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In Yemen's secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates

Medina Gazette - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:24

MUKALLA, Yemen — Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Categories: Misc

AP Newsbreak: US, EU urge China to limit food import control

Medina Gazette - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:24

BEIJING — Food exporters including the United States and European Union are stepping up pressure on China to scale back plans for intensive inspections of imports that they say would hamper access to its fast-growing market.

Categories: Misc

'Coal King' Is Suing John Oliver, Time Warner, and HBO

Slashdot - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:20
Reader Daetrin writes: Robert E. Murray, CEO of one of the largest coal mining companies in the US, is suing John Oliver, HBO, and Time Warner for defamation (alternative source) over a comedic report on the status of the coal industry in John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight". The report began with the decline of the coal mining industry, Trump's promises to revive it, and the plight of the workers involved, but was also highly critical of the business practices and safety record of Murray Energy Corporation and Robert Murray's leadership of the company. When the company was contacted about the piece before airing they responded with a cease and desist letter and threatened to sue. John Oliver continued with the segment anyway, saying "I didn't really plan for so much of this piece to be about you, but you kinda forced my hand on that one."

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Categories: Misc

Senate Health Bill Finally Drops, and It’s a Huge Giveaway for the Rich

Kevin Drum - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:10

Thirteen senators have labored mightily and brough forth a mouse. The Senate version of Obamacare repeal dropped today, and it’s pretty much the same as the House version:

  • It’s a huge tax cut for the rich.
  • It slashes Medicaid for the poor.
  • It allows states to cut back on essential benefits.
  • It abolishes the individual mandate.

Unlike the House bill, it keeps Obamacare’s income-based subsidies, which makes it a little more friendly to the working poor. However, it also cuts back on those subsidies.

I’ll have more details later as they become available. But the bottom line is pretty simple: it cuts a trillion dollars in taxes on the rich, which means it also cuts a trillion dollars in spending on the poor and working class. That’s simple arithmetic. As a result, it’s going to take health insurance away from a lot of people. It might be 23 million, like the House bill, or it might be slightly more or slightly less. The CBO will tell us in a few days. But whatever the answer, this is pretty much the same horrific bill that the House has already passed.

One other note: I don’t know yet how it handles pre-existing conditions. Thanks to reconciliation rules, I don’t think it can change them much. More on this later.

Watch Elizabeth Warren tear into her Republican colleagues in the Senate.

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I am sick of explaining this to Republicans

Women aren’t fools. We can tell the difference between reality and lies. And that’s why we’re here, fighting back on the Senate floor, to stop the Republican health care bill.

Posted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Categories: Politics

The Tree of Liberty…

Balloon Juice - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:08

…is a f**king vampire:

Nearly 1300 children die and 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year. Boys, older children, and minorities are disproportionately affected. Although unintentional firearm deaths among children declined from 2002 to 2014 and firearm homicides declined from 2007 to 2014, firearm suicides decreased between 2002 and 2007 and then showed a significant upward trend from 2007 to 2014. Rates of firearm homicide among children are higher in many Southern states and parts of the Midwest relative to other parts of the country. Firearm suicides are more dispersed across the United States with some of the highest rates occurring in Western states. Firearm homicides of younger children often occurred in multivictim events and involved intimate partner or family conflict; older children more often died in the context of crime and violence. Firearm suicides were often precipitated by situational and relationship problems. The shooter playing with a gun was the most common circumstance surrounding unintentional firearm deaths of both younger and older children.

Guns kill kids. That baseline number, almost 1300 kids every twelve months, is more than a 9/11 every three years.

 

Guns don’t just kill kids; they are a leading cause of death for children and teenagers.  The data in the chart below don’t perfectly line up, as it doesn’t break out gun homicides and suicides from the overall rates by all methods, but still here are ball park figures.

(To weight those numbers, the FBI reports that as of 2014, roughly two thirds of all murders were committed with a gun, and the CDC reports that guns are involved in about half of all suicides.  Childhood figures may weight more towards firearms for a couple of reasons, but I haven’t dived into the data and I’m not a domain expert, so value that opinion as you will.)

In any event, it doesn’t take much to see this as a peculiarly American evil.  In the discussion section of the paper quoted above:

International studies indicate that 91% of firearm deaths of children aged 0 to 14 years among all high-income countries worldwide occur in the United States, making firearm injuries a serious pediatric and public health problem in the United States.14

The net:

Approximately 19 children a day die or are medically treated in an ED for a gunshot wound in the United States. The majority of these children are boys 13 to 17 years old, African American in the case of firearm homicide, and white and American Indian in the case of firearm suicide.

Nineteen kids a day, killed and wounded, and the Republican Party is completely on board with that.

We all knew that of course; now we’ve got numbers.  What will this nation do with this newly quantified knowledge?

Nothing: the slaughter of American children will continue until the tree of liberty swallows us whole.

ETA: On a moment’s reflection, that’s too damn depressing even for me.  Eventually this country will get sick of self-murder. I hope that day comes sooner than I’m thinking now.

Image: Nicholas Poussin, The Massacre of the Innocents, (drawing for this painting) c. 1628-9

Categories: Politics

Right-Wing Radio Host Calls Bernie Sanders A Violent 'Radical Marxist'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
Right-Wing Radio Host Calls Bernie Sanders A Violent 'Radical Marxist'

Mark Levin is apparently the designated demonizer of Bernie Sanders amongst the radical, trash-talking right wing radio hosts. A simple Google search yields page after page of the petrochemical-funded lunatic ranting at Bernie.

It's time to shine some light on that, because Levin is aiming at Sanders' populist message in order to prop up billionaires' agendas clothed in the absent splendor of right-wing populism.

Today is but a mere sampling of Levin's exaggerated lies about Bernie Sanders.

"But the narrative with Bernie Sanders is he's for the people, he just wants everyone to get a fair break, he thinks the rich take advantage of the middle class and the poor and people should have free healthcare and free college and so forth and so on," Levin told his listeners.

Levin isn't going to pass up a chance to wrap Bernie up in the arms of last week's shooter, who was a deranged supporter of his.

Leaning in, he flatly lied to his audience, who laps up these pronouncements like kitties with a saucer of milk. "Bernie Sanders is a radical Marxist who believes in violence, there I said it -- every radical Marxist believes in violence, every radical Marxist believes in violence."

It gets better, as Levin then ties up Bernie with the Commies. China is a police state. Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea are just mild examples of what happens when the commies come. It's right out of the Birch Society handbook.

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Categories: Politics

The Woman Who Gave You the Video Game 'Journey' Returns With a VR Fairy Tale

Wired Science - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
Created by Robin Hunicke and her experimental game design company, Funomena, the VR game Luna is a parable about mistakes and redemption.
Categories: Bio

Tech Metaphors Are Holding Back Brain Research

Wired Science - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
It’s easy to assume that the seat of human intelligence is similar to our increasingly smart devices. But that idea could be misdirecting neuroscience.
Categories: Bio

Gritty Photos of the News Crews That Never Stop Rolling

Wired Science - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
Satoshi Fujiwara documents the people documenting tragedy.
Categories: Bio

Trump goes beyond saying Russians weren't involved, claims that the DNC hack was a 'hoax'

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:57

If Donald Trump’s Thursday morning Twitter stream is designed to provide a smokescreen for the Senate chopping away health care for millions of Americans, he’s definitely lighting up the diesel fuel and damp garbage. Not only did Trump flat-out lie about the nature of former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, not only did Trump continue to dispute Russia’s involvement in hacking Democratic emails, he went into new territory.

He declared that the hack of the DNC email server never really happened at all.

x

That’s correct. Donald Trump is now claiming that Democrats faked being hacked. And, presumably, released thousands of their own emails to Wikileaks, where Trump could express how much he loved the site, and Trump could feed out-of-context quotes from those emails to his rallies to stoke the flames of HIllary-hate. Because … that would be great.

Putting a “why” to this may seem difficult. But clearly, if Democrats faked an intrusion into their own servers and handed the emails to Wikileaks, they had to know that Hillary’s close personal friends Julian Assange and Roger Stone would lure trusting Donald Trump into using the damaging emails. So that Hillary would lose … but then Obama officials could then twist every intelligence office in the nation into saying that the Russians were behind it, and after that Democrats could claim that Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians, and they could all work together to thwart Trump’s plans. It was probably all planned when Bill Clinton visited Loretta Lynch’s plane (and don’t let the fact that the plane thing came later throw you off, Clintons are tricky).

It all makes perfect … nonsense.

Categories: Politics

Paul Ryan Has A Challenger: Randy “Ironstache” Bryce

Balloon Juice - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:49

DougJ shared Bryce’s now-famous campaign ad earlier this week, though not in a prime time slot. There’s been a rash of news reports since then, but the best I’ve seen is from Mike Elk’s Payday Report:

RACINE, WISCONSIN – Despite his 6’2 frame, the half-Mexican, half-Polish Army veteran known as the “@IronStache” on Twitter is the epitome of a gentle giant. Holding a beef brisket sandwich in his hand, he hugs, back slaps, and laughs his way through the crowd at the Juneteenth parade on the lakefront of Racine.

“I’m running for Congress against Paul Ryan,” ironworker Randy Bryce struggles to tell an African American woman over the noise of a gospel choir singing on the stage behind them.

Ryan, the Speaker of the House and a former vice presidential candidate, has more than $8 million in the bank for his re-election bid. By contrast, Bryce is a rank and file ironworker activist who has built some of Southeast Wisconsin’s best-known landmarks, including Milwaukee’s Miller Park and the landmark Northwestern Mutual Building.

However, it’s not an entirely uphill battle. Ryan’s district includes the pro-union bastions of Racine and Kenosha, as well as the suburban Milwaukee Republican stronghold of Waukesha. According to the Cook Political Report, the district is only 5 points more Republican than Democratic. If 2018 turns out to be a wave election year, some think Ryan could be defeated by a candidate like Bryce in such a marginal swing district…

“People know that the system is rigged and something has to be done, and Donald Trump took advantage of that,” says SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin’s Bruce Coburn, who serves as the union’s Vice President for Politics and Growth. “Randy, though, is someone who really believes in people and has shown it in all the years he has been in the labor movement.”

I first got to know Randy through the #wiunion hashtag during the Occupation of Wisconsin Capitol in 2011, and since then we have become personal friends. Bryce was part of the tens of thousands who occupied the Capitol in order to stop Scott Walker’s anti-union agenda.

Bryce sips Limeaid in the living room of his small two bedroom apartment outside of Racine as he recalls that battle.

“Walker’s strategy was to divide and conquer,” Bryce says. “His strategy was pointing out people and saying they are being the reason that the others didn’t have it as good as they possibly could. Now that’s being taken to the national level with Donald Trump.”…

If elected to Congress, he sees his role there as being more of a shop steward than a politician, and that he aims to run a campaign that amplifies the voices of others. “For an African American woman, there is no possible way that I can put myself into that woman’s frame of mind, the struggles she faces on a daily basis,” Bryce says. “I could do something to pretend, but I can’t experience it myself, so I need to rely on other people.”…

Categories: Politics

Trumpcare tax cuts to nation's 400 wealthiest families is Medicaid blood money

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:46

The tax cuts for the wealthy bill masquerading as an Obamacare "replacement" bill destroys Medicaid, the 52-year-old program that covers 1 in 5 Americans, providing coverage from conception to grave. Half of all births, two-thirds of nursing home residents, a third of all adults with disabilities, three-quarters of poor children—that’s who Medicaid covers. Eventually, almost every family in America will be touched with it.

x

Almost every family but the richest. Those are the families that are really benefiting from Trumpcare, the tax cut bill masquerading as an Obamacare “replacement.” In fact, the tax cuts that the 400 wealthiest families will get from Trumpcare “roughly equal the federal cost of maintaining the expansion in Nevada, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Alaska combined.”

That’s literally blood money.

Categories: Politics

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:41
Mike's Blog Round Up

The Field Negro: Is America great again yet?

Mock Paper Scissors: Theocrats engage in psychological projection.

Why Evolution Is True: Three cheers for the Supreme Court's unanimous verdict in favor of free expression.

Yellowdog Granny: The week in images.

Blog round-up by Infidel753. Tips to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com.


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Categories: Politics

AMD Looks To 'Crush' Intel's Xeon With New Epyc Server Chips

Slashdot - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:40
AMD has unveiled the first generation of Epyc, its new range of server processors built around its Zen architecture. Processors will range from the Epyc 7251 -- an eight-core, 16-thread chip running at 2.1 to 2.9GHz in a 120W power envelope -- up to the Epyc 7601: a 32-core, 64-thread monster running at 2.2 to 3.2GHz, with a 180W design power. From a report: These chips are built on the same fundamental architecture as the company's Ryzen CPU cores, and they're aimed at the incredibly powerful data center market. AMD's 32-core / 64-thread Epyc CPUs combine four eight-core dies, each connected to the other via the company's Infinity Fabric. According to AMD, this approach is significantly cheaper than trying to pack 32 cores into a single monolithic die -- that approach would leave the company potentially throwing away huge amounts of silicon during its production ramp. The Infinity Fabric is deliberately over-provisioned to minimize any problems with non-NUMA aware software, according to Anandtech. Each 32-core Epyc CPU will support eight memory channels and two DIMMs per channel, for a total maximum memory capacity of 2TB per socket, or 4TB of RAM in a two-socket system. Each CPU will also offer 128 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 support -- enough to connect up to six GPUs at x16 each with room left over for I/O support. That's in a one-socket system, mind you. In a two-socket system, the total number of available PCI Express 3.0 lanes is unchanged, at 128 (64 PCIe 3.0 lanes are used to handle CPU -- CPU communication). Anandtech has a longer writeup with more details on the CPUs power efficiency and TDP scaling. Further reading: ZDNet, press release.

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Categories: Misc

Comment: Scott Forstall is right not to apologize for skeuomorphism, and has a point even today

9to5Mac - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:34

In a Computer History Museum interview this week, Scott Forstall was unapologetic about the skeuomorphic designs used in early iOS versions – the famous leather, paper and metal textures used to make on-screen elements look like real-world objects.

Disagreements between Forstall and design head Jony Ive on the look of iOS were believed to have been one of the reasons for him leaving the company back in 2012 …

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Categories: Misc

August Doorbell Cam and others supporting Amazon Echo Show as HomeKit features still promised

9to5Mac - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:28

When the Echo Show launches next Wednesday, Amazon’s smart speaker with a display will work with a number of smart home cameras including the August Doorbell Cam from day one. For comparison, Apple’s HomeKit smart home feature supports video cameras and doorbells but only one camera has hit the market with support so far.

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Categories: Misc

Process Matters

Balloon Juice - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:28

No, this is not about health care.

This is about the recent dudebro outbreak of PELOSI GOTTA GO that has been driving me crazy since Ossoff didn’t pull off a miracle in Georgia. I don’t think there is ANYONE out there who disagrees with the fact that our leadership needs new blood. Our bench is weak and it needs to be reinvigorated. I’d like to see younger leadership.

But what also matter is how we gain that new leadership. We don’t do it by shitting all over people like Pelosi, who has been an extraordinary leader in troubling times and I shudder to think how bad things would have been were she not in charge keeping the House Dems together. She’s spent her lifetime doing what is best for the country and the party, and when the time is right she will do the right thing.

I can not say the same thing about certain independents and their crank followers who become Democrats only when it is convenient and then jump ship the moment they don’t get their fucking way. BTW- that health care bill we are rushing to save? It wouldn’t be there if it were not for Pelosi, and the assholes slagging her didn’t like the damned bill in the first place because it didn’t make us Sweden overnight.

Categories: Politics

Hands-on with beautifully animated Toy Story faces in watchOS 4

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:04

Aside from bringing more intelligence and fitness features to Apple Watch, the new watchOS 4 software includes a bunch of beautifully animated Toy Story faces. Not unlike the existing Mickey and Minnie Mouse watch faces, the Toy Story ones bring to life popular Pixar characters including Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Ham, Rex and Bullseye.

Our own Andrew O’Hara did a quick video showing off almost all the character animations available in the new Toy Story watch faces in watchOS 4, including additional customizations.

Give the video a quick watch, then meet us in comments.

watchOS 4 packs in other new watch faces.

Kaleidoscope, for instance, turns static images into mesmerizing patterns and the new Siri watch face uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to display the information users need most throughout the day.

ROUNDUP: 60+ new features in watchOS 4

Plus, you have new complications for your watch faces, including Now Playing and Apple News.

These new watch faces, complications and other features all require watchOS 4, a free upgrade for all Apple Watch users later this year.

Are you excited for the new Toy Story-themdd faces for your Apple Watch? Share in the comments section below!

"Hands-on with beautifully animated Toy Story faces in watchOS 4" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Categories: Misc

With Her Blog Post About Toxic Bro-Culture at Uber, Susan Fowler Proved That One Person Can Make a Difference

Slashdot - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:01
Kara Swisher, writing for Recode: It was Lao Tzu who said that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." In the case of complete and utter change reeling through Uber right now -- culminating in the resignation of its once untouchable CEO Travis Kalanick -- it turns out that it began with one of the most epic blog posts to be written about what happens when a hot company becomes hostage to its increasingly dysfunctional and toxic behaviors. It was clear from the moment you read the 3,000-word post by former engineer Susan Fowler about her time at the car-hailing company that nothing was going to be the same. Titled simply, "Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber," the essay deftly and surgically laid out the map that the media and others would use to prove to its out-to-lunch board and waffling investors that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had to go. In her account, Fowler was neither mean nor self-righteous, although in reading the story that she laid out about her horrible time there, it would have been completely fair for her to have taken that tone.

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Categories: Misc

Hannity Unhinged: Dog Whistle To Violence Edition

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:00
 Dog Whistle To Violence Edition

Sean Hannity sank deeper into his pit of unhinged hate mongering this Tuesday night as he repeatedly suggested that Donald Trump opponents are dangerous enemies of the country. Every American should find it alarming.

During a monologue that lasted more than 11 minutes, Hannity repeatedly suggested that opponents of Trump are a threat that needs to be dealt with (transcript via FoxNews.com):

Hannity: Tonight, a soft coup is under way right here in the United States of America in an attempt to overturn November’s election results and forcibly remove a duly elected president from office, sinister forces quickly aligning in what is becoming now, in my mind, a clear and present danger.

In concert with his message, a large graphic blared at times, "CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER."

Hannity went on to rail against the “Destroy Trump Media” and the other usual foes. If you’re a regular Hannity watcher, you’ve heard those bits before. Many, many times:

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Categories: Politics