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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Insurrectionists cry ‘tyranny,’ but the US has become more – not less – free

By Charles Hammer:

My mother, now dearly missed, had a tender spot for the South as do many Americans. That's why the Confederate battle flag is displayed at tea party gatherings, Donald Trump's Republican rallies, the recent insurgent takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and — most tragically — from the hand of 21-year-old Dylann Roof last year shortly before he shot to death nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. We must assume "rebels" display that flag because they believe the Confederate cause was admirable.

Was it really? For that we have to ask why the Confederacy in 1861 started the Civil War, or at least fired the first shots as they cannoned Charleston's Fort Sumter into surrender. That war killed in battle 720,000 Americans, more than died in all our other wars combined. So, why the Civil War?

Some Americans today whose ancestors gallantly fought for the Confederacy (perhaps including my great grandfather) understandably say it was not for slavery. It was for the South's honor and liberty, to defend states rights and oppose an intrusive central government. But Southern leaders in 1861 — those who ordered the cannons fired — spoke more bluntly.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/insurrectionists-cry-tyranny-but-the-us-has-become-more-free/

Why robots need the ability to say ‘no’

There are plenty of benign cases where robots receive commands that ideally should not be carried out because they lead to unwanted outcomes. But not all cases will be that innocuous, even if their commands initially appear to be.

Consider a robot car instructed to back up while the dog is sleeping in the driveway behind it, or a kitchen aid robot instructed to lift a knife and walk forward when positioned behind a human chef. The commands are simple, but the outcomes are significantly worse.

How can we humans avoid such harmful results of robot obedience? If driving around the dog were not possible, the car would have to refuse to drive at all. And similarly, if avoiding stabbing the chef were not possible, the robot would have to either stop walking forward or not pick up the knife in the first place.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/robots-need-ability-say-no/

Poll: Millennials reject Trump, begrudgingly back Clinton

At the same time young voters are feeling the Bern, they're also really rejecting Donald Trump. The leading GOP presidential candidate was seen as unfavorable by 74 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds polled in a survey released Monday by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And that, combined that with the fact that more millennials were identifying as Democratic instead of independent for the first time in five years, indicated the youth vote in November could be an anti-Trump one.

"I do think that Donald Trump is doing as much for the prospect of the Democratic nominee as George W. Bush did in 2008," polling director John Della Volpe said on a conference call with reporters Monday, referencing a surge in youth engagement that propelled then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to the presidency years ago. "I don't think there's a question about that."

To be fair, young voters don't love Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, either. She had a net favorable rating of -16 percentage points in the Harvard poll. Only Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders inspired good feelings among millennials, with a 23 percent net favorable rating.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/poll-millennials-reject-trump-begrudgingly-back-clinton/

How Prince’s quest for complete artistic control changed the music industry forever

The death of Prince marks the end of a brilliant music career by one of pop music’s most talented and eclectic artists. A virtuoso on any number of instruments, a master arranger and producer, and a preeminent showman, Prince’s music was as diverse and versatile as his elaborate outfits.

But it was his pursuit of complete artistic freedom – and legal protections for that freedom – that will make up a significant portion of his legacy. His several notable confrontations with record companies, streaming services, and social media users inspired other artists to both demand artistic freedom and earn their fair share of profits.


As Prince grew increasingly frustrated that he had surrendered the rights to his music, the artist began to rebel by publicly appearing with “Slave” written on his cheek. He also changed his name to a symbol, which occurred after the artist declared his former artistic self dead.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/princes-quest-complete-artistic-control-changed-music-industry-forever/

Joe Conason: On Israel, Bernie Sanders is right (and Hillary Clinton knows it)

Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about his judgment that Israel's military response to attacks from Gaza in 2014 was "disproportionate and led to the unnecessary loss of innocent life," the Vermont Senator answered firmly: "Yeah, I do believe that." He mentioned that many other nations, including longtime allies of Israel, had denounced the atrocities in Gaza, along with human rights organizations around the world.

Having reiterated that he supports Israel as our ally - with every right to self-defense - Sanders said that "in the long run, if we are ever going to bring peace to that region which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity."

That should be blindingly obvious, especially to Clinton, who has worked alongside President Clinton and President Obama toward a decent two-state solution for almost a quarter century. Her disappointing reply to Sanders reflected her political priorities in the New York primary, rather than her commitment to human rights or her assessment of American diplomatic interests.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/israel-bernie-sanders-right-hillary-clinton-knows/

Arabic-speaking passenger ‘humiliated’ when thrown off plane

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old from Iraq, was removed from a Southwest Airlines this month after he spoke to his uncle on the phone in Arabic.

Makhzoomi, who moved to the US as a refugee, said he called his uncle in Baghdad after taking his seat when he noticed a fellow passenger staring at him.

Makhzoomi was excited after attending an international affairs conference that included a speech by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, so as soon as he got on the plane, he made the call to talk about him.

"I was speaking Arabic with him. Explaining the details about the event," Makhzoomi told Al Jazeera. "All of a sudden lady in front of me started staring at me and I got off phone. My uncle told me to call him when I land and I said, inshallah, inshallah, I will call you'."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/arabic-speaking-passenger-humiliated/

Tenn. governor rejects Bible as official state book, but veto override looms

The official rock of Tennessee is limestone. The raccoon is the state's official wild animal.

But the state still does not have an official book.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last week vetoed a bill that would have added the Bible to Tennessee's list of official state symbols, but lawmakers have already threatened to override his decision.

In Haslam's veto message to the Republican lawmakers who sponsored the bill, he wrote in defense of Christian beliefs: "I strongly disagree with those who are trying to drive religion out of the public square."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/tenn-governor-rejects-bible-official-state-book/

Path to prosperity: Everyone does better when everyone does better

By Savio Carvalho

In March 2016, over 40 New York millionaires wrote a letter to the governor and state lawmakers calling for a 1 percent plan for tax fairness. Given the strenuous efforts that many wealthy individuals and businesses go to avoid paying tax, this was seen by many as a surprising move. The signatories to the letter said that given they have contributed to and benefited from the economic vibrancy of the state, they have not just the ability but also the responsibility to pay back. However, their apparent motivations were not just altruistic. They also cited that for long-term social and economic stability, investment in infrastructure and human capital are essential elements for prosperity.

At the same time the millionaires were writing their letter, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the UN independent expert on the effects of foreign debt on human rights, was issuing his latest report how economic inequality affects the enjoyment of human rights. When apparently opposite sides highlight the same issue, it raises a number of questions. Why now? Why this growing realization of the impacts of inequality on society? How is increasing inequality contributing to global insecurity? Can we address inequality using a human rights approach?

Economic inequality is a cause and consequence of policy choices available to and made by a range of actors—individuals, companies, governments, international and intergovernmental organisations. In terms of fiscal policies, these can range from tax breaks, tax havens, tax avoidance agreements to trade subsidies—the list goes on. Although many of these agreements may be technically legal, they do raise important moral and ethical questions. Many of these agreements tend to favor a small minority who, as a result, can enrich themselves many times over, widening the wealth gap even further. Beyond their dubious ethical nature, such arrangements can fuel social unrest with accompanying costs that can far outweigh the perceived economic benefits of investment incentives.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/path-to-prosperity-everyone-does-better-when-everyone/

Don’t panic: Time magazine is wrong about the national debt

The latest issue of Time magazine features a stark red cover with a strident warning:

“DEAR READER,” it reads. “You owe $42,998.12.” As it goes on to explain, “That’s what every American man, woman and child would need to pay to erase the $13.9 trillion in U.S. debt.”

Needless to say, that’s a hefty chunk of change, more than 80 percent of the American median household income. But does that number actually mean anything?

“It just seems unbelievably silly,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. “This has nothing to do with people’s future living standards, nothing to do with the ability of the government to pay back its debts. It’s basically zero information.”

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/time-magazine-wrong-national-debt/

How playing video games can improve your life during retirement

The teenagers who were hooked on Pac-Man in the arcades and amusement parks of the early 1970s are getting ready for retirement, but many of them have never stopped playing video games. In fact, it doesn’t look like they are going to stop gaming anytime soon.

The percentage of U.S. gamers who are over age 50 has increased rapidly, from just 9 percent in 1999 to 27 percent in 2015, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s annual reports. This is a global trend. In Europe, a 2012 study by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe found that 27 percent of people between 55 and 64 played video games; in Australia in 2015, 41 percent of people between 65 and 74 played video games.

These numbers may seem big, but they are just the tip of an enormous iceberg. The silver-haired gamer generation is not nearly as large as the number of current high school and college students who are obsessed with gaming and e-sports. Today’s number – 37 million American gamers over 50 – could balloon to 105 million by 2045, if U.N. population predictions bear out and the share of gamers in the population remains the same as was found in a 2008 Pew Research Center study.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/video-games-improve-retirement/

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