Alex Santoso: Forget Free Community College, Obama! Here's a Better Plan: Bring Back Vocational High Schools (Neatorama)
"College isn't for everyone," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg noted in his 2008 State of the City address, "education is." And he might be on to something: Northwestern University professor James E. Rosenbaum argued in his book, "Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half," that the current educations system fails those who do not go to college and those who start college but do not finish by not adequately teaching practical skills that they'd need for getting jobs."
Sean Wilentz: How Philistinism Wrecked 'The New Republic' (Chronicle Review)
The New Republic was begun precisely in order to sustain enlightenment and complexity amid an earlier phase of monopoly philistinism. Its demise signals that its old mission has come round once again.
HENRY ROLLINS: NO ONE CARES THAT YOU SAW THE INTERVIEW (LA Weekly)
So what will stay in the national conversation this year? Can America handle a sober discourse on law enforcement without it devolving into anger and distraction? I think it has to, but that's a lot of mountains to move. Body cameras are a good start, but only a start.
M. Asher Cantrell: 7 Awesome Things Lurking In the Code of Famous Video Games (Cracked)
Remember the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "hot coffee" scandal? It was where people peeking into the game's code discovered an abandoned mini-game where CJ could have clothed, awkward sex with the girls he picked up on dates. As it happens, games have insane and bizarre things left behind in their code all the time. Most of the time, no one notices. Occasionally, though, some bored amateur programmer will find a jackpot, like ...
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz, Fred Colton, Josh Anonymous: "Kids Want to Finger Your Butt: Adventures In Teaching Abroad" (Cracked)
Are you a native English speaker? Do you like money? If so, then countries like China, South Korea, and Japan would like to hire you as an English teacher, even if you have absolutely no prior teaching experience whatsoever. […] The catch is a level of culture shock that is alternately hilarious and mortifying. At least, that's according to veteran educators Fred Colton and Josh Anonymous, who told us about how ...
5 Famous Historical Figures You Didn't Know Were Perverts (Cracked)
We're not assembling a list of famous perverts to shame them or sully their memories -- many of us would have exactly this amount of sex if our positions in life allowed it. But we get so tied up in slut-shaming contemporary celebrities that it's easy to forget how some of history's greatest minds spent most their energy having the nastiest sex they could get their hands on.
AsapSCIENCE: Nice Guys Finish First (YouTube)
We prove how nice guys actually finish first!
Honest Trailers - Taken (YouTube)
With the third movie in the franchise released this week, Taken gets the honest trailer treatment...
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Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to email@example.com.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Rain finally cleared out about supper time.
Responds to Rupert
J.K. Rowling is not a big Rupert Murdoch fan.
After Paris was hit by a recent terror attack at satire magazine Charlie Hebdo's offices that left 12 dead, Murdoch tweeted Friday: "Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible."
The media mogul also added that the world was being threatened by "big jihadist danger" and blamed "political correctness" for people turning a blind eye to it.
Now, the Harry Potter author has fired back at Murdoch on Twitter. "I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I'll auto-excommunicate," Rowling tweeted Jan. 11.
She also pointed out that issues have been caused by people practicing Christianity and Catholicism, citing the Spanish Inquisition and televangelist Jim Bakker. "Eight times more Muslims have been killed by so-called Islamic terrorists than non-Muslims," she added.
The life and work of Emmylou Harris was celebrated in grand style at a tribute concert in Washington featuring a galaxy of folk and country stars alongside the iconic American singer-songwriter herself.
Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Steve Earle, Martina McBride and Mary Chapin Carpenter were just a few of nearly two dozen recording artists who took turns at the 3,700-seat Constitution Hall to salute Harris, who watched from a side balcony when she wasn't on stage herself.
"Those of you who are of my generation may remember that show, 'This is Your Life'," said the 67-year-old winner of 13 Grammy awards as she joined her fellow entertainers for the closing number, her signature tune "Boulder to Birmingham."
Filmed and recorded for future broadcast and DVD release, the 3-1/2 hour show -- featuring 29 songs -- spanned Harris's four decades in music, during which she recorded some 40 albums.
Pope Francis baptized 33 infants in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday and told the mothers to feel free to breastfeed them if they cried or were hungry.
"You mothers give your children milk and even now, if they cry because they are hungry, breastfeed them, don't worry," he said, departing from his prepared text.
The written text of his homily had the phrase "give them milk," but he changed it to use the Italian term "allattateli", which means "breastfeed them," and added that they should not hesitate.
Even before he read the homily, at least one mother was seen breastfeeding, perhaps recalling that the pope had used similar words to make mothers feel at ease before.
Meryl Streep has been nominated for 18 Academy Awards and 29 Golden Globes, including one for Into the Woods this Sunday, but she hasn't always been the actress of choice.
On The Graham Norton Show on Jan. 9, the Into the Woods star recalled a time when she auditioned for the 1976 film King Kong with producer Dino De Laurentiis. His son had seen a then-unknown Meryl in a play and brought her in to audition for the role of Dwan.
Since Streep, 65, knew Italian, she understood Dino's words as he asked his son, "Why do you bring me this ugly thing?"
She then responded in Italian, saying, "I'm sorry I'm not beautiful enough to be in King Kong."
Streep can laugh about it now, but as Norton says, "young actors should take solace" knowing that there was a time where even a legendary actress had a bad audition.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s traveling Bible hasn't gone on regular display since President Barack Obama used it while taking his second oath of office two years ago. The public hasn't seen the slain civil rights icon's 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal in recent years, either.
Both relics reside in a safe deposit box, the keys held since March by an Atlanta judge presiding over the latest - and in many eyes, the ugliest - fight between King's heirs.
The Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., which is controlled by Martin Luther King III and his younger brother, Dexter Scott King, asked a judge a year ago to order their sister Bernice to turn over their father's Nobel medal and traveling Bible. The brothers want to sell them to a private buyer.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney could decide the case at a hearing Tuesday or let it go to trial. He said when he ordered Bernice to hand over the Bible and medal to the court's custody that it appeared likely the estate will win the case.
The Rev. Timothy McDonald, who served as assistant pastor at Ebenezer from 1978 to 1984 and sides with Bernice but describes himself as a friend of the whole family, told The Associated Press: "You don't sell Bibles and you don't get but one Nobel Peace Prize. There are some items that you just don't put a price on."
Ex-Judge Pleads Guilty
A former Arkansas judge forced from the bench for disclosing confidential information about an adoption by actress Charlize Theron pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge on Friday in an unrelated case.
Michael Maggio of Conway, Arkansas, admitted to accepting $24,000 in campaign contributions from the owner of a nursing home two days before reducing to $1 million from $5.2 million a jury's negligence award against the nursing facility.
"Maggio admitted that his decision to remit the judgment was improperly influenced by the donations that his campaign received from the business owner," Assistant U.S. Attorney Pat Harris of Little Rock said in a statement.
"Maggio further acknowledged that he attempted to delete text messages between the campaign fundraiser and himself after the contributions from the business owner were disclosed by the media."
Maggio, 53, was stripped of his judgeship last year by the Arkansas Supreme Court and its Committee on Judicial Responsibility after he acknowledged disclosing on a sports-related website details of an adoption, carried out in an adjoining courtroom, by the award-winning South African actress and texting racially offensive remarks.
3-Year Jail Term For Atheism
An Egyptian court has sentenced a student to three years in jail for announcing on Facebook that he is an atheist and for insulting Islam, his lawyer said Sunday.
Karim al-Banna, a 21-year-old whose own father testified against him, was jailed by a court in the Nile Delta province of Baheira on Saturday, lawyer Ahmed Abdel Nabi told AFP.
Banna's name had appeared in a list of known atheists in a local daily after which his neighbours harassed him, said Ishaq Ibrahim, a researcher on religion and beliefs at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
When Banna went to file a complaint against them at a police station, he was accused of insulting Islam and arrested, said Ibrahim, who has been tracking Banna's case.
Banna has been in custody since November.
War Is Peace
The lawyer for a Texas police officer fired for using a stun gun on a 76-year-old man says there was "nothing unreasonable" about using that level of force during a traffic stop that was captured on dashboard camera video.
Former Victoria police officer Nathanial Robinson was terminated last week, less than a month after the video from his patrol car on Dec. 11 garnered international attention. Robinson plans to appeal his firing, attorney Greg Cagle told the Victoria Advocate in a story published Sunday.
Cagle said Robinson, 23, acted constitutionally within the law. Robinson stopped Pete Vasquez for an expired vehicle inspection sticker, and video captured Robinson grabbing Vasquez's arm and pushing him onto the police cruiser.
The footage didn't show what happened between the two after falling on the ground. Cagle said Vasquez kicked the officer, and that the level of resistance was a basis for using the stun gun and arresting Vasquez.
"There's nothing unreasonable at all about that level of force," said Cagle, adding that Vasquez "wasn't injured. He scratched his elbow and hurt his feelings, but those aren't injuries in the constitutional sense."
A measles outbreak started at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., when an infected person visited the park in December. It has now infected at least 20 people in three different states, with two new cases reported in Orange County on Friday, according to the The Los Angeles Times. As the airborne disease rapidly spreads, so too does the debate about the need for vaccinations in America.
While the virus with flu-like symptoms is still common in many parts of the world, measles were declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, owing to a highly effective vaccination program. But the formerly eradicated disease is now increasingly on the rise in the U.S., with a record number of more than 610 cases reported last year. That number is nearly triple of the previous high in 2011, and the majority of those cases involve unvaccinated patients.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, half of the original six cases of Disneyland measles were contracted by unvaccinated children who were all old enough-at least four years old-to be vaccinated in two full doses. Of the three adults who initially contracted the disease, only one was fully vaccinated.
In recent years, measles have resurfaced around the country predominantly in communities that refuse to vaccinate. A 2013 outbreak in Texas was linked to a Christian megachurch whose televangelist minister (Kenneth Copeland) had condemend the use of vaccines, comparing them to injecting a child with a sexually transmitted disease.
In 2014, parents who refused to vaccinate their kids were attributed to an outbreak of potentially fatal whooping cough in unlikely places: the wealthy, elite neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, Calif., where up to 70 percent of parents filed "personal belief exemptions" from vaccinations to their children's schools, according to the Hollywood Reporter. As a result, their vaccination rate was as low as that of Chad or South Sudan, The Atlantic concluded.
Effort To Keep Grizzlies Protected
Leaders of American Indian tribes in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains have joined an effort to retain federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to decide this year whether it will move to lift protections for the roughly 1,000 grizzlies that scientists say live in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
The campaign to enlist tribal backing for continued protections is being coordinated in large part by wildlife advocates. Organizers say more than two dozen tribes have signed on with resolutions and other declarations of support.
"Any move to delist the sacred grizzly bear on this ancestral landscape must involve consultation with the affected Tribal Nations," wrote Ivan Posey, a member of the Eastern Shoshone and chairman of the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, in a letter last month.
Weekend Box Office
After three weeks atop the box office, "The Hobbit" has been taken down by Liam Neeson.
"Taken 3" nabbed the top spot at the weekend box office in North America with $40.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The third installment of the 20th Century Fox thriller series stars Neeson as a vengeance-seeking retired CIA operative with "a very particular set of skills."
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" slid to fourth place with $9.4 million following three straight weeks in first place. The total domestic take for filmmaker Peter Jackson's Middle-earth finale now stands at $236.5 million. "The Hobbit" also earned $21.8 million internationally this weekend, pushing the worldwide total to $545.3 million.
"Into the Woods" milked $9.7 million in third place in its third week at the box office, bringing the total haul of Disney's Broadway musical adaptation to $105.3 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Taken 3," $40.4 million ($41 million international).
2. "Selma," $11.2 million.
3. "Into the Woods," $9.7 million ($7.6. million international).
4. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," $9.4 million ($21.8 million international).
5. "Unbroken," $8.7 million ($5.7 million international).
6. "The Imitation Game," $7.6 million ($5.5 international).
7. "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," $6.7 million ($46.2 million international).
8. "Annie," $4.9 million ($14 million international).
9. "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death," $4.8 million ($1.5 million international).
10. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," $3.7 million.
Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, known for one of cinema's most sensual performances in Federico Fellini's 1960 film "La Dolce Vita", has died in Italy at the age of 83.
The voluptuous actress, immortalised by her performance as the dream woman who tempts Marcello Mastroianni in the Fellini classic, died on Sunday in hospital outside the Italian capital.
Ekberg, who was born and brought up in Sweden, had reportedly been in a wheelchair for several years after being knocked over by one of her pet Great Danes and breaking her hip.
She spent most of her adult life abroad, first in the United States, where she quickly emerged as one of a 1950s generation of pin-ups and starlets, and then in Italy.
The sixth of eight children, Ekberg was born in 1931 in the Swedish port of Malmo where her father was a docker.
She first attracted attention as a teenager, winning a beauty contest to become "Miss Sweden" in 1950.
Both her mother and her friends had encouraged her to enter beauty contests, and her success quickly took her to the United States, with hopes of becoming Miss Universe.
Although she did not win, she was noticed by, among others, the cult film director Russ Meyer, the eccentric millionaire businessman and producer Howard Hughes and the actor-producer John Wayne.
In addition to becoming a pin-up for magazines such as "Confidential" and "Playboy", she appeared in a series of comedy films including "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" (1953), "Artists and Models" (1955) and "Hollywood or Bust" (1956).
In each case Ekberg's spectacular physique was made part of the plot, often to comic effect.
When in 1954 she visited a US base in Greenland with the actor William Holden and the comedian Bob Hope, the latter quipped that her parents had been given the Nobel Prize for architecture.
It was for the director King Vidor that Ekberg first arrived in Italy, to act in his 1956 film of "War and Peace" along with Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
She was then noticed by Fellini, known for having an eye for beautiful women.
In the famous scene in "La Dolce Vita", she cavorted in Rome's Trevi Fountain, exhibiting her curvaceous charms to an urbane Mastroianni.
The film won Fellini the Golden Palm award at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival of the same year, and the fountain scene rapidly became one of the most famous images in cinema history.
Ekberg was to star in several other major Italian films, including "Boccacio 70," (1962), co-directed by Fellini and Vittorio De Sica and also starring Sophia Loren, plus Fellini's circus film "I Clowns" (1970) and his "Intervista" (1987), also featuring Mastroianni.
Her many romantic liaisons reportedly included spells with Gianni Agnelli, head of the Fiat auto company, as well as with Mastroianni, Errol Flynn and Frank Sinatra.
Ekberg was married twice, firstly to the British actor Anthony Steel between 1956 and 1959 and then to the American actor Rik Van Nutter between 1963 and 1975. Both marriages ended in divorce and there were no children.
Robert Stone, the award-winning novelist who spun out tales worldwide of seekers, frauds and other misbegotten American dreamers in such works as "A Flag for Sunrise" and "Dog Soldiers," died Saturday at age 77.
A lifelong adventurer who in his 20s befriended Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady and what he called "all those crazies" of the counterculture, Stone had a fateful affinity for outsiders, especially those who brought hard times on themselves. Starting with the 1966 novel "A Hall of Mirrors," Stone set his stories everywhere from the American South to the Far East and was a master of making art out of his character's follies, whether the adulterous teacher in "Death of the Black-Haired Girl," the fraudulent seafarer in "Outerbridge Reach," or the besieged journalist in "Dog Soldiers," winner of the National Book Award in 1975. "A Flag for Sunrise," published in 1981, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner award and had the unusual honour of being nominated twice for a National Book Award, as a hardcover and paperback. In 1992, "Outerbridge Reach" was a National Book Award finalist.
Stone's face - well-lined, framed by a sharp stare and weathered beard - was a testament to a life fully and painfully lived. He was a neglected and traumatized child who learned early not to trust reality, a lapsed Catholic consumed by questions of sin and redemption. Inspired to write novels after re-reading "The Great Gatsby" in his 20s, he identified so strongly with his characters he once broke down sobbing, at a college library, while working on "Dog Soldiers."
Stone's books also included the novel "Damascus Gate," another story of a wayward journalist, this time in the Middle East; "Children of Light," the fictional saga of a drunken screenwriter in Mexico; and a memoir about his years with Kesey and friends, "Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties." He helped write screenplays for adaptations of "Hall of Mirrors" (retitled "WUSA" and starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward) and "Dog Soldiers" (released as "Who'll Stop the Rain" starring Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld).
A native of New York City, he was abandoned at birth by his father and ended up in a Catholic orphanage after his mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, was institutionalized. He remembered himself as a loner and fantasizer, ambling through Central Park as a boy and pretending he was detective Sam Spade. Desperate to break away, he left high school and joined the Navy at 17. By his mid-20s, he was living in New Orleans, dropping acid when he should have been working on a book and selling Collier's Encyclopedias.
After New Orleans, he moved to the Bay Area, met Kesey and friends and, like so many of his peers in the '60s, went out to "discover America." Stone would begin sharing what he had seen and done with "A Hall of Mirrors," a surreal tale of corruption, decadence and breakdown in New Orleans.
Stone is survived by his wife, Janice, with whom he had two children.