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24 октября, 18:03

Does the UN Have a Future?

"The United Nations was not created to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell." Dag Hammarskjöld UN Secretary-General (1953-1961) Without enthusiasts, dreamers and visionaries, history would be a very poor record of routine exercises and results. Progress lies in the hands of those who never stop thinking, of those who seize opportunities in time of crisis, who believe in impossible missions, and who are always progressive and looking forward. The United Nations is lucky enough to have such people in its orbit, such as Terje Rød-Larsen, President of the International Peace Institute and Kevin Rudd, Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism. Together they launched the ICM's report "UN 2030: Rebuilding Order in a Fragmenting World." This is true groundwork that deserves full attention of UN Member States, their capitals, and the UN Secretariat's international civil service. The UN Secretary-General should embrace this extremely valuable work and implement its insights wherever possible. I have read carefully the ICM's report, finding a high degree of similarity with my views and ideas shared with the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and multiple stakeholders. My recent book "Globalization and Diplomacy: In Search of a Better World" lays these out. The world is at a critical juncture, either subject to growing conflict or willing to give itself the capacity to enable peace, security, development, and human rights. The latter requires countries to have at their disposal strong mechanisms to discuss, decide, and approve actions for a better world. The next Secretary-General of the United Nations will serve for five years, five years that are crucial for realizing that there is no alternative to multilateralism with the United Nations at its core. I stand ready to render all my skills, experience, and energy to the service of this noble cause. The ICM Report comes at a critical and relevant time, especially because it touches upon questions and dilemmas that few wish to address. It specifically begins with the quintessential question of whether the UN still matters, proceeding in a linear manner and addressing its weakest aspects. It finally attempts a prognosis on the United Nations today: Does the United Nations as a major multilateral mechanism have a future? The conclusion is very articulate and corresponds fully with the UN's state of affairs by simply asking: "Are the decision-making bodies of the UN multilateral system capable of making the decisions necessary to deal with the systemic challenges of our age?" My answer is that it is the imperative to make the UN "fit for purpose" in order to secure its future as the platform for multilateral action in our developing world. This very provocative way of defining the status of the UN should not serve as a trigger for endless debates of lamenting its "fatal destiny." Rather, it should encourage all of us believers in multilateralism to roll-up our sleeves, re-imagine the UN Organization against today's challenges, and start working to manage and task it with the capacity to deliver results. It would be easier to relegate an exhausted UN Organization to the museums of history, but that is not an option as far as I am concerned. All those who have worked against the specter of world war yet again in our future should join forces to strengthen the UN's spirit and its organization rather than idly witness its dissolution. Finally, it is illusory to imagine a flawless UN organization. Nevertheless, as such we desperately need it to manage the flaws of humanity. In order for that to happen we must accept the fact that perfection does not guarantee peace and happiness, if ever to be reached. Rather, an effective UN would provide capacity for states acting together to resolve turmoil quickly and efficiently wherever it arises. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 октября, 05:53

This Blogpost is NOT about Donald Trump: Seeking Beauty, Truth, Lightness

[Blogteam: HOLD while I take a break, then return to complete inserting hyperlinks. CS] By universal acknowledgement, this presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has been the worst in living memory---the lowest, the vilest, the most vitriolic. The current low point---though this campaign can always go lower---revolves around HWSNBN's alleged instances of sexual assault. It all leaves conscientious Americans feeling depressed, sullied, hurting. This campaign also, because of HWSNBN's frightening lack of understanding of democracy and rule of law, coupled with his penchant for autocrats and their violent methods, makes conscientious Americans shudder with fear: Is the damage done to our democracy permanent or is it reparable? And, oh, the damage we've done to ourselves in the eyes of the world: Can we ever regain our pride and good name? It all combines to make one yearn for what the Roman poet Virgil called "the upper air," where truth and beauty reign, where instead of this heaviness on the soul there is a lightness, what Italians call legerezza. It matters not that this realm, the upper air of the ideal, does not or cannot exist in reality. To use Michelle Obama's potent catchphrase in another way: When you are low, low, low, you dream of high. So, here are the high places my mind goes to, not only for a deep cleansing, but for release, for solace, for hope and fuel. You no doubt have your own examples; please share. Where I could manage it, my examples of beauty, truth, and lightness come with metaphor, multiplying and deepening the meaning. Starting with the operatic aria---meta-metaphor alert---"Peace, peace, my God"! So, if as poet John Keats said, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," here are my offerings of those things to ease the mind overwhelmed by HWSNBN (lightness will come later): SONG: To start, "Pace, pace, mio Dio" from Verdi's La Forza del Destino. The sublime "Flower Duet" from Delibes' Lakme. To remind us of the beauty humans can create in groups, Handel's Messiah. And for their calming effect, Gregorian chants (more here). MUSIC: Bach, the Master, always elevates; here's a cello suite and his "Toccata and Fugue" (more here and here). Vivaldi's Four Seasons transports us back to Nature. Here's an abundance of Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven; singled out are Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and, for the majestic, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. For those mourning the damage done to America, Chopin's nocturnes and the requiems of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi. My favorite chamber music is Ravel's Piano Trio. The French make a point of beautiful music, so here's Debussy, Poulenc, more Ravel. For ineffable beauty, Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending" and Elgar's Enigma Variations; for esprit, Walton's "Crown Imperial." Metaphor alert: For a New Day, Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony and Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." And enjoy again the American songbook, a world treasure---Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Berlin--- sung by Ella Fitzgerald. DANCE: See Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to "Cheek to Cheek," "Waltz in Swing Time," the fun "Pick Yourself Up." See Fred and Cyd Charisse with the lovely "Dancing in the Dark." See Fred and Rita Hayworth in an amazing number in You Were Never Lovelier. Of course the mind seeking joy goes to Gene Kelly's iconic number in Singin' in the Rain, also his "I Got Rhythm" in An American in Paris. Here's the iconic ballet in The Red Shoes, with Moira Shearer. And the amazing Nicholas Brothers. Apt now is Alvin Ailey's Revelations, created as "blood memories" of African-American life. Metaphor alert: Prodigal Son, with Mikhail Baryshnikov. LITERATURE: The poet Virgil, cited above, quoted in full (one of my life-credos): "Easy is the descent to the lower world; but to retrace your steps and to escape to the upper air---this is the task, this is the toil." Another life-credo is from Orwell: "The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet to be fully alive" (emphasis Orwell's). Camus has inspiring words for this fraught time, from his novel The Plague: "....to state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." In American letters, I think of Emerson's question in his essay "Politics": "Are our methods now so excellent that all competition is hopeless? Could not a nation.... devise better ways?" I think of Thoreau's advice: "Simplify, simplify." I think of Edith Wharton's description of America's Gilded Age, in House of Mirth: "A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys. Its tragic implication lies in its power of debasing people and ideals." See her novel The Custom of the Country, the "custom" being the getting and spending of money. Melville, in the opening of Moby-Dick, just happens to nail both the need for escape and the month for it: "Call me Ishmael. Some years ago---never mind how long precisely---having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off---then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." See Melville's novel The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (full audio here). In Henry Adams' novel Democracy, a historian says: "Democracy asserts the fact that the masses are now raised to higher intelligence than formerly. All our civilization aims at this mark. We want to do what we can to help it.... I grant it is an experiment, but it is the only direction society can take that is worth its taking.... I am glad to see society grapple with issues in which no one can afford to be neutral." In drama, I think of the lines from Beckett's Waiting for Godot, near the end: "I can't go on like this." "That's what you think." Not often recalled are these lines from Godot: "We've lost our rights?" "We got rid of them" (full play here). On the loss of America's reputation, I think of the dishonored John Proctor's lament before he's hanged, in Arthur Miller's The Crucible: "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!.... How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" For America at its very essence, revisit Our Town, Thorton Wilder's masterpiece (full movie here, with the young William Holden). Shakespeare speaks to all circumstances; here he presents humanity at its best, in these lines from Hamlet: "What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?" Of course, HWSNBN is no paragon. Shakespeare would take this man's malign measure instantly, as he did with Macbeth, Richard III, Iago. Coleridge speaks of Iago's "motiveless malignity." In poetry, Auden's description of the 1930's as a "low dishonest decade" applies to our moment. That said, solace is to be found in personal ties, as Matthew Arnold in "Dover Beach" writes: "Ah, love, let us be true / To one another! for the world, which seems / To lie before us like a land of dreams, / So various, so beautiful, so new, / Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, / Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; / And we are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by night." My favorite poet is Emily Dickinson, because she takes the long view: "This World is not Conclusion. / A Species stands beyond--- / Invisible, as Music--- / But positive, as Sound--- / It beckons, and it baffles--- / Philosophy---don't know--- / And through a Riddle, at the last--- / Sagacity, must go--- / To guess it, puzzles scholars--- / To gain it, Men have borne / Contempt of Generations / And Crucifixion, shown--- / Faith slips---and laughs, and rallies--- / Blushes, if any see--- / Plucks at a twig of Evidence--- / And asks a Vane, the way--- / Much Gesture, from the Pulpit--- / Strong Hallelujahs roll--- / Narcotics cannot still the Tooth / That nibbles at the soul---" With a family emergency ongoing, I've been going to the 23rd Psalm; the reader might also. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul...." LIGHTNESS: Speaking of restoring the soul, some lightness. For sheerest delight, I go most readily to the films of the '30s and '40s, when Hollywood served up real diversion for hard times. (Apologies in advance: Links cannot be found for all the following; you'll have to go to the full movie, which is pleasure in itself.) See Katharine Hepburn drive Cary Grant crazy in Bringing Up Baby; see Cary Grant drive Rosalind Russell crazy in His Girl Friday (full movie here); see Barbara Stanwyck drive Henry Fonda crazy in The Lady Eve (full movie here); see Joel McCrea drive Jean Arthur crazy in The More the Merrier. See Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy fall in love in Woman of the Year; see Bette Davis and Paul Henreid put their love in context in Now, Voyager (last scene here); see Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn do the same in Roman Holiday; see Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in their last scene in Casablanca (also here); see Bogie and Bacall lay on the metaphors in The Big Sleep. See It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, Dinner at Eight, and, more recently, the hilarious Moonstruck. See Bette Davis deliver her famous line, "I'd like to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair." See a drunk Jimmy Stewart drop in on Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story. See William Powell go fishing in Libeled Lady. See "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" sung by Irene Dunne. See Jimmy Cagney sing and dance in Yankee Doodle Dandy, also dance down the stairs of the White House. See Sullivan's Travels for the importance of laughter in bad times. To gird for the final weeks of this awful election---and for the repair work afterward ---some gallantry as demonstrated onscreen (sorry, no clips available). See Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in Mrs. Miniver, set in World War II, especially the scene where they talk of mundane things while German bombs drop overhead. See veterans come home to altered futures in the magnificent movie, The Best Years of Our Lives. To push back against the toxic bigotry unleashed by HWSNBN, see Gregory Peck fight the good fight, against anti-Semitism, in Gentleman's Agreement. Also, post-election, a first order of business will be rescuing our debased language. As Orwell noted, slovenliness of language leads to slovenly thinking. The process is reversible, contends Orwell, and necessary: "To think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration." Reading Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" will restart your engine. For now, the best speeches of this ugly season have been Michelle Obama's powerful response to HWSNBN's misogyny and her speech at the Democratic convention, in which she exhorted us, "When they go low, we go high." To the upper air! And to get us there: Fred and Ginger again---"Let's Face the Music and Dance." Carla Seaquist's latest book is titled "Can America Save Itself from Decline?: Politics, Culture, Morality." An earlier book is titled "Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character." Also a playwright, she published "Two Plays of Life and Death," which include "Who Cares?: The Washington-Sarajevo Talks" and "Kate and Kafka," and is at work on a play titled "Prodigal." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 октября, 04:10

Is Screen Time Improving Your Relationships?

In our click, tweet, screen culture, it's easy to say that we've become dehumanized. For many organizations, customers and people are treated like a number in the virtual queue. The problem is not the technology. One need look no further than Facebook to see how the right technology can make people feel more connected. (Putting the political rants aside). For example, I recently met with an old friend from high school. I hadn't seen him in 25 years. But, because I had kept up with him on Facebook, I knew about his family, his home, his jobs, and his vacations. Our human interaction was more meaningful because the technology fast-tracked our connection. So how do we, in business, utilize technology to drive more personal relationships with our customers and each other? And how can we measure it? If your company is like most, you probably have a dashboard of critical numbers. Recently, I was working with a financial services firm who wanted to create more emotional engagement between the bankers and their clients. In this bank, like most organizations, the focus is on numbers. The leaders suggested we measure customer feedback scores. Feedback scores tell us something, but they are an after the fact, backward looking metric. We didn't want to simply evaluate whether the interaction was good or bad. Our true goal was to improve the interaction live time. Telling people to be more emotionally engaging wasn't enough. In the case of the bank, I recommended we provide reminders and tools during the very moments employees were interacting with clients. In banking, as in most service jobs, when someone is servicing a customer, they typically have a screen in front of them prompting them to collect the right information, make the right recommendation, etc. I recommended we should use the screen to drive behavior. We added questions, like, what is this client trying to accomplish in their financial life? And how are you making this client feel right now? We wanted the bankers to be conscious of the emotional climate they are creating with their clients. By being intentional, we were able to align the technology to forge better emotional connection, rather than detract from it. Not surprisingly, we got some initial pushback. In my experience, people often resist measuring emotions for two key reasons: 1. People don't believe they have any control over the other person's emotional response. Service reps will say, "I can't help it if the customer's surly." Managers will say, "It's not fair to rate me on my employees' attitudes." 2. Measuring emotions is nuanced and subjective. People don't want to be held accountable for the way other people experience them. But guess what? The market is already doing attitudinal assessment every single day, by the millions, and it's well documented. They're called Yelp and Glassdoor. Read either one and you'll see people rating the way they experience companies, service reps, and managers. Their emotional response, logical or not, drives the evaluation. The emotional wake that a manager or serviceperson leaves behind is already being measured externally. The question for leaders is, do you want to start measuring it internally? And, more importantly, how are you going to drive the right behaviors? Technology can forge and foster human connection, or it can turn your people into auto-bots. The choice is yours. Lisa McLeod is the creator of the popular business concept Noble Purpose and author of the bestseller, Selling with Noble Purpose. Her latest book was released Feb. 2016 and is titled Leading with Noble Purpose. She is a sales leadership consultant and keynote speaker. Organizations like Genentech, Google, and Kaiser hire her to help them grow revenue. www.McLeodandMore.com [email protected] -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

21 октября, 23:59

Judge won't release ex-NSA contractor accused of hoarding classified data

BALTIMORE — Defense attorneys are vowing to appeal after a federal magistrate on Friday refused to release a former National Security Agency contractor accused of hoarding a massive quantity of classified data and documents at his Maryland home.Hal Martin, 51, was arrested in late August after the FBI executed a search warrant and found huge volumes of classified information strewn through his home office and car.After a hearing in federal court here that stretched to more than an hour, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Copperthite ruled that Martin posed a risk of flight due to the seriousness of the charges against him and the weight of the evidence.The court appearance was Martin's first since word of his case went public earlier this month. He entered the courtroom shortly before the hearing began, wearing handcuffs, white sneakers and a gray-and-black striped uniform from the Howard County Detention Center. Martin did not speak audibly during the hearing, but acknowledged his family members as he entered and mouthed, "I love you," to his wife as he was led out by marshals.Federal defender James Wyda said after the hearing that the defense team and Martin's family were "deeply disappointed" in the magistrate's decision."We believe Hal Martin poses no risk or danger at this point to his country...Hal is no risk of flight," Wyda said, adding that Martin trusts the justice system to resolve his case fairly. The defense attorney said an appeal to a district court judge could be heard as soon as next week.Martin's family had little to say after the hearing. "I love him. That's it," his wife, Deborah Shaw, said outside the courthouse.With prosecutors are alleging that Martin gathered classified information over at least 18 years while working for seven government contractors, the case has raised serious questions the controls the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies place on sensitive information accessible to workers.After massive breaches by Army Pfc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and NSA contractor Edward Snowden, intelligence officials insisted they'd instituted major reforms to combat what they call an "insider threat." However, Martin appears to have continued to walk out of various government workplaces with classified information in paper and electronic form even as those controls were being implemented.The issue became a point of contention at Friday's hearing, after a prosecutor suggested that Martin demonstrated technical sophistication in the way he stealthily gathered information.When Wyda responded that there was nothing sophisticated about Martin walking out the front door with documents, a prosecutor objected and a white noise machine was turned on as lawyers argued privately to the judge, presumably about whether the arguments were verging into classified territory.

21 октября, 19:29

Real Americans

As the most divisive presidential election I've witnessed comes to a conclusion in a few weeks, I'm reminded of a tweet sent by former Congressman Joe Walsh during the tragic shootings of police officers in Dallas, "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you." Real America? What does he, and many others, define as Real America? And who are they to define an American? It seems that Walsh and a growing number of people emboldened by the Donald Trump campaign see anyone not like them as "other" and have deputized themselves to be the American arbiters by retrofitting McCarthyism, sans the communist angle, which provides a broader and therefore more divisive set of criteria. Who are Real Americans? Surely the actual President of the United States is a Real American? Hmmmm, not so fast. President Obama doesn't seem to qualify although he was born in Hawaii, which last I checked has been a state since 1959, or after being elected twice. Trump has been inferring that the President wasn't a "Real American" with the middle name Hussain, which he over-annunciates in continuing his not-so-veiled questioning of Obama's faith and birthplace. No other president has been subjected to the scrutiny President Obama has over the past eight years. Could it be because he is our first Black president and has a name given to him by his Kenyan father? Uh yeah. But Trump knows his audience. Even after the President produced a birth certificate, according to a recent NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, 72 % of registered Republican voters continue to still doubt his citizenship. In addition, a CNN poll from last year found that 43% of Republicans think the President is Muslim . President Obama is not Muslim but what if he was? How biased is our electorate against the "other" that being Muslim would be seen as a negative? I imagine a Jewish presidential candidate would be under attack for not being Christian. That was evident as Trump went after a Muslim Gold Star family whose heroic son made the ultimate sacrifice for his troops and country. What if Trump had insulted Chris Kyle's family instead of Humayun Khan's? Hmmmm. Attacking the "other" is accepted. As another example, what if Trump had body-shamed a high-profile country singer instead of former Miss Universe who was from Venezuela who he called a pig and a housekeeper (as if those two insult-intentions were somehow related, I admire hard-working, noble housekeepers). Hmmmm. Like most bullies, Trump and his followers pick on the easiest targets, never the biggest kid on the playground. Another target is the Black Lives Matter movement. Let's be clear, there would be no America without the bold, powerful, organized dissent of our Founding Fathers (guess women weren't allowed to dissent back then). Protesting, organizing, and trying to make change is as American as watching NFL on Thanksgiving while gnawing on a turkey leg. Remember the Suffragette movement? The Civil Rights movement in the 60s? El Movimiento or Chicano Civil Rights movement and now the Dreamers movement? Or the Stonewall Rights movement? These movements were all seen as disruptive yet have shaped America forever, although we are still works in progress. And so will the Black Lives Matter movement and other efforts which will rise up in the near future to address injustices. Does that threaten Trump, Walsh, and others as it did George Wallace in 1963 when in reaction to the Civil Rights Movement he declared "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" I wonder how conflicted Wallace would have been rooting for the US Olympic gold medal gymnastics team that made up of Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, who are African American, Laurie Hernandez who is Puerto Rican, Aly Raisman, who is Jewish, and Madison Kocian who is White? To me, they represent what makes America great RIGHT NOW but not everyone roots that way. Reports continue to pop up of high school students waving pictures of Trump and shouting "build a wall" at Latino-majority opponents during basketball, soccer and football games. Are immigrants and the sons and daughters of immigrants, even those who were actually born in America, not considered Real Americans? Trump would say yes (except for his wife of course, she's not that kind of immigrant). But be clear that Trump, Walsh, and their disciples are not alone. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted a survey on the subject last year just as the Trump train first left the station, 58 percent of those surveyed believe that you have to be born in the US and nearly 90 percent believe speaking English is critical to being "truly" American. Then there is religion. According to the same survey, nearly 70 percent said belief in God is critical to being considered a "real" American and 53 percent that you have to be a Christian. Do you see how Trump has been able to spew his hateful rhetoric against immigrants, refugees and Muslims with impunity among his adoring fans? The table was set and he simply served up the meal that the customers ordered. On that note, I opened my copy of Costco magazine, boasting the 2nd biggest circulation in the US, which featured two young, innovative visionaries who are "undoing" food by creating products with educational components that promote healthy, sustainable, accessible and fun products. These social entrepreneurs have been recognized by BusinessWeek, Inc., and CNN as examples of what America needs to better compete globally ... Uh oh, one is Colombian immigrant and the other first-generation of Indian-descent named Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora respectfully. I guess they don't count. Let's see who else has or is bringing great value to America ... Albert Einstein, Elie Wiesel, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Van Halen, Sergei Brin? All White but all were immigrants. Maya Angelou, I.M. Pei, Muhamad Ali, BB King, Ellen Ochoa, Harriet Tubman, Yo Yo Ma, Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Langston Hughes, Junot Diaz, Duke Ellington, Carlos Santana, Bruce Lee, Isabel Allende, Charles Drew, Delores Huerta, Sundar Pichai, Rita Moreno, Dr.Ahmed Zewail, Thurgood Marshall, Sonia Sotomayor, I could go on and on - but think of how different history would have been without them ... but they were all, well, too colorful in the eyes of some to be considered "Real Americans." Here's the problem for the people who have taken it upon themselves to decide who is or isn't a "Real American" ... according to Census projections by 2044 we will have a majority minority in this great country. In other words, minorities will make up more than half of the population. In our school system, it is already a majority minority. The population trends will further define what America looks like. But let's focus Whites instead of non-Whites - subtract from the White population all of those that aren't Christian, all those who are GLBTQ, all of those who are against semi-automatic weapons being protected by the second amendment, and so many other criteria that define being a "Real American" to some. Who is left? More importantly, who is being left out? REAL AMERICANS like me and many others including those I mentioned in this post -- that's who. I'm a "Real American" and so are the millions who are being targeted and defined as "other." We bleed red, white and blue. We admire the journeys of Americans throughout history including the one to get here. We understand our responsibility to help other Americans survive and succeed. We also dissent and fight for justice. We respect the religious beliefs or non-beliefs, heritages, sexual orientations/identities, ethnicity, gender, political leanings, and so many other features that make America great. America is actually great because of us. WE are all "Real Americans." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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21 октября, 14:30

GEORGE WILL: The modern US campus shouldn’t be a safe space. A specter is haunting academia, t…

GEORGE WILL: The modern US campus shouldn’t be a safe space. A specter is haunting academia, the specter of specters — ghosts, goblins and “cultural appropriation” through insensitive Halloween costumes. Institutions of higher education are engaged in the low comedy of avoiding the agonies of Yale. Last October, the university was rocked to its 315-year-old […]

21 октября, 07:09

6 Marvel Superheroes That People Just Can’t Relate To

The Marvel universe is home to some of the most relatable comic book characters. However, here are a few fan-favorite heroes that may not fit that description.

20 октября, 21:19

Can a Corporation Have a Soul?

Henry Ford, who passed up profits to provide society with good jobs and cheap cars, thought so.

20 октября, 20:03

Fewer Stores Plan To Close For Thanksgiving This Year

It’s 4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving and you’re contemplating a slice of pecan pie (your third... potentially). You aren’t eager to leave the warmth of the dinner table and the company of your family and friends ― plus, the gluttonous third slice would give you sufficient excuse to delay tackling the pile of dishes in the kitchen. Inhibitions long gone, you go for it.  Meanwhile, in a cold department store two miles away, fluorescent lights illuminate stacks of inventory. Frenzied shoppers on the sales floor need to know: Why won’t you price match? What’s the company’s return policy? Does it come in stainless? Welcome to the dichotomy of Thanksgiving, a holiday ostensibly about appreciation and giving thanks that is struggling to compete with profit-driven companies eager to kick off the holiday season. This year, 49 percent of retailers plan to open on Thanksgiving, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2016 Holiday Report, 1 percent more than last year. (About 9 percent of the retailers PwC surveyed have yet to decide their plans for the day). Amid that small uptick, however, the share of retailers opting to remain closed has become increasingly vocal. “Almost half of those choosing to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day are doing so to better align with their corporate values—and with their employees,” notes PwC. More than a fifth of those surveyed said employee morale is their primary reason for not opening on Thanksgiving this year. Among those is Mall of America, the biggest mall in the country, which will close for Thanksgiving this year for the first time since 2012. “We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about,” Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing, explained earlier this month. “We want to give this day back.” We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about. We want to give this day back. Mall of America executive Jill Renslow In Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, decades-old “blue laws,” holdovers from the area’s Puritan past, actually prohibit most large stores from opening Thanksgiving Day. And in Ohio, state Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) introduced a bill in 2014 that would protect workers from retaliation by their employer if they refused to work on Thanksgiving. (Enthusiasm for the bill fizzled and it didn’t come close to being signed into law.) “Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day when we retreat from consumerism,” Foley explained at the time. “It’s a day when you hang out with your family, go play touch football, have a big turkey dinner, and complain about your crazy uncle or cousin—but you don’t think about super blockbuster sales at Target.” (On the flip side, it’s worth noting some employees don’t mind working Thanksgiving, and in some cases welcome the opportunity for overtime pay. Few retail employees, however, have the luxury of making the decision for themselves.) For those keeping track, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is an entirely different creature: PwC found 85 percent of retailers plan to open that day, the same number as in 2015, despite predictions the shopping event will see 8 percent fewer shoppers this year. Here are some of the larger retailers who have announced they will close on Thanksgiving (via BestBlackFriday.com):   Barnes & Noble Bed Bath & Beyond Burlington Cabela’s Costco Crate and Barrel Dillard’s DSW GameStop Guitar Center Harbor Freight Hobby Lobby Home Depot IKEA Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores Jos. A Bank Lowes Mall of America Marshalls Mattress Firm Menards Neiman Marcus Nordstrom Nordstrom Rack Office Depot Office Max Patagonia Petco PetSmart Pier 1 Imports Publix Sam’s Club Sierra Trading Post Staples The Container Store T.J. Maxx  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 октября, 12:21

5 newcomers who wowed visitors at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia

Who presented the brightest collections for spring/summer 2017?1.      N.LEGENDA The presentation of the young brand N.LEGENDA, founded in 2012, was dedicated to a new minimalist collection with knitted sweaters of unusual shapes, transformer dresses and skirts with back catches. The peculiarity of the brand is the variety of drapery on materials with different textures, handmade and neatly cut items. N.LEGENDA / Source: Press Photo The final touch is added by branded belts made of white plastic, worn on top of the clothes or seen through a layer of thin fabric. According to the brand's designer Olga Kapitonova, the basic concept is drama in a minimalist style, and a slight craziness lends charm to the brand. 2.      NAIDAL The collection "Asbestos" is about practical and stylish clothes for wanderers, which preserve traces of past “travels." Hence the abrasions and creases, the leather coats combined of several jackets, the souvenir buttons and stencil mandalas. The accessories are appropriate: patchwork plaids, roomy backpacks, sacks, waist bags and travel hats. Press PhotoNaidal Press PhotoNaidal The brand's clothes and accessories are the brainchild of designer Alexei Naidenov, who loves to mix Russian and Old Slavonic styles with smart casual and post-grunge. 3.      Anastasia Kondakova The brand was created by designer Anastasia Kondakova in 2015. The designer's trademark is a dress with a moving tuck, which increases or decreases depending on its owner's figure. The inspiration for the new collection was "an imaginary garden of paradise, where a resident of a bustling metropolis would dream to be in in the middle of a summer day." Press PhotoAnastasia Kondakova Press PhotoAnastasia Kondakova Press PhotoAnastasia Kondakova At its core are airy dresses in delicate shades of blue, easy-fit gowns, jumpsuits, blouses with bare shoulders and tightly-buttoned shirts. There is also some metal gloss – silver and gold on sophisticated outfits, as well as a scattering of glittering sequins. The color scheme of the collection consists of an abundance of white, noble red, sky blue and shades of fresh mint and luscious green. 4.      TURBO YULIA Designer Julia Makarova is inspired by a rebellious spirit and various mass culture phenomena. Her collection is themed on the increasingly popular rave movement and its aesthetics. Makarova’s second starting point was an urban phenomenon – the overhaul of the Moscow streets. Press PhotoTURBO YULIA Press PhotoTURBO YULIA Press PhotoTURBO YULIA A road worker's uniform with fluorescent inserts serves as a metaphorical bridge between Moscow realities. It is worn by both workers in the street and inveterate ravers. Metallic, neon orange and green, yellow tapes with the brand name – this is how the designer creates a new and trendy uniform for the young. 5.      Anika Kerimova The show "Life in a Big City" was stylized like a theater performance and thematically dedicated to the ongoing Year of Cinema in Russia. The action took place against the backdrop of a montage of Russian films. Models came out in pairs, representing the family look: elements, colors and styles echoed in adult and children's versions. Press PhotoAnika Kerimova Press PhotoAnika Kerimova Press PhotoAnika Kerimova Metal and silver inserts in women's costumes, a malachite-colored tracery jumpsuit, a gentle blend of white and pink, the combination of wine and mustard – Kerimova showed the audience how the new heroine of the big city can look: spectacular, bright, dynamic and feminine.

20 октября, 00:44

FREE Comic Book Download The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Are we crazy?  Yes.  We’re flat broke, but we are sending you this link to the free 60-page comic book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy—and there’s no charge whatsoever. But we hope a few of you will have the heart to donate for something more important than food:  getting our film into the churches, […] The post FREE Comic Book Download The Best Democracy Money Can Buy appeared first on Greg Palast.

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19 октября, 14:34

BRIEF-Mega Medical Technology announces entry into subscription agreement

* United Noble as subscriber and Condor International As issuer entered into subscription agreement

19 октября, 14:09

Russian characters in Western movies: From spies to allies

How Russians appear on-screen in the West often reflects politicsRobbie Williams's video "Party Like a Russian," which already has garnered more than 4 million views on YouTube, is far from the first over-the-top depiction of Russians in Western pop culture. Here are a few examples of how portrayals of Russians have changed over time. Devious spies  "Even before the Cold War, Russia was represented often as a geopolitical threat to the West," said James Chapman, professor of film studies at the University of Leicester, describing how Russians are depicted in pop culture during an interview with the BBC. "But [that stereotyping] takes on a particular ideological inflection during the Cold War when you get the association [with] not just Russia but also Soviet communism." Examples of Russians as nefarious actors working to undermine the West includethe head of SMERSH, General Grubozaboyschikov, and his unsavory subordinate, agent Rosa Klebb, in the James Bond classic "From Russia with Love" (1963). Source: Kinopoisk Examples of Russians as nefarious actors working to undermine the West include: The Soviet military abducting American soldiers with the intention of subjecting them to psychological treatment and making them zombies in "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962); the head of SMERSH, General Grubozaboyschikov, and his unsavory subordinate, agent Rosa Klebb, in the James Bond classic "From Russia with Love" (1963); and the  sadistically twisted Colonel Podovsky in "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" (1985). Russians were the anti-heroes in Western movies for more than 30 years. Sadistically twisted Colonel Podovsky in "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" (1985) is one of the Russian anti-heroes in Western movies. Source: Kinopoisk.ru Cooperative allies With the onset of perestroika, however, the characteristics of Russians in movies began to change. Films featured an increasing number of Russians who were ready to cooperate and establish links between their country and the West. Police Captain Ivan Danko played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Red Heat" (1988), has a stern face, coarse manners and grotesquely throws around words like "kapitalizm" ("capitalism") or "khuligany" ("hooligans"), but he is devoted to his work and is ready to go through the streets of Chicago in an effort to catch the head of the Georgian mafia. Police Captain Ivan Danko played by Arnold Schwarzenegger has a stern face, coarse manners and grotesquely throws around words like "kapitalizm" or "khuligany." Source: Kinopoisk.ru Colonel Lev Andropov in "Armageddon" (1998), is unshaven, a little wild and wears a cap with earflaps, but, nevertheless, he makes a significant contribution to the salvation of humanity from a powerful asteroid. Colonel Lev Andropov in "Armageddon" (1998), is unshaven, a little wild, but, nevertheless, makes a significant contribution to the salvation of humanity. Source: Kinopoisk.ru Oligarchs and gangsters With the advent of the 2000s, the most common types of Russians in Western films were the superrich and mobsters – categories that were not mutually exclusive. Uri Omovich (Karel Roden), a supporting character in Guy Ritchie's action movie RocknRolla is the exact opposite of everything the average viewer associates with Russian oligarchs. Uri Omovich (Karel Roden) in Guy Ritchie's action movie RocknRolla is the exact opposite of everything the average viewer associates with Russian oligarchs. Source: Kinopoisk.ru The ceilings of his spacious and bright home are not covered with gold leaf, and he has no tattoos on his fingers. He understands art, and what's more important, he does not drink alcohol. According to writers on the movie website IMDb, this character is clearly based on Roman Abramovich. For one thing, the actor looks like the Russian oligarch. Secondly, Omovich pays a bribe to get a permit for the construction of a football stadium, and Abramovich is the owner of Chelsea Football Club. Charming and potentially dangerous Russian characters in American TV and film today are more nuanced. They are often attractive and have admirable qualities, but also give the impression of people who should not be crossed. In the hit U.S. TV drama “House of Cards,” Russian President Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen), the political opponent of U.S. President Frank Underwood, is smart, cunning and very dangerous. Underwood is warned of these characteristics by his wife Claire, who received a savory kiss on the lips from the Russian president during an official banquet. Petrov is a great counterbalance to the American president, and in some ways even surpasses him. He is youngish, lean, dapper, quick to respond and has a way with words. In the hit U.S. TV drama “House of Cards,” Russian President Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen), the political opponent of U.S. President Frank Underwood, is smart, cunning and very dangerous. Source: Kinopoisk.ru Petrov looks lost only once: on the eve of an important decision, he explains to Underwood that one cannot show weakness at his post, otherwise he will no longer be respected. Soviet agent Illya Kuryakin from the 1960s TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." seems to have been created as a counterbalance to all previous Russian screen villains. He acted in concert with American agent Napoleon Solo, without betraying the interests of his country at the same time. In the recent movie based on this TV series, the part of Kuryakin is played by Armie Hammer, the great-grandson of the famous businessman Armand Hammer, who long represented the commercial interests of the U.S. in the USSR. Kuryakin looks serious in the Russian way, moreover, sometimes he is slow in his decision-making, but, unlike many Russian movie characters with square jaws, he is angelically handsome and well dressed. In the recent movie based on 1960s TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the part of a Soviet agent Illya Kuryakin is played by Armie Hammer, the great-grandson of the famous businessman Armand Hammer, who long represented the commercial interests of the U.S. in the USSR. Source: Kinopoisk.ru The spy thriller Möbius is full of clichés about Russians: a banker oligarch played by Tim Roth, black Mercedes SUVs and different arrangements of the song "Varshavyanka." However, FSB agent Moïse (aka Gregory Lyubov) is played by not another grim brute, but stately and handsome Jean Dujardin with his noble profile and equally noble gray streak. The spy thriller Möbius is full of clichés about Russians: a banker oligarch played by Tim Roth, black Mercedes SUVs and different arrangements of the song "Varshavyanka." Source: Kinopoisk.ru Pavel Chekov, the pilot of the spaceship Enterprise in the modern Star Trek films is one of the best Russian heroes in contemporary Western cinema. Chekov is friendly, smiling, does not dream of destroying half the world and knows how to work in a team. The charming Russian pilot was played by an American of Russian origin, Anton Yelchin, who beams with joy and exclaims, "Yo-Moyo!" ("Holy Moly!"). Pavel Chekov, the pilot of the spaceship Enterprise in the modern Star Trek films is one of the best Russian heroes in contemporary Western cinema. Source: Kinopoisk.ru This article has been abridged from the original Russian version, which first appeared in RBC Style. Read more: Oliver Stone finishes documentary about Putin>>> Subscribe to get the hand picked best stories every week

19 октября, 01:05

Bizarro World: Trump, Clowns and Self-Defense

Everything is the opposite in Bizarro World. Living on a cube-shaped world, Bizarro is the imperfect mirror-image of my favorite superhero, Superman. Bizarro's the opposite of everything Superman stands for: truth, justice, and the American way. Everyone understands that things can seem backward at times. Even Jerry Seinfeld suffered through an episode of dealing with Bizarro-Jerry where "up is down, down is up, he says hello when he leaves, goodbye when he arrives." This year feels like that. I live in a small town in Maine where our state slogan is "the way life should be." I teach karate to a group of amazing kids and we have a pretty quiet existence in the big scheme of things. The fact that our town is getting a brand new McDonald's and a new Dunkin Donuts in the same year is almost more than we can handle. Yet, we are now living in a world where a United States Presidential candidate openly bragged about sexual assault. And there is a "creepy clown" phenomenon in Maine that prompted Stephen King to tweet: "Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria--most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh. -- Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016 And a local TV station to ask: It's Bizarro World. Where reality TV stars brag about unwanted sexual advances and insane clowns are found on Main Street instead of fiction. Up is down, down is up. It's so crazy that the Cubs may actually win the World Series! We started our annual Self-Defense Month with a focus on having kids learn their address and phone numbers. And it quickly became apparent we were going to have to work a little harder when 4th-grade students started asking me "How do we defend ourselves from clowns?" Now it's evolved to teaching girls how to defend themselves from entitled sexual predators. Our young girls have heard it straight from Trump's mouth. United States Presidential candidate Donald Trump said: "Grab them by the p----. You can do anything." and "I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything." That's sexual assault. It's not a defensible statement. It's a crime, regardless of whether or not you are a star. It's a dangerous mindset for any person to believe. No one has the right to do anything they want without consequences. We have always taught, along with every other credible martial arts instructor on the planet, that it's never okay for anyone to put their hands on you without your permission. That's the underlying principle of the entire martial arts philosophy. You have the right to defend yourself. We also teach when it's appropriate to use martial arts (in any form) on another person. Nothing we do includes the idea, thought or belief that we can do anything we want just because we can. We can't. It's a crime. It's against everything we believe. That's why we also teach self-control and discipline. It doesn't matter if it's Donald Trump or any other person that believes they have the right to do anything. . Some will say this is locker room talk or this is a political endorsement of Hillary Clinton. It is neither. This is a clear example of someone misusing power to get away with sexual assault. It isn't political, it's illegal. And no one in their right mind should tolerate men trying to "grab them by the p----." It doesn't matter who they are. It's wrong. It's why we have to teach self-defense in the first place. In Superman: Escape from Bizarro World the ever-noble Superman fights to stop Bizarro's rampage. Someone has to come in and save the day. Why not Superman? Because I'm tired of living in Bizarro World where Presidential candidates brag about sexually assaulting women and crazy clowns follow people in the street. Where the inconceivable is now our reality. At this point, waiting for Superman to come and rescue us from 2016 doesn't seem that crazy to me. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 октября, 22:54

The Media Feel So Bad For Poor, Poor Paul Ryan, Who Hasn't Enabled Trump At All

The Center for Public Integrity came out with a blockbuster report on Monday describing how journalists are way, way too poor to influence elections with their money. A ragtag group of television reviewers and restaurant critics have combined to add almost $400,000 to the campaign coffers of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (with Clinton winning the lion’s share of this largesse), as Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel detail. In a billion-dollar election, that puts “journalists” somewhere near “accounting error” in terms of their contributions. But that doesn’t mean journalists aren’t good political donors ― you just have to account for the stuff they give away for free. And one big beneficiary of such in-kind offerings has been beleaguered House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). In case you’ve not been keeping up with the latest in Ryaniana, the Wisconsin representative and former vice presidential nominee has found himself in another round of back-and-forth sparring with his party’s nominee. Ryan desperately wants the presidential race to be something he no longer needs to think about, because his party’s standard-bearer is an odious lunatic and because the speaker has been attempting to run a parallel Republican campaign from the safety of his office. Trump, however, won’t let him go and has even worked Ryan into his larger mythology of a “rigged” election, painting him as one more party to a “sinister deal.” The straight story here, of course, is that Paul Ryan brought all of this upon himself. By offering Trump his endorsement ― a move that he’d have cause to regret within hours ― he invited the vampire into his home. And throughout his dance of death with the candidate, Ryan has desperately tried to make it work. As recently as Oct. 7, he was planning to appear on the stump with Trump, only to rescind the invitation when it became clear that Trump’s “grab her by the pussy” comment wasn’t going to be quickly swept away by the news cycle. In other words, Ryan has made poor choices and taken ill-advised actions. Fortunately for him, he’s receiving his traditional round of fluffing from the media, who are depicting him as a noble sufferer ― unfairly victimized by Trump but ultimately responsible for nothing ― and who are giving him immense credit for finding a way to exist in the liminal space between not quite endorsing Trump and not quite rescinding that endorsement either.  Take, for example, Jennifer Steinhauer’s New York Times piece from over the weekend, “For Paul Ryan, a Long, Labored Path Leading Away From Donald Trump.” Which sounds like Ryan had, you know, broken with Trump. That’s not the case! But the larger argument being made is that Ryan has ended up a casualty to cruel fate: He didn’t see it coming. Speaker Paul D. Ryan was in a hotel room in Cincinnati last May when he learned that Donald J. Trump — a man he barely knew, with no institutional ties to his party and a mouth that had already clacked his nerves — had secured the Republican nomination for president. Huh, what now? He didn’t see Trump coming? From as far back as ‘Mexicans are sending rapists’? And we’re to believe that in May, Trump’s ascension still caught him unawares? By May, the only non-Trump nomination options that were left were the desperate ones ― the aborted Cruz-Kasich team-up plan or a massive procedural fight at the very convention over which Ryan was obligated to preside. The Times piece goes on to describe Ryan as having been plunged into a “singular abyss,” as if something other than his passivity put him there. Ryan absorbs the “unsparing ... disparagement” from Trump and makes his tepid objections known through spokespersons. He supposedly came to learn the hard way that Trump doesn’t “deal in good faith” when Trump falsely claimed to have earned Ryan’s endorsement before it was actually offered (making Ryan one of the last people to realize that Trump doesn’t “deal in good faith”). After that, Ryan chose to take Trump’s selection of running mate Mike Pence as a “bright spot” that surely represented a change in tone. Overall, Ryan kept up a campaign of pretending Trump didn’t exist, until such time as that became untenable: the release of the 2005 video in which the real estate mogul lewdly promoted sexual assault as a perk of fame. As punishment, Trump was disinvited from a Wisconsin rally, but that’s as far as Ryan was willing to push things. Per Steinhauer: Mr. Ryan agonized over his options. Ultimately, he chose not to withdraw his endorsement to keep Republicans motivated to vote, which still angered some of his conference. “I think they ask far too much of the speaker,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, who has renounced Mr. Trump. “His job is to help House Republicans. Period.” Several of Chaffetz’s colleagues briefly followed his lead, only to re-endorse Trump after a few hours of courage. If only they had someone setting an example to follow! But Ryan has clearly decided to ride this one out by ignoring Trump and putting on a happy face, all the while never indicating which of his charges are doing right by their party and country: the ones who have broken with Trump, the ones who have attached themselves to Trump, or the ones trying to have it both ways. “Just please vote the straight GOP ticket, anyway” is Ryan’s only position. And it’s all so sad, because ― as Steinhauer ruefully reports ― after all the dust has settled, his own party may not let him stay on as speaker: If Mr. Trump is defeated on Nov. 8 — as Mr. Ryan has all but conceded — but Republicans maintain their House majority, it will fall largely to Mr. Ryan to piece the rubble of his party back together. There is, of course, the question of whether House members would let him do so. It’s hard to imagine that Ryan would have any trouble convincing his fellow House colleagues to keep him on, what with all this authoritative command he is showing. At this point, the only thing that’s keeping Ryan from being seen as a feckless, failed invertebrate is the media’s determined campaign to paint him as the tragic figure in all of this. Tuesday morning’s Politico Playbook, for example, literally describes Ryan as Trump’s “fall guy,” bullied by the nominee’s sneering remarks. As Playbook puts it: THIS IS STUNNING. Trump is essentially accusing the speaker of the House of sabotaging his campaign to benefit his own political future. (We think it’s an absurd argument.) It is an absurd argument, but only because the Trump campaign is the one thing Ryan isn’t sabotaging for the sake of his political future. Yet Playbook maintains that Ryan has somehow become fortune’s unwitting fool in this whole escapade, ignoring the fact that he’s been one of Trump’s principal enablers: STEP BACK: There’s been a lot of chatter over the last few days about whether Ryan did the right thing by speaking out against Trump. Why is he always the scold, people have asked? His handling of Trump will be dissected plenty over the next few months. Ryan has an incredibly complicated job and has to balance the needs of 245 other Republicans, many of whom wanted cover to break with Trump. But there’s no question he’s now bearing the brunt of the decision. We’re not going to play the can-he-win-the-speakership-again game. There are far too many variables at play, like a) how much Trump loses by and b) what the margin is in the House. But Trump and his allies are signaling a long fight against Ryan. Put it all together, and you come up with a pretty simple question: Why would Ryan want to become speaker again? Why should anyone care if Ryan becomes speaker again? How is that a going concern? He had his chance to put down his marker and opted to refrain from doing so, preferring to pretend that this is all some bad dream from which he’ll shake himself when the morning comes. Ryan has been the sort of statesman who offers up his strongest statements while timidly backing out the door, leaving everyone left in the room wondering if he was even there in the first place. And then he’s off to shelter behind closed doors, making another video about tax cuts as a solo act of Speaker of the House cosplay. It’s a real curiosity: In a town where fanciful notions of “leadership” are venerated even when doing so flies in the face of reason, Paul Ryan has emerged as the one figure of real status who has been given a pass from all of that. Typically, you’d expect the media to light him on fire for both his non-endorsement endorsement and his subsequent non-unendorsement unendorsing of Trump. But no. He gets credited by The New York Times with making a break he hasn’t made. He earns the concern of Politico over whether he’ll keep a job that he’s been avoiding doing. He’s been a flailing, indecisive mess and a big reason why his party ― and the country― has been gravely imperiled by Trump. But it seems like the press is going to allow Ryan to go down as this election cycle’s St. Sebastian. And sure, Ryan’s fantastic abs have been shot up with metaphorical arrows, but he’s not earned a martyrdom. That’s the media’s donation.  ~~~~~ Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.   Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 октября, 19:50

This Is Not Your Typical Sweatshirt

This article is part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” campaign, an ongoing project spotlighting the world’s waste crisis and how we can begin to solve it. Tom Cridland’s famous sweatshirts don’t look all that special. The basic crewnecks come in a range of solid colors and retail for close to $100. Their price even seems a little steep, until you realize that the products are guaranteed to last 30 years. At least, that’s what their 25-year-old designer says. Cridland, whose eponymous clothing company specializes in high-quality garments, promises the brand will repair damaged items or replace them if they’re beyond fixing. Cridland, a London native, began selling his 30-Year Sweatshirt last year and now also offers T-shirts and jackets with the same lengthy guarantee. In an industry that’s become dominated by retailers selling cheaply made, affordable garments, Cridland’s plainly designed, ethically manufactured sweatshirt seems something of an anachronism, harkening back to a time when clothes were maintained and mended, not thrown away and replaced each season.  Is Cridland pioneering a business model that could one day slay H&M and Zara, the Goliaths of fast fashion? Or is the 30-year promise an empty, if well-meaning, one? Like many issues around building an environmentally sustainable business, the answer is complicated. Cridland has garnered lots of attention because of the rich, famous actors and rock stars who wear his clothes. But the key to lasting success for his brand may be to make the average shopper care about the environmental impact of their clothes.  Tasha Lewis, an assistant professor of fashion design management at Cornell University, thinks Cridland’s idea is a noble and necessary one. “I don’t know that I see it as a gimmick, I see it as sending a message,” Lewis said. “Celebrities are wearing it, and they’re sending a message to say, ‘I care what happens with clothing.’ He’s bringing attention to the issue in a very fashionable way.”  Indeed, the Tom Cridland company’s effort seems to have arrived at the right time.  The average American tosses out 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles per year, the equivalent in weight to more than 200 men’s T-shirts. The U.S. alone produced 15.1 million tons of textile waste in 2013, about 85 percent of which ended up in landfills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Once there, the decomposing garments add to the greenhouse gas emissions causing the planet to warm to catastrophic levels. However, in an age when we’re taught to think of clothing as inexpensive, disposable items, a concept like Cridland’s might be hard to swallow. Before tax and shipping, his sweatshirts are priced at roughly $85 each, the tees at more than $40 and the jacket, depending on the style, can run over $300. He also sells a line of men’s trousers that don’t come with a 30-year guarantee but do sell for more than what you’d expect to find in a popular, affordable retailer. Considering that Cridland’s clothes are hand-stitched by a family-run business of seamstresses in Portugal, those prices are relatively affordable. And that’s partly because he sells his goods online only. (Space on a data server is almost always cheaper than paying a brick-and-mortar outlet’s rent, retail employee wages and electricity bills.)  Still, Tom Cridland-brand clothing is pricy compared to H&M, where a man can get a T-shirt for $5.99, a sweatshirt for $14.99 and an Oxford-weave blazer for just $49.99. With the average American buying about 64 new items of clothing per year ― in part because the cheaper stuff simply doesn’t stand the test of time or more than a few rinse cycles ― spending a little more for something that lasts could save money over time since, in theory, you’d need to shop less frequently. “It’s more expensive to produce, but it ends up saving money in the long run,” Cridland said of his products. “They look better, they save money, but the byproduct is they’re being sustainable because they’re not contributing to the needless cycle of waste.” It helps that Cridland’s business says it will replace a 30-Year item if the owner destroys it. And there are other high-end garment makers with this kind of guarantee.  Patagonia, the California-based upscale outdoor gear and apparel maker, has long offered lifetime repairs on its clothes. The fashion brand Eileen Fisher also repairs damaged clothing or offers to reimburse its customers when they pay for their own tailors to sew a hole or replace a button. Cabot Hosiery Mills launched Darn Tough Vermont, the sock brand beloved by hikers, 11 years ago with a lifetime guarantee; it now sells nearly 5 million pairs per year. “The concept of making something well that lasts isn’t a particularly new one,” Sass Brown, an interim dean at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology who has written extensively on sustainable fashion, told HuffPost. “But it’s a good concept, and it’s one that is absolutely worthwhile.” Tom Cridland has a long way to go to become profitable, though. The company sold about $849,000 worth of clothes in the last two years. That’s not a terrible start for a bootstrapped firm with only two full-time employees: Cridland and his longtime girlfriend and business partner, Deborah Marx. (Cridland says the pair plan to hire their first employee soon; the seamstresses work on a contract). For comparison, H&M earned $562 million in profit during its third quarter this year alone. As fashion sustainability creeps into the mainstream, Cridland could find a bigger market to tap. Privately-held Patagonia, for instance, has doubled its revenue since 2010 to $800 million, according to Bloomberg. Like Patagonia, Cridland could continue to roll out more long-term insured items. By doing so, he might be able to entice people who bought his other 30-Year products. Over the years, those people could potentially acquire a bunch of Cridland’s garments. “What some companies have done in the past is you help a customer build a wardrobe over time,” said Lewis, the assistant professor at Cornell. “Sort of like, ‘I know you bought this last year, but this goes with something I made this year’ ― so you kind of get into a timeless wardrobe-building relationship.” That seems to be Cridland’s plan. For now, the company only sells menswear, which could be a major boon. Men in the U.S. ― by far the world’s largest fashion market ― spend on average $10 more on clothes per month than women, according to a survey released earlier this year by Boutique @ Ogilvy, a fashion public relations firm. Menswear is expected to grow by 8.3 percent into a $110.3 billion market ― nearly twice the rate of womenswear. An online-only seller like Cridland may be best positioned to tap that growth: In 2012, men outspent women in online shopping by 20 to 30 percent, according to Slate.  It’s also important to remember that, if the fashion business wants to shed its reputation for rivaling the oil industry as one of the world’s biggest polluters, it’ll need a patchwork of solutions. Efforts like Cridlands are a step in the right direction, albeit a tiny step. “Will it solve fast fashion and the ethical issues with clothing and the textile industry? No, it won’t, but no one thing will do that anyway,” Brown said. “It requires a multitude of different perspectives and different answers. No single thing can solve the myriad problems we have in our industry.” More stories like this: Here’s What Goodwill Actually Does With Your Donated Clothes Why You Should NEVER Throw Old Clothes In The Trash We Wore The Same Outfits To Work All Week. Here’s What Happened. These African Countries Don’t Want Your Used Clothing Anymore This Company Turns Plastic Bottle Trash From The Ocean Into Clothing Nearly All My Possessions Fit In A Suitcase, And I’ve Never Been Happier -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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18 октября, 05:44

Etiquette Classes For China's Wealthy Women Are The Newest Status Symbol

For about $15,000, well-heeled Chinese women can take part in 10- to 12-day courses, with lessons including socializing tips, proper hotel manners, and even lingerie selection and how to pronounce luxury brands.

18 октября, 01:46

National Police Group Apologizes For Past Racial Injustices, But Not Current Ones

The president of the largest police organization in the country issued an apology on Monday to communities of color for the “historic mistreatment” they have suffered at the hands of law enforcement officers. Terrence Cunningham, the police chief of Wellesley, Massachusetts, delivered the apology during a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego. The IACP includes 23,000 police officials from across the United States, The Washington Post reports. “We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities,” Cunningham said. “For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.” “There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens,” he continued. “In the past, the laws adopted by our society have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks, such as ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans.”  This dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational ― almost inherited ― mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies. Police Chief Terrence Cunningham Cunningham has a point. The relationship between law enforcement and communities of color has long been strained ― especially for African-Americans. Modern-day police forces grew out of slave patrols (at least in the South). During the height of the Jim Crow era, police officers were tasked with maintaining state-sanctioned racial oppression. “While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational ― almost inherited ― mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies,” Cunningham said.  But racial discrimination in policing didn’t end with Jim Crow. Police officers are still required to enforce racially discriminatory laws ― such as SB 1070, an immigration law in Arizona that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they think is in the country illegally. Or New York’s “stop and frisk” policy, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in New York in 2013 for violating the Fourth Amendment rights of black and Latino New Yorkers. Commenters on social media reacted to Cunningham’s remarks by pointing this out: An apology for "past mistreatment" only -- and an implicit claim that police are no longer oppressive or racist. https://t.co/jugkseozph— Professor Fleming (@alwaystheself) October 17, 2016 Interesting, but racist policing isn't a practice 'of the past.' It's an ongoing reality. https://t.co/mRc77AVuBB— Advancement Project (@adv_project) October 17, 2016 https://t.co/43gJfunTNb - Apology noted; now lets reform justice system, stop harassment and most importantly, stop killing us.— Shameless (@rlhussey) October 17, 2016 As movements like Black Lives Matter note, people of color ― especially African-Americans ― are disproportionately killed, harassed and stopped by the police for mundane reasons. Because of this, trust toward the police is far lower in communities of color. Cunningham is certainly aware of this: He pointed to the high-profile police shootings of unarmed black people that have “tragically undermined the trust that the public must and should have in their police departments.”  “Many officers who do not share this common heritage often struggle to comprehend the reasons behind this historic mistrust,” Cunningham said. “As a result, they are often unable to bridge this gap and connect with some segments of their communities.” You can read Cunningham’s full remarks below: I would like to take a moment to address a significant and fundamental issue confronting our profession, particularly within the United States. Clearly, this is a challenging time for policing. Events over the past several years have caused many to question the actions of our officers and has tragically undermined the trust that the public must and should have in their police departments. At times such as this, it is our role as leaders to assess the situation and take the steps necessary to move forward. This morning, I would like to address one issue that I believe will help both our profession and our communities. The history of the law enforcement profession is replete with examples of bravery, self-sacrifice, and service to the community. At its core, policing is a noble profession made up of women and men who have sworn to place themselves between the innocent and those who seek to do them harm. Over the years, thousands of police officers have laid down their lives for their fellow citizens while hundreds of thousands more have been injured while protecting their communities. The nation owes all of those officers, as well as those who are still on patrol today, an enormous debt of gratitude. At the same time, it is also clear that the history of policing has also had darker periods. There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state, and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens. In the past, the laws adopted by our society have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks, such as ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans. While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational ― almost inherited ― mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies. Many officers who do not share this common heritage often struggle to comprehend the reasons behind this historic mistrust. As a result, they are often unable to bridge this gap and connect with some segments of their communities. While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future. We must move forward together to build a shared understanding. We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities. For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color. At the same time, those who denounce the police must also acknowledge that today’s officers are not to blame for the injustices of the past. If either side in this debate fails to acknowledge these fundamental truths, we will be unlikely to move past them. Overcoming this historic mistrust requires that we must move forward together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. All members of our society must realize that we have a mutual obligation to work together to ensure fairness, dignity, security, and justice. It is my hope that, by working together, we can break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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18 октября, 00:51

New $1,200 Tequila From One Of Mexico's Best Producers

This new very limited edition tequila is an instant collectible for deep pocketed spirit fans. Casa Noble has been the recipient of about two dozen major awards for its tequilas, including Double Gold at the nations highest profile event, the San

17 октября, 22:57

An Investor's Guide to Dividend Aristocrat ETFs

While there are plenty of options in the dividend ETF world, honing in on the 'dividend aristocrats' could be the most beneficial way to ride out the current market volatility resulting from geopolitical concerns.