Wednesday, October 29, 2014

News Nuggets 1493

DAYLEE PICTURE: A snake in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica.  From Smithsonian Magazine.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Remaining Flat Tire on the Road to Recovery: Home Ownership

Homeownership in America Has Collapsed—Don't Blame Millennials (Derek Thompson) from the Atlantic
"Americans between 35 and 44 have had the sharpest drop in homeownership since the recession struck, far outpacing the national rate. ... Read Trulia's Jed Kolko on why the middle-aged are the true lost generation of homeowners. In short: They bore the brunt of the foreclosure crisis:..."
It's a rather odd column in the sense that Thompson seems to think that people are choosing not to buy homes.  It is my perception that the problem is that in the wake of the Great Recession, people don't have the incomes to buy and, even for many of those that do have the foundation, the problem is on the lenders side as well: the only people who can qualify for a mortgage these days are people who don't really need a mortgage in the first place.  Last year 80 percent of home sales in Vermont were "cash only" sales.  

Obamacare Delivers!

Is the Affordable Care Act Working? from the New York Times
"A year after it was fully in place, President Obama’s health care law has largely succeeded in delivering on his promises, even as it fell short in some ways."

American Military Mistakes: The Big Ones

The Five Biggest Disasters in American Military History from the National Interest
"Nations often linger on their military defeats as long as, or longer than, they do on their successes. The Battle of Kosovo remains the key event of the Serbian story, and devastating military defeats adorn the national narratives of France, Russia and the American South. What are the biggest disasters in American military history, and what effect have they had on the United States?"

Religious and Conservative Bias Rife in TX Textbooks

These Biased Ideas Are Presented As Fact In Texas Curriculum Standards from the Huffington Post
"In September, nonprofit organization the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund commissioned a group of history scholars to evaluate proposed social studies textbooks from publishing giants such as Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill Education. The scholars found that several of the textbooks were rife with religious and conservative biases that they said distort history."

Why ISIS Targets Canada

Why Canada Is Under Attack by Terrorists from the Huffington Post
"Most people probably reacted in shock to learn that Canada has now been hit twice by terror attacks against soldiers in three days. Many Americans probably think of it as our sleepy socialist neighbor to the north. But Canada is a key ally in the war against terrorism in general, and ISIS in particular. And today's attack is a harbinger of things to come in America."

Why a GOP Senate is About to Infuriate its Base

Conservatives’ Rude Awakening (Jim Newell) from Salon
"Even if it takes the Senate, GOP won't be able to achieve much. How will McConnell explain that to conservatives? ... it took years for the simple fact to set in that Republicans can’t achieve any ideological goals with control of only one chamber of Congress. It took years for them to realize that taking government spending bills and debt ceiling hikes hostage were poor gambits with control of only one chamber of Congress. If Republicans get control of both the House and Senate, expectations among the base are going to jump right back to those old, naive levels, even though the basic dynamics of gridlock won’t change beyond the margin."


Three Tactics for Dealing with Change Resisters from the Pittsburgh Business Times
"Some employees can be incredibly resistant to change. Here are three strategies to try before moving them off your team."


Jane Goodall's Jungles from Newsweek
"Some have come from across town, but many traveled far greater distances. They have come to see Jane Goodall, the primatologist-turned-activist whose revolutionary discoveries about chimpanzees forever changed our understanding of our closest genetic relatives."


The Good News And The Bad News About Beating Obesity from the Huffington Post
"... as obese people know all too well, one of the biggest downsides to being overweight is emotional: having to endure nasty looks and snide comments from the folks who believe obese people are to blame for being fat. That belief is simply wrong ..."


'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' Canceled By TLC After Allegations Star Is Dating Child Molester Come Out from the Huffington Post
"TMZ reports that TLC has canceled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" following allegations that June "Mama June" Shannon is dating a convicted child molester named Mark McDaniel."


6,000-year-old 'cathedral' unearthed: Enormous two-storey temple with red walls, sacrificial altars and burnt lamb bones discovered from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Burnt bones of lambs were found on raised clay 'altars' in the temple Humanlike figurines, pottery fragments and hair decorations were also unearthed at the site near modern-day Nebelivka in the Ukraine.  Two-storey temple was divided into rooms which were painted red.  It was at the heart of a prehistoric village with 1,200 buildings and 50 streets."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

News Nuggets 1491

NOTE: Due to an exceptionally busy travel schedule and a backlog of project deadlines, the News Nuggets will see postings only a couple of times a week in the near term.  The intention will be to go 5-7 times a week late this year. My apologies to Nuggets addicts who are jonesing for more! -- Nuggetsman

Check out my latest appearance on the Lynn Cullen Live! Program HERE.

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Napoleon wrasse swims through a school of fish in the waters off Australia.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Capacity for Empathy: Where it Lives in the World and Where it Doesn't

Putin and the Pope (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"Reading the papers these days I find that the two world leaders who stir the most passion in me are Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. One is everything you’d want in a leader, the other everything you wouldn’t want. One holds sway over 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the other over nine time zones. One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug."

Russia and the West: Wildly Divergent Views of Reality

Why Russia and the West continue to view the world very differently from Russia Direct
"In the latest release of the Transatlantic Trends survey, Russia’s complex relationship with the West figured prominently as one of the key trends impacting future transatlantic security."

Low Gas Prices Bring Low Many of the Globe's Worst Actors

The Upside of Lower Oil Prices from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
"It’s bad for members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, and other nations and governments that rely heavily on oil exports because their income has taken a huge hit. It’s especially bad for Russia and Iran, which have relied on high oil prices to defy the United States and Western sanctions. It’s bad for the environment ..."

President Rivlin: “I’m not asking if they’ve forgotten how to be Jews, but if they’ve forgotten how to be decent human beings."

President Rivlin: Time to Admit that Israel is a Sick Society that Needs Treatment from the Jerusalem Post
"Rivlin wondered aloud whether Jews and Arabs had abandoned the secret of dialogue. With regard to Jews he said: “I’m not asking if they’ve forgotten how to be Jews, but if they’ve forgotten how to be decent human beings."

Pope: 'God Is Not Afraid Of New Things'

Pope: 'God Is Not Afraid Of New Things' from Reuters 
"Pope Francis has closed an assembly of Catholic bishops that revealed deep divisions on how to respond to homosexuality and divorce, saying on Sunday the Church should not be afraid of change and new challenges."

Conservative Catholics Strike Back

Conservative Catholics Strike Back Against Synod Document Welcoming Gays from the Huffington Post
"A day after signaling a warmer embrace of gays and lesbians and divorced Catholics, conservative cardinals hit back strongly Tuesday (Oct. 14), with one insisting that an about-face on church teaching is “not what we are saying at all.”"

LGBT and Young Catholics

Overwhelming 85% Of Young American Catholics Support Gays And Lesbian, Pew Report from the Huffington Post
"While the Vatican vacillates over whether to welcome gays into the church, the new kids in the flock seem to have no qualms about the subject. Close to 85% of self-identified Catholics between the ages of 18 and 29 believe gays and lesbians should be accepted by society, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center."

So You Think Americans Hate Their Government?

12 Countries That Hate Their Government Most from 24/7 Wall Street 
"Obama still looks exceptionally popular in contrast to some governments’ approval ratings. The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance, had the world’s lowest approval rating, at just 8%. Based on Gallup’s study “Global States of Mind 2014; released at the Meridian Global Leadership Summit, these are the countries that hate their government most."

Ebola Hysteria Fever

A Real Epidemic (Dean Baker) from the Huffington Post
"Ebola hysteria seems to have infected somewhere close to 300 million. There are reports of kids being pulled out of schools and even some school closings. People in many areas are not going to work and others are driving cars rather than taking mass transit because they fear catching Ebola from fellow passengers. There are also reports of people staying away from stores, restaurants, and other public places in order to avoid the deadly plague. This would all be comic if there were not real

Medical Science Going the Way ... of Climate Change Science?

The Nasty Politicization of Ebola (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post 
"In an interview published Sunday night, Collins shared with the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein his belief that, if not for recent federal spending cuts, “we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this” Ebola outbreak. This should not be controversial. His conjecture was based on cold budgeting facts."

New Types of Confrontations in Ferguson

As Ferguson Protests Spread, So Does Residents' Backlash Around St. Louis from the Huffington Post
"The locations of demonstrators who descended on the St. Louis area over the weekend to push for national reforms regarding police brutality led to some heated confrontations with area residents."

Obama's Original Promise: An Update

Remember The Fresh Promise Of Barack Obama? What Happened To That Guy? (Howard Fineman) from the Huffington Post
"What happened to that fresh, idealistic guy? What happened to his power and popularity in the United States? Why doesn’t he dominate the political stage the way he once did? Why isn’t he as effective as we thought he would be? Some answers: ..."

The Geography of Political Polarization

Political Polarization & Media Habits from the Pew Center Journalism Project
"When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study."

Inside the Life of a Prostitute

Intimate Photo Series Follows a Young Escort as She Works, Rests and Even Gets Arrested from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A photographer has captured the intimate struggles and everyday realities of a 21-year-old prostitute.
Alicia Vera, based in New Mexico, met her subject Vera three years ago when she was shooting a photo series on strippers, but formed a deep bond with the young San Francisco-based sex worker and ended up zoning in on her individual story."


Puppy-Sized Spider Makes Us Want To Cuddle (PHOTOS) from the Huffington Post
"Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, wrote that he was doing research in the rainforest of Guyana when he heard a “rustle” that he initially thought was a possum or a rat. Upon seeing it clearly, however, he realized it was a spider — the biggest, ickiest, hairiest spider in the world."


Saving Two Homeless Dogs Hiding in a Junkyard! Please SHARE so we can find them a home together from Hope for Paws

Sunday, October 12, 2014

News Nuggets 1490

Veadeiros National Park in Brazil.  From the Daily Mail.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Democrats' Demographic Offensive

Why Georgia May Be Bluer Than It Appears (Nate Cohn) from the New York Times
"For all the hype about “Purple Texas,” the real front in the Democratic demographic offensive is Georgia. No other plausibly competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for Democrats in the racial composition of eligible voters over the last decade. The pace of demographic change is so fast that Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, is locked in a tight race against the Republican David Perdue for an open Senate seat — even with an off-year electorate that is favorable for the G.O.P. The pace of demographic change might even be fast enough to outpace the polls."

The Value of Alliances in the 21st Century

God Bless America (Roger Cohen) from the New York Times
"A quarter-century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, alliances still count."

Catholic Leaders Changing Views on Sexuality?

Will the Church Stop Shaming People Who 'Live in Sin'? (Emma Green) from the Atlantic
"At the Vatican's synod in Rome, some Catholic clergy and congregants are calling for changes in how homosexuality, premarital sex, and contraception are discussed."

"Graduality" can help the Church reframe its approach to sexuality

Can Sex Be Just a Little Bit Sinful? (Elizabeth Tenety) from the Atlantic
"At the Vatican's synod on the family this week, bishops have suggested that the theological idea of graduality can help the Church reframe its approach to sexuality. What does this mean?"

The Crisis of Health Care and Bankruptcy

Why Americans Are Drowning in Medical Debt (Olga Khazan) from the Atlantic
"Healthcare is the number-one cause of personal bankruptcy and is responsible for more collections than credit cards."

Conservative States Dig In Against the Supreme Court

Conservative States Dig In Against SCOTUS Gay Marriage Action from Talking Points Memo
"Officials in some conservative states, where Supreme Court action could clear the way for same-sex weddings, say they won't issue marriage licenses to gay couples until their hands are forced. Gay rights advocates are preparing and filing new federal lawsuits to do just that."

Obama Faces Trash Talk from All Sides and Doesn't Deserve It

In Defense of Obama (Paul Krugman) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success. ... Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn't deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history."

Likelihood of a Bloody GOP Primary Process Remains as Strong as Ever.

Republicans Brace for 2016 Free-for-All from Politico
"... interviews with more than a dozen party strategists, elected officials and potential candidates a month out from the unofficial start of the 2016 election lay bare a stark reality: Despite the national party’s best efforts, the likelihood of a bloody primary process remains as strong as ever."

Bizarre Turn Of Events Could Save Senate For Democrats

As South Dakota Race Breaks Open from the Huffington Post
"As the 2014 Senate midterm elections were heating up, pundit predictions were all over the map, but on this much they agreed: Democratic seats in Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota were sure to go to Republicans, and Kentucky and Kansas, without question, would remain with the GOP. Headed into the homestretch now, a bizarre series of events has upended that calculation."

The Worst Journalists in Comics

How The Daily Bugle became a parody of Fox News (Mark Peters) from Salon
"The comic book world offers a useful lesson in Bad Journalism 101."

A father's love, captured in pictures

Child's brush with death inspires his dad to take more photos and the results are stunning from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A father has created a stunning photography series of his young son after being inspired to pick up the camera when his child suffered a near death experience."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

News Nuggets 1489

DAYLEE PICTURE: A view of the Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Who and What Will Come ... After Putin?

Russian Tycoon: We Must Prepare For Putin’s Inevitable Downfall (Josh Rogin) from the Daily Beast
"The man who spent 10 years in prison for crossing Putin says the Russian regime will fall, one way or the other, and those who want a democracy to replace it need to get organized now."

Has Kim Jong-Un lost control of North Korea?

Pyongyang is on lockdown and nation's former intelligence officer says Kim has ALREADY been overthrown from Reuters via the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"An elite exile from North Korea said Kim Jong-Un was ousted in 2013.  Jang Jin-sung made the sensational assertion at a conference in Holland.  The former propaganda officer said he's now just a 'puppet leader'"


Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America (Linda Tirado) from Kirkus Review
"To live, Tirado embarked on a physically exhaustive, “soul-killing” three-job routine requiring her to shuttle (for miles on foot) from one low-wage, part-time job to the next. The jobs she did qualify for were undercompensated and harmful: a fry cook at a fast-food restaurant or tending bar for a boss who expected sexual favors in exchange for prime shifts. As someone who has lived in the trenches of desperation, Tirado explains that being poor is difficult not just in attempting to scrape by, but also in processing the cultural perception and resultant condescension and degradation from unsympathetic onlookers."
This looks like a GREAT, insightful book!!

Little Economic Change for Most Americans

Jobs Without Prosperity (Teresa Tritch) from the New York Times
"Conditions are not improving meaningfully for most Americans."

Clashes Mark Hong Kong Demonstrations

Cops, Protesters Clash In Huge Hong Kong Demonstrations from the Huffington Post
"Pro-democracy protests in Beijing reached a boiling point on Sunday, with police employing tear gas in attempts to control crowds that have surrounded government buildings for the past three days. Tension has been escalating in the city all summer, after Beijing released a controversial plan for Hong Kong's 2017 elections that activists say falls short of the full democracy they hope for."

Historical Echoes of The Umbrella Revolution?

Is Hong Kong Tiananmen 2.0? (Brendon Hong) from the Daily Beast
"‘The Umbrella Revolution’ is taking place in an environment very different from Beijing 25 years ago, and the government knows the movement could spread much farther and faster."

Science and Religion: Two Roads That No Longer Meet

God, Darwin and My College Biology Class (David Barash) from the New York Times
"Students need to know why science and religion cannot be reconciled."

New Court Ordered Protections for Same-Sex Marriages

Missouri Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Granted Elsewhere, State Court Rules from Buzzfeed
"“Missouri has finally recognized our couples’ marriages as being no different from any other marriage,” Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, said in a statement.""

The Future of Obamacare

Obamacare Is Here to Stay (Jonathan Bernstein) from Bloomberg
"Like it or not, the ACA is a major success for the Obama administration and the historic 111th Congress that enacted it. The law has fulfilled a long-frustrated, high-priority liberal goal. Obamacare will continue to be unpopular, but it's not going anywhere."
"... continue to be unpopular..."  For a time, perhaps.  But it will soon be just another essential program like Medicaid and Medicare, more than popular enough to withstand the slings and arrows of its critics in Congress and elsewhere. -- Nuggetsman

The Propects for Solving "Intractable" Problems

Paralysis Isn’t Inevitable (Joe Nocera) from the New York Times
"Solutions to “intractable” problems could be closer than we think."

How right-wing paranoia is driving new wave of radicals

The South’s victim complex (Matthew Pulver) from Salon
"New wingnut pols may be laughed at as they enter Washington, D.C. But here's why their anger is deadly serious."

Black Men = Thugs? The White Subconscious at Work?

View Of Black Men As Thugs Is Deep-Seated Prejudice (Cynthia Tucker) from the National Memo
"Did race play a role in the shooting? Probably. The officers were white, as was the shopper who made a highly embellished 911 call. Crawford was black. And the conviction that black men are dangerous thugs is deeply rooted in the American psyche, a smear that took root back in the days of slavery. It is a prejudice — an implicit bias — that permeates the unconscious mind, whether or not people are aware of it."

College Board History Ed Wars Continue

Colo. Ed Board Member: Give U.S. Credit For Voluntarily Ending Slavery from Talking Points Memo
"A member of Colorado's state Board of Education argued that the fact that the United States voluntarily ended slavery proved "American execptionalism" and this perspective should be taught to students in a recent Facebook post about the AP U.S. History curriculum."
This is such a breath-takingly stupid statement, one can only shake one's head.  Maybe it will come as news to her that the south did not give up slavery "voluntarily." What do you DO with something like this!?  This person has no business being on an state education board.

Largest Cave in the World Revealed

'Supercave' In China Takes Title As World's Largest Cavern, And The Photo Is Pretty Unreal from the Huffington Post
"It's hidden beneath rolling hills, can be reached only via an underground stream, and now it has been named the world's biggest cave chamber: meet Miao Room."


Finding Iris: Saving a homeless injured dog + an unexpected surprise!!! from Hope for Paws