Deborah Orr: At last, a cure for feminism: sex robots (The Guardian)
Now women expect a degree of bodily autonomy, technology has found a way to objectify us again.
Suzanne Moore: What does this vote mean if one feels utterly powerless in every other way? (The Guardian)
This is a false choice between two different, but very similar elites. In the privacy of the ballot box, I will make my decision.
Josh Marshall: Yep, Trump's Stone Broke (TPM)
Trump's promises of vast riches got the GOP into a bind relying on him to fund a general election on his own. But that was all a lie. He's broke or near broke. And the GOP is now facing mid-summer with a campaign that is broke, has no fundraising apparatus, no candidate with big bucks and no field operation. He's done the GOP worse than the most screwed over creditor he ever sharked.
TIERNEY SNEED AND LAUREN FOX: Why Trump's Fundraising Struggles Spell Disaster For The Entire GOP (TPM)
"If you're someone like McCain, it's sort of the worst of both worlds: you're stuck with this guy, and every question you get asked is about him and your race is defined by him," Barr said. "But there's no air cover, or support coming from the Trump campaign to make up for all the negatives he's bringing with him."
Stephen Romei: From Moby-Dick to Catcher in the Rye, great books deserve revisiting (Australian)
I mentioned I'd read Herman Melville's Moby-Dick not long ago and was pleased to have crossed it off my to-read list. "Oh, my dear," [Harold Bloom] counselled. "You've only just begun to read it." I knew he was right then, I know he's right now and in recent times I've been thinking a bit about the re-reading of great books.
Sharon Verghis: "Frida Kahlo: artistic genius and queen of pain" (Australian)
On September 17, 1925, a teenage Frida Kahlo was travelling on a bus in Mexico City when it collided with a trolley car. Her body was pulverised on impact - her injuries included a broken spinal column, smashed ribs and collarbone, a shattered pelvis, 11 fractures in her right leg, and a mangled foot. She was also impaled on a piece of metal that "went through me like a sword into a bull", she wrote. This near-death experience unleashed a nascent artistic genius.
Lucy Mangan: Roald Dahl's perfect reader was his mother (Spectator)
In a correspondence lasting 40 years, the unshockable Sofie Magdalene delighted in her son's gory anecdotes from his schooldays onwards.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
David E Suggests
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
UNSPORTSMAN LIKE ACTIVITY.
SORRY. I'M BUSY. I HAVE A MEETING WITH GOD.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ELECT REALLY STUPID CONSERVATIVES!
NO WOMEN ALLOWED!
A DEADLY BOTTOM LINE.
THE LIARS, THE CHEATS AND THE THIEVES!
"THIS IS GOVERNMENT AT THE BARREL OF A GUN."
"LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!"
WHAT A GEEK!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Anybody else think T-rump's a master of projection?
Wins 'Stairway to Heaven' Trial
Led Zeppelin has beaten a lawsuit claiming that the iconic guitar riff in "Stairway to Heaven" was copied from Spirit's 1968 instrumental "Taurus."
On Thursday, after a week's worth of testimony and arguments, the jury came back with its verdict in a case that's been decades in the making. At trial, Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant testified as well as Michael Skidmore, the Trustee of Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe's estate, who demanded in his lawsuit a rewriting of rock 'n' roll history. The jury also heard from a Spirit bandmember, musicologists and other witnesses and experts opining on such subjects as whether Led Zeppelin had heard "Taurus" before composing their popular song and whether the two songs were substantially similar.
In his lifetime, Wolfe never sued and was ambivalent about doing so upon questions from those who pointed out similarities. After the songwriter died in 1997, Skidmore asserted an ownership interest in copyrighted sheet music and was able to push the case to trial despite decades of inaction and non-cooperation from Hollenbeck Music, the publishing company that had signed Wolfe (performing as Randy California) in the 1960s as a teenager who was discovered by Jimi Hendrix.
The jury - eight California citizens - delivered its verdict that the plaintiff owned the copyright to "Taurus" and that Led Zeppelin members indeed heard it, but that there was no substantial similarity in the extrinsic elements of "Taurus" and "Stairway." The decision came after the jury took one last listen of both songs. Within a half hour of doing so, the jury had made up its mind.
This Year's Honorees
This year's Kennedy Center honorees include musicians who span genres including pop, rock, gospel, blues, folk and classical - and an actor known for his extraordinary range.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that actor Al Pacino, rock band the Eagles, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples and singer-songwriter James Taylor will be honored for influencing American culture through the arts.
For the Eagles, the recognition will be bittersweet. The band was tapped for the honor last year but postponed its appearance because of founding member Glenn Frey's failing health. Frey died in January, about a month after the honors gala.
For Pacino, the star of "The Godfather" trilogy who has long been regarded as one of the great American actors, the honor is arguably overdue. Many of his peers who became leading men in adventurous 1970s Hollywood have already been honored, including Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford.
The honorees will be celebrated at a gala on Dec. 4, featuring performances and tributes from top entertainers. The show will be broadcast on Dec. 27 on CBS.
Celebs Sign Letter
They may not be leading a sit-in in the capital, but some of music's biggest stars -- including Britney Spears and Selena Gomez -- are coming together to demand change.
Following the mass killing at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 dead and The Voice singer Christina Grimmie's murder the same weekend, Billboard magazine and gun-violence prevention group Everytown partnered to pen an open letter demanding stricter gun laws from Congress.
"Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls," the magazine writes. "But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences -- going to school or church or work -- now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country."
The open letter calls for background checks for every gun sale and a block on suspected terrorists from buying guns and was co-signed by some 180 celebrities, from Katy Perry to DJ Khaled, Calvin Harris to Cher.
You can find the complete list of signees here.
TV Academy Sues To Block Auction Of Emmy
An Emmy Award won by Whitney Houston 30 years ago is the focus of a legal battle between an auction house and Emmy organizers seeking to block the trophy's sale.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court against Heritage Auctions and the late pop star's estate, saying the sale would violate academy rules.
Houston won the award in 1986 for her Grammy ceremony performance of "Saving All My Love for You." The singer was found dead at age 48 in a hotel room in Beverly Hills, California, on the eve of the 2012 Grammys.
In its lawsuit, the academy says Houston won her trophy when the Emmys carried a label stipulating they were academy property and that an heir seeking to dispose of an award must return it to the academy for storage in "memory of the recipient."
The academy also is seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the trophy's sale. It's included in an auction of Houston memorabilia that, according to Heritage's website, is set for Friday and Saturday in Beverly Hills, California.
Warns US Over High Poverty, Inequality
The International Monetary Fund warned the United States Wednesday over poverty and rising inequality in the country, saying both could hold back its economic potential.
The IMF cut its outlook for US economic growth this year to 2.2 percent, compared to 2.4 percent forecast at the beginning of the year. It cited the impact of slower global growth overall, the contraction in the energy industry due to low oil prices, and a slowdown in domestic consumer spending.
The Washington-based global crisis lender said the US economy is in "good shape" generally, growing more strongly than other leading advanced economies, with unemployment at a nearly nine year low and inflation in check.
The world's largest economy "has repeatedly demonstrated its resilience in the face of financial market volatility, a strengthening dollar, and subdued global demand," the report said.
Yet it identified stark trends that it said will slowly choke off avenues to future growth if not addressed soon, particularly a very high level of poverty for a rich country and increasing inequality.
Makes a Run for It … Again
A robot in Russia caused an unusual traffic jam last week after it "escaped" from a research lab, and now, the artificially intelligent bot is making headlines again after it reportedly tried to flee a second time, according to news reports.
Engineers at the Russian lab reprogrammed the intelligent machine, dubbed Promobot IR77, after last week's incident, but the robot recently made a second escape attempt, The Mirror reported.
Last week, the robot made it approximately 160 feet (50 meters) to the street, before it lost power and "partially paralyzed" traffic.
Promobot, the company that designed the robot, announced the escapade in a blog post the next day.
The Promobot was designed to interact with people using speech recognition, providing information in the form of an expressive electronic face, prerecorded audio messages and a large screen on its chest. The company has said the robot could be used as a promoter, administrator, tour guide or concierge.
Reaches Southern US
'Zombie Bee' Scourge
The mysterious "zombie bee" parasite that kills honeybees has reached the southern United States after scientists confirmed a case in Virginia about an hour outside Roanoke, researchers announced this week.
The discovery suggests the phenomenon is more widespread than previously thought, although researchers still know little about how many bees it actually kills.
Flies attach themselves to the bees and inject their eggs, causing erratic "zombie-like" behavior in the bees such as flying at night and toward light. The bees often die within hours. Fly larvae burst out of their carcasses days later.
The phenomenon was first discovered in California in 2008 and has spread to states including Oregon, South Dakota and New York. But even as "zombie bees" reach the South, scientists still don't know what role they might play in the pollinator's alarming decline.
'Zombie Bee' Scourge
Makes A Whole Lot Less
Uber talks a big game when it comes to how much its drivers make. They create video games, ad campaigns, and stalk drivers from other ride sharing services to promote a single message: Uber is a great way to make a living.
New leaked Uber data says otherwise.
Spreadsheets of raw driver data, acquired by BuzzFeed, show that while Uber sometimes claims that its drivers make nearly six-figure salaries, many drivers actually make close to minimum wage.
BuzzFeed's calculations had to account for factors many people neglect when reporting hourly wages. Uber drivers incur expenses on top of their hourly wages: They pay for their own gas, insurance and maintenance costs, not to mention the depreciation of the vehicles they use. These expenses knock their hourly wage down by a few dollars and cost thousands of dollars a year on aggregate.
After all these expenses, the hourly wages in Houston during the examined period was $10.75. In Denver, the healthiest market BuzzFeed examined, the hourly wage ended up at $13.17, which is less than $28,000 after working 40 hours a week.
Powers Over Atlantic
Solar Impulse 2
The Solar Impulse 2 plane went through "a long night of turbulence" over the Atlantic, its weary pilot said Wednesday as he continued on the challenging leg of its sun-powered trip around the world.
The experimental plane, which took off from New York's John F. Kennedy airport on Monday, is flying over the Atlantic at the hands of Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard and is due to land in Spain's southern Seville airport early Thursday.
By around 2100 GMT on Wednesday, the aircraft -- which is powered in the night sky by energy supplied by its 17,000 photovoltaic cells -- had completed 89 percent of its 6,000-kilometre (3,700-mile) flight across the Atlantic.
The voyage marks the first solo transatlantic crossing in a solar-powered airplane, and Piccard has been getting little sleep as he survives on short catnaps.
No heavier than a car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, Solar Impulse is being flown on its 35,400-kilometre trip round the world in stages, with Piccard and his Swiss compatriot Andre Borschberg taking turns at the controls of the single-seat plane.
Solar Impulse 2
U.S. bluegrass pioneer Ralph Stanley, who with his brother Carter helped popularize the Appalachian music and gained late career fame through the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," died on Thursday, the family said. He was 89.
Stanley died in his sleep after a long battle with skin cancer, grandson Ralph Stanley said on his Facebook page.
During a seven-decade career, Stanley, a banjoist and singer from the coal mining country of southwest Virginia, wrote or co-wrote more than 200 songs, including "Hard Times" and "The Darkest Hour Is Just Before the Dawn."
A major contributor to the so-called "lonesome" style of bluegrass, Stanley and his brother performed as the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys from 1946 to 1966, according to a profile on the International Bluegrass Music Museum's website.
The band was the first bluegrass group to play the Newport Folk Festival, in 1959, and headlined folk festivals for decades. The Clinch Mountain Boys were the first bluegrass act to record a cappella gospel hymns, in 1971.
As his brother's health began to fail, Ralph Stanley increasingly began fronting as lead singer and as the face of the band. Carter Stanley died in 1966, and Stanley continued to perform into his 80s with the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Born Feb. 25, 1927, at Big Spraddle Creek in Virginia's Dickenson County, Stanley took early musical influence from his banjo-playing mother and from the Primitive Baptist Univeralist Church.
After service in the U.S. Army in the 1940s, Stanley gave up plans to become a veterinarian and joined his brother to form a band.
He took a personal role in recording the soundtrack music for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," a 2000 film about Depression-era convicts on the lam directed by Ethan and Joel Coen.
He won a Grammy Award for his a cappella performance of the dirge-like "O Death" in the soundtrack, which became a best-selling album.
Stanley was honored with the Library of Congress' "Living Legend" award. He is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.