as middlemen, connecting people who want something with people who own it. They are a growing corner of the broader sharing economy, in which people rent out rooms in their homes on Airbnb or drive people in their cars with Uber or Lyft. Soon, tech entrepreneurs and investors say, we’ll be able to rent much of what we always thought we must own.

Competitiveness Task Force

Japanese companies are more open to reciprocal relationships. Japanese markets are somewhat more open, particularly in consumer products. However, US-Japan differences in regulatory approaches, intellectual property protection, private-sector business practices, and other areas are likely to persist. How quickly opportunities to participate in Japanese and Asian high-technology markets expand will play a major role in determining whether the United States derives maximum economic benefit from science and technology cooperation.

Richard Clarida, William H. Gross

The reality is that now, five years after the global financial crisis, average growth in the global economy is modest and the level of global GDP remains below potential. The global economy has not as of today found a growth model that can generate and distribute global aggregate demand sufficient to absorb bountiful global aggregate supply. Unless and until it does, we will be operating in a multi-speed world with countries converging to historically modest trend rates of potential growth with low inflation. 0% neutral real policy rates for many developed and some developing countries will likely be the investment outcome.
If the future resembles those neutral policy rates, then the investment implications are striking: low returns yet less downside risk than investors currently expect; an end to bull markets as we’ve known them, but no perceptible growling from the bears. The reason is that New Neutral global policy rates lower than currently priced into asset markets allow for a margin of safety that reduces downside risk and minimize bubbles.

Barack Obama

As several people wrote to me, “We should not be the world’s policeman.”
I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions.
America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong.

Lawrence H. Summers

Look at Japan, where gross domestic product today is less than two-thirds of what most observers predicted a generation ago, even though interest rates have been at zero for many years. It is worth emphasizing that Japanese GDP was less disappointing in the five years after the bubbles burst at the end of the 1980s than the US GDP has since 2008.

There is increasing concern that we may be in an era of secular stagnation in which there is insufficient investment demand to absorb all the financial savings done by households and corporations, even with interest rates so low as to risk financial bubbles. Raising demand through greater infrastructure investment is an antidote for such malaise as well as a source of better employment and economic growth.
We live in an ever more interdependent and competitive world. Savings can flow into any country. The fruits of research and development flow globally. Many iconic American companies now earn less than half their profits in the United States.
But one thing that is inherently immobile is our infrastructure. When we put money into strengthening our infrastructure, essentially all of what we spend stays in the United States. Once in place, all the benefits of the infrastructure go to Americans.

Ron Fournier

Every nation has a story. Israel’s is that Arabs have long been unwilling to negotiate with the Jewish state, and that terrorists among the Palestinians want to destroy it. For decades, three significant factors helped make this the dominant Middle East narrative. First, it’s correct, at least when applied to the dangerous minority of Palestinians. Second, elite opinion-makers, including journalists and politicians in the West, embraced and amplified the Israeli case. Finally, public opinion in the West, and particularly in the United States, firmly supported Israel.
The danger lies with the last two factors, starting with the near-monopoly Israel once enjoyed over the mind share of public-opinion elites. Israel must learn to act in a world of democratized media, where tweets and posts and pictures about Gazan casualties reach the global community instantaneously and without filter.
In the United States, younger Americans are far less likely to say Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip are justified. According to Gallup, these are the percentages of Americans who support the Israeli position, grouped by age: 55 percent of those over 65; 53 percent of those between 50 and 64; 36 percent of those 30-49; and just 25 percent of those 18-29.

Abdullah Al-Arian

Prior to the September 11 attacks, the FBI employed 10,500 agents, about 2,500 of whom were dedicated to national security investigations. After 9/11, however, the overall number of agents expanded to 13,600, half of whom became devoted to national security.
The annual budget of the FBI has risen dramatically from $3.1bn in 2001 to $8.4bn in the current fiscal year. Together, expanded budgets, the availability of advanced technological capabilities, and a permissive political climate combined to create an environment where federal law enforcement agencies enjoyed vastly expanded powers but were also expected to demonstrate immediate results.
In the course of investigating American Muslims for possible terrorist threats, the government cast a wide net. It placed tens of thousands of Muslims under constant surveillance, infiltrated community spaces, including mosques, dug through private records, interrogated many Muslims because of their political views and probed for any links to violent activities. These investigations largely turned up nothing, and that was a problem.
In order to continue to justify the robust expenditure of resources and the expansive investigative powers, officials needed results in the form of thwarted terrorist plots that demonstrated to American citizens that unless the FBI acted, the next attack was right around the corner. That climate of fear helped rationalise many of the country’s worst civil liberties violations committed under the Bush Administration and consolidated as standard practice during Obama’s presidency. To sustain the perception of the threat, one had to be created where it did not exist.



Walter Lohman, John Fleming, Olivia Enos

Asia is home to the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies and several of the most economically free nations in the world. The U.S. does more trade with Asia than with any other region of the world. Asian firms invest in America in a very big way, creating jobs and economic opportunity. More and more Asians are immigrating to the United States to improve their futures; they, in turn, improve America’s.
There is also a dark side. Historical tensions in the region threaten to boil over. Borders have been sorting out for decades, but those that remain in dispute—or newly disputed—are major flashpoints. The roots of liberal democracy are not yet very deep. There are alternative models of governance and nightmare regimes. There is also competition for the liberal vision that America has fashioned, and challenges to the predominant American military might that has guaranteed it. History has taught that without its proactive leadership, this volatile mix has a way of drawing America in. Our twentieth century wars in Asia are testament to the tragic results for both America and our friends and allies.
There is tremendous upside to the shift in global power and wealth to the Pacific and America’s Near West. For the sake of our own nation, we need to understand and grasp the opportunity. We also need to make the strategic investments and commitments necessary to guard against risk. The upside will not accrue to the U.S. without deep, positive involvement in the life of the region, and the downside will not be managed without our presence.
It is time to take a new view of Asia fully cognizant of all that is at stake in our continuing to carry the responsibility of leadership.

The National Committee on North Korea

On May 29, 2014, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a markup for H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act. As originally introduced, H.R. 1771 drew significant inspiration from sanctions imposed against Iran, introducing secondary sanctions against foreign businesses and governments doing business with North Korean entities targeted by the US. Outlined below are some of the key elements of the new legislation:

  • Mandates sanctions against entities determined by the President to have engaged in transactions with North Korea related to WMD proliferation, arms, luxury goods exports, money laundering and other illicit activities, censorship, or serious human rights abuses.
  • Grants the President discretionary authority to sanction entities that engage in or facilitate the violation of applicable UN Security Council resolutions; that facilitate the transfer of funds for an entity sanctioned by an Executive Order or the UN Security Council; or that have contributed to the bribery of or misappropriation of public funds by a North Korean official.
  • Urges the President “in the strongest terms” to consider designating North Korea as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the Patriot Act, and requires the Treasury Department to determine whether there are reasonable grounds for concluding that North Korea is a jurisdiction of money laundering concern.
  • Directs the President to withhold aid to any country that provides or receives lethal military equipment from North Korea.
  • Directs the Department of Homeland Security to impose enhanced inspection requirements for any cargo landed in the US that has been transported through a port or airport deemed deficient at preventing the facilitation of sanctioned activities.
  • Requires the State Department to submit a report identifying individuals responsible for serious human rights abuses or censorship in North Korea, making specific findings about the responsibility of Kim Jong Un and each member of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, and for the President to sanction such individuals.

Daniel J. Mitchell

The current debate between advocates of “austerity” and “growth” is frustrating for anyone who supports limited government. Austerity folks assert that deficits are economic poison and that balanced budgets, largely achieved with higher taxes, should be the goal of fiscal policy. So-called growth advocates believe more government deficit spending will boost economic performance.
Both miss the point. What matters, as Milton Friedman taught us, is the size of government. That’s the measure of how much national income is being redistributed and reallocated by Washington. Spending often is wasteful and counterproductive whether it’s financed by taxes or borrowing.
Rather than fixating on deficits and debt, I suggest another goal: Ensure that government spending, over time, grows more slowly than the private economy. Evidence from economies around the world shows this is the best path to bring down deficits and nurture prosperity.
Call it the golden rule of fiscal policy. … that would reduce the relative size of government and enable better economic performance by allowing more resources to be allocated by markets rather than government officials.

Mary Clare Jalonick

Congress wants to keep pizza and french fries on school lunch lines, fighting back against an Obama administration proposal to make school lunches healthier.
The final version of a spending bill would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier, which included limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line and delaying limits on sodium and delaying a requirement to boost whole grains.
The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to prevent that.
Food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes, and some conservatives in Congress say the federal government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat.

Dylan Stableford

Asked which U.S. president of the past 25 years they admired most, 42 percent named President Bill Clinton — more than twice the percentage of any other president.
USpresidentsThe other three received roughly the same amount of admirers:
President Barack Obama (18 percent),
President George W. Bush (17 percent) and
President George H. W. Bush (16 percent).

Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

clinton-initiativeA Commitment to Action—the defining feature of CGI—is a plan for addressing a significant global challenge. Commitments can be small or large and financial or nonmonetary in nature. Many commitments are the result of cross-sector partnerships, with CGI members combining efforts to expand their impact. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
CGI supports the development of commitments by facilitating dialogue, providing opportunities to identify partners, showcasing the actions taken by commitment-makers, and communicating results. CGI serves as a catalyst for action, but does not engage in the actual implementation of commitments.
Every CGI Commitment must meet three basic criteria: new, specific and measurable.

Larry Kotlikoff

​The Social Security Administration’s benefit online calculators aren’t to be trusted for use for people under age 60, even for someone who is single and was never married and will never marry. The reason is that unless you change their assumptions, they assume (in contradiction to the Social Security Trustees’ Report’s own assumptions) that the economy will experience zero economy-wide average real wage growth and zero inflation between now and the end of time. That’s an odd assumption for an economy that’s experienced positive average real wage growth rates as well as inflation for each of almost all the postwar years.
But it’s intentionally used to produce low-ball benefit estimates so people will save more on their own and they won’t be so hurt if the system’s benefits are cut in the future, which seems likely.

Chamomile Tea Party

losing_competitive_edgeThe Chamomile Tea Party was formed in 2010 to work towards a more effective dialogue about the future of America. Congress has become paralyzed by partisan politics. There has been so much rhetoric it has become almost impossible to get any important legislation passed. And Americans are suffering. We are no longer interested, nor can we support “politics as usual.”
To this end, graphic designer Jeff Gates has been remixing World War II propaganda posters with new text about the rancor so prevalent in American political and cultural discourse. The posters send a message to the “powers that be” that we are hurting ourselves as a country and as a people. In addition, the posters are meant to be used by the electorate to aid in voicing their concerns.

Louis Thomas Hardin

Moondog_dressed_as_OdinFrom the late 1940s until 1974, Moondog (Louis Thomas Hardin) lived as a street musician and poet in New York City, busking mostly on the corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. He was not homeless however, or at least not often—he maintained an apartment in upper Manhattan for most of his life. In addition to his music and poetry, he was also known for the distinctive fanciful “Viking” garb that he wore, which included a horned helmet. He partially supported himself by selling copies of his poetry and his musical philosophy. Because of his street post’s proximity to the famed 52nd Street nightclub strip, he was well-known to many jazz musicians and fans.

D’Vera Cohn, Nate Cohn

2010censusraceMillions of Americans counted in the 2000 census changed their race or Hispanic-origin categories when they filled out their 2010 census forms. Hispanics, Americans of mixed race, American Indians and Pacific Islanders were among those most likely to check different boxes from one census to the next.


Hispanics are often described as driving up the nonwhite share of the population. But a new study of census forms finds that more Hispanics are identifying as white.

Miya Tokumitsu

There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem is that it leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate — and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.
Superficially, DWYL is an uplifting piece of advice, urging us to ponder what it is we most enjoy doing and then turn that activity into a wage-generating enterprise. But why should our pleasure be for profit? Who is the audience for this dictum? Who is not?
The DWYL dream is, true to its American mythology, superficially democratic. PhDs can do what they love, making careers that indulge their love of the Victorian novel and writing thoughtful essays in the New York Review of Books. High school grads can also do it, building prepared food empires out of their Aunt Pearl’s jam recipe. The hallowed path of the entrepreneur always offers this way out of disadvantaged beginnings, excusing the rest of us for allowing those beginnings to be as miserable as they are. In America, everyone has the opportunity to do what he or she loves and get rich.

Jen Caron

A few weeks ago, as I settled into an exceptionally crowded midday class, a young, fairly heavy black woman put her mat down directly behind mine. It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. …
Because I was directly in front of her, I had no choice but to look straight at her every time my head was upside down. Even when I wasn’t positioned to stare directly at her, I knew she was still staring directly at me. Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.
I was completely unable to focus on my practice, instead feeling hyper-aware of my high-waisted bike shorts, my tastefully tacky sports bra, my well-versedness in these poses that I have been in hundreds of times. My skinny white girl body. Surely this woman was noticing all of these things and judging me for them, stereotyping me, resenting me—or so I imagined. …
I thought about how even though yoga comes from thousands of years of south Asian tradition, it’s been shamelessly co-opted by Western culture as a sport for skinny, rich white women. I thought about my beloved donation-based studio that I’ve visited for years, in which classes are very big and often very crowded and no one will try to put a scented eye pillow on your face during savasana. …
I realized with horror that despite the all-inclusivity preached by the studio, despite the purported blindness to socioeconomic status, despite the sizeable population of regular Asian students, black students were few and far between. And in the large and constantly rotating roster of instructors, I could only ever remember two being black.

Henry Lamb

The foundation for global governance is the belief that the world is now ready to accept a “global civic ethic” based on “a set of core values that can unite people of all cultural, political, religious, or philosophical backgrounds.” This belief is reinforced by another belief: “that governance should be underpinned by democracy at all levels and ultimately by the rule of enforceable law.”
The report says: “We believe that all humanity could uphold the core values of respect for life, liberty, justice and equity, mutual respect, caring, and integrity.” In the fine print, these lofty values lose much of their appeal. Respect for life, for example, is not limited to human life. “Respect for life” actually means equal respect for all life. The Global Biodiversity Assessment (Section 9), prepared under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, describes in great detail the biocentric view that “humans are one strand in nature’s web,” consistent with the biocentric view that all life has equal intrinsic value. Some segments of humanity may balk at extending to trees, bugs, and grizzly bears the same respect for life that is extended to human beings.

Tom DeWeese

“Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual and material) where humans are one strand in nature’s web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature’s rhythms.” from the UN’s Biodiversity Treaty presented at the 1992 UN Earth Summit.
This quote lays down the ground rules for the entire Sustainable Development agenda. It says humans are nothing special – just one strand in the nature of things or, put another way, humans are simply biological resources. Sustainablist policy is to oversee any issue in which man reacts with nature – which, of course, is literally everything. And because the environment always comes first, there must be great restrictions over private property ownership and control. This is necessary, Sustainablists say, because humans only defile nature. In fact, the report from the 1976 UN Habitat I conference said: “Land …cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice.”

Andy Worthington

In its latest release of classified US documents, WikiLeaks is shining the light of truth on a notorious icon of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” — the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which opened on January 11, 2002, and remains open under President Obama, despite his promise to close the much-criticized facility within a year of taking office.
In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo — 765 out of 779 in total — are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.
These memoranda, known as Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), contain JTF-GTMO’s recommendations about whether the prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred to their home governments, or to other governments). They consist of a wealth of important and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example, and, in the cases of the majority of the 172 prisoners who are still held, photos (mostly for the first time ever).

Uncomfortable facts like these are not revealed in the deliberations of the Joint Task Force, but they are crucial to understanding why what can appear to be a collection of documents confirming the government’s scaremongering rhetoric about Guantánamo — the same rhetoric that has paralyzed President Obama, and revived the politics of fear in Congress — is actually the opposite: the anatomy of a colossal crime perpetrated by the US government on 779 prisoners who, for the most part, are not and never have been the terrorists the government would like us to believe they are.

Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

WikinomicsIn the last few years, traditional collaboration—in a meeting room, a conference call, even a convention center—has been superceded by collaborations on an astronomical scale.
Today, encyclopedias, jetliners, operating systems, mutual funds, and many other items are being created by teams numbering in the thousands or even millions. While some leaders fear the heaving growth of these massive online communities, Wikinomics proves this fear is folly.

Wikinomics is based on four ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally.

Martin Schoeller, Lise Funderburg

These are obviously not Photoshopped projections, but real people, meaning tomorrow’s America lives among us now in every “Blackanese,” “Filatino,” “Chicanese” and “Korgentinian” you meet at the DMV, grocery store or wherever it is you hang out.

New York Times

MayDay1Moving Day was a tradition in New York City dating back to colonial times and lasting until after World War II. On February 1, sometimes known as “Rent Day”, landlords would give notice to their tenants what the new rent would be after the end of the quarter, the tenants would spend good-weather days in the early spring searching for new houses and the best deals and on the first of May all leases in the city expired simultaneously at 9:00 am, causing thousands of people to change their residences, all at the same time.

Michelle Obama

ObamaBecause in America, we believe that no matter where you live or how much money your parents have, or what race or religion or ethnicity you are, if you work hard and believe in yourself, then you should have a chance to succeed.
You see, the truth is that I grew up like many of you. My mom, my dad, my brother and I, we lived in a tiny apartment in Chicago.
My father worked at the local water plant. And we didn’t have much money, but our little home was bursting with love.
Persevering was not easy. But whenever I got tired or discouraged, I would just think about how hard my parents were working for me. And I would remember something my mother always told me — she said, “A good education is something that no one can take away from you.”
The school was very far from my home, so I had to get up early every morning and ride a bus for an hour, sometimes an hour and a half if the weather was bad. And every afternoon, I’d ride that same bus back home and then immediately start my homework, often studying late into the night — and sometimes I would wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning to study even more. …
We also believe that everyone is equal, and that we all have the right to say what we think and worship as we choose, even when others don’t like what we say or don’t always agree with what we believe.

Jim Taylor

Motion picture studios want to control the home release of movies in different countries because theater releases aren’t simultaneous (a movie may come out on video in the U.S. when it’s just hitting screens in Europe). Also, studios sell distribution rights to different foreign distributors and would like to guarantee an exclusive market. Therefore they required that the DVD standard include codes to prevent playback of certain discs in certain geographical regions. Each player is given a code for the region in which it’s sold. The player will refuse to play discs that are not coded for its region. This means that a disc bought in one country may not play on a player bought in another country. Some people believe that region codes are an illegal restraint of trade, but no legal cases have established this.
Regional codes are entirely optional for the maker of a disc. Discs without region locks will play on any player in any country. It’s not an encryption system, it’s just one byte of information on the disc that the player checks. Some studios originally announced that only their new releases would have regional codes, but so far almost all Hollywood releases play in only one region. Region codes are a permanent part of the disc, they won’t “unlock” after a period of time. Region codes don’t apply to DVD-Audio, DVD-ROM, or recordable DVD.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York)

enhanced-buzz-22895-1391727596-18Service Inadequacies

Jan 1 – Dec 31
At the Most Inconvenient Possible Times

G trains will no longer run on any schedule.
They will show up if and when we feel like it.

Exactly how am I going to be screwed by this?
・ By the time a train shows up, you’ll have forgotten where you were going.
・ Wait, why do we care care how this inconveniences you?
・ Don’t like it? Consider alternate service on the F M train.
・ PS – We’re still raising fares.

Why is this happening to me?
We don’t know. We don’t care. We could make something up for you. Track work. Signal malfunctions. Evil genetically modified orangutans loose in the tunnel. But it’s not going to change the fact that you’re not going anywhere.

Nicholas Kristof

The biggest forum for sex trafficking of under-age girls in the United States appears to be a Web site called This emporium for girls and women — some under age or forced into prostitution — is in turn owned by an opaque private company called Village Voice Media. Until now it has been unclear who the ultimate owners are.
That mystery is solved. The owners turn out to include private equity financiers, including Goldman Sachs with a 16 percent stake.
Goldman Sachs was mortified when I began inquiring last week about its stake in America’s leading Web site for prostitution ads. It began working frantically to unload its shares, and on Friday afternoon it called to say that it had just signed an agreement to sell its stake to management.
“We had no influence over operations,” Andrea Raphael, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, told me.
Let’s back up for a moment. There’s no doubt that many escort ads on Backpage are placed by consenting adults. But it’s equally clear that Backpage plays a major role in the trafficking of minors or women who are coerced. In one recent case in New York City, prosecutors say that a 15-year-old girl was drugged, tied up, raped and sold to johns through Backpage and other sites.
Backpage has 70 percent of the market for prostitution ads, according to AIM Group.

Paul Krugman

Recently the Federal Reserve released transcripts of its monetary policy meetings during the fateful year of 2008. And, boy, are they discouraging reading.
Partly that’s because Fed officials come across as essentially clueless about the gathering economic storm. But we knew that already. What’s really striking is the extent to which they were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation.

Juliet Eilperin

A century-old debate over whether presidents should reward political donors and allies by making them ambassadors has flared again after a string of embarrassing gaffes by President Obama’s picks.
The nominee for ambassador to Norway, for example, prompted outrage in Oslo by characterizing one of the nation’s ruling parties as extremist. A soap- opera producer slated for Hungary appeared to have little knowledge of the country she would be living in. A prominent Obama bundler nominated to be ambassador to Argentina acknowledged that he had never set foot in the country and isn’t fluent in Spanish.
Even former senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the new U.S. ambassador in Beijing, managed to raise eyebrows during his confirmation hearing by acknowledging, “I’m no real expert on China.”

Brian Bergstein

MITtrMIT Technology Review’s list of the 50 Smartest Companies
It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it. When such a company commercializes a truly innovative technology, things happen: leadership in a market is bolstered or thrown up for grabs. Competitors have to refine or rethink their strategies.
This is what the editors of MIT Technology Review looked for as we assembled this list. We didn’t count patents or PhDs; instead, we asked whether a company had made strides in the past year that will define its field. The biggest of these strides happened at Illumina, which is driving down the price of DNA sequencing to levels that will change the practice of medicine. We also found dramatic developments on the Web, in batteries, and even in agricultural technologies.
Familiar names such as Apple and Facebook aren’t on this list because reputation doesn’t matter. We’re highlighting where important innovations are happening right now.


Christopher Layne

If the United States fails to adopt an offshore balancing strategy based on multipolarity and military and ideological self-restraint, it probably will, at some point, have to ªght to uphold its primacy, which is a potentially dangerous strategy. Maintaining U.S. hegemony is a game that no longer is worth the candle, especially given that U.S. primacy may already be in the early stages of erosion. Paradoxically, attempting to sustain U.S. primacy may well hasten its end by stimulating more intensive efforts to balance against the United States, thus causing the United States to become imperially overstretched and involving it in unnecessary wars that will reduce its power. Rather than risking these outcomes, the United States should begin to retrench strategically and capitalize on the advantages accruing to insular great powers in multipolar systems. Unilateral offshore balancing, indeed, is America’s next grand strategy.



Guru Corporation

democratic-donkeyThe Democrats were first to use the donkey as their representative symbol. The donkey represents the Democrats’ beginning 1828. The running President of 1828 was President Andrew Jackson and he was labeled as a “jackass” due to his populist views and stubborn nature. His main slogan was, “Let the people rule.” Although the cartoon was depicted to mock him, it was later adopted by Jackson himself to represent his Democratic party in 1837.

republican-elephantSome believe that being a Republican influenced Thomas Nast on choosing a bull elephant to represent his party. However, the Republican elephant was not as intentional as Jackson’s donkey. It was formed through a series of events involving New York’s two popular magazines, The Herald and The Harper’s Weekly. The Herald once ran a story of zoo animals being let loose and roaming in New York’s Central Park looking for prey. Cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a cartoon of a donkey wearing lion’s skin, chasing away all the animals (given below). This cartoon was a metaphor for President Ulysses S. Grant whom was running for third term presidency and there was a significant amount of conflict in the Democratic Party. This was one reason that the cartoon included a panicked elephant bearing the label, “Republican Vote.” Ever since then, the elephant became the Republican Party’s its main symbol.

The New York Times’s Editorial Board

In recent years developing countries like Brazil complained that the United States and other industrialized countries were waging a “currency war” against them by artificially driving down the value of dollars, euros and yen. Now officials in some nations, like Argentina and Turkey, are blaming foreign “vultures” and “the interest rate lobby” for the sharp depreciation of their currencies.
Policy makers fear any big and sudden changes in the value of their currencies. A rapid appreciation makes their country’s exports less competitive on the world market, while a fast depreciation raises the cost of imported commodities like oil and makes it harder for governments to repay loans they took out in dollars or euros.
So it should come as no surprise that officials are upset by the recent market movements. But their anger is misplaced. …
Blaming the Fed is particularly misguided. Its bond-buying program, which was always meant to be temporary, has lowered interest rates and offset some of the damage from the financial crisis, though not nearly enough. Had the Fed not intervened, the global economy would have suffered a much deeper and longer recession.

Dieter Arnold

DendurThe temple was removed from its original site (about 80 kilometers south of the town of Aswan) in 1963 in order to save it from being submerged by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. In recognition of the American assistance in saving various other monuments threatened by the dam’s construction, Egypt presented the temple and its gate as a gift to the United States of America, represented by – among others – Jacqueline Kennedy, in 1965. The stone blocks of the temple weighed more than 800 tons in total with the largest pieces weighing more than 6.5 tons. They were packed in 661 crates and transported to the United States by the freighter m/v Concordia Star. On April 27, 1967, the temple was awarded to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was installed in the Sackler Wing in 1978.

Tim Cornwell, Andrea Reiher, Postmedia News

So who’s telling lies: the swinging Sultan or the `white slave’ beauty?


Shannon_MarketicShannon Marketic, who competed as Miss California and was crowned Miss USA in 1992, was arrested for shoplifting in Denton, TX, according to police. She was charged with shoplifting goods from a Target store.
The total worth of the items was roughly $87. Marketic was freed on a $500 bond. This is not her first run-in with the law. She was also arrested at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 2007 for public intoxication. She told police she thought she was in Washington D.C. at the time.

Hassanal_BolkiahSultan Hassanal Bolkiah has been “absolute ruler” of Brunei since 1967 and amended the country’s constitution to make himself “infallible” in 2006. His government has been accused of arbitrary detention; limiting freedoms of press, speech and assembly; restricting religious freedom; discriminating against women; restricting labour rights; and exploitation of foreign workers. Bolkiah said he will rule Brunei according to Islamic Sharia laws beginning this year, legalizing the stoning to death of adulterers and the cutting off of hands of thieves.

Mindy Aguon

The U.S. Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act and the Calvo Administration confirms that it includes funding for Guam’s military buildup. The NDAA allows for about half a billion dollars of infrastructure projects related to the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. This construction activity will be a boost to Guam’s economy.
“The buildup is back on,” Governor Calvo said. “I thank Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, our friends in Congress, the Obama administration, and members of my team for continuously pushing to fund critical projects so the buildup can begin. I am so very excited!”

Michael Mandel

Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, can justifiably boast about New York’s rise to prominence as a “digital city.” On his watch, the technology and information sector has become the city’s second-most-powerful economic engine, after financial services. New York now has 10 percent of the country’s jobs in the “Internet publishing and web search portal” industry, up from just over 6 percent in 2007.
Surprisingly, over the past couple of years, the city’s minority populations have been among the main beneficiaries of this boom. Since 2010, the number of blacks working in computer and mathematical occupations — the Census Bureau’s term for tech-related jobs — in the city has risen by 19.7 percent, based on a preliminary analysis of new census data.
Over the same stretch, the number of Hispanics in such occupations in New York City has risen by 25.4 percent. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites in computer and mathematical occupations experienced just a 6.4 percent gain since 2010.

Harry S. Truman

If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word.

We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. … If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

Stop Watching Us

Dear Members of Congress,

We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States.

The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by an intelligence contractor showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.

Leaked reports also published by the Guardian and confirmed by the Administration reveal that the NSA is also abusing a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act to collect the call records of millions of Verizon customers. The data collected by the NSA includes every call made, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for millions of Verizon customers, including entirely domestic calls, regardless of whether those customers have ever been suspected of a crime. The Wall Street Journal has reported that other major carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, are subject to similar secret orders.

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.

We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

  1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
  2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
  3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

John Koster

HarryDexterWhiteThe NKVD, predecessor of the KGB, knew that a war with the United States would divert Japan from its ambitions in Mongolia and Siberia—threats that tied up 25% of the Red Army—and allow Russia to deploy its full military power against the Germans. Fortunately for Stalin, his intelligence service had an “agent of influence” in Washington perfectly situated to provoke a U.S.-Japanese war—Harry Dexter White (see the photo on the left), a high-ranking Treasury official.
Skillfully manipulating his boss, Henry Morgenthal Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, and Stanley Hornbeck, the State Department’s expert on Asia, who hated the Japanese and believed that Asians were naturally timid and easily bluffed, White was able to turn U.S. policy toward Japan in an increasingly belligerent direction. When FDR almost agreed to relax a U.S. oil embargo in return for Japan’s gradual evacuation of China, White drafted a hysterical letter for Morgenthau’s signature:

To sell China to her enemies for the thirty blood-stained coins of gold, will not only weaken our national policy in Europe as well as the Far East, but will dim the bright luster of America’s world leadership in the great democratic fight against Fascism.

Instead of compromising, the United States demanded that Japan withdraw from China immediately, neutralize Manchuria, and sell three-quarters of its military and naval production to the U.S.
Perceiving the demand as an insult and a threat, the skittish Japanese government concluded that war was inevitable. They moved ahead with a contingency plan for an attack on the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and Stalin, thanks to Harry Dexter White, were spared a war on his eastern flank.

Michael Snyder

The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing.
When this news came out, it sent shockwaves through financial markets all over the planet. But the truth is that not that much has really changed. The Federal Reserve will still be recklessly creating gigantic mountains of new money out of thin air and massively intervening in the financial marketplace. It will just be slightly less than before. However, this very well could represent a very important psychological turning point for investors. It is a signal that “the party is starting to end” and that the great bull market of the past four years is drawing to a close. So what is all of this going to mean for average Americans? The following are 8 ways that “the taper” is going to affect you and your family…
  1. Interest rates are going to go up
  2. Home sales are likely going to go down
  3. Your stocks are going to go down
  4. The money in your bank account is constantly being devalued
  5. Quantitative easing has been causing the cost of living to rise
  6. Quantitative easing did not reduce unemployment and tapering won’t either
  7. The rest of the world is going to continue to lose faith in our financial system
  8. The economy as a whole is going to continue to get even worse
So don’t believe the hype. The economy is getting worse, not better. Quantitative easing did not “rescue the economy”, but it sure has made our long-term problems a whole lot worse. And this “tapering” is not a sign of better things to come. Rather, it is a sign that the bubble of false prosperity that we have been enjoying for the past few years is beginning to end.

Tia Ghose

Doomsday: 9 Real Ways Earth Could End

  • Snowball effect
  • Overpopulation
  • Robot ascension
  • Nuclear war
  • Fungus among us
  • Engineered disaster
  • Pandemic threat
  • Asteroid!
  • Global warming

Stephanie Pappas

Doom and Gloom: Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Worlds

  • The Bible
  • 28 Days Later
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • There Will Come Soft Rains
  • The Road
  • The Hunger Games
  • Oryx and Crake
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Wish
  • Mad Max
  • Planet of the Apes

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company (MITIMCo)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) announced today that MIT’s unitized pool of endowment and other MIT funds generated an investment return of 11.1 percent during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. At the end of that fiscal year, MIT’s endowment funds totaled $11 billion, including pledges.
The goal of MIT’s endowment is to support current and future generations of MIT scholars with the resources they need. As such, endowment funds are used for Institute activities including education, research, capital projects, faculty work and student financial aid.
The Institute’s need-blind undergraduate admissions policy ensures that an MIT education is accessible to all qualified candidates regardless of financial resources. MIT provides financial aid to meet the full cost of an MIT education, based on the calculated need of the family. In 2012-13, the average financial aid award for need-based-aid recipients was $40,952. Currently, 61 percent of MIT undergraduates receive need-based financial aid, and 32 percent of MIT students receive scholarship funding sufficient to cover the total cost of tuition.
MITIMCo is a division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created to manage and oversee the investment of the Institute’s endowment, retirement and operating funds. As of June 30, 2013, MITIMCo had approximately $17 billion of total assets under management.

MIT’s Report of the Treasurer for fiscal year 2013

Richard Leon

— There is the very real prospect that the (NSA) program will go on for as long as America is combatting terrorism, which realistically could be forever!
— I believe that bulk telephony metadata collection and analysis almost certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy.
— I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.
(Leon referred to a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, Smith v. Maryland, that the government has cited in arguing that no one has an expectation of privacy for the telephone data that phone companies keep as business records. The court ruled then that police didn’t need a warrant to obtain such phone records, but Leon said technology has changed dramatically since then.)
— When do present-day circumstances — the evolutions in the government’s surveillance capabilities, citizens’ phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and telecom companies — become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court 34 years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not a apply? The answer, unfortunately for the government, is now.
The almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived of in 1979.
— I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate‘ and ‘arbitrary invasion‘ than this systemic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for the purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy‘ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,‘ would be aghast.
— Of course, the public has no interest in saving the government from the burdens of complying with the Constitution! Then the government frets that such an order ‘could ultimately have a degrading effect on the utility of the program if the injunction is this case precipitated successful requests for such relief by other litigants.‘ … I will leave it to other judges to decide how to handle any future litigation in their courts.

Bain & Company

bain-40Our people make us different—energetic about supporting and challenging our clients in equal measure. We’re passionate about making a measurable impact in all we do. Our unique culture and approach deliver enduring results, true to each client’s specific situation. We’ll always do the right thing by our clients, our people and our communities.
We care for our clients’ business as our business. We think and act like business partners, not academic advisors. We share our clients’ aspirations, work to understand their reality, and align our incentives with their objectives—so they know we’re in this together.


Hi Guys,
We’re aware of this issue, and are looking into possible solutions.
We will be sure to post an update once we have further information.
Indeed, this issue was caused by a change in Amazon’s policy, but Payoneer realizes the importance of this issue. I’m sorry if that wasn’t made clear on your chat with our support team.
It’s important to realize that Payoneer has very little control over this change, however we will do what we can to attempt to find a solution.
It’s possible that this is a new policy implemented by Amazon, or that this is simply something they are reviewing before they make a final decision. We are doing our best to contact them and get further information regarding the issue of non-US residents receiving US direct deposit payments (as this was possible, and only recently seems to be removed as an option). As soon as we have an update, we will post it on the forum.
It’s possible that this tooltip refers to the payment method being US based, meaning for associates that can receive US direct deposit transfers. As you mentioned, the option was added again for international associates, and you should now be able to receive your Amazon Associates payments via Payoneer again.

Step-By-Step Self-Publishing

(I publish with CreateSpace, and I am getting 30% taken out of my royalty checks because I’m a foreign author. I’m in Canada, which has a tax treaty with the US. How am I being taxed? What percentage?)
Canada has a very good tax treaty with the US. Your royalties will be taxed at either 5% or 10% max. In reality, it’s less than that, because you get an exemption on the first few thousand dollars of income.
However, without an ITIN, any money that you earn on US soil will be automatically withheld at 30%. You must file an application for the ITIN (Form W-7) in order to stop the automatic withholding. Your other option is to just let CreateSpace withhold, and then file a tax return (Form 1040NR, Nonresident US Tax Return) and file the application for the ITIN at the same time.
You only need to file for an ITIN once. After that, you are pretty much done. You will not even have a filing requirement if your royalties do not exceed the exemption amount (which is $3,700 in 2011 and goes up every year). That is assuming that your country has a tax treaty with the US.

Urban Dictionary

just kidding

You were just joking around with somebody.
You were actually serious but decided what you said was actually very mean.
You were actually serious but since that person took what you said offensively you cover it up by saying just kidding.
You soften a direct insult by saying it was just a joke, although you still mean the insult.
Something you should not say after I love you.


Information is data that is available to humans through the normal means of perception like sight, hearing, touch and maybe others.
Information aquired by humans is knowledge, knowledge combined with experience is wisdom.


Wisdom is knowing what you know as well as what you don’t know.
Wisdom is not simply knowing what to do, but doing it.
Many people will without invitation offer their “words of wisdom”, wise people realize when it is not their time or place to do so.
A wise person does not think less of another who chooses not to follow their advice.
Wisdom is not undermining a person for their weaknesses, but appreciating their strengths differ from yours.

Ray D. Madoff

The government does its own charitable giving, in the form of tax deductions. When an individual makes a donation to a qualifying organization, the federal government essentially pays a portion of that donation: A $1,000 donation from a donor in the highest tax bracket costs that donor only $604. The federal government kicks in the remaining $396 in the form of a reduction in taxes.
These charitable donations are estimated to cost the federal government almost $40 billion this year alone and over half a trillion dollars in the next 10 years. What is the public getting for this investment of resources? Sadly, not enough.
The federal government too often provides the deduction for donations that offer little or no benefit.

Annie Gowen

CONTRACTHILL0011367597711Alan J. Dabbiere — a tech millionaire with a low profile and deep pockets — arrived here in 2006 with no job and few local contacts, fresh from two years living with his wife and the first of his four children on his 115-foot Italian yacht.
Since then, his mobile management company, Airwatch, which barely existed four years ago, has gone on to remarkable success in commercial industry and the public sector. In his private life, Dabbiere joined the boards of the Potomac School and the Inova Health Foundation. And after plunking down $8.2 million, he became the steward of Hickory Hill, the Georgian estate in McLean, Va., where Kennedy and his family once lived.
Dabbiere, 52, represents a new breed in the Washington region. Over the past 30 years, an influx of deep-pocketed CEOs, executives and company founders have helped drive the transformation of the area from a buttoned-down capital into the most highly educated and affluent place in the country.
They may see the nation’s capital as “the epicenter of everything,” as one of Dabbiere’s colleagues put it, but they’re not necessarily interested in politics. Rather, they’re creating and selling companies in fields such as biotech, cybersecurity, cloud computing and data mining. If they sell to the federal government, they’re more likely to see Uncle Sam as another client, rather than as a platform to change the world.
In recent years, the Washington area has seen a dramatic rise in “1-percenters,” households that make about $400,000 or more. Their ranks have jumped 65 percent in the past decade, from 32,000 people to 53,000. That growth has spawned a plethora of high-end retail establishments, restaurants that serve $22 cocktails and $110-a-night pet spas with doggie lap pools.

Salvador Atasoy

Lang wurde spekuliert. Nun ist klar: Die USA liessen auf Schweizer Boden spionieren. Über Jahre. Unter Missachtung der Schweizer Gesetze. Und gegen direkte Anweisungen des Bundesrates. Das zeigen Dokumente, die der SonntagsZeitung vorliegen. Von 2005 an – und möglicherweise bis heute – observierten Agenten in Genf Konsulate, Missionen und UNO-Einrichtungen im Umkreis von einem Kilometer zur US-Mission. Nun reagiert die Bundesanwaltschaft. Am Donnerstag hat sie ein Strafverfahren eröffnet.
Die US-Regierung schrieb den Auftrag 2005 aus. Online, für jeden einsehbar. Gesucht wurden «Sicherheitsspezialisten» für die US-Mission in Genf. «Wer etwas vom Fach versteht, dem war klar, dass es hier um Ermittlungsarbeit auf Schweizer Boden geht», sagt ein Brancheninsider im Gespräch mit der SonntagsZeitung. Die Arbeitsinstruktionen seien derart detailliert, dass sie ein ganzes Ringbuch füllten. Und sie verstiessen reihenweise gegen Schweizer Gesetze – etwa gegen Artikel 271: «Verbotene Handlungen für einen fremden Staat.»

Von hier aus observierten Agenten ab 2005 alles im Umkreis von einem Kilometer
Foto: Lionel Flusin

Steve Rothwell

Thanksgiving Day is no longer all about turkey: It’s eating away at Black Friday shopping.
U.S. shoppers spent $9.74 billion on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. That’s a drop of 13.2 percent compared with last year, according to data released on Saturday by research firm ShopperTrak.
The decline appears to show that more Americans shopped on the holiday itself: Combined spending on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which had been considered the official start to the holiday buying season until this year, rose 2.3 percent to $12.3 billion.
The data reflects that Thanksgiving, which along with Christmas was one of two days a year that most stores were closed, is becoming an important day for major retailers.
Black Friday is a time when big retailers open early and offer deep discounts, but a few started opening and offering those discounts on Thanksgiving a couple years ago. And this year, at least a dozen did so, with a few opening earlier in the holiday than they did last year.
The National Retail Federation, a retail trade group, predicted that 33 million, or almost a quarter, of the 140 million people who planned to shop during the four-day holiday weekend that ends on Sunday, would do so on Thanksgiving. Analysts had questioned whether the holiday openings would steal sales away from Black Friday or result in people spending more overall.

Bob Garfield

The estimable online publication BuzzFeed has changed the rules of critical engagement. All I can say is “Bravo!”
At least, if I were writing book reviews for BuzzFeed that’s all I could say, because at BuzzFeed there is no room in the literary criticism section for, you know, criticism. Finally, in an online world of gratuitous snark, one courageous editor has displayed the vision to give thumbs down to thumbs down. You read that right: no negative reviews.
… To my way of thinking, BuzzFeed’s heroic initiative will succeed even if it merely eradicates the depressing negativity that has for so long kept literary criticism from becoming a full-fledged economic sector, like agriculture, transport and erectile dysfunction.
It also brings us one step closer to my two lifelong dreams: first, a newspaper that delivers only good news; and second, diet bacon.

Pamela Druckerman

The Americans in Paris tend to fall into three categories. There are the fantasists — people nourished by Hemingway and Sartre, who are enthralled with the idea of living here. The moneyed version of this person lives as close as possible to the Eiffel Tower. The Bohemian version teaches English or tends bar, to finance his true vocation: being in France.
Then there are the denialists — often here for a spouse’s job — who cope with living in Paris by pretending they’re not in Paris. They tap into a parallel universe of Anglophone schools, babysitters and house painters, and get their French news from CNN.
Finally there are people like me, who study France and then describe it to the folks back home. We’re determined to have an “authentic” French experience. And yet, by mining every encounter for its anthropological significance, we keep our distance, too.
No matter how familiar Paris becomes, something always reminds me that I don’t belong.

William Cullen Bryant

Towards what limits must the city grow. . . .? How much and what portions . . . will be required for business purposes . . . ? . . . Where will the rich man’s city place stand? Where will the laborer’s family rest? . . . What avenues of communication are needed between the sections for business and those for residence? How shall the latter be connected with the great park, and with other healthful and pleasant resorts? . . . Ought . . . the city have . . . one great “Central Park”; or are a number of parks required in different sections . . . ? Can any means be devised to make such places attractive to those who need them most; . . . those who are suffering from the . . . close air of shops and factories?

Warren St. John

twTwenty-six years ago this month, a coalition of New Yorkers led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis won a historic victory for Central Park. At issue was a planned building on Columbus Circle by the developer Mortimer B. Zuckerman with 58- and 68-story towers that would cast long shadows on the park. After a lawsuit by opponents of the plan and a rally in Central Park at which over 800 New Yorkers with umbrellas formed a line to simulate the building’s shadow, Mr. Zuckerman relented and agreed to scale down his design, which eventually became known as the Time Warner Center.

Potter Stewart

Justice_Potter_StewartIn the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry — in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government. For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the First Amendment. For, without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people.

The US Government Printing Office

USSBS-NagasakiHiroshimaThe available facts about the power of the atomic bomb as a military weapon lie in the story of what it did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
One further measure of safety must accompany the others. To avoid destruction, the surest way is to avoid war. This was the Survey’s recommendation after viewing the rubble of German cities, and it holds equally true whether one remembers the ashes of Hiroshima or considers the vulnerability of American cities.
Our national policy has consistently had as one of its basic principles the maintenance of peace. Based on our ideals of justice and of peaceful development of our resources, this disinterested policy has been reinforced by our clear lack of anything to gain from war–even in victory. No more forceful arguments for peace and for the international machinery of peace than the sight of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have ever been devised. As the developer and exploiter of this ominous weapon, our nation has a responsibility, which no American should shirk, to lead in establishing and implementing the international guarantees and controls which will prevent its future use.

U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – June 1946 (PDF)

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

RDECOMThe U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is the Army’s technology leader and largest technology developer. RDECOM ensures the dominance of Army capabilities by creating, integrating and delivering technology-enabled solutions to our Soldiers. To meet this commitment to the Army, RDECOM develops technologies in its eight major laboratories and research, development and engineering centers. It also integrates technologies developed in partnership with an extensive network of academic, industry, and international partners.
RDECOM provides the Army with an organic research and development capability. More than 17,000 Soldiers, civilian employees and direct contractors form this world-class team. As part of that team, there are 11,000 engineers and scientists, many of whom are the Army’s leading experts in their fields. A fundamental characteristic of this workforce is the focus on the Soldier. Whether providing technology solutions to meet current operational needs or developing break-through technologies for the next generation, RDECOM stands at the forefront of what the Soldier eats, wears, fires, flies or drives.

Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Despite the growing diversity nationally, some religious groups clearly occupy a dominant demographic position in particular states. For instance, Catholics are the majority of the population in Massachusetts and Maine as are Mormons in Utah and Baptists in Mississippi. Catholics comprise over 40% of Vermont, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey, while Baptists are over 40% in a number of southern states such as South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
BibleBeltHistorical traces of the Bible belt in the South and an irreligious West are still evident. Those with “no religion” constitute the largest group in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming. In contrast, the percentage of adults who adhere to “no religion” is below 10 % in North and South Dakota, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Such religious concentrations might well have significant impact on host of public policy issues as well as on such matters as religious-based philanthropy.
It remains the challenge of further explorations of these and related data to discover the complex ways in which the religious identification patterns of the American populace shapes the culture and fate of the United States.