In the USA, the Real Plague Is Fear-Mongering.

October 22, 2014

In the USA, the Real Plague Is Fear-Mongering.

The Ebola virus is deadly for those who catch it; i.e., most of them die. But it’s transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, so it’s not very contagious and spreads slowly. You’re very much more likely to catch and die from the Flu. Unlike the Flu, Ebola isn’t transmitted through the air, but that doesn’t stop American fear-mongers from poisoning the political and media atmosphere with Ebola panic:

“‘Fear-bola’ hits epidemic proportions,” Mel Robbins, CNN

‘Ebola Is Bringing Out The Worst In Cable News,” Joaquim Moreira Salles, Think Progress

“PBS science reporter: Fox’s Ebola coverage is ‘a level of ignorance we should not allow,'” David Edwards, Raw Story

“CBS Medical Correspondent Shuts Down Fear-Mongering On The Transmission Of Ebola,” Media Matters

“You’re more likely to die of a shark attack or bee sting than contract Ebola in the US,” German Lopez, Vox

“Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

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Dr. Oz and The Baloney Diet

October 21, 2014

Dr. Oz and the Baloney Diet

Produced by Joss Fong, Joe Posner, Alex Hawley; narrated by Julia Belluz.

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Classic Hip-Hop: Rap for Geezers

October 20, 2014

Classic Hip-Hop: Rap for Geezers

A Houston news radio station changed formats last week:

“. . . Rechristened Boom 92, the station declared that it would become the first major market radio station dedicated to classic hip hop. Instead of Drake and Nicki Minaj, it would play “the hip hop you grew up with”—assuming that you grew up with Dr. Dre and Missy Elliott. If that sounds awesome to you, you’re going to love a recent Boom 92 playlist.

In many ways, this is an idea whose time has come, which is another way of saying that hip-hop, and its first-wave fans, are, well, old. Dre will be 50 in February; Ice-T is just 10 years away from his first Social Security check. Licensed to Ill topped the Billboard charts in 1987; three years later, hip-hop made up one-third of the Hot 100. By 1999, it was the country’s best-selling genre, with more than 81 million albums sold. The fans who propelled the early boom probably don’t know Young Thug from Rich Homie Quan, and don’t want to.

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Privilege

October 19, 2014

Privilege
TV talker Bill O’Reilly has waged a persistent campaign denying the existence of White Privilege. Jon Stewart recently confronted him about it, asking about his upbringing in the original suburban subdivision, Levittown, on New York’s Long Island.

“It gave you a nice stable, a cheap home,” said Stewart, “there were no down payments.It was this incredible opportunity … Those houses were subsidized … It wasn’t lavish.”

O’Reilly: No, they weren’t subsidized. They were sold to GIs, and the GIs got a mortgage they could afford.”

Stewart: “Did that upbringing leave a mark on you even today?”

O’Reilly: “Of course. Every upbringing leaves a mark on people.”

Stewart: “Could black people live in Levittown?”

O’Reilly: “Not in that time — they could not.”

Stewart: “So that, my friend, is what we call in the business ‘white privilege.’”

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The Google Camel

October 16, 2014

The Google Camel

How do you take Google Street View photos of the Arabian desert? You can’t cruise the dunes in a camera-mounted car without damaging the delicate sand structures, so you put your camera on a camel. A female dromedary, actually (one hump, not two) named Raffia.

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Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

October 14, 2014

Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) is running for reelection, and he’s rolled out his Big Ideas:

In the realm Higher Mathematics, he’s figured out how to cut taxes but keep popular tax deductions and government benefits. The method seems to involve lots of sleight-of-hand and wishful thinking. Maybe there’s a secret formula in Atlas Shrugged.

In Climate Science, Mr. Ryan has determined that humans have not contributed to Global Warming, despite decades of research that indicate otherwise with a 97% consensus. This isn’t just a tree-hugger matter; the Pentagon says Climate Change is a threat to National Security.

Related:

“How Paul Ryan Convinced Washington of His Genius,” Alec MacGillis, The New Republic

“Like Newt Gingrich? You’ll Love Paul Ryan.” NotionsCapital.com

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Bette Davis on Honesty, Brains and the Sexes

October 14, 2014

Bette Davis on Honesty, Brains, and the Sexes

Film star Bette Davis (1908 – 1989) was interviewed in 1963 by columnist Shirley Eder.  The recording  was recently animated by Patrick Smith of Blend Films for Blank on Blank (PBS Digital):

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October Holiday

October 13, 2014

October Holiday
Today, October 13, 2014, the Federal Office of Management and Budget observes the invasion of the Americas by Christophorus Columbus (aka Christoffa Corombo, Cristoforo Colombo, Cristóvão Colombo, Christovam Colom, and Cristóbal Colón), a Genoese private contractor working for the government of Castille.  Federal employees have Monday off. Even at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Of course, senators and congressmen have every Monday off. Every Friday, too.

God Bless America.

Note: Monday, October 13, 2014 is Indigenous Peoples Day in cities from Seattle to Skowhegan. In Minneapolis, too. It’s Native American Day in South Dakota and Explorers Day in Hawaii.

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Two Nobels

October 10, 2014

Two Nobels

Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Last year, when she was nominated, Malala spoke with the 2009 Peace Prize winner, Baraka Obama. Her account of the meeting:

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Also awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Kailash Satyarthi of India, who has campaigned against child labor. The countries of the two Peace Prize winners are long-time antagonists.

More:

“Nobel Prize winner Malala told Obama U.S. drone attacks fuel terrorism,” Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau

“Don’t forget Malala Yousafzai’s appeal to Obama: end the drone war,” Zack Beauchamp, Vox

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-k2c

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Where in the World in Kim Jong Un?

October 10, 2014

Where in the World is Kim Jong Un?

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Marshal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, First chairman of the National Defense Commission, First secretary of the Workers’ Party, Chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, and Supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, didn’t show up at the huge ceremony commemorating the 69th anniversary of North Korea’s only political party, which he heads, like his daddy and granddaddy before him. In fact, Mr. Kim hasn’t been seen in public since September 3rdWhat’s up with that?

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